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Machinima / Red vs. Blue: The Chorus Trilogy

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The collection of seasons 11, 12, and 13 of Red vs. Blue, in which the series takes the Blood Gulch crew to a seemingly deserted planet. However, there might be more going on on this planet than they think.

Warning: Each folder will contain unmarked spoilers for the previous seasons.

This series provides examples of:

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    In General 
  • Arc Words: "You just have to try." "What do you fight for?" And of course, the old classic: "You ever wonder why we're here?" This time courtesy of Caboose, who forgets the second half of the line. In many ways, these two mean about the same thing.
  • The Bus Came Back: Many characters from previous seasons return over the course of the saga. In Season 11, it's Donut, Doc and Lopez; In Season 12, it's Epsilon, Carolina, The Chairman, and F.I.L.S.S.; In Season 13, it's the Counselor, Sharkface, and Doc (again).
  • Book-Ends: An unintended and tragic variant brought on by real life, as the second episode of Season 11 and the last episode of Season 13 end with In Memoriam.
  • Civil War: Chorus is revealed to be a battleground between two factions, the Federal Army and the New Republic. The UNSC isn't involved because it's pretty much on the absolute end of colonized space, and therefore was more or less forgotten during the Human-Covenant War. It turns out in Season 12 that the war is much more complex than the Blood Gulchers assumed: it's been orchestrated by Malcolm Hargrove by use of a third party, the Space Pirates, to manipulate the two sides into fighting. A such, the civil war ends at the end of Season 12 when Felix and Locus' involvement is made public.
  • Demonization: Discussed. Both parties of the Chorus Civil War have begun to hate each other, despite being fundamentally similar. This creates huge problems for the troops in Season 13, when they work together. Kimball even mentions this in her Rousing Speech:
    Kimball: When you spend every day fighting a war, you learn to demonize your attackers. To you, they're evil, they're subhuman. Because if they weren't, then what would that make you?
  • Enemy Mine: Deconstructed. Like usual, the Reds and Blues start off fighting each other and end up banding together. The real Enemy Mine is the Federal Army of Chorus and the New Republic, two opposing armies who have been locked in a meaningless Civil War for years, and manipulated by a third party, Charon Industries. When this is revealed to them, they team up to take down the Chairman, but find it exceedingly difficult to work together, with each group still hesitant and skeptical, or outright accusatory of the other throughout Season 13. It takes until Kimball's Rousing Speech in Episode 17 for them to finally bury the hatchet.
  • Interface Spoiler: For Seasons 11 and 12, the credits spoil the surprise appearance of a character in the post-credits sequences. In Season 11, it's Jen Brown as Carolina and in Season 12, it's Yomary Cruz as F.I.L.S.S.
  • Two-Part Trilogy: Due to several reveals in Season 12 drastically changing the course of the plot, the storyline of the saga is barely even started in Season 11, which only introduces us to the new characters (superficially, at that) and instead focuses on a more comedic Work Com setting ala the Blood Gulch Chronicles.
  • Villainous Legacy: The Meta has been referenced many times in the arc, with several characters trying to recreate what he was, though for differing reasons. Ultimately his armor falls into the possession of Tucker, and is the catalyst for Epsilon's Heroic Sacrifice.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Averted drastically. Season 13 is all about resolving plot points and character arcs from previous seasons, hence why Miles brought back characters and groups like The Chairman, the "Resistance", F.I.L.S.S., the Counselor, Sharkface, Doc, Junior and Sister.
  • Whole Plot Reference: Towards the end of Season 11, it becomes apparent that the arc's storyline is very similar to that of Star Wars - the idea of The Federation vs. The Empire, evil white-armored soldiers, an antagonist Darth Vader Clone, and even the name of the planet (Chorus/Coruscant). It's lampshaded in Episode 19 of Season 11.
    Grif: That's what they had in Star Wars!
    Simmons: How is that even relevant?
    Grif: Tell me this is not just like Star Wars. Tell me.
    Caboose: Tucker does have a glowing sword...
    Grif: Tucker has a glowing sword, Simmons!
    • And then midway through Season 12 the rug gets ripped out from under the audience and the story goes way off the Star Wars rails.
    • After the above-mentioned reveal, the second half of the trilogy becomes a reference to The Magnificent Seven Samurai, with the Blood Gulch Crew helping the people of Chorus fend off the Space Pirates/Charon Industries.

    Season 11 
  • Badass Army: Most or all of the Federal Army's soldiers apparently have Freelancer-level special abilities as standard issue equipment, due to technological progress between the time of Project Freelancer and the present time. Possibly subverted; the finale shows that having the equipment and knowing how to use it effectively are two entirely different things.
  • Badass in Distress: Washington and Sarge (and Donut) are incapacitated and held captive at the end of the season.
  • Bottle Episode: The whole season. It contains no animation from Monty Oum, and is made entirely with Machinima.
  • Breather Episode: The season as a whole, despite livening up in its final moments, mostly just serves, plot-wise at least, as a set-up for Season 12's story.
  • Brick Joke:
    • In the first episode, Sarge misses a shot with the tank due to the controls being set to inverted. In episode 18, he tries to use the tank during a fight... and ends up firing in the air above his targets.
      Simmons: Still inverted, sir.
    • Donut using all of the Reds and Blues' power to download one really high-quality photo on Basebook in episode 14 results in the Blues being unable to charge Freckles in Episode 18. Wash is not amused.
  • Broken Echo: In episode 4, "Heavy Mettle" Caboose shouts, "Have a nice day!" into a cave. His echo replies, "Thanks, you too!"
  • By "No", I Mean "Yes": Caboose to his new "friend" Freckles.
    Caboose: No, those aren't enemies, Freckles! Those are Grif and Simmons. Our enemy.
  • Call-Back:
    • Wash's opening monologue is a reference to Church's in Season 9.
    • Nobody knows why the Mantis is called a Mantis, much like the argument over the Warthog in Season 1.
    • Tucker pulling off a headshot, like he did to the Wyoming clones in the Season 5 finale.
    • Dos.0 shouts out "firing main cannons" when stealing C.C.'s body.
  • The Chains of Commanding:
    • Played for Laughs. Caboose uses this as his own personal justification for giving control of Blue Team back to Wash.
    • And later done much more seriously when after the loss of Sarge and Wash, the teams' respective leaders, the remaining Reds and Blues are required to take these on themselves when they are asked to help lead the New Republic's army.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • One that doesn't come up until the very end of Episode 18. Tucker puts his training from Washington's obstacle course to good use, able to sprint and fight his way from one end of the canyon to the other during a pitched battle. Overlaps with Chekhov's Gag, as the training was previously Played for Laughs. And one of the last lines of the season is Tucker putting what Wash taught him to use in another way.
      Tucker (to the New Republic soldiers): All right, let's run some drills.
    • Donut's excellent throwing arm.
    • Washington's last line of the season:
      Washington: Freckles, Shake.
  • Closed Circle: They're once again stuck in a box canyon in the middle of nowhere, but this time the comm tower's broken and there's no way to leave.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Tucker's version of the USNC motto is "If in doubt, rub one out".
  • Deadly Training Area: Wash builds one of these to help whip Blue Team into shape. It's played for laughs.
  • Deserted Island: Or planet, in this case. The guys' transport crashing on it kicks off the season. Actually, it isn't deserted. They just landed in a box canyon in the middle of nowhere. Again. The reality is not much better, though.
    Grif: We crashed in the middle of nowhere, on a planet in the middle of nowhere. Fucking beautiful, everybody.
  • Despair Event Horizon: The idiocy of Sarge drives Lopez 2.0 to this in Episode 17.
    Dos.0: ... He's insane. They're all insane.
  • Disposable Pilot: The entire crew of the Red and Blue Team's ship is killed in the crash. Donut, Doc and Lopez's pilot doesn't fare much better.
  • Does Not Understand Sarcasm: Freckles, which causes problems for the Blue team when they sarcastically elect Caboose as leader.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: In Episode 14, Tucker says this concerning Wash being The Leader, which was why he didn't like him.
    Tucker: I mean, Church wasn't the best leader ever, but he never made us run laps or do push ups or anything! He just took the blame whenever shit went wrong. That was pretty much it.
  • High Concept: In Episode 14, Wash neatly summarizes the Closed Circle of the season.
    Wash: Well, we're shipwrecked, we're low on food, and we have to do whatever Caboose tells us, or we'll be killed by a robot.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: When Sarge mentions this, Doc assumes he's talking about man. In actuality, he was referring to Giant Robot.
    Sarge: "Man." Everything kills man. Man's way down on the list! Right between koala and retarded koala!
  • Impossible Task Instantly Accomplished: Wash's obstacle course moves from simple jump-and-dodge stages to battlefields on other planets. Caboose completes it in about two seconds.
  • In the Back: Donut and Doc's pilot is murdered by Locus in this manner at a refueling station.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Sarge somehow manages to extrapolate "Pacifist" (emphasis on "fist") into "you've got a natural-born pacifist's lust for murder!"
  • It's All My Fault: A classic variation wherein various members of the Blood Gulch Crew, when confronted with certain questions or statements about their crashed ship, blame themselves for the ship's crashing. Comes with its own twist, as rather than saying aloud that it's their fault, each person has a flashback to something they did on the ship that appears to be the cause of flashing red warning lights, then cut back to the present where they either go Suspiciously Specific Denial or just dodge the topic.
  • Kid with the Leash: Caboose has rescued a Mantis from the wreckage of the ship. Caboose controls it by voice command, like telling it to not shoot the Reds. He calls it "Freckles".
  • Knight of Cerebus: The inclusion of first Locus, then Felix, leads to a resurgence of a more serious, albeit different plot line. Locus more so, since there are still humorous quirks to Felix, while Locus is something else entirely.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Felix seems to be the new Only Sane Man for this. Aside from noting the bizarre behavior of the Reds and Blues in contrast to how he thought they would be, he also notes Wash's ability to have a one-sided Cryptic Conversation at all times.
    Felix: Man, you are cryptic. Like all the time. Do you realize that?
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • In Episode 9, lampshaded.
      Sarge: It's almost like all of this is some sort of (Aside Glance) sick game!
      Grif: This conversation is starting to get a little meta.
      Sarge: Good point. Do you think he was in on it, too?
    • And again in episode 13.
      Lopez: [SIGH] You're going to want to sit down for this story. It's about 20 hours long and I only enjoy telling it in five minute intervals.
    • And yet again in Episode 19.
      Caboose: And ... break!
      (cue credits)
  • Legendary in the Sequel: After ten seasons of Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass behavior, the Reds and Blues are assumed to be some of the galaxy's greatest soldiers.
    Felix: Let's see if you guys are as good as they say.
    Grif: Prepare to be sorely disappointed.
  • Lighter and Softer: After five or six increasingly drama-heavy seasons, they're returning to their roots with a low-key plot and more emphasis on humor. Well, at first.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: As of Episode 19, only Tucker, Caboose, Grif, and Simmons made it out from Locus's attack, and are taking refuge with the New Republic. Washington and Sarge are being held by the Federal Army, and Donut and Lopez's status is left ambiguous. Kimball requests that the four remaining troopers take charge, with the promise that if they see this through, they might be able to rescue their friends, and leave ...
  • Meaningful Echo: Washington tells Tucker that he's a good soldier and he just needs to try. Later when Kimball asks for Tucker, Caboose, Grif, and Simmons to help the New Republic, she is able to convince them by saying "you just have to try."
  • Mundane Made Awesome: In Episode 18, Donut somehow manages to make "It's not pink, it's lightish red" sound like a Badass Boast.
  • Never My Fault: In episode 11 Sarge blames the dwindling food supply, destruction of the Warthog, and Simmons being forced to join the Blue Team on Washington, even though Sarge is the one who suggested eating all the food when he heard that they might be rescued, deliberately attacked a giant robot with the Warthog and set up the camp conditions that led Simmons to trying to join the Blue Team after seeing how Washington ran it.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Simmons' attempt to hang out with the Blue Team causes a standoff between Sarge (who believes he's been kidnapped) and the Blues, and indirectly causes Freckles to demote Wash and put Caboose in charge of Blue Team.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • Related to Not a Game—Tucker doesn't flirt with Vanessa Kimball, the leader of La Résistance on Chorus, or the female medic he meets, driving home just how shaken he is by Washington, Sarge, Donut, and Lopez being taken out by Locus and his army.
    • When Felix states that he's a freelancer, everyone readies their weapons and points them at him, including Doc.
  • Opening Monologue: Wash opens the season with a dictated journal entry, giving an extremely condensed description of the previous ten seasons and a nice bit of foreshadowing. Except, he's interrupted before he can finish, like Church was in the first episode of Season 9.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Locus delivers a particularly sinister one before killing the pilot that brought Donut, Doc and Lopez to the canyon to keep him from reporting the crash.
    Locus: Just so you're aware, no one's going to find your ship either.
  • The Radio Dies First: Yep, damaged in the crash that marooned them. Completes the Closed Circle setting.
  • Raging Stiffie: Sarge gets one of these upon seeing the 50-foot tall mech in the ship.
  • Rant-Inducing Slight: Simmons eventually has to share a room with Grif because Sarge needs a room all to himself. Because Grif is such a slob, Simmons eventually goes ballistic over Grif using his toothbrush.
  • Replacement Scrappy: In-Universe, Wash admits he is this for Church in Episode 14. He doesn't like it, but it's how it is.
  • Ridiculous Future Sequelization: There's an offhand reference to the eleventh remake of the Superman movies: Superman Origins 3: Revelations. All we know about it is that Donut isn't a fan, Doc thinks it's "awesome," and it involves the Phantom Zone somehow.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: Simmons tries to pull this when Caboose is put in charge of Blue Team. Freckles "convinces" him otherwise.
  • So Last Season: Felix explains how Locus is able to cloak by revealing that the special abilities which were once exclusive to Project Freelancer are now standard issue combat tech, something that greatly surprises Washington. Felix tells him "welcome to the future" in response.
  • The Stinger: Carolina makes a reappearance, and it's hinted that she's Control.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: Sarge's plan for dealing with Freckles: if the ship was carrying Freckles, it would also have something big enough to take him out. And it turns out it does.
  • Taking the Bullet: Nonlethal version. Felix, the only one who sees Locus with a Sniper Rifle in episode 17, blocks him with his energy shield.
  • Technology Marches On: In-Universe. Freelancer Applied Phlebotinum has become standard issue military equipment.
    Felix: Welcome to the future, Wash.
  • That Came Out Wrong: In Episode 16, Felix should have been more specific on the difference between a "freelancer" and a "Freelancer".
  • The Day the Music Lied: Tex's old Leitmotif heralds the arrival of Donut.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: From Lopez in Episode 18.
    Lopez: Psh. "Dos Point Oh." I'm Lopez the Heavy, bitch.
  • This Is My Side: Sarge divides Red Base down the middle, forcing Simmons and Grif to share a room. Simmons in particular is less than pleased.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Half the cast, likely due to the stress of the situation. To recap:
  • Too Soon: In-universe, Tucker's Gallows Humor regarding the deaths of almost every single UNSC crew member on their shuttle is seen this way, including by himself. Caboose demonstrates that it's also too soon for sound effects.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The trailer for the season's DVD release pretty much reveals the surprising turn the narrative takes during the last few episodes including where the Reds and Blues crash landed and exactly how much trouble they're in.
  • Tranquil Fury: Wash, naturally.
    Wash: I am going to break you, Private Tucker.
  • Under New Management: Through a misunderstanding, Caboose is made leader of the Blue Team.
  • War Is Hell: Felix says as much to Tucker.
    Tucker: Dude, that's bullshit!
    Felix: That's war, Tucker! Not everyone makes it back.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Episode 6, in which we finally see what Caboose has discovered: an AI-driven Mantis that responds to his voice commands, and the one who received the radio signal is Donut.
    • Episode 10: Due to a misunderstanding, Washington is demoted as the leader of Blue Team, and is replaced by Caboose. Afterwards, Donut, Doc, and the original Lopez return (but sent their pilot away), the Unknown Soldier speaks; and the Reds' Warthog gets destroyed. Again.
    • Episode 14: Washington once again becomes leader of the Blue Team, the Reds get their own giant robot online (although it promptly breaks down), and the two soldiers reveal themselves when Locus sends troops to attack Blue Base and Felix interrupts to help the Blood Gulch crew out.
    • Episode 17: Dos.0 crosses the Despair Event Horizon, steals C.C.'s body and sets out on a rampage to kill both the Reds and the Blues.
    • Episode 18: Not only are the Red and Blue teams nearly killed by Locus and his gang, but the New Republic soldiers finally come to the rescue, and both Wash, Sarge, Donut and Lopez are possibly dead, leaving the team split.
    • Episode 19: We learn that at least Sarge, Donut, and Washington are being held in captivity. Kimball goes on how the Red and Blues bring hope to the soldiers of the New Republic. Kimball gives a Rousing Speech to the four remaining Reds and Blues, and Tucker steps into the shoes that Washington left behind and stepping into command. In the stinger, we finally see that Locus was looking for something stored on the ship, and that he's apparently working with a very familiar person: Carolina.
  • Wham Line:
    • Episode 10:
    Freckles: Do not talk back to your commanding officer.
    Tucker: Wash and I are having an argument. I will be talking back to him. That's how arguments work, you fucking toaster.
    Freckles: Washington is not the commanding officer.
    Tucker and Washington: What?
    Freckles: In a unanimous decision by the Blue Team, Caboose has been promoted to Blue leader. Captain Caboose is now your commanding officer. Do not talk back to your commanding officer.
    • Episode 17, although it isn't taken as such by those present at the time:
    Dos.0: He's insane. They're all insane.
  • Wham Shot: The final shot of The Stinger, which shows who Locus is working with: Carolina.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: After being insulted for an entire season, Lopez Dos.0 flips out spectacularly, uploads himself into a Mantis, and attempts to kill Sarge.
  • You and What Army?: In Episode 17.
    Locus: Surrender now, and I promise only to kill the mercenary.
    Grif: To you and what army?
    Several soldiers uncloak behind Locus.
    Locus: The Federal Army of Chorus.
    Grif: Guess I walked right into that.

     Season 12 
  • Advertised Extra: The trailer suggests that Kimball will play a much larger role in the season than she actually does, and she only gets a handful of scenes after the first few episodes.
  • Amazon Brigade: Kimball assigns one to Simmons, and can't understand why he has so much trouble ordering his troops.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • Delta and the other AI fragments have been reborn inside of Epsilon Church's mind and are helping Church with his missions.
    • Also Freckles gets 'reborn' as a gun during Episode 18 for the sake of the attack on the radio jammer.
    • F.I.L.S.S. makes a return as the Chairman's assistant, despite being deleted by the Director back in Season 10. Whether or not it's really the same F.I.L.S.S. is debatable.
  • Badass Boast: Epsilon gives a pretty epic one to Chairman when the Chairman decides to declare war on Chorus (see "The Reason You Suck" Speech).
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Well, kinda. The guys manage to bust into the base. Too bad Wash and them don't need saving.
    • How else should Carolina return?
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Reds and Blues manage to stop the Chorus Civil War, but dozens of soldiers on both sides die in the would-be final battle they were too late to prevent; tensions remain extremely high as a result. Control has been thwarted, but is still at large, along with Felix and Locus, who manage to escape. Control, who is revealed to be Chairman Malcolm Hargrove, orders Locus and Felix to then wipe out the population of Chorus through outright warfare, which the Blood Gulch Crew respond with telling the Chairman to bring it on.
  • Brick Joke: To a joke from season 9: there turns out to be an actual person named "Andersmith".
  • The Bus Came Back: Epsilon and Carolina return after being absent for almost all of Season 11.
  • Character Focus: A lot of focus is put on Tucker this season; he's essentially the protagonist of the season.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Discussed. As Grif finishes telling the story of The Meta's defeat, he states the moral of the story is that you never know when some seemingly random thing will turn out to be incredibly important.
    • Played straight with the helmet cams. Near the beginning of the season, they're used to record training videos to help make the soldiers of the New Republic better... though they instead come off as a highlights reel for how the Reds and Blues mess up during the sessions. Come Episode 18, they're used to record Felix's gloating, which helps stop the civil war and derails his and Locus's plans.
  • The Chosen One: Tucker is forced into taking this role.
  • Closed Circle: Chorus is a planet-sized version of one as either side shoots down any transport of their enemy's that try to leave its atmosphere. The only way the Reds and Blues can escape is if one side defeats the other.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Caboose's incorrectly spelt name written on a wall.
    • The password to the door in Episode 1 is "Password12", like Sarge's passwords.
    • Caboose repeats his worst throw ever.
    • Tucker still can't get the sniper rifle.
    • There are still too many pedals in a Warthog.
    • When we see videos of the group... "training"... Caboose is running much faster than everyone else. He is, after all, very physically strong. Grif of course, can't keep up and doesn't do push-ups with the rest of them.
    • Caboose mixes up a Southern and Pirate accent.
    • Grif explains that the UNSC confiscated the "Grifshot" after the events of Season 10.
  • Crapsack World: Nobody can leave the planet without getting shot down. Leaders have a short life expectancy. Anybody not wearing armor is dead. Not a very cheerful planet is it? Not to mention that somebody has decided that the population is inconvenient to their purposes and have basically put a hit on the entire planet.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The sim-troopers' training session with Felix, and later Tucker is the recipient of one when he fights Felix for real.
  • Darker and Edgier: Just to hammer things in, two Republic soldiers working for Felix and Tucker are already dead by episode 2. Felix in general is like this, only interested in the money he can make from helping out, and isn't above sacrificing soldiers if he has to, not to mention the reveal of him being evil all along.
  • Dirty Business: In Episode 2, Felix blows up the Fed outpost, with Rogers still inside and unaccounted for, in an attempt to kill Locus.
  • Discard and Draw: The Reds and Blues lost Doc to parts unknown after mishandling the teleportation grenades in the Season 11 climax, but add Dr. Emily Gray to their group in the middle of this season, who is also a medical officer with purple color coding, albeit much more competent and a little less sane.
  • Disgusting Public Toilet: Grif finds one stuffed with a dead body.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: Palomo doesn't get Tucker's sarcasm.
    Felix: It doesn't look good, guys. They really beefed up their security.
    Tucker: Why? What's going on?
    Felix: Well it could be because someone from up top is coming to visit. Or it could be a response to the weapons I stole from this place a few weeks back.
    Tucker: Gee, I wonder which one it is.
    Palomo: I think it's pretty obvious that it is the weapons.
    Tucker: Stop talking.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Tucker orders his squad to attempt this in Episode 2, with Felix lampshading how ridiculously lucky it was that the Fed troops they knock out happen to wear armor that fits Rogers and Cunningham. It doesn't go well and directly gets one of his men killed.
    Felix: I mean, what if we had ended up with two really fat bad guys? What size are you, Cunningham? Like a medium?
    Cunningham: Youth extra-large, sir.
  • Easily Forgiven: Non-villainous example. The Federal Army easily forgives the Red and Blue teams for the men they killed. Then again the Federal Army were the ones who attacked them.
  • Engineered Public Confession: Tucker pulls this on Felix, exposing his plan to both the New Republic and the Federal Army of Chorus, and stopping the civil war.
  • Evil All Along: Turns out Felix never stopped working with Locus and they were secretly working both sides to cause the most mayhem and damage and the Chairman was much more villainous than we previously thought.
  • Evil Gloating: Consummate Professional Locus just wants to eliminate the prisoners quickly and efficiently, but Felix feels the need to gloat, largely because he has a much more personal relationship with the Reds and Blues and had to put up with their shenanigans. Comes back to bite him in the ass come Episode 18.
  • Failure Montage: The main cast tries to get Felix as part of a training exercise. None of the attempts even come close.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the previous season, Carolina mentioned soldiers with equipment "above their pay grade." Flash forward to this season, and it turns out that's probably the people Locus and Felix are working with.
    • Episode 10 is called "Cloak & Dagger." Obviously, it refers to the mysterious mission that Locus is on, but it also refers to Locus' cloaking tech and Felix's Knife Nut tendencies.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: When Lopez is turned back on, a bluescreen with the following text appears on the screen for a few frames.
    A fatal error has been detected and LOPEZ has been shut down to prevent damage to your system.
    If this is the first time you've seen this stop error screen, restart your LOPEZ, If this screen appears again, follow these steps:
    * Quit being an idiot
    * Stop damaging hardware
    * Perform proper repair
    *** LOPEZ.EXE 0x000000001 (00002000100 x 00000029910 x 80085)
    Beginning physical dump of memory
    Press CTRL+AT+DEL to restart your LOPEZ
    Press any key to continue
  • Greying Morality:
    • It comes to light that the Chorus Civil War is much less of a clear-cut heroes vs. villains scenario, as both sides have been manipulated into hating each other from the start.
    • An example that retroactively affects the events of prior seasons: It's also revealed that the CEO of the evil umbrella corporation, Charon Industries, is none other than Malcolm Hargrove (the Chairman), making his running conflict with the Director and Project Freelancer much less heroic than we once thought.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: General Doyle is a pathetic version of this trope. He is the leader of the Feds, but he lacks both fighting experience and control over Locus. This ends up getting subverted when it's revealed that Locus is manipulating him and the Feds aren't really the villains at all.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: The season is set up as a Rebels vs. Empire scenario with Tucker, Simmons, Grif, and Caboose taking up the mantle of leadership in order to save their comrades with the help of Felix and the New Republic. For the first eight episodes anyway, before it's revealed that the war is more Grey and Gray Morality, their companions aren't imprisoned, and Felix and Locus are working together for the real villain.
  • The Heavy: The way the New Republic and the Federal Army view Felix and Locus, respectively, makes it clear that the only reason either side is still in the fight is because of them, especially prevalent given the status of the leadership of both sides. There is eventually revealed to be a VERY good reason for all of this.
  • Hired Guns: Felix and Locus. For Charon Industries, who wants everyone on Chorus dead.
  • Hit-and-Run Tactics: The mission in episode 2.
  • Idiot Houdini:
    • Invoked by Tucker in episode 7 as his reasoning for the Reds and Blues to tackle the rescue mission without a plan or Republic backup, counting on their outrageous luck to outweigh their ineptitude as they have in the past.
    • Chorus is a ship graveyard with many ships coming down and all crew dying. Why are the Reds and Blues still alive? Because their individual acts of messing with the ship caused it to behave in such a stupid manner that the ship ripped in half leaving them in the half that survived.
    Zachary: It was like the ship tried to jump to slipspace, change course and power down, all at the same time. It didn't make any sense! Instead of pulling you down, the ship got...ripped apart.
  • Indy Ploy: Explicitly mentioned by Tucker in the first trailer.
    Kimball: If we can’t even save a few prisoners, how can we expect to save Chorus?
    Tucker: Meh. We'll wing it.
  • Inspirational Martyr: Felix and Locus claim the Reds and Blues are dead to drive the two sides into a final battle.
  • Karmic Transformation: After Grif snaps at Bitters for being a self-centered slacker, he horrifying realizes that the stress of leadership is making him act like Sarge.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: The official teaser trailer, while having undertones of Red vs Blues normal comedy, lets us know that the remaining Blood Gulch Crew are dead set on saving their friends. It's deconstructed during the season in that they have no idea what they are doing. After finding out the schemes of Felix and Locus, however, it happens for real, with some help from Wash and Carolina.
  • The Lancer: Each of the remaining Reds and Blues gets their own sidekick for their joint, compact, "elite" squadron.
  • Mask of Sanity: Subverted. Dr. Grey doesn't really act sane all the time, but she is much crazier and far more dangerous than she'd initially have you believe.
  • Meaningful Background Event: In Episode 10, as Locus's men decloak, the first one has a notably different look from the others.
  • Meaningful Echo: Epsilon tweaks some of the statistics for a plan he makes for Carolina saying he has faith in her. When he goes along with Tucker's plan to expose Locus and Felix and save both armies he said it was time he had faith in them as well.
  • Mid-Season Twist: The Reveal in Episode 10 completely turns the arc's story on its head, with the revelation that Locus and Felix are part of a third party in the Civil War, only interested in wiping out all life on Chorus, and everything they've done up to this point has been a setup for the massacre of Chorus' citizens.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: All three of the season's villains do this in their own way. Felix, thanks to his inability to resist gloating, allows the Reds and Blues to survive what would have been a fatal encounter with Locus long enough for Carolina to rescue them, then in the finale does it again when he gloats about tricking the Reds and Blues, along with both sides of the Chorus Civil War, stopping the two armies from wiping each other out. Locus does so afterwords with his insistence on following protocol and retreating to speak with Control, rather than staying and finishing their enemies off when they were at their weakest like Felix wanted to. And of course Control / Malcom Hargrove, who came up using the idea to manipulate the Reds and Blues to cause more casualties, while a good plan on paper, ended up backfiring and causing the supposed Unwitting Pawns to stop the war instead.
  • No Body Left Behind: The weapons used by the gray-suited soldiers. It completely disintegrates the target, which disturbs the Reds and Blues, to say the least.
  • Noodle Incident: According to the trailer, Caboose is no longer allowed to handle vehicles and heavy machinery. Kimball doesn't want to explain why, seemingly out of embarrassment and exasperation.
  • No One Gets Left Behind:
    • Subverted. Felix thinks Locus is too much of a threat to stay any longer at the base, and blows it up with Rogers still inside, despite protests from Tucker.
    • Played straight when Carolina and Church decide to go back and save the rest of their guys.
  • Nobody Here but Us Statues: A strategy used by Grif to hide in both Blood Gulch and the Fed base, with snowmen instead of statues. He apparently tried it back at Blood Gulch earlier in his career, where it worked out... significantly worse, due to there not being enough cold to keep the snow intact.
  • Not So Different:
    • The Federal of Chorus are a lot like the Rebels in certain, specific ways. The most obvious way is that they both recruit two mercenaries, Locus and Felix, who share a history and both act as a sort of pseudo-Freelancer. More to the point, the Feds and the New Re are both hideously incompetent and barely getting by, have a badass mercenary on their side, and view the other side as malicious and evil.
    • Arguably, the entire Civil War is this to the Red vs Blue "War," at least currently. The soldiers on both sides can barely get their shit together, and both hire a merc to give themselves an edge over the other. More specifically, both Doyle and Kimball are merely the latest in the long line of faction leaders who were killed and only got their positions due to You Are in Command Now.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: During a game of capture the flag in the first episode, Grif and Simmons pass Caboose while he's standing in the hall. A few seconds later they pass him again in the same hall with him having somehow gotten ahead of them unseen.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Reactions to the weapons being used in Episode 10.
    • Also, Zachary, one of Locus's men, has this reaction when Carolina suggests that Dr. Gray be allowed to interrogate him further.
    • Lopez does this in Spanish, when he discovers that Locus is bilingual.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: In episode 10, once Felix reveals his collaboration with Locus, a number of scenes from Season 11 and earlier in Season 12 are elaborated on, detailing exactly how the two have been cooperating the entire time.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Two examples occur simultaneously in the penultimate episode.
    • Possibly justified by it having just completely derailed his and Locus' plan and with it the entire Civil War; but once Tucker and Epsilon have managed to broadcast Felix's gloating to the Chorus Capital, Felix's main desire is to just finish off Tucker and the others then and there quickly. This is a guy who every other time he's had the Blood Gulch crew at the end of his rifle has indulged in a lot of Evil Gloating, so you can tell just how pissed he is that they've gotten the best of him.
    • The opposite happens with Locus. While normally the efficient type of mercenary who prefers to do things quickly, cleanly, and as detached as possible while following orders, Wash's speech calling him out for being a coward who's lying to himself is met with Locus straight up tackling him and pummeling him straight on. This is the only time we really see Locus lose it, even for a second.
  • Pass the Popcorn: Pretty much the entire Rebel force when the Blood Gulchers decide to record via helmet cam their attempts to take down Felix (as training).
    Felix: I gotta admit, I have never heard these guys laugh so much.
  • Perspective Flip: The first eight episodes focus solely on Tucker, Grif, Simmons and Caboose as Captains of the New Republic, while in Episode 9 we see what happened to Washington, Sarge, Donut and Lopez after being kidnapped (or recruited) by the Federal Army. The perspective flips again when in Episode 11 we see what happened to Carolina and Church after they left to track down the space pirates in Season 10. For the remainder of the series, the entire gang is reunited, and the story focusses on all of them.
  • A Rare Sentence: In Episode 8.
    Tucker: I never thought I'd say this. Like ever. Seriously. But good job, Caboose.
  • Reality Ensues: Happens season-wide, but the most definitive example is the attempted capturing of Felix by the Reds, Blues and their second-in-commands, to prove that they're capable of going on a rescue mission. Felix is probably the most badass member of the New Republic. His opposition isn't. You can tell where this is going.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: The season closes (save for The Stinger) on Epsilon channeling his original incarnation and delivering one in the form of a letter to Control, a.k.a. C.E.O./Oversight Chairman Malcolm Hargrove.
    Epsilon: Dear Chairman; It has come to our attention that you have declared war on the planet Chorus. We regret to inform you that this is a really shitty idea. Not only have you managed to annoy the people that you failed to kill, time and time again, you've also found a way to piss off an entire planet. Now they may not have the best equipment and they might not be the best fighters, but as you're aware, they've been fighting for a very. Long. Time. And now that they're not fighting each other, they're more than happy to dedicate all of their time to fighting you. So dear Chairman, to you and your idiotic mercenaries, we would like to say: bring it on, motherfuckers! We're not going anywhere. From your friends, the incredibly badass and sexually attractive Red and Blue soldiers of Project Freelancer. P.S.; suck our balls.
  • Red Shirt Army: Neither the Republic or the Federal troops last very long in a fight.
  • Remember When You Blew Up a Sun?: A variant. Grif tells a long story (that isn't really even exaggerated) about how the Reds and Blues (primarily him) took down the Meta. The New Republic army is in awe.
  • The Reveal: Two important ones arise mid-season that turn the season's plot upside down, and a third in the finale:
    • The first reveal (in Episodes 8 and 9) is that the Federal Army of Chorus aren't clear-cut villains after all. The Civil War isn't merely a heroes vs villains scenario, both sides truly believe that the other is in the wrong. Because of this, the remaining Reds and Blues weren't kidnapped, but willingly joined the Federal Army after hearing their point of view, thinking they would be saving their friends from the New Republic.
    • The second reveal (in Episode 10) is that Felix and Locus aren't merely working for the New Republic and Federal Army, respectively - instead, they are both working for "Control" as part of a hidden third party in the Civil War who have been manipulating the entire planet from the start.
    • A final reveal at the end of the season is that Control is Malcolm Hargrove, a.k.a. the Chairman, and is the CEO of the evil conglomerate named Charon Industries. The same company who employed the Space Pirates also employed the Insurrection to fight Project Freelancer years earlier.
  • Running Gag:
    • Classic ones returning for Season 12:
      • The six pedals joke returns in episode 1.
      • When Tucker goes to steal armor from the Federal soldiers one of them goes "Ow, the back of my head" like how Simmons always calls out his injuries.
      • Tucker not being allowed to use the sniper rifle.
    • Born in Season 12:
      • From the moment of his return, various things jumping through, thrown through or shot through Epsilon's avatar.
        Epsilon: Oh, still a hologram.
  • Sarcasm Mode: Tucker after Felix says the security beef could be because of an important visit or him stealing weapons.
    Tucker: Gee, I wonder which one it is.
  • Secret War: The season finale reveals the entire series thus far to be one between Project Freelancer (led by Director/Dr. Leonard Church) and Charon Industries (led by Oversight Chairman/CEO Malcolm Hargrove.
  • Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: The trailer only shows things from the New Republic's side of the plot to hide the fact that Sarge, Donut, Lopez and Wash meet back up with the group not halfway through the season. It also doesn't show Epsilon.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: After Tucker insists Felix should join the rescue mission for free because it's the right thing to do, Felix points out that the only reason the Reds and Blues bothered to join the war in the first place was because their friends were captured, not because it was the right thing.
    Felix: Everyone has their price. Even you.
  • So Last Season: When Carolina arrives at the jamming tower disguised as one of Felix's Mooks, he recognizes her armor from the first time she tried it, and sees through the disguise.
  • Spanner in the Works: It turns out the Reds and Blues messing with the ship prevented them from being immediately caught by the Space Pirates tractor beam.
  • Spell My Name with an "S":
    • Fans can't seem to agree on whether it's spelled Chorus, Korus, Corus, Chaurus, or any other number of combinations.
    • Until it was confirmed by the credits to be spelled with an E, there was a great deal of discussion over whether it was Doctor Gray or Doctor Grey. In compromise, some people just used Graey.
  • Stealth Pun: The civil war is being fought by the Federal Army and the New Republic. It's Fed vs New. In fact, Episode 18 is actually called this. Miles, the writer of the Civil War arc, later revealed this was completely intentional.
  • The Stinger: Hargrove has recovered F.I.L.S.S. and Maine's helmet and armor.
  • Stock Scream: One of the guards of the federal base gives this when Felix blows up some C4 to distract them so the New Republic soldiers can get out.
  • Taking the Bullet: The incident from last season is retroactively Deconstructed, as explained by Felix himself. The idea that he could block the bullet was a bit too convenient.
    Felix: How many times have I jumped in front of a bullet for you, Wash? Three? Those are some pretty great reflexes, huh? Most people would have to plan that sort of thing.
  • That Came Out Wrong: Caboose knows that Tucker is more of a groping kind of person than a hugging one, so he invites him to a grope.
  • Tracking Device: Freckles's AI chip is one for Control. Thankfully, Epsilon debugs him, so Caboose won't have to lose his pet.
  • Tractor Beam: What the giant tower at Crash Site Alpha is. The mercenaries are using it to drag ships down to them and loot them, selling the goods to the Feds and Republic. It appears that whatever the Reds and Blues did just before they crashed caused the ship to break up instead of simply be captured, throwing a monkey wrench into the situation.
  • Training Montage: Not that they did a very good job.
  • Two Scenes, One Dialogue: Episode 16 starts with Kimball and Doyle giving similar speeches to their troops
  • War for Fun and Profit: The whole War on Chorus was deliberately prolonged by Locus and Felix, who work for someone else. Control wants them to have both sides kill each other, so they can move in and take all the alien artifacts on the planet, and they are secretly manufacturing new weapons based on stolen Freelance equipment.
  • War Is Hell: More touched upon than the other seasons by showing the poor state everyone is in because of the war such as everyone having to wear armor or risk being killed, and the leaders being from a long line of replacements.
  • We Have Reserves: Felix thinks that two soldiers for a hard drive full of Federal secrets is a pretty good trade, and congratulates Tucker for it. When he reveals his true allegiances in Episode 10, he uses this and other deaths to twist the knife in Tucker.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Episode 8 and 9: Sarge, Donut, Washington and Lopez weren't kidnapped by the Federal Army - they willingly joined after hearing their point of view.
    • Episode 10: Carolina and Church are back and save the guys from Felix and Locus, who are working together to kill everyone by using their own mercenary corps, made from the grey-armored soldiers from the refueling station.
    • Episode 19: The Insurrection and the Space Pirates are revealed to work for the same organization, Charon Industries. The leader of said organization is revealed to be none other than Oversight Chairman, and CEO, Malcolm Hargrove.
  • Wham Line:
    • The end of Episode 8:
      Simmons: We came to save you!
      Donut: But... we were supposed to save you!
    • From Episode 10, courtesy of Felix: "That... was... close! Nice throw, Tucker!" It turns the entire preceding season-and-a-half completely on its head.
  • Wham Shot:
    • The end of episode 8, where the gate opens and it turns out Wash, Sarge, Lopez and Donut are alive and think that the others were the ones that needed saving.
    • Also in The Stinger of the finale, when Malcolm Hargrove is talking with a rebooted (and very depressed sounding) F.I.L.S.S. about a 'delivery' from Locus. The final shot of the season shows what the 'delivery' is: it's the Meta's helmet.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?:
    • Subverted by Locus, since he does want to shoot the Reds and Blues on two different occasions, but is always stopped. First it was by Control, who thought they would be more useful alive, while the second time was by Felix, who wanted to gloat about their evil plan as a way to vent his frustration of having to tolerate their antics for weeks.
    • Reversed in the penultimate episode, where, after he's humiliated via Engineered Public Confession, it's Felix who wants to see the Reds and Blues killed, noting that it would be the perfect time to finish Tucker off, given his injuries. However, Locus stops him because protocol dictates that they return to home base after a failure.
  • Worf Had the Flu: If it weren't for Carolina's leg wound, the big fight in the penultimate episode of the season wouldn't have lasted nearly as long or gone nearly as well for the mercenaries. It was also later stated that Carolina and Wash purposely went easy on them so they could get the mercs distracted and start Felix monologuing. To argue in the mercenaries' favor, though, Church does remark in the next episode that the plan was for Carolina to distract the mercenaries, not let them mop the floor with her. It's entirely possible that two mercenaries who have seen countless fights, including some of the nastiest that happened during the Great War, are a match for two Freelancers.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Kimball tells Tucker, Caboose, Simmons and Grif this in Episode 3.
    Kimball: When I first heard about you four, I envisioned strong, daring, respectable soldiers.
    Grif: Buuuut?
    Kimball: But, now that I've come to know you, I've found that you're something else entirely. Turns out you're all a bunch of -
    Simmons: Cowards.
    Tucker: Losers?
    Grif: Idiots?
    Caboose: Space men.
    Kimball: Misfits. You're oddballs that don't exactly fit in. Which is why all my men look up to you and why morale has been at an all-time high.
  • You Are in Command Now: How Kimball and Doyle inherited their positions as leaders of the NR and FAC, respectively.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: As of episode 9, apparently (although stated in reverse).

    Season 13 

Spoilers for Episode 1 will be unmarked below.

  • Arc Number:
    • Thirteen, at least in the teaser image. The thirteen characters in the teaser (Dr. Grey, Lopez, Tucker, Grif, Washington, Sarge, Epsilon, Simmons, Carolina, Donut, Kimball, Caboose and Doyle) are a reference to the series' thirteen seasons.
    • 57. The number is seen in the first episode as the percentage of both damage the Pelican has taken and likelyhood of Carolina neglecting her allies in a fight. In Episode 2, Grif states that Matthews has thanked him 56 times before Matthews proceeds to thank him again. In Season 12, Caboose says his lucky numbers are 5 and 7. Counting both parts of "Armonia" as one episode, the trilogy is 57 episodes long. After the season was over, Miles and Burnie revealed in an interview that it was all just an incredibly lucky coincidence that they ran with the mess with the fans.
  • Arc Words: In addition to the series-wide ones, "Who are you?" has been asked to nearly all the major characters.
  • Artifact of Doom: One of the alien temples on Chorus will, when activated, exterminate all life on the planet.
  • Back for the Dead: Both Aiden Price (the Counselor) and Sharkface (the Insurrection's Flame Soldier) are reintroduced at the start of the season, and they both end up getting killed off by the end of it.
  • Back for the Finale: For the finale of the Chorus arc - The Counselor, Sharkface and Doc are all back from their bus trips.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Wash and Kimball in Episode 16.
  • Bittersweet Ending: While the season on a grander scale ends on a somewhat uplifting note, with Hargrove's crimes exposed to the galaxy, and the armies of Chorus saved, the finale ends on a depressingly somber note, with Epsilon sacrificing himself to give Tucker the power to run Maine's armour, and never knowing whether or not his death saved his friends.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: The season ends with the Reds and Blues about to go up against the remaining forces of Charon as Epsilon prepares to wipe his memory to run the Meta's suit and help the others to stay alive.
  • Book-Ends:
    • For the entire series, as the finale calls back the first season. When Church "died" in Season 1, his last words were telling Tucker, "I just want you to know... I always hated you the most." Before the Blood Gulch crew goes into battle in the final episode, his last words to them are "I just want you guys to know, out of everyone I've ever met... I hate you all the least".
    • For Season 13, both the trailer and last scene are stills of the characters in various states of action while Church gives his final messages.
  • Brick Joke:
    • In Episode 10, Sarge suggests that they break through the enemy lines with a slow-motion car crash. No one takes him seriously, but they actually do it in the next episode.
    • In Episode 4, Dr. Grey reveals that Rifle!Freckles has full control over his own safety - if Caboose pulls the trigger, he ejects confetti and a party noise. In Episode 19, Felix tries to shoot Caboose with Freckles, only for the same thing to happen to him.
    Felix: What is wrong with you people?!
  • Butt-Monkey: This element of Doc's character is really emphasized when he returns and it's revealed that the others never noticed he was even gone.
    Tucker: Hey, Sarge?
    Sarge: What do you want, Blue?
    Tucker: Do you remember teleporting Doc back at the canyon?
    Sarge: Doc? No, he's been with us! ...I think, or wait... was he with you?
    Tucker: I found him in a cave! Said he was in another dimension.
    Sarge: Well that doesn't sound right at all. Grif, Simmons! You remember sending Doc to another dimension?
    Simmons: Who?
    Sarge: Doc! The purple guy!
    Grif: Doc... Oh, yeah! I guess we did do that.
    Tucker Yeah, I totally forgot too.
    Simmons: I Guess he's just got one of those faces. Y'know, like really forgettable.
  • Call-Back:
    • Epsilon gets to use the old "Wait, what?" reaction a few times, this time directed at Tucker rather than Sister.
    • Caboose and Sarge stand around on Chorus' version of Red Base, and Caboose starts to echo the "You ever wonder why we're here?" Running Gag, but gets distracted before he can finish.
    • Upon meeting with Sharkface, this time it's Epsilon who wonders, "What the fuck is with this guy?!"
    • Sharkface and the pirates falling from the Tartarus to Armonia much like the Freelancers did to get the jump on the Insurrection in Season 10.
    • Doc (as O'Malley) using a rocket launcher to take out several Space Pirates, like he did back in Blood Gulch.
    • Like he did in Season 12, Grif disguises himself as a snowman to hide from an enemy. It doesn't work this time.
    • Caboose "hiding" by simply turning his back on the enemy, referencing Season 1, where he hid from the Reds by staring at a rock, claiming "they can't see me, I can't see them".
    • Carolina protects the Pelican from the nuclear blast of Armonia's detonation by climbing outside, holding onto it with her grav boots, and using the Domed Energy Shield, like how North protected a Pelican from enemy fire back in Season 9. Epsilon even acknowledges this afterward, saying "North was one crazy son of a bitch."
    • In Season 12, Locus tells Washington, "I'm not a monster. I'm a soldier, like you." However, upon his Heel–Face Turn, he tells Felix - "I'm not a soldier. I'm a monster, like you."
  • The Cameo:
    • Junior makes one via a photograph in Episode 5. He later makes another cameo in person along with Sister of all people during Epsilon's broadcast in Episode 19.
    • Arin "Egoraptor" Hanson, Danny "Sexbang" Avidan, and Arin's wife Suzy Hanson from the Game Grumps voice two wounded soldiers and a medic during the first scene of "The Temple of the Key".
  • Can't Stop the Signal: The message revealing Chorus' coordinates and Malcolm Hargrove's crimes is broadcast on every screen in the galaxy in Episode 19.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The Counselor mentions that Carolina is far more likely to abandon her team when presented with a competitive scenario. Second meeting with Sharkface and we get:
      Sharkface: Looks like we're both looking for the same man. Bet you I find him first.
      Carolina: In your dreams. (Races off and leaves the blues behind)
    • Tucker accidentally activates an alien temple in Episode 4, causing supplies of high-tech alien weaponry to appear. This comes back into play in Episode 17 when the people of Chorus need to gear up for the final showdown against Charon.
    • Also happens with a literal gun - Caboose's confetti gun, which eventually saves Caboose's life when Felix tries to shoot him with it.
    • Some of the artifacts in the Chairman's office in Episode 6 come into play in the season finale-specifically, Grif takes back his Brute Shot and Tucker suits up in the Meta's armor for one last stand against the Chairman's soldiers.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: F.I.L.S.S. was revealed to be in Hargrove's possession at the end of Season 12, but it's not until the Season 13 finale that she finally makes an impact on the plot.
  • Colony Drop: Dr. Grey and the Lieutenants use the tractor beams to crash the Tartarus into the Purge in order to stop Felix from activating it. Both the ship and the temple are completely destroyed.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • The raid on Crash Site Alpha goes downhill almost immediately thanks to the reinforcements from the Tartarus. The armies of Chorus are overwhelmed and barely manage to escape.
    • Then they get to be the ones dishing out the curb-stomping when they attack the Communication Temple in Episode 18-thanks to Charon having lost most of their men, and Chorus being armed to the teeth with high-tech alien weaponry and vehicles. And Caboose in a tank.
    • Felix is on the receiving end of one when he fights the entire Blood Gulch Crew on his own.
  • Elite Mook: The concept is viciously parodied with the heavy gunner during the 2nd episode, who desires a minigun so as to differentiate himself from his fellow soldiers despite basically having the same job as them.
  • The Ending Changes Everything: Played with. Epsilon's narration in the trailer implies that the entire series thus far are the thirteen articles of a document titled "Red vs Blue" he's sending to the new Chairman of the UNSC to expose Hargrove's villainy. It's revealed in the finale that the message is one of the messages left behind by Epsilon as he prepares to sacrifice himself before Charon's last stand.
    Epsilon: Attached, you'll find a series of documents and video files, detailing the illegal and treasonous actives of your predecessor, Mr. Malcolm Hargove. I've titled these files 'Red vs. Blue'.
  • Epic Fail: When the tension between Kimball and Doyle becomes too much in Episode 14, Doc decides to remedy this by setting up an "honest and down-to-earth counseling session"... Between the leaders of two opposing armies. Who have been trying to kill each other for years. In an odd subversion, it actually ends up working in an unintentional way when Doyle genuinely admits that Kimball is the most courageous woman he's ever met and is everything he aspires to be. In fact, Kimball actually takes the session's lessons to heart, and ends up rallying all of Chorus together because of it.
  • Face Death with Dignity:
    • Doyle calmly accepts his death as he attaches a grenade to the reactor.
    • Epsilon accepts that he will die never knowing what happens to his friends so that he can power up Maine's suit and give them at least a fighting chance against the Space Pirates aboard the Staff of Charon. He thinks it sucks, but he accepts it.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Episode 9 has Sharkface making a pretty ominous comment towards Epsilon:
      Sharkface: You're only safe as long for as long as that shield is up, and then you have no cover, and a failing A.I.
    • In Episode 6, Epsilon warns Carolina that if she pushes herself too hard she'll get hurt. In Episode 11, she refuses Church's advice to escape from Sharkface and insists on finishing him off, causing her to overtax the both of them and end up falling off a cliff.
    • Also in Episode 6, Hargrove dismisses the idea of capturing Epsilon to run Maine's armour - stating that he wouldn't be powerful enough. In Episode 20, these suspicions are confirmed. Epsilon is forced to dissolve himself and destroy his memories to generate enough fragments to help Tucker operate the suit, effectively killing himself in the process.
    • Most blatantly, in the background of a shot in the final episode, the flashing text on F.I.L.S.S.' computer monitor forms the sentence "Church dies at the end" for a few frames.
  • Hazy Feel Turn: O'Malley, the Big Bad of the Blood Gulch Chronicles, is helping the Reds and Blues fight off the space pirates by the end of the season. It's probably because the pirates are a more acceptable target in the narrative for him to vent his rage. Justified in that it's not really Omega, just a split personality doing an impression of him, formed while Doc was trapped by the Future Cubes.
    O'Malley: Oh, please. I'm the original bad boy. Mwahahaha! (blasts Felix with a point-blank rocket)
  • Heel–Face Turn: Ultimately, Locus has one after undergoing a Heel Realization. This brings the Chorus Trilogy full-circle, as it begins in Season 11 with Locus menacing the Blood Gulch Crew and Felix apparently protecting them, before it's revealed that Felix was Evil All Along, and finally Locus turns against Felix to side with the Reds and Blues.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Doyle stays behind in Armonia and blows up the nuclear reactor, wiping out almost all of the Space Pirates while everyone else escapes.
    • Deconstructed in the final episode. Epsilon sacrifices himself to give Tucker enough power to run Maine's suit and survive Charon's last stand. But before he does, he gives a speech about how he'll die never knowing whether or not he made a difference, something usually left out of the narrative. To emphasize this, the season ends before the audience finds out how the fight goes.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Hargrove, and Charon Industries by extension, are hit hard by this on multiple occasions.
    • Crashing the Reds and Blues' ship into Chorus for scrap metal led to them awakening the citizens of Chorus of the futility of the Civil War and their manipulation at Hargrove's hands, and turning the whole planet against Hargrove.
    • Hargrove takes down the Director of Project Freelancer, only to be left struggling against the regulations passed in his wake.
    • Hargrove repurposes Maine's suit to become an ultimate weapon for a capable soldier, only for Tucker to use it in their final battle.
    • The tractor beam Charon used to force the Reds and Blues to crash land on Chorus in the first place, is later taken control of by the lieutenants, who use it to crash the Tartarus into the Purge temple to destroy both it any everyone on board the ship.
  • Hope Spot: The end of Episode 19. Against all odds, the people of Chorus have successfully broadcasted their distress call, and a ship is on its way! Unfortunately, it turns out to belong to the Chairman himself, who is NOT pleased with being exposed as a criminal to the entire galaxy.
  • Ignored Epiphany: Church calls Carolina out on becoming like the Meta, obsessively wanting to make use of armor enhancements. She admits he has a point but disregards it, feeling that they need every advantage they can get and finding the short term gain worth the long term risks. Subverted as of Episode 16, when Carolina battles Shark-Face without blatantly using many of her armor enhancements—and, by extension, relying on her own skills instead of additional powers. Even more fittingly, she fares much better in this fight.
  • Inaction Sequence: Intentionally played out in the finale. Just as Charon's troops are about to bust through the door and make a last stand against the Reds and Blues, Epsilon slows time down to a halt, and leaves several recordings apologising from the bottom of his heart for what he's about to do, before sacrificing himself to grant Tucker some extra power. As soon as this happens, the episode ends, leaving the audience hanging.
  • Ironic Echo: In Season 12, Locus' response to Wash calling him a "monster" was "I'm not a monster. I'm a soldier, like you". In Season 13, Episode 19, when Felix is pleading for him to kill the Reds and Blues, reminding him that he is a soldier, he responds, "I'm not a soldier. I'm a monster, like you".
  • Irony:
    • The Chairman caused acquisition of AI to become more heavily regulated in his efforts to take control of the Project Freelancer's technology, and now he's having trouble obtaining one legally to run an upgraded version of Maine's armor.
    • Felix mocks Tucker and the other sim troopers for being unable to do anything without the Freelancers' help. In Episode 19 the Reds and Blues defeat him in a total Curb-Stomp Battle, with Wash and Carolina not even present.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Kimball's "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Doyle for losing the key to Felix may have been incredibly harsh but she isn't wrong. His actions mean they have to devote dwindling resources to keeping Doyle alive and also cause the Space Pirates to drastically step up their efforts.
    • Doyle gets one later when he calls Kimball out on fighting against him even when he makes sincere overtures to gaining her trust.
  • Laughing Mad: In Episode 10, Doc's laughter after hearing that the others never realised he was gone quickly degenerates into O'Malley's insane evil laughter. Not getting it, Caboose laughs along with him.
  • Left Hanging: Like No Ending below, this trope is intentionally played out in the finale. Epsilon prepares to sacrifice himself via fragmentation before Charon's last stand, giving Tucker enough power to run Maine's suit and give the Reds and Blues a fighting chance. He laments that because he'll die, he'll never be able to know whether or not they survived, and will never get any closure to the event his entire life was leading up to. Because the episode ends there, Epsilon and the audience are left hanging, and with Season 14 being comprised of short stories, it'll be a while still before any of these plot points are resolved.
    Epilson: There’s so many stories where some brave hero decides to give their life to save the day. And because of their sacrifice, the good guys win, the survivors all cheer, and everybody lives happily ever after. But the hero… never gets to see that ending. They’ll never know if their sacrifice actually made a difference. They’ll never know if the day was really saved. In the end… they just have to have faith. Ain’t that a bitch?
    The episode cuts to credits as Epsilon flickers out of existence.
  • Lucky Seven: Parodied in the tagline: Their lucky number seven is thirteen.
  • Meaningful Echo: Wash compliments the Reds before the assault on Crash Site Alpha and tells them how far they've come, because he thinks they will die in the battle. When the Reds and Blues are fighting Felix at the Communication Temple, Wash tells them all he believes in them, and that time Sarge knows he means it.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Felix does this to the entire BGC except Tucker.
    Felix: Well, look who it is... Lavernius Tucker, and his other less important but equally annoying friends.
  • No Ending: Intentionally played out in the finale - because Epsilon sacrifices himself before the final battle to allow Tucker to use the Meta's suit, he'll never know what happens. Likewise, the episode cuts out as soon as he dies. Ain't that a bitch?
  • Phlebotinum Overload: Of sorts and certainly from Carolina's perspective who's been using Church in such a manner when he suddenly crashes during a fight
  • Posthumous Narration: Epsilon reveals that he may die at the end of the teaser which presumably takes place after his death.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    Kimball: You should have thrown that sword off the mountain and taken the fucking bullet.
    Kimball: Fight because you deserve to fucking WIN!
    • Aiden Price gets one at the end of Episode 18, right before the Tartarus crashes:
  • The Purge:
    • After hijacking a prison ship and inviting the prisoners to work for them, Felix and Locus weed them out by opening doors to open space that are in every cell. Any prisoner who didn't heed their instructions to grab the cell bars or were too weak to hold on were ejected into space. Based on the comment by one of the ship's guards, it appears to actually be called this.
    • Then in Episode 9, Santa tells the group, among other things, that there is a device on Chorus capable of wiping out all life on the planet, an event that he calls the Purge. Unfortunately, Sharkface and several other Charon troops overhear the conversation.
  • Raised Hand of Survival: After the battle in episode 18, we see a shot of Felix's hand bursting through the rubble, to show he survived.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Episode 2 shows that while the civil war is over the leadership of the opposing sides have trouble cooperating with each other, years of conflict not being forgotten over night. As the season goes on, it becomes apparent that the only thing keeping the Federal Army and the New Republic from resuming war is the Reds and Blues and the threat of mutual extinction from the Space Pirates.
    • Episode 11: Church's insistence to slow down and his warnings of being overtaxed are ignored and he suddenly crashes when Carolina needs him.
    • Episode 16: Sharkface's wrist mounted flamethrowers don't work so well when he is on a high speed monorail; the flames are sucked away by the winds. He later attempts to invoke You Can Barely Stand against Carolina after being defeated just as Wash and Kimball arrive on the scene. Dazed and broken as he is, he is unable to do anything about the latter two simply gunning him down once his speech is finished.
    • Episode 19: Felix fights the Blood Gulch Crew on his own and gets humiliated. He might have been able to beat any of them individually, but Conservation of Ninjutsu is not saving him when they learn to work as a team.
  • Rousing Speech: Kimball gives one in Episode 17 to both armies after Doyle's Heroic Sacrifice and the destruction of Armonia, finally ending the ongoing conflict and bitterness between the teams.
    Kimball: I never believed this truce would last. I thought that if we managed to survive Charon it would only be a matter of time before we were back at each other's throats. I believe this because in my eyes the Federal Army of Chorus was still the enemy. When you spend everyday fighting a war, you learn to demonize your attackers. To you, they're evil, they're sub-human. Because if they weren't, then what would that make you? ...What I'm trying to say... is I've been afraid to see you for what you really are. You're our brothers. Our sisters. And the things we've done to one another are unforgivable. But General Doyle was able to see past that. In the end, he understood that now isn't the time for pride or anger, now is the time for unity. Everyday I ask myself, "what do you fight for", and every day I answer, "for a better tomorrow". Well, if we can’t set aside our past and start trusting one another, there won’t be a tomorrow. So please, fight with me. Fight to see Malcolm Hargrove locked away for the rest of his life! Fight to wipe that stupid grin off of Felix’s face! Fight because you deserve to fucking WIN!
  • Sadistic Choice: Episode 9 ends with one of these for Doyle, as Kimball's team is backed into a corner begging for backup, and Carolina asks him to instead send reinforcements to the Mountain Temple, where the pirates are heading to pick up a key that will end all life on the planet. In Episode 10, he takes a third option by heading to the temple himself.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: In Episode 18, Aiden Price realises it's all over for Charon once the people of Chorus launch their attack on the Communication Temple, and takes control of the Tartarus, ordering it to retreat. However, the lieutenants manage to activate the tractor beam on Crash Site Alpha and pull the ship down.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: A rather impressive one delivered by Locus to Felix in Episode 19 after deciding not to kill the Blood Gulch Crew.
    Felix: Locus, what are you doing? You're supposed to kill them!
    Locus: No.
    Felix: (shocked) What?!
    Locus: No more killing.
    Felix: What are you talking about? You're a soldier, remember?!
    Locus: I'm not a soldier. I'm a monster... like you.
    Felix: (standing up) Locus, we' Survivors. We need each other. Wh-what about our orders? Our reward?! Becoming the ultimate weapon.
    Locus: I'm not doing this for the reward. I'm not doing this because someone told me to. I'm doing this for me.
  • So Proud of You: Wash tells this to the Reds before the attack on Crash Site Alpha. Although he doesn't say it verbatim later, his voice definitely has pride in it when the Reds and Blues manage to send out their message using the Communication Temple and Wash claims he never doubted them for a second.
  • Stealth Insult: When Locus claims that Maine's actions should have been influenced by his orders and nothing else, the Counselor responds that such a mentality would have only made him a slave, indirectly calling Locus one as well.
  • Taking You with Me: Once his crimes are revealed, Malcolm Hargove decides to take his ship to Chorus and kill as many people as possible in retaliation for the Reds and Blues thwarting his plans.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Despite the Enemy Mine situation, there is still a lot of tension between the Fedeation and New Republic forces, from petty insults to flat out calling Kimball 'bitch' to her face and refusing to use her title as general. Overall, both sides seem to be equally guilty in all this. Finally, as of episode 17, the tension's on the verge of coming to a head after Doyle's Heroic Sacrifice. The plot line is finally resolved when Kimball delivers her Rousing Speech, and both sides agree to properly bury the hatchet and fight together against Charon's forces.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Kimball delivers a pretty brutal one to Doyle after he gives up the Great Key to Felix.
      Kimball: I don't have all the answers, General, but I do know that sometimes you have to risk lives to see results. Even your own. Especially your own. You should have thrown the sword off the mountain and taken the fucking bullet, but you're too much of a stupid, selfish coward to see that.
    • O'Malley gives a comedic one to Grif in Episode 14, ruining Doc's attempt at roleplaying.
      Doc: (entering the O'Malley persona)]] And I'm Dexter Grif, reporting for duty! Oh, wait, never mind! I forgot that I'm a worthless sack of human excrement that wouldn't be caught dead following orders, because I'm too busy wishing my parents loved me as much as my sister! (Evil laugh) Maybe if I had a stable father figure growing up, I wouldn't be so opposed to order! But I guess that's just what happens when your mother turns tricks behind the elephant cage at the circus! (Evil laugh) Here Dex, have some more cotton candy! (Evil laugh)
    • Wash gives one to Locus in Episode 11
      Wash: All that time we were with the Feds, I knew you were watching me, making sure I wasn't a threat. Which is why I made sure I took the time to watch you. You know, you might see our similarities, Locus, but you still can't see that between the two of us, I'm the soldier, and you're just a killer.
  • Too Dumb to Fool: Caboose manages to pass the test of being a "true warrior" and enter the gateway in the Jungle Temple by having his head so completely empty that he's completely fearless.
  • Unlucky Thirteen: Highlighting the misfortune of the Reds and Blues, the tagline states that Their lucky number seven is thirteen. (This is also a line from "The Good Fight", a Trocadero song whose instrumental parts are often used in the series.)
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The people of Chorus are rather nonplussed at the fact that there are giant floating alien structures on their planet. Before the war, they were something of an interplanetary tourist trap.
  • Villain Episode: Episodes 1 and 7 count as this. Episode 1 focuses on Locus and Felix recruiting criminals to increase their numbers against the armies of Chorus and episode 7 focuses on them trying to figure out the alien gateway while the Counselor has a talk with Sharkface. Additionally, Episode 7 explores Locus' past during the war, the only episode to reveal his past as a soldier, and certain events that played a role in establishing his philosophy of what it means to be a soldier. In both episodes, members of the Blood Gulch Crew only appear in the very last scene.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Episode 9: Santa reveals the existence of a temple that could kill everyone on Chorus, while both teams are ambushed by the space pirates and the Tartarus prisoners.
    • Episode 11: Carolina fights Sharkface and loses when Epsilon malfunctions under stress and dematerialises.
    • Episode 16: Sharkface is shot to death and Doyle sacrifices himself to destroy Armonia, killing a large majority of the Space Pirates in the process.
    • Episode 18: The lieutenants use the tractor beam at Crash Site Alpha to crash the Tartarus ship into the Purge temple, destroying the temple and everyone on board the ship.
    • Episode 19: Locus pulls a Heel–Face Turn, Felix is killed once and for all, the SOS is successfully sent from the Communications Tower, Sister and Junior reappear, and Hargrove has brought the Staff of Charon to Chorus.
    • Episode 20: Aboard the Staff of Charon, the Reds and Blues (aided by F.I.L.S.S.) make a last stand against all of Charon's remaining troops. Tucker uses Maine's armour in the fight (and uses its Adaptive Camouflage enhancement to turn it from its original white colour to Tucker's aqua), and Epsilon sacrifices himself to allow Tucker to use it in the hopes of giving the Reds and Blues a chance at survival. As Epsilon dies, and just before the battle commences, the season ends.
  • Wham Line:
    • The trailer ends on some pretty heavy foreshadowing:
      Epsilon: This is, after all... the story of how I died.
    • In Episode 10:
      O'Malley: You incompetent fools! You will all taste oblivion!
    • Three in Episode 19:
      Santa: Your partner is afraid of you.

      Felix: Locus, what are you doing? You're supposed to kill them!
      Locus: No.

      Hargrove: You have made a terrible mistake.
    • And, of course, Episode 20:
      Tucker: (wearing the Meta's armor) See you on the other side, Church.
      Epsilon: (time stops) (sighs) Not this time, buddy.
  • Wham Shot:
    • Two in Episode 1: The doors to the Tartarus's bridge opening to reveal The Counselor, appearing in the present-day storyline for the first time since Season 6. Then, at the end of the episode, we get a look at Sharkface, the Insurrection's flame soldier, identifiable from his tattoos.
    • In Episode 11, watching first Delta, then Theta, and then Epsilon himself derez under the stress of the Carolina/Sharkface fight.
    • In Episode 16, Carolina activates her bubble-shield to cover the Pelican just before Armonia explodes.
    • Two in Episode 18: The Tartarus hurtling towards the Purge after being hit with the tractor beams, and then Felix's hand punching out of the rubble.
    • Three in Episode 19: Locus throwing his SAW at Felix's feet, the reactions of Sister and Junior to the BGC's transmission, and later the Staff of Charon itself dropping out of slipspace right in front of the Reds and Blues.
    • Episode 20: Epsilon shatters, fragmenting for good, and the episode cuts to black, followed by credits.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Defied. After being defeated, Sharkface mentions that he will continue hunting the heroes until he dies. Washington and Kimball share a look, then gun him down.
  • Worf Had the Flu:
    • Discussed in retrospect by the Counselor regarding the Meta, stating that if the Blood Gulch Crew had faced him before the destruction of his A.I., things may have gone differently.
    • Possibly the case during Carolina and Sharkface's battles: the first time, Carolina was relying heavily on the armor enhancements and unaware of Church's difficulties handling them all, and thus ended up losing. The second time, she relied more on her own fighting skills and the surrounding environment, and fared much better against Sharkface.
  • Zerg Rush: This is how the Blood Gulch Crew ultimately take out Felix; he may be badass enough to take on the Freelancers in two-on-two combat, but they simply surround him and overwhelm him.

Ain't that a bitch?

Alternative Title(s): Red Vs Blue The Chorus Civil War


Example of: