In the twenty-seventh episode of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, what. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch FMA:B.
Well, that was unexpected.
- Okay, I understand now both the context of what I just watched and its application as a summary of sorts for the first twenty-six episodes. Given that this is a dense and complicated show, I actually enjoyed that “Interlude Party” served as a reminder of nearly everything that has happened so far. Plus, the writers came up with a fascinating (though, at times, bewildering) framing device for the episode.
- Still, it’s not something I’ll look back on and adore. The vast majority of the episode is a giant flashback, and it’s only the dream sequences with Hohenheim that shed any light on the greater story being told. Well, wait, I’m selling this short. “Interlude Party” does wonders for re-contextualization.
- Like, now I remember that Armstrong still has no idea who Bradley is.
- He’s going to be CRUSHED.
- But then we’re shown clips in very specific ways that help put the pieces together. We see how far we’ve come from that first episode, and it helps me understand Father’s plan just a bit more. Not entirely, though. I’m still missing the endgame. Does Father just want the most powerful Philosopher’s Stone ever? Why would the state military support this, too?
- What I’m most interested by, though, is Hohenheim. I think that this episode sheds some light on him and his motivations. He is a character of extreme apathy, which isn’t necessarily surprising given what little we’ve seen of his character. We still don’t know why he left his family all those years ago, but we do get a sense for why he didn’t return and why he never helped his sons out after their disastrous attempt at using human transmutation. It’s hard for Hohenheim to see the human race as anything but the most violent, cynical, and brutal cycle of all existence, and it’s because of this that he has no hope. No hope for humankind, for Amestris, for his own family, for his sons.
- At the same time, the dual nature of Hohenheim in this episode might be more than just two parts to his personality. The Hohenheim we see here without glasses has more in common with Father, so I’m wondering if this dream is a manifestation of guilt or if it is his subconscious working out what it feels about humanity.
- I can’t tell, and I don’t think I’m supposed to. If it’s a dream, then it doesn’t exist within the normal continuity of the show. However, Pinako and Trisha both show up, and they act as beings of hope to counter whatever the faux-Hohenheim says. (Fauxenheim? I’m so clever.) I love that Pinako Rockbell and Trisha Elric remind Hohenheim and the viewer of the resilience of humanity. Multiple times throughout the first 26 episodes, we’ve seen sacrifice, bravery, courage, and determination from a wide cast of characters.
- But the best part about this is that Trisha turns the cynicism of Fauxenheim (i’m totally using this I LOVE IT NOW) back on itself. Humans are weak in comparison to the Homunculi, but it’s that very weakness that’s their strength. It means they still have the power to adapt and improve. Homunculi cannot if they are perfect, immutable beings. And it’s that wild card that’s going to be the endgame, I think, and I’ll bet this dream sequence will prove to be very important in the final episodes.
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