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Machinima / Red vs. Blue: The Shisno Trilogy

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The fifteenth through seventeenth seasons of Red vs. Blue, filmed inside Halo 5: Guardians.

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

While Season 15 was originally a standalone season, it wound up setting up its immediate successor, The Shisno Paradox. The Reds and Blues decide to leave for lunch, though without Donut as he vanishes in a weird and unsettling incident witnessed only by Caboose. Yet on the way to the pizzeria, Donut reappears and drafts his friends for a journey that will bring them across time, angering some powerful entities known as the Cosmic Powers.

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


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    In General 
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • While Blue Team and the Freelancers were largely at the center of the plot in previous seasons, this trilogy gives a large amount of focus to the Red Team, largely about them having to reexamine themselves. The only subversion is Simmons, who is a Static Character throughout the trilogy.
      • Sarge gets focus in Season 15 as he is forced to suffer a Loss of Identity now that he's no longer involved in any wars and question who he is anymore, while also exploring just how badly he suffers from PTSD.
      • Grif serves as The Hero for Season 15 and the deuteragonist for The Shisno Paradox and Singularity as he reevaluates his relationship with the gang and his nature as the Lazy Bum.
      • Donut ultimately becomes The Hero of The Shisno Paradox and Singularity as he grows tired of being mistreated by the others, and becomes more assertive to the point of becoming The Leader of the gang.
      • Downplayed with Lopez. While largely a Static Character and used more for humor, Singularity examines his desire to be understood and how he ultimately doesn't want that to happen, as the Labyrinth making him believe he's human and understood drives him over the Despair Event Horizon, and would have been Driven to Suicide had he not fallen into a Black Hole instead. It also makes a point that, for his all his calling them idiots, he does care about the Blood Gulch Crew.
    • After being absent since Reconstruction, this trilogy gives a large amount of focus and character exploration to "Sister"/Kaikaina Grif, evolving her from a gag character into a full fledged member of the Reds and Blues.
  • Denser and Wackier: Downplayed. While comedy has always been part of the series, this trilogy returns to the style of comedy seen in The Blood Gulch Chronicles, with the serious moments still occuring, but much less often than the three prior storylines. Most notable during The Shisno Paradox, going from (relatively) grounded sci-fi (Space Marines, Space Pirates, robots, A.I.s) to a downright surreal plot featuring ancient gods and time travel, though said gods are later revealed to be advanced A.I.s perpetuating a God Guise.
  • Genre Shift: The previous seasons, while routed in science fiction, were largely a military drama. This trilogy, more specifically The Shisno Paradox and Singularity, lean much more heavily into the science fiction side, but also elements of mythology and cosmology, with the main plot element of both seasons being Time Travel.
  • Two-Part Trilogy: It's only a "trilogy" in the sense that Season 15 is heavily tied into the set up of the following two seasons. Season 15 on it's own is largely a standalone season, focusing more on the Simulation Troopers of Project Freelancer and what the Reds and Blues have been doing since Chorus. The only parts that seem to have more focus on to the following seasons are Donut feeling mistreated, Loco's time machine and Wash's neck injury giving him cerebral hypoxia. Outside of that, the rest of Season 15 is self-contained and disconnected.

    Season 15

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

  • Acronym and Abbreviation Overload: To get past a soldier at the crime scene, Dylan spouts off a bunch of meaningless acronyms that make her and her cameraman sound important.
  • Already Met Everyone: Downplayed. A flashback to the days of Project Freelancer shows that Doc and Carolina already met long before either of them met the Reds and Blues.
  • Anti-Climax: The mysterious FOTUS soldier turns out to be a civil servant serving Tucker a court order. Played for Laughs.
  • Apocalypse How: Class X-2 Stellar - If it isn't properly deactivated in time, the Blues and Reds' time machine-laser drill will eventually produce a black hole that will destroy the Earth followed by the entire Solar System.
  • Arc Words: "Every action has an equal and opposite reaction." They're the first words spoken in Episode 1, and they're spoken again when Dylan learns of the planet-destroying power the Blues and Reds' machine has.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In their brief conversation about what they do in their spare time, one of the Blues and Reds' Grunts mentions they like "...hunting endangered animals, pushing small children down wells, and driving around without using my turn signal!"
  • Artistic License – Geography: Sarge says that the island marked in Temple's maps is "close to the Arctic". Given it's in the Indian Ocean (across the globe from the UNSC headquarters in the mainland United States), it's actually closer to the Antarctic.
  • Artistic License – Physics: Newton's Third Law would mean that when a wooden shaft pierces a suit of metal armor, realistically it would splinter if it hit the metal with the force required to pierce it. To say nothing of apparently going through Biff's spine and a concrete wall, all without so much as a crack. Then again, they're only being faithful to the source material, given attacking with the flags in Halo more often than not is a One-Hit Kill.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: invoked Spoofed in "Blue vs. Red - Part 2", where the Tex and Carolina fight is scored first with music fitting of the trope (an "action mix", a faster song resembling something from Freelancer Saga), then a Bruce Springsteen-esque song and ultimately a Harry Potter audiobook.
  • Big Bad: Mark Temple, leader of the Blues and Reds.
  • Blatant Lies: Tucker says Temple put him in charge of the campaign against the UNSC by having him go through a "tactical simulator." The "simulator" is just a video game, and Tucker doesn't notice until Dylan points it out.
  • Bomb Throwing Anarchist: The Blues and Reds want to completely destroy the UNSC — the governing body over most of humanity — out of vengeance for being sold like slaves to Project Freelancer.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: When Caboose is talking to Loco, two of his teammates give him two different questions to ask. The question he actually asks ends up being a mangled combination of the two. This happens twice.
    Dylan: Ask them who they are.
    Sarge: No! Find out if it's an ambush!
    Caboose: Are you a bush?
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: After Sarge's very politically charged rant about "the White Team" (which involves him calling upon numerous stereotypes associated with white Americans) in "Reacts," Lopez laments that "Tumblr va a odiar esto (Tumblr is going to hate this)."
  • Brick Joke:
    • In Episode 8, Lopez dismisses an order saying "I'm a robot, not the Starship Enterprise". In Episode 15, his decapitated head doubles for the Enterprise in an imitation of the opening of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
    • Jax's "Moon Doom" script (which he first brings up in Episode 2) is later mentioned as another possible movie pitch in the second post-season stinger.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • When Dylan investigates Blood Gulch, she bumps into first Sister and then Vic.
    • Granted, they weren't on a bus for very long, but Kimball, Dr. Grey, the Lieutenants, and Santa all make appearances during Dylan's visit to Chorus.
    • The Director, 479er, and Tex all show up in a flashback in Episode 13. The Counselor is also heard speaking, but never shown on-screen.
    • The Red and Blue Zealots from Battle Creek are revealed to be working with the Blues and Reds.
    • Locus returns to save the Reds and Blues from the Blues and Reds.
    • Alpha-Church makes a brief appearance thanks to Loco's time machine in the finale.
  • Call-Back:
    • The season starts with what happened to the Reds and Blues between seasons being an Ambiguous Situation, following a viewpoint character mostly unaffiliated with the Reds and Blues, that needs to track them down to figure out what's happened, and said viewpoint character starts by going back to where it all began, in Blood Gulch, just like how Reconstruction started off. Ties into Mythology Gag when Dylan explicitly mentions that this is what Wash did.
    • The news article about the Reds and Blues seen at the end of Season 12 says "By Dylan Andrews". This season introduces Dylan as an actual character. Since she's written on the Reds and Blues before, she knows enough to find their change in behavior unusual and seeks to investigate further.
    • Sister's first assumption about Dylan and Jax is that they're firemen, just like she first assumed Wash was a cop in Reconstruction.
    • Just like at the end of Season 2 of The Blood Gulch Chronicles, the Reds and Blues get into a huge argument on whether or not the situation they were in was ironic or not (previously, it was about forming an Enemy Mine, and in the present day, it was regarding the prospect of getting eaten by dinosaurs). This gets referenced again later in the season, as Sarge and Tucker get too wrapped up in their own banter to start searching for the time machine. Dylan even asks if this happens a lot, and Carolina responds by claiming the record is two hours.
    • When seen from space, Earth's Western Hemisphere is missing the Floridian Peninsula, referencing how the Counselor had Florida blown to hell to cover-up Agent Florida going undercover at Blood Gulch. Relatedly, when Jax is filming Sarge in Episode 11, the American flag in the background only has 49 stars, also referencing the Florida cover-up.
    • During the flashback in episode 13, when Tex yanks the flagpole out of Biff's chest, his blood splatters on Temple's helmet in the same way as in episode 1, complete with the same music.
    • During his Face–Heel Turn, Sarge mentions how he used to be an ODST, which is a reference to the Relocated miniseries.
    • In the team's fight against the Zealots at Temple's base, Sarge once again teams up with Caboose, a Red Zealot recognizes Caboose as "the Beast", and Caboose once again beats them up out of anger.
    • Temple uses the armor lock technology on the Reds and Blues during the final battle. It fails to work on Dylan, Jax, and Caboose (the former two aren't wearing Freelancer armor, and Caboose's obsolete Mark V armor means it doesn't work on him). The latter was previously a plot point in Revelation.
    • When Loco dies, he goes "Hurk! Bleh." like people who died in the original seasons did.
  • Cassandra Truth: Carlos understandably doesn't believe anything Dylan says about the Reds and Blues' early days.
  • Casting Gag: Cronut is voiced by Miles Luna, who has previously filled in for Dan Godwin as Donut on multiple occasions.
  • invoked Central Theme: According to Joe Nicolosi in an AfterBuzz TV interview, consequences is the main theme of this season. Regret and mirroring are also important themes this season.
  • Cerebus Retcon:
    • The armor lock function. Originally a funny way of incapacitating Tex in Revelation, here it is the main tool in Temple's method of executing Freelancers, and highlights how dangerous it could have been if the Reds and Tucker hadn't been let out of it.
    • Grif's status as an Iron Butt Monkey who can shrug off any horrible injury has been a Running Gag since the very first season. Biff, the Grif counterpart for the Blues and Reds, also suffers a debilitating injury in the backstory - but here, it is Played for Horror and results in his Cruel and Unusual Death.
    • Sarge's Blood Knight tendencies were Played for Laughs in previous seasons, and are (at first) still used for comedy here. However, both "Reacts" and "True Colors" show how much of a negative attempt that being in the military for so long has had on Sarge's mind and psyche, with even him going into a mid-life crisis when he miserably notes that he feels completely useless unless he's in a fight. It all culminates in Sarge's (thankfully temporary) Face–Heel Turn, with him becoming a full-blown Death Seeker more concerned with dying gloriously in battle than caring about if the cause he's fighting for is even morally right or not.
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster: The first and third episodes hint at a darker plot akin to Seasons 12 and 13, but follow-ups make it clear the season is a lighthearted attempt at going back to the show's early days... until Episode 10, which is mostly focused on the emotional Carolina and Wash subplot until the reveal of the horrifying villainous plot. Generally speaking, whenever the bad guys are involved, the funny banter will be reduced.
  • Character Focus: The season is ultimately Dylan Andrew's story, with it largely revolving around her trying to uncover what supposedly drove the Reds and Blues to become terrorists and the truth lying beneath the surface. Grif also gains a significant amount of attention during the second half of the season, with him filling in the role as the season's Deuteragonist.
  • Chekhov's Gag:
    • When Grif is talking to Volleyball!Simmons, it is briefly shown that Grif now knows Spanish, most likely as a result of being left alone. This quickly becomes important when Locus shows up with Lopez' head.
    • When Caboose is telling Loco about his time on Chorus he suddenly asks him if he has any double A batteries when he mentions finding Freckles. Later in Episode 20, Loco gives Caboose the batteries he was asking for, saying that now he can fix Freckles.
    • The Meth-Meth shrooms introduced in Episode 5 are later used in Episode 19 by Grif to gain Super Speed powers and take out tons of the Blues and Reds' Grunts.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Tower of Procreation was one of several alien towers mentioned on Chorus during Season 13. Tucker says after they captured Hargrove, he activated the temple so everyone on Chorus could party. It is then revealed that the FOTUS Soldier has been searching for Tucker to serve him a class-action lawsuit for all the women he got pregnant while the Temple was activated and then abandoned.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Due to the confusion caused by 24-Hour Armor and Similar Squad antics, the Blues and Reds change their visors to blue to help the two teams tell one another apart. Relatedly, the Battle Creek Grunts have green-tinted visors.
  • Companion Cube: During his time in isolation, Grif decorates a bunch of volleyballs to look like the other Reds and Blues and acts out Blood Gulch-esque scenarios with them. He does his best impression of each character, even speaking Spanish for Lopez.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The flashback episodes are dated to taking place after the Sarcophagus heist in Season 9. Carolina's increasing competitiveness and Tex being partnered with Omega during this time would also help explain why both are so uncaring of Biff's death.
    • When Tex appears in the flashback episodes, she has a voice filter like the one that she used in her first appearance.
    • And speaking of the flashback episodes, during their epic duel Carolina mockingly calls Tex "Optimus". Back during The Project Freelancer Saga, when Epsilon-Church was temporarily stored in a Mongoose, he described his situation by sarcastically comparing himself to Optimus Prime. Evidently, Like Sister, Like Brother is in full effect here.
    • While Grif claims he only learned to speak Spanish so he could do Lopez's lines while stuck alone on Iris, it can also be seen as an allusion to how Kaikaina (Grif's sister) knew how to speak Spanish during Season 5 and could even talk to Lopez (albeit not that well).
    • When Dylan explains that the Blues and Reds' device is powered by a time machine, Tucker and Simmons recall the time they thought they time-traveled in Season 3.
    • During "Epilogues," Loco's time machine seems to have linked the present and Caboose to Alpha-Church from between the Season 1 episodes "The Rookies" and "Head Noob In Charge" based on Church claiming Caboose should be in the base right now guarding the flag.
  • Corpsing: Right after the last verse of "VelociROCKtor", Jen Brown is clearly laughing herself silly (and considering Carolina is loosing up, it's actually not out of character).
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Disconcertingly common this season.
    • As shown in Episode 10, all of the Freelancers captured by Temple were frozen in their armor in one position and forced to slowly waste away from malnutrition and dehydration.
    • Poor Biff gets Impaled with Extreme Prejudice through the heart with Blue Team's flag due to Tex and Carolina in Episode 13.
    • While it's successfully Played for Laughs in Episode 20, Surge is accidentally dropped by Sarge into a volcanic vent and gets utterly incinerated.
  • Dead All Along: As episode 16 reveals the message that the Reds and Blues received was a deliberate fake engineered by the Blues and Reds and that Church really is dead this time and not coming back. Caboose and Tucker are both devastated when they find out.
  • Defensive "What?": When the Reds and Blues are explaining what they've been up to since Chorus:
    Tucker: Sarge wasn't the only one having a hard time adjusting to inaction.
    [Everyone looks at Carolina]
    Carolina: What?!
  • Demoted to Extra: All the characters from The Chorus Trilogy have much smaller roles than they previously did. Justified since most of the plot doesn't take place on Chorus.
    • The citizens of Chorus only have a major role in Episode 4, where Dylan talks to them about the Reds and Blues and Kimball eventually tells her where to find them. The Lieutenants and Dr. Grey later appear in one scene during the ending of Episode 21.
    • Freckles only makes a brief appearance in Episode 5, now in a miniature M.A.N.T.I.S body and is apparently left behind when everyone goes on their adventure.
    • Locus appears from Episodes 15 to 18, helping Grif rescue his friends from the Blues and Reds before rushing to get Agent Washington to a hospital after he's shot in the neck.
  • Deus Exit Machina: Most of the most powerful and combat-capable members of the cast are written out before the confrontation with the Big Bad in the finale. Specifically, Washington is shot, forcing Locus to take him to the hospital while the other living Freelancer, Carolina, has to sit out the final mission due to her injuries.
  • Did Not See That Coming: The FOTUS Soldier being just a process server delivering a class-action lawsuit to Tucker. Dylan even lampshades it.
    Dylan: That is not how I saw this going.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: Halfway through the season, the two super soldiers in the cast suffer handicaps that keep them from individually taking down the Big Bad and their minions without any help from the rest of the cast. Being trapped for days standing up in a suit of armor without food or water leaves the two too delusional and cramped to do more than fight two mooks at a time.
  • Dramatic Irony: In episode 13, when Carolina says to the Director, "With all due respect, I doubt I'll ever be fighting a war alongside Red and Blue idiots, sir." Of course, since this is a flashback, the audience knows that that is exactly what she will end up doing in the future.
  • Easter Egg: Everything on Temple's computer screen.
  • Epic Fail: Grif's "infiltration" of the Blues and Reds' underwater lair involves him running around the base in circles, stopping to eat a snack and trying to enter the vents - all while blatantly on camera, and getting stuck in the vent because of his size, botching the Reds and Blues' only escape option. Subverted when it turns out to be a massive distraction for Locus to make his way undetected into the depths of the base, where he finds Washington and Carolina.
  • Everything Is Racist: Back when the Blues and Reds were still at war, the Blues were holding Lorenzo (or at least his head) hostage. The Reds thought Temple called him a goombah and told him that was racist. Temple clarified that he said "Goomba", but Lorenzo thought that was still pretty racist. Then Temple calls him a cannoli instead, which isn't much better.
  • Exact Words: "I serve Lavernius Tucker." As in, serving a class injunction.
  • Exhaustion-Induced Idiocy: Wash is one of the more competent members of the Blood Gulch Crew. After being locked in his armor by Temple without food or water for days, he starts acting very loopy. He starts hallucinating things and becomes very ditzy as a result of his fatigue. This also leads to him casually walking out in the middle of gunfire where he gets shot in the neck.
  • Eyed Screen: In a Leaning on the Fourth Wall case, once Jax states he discovers the anamorphic setting on his camera, the episode's view changes to a Letter Box.
  • Fire/Water Juxtaposition: The Blues and Reds have two lairs: One is located underwater on Armada 8, the other is inside a volcano on Earth.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • One minor detail is actually the biggest hint for why Temple is doing what he's doing: The lack of a "Grif" counterpart among the Blues and Reds.
    • invoked Sarge mentions that's he's fantasized about Grif dying horribly in routine training exercises. Later, it's revealed that Biff, Grif's counterpart, met a gruesome demise when Carolina and Tex were sent to his gulch for training purposes. Also, while Sarge and Surge were previously getting along quite well before that comment, Surge seems to be noticeably depressed/uncomfortable after that line, also foreshadowing Biff's death and Surge's guilt over previously making fun of Biff like Sarge currently does to Grif.
    • The true nature of Loco's device (a time machine that drills into the earth) is hinted at several times. The drill aspect was hinted at when the sim troopers went to an abandoned mining rig to look for parts, and when Loco said they would need trajectories to use it. The time machine part was hinted at by dialogue from Loco, such as offering to show Caboose a door to his dead friend, going on to say that it's not about where the door will take him, and explaining in his Technobabble that "the wormhole will resonate backwards."
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • Episode 11 shows that Temple has been searching "Shakesphere monologue", "evil lairs for dummies", and" How to villain".
    • In Episode 16, when Temple is dealing with all of the popup adds, if you look closely, Vic's face is on a lot of them, hinting that these aren't any ordinary "popups".
  • Fun with Acronyms: Dylan calls her cameraman a French Analysis Repair Transfer.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: In Episode 15, we see that Grif has become a Talkative Loon, acting out conversations with volleyballs, painted with the faces of Red and Blue team.
  • Gone Swimming, Clothes Stolen: A variation of this happened to Donut. Grif buried his armor underground, thinking he died at some point.
  • Groin Attack: Tex just cannot keep her fists off her opponents' crotches, punching both Carolina and Biff in the privates during the flashback fight.
  • Happy Ending: While Church is still dead after all, and Loco and Vic also die, the amount of good manages to completely outweigh the bad. The Blues and Reds are defeated, with most of them being either killed or locked away, the Reds and Blues survive the fight, Caboose gets to say his goodbyes to Church, Vic gets his wish when he shuts down the time machine before it can damage the planet, Wash makes a full recovery, Dylan finishes her story, which will erase the tensions between Chorus and the UNSC once released, and Jax is on his way to making blockbuster films like he wanted.
  • Hates Being Touched: Locus might be helping the Reds and Blues now but he doesn't like them touching him. He growls at Grif to stop touching his face when Grif checks to make sure he isn't hallucinating him, and Locus later grumbles "I hate this" when Caboose gratefully hugs him for saving them.
  • Hope Spot: The entire season is build on one when the Reds and Blues find a recording of Church in distress asking for help which gives them hope that their friend is still alive and sets them off to find him. Episode 16 reveals that the transmission was just a mash up of a call Church made back in Blood Gulch by the Blues and Reds and he really was dead this time. Nobody takes the revelation well.
  • Hourglass Plot: At the start, Tucker was completely on board with the call to action (in this case, potentially saving Church), while Grif refused (because of stress). Near the end, Grif was on board with the call to action (in this case, stopping the Blues and Reds from destroying the USNC base on Earth), while Tucker initially refused (because of defeatism).
  • Identical Twin ID Tag: Starting in Episode 9, the Blues and Reds change their visor colors to a blue to tell themselves apart from the Reds and Blues and later The Grunts have their visors green. Gene later changes his visor back and attacks Simmons, and Grif can't tell them at first because they look and sound the same, until he asks them a question only Simmons understands.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Carolina and Wash firmly grasp it in Episode 10, when, right after outlining the reasons they don't trust Temple or his crew, they allow him to take them down into an isolated area, all the while with his gun to their backs. When they finally reach the Wax Museum Morgue where he displays their former comrades as victims, they very slowly ready their weapons and don't even try to shoot, giving him ample time to activate their armor lock and leave them to die. It's only because of Temple's own Complexity Addiction that they don't die right then and there. Hand Waved In-Universe by them being off their game since they were "in retirement" on Iris for over 10 months before the events of the season.
    • Invoked in Episode 18: in order to figure out how the Blues and Reds are going to attack the USNC on Earth, Dylan asks Sarge how he would attack a heavily armed foe. His answer? "Death from below."
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him!: Occurs in the final episode between Tucker and the Big Bad. Tucker has Temple at his mercy and is ready to murder him for all of his misdeeds throughout the season. However Carolina tells him not to since, while they all might be killers, there is a big difference between only killing when it is necessary and killing for revenge, and that if Tucker kills Temple after he has already been defeated it will make them no different. Tucker ultimately decides to just knock Temple out and leave him for the authorities.
  • I Should Write a Book About This: The second stinger has Jax turning in a screenplay based on his adventure, admitting that he added in movie references and flubbed some of the specifics, meaning he essentially wrote Season 15 as we saw it. Helped by the fact that Jax is an Author Avatar of the season's actual writer.
  • It's Personal: After Temple reveals that the message left behind by Church was fake and takes the time to verbally abuse Caboose for believing it to be true Tucker vows to make him pay which only gets more personal after Temple's grunts shoot Wash in the neck and leave him in critical condition. His hatred for Temple grows so strong that, at the end of the season, Tucker almost murders Temple in cold blood in revenge. It takes a last minute intervention from Carolina to convince him not to follow that path and Tucker just knocks Temple out instead.
  • Internal Deconstruction: Grif’s laziness and selfishness, as well as his status as a Butt-Monkey, are deconstructed when he quits the team because, as he points out, he has no real obligation to help them and he’s tired of them dragging him into adventures when he just wants to “sit and chill”, as well as ignoring all of his opinions. He also reveals a lot of hidden resentment towards them.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • Vic claims that he's been cutting the footage from the Blood Gulch battle simulations into five-minute movies, and Dylan later says there's 100 of them.
    • The events of Episode 4 happen on Sunday, April 23rd, the same day the episode was released for FIRST Members.
    • In Episode 6, Jax claims that he liked the Reds and the Blues better when they were funny, echoing a common criticism from fans of the original seasons.
    • In Episode 12, Temple states that his late-night conversation with Biff ultimately reached "the same place it always did":
    • Donut complains in Episode 14 that he feels like he's ignored and unnoticed by the other Reds and Blues. Donut's largely been Demoted to Extra since the end of The Blood Gulch Chronicles.
    • During Episode 15, Grif's Doc volleyball is suddenly missing, which is an allusion to Doc frequently Commuting on a Bus.
    • When Simmons and Tucker are discussing their "time travel" adventures from Season 3 in Episode 19, Tucker complains that he never really knew what had happened back then and found it all really confusing. The questions around the "time-travel" plot have confounded countless fans since its inception.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: The only spacecraft left in the Blues and Reds' base is guarded by the Zealots. Locus wants to play it quiet and prepare an ambush, but Tucker, still riled from being made an Unwitting Pawn by Temple, rushes out and starts a firefight. this ultimately gets Wash shot.
    Locus: "We had the element of surprise! Now we're just fish in a barrel!"
  • Left the Background Music On: Shelley, an AI for the Blues and Reds' base, can also play background music on request. The Blues and Reds decide to play music to go with Carolina and Tex duking it out.
  • Lethal Joke Character: While the Reds and Blues are already this, the Blues and Reds turn this Up to Eleven. Despite them being just as dysfunctional and goofy as the Blood Gulch Crew, they're also a band of ruthless anarchic terrorists who are planning on using a Doomsday Device to wipe out the vast majority of human civilization in the Milky Way.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again:
    • After capturing Hargrove, Tucker activated the Temple of Procreation on Chorus. However, Grif and Simmons ended up stuck in a closet together, leading to this trope.
    • At the very end of the season, Season 1!Church decides that since he has no idea what to make of the time window to Season 15, he'll just forget it happened and never talk about it.
  • Light Is Not Good:
    • What Sarge thinks about anyone in white armor, which previously happened with Wyoming and Meta, who are both this trope.
    • Temple is named after a holy place of prayers and wears lighter blue like Church (actually Jimmy's Armor color), but is far more sinister than he lets on.
  • Male Band, Female Singer: During their shore leave, Tucker, Grif, and Caboose form a band, and Carolina joins them as their singer. The boys quickly regret it.
  • Mathematician's Answer: Simmons, talking to Grif about Jax and Gene.
    Simmons: Ugh, I'm gonna kill him!
    Grif: Your clone, or that camera guy?
    Simmons: ... Yes.
  • Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: Played for Drama in Episode 20. Loco's time machine-laser drill is actually a Doomsday Device since it will create a black hole that will consume the Earth followed by the whole Solar System if it's left on for too long. However, the Blues and Reds don't realize this at all and just think it's an advanced laser drill for destroying the UNSC's HQ, meaning that their attempts to defend the drill will lead to their own deaths. The Reds and Blues' desperate attempts to warn Temple don't work either since he still views them as the enemy.
  • Mirror Routine: When Surge gets spotted by Sarge in Episode 7, he pretends to be a reflection to avoid blowing his cover Although, given how absurdly similar they are, he may have been doing it unintentionally.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: In Episode 14, Doc joins the Blues and Reds when they turn on the Red and Blues because of all the crap the Blood Gulch Crew's put him through.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Episode 1 starts with a hilarious conversation between some civilians working at a supply depot. It quickly escalates into horror as the Blues and Reds trigger some hidden bombs and kill everyone present.
    • Episode 5 is mostly a comical recap of the Blood Gulch Crew's absurd antics during their retirement. Things turn somber when Dylan asks them what happened on the Staff of Charon where Church deleted himself to power the Meta's armor for Tucker.
    • Episode 13 starts off action-packed with a few humorous moments in between. All that changes to horror and gore the moment Carolina grabs Biff to use him as a human shield.
    • Episode 17 is full of hilarious moments, from a delirious Wash talking to Big Bird, to Caboose hugging Locus (much to Locus's horror). And then in the last few seconds a still-delirious Wash wanders into the middle of a firefight and is shot in the neck.
  • Mook Horror Show: In Episode 18, the Battle Creek Grunts get a reminder of what happened the last time Caboose got angry at them.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: If you read between the lines of Grif's interactions with the volleyball Blood Gulch Crew in Episode 15, it's plain to see this is what Grif is dealing with in regards to staying behind:
    • Grif repeatedly attempts to apologize to Volleyball!Simmons, who keeps misinterpreting these genuine attempts as Grif being himself (saying he's hungry or thirsty).
    • Albeit it's because of Grif not watching the invisible tank, but Volleyball!Sarge's first act on screen is to insult Grif for being lazy.
    • And then you get the clincher: Volleyball!Tucker and Caboose blaming Grif for Volleyball!Church's death (since he is deflating and Tucker asked Grif to help by getting an air pump, something Grif flat out blew off).
  • Never Got to Say Goodbye: A depressed Caboose says he never got to say goodbye to Church or thank him for being his friend after finding out he really is dead and is never coming back this time. He fortunately gets some closure in the season finale thanks to Loco's time machine and uses it to say his final goodbyes to his friend.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Discussed at the end of Episode 6: after seeing Grif snap at everyone and quit, Dylan hopes that she and Jax "didn't fuck something up" by causing the Blood Gulch Crew to go on the Church mission. Ultimately this becomes a key lynchpin: Because Grif was left behind, Locus is able to find him and give him Lopez's head, informing him of the Blood Gulch Crew being captured.
  • Nobody Poops: When Wash and Carolina are freed from armor lock after being stuck in it for days, no mention is made of them needing to... clean up. Justified as it was stated directly back during the Project Freelancer Saga that their suits were designed to 'eliminate all waste'...except vomit, which Delta admitted had never made it past the initial testing
  • Noodle Incident: The Blood Gulch Crew's misadventures following Chorus. Rapid-Fire Comedy at its finest.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: When Jax tries to warn Dylan about the Blues and Reds sneaking up on them, Dylan is too busy reading the Mother of Invention's logs to pay attention. Jax even lampshades this.
    Jax: I have to point out this type of scene is very cliche. I talk, you ignore, and meanwhile, we become surrounded.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome/Take Our Word for It: Two moments are described as such when the Blood Gulch Crew returns, the resolution to Season 13's Bolivian Army Ending ("It was so awesome for a while, there! He powered up my suit and I was like Neo in the goddamn Matrix! I was juggling these two guns and the sword! And dodging bullets! It was fucking amazing! ...And then it was all over. ") and dinosaurs fighting robots ("I have seen some amazing things in my life, but this...this takes the cake.").
  • Other Me Annoys Me: Tucker and Simmons can't stand their counterparts on the Similar Squad. This might also count as I Hate Past Me because said counterparts were the same as them, only without the Character Development the former had.
  • Poor Communication Kills: At the moment, it seems that the shootout at Sidewinder in Episode 3 only happened because Gene misinterpreted Buckey's "Shoot!" as "Open fire!".
  • The Psycho Rangers: The Reds and Blues find out a new group dressed in their armor and colors are committing crimes.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Caboose does this when the Grunts shoot Wash in the neck.
    Caboose: You! Hurt! My! Friend!
  • Reference Overdosed: This season in particular is absolutely filled with references. Jax Jonez especially, being a film geek, loves to reference other movies. Considering how the main writer for this season - Joe Nicolosi - had his previous RvB work ("The Brick Gulch Chronicles") also full of references, this seems to be part of his Signature Style. There's even an implication that an Unreliable Narrator might be at hand, given a post-credits scene shows Jax has written a script based on the season, and tells he "punched up the story" a bit.
  • Retcon: The given reason for why the Red Team had a kit to build an autonomous robot used to be that it was to hide the fact that Blue Team also had a robot kit for the Alpha. The reveal in Episode 13 implies that the robot kit was sent because the Reds in Desert Gulch also had a robot.
  • Rousing Speech: Tucker's speech in Episode 18.
    Tucker: Listen up, everyone. The Blues and Reds are trenched in. They've got numbers, and they've got guns on their side. They've been planning this operation... for years. They have a head start, and they have a doomsday device. They also don't stand a fucking chance! I ain't much on speeches, so I'll make this short. We do this for Wash! We do this for Church! We do this because... fuck those assholes! Buckle up, guys: we're going home.
    Caboose: We're going to Blood Gulch?
    Tucker: No. Earth, motherfuckers!
  • Sadistic Choice: Well, not so much choice as challenge, but Temple mentions to Carolina in particular that the record for staying alive in his armor room with the armor lock on is 8 days and 11 hours. He honestly hopes she can break it.
  • Sanity Slippage: As the season goes on, it becomes abundantly clear that Temple parted ways with sanity a long time ago.
  • Scary Science Words: In the opening of this season, Dylan bluffs herself and her cameraman into a restricted zone by using a lot of made-up, vaguely military-sounding jargon and acronyms, which intimidates the guard into letting them through.
    Dylan: Follow my lead and when in doubt use a confusing acronym. Military types love acronyms.
    Guard: Stop right there, please! Gonna have to ask you to turn around and go back from where you came! This is a restricted military AO.
    Dylan: At ease, soldier! We're BADDAD: Bomb Action Detection Decision and Defusion.
    Guard: Bomb squad? You guys just left.
    Dylan: That was RAR, Rapid Action Response. We're FIAT, Forensic Identification Analytic Tech. I'm Corporal Regina and this is Lance Corporal DuCroix.
    Guard: Uh, stand by. I'm going to have to run this up the chain!
    Dylan: No time! We have a live LOLRPG upstairs with a BPRD of over 5000!
    Guard: God, that's a lot.
    Dylan: We're expecting an LSAT RTAA in the next 8 minutes!
    Guard: [nervous] Okay, that sounds pretty big!
    Dylan: [grave] It's a Class 1 FUBARFOSHO.
    [as the guard lets them through]
    Guard: [to himself] Over 5000... Jeez.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
    • In between Episodes 1 and 2, Dylan's first cameraman (Frank) quit because Dylan's Intrepid Reporter antics kept getting them arrested. She got an intern as a replacement.
    • And a few episodes later Grif's exhaustion with the never-ending adventures leads him to temporarily abandon the crew.
  • Self-Deprecation:
    • Carlos Trabka claiming no one cares about the Reds and Blues anymore and instead encouraging Dylan to look into "those monster-fighting sexy teenagers" is a pretty clear reference to how Red vs. Blue has had its popularity eclipsed by RWBY in recent years.
    • One post-credits scene shows Jax Jonez, the Author Avatar of writer/director Joe Nicolosi, pitching a script based on his adventure. He assures the exec that it's all 100% true...except for the added movie references and fudged plot points. Essentially, it's Nicolosi taking a jab at himself for his frequent use of references and eclectic memory when it comes to continuity.
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • When Dylan is explaining how she knows the Blues and Reds aren't the Reds and Blues, two details she mentions pertain to the choice in weaponry they had, as Buckey had a sniper rifle and Surge had a rail gun, whereas Dylan said Tucker never used a sniper rifle and Sarge always used a shotgun. However, during their time at Blood Gulch, Tucker did use the sniper rifle and accidentally shot Tex in the ass, while Sarge used a sniper rifle several times and occasionally used a magnum.
    • The revelation as to why the Blues and Reds are a group of Inexplicably Identical Individuals ends up having a few of them, namely via the presence of Cronut and Loco and certain details isolated from the time in the Gulch. The backstory for the Desert Gulch Team all but says that the Blood Gulch Crew was actively picked based on the data of the Desert Gulch's conflict for the sake of hiding the Alpha, which would fit with all the candidates for Red Team Sergeant acting like Sarge and why Agent Florida picked each soldier in particular. The problem however comes from Donut and Caboose's presence in Blood Gulch, as neither were originally meant to be there. The two of them got sent there by accident after Florida knocked a cable out of the wall and made Vic short circuit, replacing the list of Freelancers meant to replace Florida should anything happen to him with the names of random rookies. Eventually, Miles Luna would supply the following Hand Wave in a Reddit AMA: Florida didn't want to fully follow the Desert Gulch mold, only picking enough to have three soldiers on each side; but then he died, leading Vic to bring in two accidental call-ups that turned out to be just what Blood Gulch needed to leave the planned stalemate.
    • Several characteristics amidst the Desert Gulch Team still match up with the Blood Gulch Crew, despite said details being unrelated to Project Freelancer or only by sheer coincidence. Namely, Caboose's intelligence, Sarge's rank, and Tucker and Donut's armor.
      • Caboose was soft retconned into always being kind of dumb, but a large part of his intelligence is still attributed to the amount of brain damage he's suffered over the years, namely A.I. forcing themselves in and out of his head and his suit not feeding him oxygen for some time. Contrast that with Loco, who is shown to have always been that intelligent.
      • Sarge and Surge both share the rank of Colonel, but whereas Surge has only been said to be a Colonel, Sarge was originally a Sergeant per his recruitment's purpose of picking the Red Team Sergeant, a rank he maintained up until he joined the Federal Army of Chorus and was promoted to Colonel.
      • When Tucker and Donut first joined their respective teams, they wore the standard issue armor colors for their teams, despite Buckey and Cronut seemingly always wearing aqua and pink armor respectively. Tucker only got his armor after Captain Flowers died and Tucker stole his, whereas Donut only got his armor after his old set was destroyed by Tex throwing a sticky grenade at him.
  • Shadow Archetype: Most of the Blues and Reds are this for the Reds and Blues, with them having never developed as people and instead just stewing in hate against Project Freelancer & the UNSC for several years. The exceptions to this seem to be Loco and Cronut, who are almost identical to their Blood Gulch counterparts (the third exception to this is Biff & Grif. Biff was a straightforward Nice Guy who was trying to get out of the military so he could take care of his pregnant girlfriend, while Grif is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold who hates work in any fashion and used the military as a way to run away from his problems at home).
  • Ship Tease: Episode 10 has a moment between Carolina and Wash. Carolina thinks she missed her chance at a new life with York, but Wash assures her that she can always start her life over. Carolina decides to throw York's lighter into the ocean, but he stops her. He tells her she doesn't need to let go of her past for the sake of her future. Then he grabs her hand, and she doesn't let go. Of course, Wash ruins the moment when he suggests taking off their clothes to trap whoever's tracking them with their recovery beacons, which Carolina takes the wrong way.
  • A Simple Plan: All Biff needed to get back home to Georgina was to be medically discharged. The plan was simple: Temple shoots off his pinkie finger with witnesses present. Biff saw an opportunity to enact the plan when Carolina and Tex showed up in their canyon, but then he was dragged into their fight and quickly killed.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: invoked The first two songs playing during Tex and Carolina's fight in Desert Gulch, an epic orchestral piece and a metal track, fit just fine, but it turns into this when Surge decides to play music by Bruce Springsteen. Then Loco shuffles the playlist and an audiobook of Harry Potter plays.
  • Spoiler Title: The fact that Episode 16 is called "Grif Does A Rescue" gives away the fact that Grif choosing to quit the team in Episode 6 doesn't last.
  • Spot the Imposter: When Simmons and Gene are grappling in episode 20, Grif is forced to do this due to them having the same voice and armor. And exactly how does Grif do this? One question, directed to both of them: "Why are we here?"
  • The Stinger: There are three sprinkled throughout the credits:
    • The first reveals that Temple, Buckey, and Cronut are now in prison. Temple sighs in exasperation as the prison guards serve him - you guessed it - fish.
    • The second shows Jax pitching a script based on his adventure to a studio executive, admitting that he added in some movie references and may have fudged a few details. He also asks the exec if he'd be interested in "Moon Doom."
    • The final one shows Past!Church in Blood Gulch, still confused about what just happened, and then vowing to completely forget about it and never mention it to anyone.
  • Stock Scream: Spoofed. In Episode 8, Jax practices his Wilhelm Scream, in case he gets thrown in an explosion. Dylan reminds him that they are in actual danger, and Jax decides the scream should be added in post.
  • Strawman News Media: Many people on Chorus, especially Dr. Grey, view the press as this for insisting the Reds and Blues' attacks are their fault.
  • Stylistic Suck: The ending credits reveal "VelociROCKtor", the song the Blood Gulch Crew recorded in their brief retirement. On the one hand, the instrumentals are actually pretty decent. The lyrics and Carolina's singing, on the other hand, are both hilariously terrible.
  • Take Off Your Clothes: Wash asks this to Carolina... right after a tender moment between them, making her recoil in shock. He then has to explain it is for them to activate the recovery beacons.
  • Take Our Word for It: Quite a few incidents described in Episode 5 happened just off-screen. Or, like in the case of Wash growing a beard, was hidden by the 24-Hour Armor.
  • Take That!:
  • The Teaser: Although the title does show up in the bottom corner right at the start, it doesn't appear front and center until after the Blues and Reds' massacre.
  • Thou Shall Not Kill: After the war on Chorus, Locus took a vow to never kill again. He's still perfectly willing to use his weapons though, musing that "You don't need kneecaps to live."
  • Tragic Keepsake: Episode 10 reveals that Carolina took back York's lighter.
  • Turned On Their Masters: Parodied, subverted, and somehow inverted in Episode 5. Unable to live without an enemy to fight during their off-time, Sarge built a robot army to be that enemy. However, the robots malfunctioned and waged war against the local dinosaurs. All entirely off-screen.
  • Underwear Flag: Part of the Blues and Reds' backstory involves the Blues misplacing their flag and losing the map showing where it was hidden, with Loco making a replacement flag out of a wooden pole and a pair of underpants. Carolina is not pleased by the situation when she arrives at Desert Gulch for a sparring match with Tex. Said underwear flag accidentally becomes Biff's murder weapon after Carolina deflects it towards him and impales him to the wall when Tex throws it at her, with Tex violently pulling it out of his abdomen and causing Biff to bleed out and die.
  • The Unreveal: Sarge tells his real name off-screen to convince Dylan and Jax to come along. The latter is floored.
  • Wax Museum Morgue: Armor lock plus various Freelancers equals Temple's basement.
  • Welcome Back, Traitor: Sarge and Doc both betray the Reds and Blues for different reasons. Sarge wants an enemy to fight and Doc feels that the others never respect him. Sarge eventually realizes that there's more to life than orders and fighting and rejoins everyone and Doc realizes the Blues and Reds are no better than the others and tries to heal Carolina. Tucker doesn't want either of them back, enraged over their betrayal, but the others convince him they have more important things than being mad at them.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Episode 3, which reveals that the Reds and Blues that have been causing the attacks are not the real Reds and Blues, and that someone is after Tucker.
    • Episode 10, as per usual, when it turns out Temple has been killing the surviving members of Project Freelancer, apparently out of revenge, before locking Wash and Carolina in armor lock so they can slowly waste away. He also hints that he's someone Carolina once knew, but doesn't clarify who he is.
    • Episode 12, where it's revealed the Blues and Reds did have a Grif counterpart named "Biff". And Episode 13 revealed that Carolina unintentionally murdered him.
    • Episode 14, the Blood Gulch Crew figures out what the Blues and Reds are really doing, Sarge and Doc both turn on the rest of the Blood Gulch Crew, and Lopez's head is sent off via a missile to find help.
    • Episode 17, where the Reds and Blues successfully escape from their entrapment with the help of Locus, Sarge performs a Heel–Face Turn and saves both Dylan & Jax, and Wash is shot through the neck at the very end of the episode.
    • Episode 20 is a retroactive example, as it's the first episode out of the whole series to confirm that time travel - that isn't just "looped timelines" like Wyoming's Temporal Distortion Enhancement - actually exists in this universe.
  • Wham Line:
    • The message Kimball has Dylan deliver has Episode 5 end on a big one:
      Church: This is Church from- [static] -Alpha. If you're getting this, it's an emergency. Send. Help. Please! Send help!
    • And the episode after that, we have Grif's rebuttal to Dylan's attempt at a stirring speech.
    • And in case it wasn't made clear enough what Grif had decided there, here's what he says in the final scene of the episode:
      Grif: (after the other Reds and Blues snark about him saying that he was "thinking") No, actually I was thinking that... I quit.
    • Episode 10. Oh boy, episode 10.
      Washington: (while in Temple's basement, looking at the Freelancer armor) Ugh. I think you need to check your plumbing... That smell...
      Carolina: (sudden realization) That's... not... sewage... (Carolina and Washington notice Illinois' armor) I don't think... these are just suits of armor...
    • Episode 15 has an odd example, being a bit more comedic than this trope is normally played and it's not the line itself so much as how it is said.
      Grif: Lopez, todo el mundo está bien?!
    • At the tail end of Episode 16, as Tucker chews out Grif for botching their escape attempt:
      Tucker: You busted in here, made an ass of yourself, and got caught! What do you call that?!
      Grif: Uh, a pretty fucking sweet diversion?
      (cut to Locus finding a still alive Wash and Carolina)
    • One of the biggest in the entire series is at the end of Episode 20, crossing over with Wham Shot:
      Alpha-Church: Caboose? Rookie, what the hell are you doing up here? You're supposed to be guarding the flag!
  • Wham Shot:
    • Played for Laughs in Episode 7. The FOTUS Soldier finally "serves" Tucker... a court order for child support for all the children he fathered at the Temple of Procreation on Chorus.
    • Played for Drama in Episode 10 when we see Agent Illinois among the Freelancer armor.
    • Episode 13. Biff is impaled with the flag.
    • In the final few seconds of Episode 17, Wash is shot in the neck during a firefight, leaving the episode on a cliffhanger.
    • Similar to the above, the last few moments of Episode 20 have Loco's time machine activate... and then a portal opens up in the room, showing Halo 1!Church standing on the cliffs overlooking Blue Base in Blood Gulch.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Defied in Episode 13, with Carolina and Tex's mutual apathy towards Biff getting Impaled with Extreme Prejudice only serving to show them as having been terrifying and heartless sociopaths from the perspective of the simulation troopers at Desert Gulch.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain:
    • Episode 16 reveals that the "distress message" from Church was actually a ruse cooked up by the Blues and Reds - Temple had Loco edit a call Church put into Command during Blood Gulch to lure out the Reds and Blues.
    • Lopez finally gets someone who can understand him when Grif learns Spanish during his isolation, and the two are actually able to have a conversation together. But shortly afterward, Grif pretends he can’t understand Lopez again when the group reunites and Lopez begs him to translate what he says to everyone so they won’t throw him in the ocean. Now Lopez has someone who understands him, but they still won’t help him communicate.

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

    The Shisno Paradox 
The Shisno Paradox is the sixteenth season of the show, confirmed by writer-director Joe Nicolosi to start another multiseason arc.
  • Ambiguous Situation: It's not exactly clear if Deke actually existed when Doc talks about him, as it's implied that O'Malley was just making it up so as to help convince Grif to give him the time gun.
  • Arc Welding: According to the Cosmic Powers, Chrovos influenced Loco's dreams and inspired him to create the time machine from last season.
  • Backstory: This season is much more keen on giving the Reds and Blues bits of backstory than previous seasons.
    • Through time travel, we get to learn about Sarge’s time in the Great War. He was a lieutenant, and during one battle called the "Battle of Broken Ridge," his whole squad was killed by the opposing aliens. This, according to Simmons, was his first major loss as a soldier.
    • Grif reveals that he went to a college near his favorite pizza place, but dropped out right before enlisting in the UNSC.note 
    • Tucker's mom is revealed to have been dead for a while. He's also an atheist, while Kaikaina is a "militant agnostic" (which also serves as a Call-Back to Grif mentioning to Locus how he was agnostic during "Objects In Space" in Season 15).
      Kaikaina: I don't know what's out there, and neither do you!
    • Doc had a younger brother named Deke who died when he drowned because Doc was unable to resuscitate him, inspiring Doc to become a medic to atone for that one mistake. However, it's also possible that this was a lie concocted by O'Malley so as to get his hands on Grif's time gun.
  • Bait-and-Switch: After Tex's ship exploded, Tucker took Sister to the caves and show her something. Cue her unimpressed by the size, and Tucker defending... the cave pond.
  • Been There, Shaped History: A given with time travel.
    • Sister and Tucker end up causing some disasters while time travelling. Given it scares horses, it leads to Christopher Reeve's accident and Catherine the Great's sexual death involving a horse. Given Tucker is used to six pedals, he crashes Paul Walker's car. And he shoots Hitler while he's in his bunker (and apparently both stopped by to witness JFK's death).
    • Sarge attempts to recruit Achilles in Troy, and once it goes wrong, he just stabs him in the foot.
    • Caboose gives a gun to Gavrilo Princip, ignites human evolution (and the library of Alexandria, and London, and the Hindenburg), causes the Classic Mayan collapse, baptizes the company of some "ugly people" in Buda, Texas, and appears shortly before the Freelancers in the cryo station that opens Season 9 (which is why the soldier South Dakota shot had two coffee mugs).
    • Prior to going to sixth century Italy, Grif went to the Roman Empire, and caused a famous assassination:
      I had to convince Caesar to invent pizza. You know, since he’s a foodie with that salad and all. Didn’t go great, though. Knives were exchanged, and—
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: A variant; Sarge brings historical figures to his present, leading George Washington to become an assistant director in Jax's movie.
  • Big Bad: Chrovos, a mysterious "Titan" who saved Donut and causes the Reds & Blues to seriously mess with the timeline.
  • Body Horror: Donut is subjected to this after being zapped by the time machine. His body contorts in all sorts of ways, ending with his spine bending backwards at a 45 degree angle as sharp protrusions emerge from him. This apparently destroyed his body altogether.
  • Bookends: The ending of the season finale inverts both the season's opening scene - two people (almost) having the "ever wonder why we're here" conversation, then a pan up - and the very first episodes of the series - the Red team meeting, the Blues spying, and "Ever wonder why we are here?"
  • Brick Joke: A joke all the way back from The Blood Gulch Chronicles finally gets a punchline. When Tucker and Sister Time Travel to the events of the Season 5 finale, Tucker finds a sniper rifle lying around. As he spies on Flowers talking to his past self, his finger brushes the trigger, and...
  • Bury Your Gays: Huggins, who is confirmed to be bisexual when she flirts with Kaikaina, is abruptly killed by Genkins in "Lights Out." In the next season, this is subverted when it's revealed that she actually survived.
  • The Bus Came Back: After making sparse cameos in the last few seasons, Sister decides to properly rejoin the Blood Gulch Crew in the first episode.
  • Butt-Monkey: Kohan Wooter, producer of Jax's movie, who suffers two breakdowns due to the Troubled Production and is later forced at gunpoint by Jax to compliment him in the behind-the-scenes documentary. Once the studio cuts the funding, he even excitedly yells "I'm free!"
  • Call-Back:
    • The way the second episode ends is similar to the ending of Season 2. The Reds and Blues split up into groups of two and go through a portal, each group ending up in a different place.
    • In Season 15, one of Grif's ramblings to Locus is "What's your favorite pizza place? I like Sammie's over in Ithaca!" That's where he suggests the Reds and Blues to eat.
    • Tucker's suggestion for a government during the Time Skip between Seasons 13 & 15 on Iris is "Monarchy, whoever holds the magic sword Excalibur!" In medieval England, his energy sword is mistaken for that and so he becomes king.
    • Aside from Chinese finger traps, Caboose says the greatest obstacles and challenges for him to overcome are ("My name is Michael J. Caboose and I hate...") babies, gravity (though it's Sarge who fought that, Caboose wasn't even fazed by increased gravity in Santa's Jungle Temple), and taxes ("Texas!" "That too!").
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: Grif changes the subject, the path, or downright crashes a ship so nothing will get between him and his pizza? An ancient goddess appears and destroys the pizza place!
  • Chekhov's Skill: Grif's ability to identify different kinds of food leads him to find out that the Reds and Blues aren't the only time travelers in the season finale.
  • Compound Title: The opening and closing episodes are "The Shisno" and "Paradox".
  • Despair Event Horizon:
    • Played for Laughs when Lopez (who can't be understood) realizes that he's stuck with Caboose (who can't understand anything) as they travel through time.
      Lopez: (Helpless, I watched the end of the world.)
    • Upon realizing that time had been altered so that pizza no longer existed, Grif's reaction was to pull a grenade pin.
      Doc: What are we gonna do?
      Grif: (despairing; pulls out a grenade) There's only one thing to do... (pulls pin; drops grenade at feet)
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: High off of antifreeze, Sister and Tucker think Atlus Arcadium Rex is an hallucination. They go from "wasted" to wasted, and it would've been worse if they weren't protected by "Him".
  • Disney Villain Death: The battle between Donut and O'Malley ends when both are atop a skyscraper and Donut opens a portal to bring in a grenade - which he threw back in Blood Gulch - that blasts Doc off the building.
  • Downer Ending: Mixed with Gainax Ending - Thanks to Genkins's manipulations and betrayal of the Cosmic Powers, as well as Donut's time travel corruption causing him to steal The Hammer, the Reds and Blues make a last ditch attempt at time travel by saving Washington from being shot... which goes horribly right causing a Reality-Breaking Paradox that resets the universe back to the first season of The Blood Gulch Chronicles, with Genkins possessing Church, and everyone else incapable of remembering. Additionally, Wash is confirmed to have suffered permanent brain damage due to the events of Season 15, and he angrily leaves the rest of the Blood Gulch Crew after he learns of Carolina hiding it from him and the rest of the group. Also, Huggins was tragically killed by Genkins for trying to stop the Reds and Blues from anymore time travel, the Cosmic Powers are seemingly helpless before Chrovos' might, and Donut's whereabouts are unknown. Thankfully, it becomes a Bittersweet Ending come next season when it turns out that Donut's Heel–Face Turn wasn't entirely in vain, as Chrovos was still partially sealed away and the universe can be fixed.
  • Dream Team: Sarge decides to create an elite team of historical warriors, to make Red Team the greatest fighting force in the universe. Subverted by his actual choices: Private John, who as an actor only played badass characters; Private George, who was an officer instead of a combatant and shows his Fish out of Temporal Water nature; and Private Alex, whose cough indicates he was recruited as he was dying of an illness.
  • Drunk with Power: By the time Grif catches up to Tucker and Sister in England, Tucker has let his kingship go completely to his head.
  • Fade to White: How the paradox is depicted in the season's final episode.
  • Fighting Across Time and Space: The final episode has a fight between Donut and O'Malley, with the two using a Time Gun to repeatedly teleport each other through time throughout the fight; at one point, they're fighting on the roof and wings of a WWII bomber.
  • Flanderization: An In-Universe example - Apparently, time travel warps "weaker minds" by offering them the chance to Set Right What Once Went Wrong, corrupting them and driving them crazy until they become a "Shisno." We see this with Donut, Sarge, and Tucker, as they all go slightly crazy in their desperate attempt to fix their past mistakes. Sarge calms down for a while after getting involved in Jax's movie, Tucker has to get both a Humiliation Conga and verbal beatdown from Sister to get back to normal, and Donut becomes The Dragon to Chrovos before a Heel Realization.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Atlus mentions the Reds and Blues couldn't be hurt because of "his [Chrovos'] firewall". This clues in Simmons that they are A.I.s of sorts, and when they reveal their true forms, they're in Forerunner Monitor bodies like the one used by Epsilon during Recreation and Revelation.
    • During "Docudrama," Genkins The Trickster says that "At the end of the next one, the pink guy steals the hammer!" Guess what Donut does at the end of "Lights Out"?
    • Relatedly, while the title of "Lights Out" seems to be an allusion to the coming apocalypse, it's also a reference to Huggins being killed by Genkins with a black hole.
  • For Want of a Nail: Muggins brings up this concept in the opening narration, saying that there’s a rule of the universe where the greatest changes hinge on the humblest of actions. Part of the reason why the events of this season happen is because the Reds and Blues decide to get pizza.
  • Freud Was Right: Tucker tries asking Atlus for an enormous dong. Given the god doesn't understand the word, it goes over his head (and leads to a sort of "penis envy", as all three wishes are wasted so Grif can get a sword like Tucker's).
  • Gainax Ending: After the paradox happens, a Time Crash causes a Fade to White. When things return, it's sort of a recreation of the first two episodes of the series filmed in Halo 2: Anniversary... only Church is definitely not voiced by Burnie Burns, the original lines are given to the other character in the scene, and Grif and Simmons are feeling sort of a deja vu.
  • Genre Shift:
    • Unlike the explanations for seemingly supernatural occurrences in previous seasons, The Shisno Paradox has explicit mentions of Magitek time travel guns and a pantheon of gods, putting in a more magical bent to the series. Subverted as the season goes on, with it being revealed that the Cosmic Powers are actually highly advanced Monitors that can only make it seem like they're gods. Double Subverted in that there is still no explanation for how exactly the time travel guns work, making them still seem like magitek.
    • More specifically, Episode 12 "Docudrama", is shot, well, like a docudrama. Complete with interviews intercut between the somewhat shaky, "handheld" cinematography. Justified, as Jax is working on a documentary about his movie, and this is supposedly the footage.
  • Giving Up on Logic: After some shenanigans, Simmons has hit this by Episode 5 when trying to give reason to their time travel. He gives it another try by Episode 13, though.
  • Here We Go Again!: Much like how it happened eight seasons prior, the season finale ends with the reveal that, due to outside circumstances, the events of Season 1 are being revisited, albeit slightly inaccurately. As if to acknowledge the similarity, the first sign that things are off is that Church doesn't sound the same.
  • Hotter and Sexier: One of the changes Jax's movie makes to Season 15 is that Wash telling Carolina "take off your clothes" is not a misunderstanding, but the cue for her swooning and a sex scene. When the real ones are witnessing it, they get confused.
  • How We Got Here: The opening scene with the medieval knights ends with a time portal opening behind them. Episode 7 ends with Tucker and Sister falling from said portal.
  • Hurricane of Puns: After Grif gets a Laser Blade, he starts dropping a lot of cleaver blade-related puns. A hammer forged by the Cosmic Powers also earns some as people (and even Atlus!) suggest alternate names.
  • Hyde Plays Jekyll: The first time, it's ambiguous, but the second time confirms that yes, O'Malley has learned how to impersonate Doc.
  • Ignored Epiphany: After causing the deaths of his subordinates in a battle from during the Great War, Sarge is sullen, and almost seems to realize his own mistakes. Then he switches to an angry tone and concludes that the people under his command are at fault. Despite Simmons pointing out that he was giving conflicting orders. Later, as he attempts to take the Temple role and Private John succeeds, Sarge goes "I'm my worst enemy...'s worst nightmare!"
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: After Tucker finds a sniper rifle in Blood Gulch, Sister tells him to keep his finger off the trigger. Tucker tries to show her the safety’s on by pulling the trigger. He fires a shot off, killing Captain Flowers in the process.
  • Immediate Sequel: This season picks up right where Season 15 left off, continuing the conversation they had before Dylan’s closing monologue.
  • Impromptu Tracheotomy: Throughout the series, Wash has repeatedly proven to be Made of Iron and recover from any sort of damage to his physical or mental state that would permanently put anyone else out of commission, and it seems like the same thing has happened with being shot in the throat last season. Except it hasn't; being shot in the throat and cut off from oxygen for several minutes has given him permanent, irreparable brain damage and memory loss.
  • Interrupted Intimacy: A self-inflicted and elevated case. Tucker and Sister travel back to the Blood Gulch days, and by witnessing their past selves in foreplay, Sister gets turned on and asks Tucker for sex. Past Tucker hearing future Tucker loudly replying with "SURE!" scares him into not banging Kai, and the future one also gets turned off, noting "you've managed to double cock block me with a single word!".
  • It Has Been an Honor: Sarge's last words as the paradox engulfs the Reds and Blues.note 
  • Kiai: Sister does a Xena yell while attempting a jump attack.
  • Laborious Laziness: Grif has taken to this. After reading some of Jax's book on story structure, he goes out of his way to steer the gang away from anything that might lead into another crazy adventure. To the point where he purposely crashes their ship to avoid a message from Locus and purposely chooses a longer walking route because it looks more peaceful than the shorter, scarier one. Unfortunately, The Call Knows Where You Live.
  • Lampshade Hanging: This season features a lot of civilian characters, but a lack of CGI means they have to be wearing Powered Armor. As such, these characters often go out of their way to explain why they have armor on. There's even a group of children in full body armor, because it's Halloween and they're wearing costumes.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • When all the Reds and Blues take turns roasting Grif for crashing the Pelican, he stops Doc from doing so by growling "Primary cast only!"
    • Tucker and Sister both express a desire to go back to the Blood Gulch days, when things were silly and fun, and they were free of any real consequences. After the Blood Gulch Chronicles, which mostly focused on lighthearted slice-of-life stories, the series became more weighty in terms of plot, and the characters' actions actually had repercussions.
    • In "Docudrama," Genkins states "I love posting spoilers on YouTube! At the end of the next one, the pink guy steals the hammer!" Everyone ignores it, and thus miss this bit of Foreshadowing.
  • Light Is Not Good: Chrovos is shown to appear to Donut in the form of a series of complex, rotating golden gears in a white, heavenly room. Unfortunately, Chrovos' ultimate plan is to wipe out the universe with a paradox. (the Cosmic Powers also reveal that these gears are the prison Chrovos is kept in)
  • Moment Killer: Starting with the meeting with Grif, Tucker and Sister in an island, hammy intros by/for the gods are often interrupted. In Jax's case, it leads to him getting a hammer thrown in his face.
  • Mood Whiplash: Episodes 8, 10 and 13 have this when dealing with Wash's brain damage resulted from the previous season's injuries, dropping the comedy for something significantly more serious and tragic. Episode 11 also has Sister's "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Tucker followed by one of Grif's goofy one liners.
  • Mythical Motifs: The deities that appear in this season are based on various mythologies and religions.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
  • Noodle Incident: Sister brings up Hooters as a place they could go to eat; but Tucker says that's not an option because he's been "banned for life." We don't get details, but considering that it's Tucker we're talking about, here...
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Grif finally lets Doc use the time travel gun so he can use it to save lives. And then Doc, or rather O'Malley, takes it for himself and leaves Grif Trapped in the Past.
  • No Such Thing as Bad Publicity: invoked Jax ultimately sees no problem in Sarge killing one of his actors, given Access Hollywood just released a compromising tape of his and they can also recast the guy.
  • No Such Thing as Space Jesus: Discussed by Grif and Huggins, who disagree over whether the Cosmic Powers are genuine gods or just really powerful aliens. The truth is closer to the latter.
  • Odd Couple: Aside from the exceptions of Tucker/Sister and Sarge/Simmons, the Party Scattering leads to Caboose (who can't understand anything) and Lopez (who can't be understood), and Grif/Doc (along with the different mindsets, Grif still hasn't forgiven Doc's defection in the previous season), which leads to the even weirder Grif/Huggins (as she's enthusiastic and representative of the plot he tried to evade, and yet Grif still warms up to her).
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Both Tucker and Sister have this reaction when they're taunting the "hallucinatory" King Atlus Arcadium Rex.
      Tucker: Oh shit—hey, I just realized something. Is it weird that we’re having the same hallucination at the same time?
      Sister: Oh. Oh, fuck.
    • Grif has this reaction when he discovers that O'Malley is back and has the time travel gun.
    • Grif again when he realizes that Genkins isn't trying to stop the Reds and Blues from saving Wash via time travel; he intents to make sure that they go through with it, which will result in a Reality-Breaking Paradox.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: After ten seasons between, we finally find out what happened when Captain Flowers was killed off in Episode 100 of The Blood Gulch Chronicles. It turns out that he was not killed because He Knows Too Much, but rather in an example of I Just Shot Marvin in the Face by a time-traveling Tucker.
  • "Pan Up to the Sky" Ending: The final shot of the season, in a Blood Gulch recreation. And a pink wave of sorts flashes.
  • Path of Most Resistance: Defied by Grif, who chooses a less threatening forest even if it's a longer walk.
  • Production Foreshadowing: The moon gets shattered at one point by a powerful deity, in the same shape as RWBY. This turns out to be exactly how it was shattered in RWBY, as revealed in Volume 6.
  • Power Perversion Potential: Sister decides the best way to use the time machine is to have sex with past celebrities. And she even considers, well...
    I would rather go fuck myself. And with the time machine, I actually can do that now. Hell yeah, new fetish!
  • "Rashomon"-Style: Tucker has stated throughout the series that he and Sister had sex in Blood Gulch. However, once he brings this up to her, she remembers something different. She says they almost had sex, but that something happened and it stopped. When they go back in time to confirm, turns out Sister was right.
  • Re-Cut: The video on demand release (available on Google Play, iTunes and Steam) reduces the first fourteen episodes into just seven ranging from 19 to 24 minutes. Six are named after what becomes the "first-parter" ("The Shisno", "Lost Time", "Headshots", "Walk and Talk", "Sword Losers", "A Time For Hammers"), while the combination of 7-8 is "Relapse and Recovery".
  • Reality-Breaking Paradox: Lampshaded by Genkins, who points out that the best way to break the universe is with a paradox. To explain fully, stopping Wash from getting shot will mean the Reds and Blues alongside Wash and Locus (since he won't leave to take the critically injured Wash to a hospital) will definitely Curb Stomp Temple before Loco's Time Machine is turned on, preventing Donut from meeting Chrovos, giving the Reds and Blues their Time Guns, and stopping their Been There, Shaped History hijinks that will eventually culminate in them trying to prevent Wash from getting shot. The paradox sends the Teams back to Blood Gulch, only things are noticeably different.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Sister delivers one to Tucker regarding how selfish and self-aggrandizing he is.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: Apparently, Earth of the future has something called "Space Guantanamo," which Grif isn't too keen on visiting.
  • Refusal of the Call: After reading a book on story structure, Grif has decided to avoid Inciting Incidents so he can avoid adventures altogether. But he stopped reading after the part about incendiary incidents... and of course, didn’t know that in stories where someone ignores The Call, tragedy strikes and forces the adventure anyway.
  • The Reveal:
    • Wash's memory lapses, mood swings, and awareness and mobility problems aren't happening because his injury from last season is taking a long time to heal. It's because it can't heal. The injury left him with brain damage. Permanent brain damage. Carolina knows, but she can't break it to him until it's too late, and when Tucker and company find out, they immediately resolve to prevent the injury from happening in the first place...which leads to the Reality-Breaking Paradox.
    • Additionally, the Cosmic Powers aren't actually gods. They're really highly advanced Monitors (like the one that Epsilon used in Recreation and Revelation) that have been perpetuating a God Guise. They were created long ago by an unknown entity called "Chrovos" as weapons of war so as to manipulate younger races into doing whatever their master wanted until they banded together and overthrew him. Furthermore, Genkins The Trickster is working for Chrovos, and he even kills Huggins in "Lights Out" so as to make sure the Reality-Breaking Paradox still happens.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: In stark contrast to the machinima and CGI animation that's typical for the series, the seventh episode features Tucker fighting a live-action cyclops played by Gus Sorola.
  • San Dimas Time: Jax says the Reds and Blues have been missing since last year, which leads Simmons to believe that the same amount of time has passed in the present as he and Sarge spent looking for historical warriors. Also, the Reds and Blues trying to save Wash in the past occur simultaneously with Donut's misadventures in the present. It gets to the point that Donut striking with The Hammer at the "same time" as the Reality-Breaking Paradox happened meant Chrovos' prison broke, but his bindings were simultaneously reinforced by The Hammer and thus he wasn't actually freed.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When the armies of medieval France appear on his doorstep, what's "King" Tucker's plan? Stay and fight? "Hell no! Let's bail!"
  • Serious Business: Pizza seems to be this for Grif, enough for him to ensure it's created, along with yelling at children and trying to shoot Doc for an overtly green version.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong:
    • Donut informs the rest of the group that the "Devil King" is going to destroy the universe, and cryptically says they must save the future by fixing the past. Subverted in that this isn't actually possible, given the way time travel works.
    • For Sarge, this means going back to a battle in the Great War he was involved in, the Battle of Broken Ridge, and saving his men. It doesn’t work. Neither does his attempt at preventing his betrayal on Season 15.
    • When Grif and Doc arrive at Sammie Raphaello’s years in the past, they see that it’s not a pizza place, but a calzone and stromboli place. Then they find out through talking to some kids that pizza doesn’t exist. Grif and Doc decide to go back and invent pizza. Doc also suggests using their time machine to stop countless wars and tragedies, but Grif just wants pizza.
    • After learning the full extent of Wash's injury, Tucker convinces the crew that they need to prevent him being shot in Season 15, even though it risks causality. The result is a Time Crash and Cosmic Retcon
  • Shocking Voice Identity Reveal: The "Church" in the Blood Gulch recreation that closes the season is actually Genkins.
  • Shoryuken: Tucker does one (while screaming "Shoryuken, motherfucker!") when performing a Groin Attack on a Cyclops.
  • Skewed Priorities: Once he learns of Jax's movie, Sarge's goals change from "Fixing the past" to getting a lead role.
  • Stable Time Loop:
    • In the first of the season, Caboose is sent to fetch Donut, and then comes back looking for a penny. Episode 3 reveals that was actually Episode 3-Caboose going back in time because he misunderstood Donut's exposition.
    • When the Reds and Blues arrive at Sammie Raphaello's, they see that it's in shambles. With Donut's help, they go back in time to when it was still intact. Kalirama arrives because she was told the Reds and Blues would be there, and destroys the pizza place, creating the ruin seen in the present.
    • Tucker and Sister disagree over whether or not they had sex in the caves of Blood Gulch, and go back to that time to remind themselves of how it went down. Tucker explains earlier that they started, but someone was spying on them and he stopped in the middle of it. While the Tucker and Sister of the future watch their past selves, future Tucker yells without thinking, which is what caused past Tucker to stop.
    • Simmons demonstrates time travel by opening a portal to one of Simmons and Sarge's previous travels - and he remembers being on the other side of said conversation.
    • Discussed by Jax as one of the ways sci-fi writers deal with time-travel paradoxes in fiction. However, he also points out that this theory kinda skewers the concept of free will.
  • Suicide as Comedy: When Grif and Doc end up in a timeline where pizza doesn’t exist, Grif tries to kill himself by dropping an unpinned grenade at his feet. Fortunately, Doc kicks the grenade away.
  • Taught by Experience: After getting his hands on a time travel gun, Simmons insists on taking it apart and studying it to understand how it works. Sarge tells him they can learn how it works by actually using it. Simmons is interested in this idea and goes with it.
  • Teleport Gun: The time portal gun, which also teleports through the fourth dimension. It is downright weaponized like the ones from Portal in the season finale, as demonstrated in the fight where Donut and O'Malley start jumping around time periods.
  • Temporal Paradox: Discussed by Jax, who breaks down the various ways time travel can work in fiction, specifically to avoid paradoxes, in order to figure out what kind of time travel they’re dealing with. Finally happens when the Reds and Blues time travel back to Season 15 and prevent Wash from getting shot - as with Wash and Locus by their side, Temple would've been defeated much earlier, the whole chain of events that led to Donut getting them time travel guns in the first place doesn't occur in the first place. The result is a Time Crash.
  • Tempting Fate: In "Docudrama", Jax reveals that he used Sarge's Time Gun to recast his movie with actors from across history, and doing so had no repercussions at all. The minute the Reds and Blues leave for their meeting with the Cosmic Powers, Jax is told that the clip of the re-casted movie convinced the studio to cut the funding short, effectively killing his project.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: For the most part, this season operates under the logic that any changes someone makes to the past have already happened. Despite this, Grif and Doc somehow end up in an Alternate Timeline where pizza doesn’t exist. And Dylan eventually discovers ancient art depicting Tucker, Lopez and Caboose (as the former became King of England, and the latter two jumped through history). Generally, the season seems to imply that small changes can be made to the timeline, but their effects across overall history will be significantly smaller than what would be generally expected.
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot: In spite of his laziness, Grif manages to walk all the way from Italy to Britain (including the English Channel) in quite a short time, and arrives just as things are going wrong for Tucker's reign.
  • Troubled Production: invoked In-universe, the production of Jax's Red vs. Blue movie has gone through just about every bad thing that could possibly happen, from lawsuits, to cast & crew dying, to paranormal activity. Jax is fine with this, though, as he says all the great movies have had tortured productions, and since his movie has the most tortured production, it will therefore be the greatest movie ever.
  • Tuckerization: Jax's movie is produced by Kohan Wooter, based on (and voiced by) Rooster Teeth's own Koen Wooten. Though we can be pretty certain that Joe Nicolosi doesn't give him as nearly as much problems!
  • Twisted Echo Cut: Following the Party Scattering, there are three scenes that directly answer each other (Grif finds a shuffle button, Tucker questions it; Sister asks "how the fuck does this work?", Sarge replies "Language!"; and Sarge says "You tell that lazy idiot to wake up!", cue Caboose going "Wake up! Wake up Lopez!").
  • Two-Person Pool Party: Tucker and Sister almost engaged in one in a cave pond in Blood Gulch, but were accidentally interrupted by a future version of Tucker.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Lopez, who was absent from the premiere - following the fact that in the last episodes of the previous season, he was reduced to a head yet again and possibly thrown in the ocean - shows up whole in the second one as early as the opening scene in the wreckage.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Caboose takes Donut's nightmarish temporal instability in remarkable stride, confusing his shrieks of pain for matter-of-fact responses about where to eat.
  • Wacky Parent, Serious Child: An inversion. King Atlus Arcadium Rex is a no-nonsense Top God, while his son is a jokey trickster god.
  • Walk, Don't Swim: To find Sister, Grif follows Huggins to England, meaning he has to go through the English Channel. And he can't swim. Cue him as a fart submarine walking the way.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Episode 10 has The Reveal that Chrovos is the Big Bad of the season, not the Cosmic Powers.
    • The season's penultimate episode, "Lights Out," has the Reds and Blues deciding to prevent Wash from getting shot even if their previous dabbling in time travel didn't exactly go well, Huggins getting killed by Genkins, and the Fates affirming thar the end is near.
    • The season finale - "Paradox" - has Genkins revealing that defying You Already Changed the Past was what he intended the Reds and Blues to do, which would cause a paradox that breaks time itself. Carolina saves Wash from getting shot, allowing the past Reds and Blues to stop Temple before the time machine is activated, meaning Donut is never zapped by it, and the time travel plot couldn't have happened. The resulting Time Crash sends everyone back to Blood Gulch, except the light blue soldier doesn't seem to be Church...
  • Wham Line:
    • From Wash in "Recovery", "Have I told you about my cat, Loki?", specifically, the second time he says it in the episode, having forgotten that he already told Carolina about him multiple times. The question proves that there's something wrong with Wash.
    • This below line from King Atlus in "A Time For Hammers," which puts the Cosmic Powers under an entirely different light than before:
      King Atlus: No mystery, no magic. Just a mathematical palindrome filled with radiation and sadness.
    • Finally, "Paradox" has this doozy of a line from Genkins when he's talking to Grif while the rest of the Blood Gulch Crew goes off to stop Wash from getting his injury.
      Genkins: Oh, Grif... No, I'm not here to stop you... ...I'm here to make sure you go through with it.
  • The Worf Barrage: The Red and Blues unload their guns at Kalirama, who simply continues walking towards them, with no signs of damage.
  • World War III: Sarge briefly mentions "all three World Wars", noting that the French Canadians were on the losing side of the third one, and that like in the first two, Italy switched to the winning side at the last minute.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: The opening scene shows two medieval knights having the famous “why are we here” conversation in this dialect.
  • You Already Changed the Past: This seems to be how time travel functions in this universe. For example:
    • Sarge goes back to when he was in a battle of the Great War to save his soldiers from being killed. He gives his men orders that conflict with his past self’s orders, making them run back and forth, which results in them being killed.
    • Back in Season 5, when Tucker was talking to Captain Flowers, someone shot Flowers from off-screen, killing him. It was never explained who shot Flowers and why. Then, when the Tucker and Sister of this season go back to that time, Tucker finds a sniper rifle and accidentally shoots Flowers with it. While Flowers's death was incidental and not the reason they went back, it still demonstrates that any change they make has already happened.
  • You Just Ruined the Shot: Sarge's attempt at killing Temple instead has him striking the guy playing Temple in Jax's movie. Jax is angry at first, but lets it go when he notices it's Sarge and Simmons, who he hasn't seen in a while.


Singularity, written by Season 16's co-writer Jason Weight (with Miles Luna doing one episode and co-writing another, and Joe Nicolosi only having helped with the story due to other commitments), finishes the arc that in a way was started all the way back on Season 15. It's also the first season since Recreation not be directed by the current showrunner, with machinimators Josh Ornelas and Austin Clark co-directing the season.

  • Achievements in Ignorance: "Limbo" sees Caboose set out on his own to fix the timeline... even though Donut and Wash hadn't taught him how to Mental Time Travel yet.
    Wash: (stunned) Is Caboose a genius?
  • Ambiguous Situation:
    • "Theogeny," the last episode of the season, is very vague on if the events of Season 15 and The Shisno Paradox have been retroactively erased or not. Season 18 didn't help in that regard, at much saying Wash's brain damage was fixed.
    • A more pervasive case throughout the season is Chrovos' ultimate goals. On the one hand, Chrovos gets loads of Omnicidal Maniac rants and even brags about wanting to "tear the starry curtain from its rings." On the other hand, she also comes across as surprisingly genuine when talking to Donut about how she wants to make amends with her children (the Cosmic Powers), and even admits that she wasn't originally beaten with a golf club and thrown in prison "for no reason."
  • And This Is for...: Grif has apparently not forgotten about the nutshots Tex gave him in Seasons 8 & 10, as he precedes shooting her ship with a rocket launcher with, "My testicles send their regards, Tex, you metal bitch."
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When Dr. Grey is talking about how she committed Insurance Fraud using Wash's status as a Paradox Person, she claimed to the UNSC how Wash was "de-armed, castrated, and generally bothered in the line of duty."
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: When Caboose calmly, but firmly, demands that Genkins "put [Church's] body down", Genkins makes a point of asking "Or what?" And the answer to that?
    Caboose: (knocks Genkins down with his rifle) AHHHHHH! (begins beating his face with his rifle) GIMME BACK CHURCH!
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: After giving him a taste of an insufferably dull and monotonous civilian life, the Labyrinth answers Sarge's desire to "storm a beach and kill a Nazi" (and, by extension, his desire to die gloriously on the battlefield as seen in Seasons 15 and 16) by shoving him straight into the horrors of the Normandy landings.
  • Big Bad: Chrovos again, sending Genkins to keep the Reds and Blues occupied and create paradoxes that will further weaken her prison. Or not. Chrovos turns out to be a Big Bad Wannabe after Genkins tricks and betrays her into giving him most of her power, intending to replace her as the top god. Chrovos then becomes the Wild Card as she allies with the Reds and Blues, namely Donut, to stop Genkins from succeeding. It's later revealed that Genkins becomes Chrovos in the finale, having subjected to a Stable Time Loop by going to the beginning of the universe before suffering Death of Personality.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • On the sweet side, Chrovos and Genkins are both defeated, reality is fixed, and Doc & his O'Malley personality have successfully gone through a Split-Personality Merge. Additionally, Donut seems to have finally earned legitimate respect from the rest of the Blood Gulch Crew, and Tucker takes a lesson in humility after having acted like a Jerkass for the last season.
    • On the bitter side, Wash has to permanently suffer through his brain damage again so as to resolve the Temporal Paradox (though it's implied that he'll likely be more functional than he was before due to him having better treatment this time around and Carolina not ignoring the issue), and Donut decides to walk away from the Reds and Blues for a while due to all the trauma he’s been through over the course of this arc and him Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life.
    • Oh, and Lopez learned some fantastical secrets of the universe while floating through the universe for countless eons, but is stuck speaking Spanish again so only Grif (and possibly Sister) can understand him.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity:
    • After Donut's initial attempts at fixing everything via the Everwhen fail, Chrovos proceeds to mock him, explaining how the paradox will soon set her free due to causing chaos to occur backwards from it. Donut quickly realizes the significance of her word choice, and takes the time gun to go find Wash in the present.
    • After Genkins destroys the time gun and leaves, Chrovos proceeds to mock Wash and Donut for having lost their advantage... before the two of them promptly rush into the Everwhen.
  • Bowdlerize: The original release of "Theogeny" had Genkins Flipping the Bird before jumping down the black hole. 343 Industries requested a censorship change, and the current version has the fingers blurred out.
  • Brick Joke: Near the end of "Theogeny," as Genkins is ranting like a lunatic after having traveled through a black hole back to the beginning of time, he gets hit with a golf ball seemingly out of nowhere. That's actually the golf ball his past self hit into the same black hole at the end of "The Shisno," the first episode of both The Shisno Paradox and this overall story arc.
  • The Bus Came Back: Mental Time Travel ensures characters long unseen such as Andy, The Meta and 479er appear. Episode 5 has most of the named Freelancers reappearing, including the Triplets, and at the end, Delta.
  • Bury Your Gays: Defied with Huggins, who actually got sent back to the beginning of time through Genkins' black hole last season instead of getting killed and is even revealed to have Complete Immortality.
  • Call-Back: Just like on Chorus, an A.I. traps Caboose into a simulation designed to face him against his fears. And just like on Chorus, it has no effect.
  • Canis Latinicus: The computer where Sarge deleted the Blues shows the classic "Lorem Ipsum" placeholder text, only it instead reads "Lorem Epsilon" for obvious reasons.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue:
    • How does Wash telegraph that he knows that Genkins is sneaking up on them, about to attack?
    • York downright calls out Wash when he asks him where Carolina could hide in emergencies during a firefight ("Is now really the best time to discuss this?!").
  • Character Focus: Donut is unquestionably the protagonist of this season, with it focusing on his Character Development, growing more of a spine, and struggles against Chrovos & Genkins while atoning for his Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal last season.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In The Shisno Paradox, Atlus gave Caboose Genkins' golf club, and even allowing him to keep it when he took everyone else's energy swords away. Chrovos reveals that the club was the original tool used to seal them away, which makes it the perfect weapon to fight an empowered Genkins.
  • The Cloud Cuckoolander Was Right: "Limbo" reveals that black holes lead back to before Big Bang went off, which means Caboose's statement in Season 3 about how "Time is made of circles" was more accurate than one might want to believe. It's even lampshaded by Caboose himself:
    Time is made of circles, I am familiar with the concept.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Donut getting shot by Wash in the Recreation finale is revisited to the point of becoming a Running Gag. And given it's Mental Time Travel, it hurts a lot each time!
  • Continuity Nod: All over the place given the circumstances, but to nail down some specifics:
    • As Wash is working out what Chrovos' plan is in "Schrödingin'", he proceeds to ask Donut a hypothetical: if he were to shoot Donut ("...again..."), where would he want to be shot? As Wash points out, Donut wants to be shot non-fatally as part of an allusion to a similar discussion between Biff and Temple in Season 15.
    • All over the place in "The Not So Good Ol' Days". Along with ones to The Project Freelancer Saga and Recovery One/Season 5, Wash and Carolina are interrupted by the apparition of Caboose riding a dinosaur.
    • Given black holes serve as "time loops" way back to the Big Bang, once Huggins explains this to Caboose, he responds with "Time is made of circles, I am familiar with the concept".
    • Church!Genkins getting impaled by the golf club looks awfully similar to Biff getting impaled by the Blue Team flagpole from Season 15, with the only difference being Genkins was still alive enough to writhe in pain.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: Once Wash has it pointed out to him how he could have saved himself a bunch of trouble finding out Carolina's whereabouts when she was presumed dead by just asking her after they became friends, he crouches and yells "AAAAAAAH GODDAMMIT!" in frustration.
  • Dark Reprise: A tragic rendition of "Blood Gulch Blues" by Meredith Hagan - "Blood Gulch Blue" - plays as Wash goes to get shot again in Temple's base near the end of "Theogeny".
  • Deadpan Snarker: Both Donut and Chrovos grow into this over the course of the season, the former out of exasperation from their attempts at "awakening" the Reds and Blues and fighting Chrovos & Genkins initially going nowhere. The latter is due to her being angry at Donut for re-sealing her in her prison at the end of last season.
  • Déjà Vu: Although the Reds and Blues are going through the motions, some, like Grif, can't help but find something familiar about what they're doing...almost as if it's happened before.
  • Delayed Reaction: After fixing the issues of Wash fluxuating between different timelines, Donut struggles to explain what he did before Wash's butler walks up to simplfy it as having "collapsed a probability wave"... and only then, after he says that, does Wash get startled at his appearance.
  • Do I Really Sound Like That?:
  • Dumbass Has a Point: As Wash vents off his frustration at figuring out where Carolina would be in the years between Project Freelancer and the rescue of Epsilon to the Triplets, Agent Iowa, the dumbest of them all, gives this brilliant insight: "But, if you can jump anywhere in time, w-why don't you just go to the future when you and Carolina are friends and just ask her yourself?" After a lengthy Stunned Silence, Wash gives it a try, and is utterly furious for not thinking of it himself.
  • Ear Ache: Discussed briefly between Wash and Donut. Wash asks Donut if he had to get shot (again) and got to choose where, then where would he want to be shot? Donut says he would want to be shot in the ear since he actually hates his ears. Wash expands on his answer further that he would want it there because it would be non-lethal, similar to how Chrovos told Donut he could travel into the past to avoid getting him to go somewhere else.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: invoked When Chrovos explains that the paradox is causing alterations to the timeline backwards from it, Donut asks a question:
    Donut: And... after that?
    Chrovos: Hmm?
    Donut: You said time's all weird from the paradox backwards. What about after the paradox? What's happening in that time?
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • When Chrovos briefly assumes Donut's form, Genkins is borderline disgusted (even throwing up in his mouth) while it takes Chrovos hearing himself talk to realize how bad it truly is.
    • The genuineness is questionable, but while masquerading as Epsilon, Genkins is mildly taken aback when Washington snaps at Carolina when she assumes he's talking nonsense under stress.
    • When trying to tell Church he's the Alpha as a last ditch effort at creating an anachronism before getting blown up, Genkins summarizes the Director creating Tex to replace Allison as "the robot equivalent of a body pillow" and also states the Director's "emo lameness will end up killing hundreds of innocent people."
  • Expospeak Gag: The title "Breaching the Torus". A torus is a donut-shaped object, so it can be a way of referring to Donut being shot, if not a Double Entendre like those Donut constantly spews.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing:
    • When Donut manages to convince everyone else what is going on in "Self-Fulfilling Odyssey", they all experience the same head glitching effect to signify this, excluding Donut, Wash, Genkins (while possessing Alpha-Church), and Doc.
    • In "Limbo", when Donut wakes up Tucker, Doc wakes up in the background.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Before Chrovos settles on their female form in the first episode, she first becomes a copy of Genkins. The finale reveals that, through some Stable Time Loop shenanigans, Chrovos is Genkins.
    • Chrovos claims to Donut in "Everwhen" that she's so old "It's a wonder I remember my own name!" Her incredible age and (comparatively) weaker memory explains why she can't remember being Genkins.
    • Right before Donut sets out to try and fix the timeline at the end of "A Sitch in Time", Chrovos mockingly states "Yesterday, you'll wish you stuck to tomorrow!" At the end of "Everwhen", Donut realizes that his only real chance of fixing everything is to go into the future after the paradox, and find Wash.
    • On Twitter, Jason Weight went into detail about how this season's name came to be, with him mentioning how they were able to retain "a black hole reference as a season title". "Self-Fulfilling Odyssey" takes us back to Huggins' "death" by black hole, and reveals she didn't actually die.
    • After everyone else is woken up in "Self-Fulfilling Odyssey", Caboose casually admits he figured it out a minute prior and offers to explain what's going on for everyone else. While this comes across as an off-the-cuff joke, "Limbo" has Caboose time travel on his own, despite Donut and Wash not teaching him that yet.
    • In the previous season, when Grif and Doc attempted to go get pizza in the past (before the pizza shop was destroyed) Grif mentions he took them back to when he was still in college, before he dropped out "and enlisted". Grif mentions it off handedly, to the point where you think it was a flub since it was established canon that he was drafted... but then comes "Theogeny", when Grif admits to Sister that this is the truth: he enlisted in the Army because he felt he needed structure in his life, openly admitting he ran away from home.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: As Genkins is having problems with Chrovos as a Monitor ("You are a ball! How do I know if you're pointing at anything?!"), Chrovos changes himself into a variety of humanoid forms. The first is Genkins, the second is Donut, and the third and final form he takes is a feminine "hourglass figure" form he calls "Vengeance."
  • For Want of a Nail: How Genkins creates alternate timelines within the Everwhen. For example, if "Church" were to stop Sheila from killing him by shooting a bullet directly into her cannon barrel, this would cause Tucker to Take a Level in Badass sooner, and then eventually kill himself trying to jump a battleship with a tank. There's also a timeline where Caboose joined the Red Team, but how that happened is never elaborated upon.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • When Sarge returns to the moment he orders the deletion of the Blues in Reconstruction, there is a link on the computer screen.
    • When the Reds and Blues all surround Past-Carolina in the Labyrinth during "Theogeny", Caboose is actually pointing finger guns at her instead of actual weapons like the rest of the Blood Gulch Crew.
  • The "Fun" in "Funeral": Wash apparently made a lot of money out of creating giant walking cannons for funerals ("Blasts ya straight into the ground! Or space! Or the ocean, if you got a foot fetish!"). It was suggested to him by Dr. Grey. And some descendant of Elon Musk seems to be involved in some capacity.
  • A Glitch in the Matrix: Like with the previous season, the Reds and Blues are feeling some familiarity in what they're experiencing. That's because the Time Crash trapped them in reliving their past memories. Chrovos and Genkins are exploiting this, as ensuring things don't go as they used to creates further paradoxes. It is fixed by taking it one step further: Wash and Carolina arrive on Blood Gulch by the time Season 5 started, and the sheer fact that those Freelancers they had never met by then are recognized (plus Carolina deeming those sim troopers familiar) breaks everyone into consciousness.
  • Godzilla Threshold:
    • After Wash is caught up to speed as for what is going on, he realizes that the only way to fix the paradox is to prevent it. And after Genkins destroys Donut's time gun, the only remaining option the two of them have is to use the Everwhen (which Donut had tried previously, and not only didn't actually work, but was actually causing more cracks in Chrovos' prison). What's more, Wash and Donut realize that the only way they can get everyone else to realize what's going on is to have Wash show up at Blood Gulch before everyone left, meaning Donut and Wash wind up going back to the "Recovery One" miniseries.
    • "The Not-So-Good Ol' Days" takes this one step further: Wash ultimately decides that what he needs to do back during the "Recovery One" mini is to not just head to Blood Gulch... rather, it's to go find Carolina during the "Recovery One" mini, and talk her into going with him.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: It quickly becomes very clear that Chrovos has gotten pretty loopy from being locked in a prison cell alone for several eons.
  • Good All Along: Despite trying to drive all of the Blood Gulch Crew to commit suicide throughout "Omphalos" and half of "Theogeny," the Labyrinth A.I. isn't actually evil, and is only fighting them since it thinks that they're trying to free Chrovos. Once it realizes that Genkins is manipulating it so he can free & kill Chrovos, the Labyrinth immediately switches sides and helps Donut goad Genkins into falling into the black hole and closing the Stable Time Loop.
  • Hand Wave: Two of the complaints raised by fans in the previous seasons are discussed and (sorta) resolved. Genkins asks how "shisno" means both "human" and "corrupted time traveler", and Chrovos replies that the Great Prophecy implied humans would destroy the universe, "and the Fates are, I guess...racists?" Later, Tucker has an argument with Genkins that downright discusses the accusations that his Character Development was derailed; Tucker behaved as a leader because the situation forced him to step up and behave as so, but this didn't mean he stopped being a egotistical womanizer. Furthermore, Tucker admits that he's been too egocentric and aggressive the last few seasons, and should've acted more like himself.
  • Happy Ending Override: Inverted. The last scene of The Shisno Paradox didn't mean Chrovos was fully successful. Instead, Donut striking with The Hammer did what it was supposed to in trapping Chrovos, so in spite of the Time Crash he's not free. So he and Genkins are trying to make sure he gets released this time.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Discussed; Wash is fully aware that by fixing the original paradox and letting himself get shot, he's saddling himself with cerebral hypoxia. He has made peace with this fact, however, and downplays it by noting how it's treatable. It is in turn initially prevented by Genkins freezing time as to preserve the paradox.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: "The Not-So-Good Ol' Days" finally reveals what happened with Carolina between the cliff and the rescue of Epsilon: She forged some paperwork, changed armor, and became USNC trooper "McCallister".
  • Hope Spot: Wash is about to get shot and prevent the original paradox from happening. But then Genkins with new powers intervenes. And worse, the Reds and Blues can't jump to other time periods.
  • I Hate Past Me:
    • Carolina's worst fear turns out to be her over-competitive and Jerkass past self before Carolina Took a Level in Kindness.
    • Given the twist at the end of the season, all of Chrovos and Genkins' interactions retroactively become this. Chrovos regularly expresses irritation with Genkins, but has no choice but to rely on him to break her out of her prison. After Genkins' betrayal, Chrovos begins aiding Donut mainly to stop Genkins from succeeding before becoming a flat out Wild Card, culminating in Genkins perpetuating the Stable Time Loop where he suffers Death of Personality and becomes Chrovos. Once she finally remembers this, she isn't exactly pleased.
  • Immediate Sequel: Again, it starts just after the end of the previous season - a Reality-Breaking Paradox, Donut striking Chrovos, and an imperfect recreation of Blood Gulch.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Church's first death is changed from just blasted to Sheila shooting the golf club Caboose got the previous season onto him. After all, it inflicts extra damage on Genkins, who was possessing him...
  • Implausible Deniability: Discussed in "Schrödingin'"; Wash wants to say that Donut's explanation about the timeline going to Hell and back sounds impossible to believe, but given how he was a rich funeral cannon tycoon not too long ago as a result, he isn't in the position to do so.
  • Insult Backfire: Upon first jumping back to the Project Freelancer days, Wash dismisses York's cagey attitude towards him by asking "Jesus, what is this, high school?"
    South: York, what're you doin' palling around with the lowest on the leaderboard?
    Wash: Oh, right, it kinda was.
  • Insurance Fraud: Given the paradox made Wash constantly visit the hospital for a neck injury he didn't experience, Dr. Grey had the idea to exploit Wash's medical assessment ("I put him down as being de-armed, castrated and generally bothered in the line of duty!") and the UNSC's compensation paid for a whole new wing at the hospital.
  • Ironic Hell: Chrovos notes the Labyrinth outside her prison "sort of runs on... irony", as it puts whoever enters with visions of unusual nightmares by reflecting negative emotions back, expecting them to become self-destructive. Tucker sees himself left utterly alone, Wash sees everyone he cares about die, Carolina sees her past self, Sarge sees a boring desk job that turns out to be a daydream before a disastrous beach landing, Grif sees a psychopathic gym teacher, Kaikaina/Sister sees her and Grif's childhood home that burned down on her watch, Simmons sees a UFO "wanting to utilize his penis in scientific experiments," and Lopez sees himself as a human who speaks English. Only Caboose was completely unaffected by the Labyrinth's manipulations.
  • Irony: As it turns out, Genkins is Chrovos' past self, thus making all the events that Chrovos caused in trying to free herself, in fact, his/her own downfall.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In Lopez' nightmare vision (where he is a English-speaking human), the Red Team's robot is a washing machine they call Gustavo.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Occurs a lot this season thanks to Mental Time Travel shenanigans, to the point where it's practically a Running Gag.
    • Due to Wash leaving the group near the end of last season, and his whole ordeal with being a Paradox Person, Wash assumed that Donut had come to him because Carolina had him do so, and is upset because he refuses to talk to her ever again (due to lying about his brain damage). One use of the time gun later, Wash is made clear that the current issue is the more important one.
    • Wyoming smugly ranting to Wash about how he intends to go to Blood Gulch is derailed by Wash abruptly realizing that once the Reds and Blues are snapped out of their current state, Genkins will be tipped off to what's going on, and go for Carolina to preserve his plan. Wyoming is left in the lurch during this, not helped at all by Wash abruptly revealing that Carolina isn't dead.
      Wyoming: Who in the bollocks is "Genkins"?!
    • Apparently Carolina doesn't know about Junior as, between her and Wash, only Wash knows what Donut meant by saying Tucker is busy "[giving] birth to an alien".
    • Huggins didn't know about the Reds and Blues causing the paradox until she talks to her parents at the beginning of time. Not only that, but when she catches up with Caboose prior to him blowing up Church, she learns that Wash was the reason that they caused the paradox, and that the Reds and Blues are now reliving the past.
  • Logic Bomb:
    • This is how Donut gets Wash (stuck shifting between two selves - one where he did get shot and was treated, and one where he didn't get shot and wasn't treated) back to normal - he forces him to confront that he remembers two opposing events, and the contradiction fixes it. In "Self-Fulfilling Odyssey", this is how they get the rest of the Crew wake up; forcing them to realize that they remember events that haven't happened yet.
    • One of the moments Genkins takes over as is Santa telling Locus what Felix is afraid of. The new answer is "Knives", even if Felix is a Knife Nut. Locus is understandably confused, and it's enough to derail his Character Development.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Once Donut's finally in another memory that doesn't involve being shot by Wash:
    Donut: Just... a little... hemorrhage. (moans)
    Doc: You have internal bleeding?!
    Donut: Blood's meant to be internal, right? So no biggie!
    Doc: There's no bigger biggie! This is the biggest biggie that ever bigged!
  • Man, I Feel Like a Woman: Chrovos is excited when trying out a female body that is the "shape of vengeance itself, an hourglass figure."
  • The Maze: The previous season noted that outside Chrovos's prison there is "the Labyrinth, [where] you must fight the beasts who guard him, defeat the ghosts of history and demons of his underworld." And this season has the crew being directly thrown inside, only it's more mental than physical (see Ironic Hell above).
  • Mental Time Travel: As Donut discovers, the Reds and Blues can assume their bodies in any period of their pre-Reality-Breaking Paradox past.
  • Mind Screwdriver: The opening episode properly explains the Gainax Ending of the previous season - the recreation of Blood Gulch is a recreation of their memories, Genkins is possessing Church in those to create further paradoxes, and the pink flash is a "timeline crack", a visual manifestation of those paradoxes.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Caboose beating the absolute shit out of Genkins while he's possessing Church is initially treated as a triumphant and awesome moment... but it quickly dives into comedy when Genkins stops possessing him and poor Church starts freaking out over Caboose continuing to hit him.
    • The first two attempts to resolve the paradoxes by the Blood Gulch Crew after they're all "awakened" by Donut and Wash - Sarge deleting the Blues at the end of Reconstruction and Grif making sure Tex's ship blows up in "Why Were We Here?" - are both Played for Laughs. They're then followed by Tucker having to make sure he and the rest of the Blood Gulch Crew lose during the Battle of Crash Site Bravo at the end of Season 11.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • After Wash and Donut jump into the Everwhen, Donut tells him to focus as hard as he can on a memory with the both of them. Guess what happens next.
      Wash: (Donut collapses from being shot; lowers gun; shocked) Oh no, I am so sorry!
    • It's subtle, but after Donut makes it clear to Wash how much of a jerk he's being to Carolina, even managing to get her to the closest to crying Donut had even seen, all Wash can get out is a defeated "...Fuck..."
    • The first words out of Carolina's mouth upon waking up in "Self-Fulfilling Odyssey" is to shakily ask if they broke the universe.
    • Played for Laughs when Sarge is initially freaking out over him starting to remember Wash, Carolina, and Kaikaina.
      Sarge: (in the background while Wash and Donut are talking) I feel weird! It feels like I've been Sarged! Oh, what have I been doing to people?!
  • Never Trust a Thumbnail: The thumbnail for "The Not-So-Good Ol' Days" sees Halo 2!Wash being confronted by someone in armor that resembles both York and Genkins' color scheme. This is in fact Halo 2!Carolina.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • As Chrovos explains, while Donut did succeed in imprisoning Chrovos with The Hammer, the Time Crash caused by the Reds and Blues the previous season has created a crack in the seal, which Genkins can now mess around with their timeline to create more alternate histories, cracking Chrovos' prison even more. Furthermore, Chrovos has no problem telling Donut because his attempts to fix things should cause more cracks.
    • Right as everyone is finishing up fixing the paradoxes in "Succession", Donut jumps back to Valhalla, and finds himself face to face with Genkins possessing the Meta. It is here that Donut decides to try and make Genkins back off by asking him if Chrovos is actually going to give him what he wants. In turn, Genkins heads off to Chrovos and tricks her into giving him most of his power, then prevents Wash from trying to get shot by freezing time for everyone before heading back out to start up the paradox business all over again unimpeded.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: After Donut's first attempt to help the Reds and Blues out of the loop, Chrovos inadvertently inspires a new plan by stating that the paradox that started the loop goes backwards. This gets Donut thinking about what happened after the moment Wash was supposed to have been shot, and realizes that as a man at the center of the Temporal Paradox, the ex-Freelancer too is outside of time like Donut and Chrovos is. Chrovos' stammering only convinces Donut further of this idea.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Upon realizing that Genkins is possessing Church (and refuses to stop) in "Self-Fulfilling Odyssey", Caboose starts to beat the shit out of him with the butt of his rifle. And he keeps doing it even after Genkins leaves, leaving poor Church very confused as for why he's being assaulted.
  • Noodle Incident: When Wash travels back to his Freelancer days, North reminds awash to pull the pin before throwing his grenades, saying he doesn't want to be in "another situation like last time", alluding to an incident Wash apparently forgot to do so.
    Wash: "Last time"? Ohhh wait, this does sound familiar.
  • No-Sell: The Labyrinth's attempts to drive Caboose to suicide didn't work at all. At most, it just made him hungry.
  • Nostalgia Ain't Like It Used to Be: Wash goes back to his Freelancer days... when he was considered a loser, and Carolina was a total hardass.
    Wash: She is so much meaner than I remember...
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Once Wash decides to time travel back to his Freelancer days, he's reminded of when he was "at the bottom of the food chain" instead of being a god among morons, and no one respects Wash or wants to listen to him. He downright asks "Is this how Donut feels all the time?"
  • Odd Friendship: Donut and Wash gain this dynamic over the course of this season during their journeys through the Everwhen.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • The first time Chrovos starts to actually panic is when they realize how they accidentally gave Donut the idea to travel forward in time to after the paradox and find Wash.
    • Church!Genkins exclaims in horror when both Wash and Carolina step out of the second Pelican in "Self-Fulfilling Odyssey."
  • Once More, with Clarity!: "Self-Fulfilling Odyssey" ends by taking us back to Genkins killing Huggins with a black hole... only for us to learn that Huggins survived and wound up being deposited near what looks like a red giant.
  • OOC Is Serious Business:
    • It really says something about how utterly furious Caboose is with Genkins for possessing Church when he actually starts to show some Tranquil Fury while talking to the demigod.
    • Sarge realizes just how serious Donut is during his "The Reason You Suck" Speech towards him and the others when he openly refers to his armor as pink instead of "lightish-red".
    • Speaking of Sarge, he suffers through PTSD flashbacks and is reduced to a terrified and panicking mess when the Labyrinth forces him to take part in the Normandy landings during "Omphalos" and "Theogeny."
  • Ordered Apology: Washington orders all of the Reds and Blues, including Carolina, to go and apologize to Donut after Donut finishes his "The Reason You Suck" Speech to them all over how they have constantly mistreated him and now treat him like a "traitor" despite having saved them all.
  • Paradox Person: Following the Reds and Blues preventing him being shot, Washington is oscillating between the groggy version after Temple's imprisonment and the saner one after treatment. It is only fixed as Donut questions him about the neck injury he simultaneously didn't have but remembers having.
  • Peggy Sue:
    • When he journeys into the past, Donut winds up possessing his past selves. This winds up causing him issues, though, when his first stop in the past is when he got shot. Wash later joins him in the experience as well in "Breaching the Torus"... including that scene, given it's one of the few with both characters (plus, Donut's pain is hilarious).
    • Another issue that presents itself in "Breaching the Torus" is the fact that if two people time travel this way, that doesn't necessarily mean they will be in the same place. After all, as the ending of the episode shows, Wash wasn't with Donut during the events of the "Recovery One" miniseries.
  • Plot Hole: In "Theogeny," Donut tells Chrovos that Huggins will be able to tell the Cosmic Powers of Genkins' betrayal before it even happens (implicitly retconning away both the events of The Shisno Paradox and the damage the Reds and Blues caused to the timeline in that season). However, this doesn't really make any sense since if Genkins' plot were to be uncovered before it ever happened, then he would never be sent back into the past and become Chrovos, which means he would never create the Cosmic Powers (and, by extension, himself, who would never send Huggins back in time to the beginning of the universe when he tried to kill her), causing a Temporal Paradox. But that's time travel for you.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Before throwing future cubes at a Genkins-possessed Lopez 2.0 (which had just shot him):
    Tucker: Cosmic Powers can't hurt a Shisno, Genkins! And your accent is shit!
  • Refuge in Audacity: After she disappeared from Project Freelancer, Carolina re-enlisted in the UNSC as a common foot soldier under the name of "McCallister," effectively hiding right under Freelancer's nose.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: Donut was under the impression that Doc died when he was blasted off of the skyscraper following their battle at the end of last season, but "Limbo" reveals that Doc survived by having him reveal it himself (upon being indirectly woken up by Donut as he was waking up Tucker).
  • The Reveal:
    • "A Sitch in Time" reveals that Chrovos is another form of highly advanced A.I. like the Cosmic Powers from last season.
    • "The Not-So-Good Ol' Days" reveals where Carolina was after she vanished from Project Freelancer before meeting the Reds and Blues. Turns out she re-enlisted in the UNSC as a common soldier under a new name. Since the Human-Covenant War was going terribly for humanity, the UNSC needed new recruits badly enough not to investigate her false credentials thoroughly. Additionally, it's confirmed that 479er (whose real name is "Ash") later became "Freelancer Command," and she was the person heard on the radio in both Recovery One and Reconstruction.
    • "Self-Fulfilling Odyssey" reveals that when Caboose accidentally killed Church with Sheila in Season 1, he chose to keep Church's helmet for himself.
    • Huggins was sent back to before the Big Bang upon being sucked into a black hole by Genkins last season. The same also goes for her parents. And by extension, Energy Beings like them have Complete Immortality.
    • Despite what Donut assumed, Doc survived their fight at the end of last season.
    • "Theogeny" reveals that Grif was never drafted into the UNSC Army. Instead, he actually enlisted, as he realized that he needed more structure in his life than what public school, a Disappeared Dad, and a mom who ran off to join the circus could give him. Additionally, the same episode also reveals that Genkins and Chrovos are actually the same person through a Stable Time Loop.
  • Rewatch Bonus:
    • The first form Chrovos takes being Genkins is rather fitting after the season finale reveals Chrovos and Genkins are actually the same person via a Stable Time Loop.
    • Lots of details around Chrovos and the Cosmic Powers start to make more sense upon The Reveal that Genkins and Chrovos are the same person through a Stable Time Loop. For instance, the Cosmic Powers were very vague last season on what they were originally designed to do by Chrovos aside from manipulating entire civilizations. Here, it's revealed that they were originally created by Genkins-as-Chrovos so as to prevent the Reds and Blues from having ever existed in the first place.
  • Rimshot: Heard after Dr. Grey introduces Donut to the hospital's new area ("If this hospital was a bird, it would fly in circles. Because it has one long wing!").
  • Rule of Symbolism: The Everwhen, the shared history of the Reds and Blues leading up to the Temporal Paradox, is depicted as a large crack on an otherwise invisible wall in Chrovos' prison cell. Any alternate timeline created by Genkins while possessing A.I.s/A.I.-ready individuals within the Everwhen is shown to create a literal "crack" branching out from the primary Everwhen crack.
  • Running Gag:
    • Somehow, Donut just seems to be cursed to keep winding up back at the moment Wash shot him.
    • Whenever someone says "Everwhen" (Donut's name for the "soft time" singularity everyone is reliving), an eagle cry can be heard in the background.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: In the middle of his rant to the others in "Limbo", Donut reveals he intends to leave after the conflict is resolved due to being done with everyone else. Later, after making up with his friends by the end of the season, he decides to still follow through with this as part of a quest for self-discovery.
  • Sequel Hook: Two - Not only is there the mysterious message that Locus tried to send to Grif last season, but there's also whatever Lopez saw while floating through the universe for countless billions of years.
  • Set Wrong What Was Once Made Right: A number of the paradoxes that are created are fixing terrible moments for the Reds and Blues, but as they're breaking time and helping bring Chrovos closer to freedom, the Red and Blues have to undo all of them, ending with allowing Wash to get shot.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!:
    • Chrovos attempts to gloat about Genkins breaking Donut's time gun, only for Wash to point out she talks too much for being a prisoner and then rushing into the Everwhen, Donut following close behind.
    • Caboose shuts down Genkins' attempt at ranting by calmly explaining his lingering hang-ups with Church's death, before firmly telling Genkins to get out of his body. And then he beats the shit out of him when Genkins doubles down.
    • When Genkins attempts to prevent Sarge from deleting the Blues, Simmons simply reboots the computer.
  • The Slow Path:
    • After winding up prior to the Big Bang, Huggins is told by her mom to move at nearly the speed of light in order to travel to the point where the paradox happened. We see this in action when she shows up at Blood Gulch prior to anyone showing up: she spins in a circle fast enough that time advances to an hour before Caboose blows up Church with Sheila.
    • When Lopez falls into the Labyrinth's black hole, he goes back to the beginning of time, lives through billions of years, and then suddenly reappears behind the others just as they begin to wonder what happened to him.
  • Split-Personality Merge: Doc forces his O'Malley Split Personality to merge with his own in "Theogeny," leading to Doc saving Wash from his Labyrinth illusion.
  • Stable Time Loop: How Genkins is ultimately disposed of. Donut tricks him into going to the beginning of time and becoming Chrovos... with everything that entails, including being beaten with a club and imprisoned, eventually leading to the present day Chrovos.
  • Survival Mantra: Huggins starts desperately singing "Light is information, and thus it can't be destroyed!" as she's being sucked through the black hole created by Genkins.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • Lampshaded - Right in the middle of realizing that he trapped Chrovos and saved the universe, Donut realizes that no, it hasn't been all tied up that neatly.
      Donut: It worked! You're not free! In your face, you spooky freak! I knew I could do it, and technically no one can disprove that! I saved the... (dawning realization) the... Universe, ugh, there's more to it isn't there?
    • Just as Sarge asks why time travel isn't fun (following his repeated deleting of the Blues), we cut to Tucker arriving at Locus about to attack Crash Site Bravo in "Ready... Aim...".
  • Time Abyss:
    • Deconstructed with Chrovos, who is so mindbogglingly old even when compared to the Cosmic Powers that she suffers from The Fog of Ages and can't remember having previously been Genkins.
    • Lopez becomes this after he jumps into the Labyrinth's black hole in "Theogeny" and is deposited at the beginning of time (just like Huggins and her parents both were). He then floats through space until he eventually arrives on Chorus in the "present day" of the new timeline.
  • Time Crash: The "Everwhen," the main setting of the season. After the Reality-Breaking Paradox from last season, the Everwhen is a "soft time" singularity consisting of the shared past of the Reds and Blues (including Wash and Carolina) and also serves as a vital component in Chrovos' prison. Interestingly, it seems to operate more like a Lotus-Eater Machine than most other examples, with the Reds and Blues actually being "unstuck in time" within the Everwhen and being forced to unwittingly relive their own history as Genkins forces events to go Off the Rails, which creates alternative times (which consist of physical cracks in Chrovos' prison). Mental Time Travel is possible within the Everwhen once someone Spots the Thread and becomes aware of being a Paradox Person within the Everwhen.
  • Time Loop Trap:
    • The Reds and Blues are kept in a variation of this, living their lives over and over again inside of the Everwhen, being only somewhat aware of the loop themselves.
    • This is the ultimate fate of Chrovos/Genkins. Chrovos was imprisoned by his creations, the Cosmic Powers, only to later have most of their powers stolen away by one of the Cosmic Powers, Genkins, who then goes back in time to gain even more power over the eons, forgets who he is over time, adopts the identity of Chrovos, and is then imprisoned by the Cosmic Powers.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Genkins/Chrovos is gotten rid of through a Stable Time Loop. However, Donut later has Huggins technically break the loop by informing the Cosmic Powers of Genkins' treason before it even happens, which should cause a Temporal Paradox... but seemingly doesn't, instead causing a Reset Button to be given on the events after the end of Season 15 (or perhaps even before, as it's all quite vague). Possibly Hand Waved in that the Reds and Blues' actions during this season seems to have created an entire new timeline that's more resilient/adaptable to paradoxes than the original one.
  • Title Drop: Chrovos briefly refers to the first crack in their prison as a "Singularity" while trying to figure out a name for it.
  • Troll: Since she's still annoyed with Tucker for him having acted like a Jerkass last season to her, Kaikaina briefly tries to gaslight him during "Finally" before Donut "awakens" him from the Everwhen.
  • Wham Episode: While plot twists usually happen in the tenth episode, this season has a big one in the ninth, "Succession": Genkins gets powers from Chrovos, announces he'll kill her, and then stops time just as Wash was about to be shot and fix the original paradox.
  • Wham Line:
    • This is the moment in "Everwhen" when Donut realizes what his plan of attack should be:
      Chrovos: Time became chaos from the second the paradox was created, backwards.
      Donut: And... after that?
    • From the end of "Breaching the Torus", right as Wash is trying to figure out where he is in the past:
      Wash: ... (notices a Warthog) Huh. Now I've got deja vu. But, where-
      Command: Recovery One, this is Command, requesting a sit-rep.
    • The terminology of the trope is abused a little during "The Not-So-Good Ol' Days", as Wash observes that the line "Uhhh, roger that, Command, situation's changed, I'm gonna need a Pelican." causes a crack in to the spacetime continum to burst in front of him. After all, going to Carolina during the "Recovery One" mini is a rather bad wham to the timeline.
    • Played for laughs: when Grif demands to know what's going on in "Limbo", Caboose speaks up:
      Caboose: Um, Wash, Donut, can you field this one? I'm going to start fixing the timeline. Boop. (jumps out)
      Wash: (beat) Is... is Caboose a genius?
    • In "Omphalos", we learn what Lopez' biggest fear is, right in the middle of a scene where he watches Sarge complain about Grif replacing grenades with avocados. No, Lopez isn't saying the Spanish part.
      Lopez: You wouldn't notice your own reflection without the help of a color wheel. (No notarías tu propio reflejo sin la ayuda de una reuda de colores.)
      Sarge: (slowly turns to Lopez; mad) Is that so, Private...
    • Donut "accidentally" convinces Genkins to jump into a black hole leading to the beginning of time and become a real god... seemingly yet another case of Nice Job Breaking It, Hero... but then the Labyrinth praises him for his clever plan.
      Donut: Yeah, it's a mind-fudge, Wash, but... Chrovos had to come from somewhere.
  • Wham Shot:
    • "Self-Fulfilling Odyssey" goes back to Huggins being sucked into a black hole... and ending up in front of what appears to be a giant red star.
    • When Donut wakes Tucker up in "Limbo", we clearly see Doc wake up in the background.
    • "Finally" ends with the Reds and Blues beginning their progress on fixing the timeline: Sarge goes back to when he deleted the Blues, Grif goes back to the end of "Why Were We Here?", and Tucker winds up in Crash Site Bravo near the end of Season 11.
      Tucker: (bitterly) Why did it have to be this...
    • "Succession" has the bullet that would hit Wash stopping in mid-air, showing Genkins has gotten powerful enough to interfere with the flow of time.
    • The ending of "Killing Time", true to the Episode 10 twist tradition, has Genkins trapping the Reds and Blues in the Labyrinth, seeing their individual fears (Tucker is left alone, Sister sees the home of the mother she left behind). The continuation of that in "Omphalos" brings some more: Carolina coming face to face with herself; Lopez speaking English and realizing he's human; and Sarge in a desk job, only to be a daydream right before a D-Day-like landing.
    • The situation with Lopez goes one step further. Namely, we see him walk off the platform and fall into the black hole.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Donut tears into the others, especially Sarge, for trying to get him executed for siding with Chrovos, ignoring the fact that he had just gone through hell and back to save them, and that he only did it in the first place because of how they treated him.
  • A World Half Full: As Chrovos admits, some of the alternate timelines being made actually aren't all that bad... but the point is that they are being made at all, which is causing the prison to weaken.
  • You Are Not Alone: The rest of the Reds and Blues come with Wash to his injury at Temple's base so that he won't have to suffer through it alone.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: During his attempts to figure out where Carolina was following the cliff, Agent Iowa (a guy with literal brain damage) is the one who makes him realize he should go to the present, where they are friends, and simply ask. Wash is not happy to learn that this works.
    Wash: (during the Reds and Blues' retirement) Carolina, can I ask you something about your past?
    Carolina: Yeah, of course, what's up?
    Wash: (mutes helmet mic; crouches; screams head off) GODDAMMIT!!!
  • You Have to Believe Me!: Donut goes through this while trying to convince the Reds and Blues that they are trapped in a time loop. When Wash attempts it later, they are more willing to hear given he's The Leader, but Genkins won't help. They're finally able to do it in "Self-Fulfilling Odyssey", after Wash and Carolina arrive at Blood Gulch years before they're supposed to, and Genkins is unable to do anything about it.

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Alternative Title(s): Red Vs Blue Season 15


Dylan bluffs

Dylan bluffs her way past an armed guard by claiming to be bomb squad, spouting off a bunch of jargony-sounding acronyms, and creating a sense of urgency.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

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