A Night Off
Directed by Paula Decanini
Ironwood: Ordering it. After tonight's election, we'll be waking up to a very different Atlas tomorrow.
After constant missions and vigorous training sessions, the kids finally get a night off to relax! But attending a political rally may not be the most leisurely activity.
Tropes in this episode include:
- Armor-Piercing Attack: Tyrian sheaths his right arm in purple Aura energy that makes his eyes glow purple. With that hand, he strikes Fiona's body, causing her Aura to retreat as if dissolving away. Tyrian is then able to slice her unprotected body with his blades.
- And Then What?: Ren points out that, for all the heroes have been focused on whether or not to tell Ironwood about Salem's immortality, they still don't have a plan to actually beat her after the world finds out she exists.
- Batman Gambit: Tyrian and Watts enact a plan to incite unrest in Mantle that rests entirely on their understanding of how Penny behaves and fights. While Watts electronically manipulates everything from a remote location, he uses technology and security of footage of Penny's fighting style to guide Tyrian's massacre of people at Robyn's event. He allows Penny to see Tyrian just long enough for her to draw her swords before removing her ability to see him. When Tyrian attacks Fiona and Robyn, Penny rushes onto the stage to help them. Tyrian mutters that she's exactly where he wants her and departs, his job done. When Watts restores the lights to the room, there are multiple dead and dying individuals, and Penny standing on the stage with all her swords drawn, looking like the culprit. Their tracks are then covered by the Grimm that swarm in to attack Mantle due to the heightened negative emotions.
- Big Damn Kiss: Ren and Nora spend most of the episode arguing over the stresses and pressures of the Secret War they're involved in. It comes to a head during Robyn's political rally when Ren finally tries to shut down Nora's frustration and concern by pointing out that he's never been very good at talking. Hearing that, Nora decides to dismiss talking and get to the point by kissing him. It works.
- Blackmail Backfire: Discussed. On election day, Team RWBY discuss the early election results, which shows Robyn has a 70%-30% lead over Jacques. Weiss struggles to understand why he'd fire staff the day before the election given that he should have known it would turn people away from voting for him. Yang dismisses it as an attempt to get people to vote for him that has backfired. What they don't know is that the election is being manipulated from behind the scenes by Watts to ensure Jacques wins it.
- Busman's Holiday: The heroes have been working so hard on both missions and training that Ironwood orders them to take the night off, stating that the next day's election result is likely to cause big changes they need to be ready for. Ruby, Nora and Ren decide to spend their time off at a political rally for Robyn because Penny was able to obtain invites due to working security. Weiss lampshades that this isn't really taking time off from their work and is proven right; while there, Robyn's rally is attacked by Watts and Tyrian, resulting in many casualties and a Grimm attack on the city that the trio end up in the middle of.
- Continuity Nod: Way back in "A Minor Hiccup", Jaune extends an invitation to Weiss to go to the movies with him, which she unsurprisingly declines. Here, Jaune and Oscar drop by RWBY's dorm to find someone to go to the movies with them; this time, Weiss immediately accepts given that her only other choices are a loud nightclub with Blake and Yang, or a political rally with Ruby, Nora and Ren. Jaune is very surprised by the speed of her acceptance.
- Election Day Episode: The episode occurs against the back-drop of election day, where the results are coming in thick and fast for who has won the seat to the Atlas council. Although there are at least four contenders, the votes are entirely split between Robyn Hill and Jacques Schnee.
- Exact Words: A Discussed Trope. When Ruby, Ren and Nora discuss the situation with Ironwood, they come back to what Jinn told them about Salem being unkillable. Nora asks whether it's possible Jinn was saying Ozpin couldn't destroy Salem but someone else can, given that Oz asked Jinn how he could destroy Salem and she replied "You can't".
- Frame-Up: At Robyn's campaign party, Tyrian is hidden in the crowd. When Watts kills the lights, Tyrian massacres several people while Watts manipulates the security footage to make it look like Penny did it. When the lights come on, Tyrian is gone and Penny is standing on the stage with her blades drawn. Although Ruby sees Tyrian before the lights go out, and is able to tell Ren and Nora who really did it, everyone else believes that it was Penny.
- From Bad to Worse: Not only do Tyrian and Watts frame Penny for Tyrian's massacre, along with manipulating the election so that Jacques wins, after the heroes and Marrow manage to get Penny out of Robyn's building (and earning her distrust due to their association with Penny in the process), they soon spot an oncoming Grimm swarm drawn to the negativity, with Marrow noting that they've got a long night ahead of them.
- Innocently Insensitive: While debating with Marrow, Robyn declares that the law in Atlas isn't equal. Marrow fires back that he's well aware, showing his tail to remind her she's saying this to a Faunus.
- Ironic Episode Title: As the events of the evening culminate into a situation that causes so much negative emotions that it triggers a Grimm attack, the Hunters will not have a night off.
- Just a Machine: After Penny is framed for the massacre at Robyn's campaign party, someone in the crowd refers to her as "Ironwood's robot".
- "Kick Me" Prank: Inside Robyn's election party, there are security drones flying around. One of them has a 'kick me' sign taped to the back of it. In the first episode, the heroes' first close look at Mantle included the sight of two small children throwing stones at a security drone, and Yang later kicks one that flies up to her to take her photograph.
- Lampshade Hanging: Ren and Nora start arguing about Blake and Yang's relationship. Nora points out how two people who go through so much are bound to get closer, possibly even becoming more than just friends. Ren retaliates that perhaps one person is feeling that way while the other is too worried. Yang and Nora are both more forward in their feelings than Ren and Blake, who tend to be more closed off and nervous. Penny lampshades the fact that Ren and Nora are really arguing about their relationship rather than Blake and Yang by turning to Ruby and asking who Ren and Nora are really talking about. Ruby admits she doesn't know.
- Meaningful Background Event: Throughout the episode, a media feed to the live election results can be seen in the background. Every time the shot of the live feed comes into shot, the voting percentages between Jacques and Robyn have changed. As the episode progresses, the tally changes from 70%-30% in favor of Robyn to 53%-47% when the lights go out at Robyn's party. When the lights come back on, the focus is on all the people Tyrian has just killed but, in the background, the live feed reveals that Jacques has won the election.
- Only a Flesh Wound: After Fiona is slashed across her midsection by Tyrian, Robyn rushes to her side only for Fiona to hastily tell her she's okay.
- Third Wheel: When Ruby, Nora and Ren go out together to visit the political rally on their night off, Ren and Nora begin arguing about the state of their relationship. When Penny comes over to greet them, they continue arguing so Penny attempts to leave to return to her security duties. Ruby instantly grabs Penny's arm and begs not to be left behind with Ren and Nora. She departs with Penny but, upon returning later, finds Ren and Nora still arguing. Her shoulders slump and she grumbles that she should have gone to the cinema with Jaune and Oscar.
- This Is Gonna Suck: When the heroes and Marrow manage to get Penny out of Robyn's building, they pause to regroup and send Penny back to Atlas. That's when they spot the oncoming swarm of Grimm that are responding to the heightened negativity as a result of the massacre and realize they've got their work cut out for them.Marrow: We've got a long night ahead.
- Vote Early, Vote Often: Watts is manipulating the election behind the scenes, allowing Jacques to go from only having 30% of the vote compared to Robyn's 70% to winning the election. It's implied that Tyrian's attack, aside from framing Penny and, through her, Ironwood, was an effort to distract people from the results so they wouldn't question things too closely.