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Machinima / Red vs. Blue: The Project Freelancer Saga

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Before there was Red vs. Blue, there was Project Freelancer.

The collection of seasons 9 and 10 of Red vs. Blue. This series cuts between two concurrent storylines - a Prequel to the whole series based around Project Freelancer created entirely in CGI, and the continuing adventures of the Blood Gulch crew and Agent Washington, as well as Church's experiences inside the Epsilon Unit.

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


This series provides examples of:

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    More Than One Season 
  • Arc Words: Specifically of Carolina's character arc, the phrase "You'd better figure out the difference between your enemies and your friends" is brought up several times.
  • Bad Boss:
    • The Director's regulations ultimately ended up turning many Freelancers against each other. He actively encouraged competition between the agents with the Leaderboard and who would eventually get an A.I. He also would regularly chew out any agents for going against his orders or failing a mission, which just built resent for those agents against those who did better than them.
    • Carolina is shown to be one to the Reds and Blues in the Present storyline during Season 10. She rounds them all up to force them to help her save Epsilon, then drags them all around with her on her revenge quest to find and kill the Director, constantly insulting them and threatening their lives when they annoy her. She also talks down to her fellow Freelancer Washington, treating him only marginally better than the rest of the Reds and Blues. Epsilon eventually becomes this too. Once he and Carolina start to bond, he ends up siding with her more often than the rest of his friends, talking down to them the same as her and not telling them anything. This eventually reaches a head in Episode 18, when Carolina and Epsilon make a plan to kill the Director that basically turns the Reds, Tucker, and Caboose into Cannon Fodder as a distraction. By this point, the Reds and Blues are all sick of Carolina and Epsilon mistreating them, and all refuse to help them with their personal vendetta anymore. This results in Carolina and Epsilon both having a meltdown over everyone basically refusing to get themselves killed for them, with Carolina trying to hold them at gunpoint until Wash makes her backdown, and Epsilon going on a rant about how everyone owes him this after all the shit they put him through over the years.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The Director of Project Freelancer, Dr. Leonard Church, is the primary antagonist of the saga, who's morally questionable actions and leadership cause the the conflict between his agents and the organization's dissolution. Carolina's goal in the present is to find and kill him. In the flashback portions he's in competition with the Insurrection Leader, who he sends the Freelancers to steal from, and Sigma, who begins transforming Maine into the Meta.
  • Doomed by Canon: Used substantially in the Prequel portion of the series, where a vast majority of the Freelancers have already died in earlier seasons.
    • Wyoming is killed by Tex in the final episode of The Blood Gulch Chronicles.
    • Tex lives to visit the Reds and Blues in Season 1, and is Killed Off for Real (at least the real Tex is) at the end of Reconstruction.
    • York dies at the end of Out of Mind.
    • North is Killed Offscreen by The Meta.
    • South is shot by Washington in Reconstruction.
    • C.T. dies at the end of Recreation, but it's revealed in Season 10 that the C.T. in Recreation was the Insurrectionist Leader, not the original agent.
    • The Meta is given a Disney Villain Death at the end of Revelation.
    • The Artificial Intelligences that begin to get introduced at the end of Season 9, most notably Delta, Theta, and Sigma, who get a lot of screentime. All of the AIs except for Epsilon are Killed Off for Real at the hands of the activation of the "emp" at Command.
    • The only exceptions are Epsilon, who still has much trauma to go to upon his reawakening, Washington, who will still pull a temporary Face–Heel Turn after being locked away in prison for betraying Project Freelancer, and Carolina, who appears in the real world at the end of Season 9, alive.
  • Evil vs. Evil: It was known by this point that the Director was the Greater-Scope Villain of the series, and the seasons themselves make the Project as a whole out as a Villain Protagonist, with the Freelancers Obliviously Evil while fighting the actual heroes, the Insurrectionists. Season 12 reveals the connection between the Space Pirates, Insurrectionists, and Charon Industries, all of which are working for the...Greatest Scope Villain, Chairman Malcolm Hargrove.

    Season 9 
  • The Ace: Agent Carolina, but the role is rivaled by Tex as of Episode 10.
  • Aerial Canyon Chase: In episode 4, Four-Seven-Niner flies the Pelican through a canyon to try and lose their pursuers.
  • Armed with Canon: Epsilon-Church needs events in the simulation to go the same as before to draw Tex out.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: York's question to North definitely plants a seed of doubt in the latter's head:
    York: We're the good guys, right?
  • Art Shift: Burnie Burns has said that, due to the difficulty in matching the game art style with the mocap CGI, they've embraced the difference to tell two simultaneous storylines side-by-side, with the Freelancer stuff in CGI entirely and the "future stuff" in Halo: Reach machinima. Then the shift goes back to Halo 3 for the last scene of the season, outside of the memory unit and in the present day.
  • Ascended Extra: York had about seven minutes of screentime prior to this season, Carolina was just talked about a couple of times, and North was an already-dead body barely seen on-screen.
  • Audible Gleam: During Grif's initial cleanliness tick, both times he points out how clean he's waxed the floors, we cut to a wider shot of the floor, which gives this off. It's quite amusing.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Epsilon-Church and Epsilon-Tex make amends during the (assumed) end of the world.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses:
    • When Agent North and Agent South do a quick Opponent Switch in Episode 2, they end up briefly positioned back-to-back in the firefight.
    • In episode 17, Maine jumps in to back up Carolina and they briefly fight back to back, each focusing on a different opponent.
  • Bash Brothers: North and South Dakota are the "Bash Siblings" variant of this trope.
  • Behind the Black: The Reds fail to notice Sarge's drilling machine and the even larger excavation unit until he points them out. Lampshaded by Grif.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • In Episode 3, North and South are saved from the Red Demo Man and his Insurrectionists by the timely intervention of Four-Seven-Niner and Carolina.
    • Maine, of all people, saves York and Carolina in episode 15 by driving below them right before they kiss the pavement.
    • The real Reds and Blues come to Epsilon-Church's rescue in the finale.
  • Big "NO!":
    • Carolina gives one when Maine is shot in the throat.
    • Epsilon gives two in the finale when he discovers that he essentially euthanized Tex for nothing.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: South, C.T., and Carolina, respectively.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Episode two alone probably has more blood and gore in it than the rest of the series combined. Still not incredibly gory, but relatively speaking... Justified as Freelancers are already using the Mk 6 armor which is, at least until Halo 4, the deadliest Power Armor in the military's arsenal. The people they're fighting don't, indicated for example by their lack of the usual voice distortion effects, making them Made of Plasticine by comparison.
  • Break the Cutie: Carolina. She appears to be just as crazy as Alpha remembered her. She used to be utterly devoted to the Director to the point of it being creepy (significantly even more than Wash), and now she's resolved to end him on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Butt-Monkey: Lots of them as usual, but the primary Butt-Monkey changes:
    • In the Freelancer segments, falls between York and Wash, though Maine has some moments late in the season, especially in Episode 17.
    • In the present storyline, it's Epsilon-Simmons.
  • Call-Back:
    • The batteries that Simmons uses to electrocute Lopez with are branded "Puma Batteries."
    • In Episode 14, Caboose mentions that Grif is yellow, not orange.
    • In Episode 19, Epsilon-Church's speech to Tex at the end is a condensed version of his revelation as he went into the Epsilon unit.
      Epsilon-Church: It took a couple versions of me, but I think... I think sometimes you've just gotta let go. And if you do, the things you let go sometimes come back on their own. They did today.
  • Call-Forward:
    • In the trailer, some of Agent Maine's injuries were brought about due to a surprise attack by simulation troops. This happened to him earlier in Revelation, except without the surviving part.
      The Director: How are two soldiers of your caliber possibly hurt by simulation troopers?
      Washington: They... got the jump on us.
    • "Firing main cannon."
    • Washington's catch phrase. Hell, half the things that come out of Wash's mouth, really.
    • Maine can be seen picking up his signature weapon, the Brute Shot (Or "Knifle" as one of the Mooks he tests it on dubs it), during episode 15.
    • The coffee mugs in Episode 2 have the Charon Industries logo on them.
  • The Cameo:
    • Ian and Anthony of Smosh cameo as two mooks in Episode 3.
    • Jack Pattillo voices Murphy in Episode 2.
  • The Caper: The Freelancers' sarcophagus heist is set up like this.
  • Cessation of Existence: Tex's final fate.
  • Character Development:
    • Kinda all over the map with Epsilon-Church. Building on his ending speech in Revelation, he now sees himself as the Alpha in the Memory Unit, having been reincarnated from Epsilon. But now that he's dealing with the less capable Season 1 versions of his teammates, he regains some of his temper from the era of The Blood Gulch Chronicles. He also becomes more reflective and introspective, with Tucker even helping him realize how toxic and self-serving his relationship with Tex is.
    • Epsilon-Tex also gets some. More specifically, she opens up to Church more and emphasizes that she's getting sick and tired of being brought Back from the Dead to just serve as a glorified Cosmic Plaything since she's doomed to always fail at the last possible second. By consequence, Church starts to take her opinion more into account, with him granting her wish of "wanting to rest" in the season finale by erasing her from his memory.
    • Retroactively for Washington. We see how Wash started off as an idealistic nice, if stiff and awkward, guy, and how the Epsilon Incident affected his personality so drastically. However, in a more straight sense, due to spending time on Blue Team, his nicer attitude is coming back, albeit without the dork status.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: In the action scenes, the Freelancers pull off insane Matrix-esque moves that would be impressive even by SPARTAN II standards, which is notable since, other than Tex and later the Meta, Word of God is that none of them are supposed to be superhuman-level fighters. Easily explained by Rule of Cool.
  • Chase Fight: Most of episode 17.
  • Chekhov's Armory: The Sarcophagus room in Episode 15, filled to the brim with weapons from throughout the Halo series, most of which are used by the end of the episode.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The unnamed "Blue Freelancer" seen in the background during "Planning the Heist", and standing with the main cast in the Season 9 Project Freelancer group poster. More is revealed about him in Season 10.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • South uses a voice filter like Tex did.
    • In Episode 4, Tucker asks Caboose if they should help, and Caboose replies that he doesn't think they can, since he can't get a clear shot at Church.
    • In Episode 15, Maine is walking around a room filled with Covenant weapons, stops, and picks up his signature Brute Shot.
      "That's a good look."
    • Lopez is mistaken to be Simmons and decides to go along with it for the sake of getting people to listen to him. One of the things he claims that supposedly proves he's human is getting math problems wrong for no reason, a reference to when Simmons pretended he was good at math by giving a wrong answer to a multiplication problem during The Blood Gulch Chronicles.
  • Contractual Genre Blindness: Lampshaded. Sarge is aware that setting off a bomb in the core will not stabilize the planet, but believes it necessary to have several dramatic setbacks and calamities before finding the solution the the planet's instability.
  • Conveniently Timed Guard: In the second episode, when the guard catches South stealing data from the terminal.
  • Curse Cut Short: South when Four Seven Niner shuts the door on her.
    South: You stupid bi-
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Tucker again mistakenly believes Donut is a girl instead of a guy in pink armor. He then comments on how awkward that makes what he did twenty minutes ago during "alone time".
  • A Day in the Limelight: The Dakotas get a focus plot early in the season, and C.T. gets a character establishing scene about midway through, but the Prequel half of the season is definitively more about Carolina, York, Washington, Tex, and, to a lesser extent, Maine.
  • The Day the Music Lied: In Episode 17, Carolina is chasing down the Sleeveless Insurrectionist for the briefcase. Her leitmotif plays, meaning imminent awesomeness... and then she crashes, and Tex picks it up instead.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The Pelican pilot for the Freelancers, Four Seven Niner.
    FSN: Somebody call for a ride?
    Carolina: You're late.
    FSN: Ah, well. You can take it out of my tip.
  • Death from Above: Episode 15. Anything more would ruin the epicness.
  • invoked Demoted to Extra: Wyoming. Despite being the second freelancer introduced and one of the main villains of the original five seasons, he barely does anything in this season. He has only one or two lines and spends most of his screen time being injured by Tex and enemy soldiers. Burnie Burns states that this is due to Wyoming's quirkier voice and personality running a risk of detracting from the more seriously toned Freelancer plot-line.
  • Dodge the Bullet: Tex does a pretty good job at avoiding paint rounds, and it's implied that Carolina does too.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Andy the Bomb failing to blow up.
    Andy: I swear this has never happened to me before...
  • Downer Ending: The season ends with Epsilon-Church horrified that he killed Epsilon-Tex for essentially nothing, along with his shock at Carolina's return. Meanwhile, the prequel sections end with York and North wondering if Project Freelancer really are the good guys, C.T.'s relationship with the other Freelancers worsening, and Carolina declaring her Undying Loyalty to the Director, shortly before it goes back to the present and shows that Carolina now wants the Director dead.
  • The Dragon:
    • Tex is evidently the Director's personal one-woman Cleanup Crew.
    • Out of combat, the Counselor serves this role towards the Director.
  • Dream Apocalypse: Epsilon is trying to find Texas before this happens. However, it's ultimately subverted, as the reason the simulation is shaking is because of an attempted rescue mission by the real Reds and Blues.
  • The Easy Way or the Hard Way: Said in episode 3 by the red demo man Insurrectionist.
  • Elite Mook: The Insurrectionists in red and black ODST armor function as this. In the next season, they get more screentime and function as a Quirky Miniboss Squad.
  • Enemy Chatter:
    • In Episode 2, at the very beginning, when one mook is complaining to another about job assignment.
    • During the action scene in Episode 3, two of the mooks get in a short argument over a rifle.
    • We also see two guys get in an argument as Maine falls past them in Episode 15.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Epsilon-Church and Epsilon-Tex do it together.
  • The Faceless: Finally averted in the cases of York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Carolina, Connecticut, and the Counselor thanks to Monty Oum, but still holds true for Maine, Wash, Tex, and the Blood Gulch Crew. Played with in the case of the Director. While many parts of his face are seen and he gets a lot of views from the back, he has had every part of his body shown (including the fact that he has glasses)... except for his forehead and eyes.
  • Fiery Redhead: Agent Carolina.
  • Flanderization: For the fuel rod gun from Halo. The entire gag of it being "a gun that bounces," making it the "worst gun ever, of all time" is based on the false premise that the shots bounce at a much longer range then they actually do. In the actual games, FRG shots only bounce at near-point-blank range in order to minimize the risk of the operator accidentally killing themselves with the gun's explosive shots.
  • Flashback... Back... Back...: Twice, with the words "order" and "change" repeated to trigger the flashback.
  • Foil: The Freelancers to the Blood Gulch Red and Blue Teams. While the former was a group of skilled, badass elite soldiers they inevitably fall apart as a unit due to in-fighting, jealousy, and betrayal, failing to do much in the War. The latter however started out as enemies but over-time fostered a bizarre if powerful alliance with each other, actually managing to do great things via cooperation instead of competition despite the incompetence of their members, even managing to kill several of the Freelancers and having a far greater impact in fostering a peace between the Humans and Aliens. To further accentuate this, both groups have at their focal point a Leonard Church.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Overlaps with Red Herring, when the Twins get spotted in the beginning of the season, the "Beta Protocol" is enacted. We find out in Season 10 that Beta is Tex.
    • In Episode 9 Wash has a meeting with Internal Affairs about communications from inside the base with the Insurrection...
  • Foregone Conclusion: We already know what will happen to all of the "past" characters, as well as the fact that Project Freelancer eventually ends up as a colossal failure.
  • Free-Fall Fight: Episode 15 brings us the scene (appropriately, with "Falling Towards the Sky" in the background), where Tex, Wash, Carolina, and York battle the flying mooks and Hornets to get the Package into 479er's Pelican. Wash shoots one of the Hornet pilots out while standing on the falling package.
  • Genre Blindness: A major example happens in Episode 15. When someone hands you a rapidly beeping, glowing object and then dashes away, you probably shouldn't stand there staring at it.
    York: Hey, man. Do you mind holding this for me for a sec?
    Red Demo Man: Huh?
    York: Thank you.
    (About 30 seconds later, the events of which can't be described without spoiling the moment:)
    Red Demo Man: Oh, son of a-
  • A Glitch in the Matrix: Church's reality is not as idyllic as it seems.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: York has his messed-up eye after Episode 10, and Maine is shot in the throat in Episode 17.
  • Goomba Stomp: South does this to a guard. The Mk6 armor does weigh several hundred pounds after all.
  • Groin Attack:
    • North delivers one to a Mook before shooting him in Episode 3.
    • In Episode 10, Tex does this repeatedly to York during their fight. Possibly a Continuity Nod as she does this to Grif in Season 8.
  • Gun Fu:
    • The Freelancers come right out of the gate with this as North and South Dakota get into a big gunfight in the enemy base. When Carolina shows up to bail them out of trouble, she shows that she's just as good at it.
    • In Episode 10, there's the awesome, close range gunfight between Tex and York.
  • Gun Twirling: Tex does a little twirl in Episode 10, after she tips over a paint-covered Wyoming.
  • Hell of a Heaven: Parodied in Episode 19.
    Epsilon-Sarge: Well, that's just great. Caboose is God. I guess that makes me the first person in the history of the Universe that doesn't wanna go to Heaven! Great job, Blue Team. You find a way to make everything suck.
  • High-Speed Battle: Episode 17 consists of a chase between the Insurrection Airborne Mook group with some air support and the combined efforts of Maine, Carolina, and York in an attempt to secure the white briefcase needed for the Sarcophagus, across trucks on a freeway. Texas is also there, technically helping the Freelancers, but Carolina has... issues with that.
  • Informed Ability: Simmons can play the banjo. Not that anyone on Red Team noticed.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Sarge's plan to save the world, appropriately entitled "Sarge's plan to kick the planet's ass." Ah, Sarge, we missed that about you.
  • Internal Deconstruction: The Memory Unit segments are largely devoted (aside from comedy, obviously) to deconstructing Church and Tex's Slap-Slap-Kiss relationship from the earlier seasons. Tucker helps Church realize that their relationship is actually toxic and mutually harmful since he's never taking her own opinions into account. After talking to her for a while, Tex admits to him that she's tired to being brought Back from the Dead just so she'll always fail and be miserable.
  • Irony: Virtually everything we learn about Project Freelancer puts a weird spin on what we have seen of them in previous seasons (i.e., Alpha "didn't remember being a calculator" while here he has pride in his calculating abilities, the surprising camaraderie between the Freelancers, etc).
  • Is This Thing Still On?: Subverted.
    479er: Well, I guess so much for our go-around.
    Angel: I heard that, Four-Seven-Niner.
    479er: Yup, that's 'cause I transmitted it.
  • Killed Off for Real: Epsilon-Tex is "forgotten" in the finale, and subsequently is given a Cessation of Existence (which Epsilon-Church and her both view, rightfully so, as a Mercy Kill).
  • Knuckle Cracking: Agent Maine invokes this in Episode 13.
  • Leeroy Jenkins:
    • Despite her brother telling her repeatedly to turn on her motion tracker so he can provide better aid, South refuses on grounds that "it'll take too long" and charges in anyway. The same episode also has a possible Shout-Out to the trope as well, with two guards complaining about another guard named Jenkins. This behavior gets her ranking lowered, due to the mission having been supposed to have been for stealth, not a shootout.
    • Maine and Wyoming in Episode 10. Repeatedly, despite York trying to get them to fight as a team. As a result, they get their asses kicked by Tex.
  • Left the Background Music On: At the end of the freefall battle sequence, when Maine 'picks up' York and Carolina, and they go into a tunnel, the BGM takes on a faded out echoey sound, fading out completely, then jumps back to full when they emerge, as if it was playing on the Warthog's radio.
  • Leitmotif: Carolina and Tex have a rather special one whenever the two cross paths. It mixes the Agent Tex theme with the vocals from Extraction.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: The "present" half of the story takes place from Church's perspective after the events of Revelation, trapped in the Epsilon unit.
  • Mad God: This is Epsilon-Simmons' explanation for seeing the real Caboose above the Memory Unit in Episode 19, in a torn-open sky. Epsilon-Sarge is not happy about this.
    Simmons: Is Caboose... God? I mean, I can kinda see it now that I think about it. Sure would explain the fuck outta the platypus.
  • Made of Iron: Many people, but Maine is one of the biggest. A sniper round to the chest and about 10 pistol shots to the neck doesn't seem stop him from standing, and getting hit by a speeding truck and falling off a freeway on top of that still doesn't seem to kill him.
  • Malignant Plot Tumor: These two seasons completely drop any pretense of working around the Great Offscreen War that was the Freelancer Project and proceed to make the main plot be flashbacks to Rooster Teeth's rendition of those vague allusions as animated by Monty Oum.
  • Meaningful Name: Considering what the Director said back in Ep 18 of Season 6, it's no surprise he named his ship Mother of Invention.
  • Mexican Standoff: Between Agent South and a trooper, holding two cups of coffee, and looking at the alarm.
  • Midfight Weapon Exchange: In episode 2, South calls out to North for a shotgun while they're both mid-battle. He tosses her one, and she uses it to blast one of the soldiers she's fighting.
  • Mood Whiplash: Episode 18 starts with Grif being made of awesome and hilarity, continues with the return of Andy, and the Blood Gulch Crew finishes up with the deadpan line "We're all going to die now."... and then we cut to the birth of Delta.
  • Mook Chivalry: The only guards that seem to make an effort to shoot at the Twins are the Snipers. Everyone else runs towards the duo, one at a time, hoping to get killed in the coolest way possible.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Played for Laughs after Epsilon-Tex kills "Simmons" (a.k.a. a poorly-disguised Lopez). Both Tucker and Church clearly feel bad for having convinced her to do that, and Donut's absurdly overdramatic grieving manages to convince her to let him live (so he can demoralize the other Reds).
    • Played for Drama in the season finale. As soon as Church realizes that the Memory Unit isn't failing, but rather Caboose has managed to find a way to free him from it, he instantly regrets his prior action. Namely, trying to move on from the past by forgetting Tex out of existence.
  • No Escape but Down: The Freelancers find themselves with two options in Episode 15: Jump off a 110-story building, or die horribly. They take the first option.
    Carolina: This must be karma for kicking Maine out the window.
  • Nostalgia Ain't Like It Used to Be: Church's body, Caboose, and Tucker are back to their Season 1 versions; in other words, pretty lame. Also, the camaraderie between the Reds and Blues didn't exist in Season 1, as Church realizes upon walking up to the simulation versions.
  • Not So Different: This season builds up the similarities between Church and the Director. For that matter, Church and his pre-fragmented self. Episode 13 reveals that even as the original Alpha, Church was always a Jerkass.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: In Episode 15, after Carolina and York jump off a skyscraper, they are stopped mere feet from the pavement of a highway by Maine in a Warthog driving by. The save acts as though they sustained no injuries whatsoever as a result.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome
    Caboose: We found you in the place where they were keeping you, and we traveled a really really long way to come to this place and fought a bunch of people, and then fought a bunch of more people, and then we got you and took you and saved you! The end.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Episode 3 has Church realize that the Reds weren't his buddies in Season 1, what his simulation is based on, when he walks up to them.
    • York gets these moments many times in Episode 10 when he's cornered by Tex.
    • As usual, Maine continues to inspire this reaction in people. Those poor mooks...
    • Church has a minor one when he realizes that Tex remembers everything.
    • And Church has a much bigger one twice in the finale first, when he realizes, right after he forgets Tex, that the quakes aren't because of the Memory Unit dying, but because Caboose was opening it back up, and second when he sees the very much alive Carolina. If the music for the latter is any indication, her being alive might not be entirely good.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: At the end of Episode 16. There's a very light chanting, which is a Call-Forward to another incident where Maine was about to commit bloody murder
  • The Oner: Episode 17 has one during the Chase Fight. An interview with Monty revealed that his nickname for the shot ended up being the name of the episode.
  • Only Sane Man: Wash and York share this role in the group, though in almost opposite ways. Wash is rather uptight and straitlaced, while York is a laid-back smartass.
  • Opening Narration: Church tries to helpfully provide one for the viewers, except he's repeatedly interrupted by Tucker to the point of frustration, and finally just drops it.
  • Phrase Catcher: Any mention of Agent Maine fighting someone is typically met with "Man, I almost feel bad for them."
  • Plot Tumor: The Freelancer program, originally introduced as just independent agents back in season one, has evolved into this. Overlaps with Characterization Marches On and Retcon.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: In episode 3, after Carolina has made her big entrance, just before she charges forward to take out a bunch of soldiers in hand-to-hand, she says: "Okay. My turn."
  • Put Their Heads Together: In episode 2, North smashes a couple guards' heads together when the mission's cover gets blown.
  • Pyromaniac: In "The Sarcophagus," Wash and Carolina get attacked by one.
    Wash: Whoa, that's hot!
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The six ODST Insurrectionists first seen in Episode 13 seem to be shaping up as this. The team consists of a Pyromaniac, a Girl, a Guy With No Sleeves, a Cold Sniper, a guy in heavier armour and a "regular" ODST with a bandolier and a kukri.
  • Reality Warper: Church is this unaware, as shown in Episode 5 when he changes Grif and Donut back to their Blood Gulch Chronicles incarnations by talking about how they "should be."
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Tucker gives Church one after Church tells him and Caboose about the Lotus-Eater Machine facts of the Memory Unit and his desperate search for Tex. More specifically, Tucker calls Church out on his unhealthy relationship with Tex and how he's not taking her own choices and opinions into account within their screwed-up "romance."
  • Red Herring: Episode 3 refers to "her" who is a total badass and is viewed by the twins with awe. It's not Tex, but rather, as Episode 4 revealed, Agent Carolina. Another piece of Foreshadowing is that we've seen Meta use her "Chameleon" armour upgrade before in a few episodes of Reconstruction.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: Carolina, as shown in the last few seconds of the season.
  • The Reveal: Well, some backstory reveals. In the PAX East trailer, we learn the Meta didn't speak because he was shot in the throat during his time in Project Freelancer.
    • In the season finale, it's revealed that Carolina is actually still alive in the present-day.
  • Revisiting the Roots: While there is a more overt plot, the present-day storyline returns the Blood Gulch crew (sort of) to being stuck in a box canyon in the middle of nowhere bickering about whatever comes to mind.
  • Scream Discretion Shot: In Episode 15, when Wash is telling York where Maine is. They almost feel sorry for the mooks down there.
  • Screaming Warrior: North lets out a mighty roar in Episode 2 when he shoots up a mook guard's torso and face in slow motion.
  • Series Continuity Error: An in-universe example occurs when Church realizes that the memories of events inside the Memory Unit don't exactly match up with the events in previous seasons, such as Red Team adding a rocket launcher to their jeep and Donut giving orders to Simmons.
  • She-Fu: Agent Carolina, overlapping with Dance Battler.
  • Ship Tease: Tons between Carolina and York.
  • Starts Stealthily, Ends Loudly: In "The Twins", South Dakota sneaks into an enemy base to steal information. While downloading the information a guard comically holding two coffee cups finds her. There is a moment of silence before the guard looks at the alarm button. South warns him not to go for it. He looks back and forth between her and the alarm and gets repeated warnings. When he makes a move for the alarm South shoots him, but his momentum carries him forward and he ends up pressing the alarm anyways and all hell breaks loose.
  • Stock Scream: The Wilhelm Scream is heard during the third episode.
  • Super Speed: Carolina can run fast enough to keep up with cars.
  • Take That!: During the "MIA" miniseries, Sarge is forwarded by Vic to Doc in order to get help looking for Grif (who has gone missing). Sarge hesitantly asks Doc if "you're still one of those lame paci-whatevers." Doc's response?
    Doc: invoked (dryly) Pacifists. Yeah, Sarge, I still am. You don't just turn it off when it's convenient. It's not like being a vegan.
  • Terms of Endangerment: Downplayed in Episode 20. Carolina's first words to Epsilon are "Hey there, Alpha." This isn't inherently dangerous, but the manner in which she speaks and Epsilon's reaction show that this is what he's thinking about it all.
  • There Are No Girls on the Internet: Tucker assumes this when Caboose mentions he once had an internet girlfriend, but it turned out it was just his e-mail.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: The Freelancer flashbacks show that almost all of the Freelancers (most notably South, C.T., Wash, and even to a certain extent Maine) used to be idealistic and actually fairly heroic. By the time of the series proper, almost all of them has become disillusioned, cynical, self-serving, and/or utterly ruthless. In fact Wyoming seems to be the only Freelancer who was a Jerkass to start with, and didn't change at all between the flashbacks and Blood Gulch. York seems to be the only one who didn't lose his sense of moral decency after the team broke up, though all we know about North's eventual fate so far is that South abandoned him to the Meta.
  • True Companions: The Blood Gulch Crew show off their credentials as a Nakama by proxy in the finale.
  • Unwanted Rescue: Epsilon is not happy about being rescued since he was finally at peace, and especially since also he just let Tex go forever.
  • Wham Episode: The finale, where Church finally lets himself forget Tex, apparently losing her forever, just in time to be rescued from the Memory a not so dead after all Carolina.
  • Wham Line: Episode 20 has two:
    Church: No. I'm not going to say "I love you." I'm going to say "I forget you." I'm letting you go.
    Carolina: You're going to help me do what I should've done years ago. You're going to help me kill the Director.
  • Who Would Want to Watch Us?: In Episode 9.
    Tucker: Romance happens in movies. In real life, it's called stalking.
    Caboose: Well, maybe all of this is happening inside of a movie!
    Tucker: Oh please. Who the fuck would watch that movie? All we do is sit around and talk.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Young Wash is this, especially in comparison to his future self.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: For Church in the Epsilon Memory Unit.

    Season 10 
  • Accidental Truth: Wash's attempt at lying to invoke Reverse Psychology on the Red Team in Episode 6 turns out to actually be true in Episode 20, much to his profound surprise and annoyance.
  • Adult Fear: Considering Theta's personality and North's nurturing making him something like a parent, knowing that North dies while his 'child' is pretty much kidnapped is bound to strike a chord with adults, especially in the sense that you failed to save your child.
  • Alas, Poor Villain:
    • Connecticut in Episode 10. Doubly so because she wasn't even the villain.
    • The Director is the absolute last person you'd expect to feel sympathy for ... until he calls out in panic for Allison. Unfortunately, he's back to his Jerkass self within seconds. Taken Up to Eleven when he acknowledges Carolina as his greatest creation, reconciles with her after becoming a nervous wreck and then is implied to commit suicide. At the time he's a far cry from the strutting super-scientist villain, instead looking devastated and more like the pathetic and insane old man mired in grief that he really is.
  • Always Second Best: Emphasized between Carolina and Tex in Season 10. In Episode 19, Carolina finally gets a chance to have her long awaited one-on-one fight with Tex, and while she does markedly better than anyone else who's tried before, ultimately it's painfully clear she's not even her equal. Carolina finally admits this about herself in episode 21, but it takes facing a literal army of her rival to make her say it.
  • An Axe to Grind: The Pillman's Weapon of Choice in the prequel sections, specifically throwing axes. Tex seems pretty adept in their use as well.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The Reds and Blues plan to return to Blood Gulch to settle down now that Project Freelancer has been dismantled for good. However, Church and Carolina decide to go and "do some good" in order to atone for their past crimes, starting with recovering some stolen Freelancer equipment.
  • Are These Wires Important?: Invoked by York as he helps Tex during her attempt to get to The Alpha.
  • Artificial Gravity: On the various ships. It's a minor plot point on two occasions.
    • In Episode 2, Wash accidentally turns it off on one of them.
    • Comes into play again in Episode 19, this time on purpose.
  • Aside Glance: When Donut mentions that he was shot, Wash turns his head to the camera and whistles innocently.
  • Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!: Washington and York against the Insurrection soldiers in the eighth episode.
  • Ax-Crazy: Carolina, especially in the prequel segments. Not that this came as a surprise to anyone, due to Texas. She's having a tough time keeping it bottled in.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Caboose, Washington, Tucker, Sarge, Donut, Grif, and Simmons in Episode 21, versus an army of Agent Texas robots.
  • Badass Adorable:
    • Theta. For all his shyness and childish behavior, just watch how he works with North's energy shield.
    • And as of episode 21, Caboose.
  • Between My Legs: A really hilarious and weird example of this in Episode 5, with North doing the A-Frame and Wash's head peering in between (at Theta).
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Wash, York, North, Theta and Caboose.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Wash, York and Caboose, on top of the above.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
  • Big "NO!":
    • In Episode 10, the Insurrectionist leader, when Connecticut seems to have been shot in the head.
    • In Episode 15, coupled as a Wham Line due to the consequences:
      Director NO! Allison!
    • In Episode 16, when the Alpha is told in one of his "breaking" sessions that Agent Texas died because of his own failure. It keeps repeating, with the occasional "Oh my God", until the scene shifts.
    • In Episode 19, Tex gets one when the Meta catches up to Carolina, takes her AI and throws her off a cliff.
  • Bittersweet Ending: See Wham Episode and And the Adventure Continues for details.
  • Bloody Hilarious: The results of the below mentioned Hyper-Destructive Bouncing Ball.
  • Bond One-Liner: A nonfatal one from York to Wyoming in Episode 19.
    York: It's York catch, asshole. Talk about knock knocks.
  • Bookends: The Meta's rampage starts in the same place it ended (Sidewinder), and ends in the same way it started (with a main Freelancer being thrown off of a cliff).
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Apparently Washington is catchy.
    Tucker: (to Epsilon) You're like the worst wingman ever.
    Caboose: Of all time.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: In Episode 16, Tucker wants to know what Epsilon is finding out about Carolina.
    Tucker: Is she crazy? Is she evil? Is she crazy evil?
  • Break the Cutie: Washington's Epsilon Incident is finally shown in Episode 17. Oddly, however, he's not nearly as upset or cynical about it all as people would expect from The Recollection.
  • Break the Haughty: Carolina in Episode 21. She finally realizes that no matter how hard she tries, she will never beat Texas by herself. Luckily, the Reds and Blues know this as well.
  • Breaking the Fellowship:
    • Subverted in Episode 18, the Blood Gulch crew breaks away from Church after he blows up on them in a massive "The Reason You Suck" Speech rant. However, in Episode 20, they all decide they're going to go help him anyway.
    • According to Episode 19, Tex's defection, and the resulting division of loyalties between the Freelancers, appears to have been the event that ultimately broke up Project Freelancer.
  • Breather Episode: It may not be particularly lighthearted (at least in the flashback sections), but after the emotional ups and downs of the previous installments, Episodes 11 and 12 are very relaxed, even in regards to clothing (in the case of Episode 11), and focus on conversation and character development.
  • Brick Joke:
    • The Insurrectionist grunt Delta was talking to in Episode 1 who got spaced can be seen in orbit at the beginning of Episode 2, and even shows up in the credits at the end of the season.
    • The UNSC trooper from the final episode of Season 8 returns in Episode 20 to arrest the gang for stealing the Hornet he was guarding. They steal his Hornet, again.
    • Episode 22 has a Brick Joke that started years ago. Poor Florida.
  • Brother–Sister Team: Epsilon and Carolina.
  • Brown Note: In Episode 15, the Director shouting "ALLISON!" in a panicked voice causes all of the AI fragments (in addition to likely the Alpha itself) to go temporarily rampant at the same time, causing their operators to have massive headaches. No need to guess why Tex was the exception, even despite holding Omega.
  • The Bus Came Back: Episode 15 re-introduces Donut and Doc, who haven't been seen since the ends of Seasons 7 and 8, respectively. Sadly, Doc got back on it. He was too busy preparing for the trip, complete with his own rocket launcher, and didn't get to the others in time to get on the planes with them. The people they stole the planes from don't have a problem with him though, so he'll be okay.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • In the prequel sections, York and Wash take some pretty hilarious abuse, including the latter getting a grappling hook in the groin.
    • In Episode 20, the pilot whose Hornet was stolen by the Reds at the end of Season 8 shows up to arrest the Reds and Blues as criminals for stealing military property. The Reds and Blues steal not just his Hornet, but those of his two partners as well.
  • Call-Back:
    • Episode 9's Heinz Hybrid gag is a Call-Back to when Tucker called Tex a half woman, half shark.
    • Episode 12 has Carolina reflecting about the death of York and visiting the place he died. The name of the episode? "Out of Mind", also the name of the miniseries in which York was killed fighting Wyoming with Tex.
    • Episode 18's "The Reason You Suck" Speech is one long reference to all of the abuse the Reds (and Caboose) put Alpha-Church through over the course of The Blood Gulch Chronicles.
    • Also in Episode 18, Wash using the line that Carolina used on Tex earlier after the fight with C.T. on her.
    • Stealing that Hornet in the finale of Revelation finally catches up with the Reds and Blues.
    • From the same episode: The bargaining scene is a direct callback to the early days of the series (the dialogue) and to the beginning of the current season (Wash and the Blues curbstomping the Reds).
    • From that scene is two more- Simmons spouts off Grif's "I'd just like to let everyone know that I suck," speech, and there's a brief cut to what the Blues have taken, which includes Donut's motorcycle, the Warthog, the food Donut and Doc made for them previously that season, and multiple rocket launchers and shotguns.
    • The quote by the Tex army in the voice of Omega is identical to a quote from Omega in Episode 100 of The Blood Gulch Chronicles.
    • Episode 21 continues this trend, to the point of Continuity Cavalcade.
    • Episode 22, The Director appointing Captain Flowers/Agent Florida as a bodyguard for the Alpha stationed in Blood Gulch has to find a way to explain the mysterious disappearance of Agent Florida, a explaining why in Season 3 Tucker laments the then-unknown fate of Florida.
  • Call-Forward:
    • In Revelation, Wash tries to get Doc out of the wall with a grappling hook. In Season 10, Carolina pulls Wash into a spaceship with a grappling hook.
      Wash: Pull lower, near the center of gravity. Try the codpiece.
    • When stuff starts blowing up in Episode 4, the Director yells "SON OF A BITCH!"
    • When 479er meets Delta in Episode 8:
      479er: AI huh? What does the A stand for?
    • At the end of the same sequence, 479er muses on how she'd hate to be Command.
    • A much more subtle one; during the fight in Episode 8, while running to avoid getting hit by a Warthog, Wash yells "CAR!" in the exact same way he did in Revelation when Grif drove his own Warthog through the wall over Wash while Sarge distracted the latter.
    • Followed immediately with York going, "DAMMIT!", getting attacked, and saying, "Shotgu-un!"
    • On a related note, in Episode 2, Wash casually asks "Why do cars hate me?" after narrowly dodging a Warthog.
    • Two mooks in Episode 8:
    Mook 1: Hey.
    Mook 2: Yeah?
    Mook 1: You ever wonder why we're - (Cue the pelican)
    • Tex being pinned by the tank in episode 19 resembles the time Sarge was pinned by the warthog in early season 2.
    • It's subtle, but the last scene of Episode 19 mirrors the end of the Meta vs. Tex battle of Season 8. Both Tex and Carolina are initially facedown, then turn over and try to get away as Maine comes up, then he grabs them by the neck and does something painful to their head, then tosses them aside. Just another reminder of how similar those two really are...
    • In Episode 14 Wash points out that they're going to meet Carolina in the Recovery Room - "Recovery One", to be exact.
  • Came Back Wrong: The Director kept trying to "get her right", resulting in a bunch of dangerous Tex/Allison Drones, at least some of which have the voice of Omega.
  • Cannon Fodder: As stated in Episode 18, Carolina's plan to infiltrate the Director's hideout involves turning the Reds, Tucker, and Caboose into this as a distraction. They, along with Washington, think this is a terrible idea and collectively quit.
  • Car Fu:
    • In Episode 2, it's narrowly avoided by Washington when Artificial Gravity comes back on on the ship being invaded.
  • Casual Kink: Church/the Director and his fetish for, ahem, hot headed women.
    Sarge: Wanna talk about it?
    Caboose: Wanna talk about it with-?
    Epsilon-Church: NO.
  • Character Development:
    • Hanging out with the Reds and Blues has revived Wash's old Nice Guy self, with him even deciding to put aside his own desire for revenge against the Director when he realizes that it'll likely get them all killed.
    • And being shown a memory of how York felt about her and realizing Epsilon knows more about her drive to reconcile old wounds than she thought is the catalyst that makes Carolina open up a little more, even going so far as to give Epsilon some good-natured teasing about his awkwardness in carrying her.
  • Chekhov's Gag: The Reds are unsure of Carolina, and are considering going home. Wash plays along, then plants the idea that they're wanted criminals and that they'll be ambushed upon arrival. This immediately changes their tune. It's brought up again MUCH later, when it's revealed that they really ARE wanted criminals.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Carolina's Grappling-Hook Pistol. First seen in Episode 3 of Season 9, it makes a return in Episode 4, where she uses it to... grip Washington to bring him on to a Pelican. In Episode 19, if one were to look closely towards the end when Carolina is falling, the tip of the pistol is visible, explaining her survival. It also comes in handy while fighting the Tex robots.
    • The army of robot bodies Epsilon and Caboose saw stashed away in the Freelancer facility in Revelation. A similar batch is finally put to use by the Director toward the end of Season 10.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The Mysterious Blue Guy? He's Agent Florida, better known as Captain Butch Flowers, the original commander of the blue team.
  • Clone Degeneration: The army of Tex that are seen near the end of the season are visibly clunker and slower than the "real" Tex, and could be fought to a standstill by the Reds, Blues, Wash and Carolina. See also Conservation of Ninjutsu.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Episode 16 finally shows Alpha being put through the fragmentation process, and it's terrifying. Though the Director does call out the torturers on one of their methods, he mostly just stands by and watches.
  • Coming in Hot: The Mother of Invention and its crash landing into Sidewinder in Episode 19 following being hit by its own missiles and losing Artificial Gravity courtesy of York.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Seen with the Tex clones the crew face in Episode 21. This is explained by them being run by a single A.I. distributed over hundreds of bodies.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: Episode 21 packs as many references to past episodes, actions, jokes, and everything else into the fight between the Reds and Blues versus the army of Tex Drones.
    • Carolina's opening line before the fight, "Alright, me first," is a reference to Tex's first line in Revelation, Episode 9: "Alright, so who's first?"
    • The quotes Carolina hears as she tries to destroy the Tex army are from various moments over her time in the prequel segments, both heard by her and not. This culminates in "Better luck next time, Carolina", said by the Tex Drones in reference to Episode 17 of Season 9.
    • Donut sticks the heads of three Tex Drones with plasma grenades, calling out "Nine points, you dirty whores!" as he did in Episode 19 of The Blood Gulch Chronicles (three points in that case, for one person).
    • "Blood Gulch Blues" is played over the lock and load sequence after the Big Damn Heroes moment.
    • Caboose's Unstoppable Rage and his Badass Baritone "MY NAME IS MICHAEL J. CABOOSE. AND I HATE [X]" are references to the last time he went into Unstoppable Rage, back against the Zealots in Blood Gulch Chronicles.
    • Sarge's "For our ancestors' ancestors!" line is in reference to the Season 2 finale of The Blood Gulch Chronicles.
    • Grif's tendency toward Groin Attack issues as of Episode 10 of Revelation is brought up.
    • Wash saves Donut from a Tex Drone and says "we're done here," which is a nod to him making amends for having previously shot Donut at the end of Recreation.
    • Epsilon's encounter with the broken Tex is a nearly direct mirror to the encounter between the original Tex Beta AI and the Alpha in Episode 19 of this season.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The tagline of the season references Washington's catchphrase - "THE BIGGEST SEASON EVER. OF ALL TIME."
    • Wash dodges a car flying at him during a fight in Episode 2, and wonders out loud, "Why do cars hate me?!"
    • In Season 9, we learn that South hates flying. In Episode 2 of this season, North mentions she always needed a barf bag on their family trips.
    • Wash appears to use an EMP, or "emp", to disable a number of Warthogs in Episode 8.
    • After showing Carolina York's recovered audio logs from after he had fled from Freelancer in Episode 12, she and Epsilon-Church have this below exchange that alludes to Church's perpetual pursuit of Tex:
      Carolina: ...Why did you show me that?
    • In Episode 13 has two:
      • When talking about "keys", Caboose mentions that "the sword is a key, too." Given his caustic reaction, Tucker seems to still be annoyed with that fact.
      • Grif and Simmons's discussion about getting paid overtime and their 401k is taken almost verbatim from a similar conversation Washington and Doc had in Revelation.
    • In Episode 17, Epsilon goes diving in yet another data unit. He tells Carolina that if he's not out in three months, she shouldn't bother looking for him.
    • Episode 21 has almost too many of these to list. See Continuity Cavalcade for details.
    • Episode 22 has Epsilon-Church flipping between the images and taking on the voices of the other AI fragments while confronting the Director.
  • Cool Starship: The Mother Of Invention for the Freelancers, and the Staff Of Charon for the opposing Insurgents, as of Episode 4.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: In Episode 13.
    Sarge: In the battle of ghosts versus robots, robots always win. Except in anime.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • According to Sarge, Wash has been doing this to the Reds while Church was in the Memory Unit. To the point Sarge was glad to rescue Church so he could lead the Blues again.
    • Maine has a rematch with the sleeveless ODST from Season 9. It lasts one punch.
    • Tex takes out half a dozen mooks in episode 19 with nothing but a bunch of spike grenades and their own guns.
  • Dangerous Deserter: The UNSC seems to consider the AWOL Reds and Blues who were formerly of Blood Gulch this. In all fairness, though, the Reds and Blues are so strange and unpredictable that they often do end up being dangerous, just not like a conventional army.
  • Dare to Be Badass: In Episode 20, Sarge pulls this on Washington, to get him to help the Reds and Blues help Epsilon and Carolina.
    Sarge: So instead of standing there bellyaching all day, just tell us: are you gonna keep playing it safe? (cocks shotgun) Or do you wanna get a little reckless?
  • Dark Reprise:
    • Carolina's Leitmotif is given a sad version during her fight with York and a dark version during her fight with Tex.
    • While "Plagram Extrinam Infigere" from the season finale of Revelation was already rather dark (given it translates to "Extremely Bloody Murder"), when the Meta takes Carolina's AI and tosses her off a cliff, you can hear a slower, more foreboding version of the drumbeat play in the background.
  • Dead Man Writing: Tex's dog tag is actually a data unit Connie left for her, complete with an "If you're seeing this" message and copies of all the dirt she'd gathered on the Director and Project Freelancer. Turns out Tex is the only one she trusted to do the right thing.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen:
    • Carolina in Episode 12 courtesy of some journals Epsilon found of York. However, this does not extend to anyone else in the group at all, even Washington. As of Episode 21, however, it seems to have extended to the others, thanks to her realization that she will never be better than Texas and their coming to her aid.
    • Tex (in the flashbacks) also seems a little friendlier towards North in Episode 16, claiming that it took her some time to get used to having Omega in her head, and that she has had him shut down for some time following the incident in Episode 15 where he wanted to have her kill Carolina.
  • Diving Save: Carolina for Grif in Episode 21 to save him from a Groin Attack by way of dropkick to three Tex drones at once. It doesn't help.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • The discussion between York, North, and Wash about how big "it" (Theta) is, in Episode 5. South seems to pick up on it, though.
      Wash: I expected it to be... bigger.
      York: Why? You've seen mine, it's small too.
      Wash: Yeah, but he's green.
      York: How does that even make sense?
      North: Hey Wash, quit staring; you're making it nervous.
      Wash: Yeah, it's just... they're so small.
      York: Small, yeah. But you wouldn't believe what it can do.
      North: Besides, you better get used to it, you're going to have one of your own soon enough.
      South: Ugh, give me a break.
      Wash: You see, I'm not the only one who thinks size is important.
      York: I'm just going to let that one go.
      Wash: And we're sure they don't get any bigger?
      York: Dude, you are killing me with that!
    • Still going in Episode 8:
      York: This is Delta. Our new addition.
      479er: Your new addition is pretty small.
      Wash: I said the same thing.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: Sarge does this with his shotgun to punctuate a Dare to Be Badass speech in Episode 20. Carolina does it with a handgun when she joins the guys after their Big Damn Hero entrance.
  • Driven to Suicide: The Director, who shoots himself in the head with Carolina's pistol after shutting off life support in the Offshore Freelancer Facility. F.I.L.S.S. also technically counts as he ordered her to delete every single file and program in Project Freelancer except for the video of Allison, which she acknowledges includes herself.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: After Sarge quips that ever since Donut was shot, he probably has a few more holes in him, Epsilon-Church calls him out on it.
    Epsilon-Church: What's the appropriate amount of time to go by for that joke to be ok?
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Caboose seems to be getting relatively more intelligent this season, having made multiple statements that show a remarkably accurate grasp of the situation the Blood Gulch crew is in. Hell, he seems to have a better handle on the situation than Sarge (not that that's saying much). The crew have even remarked at how surprising this is.
  • Elite Mook:
    • The ODST Insurrectionists from Season 9 return this season, presenting a similar spike in difficulty to the Freelancers.
    • South and Wyoming serve as elite mooks in Episode 19, with Carolina being something of a Boss Battle.
  • Enemy Chatter: The Running Gag from last season is still going strong, with two mooks in Episode 2 talking to each other about being under attack.
  • Epic Flail: Carolina makes an Improvised Weapon version of one in Episode 21 using her Grappling-Hook Pistol and a grenade.
  • The Faceless:
    • As of Episode 6, the only faces of important characters (Insurrection Elite Mooks notwithstanding) in the prequel segments not shown have been Washington, Maine, Texas, and, to a degree, the Director. Texas' reason is self evident by this point in the plot (having been revealed as far back as Season 6), and the Director has all of him shown at one point or another except for his eyes. With the exception of Washington and Texas, this serves to make those examples more unnerving than frustrating, lending an air of mystery.
    • Played for epic laughs with Washington in Episode 7.
      York: Are you eating inside your helmet?
    • Also played with during the exposition scene for the A.I.s when Maine does have his helmet off, but Sigma is always blocking the view of his face.
    • Then played for drama in Episode 17. To avoid showing Wash's face during his implantation surgery, they show the surgery from his point of view while the implantation causes him to have a mental episode. Complete with memory flashes, Dutch Angles, and warped visuals.
    • Finally completely averted with the Director in Episode 22... and it turns out there's a reason for it.
  • Failed a Spot Check: After discovering that Doc has returned, Sarge orders Simmons to get him [Sarge] his gun. Simmons replies that Sarge is already holding said gun.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: Church tries to make a dramatic exit... but is stymied by the fact that he's attached to Tucker, so he has to stop and ask Tucker to go along with him.
  • Fanservice: Episode 11 has North and York having an extended conversation while helmet-less and wearing t-shirts. It wasn't exactly a steamy shower scene, but it's a lot more skin than we've ever seen these two handsome guys show, let alone any of the protagonist soldiers in the entire series.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Episode 21 implies it between Carolina and the Reds and Blues.
  • Flat "What": In Episode 1.
    Caboose: We sort of call the new guy Church, y'know, sometimes.
    Church: What.
  • Foe-Tossing Charge: Episode 21. Church decides to get Caboose angry. Without hesitation, he charges headlong through an army of Tex copies. They don't even slow him down.
  • Forgot Flanders Could Do That: It's been seven seasons since Caboose got angry; he reveals in Episode 21 that he doesn't remember how to do that. Church helps him remember.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • Episode 17 has a number of these while Tex is looking through the files, notable ones being that Sigma's emotional core is Ambition (and Theta's is Trust); that A.I.s with Happiness, Love, Greed, and Fear exist; and that Allison is Beta.
    • In Episode 19, coupled with the Chekhov's Gun above. As Carolina falls off the cliff, you can see her Grappling-Hook Gun if you look carefully enough.
    • During the Freelancers' battle at the Scrapyard one of the missiles the Mother of Invention fires is personalized with the name A.N.D.E. and the phrase "Blow me! Zing!".
  • Funny Background Event:
    • Look sharp, or you'll miss a shot of York careening through space while Carolina and South are discussing their next move in Episode 3.
    • Theta trying and failing to balance on a holographic skateboard in Episode 6, even completely falling over at one point. Though he seems to get it right by the end of the scene, as he rides it out of the room.
    • Not entirely background, but it's easy to miss the magically changing fruit that Wash is eating with his helmet on in Episode 7.
    • During the big fight scene in Episode 21, you can see Caboose charging from one side of the room to the other, tossing Texes thither and yon as he goes.
    • In the credits following Episode 22, the Net-Surfing Guy from Episode 1 floats by in his chair.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: In the song "Now That We've Come So Far" which serves as the credits music on the DVD.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: Suggested by Delta to an Insurrectionist grunt. The Freelancers and Insurrectionists can't be called good and evil, just two groups working for different goals.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: During his Unstoppable Rage in Episode 21, Caboose, at one point, bashes several Tex drones with the body of one of them.
  • Groin Attack:
    • Wash, by a grappling hook to the codpiece pulled at high speed in Episode 4.
    • Tex still really hates Grif. In Episode 21, the first Groin Attack by three Texes with the help of two to wishbone him is subverted by Carolina's Diving Save, but followed up by a Double Subverted version when one of those holding him still kicks him there anyway. Tucker notes that he should have seen that coming. Then, off screen, the same happens by twenty of them at the same time.
  • Guile Hero: Wash in the present time. Given how innocent and earnest he was in the flashbacks, it makes his Break the Cutie all the more terrifying.
  • Guns Akimbo:
    • Carolina seems to have made a twin set of Plasma Rifles her weapons of choice in this season.
    • Connecticut seems fond of using two pistols.
    • In Episode 19, North does it with a pair of sniper rifles, with enough precision to shoot rockets out of the air.
  • Heinz Hybrid: Played for Laughs in Episode 9, with Sarge calling Carolina "a half woman, half shark, except the shark half has been given cybernetic powers, and the woman half is also one quarter jaguar".
  • Heel Realization: Sort of in the case of Carolina in Episode 21. She finally realizes that no matter how hard she tries, she can't beat Texas on her own, so she finally teams up effectively with the Reds and Blues.
  • He's Back:
    • After Connecticut's files jog his memory in Episode 17, Epsilon-Church integrates the hidden copies of the fragments he was carrying and transforms back into the complete Alpha-Church. And he remembers everything. However, as Episode 18 shows, this is something of a deconstruction. Yes, parts of Alpha-Church are back. Specifically his memories and his temper, the latter of which is much worse.
    • Episode 20 features an equally dramatic and much, much scarier example.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: Subverted in Episode 16.
    Grif: Hey, Simmons, when you say Donut nailed Lopez to a board?
    Simmons: I mean with nails.
    Grif: Okay, had to ask.
    Simmons: No, no, I understand. I should've been clearer. That's my fault.
  • Hope Spot: The female insurrectionist is hanging from a ledge, when her boss's distinct cybernetic arm reaches down to give her a hand. She takes it... and it's being held by Maine, who had cut it off earlier. And then he lets go.
  • Hulking Out: When the full-sized Epsilon gets angry and starts ranting about how everyone owes him for what they've done to him, he grows and grows and his voice deepens until he's a scary giant avatar of glowing orange/red rage. However, when he calms down, he shrinks to the small, blue Epsilon-Church form. Even Caboose wordlessly backs away from him afterwards.
  • Hyper-Destructive Bouncing Ball: The Insurrection soldiers fail to realize that shooting at the inside of a Freelancer Beehive Barrier while you're inside it is a really, really bad idea. Weaponizing the Barrier Warrior's Beehive Barrier is quite terrifying.
  • I Can't Believe I'm Saying This: In Episode 12, overlapping with OOC Is Serious Business.
    Grif: I thought I'd never say this, but I can't sleep.
  • Indy Ploy: In Episode 20, Sarge admits this is every Red and Blue plan post-Blood Gulch.
    Sarge: Son, stupid and reckless is how we always get things done.
  • Innocent Innuendo:
    • Caboose has a problem with this in Episode 6, and doesn't seem to realize it.
      Carolina: Or else they'll [the Blood Gulch crew] bring out my ugly side.
      Caboose: Oh, oh, come on, Caroline, I bet you are really pretty under that armor.
      Carolina: What?
    • Again in this conversation in Episode 9, when Caboose is obsessed with the idea of the Reds making a trap for the Blues.
      Tucker: You can go ask her if she has the hots for me. I think I felt an emotional connection the last time she hit me.
      Caboose: Tell her that you like to make an emotional hot connection with her trap. Got it.
      Tucker: Oh, that's even better!
    • Two in Episode 20.
      • Donut, true to form, talks of being unable to resist "a good mounting".
      • This time from Doc.
        Doc: And Tucker, you learned to use your sword like a pro!
        Tucker: ...bow chicka bow wow?
  • Insult Backfire:
  • Interesting Situation Duel: In Episode 19, we have York versus Carolina in an elevator shaft on the Mother of Invention with no Artificial Gravity. This is topped a short time later in the same episode by Tex versus Carolina in a computer room and a hallway, on different surfaces, in a ship that is Coming in Hot to a nearby planet.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • Highlighting just how similar to the Omega-infused Tex it is that Carolina has become.
      Carolina (Episode 10): I don't know what's gotten into you, Texas, but you better figure out the difference between your enemies and your friends.
      Washington (Episode 18): I don't know what's gotten into you, Carolina, but you better figure out the difference between your enemies and your friends.
    • Another one where, again, Carolina's role is reversed, not to mention that, as of Episode 22, counts as a case of Like Father, Like Daughter.
      The Director (Episode 8): Leave personnel decisions to me, Agent Carolina.
      Carolina (Episode 18): Leave personnel decisions to me, Agent Washington.
    • A different one comes up in Episode 22, this time contrasting the two in the one directly above, and within the space of two scenes in succession.
      Epsilon: Oh, there's still one place we haven't visited. Somewhere we can make a home.
      Carolina: Show me.

      The Director: The Alpha needs anonymity. A place where no-one will think to look for him.
      The Counselor: I believe I know exactly the place.
      The Director: Show me.
  • Irony: The lesson that Church and Carolina were supposed to learn in Episode 12 was to let go of the past. However, they're still utterly consumed with their single minded mission to kill the Director, as is best shown in Episode 18. If anybody has taken the moral to heart, it's Wash, who is no longer interested in taking revenge on the Director and is only concerned with looking out for his friends. Church, who was the one teaching Carolina in Episode 12, is the one who calls Wash out about walking out on them.
  • It Has Been an Honor: In Episode 22, the Director says this when he orders F.I.L.S.S. to delete all Project Freelancer files, including herself. F.I.L.S.S. responds in kind.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Though Caboose is totally oblivious in Episode 6, and it isn't the first time he's been shot at for laughs, Carolina's threat is played coldly straight when she shoots at an explosive a distance behind him.
    • South petitioning for one of Carolina's AI's as the latter lies in the hospital in Episode 16. Tex takes particular exception to it, calling her a vulture, and even North admits that it was uncalled for.
    • Epsilon-Church's "The Reason You Suck" Speech in Episode 18. After they told their piece and said, rightfully, that killing the Director has nothing to do with them, he screams at all of the assembled Reds and Blues (directing mostly at those from Blood Gulch), blaming them for most his problems and saying that, when it came down to it, all they amounted to problems for him. This Kick the Dog was so blatant every single one of them, even Caboose, walked out on him temporarily.
    • Not to mention Church telling Wash he shouldn't have been surprised Washington was abandoning their cause. Wash fought the battle against the project longer and harder than either Epsilon or Carolina did. He earned his chance to just let go of the past.
  • Killed Off for Real: Aside from those Doomed by Canon in the flashbacks and not shown in-season, we have, in chronological order, Utah (in a deleted scene), the Insurrection Elite Mook squad aside from the leader, Connecticut, possibly the latest Texas, F.I.L.S.S., and Doctor Leonard Church, a.k.a. the Director.
  • Knife Fight: Though Carolina uses a Humbler stun device, her battles with the female Insurrectionist member in Episode 9 and with Conncecticut in Episode 10 give off this impression.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Wash spent years nursing a secret grudge against the Director, bidding his time for when he would be able to bring down the Director and Freelancer. In Season 10, he's finally given a chance to get his revenge against the Director, and yet chooses to let go of his vendetta in Episode 18 rather than put his new friends in danger over something that is not their problem. Unlike Carolina and even Church, it seems he's finally learned to let go of the past.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The first line of Season 10, arguably the most exciting and anticipated season yet? "And now, the moment you've all been waiting for..."
  • Leave Behind a Pistol: The Director asks for Carolina to do this before she leaves him in the facility.
  • Let Me Get This Straight...:
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: In Episode 20, Doc's speech about how the adventures after Blood Gulch ended up giving almost all of the Blood Gulch Crew (and Washington) what they wanted in some way results in the majority of those present agreeing to leave and help Epsilon and Carolina, since Epsilon is still Church, and therefore still their friend. Washington takes some more convincing, but Sarge's subsequent speech is enough to have him join the others in "the worst idea... ever".
  • Let's See YOU Do Better!: When Carolina demands to be implanted with an AI, the Director lets her choose which one she'll obtain (and therefore take from one of her teammates) under this basis.
    The Director: If she thinks our decisions are so easy, then let her make one.
  • Literal Ass-Kicking: A follow up to a Groin Attack in Episode 21, from a Tex drone to Grif.
  • Little "No": The Pillman Insurrectionist when Connie dies in his arms.
  • Lonely Piano Piece:
    • This version of Carolina's theme plays during the York and Carolina fight
    • Finding the Director starts off with just the piano representing the shell of a man he's become
  • Long-Lost Relative: In a roundabout way, Carolina to Epsilon, and technically the other AI units.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Allison and the Director are Carolina's parents, though it appears that Carolina and possibly Epsilon already knew that.
  • Meaningful Background Event: Maine clutching his head in pain while Sigma and Gamma are speaking with Carolina in Episode 13, foreshadowing his descent into insanity courtesy of Sigma.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Episode 10, which, the last two seasons, has involved a Curb-Stomp Battle courtesy of Tex, does start out that way when she starts fighting. Then she mortally wounds Connecticut, ending the episode on a Tear Jerker as she dies in her boyfriend's arms.
    • Episode 15, hands down. At first, it seems like there's going to be an epic Monty Oum battle. It starts with Carolina, pumped up by two AI units, assembling her equipment for her match with Tex. On FILSS's signal, the two rush towards one another... and then the Director, outraged at the unauthorized match, accidentally calls Tex "Allison". Then, the episode suddenly becomes extremely dark, as all the A.I.s act up in their owners' heads, Carolina goes nuts due to her two AI, and the Sarcophagus starts snarling and screaming. Back in the present, the Reds go looking for Lopez to reboot him... and then Donut reappears, revealed to be alive with the help of Doc, drastically lightening the mood.
  • Musicalis Interruptus: In Episode 3, "about to set out and kick ass" music gears up as the Freelancers prepare go to find the Insurgent leader in "Bone Valley"...and then York crashes into the scene on his Jet Pack, face first. Cue beat as everyone turns and stares at him for ruining the moment.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Once Church calms down after his "The Reason You Suck" Speech, he tries to apologize to the others. Grif, whom he considers to be very intelligent and actually gets along with, leaves with the other Reds first. He is followed by Tucker, who is Church's closest friend and has been for many years. By the end, Church is begging Caboose, for whom he presumably has become a Broken Pedestal, not to leave. It doesn't work.
  • Mythology Gag: In Episode 12, York mentions a "Club Errera" as the place where he met Carolina.
  • New Meat: Washington's status as the new guy is further cemented this season, and is often used as way to get someone to put up exposition about certain aspects of Project Freelancer. It's also Played for Laughs, since he has no clue about the Noodle Incidents his squadmates keep talking about.
  • Nice Guy: Much is made of North's "caring and nurturing" nature in Episode 5, which led to him being paired up with the shy, childlike Theta.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • Wash destroying the artificial gravity while trying to hack the system, in Episode 2. Not that it's a bad thing for the audience, because we get treated to an epically awesome zero-G battle. It's not even a bad thing for the crew, since they're considerably more prepared for zero-g combat (they have magnetic boots and jetpacks) than the mooks they're dealing with.
    • In Episode 10, Texas killing Connie. Sure, she was an enemy, but, as she learns in Episode 17, Connie could have actually helped shut down Project Freelancer much sooner, and with far less pain to the members.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • One soldier from Episode 2 accidentally drops a shotgun which goes off, killing the guy next to him. What are the first words out of his mouth?
    Soldier: Not again. Sorry about that.
    • From Episodes 2 through 4, Agent Georgia. You do not want to know what happened to Georgia. It involved a JetPack thruster in space. note 
      Wash: I really do, though!
      • This one winds up actually Played for Drama as much as it Played for Laughs since the other Freelancers refusing to tell him just what happened to Georgia causes Wash to become overly paranoid about using his Jetpack too much. This leads to him almost getting killed because he "doesn't want to end up like Georgia".
    • How Carolina and York met, in Episode 12. The story cut off before York could finish, going straight into the next diary log.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: Wash (the Blood Gulch guys are the pond). Emphasized even more strongly in the flashbacks when York notes in the Episode 8 that he's easily the worst fighter in the squad. That said, the other people in the squad are York, North, Carolina, and Maine.
  • Official Couple:
    • Episode 10 pretty much confirms that CT and the Resistance Leader had a relationship. From the looks of it, they planned to steal Freelancer equipment and then run away together. It didn't work out so well.
    • Episodes 11 & 12 seem to confirm this for York & Carolina as well, though it might just be Unresolved Sexual Tension.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • The Insurrectionist sniper in Episode 8, when one of his squadmates decides to shoot at the inside of the Beehive Barrier with a submachine gun.
    • You can practically see the despair on the sleeveless ODST's face in Episode 9 when he realizes that Maine's going to kill him.
    • A pair of comical examples in Episode 15: Simmons and Sarge aren't too excited to have Donut and Doc around again.
    • In Episode 18, we have a tragic example. Immediately after Epsilon-Church's "The Reason You Suck" Speech, his reaction as Tucker leaves, followed slowly by everyone else but Carolina, is a quiet version of this. It quickly evolves into Please Don't Leave Me.
    • In Episode 20.
    Epsilon: Oh no.
    Carolina: Church? What is this?
    Epsilon: He kept trying. He kept trying to get her right.
    Carolina: You thinks these things are anything like the real deal?
    (Camera Pans to reveal an army made up of Tex copies, cracking their knuckles and necks)
    One of the Tex copies, in the voice of Omega: You have no idea what kind of trouble you are in.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!:
  • OOC Is Serious Business:
    • In Episode 12:
    Grif: I never thought I'd say this, but I can't sleep.
    • In Episode 13:
    Tucker: Church, just because you want to get close to someone doesn't mean that you have to end up inside them!
    Epsilon-Church: ...Oh come on. Aren't you gonna say it?
    Tucker: No, because I'm pissed off!
    • After Church rages at the crew in Episode 18, Caboose leaves Epsilon-Church, despite his prior Undying Loyalty, driving home just how crushed the Blood Gulch Crew is at that point. That said, he does get over it quickly enough, so it's probably more that he was upset that Epsilon-Church was alienating his friends than anything else.
  • Phlebotinum Overdose: Carolina takes on Iota and Eta because she believes that two A.I.s, being fragments themselves for an AI that is generally implanted to armor complete, will be better than one, and allow her to surpass Tex. The agony that comes from hearing them both calling out to "Allison" when the Director accidentally pushed the AI fragment Brown Note left her extremely debilitated, and, after being knocked out by Texas, she did not regain consciousness for several days at the least.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Epsilon and Carolina by the end of the season.
  • Please Don't Leave Me:
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Washington is portrayed as this in the flashbacks before Episode 17.
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • The fight between Carolina and York, plus the one between Carolina and Tex would both have gone a lot more smoothly if either York or Tex had just said: "The Director is torturing someone to make these A.I.s and this is a rescue mission." However, instead they just make vague comments. Still, at that point it's doubtful Carolina would have listened, given how emotionally unstable she was from Eta and Iota, her feelings of betrayal by York, her personal grudge against Tex and her loyalty to the Director.
    • Church also basically cites this as the reason why nobody trusts Carolina. She basically orders the Reds, Blues and Wash around in an abrasive manner without giving them any explanation for why they're doing anything, what her motivations are, or even trying to connect with them. Church and Wash know the reasons and justifications for her behaviour, but a lot of problems the group has throughout this season might have been avoided if she had taken a breather to just talk with them.
  • Priceless Paperweight: Grif still has the Meta's Brute Shot, which he had been planning to mount on the wall as a trophy.
  • Punch Catch: Maine catches the very first punch thrown by the sleeveless ODST, which shows off his newly acquired Super Strength.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Epsilon-Church gives a long one to the Reds and Blues in Episode 18 when they refuse to go with him and Carolina to face the Director down. The result is... less than stellar.
    Epsilon-Church: So that's it? You're just going to turn your back on us?
    Washington: Epsilon, I know that it-
    Epsilon-Church: No, you're right. I guess I should have seen that one coming. It's not exactly like you're new to the concept, is it?
    Sarge: That's a little harsh.
    Epsilon-Church: But you guys, after all the shit you've put me through, I really thought at least you would have my back.
    Grif: Us? What the hell did we do?
    Epsilon-Church: You shot me through the head, you put a bomb in my gut, you killed me with my own damn tank! And that's just how we met!
    Tucker: Church, calm down! What's your problem?!
    Epsilon-Church: You're my problem! You've always been my problem! Each and every one of you is just a problem that I have to deal with on a Daily. Basis!
  • Replacement Goldfish: Wash apparently became this for Church, after the latter went into the Memory Unit. To the point where Caboose even calls Wash by Church's name, though only to make it easier for Caboose (the armor color confuses him), as Church discovers much to his fury after being rescued from the Memory Unit. This is cemented in the last scenes of the season, with Wash yelling at Tucker and Caboose to get back to work, just like Church used to do.
  • Resemblance Reveal: In Episode 22, the Director's Wham Shot reveals that he has the same color eyes as Carolina. The implications of this are cleared up by the end of the episode.
  • The Reveal: In episode 22: The mysterious blue guy is Captain Flowers/Agent Florida, and Carolina is the Director and Alison's daughter.
  • Reverse Psychology: Wash pulls this off perfectly on the Red Team in the present day bits of Episode 6, when they threaten to leave and go back home. He notes that they're right about there maybe being some kind of bad things back home... like a UNSC ambush, since they're wanted criminals. In episode 20, this hilariously turns out to actually be true, even though Wash had been—as far as he knew—BSing them.
    Wash: (deadpan) You gotta be fucking kidding me.
  • Rivals Team Up: Tex and Carolina take on Connecticut and the Insurrectionist Leader together in Episode 10.
  • Rousing Speech: Doc delivers one to the rest of the BGC in what turns out to be a Misfit Mobilization Moment. Then Sarge in turn delivers one to Wash that's half Rousing Speech and half "The Reason You Suck" Speech. Wash takes it rather well.
  • Saying Too Much: Theta, in his first appearance. "I have a sister."
  • The Scapegoat: Wash ends up taking the blame for the breakdown of Freelancer, even though it turns out that Tex's defection and the Meta's rampage had as much if not more to do with the Director's decision to mothball the A.I.s. Likewise, Tex is initially blamed for Meta's first attack (as no one yet knows that Maine has finally lost it).
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Wash, Tucker, Caboose, and the Reds eventually have all they can take of Carolina and Church, and walk out on them. They eventually change their minds, though.
  • Ship Tease: York and Carolina in Episode 11, 12 and 16.
  • Shown Their Work: The Freelancer discussion of A.I. theory in episode 6 is a startlingly accurate summary of how A.I. works in the Bungie-verse, first articulated in the Marathon series (the Halo series uses the same rules for A.I. behavior). It also reveals the origin of the Meta's name (for Metastability, the theoretical 4th stage of rampancy where an A.I. achieves full human sentience, which Sigma wanted to achieve).
  • Shrinking Violet: Theta is very shy when North is trying to show him to the others. If you look closely, you can even see Theta is constantly wringing his hands nervously during the interaction.
  • Sic 'em: Said word-for-word by Sigma to Maine when he shows up at the battle during the eighth episode.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Most of the notably mentioned Project Freelancer events (Maine becoming the Meta, the Epsilon Incident, and even South and North's falling out) are pushed to the side in favor of showing the story of Carolina. Maine, in particular, is largely Out of Focus, showing up in a single fight scene and a handful of largely background appearances before suiting up to become the Meta.
  • The Stinger: Several at the end of the DVD credits:
    • Utah and Georgia run into one another.
    • North carries South away after their fight. He apologizes and tells her he always has her back. She responds, "And I'm watching yours."
    • Carolina is shown walking into Club Errera.
    • Doc is revealed to have been left behind in Valhalla.
    • The Director's video of Allison is shown in its entirety.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Tucker in the present and York in the past both commenting on Carolina's greenish-blue-seafoam-green/aquamarine-turquoise armor in almost the exact same wording.
  • Stress-Induced Mental Voices: In episode 21, right before wiping out during her fight with the Tex army, Carolina begins to hear these.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: Washington signals for a pod containing Sigma-enhanced Maine to fight the sleeveless Insurrectionist.
  • Super Strength: All Freelancers seem to possess at least some degree of this, given the insane moves even the lower-tier ones are shown to pull off. Most visibly, York is able to lift a gym locker over his head and use it as a projectile weapon. Also, an extreme version of this is potentially Maine's original Freelancer ability; if you listen carefully, you'll hear faint mechanical noises when he winds back for a punch. He paid back the sleeveless Insurrectionist for the whole "shot in the throat" bit. He's certainly augmented, but whether this is his armor's special ability or just standard Freelancer enhancement remains to be seen. Also Caboose, though his might be purely natural.
  • Sympathy for the Devil:
    • Carolina feels sorry for Maine, since Sigma was her AI, and so Maine wasn't suited to handle him, leading to his corruption and by extension the entire Recollection Trilogy. This is made more significant by the revelation in Episode 19 that she was the Meta's first victim.
    Carolina: Poor Maine.
    • Epsilon-Church agrees. During his confrontation with the Director, he lists the Meta as one of the Director's victims:
    Church: No! You've had your fucking time. You have to answer for what you did. To the Meta, to Washington, to Carolina... to me, and to her. To Texas!
    • When Carolina and Epsilon-Church finally confront the Director in Episode 22, he's such a broken shell of a man that Carolina can feel nothing but pity for him. Epsilon-Church, in contrast, is full of nothing but utter contempt and rage, with it taking Carolina to convince him to move on and let go of his hate.
  • Take a Third Option: When presented with the option of taking either Washington's or South's AIs, Carolina decides to take both of them.
  • Tattooed Crook: Maine has the Meta's symbol tattooed on the back of his shaved head.
  • They Fight Crime!: In Episode 9.
    Caboose: Hover Church can also solve crimes.
  • This Is Gonna Suck:
    • In Episode 19.
      South: (enters the room with a Missile Pod) Think you're so fucking tough, don't you, Texas? Well, let me ask you something. Who's the monster now, bitch?
      Tex: Ah, shit.
    • Carolina's reaction to an army of Agent Tex Drones at the end of Episode 20.
  • Throw-Away Guns: In Episode 19, this is Tex's behavior, using one of her enemies' shotguns and throwing it at someone else when it runs out of ammunition.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Subverted. The Mysterious Blue Guy tries to kill the Gatling Good duo in Episode 10 by throwing the axe he had lodged in his chestplate... but despite the music implying otherwise, it doesn't even make it to them at all.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Tex, after viewing C.T.'s information disk, realizes that she herself is the Beta AI fragment that formed as a byproduct of the creation of the Alpha.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • After being enhanced by Sigma, the already incredibly strong Maine is now well on his way to become The Meta.
    • Episode 21 explains why Caboose wasn't animated in previous seasons, as we see him kick the ass of many, MANY, Texes.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: From the perspective of the Freelancers, Tex - particularly after Episode 16. It is indicated that this is largely due Omega being shut down.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The Hornet pilots in Episode 20 were practically shouting to have their planes stolen.
    Pilot: ...we do have airships! Fast, easy-to-pilot airships! Which we will now land, in order to take you to jail!
  • Tragic Keepsake:
    • As revealed in Episode 10, Connie's Freelancer armor, which went missing (aside from the appearance in Recreation) until found by Wash in Revelation.
    • In Episodes 12 and 19, York's lighter.
  • Tranquil Fury:
    • In Episode 1, Epsilon-Church is not happy that Wash became his replacement on Blue Team. But instead of raving and ranting like the Alpha, he just gets more and more teeth-clenched and sarcastic at every new revelation.
    Epsilon-Church: Why are you wearing blue armor? Why are you wearing... my armor? [...] You took my name, too..!?
    • Tex in Episode 10, when CT calls her a "shadow." Considering what Tex does to CT after this exchange, this seems to have been a Berserk Button for her.
    CT: I know what you are, Tex. And I won't take orders from a shadow.
    Tex: What did you just call me?
  • True Companions: The Freelancers come off as once being this the more we see them. Kind of summed up by North a bit snarkily in Episode 5 when he comments that York and Wash are "my friends, for reasons beyond my comprehension". Episode 12 shows this is a deconstruction. Despite being such a close-knit unit, they still fell apart eventually. This led to Carolina being pretty much completely unable to trust anyone later on. The Blood Gulch crew, who were recruited and trained to hate and fight each other, have become far more friendly towards one another, while the Freelancers, who are supposed to be a team and work together, are the ones who fell apart due to in-fighting and conflicting loyalties. C.T. pointed out early on that this was due at least partially to the Leaderboard. Instead of encouraging the members of the squad to work together, it turned almost half the team into Competition Freaks, with Carolina and South being two notable examples. Instead of working as a team, we got situations where Maine and Wyoming were more concerned with being the ones to take out Tex, and Carolina was less concerned with achiving the mission objectives than doing better than Tex during said mission. This constant competition bred resentment, distrust, and ultimately was a factor in the team eating itself.
  • 2 + Torture = 5: It's been known since before the season that the A.I.s are fragments that were made from torturing Alpha. Episode 16 gives the viewers a glimpse of the process, which is rather disturbing to watch as Alpha is subjected to cruel revelations designed to create alternate personalities.
  • Unexplained Recovery: The Insurrection soldiers that were shown in Season 9 as a Quirky Miniboss Squad. The soldier with the bandolier is the most glaring example, as he was last seen taking a Wave-Motion Gun right to the face, yet appears in the eighth episode with his only visible injuries being a mechanical arm and some heavy damage to his armor.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: We see York and Delta's friendship progress over time from initial distrust/serious criticism of each other, to the friendly needling and snark they had in "Out of Mind" and now in York's "present day" journal entries.
  • Was It Really Worth It?: In Episode 22, F.I.L.S.S. asks the Director if Project Freelancer was ultimately a success. He says no, but he thinks he was close (to reviving Allison).
  • Wham Episode:
    • Episode 10. The C.T. who appeared and died in Recreation wasn't Agent Connecticut, but her lover, the Insurrectionist Leader. C.T. herself died in his arms after Tex brutally wounded Connie in a fight (after Connie was discovered to be The Mole).
    • Episode 15. When the Director shouts out "No! Allison!", the AIs go haywire in the agents' helmets.
    • Episode 17: We finally see Wash's Break the Cutie method in his failed implantation with Epsilon, Tex discovers that she herself is the Beta, we finally see the face of the real Allison and Epsilon regains all of his memories, even those he didn't have in Blood Gulch.
    • Episode 18: Sigma was behind the Meta's actions in The Recollection.
    • Episode 22: The Director has become such a broken shell of a man that Epsilon and Carolina spare him, but, unable to cope with everything that he's done, he commits suicide. F.I.L.S.S. also deletes herself at his command to delete all of the Project's systems. Carolina reveals that she is the daughter of Allison and the Director. The mysterious dark-blue soldier is actually Agent Florida/Captain Butch Flowers, and in order to hide the Alpha away in Blood Gulch along with the agent, the Director and Counsellor sink the entire state of Florida.
  • Wham Line:
  • Wham Shot: In Episode 22, the Director taking off his glasses, showing his eyes are the same exact color as Carolina's.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Out of all of the original Project Freelancer characters, the only one we don't know the ultimate fate of is Four Seven Niner/Freelancer Command.
    • In Episode 11, after discussion with the Reds and Blues about the Monitor unit that Epsilon used as a body from part way into Season 7 to part way into Season 8, Carolina gets angry and stops talking about it entirely when she realizes that they left it on the floor of a warehouse. Despite it being the reason Tucker was defending the temple at Sandtrap in Season 7 and apparently a very important artifact to the Insurrectionist Leader, nobody bothers to look for it further after that even when the gang go back to the same warehouse where they left it in the first place. Considering Carolina's Heel Realization, this is especially jarring, since it could have helped to go through with her atonement following the death of the Director if she had tried to grab it on the way out, and Tucker didn't even seem to mention why he thought it was a "big pain in the ass".
  • Where It All Began: Episode 19 reveals that Maine assimilated his first additional A.I.s (Eta and Iota) at Sidewinder/Avalanche near a cliff, with Sigma proclaiming the group in Maine "the Meta" for the first time. Retroactively, this makes Maine's Disney Villain Death in the finale of Revelation an example, as it is both the place where the Meta was "born" and killed.
  • Worth It: Tucker thinks as much when Epsilon manages to stop the Tex army in Episode 21... but after Grif was hit with a simultaneous Groin Attack by 20 Texes at once.
    Tucker: Yeah, but where's the fun in that?
  • You Are Not Alone:
  • You Are Too Late: Tex's attempt at rescuing Alpha fails due to this.
  • You Do NOT Want To Know:
    York: We're going all the way over there? After what happened to Georgia? note 
    Wash: Would someone please tell me what happened to Georgia?!
    York: Dude, you do not wanna know.
    Wash: I really do, though!

Don't say goodbye. I hate goodbyes.

Stick fighting

Tex's blows match up with the music, as does (more subtly) the clattering of her discarded stick at the end.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / MickeyMousing

Media sources:

Main / MickeyMousing