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Machinima / Red vs. Blue: Season 15

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Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

No answers will be found here tonight. Only more questions. What are they up to? And what is their endgame?

The 15th season of Red vs. Blue, which picks up 10 months after Season 13 left off. The Reds and Blues have become notorious criminals, and one reporter, Dylan Andrews, is dead-set on finding out what caused this change in their behavior.

It is the first filmed inside Halo 5: Guardians.

Warning: This page will contain unmarked spoilers for the previous seasons.

This series provides examples of:

  • Acronym and Abbreviation Overload: To get past a soldier at the crime scene, Dylan spouts off a bunch of meaningless acronyms that make her and her cameraman sound important.
  • Already Met Everyone: Downplayed. A flashback to the days of Project Freelancer shows that Doc and Carolina already met long before either of them met the Reds and Blues.
  • Anti-Climax: The mysterious FOTUS soldier turns out to be a civil servant serving Tucker a court order. Played for Laughs.
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  • Apocalypse How: Class X-2 Stellar - If it isn't properly deactivated in time, the Blues and Reds' time machine-laser drill eventually produces a black hole that will destroy the Earth followed by the entire Solar System.
  • Arc Words: "Every action has an equal and opposite reaction." They're the first words spoken in Episode 1, and they're spoken again when Dylan learns of the planet-destroying power the Blues and Reds' machine has.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In their brief conversation about what they do in their spare time, one of the Blues and Reds' Grunts mentions they like "...hunting endangered animals, pushing small children down wells, and driving around without using my turn signal!"
  • Artistic License – Geography: Sarge says that the island marked in Temple's maps is "close to the Arctic". Given its in the Indian Ocean (across the globe from the UNSC headquarters in the mainland United States, it's actually closer to the Antarctic.
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  • Artistic License – Physics: Newton's Third Law would mean that when a wooden shaft pierces a suit of metal armor, realistically it would splinter if it hit the metal with the force required to pierce it. To say nothing of apparently going through Biff's spine and a concrete wall, all without so much as a crack. Then again, they're only being faithful to the source material, given attacking with the flags in Halo more often than not is a One-Hit Kill.
  • A Simple Plan: All Biff needed to get back home to Georgina was to be medically discharged. The plan was simple: Temple shoots off his pinkie finger with witnesses present. Biff saw an opportunity to enact the plan when Carolina and Tex showed up in their canyon, but then he was dragged into their fight and quickly killed.
  • Asshole Victim: Parodied with the Blues and Reds' Grunts, with Episode 19 showing them all to be absurdly petty and casually bigoted assholes who more than deserved to be sent off as simulation troopers and later be killed off by the Reds and Blues.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: invoked Spoofed in "Blue vs. Red - Part 2", where the Tex and Carolina fight is scored first with music fitting of the trope (an "action mix", a faster song resembling something from Freelancer Saga), then a Bruce Springsteen-esque song and ultimately a Harry Potter audiobook.
  • Big Bad: Mark Temple, leader of the Blues and Reds.
  • Blatant Lies: Tucker says Temple put him in charge of the campaign against the UNSC by having him go through a "tactical simulator." The "simulator" is just a video game, and Tucker doesn't notice until Dylan points it out.
  • Bomb Throwing Anarchist: The Blues and Reds want to completely destroy the UNSC - the governing body over most of humanity - out of vengeance for being sold like slaves to Project Freelancer.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: When Caboose is talking to Loco, two of his teammates give him two different questions to ask. The question he actually asks ends up being a mangled combination of the two. This happens twice.
    Dylan: Ask them who they are.
    Sarge: No! Find out if it's an ambush!
    Caboose: Are you a bush?
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: After Sarge's very politically charged rant about "the White Team" (which involves him calling upon numerous stereotypes associated with white Americans) in "Reacts," Lopez laments that "Tumblr va a odiar esto (Tumblr is going to hate this)."
  • Brick Joke:
    • In Episode 8, Lopez dismisses an order saying "I'm a robot, not the Starship Enterprise". In Episode 15, his decapitated head doubles for the Enterprise in an imitation of the opening of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
    • Jax's "Moon Doom" script (which he first brings up in Episode 2) is later mentioned as another possible movie pitch in the second post-season stinger.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • When Dylan investigates Blood Gulch, she bumps into first Sister and then Vic.
    • Granted, they weren't on a bus for very long, but Kimball, Dr. Grey, the Lieutenants, and Santa all make appearances during Dylan's visit to Chorus.
    • The Director, 479er, and Tex all show up in a flashback in Episode 13. The Counselor is also heard speaking, but never shown on-screen.
    • The Red and Blue Zealots from Battle Creek are revealed to be working with the Blues and Reds.
    • Locus returns to save the Reds and Blues from the Blues and Reds.
    • Alpha-Church makes a brief appearance thanks to Loco's time machine in the finale.
  • Call-Back:
    • The season starts with what happened to the Reds and Blues between seasons being an Ambiguous Situation, following a viewpoint character mostly unaffiliated with the Reds and Blues, that needs to track them down to figure out what's happened, and said viewpoint character starts by going back to where it all began, in Blood Gulch, just like how Reconstruction started off. Ties into Mythology Gag when Dylan mentions that this is what Wash did.
    • The news article about the Reds and Blues seen at the end of Season 12 says "By Dylan Andrews". This season introduces Dylan as an actual character. Since she's written on the Reds and Blues before, she knows enough to find their change in behavior unusual and seeks to investigate further.
    • Sister's first assumption about Dylan and Jax is that they're firemen, just like she first assumed Wash was a cop in Reconstruction.
    • Just like at the end of Season 2, the Reds and Blues got into a huge argument on whether or not it was ironic to be eaten by dinosaurs. This gets referenced again later in the season, as Sarge and Tucker get too wrapped up in their own banter to start searching for the time machine. Dylan even asks if this happens a lot, and Carolina responds by claiming the record is two hours.
    • When seen from space, Earth's Western Hemisphere is missing the Floridian Peninsula, referencing how the Counselor had Florida blown to hell to cover-up Agent Florida going undercover at Blood Gulch. Relatedly, when Jax is filming Sarge in Episode 11, the American flag in the background only has 49 stars, also referencing the Florida cover-up.
    • During his Face–Heel Turn, Sarge mentions how he used to be an ODST, which is a reference to the Relocated miniseries.
    • In the team's fight against the Zealots at Temple's base, Sarge once again teams up with Caboose, a Red Zealot recognizes Caboose as "the Beast", and Caboose once again beats them up out of anger.
    • Temple uses the armor lock technology on the Reds and Blues during the final battle. It fails to work on Dylan, Jax, and Caboose (the former two aren't wearing Freelancer armor, and Caboose's obsolete Mark V armor means it doesn't work on him). The latter was previously a plot point in Revelation.
    • When Loco dies, he goes "Hurk! Bleh." like people who died in the original seasons did.
  • Cassandra Truth: Carlos understandably doesn't believe anything Dylan says about the Reds and Blues' early days.
  • Casting Gag: Cronut is voiced by Miles Luna, who has previously filled in for Dan Godwin as Donut on occasion.
  • invoked Central Theme: According to Joe Nicolosi in an AfterBuzz TV interview, consequences is the main theme of this season. Regret and mirroring are also important themes this season.
  • Cerebus Retcon:
    • The armor lock function. Originally a funny way of incapacitating Tex in Revelation, here it is the main tool in Temple's method of executing Freelancers, and highlights how dangerous it could have been if the Reds and Tucker hadn't been let out of it.
    • Grif's status as an Iron Butt Monkey who can shrug off any horrible injury has been a Running Gag since the very first season. Biff, the Grif counterpart for the Blues and Reds, also suffers a debilitating injury in the backstory - but here, it is Played for Horror and results in his Cruel and Unusual Death.
    • Sarge's Blood Knight tendencies were Played for Laughs in previous seasons, and are (at first) still used for comedy here. However, both "Reacts" and "True Colors" show how much of a negative attempt that being in the military for so long has had on Sarge's mind and psyche, with even him going into a mid-life crisis when he miserably notes that he feels completely useless unless he's in a fight. It all culminates in Sarge's (thankfully temporary) Face–Heel Turn, with him becoming a full-blown Death Seeker more concerned with dying gloriously in battle than caring about if the cause he's fighting for is even morally right or not.
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster: The first and third episodes hint at a darker plot akin to Seasons 12 and 13, but follow-ups make it clear the season is a lighthearted attempt at going back to the show's early days... until Episode 10, which is mostly focused on the emotional Carolina and Wash subplot until the reveal of the horrifying villainous plot. Generally speaking, whenever the bad guys are involved, the funny banter will be reduced.
  • Character Focus: The season is ultimately Dylan Andrew's story, with it largely revolving around her trying to uncover what supposedly drove the Reds and Blues to become terrorists and the truth lying beneath the surface. Grif also gains a significant amount of attention during the second half of the season, with him filling in the role as the season's Deuteragonist.
  • Chekhov's Gag:
    • When Grif is talking to Volleyball!Simmons, it is briefly shown that Grif now knows Spanish, most likely as a result of being left alone. This quickly becomes important when Locus shows up with Lopez' head.
    • When Caboose is telling Loco about his time on Chorus he suddenly asks him if he has any double A batteries when he mentions finding Freckles. Later in Episode 20, Loco gives Caboose the batteries he was asking for, saying that now he can fix Freckles.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The Tower of Procreation was one of several alien towers mentioned on Chorus during Season 13. Tucker says after they captured Hargrove, he activated the temple so everyone on Chorus could party. It is then revealed that the FOTUS Soldier has been searching for Tucker to serve him a class-action lawsuit for all the women he got pregnant while the Temple was activated and then abandoned.
    • The Meth-Meth shrooms introduced in Episode 5 are later used in Episode 19 by Grif to gain Super Speed powers and take out tons of the Blues and Reds' Grunts.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Due to the confusion caused by 24-Hour Armor and Similar Squad antics, the Blues and Reds change their visors to blue to help the two teams tell one another apart. Relatedly, the Battle Creek Grunts have green-tinted visors.
  • Companion Cube: During his time in isolation, Grif decorates a bunch of volleyballs to look like the other Reds and Blues and acts out Blood Gulch-esque scenarios with them. He does his best impression of each character, even speaking Spanish for Lopez.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The flashback episodes are dated to taking place after the Sarcophagus heist in Season 9. Carolina's increasing competitiveness and Tex being partnered with Omega during this time would also help explain why both are so uncaring of Biff's death.
    • When Tex appears in the flashback episodes, she has a voice filter like the one that she used in her first appearance.
    • While Grif claims he only learned to speak Spanish so he could do Lopez's lines while stuck alone on Iris, it can also be seen as an allusion to how Kaikaina, Grif's sister, knew how to speak Spanish during Season 5 and could even talk to Lopez (albeit not that well).
    • When Dylan explains that the Blues and Reds' device is powered by a time machine, Tucker and Simmons recall the time they thought they time-traveled in Season 3.
    • During "Epilogues," Loco's time machine seems to have linked the present and Caboose to Alpha-Church from between the Season 1 episodes "The Rookies" and "Head Noob In Charge" based on Church claiming Caboose should be in the base guarding the flag.
  • Corpsing: Right after the last verse of "VelociROCKtor", Jen Brown is clearly laughing herself silly (and considering Carolina is loosing up, it's actually not out of character).
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Disconcertingly common this season.
    • As shown in Episode 10, all of the Freelancers captured by Temple were frozen in their armor in one position and forced to slowly waste away from malnutrition and dehydration.
    • Poor Biff gets Impaled with Extreme Prejudice through the heart with Blue Team's flag due to Tex and Carolina in Episode 13.
    • While it's successfully Played for Laughs in Episode 20, Surge is accidentally dropped by Sarge into a volcanic vent and gets utterly incinerated.
  • Dead All Along: As episode 16 reveals the message that the Reds and Blues received was a deliberate fake engineered by the Blues and Reds and that Church really is dead this time and not coming back. Caboose and Tucker are both devastated when they find out.
  • Demoted to Extra: All the characters from The Chorus Trilogy have much smaller roles than they previously did. Justified since most of the plot doesn't take place on Chorus.
    • The citizens of Chorus only have a major role in Episode 4, where Dylan talks to them about the Reds and Blues and Dylan eventually tells her where to find them. The Lieutenants and Dr. Grey later appear in one scene during the ending of Episode 21.
    • Freckles only makes a brief appearance in Episode 5, now in a miniature M.A.N.T.I.S body and is apparently left behind when everyone goes on their adventure.
    • Locus appears from Episodes 15 to 18, helping Grif rescue his friends from the Blues and Reds before rushing to get Agent Washington to a hospital after he's shot in the neck.
  • Deus Exit Machina: Most of the most powerful and combat-capable members of the cast are written out before the confrontation with the Big Bad in the finale. Specifically, Washington is shot, forcing Locus to take him to the hospital while the other living Freelancer, Carolina, has to sit out the final mission due to her injuries.
  • Did Not See That Coming: The FOTUS Soldier being just a process server delivering a class-action lawsuit to Tucker. Dylan even lampshades it.
    Dylan: That is not how I saw this going.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: Halfway through the season, the two super soldiers in the cast suffer handicaps that keep them from individually taking down the Big Bad and their minions without any help from the rest of the cast. Being trapped for days standing up in a suit of armor without food or water leaves the two too delusional and cramped to do more than fight two mooks at a time.
  • Easter Egg: Everything on Temple's computer screen.
  • Epic Fail: Grif's "infiltration" of the Blues and Reds' underwater lair involves him running around the base in circles, stopping to eat a snack and trying to enter the vents - all while blatantly on camera, and getting stuck in the vent because of his size, botching the Reds and Blues' only escape option. Subverted when it turns out to be a massive distraction for Locus to make his way undetected into the depths of the base, where he finds Washington and Carolina.
  • Everything Is Racist: Back when the Blues and Reds were still at war, the Blues were holding Lorenzo (or at least his head) hostage. The Reds thought Temple called him a goombah and told him that was racist. Temple clarified that he said "Goomba", but Lorenzo thought that was still pretty racist. Then Temple calls him a cannoli instead, which isn't much better.
  • Exact Words: "I serve Lavernius Tucker." As in, serving a class injunction.
  • Exhaustion-Induced Idiocy: Wash is one of the more competent members of the Blood Gulch Crew. After being locked in his armor by Temple without food or water for days, he starts acting very loopy. He starts hallucinating things and becomes very ditzy as a result of his fatigue. This also leads to him casually walking out in the middle of gunfire where he gets shot in the neck.
  • Eyed Screen: In a Leaning on the Fourth Wall case, once Jax states he discovers the anamorphic setting on his camera, the episode's view changes to a Letter Box.
  • Fire/Water Juxtaposition: The Blues and Reds have two lairs: One is located underwater on Armada 8, the other is inside a volcano on Earth.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • One minor detail is actually the biggest hint for why Temple is doing what he's doing: The lack of a "Grif" counterpart among the Blues and Reds.
    • invoked Sarge mentions that's he's fantasized about Grif dying horribly in routine training exercises. Later, it's revealed that Biff, Grif's counterpart, met a gruesome demise when Carolina and Tex were sent to his gulch for training purposes. Also, while Sarge and Surge were previously getting along quite well before that comment, Surge seems to be noticeably depressed/uncomfortable after that line, also foreshadowing Biff's death and Surge's guilt over previously making fun of Biff like Sarge currently does to Grif.
    • The true nature of Loco's device (a time machine that drills into the earth) is hinted at several times. The drill aspect was hinted at when the sim troopers went to an abandoned mining rig to look for parts, and when Loco said they would need trajectories to use it. The time machine part was hinted at by dialogue from Loco, such as offering to show Caboose a door to his dead friend, going on to say that it's not about where the door will take him, and explaining in his Technobabble that "the wormhole will resonate backwards."
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • Episode 11 shows that Temple has been searching "Shakesphere monologue", "evil lairs for dummies", and" How to villain".
    • In Episode 16, when Temple is dealing with all of the popup adds, if you look closely, Vic's face is on a lot of them, hinting that those aren't any ordinary "popups".
  • Fun with Acronyms: Dylan calls her cameraman a French Analysis Repair Transfer.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: In Episode 15, we see that Grif has become a Talkative Loon, acting out conversations with volleyballs, painted with the faces of Red and Blue team.
  • Gone Swimming, Clothes Stolen: A variation of this happened to Donut. Grif buried his armor underground, thinking he died at some point.
  • Groin Attack: Tex just cannot keep her fists off her opponents' crotches, punching both Carolina and Biff in the privates during the flashback fight.
  • Happy Ending: While Church is still dead after all, and Loco and Vic also die, the amount of good manages to completely outweigh the bad. The Blues and Reds are defeated, with most of them being either killed or locked away, the Reds and Blues survive the fight, Caboose gets to say his goodbyes to Church, Vic gets his wish when he shuts down the time machine before it can damage the planet, Wash makes a full recovery, Dylan finishes her story, which will erase the tensions between Chorus and the UNSC once released, and Jax is on his way to making blockbuster films like he wanted.
  • Hates Being Touched: Locus might be helping the Reds and Blues now but he doesn't like them touching him. He growls at Grif to stop touching his face when Grif checks to make sure he isn't hallucinating him, and Locus later grumbles "I hate this" when Caboose gratefully hugs him for saving them.
  • Hope Spot: The entire season is build on one when the Reds and Blues find a recording of Church in distress asking for help which gives them hope that their friend is still alive and sets them off to find him. Episode 16 reveals that the transmission was just a mash up of a call Church made back in Blood Gulch by the Blues and Reds and he really was dead this time. Nobody takes the revelation well.
  • Hourglass Plot: At the start, Tucker was completely on board with the call to action (in this case, potentially saving Church), while Grif refused (because of stress). Near the end, Grif was on board with the call to action (in this case, stopping the Blues and Reds from destroying the USNC base on Earth), while Tucker initially refused (because of defeatism).
  • Identical Twin ID Tag: Starting in Episode 9, the Blues and Reds change their visor colors to a blue to tell themselves apart from the Reds and Blues and later The Grunts have their visors green. Gene later changes his visor back and attacks Simmons, and Grif can't tell them at first because they look and sound the same, until he asks them a question only Simmons understands.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Carolina and Wash firmly grasp it in Episode 10, when, right after outlining the reasons they don't trust Temple or his crew, they allow him to take them down into an isolated area, all the while with his gun to their backs. When they finally reach the Wax Museum Morgue where he displays their former comrades as victims, they very slowly ready their weapons and don't even try to shoot, giving him ample time to activate their armor lock and leave them to die. It's only because of Temple's own Complexity Addiction that they don't die right then and there. Hand Waved In-Universe by them being off their game since they were "in retirement" on Iris for over 10 months before the events of the season.
    • Invoked in Episode 18: in order to figure out how the Blues and Reds are going to attack the USNC on Earth, Dylan asks Sarge how he would attack a heavily armed foe. His answer? "Death from below."
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: Occurs in the final episode between Tucker and the Big Bad. Tucker has Temple at his mercy and is ready to murder him for all of his misdeeds throughout the season. However Carolina tells him not to since, while they all might be killers, there is a big difference between only killing when it is necessary and killing for revenge, and that if Tucker kills Temple after he has already been defeated it will make them Not So Different. Tucker ultimately decides to just knock Temple out and leave him for the authorities.
  • I Should Write a Book About This: The second stinger has Jax turning in a screenplay based on his adventure, admitting that he added in movie references and flubbed some of the specifics, meaning he essentially wrote Season 15 as we saw it. Helped by the fact that Jax is an Author Avatar of the season's actual writer.
  • It's Personal: After Temple reveals that the message left behind by Church was fake and takes the time to verbally abuse Caboose for believing it to be true Tucker vows to make him pay which only gets more personal after Temple's grunts shoot Wash in the neck and leave him in critical condition. His hatred for Temple grows so strong that, at the end of the season, Tucker almost murders Temple in cold blood in revenge. It takes a last minute intervention from Carolina to convince him not to follow that path and Tucker just knocks Temple out instead.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • Vic claims that he's been cutting the footage from the Blood Gulch battle simulations into five-minute movies, and Dylan later says there's 100 of them.
    • The events of Episode 4 happen on Sunday, April 23rd, the same day the episode was released for FIRST Members.
    • In Episode 6, Jax claims that he liked the Reds and the Blues better when they were funny, echoing a common criticism from fans of the original seasons.
    • In Episode 12, Temple states that his late-night conversation with Biff ultimately reached "the same place it always did":
    • Donut complains in Episode 14 that he feels like he's ignored and unnoticed by the other Reds and Blues. Donut's largely been Demoted to Extra since the end of The Blood Gulch Chronicles.
    • During Episode 15, Grif's Doc volleyball is suddenly missing, which is an allusion to Doc frequently Commuting on a Bus.
    • When Simmons and Tucker are discussing their "time travel" adventures from Season 3 in Episode 19, Tucker complains that he never really knew what had happened back then and found it all really confusing. The questions around the "time-travel" plot have confounded countless fans since its inception.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: The only spacecraft left in the Blues and Reds' base is guarded by the Zealots. Locus wants to play it quiet and prepare an ambush, but Tucker, still riled from being made an Unwitting Pawn by Temple, rushes out and starts a firefight. this ultimately gets Wash shot.
    Locus: "We had the element of surprise! Now we're just fish in a barrel!"
  • Left the Background Music On: Shelley, an AI for the Blues and Reds' base, can also play background music on request. The Blues and Reds decide to play music to go with Carolina and Tex duking it out.
  • Lethal Joke Character: While the Reds and Blues are already this, the Blues and Reds turn this Up to Eleven. Despite them being just as dysfunctional and goofy as the Blood Gulch Crew, they're also a band of ruthless anarchic terrorists who are planning on using a Doomsday Device to wipe out the vast majority of human civilization in the Milky Way.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again:
    • After capturing Hargrove, Tucker activated the Temple of Procreation on Chorus. However, Grif and Simmons ended up stuck in a closet together, leading to this trope.
    • At the very end of the season, Season 1!Church decides that since he has no idea what to make of the time window to Season 15, he'll just forget it happened and never talk about it.
  • Light Is Not Good:
    • What Sarge thinks about anyone in white armor, which previously happened with Wyoming and Meta, who are both this trope.
    • Temple is named after a holy place of prayers and wears lighter blue like Church (actually Jimmy's Armor color), but is far more sinister than he lets on.
  • Mathematician's Answer: Simmons, talking to Grif about Jax and Gene.
    Simmons: Ugh, I'm gonna kill him!
    Grif: Your clone, or that camera guy?
    Simmons: ... Yes.
  • Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: Played for Drama in Episode 20. Loco's time machine-laser drill is actually a Doomsday Device since it will create a black hole that will consume the Earth followed by the whole Solar System if it's left on for too long. However, the Blues and Reds don't realize this at all and just think it's an advanced laser drill for destroying the UNSC's HQ, meaning that their attempts to defend the drill will lead to their own deaths. The Reds and Blues' desperate attempts to warn Temple don't work either since he still views them as the enemy.
  • Mirror Routine: When Surge gets spotted by Sarge in Episode 7, he pretends to be a reflection to avoid blowing his cover Although, given how absurdly similar they are, he may have been doing it unintentionally.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: In Episode 14, Doc joins the Blues and Reds when they turn on the Red and Blues because of all the crap the Blood Gulch Crew's put him through.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Episode 1 starts with a hilarious conversation between some civilians working at a supply depot. It quickly escalates into horror as the Blues and Reds trigger some hidden bombs and kill everyone present.
    • Episode 5 is mostly a comical recap of the Blood Gulch Crew's absurd antics during their retirement. Things turn somber when Dylan asks them what happened on the Staff of Charon where Church deleted himself to power the Meta's armor for Tucker.
    • Episode 13 starts off action-packed with a few humorous moments in between. All that changes to horror and gore the moment Carolina grabs Biff to use him as a human shield.
    • Episode 17 is full of hilarious moments, from a delirious Wash talking to Big Bird, to Caboose hugging Locus (much to Locus's horror). And then in the last few seconds a still-delirious Wash wanders into the middle of a firefight and is shot in the neck.
  • Mook Horror Show: In Episode 18, the Battle Creek Grunts get a reminder of what happened the last time Caboose got angry at them.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: If you read between the lines of Grif's interactions with the volleyball Blood Gulch Crew in Episode 15, it's plain to see this is what Grif is dealing with in regards to staying behind:
    • Grif repeatedly attempts to apologize to Volleyball!Simmons, who keeps misinterpreting these genuine attempts as Grif being himself (saying he's hungry or thirsty).
    • Albeit it's because of Grif not watching the invisible tank, but Volleyball!Sarge's first act on screen is to insult Grif for being lazy.
    • And then you get the clincher: Volleyball!Tucker and Caboose blaming Grif for Volleyball!Church's death (since he is deflating and Tucker asked Grif to help by getting an air pump, something Grif flat out blew off).
  • Never Got to Say Goodbye: A depressed Caboose says he never got to say goodbye to Church or thank him for being his friend after finding out he really is dead and is never coming back this time. He fortunately gets some closure in the season finale thanks to Loco's time machine and uses it to say his final goodbyes to his friend.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Discussed at the end of Episode 6: after seeing Grif snap at everyone and quit, Dylan hopes that she and Jax "didn't fuck something up" by causing the Blood Gulch Crew to go on the Church mission. Ultimately this becomes a key lynchpin: Because Grif was left behind, Locus is able to find him and give him Lopez's head, informing him of the Blood Gulch Crew being captured.
  • Nobody Poops: When Wash and Carolina are freed from armor lock after being stuck in it for days, no mention is made of them needing to... clean up. Justified as it was stated directly back during the Project Freelancer Saga that their suits were designed to 'eliminate all waste'...except vomit, which Delta admitted had never made it past the initial testing
  • Noodle Incident: The Blood Gulch Crew's misadventures following Chorus. Rapid-Fire Comedy at its finest.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: When Jax tries to warn Dylan about the Blues and Reds sneaking up on them, Dylan is too busy reading the Mother of Invention's logs to pay attention. Jax even lampshades this.
    Jax: I have to point out this type of scene is very cliche. I talk, you ignore, and meanwhile, we become surrounded.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome/Take Our Word for It: Two moments are described as such when the Blood Gulch Crew returns, the resolution to Season 13's Bolivian Army Ending ("It was so awesome for a while, there! He powered up my suit and I was like Neo in the goddamn Matrix! I was juggling these two guns and the sword! And dodging bullets! It was fucking amazing! ...And then it was all over. ") and dinosaurs fighting robots ("I have seen some amazing things in my life, but this...this takes the cake.").
  • Other Me Annoys Me: Tucker and Simmons can't stand their counterparts on the Similar Squad. This might also count as I Hate Past Me because said counterparts were the same as them, only without the Character Development the former had.
  • Poor Communication Kills: At the moment, it seems that the shootout at Sidewinder in Episode 3 only happened because Gene misinterpreted Buckey's "Shoot!" as "Open fire!".
  • The Psycho Rangers: The Reds and Blues find out a new group dressed in their armor and colors are committing crimes.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Caboose does this when the Grunts shoot Wash in the neck.
    Caboose: You! Hurt! My! Friend!
  • Reality Ensues: In a story all about consequences, this trope is bound to occur.
    • Dylan Andrews is enough of an Intrepid Reporter that she's been on the front lines of the Great War against the Covenant. However, Frank, her first cameraman and who acted as a Sour Supporter to her throughout the entirety of the season premiere, isn't nearly as dedicated as she is and quits in-between the first and second episode.
    • Now that the UNSC is aware of Chorus's existence, they want to take their colony back, and they'll use force if they deem it necessary. Relatedly, Chorus is none too excited with the prospect of re-joining the UNSC since they were literally forgotten and left to defend for themselves in the face of Charon Industries' genocide.
    • Grif, who is lazy, uninterested in adventuring, and has a tense at best relationship with most of the crew, leaves rather than go on yet another life-threatening quest to save Church. Also, deserting your friends who are your only sense of social interaction and way off a planet, and said backwater planet has literally no other signs of civilization, is basically the same as letting yourself get stranded on a deserted island. Predictably, you're going to go a little insane.
    • Tucker learns the hard way that activating the Temple of Procreation has made him the father of many kids on Chorus, and their mothers have filed a class action lawsuit against him.
    • As fancy and high tech as a suit of futuristic armor is, you can still starve to death in it if you can't move or get out of it. Furthermore, when Locus releases them, neither Wash or Carolina are ready to jump back into action. Having spent god knows how long stuck in one place, their muscles are sore and both are starving and dehydrated.
    • Episode 13 shows that Talking Is a Free Action does not exist in an actual fight, with Temple and Biff's Casual Danger Dialogue resulting in the latter's Cruel and Unusual Death at the hands of Tex and Carolina.
    • Grif's attempt to use an Air-Vent Passageway when "infiltrating" the Blues and Reds' underwater base fails since he's far too fat to fit and so just gets stuck and has to be pulled out.
    • As dangerous as he is, Temple is a Non-Action Big Bad who was a pretty terrible soldier and so must rely on trickery to kill/immobilize his enemies. This means that even Grif can easily best him in a fight, as shown in Episode 20.
    • Jax's final exchange with Dylan implies that on the whole, the entire adventure has given him Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Small wonder, since he's a college kid who's not only been caught up in numerous firefights, and has been shot by friend and enemy alike for trivial reasons.
  • Reference Overdosed: This season in particular is absolutely filled with references. Jax Jonez especially, being a film geek, loves to reference other movies. Considering how the main writer for this season - Joe Nicolosi - had his previous RvB work ("The Brick Gulch Chronicles") also full of references, this seems to be part of his Signature Style. There's even an implication that an Unreliable Narrator might be at hand, given a post-credits scene shows Jax has written a script based on the season, and tells he "punched up the story" a bit.
  • Retcon: The given reason for why the Red Team had a kit to build an autonomous robot used to be that it was to hide the fact that Blue Team also had a robot kit for the Alpha. The reveal in Episode 13 implies that the robot kit was sent because the Reds in Desert Gulch also had a robot.
  • Rousing Speech: Tucker's speech in Episode 18.
    Tucker: Listen up, everyone. The Blues and Reds are trenched in. They've got numbers, and they've got guns on their side. They've been planning this operation... for years. They have a head start, and they have a doomsday device. They also don't stand a fucking chance! I ain't much on speeches, so I'll make this short. We do this for Wash! We do this for Church! We do this because... fuck those assholes! Buckle up, guys: we're going home.
    Caboose: We're going to Blood Gulch?
    Tucker: No. Earth, motherfuckers!
  • Sadistic Choice: Well, not so much choice as challenge, but Temple mentions to Carolina in particular that the record for staying alive in his armor room with the armor lock on is 8 days and 11 hours. He honestly hopes she can break it.
  • Sanity Slippage: As the season goes on, it becomes abundantly clear that Temple parted ways with sanity a long time ago.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
    • In between Episodes 1 and 2, Dylan's first cameraman (Frank) quit because Dylan's Intrepid Reporter antics kept getting them arrested. She got an intern as a replacement.
    • And a few episodes later Grif's exhaustion with the never-ending adventures leads him to temporarily abandon the crew.
  • Self-Deprecation:
    • Carlos Trabka claiming no one cares about the Reds and Blues anymore and instead encouraging Dylan to look into "those monster-fighting sexy teenagers" is a pretty clear reference to how Red vs. Blue has had its popularity eclipsed by RWBY in recent years.
    • One post-credits scene shows Jax Jonez, the Author Avatar of writer/director Joe Nicolosi, pitching a script based on his adventure. He assures the exec that it's all 100% true...except for the added movie references and fudged plot points. Essentially, it's Nicolosi taking a jab at himself for his frequent use of references and eclectic memory when it comes to continuity.
  • Series Continuity Error: Season 14 showed that roughly half of the Reds and Blues (Donut, Caboose, and Sister) weren't meant to be in Blood Gulch, but Episode 13 seems to indicate that all the Reds and Blues were handpicked to mirror the Desert Gulch teams.
  • Shadow Archetype: Most of the Blues and Reds are this for the Reds and Blues, with them having never developed as people and instead just stewing in hate against Project Freelancer & the UNSC for several years. The exceptions to this seem to be Loco and Cronut, who are almost identical to their Blood Gulch counterparts (the third exception to this is Biff & Grif. Biff was a straightforward Nice Guy who was trying to get out of the military so he could take care of his pregnant girlfriend, while Grif is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold who hates work in any fashion and used the military as a way to run away from his problems at home).
  • Ship Tease: Episode 10 has a moment between Carolina and Wash. Carolina thinks she missed her chance at a new life with York, but Wash assures her that she can always start her life over. Carolina decides to throw York's lighter into the ocean, but he stops her. He tells her she doesn't need to let go of her past for the sake of her future. Then he grabs her hand, and she doesn't let go. Of course, Wash ruins the moment when he suggests taking off their clothes to trap whoever's tracking them with their recovery beacons, which Carolina takes the wrong way.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: invoked] The first two songs playing during Tex and Carolina's fight in Desert Gulch, an epic orchestral piece and a metal track, fit just fine, but it turns into this when Surge decides to play music by Bruce Springsteen. Then Loco shuffles the playlist and an audiobook of Harry Potter plays.
  • Spoiler Title: The fact that Episode 16 is called "Grif Does A Rescue" gives away the fact that Grif choosing to quit the team in Episode 6 doesn't last.
  • Spot the Imposter: When Simmons and Gene are grappling in episode 20, Grif is forced to do this due to them having the same voice and armor. And exactly how does Grif do this? One question, directed to both of them: "Why are we here?"
  • The Stinger: There are three sprinkled throughout the credits:
    • The first reveals that Temple, Buckey, and Cronut are now in prison. Temple sighs in exasperation as the prison guards serve him - you guessed it - fish.
    • The second shows Jax pitching a script based on his adventure to a studio executive, admitting that he added in some movie references and may have fudged a few details. He also asks the exec if he'd be interested in "Moon Doom."
    • The final one shows Past!Church in Blood Gulch, still confused about what just happened, and then vowing to completely forget about it and never mention it to anyone.
  • Stock Scream: Spoofed. In Episode 8, Jax practices his Wilhelm Scream, in case he gets thrown in an explosion. Dylan reminds him that they are in actual danger, and Jax decides the scream should be added in post.
  • Strawman News Media: Many people on Chorus, especially Dr. Grey, view the press as this for insisting the Reds and Blues' attacks are their fault.
  • Stylistic Suck: The ending credits reveal "VelociROCKtor", the song the Blood Gulch Crew recorded in their brief retirement. On the one hand, the instrumentals are actually pretty decent. The lyrics and Carolina's singing, on the other hand, are both hilariously terrible.
  • Take Off Your Clothes: Wash asks this to Carolina... right after a tender moment between them, making her recoil in shock. He then has to explain it is for them to activate the recovery beacons.
  • Take Our Word for It: Quite a few incidents described in Episode 5 happened just off-screen. Or, like in the case of Wash growing a beard, was hidden by the 24-Hour Armor.
  • Take That!:
  • The Teaser: Although the title does show up in the bottom corner right at the start, it doesn't appear front and center until after the Blues and Reds' massacre.
  • Thou Shall Not Kill: After the war on Chorus, Locus took a vow to never kill again. He's still perfectly willing to use his weapons though, musing that "You don't need kneecaps to live."
  • Tragic Keepsake: Episode 10 reveals that Carolina took back York's lighter.
  • Turned On Their Masters: Parodied, subverted, and somehow inverted in Episode 5. Unable to live without an enemy to fight during their off-time, Sarge built a robot army to be that enemy. However, the robots malfunctioned and waged war against the local dinosaurs. All entirely off-screen.
  • The Unreveal: Sarge tells his real name off-screen to convince Dylan and Jax to come along. The latter is floored.
  • Wax Museum Morgue: Armor lock plus various Freelancers equals Temple's basement.
  • Welcome Back, Traitor: Sarge and Doc both betray the Reds and Blues for different reasons. Sarge wants an enemy to fight and Doc feels that the others never respect him. Sarge eventually realizes that there's more to life than orders and fighting and rejoins everyone and Doc realizes the Blues and Reds are no better than the others and tries to heal Carolina. Tucker doesn't want either of them back, enraged over their betrayal, but the others convince him they have more important things than being mad at them.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Episode 3, which reveals that the Reds and Blues that have been causing the attacks are not the real Reds and Blues, and that someone is after Tucker.
    • Episode 10, as per usual, when it turns out Temple has been killing the surviving members of Project Freelancer, apparently out of revenge, before locking Wash and Carolina in armor lock so they can slowly waste away. He also hints that he's someone Carolina once knew, but doesn't clarify who he is.
    • Episode 12, where it's revealed the Blues and Reds did have a Grif counterpart named "Biff". And Episode 13 revealed that Carolina unintentionally murdered him.
    • Episode 14, the Blood Gulch Crew figures out what the Blues and Reds are really doing, Sarge and Doc both turn on the rest of the Blood Gulch Crew, and Lopez's head is sent off via a missile to find help.
    • Episode 17, where the Reds and Blues successfully escape from their entrapment with the help of Locus, Sarge performs a Heel–Face Turn and saves both Dylan & Jax, and Wash is shot through the neck at the very end of the episode.
    • Episode 20 is a retroactive example, as it's the first episode out of the whole series to confirm that time travel - that isn't just "looped timelines" like Wyoming's Temporal Distortion Enhancement - actually exists in this universe.
  • Wham Line:
    • The message Kimball has Dylan deliver has Episode 5 end on a big one:
    Church: This is Church from- [static] -Alpha. If you're getting this, it's an emergency. Send. Help. Please! Send help!
    • And the episode after that, we have Grif's rebuttal to Dylan's attempt at a stirring speech.
    Grif: YOU DON'T KNOW THE FIRST THING ABOUT ME, LADY! I hate Simmons, I hate Sarge, I hate EVERYBODY! Print that in your fucking paper!
    • And in case it wasn't made clear enough what Grif had decided there, here's what he says in the final scene of the episode:
    Grif: (after the other Reds and Blues snark about him saying that he was "thinking") No, actually I was thinking that... I quit.
    • Episode 10. Oh boy, episode 10.
      Washington: (while in Temple's basement, looking at the Freelancer armor) Ugh. I think you need to check your plumbing... That smell...
      Carolina: (sudden realization) That's... not... sewage... (Carolina and Washington notice Illinois' armor) I don't think... these are just suits of armor...
    • Episode 15 has an odd example, being a bit more comedic than this trope is normally played and it's not the line itself so much as how it is said.
      Grif: Lopez, todo el mundo está bien?!
    • At the tail end of Episode 16, as Tucker chews out Grif for botching their escape attempt:
      Tucker: You busted in here, made an ass of yourself, and got caught! What do you call that?!
      (cut to Locus finding a still alive Wash and Carolina)
    • One of the biggest in the entire series is at the end of Episode 20, crossing over with Wham Shot:
    Alpha-Church: Caboose? Rookie, what the hell are you doing up here? You're supposed to be guarding the flag!
  • Wham Shot:
    • Played for Laughs in Episode 7. The FOTUS Soldier finally "serves" Tucker... a court order for child support for all the children he fathered at the Temple of Procreation on Chorus.
    • Played for Drama in Episode 10 when we see Agent Illinois among the Freelancer armor.
    • Episode 13. Biff is impaled with the flag.
    • In the final few seconds of Episode 17, Wash is shot in the neck during a firefight, leaving the episode on a cliffhanger.
    • Similar to the above, the last few moments of Episode 20 have Loco's time machine activate... and then a portal opens up in the room, showing Halo 1!Church standing on the cliffs overlooking Blue Base in Blood Gulch.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Defied in Episode 13, with Carolina and Tex's mutual apathy towards Biff getting Impaled with Extreme Prejudice only serving to show them as having been terrifying and heartless sociopaths from the perspective of the simulation troopers at Desert Gulch.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain:
    • Episode 16 reveals that the "distress message" from Church was actually a ruse cooked up by the Blues and Reds - Temple had Loco edit a call Church put into Command during Blood Gulch to lure out the Reds and Blues.
    • Lopez finally gets someone who can understand him when Grif learns Spanish during his isolation, and the two are actually able to have a conversation together. But shortly afterward, Grif pretends he can’t understand Lopez again when the group reunites and Lopez begs him to translate what he says to everyone so they won’t throw him in the ocean. Now Lopez has someone who understands him, but they still won’t help him communicate.

A friend told me once that there's no fate but what you make. And I think he's right.

Video Example(s):


Red vs Blue - Gene and Simmons

Grif is forced into shooting either Gene or Simmons who both have the same colour armour and voice. How does he spot the imposter? By asking them one special question.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / SpotTheImposter

Media sources:

Main / SpotTheImposter