In the twentieth episode of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Edward is shocked and disturbed by a visitor from his past, but it helps him shed light on a possible solution to Alphonse’s missing body. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch FMA:B.
THIS IS AN INJUSTICE TO MY EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING. HOW THE FUCK CAN A SHOW HAVE SO MANY PLOT TWISTS? GODDAMN IT.
- It is an incredibly bold (and upsetting) choice to write the Elrics’ father as the cold, detached, and seemingly uncaring man that we get in this episode. It isn’t that surprising, given that he disappeared over a decade earlier to pursue some dream of his and left his sons and his wife alone. As far as I can tell, he didn’t contact them, either.
- After all that time, the first thing he does is bring up the failed Human Transmutation?
- ARE YOU FOR FUCKING REAL, HOHENHEIM???
- THEN YOU START INSULTING A CHILD FOR TRYING TO RUN AWAY FROM THE HORRORS OF THEIR CHILDHOOD.
- And look, I do love that “Father Before the Grave” gives Edward, Alphonse, and Izumi closure. By facing his past, Ed actually found an answer he never even knew he needed. But in the context of this situation, Hohenheim’s faux-concern is grating and unwanted. Okay, so you find a symmetry between Edward and yourself from when you were the same age. Then perhaps you could find some sympathy, too.
- I imagine that a great deal of Edward’s rage issues can be traced right back to his father’s absence/abandonment. Look how seething Ed is in this episode, y’all.
- Hohenheim can’t even bring himself to be affectionate towards his son. Y’all, I’m gonna need some real heavy shit in his background to explain this, because no. No!
- Then we’ve got Pinako, who gets a huge role in this episode. She’s so calm throughout this, but you can tell that she’s disappointed in Hohenheim for a number of reasons. She mentions how Trisha waited, how she dislikes that he waited so long to return. Like his conversation with Edward, though, he changes the subject and goes straight for the disturbing: Was the creature that his sons brought back actually Trisha? Not just human, but Trisha herself.
- WHAT THE FUCK, I’M ALREADY FUCKED UP FROM EPISODE TWO. PLEASE DON’T REVISIT THAT.
- My god, why does everyone who meets Alphonse want to be incorporeal? I guarantee that none of you would like this!!!! At least Ling seems to back off when it’s clear he’s been insensitive. Still, he’s desperate for something that will give him an advantage back home.
- ONE GIANT FUCKING NOPE FOR ALL ETERNITY FOR THAT DREAM OF NINA TUCKER. NO NO NO NO NOPE NOPE NOPE.
- Ugh, I don’t like Hohenheim.
- WHY THE FUCK IS HE WARNING PINAKO TO GET OUT OF THE COUNTRY??? WHAT THE HELL DOES HE KNOW?
- At the very least, Hohenheim inspired Edward to seek out the truth about the day he and Al tried to transmute their mother. I don’t know if that was accidental or intentional, but at this point, neither option makes me feel very good about him.
- I think it was important that Edward’s process of digging up the corpse of his “mother” was so physical. It was like his body was fighting the discovery the entire time. Who could blame him? He and Al burned down that house to move on. Even if they were running away from their problems, that house also was a way for them to move on.
- The silver lining to all of this, though, is that the boys did not transmute their mother. It wasn’t even the same gender. Through this, Edward realizes that it really is impossible to resurrect the dead through alchemy. This is important because of what Izumi later says when Edward tells her this. The whole time, she and Edward believed that they’d done something wrong, and it ate them up. They always believed they ruined their one opportunity, when the truth was that they were always bound for failure.
- Instead, that means that there’s a possibility that Alphonse’s original body still exists in the Gate.
- Wait, there’s still sadness: the Rockbells’ graves.
- And Trisha’s promise, which I don’t understand at all. Was the promise not to die before Hohenheim or something else?
- Edward’s test for determining the genuine nature of Al’s soul was really clever.
- HOW DID I TOTALLY MISS THAT IT WAS EDWARD’S OWN BODY CALLING TO HIM IN THE GATE?
- OR THE FACT THAT HE FIRST LOOKED AT EDWARD FROM THE TRANSMUTED CREATURE’S BODY.
- This show is so relentlessly fucked up.
- As Izumi got closure for her lost child, I was happy for her and worried that her character wouldn’t appear again, especially since she got closure. She’s so great. 🙁
- All in all, this is a really bittersweet episode, one that’s both tragic, upsetting, and remarkably fulfilling. The final conversation that Edward and Alphonse have about their future was touching to me, especially when Al finally admitted that he was lonely. Here’s a kid who has gone years without physical touch, and he craves it more than anything. He just doesn’t want to be alone anymore. So the two brother renew their promise to find a way to get their original bodies back.
- I’m still a tad confused about the comment Winry makes at the end. Is Edward growing? Was that what I was supposed to infer from that?
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