Pomp and Circumstance
Directed by Paula Decanini & Dustin Matthews
Riding the high of completing their first mission in Atlas, the gang is itching to hone their skills and provide some much-needed help to the citizens of Mantle.
Tropes in this episode include:
- Brutal Honesty: When Ironwood expresses concern that someone is trying to frame him for the murder of Mantle opponents, Jaune bluntly mentions that if the Dust embargo hadn't made everyone so mad at him, they probably wouldn't be so quick to blame him for everything else that's going on. Although he's immediately sheepish about his outburst, Ironwood agrees with him.
- Call-Back: When Jacques starts using Weiss' mother to guilt trip her, Blake's ears flatten and she glares at him. In the Volume 6 character short, Adam used Blake's parents to guilt trip Blake into supporting him, despite her instincts telling her that Adam's growing body count on missions was a warning sign that he wasn't the man she'd originally thought him to be.
- Cannot Keep a Secret: Penny abruptly arrives at the mine with a huge congratulations for everyone, accidentally giving away the fact that Ironwood had a surprise planned for the kids. While Ironwood gives a speech inside the empty Amity Colosseum, Penny bounces in impatient excitement, as she waits for him to get to the point: granting them their Huntsmen licences.
- Faking the Dead: When Watts unexpectedly turns up at the Schnee mansion, Jacques is shocked because he thought Watts was dead. Watts confirms that was deliberate; he wanted everyone to think he was dead.
- Family of Choice: When Jacques tries to guilt trip Weiss using her mother's alcoholism, she explicitly tells him that Team RWBY is her family.
- Field Promotion: Ironwood states that the dangers they've faced during the Battle of Beacon, in the wilds of Anima, and against the forces of Salem, means they're not functioning at the level of students, they're functioning as Huntsmen. He therefore promotes them to fully licenced Huntsmen on the basis of their field experience even though they haven't completed their schooling.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Discussed. Although teams RWBY and JNR know Ace Ops was put together based on complimentary skill sets, they automatically assume that the team must be really good friends. When they see just how well the five members work together as a team in the field, they assume the bonds of friendship must be equally as strong as the friendships within the Beacon teams were forged and strengthened that way. However, when Ace Ops realises what the heroes are thinking, they make it absolutely clear that they aren't friends. Elm regards forming friendships within the team as childish and something only school children would do. When a baffled Yang questions whether shared battle experiences would inevitably change team dynamics to make people closer than simply colleagues, Harriet explains that, while the Ace Ops trust each other with their lives, that's just professionalism — and they never confuse professionalism with friendship.
- Mundane Utility: When Ironwood grants teams RWBY and JNR their Huntsmen licences, he laments that he wasn't able to provide a proper ceremony for them. However, he did provide cake. Penny supplies the cutting utensils in the form of her combat weapons, using multiple swords to slice the cake into serving slices.
- Mythology Gag: When admiring Elms hammer, Nora asks if they want to form a duo which she dubs Thunder Thighs. Nora had used the term thunder thighs in the RWBY Chibi episode Nora Workout.
- Not So Similar: When Ruby admits she's worried that she's no different than Ozpin for hiding the truth from Ironwood, Qrow tells her that the situation is different: he argues that Ozpin hid the truth because he only trusted himself whereas Ruby is willing to tell people the truth after they've earned her trust. Ruby isn't fully convinced by the argument.
- Oblivious Guilt Slinging: Ironwood continues the tradition from the last few episodes by mentioning how he can't imagine anyone more trustworthy. RWBY and JNR give each other uncomfortable looks, well aware of the irony.
- Oh My Gods!: When Ironwood is granting Teams RWBY and JNR their Huntsmen licenses, he says "Brothers know you deserve it" instead of "God knows". This is in reference to the two divine brothers who created Remnant, the Grimm and humanity.
- Precision F-Strike: Jacques calls Ironwood a bastard while complaining to Watts about how the dust embargo has been costing his company.
- The Reveal: After obtaining her Huntress licence, Ruby asks Qrow whether her mother's last mission had anything to do with Ozpin. Qrow surprises her by saying that Ozpin was as mystified by Summer's last mission as the rest of them: while Qrow acknowledges that he doesn't have any way of knowing just how many secrets Ozpin is still keeping from everyone, he describes Summer's last mission as a 'Summer secret' that even Ozpin didn't appear to know anything about.
- Slasher Smile: After hearing Jacques complain about Ironwood's embargo and how he wouldnt be firing all the Mantle workers if it wasn't for the fact he needs their election votes, Watts suggests that he knows of a way for Jacques to have his cake and eat it, too. The episode ends on Watts giving Jacques a smile that bares all his teeth, giving him a slightly psychotic expression.
- Sweet and Sour Grapes: Teams RWBY and JNR all finally receive their full Huntsman licenses, which for most of them was their primary goal while they were students at Beacon. However, their reactions aren't as strong as they expected. Yang states that she had forgotten it was all she wanted at Beacon, while Blake seemed to have accepted that it wasn't a possibility after the Fall. Weiss goes on to say that after everything they've faced since then and what they're striving for now, the promotion seems almost trivial.
- Take a Third Option: Once Watts prods Jacques into venting about Ironwood, Jacques complains that his election campaign relies on Mantle's voters voting for him - which can't happen if he recoups his monetary losses by firing every employee in Mantle, as he's planned to do in the face of the embargo. Watts then closes the episode by saying "What if I said you could have your cake... and eat it, too?"
- True Companions: Discussed between the heroes and Ace Ops. The two Beacon teams consider their teams to be their families and they have extremely tight bonds of friendship as a result. Due to the ability of Ace Ops to function so well as a team they almost seem to act as one being, teams RWBY and JNR automatically assume that Ace Ops much have an even deeper bond with each other. The Ace Ops are quick to correct that notion; Elm tells them that kind of thinking is childish and Harriet clarifies that, while they trust each other with their lives, that's merely part of the job; they aren't friends and they never confuse friendship with professionalism.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: When Ruby worries she's no better than Ozpin for hiding the truth from Ironwood, Qrow attempts to reassure her by saying she's right to ask people to prove themselves trustworthy before she tells them the truth. He states Ozpin's problem was that he only trusted himself with the truth, and that's not what Ruby's doing. Ruby isn't fully convinced.