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Machinima / Red vs. Blue: The Recollection

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The collection of Seasons 6 to 8 of Red vs. Blue, in which the series takes a more serious tone, focusing on Project Freelancer and the mysterious "Director," while still being as hilarious as ever. This marked the beginning of the series' collaboration with Monty Oum, who would do several fight scenes in Season 8 before taking over animation duties for Seasons 9 and 10. The collection contains 58 episodes in total, as well as two miniseries, "Recovery One" and "Relocated".

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: From Reconstruction onward, "Memory is the key". It's even lampshaded by Caboose in Recreation:
    Epsilon-Delta: Remember. Memory is the key.
    Caboose: What? I thought we were done with that part!
  • Arc Villain: While villains come and go, the Meta is the overall antagonist of the trilogy. However, with knowledge of future events, Sigma is the real villain, at least for Reconstruction.
  • Artifact Title: It was already pretty arguable for the third, fourth, and fifth seasons of The Blood Gulch Chronicles, but from this story arc onward is really when the titular teams of Red vs. Blue have essentially permanently allied to fight a greater threat (save for whenever Sarge feels there's a good opportunity at hand to betray the Blues). Every time the teams separate again, it tends to be during periods of time taking place between seasons.
  • Central Theme: The importance of memory and the value of humanity.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Over the previous seasons, though Recreation dips into Reverse Cerebus Syndrome.
  • Compilation Movie: While previous seasons were written and filmed one separate episode at a time, this trilogy marks the point where they were written and filmed as a single unit, then edited into the episode-length segments.
  • Darker and Edgier: Whereas The Blood Gulch Chronicles were light on drama and action but heavy on comedy, The Recollection (especially Reconstruction, which is more of a Conspiracy Thriller than anything else) is the opposite.
  • Killed Off for Real:
    • North Dakota in Recovery One.
    • The Rat's Nest Blues, South Dakota, The Alpha/Church, Delta, Omega, Tex, Sigma, Gamma, Iota, Eta, and Theta in Reconstruction.
    • C.T., his excavation team, Donut and Lopez in Recreation.note 
    • The remaining Elites at Sandtrap and the Meta/Maine in Revelation.
  • Meaningful Name: Recollection, the name of the whole trilogy, has multiple meanings - The whole Freelancer project was a result of the Director attempting to bring his own memories to life. Recreation and Revelation center around Epsilon, the embodiment of Alpha's memories. And, at the very end, when Church leaves the world for the last time, he tells Caboose that he'll now be in charge of keeping his memory alive. This is in addition to the fact that it is a collection of seasons and miniseries whose titles begin with "Re".
  • Theme Naming: Each season and miniseries begins with the "Re-" prefix.
  • Two-Part Trilogy: While Reconstruction has a definite ending, Recreation ends on a cliffhanger to lead into the third installment, Revelation.

    Recovery One (Miniseries after Season 5) 
  • A Day in the Limelight: For Agent Washington.
  • Accidental Pun: "Wash" is the Cleanup Crew of Project Freelancer.
  • Angsty Surviving Twin: To a degree. South and North aren't identical twins, but rather fraternal. Subverted in Reconstruction, when it turns out that the reason North died is because South set him up as bait for the Meta. Her behavior in Recovery One was mostly an act.
  • Arc Villain: The Meta.
  • The Cameo: North Dakota and York both have their corpses shown. A mysterious shooter in Part 1 who may be Wyoming also counts.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The beginning of it for the series proper.
  • Cleanup Crew: It is the job of Recovery agents to destroy or recover any Freelancer technology left from dead or critically injured agents in the field.
  • Closest Thing We Got: In Part 3, Washington and South discuss this about the former.
    South: Weren't you certified Article Twelve after that? Unfit for duty.
    Washington: The people who certified me were the same people that uncertified me. Which, once they needed me, they did. Funny how the system works.
  • Continuity Nod: In Part 1, Washington reviews the footage of the battle scene at Relic from "Out of Mind".
  • Cool Plane: A Banshee appears in Part 4, with the Meta as its owner. South uses it to escape.
  • Crazy Sane: According to Part 3, Washington went insane and was deemed unfit for duty. However, his experience with AI units made him a perfect Recovery candidate, so he was returned to duty.
  • Darker and Edgier: This is one of, if not the darkest installment of the series. There’s very little humor, a bleak tone, and it ends on a hell of a Downer Ending.
  • Death Faked for You: Washington does this for South when ordered to kill her by Command. In Part 4, however, this is subverted, as Command already knew she was alive.
  • Downer Ending: The miniseries ends with Wash seemingly dead at the hands of South Dakota, who has performed a Face–Heel Turn and is on the run from both Freelancer Command and the Meta. Oh, and no one is any closer to stopping the Meta than they were before.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: There is mention of North's AI's Theta, who shows up in Season 10. North Dakota himself might also count.
  • Face–Heel Turn: South Dakota leaves Wash for dead and (as revealed in Season 6) left her brother as bait for the Meta.
  • Interquel: Set between Seasons 5 and 6 for the most part, helping to change the tone of the series.
  • In the Back: In Part 4, South shoots a wounded Washington in the back to cover her own escape from the Meta.
  • Leave No Survivors: In Part 2, Recovery Command calls the incident with North Dakota a "Level Zero", indicating that the incredulous Agent Washington should do this in regards to South and then report back. He goes back to her and fakes it, knowing that killing her just after her brother died was too much..
  • Left for Dead: Washington in Part 4.
  • Military Maverick: By Part 3, Washington essentially abandons Project Freelancer completely. This isn't necessarily bad, though.
  • Mini Series: Only four episodes long.
  • Never Found the Body: Why Wash survives for Reconstruction.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The Meta isn't seen until the last parts of the miniseries (and even then only briefly), amplifying his scare factor.
  • P.O.V. Sequel: If Part 1's assailant at the end was Wyoming, at least that part of the series takes place at the same time as The Blood Gulch Chronciles.
  • Posthumous Character: North Dakota.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: Freelancer has it, activateable so as to keep it from getting into enemy hands.
  • Serial Killer: The Meta.
  • There Are No Therapists: Inverted. The Counselor appears for the first time, but, while his tone isn't abrasive, his requests aren't the nicest at all, and Washington notices his attitude about Epsilon.
  • Title Drop: The title is Washington's Recovery Code Name.
  • Understatement: Delta's line at the end of Part 3 is one of these.
    Delta: I should warn you: the first implantation can feel a little... odd.

    Reconstruction (Season 6) 
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: One of the primary themes of this season.
  • Ambiguous Syntax: Downplayed, but Washington's description of the Red vs. Blue simulation war seems at the time to be him just stating that their fight is unimportant in comparison to what's going on with the Meta. However, Revelation would reveal that he was being completely literal in describing them as only being "simulation troopers."
  • Anyone Can Die: Agent South Dakota, Church/Alpha, Tex/Beta, Delta, Omega, Gamma and the rest of the A.I. fragments the Meta had in its possession. They partially return in later seasons through Epsilon's memory, but the original AIs are all still dead.
  • Arc Villain: The Meta. However, with knowledge of future seasons, Sigma is the real villain.
  • Badass Normal: Washington, as he's managed to deal with a fair number of cybernetically enhanced psychopaths and come out pretty good all things considered.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Well, to a point. The Meta is stopped, but the epilogue has the Director explain the loophole he is using to avoid punishment for his actions and he implies that he sees Church's willingness to sacrifice himself as proof of his own bravery. The next season reveals that Caboose never turned Epsilon in, meaning there was no evidence for the case against him anyway.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: It's not seen, but strongly implied that Caboose is this in regards to how others treat Sheila. Church has to back away from Caboose twice before Wash picks up the hint.
  • Bittersweet Ending: On the bitter side, All the A.I.s are killed, including Church. Even worse, we later learn that thanks to Caboose, Wash's plan to fully bring down Project Freelancer was unsuccessful, and Wash himself is imprisoned instead. However, on the sweet side, Caboose and the Reds are able to escape with their lives, the Meta is effectively neutralized due to the "emp", and Project Freelancer's downfall starts to firmly fall into place with Freelancer Command's HQ being sacked by the Meta.
  • Bond One-Liner:
    South Dakota: Oh, come on, Wash. What are you going to do, sh-
    Washington: Yes. Good suggestion.
  • Bookends: Each chapter starts with an audio transmission either from the Director or the Chairman to each other, and the final chapter even ends with a monologue from the Director.
  • Brick Joke: The "emp."
  • Broken Masquerade: Wash reveals that the whole Red vs. Blue Forever War is just a testing ground for military projects such as Project Freelancer, and that Freelancer Command was responsible for most of the things that happened in The Blood Gulch Chronicles. However, it doesn't sink in for the cast (especially Sarge) and, by extension, the audience until halfway through Revelation.
  • Broken Pedestal: Lopez makes it clear (to the viewers) that the devotion he previously showed to Sarge from Season 2 has long since vanished.
  • Call-Forward:
    • We are the Meta.
    • Also, at the end of the trailer, an interesting symbol appears at 2:31 that Sigma pulls up in Season 10.
  • Car Fu: The Meta's first encounter with the Reds.
    Simmons: It threw our car at us.
  • Cassandra Truth:
    • When Wash is explaining the history of Project Freelancer and their A.I. experiments using the copied Alpha A.I., Simmons mutters in confusion that a Smart A.I. can't be copied. Though no one else even bothers to acknowledge this statement, it is not only correct, but a crucial fact in understanding the Director's crimes.
    • When Wash finally loses patience with the Reds and Blues, he tells them point blank that they are not real soldiers and that their bases were used as practice. The others just think he is lying to them, but can't exactly disprove any of his statements when he gives them a chance to. Despite this, they all still go about believing that they are real soldiers, with Sarge in particular thinking the Red and Blue conflict is more important than what Wash is trying to do, probably because they thought Wash was just being a jerk to them. They eventually find out for themselves in Revelation that everything Wash said to them was true.
  • Catchphrase: "You have got to be kidding me!" quickly becomes one for Wash.
  • Cerebus Retcon: In the original series, Church came back as a ghost after being killed off. In Chapter 16 of Reconstruction, it's explained that Church isn't actually a ghost and that he's the original Freelancer Smart A.I., Alpha. We also learn that the Red vs. Blue "war" is just an elaborate training simulation and psychological experiment set up by Project Freelancer.
  • Changing of the Guard: Subverted. While Recovery One introduced Washington, South Dakota, and the Meta, they join the main crew not long after.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Agent South Dakota.
  • The Comically Serious: Washington, even moreso as "Agent Washingtub" in Caboose's mind.
  • Dare to Be Badass: Washington give one such speech to Church right before the finale, in order to convince him to participate in the plan. Surprisingly enough, it actually works.
    Wash: Church, you'll never get another shot at fixing all of this. I know you don't believe what I've told you, but you need to ask yourself, what if I'm right? If I am, or if you have any doubts, not finding out will haunt you for the rest of your life. Not just finding out about you, but finding out about everyone close to you as well. It's your choice. What's it going to be?
  • Diabolical Mastermind: Washington claims the Director is one of these, and that the teams' ultimate goal must be to defeat him.
  • Doing In the Wizard:
    Washington: You're one of them. You're an A.I. You... are the Alpha.
  • EMP: A major device in the finale. However, the Reds, Blues, and even F.I.L.S.S. refer to it an "emp", much to Washington's chagrin.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Caboose comes up with the plan to sneak into Command, by using a Freelancer vehicle to trick them into thinking they are Freelancers so they will let them in, and everyone who doesn't look like a Freelancer just hides inside a tank because "they can't see inside of a tank". Church and Washington are actually stunned silent by this plan.
  • Epic Fail:
    • When trying to help protect Church from the Meta in Chapter 6, Caboose is instructed by Wash to throw his Spike Grenade at the rampaging Super Soldier. Caboose then throws his grenade at the small broken stone wall both he and Wash are hiding behind.
    • In Chapter 15, when Wash and Church are infiltrating the holographic storage facility hidden in Freelancer Command, Church completely fails at shooting a soldier that's standing still less than two feet in front of him with both a handgun and a full clip of ammunition.
  • Epilogue Letter: The last episode of the season features this.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing:
    • Church realizes that the Meta has Wyoming's time powers seconds before he forces it to use them.
    • After Wash is shot inside the Command bunker, his own recovery beacon is activated at "Level Zero". This is the level for when an A.I. is in danger, indicating that Church is inside his head.
  • Flanderization: There're two examples that are actually great positives since they provide for some pretty hilarious jokes.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • As later pointed out by Wash in Chapter 16, Church agrees with everything Delta says despite his own animosity towards the Freelancers and their A.I.s. This is because Delta is his own logic.
    • Overlapping with Cassandra Truth — In Chapter 14, a confused Simmons mentions that it's impossible to "copy" a Smart A.I.. Given that Simmons is The Smart Guy of Red Team, this gives more credence to the later reveal by Wash that the Freelancer A.I.s are actually fragments, not copies, of the Alpha A.I..
    • invoked A more subtle case, but Church is utterly unaffected by being left alone at a base for roughly fourteen months, apparently having not Gone Mad From The Isolation during that time. On the surface, it seems like it can be chalked up to Church's hating everyone equally, but it would later make more sense after Church is revealed to be an A.I., and so it would be pretty reasonable for him to be able to survive on his own for long periods of time without any outside stimulus so he wouldn't go crazy.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • When Simmons is hacking into the Freelancer database to erase the records on the Blues, he ALT-TABS out and several other tabs can be seen, including a Word document called "Super secret plan" and a Yahoo image search called "cortana_nude_fake".
    • In the season finale, the Meta's seven captured A.I.s can be seen, including one that has since been identified as Tex. When Church sacrifices himself to defeat Meta, Tex is the only A.I. to visibly react (she turns towards him when he charges at Meta).
  • Funny Background Event: While Church is questioning Delta about Wash's sanity, Wash is in the background shooting South Dakota's body, dropping a grenade on it, roasting it with a flamethrower, and finally rolling a bunch of Fusion Coils up to it and detonating them.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: The Meta wants to collect all of the secret tech and A.I.s from the Freelancers.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The Director, who caused all of the wrongdoings in Project Freelancer from the beginning.
  • Hacked by a Pirate: Invoked, possibly referencing Independence Day. As Simmons tries to hack Command's computer system, Grif unhelpfully offers advice such as, "You should try uploading a virus to the mainframe. I find viruses that feature a laughing skull work the best."
  • The Hero Dies: Although the series has no real "main" protagonist, Church is definitely one of the main ones, and he gets killed off by the end of the season.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: The Director of Project Freelancer is never shown and his subordinate, the Councilor, is only ever seen as a shadowy outline in the first episode.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Hilariously discussed and averted by Grif and Simmons in Chapter 17:
    Grif: You should explain what's going on, and I could make an educated suggestion.
    Simmons: "Educated"...? Okay, fine. This computer is a dedicated interface with a highly developed security protocol. The information we are accessing is stored on a separate database with its own dedicated hardware. That system has its own distinct layer of security. From what I can tell, the two systems verify their identities by trading randomly generated 2056-bit encryption keys. I'm trying to spoof one of those keys now. So, Grif. I'm all ears! Any suggestions?
    Grif: Oh yeah, I've seen that before. You should try uploading a virus to the mainframe.
    Simmons: (exasperated) Jesus!
    Grif: I find that viruses which feature laughing skulls tend to work the best.
    Simmons: Shut the fuck up and let me work!
  • I Can't Do This by Myself: Agent Washington repeatedly uses this phrase or some variant of it to convince the Red and Blue teams to join his fight against the Meta, so much so that it's parodied in the first Rooster Teeth Short, where a fake recording session of Washington's voice actor Shannon McCormick shows him saying this, along with several other parodic versions of Wash's frequent statements. None of them would consider Wash a "friend", though - they only join him because they each hope to get something for themselves out of the deal (except for Caboose, who always seems happy to help anyone - even if they don't want him to). In fact, Wash tries everything from pulling rank to outright bribery (though notably not asking nicely) to get the teams to cooperate.
  • I Resemble That Remark!:
    Washington: You have got to be the most immature soldiers I've ever met!
    Grif: Your face is immature.
  • Innocent Innuendo: This exchange after Wash tells Church and Caboose what happened at Valhalla:
    Wash: …from what a survivor told us, the Blues got here first and offloaded the bodies and equipment. Then they started to get infected.
    Caboose: Infected? What were they doing with the bodies?
    Church: Gross, shut up!
    Caboose: No really, what were they doing with the bodies?
  • Internal Deconstruction: Of the parodic nature of The Blood Gulch Chronicles. All the wacky hijinks they had in the previous series, they get punished for and are now dealing with a more realistic military. There is an actual reason for all those robots and A.I.s programs that kept popping up all over the place. Even the worthlessness of fighting a base in the middle of a box canyon is addressed.
    • Reconstruction: In the spirit of the name of the season, the idiotic personalities of the Blood Gulch teams meeting the more serious military personalities only makes for an even funnier contrast. Additionally, all of the tropes of The Blood Gulch Chronicles that were taken apart are eventually being put back together here (i.e., the worthlessness of the Forever War between the Red and Blue Teams is explained first here and then later elaborated on in Revelation as them being training dummies used to help Freelancer Agents prepare for fighting on the galactic battlefield).
  • The Juggernaut: The Meta. Absolutely nothing is shown to be able to permanently hurt them, and they consistently power through everything the protagonists throw at them.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Agent South Dakota.
    South Dakota: Oh, come on Wash, what're ya gonna do? Sh- (headshot)
    Wash: Yes.
  • Killed Off for Real: South Dakota, the original Texas, the Alpha and the other A.I. fragments, including Delta and Omega.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
  • Leitmotif: The Meta's recurring theme, "(When) Your Middle Name Is Danger".
  • Loophole Abuse: The Director exploits one to get away with torturing the Alpha A.I. Since Alpha was based on his own mind, the torture qualified as self-inflicted. The Chairman mentions in one of his letters that the place in history the Director seems to want will be as the inspiration for new laws meant to close this loophole.
  • Mega Manning: The Meta steals his slain foes' equipment and A.I.s, and integrates them into his own armor.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Delta urges Wash to kill South shortly after she tried to force him to surrender himself to the Meta and reminds Wash of the way she betrayed him in their previous encounter.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: The Director, the Greater-Scope Villain of the season, is shown to have a doctorate in the season finale.
  • Mr. Exposition: Agent Washington, whenever he's not busy being secretive or blowing things up.
  • Noodle Incident: When Sarge is reassembling the Red Team, he mentions being unable to get Donut but doesn't say why he wouldn't be available.
  • No Pronunciation Guide: Is EMP pronounced "E.M.P." or "emp"? Also a Brick Joke.
  • Only Sane Man: Wash, whenever he has to interact with the characters from the previous seasons. His role, carrying over from Recovery One, is as a Knight of Cerebus alongside the Meta.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: The Chairman usually affects a British accent, but he pronounces "schedule" the American way (replacing the "ch" with a "k" sound) rather than the British way (which uses an "sh" sound instead).
  • Replacement Goldfish: Judging by the Director's words, Tex was probably this for a lost loved one in the Director's life.
  • Secret-Keeper: Agent Washington, until Chapter 16.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The Freelancer Program was created as a means to fight the Covenant (referred to In-Universe as just "the aliens"). In so doing, they tortured the Alpha into fragmenting itself so that it could provide A.I.s for implantation experiments. However, one must then realize that the Freelancer Program was a near total failure, with every soldier we've seen going crazy, dying, getting critically injured, or otherwise flunking out. So they wasted a lot of time, effort, resources, and people to completely fail at what they were doing. The only time it gets close to any type of success was when they captured Junior (with it being implied that Omega's plan last season was actually just him acting as Freelancer Command's Unwitting Pawn), but then he escaped when the hatch opened.
  • Space Marine: With the Meta bearing down on Command, Grif asks Simmons to change his affiliation to "Freelancer". Caboose has a similar request.
    Caboose: Um, can you change my job title to something more important like astronaut — oh! I know! Space Marine!
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: From here on out until around Season 11, the series is for all intents and purposes about the Freelancers, and the Blood Gulch Crew simply happen to be caught up in a greater drama.
  • Stealth Insult: After learning of how the Director horrifically tortured the Alpha A.I., the Chairman sarcastically congratulates the Director by implying that entire new laws and procedures dealing with how A.I.s are treated by the military will be named after him.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Lots of examples, as the season is partly devoted to injecting some actual reality into the previous parodic nature of The Blood Gulch Chronicles.
    • Sarge refused to be reassigned and was labeled AWOL, making Grif the new team C.O..
    • Grif and Simmons then proceeded to ruin their new assignment by selling their ammo to Blue Team, and would have been killed by a firing squad for treason had Sarge not shown up at the last minute.
    • Caboose, meanwhile, was sentenced to the brig and tied up because his new C.O. quickly realized that he was Lethally Stupid.
    • Simmons' attempt to hack into Freelancer Command and delete the Blue Team roster takes a bat to Hollywood Hacking, with Simmons summarizing the complicated process of actual hacking while Grif rattles off classic hacking tropes like "try hacking the mainframe" (it isn't a mainframe system) or "try uploading a laughing skull virus into the mainframe" (like that's going to help spoof a randomly-generated 2056-bit encryption key).
    • The Meta has also added several nonstandard upgrades to its armor, from invisibility, to camouflage, to the Bubble Shield, and so on. While having them makes it incredibly formidable, each of the upgrades requires a power source, one that his suit of armor can't reliably provide. In battle, the Meta can only use them for a limited amount of time, and some like the Temporal Distortion Unit run out of power after a single use.
    • Wash bluntly tells the Reds and Blues that they're not real soldiers and their entire Forever War is a glorified farce on behalf of Freelancer Command... and they don't believe him even if he does have clear proof supporting his argument. After all, from their perspective, Wash has been an utter Jerkass towards them for the entire time they've known him, and they're not exactly going to be that inclined to trust him.
    • The Director of Project Freelancer attempts to invoke Loophole Abuse to get out of going to prison for torturing his Smart A.I. by pointing out that since the Alpha was based off of his own mind, he was technically torturing himself. The UNSC Oversight Subcommittee's response? To simply write new protocols and laws accounting for this obvious loophole and making it so the Director can still be prosecuted.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: The more time he spends around the Blood Gulch Crew, the more Washington develops this attitude.
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That: Delta creates a message like this for Church. Notably, the usage of the trope here averts the nearly omniscient overtones that are usually present. When Church tries to mess with the recording by saying outrageous things, Delta simply responds by saying "stop testing me". This, of course, is handwaved by the fact that Delta is a highly advanced military-grade A.I., and so explained that he used logic to predict reasonable answers to the most likely questions Church would ask him. He just happened to be remarkably accurate. Later reveals indicate that this was helped by the fact that Church is the Alpha AI that Delta was originally split from.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: "Boo, motherfucker!"
  • Title Drop:
    Washington: Now I know you guys are all wrapped up in your Red vs. Blue battles...
    Caboose: Blue versus Red battles! No one says Red versus Blue! It sounds stupid when you say it backwards.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: When it's revealed that Church is an AI. However, it's quickly subverted when Church denies this, still believing himself to be a ghost.
    Church: You're a fucking idiot!
    Washington: That's... not the reaction I expected.
  • Transferable Memory: Epsilon was created as a receptacle for the Alpha's memories, which include those of the Director of Project Freelancer. He also appears to be able to assimilate memories from those around him.
  • Trying Not to Cry: When Sarge leave Lopez, he says with a choking voice that he promised himself he wouldn't cry.
  • Unperson: The Reds try to "defeat" the Blues by deleting them from the Command database. The episode also hangs a lampshade on Ret-Gone, when Caboose seems to disappear after the Reds finish purging the database. Simmons panics, thinking he may have deleted Caboose from existence. He was just using the bathroom before the upcoming battle.
    Grif: Come on dude, tell us more about the reality-bending computer. I'm hanging on your every word!
    Simmons: I don't wanna talk about it.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee:
    • Retroactive: it turns out the reason why Washington is still alive, despite South supposedly killing him at the end of Recovery One, is because he had York's healing unit in his suit, which is also the first time we ever hear of him having it.
    • The penultimate episode shows that Church is 100% unwilling to help Washington with his plan to take down the Meta. The start of the finale shows that he still refuses to stick around, something that Wash and even Simmons insult him for. The Reds and Blues proceed to leave and the Meta, seeing through the distraction, goes after Wash... and it turns out that this was his plan; Church implanted himself into Wash, and the others were told to leave with his body.
  • Voice of the Legion The Meta's A.I.s all talk at once sometimes, and in the trailer for Reconstruction the Meta even carves on the wall "We Are The Meta."
  • Weapon of Choice: Church has his Sniper Rifle, Sarge has his shotgun, and Caboose is the only other member of the main cast aside from those aforementioned characters to still carry an Assault Rifle rather than a Battle Rifle. Then there's the Meta's Brute Shot.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Director. His experiments were supposed to help humanity win the War against the Aliens. Even if everything he did ended in failure. And his torture of the Alpha was essentially a torture of himself, at least in his view.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Chapter 12 was a huge turning point for the series, marking the full shift from the comedic antics of The Blood Gulch Chronicles - Wash reveals that the Reds and Blues were just part of a training simulation for Freelancers, which basically means that they aren't real soldiers. Even outside of that big revelation, Wash learns that Church has been dead the whole time, and the team decides to go to Command (the one place which none of the major characters have been seen in before now).
    • Chapter 16, which is undoubtedly the biggest Wham Episode out of the whole series: The Freelancer A.I.s are revealed to be broken fragments of the greater "Alpha" A.I., not copies, and Church is the original Alpha A.I..
    • Chapter 19. The Reds and Caboose barely escape with Epsilon in tow, Wash is critically injured by the Meta, Church and all of the other Freelancer A.I.s excluding Epsilon are erased by the "emp," and the Director is revealed to be the person that Church/the Alpha A.I. was originally based off of.
  • Wham Line:
    • The end of Chapter 16, which makes a huge impact on the entire series:
      Washington: Church, there's no such thing as ghosts. You're one of them. You're an A.I. You... are the Alpha.
    • Also, the final line of Chapter 19:
      The Director: Sincerely yours, the former Director of Project Freelancer, Doctor Leonard Church.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?:
    • Averted due to some surprisingly progressive legislation concerning Artificial Intelligences - it is implied in the Director and Chairman's memos that A.I.s are citizens, and have strict moral guidelines in place for dealing with them, more of which are added in "honor" of the Director after his actions concerning the Alpha are brought to light.
    • Also averted in how the other characters react to A.I.s (and discovering that Tex and Church are also A.I.s). For the most part, the Reds and Blues treat A.I.s just like any other person. In contrast, Freelancers treat them more like tools, because that's all they were for Freelancers, although this seems to change if they've been together for a long time (York/Delta, Wyoming/Gamma, even Tex/Omega, although that doesn't mean they like each other)
  • Worst. Whatever. Ever!: This seems to be Wash's signature line, most notably:
    Wash: Caboose! Toss that grenade!
    (Caboose throws the Spike Grenade directly forward, straight onto the wall they're crouching behind.)
    Wash: That was the worst throw, ever. ...Of all time.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Said almost word-for-word to Wash when he tells the Director he knows everything about the Alpha and the Director's crimes.

    Relocated (Miniseries) 
  • Ambiguous Situation: Sarge doesn't think Grif knows what electricity is. Grif's response doesn't exactly make it clear if Sarge is right or not.
    Grif: The man's right. I have no idea.
    Simmons: (sighs) Whatever.
    Grif: No, seriously, I have no idea. I always thought it was some kind of invisible magic.
    Simmons: Shut up.
  • Amusing Injuries: To both Grif and Holo-Grifs.
  • Beyond the Impossible: In Part 3, Grif's analysis of his sister surviving being under ice for three hours and coming up both totally fine and pregnant.
  • Bilingual Dialogue: It seems that Sarge has finally learned Spanish, as he and Lopez have an actual conversation in this season. The same does not hold true for the rest of the Reds.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • In Part 2, Caboose says he is "not" working on something at Blue Base.
    • In Part 4, Grif neglects to mention Donut's Sequel Hook, only saying that he said he liked Sarge's new jeep.
  • Buffy Speak: "Ker-splat" probability, in Part 3.
  • The Bus Came Back: Both Lopez and Donut return in this mini-series.
  • Continuity Nod: Aside from references to Reconstruction, there is Donut's appearance in Red Base, saying "it's under the sand", as Tucker did in his cameo in Reconstruction, implying that resolving that plot line and seeing Tucker was the next order of business.
  • Continuity Snarl: Most likely for the sake of moving the plot along faster, everyone can understand Lopez in this miniseries, especially Sarge.
  • Creative Sterility: Sarge in Part 4, sort of. Lopez, an actual robot for whom this trope typically would be applied to, calls him out on not making the holograms make anything else except for Grifs.
  • Fake Static: In Part 3, Lopez tries to fake a voice message to get out of talking to Sarge on the radio. Sarge sees through it and disables his lying protocols.
  • He's Back!: Lopez returns, and he's built an entire holodeck for the group under Valhalla's Red Base by Part 3's end in less than a minute, along with an elevator coded to their handprints. That, and he's a lot snarkier.
  • Hopeless War: Seemingly averted at Blood Gulch Canyon, with the Reds winning there. Except Season 13 reveals that Lopez did not kill Sister like he believed he had, meaning the Blues won Blood Gulch because Lopez left.
  • How We Got Here: Everyone in Blood Gulch was reassigned to new locations, except for Sister, Sarge and Lopez (though Sarge's continued presence is due to him deliberately ignoring his relocation orders, believing that Blood Gulch has "not yet won"). The locations of Donut, Tucker, and Doc are also left ambiguous until the next two seasons.
  • Let Me Get This Straight...: In Part 1.
    Sarge: As you'll recall, on our last mission, we encountered that magnetic pulse thingy. So, I thought we could upgrade the warthog to use that technology for a fancy new gun.
    Simmons: You mean the pulse that knocked out our car and made it stall? That technology?
    Sarge: Yes.
    Simmons: You want to add that to the car and activate it on a regular basis?
    Sarge: Mhm.
    Simmons: Specifically in battle?
    Sarge: Bingo-bango.
    Simmons: And you're sure that's a good idea.
    Sarge: Why wouldn't it be?
    Grif: Don't listen to him, sir. I think it's brilliant. The enemy'll never see it coming.
    Simmons: That's because it won't be coming! It'll be shutting down every time we fire our primary weapon!
  • Limit Break: In Part 3, Simmons suggests Grif use his fear for his life to gain the strength to push debris away. However, it seems that Grif is in need of more powers gain from being apathetic.
  • Mad Scientist: Caboose gives off these vibes when working, especially in Part 4.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: In Part 3, Sarge tries to "help" Grif by throwing him live grenades. And a rocket.
  • Mini Series: Only four episodes long.
  • Minimalist Cast: The cast is very small, especially compared to previous seasons. It consists only of the Reds and Caboose. Technically Sheila is in the crashed Pelican, and Epsilon does appear, but their parts are minimal enough to not really count for much.
  • Mythology Gag: Simmons references Orbital Drop Shock Troopers when discussing Sarge's fear of heights with him.
  • Never Found the Body: Grif is unconvinced that Sister is really dead for this reason. Sure enough, Sister is confirmed to still be alive six seasons later.
    Grif: I'll tell you what: you produce a corpse, I'll believe it.
    Simmons: Huh?
    Grif: Listen, once when we were kids, we went ice skating and she fell through the ice. She was under there for three hours, and when they pulled her out, not only was she still alive, she was pregnant. If you can explain that to me, I'll believe you when you say she's dead.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You…: Noted in Part 3, but played straight to have it Played for Laughs when Grif lands. Simmons says Grif is "broken" after the fall.
  • Parrot Exposition: Parodied.
    Sarge: He'll probably faint when I tell him his sister's dead.
    Grif: My sister is dead?!
    Sarge: Oh, you already know! Good. I was worried 'bout how to break the news to you. That could've been awkward.
  • Pet the Dog: In Part 3, Sarge actually seems worried about Grif's reaction to hearing of his sister's possible death.
  • Phrase Catcher: Part 3 shows that even when she isn't even there, Sister still can get people to say "Wait, what?" about her.
  • Rule of Cool: In Part 3, about building a hologram chamber to simulate an EMP cannon Chupathingy instead of just making the car itself.
    Sarge: Simmons, sometimes you just gotta go for style points. Hoo-ah.
  • Sequel Hook: Lampshaded by Grif in Part 4.
    Grif: Oh boy. That sounds like something that's gonna keep us busy for a few months.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: Simmons, often. Especially when he points out a ladder for Grif to climb for Sarge after he's almost at the top of Red Base.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Both Grif and Caboose think that electricity is powered by "invisible magic".
  • Understatement: In Part 4, Simmons notes that the EMP cannon fires 0.1 rounds per second, while the Gatling Good fires 10,000 rounds per second. Sarge assumes his math is right in thinking that the Gatling gun fires faster.
  • Vertigo Effect: The second episode of Relocated has this when Caboose sneaks up on Simmons.
  • Violation of Common Sense: In Part 3, Grif has to throw a grenade directly in front of him to clear debris. Simmons notes that while this is unsafe, so is everything else involved in this exercise.
  • Virtual Training Simulation: Lopez built one under Red Base at Valhalla.
  • Worth It: Sarge says this every time Grif is almost killed, regardless of how useful the activity he was doing was.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: Deliberately stated by Sarge about the Virtual Training Simulation room.

    Recreation (Season 7) 
  • Abuse Mistake: Donut goes over to Blue Base to give Caboose a message from Tucker but falls unconscious before he can tell him. When the rest of Red team comes to the base looking for Donut, Caboose tells them that he has him and is taking care of him until he tells him a few things. Sarge takes all this to mean that Caboose is holding Donut prisoner and is torturing him for information.
  • Allegiance Affirmation: Agent Washington, after all his efforts to bring the Director and Project Freelancer to justice, is arrested in Season 7 for detaining an EMP in Freelancer Command and spends most of the season in jail, seething over it and getting increasingly bitter. Then, at the end of the season, he arrives just as the Meta corners Simmons, Donut, and Lopez and shoots Donut and Lopez dead.
  • Atomic F-Bomb: Simmons gives one while being chased by the Meta.
  • Back from the Dead: Technically speaking, Church/Alpha. He was confirmed killed at the end of the last season, but using a Forerunner Monitor, Caboose was able to bring him back by having Epsilon assume his memories and personality.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: An artifact hunter convinces the Blood Gulch team that he and his alien partner are in charge of a base by just claiming he's in command when they killed the actual officers.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The arc villains of the season are divided this way by the two concurrent storylines:
    • The desert dig team plotline has C.T., revealed in later seasons to actually be the Insurrectionist Leader wearing her armor.
    • Back at Valhalla the season sees the role divided between the Meta and Washington.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Simmon's reaction in Episode 15 when he hears Donut's very dumb explanation for why he didn't help when the Meta attacked him.
  • Big "NO!": Simmons gives one when Donut is shot by Wash and collapses.
  • Breather Episode: invoked In the context of the Recollection Trilogy, at least; this season is considerably more lighthearted and has a slower pace than both Reconstruction and Revelation. Word of God even described Recreation in context to the rest of The Recollection as "less plot, more stupid".
  • Brick Joke: Sort of: A sponsor's-only ending for an episode in Reconstruction shows that Doc was called to the UNSC Wind Power Facility by the Reds, but they were all gone by the time he arrived. A deleted scene in this season's DVD shows that, after a whole season, he's still there.
  • Car Fu:
    • Subverted when Tucker tries to take out an enemy Warthog about to attack Sarge and Caboose's jeep by hitting it with his Chopper ramping off a hill (complete with gratuitous yelling during the entire very long time he spends in the air), but overshoots and misses them completely. However, this did give the jeep's gauss gun enough time to recharge and attack the enemies while they were distracted.
    • Simmons also attempted this in an earlier episode against by firing a rocket launcher at a Mongoose to make the Mongoose hit the enemy. He overshoots, and all he accomplished was destroying the spare Mongoose that Lopez had finished fixing.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The series starts off lightheartedly, but progressively becomes more and more serious, culminating in Wash's betrayal and shooting of Lopez and Donut in the finale.
  • Character Focus: As interesting and weird as it may sound, the season's protagonist is actually Caboose, with it being primarily focused around his attempts to both resurrect Church using the Epsilon A.I. and rescue Tucker from the Sangheili and Marines at Sandtrap.
  • Continuity Nod: Let's just say that it's full of plot points from previous seasons making a come back and being referenced. Every episode adds at least two or three to the pile.
    • To Season 1, with Caboose struggling to drive Sheila.
      Grif: Why are there only four pedals when there's six directions?!
    • A later one comes in Episode 14, when Tucker mentions they shouldn't touch the weapon he's supposed to be guarding because for all they know it could make them all sterile, a reference to the fifth season when Church was speculating what the Red Team's new delivery was and sarcastically theorized it was a weapon that "makes anyone wearing blue armor sterile".
    • Simmons claims that he's quarter robot himself, pointing out that time Sarge turned him into a cyborg during Season 2.
    • After Church comes back, his memory is a little fuzzy, and what he does know is mostly based on what Caboose has told him. For instance, he calls Sarge a pirate captain, and he also thinks Grif is yellow, just like how Grif is seen inside Caboose's head. Epsilon-Church also spells Grif's name with two "f"s, and first mistakes Tucker for Captain Butch Flowers (as Tucker took Flowers' armor for his own after his first death).
    • There is a human soldier with C.T. who is called "Private Jones". However, the Private corrects his pronunciation, claiming that it's actually pronounced "Jo-an-nis". This is, of course, the exact opposite situation as in Reconstruction.
    • In Episode 13 it's revealed that the reason the Chairman never searched Caboose for the Epsilon unit was because the records of the Blues were deleted.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: As this season shows with Wash's Face–Heel Turn, apparently every Freelancer except the Meta suffers from this, and even the Meta's partnership with Wash is obviously tense.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Way back in Season 4, a single Elite was so awesome, it could effortlessly decimate Omega and his robot army, and could even curbstomp Tex in seconds. Now, in Recreation, we see them get slaughtered en masse by one awesome soldier (Tucker). Justified in that Lopez wasn't even trying when he made the robot army (such as the interpretation of "day of victory"), however.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
  • Deadpan Snarker: Lopez gets progressively snarkier with each passing episode due to being Surrounded by Idiots.
  • Deuteragonist: While the season's story is ultimately about Caboose attempting to resurrect Church via Epsilon, the subplot involving Simmons becoming increasingly distanced from Sarge and him growing more of a spine as he struggles to take leadership over the rest of Red Team in Valhalla is still given quite a bit of screen-time, with him being overall the second-most important character of the season.
    • Additionally, Epsilon-Church serves as the season's Tritagonist after Caboose brings him Back from the Dead, with his part of the story involving him trying to recover his old memories and find out who he is.
  • Dynamic Entry: Tucker attempts to do one to a pair of C.T.'s goons with a Chopper, but ends up missing.
  • Easy Amnesia: Epsilon accidentally turns off his short term memory. Caboose later fixes it by whacking him with the butt of his rifle.
  • Endless Daytime: Grif is continually angered by no one addressing the fact that the sun never sets in their canyon.
  • Everybody Knew Already: Hilariously inverted - When filling Tucker in on what happened in Season 6, Sarge, Grif, and Caboose reveal that Church was never a ghost, but the Alpha AI. However, Tucker had apparently already figured this out and thought everybody knew.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Washington, sort of. He's up against the Blood Gulch Crew, but only so he can bring justice to the villainous Director and stay out of prison.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Epsilon initially appears to Caboose as Delta because it knows Caboose trusted Delta. Although Caboose is a little unclear on the concept, so the benefit was largely wasted on him.
  • Friendly War: By this point, the two teams spend more time being an extremely messed-up and vitriolic makeshift family that occasionally still shoot at each other for old times' sake than actual enemies. It's perhaps best summed-up in this conversation below when Sarge, Grif, and Caboose meet back up with Tucker at the desert temple in Sandtrap:
    Tucker: (to Caboose) You brought these guys? Are we killin' each other today? Or pretending to work together?
    Caboose: Um, the pretending version.
    Tucker: Oh, okay, cool. (brightly) Hey dudes, what's up? How’d y'all find me?
  • Friendship Moment: Despite how often Simmons is annoyed by Donut, he still tries to save the latter after he is shot by Washington.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Epsilon while inside of the Monitor, has no idea how to use any of his functions and doesn't even know every power that he has.
  • Ironic Echo: In Recovery One, South asks for a moment with her dead brother, and Washington coldly says she has one minute. South bitterly says she guesses she should be thankful, and Wash says he guesses she better get started. In this season, almost the exact same words crop up regards Wash having five minutes to make a deal with the Chairman, with Wash echoing South's dialogue and a guard echoing Wash's.
  • Just Between You and Me: Tucker tries this when backed into a corner, but C.T. blows it off.
  • Lighter and Softer: invoked Far and wide, it's lighter than Reconstruction.
  • Made of Iron: Caboose survived stepping on a landmine which blew him hundreds of feet into the air followed by crashing into a jeep without even pausing.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Washington turns out to have been partnered with the Meta, and is the brains of their operation. The Chairman is the one who set Wash loose to recover the Epsilon unit to use as evidence against the Director, but his interest in the situation is far less... personal than Wash's.
  • Man on Fire: Caboose's random base fires.
    Caboose: Oh God. Now I'm burning! That's much worse than other things burning!
    Caboose: (as something he didn't even touch randomly catches on fire) ALL RIGHT, NOW HOW DID THAT EVEN START?!
  • Meaningful Name: "Recreation" has two separate meanings. Re-creation refers to Church's return as Epsilon and recreation as in fun activities refers to this being the Lighter and Softer season of Recollection.
  • Negated Moment of Awesome: Tucker attempts to save the others by jumping on them with a Chopper... and misses.
    Tucker: Hey asshole! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! (crash) Fuck.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: invoked Tex and Alpha-Church were shown in the trailer for Recreation, but never appear in the season itself. As per Word of God, this was symbolic of Epsilon's return as Church, and not to be taken literally.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Turns out the Chairman was about to arrest the Director, but Wash's plan destroyed all of the evidence. Wash was promptly arrested. That being said, part of the original plan hinged on the Reds and Caboose turning Epsilon over, as Epsilon was the major piece of evidence. The fact that Caboose seemed to have kept it secret to try and bring back Church might explain why Wash is so pissed off at the Blood Gulch Crew.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Happens upon Simmons seeing the Meta in Valhalla (who Donut has mistaken for a new Blue simulation trooper being sent to the canyon).
    Simmons: What? They sent another team member? (approaches the base’s entrance) Why would they do that? That doesn't make any sense. (notices the Meta inside) OH, FUCK!!! (quickly darts off) Welcometotheneighborhood, seeyoulater!
  • Percussive Maintenance: Caboose tries to fix a Monitor's memory issues by hitting it with his gun. And it apparently works.
  • Properly Paranoid: Sarge doesn't tell the dig team what he, Grif and Caboose are there for because they could be the ones who have put Tucker in danger. He's correct.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Grif gives one to Sarge once he thinks they won't survive, with the added safety of keeping himself distant enough from Sarge's shotgun. Things get very uncomfortable once C.T. says he'll guide them out of the minefield ("*laughs nervously* You know I was kidding, right?")
  • Recruiting the Criminal: The Chairman hires Washington and the Meta to take in the Epsilon AI so as to get evidence to hold against the Director in the season finale. This carries over in to the following season.
  • Self-Serving Memory: Sarge does in the first episode when he recalls how they deleted the record of the Blues from Command's computer, with his modifications including killing Grif and Simmons turning into a motorcycle. When Grif calls him out on this, citing his not being dead, Sarge tells Simmons to transform and run over him.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The Reds in Valhalla vs. the Meta.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Donut and Lopez are both killed at the end, paving the way for the much more serious and dramatic Revelation.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Sarge gives us a pretty egregious example - he fails to land a hit on Grif any sort of way with a shotgun shot, from what could be maybe ten meters. Then again, the series is filmed in a FPS game.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Lopez has adopted this attitude.
  • Time Skip: Roughly three months have passed since the end of Reconstruction when the season starts.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Tucker, who single-handedly smashes his way through C.T.'s mercenary team of Elites and Marines. We later learn that he's been the only thing that's prevented C.T. from breaking into the temple.
  • Trailer Spoof: The trailer's beginning is more or less identical to the trailer for Reconstruction. It then changes when Caboose causes an explosion in Blue Base.
  • Weapon of Choice: Simmons seems to have adopted the rocket launcher as his. Unfortunately, his aim isn't that great with it.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Chapter 12 sees the return of both the Meta and Tucker.
    • Chapter 15 has Church being resurrected through the Epsilon AI unit.
    • Chapter 19 features both Lopez and Donut getting shot by Wash, who has teamed up with the Meta.
  • Wham Line: In the finale:
    Wash: (to the Meta) Stand down! I'll take it from here.
  • Wham Shot: True to the 'Episode 10 twist' tendency, the final scene is C.T. reassuring his alien companion that "I'll take care of these idiots" while the camera zooms out to show the actual dead excavation team C.T. claimed to be a part of.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Partially averted. It's revealed that Junior survived the ship crash and the events at Valhalla, and was made an ambassador with Tucker, but we never see him again until Season 13.

    Revelation (Season 8) 

The last in the Recollection Trilogy, centering around the memories and AIs. The first showing also revealed that Monty Oum, the creator of Haloid and Dead Fantasy, is now part of the Rooster Teeth staff.

  • Actionized Sequel: By adding Monty's animation, instead of sparse action scenes filmed inside the Halo engine, the show got more and very varied scenes, including car chases, fistfights, and the all-out chaos that is the trap set by Tex.
  • Affably Evil: Washington shows qualities of both this and Faux Affably Evil at various points, showcasing what happens when The Comically Serious loses patience.
  • A God Am I: Epsilon-Church takes a little too well to the Elites worshiping him.
    Tucker: You just read the instructions off our printer.
    Church: Yeah, they eat that technology stuff up. You gotta know your audience, man!
  • Almighty Janitor: Despite only being 'trainees' used as practice for Freelancers, the Blood Gulch Red and Blue teams managed to take down: Omega, Tex, the Meta and dozens of badasses without losing any casualities. At the very least, Sarge and Tucker are far more skilled than their status as simulation-fodder suggests.
  • And I Must Scream: Subverted. Church and Tex's imprisonment in the AI capture unit would seem like this, but the narration at the end suggests that the two will finally find happiness with each other. Keep in mind that finding happiness with Tex is something Church has been trying to do for the entire series.
  • And the Adventure Continues: After all the shenanigans, damage, lies, victories and defeats of the last 8 seasons, they decided to return to their Training program because they liked it and care little if it is not real for command, its real for them. The fact that technically they have shown to be the biggest badasses in the entire series far beyond mere trainees, literally surviving and defeating one One-Man Army after another while thousands of others didn't, make it all the more intense.
  • Animation Bump: Thanks to Monty Oum, fully animated CGI sequences are inserted into the standard Halo game-engine machinima.
  • Anti-Villain: Wash has a degree of this, especially after you realize that the reason he is after the Blood Gulch Crew is because he was sent to prison because they didn't hand over Epsilon like he told them to. And aside from that, what he's trying to do with Epsilon is actually to help put away a villain.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In the first episode of the season, the others (Tucker, Grif, and Caboose respectively) try insulting Church to make him angry enough do the "laserface" again. The insults are that "he's ugly and nobody likes him," "he's annoying and his team sucks," and "he's round and can't wear pants." While none of them make him angry, the last one is the only one that manages to depress him.
  • Art Evolution: With Monty Oum of Dead Fantasy fame helping out in the latest season, the production values have taken a noticeable upswing.
  • Art Shift: The creator of Haloid and Dead Fantasy is now working with Rooster Teeth, leading to sequences where the shift is noticeable.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: "Red vs. Blue", used in at the end of "n+1" with the Reds and Tucker vs. the Meta with all of his equipment back online.
  • Badass Normal:
    • Agent Washington seems to be this. A close examination of his performance in the big fight in Episode 19 indicates he's not in the same superhuman league as Tex or the Meta, but he still manages to hold his own and while he's not the melee powerhouse that the Meta is, he's still a more competent fighter than any of the Blood Gulch Crew as well as a damn good shot (all after being blown up and visibly injured by a bunch of landmines). Episode 20 seems to confirm it, as Wash finally hits his limit, and can't keep fighting... but only after taking an explosive round at point blank to the chest.
    • Both Sarge and Tucker count for this category, although not on the same level as Wash. Sarge because he was willing to get up close with the Meta to put his (really Wash's) plan into action, while Tucker has just become a great fighter all around, for a non-freelancer; Tucker's exploits include holding off C.T.'s forces on his own, slicing in half a warthog and a huge ass crate in a moments notice, and, most of all, stabbing the Meta through the chest with his sword, which would kill anyone else almost instantly. While nowhere near the level of the shown freelancers, both Sarge and Tucker are extremely competent soldiers.
    • Grif as well, when you get down to it. A normal human would've died dozens of times in that fight with Tex. Grif has also been surviving explosions, falls, blunt-force trauma and bullets that should've killed him since Season 2... from both enemies and allies! He also wrestles the Meta's Brute Shot away, leading to Tucker stabbing the Super Soldier through the chest with his Laser Blade.
  • Barrier-Busting Blow: Done to Simmons near the start of Episode 10.
  • Bat Deduction: Sarge's piecing-together of the situation at Valhalla quickly devolves into this after having started out as a basic Sherlock Scan.
  • Berserk Button: In an attempt to seal themselves from the Meta, the Reds try to make Church angry so that he activates his "laser face" in order to block the entrance by causing the wall to collapse. None of their insults have any effect beyond just mildly ticking him off. Then he sees Agent Washington. Laser face ensues.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Washington and the Meta as dual Arc Villains. Well, until the Meta betrays Wash and injures him badly, thus taking over the role as the sole Big Bad while Wash pulls a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • "How about you pick on someone your own size?!". Immediately subverted at the start of the next episode, when the hero just gets a beating for his trouble. Further subverted in that Tex was kicking everyone's asses for a good seven minutes beforehand.
    • Then played straight in Episode 19, when Caboose, Tucker, and the Reds fly in on the Pelican, and save Wash, Doc, and Church from the Meta, if only for a moment.
      Washington: I would say that was the cavalry... but I've never seen a line of horses crash into the battlefield from outer space before.
  • Big "NO!": Church, when the Meta uses the capture unit on Tex.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Even though our plucky heroes escape and the Meta is defeated, once again the Director seems to have escaped justice and Church and Tex are again lost, possibly forever. In an upbeat coda, however, Church makes peace with his nature and admits that, in spite of everything, the memories he has from his life are good ones, and now he has all the time in the world to wait for Tex to come back to him.
  • Bookends:
    • Reconstruction begins with a soldier looking at the dead body of a Freelancer as the camera pans up in Valhalla, showing a huge number of characters (so many that the creators actually had to run several games and use splitscreen to get that many). Revelation ends with a soldier looking at Tex's body in Avalanche and the camera pans up to show a similar shot.
    • The final scene of the season is a bookend for the entire series thus far, with the original Blue Team, in the Reach Blood Gulch map, talking about how the Reds got a new car.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Episode 3. The Warthog has six pedals, despite there only being four directions.
    • Episode 4. "Private Jimmy was here."
    • Episode 10 has Tucker coming out of the teleporter covered in black gunk.
    • Episode 11: "That doesn't seem physically possible!"
  • Broken Faceplate: When the Meta manages to drive a spiked A.I. containment unit into Tex's visor, he smashes a large round hole into the front of it and absorbs her into the unit.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Grif and the other previous Butt Monkeys seem to be getting off relatively light this season. Then episode 10 comes along and turns everyone into the butt monkey for seven minutes.
    • Strange though it may sound, Wash is actually the Butt Monkey for this season. He's been kicked around and stabbed in the back for pretty much his whole life, so he decides that enough is enough and turns evil. What's his reward? Endless hassle, bickering, humiliation, and a surprising number of ass kickings.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Tucker was providing his own sound effects for his sword way back in Season 4, and again briefly in "Recreation", but it is only in Episode 10 that they start to actually qualify as this.
    Tucker: Swish. Swish. Stab!
  • Captain Obvious: Episode 10. "Agent Tex is a bit of a badass," which is stated while she spends seven minutes throwing around giant crates and jumping through portals to humiliate and defeat the Blood Gulch Crew without breaking a sweat.
  • Car Fu: In the first new CGI scene, Grif drives the Warthog through the wall and right into Washington.
  • Catchphrase Interruptus: Done by Sarge, to himself.
    Sarge: You just got— (fires shotgun, setting off an explosion) Goddammit, I messed up my one-liner!
  • Character Development:
    • After Sarge snaps out of his Heroic BSoD, he softly leaves his hatred against the Blues behind him, gives a rather epic Rousing Speech that even drives Grif to help him, and sets out with the rest to make everyone from the Project Freelancer pay for what they did to them.
    • Washington, after a lifetime of betrayal, finally betrays someone himself. When they welcome him back with open arms, he is audibly shocked and contemplating what this means to him.
    • Simmons is more willing to challenge Sarge's authority after the rift in their relationship in the previous season. Conversely, this has caused Grif and Sarge to develop a closer relationship.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: The tow cable is first established to get Doc out of the wall, and then it's used by Doc to rescue Washington. You think it's over... but then Washington hands the hook to Sarge.
  • Chekhov's Gag:
    • Episode 18 sees the return of the series Arc Words, "Do you ever wonder why we're here?". However, instead of being used in a comedic fashion as it has been previously, it's instead used as a part of Sarge's badass Rousing Speech.
    • The Warthog vs. Puma debate from The Blood Gulch Chronicles makes a return in a rather badass fashion, being used by Sarge as a distraction to attach the Warthog's cable to The Meta.
    • Early on in the Season, Sarge uses "Shotgun" as a codeword for Grif to drive through Valhalla's wall, only for Grif to not understand at first because Sarge uses that word all the time. In the final episode, Sarge uses it again as cue for Grif and Simmons to push the Warthog off Sidewinder's cliff.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Caboose's outdated armor. It isn't equipped with safety protocols like Armor Lockdown.
    • In Chapter 12, we learned that Recovery Beacons won't activate inside the backup Freelancer facility. The immediate crisis is resolved and Tex and Epsilon-Church head off to a mysterious snowy facility alone. In the remote location, Tex shoots Epsilon-Church in order to activate his Recovery Beacon and bring Wash and the Meta to her.
    • When Revelations first started, the series' main cover was an image of Tex's helmet with the faceplate shattered. In Episode 19, we see the events that cause this to happen.
    • The Meta's Brute Shot is almost literally one, albeit in a bit of a strange fashion. The Meta uses it to save himself from falling off the cliff after the fight with Tex. Later, when he tries to drag Grif off the cliff with him to his doom, Grif uses it do the same thing. Only this time, The Meta is still screwed.
    • And finally, the towing cable on the Warthog. It's first introduced and used in "Towing Package," but it's not until "n+1" that it's used in a more overtly dramatic fashion.
      "Hey Grif, I lost my shotgun!"
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: What's that? Turns out the Meta was only looking out for itself? Ain't that a surprise.
  • Compilation Movie
  • Continuity Nod: Burnie Burns has said that "memory" is a key theme of the Revelation season, and thus it is full of them to reinforce that:
    • The CGI Warthog Grif drives has six pedals.
    • The aliens calling Washington "Shisno."
    • Tucker is the only one to get black stuff on his armor when going through warps, then gets punched so hard, that the aforementioned black stuff completely comes off, leading Sarge to make the comment that the punch "knocked the black right off of ya!" Tucker responds with "That's racist!" perhaps referencing his brief conversation with Church where the possibility came up that he could be black.
    • Grif forgetting to bring the squad's ammo. Ironically, this actually saves his life.
    • Tucker's sword doesn't work for anyone else.
    • "She's beating him up with his own [x]? That doesn't seem physically possible!"
    • That flashback in Season 1 when Tex attacked Sidewinder/Avalanche? Tex brings it up when they go back there, and you realize that was when she tried to save the Alpha and failed.
    • When Tex is mentioning that Gamma was one of the A.I.s that tortured Alpha, the computer terminal that housed Gamma during The Blood Gulch Chronicles can be seen on a nearby wall.
    • The Freelancer training facility's A.I. (which sounds exactly like Sheila) is named F.I.L.S.S. This was also the name of the original Sheila before Church accidentally changed it during his (what was actually just a torture session in all likelihood) time travel adventures.
    • Sarge (along with Grif and Simmons) end up in a grainy, black-and-white version of reality (just like when Sarge was shot and near death back in Season 1), and once again believes it to be the afterlife. It's actually revealed to be a recovery buffer for Project Freelancer units awaiting retrieval by a Recovery Agent.
    • Agent Washington: "That was the second worst throw... ever. Of all time." Doc: "What do you want from me? I ran track in high school."
    • "Does that thing kinda look like a big cat to you?"
  • Covert Emergency Call: In an odd twist, a character sends such a message completely by accident. Simmons, who is being held hostage by Washington and the Meta, receives a call from Sarge, but being held at gunpoint, Simmons just tries to act like everything is fine. Despite this, after the call is finished, Sarge uses some Insane Troll Logic to identify all of the "hidden messages" Simmons left for him in his call, which by astounding coincidence happened to coincide exactly with what was really going on down to the smallest detail.
  • Crazy-Prepared: In Episode 19, we see that Tex has rigged the entire glacier with mines and hidden weapons to even the odds against the Meta and Washington.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Tucker and the Reds are utterly destroyed (albeit non-lethally) in Episode 10, as seen here. This is especially notable as its one of the first scenes and the first fight scene to be affected by the Animation Bump.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The Meta, which is really impressive as it doesn't technically talk.
  • Death Cry Echo: The Meta lets out one final echoing roar as it plunges to its doom.
  • Defiant to the End: Tucker in Episode 10 continues to fight and keep up his Deadpan Snarker routine even while getting his ass kicked, and by doing so manages to retain his Level In Badass even when it becomes clear he's out of his league to an utterly laughable extent.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Even the entire armed forces of the UNSCnote  couldn't take out the Meta. Compared to the Reds and Blues, he might as well be a Physical God. And they take him down (possibly for good this time) in the span of a few minutes.
  • Disney Death: Grif.
  • Disney Villain Death: After three seasons, this is how the Meta is finally dispatched. He was Brought Down to Normal without any functioning equipment units when he fell and the response unit certainly sounds sure that he's dead thanks to the stab wounds Tucker inflicted upon him.
  • The Dragon: The Meta and its partner, Washington. However, Washington's the Dragon-in-Chief until the final episode since he's actually sane.
  • The Dreaded: The Reds were willing to take on whatever was beating down that door. That is until they realize it's Tex. They then proceed to run like hell - and for a damn good reason.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Shortly after making fun of one of Doc's suggestions for tracking the protagonists to the point of making him walk away in frustration, Wash quietly tries it out. Doc calls him out on it later, but Wash notes that he wasn't saying Doc was wrong, he was just saying he was an idiot.
  • Dynamic Entry: Tex punches a sealed metal door off its hinges. Bad. Ass.
  • Easily Forgiven: In Episode 19, the Reds and Blues are surprisingly amicable towards Washington when they finally catch up with him and Church, especially when you consider the fact they weren't around to witness his Heel–Face Turn following the Meta's betrayal.
  • Epic Fail: Technically what it becomes of the Blood Gulch teams, though it's the rare case where the failure is actually positive. They were teams of the lowest of the lowest in the army, formed to train the Freelancers in "real" heavy combat. Instead, they ended up killing several of the strongest Freelancers ever and literally brought the whole rotten project crashing to the ground. Say what you will about the idiots, but when they go down, they go down spectacularly.
  • Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting: Hey, it's just what happens when you get Monty Oum involved!
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": In Episode 17, Sarge reveals that this trope has been inverted all along: His name is "Sarge". He is Staff Sergeant Sarge. Or S-Dog.
  • Everyone Has Standards: After spending the entire season as the main villain, even Washington is shocked at the extent the Meta will go in its pursuit of power.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: After spending most of the season in the role of Silent Snarker comic relief, the Meta is back to being full-on evil in Episode 19 just in case you forgot he was the Arc Villain of the trilogy.
  • Failure Is the Only Option:
    • Tex reveals that Omega and Gamma broke down Alpha-Church by repeatedly putting him through situations in which he was unable to do anything except constantly fail to protect the people he cared about.
    • And it seems that Church and Tex have this in common. While Tex is apparently an idealized memory of the Director's dead love, the fact she died is also integral to how the Director remembers her. So, despite her being the most awesome badass of the series, she always fails just as she's about to achieve whatever goal she sets. This accounts for how, throughout the series, she kicks everyone's ass yet always manages to get captured or killed at the most important moment.
  • Fake Trap: Washington notices that Epsilon-Church is lying injured in the middle of a perfect ambush position. He knows this must be a trap set by a freelancer, but it turns out the trap was set for the exact place they had stopped when they realized this.
  • Faking the Dead: Washington accomplishes this by the end to avoid arrest. He's now part of Blue Team.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Tex gets impaled through the face by the spike on the capture unit. While there was no blood (since that was a robotic body,) one shudders to think what it would look like if Meta did that to a human.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: In the final scene, where the team is being debriefed by a UNSC soldier, you can catch glimpses of someone with Church's armor color despite Church being trapped in the memory unit, and Washington's body has a sniper rifle, which Wash never used, next to it. because 'Church' is actually Washington and vice versa- the Blues swapped their armor colors to aid Wash in Faking the Dead.
  • Flat "What": Simmons uses one of these when he reflexively grabs onto the jeep that Grif and Sarge are riding in while flying through the air at high speed to escape an explosion.
  • Foe Romance Subtext: Invoked Trope. The Meta really doesn't want to pull Doc out of the wall by his codpiece. It'd just be weird.
    Washington: Oh, uh- we're all adults here!
    Meta: (growls)
    Washington: No, I don't wanna try!
  • For Science!: It's revealed that this was Project Freelancer's reason behind the Red and Blue armies; they took the lowest-scoring soldiers they could find and use them to collect combat data, and practice the skills of the Freelancers.
  • Friendship Moment:
    • After all the abuse Sarge has given him, Grif still instinctively pushes Sarge out the way of the wrecked Warthog as it comes flying at them.
    • A more debatable case, but Doc still saves Washington in Episode 19, despite almost every previous scene featuring the two having Doc snarking at Wash, could've been this.
    • When Tex points a shotgun at Grif's head, Simmons cries out in genuine concern.
    • When Grif jumps on the Meta and tries to grapple it, Sarge holds his fire despite having a clean shot at the Meta so as not to hit Grif. Especially touching when you realize that it's the one time in the entire series when shooting Grif (in order to hit the Meta) would actually have been a legitimate strategy.
    • At the end of the final fight, Simmons dives forward trying to grab Grif's hand before the Meta can drag him over the edge. Also, when Grif is about to fall, Sarge goes "Uh oh," and rushes over to them.
    • The relationship between Sarge and Grif in battle is noticeably different than their normal interactions. There is the aforementioned Grif saving Sarge from the flying warthog incident, but more importantly Sarge seems to rely on Grif in battle. The best example is in the finale where Sarge allows the Meta to grab a hold of him in order to attach the tow cable to him. Sarge's entire plan relied on Grif figuring out what to do, and that shows a great deal of trust in the minor junior private negative first class.
    • The final exchange between Epsilon-Church and Caboose where Church says goodbye to Caboose for the last time.
    • Hell, by the end the two teams are practically a rather vitriolic set of True Companions.
  • Gatling Good: Tex pulls out one in the Reunion episode out of the snow in order to fight the Meta.
  • Gone Horribly Right: For the Director of Project Freelancer, the Red vs. Blue Teams were created to put Freelancers in realistic, potentially deadly simulations to perfect and weed out the participants while using the dregs of the army. Blood Gulch proved to be highly incompetent and efficient at the same time in this regard beyond his wildest expectations.
  • Goomba Stomp: The Meta does this to the Warthog.
  • Got Volunteered: Simmons thanks Doc for his willingness to be left behind to the Meta, even while Doc frantically tries to convince him he isn't willing.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body:
    • Tucker, Grif, Simmons, and Sarge are all used as weapons against each other during the the epic fight scene in Episode 10. Then, in a truly weird inversion, Church is pummeled with his own former body in the next episode. Which doesn't seem physically possible.
    • In the finale the Meta throws Sarge at the other Reds, leaving Tucker to temporarily face him one-on-one.
  • Groin Attack This happens to poor Grif over and over and over and over again... Seven times. And two of them (the second and final ones) were so hard, they dented metal and cracked stone respectively.
    Grif: Why won't you just kill me?
  • Healing Shiv: Well more like a healing explosion near the end of "This One Goes To Eleven". It causes a whole bunch of health packs to fall on the Reds.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Washington, who had something of a Face–Heel Turn in Season 7, turns back in a Heel–Face Turn at the end of the season.
  • Hero Antagonist: Washington, in a sense. The Chairman hired him and his partner to take in the Epsilon Unit so as to take down the Director and free him from jail. The only problem is that Epsilon now has taken on the form of Church again somewhat, and said Hero Antagonist isn't telling anyone why he's going after them, nor even asking for help, instead going deep into villainous territory.
  • Heroic BSoD: Sarge experiences one after he learns the true nature of the Red vs. Blue battles in Episode 17, meaning that his entire military career as a simulation trooper is just a lie. In Episode 18 he snaps out of it in style.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Episode 19. Washington looks like he's about pull one off when the Meta betrays him after getting his abilities back. Luckily, the Reds, Caboose and Tucker crash-land on top of the Meta in the Pelican.
  • Hope Spot: After the Pelican nearly lands on top of Meta, the capture unit is seen in the snow, and the Meta is nowhere to be found. It seems that the Pelican crash took him down, but just as Church and Wash try to take the unit, the Meta gets back up, with the capture unit still attached.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The Meta. Maybe.
    Wash: Stop lecturing me, or I will shoot you and feed you to the Meta!
    Doc: ...Does he eat people?
    Wash: Do you really want to find out?
    Doc: No. ...Maybe. If we use another person, sure. It sounds kinda interesting!
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Tex, in the face. Also the Meta, in the chest, but he survives.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: After they try dropping a giant crate on Tex:
    Tucker: I can't believe that worked!
    [Tex lifts the crate]
    Tucker: Oh fuck, that didn't work!
  • Interesting Situation Duel: Tex's beatdown on the Reds and Tucker in the Freelancer base filled with teleporters and her fight with Wash and Meta on Sidewinder/Avalanche utilizing timed explosives and collapsing ice.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • Sarge gives one to one of the first one-liners of the series... before going into a fantastic Rousing Speech centered around that one line. "You ever wonder why we're here?"
    • A possibly unintentional example: at the end of Blood Gulch Chronicles, Church asked Tex what would happen after she helped O'Malley in his plan, and her response was "I guess we'll find out." In Episode 17 of this season, when Epsilon-Church asks Tex why she's betraying their location to Washington and the Meta, her response is "That's exactly what I plan to find out."
  • Karma Houdini:
    • The Director. Since at this point it is presumed impossible to get Epsilon out of the capture unit, that means there's no evidence against him and he'll get off scott free. There is the possibility, though, that the unit is incriminating in itself, even if the information in it can't be released. And in his own words, he has brought a great deal of suffering down upon himself, even if the law won't recognize it as punishment.
    • Washington also gets off scott free even though he killed Donut and Lopez - although those actions have shown to be inconsequential later. Furthermore, he seems to genuinely want to become The Atoner for what he's done in the past.
  • Lampshade Hanging:
    • F.I.L.S.S. pointing out that Agent Texas is a bit of a badass.
    • When Grif is hanging over a cliff, Sarge mentions a hatred towards Cliff Hangers.
  • Last Stand: Episode 19. Although she fares very well against them, even going so far to give the impression she could have beaten them individually, Tex's fight against Washington and the Meta turns into this as she starts to take hits.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: In spite of their revealed status as disposable cannon fodder for Project Freelancer, the Reds and Blues rally together to take down the seemingly unstoppable Meta, one of Project Freelancer's deadliest legacies.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • After betraying the Reds and Blues last season, Washington is himself betrayed by the Meta in "Reunion."
    • An amusing variant - the reason why poor Grif was subjected to so many Groin Attacks by Epsilon-Tex during "This One Goes To Eleven" is because she remembers from when she was part of Epsilon and Grif kicked away the Monitor he was housed in like a soccer ball during "Fourth and Twenty" (which apparently 'really hurt).
  • Licked by the Dog: Despite being kidnapped, coerced, held hostage and verbally abused by Washington, Doc still tries to save him in Episode 19. Of course, "try" is the key phrase here.
  • Literal Cliffhanger: In the finale Grif manages to save himself from falling off the cliff using the Meta's Brute Shot after slipping from Simmons' grasp.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Inside the Epsilon Capture Unit, Epsilon Church decides to relive his memories of Blood Gulch while he waits for Tex's return.
    Epsilon-Church: And I mean hell, if you have to live the rest of your life in a memory, you might as well make it a good one.
  • Made of Iron: The Freelancers in general, but the Meta makes the other two look like plasticine with his endurance. Seriously, watch the last two episodes and see just how much damage he takes within a 20 minute timeframe. Kinda makes one wonder whether he actually died from that fall.
    • However, it's revealed in Season 13 that he drowned thanks to the stab wounds Tucker inflicted upon him.
  • Meaningful Name: Sarge's real name is revealed in Chapter 17 to be... Sarge.
  • Mirror Character: Way back in Season 5, Wyoming and Omega's plan was to take control of the aliens' god and use it to corrupt their religion, which Church finds absolutely disgusting. Now, Church is controlling a powerful Forerunner monitor that the aliens worship, and is nonchalantly keeping them entertained with "parables" that he made up. It is a matter of degree, however — Church has no intention of enslaving the aliens, as he is just playing with their ignorance since he finds it fun.
  • Misfit Mobilization Moment: After finally coping with the knowledge that the Red and Blue armies are just disposable target dummies for Project Freelancer, and learning that Church and Tex are in danger from Meta and Washington, Sarge gives a Rousing Speech that rallies the Reds and Blues together to take the initiative for once in their lives and show the Freelancers "just what a big fight is all about".
  • Misguided Missile: Double subverted in Episode 10, a rogue missile heads towards the Reds and Tucker, and it is heavily implied that it will collide with Grif's... er... Southern Regions, but it goes between his legs into a pile of explosives and health packs behind him and the others.
  • Mundane Utility: Simmons discovers the equipment that Project Freelancer used to give their agents superhuman abilities. Grif immediately decides he wants invisibility... so he can take a nap without Sarge finding him.
  • Near-Miss Groin Attack: In episode 10, Tex beats the living shit out of the Reds and Tucker. Every time Tex goes after Grif, she makes sure to hit him in the 'nads. The one time this is subverted, she is running away from a missile and slides between Grif's legs, and Grif covers up and whimpers at what is about to happen... only for the missile to harmlessly fly between his legs as well.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: In the final episodes, the Meta proves to be even more unstoppable than before. Tex and later Washington manage to land several good hits on it (including a backbreaker move and multiple knife cuts), but none of those even slow it down. Even being stabbed straight through the chest with the Energy Sword by Tucker (something that has been shown to be a one-hit-kill against everyone else it's been used on) only seems to inconvenience it slightly, although the sword does seem to slow the Meta down just enough for Sarge to set up its final defeat using the Warthog's tow cable. It's also all a Continuity Nod to Reconstruction. In this and Recreation, the lack of an A.I. meant he couldn't use his armor enhancements, like his Overshields, Invisibility, Bubble Shield (remember that one?), and his Super Strength was diminished. Now, with what is possibly the most complete Freelancer A.I. besides the Alpha in his head, he is virtually unstoppable.
  • "No More Holding Back" Speech: Epsilon-Church delivers one in the final scene.
    "I'd like to say that I found her right away, that I just walked into the Epsilon Unit, and there she was, waiting for me. As you can probably guess, it didn't happen that way, but, I know she's in here somewhere, and I'll find her. We always seem to find each other, for better or for worse. I don't know why the Director did what he did. I don't know if he was trying to revive a memory from his past, or if he was just trying to get it out of his head. But I figured out something that the Director didn't. It took Alpha, Delta, and the rest to help piece it together for me, but what I've learned is that a great love is a lot like a good memory. When it's there, and you know it's there, but it's just out of your reach, it can be all that you think about. You can focus on it, and try to force it, but the more you do, the more you seem to push it away. But if you're patient, and you hold still, then maybe... Just maybe... It will come to you. I just need to make sure I'm somewhere she can find me. I think this place is a little different than it was before. See, out there, everything is based on the Alpha, but in here, I guess I'm the Alpha. And maybe this time through, things will be a little different for me as well. I guess I'll find out. And I mean, hell, if you have to live the rest of your life in a memory... you might as well make it a good one."
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: After curbstomping the Reds and the Warthog early on, The Meta has spent the rest of Revelations pretty much as Washington's comical sidekick. Then in Episode 19 he stabs Tex through the face with a 2-foot-long spike, then uses her A.I. to restore his lost powers. Cue Oh, Crap! reaction from Washington, Church, and Doc.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Near the end of the battle between Tex, Wash, and the Meta, this occurs. The chant is "Plagam extremam infilgere," which roughly translates to "violent murder." Considering what the Meta does to Tex in this scene, it's rather fitting.
  • Painfully Slow Projectile: The Meta's time stopper backfires, leaving him slowed down relative to everyone else. It happens right as he's about to punch Doc. Unfortunately for Doc, Simmons calculates that his fist, though appearing slow relative to them, still has the same actual velocity and force. And he is right.
  • Plot Tailored to the Party: Well, sort of. Each of the Reds and Blues participating in the final battle all play a part in defeating the Meta. Grif jumps on its back and manages to steal its Brute Shot, which leaves it open to being stabbed through the chest with the energy sword by Tucker, which in turn slows the Meta down enough for Sarge to attach the Warthog's towing cable to its chest plating, dragging Meta to its doom when Grif and Simmons push the Warthog over the edge of the abyss.
  • The Power of Friendship: Sort of. According to the DVD commentary, Burnie Burns said that the reason the Reds and Blues were able to take down the Meta is because they know each other so well and can communicate in ways that can get them around their obvious disadvantages. This is a subverted trope however, as Burns says that despite the fact that they may know each other really well, that does not mean they necessarily like each other.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner:
    Tex: Okay, so who's first?
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: In Chapter 17, Tex delivers one to Epsilon-Church.
    Epsilon-Church: Tex? I would have helped you.
    Tex: You can't even help yourself. That's why you made me, Church. You made me to take on all the things you can't handle, just like you always have!
  • Repeated Cue, Tardy Response: Washington has Sarge at gunpoint and orders him to disarm, taking his shotgun. He then orders Sarge to march to the blue base.
    Sarge: Son, you can insult me. You can ambush me. You can even take away my weapons. But if you think I'm gonna set one single pinkie toe inside a Blue base, without my shotgun, you must not know who you're dealing with.
    Washington: I said move.
    Sarge: And I said: Shotgun.
    Washington: Yes. I have your shotgun.
    Sarge: No, I mean... Shot. Gun.
    Washington: What, you think I'm going to give you your shotgun cause you ask?
    Sarge: No! I said SHOTGUN! SHOTGUN, DAMMIT!
    Grif (muffled): Oh, right, shotgun! That's my cue!
    Grif (after running Washington over): How about next time we choose a codeword, we choose one you don't say every five seconds.
  • Required Secondary Powers: Subverted. When someone catches a large crate, the metal floor underneath them buckles. When the crate is thrown, we also see two dents from where it was being held up.
  • Restraining Bolt: The armor for the Reds and Blues have a remote lockdown ability to control rogue elements. Caboose uses this to stop Tex, but ends up paralyzing everyone else, save himself because his armor is outdated and lacks the shutdown feature.
  • The Reveal:
    • While it was already being hinted at in Reconstruction, Revelation explicitly spells out that the Red and Blue teams are not real soldiers. They're actually the lowest-ranked and worst soldiers out of the UNSC that were Reassigned to Antarctica by being sent over to be used as Cannon Fodder/glorified training dummies and lab rats for both Project Freelancer's Super Soldiers to train against and to see how soldiers would react to potential scenarios on the galactic battlefield. All of the wacky hijinks from throughout The Blood Gulch Chronicles? It was all an excessively elaborate training simulation for the Freelancers.
    • Additionally, Revelation also confirms that Tex was an A.I.. Specifically, she was another product of the Alpha - the "Beta" A.I. - and was based after the memories of the Director's deceased wife Allison. Unfortunately, since Allison's tragic death in battle is the main thing that the Director remembers of her, that concept is effectively "baked into" Tex's entire reason of being, meaning that no matter how tough she is, she will always fail at the last second whenever she puts her mind to something. Essentially, she's the Anthropomorphic Personification of the Alpha's failure.
  • Rousing Speech: In Episode 18, Sarge delivers a truly epic one to both teams, which mobilizes them to take the fight to the Freelancers.
    Sarge: I'm not telling you to go. I'm not even asking.
    Grif: You're not?
    Sarge: Nope. I'm going. That's it. You want to come? Come on. But I don't expect you to. Simmons will probably tell you that statistically some of us will probably die.
    Simmons: All of us.
    Sarge: All of us. All of us will probably die. But that's not what's important. Let me ask you two a question... You ever wonder why we're here?
    Grif: (both look at each other) Umm... it does seem to be one of life's great mysteries...
    Sarge: No, I mean you! What are YOU doing here?! You always act like you want to quit. You could have left whenever you wanted, nobody would have stopped you! So why are ya here? And you, Simmons!
    Simmons: Me?
    Sarge: You say you want to be in charge. They would've given you your own squad a dozen times over! You know it, and I know it. And you, Tucker. As much as I hate to say it, you're actually good at being a soldier!
    Tucker: I am?
  • Samus Is a Girl: C.T. Who was also the Freelancer Connecticut. Or, as Season 10 reveals, the leader of an Insurrection organization opposed to the Freelancers.
  • Say My Name:
    • Episode 4. WASHINGTON!!
    • Episode 20. GRIIIIIIF!
  • Self-Botched Catchphrase: Provides the page quote.
    Sarge: "Agent Washington... you just got Sar— *gunshot, explosion* God dammit, I messed up the one-liner!"
  • Sherlock Scan: Sarge goes from this to Bat Deduction when he contacts Simmons to find out that Donut and Lopez are dead, and Doc and Simmons are hostages.
  • Spanner in the Works: The bad guys needed a medic. They got Doc. What could possibly go wrong? Though actually, if not for Doc, Wash would have fallen off a cliff in the finale.
  • Spot the Imposter: Hilariously parodied in "This One Goes To Eleven," when Tucker (whose armor got colored black after going through the teleporter) is tackled by Tex and she's trying to beat him up. Meanwhile, Simmons has a rocket launcher and he's trying to figure out which black-armored figure to shoot.
    Simmons: (terrified) They look the same! Which one do I shoot?!
    Tucker: (from afar, furious) Ow! Shoot the one who's winning, dumbass!
  • Stealth Pun: The episode "This One Goes To Eleven" (aside from the obvious lampshade) is Chapter 10... which leads into Chapter 11.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: Lampshaded by Doc, who wants Wash to know that he is not suffering from this. Although he may be wrong, depending on your interpretation of Episode 19. Are his actions because of this trope, or because he's a pacifist who's taken the Hippocratic Oath?
  • Strange Minds Think Alike:
    • Sort of. When radioed, Simmons doesn't get a chance to let Sarge know that they're being held hostage. After the end of the transmission, Sarge casually announces the exact situation at Valhalla, then goes on to justify it using increasingly convoluted reasoning.
    • Also, when Washington spots a trap, and notices that it must be set up a Freelancer since they had run that exact situation in several drills, Doc asks "But if they're a Freelancer, wouldn't they know you'd realize this?" Washington tells him he's overthinking it, then mines activate all around them.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Episode 10 concludes with Church daring Tex to "take on someone [her] own size". Episode 11 starts with Tex beating the shit out of him while he helplessly pleads. No matter how badass and dramatic an entrance it was, Church isn't equal to the woman who just beat Tucker and the entire Red Team single-handedly.
  • Super Speed: Grif, after Simmons tried to upgrade his armor with Freelancer attachments.
  • Take That!:
    • In "Recovering One," Red Team is trying to think of things to get Monitor!Epsilon angry so he'll close the opening at Valhalla with his laser. Trying to help, Simmons asks if Epsilon's seen "the last episode of The Sopranos yet."
  • Taking You with Me: As it's being dragged to its doom, the Meta grabs Grif and tries to take him down with it.
  • This Is Gonna Suck:
    • Said by Tucker in Episode 19 right before the Pelican "lands":
    Sarge: There they are! Land right next to them!
    Grif: Right. Land.
    Sarge: You do know how to land this, don't you?
    Grif: Sure. That just means "Stop flying", right?
    Tucker: Oh shit, this is gonna suck!
    • Also:
    Sarge: Attack!
    Simmons: Get 'im!
    Grif: (terrified) We're gonna fucking die!
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Grif and Sarge. To clarify, in Episode 20, Sarge has his Unflinching Walk towards The Meta before hooking it to the Warthog, dragging it to its doom, while Grif in Episode 3 drives a Warthog through a wall and runs Wash over.
    • Even Tex, despite already easily being the biggest badass of the series, has, as the Episode 10 subtitle says, taken it Up to Eleven. Hell, through lots of preparation and sheer skill she's even able to get and maintain the upper hand in her long awaited fight against the series' ultimate monster, who's also assisted by another badass Super Soldier who's no slouch himself.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: Doc is so cheerful and wants so badly to be friends that he completely fails to act appropriately frightened, despite being held hostage, threatened, and beaten by an over-the-edge special forces soldier and a nigh-unstoppable insane killing machine.
  • Tranquil Fury: When the aliens draw an image of Washington in the sand, with the word "shisno" next to it.
    Doc: What does it say?
    Washington: It says that peace talks have broken down. Now we do it our way.
  • Unflinching Walk: Sarge has one in Chapter 20 when he advances on the Meta, on his own, blasting away with his shotgun before hooking the Warthog's tow cable onto the Meta's armor.
  • The Unintelligible: The Meta is making... some sort of noise. Wash seems to understand what he's saying, although that's often Rule of Funny in effect. It's later revealed in Season 9 that the Meta was shot in the throat while he was still a normal Freelancer and Wash was friends with him when it happened, so it is likely that Wash has just heard it long enough to grasp the basic meaning.
  • Up to Eleven: Lampshaded by the title of Episode 10 for good reason.
  • War for Fun and Profit: The roots of the Red vs. Blue conflict are revealed to be: Project Freelancer took the lowest-rated soldiers they could find, populated the Red and Blue armies with them, and set them against each other to provide their Freelancer Agents with combat simulations and to otherwise collect valuable combat data.
  • Wham Line: In the sponsor's ending of Episode 13, accompanied by Donut's body suddenly arises:
    F.I.L.S.S.: Ending recovery mode: All units.
    Donut: Ugh! What happened? Who shot me? What a jerk! Ah man, I got blood over my good shoes. These stains are never gonna come out.
  • Wham Shot: The shot of Washington looking as a wall breaks down and a Warthog arrives to run him down is this on a meta scale, as this reveals that 1) it's not just gonna be Machinima-animated and 2) Monty Oum's having a hand in RvB.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Doc is not at all pleased at Simmons leaving him stuck in the wall, whilst at the same time, "volunteering" him to stay behind and "sacrifice" himself.
      Simmons: We'll always remember you. Bye!
      Doc: Start by remembering me now! Simmons!!
    • When Caboose accidentally ruins Tucker's plan to distract an enemy whilst Simmons prepares an ambush, Tucker calls out to Caboose, tipping off Simmons' position.
      Simmons: You ratted me out, you son of a bitch!
  • What You Are in the Dark: There's no real reason why Doc decided to save Wash's life in "Reunion" - Well, aside from the fact that it's the right thing to do. Furthermore, Sarge convincing the rest of the surviving Reds and Tucker to go with him and Caboose to Sidewinder to save Tex & Church from Wash and the Meta in "Rally Cap" is motivated by how he knows that no one else is going to come and help them, and he should at least do something to help.
  • Why Are You Looking at Me Like That??: Grif gets this treatment at the end of Episode 18, when he wonders who they're gonna get to drive the mysterious vehicle they'll be using to save Church, Tex and take on the Freelancers.
  • Worf Had the Flu: In the second-to-last episode, it's revealed that Tex is destined to always fail at the last moment, because she's based on the memory of the Director's lost love who died in combat, and the trauma of her death is an integral part of how the Director remembers her. This explains how, throughout the series, Tex always managed to get captured, killed, or knocked-out at a critical moment without accomplishing anything of actual importance despite being the series' biggest badass.
  • Worst Aid: While still not great at any medical matters, Doc has definitely improved since The Blood Gulch Chronicles. He's able to bring Wash back from the brink of death in the final episode.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Invoked during the team's fight in Episode 10.
    Grif: What do we do, Sarge?!
    Sarge: (concerned) I don't know! I've never hit a girl in my life!
    Simmons: (terrified) Yeah! I noticed! Try harder!
  • Wrestler in All of Us: A German suplex is used in Episode 10. Later, something resembling a backbreaker is thrown into a fight.

Are any of us only saints or sinners, or is it always red versus blue?

Agent South Dakota

"Good Suggestion."

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

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Main / PayEvilUntoEvil

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