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Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood rewatch, Episodes 42-44
Reminder: spoilers for everything.

Episode 42, "Signs of a Counteroffensive"

In which a transmutation circle is revealed and two declarations of war are made. (Mark's post.)

I'm impressed with Scar's brother's spatial ability, encoding his notes like that! I know I would flub the flip-over or something.

Hohenheim intuits Pride's confinement to Central and that single tunnel. I understand the underground tunnel better than Central, but Pride doesn't deny it, and anyway I've forgotten a lot of the late-revealed alchemical worldbuilding so perhaps this will make more sense later.

(What's up with introductions through people collapsing from hunger in front of other people, by the way? That's the third in the series, if I recall correctly.)

I also don't quite understand why border fighting is ongoing other than at Briggs; I thought all the crests of blood were done except for there.

Before the credits, we get Kimblee bringing Drachma's army to Briggs (I'm not sure whether we're supposed to wonder if he actually does have men infiltrating the fort); after the credits, we get Zampano calling Envy.

No Ed at all.

Manga notes:

Corresponds to vol. 19, ch. 77, "The Tables Are Turned; A New Transmutation Circle," and ch. 78, "The Seven Deadly Sins" (except for 1.5 pages of interacting with the townspeople, who are next episode). Only change is that Al doesn't wake up while they're still in the snow, but inside the building, consolidating events slightly.

Episode 43, "Bite of the Ant"

In which Envy's Stone is destroyed and people split up. (Mark's post.)

Great episode. The whole sequence with tricking and trapping Envy is so tense and so wonderful. Though I couldn't help it, my notes for the fight consist of "do not taunt happy fun Envy!" (just before it Hulks out) and my notes for after consist of "do not TALK TO happy fun Envy!" Its true form is brilliant, though. (I don't look forward to seeing Mei fall victim to Envy's maniplations.)

(Typing this to work it out for myself: Lust died because she was taking physical damage that she couldn't heal. Envy didn't die because it wasn't taking damage when it lost its Stone, it's just no longer immortal and doesn't have a way to fuel its shape changes.)

Speaking of which, I understand where Scar is coming from when he urges Mei to leave, but I actually think the weight of his personal history does logic a disservice here. Letting Father succeed in whatever-it-is can't be good for Xing, desert between them or no (which is way more likely to happen without someone who knows alkahestry, because how that's how to activate the new circle), and also giving Envy to an Emperor desperate for immortality is a really terrible idea! Envy knows how to make Stones, doesn't it? Giving Envy to the Emperor is just as bad as bringing a Stone back, and if Mei weren't stunned by Scar's implicit invocation of the Ishvalan genocide, she would realize that (as would the others).

And, randomly, here is Bido, the lizard-chimera from former!Greed's posse! On his way to Central looking for Greed, after eavesdropping on soldiers looking for Izumi.

Speaking of soldiers and Central, I can't decide whether Kimblee leading the army from Drachma to the extremely-rapid pre-credits slaughter is clever or underwhelming, but I lean slightly toward the former. General Armstrong's reaction to the news is just right, though. And oh look, there's the freaky not-zombies!

(Oh, and there's the tiny, affecting bit where Wrath says that his wife, at least, was his choice. Stop being interesting!)

Finally, there's Hohenheim in Lior. Where Al is (minus Scar, Marcoh, and Mei), but no Ed. (Another episode without Ed.)

Manga notes:

Corresponds to vol. 20, portions of ch. 79, "Bug Bite," and ch. 80, "The Prodigal Father Returns," plus that leftover page-and-a-half from vol. 19.

This trims a number of small incidents: Drachman general dude has a conversation with Kimblee before he's killed, and Drachman soldiers try to arrest Kimblee, who blows them up; Zampano brings disguised-Envy to the village first, where the villagers praise Dr. Marcoh; Marcoh loses a tooth in the fight with Envy and no-one can find it.

The anime also swaps Bido for Envy manipulating Mei into going back to Central. Presumably we'll get that later.

Episode 44, "Revving at Full Throttle"

In which Ed is healed, Greed is unraveling, and Al and Hohenheim are talking. (Mark's post.)

A very multi-threaded episode, with some good stuff.

Hohenheim tells Al his story—I love it when people communicate in this show! He discourages Al from attempting to destroy the tunnel because Pride guards it and because the Homunculi are waiting for a particular day. I am not convinced that they couldn't dynamite the thing or send in cement or whatever. (Well, though it wasn't mentioned, I suppose they might be concerned for the safety of Mustang's hostages.)

Some general dude tells General Armstrong that the freaky not!zombies are immortal vessels that will have souls bonded to them, souls taken from the military's conquests. If he's telling the truth—and I can't remember if he is—I guess that's an explanation for the continued fighting.

Ed is physically recovered, still quick on the trigger when called short, and trying to figure out where to meet up with Al. (The gorilla chimera is Darius, and the lion is Heinkel.)

And in the stunner thread, Greedling meets and kills Bido (poor Bido, so heartbreaking!), and then gets yelled at by Ling and starts recovering some of the prior Greed's memories . . . leading to the shocking after-credits scene of him attacking Wrath in the Bradley's residence. *claps, sits on edge of seat*

Manga notes:

Corresponds to vol. 20, ch. 81, "A Full Recovery," and part of ch. 82, "Family by Spirit."

Things dropped: Bido is chased by chimeras. The general dude calls the not!zombies perfect rather than immortal. Hohenheim tells Al that Pinako introduced him to Trisha and they fell in love at first sight.

This is a cliffhanger but to reduce tl;dr I'm going to post these separately.

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