Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood 59-61

59 Lost Light

Roy refuses to perform human transmutation, even if it costs Hawkeye’s life. May arrives, helps beat back the enemy, and heals Hawkeye. But then Wrath and Pride capture Roy and force him to do human transmutation. Roy goes through the gate and discovers that he is blind once he arrives with the other sacrifices. Scar and Wrath battle while Al lies unresponsive, still not having arrived. We discover that Al is at the Gate of Truth, contemplating whether or not to take his body. He decides not to take his human body back as it may not allow him to win the fight against Father.

Okay, since Father needs five people who have seen the Gate of Truth, I guess I’m curious as to why he has to force Roy to open a gate. Part of the intrigue of the show is how each character opened the gate for their own reasons. Father’s manipulation come after the fact. Forcing Roy to do it and go through the process seems contrived and abrupt. They could have got Kimblee or another suitably powerful alchemist to do it as well. Roy is just the most readily available subject.

60 Eye of Heaven, Gateway of Earth

Ed and Al focus their attention on Pride while May attempts to battle Father by herself. Scar reveals to Wrath that he has tattooed a reconstruction transmutation circle on his arm based off his brother’s research, allowing him to also rebuild materials like alchemists. In the midst of the battle with Pride and Father, the five sacrifices are absorbed and the transmutation circle is activated, allowing Father to reach towards the sky and absorb god.

May is quite the little fighter. Taking the big bad on by herself is quite the feat. Also, after all of this, it’s amazing to see that Father’s plan is achieved. The scale of the eye he opens at the end of the episode is quite impressive and one of the most effective spectacles in the show so far. Once again, the show is pushing us to the darkest place it can go, leaving the heroes in a state where all seems hopeless.

61 He Who Would Swallow God

Everyone in Father’s lair discovers that they survived the transmutation. The same cannot be said for the fifty million souls he consumed. But Hohenheim reveals that Father has activated a countermeasure that took Hohenheim years to build: a countersign built with the souls from his philosopher’s stone. The souls are all sent back to their original bodies and Father loses control over god. The end of the eclipse blinds Wrath and gives Scar the opening he needs to kill Wrath. Father rushes to the surface to steal souls while Ed stays underground to defeat Pride.

As I think more and more about the countermeasure, I really like the idea. It gives Hohenheim a purpose in all the years he spent wandering the earth. It involves using the power of souls to overcome Father’s grip on souls and it fulfills the law of equivalent exchange that guides alchemy. A quick gut reaction can make it seem like a way to give the heroes a victory in the darkest moment, but it fits elegantly into so much of the design of the show so far that I think it’s fantastic.

© 2015 James Blake Ewing