Worst Case Scenario
Directed by Connor Pickens
How far would you be willing to go to do what's right?
Tropes in this episode include:
- Adult Fear: Despite the fact that the video of Penny has been revealed as doctored to the public, many are still calling for her to be deactivated, with some even threatening to destroy her themselves. Pietro is understandably terrified by the threats being made towards his daughter, breaking down in tears at the thought of what would happen if the people got their hands on her.
- Cliffhanger: The last scene shows Winter and Ironwood both getting invited to dinner at Jacques Schnee's mansion, in an effort by the latter to dislodge Ironwood's control of the council.
- Curse Cut Short: Robyn is about to say "Bullshit" to not getting the entire truth about Amity Tower when Yang cuts her off.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: Winter holds up a file to the camera on Tyrian's back history, but the episode needs to be paused to be able to read the detail. The detail strongly implies that Tyrian first met Salem when she personally rescued him from a prison transport ship by flying Grimm into a Grimm-free zone. The last recorded message from the transport consists of the guards asking "What are you? What are you?" while Tyrian sobs "beautiful".
- Hero with Bad Publicity: The fallout from Penny getting framed has resulted in many Mantle citizens calling for her deactivation, despite the news revealing that the video was faked.
- I Did What I Had to Do: When discussing Yang's discomfort with lying to Ironwood, Blake reveals that she doesn't like the path they're on and mentions killing people as one of the signs they're not heading in a good direction. Yang addresses this reference to their killing of Adam by pointing out they did what they had to do. She agrees with Blake's concerns, and Blake agrees that killing Adam was something they had no choice but to do.
- Innocently Insensitive: Oscar tells Ironwood that it feels very strange to know a part of him was responsible for the creation of the Vault of the Winter Maiden. Ironwood attempts to reassure him by saying that he'll get used to it and that, eventually, he won't even know who's who anymore. Oscar is standing behind him, so he doesn't see how Oscar deflates at that comment; Volume 6 revealed that Oscar's biggest fear was that he's nothing more than just another of Ozma's lives.
- Invisibility: May has the ability to create invisibility fields; By making her hands glow with Aura, she can cloak areas that are large enough to hide several people and even vehicles.
- It's Personal: Ironwood reveals to Oscar that the way Salem made her presence known in Vale has left a lasting impression on Ironwood. While experiencing a flashback to the computer monitors displaying the Black Queen motif that represented her, he admits that even with all his army there he has never felt so helpless. He's absolutely determined not to end up like Leo.
- The Last Straw: Clover comments that the attack on Robyn's people during her campaign party was the "last push" for Robyn to fully embrace being a vigilante, which is why she's stealing construction lorries and returning the supplies back to Mantle companies. Mantle suppliers have also stopped doing business with Atlas in protest of the attack.
- Living Lie Detector: By taking a person's hand, Robyn can encase both clasping hands in her Aura. When so joined, she can tell if her target is lying whenever she asks them a question. When a person tells the truth, her Aura turns green.
- Morton's Fork: The heroes are stuck in one concerning the Amity project being stalled. Institute martial law to force the supplies through? The resentment of Atlas spills over and triggers a Grimm attack. Tell the public about Amity? Salem's forces could get wind of it and sabotage the project. Tell the public about Salem? The ensuing panic triggers a Grimm attack. In the end, Blake and Yang decide to try telling Robyn about Amity and swearing her to secrecy in the hopes that letting her in on the loop will take the pressure off.
- Never Found the Body: Tyrian's bio reveals that the prison transport he was traveling on was attacked under mysterious circumstances. His body was never found and he was declared dead. However, he then revealed that he was still alive by killing the Huntsman who had suspected all along that he'd be able to escape. It resulted in his "deceased" status being changed to "missing".
- OOC Is Serious Business: Nora is usually a happy, optimistic, enthusiastic person, even in terrible situations. However, ever since the heroes arrived in Atlas-Mantle, she's become increasingly vocal, angry and impatient about the harsh conditions that Mantle is currently suffering as a result of Ironwood's decision. In this episode she descends into a full-blown rant at him, dismissing his claim that everyone has made sacrifices and bluntly stating that Mantle's bearing the burden alone.
- Plot-Based Photograph Obfuscation: Downplayed since it's only obscured until the end of the scene. As he reminisces about Penny's creation, Pietro holds a photo depicting the team of Atlesian scientists he was once a part of before they each moved to develop their own project to help Atlas. His finger covers the head of the scientist furthest to the right until he puts the photograph back down. Moving his hand away reveals that the hidden person is Watts.
- Power of the Void: Fiona's Semblance allows her to dematerialize objects as large as a supply convoy truck and its contents with a small black hole, that seemingly leads to a pocket dimension. It's implied that Fiona can use this ability to reconstruct those same objects as well.
- The Reveal:
- The reason there is only one Penny in existence is because the Aura that sustains her soul comes from Pietro himself. He has to donate part of his Aura every time he rebuilds her. As a result, his Aura has permanent holes in it that do not regenerate.
- When Pietro mentions how his Penny project was chosen over those of his colleagues, he is reminiscing over a photograph of himself with four colleagues. When he moves his thumb away from the one it's covering, the obscured scientist is revealed to be Watts.
- Although everyone believes that Atlas floats because of Gravity Dust, the secret truth is that the Staff of Creation was used. The choice was made because the Staff is a seemingly limitless energy source that might be able to take the city so high in the atmosphere that Grimm can't reach it. However, because the Staff can only be used for one purpose at a time, it cannot be used to raise Amity Tower into the air, which is why Dust is being used for Amity.
- Right Hand vs. Left Hand: Jacques getting elected, Penny's frame-up, and the curfew put on Mantle has put more grey hairs on Ironwood. When Nora points out how keeping Mantle in the dark will result in Robyn and the people getting bolder about supply stealing, he tells them about how much more panic the truth about Salem and Tyrian will cause.
- Spotting the Thread: During a discussion with Dr. Polendina and Maria about the access to Atlesian systems needed to pull off that stunt with Penny, Weiss remembers that the heating grid Atlas relies on is overseen in part by the SDC. She then remarks that "something's not right" - indicating that she's spotted a potential link between her father and the mysterious hacker.
- Take a Third Option: Blake sympathizes with Robyn's desire to do what's best for the people and doesn't like the idea of arresting her. She's concerned about the slippery slope this puts them on so Yang suggests they try an alternative: they talk to Robyn and tell her about the plan to create Amity Tower and that there's a third party in Mantle that's trying to frame Atlas to turn Atlas and Mantle against each other. They refuse to tell Robyn who that third party is and ask that she trust what they've said. Although she accepts the truth of what they're saying, she's not happy to be denied the full story and warns them she's determined to know the full truth.
- These Hands Have Killed: As Blake and Yang are in a transport hoping Robyn will attack them, Blake begins to worry how many more lines they'll have to cross for the name of good, then laments how she never wants to go through with what she and Yang did to Adam ever again.
- Title Drop: Ironwood describes Jacques winning the election, Penny getting framed, and Robyn Hill going rogue as the worst-case scenario.
- We ARE Struggling Together: Defied. While Ironwood attempts to invoke this when Nora gets angry with him, she immediately calls him out for it and says that Mantle is ultimately suffering the most out of all this and that every plan of Ironwood's so far has done nothing but make the gap even larger.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Ironwood is being seen by both the citizens of Mantle and at least some of the heroes as increasingly dictatorial and unreasonable in his decision-making process and the human suffering he's willing to overlook for the sake of achieving the "greater good". When he responds to Robyn's increasing attacks on the construction supplies being diverted from Mantle to Amity Tower, he contemplates the possibility of enforcing martial law on Mantle, but a frustrated Nora quickly challenges it. When he tries to defend it by saying everyone must make sacrifices, Nora angrily notes that Mantle is bearing the burden alone.Nora: You keep talking about how we just need a little more time, but youre not the one having to struggle.
Ironwood: We have all needed to make sacrifices for the greater good. Mantle has had to bear a lot of the burden, but-
Nora: They're bearing all of it! The longer this waiting game goes on the harder each day gets for people down there, and now you want to send in more soldiers?! You can't force people to fall in line! If you do that, you'll just be trading all these problems for the Grimm!