Brace yourselves, kids. This episode of RWBY is long, and there’s a lot of subtlety in it. I had to watch it three times in rapid succession before I could even get to a point where I could write about it.
What happened last week?
We had a hiatus that stretched for a couple of weeks, but last episode we got the fight between Pyrrha and Penny, ending in Penny turning into scrap metal with the assist from Emerald. Ruby also fought Mercury, and Cinder unleashed a metric ton of Grimm onto the Vytal festival.
Oh, and we got this World of Remnant. It’s really important and ties into my theories for the rest of the season, so you’d do well to watch it now if you haven’t. You might get lost if you don’t.
What happened this week?
Everything. Everything is a mess right now. We have Professors Port and Oobleck fighting a legion of Nevermore (remember the giant ass birds from that first fight of season 1?), by themselves to let the students escape, Ruby going rogue and shooting herself up to Torchwick on a flying locker, and Pyrrha in shock. Meanwhile, Yang is alone with only Zwei for company, Cinder, Emerald and Mercury are shooting reality TV of the chaos, and Blake has reunited with Adam with only Weiss for company.
Oh, and there’s a dragon. Yes, you read that right.
OKay, I’m still not quite sure where to begin with this episode. However, between the clues we got in this episode and the World of Remnant episode last week, I think I can figure out what’s going to happen next week. There were a few really, really out of character moments that stuck in my head.
Let’s go in chronological order. First off, I noticed something in the first few minutes of this episode that changed everything about it for me. Yang never attempted to find the rest of her team, even when Blake and Weiss said Ruby was missing. Yang has always gone looking for Ruby, or at least for the fight, yet in every scene she happened to be in, she was running. That’s very unlike her, especially considering the last two seasons. That has to be important because it’s so out of character for her. It feels like there’s going to be yet another curveball with Yang this season, and I think I know what it is.
Watch that first scene again. When Blake and Yang are talking, she’s running with a clear purpose in mind, only stopping when they tell her Ruby’s missing. Once Blake tells her she can take care of herself, Yang clearly steels herself for something and keeps running in the direction she was going to begin with. She then tells Blake that the White Fang let the Grimm into the city, sending Blake into a tailspin since the White Fang are a touchy subject for her.
Now, here’s my question: how did Yang know the White Fang were involved? She was confined to her room for at least two episodes, so in reality, it should be Blake and Weiss informing her of the situation. Also, technically, the White Fang weren’t responsible, they were part of the team that was responsible. Roman Torchwick has nothing to do with them other than a business relationship, and even if he did, Yang wouldn’t know that Torchwick escaped since again, she’s been out of the loop for awhile.Now, she could really be going down to the docks with the tiny Corgi dog, but I think Yang isn’t done surprising us yet. I think she’s going to make a play to find and confront her mother, bringing us to the stinger of volume 2’s finale, which I am now positive is a flash forward. The only thing that would have stopped her is Ruby being alone, but once Blake reassured her that Ruby would be okay, she kept going towards her purpose. Time will tell if I’m right, but I really think I am.
Another really out of character thing I noticed? Ruby’s smirk.
This reminds me of the smirk Pyrrha had during Never Miss A Beat, where everyone thought she was Neo. (Special shout out to Never Miss A Beat for being the last light and sweet episode of the season.) Then again, this was back when everyone thought Neo was the illusionist, not Emerald, and before we’d seen Fall. That’s the only time I’ve ever seen Ruby as creepy, which is again, really out of character. There was something weird in her eyes that I had to go back and rewatch just to be sure that I even saw what I thought I saw. However, I’m willing to let this one pass for now, since we thought so many things of Pyrrha after her smirk and it turned out to be nothing.
Ruby’s behavior was definitely all over the place, but she’s in a really precarious position because she’s literally flying a rocket propelled locker to a flying airship to go fight Torchwick and Neo on her own. She left everybody else behind to go do that. I’m going to say that between this and the smirk in the arena proper, she’s really been affected by the loss of Penny in the last episode. Never mind the fact that Penny is really a robot, she also had a soul, and Ruby was the first to make a real connection with her. On top of that, Penny’s death raises the stakes. Even if we know some of the main characters have plot armor for now, they might not have plot armor forever. Even if Penny comes back next week (which I’m not betting on unless Ironwood has a spare Penny in the back room somewhere), she might not come back the same, which is really sad if you think about it. Also, Ruby taking on that Nevermore by herself with only one of Penny’s swords was amazing, especially since Ruby’s two years younger than the rest of the cast.
Blake and Weiss were also alone, but they’re fighting a completely different battle than Ruby or even everybody else.
While Ruby doesn’t like Torchwick and nobody likes Grimm, Blake and Adam clearly had a deep relationship before Blake left him on that train. Considering their interaction a couple of episodes ago, Blake probably wasn’t privy to every plan Adam made, since he never told her that Cinder made him an offer, but she was important enough to be the only person Adam took on that train with him. This makes me think that he’s Blake’s ex-boyfriend, and the only reason why she left him was because he started slipping deeper into doing evil things. She’s been preoccupied with him throughout the series, to the point where Adam overshadowed Blake in her own trailer. A lot of her personal motivations go back to her dealing with Adam. Even if past evidence doesn’t suggest their relationship, Adam’s first words to her in the present timeline definitely suggest it.
While this episode set up a lot of things and it was generally pretty crazy, the one thing that probably sticks out in everyone’s head is the freakin’ Grimm dragon that broke its way out of a mountain. Now, that’s a monster.
This thing is creepy in the same way most Grimm are creepy, but this makes the elephants of season 2 look like child’s play.Honestly, I can’t decide who has it worse, whoever has to fight that dragon, whoever’s going to end up fighting the intelligent elephant Grimm, or Professors Port and Oobleck fighting all those Nevermore. This makes the fight halfway through season 1 look like someone trying to kill a spider in their apartment.
While we’ve got a lot going on with team RWBY right now, one of the biggest developments has to be with team JNPR. With team RWBY scattered all over the place, they’re the ones every other team is rallying behind.
Team SSSN are actually standing in the same shot together for the first time since episode 2 of this season, Ren and Nora are finally getting things to do, Jaune’s really showing his stuff as a leader, and Pyrrha seems to be trusting him again. That is, until she sees Ozpin out of the corner of her eye and walks toward him, looking scared shitless.
Now, here’s where we bring in the new World of Remnant. Every piece of those things are important, because these little episodes are explaining a lot of things that the regular episodes might not have time to get to. Last episode was all about the tale of the four Maidens, which is a big deal this season. The World of Remnant in question is embedded above, so watch that to get a handle on the story.
I can make a really strong case right now for Professor Ozpin being the wizard in the story. Look at his color theme versus the reclusive old man in the story. They’re practically identical. On top of that, Ozpin is narrating the video, and offering a lot of insight into the old man’s perspective that the main episode didn’t quite go into. We’re seeing everything from his perspective rather than the Maidens. On top of that, while Ironwood disagrees with his methods, he has yet to truly go against him. We know that Ironwood is in the inner circle when it comes to knowing things, so he could be refraining from open rebellion because he knows who he is. Ozpin was also the one who told the story to Pyrrha, and everyone stepped back to let him tell it. He didn’t show a ton of emotion while telling the story proper, but he appeared very broken up at the sight of Amber’s condition and appalled at the thought of what was done to her. I think he takes Amber’s loss so personally because he knows her well, and he knows her well because he gave her the powers that Cinder stole from her. Ozpin is also deeply involved in Pyrrha’s life now, and he’s the one who calls her away from her team. If he’s the hermit in the story, he’s the one who facilitates the power exchanges, including the one between Amber and Pyrrha, which is currently what he’s doing. This raises the question of how Ozpin got his legitimate magic to bless four maidens with incredible power, and calls into question most of what we know about him.
Now, this brings me to the future. When Cinder sees Pyrrha move away from her team and towards Ozpin, her eyes light up with her stolen Fall Maiden powers. I think the whole point of Cinder spending two seasons in deep cover with Emerald and Mercury was to force Ozpin’s hand and have him pick a new Maiden to replace Amber, and when he puts the remainder of Amber’s power into Pyrrha and sends her out into the world, all Cinder has to do is kill Amber and/or Pyrrha, and she becomes a full fledged Maiden. Or, even easier: she cuts the power to Amber’s life support, Amber dies, and the power simply seeks out its other half, giving Cinder all the power and usurping Pyrrha. That would make this victory, well, a pyrrhic one. That’s very much Cinder’s MO, what with some of her creepy speeches:
Cinder: Hmm… People assume that she’s fated for victory, when she’s really taking fate into her own hands. Interesting. Add her to the list.
Mercury: You should be able to take her no problem.
Cinder: It’s not about overpowering an enemy. It’s about taking away what power they have. And we will, in time.
That’s basically exactly what she did. She’s had her eye on Pyrrha since she got there. However, I think Cinder’s reasons for doing all of this are less truly evil than we think. Take what she says in the last episode.
Cinder: This is not a tragedy. This was not an accident. This is what happens when you hand over your trust, your safety, your children, to men who claim to be our guardians, but are, in reality, nothing more than men. (seen standing on a rooftop, speaking into her Scroll) Our Academies’ Headmasters wield more power than most armies, and one was audacious enough to control both. They cling to this power in the name of peace, and yet, what do we have here? One nation’s attempt at a synthetic army, mercilessly torn apart by another’s star pupil. What need would Atlas have for a soldier disguised as an innocent little girl? I don’t think the Grimm can tell the difference. And what, I ask you, is Ozpin teaching his students? First a dismemberment, now this? Huntsmen and Huntresses should carry themselves with honor and mercy, yet I have witnessed neither. Perhaps Ozpin felt as though defeating Atlas in the Tournament would help people forget his colossal failure to protect Vale when the Grimm invaded its streets. Or perhaps this was his message to the tyrannical dictator that has occupied an unsuspecting kingdom with armed forces. Honestly, I haven’t the slightest clue as to who is right and who is wrong. But I know the existence of peace is fragile, and the leaders of our kingdoms conduct their business with iron gloves.As someone who hails from Mistral, I can assure you the situation there is… equally undesirable. Our Kingdoms are on the brink of war, yet we, the citizens, are left in the dark. So I ask you: When the first shots are fired… who do you think you can trust?
These aren’t the words of a tyrannical villain, they’re the words of a revolutionary, however misguided she is, and in this speech, you can see why Mercury and Emerald were more than willing to follow her to the grave, like we saw in episode 7. While Cinder is definitely not going about this in the right way, she’s acknowledging that something is rotten in the state of Remnant. Even Ironwood didn’t really do that. Sure, it’s unsettling when she’s actually saying the words, but the words themselves might actually be correct.
Emerald’s resolve may be wavering, though. Check out this screenshot.
I don’t see Emerald switching sides just yet, since she’s still loyal to Cinder for all the reasons mentioned before, but I do think she’ll cross over to the side of good before Mercury does.
Now, for the little things, since this recap got really long, really fast.
- Did Blake get a tan? She went from stupidly pale in her trailer to noticeably darker than Weiss. I like her new look a lot.
- Pyrrha’s going to have a wicked case of PTSD if she survives this season.
- Ruby took like thirty levels in badass this episode alone.
- So did Jaune.
- Blake and Adam really remind me of Jessica Jones and Kilgrave. The comparison doesn’t work in every way, but honestly I see shades of that dynamic there.
- I’d love to know how the villains managed to get all of those Grimm onto the shuttles. Did they lure them in? Capture them?
- So if the negative feelings in Remnant reach critical mass, they unleash the bad feelings dragon? That’s one excellent reason to stay happy all the time. It’s either be happy or die.
- I’d love to see more of team SSSN before the season wraps up. They’re in the intro, we should’ve gotten a little more of them.
- Mercury didn’t have a lot to do this episode, but he was funny.
- Monty Oum died a year ago yesterday, guys.
See you guys next week, everybody! It’s going to be an exceptionally wild ride.
[via Rooster Teeth]