The collection of seasons 6 to 8 of Red vs. Blue, in which the series takes more of a serious turn and focuses more on the Freelancers and The Director. The collection contains 58 episodes, as well as two miniseries, "Recovery One" and "Relocated".
Angsty Surviving Twin: To a degree. South and North aren't identical twins, but rather fraternal. Subverted in Season 6, when it turns out that the reason North died is because South set him up as bait for the Meta. Her behavior in "Recovery One" was mostly an act.
South: Weren't you certified Article Twelve after that? Unfit for duty. Washington: The people who certified me were the same people that uncertified me. Which, once they needed me, they did. Funny how the system works.
Death Faked for You: Washington does this for South when ordered to kill her by Command. In Part 4, however, this is subverted, as Command already knew she was alive.
Cool Plane: A Banshee appears in Part 4, with the Meta as its owner. South uses it to escape.
Crazy Sane: According to Part 3, Washington went insane and was deemed unfit for duty. However, his experience with AI units made him a perfect Recovery candidate, so he was returned to duty.
Face-Heel Turn: South leaves Wash for dead and (as revealed in Season 6) left her brother as bait for the Meta.
In the Back: In Part 4, South shoots a wounded Washington in the back to cover her own escape from the Meta.
Leave No Survivors: In Part 2, Recovery Command calls the incident with North Dakota a "Level Zero", indicating that the incredulous Agent Washington should do this in regards to South and then report back. He goes back to herand fakes it, knowing that killing her just after her brother died was too much..
Anyone Can Die: South, Church, Delta, Omega, Gamma and the rest of the AI fragments the Meta had in its possession. Wordof God says that the EMP did successfully wipe out all the AI in the blast radius, including Church himself, so while Epsilon possesses the personality of Church and Delta, along with (presumably) the other fragments including Omega and Gamma, in its memory, the true beings that had been seen up until that point were successfully Killed Off for Real.
Arc Words: From Reconstruction onward, "Memory is the key". Lampshaded by Caboose in Recreation:
Epsilon-Delta: Remember. Memory is the key. Caboose: What? I thought we were done with that part.
Artifact Title: Arguable for Blood Gulch Chronicles seasons 3-5, but from this season onward is really when the titular teams of Red vs. Blue essentially ally to fight a greater threat (save for whenever Sarge feels there's a good opportunity at hand to betray the Blues). Every time the teams separate again, it tends to be during time taking place between seasons.
Badass Normal: Washington, as he's managed to deal with a fair number of cybernetically enhanced psychopaths and come out pretty good.
Beware the Nice Ones: It's not seen, but strongly implied that Caboose is this in regards to how others treat Sheila. Church has to back away from Caboose twice before Wash picks up the hint.
Bittersweet Ending: Well, it does seem like the bad guys get punished, and our plucky heroes mostly get away. However, all the AIs are killed, including Church. We later learn that thanks to Caboose, Wash's plan to bring down Project Freelancer was unsuccessful, and Wash himself is imprisoned instead!
Broken Masquerade: Wash reveals that the whole Red vs Blue war is just a testing ground for military projects such as Freelancer, and that Command was responsible for most of the things that happened in Blood Gulch Chronicles. However, it doesn't sink in for the cast (especially Sarge) until halfway through Revelations.
Broken Pedestal: Lopez makes it clear (to the audience) that the devotion he showed to Sarge from Season 2 has all but vanished.
Catch Phrase: "You have got to be kidding me" quickly becomes one for Wash.
Cerebus Retcon: In the original series, Church comes back as a ghost after being killed off. In Episode 16 of Reconstruction, it's explained that ghosts aren't real and that Church is actually the original AI, Alpha. We also learn that the Red vs. Blue "war" is just an elaborate training simulation and psychological experiment set up by Project Freelancer.
Changing of the Guard: Subverted. While "Recovery One" introduced Washington, South Dakota, and the Meta, they join the main crew not long after.
Darker and Edgier: Whereas the Blood Gulch seasons were light on drama and action but heavy on comedy, the Recollection Trilogy (especially "Reconstruction") is the opposite.
Deconstruction: Of the parodic nature of "Blood Gulch Chronicles". All the wacky hijinks they had in the previous series, they get punished for and are now dealing with a more realistic military. There is an actual reason for all those robots and AI programs that kept popping up all over the place. Even the pointlessness of fighting a base in the middle of a box canyon is addressed.
Reconstruction: In the spirit of the name of the season, the parodic personalities of the Blood Gulch team meeting the more serious military personalities only made it even funnier. That, and all of the video game tropes of Red Vs Blue The Blood Gulch Chronicles that were picked apart are put back together.
Diabolical Mastermind: Washington claims the Director is one of these, and that the teams' ultimate goal is to defeat him.
Flanderization: Flag Zealots aside, Caboose only killed his teammates twice, once with a malfunctioning tank, once while the teammate was possessing an enemy Red. Now telling him to help his allies is a surefire way to get them shot. However, this is Played for Laughs.
Freeze-Frame Bonus: In the Reconstruction finale, the Meta's 7 captured A.I.s can be seen, including one that has since been identified as Tex. When Church sacrifices himself to defeat Meta, Tex is the only A.I. to visible react (she turns towards him when he charges at Meta).
Funny Background Event: While Church is questioning Delta about Wash's sanity, Wash is in the background shooting South's body, dropping a grenade on it, roasting it with a flamethrower, and finally rolling a bunch of Fusion Coils up to it and detonating them.
Genre Savvy: Most of the major characters have levels of this, except, surprisingly, Washington.
Washington: We don't need him to believe... until the next time we encounter the Meta.
(A loud thud is heard above them on the roof.)
Washington: What the hell was that?!
Sarge: Come on! Do you even need to ask?
Gotta Catch 'Em All: The Meta wants to collect all of the secret tech and AIs from the Freelancers.
Hacked by a Pirate: Invoked. As Simmons tries to hack Command's computer system, Grif unhelpfully offers advice such as, "You should try uploading a virus to the mainframe. I find viruses that feature a laughing skull work the best."
He Who Must Not Be Seen: The Director of Project Freelancer is never shown and his subordinate, the Councilor, is only ever seen as a shadowy outline in the first episode.
Grif: You should explain what's going on, and I could make an educated suggestion.
Simmons: 'Educated'...? Okay, fine. This computer is a dedicated interface with a highly developed security protocol. The information we are accessing is stored on a separate database with its own dedicated hardware. That system has its own distinct layer of security. From what I can tell, the two systems verify their identities by trading randomly generated 2056-bit encryption keys. I'm trying to spoof one of those keys now. So, I'm all ears, any suggestions?
Grif: Oh yeah, I've seen that before. You should try uploading a virus to the mainframe.
Grif: I find that viruses which feature laughing skulls tend to work the best.
Simmons: Shut the fuck up and let me work!
I Can't Do This by Myself: Agent Washington repeatedly uses this phrase, so much so that it's parodied in the first Rooster Teeth Short, where a fake recording session of Washington's voice actor Shannon McCormick shows him saying this, along with several other satirical versions of Wash's frequent statements.
Shaggy Dog Story: The Freelancer Program was created as a means to fight the aliens. In so doing, they tortured the Alpha into fragmenting itself so that it could provide AIs for implantation experiments. However, you realize that the Freelancer Program was a near total failure, with every soldier we've seen going crazy, dying, getting critically injured, or otherwise flunking out. So they wasted a lot of time, effort, resources, and people to fail at what they were doing. The only time it gets close to any type of success was when they captured Junior, but then he was either blown up or escaped when the hatch opened.
Space Marine: With the Meta bearing down on Command, Grif asks Simmons to change his affiliation to "Freelancer". Caboose has a similar request.
Caboose: Um, can you change my job title to something more important like astronaut — oh! I know! Space Marine!
Spotlight-Stealing Squad: From here on out, the series is for all intents and purposes about the Freelancers, and the Blood Gulch boys simply happen to be caught up in a greater drama.
Surrounded by Idiots: The more time he spends around the Blood Gulch Crew, the more Washington develops this attitude.
Washington: Now I know you guys are all wrapped up in your Red vs. Blue battles...
Caboose: Blue versus Red. No one says Red versus Blue. It sounds stupid when you say it like that.
Tomato in the Mirror: When it's revealed that Church is an AI. However, it's quickly subverted when Church denies this, still believing himself to be a ghost.
Church: You're a fucking idiot.
Washington: That's not the reaction I expected.
The Tape Knew You Would Say That: Delta creates a message like this for Church. Notably, the usage of the trope here averts the nearly omniscient overtones that are usually present. When Church tries to mess with the recording by saying outrageous things, Delta simply responds by saying "stop testing me".
This, of course, is handwaved by the fact that Delta is the Alpha AI's logic unit, and so explained that he used logic to predict what Church would ask his recording. He just happened to be remarkably accurate. Later reveals indicate this was helped by the fact that Church is the Alpha AI that Delta was originally split from.
Transferable Memory: Epsilon was created as a receptacle for the Alpha's memories, which include those of the Director of Project Freelancer.
He also appears to be able to assimilate memories from those around him.
Trying Not to Cry: When Sarge leave Lopez, he says with a choking voice that he promised himself he wouldn't cry.
Unperson: The Reds try to "defeat" the Blues by deleting them from the Command database.
The episode also hangs a lampshade on Ret Gone, when Caboose disappears after the Reds finish purging the database. Simmons panics, thinking he may have deleted Caboose from existence. He was just using the bathroom before the upcoming battle.
Grif: Come on dude, tell us more about the reality bending computer. I'm hanging on your every word.
Simmons: I don't wanna talk about it.
Voice of the Legion The Meta's AIs all talk at once sometimes, and in the trailer for Reconstruction The Meta carves on the wall We Are The Meta.
Weapon of Choice: Caboose is the only member of the main cast to carry an Assault Rifle rather than a Battle Rifle or other signature weapon. Then there's the Meta's Brute Shot.
Wham Episode: Chapter 16, then again in the closing moments of Chapter 19.
All with one simple closing "Sincerely Yours, The Former Director of Project Freelancer, Doctor Leonard Church."
Wham Line: A particularly large one on the series as a whole.
Washington: Church. There's no such things as ghosts. You're one of them. You're an A.I. You are the Alpha.
Also, the closing line of the series, as seen under Wham Episode above.
What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Averted due some surprisingly progressive legislation concerning Artificial Intelligences - it is implied in the Director and Chairman's memos that AIs are citizens, and have strict moral guidelines in place for dealing with them, more of which are added in "honor" of the Director after his actions concerning the Alpha are brought to light.
Also averted in how the other characters react to AIs (and discovering that Tex and Church are also AIs). For the most part, the Reds and Blues treat AIs just like any other person. In contrast, Freelancers treat them more like tools, because that's all they were for Freelancers, although this seems to change if they've been together for a long time (York/Delta, Wyoming/Gamma, even Tex/Omega, although that doesn't mean they like each other)
Where They Were: Everyone in Blood Gulch was reassigned to new locations, except for Sister, Sarge and Lopez (though Sarge's continued presence is due to him deliberately ignored his relocation orders, believing Blood Gulch "Not yet won"). The locations of Donut, Tucker, and Doc are left ambiguous until the next season.
Word of God: On a podcast, Burnie reveals that Sigma was the A.I. assigned to Agent Maine, and this led him to become the Meta. Also, the Tex that appeared in Blood Gulch Chronicles was one of the AIs captured by the Meta.
Continuity Nod/Sequel Hook: Aside from references to Reconstruction, there is Donut's appearance in Red Base, saying "it's under the sand", as Tucker did in his cameo in Reconstruction, implying that resolving that plot line and seeing Tucker was the next order of business.
Creative Sterility: Sarge in Part 4, sort of. Lopez, an actual robot for whom this trope usually would be applied to, calls him out on not making the holograms make anything but Grifs.
Fake Static: In Part 3, Lopez tries to fake a voice message to get out of talking to Sarge on the radio. Sarge sees through it and disables his lying protocols.
He's Back: Lopez returns, and he's built an entire holodeck for the group under Valhalla's Red Base by Part 3's end in less than a minute, along with an elevator coded to their handprints. That, and he's a lot snarkier.
Hopeless War: Seemingly averted at Blood Gulch Canyon, with the Reds winning there.
Minimalist Cast: The cast is very small, especially compared to previous seasons. It consists only of the Reds and Caboose. Technically Sheila is in the crashed Pelican, and Epsilon does appear, but their parts are minimal enough to not really count for much.
Sarge: What's blocking it? Grif: It looks like a bunch of pieces of a ship. Sarge: ... That's disgusting. Who would climb all that way up there just to do that? Grif: I said shi-puh! Sarge: Oh, right.
Understatement: In Part 4, Simmons notes that the EMP cannon fires 0.1 rounds per second, while the Gatling Good fires 10,000 rounds per second. Sarge assumes his math is right in thinking that the Gatling Good fires faster.
Violation of Common Sense: In Part 3, Grif has to throw a grenade directly in front of him to clear debris. Simmons notes that while this is unsafe, so is everything else involved in this exercise.
Back from the Dead: Technically speaking, Church/Alpha. He was confirmed killed at the end of the last season, but using a Forerunner Monitor, Caboose was able to bring him back, by having Epsilon assume his memories and personality.
Bavarian Fire Drill: An artifact hunter convinces the Blood Gulch team that he and his alien partner are in charge of a base by just claiming he's in command when they killed the actual officers.
Breather Episode: In the context of the Recollection Trilogy, at least; this season is considerably more lighthearted and has a slower pace than "Reconstruction" and "Revelation".
The Man Behind the Man: Washington turns out to have been partnered with the Meta, and is the brains of their operation. The Chairman is the one who set Wash loose to recover the Epsilon unit to use as evidence against the Director, but his interest in the situation is far less... personal than Wash's.
Big "WHAT?!": Simmon's reaction in episode 15 when he hears Donut's explanation for why he didn't help when the Meta attacked him.
Big "NO!": Simmons gives one when Donut is shot and passes out.
Brick Joke: Sort of: A sponsor's-only ending for an Episode in Reconstruction shows that Doc was called to Last Resort by the Reds, but they were all gone by the time he arrived. A deleted scene in this season's DVD shows that, after a whole season, he's still there.
Car Fu: Subverted when Tucker tries to take out an enemy Warthog about to attack Sarge and Caboose's jeep by hitting it with his Chopper ramping off a hill (complete with gratuitous yelling during the entire very long time he spends in the air), but overshoots and misses them completely. However, this did give the jeep's gauss gun enough time to charge and attack the enemies while they were distracted.
Simmons also attempted this in an earlier episode against by firing a rocket launcher at a Mongoose to make the Mongoose hit the enemy. He overshoots, and all he accomplished was destroying the spare Mongoose.
Continuity Nod: Let's just say that it's full of plot points from previous seasons making a come back and being referenced. Every episode adds at least two or three to the pile.
To Season 1's Chupathingy.
Grif: Why are there only four pedals when there's six directions?
A later one comes in episode 14, when Tucker mentions they shouldn't touch the weapon he's supposed to be guarding because for all they know it could make them all sterile, a reference to the fifth season when Church speculates what the Red Team's new delivery is and theorizes a weapon that "makes anyone wearing blue armor sterile".
Simmons claiming he can't be racist against robots, since he's a quarter robot himself, pointing out that time Sarge turned him into a cyborg.
After Church comes back, his memory is a little fuzzy, and what he does know is mostly based on what Caboose has told him; for instance, he calls Sarge a pirate captain.
Also, he thinks Grif is yellow, just like how Grif is seen inside Caboose's head.
And that he spells his name with two "f"s.
There is a human soldier with C.T. who is called "Private Jones," but the Private corrects his pronunciation. It's actually pronounced "Jo-an-nis." This is, of course, the exact opposite situation as in "Reconstruction".
Everybody Knew Already: When filling Tucker in on what happened in Season 6, they reveal that Church was not a ghost, but the Alpha AI. Tucker had apparently already figured this out, and thought everybody knew.
Face-Heel Turn: Washington, sort of. He's up against the Blood Gulch Crew, but in order to bring justice to the Director.
A Form You Are Comfortable With: Epsilon appears to Caboose as Delta because it knows Caboose trusted Delta. Although Caboose is a little unclear on the concept, so the benefit was largely wasted on him.
Friendly War: By this point the two teams spend more time being an extremely messed-up family that occasionally still shoot at each other for old times' sake, than actual enemies.
Friendship Moment: Despite how often Simmons is annoyed by Donut, he still tries to save the latter after he is shot by Washington.
How Do I Shot Web?: The monitor robot has no idea how to use any of his functions; he doesn't even know every power that he has.
Ironic Echo: In "Recovery One", there was a dialogue where South asks for a moment with her dead brother, Washington coldly says she has one minute, South bitterly says she guesses she should be thankful, and Wash says he guesses she better get started. In this series, almost the exact same words crop up regards Wash having five minutes to make a deal with the Chairman, with Wash echoing South's dialogue and a guard echoing Wash's.
Lowered Monster Difficulty / Conservation of Ninjutsu: Way back in Season 4, a single Alien was so badass it could effortlessly decimate Omega and his robot army, and could even curbstomp Tex in seconds. Now, in Recreation, we see them get slaughtered en masse by one Badass. Justified in that Lopez wasn't even trying when he made the robot army (such as the interpretation of "day of victory"), though.
Made of Iron: Caboose survived stepping on a landmine which blew him hundreds of feet into the air crashing into a jeep without even pausing.
Meaningful Name: "Recreation" has two separate meanings. Re-creation refers to Church's return as Epsilon and recreation as in fun activities refers to this being the Lighter and Softer season of Recollection.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Turns out The Chairman was about to arrest the Director, but Wash's plan destroyed all of the evidence. Wash was promptly arrested. That being said, part of the original plan hinged on the Reds and Caboose turning Epsilon over, as Epsilon was the major piece of evidence. The fact that Caboose seemed to have kept it secret to try and bring back Church might explain why Wash is so pissed off at the Blood Gulch crew.
Never Trust a Trailer: Tex and Alpha-Church were shown in "Recreation"'s trailer, but never appeared in the series itself. Word of God is that it was symbolic of Epsilon's return as Church, and not to be taken literally.
Promoted Fanboy: Gavin Free was originally just a fan of series from the beginning, but took over from Burnie Burns as director for this season.
Hilarious Outtakes: There's an audio clip of "Gavino" reading The Director's letter from the Reconstruction Trailer, before Burnie interrupts, clarifying that he didn't want him to be "The Director for the season" he wanted him to "direct the season".
Self-Serving Memory: Sarge does in the first episode when he recalls how they deleted the record of the Blues from Command's computer, with his modifications including killing Grif and Simmons turning into a motorcycle. When Grif calls him out on this, citing his not being dead, Sarge tells Simmons to transform and run over him.
Took a Level in Badass: Tucker, who single-handedly pwns his way through C.T.'s team of Aliens and Marines. We later learn that he's the only thing that's prevented C.T. from breaking into the temple.
Trailer Spoof: The trailer's beginning is more or less identical to the trailer for Reconstruction. It then changes when Caboose causes an explosion in Blue base.
Two-Part Trilogy: While Reconstruction has a definite ending, Recreation ends on a cliffhanger to lead into the third installment, Revelation.
Unfamiliar Ceiling: Subverted for laughs when Donut keeps passing out and coming to, and each time he's told strange stories about what has been happening while he was asleep, which makes him wonder and ask how long he's been out. Turns out he's only been out for a few minutes, and the stories sound strange because it's Caboose who's been telling him the news.
Vertigo Effect: The second episode of Relocation has this when Caboose sneaks up on Simmons.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Partially averted. It's revealed that Junior somehow survived the ship crash and the events at Valhalla, and was made an ambassador with Tucker, but we never see him again.
The last in the Recollection Trilogy, centering around the memories and AIs. The first showing also revealed that Monty Oum, the creator of Haloid and Dead Fantasy, is now part of the Rooster Teeth staff.
And the Adventure Continues: After all the shenanigans, damage, lies, victories and defeats of the last 8 seasons, they decided to return to their Training program because they liked it and to hell if its not real for command, its real for them. The fact that technically they had shown to be the biggest badasses in the entire series far beyond mere trainees, literally surviving and defeating one One-Man Army after another while thousands of others didn't, make it all the more intense.
A God Am I: Church takes a little too well to the aliens worshiping him.
Tucker: You just read the instructions off our printer.
Church: Yeah, they eat that technology stuff up. You gotta know your audience, man.
Almighty Janitor: Despite only being 'trainees' used as practice for Freelancers, the Blood Gulch Red and Blue teams managed to take down: Omega, Tex, the Meta and dozens of badasses without suffering casualities. At the very least, Sarge and Tucker are far more skilled than their status as simulation-fodder suggests.
And I Must Scream: Arguably a subversion. Church and Tex's imprisonment in the AI capture unit would seem like this, but the narration at the end suggests that the two will finally find happiness with each other. Keep in mind that finding happiness with Tex is something Church has been trying to do for the entire series.
Anti-Villain: Wash has a degree of this, especially after you realize that the reason Wash is after the BG crew is because he was sent to prison because they didn't hand over Epsilon like he told them to. And aside from that, what he's trying to do with Epsilon is actually to help put away a villain.
Hero Antagonist: Washington, in a sense. The Chairman hired him and his partner to take in the Epsilon Unit so as to take down the Director and free him from jail. The only problem is that Epsilon now has taken on the form of Church again somewhat, and said Hero Antagonist isn't telling anyone why he's going after them, nor even asking for help, instead going deep into villainous territory.
Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In the first episode of "Revelation", the others try insulting Church to make him angry enough do the 'laserface' again. The insults are that 'he's ugly and nobody likes him,' 'he's annoying and his team sucks' and 'he's round and can't wear pants.' While none of them make him angry, the last one is the only one that manages to depress him.
Autobots, Rock Out!: "Red vs. Blue", used in at the end of "Revelation" with the Reds and Tucker vs. the Meta with all of his equipment back online.
Badass: Several characters throughout the series, most notably Tex and the Meta.
Badass Normal: Agent Washington seems to be this. A close examination of his performance in the big fight in Episode 19 indicates he's not in the same superhuman league as Tex or the Meta, but he still manages to hold his own and while he's not the melee powerhouse that the Meta is, he's still a more competent fighter than any of the Blood Gulch crew as well as a damn good shot (all after being blow up and visibly injured by a bunch of landmines, I might add).
Both Sarge and Tucker count for this category, although not on the same level as Wash. Sarge because he was willing to get up close with the Meta to put his (really Wash's) plan into action, while Tucker has just become a great fighter all around, for a non-freelancer; Tucker's exploits include holding off C.T.'s forces on his own, slicing in half a warthog and a huge ass crate in a moments notice, and, most of all, stabbing the Meta through the chest with his sword, which would kill anyone else almost instantly. While nowhere near the level of the shown freelancers, both Sarge and Tucker are extremely competent soldiers. Honorable mention to Grif for wrestling the Meta's bruteshot away, leading to Tucker's stabbage.
Episode 20 seems to confirm it, As Wash finally hits his limit, and can't keep fighting. He did take an explosive round at point blank.
Grif as well, when you get down to it. A normal human would've died dozens of times in that fight with Tex. Grif has also been surviving explosions, falls, blunt-force trauma and bullets that should've killed him since Season Two... from both enemies and allies!
Berserk Button: In an attempt to seal themselves from the Meta, the Reds try to make Church angry so that he activates his "laser face" in order to block the entrance by causing the wall to collapse. None of their insults have any effect beyond just mildly ticking him off. Then he sees Agent Washington. Laser face ensues.
Big Damn Heroes: "How about you pick on someone your own size?!". Immediately subverted at the start of the next episode, when the hero just gets a beating for his trouble. Further subverted in that Tex was kicking everyone's asses for a good seven minutes beforehand.
Then played straight in episode 19, when Caboose, Tucker, and the Reds fly in on the Pelican, and save Wash, Doc, and Church from the Meta, if only for a moment.
Washington: I would say that was the cavalry... but I've never seen a line of horses crash into the battlefield from outer space before...
Big "NO!": Church, when the Meta uses the capture unit on Tex.
Bittersweet Ending: Even though our plucky heroes escape and the Big Bad is defeated, once again the Director seems to have escaped justice and Church and Tex are again lost, possibly forever. In an upbeat coda, however, Church makes peace with his nature and admits that, in spite of everything, the memories he has from his life are good ones, and now he has all the time in the world to wait for Tex to come back to him.
Book Ends: Reconstruction began with a soldier looking at the dead body of a Freelancer as the camera panned up in Valhalla, showing a huge number of characters (so many that the creators actually had to run several games and use splitscreen to get that many). Revelation ends with a soldier looking at Tex's body in Avalanche and the camera pans up to show a similar shot.
The final scene of the season is a bookend for the entire series thus far, with the original Blue Team, in the Reach Blood Gulch map, talking about how the Reds got a new car.
Similarly, the first and final Halo 3 maps which are used before the show presumably goes on to be filmed in Halo Reach match the first and final maps used in Halo 1 before they moved to Halo 2. When filming in Halo: Combat Evolved, they started with Blood Gulch and finished with Sidewinder. With Halo 3 they start with Valhalla (spiritual remake of Blood Gulch) and end with Avalanche (spiritual remake of Sidewinder).
Brick Joke: Episode 4. "Private Jimmy was here." In episode 10 we get almost a literal translation of the original brick joke when four characters are thrown into the air by an explosion. Sarge, Tucker, and Simmons land at the same time, and then Grif comes down after a lengthy delay. And lands in a much less comfortable position.
Episode 10: Tucker coming out of the teleporter covered in black gunk.
Also, we find out that the non-upgraded helmet Caboose is wearing doesn't have the Armor-Lock safety feature, meaning he was the only one unaffected when he initiated the safety protocol.
Episode 18: "You ever wonder why we're here?"
Episode 20: "Hey Meta, settle a bet, would ya? Does that thing kinda look like a big cat to you?"
In that Same Episode: "Shotgun, "Dammit!"
Broken Faceplate: When the Meta manages to drive a spiked A.I. containment unit into Tex's visor, he smashes a large round hole into the front of it and absorbes her into the unit.
Butt Monkey: Grif and the other previous Butt Monkeys seem to be getting off relatively light this season. Then episode 10 comes along and turns everyone into the butt monkey for seven minutes. Strange though it may sound, Wash is actually the Butt Monkey for this season. He's been kicked around and stabbed in the back for pretty much his whole life, so he decides that enough is enough and turns evil. What's his reward? Endless hassle, bickering, humiliation, and a surprising number of ass kickings.
Calling Your Attacks: Tucker was providing his own sound effects for his sword way back in season four, and again briefly in "Recreation", but it is only in episode 10 that they start to qualify as this.
After Sarge snaps out of his Heroic BSOD, he softly leaves his hatred against the Blues behind him, gives a rather epic Rousing Speech that even drives Grif to help him, and sets out with the rest to make everyone from the Project Freelancer pay for what they did to them.
Washington, after a lifetime of betrayal, finally betrays someone himself. When they welcome him back with open arms, he is audibly shocked and contemplating what this means to him.
Simmons is more willing to challenge Sarge's authority after the rift in their relationship in the previous season. Conversely, this has caused Grif and Sarge to develop a closer relationship.
Chekhov's Boomerang: The Tow cable was first established to get Doc out of the wall, and then it's used by Doc to rescue Washington. You think it's over... but then Washington hands the hook to Sarge.
Caboose's outdated armor. It isn't equipped with safety protocols like Armor Lockdown.
In Chapter 12, we learned that Recovery Beacons won't activate inside the backup Freelancer facility. The immediate crisis is resolved and Tex and Epsilon-Church head off to a mysterious snowy facility alone. In the remote location, Tex shoots Epsilon-Church in order to activate his Recovery Beacon and bring Wash and the Meta to her.
When "Revelations" first started, the series' main cover was an image of Tex's helmet with the faceplate shattered. In Episode 19, we see the events that cause this to happen.
The Meta's Brute Shot is almost literally one, albeit in a bit of a strange fashion. The Meta uses it to save himself from falling off the cliff after the fight with Tex. Later, when he tries to drag Grif off the cliff with him to his doom, Grif uses it do the same thing. Only this time, The Meta is still screwed.
And finally, the towing cable on the Warthog.
"Hey Grif, I lost my shotgun."
Chekhov's Skill: A Meta example when the Meta gets his AI abilities back (invisibility, shield dome etc.) and turns on Washington to fight the Reds and Blues. These abilities are very similar to the armor abilities in Halo: Reach (the next game released after Halo 3) also Washington uses a knife, which is also something new to Halo gameplay in Reach.
Conspicuous CG: Just a little. The textures are a little too shiny, and ironically, the CG is a little too fluid compared to the jerky movements of the game engine. Still awesome, but you can always pick out a CG character in a shot before they've even done anything impossible within the game engine.
Tucker is the only one to get black stuff on his armor when going through warps, then gets punched so hard, that the aforementioned black stuff completely comes off, leading Sarge to make the comment that the punch "knocked the black right off of ya!" Tucker responds with "That's racist!" perhaps referencing his brief conversation with Church where the possibility came up that he could be black.
Grif forgetting to bring the squad's ammo. Ironically, this actually saves his life.
Tucker's sword doesn't work for anyone else.
"She's beating him up with his own [x]? That doesn't seem physically possible!"
That flashback in Season 1 when Tex attacked Sidewinder/Avalanche? Tex brings it up when they go back there, and you realize that was when she tried to save Alpha and failed.
When Tex is mentioning that Gamma was one of the AIs that tortured Alpha, the computer terminal that housed Gamma can be seen on a nearby wall.
The Freelancer training facility's A.I. (which sounds exactly like Sheila) is named F.I.L.S.S. This was also the name of the original Sheila before Church accidentally changed it during his (actually torture session) time travel adventures.
Sarge (along with Grif and Simmons) end up in a grainy, black-and-white version of reality (just like when Sarge was shot and near death back in Season 1), and once again believes it to be the afterlife. It's actually revealed to be a recovery buffer for Project Freelancer units awaiting retrieval by a Recovery Agent, further Doing In the Wizard of the series more nonsensical elements.
Agent Washington: "That was the second worst throw ever. Of all time." Doc: "Hey, what did you expect? I ran track in high school."
"Does that thing kinda look like a big cat to you?"
Crazy-Prepared: in Episode 19, we see that Tex has rigged the entire glacier with mines and hidden weapons to even the odds against The Meta and Washington.
Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Even the entire armed forces of the UNSC couldn't take out the Meta. Compared to the Reds and Blues, he might as well be a Physical God. And they take him down (possibly for good this time) in the span of a few minutes. and it's Awesome.
Disney Villain Death: After 3 seasons, this is how the Meta is finally dispatched. He was Brought Down to Normal without any functioning equipment units when he fell and the response unit certainly sounds sure that he's dead. However, it's unknown whether the UNSC forces found a body.
Downer Ending: Despite everyone's efforts, Epsilon-Church is trapped within the AI storage device, and summons up an image of Blood Gulch from just before the first episode of the series to live in while he searches for Tex.
Dumbass Has a Point: Shortly after making fun of one of Doc's suggestions for tracking the protagonists to the point of making him walk away in frustration, Wash quietly tries it out. Doc calls him out on it later, but he notes that he wasn't saying he was wrong, he was just saying he was an idiot.
Dynamic Entry: Texpunches a sealed metal door off its hinges. Bad. Ass.
Easily Forgiven: In Episode 19, the Reds and Blues are surprisingly amicable towards Washington when they finally catch up with him and Church, especially when you consider the fact they weren't around to witness his Heel-Face Turn following the Meta's betrayal.
Epic Fail: Technically what it becomes of Blood Gulch teams. They were teams of the lowest of the lowest in the army, formed to train the freelancers in "real" heavy combat. Instead they ended up killing 2/3 of the entire group, including the 4 strongest ones and literary bringing the entire project crashing to the ground. Say what you will about the idiots, when they go down, they go down spectacularly.
Even Evil Has Standards: After spending the entire season as the main villain, even Washington is shocked at the extent The Meta will go in its pursuit of power.
Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: In Revelations 17, Sarge reveals that this trope has been inverted all along: His name is "Sarge". He is Staff Sergeant Sarge. Or S-Dog.
Evil Is Not a Toy: After spending most of the season in the role of Deadpan Snarker comic relief, The Meta is back to full-on ultimate evil in Episode 19 just in case you forgot he was the Big Bad of the trilogy.
Failure Is the Only Option: Tex reveals that Omega and Gamma broke down Alpha-Church by repeatedly putting him through situations in which he was unable to do anything except constantly fail to protect the people he cared about.
And it seems that Church and Tex have this in common. While Tex is apparently an idealized memory of the Director's dead love, the fact she died is also integral to how the Director remembers her. So, even though she's the ultimate badass, she always fails just as she's about to achieve whatever goal she sets. This accounts for how, throughout the series, she kicks everyone's ass yet always manages to get captured or killed at the most important moment. Doubles as Tear Jerker on both counts.
Fake Trap: Washington notices that Epsilon-Church is lying injured in the middle of a perfect ambush position. He knows this must be a trap set by a freelancer, but it turns out the trap was set for the exact place they had stopped when they realized this.
Faking the Dead: Washington accomplished this by the end to avoid arrest. He's now part of Blue Team.
One could argue that Grif is more of a Big Guy, while Caboose is more of The Heart; Caboose doesn't do any fighting, whereas Grif does, and Caboose is also much more sensitive and caring than Grif is.
Flat "What.": Simmons uses one of these when he reflexively grabs onto the jeep that Grif and Sarge are riding in while flying through the air at high speed to escape an explosion.
Flip Flop of God: Donut was killed by Washington (the "Recreation" DVD commentary confirms this), then he revives in the sponsors-only ending of Chapter 13 of "Revelation".
With some Retcon thrown in as well, since Donut was not really dead but in Recovery Mode all along. It's possible Rooster Teeth planned this, and were intentionally misleading in that commentary so as to preserve the secret.
For Science!: It's revealed that this was Project Freelancer's reason behind the Red and Blue armies; they took the lowest-scoring soldiers they could find and use them to collect combat data, and practice the skills of the Freelancers.
Friendship Moment: After all the abuse Sarge has given him, Grif still instinctively pushes Sarge out the way of the wrecked Warthog as it comes flying at them.
Debatable, but Doc saving Washington in episode 19, despite almost every previous scene featuring the two having Doc snarking at Wash, could've been this.
When Tex points a shotgun at Grif's head, Simmons cries out in genuine concern.
When Grif jumps on the Meta and tries to grapple it, Sarge holds his fire despite having a clean shot at the Meta so as not to hit Grif. Especially touching when you realize that it's the one time in the entire series when shooting Grif (in order to hit Meta) would actually have been a legitimate strategy.
At the end of the final fight, Simmons dives forward trying to grab Grif's hand before the Meta can drag him over the edge.
The relationship between Sarge and Grif in battle is noticeably different than their normal interactions. There is the aforementioned Grif saving Sarge from the flying warthog incident, but more importantly Sarge seems to rely on Grif in battle. The best example is in the finale where Sarge allows the Meta to grab a hold of him in order to attach the tow cable to him. Sarge's entire plan relied on Grif figuring out what to do, and that shows a great deal of trust in the minor junior private negative first class.
The final exchange between Epsilon-Church and Caboose where Church says goodbye to Caboose for the last time.
Hell, by the end the two teams are practically a rather vitriolic set of True Companions.
Gatling Good: Tex pulls out one in the Reunion episode out of the snow in order to fight the Meta!
Gainax Ending: Church willfully traps himself inside the capture unit in order to find Tex, with the environment inside the capture unit taking the form of his past memories in Blood Gulch (except created in Reach). Knowing that it could take him forever to find Tex and that they will probably never escape from the capture unit, Church concludes that if he is going to forever live through his memories than they might as well be good ones.
Although there is one thing that comes of it all, as Wash said earlier in the season, it was just evidence, no matter the condition the unit was in, and would be used as such.
Hope Spot: After the Pelican nearly lands on top of Meta, the capture unit is seen in the snow, and the Meta is nowhere to be found. It seems that the Pelican crash took him down, but just as Church and Wash try to take the unit, the Meta gets back up, with the capture unit still attached
Interesting Situation Duel: Tex's beatdown on the Red's and Tucker in the Freelancer base filled with teleporters and her fight with Wash and Meta on Avalanche utilizing timed explosives and collapsing ice.
A possibly unintentional example: at the end of Blood Gulch Chronicles, Church asked Tex what would happen after she helped O'Malley in his plan, and her response was "I guess we'll find out." In Episode 17 of this season, when Epsilon-Church asks Tex why she's betraying their location to Washington and the Meta, her response is "That's exactly what I plan to find out."
It's Popular, Now It Sucks: Don't panic, it's an in-universe example. Namely, how Caboose feels about the aliens taking to worshiping Epsilon Church.
Caboose: It's not fair! I worshiped Church way before it was cool to worship him. Grif: Hey, I already told you, that's still not cool. That will never be cool. Ever.
Jossed: For a while, fans had speculated that Sarge and (after Recreation) Tucker might be able to match Tex in terms of combat skill. Then she returns in Episode 10 and utterly curbstomps the both of them without taking a hit or breaking a sweat. Episode 19 further implies that Sarge's early takedown of Tex back in Season 1 was a result of Worf Had The Flu.
Karma Houdini: The Director. Since at this point it is presumed impossible to get Epsilon out of the capture unit, that means there's no evidence against him and he'll get off scot free. There is the possibility, though, that the unit is incriminating in itself, even if the information in it can't be released.
And in his own words, he has brought a great deal of suffering down upon himself, even if the law won't recognize it as punishment.
Washington gets off scot free even though he killed Donut and Lopez.
Lampshade Hanging: While a flailing Simmons tries to grab onto the moving Warthog during one of the show's fancy new CGI scenes, Sarge tells him to stop showing off.
Simmons comments on the role of both teams in the continuity; Blue Team is generally much more involved with the plot, while Red Team tends to only be there for comic relief, or as Simmons points out, "talk about food and guns."
When Grif is hanging over a cliff, Sarge mentions a hatred of Cliff Hangers.
Last Stand: Episode 19. Although she fares very well against them, even going so far to give the impression she could have beaten them individually, Tex's fight against Washington and the Meta turns into this as she starts to take hits.
Let's Get Dangerous: In spite of their revealed status as disposable cannon fodder for Project Freelancer, the Reds and Blues rally together to take down the seemingly unstoppable Meta, one of Project Freelancer's deadliest legacies.
Licked by the Dog: Despite being kidnapped, coerced, held hostage and verbally abused by Washington, Doc still tries to save him in Episode 19; with 'try' being the key phrase.
Lotus-Eater Machine: Inside the Epsilon Capture Unit, Epsilon Church decides to relive his memories of Blood Gulch while he waits for Tex's return.
Epsilon-Church:I mean hell, if you have to live the rest of your life in a memory, you might as well make it a good one.
Made of Iron: The Freelancers in general, but Meta makes the other two look like plasticine with his endurance. Seriously, watch the last two episodes and see just HOW much damage he takes within a 20 minute timeframe. Kinda makes one wonder whether he actually died from that fall.
Recollection, the name of the trilogy, has multiple meanings. The whole Freelancer project was a result of The Director attempting to bring his memories to life. Recreation and Revelation center around Epsilon, the embodiment of Alpha's memories. And, at the very end, when Church leaves the world for the last time, he tells Caboose that he'll now be in charge of keeping his memory alive. This is in addition to the fact that it is a collection of seasons whose titles begin with "Re".
Misfit Mobilization Moment: After finally coping with the knowledge that the Red and Blue armies are just disposable target dummies for Project Freelancer, and learning that Church and Tex are in danger from Meta and Washington, Sarge gives a Rousing Speech that rallies the Reds and Blues together to take the initiative for once in their lives and show the Freelancers "just what a big fight is all about".
Misguided Missile: Double subverted in episode 10, a rogue missile heads towards the Reds and Tucker, and it is heavily implied that it will collide with Grif's... er... SouthernRegions, but it goes between his legs into a pile of explosives behind him and the others.
Mundane Utility: Simmons discovers the equipment that Project Freelancer used to give their agents superhuman abilities. Grif immediately decides he wants invisibility... so he can take a nap without Sarge finding him.
Mythology Gag: The pistol isn't quite as effective as it used to be.
And the older rocket launchers have heat seeking.
Nigh-Invulnerability: In the final episodes, the Meta proves to be even more unstoppable than before. Tex and later Washington manage to land several good hits on it (including a backbreaker move and multiple knife cuts), but none of those even slow it down. Even being stabbed straight through the chest with the Energy Sword by Tucker (something that has been shown to be a one-hit-kill against everyone else it's been used on) only seems to inconvenience it slightly, although the sword does seem to slow the Meta down just enough for Sarge to set up its final defeat using the Warthog's tow cable.
Continuity Nod to Reconstruction. In this and Recreation, the lack of an AI meant he couldn't use his armor enhancements, like his Overshields, Invisibility, Bubble Shield (remember that one?), and his Super Strength was diminished. Now, with what is possibly the most complete AI besides the Alpha in his head, he is virtually unstoppable.
Not Quite Dead: Simmons thanks Doc for his willingness to be left behind to the Meta, even while Doc frantically tries to convince him he isn't willing.
Not So Different: Way back in Season 5, Wyoming and Omega's plan was to take control of the aliens' god and use it to corrupt their religion, which Church finds absolutely disgusting. Now, Church is controlling a powerful Forerunner monitor that the aliens worship, and is nonchalantly keeping them entertained with "parables" that he made up. It is a matter of degree, however — Church has no intention of enslaving the aliens. He is just playing with their ignorance.
One of the DVD's deleted scenes shows that the aliens are facing almost the exact same language barrier issues as the humans. While humans perceive the alien's language as "Blargs" and "Honks", all the aliens hear from humans (even the Meta) is "gabba gabba".
Not-So-Harmless Villain: After curbstomping the Reds and the Warthog early on, The Meta has spent the rest of Revelations pretty much as Washington's comic sidekick. Then in Episode 19 he stabs Tex through the face with a 2-foot-long spike, then uses her A.I. to restore his lost powers. Cue Oh Crap reaction from Washington, Church, and Doc.
Painfully Slow Projectile: The Meta's time stopper backfires, leaving him slowed down relative to everyone else. It happens right as he's about to punch Doc. Unfortunately for Doc, Simmons calculates that his fist, though appearing slow relative to them, still has the same actual velocity and force. And he is right.
Plot Tailored to the Party: Sort of. Each of the Reds and Blues participating in the final battle all play a part in defeating the Meta. Grif jumps on its back and manages to steal its Brute Shot, which leaves it open to being stabbed through the chest with the energy sword by Tucker, which in turn slows the Meta down enough for Sarge to attach the Warthog's towing cable to its chest plating, dragging Meta to its doom when Grif and Simmons push the Warthog over the edge of the abyss.
The Power of Friendship: On the DVD commentary, Burnie Burns says the only reason the teams can take down the Meta is because they know each other so well and can communicate in ways that can get them around their obvious disadvantages.
Tex:You can't even help yourself. That's why you made me, Church. You made me to take on all the things you can't handle, just like you always have.
Required Secondary Powers: Subverted. When someone catches a large crate, the metal floor underneath them buckles. When the crate is thrown, we also see two dents where it was held up.
Restraining Bolt: The armor for the Reds and Blues have a remote lockdown ability to control rogue elements. Caboose uses this to stop Tex, but ends up paralyzing everyone else, save himself because his armor is outdated and lacks the shutdown feature.
Sapient Ship: Sheila, the AI that inhabited the Blue Team's tank before being transferred to the CPU of a spaceship. Another AI by the name of Phyllis (later renamed Sheila by Church since Phyllis' voice sounds identical) was encountered later on, but Phyllis wasn't in a ship.
It was revealed in this season it was spelled FILSS: the Freelancer Integrated Logistics and Security System. Also, Church never time traveled in Season 3. Burnie revealed it was all a torture scenario run by Gamma on Church, so he never actually renamed FILSS into Shiela, at least not the one in the tank.
Although he may be wrong, depending on your interpretation of Episode 19. Are his actions because of this trope, or because he's a pacifist who's taken a Hippocratic oath?
Strange Minds Think Alike: Sort of. When radioed, Simmons doesn't get a chance to let Sarge know that they're being held hostage. After the end of the transmission, Sarge casually announces the exact situation at Valhalla, then goes on to justify it using increasingly convoluted reasoning.
Also, when Washington spots a trap, and notices that it must be a Freelancer since they had run that exact situation in several drills, Doc asks "But if they're a Freelancer, wouldn't they know you'd realize this?" Washington thinks he's overthinking this, then mines activate all around them.
Super Speed: Grif, after Simmons tried to upgrade his armor with Freelancer attachments.
Taking You with Me: As it's being dragged to its doom, the Meta grabs Grif and tries to take him down with it.
Epsilon: And I mean, Hell. If you have to live the rest of your life in a memory, you might as well make it a good one
Took a Level in Badass: Grif and Sarge. Oh dear God, Grif and Sarge. Hell, even Tex, despite already easily being the biggest badass of the series, has, as the episode 10 subtitle says, taken it Up to Eleven. Hell, through lots of preparation and sheer skill she's even able to get and maintain the upper hand in her long awaited fight against the series' ultimate monster, who's also assisted by another badass Super Soldier who's no slouch himself.
Too Kinky to Torture: Doc is so cheerful and wants so badly to be friends that he completely fails to act appropriately frightened, despite being held hostage, threatened, and beaten by an over-the-edge special forces soldier and a nigh-unstoppable insane killing machine.
Tranquil Fury: When the aliens draw an image of Washington in the sand, with the word "shisno" next to it.
It's possible that the Meta uses the same voice modifying technology that Tex and C.T. use to mask their gender. Conceivably the same technology could also serve as a translator by working in reverse, which would explain why only Freelancers can understand him.
It's revealed in the trailer for season 9 that the Meta was shot in the throat while he was still a normal Freelancer. Also Wash was a friend and was with him when it happens, so it is likely that Wash has just heard it long enough to grasp the basic meaning.
Episode 11 of Season 9 has a blink-and-you-miss-it moment where you here the Meta clearly say "Get off me" to a medic. Then in Episode 15 you can hear him respond to Carolina with "Too high" before he is kicked out of a window. His characteristic growl is present up to this point, so maybe it's some sort of preference or meant for intimidation.
What the Hell, Hero?: Doc was not at all pleased that Simmons left him stuck in the wall, whilst at the same time, "volunteering" him to stay behind and "sacrifice" himself.
Simmons: We'll always remember you. Bye!
Doc: Start by remembering me now! Simmons!
When Caboose accidentally ruins Tucker's plan to distract an enemy whilst Simmons prepares an ambush, Tucker calls out to Caboose, stooging off Simmons' position.
Simmons: You ratted me out, you son of a bitch!
War for Fun and Profit: The roots of the Red vs. Blue conflict are revealed to be: Project Freelancer took the lowest-rated soldiers they could find, populated the Red and Blue armies with them, and set them against each other to provide their Freelancer Agents with combat simulations and to otherwise collect valuable combat data.
Why Are You Looking at Me Like That??: Grif gets this treatment at the end of episode 18, when he wonders who they're gonna get to drive the mysterious vehicle they'll be using to save Church, Tex and take on the Freelancers.
Sarge: I don't know! I've never hit a girl in my life!
Simmons: Yeah! I noticed! Try harder!
Wrestler in All of Us: A German suplex is used in episode 10. Later, something resembling a backbreaker is thrown into a fight.
Worf Had The Flu: In the second-to-last episode, it's revealed that Tex is destined to always fail at the last moment, because she's based on the memory of the Director's lost love who died in combat, and the trauma of her death is an integral part of how the Director remembers her. This explains how, throughout the series, Tex always managed to get captured, killed, or knocked-out at a critical moment without accomplishing anything of actual importance despite being the series' biggest badass.
"I'd like to say that I found her right away, that I just walked into the Epsilon Unit, and there she was, waiting for me. As you can probably guess, it didn't happen that way, but, I know she's in here somewhere, and I'll find her. We always seem to find each other, for better or for worse. I don't know why the Director did what he did. I don't know if he was trying to revive a memory from his past, or if he was just trying to get it out of his head. But I figured out something that the Director didn't. It took Alpha, Delta, and the rest to help piece it together for me, but what I've learned is that a great love is a lot like a good memory. When it's there, and you know it's there, but it's just out of your reach, it can be all that you think about. You can focus on it, and try to force it, but the more you do, the more you seem to push it away. But if you're patient, and you hold still, then maybe... Just maybe... It will come to you. I just need to make sure I'm somewhere she can find me. I think this place is a little different than it was before. See, out there, everything is based on the Alpha, but in here, I guess I'm the Alpha. And maybe this time through, things will be a little different for me as well. I guess I'll find out. And I mean, hell, if you have to live the rest of your life in a memory... you might as well make it a good one."
Worst Aid: While still not great at any medical matters, Doc has definitely improved since Blood Gulch Chronicles. He was able to bring Wash back from the brink of death in the final episode.