Spoil me for episodes after 40 and I will give you a cold, and a migraine, and cramps.
Episode 39, "The Secret of Ishbal": In which lots of people meet up in and around Lior.
As a minor follow-up from last time, Winry and Sciezka are confronted by Ross and Brosh, but Winry won't tell them anything except that something bad is happening in the military. Winry decides to go home (which is where Trisha Elric's remains are, I note) and takes Sciezka with her.
Mustang is pissed as hell about Kimblee coming with them and being under Archer's command. Mustang and Archer are co-equal in rank at Colonel for the Lior expedition, which is a really bad idea for so many reasons.
Ed tells Marta that he killed Greed, but Marta doesn't consider him an enemy over it. (It's a measure of my state of mind that I didn't realize until the middle of the night that the "freaks dressed in black" were the Homunculi.) Marta kills a snake, tells Ed to eat it—"C'mon, you wanna turn me into a cannibal now, Ed?" yhlee, you may be amused that it was your general comments about the importance of snakes that made me think, "snakes — cannibal — duh, Ouroboros!"
Marta tells them that 14 years ago, her Special Ops teams infiltrated Ishbal and started the "disruptions" that led to the war; she implies that the tale of Juliet Douglas killing a child is just that, a tale. (I believe we've previously been told that the war lasted some years, which it would have had to: 14 years ago Ed was 2, and the kids were definitely older than that when Winry's parents were killed.) I still don't know why this secret would limit the H-team's mobility, but I certainly understand why Pride would have told Lust & Gluttony to kill anyone who found it out.
The Elric brothers are back under Mustang's command; Ed recognizes that the military is gearing up for war. Ed is also the one to spot, in a surveillance balloon's photo, that Scar's drawn the Grand Arcanum through the streets of Lior; I was initially surprised that Mustang didn't, since he had researched human transmutation, but I guess it's not necessarily that obvious (screencap).
The brothers also hear for the first time that their work in Lior didn't last, and Ed is angry that Mustang withheld the news from them—so he goes to Archer for permission to go to Lior, who puts "conditions" on his expedition, and forces him to leave Al behind as a guarantee of good behavior—what conditions? Just, anytime Archer does anything, imagine me waving a big sign saying "BAD IDEA!", okay? And even when Mustang finds out that Ed's gone to Archer, Mustang still doesn't tell him about Hughes (more on this in my grand theory post).
(Archer tells Tucker to give Ed's watch the "full amplification treatment," and if that means anything other than putting incomplete Stones in it, well, I'll be very surprised and relieved. When Ed finds out . . . )
Ed looked frighteningly like Wrath when he assumed his (lame) disguise to go into Lior. Hey, it's radio guy! Why is Rose the Holy Mother? And we end with Ed, Scar, Lust, and Gluttony in Lior; and Kimblee, Marta, and Al, back at HQ. Whee!
Episode 40, "The Scar": In which Pride is revealed (THE BASTARD!).
(Yes, I'm still caps-locking over this.)
Kimblee, Marta, and Al; Al trying to save Marta both from herself and from others. Did Al make the block of stone around Kimblee reflective or something? More disputes over the definition of humanity, between Kimblee and Al; it doesn't surprise me that Kimblee is shown making racist comments in flashback, though really it's almost too obvious, you know?
Back at Central: Hakuro is Lieutenant Fuhrer? Oh, great. And the Fuhrer is married? I'm sorry, I just can't picture it (even before the end of the episode). As Sloth and the Fuhrer walk down the hall, Wrath slides out of Sloth's body (ick), and it becomes obvious that the Fuhrer is involved with the H-team, but before the end of the episode, I wasn't sure if maybe he was the person pulling the strings. (Which, since he's not, good grief, who is?)
Ed and Scar fight; Ed is a dork and tells Scar his trick of transmuting his automail so Scar can't explode it. Surely the writers could have figured out some other way of getting that information across to the audience without Ed being an idiot? And then Lust and Gluttony interfere, wanting to help Scar whether he likes it or not; "not" would be the answer. He confronts Lust with the locket his brother gave to his lover, she passes out, Gluttony whisks her away and is really pissed. The locket only contains a bit of hair, which suggests to me that the weakening effect isn't proportionate to the amount of remains present.
Then we have masses of exposition and revelation between Ed, Scar, and Lyra (who shows up purporting to interpret for a mute Rose!). Ed tells Scar and Lyra how Homunculi are made, their weakness in the presence of the remains of the intended resurrectee, and figures out that someone has to be gathering and teaching them.
Scar describes his brother's history. The creation of Lust was before Special Ops started making trouble; Scar's brother came back from exile during the start of the war and was going to make the Stone, but went mad before he finished. We get a little more information on the souls that go into the Stone—Scar calls them displaced, angry, and still crying out at their loss. (Enh. I still want more theology, but I don't know if I'm going to get it.) Explicit confirmation that his brother was making the Stone in his arm, and the incomplete Stone is still trying to get the remaining ingredients—hence sucking up the incomplete Stones of Marcoh and Kimblee-in-flashback. And yes, it was literally his brother's arm; Kimblee messed up Scar's face and ripped off his arm, and his brother performed an alchemical transplant, because the incomplete Stone would heal Scar (hmmm, time for an experiment: smash off Scar's head, see what happens). The array markings vanish from his body when the incomplete Stone is removed, which makes a certain intuitive sense to me.
Lyra claims she wants to help Scar's plan for justice, and says there's a secret passage under a church, through which the people of Lior will escape, so that only the military gets killed to fuel the completion of the Stone. Ask me how much I believe her? NOT AT ALL, that's how much.
(I've gone back and looked at episode 34, and I can't see that Lyra was wearing Dante's Stone (or what I'm assuming is the Stone, anyway), but then again if she were wearing it openly when she let Greed in, it would have rather tipped him off. WTF is up with Lyra? She split Dante down the middle, enabled Greed's death in apparent collaboration with Lust and Gluttony, and now is plotting the creation of another Stone. She's not Pride or another Homunculus, since all seven are accounted for; she was talented but not particularly so in Youswell just three years ago. And does she want something particular with Rose, or is Rose just a handy excuse for being around?)
(Ed doesn't seem to suspect that Dante may've had a Stone, but I think he doesn't know how old Greed was and therefore how old Dante had to be. I think—it's getting hard to keep track of who knows what.)
We find that Rose's muteness is psychological rather than physical; it's strongly implied that she was (at the least) raped by the military. I wouldn't have thought that nine months had passed since episode 14, which is the last time we saw her; at that time, the brothers were just meeting Marcoh. I dunno, maybe she's holy because she had accelerated gestation?
Back at HQ, we have DOOM—
Marta overhears the Fuhrer ordering Kimblee to go into Lior with Tucker's chimeras and start another war. (Tucker, interestingly, seems to have a few qualms about this, saying that he created them for defense.) Also, there's Ed: "Make certain you bring back his corpse." Kimblee makes the unspoken order explicit, because he's just that kind of person. As the Fuhrer walks down a hallway, Marta attacks; he has frighteningly fast reflexes, and, under that eyepatch, a blank white eyeball with an Ouroboros mark—"the Ultimate Eye." Which perhaps can see through armor, since he doesn't have any trouble killing her with a single sword-thrust when she's inside Al. Poor Marta! Poor Al! I think I'm traumatized for life just at the thought.
Bastard. *stomps off muttering*
(I could go back and catalogue all the actions that now fit or appear differently, but this is enormous enough as it is, and I have another post I wanted to make.)
The list of people who know or knew about the brothers' human transmutation:
- All seven of the Homunculi;
- did the people of Lior understand about the empty armor? I don't think so, but there's a slight possibility that "most of Lior" should be on this list (what's left of it);
- Shou Tucker;
- Winry and Auntie Pinako;
- The ex-soldier without a leg in episode 16, who Ed tells about trying to restore his arm and leg and his brother's body;
- The Slicer(s), and Barry the Chopper;
- All the prisoners in Lab 5;
- Izumi Curtis and her husband; and
- the chimeras with Greed in episode 30+.
- In the military:
- Roy Mustang;
- Riza Hawkeye;
- Maes Hughes;
- Alex Louis Armstrong;
- Kain Furey;
- Heymans Breda;
- Jean Havoc;
- Vato Falman;
- Maria Ross;
- Denny Brosh;
- Lt. Col. Archer;
|Lust||Scar's brother (attempt: his lover)||pre-1901 (per eps. 39-40)||pointy fingernails||the first-seen Homunculi team, working for an unseen person||stated goal: acquire the Philosopher's Stone so that the H. can become human; as of ep. 40, in Lior with Gluttony|
|Gluttony||?||?||eats through metal, tracks by taste||the H-team||mostly works with Lust|
|Envy||?||100s of years ago?||shape-shifts||the H-team||loathes Papa Elric; as of ep. 38, on (solo?) mission and almost at destination|
|Sloth||Elric brothers (attempt: their mother)||1910||manipulates own body as water and vapor||the H-team||masquerading as Juliet Douglas; as of ep. 40, at Eastern HQ with Pride and probably Wrath|
|Greed (1)||Dante (attempt: ?)||pre-1770s (130-140 years in prison)||The Ultimate Shield (carbon)||himself||imprisoned by the H-team; stated goal: eternal life; killed by Ed in ep. 34|
|Greed (2?)||speculation based on ep. 35 comments that H. will just be replaced|
|Wrath||Izumi (attempt: her unborn child)||~1906? (before 1910, appears a pre-teen in 1915)||can transmute his body + other objects because of Ed's limbs; H.-specific power?||the H-team||survived on own, unlike other H., because of alchemy (per Envy)|
|Pride||?||?||"The Ultimate Eye"||the H-team||Fuhrer of the whole damn country!|
Up next: my grand theory of morality in Fullmetal Alchemist.