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Recap / RWBYV 7 E 12 With Friends Like These

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Volume 7, Episode 12:

With Friends Like These
Two sides. One war. And absolutely no hope for peace between friends.
Written by Kiersi Burkhart & Eddy Rivas
Directed by Dustin Matthews & Connor Pickens

"Why couldn’t you just do the right thing, instead of the thing you were told?!"
Qrow Branwen

With Salem's forces drawing closer, and the General's orders for their arrest, our heroes are forced to fight on all fronts to save the city Ironwood has abandoned.

Tropes in this episode include:

  • Black Comedy: When Tyrian escapes the seat he's cuffed to, he immediately kills the pilot. He sits gleefully on the dashboard with his legs wrapped around the dead pilot while wearing the pilot's hat.
  • Blind Obedience: Discussed several times in the episode. The Ace-Ops are extremely loyal to Ironwood and don't need to have orders explained or justified to follow them. Yang tells Blake there's no point trying to reason with Elm and Vine because they're "just following orders", while Clover and Qrow argue about the same during their fight.
  • Combination Attack: Yang attaches her sticky bombs to some masonry that Blake is holding, which Vine blasts through to catch Blake. However, it was only Blake's shadow clone, which leaves him holding only the bombs. Yang is then able to blow him up.
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  • Conflict Ball: When Ironwood's order for Qrow's arrest reaches Clover, Robyn attacks him and he and Qrow end up fighting. When Tyrian escapes his bonds, he eggs the pair on resulting in Qrow turning on him. Instead of helping Qrow to subdue the serial killer, Clover instead tries to bring down Qrow. For a short while, there is a three-way battle as Clover repeatedly targets Qrow instead of Tyrian. When Tyrian suddenly decides to start helping Qrow against Clover, Qrow is so frustrated with Clover that he goes along with it to subdue Clover. The fight ends when Clover disarms Qrow, who decides to punch Clover's Aura into pieces rather than retrieve his weapon. Tyrian grabs Qrow's weapon and stabs Clover from behind, killing him.
  • Conflicting Loyalty:
    • Vine and Marrow are openly unhappy about having to fight Team RWBY. Vine holds back a lot while helping Elm against Yang and Blake, and implies that Elm is also holding back when he asks her if her command to not be soft on Yang and Blake is an attempt to convince him or herself. When Harriet realizes that Marrow is fighting defensively against Weiss, which is giving Weiss the upper hand, she yells at Marrow to cut it out. Marrow angrily retorts that they're only supposed to arrest Team RWBY, and that Harriet's behavior is excessive.
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    • Penny is horrified at what she and Winter have to do to the Winter Maiden and that Ironwood is abandoning Mantle. While Winter insists that what Ironwood has ordered is the right decision for saving Remnant, Penny concludes there's nothing good about what they're doing. Winter agrees with that assessment. While they discuss how assessing their conflicting emotions helps them decide whether they're doing the right thing, Winter makes it clear that it won't change the actions she ends up taking. Penny is much less certain about her own actions.
  • Cue the Sun: The fight between Qrow, Clover and Tyrian ends in the dying moments of the night. As Qrow kneels over the dying Clover, the sun begins rising the above the horizon, bathing them both in light. They both watch it as Clover dies.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • Qrow ends up in an Enemy Mine situation with Tyrian out of sheer desperation to take down Clover but neglects to keep an eye on Tyrian. This allows Tyrian to kill Clover in the end and frame Qrow for the deed.
    • Likewise, Clover prioritizes capturing Qrow above anything else, including stopping the deranged serial killer who would very much like to see both of them dead, leading directly to the above.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: Silent, but no less to the point: Robyn levels her crossbow at Clover when he conveys the arrest order to her, but only draws back the string when he confirms that he'll actually be arresting Qrow.
  • Dynamic Entry: When Team JNR realize Oscar's been attacked, Nora spots Oscar coming into view just up the corridor with the Relic of Knowledge on his belt and rushes over to hug him. However, the real Oscar yells "No!" from off-screen and charges out of a side corridor to knock his other self out, rescuing Nora in the process. This breaks the disguise, revealing that it's actually Neo, who had just stolen the Relic from Oscar, but he retrieves it as it falls off the former's belt.
  • Enemy Mine: When Clover receives orders to arrest Qrow and Tyrian escapes his bonds, Qrow stops fighting Clover to try and subdue Tyrian. However, Clover keeps attacking Qrow, causing a three-way battle between the men until Tyrian begins helping Qrow against Clover. When Tyrian suggests making it an official team-up against Clover, Qrow is frustrated enough to agree. Together, Tyrian and Qrow are able to defeat Clover.
  • Evil Is Not Well-Lit: The corridor Penny and Winter walk through to reach Fria is brightly lit and has almost no shadows. While in the room with Fria, the room shudders, causing Winter to check the corridor to see what's happened. The corridor is black with only a few flickering lights to reveal destroyed Atlesian Knights and Cinder standing at the end of the hallway.
  • Fingore: Tyrian deliberately dislocates his right thumb in order to slip his hands free of his cuffs to escape then. The camera then zooms in to focus on the bruised and unnaturally twisted state of his thumb and remains in close-up as he places his hand on the floor and forces his thumb back into joint. The sound of bones crunching as he both dislocates and resets his thumb is very loud.
  • Flaw Exploitation: A big factor in Team RWBY's victory over the Ace Ops is their exploitation of weaknesses in the Ace-Ops' team strategies. Elm and Vine normally work well together, but Elm is so furious about feeling betrayed by Team RWBY that she's too angry and impulsive to work properly with Vine. Yang exploits Elm's anger by mocking her loyalty to Ironwood, destabilises the ground to make Elm's rooting Semblance useless, and engages in combination attacks with Blake to bring down Vine, who doesn't have his usual support from Elm. Harriet is so obsessed with competition that Ruby is able to lure her away from the rest of her team. This leaves Marrow, who is openly reluctant to fight, alone against the versatile and relentless Weiss, who also uses her Knight summons to exploit the fact that Marrow has to face the target or group he's freezing — with two opponents coming at him from two different directions, Marrow can only freeze one at a time.
  • Frame-Up: When Tyrian and Qrow fight together to defeat Clover, Clover manages to disarm Qrow. Qrow ends the fight with a punch that breaks Clover's Aura. As they argue about whether or not Clover was right to obey Ironwood's order to arrest Qrow, Tyrian stabs Clover from behind. When Qrow yells at him, Tyrian points out that it was Qrow who killed Clover, leaving Qrow staring in horror at the realization that Tyrian used his abandoned weapon instead of the more normal scorpion tail attack. Tyrian leaves the area and Clover dies, leaving Qrow alone with a dead operative who's sporting wounds consistent with Qrow's weapon.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Qrow gets frustrated enough with Clover constantly attacking him while trying to fight Tyrian that he pulls an Enemy Mine with Tyrian to take down Clover. Qrow manages to land a hard enough punch that he breaks Clover's Aura, which allows Tyrian to kill him with Qrow's weapon, Harbinger. Qrow is left distraught as he can do nothing but sit by a dying Clover while Tyrian escapes.
  • Hidden Disdain Reveal: When Team RWBY decides to resist arrest, Harriet is incredulous that these kids want to fight the best Huntsman team in Atlas. As they fight, Harriet sneers that she had the team pegged from the start, indicating she was expecting them to turn on Ironwood at some point. As the fight progresses, Marrow tells Harriet she's using excessive force and they're supposed to just be arresting Team RWBY.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: As Ruby pointed out before the fight started, it was the Ace-Ops who helped Team RWBY become stronger Huntresses. Combined with the teamwork and trust Team RWBY has that the Ace-Ops lacks, the latter ultimately set up their own defeat at the hands of the younger team.
  • Inertia Is a Cruel Mistress: Harriet is defeated when, while charging at Ruby at high-speed, Weiss creates a wall of ice between her and Ruby. Unable to stop in time, Harriet crashes into the wall and is knocked unconscious.
  • In the Back: While Clover and Qrow are arguing about trust and loyalty at the end of their fight, Tyrian uses Qrow's Harbinger to fatally stab Clover from behind.
  • It's Personal:
    • Harriet and Elm are extremely angry with Team RWBY's betrayal of them and take it very personally. Harriet argues that the team deserves what's coming to them and doesn't hold back. While Elm doesn't appear to hold back her blows, she orders Vine not to be soft on Yang and Blake. Vine, who is fighting with Elm, asks her if she's trying to convince him or herself, implying that she is holding back even though she feels personally betrayed by Team RWBY. Marrow argues that Harriet is using excessive force against Ruby when she should only be trying to arrest her. Unlike Elm's ambiguity, Harriet makes it absolutely clear that she's got no intention of holding back.
    • Winter and Penny have an in-depth discussion about how they feel about Ironwood's orders and ending Fria's life. Neither of them are happy about it or feel it's a good thing to do. However, Winter's position is that their feelings mean they're doing the right thing and it won't change her actions. When Cinder attacks them, Penny and Cinder argue about what Cinder did to Beacon and, in particular, what happened to Penny as a result of that. Penny makes it clear she has personal issues with Cinder and intends to fight her.
    • After being forced to team up with Tyrian to stop Clover, Qrow takes a personal interest in making sure their grudge will one day be resolved. He was already upset over being poisoned by Tyrian in Anima, and then Tyrian uses Qrow's own weapon to kill Clover, leaving Qrow hell-bent on revenge.
  • Joker Immunity: Lampshaded by Tyrian, who brings up his personal history of escaping from lawful custody right before escaping lawful custody, leaving Qrow with Clover's dead body.
  • Just Following Orders: The Ace-Ops' Blind Obedience to Ironwood makes them attack RWBY even though Vine and Marrow have clear reservations about the matter. Yang bitterly lampshades this trope word-for-word when Elm has Blake in a chokehold and refuses to listen to anything Blake is trying to tell her, calling back to Elm's line in the previous episode. Clover and Qrow have a similar argument, but Clover explains that he trusts Ironwood with his life and that sometimes the right decision is the hardest one to make.
    Yang: It's not worth it, Blake. [venomously] They're just following orders now.
  • Leeroy Jenkins:
    • Despite Clover saying he only had orders to arrest Qrow, Robyn fires at Clover immediately out of mistrust, leading to an escalating fight that frees Tyrian, allowing him to crash the airship.
    • Elm manages to get Blake in a chokehold, but when Yang bitterly snarks at her for Just Following Orders, she angrily tosses Blake aside to rush Yang.
  • Logical Weakness:
    • Marrow's Semblance only freezes the area he's pointing at and requires his focus to use. So Weiss using her summons and keeping herself away from it means Marrow is stuck fighting one when he tries to freeze the other, distracting him enough for Weiss to knock him out.
    • Elm's Semblance to root herself to the ground doesn't work very well when the floor's integrity is compromised, so Yang deliberately breaks it to knock Elm off balance.
  • Male Gaze: When Harriet confronts Ruby in the hall, there is a shot where Harriet's backside takes up half of the frame.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": When Blake and Yang take out Vine and destroy his aura, the remaining Ace-Ops have a shocked expression, and realize that Ruby wasn’t kidding about Team RWBY getting stronger.
  • Mêlée à Trois: When Clover and Qrow start fighting after Ironwood's order to arrest Qrow, Tyrian gets involved in the fight, having escaped from his cuffs. When Qrow tries to subdue Tyrian, Clover targets Qrow instead of helping to recapture the prisoner. For a short while, the three men all fight each other before Tyrian decides to help Qrow fight Clover. When he successfully convinces Qrow to join forces to subdue Clover, the fight becomes an Enemy Mine battle.
  • Murderous Thighs: At one point Harriet wraps her legs around Ruby's neck and squeezes before throwing her to the ground.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: Clover tries to get Qrow to surrender by offering to take them to Atlas so Robyn, who's been knocked unconscious and in need of serious help after the crash, could get medical assistance. Qrow lampshades this, saying that he never took Clover for the manipulative type.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: In Volume 2, Yang — who had been combat training for years and was 17 years old, was thrashed by Neo. Yang not only couldn't land a blow on her, but Neo knocked her out cold and was about to stab her to death until interrupted by Raven. When Team JNR reach their dorm room, they find signs of a terrible struggle but are quickly reunited with the 14-year-old Oscar when he charges around the corner to punch a disguised Neo so hard her Semblance breaks. Although he's a mess and Neo did manage to obtain the Relic of Knowledge off him, he's only been combat training for a few months, and therefore fared better against Neo than Yang did.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Ever since her debut, Penny has always been a source of cheerfulness and obedience. Though it made her sad at times, she still followed orders given to her and stayed positive about the reason. But when she learns from Ruby’s warning that Ironwood was abandoning Mantle, a city she was charged with protecting and that she and Winter were going to take Fria’s powers and possibly her life, Penny drops the cheeriness and becomes conflicted and angry. She rejects all of Winter’s reassurances, refusing to believe there’s any good in their actions, and even snarks back at one of Winter's claims about how “personal feelings don’t matter” when the latter worries about Fria.
  • Pass the Popcorn: A variant with no food involved. Tyrian is caught in the middle of a conflict between Qrow, Robyn and Clover when Ruby announces Ironwood's intent to abandon Mantle. When Clover receives his order to arrest Qrow, Tyrian can barely contain his excitement:
    Tyrian: [giggles] A free ride and a show.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: When Team RWBY vow to fight their way out of Ironwood's office, Harriet is incredulous that these kids actually believe they can stop Atlas's best Huntsman team. Ruby calmly tells her they were the best until they trained Team RWBY.
    Harriet: You think you're going to stop us? [scoffs] We're the best Huntsmen in Atlas.
    Ruby: You were. Then you trained us.
  • Skewed Priorities: Clover prioritizes arresting Qrow over helping him take down Tyrian despite Tyrian being the more blatantly dangerous of the two. It ends up costing him dearly in the end when Qrow gets fed up with it and teams up with Tyrian to get Clover out of the fight, which ends with Tyrian killing Clover while Qrow is distracted.
  • Skyward Scream: By the end of the episode, the morning sun rises over the sight of a kneeling Qrow screaming towards the sky beside the deceased Clover.
  • Snow Means Death: Qrow's fight happens on a frozen stretch of tundra after their airship crashes while transporting Tyrian from Mantle to Atlas. When Tyrian impales Clover, the camera focuses on the blood splattering across the snow. As Clover lies prone on the snow, blood pools from his chest wound to stain the snow around him and, when Qrow kneels beside him, snowflakes begin to fall from the sky.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • RWBY as a whole, due to their training with the Ace-Ops, are able to defeat their more experienced and elite opponents through a combination of skill, teamwork, and exploiting their weaknesses.
      • Weiss, in particular, gets to show off her new mastery of her glyphs, launching icicle spears, waves of fire, gusts of wind, and creating fog to cage in Marrow. Her summons are also shown to be given a level of autonomy, allowing them to continue attacking even after he halts her in place.
      • Ruby is also shown to have improved in hand-to-hand combat, wriggling out of Harriet's arm lock before using her own bola to tie her up and knock her to the floor. In Volume 2, she would have been helpless without Crescent Rose.
    • Oscar shows this as well. He's fast enough to charge Neo before she can react and strong enough to punch her a decent distance down the hallway.
  • This Cannot Be!: When Neo gets punched by Oscar so hard that she's knocked out of her transformation there's a clear look of shock on her face that he did so.
  • This Is the Part Where...: Maria says "This is the part where they ask for our help" when she and Pietro enter the scene at the end of the episode just as Team RWBY has finished fighting the Ace-Ops. Maria's not referring to the fight she just missed but the fact that the team needs to split up to find their missing friends and need to get their disabled scrolls working again.
  • Troll: Seconds after brutally impaling Clover, Tyrian quips mockingly about Clover's dying state to Qrow.
    Tyrian: Yeesh. Doesn't look like your friend's going to make it.
  • True Companions: The biggest reason why Team RWBY is able to defeat the Ace-Ops is their unshakable trust in each other thanks to them being Fire-Forged Friends, while the Ace-Ops only view each other as mere coworkers and thus lack that sense of true camaraderie which causes them to fall out of sync as they bicker with each other over conflicting motivations.
  • Tsundere: After spending much of the volume making jabs at RWBY and being aloof, Marrow shows how much he actually does care about the team despite his Undying Loyalty to Ironwood, being the member of Ace-Ops most reluctant to actually fight. He's visibly distressed throughout the entire fight and spends a lot of it just trying to talk Weiss down.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Ace-Ops has spent the volume training Team RWBY intensively and fighting side-by-side with them in the field, which should give them a good indication of what Team RWBY is capable. However, when Team RWBY declare their intention to fight Ace-Ops' attempt to arrest them, Harriet is incredulous that a bunch of kids could believe that're capable of defeating the best Huntsman team in Atlas. Ruby simply replies that they were the best until they trained Team RWBY.
  • Undying Loyalty:
    • The Ace-Ops make it clear their loyalty is to Ironwood first before fighting RWBY. While Marrow and Vine downplay this by having clear reservations and aiming to apprehend or talk down their opponents, Harriet and Elm play it straight to disturbing levels, the two acting just shy of Ax-Crazy as they make clear their intentions to use lethal force while calling RWBY traitors that deserve what's coming to them.
    • Invoked by Clover. When Qrow tries to appeal to Clover's reason and asks him to think about what he's doing, Clover disregards it and declares he owes Ironwood his life. Shortly after, Tyrian fatally stabs him with Harbinger. Only as he's dying does Clover forsake his loyalty and admits someone had to be the fall guy, then wishes Qrow luck with his dying breath.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: The fight reveals the Ace-Ops to be a lot more dysfunctional than initially believed, with their bickering and conflicting motivations causing their teamwork to fall apart and lose one by one.
  • With Friends Like These...: The name of the title, alluding to the Ace-Ops turning on the heroes and their own bickering getting in the way of their signature teamwork from previous episodes.
  • With My Hands Tied: Ruby manages to get bindings on Harriet's arms but not on her legs. This leaves Harriet free to continue blitz and fight Ruby by using her legs in wrestling moves. Harriet is only taken down when Weiss unexpectedly arrives and creates an ice-wall between Ruby and a charging Harriet. Unable to stop in time, Harriet crashes into the wall and falls unconscious.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: After getting her hands tied, Harriet keeps fighting Ruby by using wrestling moves with her legs. She even pulls a hurricanrana on Ruby during their brawl.

"Good luck."

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