Reminder: spoilers for everything.
Episode 52, "Combined Strength"
In which there are many team-ups. (Mark's post.)
*flails at summarizing*
Al-Pride-Kimblee: Al uses the Stone to temporarily trap Pride. He has a conversation with Kimblee where he either refuses to be hypnotized by the hard choice of "save the world or get your body back," or is greedy and wants a happy ending for everyone. When Kimblee attacks and releases Pride, Al buys time for Marcoh to heal Heinkel enough to join the fight; then Yoki is brave! and they escape (well, Pride deliberately tricks them into going to Father, since Al's a needed sacrifice). Then Pride eats Kimblee. (Spoiler comments on Mark's posts indicate that this isn't the end of Kimblee, which I have ZERO memory of.)
Interestingly, in here Al rejects the idea that equivalent exchange is a law of morality or of the universe generally rather than of alchemy specifically, which is a thing that the 2003 anime spent a LOT of time on.
Armstrongs: they are severely wounded but Alex appears to have killed Sloth by impaling it through the mouth. They and Central's soldiers are under attack by not!zombies (mannequin soldiers is kind of annoying to type), but then Sloth's free again, whoops.
(The logic of Sloth being the fastest eluded me, but there are two explanations in Mark's comments: first, that it's based on an old belief that the lower-case-s sloth "is actually the fastest of all animals, but either can only sustain that speed for a few seconds a day, or is so lazy it never uses its speed," and second, that "the sin of sloth is only meaningful if someone is choosing to avoid effort.")
(Also, I did not actually prompt SteelyKid to talk about sloths with Chad.)
Mei & Envy: Mei flees Envy, tricking it into clearing her path of not!zombies but crushed to find that immortality is just the Stone. (I admit I sort of thought she knew that anyway, but oh well, obviously I lost track of something along the way.)
Mustang's group: having trouble getting into the city, despite disguising their truck.
Ed's group: lots of battling not!zombies to dubious music (I do not approve of using the theme song for this, it's very out of place) and terrible odds, until Mustang shows up to end the episode on a more optimistic note.
Finally: the not!zombies are REALLY FREAKY. Pride eating Kimblee is REALLY FREAKY. And there's still no Hohenheim confronting Father as in the manga previously.
Corresponds to vol. 23, the rest of ch. 92, "With Everyone's Strength," and part of ch. 93, "Archenemy."
Pride eating Kimblee is just a single page, but a REALLY FREAKY page.
Olivier sides with the "give meaning to name" explanation for Sloth's speed, thinking that he's just been lazy all this time.
Episode 53, "Flame of Vengeance"
In which Mrs. Bradley is on the radio and Mustang is unhinged. (Mark's post.)
This is all Central, first the hilarious bit with Mrs. Bradley on the radio (okay, she's not hilarious, but the radio staff's claiming to be hostages is), then the Third Lab fight into out-of-control Mustang.
Were the Ishvalans really brought into Central just to talk to random people on the street? Well, I suppose they were also a feint against the Central staff who thought they were a terrorist threat, but I feel like this misses "subversive" and hits "anti-climactic" instead. Maybe there's more I'm not remembering.
I was stitching while watching, and during Mustang torturing Envy, I looked up way less than usual, because Lust had already been about as much as I could take. So I missed Mustang's face looking like it has an X-shaped shadow across it. Just, really really disturbing. (Coming for a long time! This rewatch/reread has made me recognize the way he pushed himself immediately after and how he always asked and how he was always remembering Hughes.)
And cliffhanger, with Hawkeye holding a gun to Mustang's head . . . or is it? (Seriously, I remember there's some Envy-related identity fuckery in here somewhere, but I can't remember what it is. And Hawkeye might plausibly think it was time to jolt Mustang out of enjoying Envy's pain.)
Corresponds to vol. 23, the rest of ch. 93, "Archenemy,", and most of ch. 94, "The Flames of Vengeance."
The chapter break is on Mustang saying he will burn Envy starting with its tongue, in very ominous art.
The radio stuff is more cynical regarding using the rhetoric of justice.
The episode ends literally between panels within the chapter, not even at a page break.
Episode 54, "Inferno"
In which Mustang comes back from the brink, Envy commits suicide, and Izumi is an alchemist. (Mark's post.)
Ah, there's the Hawkeye-tattoo backstory (to overly sentimental music). And there's the identity fuckery; decent misdirect for Envy to impersonate Mustang instead of Hawkeye, but of course Hawkeye is smart.
Then the big moral showdown, which interests me most for Hawkeye and Scar and their positioning with regard to Mustang. Scar steadfastly refuses to be touchy-feely or BFFs or forgive or forget or let others forget. Hawkeye and Mustang can't do without each other, which I realize could be seen as unhealthy, but right now the effect is to make each other better, so I'm okay with it.
(Suddenly I am imagining an AU in the style of Crimes Against Humanity, the SGA fic in which they're all war criminals and Atlantis is a prison colony, in which Hawkeye and Mustang enable each other to obliterate nations, and now I'd like to erase that entire idea right out of my head.)
I found Envy genuinely pathetic in its incomprehension and disbelief that they're all working together. But the pre-death monologue and tears is way over the top and kicked me right out of the episode. (I can't believe I forgot it suicided!)
And now we're back to Sloth.
I love Olivier leading from the front, by demanding people's better sides. I love the reversal when she says not to help Alex, because he's her brother and he wasn't trained to die so easily. I just love her, basically.
And of course I love Izumi. "I am an alchemist!" Eeee!
Aaah, and under the credits there's Hohenheim going to Father, finally.
Corresponds to the rest of vol. 23, the end of ch. 94, "The Flames of Vengeance," and ch. 95, "Beyond the Inferno."
The chapter break comes when Mustang demands that Ed turn over Envy.
The manga includes a tiny bit where Envy tries to take over Ed, but bites his automail hand instead of his flesh hand.
Envy's pre-death scene is so much shorter. Ed says Envy is jealous (duh, but I realize this is a translation issue) and Envy squeezes out of his hand (without remembering its past behavior that confirms Ed's statement). Then it says it's humiliating to be reduced to this form by humans and the ultimate insult is to have Ed showing compassion, yanks out its Stone, tells Ed good luck with that morality thing, and dies.
Olivier says that she trained Alex to withstand worse.
Finally, everyone's still going upward in the in memoriam panel, including Kimblee.
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