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Washington: How do you ever get anything done if all you ever do is argue with each other?
Church: We don't! That's part of our charm! Quit fucking it up!
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Red vs. Blue is a Machinima/CGI-animated military Work Com set against the background of the Halo game series. Its creators, Rooster Teeth Productions, helped spark the whole Machinima explosion and went on to establish themselves as Big Name Fans in the Halo community to the point of doing actual work for Bungie Studios, as well as making their videos available for purchase on Xbox Live. Having started in 2003 and still being an ongoing work, this series is not only the longest-running episodic web series of all time, but the longest-running American sci-fi series of all time.note  Credit must also be given to its legacy: the series popularized video game Machinima and was heavily influential in the development of both serialized internet fiction and internet comedy series as a whole.

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Beginning as a simple comedy series, Red vs. Blue follows two opposing military installations locked in eternal war in a box canyon: the Reds and the Blues. In their next supply drop, both teams receives a new recruit each, much to their annoyance. After a Snipe Hunt gone wrong ends with the Red Team's recruit capturing the Blue Team's flag, Blue Team hires a freelance agent to give them an advantage...and things go downhill from there. As the running jokes and many characters begin to pile up, so starts a story that quickly develops a surprising amount of emotional depth while never forgetting its comedic roots.

The long-running story is divided into multiple story arcs, as detailed below.

  • The first story arc, The Blood Gulch Chronicles, ran for five seasons with a total of 100 episodes (plus a short miniseries named "Out of Mind"). The first two seasons, and half of the third, are filmed in Halo, while the remaining seasons are filmed in Halo 2.
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  • The second story arc, The Recollection, is a trilogy spanning Seasons 6 to 8 (each given a unique title beginning with "Re": "Reconstruction", "Recreation" and "Revelation") and two miniseries ("Recovery One" and "Relocated"). Season 8 marks the introduction of high-budget CGI-rendered scenes in addition to the traditional Machinima-styled Halo 3 scenes.
  • The third story arc, The Project Freelancer Saga, comprises Seasons 9 and 10, is equally divided between a prequel storyline fully animated in CGI, and the continuation of the present-day storyline. Season 9 is filmed in Halo: Reach and Season 10 is filmed in Halo 3.
  • The fourth story arc, The Chorus Trilogy, spans Seasons 11-13, and starts out as a Breather Episode, intended to bring the series back to its more comedic roots... for a while. It uses Halo 4 assets mixed in with CGI.
  • The fourteenth season consists mostly of vignettes, rather than directly continuing Season 13's story. As this season is an Anthology, it uses multiple games and animation styles depending on the story.
  • The fifteenth season is notably the first Red vs Blue season (not counting Season 14's Anthology) to be completely stand-alone, and not have a multi-season story arc/"saga" coming off of it. It's filmed using Halo 5: Guardians, with CGI and footage from other games mixed in.
  • Season 16, The Shisno Paradox, takes on elements set up by Season 15 to start a two season arc that ends on the seventeenth, Singularity.

All seventeen seasons can be viewed at the Rooster Teeth website, and on the official Red vs. Blue YouTube channel(which has since been rebranded as Rooster Teeth Animation to accommodate for the other animated series they plan to have on the channel, such as RWBY) . The seventeenth is airing on RT's website. Seasons 1-13 are also available on Netflix, all have home video releases (initially on DVD, later on Blu-Ray as well), and can be purchased on Steam, iTunes and Amazon Prime. The series made a televised debut on the El Rey Network late 2015.

A series guidebook was published in 2015, titled Red vs. Blue: The Ultimate Fan Guide and compiling information relating to the first thirteen seasons.

Has an expansive character sheet here.

WARNING: As of Season 15, episodes will be released to Rooster Teeth FIRST members one week before the public. Beware of spoilers for episodes that haven't been publicly released.


Do you ever wonder why these tropes are here?

    open/close all folders 

     Series-wide 
  • 24-Hour Armor: Very few characters remove even a piece of their power armor, making almost every single character The Faceless.
  • An Aesop: Several seasons have definite messages.
    • Red vs. Blue: The Blood Gulch Chronicles has one delivered by Church in the end.
      Church: You should hate someone because they're an asshole, or a pervert, or snob, or they're lazy, or arrogant or an idiot or know-it-all. Those are reasons to dislike somebody. You don't hate a person because someone told you to. You have to learn to despise people on a personal level. Not because they're Red, or because they're Blue, but because you know them, and you see them every single day, and you can't stand them because they're a complete and total fucking douchebag.
    • Forgiveness is a major moral throughout the whole series by the end of Red vs. Blue: The Recollection
    • Letting go of loved ones is a theme in both Season 8 and 9 - Mostly Church letting go of Tex, but also Caboose letting go of Church.
    • Season 10 has one given by Carolina.
      Carolina: Church, you need to let go. Your past doesn't define who you are. It just gives you the starting point for who you're going to be.
    • The importance of a Heroic Sacrifice (even if the person committing the sacrifice will never know if their actions ever actually succeeded or not) is repeatedly emphasized in The Chorus Trilogy, along with getting people to sit down and just talk their problems out instead of always resorting to violence.
    • Throughout Season 15, The Shisno Paradox, and Singularity, there's a recurrent emphasis on how one's actions have far-reaching consequences, and you have to learn to live with them so as to move on instead of just constantly thinking about What Could Have Been.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: A recurring theme. Key examples are Omega, Sigma, and Gamma.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The Blood Gulch Chronicles ended with dialogue mirroring the very first episode. Reconstruction and Season 10 both end with the Reds and Blues returning to bases in a box canyon to have more zany adventures. After all they went through - all the crazy things that happened, the people who died, everything - life was going to go on, the same way it had before.
  • Arc Fatigue: Invoked in the present day moments of Season 9. Church is trying to re-enact the events of Season 1 to draw Tex out, and it mostly consists of standing around and waiting for stuff to happen. Season 11 too as the Reds and Blues wait for rescue, and thus return to their bickering ways.
  • Arc Words:
    • For both the series as a whole and The Blood Gulch Chronicles in particular, there's "You ever wonder why we're here?". It also serves as both a Brick Joke and Chekhov's Boomerang several times over.
    • Courtesy of The Recollection Trilogy, there's "Memory is the key."
      • Lampshaded in Episode 6 of Season 8.
        Epsilon-Delta: Remember: Memory is the key.
        Caboose: What? I thought we were done with that part!
      • And further parodied in Season 10.
        Church: Proximity is the key.
        Tucker: I thought memory was the key?
        Caboose: Oh yeah, and the sword, the sword is a key too. ... We should probably get a key ring.
    • For The Project Freelancer Saga, there's "Don't say goodbye. I hate goodbyes."
    • During The Chorus Trilogy, there's both "You just have to try" and "What do you fight for?".
    • Season 15 has "Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
    • Both The Shisno Paradox and Singularity have "paradox" (appropriately enough).
  • Armor Is Useless: Zig-Zagged. The characters constantly wear suits of power armor that are said to be "state of the art" and "designed to deflect bullets and absorb explosions". While the characters often take a lot of abuse and remain operational, they equally often get hurt by a single stray bullet or even a straight-up punch. You could try to find some kind of pattern to it, but you would be better off not thinking about it too much.
  • Armed Farces: Especially in the early seasons.
    Church: Holy crap, who is running this army?!?
  • Art Evolution: As new Halo games are released with improved graphical capabilities, the series frequently changes and adapts its engine and art style.
    • The first two and a half seasons of the Blood Gulch Chronicles use the original Halo: Combat Evolved engine, and for the second half of Season 3 until the end of Season 5, the Halo 2 engine is used. This shift was justified with the explanation that the cast had supposedly traveled to the future. Marathon's engine is also used briefly during a Season 3 subplot to represent the past.
      • Regarding the Blood Gulch Chronicles, it's particularly prevalent once the tenth anniversary led to The Remake with the PC versions of Halo and Halo 2 (both are officially on YouTube, the original on RT's channel and the remasters in the Red vs Blue one).
    • The entire Recollection Trilogy (Seasons 6-8) uses the Halo 3 engine.
    • The biggest case of Animation Bump is the sporadic introduction of sequences fully animated in CGI starting in Season 8 and continuing during Seasons 9, 10, 12, 13, and 15.
    • The Project Freelancer Saga uses many different styles. The extensive flashback arc throughout both seasons is animated entirely in CGI. The present day storyline of Season 9 uses Halo: Reach, but since the storyline takes place inside the Epsilon unit, the subsequent season returns to Halo 3. Live action footage is even used briefly in Season 10 for the Director's log of his last moments with Allison. Finally, the Halo 4 engine is used starting in the final scene of Season 10 and continuing throughout all of The Chorus Trilogy. Come Season 15, and Halo 5: Guardians is used.
    • Starting with Season 14, the older games are either on PC versions (Halo and Halo 2 - the latter is easy to spot because the characters always have the team emblem in the shoulder) or in the higher definition Master Chief Collection - Season 17's director Josh Ornelas even stated that every scene was re-shot instead of using the original material because the old footage looked like smeared with Vaseline compared to what came out of the Xbox Ones.
    • Played with with Delta's avatar. Whenever he is shown, he appears as a Halo: Combat Evolved Spartan, no matter where and in which season he appears in.
  • Artifact Title: The Reds and Blues don't really fight each other after Season 5 excluding inside the Epsilon unit in Season 9 and at Crash Site Bravo in Season 11.
  • Artificial Intelligence: Many over the course of the series, almost all of which are named for Greek letters. The majority have a common source.
  • Backported Development: Whenever there's a flashback set during or before Season 1, Caboose and Sarge will have their current voices instead of talking the way they did when the show started.
  • Badass Crew: Several levels had to be taken and it's obscured by their quirkiness, but by Seasons 8 through 10, the Blood Gulch Crew most definitely count. True, they mainly succeed through a combination of sheer luck and being severely underestimated but it doesn't matter how they kick your ass. They can and they will.
  • Big Bad: It varies based on the story arc. However, as noted below, the Director of Project Freelancer Dr. Leonard Church, A.I. fragment Sigma, and the UNSC Oversight Sub-Committee Chairman/CEO of Charon Industries Malcolm Hargrove are all the Greater Scope Villains for the whole series.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: The entire series is caused by the combined actions of the Director (for starting up Project Freelancer), Sigma (for causing Project Freelancer's downfall), and the Chairman (for being against Project Freelancer). Referenced in The Chorus Trilogy when the Reds and Blues suspect it has something to do with Wash or Carolina because their organization tends to be the cause of their problems, one way or another. Their suspicion turns out to be correct, if more indirectly than usual.
  • Broad Strokes: The series generally treats Halo canon like this, often following the generalities and discarding it whenever it would get in the way of the plot/a joke. For example, while the UNSC is still the main governing body of humanity in both works, Red vs. Blue has their headquarters located somewhere in the American state of Wyoming whereas Halo has their headquarters located in Sydney, Australia.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: The Blood Gulch Crew have slowly grown into this role over the years, especially by the end of Season 13 where they have most definitely become proper soldiers, albeit ones with very quirky and unconventional behavior. Their take-down of Felix is a great example of when you either A, underestimate them, or B, try to apply a soldier's tactics when dealing with these guys.
  • Calling Shotgun: A Running Gag between Simmons and Grif. Generally Grif wins, except when winning is actually a bad thing, in which case Simmons will win.
    Simmons: Shotgun!
    Grif: Shotgun! Fuck!
    Donut: Shotgun's lap!
    Simmons: Fuck!
  • Central Theme: Overall, there's The Power of Friendship, forgiveness, and letting go of the past and moving on from past trauma. Each story arc also has some more specific examples:
    • The Blood Gulch Chronicles has The Power of Hate.
    • The Recollection has the importance of memory.
    • The Project Freelancer Saga has "saying goodbye", revenge, and learning to move on from your past.
    • The Chorus Trilogy has sacrifice, dehumanization, and communication.
    • Finally, Season 15, The Shisno Paradox, and Singularity all have actions having consequences and learning to live with them.
  • Cerebus Retcon: Could be the poster child for this trope. Harsher in Hindsight applies to previous seasons as the writers seem to be trying to one up themselves on reinterpreting a surreal mess of comedic fluff into a dramatic war story.
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster: While the general narrative has grown gradually darker and more convoluted as the seasons have gone by, the series is not at all shy about dipping into stretches of comedy and drama on a whim. As an example, season 4 drops most of the plot elements from the third season, while the miniseries that takes place chronologically concurrent is a more traditional revenge tale as Tex, York, and the Delta AI are the central focus. After the very dramatic Reconstruction (season 6) its followup miniseries and Recreation (season 7) are vastly more comedy-focused until the last 5 episodes. After the Freelancer arc that forms a progressing storyline in Seasons 6-10, season 11 - while mostly a comedic throwback to the Blood Gulch Chronicles - also contains several moments that would set up important plot points for the storyline and acknowledges character relationships with the occasional serious scene. Seasons 12 and 13 are concerned with a fairly serious war story, but with the traditional quirky angle that has a lot of humor that doubles as a way to quickly give characterization to the new cast of characters. Season 14, being an anthology, fluctuates, but most of its vignettes are comedic rather than dramatic, and as much of it is standalone or even non-canon, very light on plot. Season 15 largely goes back to the surreal comedy, with the seriousness only kicking halfway through as the villainous plot is revealed. Season 16 is the same, only getting more serious once a still not fully recovered Washington gets involved, and 17 is also mostly comedic except when the plot requires.
  • Character Focus: While the ensemble nature is never dropped, some characters get extra attention during certain arcs.
    • During The Blood Gulch Chronicles, it's Church, though Tex is the main protagonist of the Out of Mind miniseries.
    • During both Recovery One and Reconstruction, it's Wash.
    • During Recreation, it's Caboose.
    • During Revelation, it's Epsilon.
    • During The Project Freelancer Saga, it's both Epsilon and Carolina.
    • During Season 11 of The Chorus Trilogy, Wash is given the focus again. However, Tucker overall gets the most development over the course of the entire story arc, with him as the main character of Season 12. It's averted with Season 13, though, since Tucker, Carolina, Epsilon, and Wash all have a fair argument for being the main characters of that season.
    • Season 15 has Dylan Andrews, with her directly driving the plot as she first finds and then goes along with the Reds and Blues. Grif also gets a significant focus during the second half of the season.
    • The Shisno Paradox has both Grif and Donut.
    • Finally, Donut stars as the main character of Singularity, with Wash eventually getting a significant portion of the story as well.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Plot elements will often be introduced as a throw-away line or background event, then elaborated on as part of the main plot in a later season one or two years later. Grif lampshades this as he tells the Chorus rebels the story of how they beat the Meta... but considering how he tried using this to justify his asking for a hammock (or human-slingshot), he probably had lazier motives.
  • Classical Anti-Hero: The Reds and Blues are all seriously flawed individuals who spend most of their time bickering with each other, but they still prove to be heroic and noble when push comes to shove.
  • Cliffhanger: All seasons but 5, 6, 8, 10, 14, 15, and 17 end on a big hook for the follow-up (the Bolivian Army Ending of 13 in particular is so strong that RT struggled on how to pick up, leading to the following being an anthology instead of continuing the story; they also chose to never depict how things actually went afterwards to not undermine its impact). A few Wham Episodes and just about every chapter of Singularity also ends on a perilous or thought-provoking moment that makes viewers anxious for more.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The series is rife with it. The fifth season's DVD acknowledges and has fun with this. One of the features is a "Previously On Red Vs. Blue", which contains every single swear in the series up to the Pelican crashing... and lasts over a minute and a half. If one was made of all seventeen seasons and the mini-series, it would probably be a good six or seven minutes long.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: All of the characters shown in armor have completely different colors to help differentiate between them, the exceptions being North and South Dakota (North's armor is a darker purple than South's), Carolina and Tucker (Tucker's armor is more green compared to Carolina's), and Tucker and Butch Flowers, the person whom Tucker got his armor from. For a long time, many people thought Grif's armor was yellow, until Sister (whose armor really is yellow) settled the matter. It's a lot easier to see that his armor is orange when they stand next to each other.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: The Blood Gulch Crew are usually apathetic or even outright pleased about the rampant danger their fellows often end up getting into, which regularly degenerates into teammates casually taking potshots at each other. Whenever one of them gets seriously injured, though, their compatriots are horrified, and moving away from this mindset above a surface level banter informs much of their Character Development. Comparing how the Reds and Blues act towards each other in Season 1 to the final act of The Chorus Trilogy, if it weren't for keeping their armor colors and core personalities they're almost unrecognizable.
  • Compilation Movie: Each season gets one, complete with Hilarious Outtakes. Inverted starting with Reconstruction. Each season is created as a movie, then gets split into individual episodes for serialization. The complete, original movie is then released for purchase.
  • Corrupt Quartermaster: The Reds repeatedly put layabout Grif in charge of their ammo, a task he never performs. Eventually, they expand Simmons' duties to "bringing extra ammo for when Grif forgets." However, when Grif and Simmons are sent to a new base (where Grif is in charge), he actually sells all their ammo to the Blues.
  • Crapsack World: Of the comedic kind, where basically all characters are jerks and idiots, and it's a great coping mechanism for the Forever Wars, evil organizations orchestrating them, and a severe lack of idealism the world makes them all face.
  • Credits Gag: The crew's families get special credits - at first, the children were under "Grips", and then along with spouses\parents\pets under "Security" - and Revelation has some friends as "Wardrobe Department" (the most recognizable name is Andrew Panton, who appeared in some Achievement Hunter videos).
  • Death as Comedy: A few of them, starting with the very first death of the series, as Church is team-killed by a tank operated by Caboose. Other highlights are the flashback Church has of Sidewinder (Private Jimmy getting beaten to death with his own skull), Sarge (while possessed by Church) getting shot in the head by Caboose, the Funhaus Reds blowing themselves up, Surge falling into a volcanic vent, and an actor Sarge killed.
  • Dysfunction Junction:
    • The Reds and Blues don't have to use the other team for target practice or anything, as they've got each other for that (especially the Reds).
    • As Seasons 9 and 10 reveal, Project Freelancer wasn't much better, though they didn't outright attack each other. At least until the end...
  • Enemy Mine:
    • One of the most common themes of the series from Season 3 onwards. Despite being (at least on paper) opposing enemies in a pointless war, the Reds and Blues are consistently forced to work together to take down a greater evil.
    Tucker: You brought [the Reds]? Are we killin' each other today? Or pretending to work together?
    Caboose: Uh, the pretending version.
    Tucker: Oh, okay, cool.
    • The trope is also deconstructed in Season 13, as Wash notes that even though the New Republic and Federal Army of Chorus are working together, they still aren't working together.
  • Evil Is Hammy: A few of the villains, such as O'Malley (a Card-Carrying Villain AI who's basically Made of Evil), Wyoming (a Faux Affably Evil Mean Brit) and Genkins (a Trickster God who enjoys himself profusely).
  • The Faceless: Almost everyone. In the case of the Blood Gulch Crew plus Washington and the Meta (although in the case of those latter two, The Project Freelancer Saga only showed limited features), Rooster Teeth has downright said that giving them faces would probably never fulfill fan expectations.
    • That being said, there are a few confirmations (more or less) given to some of the characters' appearances. The only real ones given are that Tucker is black, Grif and Sister/Kaikaina are native Hawaiians, Simmons is both Dutch-Irish and a Hollywood Cyborg, Lopez is (technically) Latino (though as he's also a robot, one can work out the fine lines on that elsewhere), and Wash is both white and a blonde.
  • Famous Last Words: Lots of characters go out saying "Son of a bit-".
    • Epsilon's last words "Ain't that a bitch?" certainly qualify.
  • Fictional Sport: Grifball, which became so popular, less than three years after its inception, it was the only sport played.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Especially evident in the seasons from 6 onward, but the various conflicts that the Reds and Blues of Blood Gulch go through outside of their own personal war with each other have, by the time of Season 10, made them into a combined Badass Crew, even complimenting members of opposing "teams". By the time of Episode 21 of Season 10, even Carolina defrosts to them. By the final shot of Season 13, it's no question that they're a family.
  • Flanderization: Almost everyone. Tropes Are Not Bad, as this led to characters like Caboose, Simmons, and Donut who had some personality traits that weren't quite unique enough to set them apart cranked Up to Eleven, ironically giving them more fleshed out personalities in the process.
    • Church goes from being a kind of bad shot with his Sniper Rifle to full on Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy with any gun he gets his hands on, unable to hit anything except by Accidental Aiming Skills.
    • Caboose goes from being a bit slow at the start of the series to borderline insanity, unable to follow a simple train of thought. In his case, this is due in part to the massive battle that goes on inside his head early on causing brain damage. Also, apparently Church and Tucker rebooted his armor once and didn't manage to turn it back on right away. He said he didn't think it caused any lasting damage so of course it did. That being said, later seasons have Retconed Caboose's personality so that he was always this moronic/insane.
    • Tucker goes from being a flirtatious lady's man of questionable success to a Casanova Wannabe who attempts to sleep with any girl that'll listen to him for more than ten seconds.
    • Sarge's bullying of and threats to kill Grif start as attempts at murder and escalates to a psychotic obsession with making his life as miserable and humiliating as possible, at times being his single character trait in some scenes.
    • Grif's apathy that doesn't in some way have to do with eating, napping, and making up excuses to avoid work morphed into a trickster who comes up with cunning schemes and Loophole Abuse to avoid work or risking his life, even if said schemes are more complicated to execute than the orders he's given.
    • Donut goes from being ambiguously effeminate to Tucker's Camp Gay counterpart in sexually suggestive dialogue and attempts to sleep with any male soldier in his line of view.
    • Simmons goes from teacher's pet to groveling sycophant with occasional Servile Snark. This trait is actually getting dialed down a bit as of the Chorus trilogy; he kisses Sarge's butt a lot less than he used to and even makes sarcastic remarks to him. This is probably because getting promoted to Captain and being put into a leadership role himself has helped him become a bit more self-confident
    • Tex goes from being a skilled special-ops soldier to a legendarily powerful badass.
    • Doc begins as a neutral pacifist without extensive medical training (but nevertheless treats Caboose during an active shootout), and ends up a man panicked by any sign of conflict and with complete incompetence in his supposed area of expertise. However, this is zigzagged according to the needs of the plot when someone who's critically injured needs to be kept alive.
    • Seasons 8 and on present an interesting case when this is reverted back to giving the Reds and Blues subtler traits while sticking to their core personalities.
      • Grif's intelligence and knack for getting out of dangerous situations is shown to make him a very pragmatic survivor in combat that's willing to suck up his shame and bite the bullet if there's no way out of a mission that precludes death.
      • Church's occasional moments of compassion and downplaying his anger (particularly as the Epsilon A.I.) have made him one of the most empathetic members of the cast.
      • For all of Sarge's blundering about and questionable sanity, the reason why he's stuck around as a soldier for so long is apparent with his leadership and charisma with his men when things are at their worst in a fight. He's also willing to overlook Grif's existence and has Took a Level in Kindness since Revelation, probably because when it comes down to it, murder's not what he's in the army for and he's an honorable soldier when confronted with those that are in it for the killing.
      • While Caboose is still completely insane, the later seasons start to slowly re-introduce his Deadpan Snarker tendencies from before his Flanderization, and also showcase how he's actually the most emotionally aware member of the entire Blood Gulch Crew.
      • Tucker may be the biggest example. His moments of being The Straight Man to the Reds and Blues have drastically increased his competence as a fighter, leading to his skill with the sword as a weapon he's comfortable with and being a quick and decisive strategist. Even Wash admits he's not the same miserable excuse of a human being he was in Blood Gulch.
  • Foreshadowing: In Reconstruction, we learn that Church was an AI unit and that was why he survived being seemingly killed, was able to jump from mind to mind, and had a 'ghost' form. Just before The Reveal by Wash, there's a quick scene showing the relevant clips just to hammer it in. Guess who else shared those exact same characteristics. Agent Texas.
  • Forever War:
    • The "war" between the Red and Blue armies, in Blood Gulch at least, aren't really fighting so much as slacking off at opposite ends of the box canyon, and it only feels like they've been there forever, but if there's one thing they can all agree on, it's that neither side has any clue why they're supposed to be fighting, or what the actual benefit would be of "winning". Eventually justified when it turns out that they aren't actually at war, and are just simulation troopers to train Freelancers for actual wars. Both sides always end up teaming up with each other to take down a larger enemy, and the war isn't even really being waged (except in Sarge's mind) after Season 5, excluding Season 9 and Season 11.
      Simmons: Seriously though, why are we out here? As far as I can tell, it's just a box canyon in the middle of nowhere. No way in or out.
      Grif: Mm hmm.
      Simmons: The only reason that we set up a Red Base here, is because they have a Blue Base over there. And the only reason they have a Blue Base over there, is because we have a Red Base here.
      Grif: Yeah, that's because we're fighting each other.
      Simmons: No, no. But I mean, even if we were to pull out today, and if they would come take our base, they would have two bases in the middle of a box canyon; whoopdee-fucking-doo.
    • In Season 3, Sarge and Caboose accidentally wind up in the Battle Creek map, where two teams of immortal zealots fight to Capture the Flag while spouting comments and insults straight out of Xbox Live, and are revived at the end of each match, like a particularly stupid version of Norse Mythology's Valhalla.
    • In The Chorus Trilogy, the Federal Army of Chorus and the New Republic are fighting a Civil War on the planet Chorus that has been fought for years upon years thanks to the manipulation of a third party led by Chairman Hargrove.
  • Friendly Enemy: The Blood Gulchers seem to get along with members of the opposite team fairly well (well, at least as well as members of the same team get along with each other), to varying degrees. By Season 10, their "war" continues mostly because of habit and the fact nobody on either team has anything better to do.
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: At times, the cast is split enough for multiple simultaneous plots, such as in early Season 3 (some are teleported away, only in episode 5 everyone meets again), Seasons 12 and 13 (the two factions of the Civil War, the villains, the Reds and Blues being assigned different missions), and Season 16 (again, people are teleported away, only in episode 12 everyone meets again).
  • Grand Finale: Each of the story arcs have one, though not for the entire series.
    • Episode 100 of Season 5 ("Why Were We Here?") was one to Red vs. Blue: The Blood Gulch Chronicles. It even functioned as a Series Fauxnale, complete with Multiple Endings, a case of Back for the Finale, and an overall wrap up of five seasons of storytelling.
    • Episode 20 of Season 8 was one to both that season itself (Revelation) and the general Red vs. Blue: The Recollection series, with the death of the Meta, the Big Bad of Seasons 6, 7 and 8.
    • Episodes 21 and 22 of Season 10 both function together as one for The Project Freelancer Saga (Seasons 9 and 10). In a variation, Episode 19 of the same season functions as one for the flashback segments, with the assault on the Mother of Invention.
    • Season 13 ends on a Bolivian Army Ending while closing Red vs. Blue: The Chorus Trilogy. And in a way, it also closes off the story of Church, as Epsilon makes clear he'll not survive.
    • Episode 12 of Singularity functions as one for both The Shisno Paradox and Singularity itself, and retroactively serves as one for the events of Season 15.
  • Greater-Scope Villain:
    • The Director of Project Freelancer is the cause of most of things that have happened in the series, both directly and indirectly. He only comes center stage in Season 10, though he never takes on a direct role.
    • The Chairman of the UNSC Oversight Sub-Committee Malcolm Hargrove, who is revealed to have funded the Insurrection. The audience already knows that his trying to arrest the Director results in him sending the Big Bad Duumvirate of Wash and the Meta to find the Epsilon Unit. Finally, he serves as the Big Bad for Seasons 11 and 12 under the alias "Control".
  • Grey and Gray Morality: A running theme throughout the series is that everyone has their own good and bad aspects, and there are as many ultimately good people as there are bad people. In the case of the Blood Gulch Crew, although they are the heroes of the story and usually do the right thing, they are all also assholes in one way or another and do very selfish things in their adventures. This is even pointed out in Season 12, with Washington pointing out that the New Republic and the Federal Army on Chorus are equally good and bad, which is later mirrored by nearly identical Rousing Speeches performed by both sides.
  • Head Bob: Except in exceptionally rare instances when a face is shown, usually happening in Freelancer-specific flashbacks. Both fans and animators have come to a consensus that giving definitive facial models to the Blood Gulch Crew would spoil the ambiguity of what they actually look like as apposed to how they act. This is even lampshaded in Episode 94 of The Blood Gulch Chronicles.
    Sarge: What are they saying?
    Simmons: I have no idea. I can't find the volume on this monitor. And without any sound it just looks like a bunch of helmets bobbing up and down.
    Sarge: Is that how they talk? They look ridiculous!
  • Hero of Another Story:
    • Both the Red and Blue simulation troopers and the Agents of Project Freelancer (for a given value of "hero").
    • In the first episode of the series, Halo Player Character "the Master Chief" John-117 is mentioned by Grif as blowing up "a whole Covenant armada" while the Reds and Blues are stuck fighting each other instead, dealing with issues that the games proper don't even mention. The reason why they aren't directly integrated into the fighting (as well as why they are unaware that the Human-Covenant War is presumably over) are factors in Seasons 6-10.
    • As Seasons 9 and 10 show, Project Freelancer was dealing with supposed Insurrectionist activity among humanity during the Great War.
    • Seasons 11-13 have the Reds and Blues stuck on Chorus while the majority of the UNSC was trying to keep peace with the Swords of Sanghelios and sending out space expeditions with their upgraded ships, most notably the UNSC Infinity.
  • Heroic Safe Mode: "Recovery Mode", a mode that the Mark VI armors go into when they lock up so that a Recovery agent can pick them up. This extends to the Near-Death Experience by Sarge in Season 1.
  • The Hero Dies: While it's difficult to pin down a "main protagonist" for the whole series, Church is the most likely candidate.
    • Church is killed off early in Season 1 as the series' first twist. He returns as a ghost a few episodes later.
    • The Alpha A.I. (the Church of the first six seasons) is killed off at the end of Season 6 via an "emp".
    • The Epsilon A.I. (who replaces Church in the following seven seasons) is killed off at the end of Season 13 via a self-administered defragmentation process.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners:
    • Grif and Simmons.
    • Church with both Tucker and Caboose.
    • York and Delta.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Characters frequently produce enormous guns out of nowhere, at least until the engine upgraded to Halo 3 and in non-machinima animation sequences. This is due to the fact that this use of Hammerspace is precisely what happens in Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2 when someone equips a weapon.
  • Image Song: Between Seasons 8 and 10, the cast seemed to be really fond of having these as extras on the soundtracks. So far there's been:
  • Informal Eulogy: Along with the cases in Last Disrespects, Sarge provided one for the Blues on Battle Creek ("Rest in peace... scumbag. ") and Caboose when he thinks he was killed by a mine field ("Dear Lord, we thank you for taking another Blue back to Heaven today. Or rather not Heaven, but whatever fiery pit you send Blues to so they can suffer in eternity.")
  • Lampshaded Double Entendre: Bow-chicka-wow-wow!
  • Last Disrespects: Three "funeral" scenes (the deceased in question were still living) are all about people being completely disrespectful at funerals, sometimes for their own agendas, sometimes just because they're jerks.
    • In Episode 51 of The Blood Gulch Chronicles, Church (the "dead" guy) is the one who wants a funeral; Tucker calls it lame and wanders off.
    • In Episode 83 of The Blood Gulch Chronicles, Grif turns Sarge's funeral into a comedy roast of Sarge, and Simmons uses the opportunity to campaign for Sarge's job.
    • In Season 9 Episode 14, it turns out no one remembers anything about Simmons except he liked gum and talked a lot.
  • Last-Name Basis: All of the Blood Gulch gang except for Sister, Doc, and Lopez (who has no surname). Though Doc would prefer to be on a Last Name Basis; he just got overruled. And in the case of Sarge, we don't know if the name given was his first or last name. Most other characters as well, fitting of the military nature of the series; when it's not a surname, it's a codename (the Freelancers, Felix, Locus) or a title (The Director, The Chairman, The Counselor). So far, the only main characters to go on a First-Name Basis are Dylan and Jax from Season 15, plus a few Cosmic entities with surnames from 16-7 (Huggins, Genkins, Chrovos).
  • Limited Animation: Outside of custom animated shots, the machinima nature only allows the characters to do what Halo characters can (walk, Head Bob, crouch, jump, attack), and outside of vehicles they can only be seen either standing or lying down. During RTX 2019, Burnie Burns notes that a way to point would allow for less descriptive dialogue, and Jason Weight remembered that suggesting having characters sitting down was an instant veto.
  • Me's a Crowd: Church, Lopez, Wyoming, and Tex have all done this by various mechanisms; time-looping for Church and Wyoming, and robot clones for Lopez and Tex.
  • Motif Merger: This is how the Meta symbol was formed, out of the symbols of all the other AI's which are most of the Greek alphabet.
  • Myth Arc: The fall and aftermath of Project Freelancer is one for Seasons 1-10 and 15, though it only really comes to the forefront after Season 5. The Chorus Civil War and its background causes is one for Seasons 11-13. And for Seasons 16 & 17, there's the Cosmic Powers and time travel.
  • Never a Self-Made Woman: Deconstructed, in different ways. The two most prominent female characters for most of the series, Tex and Carolina, are the Director's lover (sort of) and daughter respectively; with Tex, the emotional connection with the Director is one-sided on his part, resulting in Tex being wholly professional herself but receiving special attention while being unable to act outside his concept of her. Meanwhile, with Carolina, it's implied that she's using Project Freelancer as a means of gaining approval and attention from the Director while being constrained by the demands of protocol.
  • Never Got to Say Goodbye: The concept of farewells becomes very prevalent from season 5 onward, after Tex says goodbye to Church just before her ship explodes.
    Allison: Don't say goodbye. I hate goodbyes.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: The main characters are separated from one another in the beginning of season six. Even when they regroup, things only keep changing. It is only in Season 10 that the characters regain some semblance of their lost status quo. Major developments to the story are the deaths of two main characters, the revelation of the Red vs Blue war being a lie, and the death of the Director. The protagonists admit things simply cannot go back the way they used to be.
  • Once a Season: Given Tex first appears in Episode 10, the following nine seasons usually re-introduce or feature her heavily in the tenth episode. Season 11 plays with it, as someone stops a rucks by shooting up as Tex's leitmotif plays... but it's Donut. Another Episode 10 tradition is a plot twist.
  • One Steve Limit: An aversion. Doc's real first name is Frank, which is also the name of an IDA cameraman in Season 15. It's hard to notice, though, since no one calls Doc by his real name and Frank is only around for one episode.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: The Freelancers. Only Tex (Allison), Wyoming (Reginald), Washington (David), and the Triplets (Ohio/Vera, Idaho/Ezra, and Iowa/Mike) have a first name known, and are almost never referred to by anything but their codenames. Washington almost gets indignant at one point when a guy tries to call him by his real name, though Washington personally hated him. The only Freelancer whose full name is known is Captain Butch Flowers, who was assigned to Blood Gulch to safeguard the Alpha. His code name was Agent Florida.
  • Out of Focus: The Blues have been the driving focus of all the plot-points since Season 5, while the Reds haven't really gotten the chance to develop beyond background characters and comic relief. This has started to be mended beginning with Season 15, as Grif and Donut play central/important roles in the plot.
  • Pinball Protagonist: Calling the Reds and Blues "reactive protagonists" would be stretching for a compliment, honestly. When left to their own devices, the most they'll instigate by themselves is childish bickering. They start to become more proactive from season 6 forward, particularly when more competent people like Washington or Carolina are leading them.
  • Plot Tumor: The Freelancers, starting in "Recovery One". However, Tropes Are Not Bad, and it does help to develop existing soldiers along the way in addition to fleshing out the program.
  • The Power of Friendship: A running theme in the series.
  • Pretentious Latin Motto: If this official shirt is any indication, Project Freelancer's is "Roboris Per Scientia" (strength through science).
  • Pun-Based Title: A few of the episode titles are like this. "Aftermath, Before Biology", "Heavy Mettle", "A Pizza the Action"...
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: In a way, the teams themselves. Most of the drama is driven by members of Blue Team, while Red Team is composed of some very... unbalanced characters who drive most of the comedy.
  • Retcon: Used fairly often, but implied a few times as well. There's a fair number of plot holes that need ironing out if you watch every episode (including the mini-series, but naturally not the PSAs) and treat them all as canon. However, a fair number of these are due more to Revision and/or an Unreliable Narrator.
    • In Out of Mind, for instance, shows Tex and Church meeting at a Blue base. Tex comments that she doesn't know what Freelancer ability her armor has, even though she's shown to use its invisibility during Project flashback scenes and the finale to Season 10. Then again, she also knew that Church was the Alpha, so it could be an example of her lying to Church to help keep him safe. Later seasons also suggest that this whole scene was actually Fake Memories that were given to the Beta A.I. prior to her assignment as Agent Texas in Project Freelancer.
    • The last shots of Season 10 feature the Halo 4 map "Exile" and are accompanied by dialogue implying that the Reds and Blues have returned to Blood Gulch. However, in Season 11, it's explained that the Reds and Blues crash-landed on the planet Chorus on their way back to Blood Gulch, and the map is a new location - Crash Site Bravo. Then again, the map doesn't look like Blood Gulch (it's jungle-like instead of a desert), and "settled" and "we're home" also fit "new beginning".
    • Starting with Season 3, "Shisno" is revealed as a derogatory term for humans that the aliens took from the excrement of a foul creature's defecation. Season 16, appropriately named "The Shisno Paradox", explains that the word actually comes from whoever has been corrupted by time travel. Then again, the Cosmic Powers have influenced the aliens, and the first person to reveal about the term was Gary, who has lying and deception as his primary trait. In Singularity, there is a Hand Wave, stating that the Great Prophecy implied the Great Destroyer was human - and indeed, the Reds and Blues caused a Reality-Breaking Paradox - "and the Fates, I guess, are racist?"
  • Revenge: This is a recurring theme of later series, several characters from both the protagonist and antagonist camps go on quests for vengeance against people who wronged them, sometimes the outcome of one revenge quest leading to another. These quests are never complete successes though. Either the character fails (often dying in the process), manages to exact their revenge but ends up left unsatisfied by it, or they realise at a crucial moment that they are becoming something unpleasant and give up their quest for vengeance before it's too late. If the latter happens with a bad guy character, it usually marks the start of that character's evolution into a better person. If RvB has any serious lessons to teach, it's that revenge just isn't worth it, but that no matter how far you've gone down that path, it's never too late to back out.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: Church and Tex spend most of their screentime in purely mechanical bodies. Bodies that apparently let them feel pain. And gain weight. And get sexually aroused... point is, they have a lot of functions that simply don't make sense to work in robots. Behavior-wise, there's Lopez, who became a Servile Snarker and Sour Supporter given dealing with the stupid Reds while speaking a language that they don't took a toll on him.
  • Running Gag: Has its own page because of just how many of them there are.
  • Sailor Earth: Given there are 50 possible Freelancers but most haven't been revealed, they are prime fanfiction fill-ins.
  • Sapient Tank: Sheila.
  • Scare Chord: The Meta's theme, because you just know something bad is about to happen.
  • Share Phrase:
    • "Son of a bitch!" - Anyone who's about to get blown up (or who's seen someone else nearby get blown up), most often being Church. Often repeated three times.
    • Whenever Sister says something strange, someone will almost always say "Yeah! Wait. What?!" In "Relocated", this follows when she isn't even there, but the conversation is about her.
    • "Shotgun." "Shotgu... fuck!" - Usually Grif and Simmons.
    • "HURK! Bleh." When someone dies in the first five seasons, and in some moments of seasons 14 and 15.
    • "HEGUHURGERK!" Whenever someone gets possessed.
  • Sleeps with Both Eyes Open: Captain Butch Flowers. This is a lampshading of the series' Limited Animation, since the creators can't realistically make it look like a character is sleeping.
    Now to go to sleep, standing up, with my eyes open, as is my custom!
  • Smarter Than You Look: Any character that at first seems dumb will either have periodic Dumbass Has a Point moments or is a case of Brilliant, but Lazy.
  • Socketed Equipment: Armor has a slot for AI, and can have Freelancer equipment installed as well.
  • Speech-Centric Work: Especially in the early seasons. "Burnie" Burns says that due to only using Halo game engines, his "use of verbs" was extremely limited, a limitation that went away with the inclusion of Monty Oum and other animations from Season 8 onward.
    Caboose: Well, maybe all of this is happening inside of a movie.
    Tucker: Oh please, who would watch that movie? All we ever do is stand around and talk!
  • Story-Breaker Power:
    • The reason the cast never gets to use the Spartan Laser in seasons 6-8, despite it being on a number of multi-player maps in Halo 3, such as Valhalla, Standoff, Avalanche, etc.
    • The armor shields for that matter. These guys wear the Mk 6 Spartan armor, yet only Caboose has been seen using the standard shields. Everyone else can easily be shot down unless they're specifically said to have the dome shield, overshields, or both. Or the Meta, who's insanely durable with or without them.
    • Wyoming's time manipulation falls under this as well, especially in the prequels where he's never seen using it even after he gets Gamma as his AI.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: A majority of the cast, from the most competent soldier to the dumbest of troops, believe themselves to be this, often glazing over their own flaws and shortcomings. Church's closing lines during the final episode of The Blood Gulch Chronicles has him indirectly explain why he hates everyone around him for very specific reasons.
  • Team Spirit: Despite their many quirks and deficiencies, the Blood Gulch crew accomplish some pretty amazing things when they work together. This is most noticeable in their climactic fights against the Meta and the Director's army of Tex drones, where by working together and having each other's backs they're able to make up for their individual flaws and actually defeat vastly superior opponents. In contrast, the series' most powerful character is a Lone Wolf who is also literally the incarnation of Failure Is the Only Option.
  • Theme Naming:
    • Many of the original characters share their names with the preset default character names from the original Halo.
    • Each of the Freelancers was given an American state as their codename (though because there's only one Agent Carolina, the fiftieth agent was "D.C.").
    • The Recollection Trilogy and its associated miniseries each start with the "re-" prefix (i.e., Recovery One, Reconstruction, Relocated, Recreation, and Revelation).
  • Took a Level in Badass: The Reds and Blues' fighting skills improve considerably as the plot moves forward, most notably in the later seasons.
  • True Companions: The Blood Gulch Crew becomes this over time, to the point that the "war" is just a way for them to pass the time.
  • Two-Act Structure: So far, the series seems split between "comedy with some plot" (Seasons 1-5, plus 15 and 16) and "plot with some comedy" (Seasons 6-10 and 17). Season 11 mixes the two, due to a shift in tone near the end that persists throughout the rest of The Chorus Trilogy.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: The way the show handles the large cast, when it's not Four Lines, All Waiting due to Party Scattering. For instance, The Blood Gulch Chronicles usually split between the Reds and Blues (except Season 3, where when it was only two plots, the split was good guys\bad guys), Recreation at a certain point splits between Valhalla and the desert, Revelation mostly divides the Reds and Blues and Wash\Meta\Doc, and The Project Freelancer Saga downright combined animated flashbacks with said project and machinima segments on the Epsilon capsule (Season 9) or the current day (Season 10). The Chorus Trilogy started again with Reds/Blues, merged them in the end of Season 11, but as time went on it got more complicated.
    • Third Line, Some Waiting: In Season 3, at a certain point it had Church's time travel along with the two plots in the present day. Recreation briefly had Wash's side.
  • Villain of Another Story: The Covenant count as this. From Reconstruction onward, the series is mentioned to take place after "the Great War" with the Covenant, and Project Freelancer is said to have been made as one of many experimental programs to be the magic bullet to win the war. However, the Covenant themselves very rarely appear in the series and are mostly kept as an occasional reference, and they have virtually no real role in the series (whether good or bad).
  • Vitriolic Best Buds:
    • The entire main cast (with the exceptions of Donut, Caboose, and Lopez) consists of a bunch of self-centered jackasses. Despite this, though, they stick by one another and frequently risk their lives for each other.
    • Most of the Freelancers were this as well, at least before the program fell apart.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: Though the Reds and Blues should be enemies, they normally aren't. That isn't to say that they don't make life difficult for each other almost as easily as breathing.
    Washington: You guys are not making my life easy right now.
    Tucker: Do we ever?
    Washington: ...Good point.
  • Weapon of Choice: Besides armor color, almost every member of the current main cast has a particular weapon they favor which serves to distinguish them and help them stand out in a crowd.
  • We Will Spend Credits in the Future: If comments made in the Grifball miniseries and the Mercs Trilogy are to be believed.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Notably averted - the fate of almost every major or minor character who appears in the show is addressed in some way eventually, be it by them coming back, getting killed off, or even making a minor cameo in a later episode. Even if a character is Put on a Bus, they're likely to show up again later. Season 12 and 13 have been especially notable in that they resolved many remaining plot points and abandoned storylines from prior seasons. Some examples include Butch Flowers getting revived at the end of Season 5 and later getting revealed to be a Freelancer in Season 10, Andy the bomb getting auto-called by Siri in Season 11, the Chairman being revealed as "Control" in Season 12, Sharkface, the Counselor, Sister and Junior reappearing in Season 13, Vic narrating the story segments in season 14, and 479r's confirmation of reappearing in the same season, the series has impressively managed to account for every member of its sprawling cast numbering in the hundreds.
    • We got a more minor example of this when Carolina cites what happened to Georgia when cautioning her fellows about their jetpacks. No matter how much poor Washington asks, nobody actually tells him what happened to Georgia. Then, in Season 10's epilogue, Georgia slams into a window somewhere in space, coincidentally where equally-absent Utah just found his lucky coin.
  • Wish Upon a Shooting Star: Sarge has been wishing on shooting stars every night for the past decade. The wish is, of course, for Grif's violent and untimely death.
  • World of Snark: It'd be faster to make a list of characters who aren't snarky at some point. Which probably consists of Counselor Aiden Price, the Director, Donut, and Caboose.
  • Wrongful Accusation Insurance: Kind of. Despite the Blood Gulch Crew being unfairly labeled as war criminals, not much of what happened with their involvement in the aftermath of Project Freelancer was their fault. However, assuming that law in the RvB universe functions anywhere close to ours, there is absolutely no way they should have been pardoned by the UNSC simply by taking down the Director note  due to the various crimes they committed while on the run from the law, which include the killing of a quite a few Recovery soldiers, multiple accounts of vehicle theft, and withholding information, as well as evading arrest in the first place. This is more justified after the Season 12 finale, revealing that the Chairman (the man responsible for their pardon) was ultimately behind their ship crashing where the soldiers were expected to be disposed of.


     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.
  • Ass Shove: Sarge apparently keeps rations stuffed in Lopez’s rectum. He insists on eating the rations instead of going out for food, but the others aren’t too keen on this idea.
  • 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.
  • Book-Ends: 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?"
  • Bury Your Gays: Huggins, who is confirmed to be bisexual when she flirts with Kaikaina, is abruptly killed by Genkins in "Lights Out." Defied come the next season, which reveals 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.
  • Denser and Wackier: While the series has always been silly, this one goes from (relatively) grounded sci-fi (Space Marines, Space Pirates, robots, AIs) to a downright surreal plot featuring ancient gods and time travel.
  • 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.)
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: Defied; Tucker shoots Hitler, but given all the other things he did were supposed to happen anyway, it seems like it was done in his bunker.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • "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.
  • 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 getting shot will mean Temple being defeated 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. The paradox sends the Teams back to Blood Gulch, only things are noticeably different.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Grif tries to teach the ancient Italians to make pizza. Given he looks weird, speaks weird (and in an unknown language) and even mentions a fruit that is native to the Americas (tomato), it doesn't go well.
    • When Sarge and Simmons bring Alexander the Great to their time period, he becomes deathly ill from a simple cold. Turns out people from the past had weaker immune systems.
    • Jax's terrible handling of his movie production eventually causes the executives to cut off all his funding.
  • "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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Wash isn't all there.
    • 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 

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 to not be directed by the current showrunner (who is now Weight), with the machinimators Josh Ornelas and Austin Clark co-directing the season.


  • 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."
  • 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.
  • 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 ...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. Presumably, Season 18 will touch more on this.
    • 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 15-17) by shoving him straight into the horrors of the Normandy landings.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • 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 follows the suggestion listed on Dumbass Has a Point and realizes he missed such an easy solution, 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?:
  • Dramatic 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.
  • 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: "If you can time travel, why don't you just ask her in the future, where you're friends?" 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 masqurading 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."
  • 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.
    • Similarly, 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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:
  • 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?
  • 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 psychotic 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.
  • 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).
  • 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 in the same episode 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. Whether that last part is correct remains to be seen.
    • 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.
  • 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: 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.
  • O.O.C. 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."
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • The same thing happens to Lopez when he falls into the Labyrinth's black hole, as he goes back to the beginning of time 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 also what happens to 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.
    • 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)
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • 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.

    Others 
Public Service Announcements (PSAs) and other specials

Rooster Teeth has also created several videos outside of the main series created for promotions or just to make humorous videos that aren't related to the plot of the show.

  • Absurd Phobia: According to Sarge in the "Hard Truths" PSA, he has an irrational fear of pleated pants.
  • An Aesop: The "New Holidays" PSA ends with Carolina explaining to Tucker, Sarge, Simmons, and Lopez that holidays aren't about just buying stuff, but spending time with family and friends or honoring the achievements of great people throughout history.
  • Animated Actors: Starting with the fact the characters introduce themselves as "I'm _______, from the popular hit series/web series/global video sensation Red vs. Blue!". In the Columbus Day PSA, the Meta is apparently an animal actor.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Simmons admonishes Tucker for yelling while in the art museum during the "Cultural Appreciation" PSA, as "This isn't a library!"
  • Black Comedy: Even more so than the actual show. For instance, Sarge looking at a painting depicting the fall of Icarus in the "Cultural Appreciation" PSA has him lapse into a traumatic flashback (completely with Deliberate Monochrome) of a soldier he saw die tragically... from heat stroke.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Sarge first claims in the "Hard Truths" PSA that people who don't like mushrooms are just big babies. Near the end of the PSA, as he breaks down crying as he rants about his own flaws, he confesses that he actually hates mushrooms.
    • Caboose is introduced in the "Diversity" PSA hunting for his pet chinchilla that he named after Benedict Cumberbatch. Near the end of the aforementioned PSA, Sarge's rampage with the Chupathingy's chaingun is derailed when he gets distracted by the chinchilla and freaks out over it humping his leg off-screen.
    • Near the beginning of the "Cultural Appreciation" PSA, Donut suggests lying to your friends and claiming you're taking them to buy ice cream so as to get them to go to an art museum. Later, after the Reds and Blues get kicked out of the art museum when Sarge has a traumatic flashback and punches a painting, Simmons and Donut decide to get everyone ice cream for real this time.
  • Buried Alive: This happens to Sarge in an April Fool's Day episode when Grif mistakes him for being dead. He escaped by eating his way out of the grave.
  • The Cameo: The financial crisis PSA involves the Blues having their base and equipment sold to "some foreign characters from another video game". The Sponsor's Cut makes it clear the characters are Mario and Luigi, complete with the new base flag being the flagpole from Super Mario Bros..
  • Comically Small Bribe: Simmons was bribed with only $100 to shill for several new holidays on behalf of the "industrial-greeting card complex."
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Tucker's less than normal knowledge of time comes up again in the Rock the Veto PSA when has says they were playing Blindfold for "like 30 hours last night."
    • The Vegas Quadrant (as mentioned by Grif during Season 1) is briefly visited by both Grif and Simmons in the "Getting Away From It All" PSA.
    • "The Sound of Stupid" PSA has Caboose wanting to role-play as a dragon (referencing how he claimed that he once wished to be a dragon in Season 13).
    • The Reveal that Caboose apparently graduated from Harvard in the Season 17 "Cultural Appreciation" PSA can be seen as an allusion to Grif claiming the same in Season 6's "Columbus Day" PSA.
  • Decided by One Vote: A Type 3 scenario that ends up unresolved in the Election Night video. Grif apparently meant to vote, but forgot to register in time due to his usual laziness.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: The American Grifball League of America.
  • Eagleland: Type 1, parodied. After examining how Red vs. Blue would be done by other countries, Church and Tucker decide to do it the American way, which they conclude is driving big cars and blowing shit up. The video ends with a Warthog flying over an explosion with the American flag in the background and "America the Beautiful" playing. This sets up a Brick Joke: earlier in the episode, they had done the "Russian version", where many of the characters' statements are censored and replaced with praise of the Russian government and its leader, Nikolai Petrovsky. Hilariously, at the end of the episode, his name is randomly cut into the song.
  • E = MC Hammer: The "Sarge Seal of Approval" is E=MCSarged.
  • Epic Fail: Cloudcuckoolander that he is, Caboose can only say nice things about Sarge when asked to vent about stuff he doesn't like during the Blood Gulch Crew's "friend-tervention" in the "Hard Truths" PSA.
  • Explosive Stupidity: Caboose was prone to this during the Fourth of July PSA about handling fireworks.
    Donut: Hey, Caboose. Have you seen my grenade?
    Caboose: Yes, I put it in my pants. Wait... (cue explosion)
  • Faux to Guide:
  • Four Point Scale: The PSA about the gaming industry lampshades this practice.
  • The Grinch: Church in the Christmas special. His acts include shooting the Reds' Christmas tree decorations, spreading lies about Santa to Caboose and stealing the present he tricked Tucker into getting for him.
  • Hates Everyone Equally: Sarge decides in the "Diversity" PSA that everyone is equal... as in, equally viable targets for him to shoot at with the Chupathingy's chaingun.
  • Insistent Terminology: Donut repeatedly stresses in the "Hard Truths" PSA that the Blood Gulch Crew's roast of Sarge isn't actually a roast, and is instead a "friend-tervention."
  • The Internet Is Serious Business: A PSA was made about this.
  • It's Not Porn, It's Art: The Cultural Appreciation PSA has Tucker really liking the art museum once he discovers statues and paintings of naked people, and the others have to even call him out on using this trope.
  • Lethal Chef: Sarge's dish for the 2008 Thanksgiving dinner was severed human hands dressed like turkeys due to misunderstanding his research materials (first-grader reports) while Caboose misinterpreted a sexual metaphor his grandmother once told him in his youth and brought "hair pie". Sarge had to set him straight on that one.
    Caboose: WHAT? Grandma, nooo!
    Sarge: Don't even get me started on the "gobble-gobble".
  • Medal of Dishonor: The Olympics PSA has Sarge suggest giving these to the losers in the form of enriched uranium.
  • Medium Awareness: Pretty common. For instance, Sarge notes that his face is on the thumbnail of the "Hard Truths" PSA, and Caboose later comments at the end of the aforementioned PSA that he'd "dance right now, but our animation budget can't afford it."
  • Memetic Badass: In-universe, sort of... In a series of PSA videos made to hype Halo 3: ODST, Sergeant Johnson is painted to be even more of this than he already was in the Halo games with claims that he once took out an entire Covenant battalion single handedly, is immortal, and has laser vision.
  • Malaproper: Caboose is completely unable to properly remember/pronounce the name of his pet chinchilla Benedict Cumberbatch in the "Diversity" PSA, with him instead coming up with several creative alternative names.
  • My Country Tis of Thee That I Sting: Pretty frequent, with the "Cultural Appreciation" PSA giving us this gem when Simmons and Donut are talking about the price of admission for attending an art museum:
    Donut: Some countries won't charge you for admission, because they believe that sharing knowledge and culture should be free!
    Simmons: But this is America, where we believe in capitalism and the 24-hour news cycle!
  • New Year's Resolution: Both teams spent the New Year's video in a "Resolveathon" to come up with the best resolutions. The losers had suffer a Fate Worse than Death...actually following through on their resolutions. The Blues take advantage of this by resolving to beat up the Reds.
  • Noodle Incident: Donut and Simmons trick Tucker into coming with them to the art museum by claiming they're actually taking him to the "annual ice cream and monster truck rally." According to Tucker, this is just like when they had previously promised to take him to the "Victoria's Secret Thanksgiving Day parade."
  • Required Secondary Powers: Actually averted in the "Upgrading" PSA when Caboose gets his armor stuck on invisibility mode:
    Church: Don't worry Caboose, I'm sure when the game comes out there'll be a way to shut it off.
    Caboose: Good. I need sleep.
    Sarge: Sleep? When that game comes out, I won't sleep for a week!
    Church: Yeah, no, it's not that, it's just that he's having trouble sleeping because he can see through his eyelids now.
    Sarge: Oh. That's creepy.
  • Right Behind Me: Church kinda invokes the wrath of Sgt. Johnson in the 3rd ODST PSA this way.
  • Schmuck Bait: The second and third season DVDs have bonus videos implying either a love story with Tex or "Sheila's Sexy Adventure". Clicking either of those and you get berated for actually expecting something.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Upon realizing that Simmons is going to be discussing proper etiquette when visiting an art museum in the "Cultural Appreciation" PSA, Grif immediately leaves and Donut then substitutes for him.
  • Seemingly Profound Fool: The "What I Did On My Summer" PSA has Caboose unwittingly "escaping into the campaign" of Halo: Reach, either becoming, being mistaken for, or revealing himself to be Noble Six.
  • Shout-Out:
    • During an early PSA on tattoos, Church suggests that if the viewer does get one, it should of "your favorite character from your favorite online cartoon". It then shows a picture of Strong Bad. Church then grumbles "I meant your other favorite online cartoon", which then shows Gabe and Tycho.
    • The Grifball PSA claims that the titular sport is managed by "The American Grifball League of America."
    • According to Wash in the "Hard Truths" PSA, Sarge's suggestions that he gave him for improving the series were all episodes of Happy Days with Sarge in the role of the Fonz.
    • Sarge starts to cheerily sing "The Circle of Life" during the "Diversity" PSA as he's attacking the other Reds and Blues with a mounted turret.
    • In the list of new holidays that Simmons is shilling products for during the "New Holidays" PSA, Groundhog Day is repeated three times along with "Kevin".
  • Stealth Pun: In the Voting Fever PSA (released during Season 10), Sarge sings "We're going to need a big strong Chorus!" At the end of Season 11, the group finds out that the planet they are stranded on is called "Chorus".
    • Another in the Christmas special: "Christmas is the one day of the year you should never miss Church."
    • There's a brief gag about Simmons' shyness, along with an implication that he hasn't gone to the bathroom in three years. Toilet Humor, sure, but then you realize that it's the show telling us that Simmons is indeed full of shit.
  • Take That!:
    • The Gadgets PSA is largely meant as a jab at the business strategy of "planned obsolescence" seen with tech companies.
    • The "Unreal Estate" PSA is both a Take That at climate change skeptics and white supremacists, with Grif, Simmons, and Sister all deciding to fix up the Earth by selling the white supremacists the "death homes" (which were caused by environmental collapse) that Sister was previously trying to sucker people into buying.
    • After Carolina gives An Aesop in "New Holidays" about how holidays can be about celebrating the achievements of famous historical figures, Tucker interjects by claiming that Christopher Columbus shouldn't be celebrated as "he was a dick." Carolina then quickly agrees with him, calling Columbus "the wooooorst!"
  • Take That, Audience!: After too many gratuitous complaints about not uploading Season 16 on YouTube, Rooster Teeth's response was this PSA.
  • Telegraph Gag STOP: Sarge receives a message in this form for the Halo: Reach PSA.
  • Token Minority: Discussed in the "Diversity" PSA, with Grif and Simmons pointing out the diversity among their own cast - Namely, Carolina is a "feminista," Tucker is a person of color (black), Lopez is a "badass Robo-American" (Latino), Caboose is intellectually challenged, Donut is "fabulous," and Wash is the resident "angry white man."
  • Trust Me, I'm an X: From the Bird Flu PSA.
    Doc: Guys, trust me. I'm a doctor.
    Simmons: No, you're not! You just play one on the internet!
  • Unexplained Recovery: Most of the time, if a character suffers a seemingly fatal injury, they'll turn out to be fine later, to the point that towards the end of the series they don't even bother explaining it anymore.
  • Very False Advertising: The "Unreal Estate" PSA has Sister trying to sell homes in exotic locations...which are now wastelands due to unchecked pollution on Earth.
  • Wildlife Commentary Spoof: One of the bonuses in the Red vs. Blue DVD is a movie spoof that has Sarge doing this to Grif (framed as a hunting show, naturally).
  • Worst Aid: The general premise of the cold and flu PSA. "I've had the bullets in my shotgun medically coated for the fastest possible injection of life-saving medicine."
  • Worst. Whatever. Ever!: Sarge gives this during the 2008 Thanksgiving special when he discovers it doesn't involve inviting your enemies over and shooting them in the back.
  • You Have No Idea Who You're Dealing With: Sarge says this about Caboose (or rather, "you have no idea what you just dealt with") when he and Church realize he took a vacation in the Halo: Reach campaign.
    Church: Caboose, that was some crazy story dude.
    Caboose: I know, you have no idea.
    Sarge: No. You have no idea.
    Caboose: Right, nobody has any idea.
    Sarge: No, son, you specifically have no idea.

Red vs. Blue: Animated

A series pilot that was shown at PAX 2008 and later announced dead at the 2010 San Diego Comic Con, due to a combination of time constraints, money and the staff's inability to work on the timeframe of another company. The Pilot/Trailer can be found here. The pilot later became a part of the first episode of Season 14, where it is revealed to be a simulation run by Epsilon between seasons 8 and 9.


 
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Red vs. Blue Irony

The Reds and Blues try to figure out whether teaming up is ironic or not, but end up confusing themselves in the process.

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