As Above, So Below
Directed by Paula Decanini
Will you tell the truth? Or will someone tell it for you? The answer can make all the difference in the world.
Tropes in this episode include:
- Already the Case: Once the Grimm launch an attack on Mantle, the other heroes point out to Ironwood that one of his main reasons for holding back information about Salem, to prevent widespread panic from causing a Grimm attack, is now null and void since everyone is already panicking about the heating being turned off and attracting Grimm anyway.
- Call-Back: In the series premiere "Ruby Rose", Jaune becomes known as "Vomit Boy" for throwing up on the transport ship bringing the new students to Beacon Academy. In this episode, when a Grimm latches onto their airship, Harriet is forced to try and wheel through the sky in an attempt to shake it off. Throughout the episode, Jaune becomes increasingly still, closing his eyes, leaning on his sword and eventually hanging his head. When the shaking of the ship becomes too intense, Jaune once again starts gagging as his motion sickness almost overwhelms him.
- Chekhov's Gunman: In the previous episode, waiters are shown serving the guests at Schnee Manor, including in the private dining room where the Council meeting is happening. One of the background waiters serving the council meeting is a woman with black hair and green eyes. At the end of this episode, this same waitress is revealed to be Neo, who infiltrated the social gathering and private meeting to collect intel for Cinder.
- Conflict Killer: Ironwood has been clashing with the council and Robyn because he has been secretly building the Amity Tower to restore global communications; his plan is to unite humanity against Salem. The council only sees that he's increasingly cutting them out of the loop and de-powering them in ways that look increasingly like abuse of power while Robyn only sees that he's diverting desperately needed construction supplies away from Mantle's ability to defend itself against Grimm attacks. Once evidence becomes clear of how Salem is manipulating events in Mantle and Atlas to turn the two cities against each other, Ironwood has no choice but to come clean to both the council and Robyn about Salem's existence and what he's trying to do. This brings them all together enough to be able to mount an effort to save Mantle from both freezing to death and being overrun by the Grimm.
- Didn't Think This Through:
- Jacques negotiated a deal with Watts to give up his account log-in details in exchange for election rigging to win a seat on the council. Ironwood notes that Jacques didn't consider the implications of what that meant: his account was upgraded to a full security clearance once he became a councilor, giving Watts full access to the Atlesian security systems. Watts is able to entrench himself so quickly and completely that, when the council finally learns the truth, not only can they not lock him out of the system but he's already locking them out.
- In a more humorous example of this trope, Weiss officially arrests Jacques, even flashing her Huntress license as she does so. She then pauses for a moment, before turning to Ironwood and sheepishly asking if she's actually allowed to do that.
- Digging Yourself Deeper: When the council finds out he collaborated with Watts to rig the election in exchange for his log-in credentials, which were upgraded to the highest level upon winning the election, Jacques tries to defend himself by insisting he "only" intended to win the election and had nothing to do with the massacre of Robyn's supporters, Penny being framed for it, or the shut-down of Mantle's heating grid. With every word, he just ends up making his situation worse and angering the others more and more: firstly, Councilman Sleet insist he stays to face the consequences; Weiss is then triggered into arresting him using her new Huntress licence; then Robyn throws a chair across the room at his flippant disregard for rigging elections; then Winter has a go at him about getting Mantle's heating grid up and running; finally, even Ironwood loses his temper with him.
- Finish Dialogue in Unison: When everyone leaves the council meeting to protect Mantle from the Grimm, Ruby catches up to Oscar and he turns just as she reaches him. Their conversation is full of embarrassing pauses and accidentally talking over each other until they both figure out they want the same thing and complete the exchange by saying they want to tell Ironwood the truth.
- Heroic BSoD: Ironwood is well on his way to one when he realises that Salem's plans have kicked off before he's had a chance to enact his own, turning his back on the others and becoming increasingly agitated until he ends up leaning against a wall with his face in his hand. Fortunately, Oscar and Ruby between them are able to talk him out of it with a You Are Not Alone speech, and he pulls himself together and comes up with a new plan.
- Implausible Deniability: Jacques tries to "explain" the video of him meeting with Watts and planning to steal the election by feebly declaring "That... isn't real." This fools precisely nobody.
- I'm Standing Right Here: While Ironwood muses out loud about what Watts has uncovered and absently answers questions from Team RWBY on how they can stop Watts, Robyn interrupts to remind everyone that she's still here. She then demands to know exactly what's going on and what Ironwood is protecting everyone from.
- Internal Reveal: Given the discovery that Watts is still alive and has hacked into the Atlesian security system and Mantle is being overrun by the Grimm, Oscar convinces Ironwood that now is the right time to tell the councilors and Robyn about Salem and her plans. While the councilors and Robyn absorb that information, Oscar privately tells Ironwood what Jinn told them about Ozpin hiding the fact that Salem cannot be destroyed.
- Mood Whiplash: After a dark and ugly meeting where the truth about Watts and Jacques comes out and everyone is horrified by the discovery of what Watts is doing and the danger Mantle is in, Weiss uses her new Huntsman license to arrest her father. She then suddenly turns to Ironwood and comedically asks if she's actually allowed to do that.
- Not Helping Your Case: Jacques tries to defend himself against the accusations by insisting he only intended to win the election, and had nothing to do with Watts framing Penny or hacking Atlas security. All he succeeds in doing is pissing Robyn off even more.Robyn: Only?! [throws a chair]
- Oh, Crap!:
- A waiter suddenly enters the council meeting and whispers to Jacques that the Mantle heating grid has been shut down with his access permissions. Jacques is visibly horrified by the news and orders the waiter to double-check it was his credentials that were used.
- When Weiss reveals she has a video recording of Jacques plotting to rig the election with Watts in exchange for handing over his account details, Jacques is at first shocked and then becomes alarmed and shifty.
- Past-Life Memories: When Oscar is convincing Ironwood to help Mantle, he reminds Ironwood that Atlas was supposed to be the city in the sky inspiring everyone to a higher standard. Ironwood is taken aback and starts to mention that it sounds like Oscar is talking as if he was there at the time, but they get interrupted before he can complete the thought.
- Rage Breaking Point: After the surveillance footage comes to light of Jacques scheming with Watts to rig the election in exchange for Jacques's account details, they realize that Mantle is in crisis with the heating grid shut down and the Grimm swarming the city. Robyn, who has spent the volume growing increasingly angry with Atlas's attitude towards Mantle's deteriorating situation, finally snaps when Jacques states he "only" wanted to win the election and throws a chair, shouting "Only?!"
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: A defied example. After Weiss plays the video of him and Watts, Jacques is quick to make a run for it. Unfortunately for him, Weiss uses her Arma Gigas summon to stop him before he can get far.
- Ship Tease: Ren is deeply unhappy and closed in on himself when the heroes are descending to Mantle in an airship. Nora notices and clasps his hand in her own. He responds to her gesturing by completing the clasp, but only calms down slightly. And when a Grimm latches onto the airship, forcing Harriet to make some evasive maneuvers, Ren holds Nora close to him to keep her safe.
- Smoking Gun: Jacques invites the council, as well as Robyn, to dinner at Schnee Manor to effectively try Ironwood for his recent actions. As the meeting progresses, everyone increasingly sides with Jacques against Ironwood until Robyn demands answers from Ironwood while her lie-detecting Semblance is active. At that moment, Weiss arrives and plays the video recording of Jacques plotting to rig the election with Watts in exchange for handing over his account details. The council is then faced with the realization that Mantle's heating grid has been shut down using Jacques's access and that Watts is steadily locking them out of Atlas's security system. Thus, Robyn and the councilors make peace with Ironwood and arrest Jacques instead.
- So Crazy, It Must Be True: While Sleet is skeptical of Ironwood's tale about Salem, Camilla believes it right away, reasoning that no one would tell such an outlandish lie.
- Speak in Unison: After having had a conversation where they finished saying the same thing at the same time, Ruby and Oscar begin to go their separate ways. At the last moment, they turn back and wish each other luck at the exact same time. Both sheepishly laugh and Ruby awkwardly points finger guns at Oscar before leaving.
- Stunned Silence: When Oscar tells Ironwood what Jinn told them about Ozpin's secret and that Salem can't be destroyed, he sits in frozen shock for a moment before curling forward in his seat and clamping a hand over his mouth as if he's about to either cry or be sick. It's several moments before he can speak again.
- Thinking Out Loud: While deliberating what to do over the Mantle crisis Ironwood talks his way through what Salem's attack plans appear to have been for Mantle and Atlas, putting together the connection between Watts and Tyrian, and referring to Salem as "she". Robyn listens to all of it and concludes that the reason he's been keeping secrets is not for his own self-interest but because he's genuinely trying to protect everyone.
- Villainous Breakdown: Jacques has quite a protracted one, starting when he finds out that Arthur used his own credentials to shut down Mantle's heating grid and block access to the SDC as a whole. Then Weiss bursts in with the recording, and Jacques is left a nervous wreck after some verbal bitch-slapping by Winter and the council. At the end of the episode, he's reduced to complaining to the officers hauling him into the paddy wagon about their "rough treatment" of him.
- You Are Not Alone: Ruby and Oscar successfully tell Ironwood he's not alone to snap him out of his funk, and he responds by bringing Robyn and the other two councilors into the fold.Oscar: Tell the truth.
Ruby: You're not alone. We can do this together.