Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood 17-19

17 Cold Flame

Ross is framed for the assassination of Hughes. This sparks Barry the Chopper to go rogue and raid the prison, releasing Ross from custody. Ed and Al encounter them during the escape and when they battle Barry, Ross slips right into the arms of Roy who immediately incinerates her.

I’m digging the political intrigue plot. Seeing the military dealing in backhanded cover-ups and slowly having the characters realize all the inconsistencies continues to make that story compelling to watch unfold. The weakness of this episode is that it centers on Barry and Ross who are two character we really don’t understand. It’s also unclear why Barry decides to help the goodguys or why he wants to save Ross.

18 The Arrogant Palm of a Small Human

After the events of the last episode, Armstrong takes Ed on a journey to cool off by visiting the ruins of Xerxes. They traverse the long stretch of desert in-between Central and the ruins. At the ruins, Ed discovers that Ross’s death was a cover-up by Roy. Ross decides to hide in the kingdom of Xing. While at the ruins, Ed discovers a symbol similar to the one found in the fifth warehouse. Back in Central, Roy and crew attract a minion of the enemies, which turns out to be Barry’s decaying human body.

While this twist doesn’t come as a major surprise, it’s nice to see Ross lives and isn’t a side-character quickly flung away. I do appreciate the show’s interest in seeing value and worth in its side characters instead of making them cheap, emotional fodder or twist machines. Back in Central, the action sequence with Roy’s crew is quite excellent, especially the final moments that leave the episode on a tense cliffhanger.

19 Death of the Undying

With Gluttony showing up during the battle at Central, things get messy. Roy runs off Gluttony, Al shows up, and Barry pursues his body into one of the laboratories. Roy’s team splits up inside the lab as the building evacuates. Al and Hawkeye find an intriguing door while Roy and Havoc are attacked by Lust. Believing she has left Roy to die, Lust confronts Hawkeye, telling her Roy is dead. Hawkeye gets all sad, but then Roy shows up and ends up being a BAMF as he ignites Lust over and over again until the philosopher’s stone that powers her is destroyed. Meanwhile, Ed returns home and discovers Hohenheim, his father, at his mother’s grave.

What an episode. This is probably my favorite of the series so far. We get the revelation that philosopher stones are powering the homunculi. Also, the whole arc of action with Roy vs Lust is astounding and the final showdown is a magnificently paced set-piece. And after coming off that high, we get that last little moment of shock with Ed and his father. It’s an episode that packs a lot of great action with some pivotal plot points and solid character moments.

© 2015 James Blake Ewing