Mark Watches ‘Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood’: Episode 34

In the thirty-fourth episode of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Ed learns that he won’t be getting a warm welcome at Fort Briggs, and then I am so lost. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Fullmetal Alchemist.

WELL, IT’S AN UNDERSTATEMENT TO SAY THAT I DID NOT EXPECT THIS.

  • I GOT SO MUCH RIGHT.
  • I FIGURED OUT THAT IT WAS THE WEATHER THAT AFFECTED EDWARD’S AUTOMAIL.
  • I KNEW THAT OLIVIER WOULDN’T TAKE SHIT FROM EDWARD AND THAT SHE WOULD DESTROY HIS MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT WHAT HE WAS OWED AS A STATE ALCHEMIST.
  • AND IT DIDN’T MATTER BECAUSE SLOTH.
  • Even when I’m actually prepared for this show, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood shows me that I’m not.
  • I love that this show destroys the idea that there are absolutes. All automail doesn’t work everywhere. All alchemy isn’t identical. The rules aren’t the same for everyone. Propriety is bullshit. It’s exciting to watch because it contributes so much towards the worldbuilding of Fort Briggs. This place isn’t like Amestris, and the Elrics need to adapt to the new culture and the new environment if they’re going to survive.
  • I do enjoy Olivier a lot, but part of me is sad that she doesn’t seem to like Alex Armstrong all that much. He’s so great! But I’m sure this is because of something that happened in the past; I don’t think the writers would hint at this without showing it.
  • More Winry, please? Thanks.
  • I mean… wait. I don’t want her put in danger just to get more of her onscreen, but “More Winry” seems like a really good idea in general. But the complication Edward faces here is that Bradley has such an overreaching control of everything. Edward’s friends and family are essentially being held hostage! On top of that, this is the primary reason Ed struggles with whether or not to tell Miles and Olivier the truth about why he and Al are there. Given that the conspiracy at Central is rooted in corruption of the upper echelon of power, it’s not like Edward can assume anyone else would be on his side. It’s not like he can trust anyone in the military at this point who hasn’t already demonstrated that they’re against Bradley and Father.
  • That’s so fucking fascinating because then that makes “Ice Queen” a story about two people refusing to trust one another. I really don’t think Olivier is in on Bradley’s plans, so the irony is that if they just opened up to one another, I’m pretty sure they could resolve their problems. But trust doesn’t work that way for Edward or Olivier. No, these people have been through a hellish set of experiences, and their own sense of self preservation is screaming at them to lie, to obfuscate, to hide the truth. Normally, I find plots that revolve around people not communicating with one another to be infuriating, but this is done so well that I adore it.
  • I have a sneaking suspicion, then, that there are people in the fandom who hate Olivier because she doesn’t cater to Edward’s needs or desires. She is kind of mean to Edward, but her rudeness is based on her survival. The way she runs Fort Briggs is brutal, but that’s because it has to be like that so that they can all protect Amestris from Drachma. We get a glimpse of this during Miles’s flashback. It’s not that Olivier lacks affection or sympathy; she just chooses not to express it as others do because she’s a pragmatist. She does whatever she can to keep the people at Fort Briggs in the ideal state to survive.
  • (Oh my god, she is such a Slytherin.)
  • (Sorry, that’s on my mind because I just saw a post on my Tumblr where the Buffyverse characters were sorted into houses, and I saw the green Slytherin badge and immediately thought, “LILAH MORGAN BETTER BE DEAD CENTER ON THIS FUCKING THING” because oh my god what a Slytherin.)
  • (By the time I finish this show, I need to be reminded that I should sort all the FMA:B characters.)
  • I think that while Olivier can be crude and cruel (for example, her comment that the Elrics are “softhearted” after their experiences made me cringe because no), I worry that she’s been demonized because she’s so mechanical in her execution of discipline. Just because she’s not nice doesn’t mean she’s not a nice person. Plus, this show has proven to give a remarkable amount of depth to its characters, and her portrayal here just makes me want so much more.
  • So let’s just get to the worst part of this episode. If it wasn’t for the Sloth surprise, Edward’s comment about not seeing race would have distracted me for the remainder of “Ice Queen.” I’m not gonna sugarcoat this at all: colorblind views of race are fucking racist, and you are an awful person if you think you should go about the world “not seeing race.” Like, this is a hill I will die on. (I have a lot of hills I will die on lately.)
  • Here’s the deal: I have had people say this to my face numerous times. At school, at work, at my own Mark Does Stuff events. They come up to me and say that they aren’t racist anymore because they don’t see race. Literally, they choose the person of color to tell them that they don’t see race. If you don’t see the colossal fucked up irony of that, you need Jesus.
  • But let’s take that a step further. So, you don’t see race. All people are the same. Does that mean if the world all chose to view everyone as the same, all of the inequalities concerning race ever would just up and disappear in a second? Are you telling me that you were able to unpack all of the garbage surrounding white supremacy in the western world by choosing not to deal with it?
  • Are you also suggesting that cultural differences don’t matter? Are you suggesting we get rid of those so we can all be the same and you don’t have to deal with the fact that some people are not you and that they had wildly different experiences than you because THEIR SKIN IS NOT THE SAME COLOR AS YOURS?
  • Yeah, fuck you, Edward, and fuck whoever wrote that line without critically examining it. Garbage. Pure garbage.
  • (I swear to you, if you decide to be that person and pick this apart, you are going to face the wrath of the 20+ years of racist colorblind nonsense I’ve received, and then I’ll just ban you so that you never get any closure.)
  • UGH.
  • Okay, let’s appreciate this horrible irony: Just as Falman (FALMAN !!!!! YAY YAY YAY !!!!!) tells Edward and Al that all of the essential functions are in the lower level because they’ll be safe from an attack, the fort is attacked from below.
  • laughing
  • to
  • keep
  • from
  • c r y i n g
  • because WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT THING
  • SLoth??? sl oTH????
  • where did you fucking come from WHY ARE YOU HERE
  • AND THAT’S THE WORST PART
  • SLOTH HAS NO FUCKING CLUE WHY HE IS THERE
  • HE ISN’T THERE TO GO AFTER THE ELRICS
  • HE IS NOT SPYING ON THE AMESTRIANS IN FORT BRIGGS
  • HE WAS JUST TOLD TO DIG AND HE IS DIGGING
  • I DON’T FUCKING UNDERSTAND!!!!
  • I don’t get it! Father wanted him to dig… for a reason??? MY BRAIN HURTS. I DON’T GET IT.
  • AND IT’S SO AWFUL BECAUSE EDWARD CAN’T BE ALL, “Bee tee dubs, that’s a Homunculus, immortality is totally possible, and how do I know that? Because your leader is one of these things.” It can’t happen.
  • Actually, I found it hilarious that Olivier demanded Edward answer all her questions right then and there. She didn’t care, she wanted something, and goddamn it, she’s going to get it.
  • At the very least, she does accept that the Elric brothers aren’t spies. Now, she’s going to show Sloth “the force of Briggs.” WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
  • WHY THE FUCK IS SLOTH DIGGING A HOLE. 
  • I am so excited for the next episode, y’all. BLESS THIS SHOW.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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