Reminder: spoilers for everything.
Episode 27, "Interlude Party"
In which there is a clip show in the form of Hohenheim debating himself in a dream about whether to get involved. (Mark's post.)
I strongly suspect this episode could be skipped.
I thought this was an actual flashback at first, and freaked out when the young girl asked Hohenheim to dance, thinking it was Trisha, because ick. Then young Pinako said something about the brothers and made clear it was his memory/dream figure of her, not an actual flashback. (Possibly the young girl is still supposed to be Trisha, the same way the young woman is, but since I didn't hear any names, la la la I can't hear you.)
As for the clips, they reminded me that in the Fifth Lab, Ed says he won't take a life, which is relevant to the discussion we were having about the Elric brothers, Winry, killing, and ethics. That's . . . about it.
The context, besides being weird and confusing, does make clear that Hohenheim isn't human, in case that was in doubt, and also that he isn't Father, which I had thought to be an open question at this point, so that's maybe not optimal?
The context also doesn't show Hohenheim in a very good light, if he's known about the plans and wasn't planning on doing anything besides warn Pinako (not even his kids!). I also have the vague idea it's not really consistent with either later episodes or the manga, not sure which. Also there's a bit in what the Internet tells me is ch. 46 (the rest of which corresponds to episode 22) where he's on a stagecoach that gets robbed and he freaks out the robbers by not bleeding when shot; the impression he gave me there was more bemused and bemusing than completely detached.
We have a new opening and closing. The opening spoils Ling as joining Father's team if you look closely! It also makes clear that Hohenheim is not Father. Also, yay, we're heading to Briggs soon. The closing is Winry with a bit of Lanfan and Mei, no other characters.
An alchemical analysis of the episode's structure in Mark's comments (in replies to the top comment, because linking to collapsed comments seems not to be working), which is either brilliant or giving the show way too much credit.
No manga notes, obviously.
Episode 28, "Father"
In which Father creates a new Greed. (Mark's post.)
I will never forgive the back of vol. 13 for spoiling this twist for me. It is so beautiful and makes so much sense and yet is, or ought to be, so SURPRISING. I love it.
The density of this episode is kind of whiplash after the last one: Ed, Ling, and Envy are out of Gluttony! Father can ignore equivalent exchange and stop alchemy (but not alkahestry)! Ling has been transformed into (but not fully subsumed by) Greed! Mei and Xiao Mei are reunited and appear to escape with Scar, with help from Al! Ed and Al are being taken to Wrath! Gluttony is dead but Father promises to recreate him (memories intact)! Gaaah!
Greed is so much fun, which is probably wrong but I don't care.
Poor Mei, she's having a rough day; the silly, overdone crushing of her fantasy feelings for Ed, and the serious, more subtly played realization that Scar is seriously scary. (Here is a link to a large screencap of Xiao Mei doing the transmutation pose along with her, which is hilarious.)
I saw some people questioning whether Scar should have believed Ed about the cause of the Ishbalan war, but to me the resounding silence from the Homunculi and Father were more than enough reason to believe him.
. . . okay, this is creepy. I always skip the previews, so I didn't know that the narrator of the previews (and previouslies) is Father. Someone in Mark's comments pointed this out (in a reply to themselves, one level down), and yes, the voice tells humans to kneel before him in the preview for this episode. Yikes!
Corresponds to vol. 14, ch. 54, "The Fool's Struggle" and ch. 55, "The Avarice of Two," with the after-credits bit taken from the first couple pages of ch. 56, "The Lion of the Round Table."
Ed doesn't tell Al in passing that he saw Al's body, which is probably fine since they don't have time to talk about it then anyway.
The shot of Hohenheim in the mountains makes clear that he's doing something at specific spots in the wilderness, brought there by a guide.
When Scar, Al, and Mei are in the tunnel, Scar says he has no intention of escaping to the surface.
Larger change: Ling's reasons for giving up his body are saved for after the chapter break, out of chronological order, which I think is odd and suboptimal, so I'm glad the anime put it back in chronological order.
Finally, now is a good time to cut and paste back in a list from comments at Mark's, of episodes with post-credits scenes:
- 45 (note: most of the scene is over the credits, ending with a blank screen bearing the episode number and title. Immediately after that is the "next episode" preview.)
- 63 (again, only under the credits.)
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