The eleventh through thirteenth seasons of Red vs. Blue, filmed almost entirely inside of Halo 4 along with CGI animation. Ignoring four supplemental "Journal Entry" mini-episodes and the three trailers (one for each season), this story arc contains 58 episodes in total.
This story arc has the Blood Gulch Crew ending up shipwrecked on a seemingly deserted planet. However, this world has far more going on below the surface than they think, and what starts out as a goofy throwback to The Blood Gulch Chronicles soon becomes quite possibly the darkest journey the Reds and Blues will ever embark upon...
Warning: Each folder will contain unmarked spoilers for the previous seasons.
This series provides examples of:
- Arc Number: 57. "Manticore Blues," Freckles' main theme during this story arc, is 57 seconds long. The Basebook pic of Freckles wearing a silly hat in Season 11 was 57% uploaded by the time Tucker destroyed the computer. In Season 12, Caboose says his lucky numbers are 5 and 7, "and don't forget them!" The number is seen in the first episode of Season 13 as the percentage of both damage the Pelican has taken and the likelihood of Carolina neglecting their allies in a fight. In Episode 2 of Season 13, Grif states that Matthews has thanked him 56 times right before Matthews proceeds to thank him again. Finally, counting both parts of "Armonia" as one episode, the trilogy is 57 episodes long. Amusingly, after the story arc was concluded, Miles Luna and Burnie Burns revealed in an interview that it was all just an incredibly lucky coincidence that they decided to just run with to Troll the fans.
- 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.
- Big Bad: Charon Industries CEO Malcolm Hargrove is behind the Space Pirates that have kept Chorus in a bloody civil war, intending to kill off the entire planet's inhabitants before looting it for Forerunner technology. However, Hargrove himself doesn't get personally involved until the final two episodes, with the Reds and Blues instead spending their time fighting the Space Pirates' military leaders, Locus and Felix.
- Bookends: An unintended and tragic variant brought on by real life, as the second episode of Season 11 and the last episode of Season 13 both end with In Memoriam (the former to David Dredger, a former contributor to Achievement Hunter, and the latter to Monty Oum).
- 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).
- Central Theme: Three primary ones — Sacrifice, communication, and dehumanization. Learning to have faith in others is also a noticeable undercurrent in this story arc.
- Cerebus Syndrome: The first season in the story arc starts out as a Breather Episode after the very dramatic Project Freelancer Saga, but gradually gets Darker and Edgier to the point where Season 13 is easily one of the darkest seasons out of the whole show.
- 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 edge 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 Gulch Crew had first 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 then 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 Kimball's Rousing Speech in Episode 17 of Season 13 for them to finally bury the hatchet.
- Flanderization: Grif's gluttony and laziness are ratcheted up to even further levels at the expense of his status as Red Team's Only Sane Man, with Simmons taking over the role for most of the trilogy.
- Late-Arrival 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.
- The Magnificent Seven Samurai: After the Wham Episodes a ways into Season 12, the story arc morphs into this, with the deviation of the main storyline being less "defending and Training the Peaceful Villagers" and more "getting the two sides of the Civil War to perform a successful Enemy Mine against the true masterminds of the conflict". Other than that, it stays surprisingly close to this tropes general set-up.
- 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 (and 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:
- Discussed and invoked in Season 11. After being made aware of the Civil War and saved by the New Republic, Tucker, Simmons, Grif, and Caboose note the many similarities between the situation and Star Wars - the idea of The Federation vs. The Empire, evil white-armored soldiers, an antagonist Darth Vader Expy, the protagonists being dragged into the conflict by The Empire, and a "charismatic mercenary with a gruff exterior, but a heart of gold" on the rebels side.
- By the midpoint of Season 12, it initially seems to be subverted. Felix's behavior is revealed to be fake and he's actually a Psychotic Manchild, he and Locus are revealed to work for a third party aiming for the planets genocide to get their hands on the artifacts there, and both sides of the war are noted to have valid grievances yet aren't guilt free.
- Season 13 however would then proceed to have it played with. The Greater-Scope Villain is a Villain with Good Publicity much like Chancellor Palpatine, and Locus begins behaving more like Darth Vader, having a HeelFace Turn culminating in aiding in Felix's Disney Villain Death, and gaining his Great Key soon after.
- 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, though, as the finale shows that having the equipment and knowing how to use it effectively are two completely different things.
- Badass in Distress: Washington and Sarge (and both Donut and Lopez) are incapacitated and held captive at the end of the season.
- Big Damn Heroes:
- Hilariously subverted in Episode 10. Donut arrives with Doc and Lopez's head in tow... but as he already sent the pilot that dropped them off away, there's still no way to escape from the canyon and everyone's still fucked.
- Both played straight and subverted in the season's penultimate episode. It's played straight in that Donut saves Freckles from Dos.0 and Lopez saves Tucker from a Fed Soldier, but it's also subverted in that the New Republic reinforcements Felix promised are only able to turn the tide of battle for a very brief window before everyone has to escape.
- Bottle Episode: The whole season. It contains no CGI 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.
- Grif gets into a Seinfeldian Conversation with Simmons early on in the season about "robot overlords." When Dos.0 is about to deliver the killing blow to Freckles, he states that they could have ruled together over the Reds and Blues as "their robot overlords."
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- Wash's opening monologue in the season premiere 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.
- Combined with both Chekhov's Skill and Chekhov's Gag below, Donut's incredible skill with grenades. And as lampshaded by Grif, Donut's method of taking care of Dos.0 is virtually identical to the plan that he first suggested to use to take care of Freckles.
- Tucker pulls off a headshot on one of the soldiers making up Locus' initial assault team, just like he did to the Wyoming clones in the Season 5 finale.
- Dos.0 shouts out "Firing main cannons!" after stealing C.C.'s body and attacking Sarge.
- 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.
- Character Focus: The season is ultimately Wash's story, focusing on him struggling to accept his position as the leader of Blue Team along with trying to keep everyone on both teams alive as they're stuck in the canyon.
- 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, to the point where virtually every move from the obstacle course is replicated on the battlefield (i.e., Tucker slicing through some scaffolding becomes Tucker stabbing a Fed soldier that tried to stop him). It also 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.
- 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, to the point where virtually every move from the obstacle course is replicated on the battlefield (i.e., Tucker slicing through some scaffolding becomes Tucker stabbing a Fed soldier that tried to stop him). It also 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.
- Cliffhanger: The season ends on one, leading almost directly into the events of Season 12.
- 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.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: In Episode 18, Donut takes down a rampaging Dos.0 in a Mini-Mecha body near-effortlessly.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Donut easily takes out Dos.0 with only two Future Cubes in under three minutes.
- A Date with Rosie Palms: Tucker's version of the USNC motto is "When 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 since several of the obstacles are actually video game levels from the Halo franchise.
- Deserted Island: Or planet, in this case. The guys' transport crashing on it kicks off the season. Though 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.
- Dude, Not Funny!: 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.
- Dumbass Has a Point: As lampshaded by Tucker, Caboose naming Freckles after the spots on its "nose" actually makes more sense than calling it a MANTIS (with it only bearing a slight resemblance to a praying mantis).
- At one point, Tucker mentions that their ship's GPS should have alerted authorities of the crash and sent a rescue team. After some bickering, Wash admits that Tucker's right- They should have been rescued by now.
- Everyone Has Standards: Lopez may have nothing but barely disguised contempt for Red Team (and, by extension, the other Reds and Blues), but he balks at actually trying to kill them like Dos.0 does in Episodes 17 & 18.
- FaceHeel Turn: After hitting the Despair Event Horizon, Lopez Dos.0 uploads himself into C.C.'s body and goes on a rampage, wanting to kill Sarge and make the rest of the Reds and Blues bow down to him as their robot overlord.
- Friendship Moment:
- Most of Episodes 14 and 15, with the former having Wash and Tucker bury the hatchet, and the latter having Wash apologize to Caboose for not being a good enough friend.
- Tucker also yells out in genuine alarm when Lopez gets shot by the Federal Army snipers in Episode 18.
- Good All Along: A variant - At first, Freckles seems to operate off of Caboose's orders only because of Caboose first fixing them up. However, Episode 15 reveals that Freckles actually does care about Caboose in return, even being visibly hesitant to give Wash back the position of Blue Team leader since they're concerned for Caboose's feelings.
- 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.
- Heroic Sacrifice: In Episode 18, Wash has Freckles seal the tunnel used by the New Republic to make sure that Tucker, Caboose, Grif, Simmons, Felix, and the remaining rebel troopers can safely escape, leaving him, Sarge, Donut, and Lopez to the "mercy" of Locus.
- Impossible Task Instantly Accomplished: Wash's obstacle course somehow 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".
- Killer Robot: Surprisingly subverted with Freckles, who (despite being pretty obviously dangerous) is more of The Dreaded and even proves to be a firm ally of the Reds and Blues during the major battle at the end of the season. Instead, Dos.0 actually falls into this after he hits the Despair Event Horizon.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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."
- Mood Whiplash:
- After Wash's touching apology to Caboose in Episode 15, the camera cuts to Simmons (who is tearing up) commenting that he wishes that his team was this emotional (much to Tucker's exasperation).
- Donut's surprisingly awesome Curb-Stomp Battle of Dos.0 is promptly ruined when his attempt at a Pre-Mortem One-Liner in Spanish falls into My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels.
- Mundane Made Awesome: In Episode 18, Donut somehow manages to make "I'm not pink, I'm lightish red!" into a legitimate 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 along with forcing Simmons to join the Blues.
- 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 ...
- Oh, Crap!:
- Played for Laughs in "S.O.S.," with all of the Reds and Blues being stunned when Caboose cheerfully introduces them to his new pet - the Walking Armory Mini-Mecha Freckles.
- After Lopez gives his successor the idea of uploading him into C.C.'s body to prevent her from going on a rampage and so they'll both finally get some respect, Lopez Dos.0 instead muses aloud that maybe he should upload himself into C.C. instead. Cue Lopez giving a concerned Flat "What".
- Dos.0 has a metaphorical Jaw Drop when Donut actually responds to him in Spanish and then defeats him with two Future Cubes.
- OOC 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. However, he's interrupted before he can finish, just like Church was in the first episode of Season 9.
- Party Scattering: At the end of the season Wash, Sarge, Donut and Lopez have been captured by the Federal Army of Chorus and Freckles status is left unknown. This leaves Tucker, Caboose, Simmons and Grif separated from their friends after they were rescued by the New Republic. The four resolve to join the war in order to safe their friends.
- 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.
- Put on a Bus: Doc gets accidentally teleported away to God knows where when he and Grif are testing the Future Cubes in Episode 17.
- 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.
- Refusal of the Call: When Felix arrives at the canyon and tells the Reds and Blues that he has come to recruit them to help the New Republic the gang refuses to fight in the Cival War and points out that its not their problem. After the group gets separated thanks to Locus and the Federal Armies attack on the canyon the Reds and Blues that were rescued by the New Republic change their minds and decide to fight in order to save their friends.
- 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.
- Rewatch Bonus: When Dos.o begins his attack, the Reds and Blues assume it's Locus attacking and Felix, sounding a bit alarmed, protests that Locus wouldn't attack like this. The following seasons reveal that by this, Felix means attacking without warning his partner and his greatest fear is Locus turning against him.
- Ridiculous Future Sequelisation: 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.
- Running Gag:
- Dos.0's last words are a (translated) "Son of a bitch!".
- Starting with this season and continuing into the next, virtually every member of the Blood Gulch Crew present on the Hand of Merope (the ship that crashlanded on Chorus) will have a flashback showing how they helped contribute to the ship getting screwed up and getting them all shipwrecked on the planet. Except Caboose.
- 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.
- Take That!:
- Overlapping with Actor Allusion; Grif gets very angry when Donut compares the "Future Cubes to Pokeballs, with him angrily insisting that "These [Future Cubes] are cool! Don't ruin this for me!"
- Relatedly, when talking about the Future Cubes and Donut mentions "that bad Superman movie" (which turns out to be a film that only exists In-Universe), Doc first asks if it was Superman II or Man of Steel.
- 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 apparently 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:
- Simmons' many neuroses cause him to have a near-breakdown when stuck sharing a room with Grif, which leads to some increasingly surly behavior on his part.
- Sarge is showing signs of falling into true senility, concerned more with proper base decor and watching TV than with their survival.
- Wash was always rather snarky, but the situation has led to him becoming a real Drill Sergeant Nasty and putting the Blues through a lethal training regimen. He apologizes later, explaining that he isn't really that good at being a leader since that was never his job as a Freelancer.
- Tucker was always giving out rude comments, but his utterly disrespectful behavior towards Wash only serves to worsen the situation. This is justified in the same episode as Washington's behavior:Tucker: I don't want to do this! Did you ever think of that?! All I wanna do is stand around and talk to my friend. But he's gone now and all I have is you!
- The exceptions are Grif and Caboose, who seem fairly content with the situation for their own reasons.
- This is ironically inverted with Lopez Dos.0 who is much nicer than his predecessor until he finally loses patience, and actively tries to murder the Blood Gulch Crew upon uploading himself into the Reds' Mantis.
- 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 15: 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: Locus and his gang ambush the Red and Blue teams, sparking an all-out war until the New Republic soldiers arrive to rescue everyone. However, Dos.0 and C.C. are destroyed, Freckles is seemingly destroyed as well, and Lopez steals Dos.0's old body only to be shot as well. Even worse, Donut, Wash, and Sarge are all shot and separated from the team, and it's not clear if they're alive or not.
- Episode 19: We learn that at least Sarge, Donut, and Washington are being held in captivity. Kimball, the leader of La Résistance on Chorus, 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 takes up 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:
Freckles: Do not talk back to your commanding officer.
- Episode 10:
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.
Dos.0: He's insane. They're all insane.
- Episode 17, although it isn't taken as such by those present at the time:
- Wham Shot: The final shot of The Stinger, which shows who Locus is supposedly 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.
- 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.
- "Back to Camera" Pose: The season 12 teaser trailer ends with going through most of the major characters one by one, showing each one doing something different. The last one is Carolina; she stands with her back to the viewer, then turns her head to the side so that her visor comes into view. This reflects how she's been absent for the past season while off doing her own thing, while also hinting at her eventual return this season.
- 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 Development: The season gives a huge one for the Reds and Blues thanks to them stepping up and taking charge of an actual war instead of just Simulation Battles. Previous seasons, including this ones direct predecessor, showcased them as reluctant heroes who rarely engage in conflicts unless there was some personal investment for them. After making friends with various members of the army, and losing men because of their decisions, the crew becomes a lot more invested in saving the people of Chorus to the point that Tucker decides to infiltrate a Fed base with just the other Reds and Caboose since he doesn't want their squad to die for them. This reaches its peak at the end of the season when the Space Pirates give the Reds and Blues a chance to leave Chorus unscathed and they decide to reveal the Mercs involvement in the war and fight for Chorus in a war that was previously not their problem.
- Character Focus: A lot of focus is put on Tucker this season, to the point where he's essentially the season's protagonist.
- 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 random, seemingly unimportant stuff will actually turn out to be very 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 royally 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.
- Doctor Grey mentions in passing a news article titled "Colourful Space Marines Stop Corruption" which detailed how the Reds and Blues took down Project Freelancer. This article is shown in the final episode of the season which reveals that the one who's behind the war on Chorus is none other than UNSC Chairman Malcolm Hargrove.
- 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:
- Just from the first episode we have...
- Caboose's incorrectly spelled name is written on a wall with bullets.
- The password to the door in Episode 1 is "Password12", like Sarge's passwords.
- And Tucker still can't get the sniper rifle.
- Also, there are still too many pedals on a Warthog.
- Caboose later repeats his worst throw ever when the Lieutenants and Reds and Blues are "hunting" Felix.
- 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 at one point.
- Grif explains that the UNSC confiscated the "Grifshot" after the events of Season 10.
- Just from the first episode we have...
- Crapsack World: Nobody can leave Chorus without getting their ship shot down by the other side. Leaders have a short life expectancy - Kimball is the fourth leader of the New Republic, and Doyle was a glorified secretary before he got shoved into the role of the Federal Army's general. And according to Dr. Grey, 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 a dead body at a gas station's bathroom.
- 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.
- 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 Devious Daggers tendencies.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: When Lopez is turned back on, a bluescreen with the following text appears on the screen for a few frames.Warning!
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
- 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.
- Graying 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.
- 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.
- I Choose to Stay: Near the end of the season Felix and Locus contact the Blood Gulch Crew and offer them a ship to leave Chorus so long as they promise never to reveal Control's involvement in the war. The team is naturally reluctant to accept the offer since it will mean that an entire planets people will have died but Dr. Grey tells them that they did exactly what they promised, inspired both armies, and that they achieved their goal of reuniting with each other so they don't owe the armies anything. In the end the Reds and Blues stage an attack on the radio tower in order to reveal the mercs duplicity and give a message to Control/Malcolm Hargrove that they are here to stay.
- Idiot Houdini:
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.
- 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.
- Indy Ploy: Explicitly mentioned by Tucker in the first trailer.Kimball: If we cant even save a few prisoners, how can we expect to save Chorus?
Tucker: 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.
- The Lancer: Each of the remaining Reds and Blues gets their own sidekick for their joint, compact, "elite" squadron.
- 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.
- 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.
- Mirroring Factions:
- The Federal Army 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 Republic are both incompetent, 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't even get it together, and both hire a mercenary 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- No Body Left Behind: The weapons used by the gray-suited soldiers. It completely disintegrates the target - which deeply 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.
- 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!:
- Lopez does this when he discovers that Locus is bilingual in Episode 9.
- Reactions to the advanced weapons being used in Episode 10.
- Also, Zachary Miller, one of Locus's men, has this reaction when Carolina suggests that Dr. Gray be allowed to interrogate him further.
- 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.
- OOC 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 focuses 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.
- "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.
- Another variant in Episode 7 - As part of his Rousing Speech to Grif, Simmons, and Caboose, Tucker references their defeating C.T., the Meta, and the Tex Drones in the past as evidence for how they can save their friends on their own without the New Republic.
- 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.
- Rewatch Bonus: When Locus is talking to Wash and is interrupted by Dr. Grey in "The Federal Army of Chorus," the hardened mercenary starts to visibly tremble. While it's just an odd detail at the time, later reveals about just how crazy Dr. Grey really is makes it clear that Locus's obvious fear of her is completely justified.
- Rousing Speech:
Tucker: Are you...trying to give a motivational speech right now?
- As the New Republic and Federal Army get ready for what should be their final battle, Kimball and Doyle each give one, really driving home that these two forces are Not So Different.
- When Tucker's bitterness over Church leaving the group to go off with Carolina starts getting tedious, Caboose of all people gives Tucker a wake-up call with one of these, telling him to get over it.
- 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, by the way!
- From the moment of his return, various things jumping through, thrown through or shot through Epsilon's avatar.
- Classic ones returning for Season 12:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 does, however, show Epsilon alongside Carolina (albeit for a slight millisecond).
- 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. Of course, Carolina was actually trying to distract him and his fellow mercs.
- Spanner in the Works: The Reds and Blues, again. The Hand of Merope would have crashed on Chorus anyway, as it was pulled in by a tractor beam. However, their antics caused the ship to attempt to change course, jump to slipspace, and power down simultaneously, which caused it to be ripped in half instead, leaving them alive. Then Control attempted Xanatos Speed Chess by tangling them up in the armies so their incompetence would get more people killed, but then the part of the team with the New Republic went off on their own and met up with the part with the Federal Army, cluing them in to their being more to the situation than they thought. Then they survived Felix and Locus's assassination attempt thanks to a timely Carolina rescue, leaving them with knowledge of the Space Pirates' plan. And finally, they trick Felix into an Engineered Public Confession, leaving the plan entirely in shambles and the entire planet aware of what they've done. Not bad for people Felix called 'losers'. Lampshaded by Tucker, responding to Locus telling them they couldn't interfere with the Space Pirates' plan.Tucker: Says you! We're the champs of interfering with shit!
- Spell My Name with an "S":
- Fans can't seem to agree on whether the main setting of the story arc is spelled as Chorus, Korus, Corus, Chaurus, or any other number of combinations. The Chorus pronunciation was confirmed to be canon.
- 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 Luna, the main writer of The Chorus Trilogy, 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 perspective.
- 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. Also, the Reds and Blues have stopped the Chorus Civil War, and they're now going to help save the Chorusans from Charon.
- Wham Line:
- 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. Though 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.
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 -
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 New Republic and Federal Army of Chorus, respectively.
- Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: As of Episode 9, apparently (although stated in reverse).
Spoilers for Episode 1 will be unmarked below.
- A Death in the Limelight: Epsilon-Church gets the lion's share of the focus this season, and it ends with him performing a Heroic Sacrifice with no possible way for him to come back this time.
- 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.
- 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. Later, Wash and Carolina vs. Locus and Felix in Episode 18.
- Betrayal by Inaction: Locus' HeelFace Turn against Felix doesn't have him shooting at his former partner or anything like that, but it does have him not helping Felix kill the Reds and Blues along with him standing on the metaphorical sidelines as they hurl him off the Communications Tower to his death.
- 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 armor and never even knowing whether or not his death actually 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 so as to run the Meta's suit and help the others stay alive.
- 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 Reds and Blues goes into battle in the season's 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 the 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 "fun party sound." 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 even noticed he was ever 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?
Sarge: Doc! The purple guy!
Grif: Doc... Oh, yeah! I guess we did do that.
Tucker Yeah, I totally forgot too!
Simmons: Huh. I guess he's just got one of those faces. Y'know, like really forgettable!
- 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 then 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 Space Pirates fall from the Tartarus to Armonia much like how the Freelancers did the same so as to get the jump on the Insurrection in Season 10.
- Doc (as O'Malley) uses a rocket launcher to take out several Space Pirates, just like he did back in Blood Gulch.
- Like he did during the infiltration of the Feds' "snow base" 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 HeelFace Turn, he tells Felix - "I'm not a soldier. I'm a monster, like you."
- Tucker throwing a grenade at Felix's feet and telling him "Hey, Felix! Catch." is an allusion to Tucker and the other New Republic Reds and Blues trying to capture Felix as part of a training simulation early on in Season 12 and having his grenade be thrown back at him by Felix.
- During the Reds and Blues' Last Stand aboard the Staff of Charon, Donut compliments Tucker by saying "Now that's a good look for you!" when the latter gets into the Meta's suit. Wash previously told Maine "That's a good look" during Season 9 when the latter picked up the Brute Shot for the first time.
- Relatedly, just prior to their Last Stand against Charon, Sarge somberly states that "Today is a good day to die." Grif then interjects while holding the Grif Shot with "Permission to speak freely, sir? Fuck that." That whole exchange is an allusion to a similar conversation between Grif, Simmons, and Sarge in the Season 2 finale, albeit now with the addition of the cast's intervening 11 seasons-worth of Character Development taken into account.
- 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 "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.
- Character Focus: Epsilon-Church is the primary protagonist of this season, with a large portion of the season's events dedicated to showcasing both his Character Development and him realizing that he's not getting any younger and he probably won't be around for much longer.
- Chekhov's Gun:
- 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.
- 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)
- Also happens with a literal gun - Caboose's confetti rifle as controlled by Freckles, 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 Tower 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 all of the Reds and Blues on his own in Episode 19.
- Disney Villain Death: How Felix ultimately meets his fate. Simmons shoots a sticky grenade at Felix's Hard Light Deflector Shield (meaning he can't move his shield to protect himself without the grenade detonating), and Tucker then throws a grenade at his feet, with him then getting launched off the Communications Tower to his death.
- Elite Mook: The concept is viciously parodied with the heavy gunner during the second 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, though, 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.
- Five-Second Foreshadowing: When Doc finally returns from his Long Bus Trip in "Temple of the Key", notice that while he claims that he lost his mind twice while trapped in Another Dimension, he only says that he regained his sanity once. We then get him still being crazy confirmed at the end of the episode when O'Malley returns as a Split Personality of Doc.
- 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 armor - 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.
- Episode 9 has Sharkface making a pretty ominous comment towards Epsilon:
- Forgettable Character: Parodied with Doc, as the Reds and Blues had never noticed that Doc had gone missing until he reappeared in "Temple of the Key."
- 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 that 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 launcher)
- HeelFace Turn: Surprisingly, Locus has one after undergoing a Heel Realization. This actually 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.
- Heartrendingly deconstructed in the final episode. Epsilon-Church sacrifices himself to give Tucker enough power to run Maine's suit and help make sure that the Reds and Blues will survive Charon's Last Stand. But before he does, he gives a brief 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 right before the audience finds out how the fight actually 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, turning the whole planet against Hargrove.
- Hargrove took down the Director of Project Freelancer, only to be left struggling against the regulations passed in his wake regarding A.I..
- Hargrove re-purposes Maine's suit to become an ultimate weapon for a capable soldier, only for Tucker to use it in their final battle against his own forces.
- 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 kill two birds with one stone.
- Felix gets Killed Off for Real at the hands of the Reds and Blues helped by Locus, meaning that he's killed by the people he had previously let live just for a pointless Motive Rant and they're being assisted by the person he's been psychologically abusing and manipulating for God only knows how long.
- Hope Spot: The end of Episode 19. Against all odds, the people of Chorus have successfully broadcasted their distress call, and a ship is even 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.
- I "Uh" You, Too: During the Reds and Blues' Last Stand against Hargrove's forces aboard the Staff of Charon, Church tells them that "Out of everyone I've ever met...I hate you all the least."
- 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 Sharkface 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 apologizing 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 help him kill the Reds and Blues, reminding him that he is a soldier, Locus responds with, "I'm not a soldier. I'm a monster, like you."
- The Chairman caused acquisition of A.I.s to become more heavily regulated in his efforts to take control of 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 rather cruel, but she isn't completely 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 constantly fighting against him even when he's actually making sincere overtures towards gaining her trust.
- Karmic Death:
- After turning to the side of Charon Industries and becoming complicit in genocide, Aiden Price is killed when the Chorusans (a.k.a. the very people he's helping massacre) hijack the Tartarus with the tractor beams at Crash Site Alpha and crash it into the Purge Temple.
- Felix gets killed off by the Reds and Blues with the assistance of Locus - A.k.a., he's murdered by the very same people he repeatedly called weaklings and losers who didn't stand a chance against him (and keep in mind the Reds and Blues wouldn't even be his problem in the first place if Felix had just let them all get executed by Locus' firing squad in 'Cloak and Dagger' instead of going on a Motive Rant), all while they're being assisted by his former partner that he had been subjecting to a psychologically abusive relationship.
- Laughing Mad: In Episode 10, Doc's laughter after hearing that the others never realized he was gone quickly degenerates into O'Malley's insane evil laughter. Not getting it, Caboose laughs along with him.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
- In "Test Your Might," Grif complains how there seems to be "only three places to go on the whole planet", being a playful jab at the limited number of Halo 4 multiplayer maps that are available for Rooster Teeth to film Chorus with.
- During his final speech at the end of the season finale, Epsilon-Church bitterly notes that the part of a Heroic Sacrifice often left out is that the hero in question will never know if their sacrifice actually worked or not, and they just have to have faith things will work out. Cue Epsilon's death being immediately followed by a Smash Cut to the credits, and the audience has now just been Left Hanging with a No Ending by the season's Cliffhanger. Thusly, we won't know whether or not Epsilon's sacrifice actually paid off until Season 15 and will just have to have faith things worked out like he does.
- 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.Epsilon: Theres 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. Theyll never know if their sacrifice actually made a difference. Theyll never know if the day was really saved. In the end they just have to have faith. Aint 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.
- My Friends... and Zoidberg: Felix does this to the entire Blood Gulch Crew 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 - since Epsilon is sacrificing 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.
- 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 gives one to Doyle in her "The Reason You Suck" Speech in Episode 12:
Kimball: Fight because you deserve to fucking WIN!
- Kimball gets another one during her Rousing Speech in Episode 17:
Price: Oh, son of a bitch...
- 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 epic battle in Episode 18, we see a shot of Felix's hand bursting through the rubble around the Purge Tower to show he survived.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
- 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.
- 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.
- Wash gives one to Locus in Episode 11:
- 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 cant set aside our past and start trusting one another, there wont 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 Felixs face! Fight because you deserve to fucking WIN!
- Rule of Symbolism:
- When Locus performs their HeelFace Turn in the season's penultimate episode, they and the Reds and Blues are all positioned around Felix in a near-identical replica to how Locus' "trial" in the Jungle Temple looked during "Locus of Control".
- Word of God, the Reds and Blues using Hargrove's trophies from Project Freelancer against him in the season finale is meant to represent them taking back their history from Charon and them reclaiming "what is rightfully their's". According to
- The Dark Reprise of "Contact" - "Contact Redux" - which plays during Season 13's credits is almost identical lyrically to the original song, but has one noticeable change: "Contact" has the line "One of us won't be forgotten", while "Contact Redux" has the corresponding line of "One of us will be forgotten". This can be seen as an allusion to that Wash being kidnapped by Locus and the Feds became Tucker's primary drive to be a competent leader throughout the first half of Season 12 (Wash wasn't forgotten), and now Epsilon has deliberately erased his own memories so as to give the Reds and Blues a fighting chance in the finale (Epsilon has now forgotten himself).
- 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.
- Sanity Slippage: Felix spends the entire season gradually going off the rails, becoming increasingly impulsive and short-tempered. He descends into full-on madness after getting the Tartarus dropped on him.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: In Episode 18, Aiden Price realizes it's all over for Charon once the people of Chorus launch their attack on the Communications 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!
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're...partners. 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 blindly following his orders and nothing else, the Counselor responds that such a mentality would only have made him feel like 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 with an army of MANTISes 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 Federal Army and New Republic forces, ranging 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.
- 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.note
- 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. Epsilon is understandably baffled.
- 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 10: Doyle has taken Chorus' Great Key and is on the run from Felix. Also, Doc has returned, albeit now with an Ax-Crazy Split Personality based off of O'Malley in tow.
- Episode 11: Carolina fights Sharkface and loses when Epsilon malfunctions under stress and shatters.
- Episode 16: Sharkface is shot to death and Doyle sacrifices himself to destroy Armonia, killing a huge chunk 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 HeelFace 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.
- The trailer ends on some pretty heavy foreshadowing:
- Wham Shot:
- Two in Episode 1: The doors to the bridge of the Tartarus opening to reveal the Counselor, appearing in the present-day storyline for the first time since Reconstruction. 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 Epsilon'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 and 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 prior to 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 Reds and Blues ultimately take out Felix; he may be badass enough to take on the Freelancers in two-on-two combat, but they simply surround him from all sides and overwhelm him before he can launch any successful counterattack.