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"Hey, Mom. Sorry I haven't come by in a while."
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Blake was right. The real world in RWBY isn't the same as a fairytale.

Although the series does seem lighthearted and optimistic on top of being portrayed in a laid-back animation style, RWBY is much heavier than it seems.


First Members see episodes 1 week before public release. As a courtesy, please do not trope them for 1 week until they have been released to the general public. Please only trope the episodes that have been released to the general public. For more information, please visit the RWBY Forum thread.


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Warning: Spoilers Off applies to these pages. Please proceed at your own risk.


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    Character Shorts 
  • The Volume 5 Weiss Character Short counts as awesome for the first half, but then she gets overwhelmed by the summoned Grimm. She shouts for Winter, and they all disappear. Weiss can only meekly apologize for slipping up, and a disappointed Winter only tells her that she'll have to get better in order to leave. Then she wakes with a start on the plane she escaped the Schnee estate on. Even though she's finally clear of Jacques and Whitley's tyranny, she's obviously not mentally out of the woods yet...
    Winter: *sigh* I won't always be around to save you, Weiss.
    Weiss: I'm sorry. I'll get better.
    Winter: You'll have to if you ever want to leave.
  • In the flashback of Blake's Volume 5 Character Short, Ilia and Blake are discussing the former's reasons for joining the White Fang. Ilia explains how hard she worked to fit in, and how she 'felt like a princess' to attend a school in Atlas. By her own admission, she did everything she could to fit in, even going along with her friends insulting other Faunus. Then one day, when an dust mining accident is reported on the news, her school friends snickered at the deaths of the Faunus mine workers. In that same moment, Ilia is ousted as a Faunus when her skin changes in response to her open grief, the implication being her parents were among the dead. Then she turned to her former fearful friends and broke their teeth.
    • We get another brief look at how far the White Fang has fallen through Ilia's associate. When he notices Blake and Sun and recognizes them, he opens fire on them, in the middle of a crowded area. The Faunus was willing to kill members of his own species just to escape justice for his violent actions. It makes you wonder how many members of the White Fang actually have the equality of their species in mind, or if all of them only care about themselves.
  • The Volume 6 Adam Character Short has quite a number of these, starting with the second scene. The White Fang convoy featuring Ghira, Adam, Sienna and Ilia gets stopped while just trying to pass through a town, by no more than simple racist citizens. While we have heard a lot about Faunus being discriminated against, this is the first time we see it happen in such a direct, real way.
    • There's Ghira's horrified reaction when Adam accidentally kills a townsperson to save his life. Ghira is shocked and guilty all at once, and Sienna trying to justify it doesn't do him any favors. Tellingly, Adam himself is cringing with regret afterwards, and looks up with palpable surprise as the rest of the White Fang applaud his actions.
    • Then there's a firsthand demonstration of Adam's emotional abuse of Blake, and it is quite sad. Not only does he bring up her parents, causing her to deflate and be sad, he then falsely apologizes for it, and tries to make himself out to be the victim. It's yet another reason to hate Adam.
    • After she takes the reins of the White Fang, Sienna is shown to be incredibly supportive and kind to Adam. However, what she seems to think is a Villainous Friendship, the viewers know will end in blood when he betrays and impales her. Her last words to him even poetically foreshadow it.
      Sienna Khan: Adam... if you continue along this path, you might just find yourself standing beside me in my throne.
    • Despite Adam having repeatedly shown what a complete and utter bastard he is, his haggard trek into the wilderness following his failed invasion of Haven Academy may elicit some sympathy. We have seen how he started out as a passionate advocate of civil justice for the Faunus, followed by his eventual transformation into a vindictive terrorist. With his faction of the White Fang now in shambles, his subsequent abandonment of his Grimm mask just cemented how truly alone he is now with his spitefulness and extremist ideals.

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Volume 1

     Jaunedice Part II  

  • The episode might as well be titled Harsher in Hindsight. Remember when it was sorta okay to laugh at Jaune being pathetic? Well, with Jaune's confession about how he found some forged transcripts and snuck his way into Beacon, those days are freaking over.
    Jaune: ...I wasn't really accepted into Beacon.
    Pyrrha: What do you mean...?
    Jaune: I mean I didn't go to combat school, I didn't pass any tests, I didn't earn my spot in this academy! I lied. I got my hands on some fake transcripts, and I lied.
    Pyrrha: What...? But, why...?
    Jaune: 'Cause this is what I've always wanted to be! My father, my grandfather, and his father before him were all warriors! They were all heroes. I wanted to be one too. I was just never good enough...
    Pyrrha: Then let me help you!
    Jaune: I don't want help! I don't want to be the Damsel in Distress—I want to be The Hero!
    Pyrrha: Jaune, I—
    Jaune: I'm tired of being the lovable idiot stuck in the tree, while his friends fight for their lives! Don't you understand? If I can't do this on my own... then what good am I?
    [Pyrrha reaches out to Jaune, but he flinches away]
    Jaune: Just—leave me alone... Okay...?
    Pyrrha: ... If...that's what you think is best... [leaves]

     The Stray  

  • Blake after her fight with Weiss...
    • Hell, the fight itself. Many will want to label Weiss as a racist, but it turns out that her position isn't as cut and dry as that. It turns out that the White Fang, a organization that Blake herself was once part of, is responsible for the kidnapping and possible murders of both associates of her grandfather's company as well as family members. Weiss then implies that she may have suffered abuse, the extent of which has not been revealed, at the hands of her father due to his anger. Anger that was caused by these actions. On the other hand, the Schnee Dust Company is heavily implied to be incredibly cruel to its Faunus workers, bordering on if not slavery. You can hardly blame them for wanting to rise up, but is going so far really justified? Blake may have left them because of exactly that reason, if her trailer is any indication. It's a war that's caused innocents on both sides to suffer. It's so tragic to see the effects it's had on both Weiss and Blake and we haven't even seen what actually happened to either of them, but if what's implied is true then it's hard to fault either of them for their opinions on the White Fang. And now the team may have been torn asunder...
      • To further elaborate on Blake's perspective above: back in episode one, it was mentioned that the White Fang was once a peaceful group. Drawing conjecture from the Black trailer and what's been revealed in the plot Blake probably had to watch as the White Fang transformed from a peaceful protest group into the apparent terrorists that they are now. Blake wasn't just trying to justify the White Fang to Weiss but also to herself. Imagine, watching the group that once stood for peace and equality turn into the human hating organization it is today. Having to watch friends and comrades grow more bitter and hateful, resorting to worse and worse methods to accomplish their goals until they don't even remember what they were fighting for to begin with.
      • Blink and you'll miss it, but you can see a second of recognition from Blake when Weiss mentions the train car. Considering that was the mission that seems to have tipped Blake over the edge and leave White Fang, having to deal with that dual emotions of the things she dislikes about White Fang while trying to maintain her frustration with Weiss's apparent indifference to the Fauna perspective shot her - and might've been part of what forced her confession.
    • Worse, when Blake runs away from the team after blurting out her secret in the heat of the moment. She runs out into the grounds, where she sees the statue seen in the opening of the Hunters. She looks up at them, with their raised weapons, looking heroic and triumphant... Then she focuses on the Creature of Grimm they're fighting: just a mindless beast to be put down. The comparison she's drawing is obvious.
    • Long story short, the situation is a massive mess of Gray-and-Grey Morality.
    • The sheer length of the argument counts. There's a Smash Cut between "near the docks of Vale" to the girls' dorm room and a shift from day to night before the two girls finally get to the meat of what's being argued over... and Ruby and Yang watching somberly as the argument drags on and on.
    • Ruby's absolute devastation as Blake speeds out of the room. She's watching her team fall apart, and she doesn't know what she should do.

Volume 2

     Best Day Ever  

  • Poor Tukson's fate. From what little screen time he had, we learn that, like Blake, he was a member of the White Fang and tried to leave, presumably since he thought they were going too far. Unlike Blake, he gets killed for it.

     Welcome To Beacon  

  • Blake's worry over the White Fang's plans. And worse, she knows that they won't wait for the world or the school to be ready before they move, and that they may never be ready even if they did.
    • Even after Blake had previously agreed to let the team know if anything was worrying her, she had to be pushed by Weiss into voicing her deep concerns about the White Fang. This implies that Blake still doesn't completely trust her teammates, which says a lot about how she grew up.
  • Ozpin's final words to a departing Ironwood. You can tell by his tone that he wishes for nothing more then to spare his students from the burdens that they will inevitably have to face.
    Ironwood: But ask yourself this. Do you honestly believe your children can win a war?
    Ozpin: [quietly] ...I hope they never have to.
  • When Ozpin is debriefing Blake in-flashback, near the end of the conversation, he says with the most anguished look on his face, "If you ever feel the need to talk, don't hesitate to ask," implying that something may have happened to a student who did not take the offer.
    • The talk itself is also rather sad. Ozpin spends the first part behaving rather sternly, but at some point his expression changes to one of genuine concern. He's worried.

     A Minor Hiccup  

  • Penny just seems pretty terrified throughout the episode, and like she genuinely wants to tell Ruby but doesn't know if she can trust her, or anyone.
    • And after an incident involving a truck and the old man that runs the "From Dust Till Dawn" shop, it turns out that she's a robot.
    • When Penny begins to explain, her exact words are that she's "not a real girl". Not "normal", but "real". What does this mean for how she views herself?
    • The sheer desperation in her voice as she begs Ruby to promise that they're friends. You can tell just how terrified she is that Ruby will abandon her once she knows.
  • Weiss trying to fake a smile at the thought of talking to her father. As of this episode, the extent of his treatment of her isn't clear, but it's obvious that he's someone that she desperately doesn't want to talk to.
    • Weiss' line about wanting bunk beds as kids gets a whole lot sadder when we learn that she does indeed have a sister.
    • We see her trying to smile directly, we see her failing in the reflection of the monitor. "Mirror, mirror" indeed.
    • There's something very sad about the way she politely insists to the confused Schnee Company operator that she doesn't want to talk to her family. The operator assumes that like normal family, Weiss would want to talk to her sister or father, and Weiss knows that normal people would be happy to do so. The operator's innocent questions just emphasize how screwed up things are.
  • Ruby seems almost distraught over not knowing what happened to Penny. Her tone gets more and more stressed and she seems desperate to keep her friend close.

     Painting The Town...  

  • Torchwick quickly wins over the crowd of Faunus by acknowledging that he's not a good person and pointing out their common enemy: "the ones in control". While Torchwick is likely lying to win them over, it really says a lot about their lot in life that all he has to do is just remind them of that and they're willing to work with a known criminal who doesn't even try to hide his own (worse-than-average) Fantastic Racism against them.
  • Blake's explanation of why the White Fang wear Grimm masks as a symbol of becoming the very monsters humanity tries to portray them as. In many ways, its a sad reflection of how far the White Fang has fallen from its once-noble goals.

     Extracurricular  

  • Poor Blake is not faring well after the last episode. She's dozed off during sparring trials, seems too tired to even keep up with the girls walking, got baggy eyes from a lack of sleep, doesn't want to eat, coldly turns down Sun's invite to the dance citing they both have better things to do, and ignores her team's suggestion that she go to the dance to let off some steam. Volume 2 is shaping Blake up to be one of the biggest Woobies in the show.
  • Poor Pyrrha cannot get out of the friendzone. Jaune even obliviously talks to her about his failed attempts to woo Weiss. It almost hurts how hard she tries to drop hints to him only to have them fly over his head.
    Jaune: It's...Weiss.
    Pyrrha: *Frowns* ...Oh... *Forces herself to perk up* What about her?
    Jaune: I asked her to the dance and she shot me down. Ha...big surprise, right? Heheh...
    Pyrrha: Well...I believe the saying goes 'There's...plenty of fish in the sea...' *Averts her eyes for a second*
    Jaune: That's easy for you to say. You've probably got guys clambering over each other just to ask you out.
    Pyrrha: Heheh... You'd be surprised...
    Jaune: Oh please. *Walking away* If you don't get a date to the dance, I'll wear a dress. Ha! *Pyrrha is visibly saddened as he leaves*
  • Jaune's attempt at asking Weiss out with a song. Her rejection of him is expected but what makes it extra sad is her comment that boys have always been more interested in the perks of her last name. It didn't even occur to her that, like with Pyrrha, Jaune probably has no idea who the Schnees are and is interested in Weiss because of her and not her rich family.
  • An understated moment is the reveal that Team CFVY was originally organizing the dance, but since they are running late with a mission, RWBY is finishing the preparations in their stead. Nothing is addressed on-screen now or by the time CFVY returns (several episodes later), but it's kinda sad to think that CFVY completely missed the dance / didn't get to see their initial efforts come to fruition.

     Burning The Candle  

  • The story of Ruby and Yang's parents: Their dad had been on a team with Summer Rose, Qrow, and Yang's mom - then one day Summer never came back from a mission, it tore both children up, and their dad just kinda shut down. The reason for this being that Summer wasn't his first love lost; it was Yang's mom, who had left them before this. This drove Yang to find out what she could, to the same extremes that Blake is currently going through - so one night, when dad was out of the house, she took the sleeping toddler Ruby in a wagon and walked for hours, when they finally arrived at an abandoned house...only to find it's now inhabited by Grimm. They wouldn't have lasted a second if not for their uncle Qrow.
  • And right after that we have the exhausted, feeble Blake insisting she can fight against evils like Torchwick, while Yang, fighting back tears and desperate for her teammate to stop self-destructing, shouting that Blake can't even budge a 17-year-old girl. Really shows how much these Huntresses-to-be just want each other's support in the middle of an uncertain moment.
  • Pyrrha once again tries to help Jaune with his love troubles and once again it obviously tears her up inside to do it, what's worse is that both Nora and Ren witness it this time with sad faces.
    Nora: [sad-eyed] Practice what you preach, Pyrrha.
  • Jaune's reaction to Weiss asking Neptune to the dance. It's subtle, but you can almost feel the pain he felt. It can definitely strike a chord with people who know what it's like to be rejected, no matter what you do.

     Dance Dance Infiltration  

  • Weiss on her own, trying and failing to neaten the single drooping flower in the vase, clearly she's using her natural perfectionist tendencies as an attempt to hide how upset she must be at being turned down by Neptune.
  • Pyrrha's story about her life before JNPR. She received all the love and support she needed from her former friendships and, naturally, she gave her best to live up to their expectations thus becoming the champion she is now. Everyone's intentions were good, yet because of her feats, those friendships... vanished.

     Search and Destroy  

  • Blake's reason for becoming a Huntress is that she realizes the world is a terrible place and that not many people were willing to fight to change that, so she'd taken it upon herself.
    • Worsened when Oobleck asks her, "How?" and she can't come up with an answer.
  • Oobleck sadly talking about the lives that could have been saved and the conflicts that could have been prevented if the people would just understand each other better.
  • Oobleck asks Weiss, Yang and Blake just why they had chosen to lead the life of Hunters. When none of the three can give a solid answer, he looks genuinely disappointed.

     Mountain Glen  

  • Blake's reasoning as to her weaknesses. Whenever she came across a situation she didn't like, or know how to respond to, she just ran. When Adam became more extreme in his methods, she ran. When her friends found out she was a Faunus, she ran. Even her Semblance isn't spared of this: she creates a copy to take the hit, while she runs. It's hard not to feel bad for her.
  • The story behind Mountain Glen. After the Grimm overran the aboveground, the people tried to make an underground village as one last attempt at survival. It worked for a short period of time, but subterranean Grimm eventually broke in, prompting the kingdom to seal off the tunnels. Their last attempt at survival ended in creating the world's largest tomb.
    • Notable about this is the way Oobleck actually slows down as he describes these events. Before, in every scene he'd been appeared in, he's always kept up a very quick pace in all speech; even when he's calm, he'll maintain his rapid speech. Here? There are many long pauses within his sentences. The impact this leaves is...rather jarring, in a way.

     No Brakes  

  • After winning almost every battle for the entire series, with little injury or consequence, the girls are finally defeated. And it is not pretty. Torchwick's plan to fill the town with Grimm goes off without a hitch, while Team RWBY are lucky to be alive. At the end of the episode, Ruby quietly takes in her surroundings as people begin to panic and seems to be on the verge of a Heroic BSoD. Of course, this being Ruby, that lasts barely a minute before she narrows her eyes in determination.

Volume 3

    Opening 
  • The opening for the third volume manages to outdo the previous two in somberness, and considering the lyrical and video content of them, that's really saying something. First, we start off with a rose petal falling from the sky and landing on a lone rose while the text "Created by Monty Oum" appears, backed by slow piano music right before said rose is crushed by an army of Grimm. Later, we see Blake walking through what appears to be the Forever Fall forest (presumably the same one as seen in the Black trailer). She sees Adam, with the White Fang behind him, and he seems to look away from Blake, almost in shame of what he'd become. Later, we see Weiss and her sister, Winter, facing each other for a moment, only for Winter to turn away from Weiss with an angry expression on her face, with Weiss's face falling as Winter leaves. Same thing goes with Qrow and Ruby, with Qrow and Winter confronting each other as a photo of Qrow's old, disbanded team floats past. We see Team RWBY and Team JNPR falling from the sky holding hands, only to be blown apart. Team JNPR fall away, leaving only RWBY together, while Ruby looks on in fear. Around the end of the video, we see the titular team sitting back-to-back under a Dramatic Spotlight, with sad looks on each of their faces. Ruby's the only one with her eyes opened, like everyone else is just too drained to even respond to whatever it was they just went through.
    • Another one, in the same video. In the scene where they're all falling, pay attention to where Ruby's looking when the camera zooms in on her face, showing a forlorn expression. Where is she looking? To her left and downwards. Now back the video up and look who was on her left when they were all falling together.note 
    • The same sequence becomes even sadder when we know the fates of the characters to come. Pyrrha tumbles out of shot completely, and at the end of season 3 she's been killed by Cinder. Yang loses her grasp on the group, which seems to foreshadow her losing her arm and subsequent apathetic depression.
    • Lyrics to the new opening, When It Falls, only make it worse. Previous OPs were a bit dark, but also uplifting, while this one sounds like it's sung by someone on the edge of Despair Event Horizon.
      There'll be no rest, there'll be no love,
      There'll be no hero in the end who'll rise above,
      And when it ends, the good will crawl,
      The shining light will sink in darkness,
      Victory for hate incarnate,
      Misery and pain for all,
      When it falls...

     Round One  

  • Ruby stands in front of her mother's grave looking far smaller and more vulnerable than she normally does. She talks to her mother, getting her up to speed on how her life has been. It's the last scene Monty worked on before his death and feels like a tribute to Monty Oum's memory. The imagery, the dialogue...it's almost as if it's not just Ruby speaking to her mother...it's all of RT speaking to Monty. The scene ends with crows, Monty's signature bird, flying into the setting sun. This isn't just a pretty, artsy shot, it's actually a visualisation of Monty's signature.
  • Nora's nervous breakdown is a bit over the top, but at one point she mentions that she and Ren don't have any parents and have nowhere else to go if Beacon doesn't work out for them.

     It's Brawl in the Family  

  • The interactions between the Schnee sisters just show how broken their childhood is. While they do genuinely care for each other, that care and concern is awkwardly squashed into an exceedingly formal conversation, and Winter resorting to hitting Weiss upside the head just to shut her up shows how far removed the structure of their relationship is from normal siblings.
    • Becomes even worse when compared to Ruby and Qrow's interactions at the end of Winter and Qrow's brawl, when Ruby latches on to Qrow's arm, and he affectionately musses her hair, and in general acts like a cool older brother to Ruby. The contrast between the two families, Schnee and Rose-Branwen, couldn't be starker.
  • The fact Qrow is normally drunk qualifies. His sister disappeared nearly 2 decades ago, Summer is presumed dead, and Taiyang simply shutdown in grief for a long time. Qrow's response is to numb everything with alcohol.

     Lessons Learned  

  • Velvet's reaction to Coco and Yatsuhashi losing their match by knockout. Poor girl can only whisper Coco's name in shock. Thankfully Fox is there so they can support each other.
  • While Qrow speaks of it with pride, the sorry state of his team's photo implies he's been through a lot of pain with the disappearance of half his team. Harsher when you take into consideration that he called them the "coolest team that ever has ever graduated Beacon."
    • There's a glass stain surrounding Summer's image, and what appears to be tear drops over his and Raven's image.
  • Weiss and Winter's interactions in this episode make it clear that, not only does Winter very much so care for her younger sibling, but shares her rather low opinion of their father.

     Never Miss A Beat  

  • Flynt Coal's father used to own a Dust shop, before the SDC ran him out of business. Weiss's reaction on hearing this is one of shame and regret, compounded by him not believing her genuinely sincere apology.

     Fall  

  • Seeing Pyrrha grow increasingly scared, uncertain, and generally nervous around the headmasters she once wholeheartedly trusted and respected is hard to watch given how she normally is. She sounds on the verge of tears as she speaks with Ozpin, Goodwitch, Ironwood, and Qrow, a far cry for her normally composed demeanor. She might be an ace in the world of RWBY, a pro at fighting, a world renowned champion, but she's still an innocent 17-year-old girl who was happily enjoying her everyday life with her friends - the weight of the next choice, whether or not to become the next Fall Maiden, is clearly something she wasn't prepared to face and can potentially change or even ruin the life she's been enjoying so lovingly until now.
  • Yang getting goaded into breaking Mercury's leg. What the spectators see is Yang attacking him for no reason, just to rub in her victory, and they subsequently start booing and jeering her. That includes everyone who watched the tournament which is broadcasted worldwide. Her angrily telling Mercury he deserved it doesn't help in the viewers's eyes, despite Yang only acting in self-defense. And on top of that, Yang is arrested. Her confused, terrified expressions as it dawns upon her what just happened, and the shocked expressions of her teammates sell it. All while a somber piano version of "I Burn" plays in the background. Easily one the saddest endings in the series thus far. And the worst thing is, this happened in front of the whole world, this is something that will haunt Yang forever, and she just looks so vulnerable and small.
    • Think about it this way, "I Burn" usually plays when Yang's winning her fights, but having the slow piano version playing is almost like saying "Yeah, you won... but everyone you know won't look at you the same way again." It doesn't help that we see Ruby, Weiss and Blake's reactions to what Yang did.

     Beginning of the End  

  • It was sad enough just learning about Amber's situation in the last episode, being a young woman in coma on life support who is almost guaranteed to die soon. This episode shows that the reason she is in that state was because she stopped to help what she thought was an injured and crying little girl that resembled Emerald.
  • The circumstances by which Mercury meets Cinder and Emerald - his father dead by his own hands. According to Merc, Qrow smells like "my dad after a long day," implying that his dad was an abusive drunk. While his anger is understandable, to think that he was willing to kill his own father, just to escape the abuse, explains why Merc is so willing to kill.
  • Adam and the White Fang being forced to work for Cinder for their own safety not because they are evil, but because before then they had some standards and morals to not join and die for a cause that would only truly benefit humans.
    • Even before Cinder had gotten her power, Adam is unwilling to sacrifice any of his men under him for her "human cause", but afterwards he is stuck in a situation where he has no choice but to sacrifice the few for the rest during the breach, just to save themselves from Cinder's newfound power.
  • The fact that Beacon's reputation is being questioned by the citizens after what happened with Yang.

     Destiny  

  • It's clear that Ironwood really doesn't want to kick Team RWBY out of the tournament. He believes Yang went through something that made her react the way she did, but the public's opinion has essentially taken it out of his hands.
    • Ironwood seems to truly hope that Yang was hallucinating. Furthermore, he says "... Sometimes you see things that simply aren't there; even after the fight has passed." And then his right shoulder twitches- The arm of the side that we later learn is entirely metal. What happened to him? He says 'even after the fight has passed', which implies that this was either a result of a Grimm attack or fighting a rogue Huntsman. Either way, he got bitten or cut in half. And not only that, but he apparently hallucinated as a result of this- when he talks to Yang, it sounds like he's speaking from personal experience.
  • You wouldn't think it would be possible for the tough-as-nails, extremely cheerful and plucky Boisterous Bruiser of Team RWBY to actually be driven to cry, but you'd be wrong. It isn't "RWBY is disqualified" or "the entire world hates you" that drives Yang to tears, it's these words from her own team-mate:
    Blake: I want to believe you...
    • "... Blake!?" And the face she makes when she hears it. For Yang fans, it's a real stab in the heart.
    • Blake is initially reluctant to trust Yang because of her experience with Adam, and explains how he used to be righteous warrior like Yang before gradually becoming a ruthless killer. You can't blame her for not trusting Yang at the beginning.
    Blake: (To her team) This is all just... very familiar.
  • Ren doesn't really understand what is bothering Pyrrha, simply chalking it up to worry over Yang, and unknowingly rubs salt in the wound, telling her she carries the honor of Beacon Academy on her shoulders.
  • During Qrow's conversation with Yang after Ruby, Weiss, and Blake leave, Qrow tells Yang that Raven only talks to others when she deems it necessary. Also, she told Qrow to tell Yang that she considers saving Yang to be a one-time thing, and should Yang find herself in danger again, she's on her own. Granted, this could be taken to mean that Yang shouldn't just expect her mother to swoop in and save her every time she's in life-threatening danger, but the gloomy way Qrow says it seems to suggest that either Raven values her mission more than her own daughter's safety, or she's being an overly harsh Sink-or-Swim Mentor to Yang. Either way, it's exceedingly cruel, as being a Huntress, it's technically Raven's job to save someone whose life is in danger, not a "kindness" as it was put. After 17 years of absence, this being the first thing Raven sends Yang's way is more than upsetting.
    • Furthermore, there's Qrow's dismissal of Yang's side of the story; "Either you're a liar...or you're crazy." And when Yang asserts that she's not lying about seeing Mercury attack her, Qrow just shrugs. "Crazy, got it."
  • It's hard enough that everyone thinks you're a failure. Now imagine if not even your own parents believed in you. That's how Jaune's life was before meeting Pyrrha. No wonder the boy has such low self-esteem issues.
  • Jaune encouraging Pyrrha and trying to tell her exactly what, under normal circumstances, would be what she needed to hear. She breaks down at his words, loses control and forcefully slams him into the wall with her Semblance. Pyrrha completely breaks down in tears at her actions and flees, leading Jaune to ask himself just what he did wrong.
    Pyrrha (tearfully) I'm... I'm sorry.
    • Given that "I'm sorry!" is usually Pyrrha's good-natured Catchphrase, it's somehow wrenching to hear it in such a direly serious context.
    • What causes Pyrrha to break is when Jaune tells her to not let anything stand in her way, not knowing the implications behind his words, as he practically told Pyrrha that even if it's necessary for her to sacrifice her own happiness and identity to fulfill her destiny, so be it. She chokes back a sob and begs him to stop before he unintentionally pushes enough for her to lose control.
    • Jaune's perennial cluelessness is not played for laughs here. For once, it's not his fault, but he assumes it is anyway because he's always been the failure.
  • Ruby discovering Mercury upright, healthy and whole. There's an awful sense of betrayal in Ruby's voice when the only question she asks is "What are you doing?", and she doesn't even look angry. She just looks sad.
    • And a moment later the look of utter horror on her face when she hears that Penny and Pyrrha have been paired up for the next match. She looked terrified at the realization that Penny could be seriously hurt or killed fighting Pyrrha.

     PvP  
  • As Penny cheerfully greets Pyrrha before their match begins, the normally polite and friendly Pyrrha cannot even bring herself to respond. This is the same girl who tried to put on a brave face for Ruby, Nora, and Ren while hurting more than she ever has in her life. Instead, she looks down at her hands, probably thinking of how she lost control of herself and threw Jaune into a pillar.
  • The ending: Penny is torn apart by Pyrrha, sending the already-emotionally compromised girl even further into despair.
    • Ruby's reaction makes it worse. She collapses to her knees, actually shedding tears, and just pitifully calls out "Penny...". After everything that happened involving her sister, her discovery of Mercury and Emerald's betrayal, and the death of a close friend at the hands of another close friend, she has finally broken down.
      • Keep in mind that Ruby had never really been hurt or betrayed before. Everyone was pretty up front and honest with their intentions with her. Emerald, Mercury, and Cinder pretended to be her friends, won her trust, and, from her point of view, betrayed her sister out of nowhere. Then she sees Penny's broken, bisected body on the ground. Ruby has never genuinely known what it's like to lose a loved one; Summer went missing and was labeled killed in action when she was still very young. Now one of her closest friends is laying there in pieces in front of her eyes. Cinder managed to do to Ruby and Yang what even a Grimm invasion couldn't: stole their innocence.
      • Also, when Ruby finally reaches the arena just in time to see Penny torn apart, Mercury reaches her shortly after, and all he does is grin evilly and then turn back. Ruby is on her knees, crying, and he doesn't even feel slightly troubled or sorry. No, he looks like he's downright enjoying Ruby's pain. It's not exactly unexpected, after all this is the guy that killed an innocent man and then joked about it, but it really goes to show how little he cares for other people's suffering.
    • Pyrrha's reaction can only be described as a hollow look of horror after realizing what she has done. As Cinder begins her speech, the poor girl can be seen tearing up as well.
    • We also get to see a reaction from someone we can only assume to be Penny's father. We don't see his face, but his body language visibly tightens up and he grips the arm of his chair.
    • Port and Oobleck's horrified reactions, particularly when the usually cheerful Port lets out a Big "NO!". Keep in mind, these men are teachers and they just witnessed a student get torn to shreds.
  • The defeated way Ironwood tries to justify all he's done to Ozpin, made worse by Ozpin seeming to not give a damn and coldly order him "You brought your army to my kingdom James. Use it!". What's significant isn't that he's guilty enough to actually need to explain himself, but he's worried that Cinder's words will actually steer Ozpin towards blaming him, or otherwise locking him out even more.

     Battle of Beacon  

  • This episode picks up right after Cinder's speech and the subsequent invasion. Things have definitely gotten way worse. Ruby has gone from grieving over the loss of a close friend to being seemingly frozen in a state of shock/psychotic break/disbelief/take your pick
  • Emerald's expression as she looks down on the city while the distressed voices of hundreds of innocents at the mercy of the Grimm can be heard right below her. It stands in stark relief to Cinder's triumphant smirk and Mercury's cocky amusement.
  • In order to preserve the lives of their students, Oobleck and Port choose to stay inside the colosseum and fight the horde of Griffons on their own. Port's final words are challenging "Barty" to one final match. When Ruby returns to the stadium, the Grimm are all gone, and so are Port and Oobleck.
  • One of Ozpin's monitors shows several civilians trying to take shelter on a rooftop during the invasion. One is frantically waving for help, another appears wounded, and a Grimm is climbing toward them...
  • One scene shows students and civilians evacuating to the ships. One student is seen crying while her friend is trying to comfort her.
  • Just like Port and Oobleck, Ironwood is dedicated to protecting the people of Vale. He takes down two Beowolves single-handedly before he takes to the skies, intent on getting his airship back from Torchwick. Unfortunately, the Atlesian knights on his transport are hacked by the Black Queen virus. All James can manage is a terrified "no!" before they open fire, resulting in an explosion inside the cockpit, the ship itself spiraling down to an inevitable crash. It wasn't until the following episode that we found out he'd survived the crash, as his fate was left ambiguous.

     Heroes and Monsters  

  • Despite the awesome reveal of Velvet's abilities, it really hurts to see her using Penny's weapon. Her death is still fresh (just 2 episodes ago) and this scene serves as another reminder of her demise. Additionally, the music pauses right before Velvet's activating of Penny's weapon, giving additional weight to the scene.
  • The exchange between Blake and Adam during their fight doesn't excuse Adam's behaviour but does indicate his life experiences have utterly destroyed his belief in any kind of peaceful resolution between humans and faunus. Blake wanted equality and thought Adam wanted the same thing, but he believes peace is impossible.
    Blake: I never wanted this! I wanted equality! I wanted peace!
  • Hearing Blake sob when Adam backhands her to the ground. This girl has faced down and taken brutal blows from Paladins and massive Grimm, without uttering a sound. But this breaks her. She barely even tries to fight back.
  • When Blake attempts to shield Yang from Adam, his comment makes it clear he blames Blake for his own behavior and that his actions are just the result of Blake being unreasonable. It's the well-known behavior of a domestic abuser to the person they abuse.
  • The fight between Adam, Blake and Yang is appalling from start to finish (YouTube reaction compilation, 08:51-08:54). He claims his behavior is Blake's own fault, and tells her he will destroy everything she loves before stabbing her through the stomach. Yang's response is to explode with fire and rage and charge to Blake's defense. Blake once compared Yang and Adam, worrying that she couldn't trust Yang given how Adam gradually transformed into a monster. She tragically receives her answer in this fight. With a single strike, Adam severs Yang's leading (right) arm and she crashes to the ground unconscious from the shock of the injury. The moment occurs in slow motion and a silhouette of black and blood-red imagery.
    YouTuber comment: (stunned silence)...tells you how powerful that scene is...
  • Watching Pyrrha first shriek in agony, then scream and cry because the transfer failed, is horrible.
    • Preceding the transfer, Ozpin asks Pyrrha if she's ready to which she nods to this Ozpin replies:
    Ozpin: I...I need to hear you say it.
    • Then as the transfer begins and Pyrrha cries out in pain:
    Ozpin: I-I'm so sorry...
  • Amber's death. Especially since after the arrow hits her, Amber actually seems to briefly wake up. The poor girl can only look around in bewildered agony before she succumbs. And the last thing she sees is the very woman who attacked her in the first place.
  • Roman's death. He had a number of fans and he gets taken out by being Eaten Alive.
    • His speech. He makes it very clear that all idealism is gone for him, and that he no longer believes in heroes. Despite Ruby standing steadfast, with the events of the season, and especially the finale, it's very clear that, at least for now, he's right.
    Roman: It's not what I have to gain, it's that I can't afford to lose!
    • The only thing worse than the speech is the context behind it. Throughout the entire show, Roman has kept up his charismatic personality no matter what, even when staring down one of the highest ranking officials in the Atleasian military or when ranting about how he's trapped in this situation. But the moment that Neo is thrown off the airship, he cries out her name in the first real moment of emotion we've ever seen from him, before turning his rage on Ruby. Before, Ruby was a nuisance that kept messing up his plans. Now, with Neo missing, Roman clearly wants her dead.
    • His final speech is also sad in another way. When asked about his motives for participating in The Plan his answer essentially comes down to "I don't want to do this, but I have no choice if I want to survive". And it makes sense. There is nothing for Roman to gain in all the slaughter, but he can't bring himself to disobey Cinder and her associates. This is an unexpected twist, as up to this point he didn't exhibit any redeeming qualities and may even put him bordering on being Trapped in Villainy. While it hardly justifies all the terrible things he did, for many it might be enough to make him quite a sympathetic antagonist. And then he, well, dies.

     End of the Beginning  

  • Blake reaching to hold the unconscious Yang's remaining hand, while tearfully apologizing. It's a bit hard to tell what Blake's apologizing for, but neither reason makes this any less tragic. A few episodes ago, Blake compared Yang to Adam, someone who started out fighting for a righteous reason then devolved into a monster. In the last episode, Yang lost her arm trying to protect her from Adam, all the while she sees the depraved monster Adam really is. So she's either tearing into herself for either being the reason Yang lost her arm, or that she could ever compare someone like Yang to a monster like Adam. It's tragic no matter how one looks at it.
  • Pyrrha's Last Kiss to Jaune before shoving him in a locker and launching him to safety with her last words to him being her Catchphrase of "I'm sorry" said in the most heartbreaking tone imaginable. Pyrrha's "I'm sorry" was an amusing catch-phrase for the audience, but now it's turned into the most tragic last words she could possibly say to Jaune.
  • Jaune calling Weiss and begging her and Ruby to save Pyrrha, before throwing his scroll away in frustration. The entire delivery of Jaune's dialogue in that scene is very emotionally draining and it speaks volumes of Miles Luna's ability as a voice actor. The anguish and desperation can be felt in Jaune's voice.
  • Pyrrha's death. Despite putting up the most impressive fight anyone could have imagined, ultimately, the invincible girl falls in the most awful way imaginable: she's painfully crippled, and then shot through the heart. She doesn't go out with a boom or in a blaze of glory. She can only whimper breathlessly in front of Cinder as she dies. The viewers are then forced to watch as Cinder gently touches her body, disintegrating her into the wind and leaving behind only her tiara. The show has pushed the theme that there's no victory in strength, and the powerful Pyrrha dying in such a sad, feeble way brings that home for everyone.
  • Just the look on poor Ruby's face when Pyrrha is disintegrated right in front of her. She already had one friend torn to bits earlier that very day, and she wasn't even present for the act itself the first time. This time, she has front row seats to the loss of one of her closest companions, and her eyes couldn't look more broken. When Ruby later recounts what happened to Qrow, there's an audible note of pure hatred in her voice when she says Cinder's name. Even Roman Torchwick only irritated her on principle for being a criminal. Ruby's supposed to be the happy, optimist of the team who always sees the positive side, no matter how bad things get. Now, however, she's been brought to the darkest point anyone has ever seen.
    Ruby: (With tears starting to stream down her face) I...I.. I got to the top, and then I saw Pyrrha.... and Cinder! And then everything went white-!
  • The way Yang has been affected by her injury and the loss of her team-mates is soul wrenching. When Ruby asks where Blake went and why, Yang says she doesn't know with an utterly crushed expression and eve a quivering lip. She follows by averting her eyes and angrily saying that she doesn't care, but it's obvious that she's lying. A brief timeskip takes the outside environment from autumn to a snowy winter scene, and Yang is still lying in her bed, unable to move from it and unable to even respond to Ruby telling her she loves her. Yang was the life of the party: bold, vivacious, larger than life. Seeing her reduced to a ghost of her former self is a shocking change of personality for the viewer to witness.
  • Seeing Goodwitch is still trapped inside Vale during the ending montage. She's still desperately trying to fix things, like she always does, but she's too exhausted to even repair the outside of a store.
  • At the end of the episode there is a message in honour of the show's creator, who died before Volume 3 could be completed or aired: Monty Oum, 1981-2015. "We love you, Monty."

Volume 4

    Pre-release 
  • Before the volume even began, the girls' redesigned outfits revealed at RTX gave an idea of what the characters' situation would be when we saw them again. Ruby's cape has been torn up, Weiss's hair has moved from her rebellious side-ponytail to being pulled all the way back, Blake has been compared to "a mercenary or criminal", and Yang is in civilian clothes, continuing her Heroic BSoD from last season. The Time Skip has not been kind to our girls.
  • The official art of the girls came with Flower Motifs for three of them, none of which bode well. Weiss has a white lily, a symbol of humility and devotion which can't be a good sign since she's under an abusive father. Blake has a belladonna, better known as deadly nightshade, a symbol of death and lies. Yang has chrysanthemums, normally a flower of optimism and joy, but with yellow petals that instead signify sorrow and neglected love.
  • Volume 4's opening has a few tearjerker-worthy moments that include...
    • Ruby turning around to look at the remaining members of Team JNPR standing in order: Jaune, Nora, Ren...With a space between Nora and Ren where Pyrrha was supposed to be.
    • Weiss breaking down in her home.
    • Blake's absolutely terrified expression while Adam strikes down her double and moves to strike her down next.
    • Yang and Taiyang look like they're about to spar but stop when Taiyang, with a worried expression, reaches out to his daughter. Taiyang is replaced by a double of herself in Yang's eyes. A double of herself that still has both arms and her confidence. Yang then falls into darkness while a image of Adam's glowing mask looks down on her.
    • And the theme song, as happy as it sounds, it's a reminder of the situation and how Team RNJR/JNRR is left to pick up the pieces of the Beacon aftermath. And, on a meta level, not only it contains the line "Move onward, not there yet" (M.O.N.T.Y.) but also this part:
    When it feels like there's nothing worth living for
    Everything is broken, the light's not there anymore

    And the story takes an unexpected turn,
    A friend is suddenly gone,
    We can cry our lives away,
    But if they were here, they'd say,
    "Go forward, you must keep moving on"

     The Next Step  

  • Cinder. Seeing her current state and how fragile she's become can produce sympathy on the viewers. It's not hard to think she deserves it, but it's hard to watch it happen.
  • When Jaune gets an armor/weapon upgrade, we see that Pyrrha's shield and circlet has been added to his sword and shield. Jaune's visibly sad when asked about where he got it from.
    Blacksmith: That was some fine metal you brought me. Accents the white nicely. Where'd you get it from?
    Jaune: From a friend.
  • The face Ruby makes when Weiss is mentioned shows that for all their bickering she still misses her partner.

     Remembrance  

  • Weiss is safe at home, amongst the familiar halls and scenery of her family mansion. And she has never looked more scared, nor so undeniably miserable.
    • Weiss is informed by Whitley during their conversation that their mother was "already drinking in the garden". Coupled with the fact that Weiss initially thought that her mother was the one her father was having a shouting argument with and how despondent she looks in the Schnee family portrait we see, and it's clear that her mother might be suffering from Jacques just as much as Weiss and Winter are, who look extremely uncomfortable in it.
  • Team RNJR make it to Shion Village... only to find it completely devastated from raiding bandits and the Grimm that were attracted by the panic. Every villager was killed in the attacks. The airship that the team were betting their hopes on is nothing but a smoldering heap. A gravely wounded huntsman manages to survive long enough to inform the group of what had happened, but while they discuss what they can do to help him, he passes away.
    Nora: Should we... bury him?
    Ren: We should go. It's not safe here.
    Nora: Ren...?
    • It's small but Ren in this scene is uncharacteristically forward. He's the first to enter the village fully, he seems especially distraught at finding the huntsman and is somewhat abrasive when telling the group to leave. And Nora is distraught at the latter. But the worst part? Both of them spot a symbol marked out on the ground and stare at it with what appears to be recognition - it's heavily implied, if not outright confirmed, that they've seen this before.
    • Jaune has been to Shion Village before several times. A place where he's made a lot of good memories has now been destroyed and it's not hard to imagine people he knew died in this attack.
      Jaune: I'm just tired of losing everything.
  • The final scene is perhaps the most tragic in the volume. Ruby herself is being plagued with nightmares of Pyrrha's voice. It's clear that the guilt of failing to save her is taking an immense toll. Suddenly, Ruby awakens from her nightmare with a start upon hearing Pyrrha's voice echoing faintly in the air, while white motes of light are floating around. Ruby follows one of these away from her campsite, giving the impression that Pyrrha's spirit is somehow present, trying to contact her from the other side ... but no, she's not actually there. Instead, she comes to a clearing where Jaune is doing his weapons training ... with directions provided by a video of Pyrrha. It's more or less the only time he ever gets to interact with her now, and he allows it to play all the way ... just to hear her encouraging words and ending with a not-confession before looping back to the start.
    Pyrrha: Jaune... I... I... I want you to know that I'm just happy to be a part of your life. I'll always be here for you, Jaune.
    • Just ... Ruby's saddened expression when she bears witness to this. She can easily understand the pain that Jaune is going through, as she already has to deal with Survivor's Guilt from failing to reach Pyrrha in time. It is essentially enough to summarize the entirety of this episode's biggest emotional moment.
    • The grief in Jaune's voice when he's training, and when they're in Shion, when he told the smith where he got the metal. He's hurting so much, when he trains he's screaming at his loss to try to get it to back off and leave him alone for five minutes but it's there in everything he does, because he lost his partner half an hour after realizing he was in love with her and he depended on her to help him get stronger. Every fight he's in, every move he makes while he wears all he has left of her, is highlighted by the empty space next to him.
    • When the reveal of Pyrrha's video was shown to a bunch of reactors ... their collective response certainly qualifies.
    • The saddest part is that while Ruby and Jaune are both feeling guilty over their failure to save Pyrrha, they don't know each other's grief over their failure. It's one thing to feel like shit over not being fast enough, but it's another to know that your friend is also feeling like shit because they were too weak to be brought along to begin with.

     Of Runaways and Stowaways  

  • Blake has grown extremely paranoid and tense ever since the fall of Beacon, such that even children passing behind her make her flinch as though she's about to be attacked. She's worried that Adam or his cronies could strike her in the back at any moment. And to her, Sun's return isn't helping her mental state; she went off alone specifically to keep the White Fang from targeting her friends, but Sun plans to chase her wherever she goes.
    • Just a few months ago, Blake was actually happy and enjoying life with her loved ones for the first time in a very long time. Now, she's sullen, miserable, refuses to interact with anybody, and is hiding herself away from everybody she cares about. The one time she allows herself to relax and be happy, her entire world comes crashing down on her, her loved ones are damaged and broken up by the ordeal, and Adam has again managed to return her life to the living Hell that it used to be.
    • A minor one: the fact that Sun's team is back in Mistral and he "told them he'd catch up". After him and Neptune being nearly inseparable for the last two volumes, it can be a little hard to hear.
    • Just Blake's state in general, really. She coldly brushes off anyone trying to speak to her or get any reaction out of her in general, be it the kindly Captain or Sun. She seems to have given up on any bond with anyone for fear that Adam will target them, and accepted that she'll have a life of loneliness and misery so long as it keeps Adam at bay.
  • There's finally a scene with Yang in Volume 4, and it's just as depressing as you'd expect. She's utterly crushed by the events of Volume 3, laying about in her house depressed and lonesome. She goes through the motions of living, haunted by the knowledge of what's happened to her. This is shown when she accidentally drops a glass, causing her to flash back to her fight with Adam; the memory makes her back away in fear then slam her hand down in shame.
    • Even worse then her PTSD is how frail she's become. The strongest girl in Beacon is now breathing heavily and wiping sweat off her brow just from sweeping.
    • Even worse is Taiyang presenting the prosthetic arm Ironwood had made specially for her. Yang can barely bring herself to look at the thing, let alone put it on. Shes struggling to even put effort into recovering emotionally, and instead just falls farther into the depths of her depression.
    • Sadly, things have gotten even worse for Taiyang. After losing the two women he loved and nearly losing the children that are all he has left of them, he also has to look on as his eldest daughter struggles to move forward, not unlike himself. Meanwhile, his youngest daughter is off in a foreign country putting her life on the line, and all he can do is watch and wait.

     Family  

  • Qrow and Raven's talk is full of this due to the hostility between them. Qrow takes constant jabs at Raven for being a Missing Mom to Yang and in turn Raven takes shots at Qrow for abandoning their tribe of bandits. The twins grew up together, and joined the same team, yet their personalities and experiences have warped their relationship past the point of any reconciliation.
    Raven: Hello, Brother.
    Qrow: Raven. (after joining her at the table) So... What do you want?
    Raven: A girl can't just catch up with her family?
    Qrow: She can, but you're not.
    • Furthermore, Qrow brings up the fact that Raven has shown no concern for Yang at all. And Raven makes no attempt to deny it, refusing to discuss her daughter at any length.
  • A subtle one, but when Yang wakes up, she's clearly still sleeping in the same sparsely decorated room she was in during The Beginning of the End, which appears to be some kind of guest room. A look around the room Ruby woke up in in that episode shows two beds (one with red covers, the other with yellow) and two desks. The sisters shared that bedroom, but Yang is still staying in what looks like a guest room.

     Menagerie  

  • Blake goes on a tirade about how the island was a symbol of discrimination about the Faunus. She's clearly broken up about it, and is upset about being seen as nothing but a second class citizen.
  • Sun trying to make a good impression, only to be told by his friend's father "I really don't like you." when all he wanted was to get along.
  • It becomes clear just how far the White Fang have fallen through Fennec and Corsac. They lie through their teeth about Adam being a renegade when in fact they actually support him, to the former leader of their group no less. Not only that but they plan to tell him about Blake's presence and their expressions make it clear they don't just know exactly what he's going to do with that information but are positively gleeful about it. There is just something tragic about a once peaceful group that just wanted to be treated as equals choosing to become a bunch of sadistic murderers that gladly stomp on the ideals they once embraced.

     Tipping Point  

  • Weiss is once again trapped in being used as a prop for her father's political gain. Her singing performance is even a barely disguised Calling the Old Man Out, and he doesn't even hear it. And when she lashes out at the ignorant self-absorbed party goers, her father tries to shut her down completely.
    • Her seeing the painting of Beacon how it used to be, it's clear she very much longs for the school and the freedom she had. Seeing her so downtrodden makes her sudden snap into a rant and Power Incontinence moment all the more awesome.
    • Just prior, when Henry Merrigold is attempting feebly to flirt with Weiss, he obliviously asks what the charity is for, despite standing less than two feet away from a dedication plaque. He then callously dismisses the whole affair, stating he simply comes to fancy occasions for the food before Weiss has him ejected. It just reemphasizes that no one attending is there for the sake of Beacon or Vale, but to service their own self interests.
    • When Jacques tells Weiss that she's "embarrassing the family" it's clear that he's talking about the public face of the Schnee name rather than the actual Schnee family itself. It's sad to see a father care more about the publicity of his family's name rather than the family itself, or the feelings of his flesh and blood. Even more sad as Jacques' personality is far from fictional.
  • In the previous two episodes, we saw the fathers of the other members of Team RWBY and how much of a good dad each of them can be. In this episode, we clearly see that Weiss' father is a complete Jerkass. The comparison between Taiyang, Ghira and Jacques is just saddening.
  • The fact that the party goers give little to no shit about the sacrifices that Beacon made. How sad must it be to know that your death is mourned not with people having the resolve to figure out what's going on, but rather a "they had it coming!" remark?
  • It's clear that Ironwood, formerly a confident and arrogant military commander, is also haunted by what happened at Beacon and his disgust at the people he's sworn to protect is obvious. Furthermore he is very much aware of the true threat to the world and the way all the ignorant rich people just play their stupid little games must be really grating on his nerves.
  • Ren revealing the history of Oniyuri and that his parents also played a part in it, only to have them killed by a Grimm.
  • When Tyrian attacks, even with their coordination, RJNR can't do a thing to hurt him. And when he has Ruby at his mercy, they all look on and away helplessly. They know they can't do a thing to save Ruby from Tyrian's blow and it hurts. Nora looks helpless, while Jaune and Ren can't even bring themselves to look. You can't help but cheer when Qrow makes a surprise entrance a moment later.

     World Of Remnant: Schnee Dust Company  

  • Mrs. Schnee's alcoholism now makes a lot of sense. She married Jacques out of love, only for him to change his surname to hers and snatch control of her father's company away from her. She can't get out of the marriage because she would probably lose any stake in the company she has, and Jacques could very well gain custody over their children leaving her without family. She must feel used, betrayed and trapped. All she can do is drink her sorrows away.

     Punished  

  • This episode was not kind to Weiss in the slightest, with this episode being painted as her Darkest Hour. Her speaking up earned her fathers ire to the point where he forbade her from leaving the family estate, revoked any support he ever had of her dreams of becoming a huntress, altered matters to prevent her from inheriting the company, and still had the audacity to act as though he was still in the right. Though this is not the end of Weiss' dilemma, as it turns out her brother's dislike of his siblings wasn't restricted to Winter. It is revealed his intention was to have both his sisters removed from his father's will, leaving the entire company to him. He smugly turns and walks away as Weiss is on the verge of tears, assuring her that 'the Schnee family name is in good hands'. The poor girl's father removed every shred of independence she had (or at least tried to) because his ego was bruised and her brother gleefully rubbed it in her face.
    • The expressions that adorn Weiss's face throughout this sequence certainly count as this, with her reaction to Whitley's treachery in particular standing out. On the other side of it, it goes to show that the animators at Rooster Teeth have given RWBY a major upgrade in terms of acting and facial expressions, making scenes like this even more poignant.
    • Really, what Jacques has done to his whole family. Here we see just how far he is willing to go to keep control of his legacy and maintain the Schnee family name's reputation. To wit:
      • It's finally confirmed that he has all but disowned Winter for her refusal to remain under his thumb.
      • It's all but stated that Weiss's mother is an alcoholic, probably due to having to deal with her husband's abusive and controlling behavior.
      • He is physically and emotionally abusive, driving Weiss to the point of tears by striking her and vowing to imprison her in her own home.
      • Even Whitley, in a twisted sort of way, is a victim of his father's cruelty. He's just as sociopathic and manipulative as his father, but it's heavily implied to be an act, a way to molding himself to fit what his father expects so that he won't be abused. In particular, the way his Smug Smake behaviour dissolves into genuine anger as he makes Weiss aware that they can't disobey their father furthers the implication.
    • Simply put, Weiss crying on her bed after these moments.
  • The scene with Oscar and Ozpin is more subtle, but you can tell that by the end of it, he's realized that his entire simple life has already been upended, and not in the way he would have wanted or expected. Not only that, but Ozpin strongly suggests that he went through the same thing.

     A Much Needed Talk  

  • Seeing Jaune angrily question Qrow about the Maidens as he talks to Team RNJR, specifically when he asks if Pyrrha was forced into what was essentially a suicide mission by becoming the Fall Maiden, shows that he's still hurting from Pyrrha's death.
  • Ruby questions why Qrow didn't just travel with the group from the start and Jaune outright states that he was using her as bait. Not question, not accuse, outright declare that the man was using his own niece as bait. Even worse? Qrow more or less admits that Jaune's right. It wasn't the only reason that he wasn't with the group but he doesn't deny it either. How bad are things that the good guys would resort to those kinds of tactics?
    • Even worse is that this scene shows just how much Jaune has changed. In Volume 1, he was thrown into a locker and shot into the forest and he said that his bully was just joking around. Here, his first impression of someone helping them from the sidelines, even though he's the uncle of his best friend, is that they were bait. Between Vale, Pyrrha, and Shion, the Jaune we knew up to this point is almost completely gone.
  • While mostly heartwarming, Blake's conversation with her father does get very sad and emotional when she breaks down and apologizes for going against her parents' will, even stating that she's not worth their love. It puts her hesitance to meet her parents in "Menagerie" into perspective.
    Blake: (crying) How can you still love me after what I did?
  • Blake and Sun's slowly deteriorating friendship is hard to sit through for several fans. Sun is trying to protect her from harm and provide her with emotional support so she doesn't have to suffer alone, but she keeps harshly, even violently dismissing him at almost every turn. At the same time, Blake is understandably angry at Sun's borderline Stop Helping Me! behavior. After undergoing severe trauma upon reuniting with Adam, Blake only wants to go home and emotionally heal, without letting anyone else she cares about getting hurt, so when Sun butts in and tries to help, Blake doesn't see him as support. She sees him as a nuisance. This culminates in Blake slapping Sun twice and throwing away his phone while proclaiming "I don't want your help!" This is a far cry from the Ship Tease they had in previous volumes.
    • And to cap it off, when Blake sees the scout Sun was trying to warn her about, she forgets what happened last time she tried to fight off a White Fang member and pursues her, with Sun letting Kali know before going to try reining Blake in. It hasn't gone well for Sun.
  • Contrary to popular belief, Qrow's semblance is not shape-shifting. Instead, Qrow is revealed to have a misfortune semblance, which is passive and always on. The revelations about Qrow's Semblance makes a moment in the previous episode a tearjerker in hindsight. During his fight with Tyrian, he told Ruby and the others not to come any closer. On a first viewing, it looks like he's trying to keep them away from Tyrian. Then you realize he's trying to keep them away from HIM. He point-blank states that consistently radiating bad luck means that he can't stick too close to friends or family for long, or his semblance will screw them over somehow.
  • The ending of the episode. As Jaune and Ren awaken, Qrow starts to have a fit of violent coughing which alerts all of the members of Team RNJR. Ruby rushes to his side as Qrow coughs some more into his hand; once he brings his hand down, we see that it's completely covered with purple blood from Tyrian slicing his abdomen. Although he has a Major Injury Underreaction, it's still very shocking.

     Two Steps Forward, Two Steps Back  

  • The "two steps forward" portion of the episode, while mostly uplifting and hopeful, has these:
    • While Yang is recovering, she still has some issues to work out as pointed out by Taiyang which could cost her more. While talking to his daughter about Raven, Taiyang mentions that Raven's flaws tore his team apart and did a lot of damage to his family. It's obvious he has a heavy case of Broken Pedestal towards his ex-lover and it's tearing him apart talking about it. This is emphasised by Zwei's behaviour throughout the scene. He demonstrates the ability to follow conversations; when Yang bitterly apologises to Tai for reminding him of Raven, Zwei's normally happy expression changes that to one of sorrow making the scene much more upsetting to some viewers.
    • Weiss' segment makes it clear that there is no chance of reconciliation with her brother. He more or less gloats about how she is under house arrest, and Weiss believes that he is jealous of her and Winter's abilities. He makes a rather 'heavy handed' denial that is the case. What's even sadder is that, although he denies being jealous of her, he doesn't deny hating his sister.
  • The "two steps back" portion of the episode, as expected, has these:
    • Blake's chase scene ended badly; Sun has been injured for his efforts and the spy is revealed to be someone that Blake used to be friends with. Further showing how much the White Fang has fallen since Blake's friend Ilia apparently was part of the 'not radical' part of the White Fang.
    • While RNJR are transporting a poisoned Qrow through the wilderness and looking for help, he's delirious from the poison, and in that state mutters "Tai, she's not coming back", although it's not clear if he's referring to Raven or Summer. Ruby's voice throughout the scene makes it clear that she's terrified about the very real possibility of her uncle dying.
    • Ren was acting unusually emotional when Ruby suggested going through Kuroyuri, and Nora seemed to understand what was going on with him. It likely had something to do with the mark revealed at the end, the same one that the duo recognized back in episode 2. The look on Nora's face and the fact she tries to calm him down really sells how seriously this is affecting him.

     Kuroyuri  

  • The episode reveals that Ren witnessed the deaths of both his parents. His mother dies right in front of him as their family home is crushed; he regains consciousness in his mortally-wounded father's arms, who is trying to carry him to safety. The terror in his voice can be heard as he repeatedly asks where his mother is. When his father collapses, unable to carry Ren any further, he gives Ren his dagger and tells him to continue alone. Ren breaks down and his cry of "I can't!" is heart-wrenching, made worse by the shape of the dagger his father gives him: the exact jagged shape of the blades on Ren's weapon, StormFlower, making it clear that his weapon's unusual shape is a memorial to his father. His father then dies in a futile attempt to fend off a massive Grimm with a bow and arrow to buy his son time to escape. That is a horrible sight that no child should ever have to witness, and Ren fully breaks down, sobbing and hyperventilating as he realises he has lost everything and is now completely alone.
  • This episode reveals that Nora was an orphan even before she met Ren. She was forced to go into the trash to get food, and she was bullied for it. How she came to be in that state isn't revealed, but it's heart-breaking to realise that her life is so terrible that Ren's personal tragedy bringing their fates together is actually an improvement on her state of existence. Even though they're forced to hide under a house together and watch the village and all its inhabits be destroyed, she is at least no longer alone. When he spots a vendor's wooden hammer and tries to get it, the desperation with which she grabs him and then hugs him when she realises they're going to stay together emphasises just how alone she's been. That's a terrible life for a young child to be living.
    Young Ren: We have to be brave now.
  • While Jaune helps make Ruby feel better, it is still disheartening to see Ruby feel so guilty and feel that the remaining members of Team JNPR are in danger because of her. Jaune also struggles to find the right words because he pauses just as he's about to talk about how they "lost" Pyrrha. It's obvious that just saying it out loud is still painful for him.

     Taking Control  

  • Tyrian, wounded and beaten, comes crying to Salem to report his failure, desperate to find silver lining in poisoning Qrow and earn Salem's forgiveness. She walks away, stating that he's disappointed her. That simple phrase broke Tyrian's heart, leaving him to openly sob and draw the attention of a beowulf to himself. That was the last mistake it ever made.
  • Just as Yang is uncovering her bike, Taiyang stops here and mentions he wants a better farewell than just a note. Although it's delivered like a funny line, it puts into perspective just how tragic of a character Taiyang is: Raven ditched him without a word not long after she gave birth to Yang and has shown to not even care about him, Summer died suddenly on a mission, he nearly lost both Ruby and Yang without knowing where they were, his youngest daughter, someone he has shown unconditional and nigh endless love toward, left him with only a note and Qrow, his brother in law, left without so much as a word. To summarize: he has lost both of his lovers, his brother in law and his youngest daughter without so much as a single word.
  • Weiss's section of leaving her home is rather sad. Her home truly had become her own prison given how she was forced to be stealthy to sneak out of it.
    • Weiss's goodbye to her loyal butler Klein is a mixture of both heartwarming and a tearjerker. While it is nice to see that Weiss considers him family and she is heading off to meet her sister Winter, Klein does remind her that Winter will be the only family she has left after escaping from the Schnee manor. Weiss's home is no longer her home.
  • The conversation between Sun and Blake is a mixture of heartwarming and a tearjerker. Blake makes it very clear she feels guilty not only for people getting hurt because of her but she feels extremely guilty for leaving Ruby, Weiss, and Yang behind. She states she hopes the rest of Team RWBY hates her for leaving.
    • Watch Sun's body language during the first part of their conversation. He visibly flinches and puts his hands up defensively when Blake snaps at him, as if anticipating another slap.
  • When Ren and Nora are running to catch up to Ruby, Jaune, and Qrow, Ren— Ren— is clearly expressing fear of losing his friends in the same place he lost his parents.
    Ren: No. Not again.

     No Safe Haven  

  • The Nuckelavee brings even Ren to tears over the pain its caused him. He can't even fight correctly because his emotions are controlling him for most of the battle.
  • The reveal that he still carries the knife that his father gave him just shows how he's never really moved on.
  • During the Nuckelavee fight, Ren and Nora wind up under the same building that they were as kids in "Kuroyuri" when the town was attacked. When Ren brashly attempts to rejoin the fight, Nora restrains him in the same way she did as a child. Ren starts to reason with Nora, but she gives him an Armor-Piercing Slap to bring some sense back into him and tearfully begs him not to run off and get himself killed, at which point Ren briefly imagines Nora as a scared little girl. In a way, nothing has changed.
  • Ruby's letter to Yang is filled with tear jerking moments. From being unable to mention the people they have lost to how much she misses her older sister and friends. Ruby even starts to cry as she writes the letter.
    • During Ruby's monologue about having the strength to move on from the past, we see Taiyang home staring mournfully at the picture of Team STRQ. For one reason or another, his entire family has left him alone. Poor guy.

Volume 5

     Welcome to Haven  

  • Weiss' cargo ship picks up an emergency broadcast on the flight to Mistral from a group of people who're now stranded and have lost their Huntsman. Rather than move to help them, the pilot plans to head away from the danger. Weiss looks absolutely mortified as the pilot condemns those people to death as the Grimm close in on them.
  • Blake and Ilia meet up again and Ilia advises Blake to leave Menagerie before it's too late. It doubles as a Heartwarming Moment, in that both girls do care for each other to an extent.
  • When Professor Lionheart is talking about the events in Vale in Volume 3, his mention of everyone's horror at seeing Penny's death causes pained reactions from everyone, Ruby almost looking like she's about to have another breakdown.
    • It's subtle, but Jaune's anger and frustration when Leo mentions that none of the information that Haven has on Cinder is true is evident in his face and body language. He's clearly remembering how he got into Beacon Academy with forged documents as well.
    • Heck, Lionheart and Mistral's respective situations really hurt to hear in general. We learn from the former that Mistral was attacked by a swarm of Grimm shortly after the CCT went down. A sizable number of Mistral's huntsmen - including a number of Haven's teachers - didn't make it through to the morning. To make matters worse for Mistral, Atlas's actions have aggravated the Mistral Council. And after Qrow and RNJR leave the room, we discover that Watts heard the whole thing through a bug. The tired, weary expression on Lionheart's face indicates a rather one-sided alliance.
  • We see Yang's left hand shaking as she reaches for a bottle of water after punching a lecherous creep; a clear sign that despite gaining back her will to fight, she's still suffering from PTSD.
  • As hilarious as it is, Qrow's drunken bender after he meets Oscar is a sign of just how badly he was taking the lack of leadership after Ozpin's death—revealed through just how elated he is to have found Ozpin.
  • Despite Oscar looking like an adorable harmless farmboy, RNJR's reaction when he asks for Ruby is hostility until Qrow stumbles in. It's a sad day when they can't even trust someone like Oscar at first appearance thanks to Cinder's group's infiltration and betrayal.

     Dread in the Air  

  • The scene where Sienna Khan gets murdered by Adam Taurus definitely qualifies. Not only does the White Fang lose any shred of decency it had in the upper echelons, but it also makes the Belladonna's plans a lot harder to pull off. Ilia wasn't kidding when she told Blake that her plans wouldn't work.
  • Weiss manages to recover from crashing into a lake-side shoreline, but not enough to defend herself from a wandering Raven, who ends the episode by knocking her out.

     Unforeseen Complications  

  • Ilia interrupts Ghira's speech by confirming that her parents were killed in the Schnee Dust Mine accident mentioned in Blake's character short.
    • Ghira's speech effectively ruined by Ilia is heartbreaking in of itself. With just some angry words from her, she effectively placed doubt into every faunus' minds at the speech, rendering Ghira's plea to his people to seek justice against the White Fang moot. Sun tries to stop her, but it is clear that the damage is done.
  • Ozpin explains the circumstances behind his constant reincarnating, referring to it as both a curse and a "strenuous process for everyone involved". Furthermore, he fully blames himself for what happened at Beacon, giving a Call-Back to "The Badge and the Burden" as he mentions having made more mistakes than any man, woman, or child throughout history.
  • Weiss learning that her sister, who she thought would meet her in Mistral, has been called back to Atlas. It hits her in that moment that all of the effort she undertook to escape her home has been for naught.

     Lighting the Fire  

  • Raven's Semblance is revealed to be an ability to teleport to those she's chosen to bond with. She has one with Taiyang, Qrow, and Yang, which indicates that she could have gone to see them whenever she wanted. Meeting her daughter and keeping in touch with her lover was a very easy task for her but she chose to completely abandon them instead.
  • Weiss's hug with Yang at the end is heartwarming, but the desperation behind it shows just how lonely and starved for affection she's been without her teammates.
  • Yang finally finds Raven after searching for her for over a decade, but she's not interested in a thing Raven has to say, and only wants Raven to use her semblance so she can get to Ruby. It's sad to think that, after chasing this mystery her entire life, Yang seems to have given up on it.
  • When Yang finds Raven at her camp, Raven warmly welcomes her daughter, showing a maternal side to herself and preparing to welcome Yang into the tribe with a meal and a long talk, ready to answer whatever questions Yang might have now that Yang's proven herself strong and driven enough to find her and make her dreams reality. She even expresses concern for her men, taking note of the beating Yang laid down on them and accepting Yang's word when she said they struck first. Then Yang reveals that all she wants is Raven to use her semblance to send Yang to Qrow; you can see Raven put her emotional walls back up in the next shot as she bitterly remarks that family only wants to visit her when they want something from her. While this is a case of Moral Myopia (as she could have visited at any time, unless circumstances within the tribe prevented her from doing so), she genuinely looks hurt when Yang rebuffs her attempts to begin repairing their nearly nonexistent relationship. She even displays concern when trying to convince Yang not to put her faith in Ozpin. And after all that, when Yang and Weiss are ready to take on the whole camp, she just orders them into her tent so she can send them on their way—after she'd already refused, possibly in one last attempt to start bridging the wide rift she'd opened between herself and her daughter.

     Necessary Sacrifice  

  • Blake and Sun aren't having much luck getting support for Haven's defense.
  • Blake recounts to Sun about how her view of Adam changed over the years from "justice" to "passion" and then to "spite". Clearly, Broken Pedestal was in full effect long before the Black Trailer.
  • Ruby's Made Myself Sad moment where she says that Oscar will soon be "combat ready" - just like Penny used to describe herself. Followed by her speech to Oscar, revealing that she thinks of Pyrrha and Penny every day and wishing she'd spent more time with them, especially the moment when she mentions how they must keep moving forward.
  • Oscar is feeling the weight of what he needs to do. He sounds absolutely crushed when he trails off. Looks like Ozpin wasn't kidding when he described their condition as a curse.
    Oscar: I always knew I wanted to be more than a farm hand, but this ...
  • Ilia looks positively forlorn when she's ordered to lead Blake away from her house, so other White Fang members can swan in and kill her parents, and bring Blake to Adam alive.

     Known By Its Song  

  • During Qrow's search, he stumbles upon the family of one of the people he's looking for. The Huntress's daughter comes to the door and simply asks "Daddy, does he know where Mommy is?". Qrow apologizes for taking their time and leaves quietly.
    • After his searching proves fruitless, Qrow makes his way to the mission boards of Mistral, and notices that a number of his contacts were working missions that were either terminated or put on hold weeks ago. Qrow sits down somberly as he registers this, the implication being that even more of Mistral's Huntsmen have become lost to history.
    • When he returns to the pub and pays the tab of Shiro, the first Huntsman he asked about, the bartender realizes what must have happened and somberly pipes down from his previous vitriol towards Shiro.
    • The 'No Faunus' sign next to the bar's entrance is a stark reminder of the Fantastic Racism that permeates the world of Remnant and gives rise to groups like the White Fang.
  • Raven was watching over Yang all along in raven form ... but never actually contacted her.
  • Before Yang and Weiss leave, Raven tells Yang that if she sides with Qrow, she might not be so kind the next time they meet. Yang then tells her that she wasn't kind this time either. Raven's reply is "I know".
  • When Ruby sees Yang again, she drops the tray she's carrying in shock and starts babbling tearfully, clearly worrying that Yang is going to be mad at her for leaving, before her big sis hugs her. Then they invite Weiss to join them. Yang and Ruby are visibly crying when they finally reunite with each other after so long apart, and it will hit you in the feels.

     Rest and Resolutions  

  • The fact that Pyrrha and Blake aren't there to enjoy the reunion as well. There are even two empty spots at the table for them.

     Alone Together  

  • When Yang storms off after Ruby hits a raw nerve about Blake, Weiss comes into Yang's room to counsel her. The first thing Weiss sees is Yang, sitting alone and staring at the picture of Team RWBY. Close inspection shows that Yang was running her thumb over Blake's position in the picture.
    • Yang once again summarizes her rough childhood to Weiss during a rant. She brings up the fact that she effectively lost two mothers, her father was always busy at work and it was up to her to pick up the pieces, and this was before Ruby had even learned how to talk. She couldn't have been more than four years old and she was having to look after herself and a toddler for extended periods of time. After that, Yang accuses Weiss about not understanding her loneliness. Weiss calmly breaks through to Yang, by telling her this ugly story.
    Weiss: When I was ten, my dad finally admitted to my mom that the only reason he married her was for the family name. It was actually on my birthday. He missed the big dinner. She got mad, he finally snapped ... I think she already knew. Looking back, I think I knew too; but hearing him say it finally pushed her over the edge.
    First, it was separate lunches and dinners, opposite balconies at my recitals, a glass of wine here, a glass of wine there. Then it was no dinners, no recitals, a bottle of wine here and - well, you get the idea.
    Yang: I'm really sorry. I ... shouldn't have assumed.
    Weiss: You're right though; I don't know loneliness like you do. I have my own version.
    • This is the first time Yang has actually spoken about Blake since the volume 3 finale, a full 20 episodes later. And while she's finally talking about how hurt she is over Blake leaving, she doesn't actually say her name. Yang actually begins sobbing into her hands at one point, and with how heartbroken and vulnerable she is in that moment, it's very clear how much Blake means to her and how painful Blake running away has been for Yang. Weiss tries to console her and that Blake will come back to them when she's ready, but Yang's response shows what little faith she has that anyone would come back to her.
      Yang: No one blamed her for anything! If she had just talked to us, she would've known that! How could I be there for her if she doesn't let me?! ... What if I needed her here for me? [Yang buries her face in her hands and starts crying]
      Weiss: [putting a hand on Yang's shoulder] I know it's not easy. I wish she hadn't left too. The only thing we can do now, is be there for her when she's ready. When she comes back.
      Yang: If she comes back.
  • Blake meets up with Ilia in a quiet spot at the dead of night, only for the latter to capture her with the aid of three White Fang members. The confrontation leads to Ilia confessing that while Blake was falling for Adam, Ilia had been falling for her. She then spells out in great detail why Blake's family and line of thinking needs to die, along with revealing that Blake is to be sent alive to Adam. The look of unbridled horror on Blake's face counts alone, along with her extremely panicked dialogue as Ilia and Yuma walk away. Thankfully however, Sun was in the shadows and waiting for Blake's signal, able to jump in before she was hauled to the docks by the other mooks.
    • More heartwrenching is that Ilia is still very clearly conflicted about all this but genuinely doesn't see any other options. In a way, she's much like Blake was prior to the series; in a situation surrounded by people who want to use and manipulate her and has had her perspective warped by them for years to the point that this is the only way she sees of getting results. And because Blake didn't heed her earlier warnings, Ilia's hand has been forced, and she has to send her to Adam.
    • Ilia's look of absolute heartbreak during her Anguished Declaration of Love, conflicting with the bright shade of pink her spots turn, once again confirming she can't control her faunus trait—changing colors—when in the grip of intense emotions. Through it all, Ilia's expression remains sorrowful, or angry when ranting and spewing back the talking points she'd been fed by Adam and the Albains.
  • Ghira's face when one of his guards falls to the Albains during the attack on his house. Then he gets mad.

     A Perfect Storm  

  • The price Raven wants for her cooperation with Cinder's group? The death of her brother. She makes a point of telling them that Qrow doesn't trust her. We already knew that their relationship had deteriorated long before the start of the series, but this episode just cemented that Raven's willing to go full Cain and Abel. Cinder, Emerald, Mercury, and Watts are notably taken aback by the request.
    • That said, Raven later admits this is only setting up Cinder and the others to be too busy fighting Qrow and the kids to notice she's stealing the Relic under their noses. If she had really wanted Qrow dead, she has the perfect semblance to have done so already, and plenty of opportunity to do so (whenever he was sleeping, or on a drunken bender, or even last volume when he was already injured). Even then, it's unsettling before her admission and she's still willingly putting Qrow's life and the lives of several teenagers (including her own daughter) at risk just for a chance at keeping Salem away from her.
  • Cinder doesn't exactly deny Raven's accusation that she tricked Emerald and Mercury into fighting for her. It suggests that she doesn't really see them as anything other than pawns, which is somewhat disheartening given how loyal Emerald and Mercury have been throughout the series and how well the three of them work as a team.
  • Raven seems to be trying to convince herself that her daughter being in danger from the plan doesn't hurt her.

     True Colors  

  • The episode begins with Qrow and Ozpin discussing the mysterious deaths of the Huntsmen Qrow was hoping to recruit to their cause. While Ozpin remains optimistic and maintains an iron-clad belief in the good of humanity, Qrow is less than optimistic about their chances, considering some of those dead Huntsmen were presumably good friends of his.
  • After Raven has Leo call Qrow, he reveals that he's serving Salem because he's scared, having given up hope that she can be defeated.
  • Raven telling Leo that serving Salem is alright because he did what he felt he had to do to survive. Leo then asks Raven if she's trying to convince him, or herself. Her silence when she walks away is telling.
  • Ilia's breakdown while fighting Blake is heart-wrenchingly realistic when one thinks about it. She was driven to despair after her parents' deaths and from being surrounded by prejudice toward her race, and was left not knowing what else she could do besides resort to Adam's brutal methods.
    Blake: Ilia, please! You're a good person, but you're making all the wrong decisions.
    Ilia: SHUT UP!
    Blake: Is this really what your parents would have wanted?
    Ilia: I don't know what else to do! (crying) I don't know what else to do.
  • You gotta feel for Corsac seeing his brother die before his eyes. When Ghira's guard captain asks him if allying with Adam was worth it, he can't give an answer.
  • While it marked the beginning her Heel–Face Turn, Ilia's internal conflict is still present when she attacks Corsac, and she bursts into tears immediately after.

     The More The Merrier  

  • Ruby tries to convince Raven to join up with them and fight Salem together. She gets fireballed for her troubles. Raven even makes a point of comparing Ruby to her Missing Mom - and the disdain in her voice is clear.
  • Jaune finally finds himself face-to-face with Pyrrha's killer. Yet all he can do is tremble with grief while struggling to understand how Cinder can take so much pleasure from the countless atrocities she's committed. All throughout the confrontation, tears are visible on Jaune's contorted expression as he takes wild strikes at Cinder. And to twist the knife even further? Cinder doesn't even know who he is.note 
    Jaune: What is wrong with you? How can you be so broken inside? To take so many lives, and then come here and rub it in our faces like it's something to be proud of?! All with that damn smile on your face! I'm gonna make you pay for what you did! Do you hear me? Well?! Say something!
  • Qrow is infuriated to discover Raven's actions. Despite Qrow verbally disowning her, Raven remains unfazed. The last line is perhaps the saddest: Despite Qrow's cynicism about Raven's loyalties, he had enough faith in her to believe that she'd never betray them like this. Now it seems he's finally given up on her.
    Qrow: Running away was one thing, but this? You've crossed the line.
    Raven: Sorry, brother. Sometimes family disappoints you like that.
    Qrow: We're not family any more.
    Raven: Were we ever?
    Qrow: I thought so. But I guess I was wrong.
  • What about Qrow and Ozpin finding out Lionheart sold them out? Qrow is obviously furious, but Oz? He doesn't get angry, or accusatory. He and Oscar just calmly walk up to Leo after the fighting breaks out, and Ozpin wonders what could have possibly happened to make his old friend turn out this way, in a tone that makes you think he might blame himself. And how does Leo react when he realizes that this little kid is the next Ozpin? He decides to take Oscar to Salem, desperately hoping that she'll finally let him go free in return, all in a way that shows he's clearly losing it from all the fear and desperation.
    Ozpin: (mentally) Leo, what happened to you?
  • While most of the grief regarding Pyrrha goes to Jaune this episode, it doesn't let us forget that Ruby witnessed Pyrrha's death: When Ruby sees Cinder about to attack Jaune with her projectile sword, Ruby has a brief flashback to Cinder killing Pyrrha before nearly activating her silver-eye powers. Emerald (who earlier told Ruby that she doesn't care about Salem, but is fighting because she owes Cinder everything) cuts her attack short by attacking her from behind.
  • Just like with Pyrrha, there is a defenseless girl on her knees in Cinder's presence. Just like before, she gleefully forms a projectile with her Maiden abilities and just like before, the girl shakes and gasps after being struck with it before the weapon disintegrates and she falls limp. Who is this girl in question? Weiss. Only this time, we get the added "fun" of having it happen in front of nearly all of her horrified friends!

     Vault of the Spring Maiden  

  • If it were not already clear that Jaune is still haunted by Pyrrha's death, the sight of Weiss being hurt seems to hit him really hard. The first thing we hear in the episode is Jaune shouting her name in absolute panic. He abandons his fight with Cinder and runs to her in a panic. Desperate and sounding like he's on the edge of a breakdown, he says "We can't lose anyone else!"
  • We get to hear a piece of Hazel's backstory, and it sure isn't pretty. It turns out that Hazel had a sister called Gretchen, who'd gotten into Beacon Academy ... only for her to die on a training mission. Hazel ... didn't take it very well, and has held Ozpin personally responsible for it ever since.
    • Even worse is that Hazel's reaction to Oscar's Armor-Piercing Question implies that on some level he knows that Ozpin wasn't really responsible but that he's still hurting so badly over his sister's death that he can't move on. His rage towards Ozpin may well be the only thing that's keeping him going.
  • Watching Vernal get impaled by Cinder's Grimm arm counts. Raven's dialogue immediately afterwards had a fair dose of A Mother To Her Men about it too; clearly, her tribe is not to be trifled with, and Raven sounds distraught when she reveals her identity as the true Spring Maiden.
    • Heck, Raven being the Spring Maiden itself is loaded with this. She had to have gained the power following the prior one's death, which would only have locked her even further into a conflict she wants no part of. Even worse is the potential circumstance of her gaining Maidenhood because of the transference rule; someone who knew her well would have had to die in order for that to happen, and that would mean the tribe did in fact take in the Spring Maiden that ran away as was suspected.

     Downfall  

  • One of the White Fang members recognizes Mata, who pleads with him to stand down.
  • Vernal uses the last of her strength to distract Cinder, so Raven can get the jump on her. Raven later takes a moment to thank Vernal for her efforts and shuts her eyes.
  • A very small one, but Ren's scream when Hazel electrocutes him is physically painful to listen to. As is Nora's cry of "Ren!"

     Haven's Fate  

  • Adam still tries to put Blake down, and if she shakes it off, he seems correct in that she's still a little scared of him.
  • Raven and Yang's conversation, in its entirety, but one exchange in particular is absolutely heartbreaking:
    Raven: It’s not that simple. You don’t know me, you don’t know what I've been through, the choices I’ve had to make!
    Yang: You’re right. I don’t know you. I only know the Raven dad told me about. "She was troubled, and complicated, but she fought for what she believed in, whether it was her team or her tribe!" ...Did you kill her too?
    • Raven is convinced by Yang to leave, and we get a rare moment of vulnerability from her - desperately begging Yang not to get involved in the fight with Salem, and tearfully apologizing to her in a choked voice before disappearing.
    • Yang gives Raven a choice: take the Relic herself and become Salem's target, or let Yang take it and put that burden on her instead. Raven is conflicted, but ultimately chooses to let her daughter take the fall. Unlike before she's not making any excuses about survival or doing what's necessary, she knows that she's sacrificing her daughter out of cowardice, and it clearly breaks both her and Yang to realize it.
    • And between all of this is one giant "The Reason You Suck" Speech Yang is giving her own mother. The woman she's been searching for years, the woman who gave birth to her, the woman she tried desperately to have a connection to and she just shuts her down. Despite all the things she has done, it's hard to not feel sorry for Raven as well as Yang.
      • Things get even worse with a certain piece of info: that Taiyang had described Raven to their daughter as a sort of Anti-Hero who did what she felt was right. Yang was expecting that and not a nigh remorseless bandit too afraid to even admit she was afraid.
      • Raven breaking down in tears shows that beneath her hard-as-steel exterior, she truly loves her daughter, despite how many times she tried to justify her own actions as survival.
  • Yang collapses in tears after recovering the Knowledge Relic from the stress of everything that's happened to her so far, from a tearful farewell with her mother to the realization that by taking the relic, she now becomes one of Salem's main targets. This is also the one time Yang has just let loose and sobbed. She's cried before but it's always been restrained and she's been around others. Here she's alone, with no one to see how vulnerable and hurt she is.
  • In spite of everything that was said between them, Yang still conceals the fact that Raven is the Spring Maiden from Qrow, as if she's holding out hope that there's still something good in her.
  • Despite everything he's done and everyone he's betrayed, it's likely you're gonna feel some pathos for the fate that befell Professor Lionheart. He may have been a despicable Dirty Coward, at worst, but he definitely didn't deserve... whatever Salem did to him.
  • Emerald insisting that Cinder is going to return with the relic, only to collapse into tears when Yang shows up instead. Props to the voice actors, because Emerald's despair and panic at the realization that Cinder is gone sounds all the more real with her near hyperventilating and Mercury's own desperate calls of Emerald's name. And then the illusion starts.
  • Blake almost seems afraid that the other Team RWBY members aren't going to accept her back. Sun has to actually force her forward with his tail to get her going.
  • As sweet as it is to see Team RWBY finally reunite, there's a touch of bitterness to it when you see the three surviving members of Team JNPR standing off to the side and remember that there will never be such a reunion for them.
  • When Taiyang sees the black bird feather in The Stinger, rather than smile fondly at the implication of whom it was, his expression seemed to show only pure frustration. Depending on how long after the Battle of Haven this scene takes place, this could be aimed at either of the Branwen twins: Qrow for dragging both his daughters into Ozpin's war, or Raven for what she's done.
    • The epilogue really shows how alone Raven is now. Her closest lieutenant is dead, her brother has disowned her, her tribe probably wouldn't want a loser back and she just got done being chewed out by her own flesh and blood. The one person left who hasn't shown her ill will yet, the man who loved her so much to glorify her to their daughter, is who she appears to have turned to. And not even he might be happy to see her. Ouch.

Volume 6

    Opening 
  • Yang and Blake look sad whilst sitting next to each other, as the former sees Adam's visage in the train window. Clearly, there's a few shadows hanging over the pair.
  • There is a shot of Qrow drinking as usual, but then he suddenly falls backwards into the hands of Grimm. While he doesn't die because of those creatures in this volume, it's symbolism for something else: his discovery of the truth about Ozpin and Salem breaks him to the point where he repeatedly relies on drinking to drown out all the pain, causing him to be of less help to team RWBY.
  • When we see the five remaining lieutenants in Salem's employ standing together, Emerald's the only one who looks morose. Whether she's still grieving for Cinder or finding herself Trapped in Villainy, that's not a good sign for her state of being.

     Argus Limited 
  • A Freeze-Frame Bonus shows Yang reading a magazine about prosthetic limbs. While it's a good sign to see her happily reading up on the subject, it's a sad little reminder of what she's lost. Blake seems to be thinking the same thing as this leads into a scene where she awkwardly tries to help Yang get a bag down from a shelf. While Yang tells her that this isn't necessary and they will work things out in time, Blake doesn't seem to be entirely reassured.
  • Once again, the episode's events have split the party. After being informed that the Relics are Grimm magnets, what's left of Team JNPR shepherd the passengers into the front cars and shield them from the Grimm with Jaune boosting Ren's Semblance. Blake decouples the train, and Team RWBY and Qrow eventually manage to defeat the remaining Grimm, but not before the Sphinx Grimm leading the group derails the train.
    • When Ruby turns to look at Jaune as she finishes explaining why the party must be separated, her fierce expression turns to worry after seeing his. Ruby knows that Jaune is against splitting up because he worries too much if he can't be there for his friends yet he still goes along with her plan as long as she promises a reunion at their destination. Sadly, that promise will take her longer to fulfill than she intended.
    • There's a pretty tense moment when Ozpin takes over briefly and warns them about the Relic. The other huntsmen were clearly unhappy to hear it, and although Ruby defuses it and re-focuses her friends on the battle, her tone is unusually harsh.
    • Qrow even seems the most upset at this little detail. While he does trust Ozpin, even he seems to have his limits with Old Oz's secrets.
    • For a few seconds after Oscar runs off, there is a shot of Jaune, Ren, and Nora standing on the exit ladders...with the one directly next to Jaune empty. Pyrrha's absence is still definitely felt.
  • There's a villainous example for the White Fang: After Adam took over the organization, he absolutely ran it into the ground. His remaining followers finally bite back by refusing to listen to orders, and in response, he butchers them all. It drives home how monstrous Adam is and how thoroughly defeated the White Fang is by this point.

     Uncovered  

  • When Qrow mentions in the flashback that the Spring Maiden can't help seal the Knowledge Vault, Yang's expression is morose. No doubt it's killing her to not spill about Raven's actions.
  • In the flashback, Weiss is still bitter about having to go back to Atlas, and seems even more so when Yang and Qrow ignore her complaint in the background.
  • When Yang pleads with Ozpin to trust them, Ozpin tersely snaps that Leo wasn't the first lieutenant to defect from his side. He then explains that he doesn't want to sow disunity between him and the others, but he feels the need to keep a few secrets so he can avoid massive breaches of trust. It puts his calmness when faced with Leo's betrayal in hindsight, since he's seen it many times before.
    • The worst part? Ozpin doesn't sound sad or hurt when telling RWBY about this, he sounds angry, even accusatory. It gives the impression that, on some level, he's already convinced that it's only a matter of time before they too sell him out like Leo, or walk out on him like Raven.
    • And when Ruby asks Jinn about the secrets Ozpin's keeping from them, he runs to Ruby in a vain attempt to stop her. Judging by his tone, it seems that whatever happened to Salem is his biggest regret, and likely turned other followers away when they found out.
    • And just before Ruby asks, Qrow steps forward to encourage her to do what she needs to, but Weiss, Blake and Yang misinterpret his intent, especially considering how many times he's defended Ozpin's actions, and pull their weapons on him.
  • Furthermore, Ruby asks if all the times Ozpin talked about having faith in humanity, it was for everyone else's sake. Ozpin's only reply is that that was not what he meant to suggest before asking for Ruby to hand him the relic. He doesn't really give a clear answer, but given the way he talks about Leo and the people who defected from his side before... It carries the implication that Ruby's not wrong.
  • Ozpin is desperate for the group to not hear of his past, admitting his trust issues and pleading with them not to ask Jinn about it... And Ruby asks anyway. It's arguably another case of having his trust betrayed.

     The Lost Fable  

  • In her early life, Salem was trapped in a tower by her father. Ozma rescues her, and they fall in love. They planned to go on many adventures together, but in the end, Ozma succumbs to illness. Salem, wracked with grief, ends up tricking the gods in a desperate attempt to bring him back, and gets cursed with immortality when they realize what she's up to.
    • Weiss' reaction to Salem grieving by Ozma's death bed. She looks like she's about to cry.
    • And then when her rage inspired her to try to play that to her advantage for vengeance against the gods she only managed to get all of humanity effortlessly annihilated and left alone on an empty planet until the next generation of mankind emerged on the now magic-less world of Remnant.
    • What's worse is the sheer disregard that the Brothers have for a single life as they casually kill and revive Ozma in the span of seconds in a petty tug-of-war, traumatizing Salem even further as she relives Ozma's death over and over again.
      • The scene also puts the God of Darkness' resentment of his brother in perspective. The God of Light is a force of creation whereas the God of Darkness is a force of destruction, so the former receives most of the praise while the latter is left alone in solitude. The day Salem, who is implied to be the first mortal to seek him in an while, if not ever, comes to him for guidance he seems almost elated, and fulfills her request to resurrect Ozma without hesitation. Then his brother shows up and engages in the aforementioned tug-of-war with him, and Darkness lashes out at him like a child whose older brother just ruined his playtime, declaring Light to be a Hypocrite for seemingly turning away the one mortal who dared to seek him, while Light himself receives the most visits from mortals seeking guidance. While this turns out not to be the case, it's hard not to agree with his viewpoint at the time.
  • Salem then attempts to commit suicide in order to reunite with Ozma, only to fail due to the curse of the gods.
  • During a flashback to Ozma's second life, we see countless Faunus trapped in cages like the animals mankind had viewed them as for so long, simply because of their appearance. This is heartbreaking to say the least.
  • After she becomes infused with Grimm essence, Salem marries Ozma's second incarnation, sets up a kingdom in what became the Grimmlands, and gives birth to four daughters. Just seeing this happy family knowing it's Doomed by Canon can be depressing, as is the growing pain and horror on Ozma's face as he realises that he's going to have to sacrifice his one chance for a happy family life just to do what's right; his attempt to protect his daughters by taking them away from their dangerous mother shows the audience from where Salem's anger and spite towards Oz comes: a sense a sense at having been betrayed and abandoned by him at a moment when she thought their life together was going well. The ensuing battle is so terrible that their home and kingdom are destroyed, Salem is obliterated to a stain on the ground that regenerates in time to kill the fatally injured Ozma; even their four daughters are killed in the crossfire. The viewers witness a family tragedy unfolds that is far greater than anything the horrified watching heroes have in their own back stories only to then watch an absolutely haunting portrayal of Ozma's reincarnation cycle reeling with grief for multiple lifetimes while Jinn describes the cycle of pain and suffering Ozma is now locked into.
  • The four daughters are shown dressed in the colours of the original Four Maidens and they're shown to possess magic. Jinn's portrayal of Ozma's suffering reincarnations shows that the first incarnation after the death of the daughters is an elderly man who fits the description of the bitter Old Wizard whose life was transformed by four compassionate sisters. There is a sombre realisation that the creation of the original Four Maidens wasn't simply about protecting humanity, it was also about creating a memorial to Ozma's lost daughters.
  • Salem's own path to her current villainous state is show to be as tragic as Ozma's. She's genuinely happy in her life with Ozma and takes great pride and joy in her children. She's genuinely thrilled when she discovers they can perform magic and shows that, even though she's been infected with the destructive power that created the Grimm, she's still capable of being a loving and caring mother. It creates a genuinely tragic figure who had one chance to find the happiness that had eluded her, and the loss of that has created a never-ending bitter hatred, forcing a Forever War with a man she was once happy with.
  • When one of Ozpin's former lives asked the Relic how he could destroy Salem, the knowledge of her invincibility crushed his spirit. The last shot is of Oscar, bent over in the same fetal position the incarnation was last seen in, no doubt feeling just as hopeless and desperate as he was back then. Ozpin's been catching a lot of flack since Volume 4. So a lot of people were expecting that he was the cause of Salem's change and that he felt guilty about it, which is why he was so desperate to stop Ruby in the last episode. It turns out Ozpin did absolutely nothing wrong in regards to Salem. The guy became a Cosmic Plaything for the God of Light and the past he shared with Salem was so painful that he locked those memories off in a place that not even Oscar could reach.
  • And after all of the above, one thing's for sure: The universe really screwed Ozma and Salem over - Ozma constantly and hopelessly reincarnating to avoid mankind's permanent extinction, while the traumatized Salem keeps receiving one terrible fate after another out of her own hubris and/or the Brothers themselves. All because Salem's abusive past never allowed her to cope with loss and loneliness when Ozma was taken from her thanks to an illness.
  • The worst part of this is that Team RWBY got what they wished for, and discovered that Ozpin had very good reason to keep a few things to himself. Amongst other things, they saw Salem try and fail to commit suicide, then lead humanity to their doom against the gods, kill Ozma's second form and possibly their four daughters when they try to abandon her ... and they are left with the knowledge that Salem's unable to be killed. After hearing this, Qrow and Yang are furious, Weiss and Blake are shocked, and Ruby's worried about Oscar; no-one is concerned with Ozpin's emotional state but their reactions show why he was so worried about them finding out.

     So That's How It Is  

  • What does Qrow do after learning about what Oz had hidden from him? He sends him flying into a tree. At the start of the episode, Ozpin is sitting in the snow in tears after having his past forcibly exposed. Despite this, and despite the fact that all he gets from the group is rage and violence, not once does he express any anger toward them, even trying to reassure Qrow that he's doing good with his life. And when Qrow rebukes it, he simply accepts it sadly.
    Qrow: (bitterly, hands trembling in rage) No one wanted me. I was cursed. I gave my life to you because you gave me a place in this world. I thought I was finally doing some good.
    Ozpin: But, you are.
    Qrow: Meeting you was the worst luck of my life.
    Stunned Silence
    Ozpin: ... maybe you're right.
  • After Ozpin locks himself within Oscar's mind in shame, Oscar laments his fate as "yet another of Ozpin's lives." When Ruby tries to console him, Qrow admonishes her for lying to him; she can't even bring herself to disagree with him, leaving Oscar all the more resigned to his fate.

     The Coming Storm  

  • The battle between Neo and Cinder visually looks awesome, but lyrics of the battle's song are melancholy, describing Roman as Neo's Only Friend and how heartbroken she is by his death. When her real body appears at the end of the fight, the confidence displayed by her illusion-self in the fight is gone, revealing a forlorn and lost looking girl whose once pristine clothing is now dishevelled and torn, and who is now wearing Roman's iconic derby hat. While the fight initially looked awesome because of the improvements she's made in her abilities and Semblance the end of the fight emphasises the lyrics of the battle song and create a sad picture of a bereft and lonely girl who's sole motivation now is to avenge the death of the only friend she ever had.
    I had one thing, and you've taken it from me! A single light, a single friend, but you made that end!
  • When Neo's real body appears, contrary to the confident appearance that she had with her illusion-self, she's disheveled and her clothes are damaged, and her smug grin is replaced with a forlorn and melancholy look. That, combined with her improved Semblance, implies that she's been pushing herself to her limits to become strong enough to gain revenge on those she blames for Roman's death.
  • The fate of Brunswick Farms is revealed quite tragically; the workers there died en masse in their sleep. Weiss and Yang find this out the hard way. This takes a turn for the creepy when we see Weiss and Yang start getting delirious, and saying things that they don't mean (see below).

     Alone In The Woods  

  • Watching Ruby jolt awake at the beginning of the episode, panting and trembling in fear, is a quietly heartbreaking moment in an episode filled with supernatural horrors. Despite all her determination, it's clear the past few episodes have shaken Ruby just as badly as everyone else.
  • Ruby's fear about Qrow finding the wine cellar is confirmed; he is so consumed with grief that he keeps trying to drown it away, invaliding him so completely that he's too busy getting shitfaced to realise the danger until Ruby and Weiss physically drag him away from the alcohol. His expression as he sees the burning Apathy Grimm he's being dragged away from reveals that he's utterly horrified that he was wallowing while the kids were fighting for their lives.

     The Grimm Reaper  

  • After Tock slashed out her eyes, Maria retreated and never fought again, even after her eyesight got restored. Her subsequent lamentation about not doing more when she was still active and fit hits close to home for a lot of people, especially the elderly. Thankfully, Ruby suggests that Maria teach her about using her eyes.
  • Yang seems morose at remembering her recovery period (especially her depression) when Maria praises her for her strength to keep on doing her duty as a Huntress. She might be back from the experience of losing her arm, but It Never Gets Any Easier recalling how Beacon Academy's fall changed her forever.
  • Apparently Terra and her fellow technicians are being blamed for problems with the Argus military base's radar system and the relay station interfering with each other. Terra is also clearly annoyed about how it's resulted in work calls keeping her from her wife and son, and although Saphron is understanding, it's implied that it's not the first time this has happened.

     Dead End  

  • Caroline Cordovin, the Atlesian commander who the heroes were talking to, taunts Blake as a woman of "questionable character". Even after what Blake, her parents and her friends did at Haven Academy, there are people in the Atlesian kingdom who still adhere to racism and profiling.
  • Though the team is unable to enter Atlas, Cordovin does mention that Weiss might return, but at the cost of the latter surrendering to Jacques. Though Ruby assures her that they'll find another way, Weiss contemplates whether she should stay with her friends or surrender to her father to get the the Relic to Ironwood.
  • Maria's father noticed that someone was trying to pick Silver Eyes wielders off, and despite his warnings, and Maria's rightful paranoia, she still lost her eyes.
  • The end results of the episode definitely get in; after the negotiations with the Atlesian officials fell through, the way to Ironwood is barred, Qrow promptly went off on yet another drunken bender, and what's left of Team JNPR got so pissed at Oscar over Ozpin's deception that the latter ended up bolting from the group.
    • Nora is ready to throw up her hands and quit when she learns the truth, and Ren clearly isn't taking it all that well either, but special mention goes to Jaune for slamming Oscar into the wall when he finds out. After all the hardships he's been put through, including losing a quarter of his team, only to find out that his quest seemingly has no end in sight and might just be All for Nothing... it's hard to blame him for losing his composure.
    • After angrily talking down Jaune from assaulting Oscar, Ruby goes outside while trying to call Qrow. After getting no response, she throws her Scroll into the gardenbed in frustration. It's obvious that even Ruby's approaching her limit with the conflicts her friends and teammates are having over Jinn's revelations.
  • Poor Oscar is getting put through a lot. He's constantly getting anger and blame pinned at his feet just because of his connection to Ozpin as his reincarnation, despite absolutely none of it being his fault, with Ozpin pretty much running away and leaving Oscar to clean up his mess. Is it any wonder he runs away by the end of the episode?

     Lost  

  • Emerald breaks down and lashes out at Mercury after he points out that Cinder wasn't the caring mother-figure Emerald believed her to be.
    • Hell, Mercury's rant about just how depraved his father was gets in - he was not only routinely beaten in his "training", but his Semblance got stolen by his own father, forcing him to train even harder. And why? All because Marcus thought it made Mercury weak and would otherwise force him to use it as a crutch. What's worse was that Mercury never got his Semblance back - not even after he fought and killed his own dad. Now, it's as if violence is the only thing he knows and has left, as Tyrian points out.
  • While Jaune sits on a park bench in frustration, a maple leaf wafts towards a path in front of him. He follows it and finds himself staring at a massive statue of Pyrrha. It turns out that Argus is both her hometown and the location of Sanctum Academy, and he reflects on her legacy with a woman who strongly resembles his partner; the woman acts like she knows who Jaune is and is somehow thanking him for being Pyrrha's friend. It's clear that Jaune's been confronted with his grief and despair, and witnessing him internalize it isn't pleasant to watch. The scene is made even more difficult due to the song that is playing — the same melody that plays every time Pyrrha and Jaune were together on screen.
  • The look on Qrow's face when Ruby, his sweet, loving niece chews him out for being unhelpful for the past few episodes. Yes, he's been an ass (if for understandable reasons), but the look on his face that he's yet again disappointed and hurt Ruby with his behavior (which almost got her and everyone else killed last time), shows that he's fearing the loss of yet another member of his family. And he has no one to blame except for himself.

     Stealing From The Elderly  

  • Blake doing a Verbal Backspace when she starts to point out that Yang isn't exactly the "stealth" type, while funny, obviously has some roots in her remembering their argument on the farm.
  • Qrow's bitter lament about dragging Ruby, Yang and her friends into the mess as their plan starts getting poleaxed gets in. Especially when Ruby has none of it and chastens him for thinking that he alone bears responsibility.
  • Much to Blake's horror, Adam has resurfaced. And the last shot of the episode is of them about to fight one another - which gets worse when you remember that Yang's on her way. This doesn't bode well for anyone.

     The Lady In The Shoe  

  • After Adam tells Blake about how "All sorts of people" have hurt him in "all sorts of ways", he takes off the bandana over his eyes, giving the viewers our first look at his eyes. What we see is... horrifying. Adam has the ugly scars of the letters 'S D C' branded across his left eye, heavily damaging or possibly even blinding it. The implications behind it are unpleasant to say the least, and while it doesn't excuse his actions, it's not hard to see how he could end up hating humans.
  • Adam claiming that what actually hurt him was when Blake left him. While she had a pretty good reason for doing so, it's upsetting that Adam fails to realize he drove Blake away all by himself.

     Seeing Red  

  • While it was certainly necessary and well-deserved, the death of Adam Taurus can be this. After seeing the depths of his delusion and the Facial Horror he's endured, the way he calmly takes The Dying Walk off a cliff can be bittersweet.

     Our Way  

  • Cordovin slowly realizing that, despite how she keeps blaming the heroes for what happened, that it's her fault, and although the base keeps hailing her, she doesn't reply.
  • Terra looking for her wife and son as the Leviathan is closing in on Argus, who she joins in watching in terror when she finds them.
  • The first time Ruby tries to use her Silver Eyes against the Leviathan, she gets sidetracked from thinking of happy times by sadder memories, like Pyrrha and Penny's deaths, and Yang's Heroic BSoD after losing her arm.
  • After Oscar admits that Ozpin helped him safely crash land the airship during their battle with Cordovin, RWBY and JNR are visibly hostile, especially Yang, Nora and Jaune. Despite the additional events they went through before (JNR after settling in Argus) and after (RWBY after the train crash) each team respectively found out the truth behind Salem, and that both teams know he does care about their wellbeing, they're still far from wanting to have anything to do with Ozpin for quite a while.
  • When the heroes arrive at Atlas proper, they're shocked to see the Atlesian fleet holding guard above the city, as though an invasion was due any minute. In other words, Ironwood's paranoid streak is getting worse.
  • In The Stinger, it's implied that Mercury, Hazel, and Emerald are now stuck in Salem's castle with her.

Volume 7

     The Greatest Kingdom 

  • Blake makes an offhand comment about the city of Mantle seeming "wrong", only to then be mocked and insulted by a drunken racist. When she tries to apologize, he just continues to spew vitriolic comments at her, calling her a "stupid Faunus". It sadly shows just how closed-minded and insensitive the citizens of Atlas can be.
  • Penny's return is also a reminder of the people that died because of Cinder's actions in Volume 3. While this reminds the viewers of Roman and Pyrrha, Lionheart's statement in Volume 5 about most of Mistral's Huntsmen dying to stop Grimm attacks that night means that countless lives were lost that night, and the only ones that came back were Penny and Ozpin, the latter reincarnating into Oscar.

     Ace Operatives 

  • While the episode is exciting as the cast shows off their new upgrades, it also reminds them of what they've lost or suffered on their journey:
    • Jaune's new gear includes a smaller red sash, meaning he has to remove the one he's been wearing in Pyrrha's memory, running his hand across it as he realizes this. That the new sash is shorter is a reminder of Pyrrha's diminishing role in the show.
    • Ren is now carrying his late father's knife in a sheath on his arm. Even though he killed the Grimm that killed his parents in Volume 4, he's essentially wearing his feelings on his sleeve.
    • Clover asks Qrow about his old team. Qrow confirms that he was on a team, but found working alone to be better, the tone of his voice is a reminder of how Team STRQ was torn apart over the show's run.
    • Once in the mine, Blake, Weiss, and Marrow have a conversation about the treatment of Faunus. Blake realizes this is where Ilia lost her parents. Weiss recalls how furious her father was over the accident, a factor in her "difficult childhood" as she put it in Volume 1, and tells Blake she wishes she could take back what her family's done. Marrow's part is how they can't really stop the bigotry because humans have no incentive to fix things, which is a reminder of Ilia's enraged declarations in Volume 5, and Velvet's bullying from CRDL in Volume 1.

     A Night Off 
  • Watts rigs the election to ensure Jacques Schnee's victory while Tyrian slaughters numerous supporters of Robyn Hill in a way that allows Watts to frame Penny for the massacre. By posting doctored video footage of the slaughter just as Jacques Schnee is announced the winner, they create a burst of negativity that attracts a flock of Manticores to the city. Instead of doing her job to help protect the city of Mantle, Penny is sent back to Atlas in tears. It's a heartbreaking end to an otherwise low-key episode and marks the second time that Penny has been victimized by Salem's faction. Both times, she was simply in the right place at the wrong time.
  • Someone at the rally referring to Penny as "Ironwood's robot". After previous episodes made it clear how much Penny cares about protecting the citizens of Mantle, her hearing how she's seen as just the General's weapon is very heartwrenching.

     Worst Case Scenario 
  • Yang and Blake have a conversation in the supplies truck they've stowed away on to get the drop on Robyn. Both have qualms about how far Ironwood, and by extension themselves, are willing to go to do the right thing. Both regret having had to kill Adam to defend themselves, but Blake especially. Adam manipulated her, isolated her from her loved ones, and tried to kill her several times, yet Blake still feels that horrible about his death. The scars of his abuse haven't magically worn off; Blake still feels something for the person he pretended to be.

     Cordially Invited 
  • Ironwood's worsening look on his face as he gets reprimanded by his fellow councillors (especially Jacques) and Robyn is just heartbreaking, given that he is acutely aware of their complaints and the damage they have done, yet he cannot bring himself to counter their claims, even though he has to justify his legislature given that he's trying to stop Salem.
  • When Willow Schnee finally makes her first appearance, her meeting with Weiss is bittersweet at best. Between her worn-down appearance and mannerisms and downing an entire bottle of vodka along with what's implied to have been three glasses of wine shortly before the scene, her deteriorated marriage has had a significant impact on her life.
  • When Willow asks Weiss to take Whitley away from the house with her when she leaves, Weiss points out that Whitley wants nothing to do with her. While Whitley has been portrayed in Volumes 4 and 7 as an oily jerkass who is growing into a carbon copy of his father, Willow's rebuttal casts him in a different light. Even though Weiss is highly aware of the abuse both she and Winter have received from their father, she's clearly oblivious to any abuse Whitley has suffered; Whitley makes her aware in Volume 4 that they must follow Jacques' wishes, but it's not until Willow responds to Weiss's accusation that it becomes clear that Whitley has become what he is as a defence against abuse. Willow's statement isn't angry or accusative; she sounds regretful, exhausted and factual. It drives home the fact that Whitley was, and still is, just as much a victim of the Schnees' abuse as Weiss and Winter were. And that Willow, even with how trapped she is, realizes the role she has played in creating that abusive environment.
    Willow: No matter what happens, Weiss, please don't forget about your brother.
    Weiss: Whitley? He wants nothing to do with me.
    Willow: Of course not. Because you left him alone — with us.

     As Above, So Below 
  • When Jacques is being taken away by the Atlas police, Willow turns to see Whitley sitting on the staircase by himself, looking forlorn and confused. For all his bratty behaviour, this scene serves as a reminder that Whitley is simply just a scared, lonely boy desperate for someone to genuinely love him.

     Gravity 
  • When Salem attempts to intimidate Ironwood into surrendering, Ruby intervenes to tell her that they know about her immortality but will still find a way to stop her. Every time Ruby has given a heroic speech, she's won her point and the day. This time, however, there's a gut-punching scene of Salem breaking Ruby with a single, dispassionate line when she tells Ruby that her mother once said the same thing to her and was also wrong. The statement is accompanied by Ruby suffering uncontrolled flashbacks to her mother standing on the cliff where her grave now lies. Instead of the idealistic, joyful memory that helped Ruby activate her silver eyes against the Leviathan in Volume 6, the memory is dulled, subdued and her mother looks deeply unhappy. Eerie, discordant music plays as Ruby clutches her head and sways as her silver eyes power short-circuits, before she finally collapses to the ground, sobbing, while a tearful and distraught Yang desperately attempts to comfort her. The entire scene is played out as a traumatic subversion of the Shut Up, Kirk! trope that is designed to devastate the viewers along with Ruby.
  • Since the fall of Beacon, Ironwood has been showing increasingly unnerving and paranoid behavior and Volume 7 has piled up the stress on him via a number of different stress points ranging from the attacks on Mantle to the conflicts with Robyn and the Council, and Ruby's decision to hide Salem's immortality until she feels he can be trusted. Ironwood's PTSD is triggered by finding a black queen chess piece sitting on his desk and learning Salem is on her way just at the moment he, Team RWBY, Robyn and the Council all come together to save Mantle. Then, there's a desperately sad situation where the shocked heroes all turn on each other with a great sense of pain at feeling betrayed by the other side: Team RWBY won't support Ironwood's decision to concentrate his exhausted military's efforts on protecting the Relics and Winter Maiden in Atlas by declaring martial law and abandoning Mantle to its fate while Ironwood and Ace-Ops feel betrayed by Team RWBY's secret-keeping, leaking intel to Robyn and insistance on defending Mantle. At this point, it's unknown who is right or whose side to take, or even whether it's possible for any of the heroes to be right in a situation where there seems to be no good options available.

    With Friends Like These 
  • While the battle between Team RWBY and Ace Ops is certainly cool, it brings a lot of sadness in context. Seeing your supposed allies with whom you were engaged together in battle mere hours before turning on you can hardly qualify as uplifting.
  • When Clover tries appealing to their friendship to make Qrow back down, Qrow responds that "You don't know my friends. That's how it always goes!" Raven, Lionheart, Ozpin, Ironwood, in the last few Volumes Qrow has seen everyone he trusted turning on him or deceiving him, one after the other. And now Clover joins the list, and you can tell how much it's breaking Qrow to go through this again.
  • Clover's sudden, violent death at the hands of Tyrian, using Qrow's own weapon to frame him for the deed. Rather than run for it or chase after Tyrian, Qrow decides to stay at his side while he dies, promising to get revenge on James for it while Clover simply wishes him luck. They watch the sun rise together before Clover finally passes, and Qrow gives one of the most painful, saddened screams towards the sky. What makes it truly tragic is that it was completely avoidable, with Clover saying that he wanted to trust Qrow and realizing that Ironwood was wrong in his dying moments showing that he could have seen reason if things had gone another way, but Salem and Tyrian's manipulations turned them against each other and they didn't realize it until it was far too late.

     The Enemy of Trust 
  • Oscar's attempt to reason with Ironwood ends badly. Ironwood's emotional state visibly shuts down when Oscar calls him "James", just like Ozpin used to, with his eyes switching from clear to Dull Eyes of Unhappiness. He informs Oscar that only friends call him that and to address him as "General". For the viewers, this serves as a direct Call-Back to Ironwood's introduction in Volume 2, where Ozpin greets him as "General". Ironwood tells Ozpin that friends shouldn't be so formal and that Ozpin should call him "James". Just as the realisation that he's rescinding his friendship with both Ozpin and Oscar sinks in, Ironwood unflinchingly pulls his gun and shoots Oscar point-blank. The force of the hit breaks Oscar's Aura and sends him tumbling off the ledge to fall down a shaft of unknown depth, while Ironwood expressionlessly watches. Ironwood's emotional shutdown, his willingness to abandon his friendship with Ozpin and kill a fourteen-year-old boy just because Oscar didn't support his plan is a shocking discovery of just how far Ironwood's already fallen from the hero he used to be.
  • Winter refuses to abandon Ironwood even after the full scope of his plan is revealed, only stopping to give Weiss and her friends a head start. Devastated at seeing her sister hurt, Weiss refuses to leave her, but Winter forces the issue by calling for medical assistance, making Weiss realize she has to follow her own path away from her sister. They still love each other, but it's clear that they will be at odds in the future, and they've accepted it.
  • Fria's death, if only for the way Penny reacts to it. She was the only person who treated Fria as more than just a vessel for the Maiden power, and seeing her clutch at her eyes in an attempt to mimic crying because she can't even weep for her is heartwrenching.
  • Even though it's clear she's sided with Ironwood, it's hard to watch Winter realise the power, a power that was promised to her, isn't going to her.
    Winter: (softly) No...
  • Qrow's final scene of the season is sad: captured by Atlas soldiers and wordlessly staring at Clover's bloodstained pin.
  • It's hard not to feel sad about how badly shaken Ren is by Team JNPR's overwhelming loss to Neo- in particular, the moment in which he encounters her disguised as Nora. The sight of "Nora" looking at him with fear as he's about to land a blow on her causes him to freeze up with a look of horror, allowing Neo to easily knock him aside. A moment later, as the team retreats, the actual Nora looks back to see that Ren is actually in tears. Combined with the fact that they were unable to fulfill their duty to protect Oscar and the Relic, Ren is visibly distraught in Team JNPR's final scene, hands clutching his head and unable to look Yang in the eye when she asks about what happened.

Additional Media

    Soundtrack 
  • From Volume 1:
    • The leitmotifs of the four main characters in the series seem to be at least half of the reason that the Fridge Horror and Tear Jerker is so noticeable to fans.
    • The lyrics to "Mirror Mirror" certainly qualify, especially when you take a closer look at some of Weiss's behavior throughout the series.
      Fear of what's inside me
      Tell me, can a heart be turned to stone?
      ...
      • It gets even worse during the trailer, where she sings the song while recalling a battle against an Armored Knight. A certain Youtube user, Fatlord27, put it best.
      Fatlord27: She looks disoriented, almost as if she forgot where she was. She just bared her soul to the audience, she sang this song about her own terrible loneliness and it was like she was calling out for help. Then she realizes where she is, and curtsies like the perfect lady she's meant to be. 
      • Even worse is that, while she's singing about her loneliness, Volumes 2 and 4 respectively reveal that she has a sister and a brother. The nature of their relationship isn't addressed until later, but it's clear from the start that they are not at all close.
      • After The Reveal in The Stray that implies her father was abusive in some way and it had an effect on her personality as she grew up, try these lyrics:
      Mirror, mirror, what's behind you?
      Save me from the things I see!
      I can keep it from the world,
      Why won't you let me hide from me?
    • "From Shadows" is a spiteful, furious anthem from the perspective of The White Fang, an organization that Blake was born into, about how humanity had mistreated and oppressed them for long enough, and now they're about to fight back, complete with a somber piano piece at the start and end of the song.
    • Although Gold is a happy song known to be about Yang always looking after Ruby, there's one line in the song that becomes this when you think about it. The second half of the chorus:
      Like the smell of a rose, on a summer's day/I will be there to take all your fears away
      • It's reinforcing Yang looking after Ruby, almost like a mother would. Now, what was the name of Ruby's mother?
      • In addition, this line:
        I'm so happy/Just to have you here
      • With the revelation that Yang almost got Ruby killed when searching for her own missing mother, these and some of the other lyrics sound like Yang is reassuring herself just as much as Ruby.
    • The lyrics to Red Like Roses Part 2 appear to be sung from the point of view of Ruby, despairing at the loss of a loved one. Then the full version of the song was released, and two more verses were added. The second verse appears to be sung from the point of view of whoever it was that died, full of regret that she had to leave Ruby all alone, and saying she had every intention of coming home again. Then the third verse is a duet, which sounds like an angry argument between the two. The fact that the second voice is sung by primary singer Casey Lee Williams' mother leans even more towards the idea that the song is about Ruby and her own mother.
      Every nightmare just discloses
      It's your blood that's red like roses...
      • According to Casey Lee the song is indeed an argument between Ruby and her mother, Summer. Ruby is a young child angry that her mother left her alone to fight (and eventually die) and Summer is desperately trying to tell her why she had to go and apologize for it.
    • The season finale's credits-song Wings, despite its soothing tone, and lyrics imploring, "Dry your eyes, now, baby," has a reputation for making many in the FNDM grow misty-eyed at the chorus.
  • From Volume 2:
    • For meta reasons, "Time to Say Goodbye" is Harsher in Hindsight: It was the last title song for a season completed prior to Monty Oum's sudden death, due to an allergic reaction to medicine he received that rendered him comatose. The song is about a warrior questioning why they continue fighting...
  • From Volume 3:
    • A small portion of "I'm the One" alludes to Mercury's childhood of abuse, what with being beaten and hated by his father, as well as Emerald's lack of a home, having no one to love her.
    • "It's My Turn" is confirmed by Jeff Williams to be from Weiss's perspective about growing up under her father's thumb, and how she'd finally found her own path after years of enduring criticism, being emotionally broken, being told to feign a smile, being forced her to abandon her dreams, and being told that his abuse was something she was supposed to appreciate.
    • The lyrics from "Mirror Mirror Part II" are about how Weiss was constantly put down, had her dreams belittled, and was prevented from forming any friendships. Despite all of this, she feels as if she has no right to feel sad or lonely, since she'd grown up with privilege that few else had.
    • "Cold", the second credits song of the season finale (which was extended upon its inclusion on the soundtrack). Its motif feels like an ode about Jaune's feelings for Pyrrha when she comes into his life... as well as when she leaves. Add that with the Reality Subtext of Monty's death, and it's easy to get the tears flowing.
      I never thought a hero, would ever come my way,
      But more than that, I never thought, you'd be taken away,
      Now it's cold without you here, it's like winter lasts all year.
  • From Volume 4:
    I'm a harbinger, I cannot lie. I will change the color of your life.
    I am no one's blessing. I'll just bring you harm.
    Sad to say, I'm your bad luck charm.
    • "Armed and Ready," while primarily about how Yang is back and ready to beat ass, also has some darker opening lyrics which indicate just how terrible things were for Yang in the previous few months while dealing with her depression and trauma.
    It happens every night
    I watch my world ignite
    But there's no waking from this nightmare
    The stage is always set
    The place I can't forget
    The hidden eyes that I can feel there
    My eyes are open wide
    I'm racing to her side
    There's nothing that I won't do for her
    But this is not a dream
    My mind repeats the scene
    I can't forget it and it's torture
  • From Volume 5:
    • The song that plays during Weiss' character short, a prequel to "Mirror, Mirror" which tells of her descent into cold and isolation. She's isolated not just from others, but from her own self, as she changes into a person she doesn't recognize.
    • While "The Triumph" is mostly an uplifting song, there are a few somber lyrics strewn in about how the past cannot be changed no matter how much we may want it, and we will never be able to reclaim what has been lost. The possibility of Penny and/or Pyrrha returning is becoming less and less likely...
    • The full version of All That Matters is heartbreaking throughout. Very clearly from Yang's perspective, it details how she never expected Blake to stay around (after her whole life has consisted of people leaving her), but that she never expected Blake to just leave without even an indication of how to follow her. The song then goes on to make it clear that Yang fully believes that Blake will leave again and hurt her eventually, but to her "all that matters" is that she has Blake there now (in contrast to how "all that matters" was used by Ruby in the scene the song played, with Ruby and Weiss willing to let bygones be bygones and welcome Blake back, with Yang it's phrase as her thinking that she can't trust Blake to stay, but that she's willing to be hurt again just to be around Blake a little while longer).
    I feel like I'm running out of energy
    While you just take everything in stride
    The way I feel
    To you is no big deal
    Sad, but it's true
    That the one thing I can count on is that I can't count on you
    • The full version of Smile makes it pretty obvious that, from the backstory, it's Ilia's song. What makes this saddening is how it begins: a happy tribal drum song with Ilia's parents warning her about the world. And while the drumming keeps going for the chorus, it stops once we know what Ilia's thinking her parents would want for her: "Show them how you smile, it's only for a while... Take what you need, leave them to bleed. Let them know bitter while your revenge is sweet."
  • From Volume 6:
    • "Nevermore", while mostly a triumphant duet from the viewpoint of Yang and Blake about how they make it clear to Adam that he can't haunt them anymore, has a moment during the bridge. The bridge makes it clear that, despite their triumph over Adam, they do not see it as a cause to celebrate and are clearly remorseful about having to take a life to defend theirs. It also makes it clear that, despite Adam having been a monstrous abuser, they only see him as "a boy who lost his way".
    • "Indomitable" is a mix between this and heartwarming. The song starts as a recount of the beginnings of RWBY, and Monty's vision as he and the others shaped the world. The song then takes time to recount the lessons Monty imparted on everyone, and comments how despite how unfair his death was, his influence will never be forgotten, and thus will live forever through what he left behind.
    The goal is not to live forever
    Cause eternity loves the creation of time
    • "One Thing" reveals just how poorly Neo has handled Torchwick's death back in Volume 3. The lyrics suggest that Neo had a very Dark and Troubled Past and lived a life of misery before Torchwick came along, as well as state that Neo came to see him as the only good thing she had, and that she feels she has nothing left to live for except revenge against those (specifically Cinder, as the lyrics are clearly directed at a single person) who played a role in his death.
      • At one point the lyrics outside state that Cinder destroyed Neo's life.
    • The beginning lyrics of "Lionize" spell out how Adam has been mistreated and abused for being a Faunus since childhood. It even implies he started working as de facto slave labourer for the Schnee Dust Company since he was a kid. While Adam is a horrible abuser, the lyrics point out why he's so angry at humans and the world, and give a more light on what shaped him into the monster he became.
  • From Volume 7:

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