In the thirty-seventh episode of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, this show ruins me with one plot twist more than I have ever been ruined before. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch FMA:B.
I just need this stated definitively right here: I honestly don’t think I have ever fallen for something so fully as Selim Bradley. Can we discuss this first? Let’s start with this bit, from my review of episode 32:
It’s just so heartbreaking to watch. Selim has so much hope. Hope in his father, hope for his family, hope in the state. He implicitly trusts everyone, and HE. HAS. NO. FUCKING. IDEA. He has no idea what this family really is, and it’s going to destroy him forever. It’s not fair. It’s not fair!!!
I wrote that. I wrote that, I put it on the Internet for the world to see, and I can never take it back.
And it hurts because one day, they’re going to find out who their husband/father really is.
Just shove me off a cliff into the sea because SELIM KNEW THE WHOLE FUCKING TIME. It changes the context of his character because he is Pride, meaning that all his lines in “The Führer’s Son” are LITERAL PRIDE FOR HIS FATHER. And then there’s the fact that Bradley never once flinched when Edward threatened to tell his son who he was. THAT’S BECAUSE HE ALREADY KNEW.
I just… I can’t. I cannot.
Let’s talk about some other things:
- Kimblee is so relentlessly creepy here, and the new information we get about his character makes it even worse. I was actually surprised that through his conversations with Edward, I was able to get a better picture of who he is. I wouldn’t say that it makes me sympathize with him at all, but I like villains who are fleshed out like Kimblee is here.
- Kimblee is ambition run wild. He wants, he craves, and he desires more of everything, and so he aligns himself with the people who not only grant him that power, but who appease the side of him that enjoys the chaos of such power. He speaks with an interesting choice of words: He believes that the world will eventually choose his version of sanity over Edward’s. So he believes that humanity intrinsically will seek out more power without the moral and ethical dilemma that Edward, Al, and Winry face.
- And I think it’s important to note the social Darwinist overtones to a lot of this conversation. This is about being the strongest and evolving to become that way. (Which is interesting if you compare this to the way Olivier talks about running Fort Briggs. I don’t think she believes the same thing in the same context as Kimblee uses it. The wilderness around Briggs is brutal and harsh, and so the military is at risk because of Drachma’s location. I think she is looking to create a disciplined and varied military force, and that’s why she makes those “survival of the fittest” comments to Edward.)
- Seriously, I think this idea – that certain human lives are valued over others – is at the heart of the moral dilemma in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Amestrian lives were valued over Ishvalan ones. Non-criminal lives valued over the criminals of the Fifth Laboratory. The lives of the Homunculi valued over those sacrificed to make the Philosopher’s Stones that power their immortality. And now, Father wants to move to a world where ALL OF AMESTRIS is devalued to the point that they’re sacrificed to make a massive Philosopher’s Stone.
- It’s a key reason why Winry is so disturbed by Edward’s (apparent) choice to go along with Kimblee’s plan to murder Scar, re-capture Dr. Marcoh, and murder everyone else at Fort Briggs. She cannot imagine or fathom a world where people are disposable. Of course, neither can Ed and Al, and it’s why Ed’s chosen to fake interest in this plan in order to sabotage it. But how? How are they going to do this??? I honestly don’t see how this is possible. It’s not like Kimblee is letting them go off on their own. If he’s always around, how will they get to Scar and help him and Dr. Marcoh evade capture? How are they going to get May to help them with alkahestry, too? There are so many factors at work!
- One of those factors: Winry is probably going to have to interact with the man who killed her parents. Again. OH GOD.
- Let’s talk about some of the more lighter moments. Like Winry’s excitement for Buccaneer’s automail! I love when she gets like that because her joy is so infectious. I have a thing for characters who are passionate and excitable about what they do.
- Or how about Mustang’s conversation with one of the Armstrong family members? HE LITERALLY BOUGHT ALL OF THE FLOWERS. Oh my god.
- Let’s talk about Buccaneer, too, because I really like him. Actually, all of the soldiers who willingly go down into that tunnel after it is sealed behind them are incredible to me because I COULD NOT DO THE SAME THING. Buccaneer tells Olivier to COVER THE ENTRANCE WITH CEMENT IF THEY DON’T RETURN IN 24 HOURS. my heart.
- Of course, I was terrified that they’d all die down there, sliced up by Pride. (How can Pride travel like that? It’s so fast.) So I’m a bit confused as to why Pride turned back. I think it was because Riza showed up at the Bradley residence? Maybe? So can Pride not be in two places at once? This wasn’t entirely clear, but that sounds like a sensible answer.
- Okay, let’s be real, I’m not done talking about Pride. What a fucking reveal, y’all. Everything he says to Riza is VICIOUSLY UNFAIR.
- When was Pride created? Did Pride always look like a little child, or was that only done once Bradley was created? (It’s kind of neat to me that the oldest Homunculi is the one who appears as the youngest.) Will I ever recover from the terror that is Pride’s tendrils wrapping around Riza? (Answer: No I fucking won’t.)
- Pride is always watching. How true is this??? Like… goddamn, that is so awful because how are these people supposed to upset Father’s plans if one of the Homunculi can always spy on them? And how is Riza going to notify her friends about the identity of the first Homunculus?
- This is a terrifying mess, and while I am unbelievably excited to keep watching this show, I know I am not going to be okay.
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