This episode picks up where the previous one left off. It starts with Ed having a nightmare where Trisha appears and says he couldn't properly make her even though he's such an alchemy prodigy. Nina and Alexander appear, combining into the chimera and asking Ed to play. I really like this scene. I wonder if he has nightmares like that often? Wouldn't be surprised considering all the trauma.
Ed wakes up, afraid—OH MY GOD HE LOOKS SO HOT IN THIS SCENE IN THAT TANK TOP WITH HIS HAIR DOWN—and Al's there to tell him it was just a bad dream. They head over to the command center to ask about what's going to happen to Tucker and Ninalexander. Riza informs them that Tucker was supposed to be put on trial and have his State Alchemist certification taken away... except they were both found dead. She refuses to let the brothers come with her to the house, saying it's better for them not to see anything. Meanwhile, the scene is being investigated by Hughes and his men, along with Armstrong and Roy. Roy is suspicious of the fact that Hughes and Armstrong both seem to talk as if they already knew the murder was about to happen and asks for answers.
Back in Liore, Envy has disguised himself as Cornello and preaches to the remaining followers of the cult, provoking riots throughout the town. He, Lust and Gluttony make fun of the foolishness and gullibility of humans, remarking how easily they play into their hands.
The "crest of blood" is a large part of the homunculi's plan and over the course of the series, it's revealed why they're so fixated on driving humans to bloodshed and hatred. For the umpteenth time, awesome mood lighting. The way they animated the riot is pretty interesting, because the people are drawn with very distorted proportions and features◊. Penguin Truth of Otaku Revolution feels this episode's animation quality is pretty poor, but I disagree for the most part.
Envy changes back into his cross-dressing "palm tree" form, just in time for Cray to see him and ask what's happened to the real Cornello. Gluttony quickly eats him, but it's not like anybody cared about the guy to begin with. The effect for Envy's transformation is different in this series; it uses the red electrical sparks of philosopher's stone-aided transmutations, which, technically, that's what it is, I think. At least a few of the homunculi's powers are alchemy-based, so I guess Envy transmutes his own body structure to do his shapeshifting thing. Of course this means he has to operate under equivalent exchange when he transforms, to an extent.
"That guy" being Scar. Which was kind of unclear in the dub, where Envy said "Because it was him who committed the murder." Kinda made it sound like he was referring to Tucker himself with the way the line was worded. Envy tells Lust that both the Flame Alchemist and the Fullmetal pipsqueak are in East City, and Lust says that they can't afford to let Edward die even though he interfered with their work in Liore, because he's an important human sacrifice.
Oh, back in my second entry, I mentioned that this anime likes to reference the first anime with little details here and there. Another one shows up with Envy; he has greenish hair and purple eyes here, shouting out to his character design in the first anime. In the manga, he had black hair and red eyes, I think. Little things like that really add to this show's charm, in my opinion.
In East City, Hughes and Armstrong tell Roy about Scar. His real name isn't known, but he has a large "X"-shaped scar on his forehead and that's what everyone's been calling him. So far, he's killed five State Alchemists in Central, and ten nationwide. I repeat, with a killer like Scar on the loose murdering that many State Alchemists, why did Basque Grand think it was smart to walk around alone at night? Geez, talk about a death wish. Hughes tells Roy to deploy some guards and lay low, since he's the only State Alchemist other than Tucker who's currently stationed in East City. Heh heh, no, actually, he's not.
Ed and Al are sitting out in the rain, moping. Ed thought he understood the world, but he didn't, which is why he thought he could bring their mother back to life. He thought the rain might wash away his pent-up feelings, but says every drop makes him even more depressed. Al can't even feel the rain, because of the armor he's bound to, and wishes more than anything to return to his original body. The raindrops fall on his helmet, making it look like he's crying. I love how he emotes even without facial expressions. "Trisha's Lullaby" plays again, and I can't stress enough how excellently it fits.
Scar shows up, asking Edward if he's the Fullmetal Alchemist. Ed, however, is far too out of it to recognize the immediate threat, and Alphonse saves him just in time when Scar lunges for him. Snapping out of it, Ed tries to trap him, but Scar's deconstructive alchemy gets him out of that, so the brothers decide to run.
Heh, I just noticed that Al's face is drawn chibi-style when hanging from the ledge of the staircase Scar destroyed. Easy to miss. Ed's pretty lucky to have Al with him, because his brother saves his life quite a lot. The way they work together to narrowly avoid getting killed is pretty adorable. Unfortunately "narrowly" is exactly the right word, because it almost looks like Scar's just screwing with them at this point.
As Scar chases them through the streets, Ed starts to question why anyone would hold a grudge against him, but obviously he realizes he's kind of a prick. He still doesn't know why anyone would be trying to kill him. Well, Ed, you did break the religious foundation of an entire town. I'm more surprised that there aren't several people trying to kill you.
Scar corners them in an alley, blocking their path with rubble. When Ed asks why he's coming after them, he answers that if there are creators in the world, there should also be destroyers. That sounds like a pretty bullshit motivation, honestly, but his reasons become a lot more understandable soon enough. Ed decides there's no other option than to fight him, transmuting a pretty neat-looking blade out of a pipe lying on the ground. But, does that mean he's charging at Scar with the intention to kill him? I mean, that's a pretty big-ass combat knife, Ed, and you have a "shalt not kill" policy.
In any case, Ed and Al aren't fast enough to injure Scar, and Alphonse ends up getting a large chunk of his armor broken off by Scar's alchemy. Ed tries again to jab at him with his blade, but Scar grabs his right arm and tries to deconstruct it before realizing he's got automail. Ed transmutes the casing of his arm into a blade again, and Scar observes that he performs alchemy without drawing a circle by clapping his hands together. He then decides to destroy his automail to render him unable to transmute. The animation kind of lagged a bit during this part, for some reason.
Scar gives Ed some time to pray to God, and Ed replies that there's no god he wants to pray to, and makes Scar promise to leave Al alone after he kills him. Alphonse is in shambles on the ground, reaching out and begging for Ed to get up and run as Scar prepares to finish him off, but Roy and the others show up just in time. Last-second saves like this happen a bit too often for my tastes in this show, but here it's OK. Roy tells Scar that he'll be taking him into custody for the people he's killed.
In the dub for this episode, that little speech was almost word-for-word from the way it was translated in the original anime. I thought that was kinda neat. Scar then tells Roy that he'll kill him if he interferes, and Roy's happy to take him up on his challenge. When Scar realizes that Roy is the Flame Alchemist, he charges at him and says Roy saved him the trouble of finding him. Roy tries attacking with fire, but can't produce a spark because of the rain, and Hawkeye saves him from Scar's alchemy by tripping him just in time. "You're impotent on rainy days," she says. Oho!
OK, how the hell can Scar dodge Riza's bullets? He's freakin' Superman. Fortunately Armstrong shows up as reinforcement, and to chew some scenery! He manages to hold his own against Scar with the artistic alchemy that's been passed down the Armstrong line for GENERATIONS! Riza's got a hilarious deadpan sense of humor, wondering aloud why Armstrong just has to fight half-naked. Edward realizes how Scar's alchemy works, and Havoc points out the hypocrisy in his earlier statement about how alchemy goes against God's path. Armstrong proves too fast even for Scar, giving Riza a chance to take a shot at him, but she only manages to graze him with her bullet. His glasses fall off, exposing his red eyes which indicate Ishvalan heritage. Realizing he's outmatched, Scar blows a hole in the ground to escape into the sewers, and the soldiers opt not to go in after him. Hughes shows up, having spent the entire fight laying low because he didn't want to get dragged into the "freak show", and calls for emergency deployments in the city and a description of the suspect.
Alphonse punches Ed and scolds him for not running away, calling him an idiot for choosing to let himself be killed. I find this scene both touching and amusing. We have Ed trying to assert himself as the older brother, telling Al to stop calling him an idiot, but Al's not having any of that crap. Ed's supposed to keep living and learn more about alchemy so both of them can get their bodies restored together, not go dying for his brother. Both his voice actors did a really good job with this scene; Maxey Whitehead is probably the best of all the dub actors. Romi Park and Vic deliver too, as usual.
Back at the command center, Roy gives some exposition. The Ishvalans were an southeastern tribe who worshiped Ishvala as their creator and god. They were annexed into Amestris, after which there were some feuds, but the biggest conflict started thirteen years ago when an officer "accidentally" shot and killed an Ishvalan child, leading to a civil war. After this went on for seven years, the fuhrer ordered for the extermination of the entire tribe.
The State Alchemists where deployed in Ishval to act as human weapons and obliterated much of the region—If you pay attention during the flashback you can see Kimblee, Basque Grand, Isaac McDougal and the Silver Alchemist whose real name I can't be assed to try and spell—and Roy says that Scar really does have a legitimate reason for wanting revenge. Roy himself isn't exactly above getting revenge on others, so I can see why he'd sympathize with Scar in this situation. Especially considering he was one of the alchemists who helped exterminate the Ishvalan people, so of course he's carrying a lot of guilt even though he doesn't really show it much.
Ed thinks Scar's whole revenge deal is bullshit either way, because Scar drags in people who had nothing to do with the genocide and uses his religion to justify what he does. Roy says that regardless, they have to protect themselves, and that they'll crush him the next time they see him. Ed then suggests the brothers pay a visit to Resembool to have his automail repaired so he can fix Alphonse up, since
he thinks he's the only one who knows how to bond a soul to an armor, and the episode ends with a shot of gearhead Winry playing with her gadgets.
I really dunno why Penguin Truth doesn't like this episode's animation. I mean yeah, I guess it's not exactly the series' best, but it's still pretty good. It's fluid except for that half a second of lag I mentioned earlier, and the art is good for the most part. During Armstrong's fight with Scar, there was a part where his gloves weren't drawn, but that was fixed in the DVD and Blu-ray version so it's a moot point. I'd go on about the cinematography but if I did that in every entry, it'd just be redundant and repetitive, so just know that I think the episode is real pretty. Oh, and fool that I am, I went and looked at some YouTube comments on the previous episode, and apparently there are people who think Ed didn't care enough about Nina's death. I guess spending two episodes moping about it wasn't enough and he should be cutting himself and singing "CRAAAWLING IIIN MEIN SKIIIN..." or something. Whatever. In any case, great episode.