Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood 36-39

36 Family Portrait

Olivier sends soldiers to investigate the tunnel and the scouting group is attacked by a strange darkness. General Raven tells Olivier to release Sloth and seal the hole, she complies but only in order to use it as a coverup to kill General Raven and hide his body in the concrete sealing off the tunnel. Winry arrives to tune up Ed’s automail and Kimblee is quick to allude to Ed that she is really here to keep him in line.

Damn, Olivier is an awesome character. Here complete control of every situation and quick thinking makes her able to turn just about any situation in her favor. It does seem like killing a general is the kind of thing that would be hard to come back from, but she’s clearly got something in mind.

37 The First Homunculus

The survivors of the attack in the tunnel are recovered through a side exit Ed made to allow the group access to the tunnel. They insist keeping the lights off to avoid attracting the monster. Back at central, Hawkeye has an encounter with Selim Bradly whom she discovers is actually Pride, the first homunculus created by Father. Kimblee takes over in Raven’s mysterious absence and orders Ed and Al to aid him in the search for Scar and Marcoh. Now that Winry knows she is leverage for Ed and Al, she decides to accompany them.

Finally the last of the homunculus is revealed and what a reveal it is. Not only does Pride seem to function differently than the other homunculus, able to spread in many directions quickly, he also is in the body of a young child. It’s the kind of thing I think you could only get away with in a cartoon. While there are certainly creepy kids in live-action films and shows, having a child be a monster that characters are going to have to fight works a lot better in the realm of animation.

38 Conflict at Baschool

Scar and Marcoh are tracked down to the mining town of Baschool. Ed and Al find a way to break away from Kimblee’s guards and end up encountering Scar fighting with a pair of Chimeras (human/animal hybrids) working for Kimblee. Ed and Al subdue the Chimeras and trap Scar. Winry, May, Marcoh, and Miles arrive on the scene and the group struggles with what to do as Kimblee heads to the scene.

One of the compelling things this episode does is use the locale to its advantaged. It could have been any abandoned town, but the mining angle does give it a particular look and atmosphere that adds to the mood of the episode. Also, the snowfall adds an apocalyptic look to the entire thing and provides some nice obfuscation for Ed and Al to slip away.

39 Daydream

The episode begins with Winry being kidnapped by Scar and Ed stopping Kimblee from starting a fight with Scar. The episode then flashes back to the plan the company made. Winry decides to bandage Scar and become his hostage in order to allow herself and Scar get away from Kimblee’s grasp. Ed and Al distract Kimblee while the group heads to the mines during an incoming blizzard and make their way back to Briggs Wall. Unfortunately, after the group splits, Miles discovers Olivier has been sent to Central and Briggs Wall is being run by state alchemists. Al decides to trek over the mountain through the blizzard to warn the group on the other side.

While the plan is quite clever, telling it out of order doesn’t quite work as well as it could. For one, the surprise only lasts for a moment until its revealed what is actually happening. Also, it makes a majority of the episode a flashback to the conversations that happened in the room before the plan was implemented. Still, it’s a clever plan and ending the episode with the group in the mines is heading towards a trap is a great way to leave us hanging.

© 2015 James Blake Ewing