- Alas, Poor Villain:
- Connecticut in Episode 10. Doubly so because she wasn't even the villain.
- The Director is the absolute last person you'd expect to feel sympathy for ... until he calls out in panic for Allison. Unfortunately, he's back to his Jerkass self within seconds. Taken Up to Eleven when he acknowledges Carolina as his greatest creation, reconciles with her after becoming a nervous wreck and then is implied to commit suicide.
- Accidental Truth: Wash's attempt at lying to invoke Reverse Psychology on the Red Team in Episode 6 turns out to actually be true in Episode 20, much to his surprise and annoyance.
- Theta becomes this due to how nervous and childlike he is.
- Wash, definitely. The guy has pink and white towels, a rubber ducky, and pictures of cute animals in his locker.
- Adult Fear: Considering Theta's personality and North's nurturing making him something like a parent, knowing that North dies while his 'child' is getting pretty much kidnapped is bound to strike a chord with adults, especially in the sense that you failed to save your child.
- Always Second Best: Emphasized between Carolina and Tex in Season 10. In Episode 19, Carolina finally gets a chance to have her long awaited one-on-one fight with Tex, and while she does markedly better than anyone else who's tried before, ultimately it's painfully clear she's not even her equal.
- Carolina finally admits this about herself in episode 21, but it takes facing a literal army of her rival to make her say it.
- An Axe to Grind: The Pillman's Weapon of Choice in the prequel sections, specifically throwing axes. Tex seems pretty adept in their use as well.
- And the Adventure Continues: The Reds and Blues return to Blood Gulch to settle down now that Project Freelancer has been dismantled for good. However, Church and Carolina decide to go and "do some good" in order to atone for their past crimes, starting with recovering some stolen Freelancer equipment.
- Are These Wires Important?: Invoked by York as he helps Tex during her attempt to get to The Alpha.
- Armor-Piercing Question: More of a statement, delivered from C.T. to Tex.
C.T.: And I don't take orders from shadows.
- And one line twice, once from Carolina to Tex, then in the 'present', Wash to Carolina:
You better figure out the difference between your enemies, and your friends.
- Artificial Gravity: On the various ships. It's a minor plot point on two occasions.
- In Episode 2, Wash accidentally turns it off on one of them.
- Comes into play again in Episode 19, this time on purpose.
- Aside Glance: Wash pulls one when Donut mentions that he was shot. He turns his head to the camera and whistles innocently.
- Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!: Washington and York against the Insurrection soldiers in the eighth episode.
- Ax-Crazy: Carolina, especially in the prequel segments. Not that this came as a surprise to anyone, due to Texas. She's having a tough time keeping it bottled in.
- Back-to-Back Badasses: Caboose, Washington, Tucker, Sarge, Donut, Grif, and Simmons in Episode 21, versus an army of Agent Texas robots.
- Badass Adorable:
- Theta. For all his shyness and childish behavior, just watch how he works with North's energy shield.
- And as of episode 21, Caboose.
- Behind the Black: Apparently, the Director's Scary Shiny Glasses are super reflective because Carolina looked shocked when the audience finally saw his eyes in the season finale - even though she had already seen him plenty of other times in person.
- Between My Legs: A really hilarious and weird example of this in Episode 5, with North doing the A-Frame and Wash's head peering in between (at Theta).
- Beware the Nice Ones: Wash, York, North, Theta and Caboose.
- Big Damn Heroes: Two examples in Episode 19.
- Big "NO!":
- In Episode 10, the Insurrectionist leader, when Connecticut seems to have been shot in the head.
- In Episode 15, coupled as a Wham Line due to the consequences:
- In Episode 16, when the Alpha is told in one of his "breaking" sessions that Agent Texas died because of his own failure. It keeps repeating, with the occasional "Oh my God", until the scene shifts.
- In Episode 19, Tex gets one when the Meta catches up to Carolina, takes her AI and throws her off a cliff.
- Bittersweet Ending: And how. See Wham Episode and And the Adventure Continues for details.
- Bloody Hilarious: The results of the below mentioned Hyper-Destructive Bouncing Ball.
- Book Ends: The Meta's rampage starts in the same place it ended (Sidewinder), and ends in the same way it started (with a main Freelancer being thrown off of a cliff).
- Bond One-Liner: A nonfatal one from York to Wyoming in Episode 19.
- Borrowed Catchphrase/Worst Whatever Ever: Apparently Washington is catchy.
Tucker: (to Epsilon) You're like the worst wingman ever.
Caboose: Of all time.
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: In Episode 16, Tucker wants to know what Epsilon is finding out about Carolina.
Is she crazy
? Is she evil
? Is she crazy evil?
- Break the Cutie: Washington's Epsilon Incident is finally shown in Episode 17. Oddly, however, he's not nearly as upset or cynical about it all as people would expect from The Recollection.
- Break the Haughty: Carolina in Episode 21. She finally realizes that no matter how hard she tries, she will never beat Texas by herself. Luckily, the Reds and Blues know this as well.
- Breaking the Fellowship:
- Subverted in Episode 18, the Blood Gulch crew breaks away from Church after he blows up on them in a massive "The Reason You Suck" Speech rant. However, in Episode 20, they all decide they're going to go help him anyway.
- According to Episode 19, Tex's defection, and the resulting division of loyalties between the Freelancers, appears to have been the event that ultimately broke up Project Freelancer.
- Breather Episode: It may not be particularly lighthearted (at least in the flashback sections), but after the emotional ups and downs of the previous installments, Episodes 11 and 12 are very relaxed, even in regards to clothing (in the case of Episode 11), and focus on conversation and character development.
- Brick Joke:
- The Insurrectionist grunt Delta was talking to in Episode 1 who got spaced can be seen in orbit at the beginning of Episode 2, and even shows up in the credits at the end of the season..
- The UNSC trooper from the final episode of Season 8 returns in Episode 20 to arrest the gang for stealing the Hornet he was guarding. They steal his Hornet, again.
- Episode 22 has a Brick Joke that started years ago. Poor Florida.
- Brother-Sister Team: Epsilon and Carolina.
- Brown Note: In Episode 15, the Director shouting "ALLISON!" in a panicked voice causes all of the AI fragments (in addition to likely the Alpha itself) to go temporarily rampant at the same time, causing their operators to have massive headaches. No need to guess why Tex was the exception, even despite holding Omega.
- Butt Monkey:
- In the prequel sections, York and Wash take some pretty hilarious abuse, including getting a grappling hook in the groin.
- In Episode 20, the pilot whose Hornet was stolen by the Reds at the end of Season 8 shows up to arrest the Reds and Blues as war criminals. The Reds and Blues steal not just his Hornet, but those of his two partners as well.
- Call Back:
- Episode 9's Heinz Hybrid gag is a Call Back to when Tucker called Tex a half woman, half shark.
- Episode 12 has Carolina reflecting about the death of York and visiting the place he died. The name of the episode? "Out of Mind", also the name of the miniseries in which York was killed fighting Wyoming with Tex.
- Episode 18's "The Reason You Suck" Speech is one long reference to all of the abuse the Reds (and Caboose) put Alpha-Church through over the course of Red Vs Blue The Blood Gulch Chronicles.
- Also in 18, Wash using the line that Carolina used on Tex earlier on her.
- Stealing that Hornet in the finale of Revelation finally catches up with the Reds and Blues.
- From the same episode: The bargaining scene is a direct callback to the early days of the series (the dialogue) and to the beginning of the current season (Wash and the Blues curbstomping the Reds).
- From that scene is two more- Simmoms spouts off Grif's "I'd just like to let everyone know that I suck," speech, and there's a brief cut to what the Blues have taken, which includes Donut's motorcycle, the Warthog, the food Donut and Doc made for them previously that season, and multiple rocket launchers and shotguns.
- The quote by the Tex army in the voice of Omega is identical to a quote from Omega in Episode 100 of Red Vs Blue The Blood Gulch Chronicles.
- Episode 21 continues this trend, to the point of Continuity Cavalcade.
- Episode 22, The Director appointing Captain Flowers/Agent Florida as a bodyguard for the Alpha stationed in Blood Gulch has to find a way to explain the mysterious disappearance of Agent Florida, a explaining why in season 1 Tucker laments the then-unknown fate of Florida.
- Call Forward:
- In Revelation, Wash tries to get Doc out of the wall with a grappling hook. In Season 10, Carolina pulls Wash into a spaceship with a grappling hook.
Wash: Pull lower, near the center of gravity. Try the codpiece.
Mook 1: Hey.
Mook 2: Yeah?
Mook 1: You ever wonder why we're - (Cue the pelican)
- Tex being pinned by the tank in episode 19 resembles the time Sarge was pinned by the warthog in early season 2.
- It's subtle, but the last scene of Episode 19 mirrors the end of the Meta vs. Tex battle of Season 8. Both Tex and Carolina are initially facedown, then turn over and try to get away as Maine comes up, then he grabs them by the neck and does something painful to their head, then tosses them aside. Just another reminder of how similar those two really are...
- Came Back Wrong: The Director kept trying to "get her right", resulting in a bunch of dangerous Tex/Allison robots, at least some of which have the voice of Omega.
- Cannon Fodder: As stated in Episode 18, Carolina's plan to infiltrate the Director's hideout involves turning the Reds, Tucker, and Caboose into this as a distraction. They, along with Washington, think this is a horrible idea and collectively quit.
- Car Fu:
- In Episode 2, it's narrowly avoided by Washington when Artificial Gravity comes back on on the ship being invaded.
- Casual Kink: Church/the Director and his fetish for, ahem, hot headed women.
Sarge: Wanna talk about it?
Caboose: Wanna talk about it with-?
- Character Development:
- Hanging out with the Reds and Blues has revived Wash's old Nice Guy self.
- And being shown a memory of how York felt about her and realizing Epsilon knows more about her drive to reconcile old wounds than she thought is the catalyst that makes Carolina open up a little more, even going so far as to give Epsilon some good-natured teasing about his awkwardness in carrying her.
- Chekhov's Gag: The Reds are unsure of Carolina, and are considering going home. Wash plays along, then plants the idea that they're wanted criminals and that they'll be ambushed upon arrival. This immediately changes their tune. It's brought up again MUCH later, when it's revealed that they really ARE wanted criminals.
- Chekhov's Gun:
- Carolina's Grappling-Hook Pistol. First seen in Episode 3 of Season 9, it made a return in Episode 4, where she used it to... grip Washington to bring him on to a Pelican. In Episode 19, if one were to look closely towards the end when Carolina is falling, the tip of the pistol is visible, explaining her survival. It also comes in handy while fighting the Tex robots.
- The army of robot bodies Epsilon and Caboose saw stashed away in the Freelancer facility in Revelation. A similar batch is finally put to use by the Director toward the end of Season 10.
- Chekhov's Gunman: The Mysterious Blue Guy? He's Agent Florida, better known as Captain Butch Flowers.
- Clone Degeneration: The army of Tex that are seen near the end of the season are visibly clunker and slower than the "real" Tex, and could be fought to a standstill by the Reds, Blues, Wash and Carolina. See also Conservation of Ninjutsu.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Episode 16 finally shows Alpha being put through the fragmentation process, and it's just awful. Though the Director does call out the torturers on one of their methods, he mostly just stands by and watches.
- Coming In Hot: The Mother of Invention and its crash landing into Sidewinder in Episode 19 following being hit by its own missiles and losing Artificial Gravity courtesy of York.
- Conservation of Ninjutsu: Seen with the Tex clones the crew face in Episode 21. This is explained by them being run by a single A.I. distributed over hundreds of bodies.
- Continuity Cavalcade: Episode 21 packs as many references to past episodes, actions, jokes, and everything else into the fight between the Reds and Blues versus the army of Texes.
- Carolina's opening line before the fight, "Alright, me first," is a reference to Tex's first line in Revelation, Episode 10: "Alright, who's first?"
- The quotes Carolina hears as she tries to destroy the Tex army are from various moments over her time in the prequel segments, both heard by her and not. This culminates in "Better luck next time, Carolina", said by the Tex drones in reference to Episode 17 of Season 9.
- Donut sticks the heads of three Tex robots with plasma grenades, calling out "nine points, you dirty whores!" as he did in Episode 19 of Red Vs Blue The Blood Gulch Chronicles (three points in that case, for one person).
- Blood Gulch Blues being played over the lock and load sequence after the Big Damn Heroes moment.
- Caboose's Unstoppable Rage and his Badass Baritone "MY NAME IS MICHAEL J. CABOOSE. AND I HATE [X]" are references to the last time he went into Unstoppable Rage, back against the Zealots in Blood Gulch Chronicles.
- Sarge's "for our ancestors' ancestors" line is in reference to Episode 38 of The Blood Gulch Chronicles.
- Grif's tendency toward Groin Attack issues as of Episode 10 of Season 8 (Revelation) is brought up.
- Wash saves Donut from a Tex clone and says "we're done here," which is a nod to them being even after he shot Donut at the end of season 7.
- Epsilon's encounter with the broken Tex is a nearly direct mirror to the encounter between the original Tex Beta AI and the Alpha in Episode 19 of this season.
- Continuity Nod:
- Cool Starship: The Mother Of Invention for the Freelancers, and the Staff Of Charon for the opposing Insurgents, as of Episode 4.
- Cool Versus Awesome: In Episode 13.
- Curb-Stomp Battle:
- According to Sarge, Wash has been doing this to the Reds while Church was in the memory unit. To the point Sarge was glad to rescue Church so he could lead the Blues again.
- Maine has a rematch with the sleeveless ODST from Season 9. It lasts one punch.
- Tex takes out half a dozen mooks in episode 19 with nothing but a bunch of spike grenades and their own guns.
- Dangerous Deserter: The UNSC seems to consider the AWOL Reds and Blues who were formerly of Blood Gulch this. In all fairness, though, they aren't technically wrong.
- Dare to Be Badass: In Episode 20, Sarge pulls this on Washington, to get him to help the Reds and Blues help Epsilon and Carolina.
- Dark Reprise: Two examples in Episode 19.
- Carolina's Leitmotif is given a sad version during her fight with York and a dark version during her fight with Tex
- While "Plagram Extrinam Infigere" from the season finale of Revelation was already rather dark (given it translates to "Extremely Bloody Murder"), when the Meta takes Carolina's AI and tosses her off a cliff, you can hear a slower, more foreboding version of the drumbeat play in the background.
- Dead Man Writing: Tex's dog tag is actually a data unit Connie left for her, complete with an "If you're seeing this" message and copies of all the dirt she'd gathered on the Director and Project Freelancer. Turns out Tex is the only one she trusted to do the right thing.
- Defrosting Ice Queen:
- Carolina in Episode 12 courtesy of some journals Epsilon found of York. However, this does not extend to anyone else in the group at all, even Washington.
- Tex (in the flashbacks) also seems a little friendlier towards North in Episode 16, claiming that it took her some time to get used to having Omega in her head, and that she has had him shut down for some time following the incident in Episode 15 where he wanted to have her kill Carolina.
- Diving Save: Carolina for Grif in Episode 21 to save him from a Groin Attack by way of dropkick to three Tex drones at once. It doesn't help.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: The discussion between York, North, and Wash about how big "it" (Theta) is, in Episode 5. South seems to pick up on it, though.
Wash: I expected it to be... bigger.
York: Why? You've seen mine, it's small too.
York: How does that even make sense?
North: Hey Wash, quit staring; you're making it nervous.
Wash: Yeah, it's just... they're so small.
York: Small, yeah. But you wouldn't believe what it can do.
North: Besides, you better get used to it, you're going to have one of your own soon enough.
York: I'm just going to let that one go.
York: Dude, you are killing me with that!
- Dramatic Gun Cock: Sarge does this with his shotgun to punctuate a Dare to Be Badass speech in Episode 20. Carolina does it with a handgun when she joins the guys after their Big Damn Hero entrance.
- Driven to Suicide: The Director, who shoots himself in the head with Carolina's pistol after shutting off life support in the Offshore Freelancer Facility. F.I.L.S.S. also technically counts as he ordered her to delete every single file and program in Project Freelancer except for the video of Allison, which she acknowledges includes herself.
- Dumbass Has a Point/The Cuckoolander Was Right: Caboose seems to be getting relatively more intelligent this season, having made multiple statements that show a remarkably accurate grasp of the situation the Blood Gulch crew is in. Hell, he seems to have a better handle on the situation than Sarge (not that that's saying much). The crew have even remarked at how surprising this is.
- Elite Mook: The ODST Insurrectionists from Season 9 return this season, presenting a similar spike in difficulty to the Freelancers.
- South and Wyoming serve as elite mooks in Episode 19, with Carolina being something of a Boss Battle.
- Enemy Chatter: The Running Gag from last season is still going strong, with two mooks in Episode 2 talking to each other about being under attack.
- Epic Flail: Carolina makes an Improvised Weapon version of one in Episode 21 using her Grappling-Hook Pistol and a grenade.
- The Faceless: As of Episode 6, the only faces of important characters (Insurrection Elite Mooks notwithstanding) in the prequel segments not shown have been Washington, Maine, Texas, and, to a degree, the Director. Texas' reason is self evident by this point in the plot (having been revealed as far back as Season 6), and the Director has all of him shown at one point or another except for his eyes. With the exception of Washington and Texas, this serves to make those examples more unnerving than frustrating, lending an air of mystery.
- Played for epic laughs with Washington in Episode 7.
York: Are you eating inside your helmet?
- Also played with during the exposition scene for the AIs when Maine does have his helmet off, but Sigma is always blocking the view of his face.
- Then played for drama in Episode 17. To avoid showing Wash's face during his implantation surgery, they show the surgery from his point of view while the implantation causes him to have a mental episode. Complete with memory flashes, Dutch Angles, and warped visuals.
- Finally completely averted with the Director in Episode 22... and it turns out there's a reason for it.
- Failed a Spot Check: After discovering that Doc has returned, Sarge orders Simmons to get him [Sarge] his gun. Simmons replies that Sarge is already holding said gun.
- Failed Attempt at Drama: Church tries to make a dramatic exit... but is stymied by the fact that he's attached to Tucker, so he has to stop and ask Tucker to go along with him.
- Fanservice: Episode 11 has North and York having an extended conversation while helmet-less and wearing t-shirts. It wasn't exactly a steamy shower scene, but it's a lot more skin than we've ever seen these two handsome guys show, let alone any of the protagonist soldiers in the entire series.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Episode 21 implies it between Carolina and the Reds and Blues.
- Flat "What.": In Episode 1.
Caboose: We sort of call the new guy Church, y'know, sometimes.
- Foe-Tossing Charge: Episode 21. Church decides to get Caboose angry. Without hesitation, he charges headlong through an army of Tex copies. They don't even slow him down.
- Forgot Flanders Could Do That: It's been seven seasons since Caboose got angry; he reveals in Episode 21 that he doesn't remember how to do that. Church helps him remember.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus:
- Episode 17 has a number of these while Tex is looking through the files, notable ones being that Sigma's emotional core is Ambition (and Theta's is Trust); that AIs with Happiness, Love, Greed, and Fear exist; and that Allison is Beta.
- In Episode 19, coupled with the Chekhov's Gun above. As Carolina falls off the cliff, you can see her Grappling-Hook Gun if you look carefully enough.
- Funny Background Event:
- Look sharp, or you'll miss a shot of York careening through space while Carolina and South are discussing their next move in Episode 3.
- Theta trying and failing to balance on a holographic skateboard in Episode 6, even completely falling over at one point. Though he seems to get it right by the end of the scene, as he rides it out of the room.
- Not entirely background, but it's easy to miss the magically changing fruit that Wash is eating with his helmet on in Episode 7.
- During the big fight scene in Episode 21, you can see Caboose charging from one side of the room to the other, tossing Texes thither and yon as he goes.
- In the credits following Episode 22, the Net-Surfing Guy from Episode 1 floats by in his chair.
- Gratuitous Japanese: In the song "Now That We've Come So Far" which serves as the credits music on the DVD.
- Grievous Harm with a Body: During his Unstoppable Rage in Episode 21, Caboose, at one point, bashes several Tex drones with the body of one of them.
- Grey and Gray Morality: Suggested by Delta to an Insurrectionist grunt. The Freelancers and Insurrectionists can't be called good and evil, just two groups working for different goals.
- Groin Attack:
- Wash, by a grappling hook to the codpiece pulled at high speed in Episode 4.
- Tex still really hates Grif. In Episode 21, the first Groin Attack by three Texes with the help of two to wishbone him is subverted by Carolina's Diving Save, but followed up by a Double Subverted version when one of those holding him still kicks him there anyway. Tucker notes that he should have seen that coming. Then, off screen, the same happens by twenty of them at the same time.
- Guile Hero: Wash in the present time. Given how innocent and earnest he was in the flashbacks, it makes his Break the Cutie all the more terrifying.
- Guns Akimbo:
- Carolina seems to have made a twin set of Plasma Rifles her weapons of choice in this season.
- Connecticut seems fond of using two pistols.
- In Episode 19, North does it with a pair of sniper rifles, with enough precision to shoot rockets out of the air.
- Heel Realization: Sort of in the case of Carolina in Episode 21. She finally realizes that no matter how hard she tries, she can't beat Texas on her own, so she finally teams up effectively with the Reds and Blues.
- He's Back:
- After Connecticut's files jog his memory in Episode 17, Epsilon-Church integrates the hidden copies of the fragments he was carrying and transforms back into the complete Alpha-Church. And he remembers everything. However, as Episode 18 shows, this is something of a deconstruction. Yes, parts of Alpha-Church are back. Specifically his memories and his temper, the latter of which is much worse.
- Episode 20 features an equally dramatic and much, much scarier example.
- Heinz Hybrid: Played for Laughs in Episode 9, with Sarge calling Carolina "a half woman, half shark, except the shark half has been given cybernetic powers, and the woman half is also one quarter jaguar".
- Homoerotic Subtext: Subverted in Episode 16.
: Hey, Simmons, when you say Donut nailed Lopez
to a board? Simmons
: I mean with nails. Grif
: Okay, had to ask. Simmons
: No, no, I understand. I should've been clearer. That's my
- Hope Spot: The female insurrectionist is hanging from a ledge... her boss's distinct cybernetic arm reaches down to give her a hand. She takes it... and it's being held by Maine, who had cut it off earlier. And then he lets go.
- Hulking Out: When the full-sized Epsilon gets angry and starts ranting about how everyone owes him for what they've done to him, he grows and grows and his voice deepens until he's a scary giant avatar of glowing orange/red rage. However, when he calms down, he shrinks to the small, blue Epsilon-Church form. Even Caboose wordlessly backs away from him afterwards.
- Hyper-Destructive Bouncing Ball: The Insurrection soldiers fail to realize that shooting at the inside of a Freelancer Beehive Barrier while you're inside it is a really, really bad idea. Weaponizing the Barrier Warrior's Beehive Barrier is quite terrifying.
- I Can't Believe I'm Saying This: In Episode 12, overlapping with OOC Is Serious Business.
Grif: I thought I'd never say this, but I can't sleep.
- Indy Ploy: In Episode 20, Sarge admits this is every Red and Blue plan post-Blood Gulch.
Sarge: Son, stupid and reckless is how we always get things done.
- Innocent Innuendo:
- Caboose has a problem with this in Episode 6, and doesn't seem to realize it.
Or else they'll [the Blood Gulch crew] bring out my ugly
Oh, oh come on Caroline
, I bet you are really pretty under that armor. Carolina: What?
- Again in this conversation in Episode 9, when Caboose is obsessed with the idea of the Reds making a trap for the Blues.
- Two in Episode 20.
- Insult Backfire:
- Interesting Situation Duel: In Episode 19, we have York versus Carolina in an elevator shaft on the Mother of Invention with no Artificial Gravity. This is topped a short time later in the same episode by Tex versus Carolina in a computer room and a hallway, on different surfaces, in a ship that is Coming In Hot to a nearby planet.
- Ironic Echo:
- Highlighting just how similar to the Omega-infused Tex it is that Carolina has become.
Carolina (Episode 10): I don't know what's gotten into you, Texas, but you better figure out the difference between your enemies and your friends.
Washington (Episode 18): I don't know what's gotten into you, Carolina, but you better figure out the difference between your enemies and your friends.
- Another one where, again, Carolina's role is reversed, not to mention that, as of Episode 22, counts as a case of Like Father, Like Daughter.
The Director (Episode 8): Leave personnel decisions to me Agent Carolina. Carolina (Episode 18): Leave personnel decisions to me Agent Washington.
- A different one comes up in Episode 22, this time contrasting the two in the one directly above, and within the space of two scenes in succession.
Epsilon: Oh, there's still one place we haven't visited. Somewhere we can make a home.
Carolina: Show me.
The Director: The Alpha needs anonymity. A place where no-one will think to look for him.
The Counselor: I believe I know exactly the place.
The Director: Show me.
- Irony: The lesson that Church and Carolina were supposed to learn in Episode 12 was to let go of the past. However, they're still utterly consumed with their single minded mission to kill the Director, as is best shown in Episode 18. If anybody has taken the moral to heart, it's Wash, who is no longer interested in taking revenge on the Director and is only concerned with looking out for his friends. Church, who was the one teaching Carolina in Episode 12, is the one who calls Wash out about walking out on them.
- It Has Been an Honor: In Episode 22, the Director says this he orders F.I.L.S.S. to delete all Project Freelancer files, including herself. F.I.L.S.S. responds in kind.
- Kick the Dog:
- Though Caboose is totally oblivious in Episode 6, and it isn't the first time he's been shot at for laughs, Carolina's threat is played coldly straight when she shoots at an explosive a distance behind him.]]
- South petitioning for one of Carolina's AI's as the latter lies in the hospital in Episode 16. Tex takes particular exception to it, calling her a vulture, and even North admits that it was uncalled for.
- Epsilon-Church's "The Reason You Suck" Speech in Episode 18. After they told their piece and said, rightfully, that killing the Director has nothing to do with them, he, rightfully, screams at all of the assembled Reds and Blues (directing mostly at those from Blood Gulch), blaming them for most his problems and saying that, when it came down to it, all they amounted to problems for him. This Kick the Dog was so blatant every single one of them, even Caboose, walked out on him temporarily.
- Not to mention Church telling Wash he shouldn't have been surprised Washington was abandoning their cause. Wash fought the battle against the project longer and harder than either Epsilon or Carolina did. He earned his chance to just let go of the past.
- To be fair, Wash is the one who talked Alpha into sacrificing himself, and also nearly killed Donut before hunting down epsilon and trying to capture him in order to use him to bargain for his own release, which resulted in Tex's death. Wash was hardly innocent when it came to causing Epsilon problems.
- Killed Off for Real: Aside from those Doomed by Canon in the flashbacks and not shown in-season, we have, in chronological order, Utah (in a deleted scene), the Insurrection Elite Mook squad aside from the leader, Connecticut, possibly the latest Texas, F.I.L.S.S., and Doctor Leonard Church, a.k.a. the Director.
- Knife Fight: Though Carolina uses a Humbler stun device, her battles with the female Insurrectionist member in Episode 9 and with Conncecticut in Episode 10 give off this impression.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: Wash spent years nursing a secret grudge against the Director, bidding his time for when he would be able to bring down the Director and Freelancer. In Season 10, he's finally given a chance to get his revenge against the Director, and yet chooses to let go of his vendetta in Episode 18 rather than put his new friends in danger over something that is not their problem. Unlike Carolina and even Church, it seems he's finally learned to let go of the past.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The first line of Season 10, arguably the most exciting and anticipated season yet? "And now, the moment you've all been waiting for..."
- Leave Behind a Pistol: The Director asks for Carolina to do this before she leaves him in the facility.
- Let Me Get This Straight:
- Let's Get Dangerous/Misfit Mobilization Moment: In Episode 20, Doc's speech about how the adventures after Blood Gulch ended up giving almost all of the Blood Gulch Crew (and Washington) what they wanted in some way results in the majority of those present agreeing to leave and help Epsilon and Carolina, since Epsilon is still Church, and therefore still their friend. Washington takes some more convincing, but Sarge's subsequent speech is enough to have him join the others in "the worst idea... ever".
- Let's See You Do Better: When Carolina demands to be implanted with an AI, the Director lets her choose which one she'll obtain (and therefore take from one of her teammates) under this basis.
The Director: If she thinks our decisions are so easy, then let her make one.
- Literal Ass Kicking: A follow up to a Groin Attack in Episode 21, from a Tex drone to Grif.
- Little "No": The Pillman Insurrectionist when Connie dies in his arms.
- Long-Lost Relative: In a roundabout way, Carolina to Epsilon, and technically the other AI units.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Allison and the Director are Carolina's parents, though it appears that Carolina and possibly Epsilon already knew that.
- Meaningful Background Event: Maine clutching his head in pain while Sigma and Gamma are speaking with Carolina in Episode 13, foreshadowing his descent into insanity courtesy of Sigma.
- Mood Whiplash:
- Episode 10, which, the last two seasons, has been a Curb-Stomp Battle courtesy of Tex, did start out that way when she started fighting. Then she mortally wounded Connecticut, ending the episode on a Tear Jerker as she died in her boyfriend's arms.
- Episode 15, hands down. At first, it seems like there's going to be an epic Monty Oum battle. It starts with Carolina, pumped up by two AI units, assembling her equipment for her match with Tex. On FILSS's signal, the two rush towards one another... and then the Director, outraged at the unauthorized match, accidentally calls Tex "Allison". Then, the episode suddenly becomes extremely dark, as all the AI act up in their owners' heads, Carolina goes nuts due to her two AI, and the Sarcophagus starts snarling and screaming. Back in the present, the Reds go looking for Lopez to reboot him... and then Donut reappears, revealed to be alive with the help of Doc, drastically lightening the mood.
- Musicalis Interruptus: In Episode 3, when adventure "about to set out and kick ass" music gears up as the Freelancers go to find the Insurgent leader of this group in "Bone Valley"... York crashed into the scene at last on his Jet Pack, face first. Cue beat as everyone turns and stares at him for ruining the moment.
- Mythology Gag: In Episode 12, York mentions a "Club Errera" as the place where he met Carolina.
- New Meat: Washington's status as the new guy is further cemented this season, and is often used as way to get someone to put up exposition about certain aspects of Project Freelancer. It's also Played for Laughs, since he has no clue about the Noodle Incidents his squadmates keep talking about.
- Nice Guy: Much is made of North's "caring and nurturing" nature in Episode 5, which led to him being paired up with the shy, childlike Theta.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
- Wash destroying the artificial gravity while trying to hack the system, in Episode 2. Not that it's a bad thing for the audience, because we get treated to an epically awesome zero-G battle. It's not even a bad thing for the crew, since they're considerably more prepared for zero-g combat (they have magnetic boots and jetpacks) than the mooks they're dealing with.
- In Episode 10, Texas killing Connie. Sure, she was an enemy, but, as she learns in Episode 17, Connie could have actually helped shut down Project Freelancer much sooner, and with far less pain to the members.
- Noodle Incident:
- There's that one soldier from Episode 2 who accidentally drops a shotgun which goes off, killing the guy next to him. What are the first words out of his mouth?
- Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: Wash (the Blood Gulch guys are the pond). Emphasized even more strongly in the flashbacks when York notes in the Episode 8 that he's easily the worst fighter in the squad. That said, the other people in the squad are York, North, Carolina, and Maine.
- Official Couple:
- Episode 10 pretty much confirms that CT and the Resistance Leader had a relationship. From the looks of it, they planned to steal Freelancer equipment and then run away together. It didn't work out so well.
- Episodes 11 & 12 seem to confirm this for York & Carolina as well, though it might just be Unresolved Sexual Tension.
- Oh, Crap:
- The Insurrectionist sniper in Episode 8, when one of his squadmates decides to shoot at the inside of the Beehive Barrier with a submachine gun.
- You can practically see the despair on the sleeveless ODST's face in Episode 9 when he realizes that Maine's going to kill him.
- A pair of comical examples in Episode 15: Simmons and Sarge aren't too excited to have Donut and Doc around again.
- In Episode 18, we have a tragic example. Immediately after Epsilon-Church's "The Reason You Suck" Speech, his reaction as Tucker leaves, followed slowly by everyone else but Carolina, is a quiet version of this. It quickly evolves into Please Don't Leave Me.
- In Episode 20.
: Oh no. Carolina
: Church? What is this? Epsilon
: He kept trying. He kept trying to get her right. Carolina
: You thinks these things are anything like the real deal? Camera Pans to reveal an army made up of Tex copies, cracking their knuckles and necks. One of the Tex copies, in the voice of Omega: You have no idea what kind of trouble you are in.
- Oh, No... Not Again!:
- OOC Is Serious Business:
- After Church rages at the crew in Episode 18, Caboose leaves Epsilon-Church, despite his prior Undying Loyalty, driving home just how crushed the Blood Gulch Crew is at that point. That said, he does get over it quickly enough, so it's probably more that he was upset that Epsilon-Church was alienating his friends than anything else.
- Phlebotinum Overdose: Carolina takes on Iota and Eta because she believes that two AIs, being fragments themselves for an AI that is generally implanted to armor complete, will be better than one, and allow her to surpass Tex. The agony that comes from hearing them both calling out to "Allison" when the Director accidentally pushed the AI fragment Brown Note left her extremely debilitated, and, after being knocked out by Texas, she did not regain consciousness for several days at the least.
- Platonic Life Partners: Epsilon and Carolina by the end of the season.
- Please Don't Leave Me:
- Plucky Comic Relief: Washington is portrayed as this in the flashbacks before Episode 17.
- Poor Communication Kills:
- The fight between Carolina and York, plus the one between Carolina and Tex would both have gone a lot more smoothly if either York or Tex had just said: "The Director is torturing someone to make these AIs and this is a rescue mission." However, instead they just make vague comments. Still, at that point it's doubtful Carolina would have listened, given how emotionally unstable she was from Eta and Iota, her feelings of betrayal by York, her personal grudge against Tex and her loyalty to the Director.
- Church also basically cites this as the reason why nobody trusts Carolina. She basically orders the Reds, Blues and Wash around in an abrasive manner without giving them any explanation for why they're doing anything, what her motivations are, or even trying to connect with them. Church and Wash know the reasons and justifications for her behaviour, but a lot of problems the group has throughout this season might have been avoided if she had taken a breather to just talk with them.
- Priceless Paperweight/Battle Trophy: Grif still has the Meta's Brute Shot, which he had been planning to mount on the wall as a trophy.
- Punch Catch: Maine catches the very first punch thrown by the sleeveless ODST, which shows off his newly acquired Super Strength.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Epsilon-Church gives a long one to the Reds and Blues in Episode 18 when they refuse to go with him and Carolina to face the Director down. The result is... less than stellar.
Epsilon-Church: So that's it? You're just going to turn your back on us? Washington: Epsilon, I know that it- Epsilon-Church: No, you're right. I guess I should have seen that one coming. It's not exactly like you're new to the concept, is it? Sarge: That's a little harsh. Epsilon-Church: But you guys, after all the shit you've put me through, I really thought at least you would have my back. Grif: Us? What the hell did we do? Epsilon-Church: You shot me through the head, you put a bomb in my gut, you killed me with my own damn tank! And that's just how we met! Tucker: Church, calm down! What's your problem?! Epsilon-Church: You're my problem! You've always been my problem! Each and every one of you is just a problem that I have to deal with on a Daily. Basis!
- My God, What Have I Done?: Once Church calms down after saying that, he tries to apologize to them. Grif, whom he considers to be very intelligent and actually gets along with, leaves with the other Reds first. He is followed by Tucker, who is Church's closest friend and has been for many years. By the end, he's begging Caboose, for whom he presumably has become a Broken Pedestal, not to leave. It doesn't work.
- Resemblance Reveal: In Episode 22, the Director's Wham Shot reveals that he has the same color eyes as Carolina. The implications of this are cleared up by the end of the episode.
- Replacement Goldfish: Wash apparently became this for Church, after the latter went into the capture unit. To the point where Caboose even calls Wash by Church's name, though only to make it easier for Caboose (the armor color confuses him), as Church discovers much to his fury after being rescued from the capture unit. This is cemented in the last scenes of the season, with Wash yelling at Tucker and Caboose to get back to work, just like Church used to do.
- The Reveal: In episode 22: The mysterious blue guy is Captain Flowers/Agent Florida, and Carolina is the Director and Alison's daughter.
- Reverse Psychology: Wash pulls this off perfectly on the Red Team in the present day bits of Episode 6, when they threaten to leave and go back home. He notes that they're right about there maybe being some kind of bad things back home... like a UNSC ambush, since they're wanted criminals.
- In episode 20, this hilariously turns out to actually be true, even though Wash had been—as far as he knew—BSing them.
Wash: *deadpan* You gotta be fucking kidding me.
- Rivals Team Up: Tex and Carolina take on Connecticut and the Insurrectionist Leader together in Episode 10.
- Rousing Speech: Doc delivers one to the rest of the BGC in what turns out to be a Misfit Mobilization Moment. Then Sarge in turn delivers one to Wash that's half Rousing Speech and half "The Reason You Suck" Speech. Wash takes it rather well.
- The Scapegoat: Wash ends up taking the blame for the breakdown of Freelancer, even though it turns out that Tex's defection and the Meta's rampage had as much if not more to do with the Director's decision to mothball the A.I.s. Likewise, Tex is initially blamed for Meta's first attack (as no one yet knows that Maine has finally lost it).
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Wash, Tucker, Caboose, and the Reds eventually have all they can take of Carolina and Church, and walk out on them. They eventually change their minds, though.
- Saying Too Much: Theta, in his first appearance. "I have a sister."
- Ship Tease:
- York and Carolina in Episode 11, 12 and 16.
479: No, no. That one goes there, this one goes here.
- Shown Their Work/Shout-Out: The Freelancer discussion of A.I. theory in episode 6 is a startlingly accurate summary of how A.I. works in the Bungie-verse, first articulated in the Marathon series (the Halo series uses the same rules for A.I. behavior). It also reveals the origin of the Meta's name (for Metastability, the theoretical 4th stage of rampancy where an A.I. achieves full human sentience, which Sigma wanted to achieve).
- Shrinking Violet: Theta is very shy when North is trying to show him to the others. If you look closely, you can even see Theta is constantly wringing his hands nervously during the interaction.
- Sic 'em: Said word-for-word by Sigma to Maine when he shows up at the battle during the eighth episode.
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Most of the notably mentioned Project Freelancer events (Maine becoming the Meta, the Epsilon Incident, and even South and North's falling out) are pushed to the side in favor of showing the story of Carolina. Maine, in particular, is largely Out of Focus, showing up in a single fight scene and a handful of largely background appearances before suiting up to become the Meta.
- The Stinger: Several at the end of the DVD credits:
- Utah and Georgia run into one another.
- North carries South away after their fight. He apologizes and tells her he always has her back. She responds, "And I'm watching yours."
- Carolina is shown walking into Club Errera.
- Doc is revealed to have been left behind in Valhalla.
- The Director's video of Allison is shown in its entirety.
- Strange Minds Think Alike: Tucker in the present and York in the past both commenting on Carolina's greenish-blue-seafoam-green/aquamarine-turquoise armor in almost the exact same wording.
- Summon Bigger Fish: Washington signals for a pod containing Sigma-enhanced Maine to fight the sleeveless Insurrectionist.
- Super Strength: All Freelancers seem to possess at least some degree of this, given the insane moves even the lower-tier ones are shown to pull off. Most visibly, York is able to lift a gym locker over his head and use it as a projectile weapon. Also, an extreme version of this is potentially Maine's original Freelancer ability; if you listen carefully, you'll hear faint mechanical noises when he winds back for a punch. He paid back the sleeveless Insurrectionist for the whole "shot in the throat" bit. He's certainly augmented, but whether this is his armor's special ability or just standard Freelancer enhancement remains to be seen. Also Caboose, though his might be purely natural.
- Sympathy for the Devil: Carolina feels sorry for Maine, since Sigma was her AI, and so Maine wasn't suited to handle him, leading to his corruption and by extension the entire Recollection Trilogy. This is made more significant by the revelation in Episode 19 that she was the Meta's first victim.
Carolina: Poor Maine.
- Epsilon-Church agrees. During his confrontation with the Director, he lists the Meta as one of his victims:
Church: No! You've had your fucking time. You have to answer for what you did. To the Meta, to Washington, to Carolina... to me, and to her. To Texas!
- When Carolina and Epsilon-Church finally confront the Director in Episode 22, he's such a broken shell of a man that Carolina can feel nothing but pity for him.
- Take a Third Option: When presented with the option of taking either Washington's or South's AIs, Carolina decides to take both of them.
- Tattooed Villain: Maine has the Meta's symbol tattooed on the back of his shaved head.
- Throw Away Guns: In Episode 19, this is Tex's behavior, using one of her enemies' shotguns and throwing it at someone else when it runs out of ammunition.
- The Bus Came Back: Episode 15 re-introduces Donut and Doc, who haven't been seen since the ends of Seasons 7 and 8, respectively.
- Sadly, Doc got back on it. He was too busy preparing for the trip, complete with his own rocket launcher, and didn't get to the others in time to get on the planes with them. The people they stole the planes from don't have a problem with him though, so he'll be okay.
- They Fight Crime: In Episode 9.
: Hover Church can also solve crimes.
- This Is Gonna Suck: In Episode 19.
- Carolina's reaction to an army of Agent Tex copies at the end of Episode 20.
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Subverted. The Mysterious Blue Guy tries to kill the Gatling Good duo in Episode 10 by throwing the axe he had lodged in his chestplate...but despite the music implying otherwise, it doesn't even make it to them at all.
- Tomato in the Mirror: Tex, after viewing C.T.'s information disk, realizes that she herself is the Beta AI fragment that formed as a byproduct of the creation of the Alpha.
- Took a Level in Badass: After being enhanced by Sigma, the already incredibly strong Maine is now well on his way to become The Meta.
- Episode 21 explains why Caboose wasn't animated in previous seasons, as we see him kick the ass of many, MANY, Texes.
- Took a Level in Kindness: From the perspective of the Freelancers, Tex - particularly after Episode 16. It is indicated that this is largely due Omega being shut down.
- Too Dumb to Live: The Hornet pilots in Episode 20 were practically shouting to have their planes stolen.
Pilot: ...we do have airships! Fast, easy-to-pilot airships! Which we will now land, in order to take you to jail!
- Too Soon: In-Universe Example; After Sarge quips that ever since Donut was shot, he probably has a few more holes in him, he invokes this trope by name. Epsilon-Church calls him out on it.
Epsilon-Church: What's the appropriate amount of time to go by for that joke to be ok?
- Tragic Keepsake:
- As revealed in Episode 10, Connie's Freelancer armor, which went missing (aside from the appearance in Recreation) until found by Wash in Revelation.
- In Episodes 12 and 19, York's lighter.
- Tranquil Fury:
- In Episode 1, Epsilon-Church is not happy that Wash became his replacement on Blue Team. But instead of raving and ranting like the Alpha, he just gets more and more teeth-clenched and sarcastic at every new revelation.
- Tex in Episode 10, when CT calls her a "shadow." Considering what Tex does to CT after this exchange, this seems to have been a Berserk Button for her.
CT: I know what you are, Tex. And I won't take orders from a shadow.
Tex: What did you just call me?
- True Companions: The Freelancers come off as once being this the more we see them. Kind of summed up by North a bit snarkily in Episode 5 when he comments that York and Wash are "my friends, for reasons beyond my comprehension". Episode 12 shows this is a deconstruction. Despite being such a close-knit unit, they still fell apart eventually. This led to Carolina being pretty much completely unable to trust anyone later on.
- This particularly becomes a deconstruction when you realise that the Blood Gulch crew, who were recruited and trained to hate and fight each other, have become far more friendly towards one another in recent seasons, while the Freelancers, who are supposed to be a team and work together, are the ones who fell apart due to in-fighting and conflicting loyalties. In other words, the Freelancers were supposed to be True Companions, while the Blood Gulch crew were the ones who actually achieved it.
- C.T. pointed out early on that the failure of Project Freelancer to achieve True Companion status was due at least partially to the Leaderboard. Instead of encouraging the members of the squad to work together, it turned almost half the team into Competition Freaks, with Carolina, South being two notable examples. Instead of working as a team, we got situations where Maine and Wyoming were more concerned with being the ones to take out Tex, and Carolina was less concerned with achiving the mission objectives than doing better than Tex during said mission. This constant competition bred resentment, distrust, and ultimately was a factor in the team eating itself.
- 2 + Torture = 5: It's been known since before the season that the AIs are fragments that were made from torturing Alpha. Episode 16 gives the viewers a glimpse of the process, which is rather disturbing to watch as Alpha is subjected to cruel revelations designed to create alternate personalities.
- Unexplained Recovery: The Insurrection soldiers that were shown in Season 9 as a Quirky Miniboss Squad. The soldier with the bandolier is the most glaring example, as he was last seen taking a Wave Motion Gun right to the face, yet appears in the eighth episode with his only visible injuries being a mechanical arm and some heavy damage to his armor.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: We see York and Delta's friendship progress over time from initial distrust/serious criticism of each other, to the friendly needling and snark they had in "Out of Mind" and now in York's "present day" journal entries.
- Was It Really Worth It?: In Episode 22, F.I.L.S.S. asks the Director if Project Freelancer was ultimately a success. He says no, but he thinks he was close (to reviving Allison).
- Wham Episode:
- Episode 10. The C.T. who appeared and died in Recreation wasn't Agent Connecticut, but her boyfriend, the Insurrectionist Leader. C.T. herself died in his hands after Tex discovered she was The Mole and shot her.
- Episode 15. When the Director shouts out "No! Allison!", the AIs go haywire in the agents' helmets.
- Episode 17: We finally see Wash's Break the Cutie method in his failed implantation with Epsilon, Tex discovers that she herself is the Beta, we finally see the face of the real Allison and Epsilon regains all of his memories, even those he didn't have in Blood Gulch.
- Episode 18: Sigma was behind the Meta's actions in The Recollection.
- Episode 22: The Director has become such a broken shell of a man that Epsilon and Carolina spare him, but, unable to cope with everything that he's done, he commits suicide. F.I.L.S.S. also deletes herself at his command to delete all of the Project's systems. Carolina reveals that she is the daughter of Allison and the Director. The mysterious dark-blue soldier is actually Agent Florida/Captain Butch Flowers, and in order to hide the Alpha away in Blood Gulch along with the agent, the Director and Counsellor sink the entire state of Florida.
- Wham Line:
- Wham Shot: In Episode 22, the Director taking off his glasses, showing his eyes are the same exact color as Carolina's.
- What Happened to the Mouse?:
- Out of all of the original Project Freelancer characters, the only ones we don't know the ultimate fates of so far are the Counselor and Four Seven Niner/Freelancer Command.
- In Episode 11, after discussion with the Reds and Blues about the Monitor unit that Epsilon used as a body from part way into Season 7 to part way into Season 8, Carolina gets angry and stops talking about it entirely when she realizes that they left it on the floor of a warehouse. Despite it being the reason Tucker was defending the temple at Sandtrap in Season 7 and apparently a very important artifact to the Insurrectionist Leader, nobody bothers to look for it further after that even when the gang go back to the same warehouse where they left it in the first place. Considering Carolina's Heel Realization, this is especially jarring, since it could have helped to go through with her atonement following the death of the Director if she had tried to grab it on the way out, and Tucker didn't even seem to mention why he thought it was a "big pain in the ass". However, with the release of Halo 4 and its focus on the Forerunners, this might be a Sequel Hook to lead into the new trilogy while Carolina and Epsilon hunt down the remaining technology of Project Freelancer.
- Where It All Began: Episode 19 reveals that Maine assimilated his first additional AIs (Eta and Iota) at Sidewinder/Avalanche near a cliff, with Sigma proclaiming the group in Maine "the Meta" for the first time. Retroactively, this makes Maine's Disney Villain Death in the finale of "Revelation" an example, as it is both the place where the Meta was "born" and killed.
- Worth It: Tucker thinks as much when Epsilon manages to stop the Tex army in Episode 21... but after Grif was hit with a simultaneous Groin Attack by 20 Texes at once.
Tucker: Yeah, but where's the fun in that?
- You Are Not Alone:
- You Are Too Late: Tex's attempt at rescuing Alpha fails due to this.
- You Do NOT Want To Know: