Mark Watches ‘Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood’: Episode 48

In the forty-eighth episode of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, the arrival of Lan Fan and Fu provides Edward with a new offensive attack against Pride, BUT OH MY GOD IT DOESN’T MATTER. Oh, and Bradley’s family is fucked up. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch FMA:B.

Let me just state for the record that I genuinely thought that the Promised Day would have already happened by now. And while that’s still looming just around the corner, this show found a way to make it EVEN MORE MESSED UP.

  • I just have a lot of feelings about Lan Fan, and I’m really eager to see how she’s going to act around Ling given their complicated history and Ling’s complicated state of… body. I don’t know how else to phrase that, ha! But this episode isn’t about a reunion, and Ling even says as much during their assault on Gluttony. This is pure chaos, plain and simple. There are three Homunculi in one small space, and EVERYTHING IS PAIN. Which is part of the reason why Pride’s actions at the end of “The Oath in the Tunnel” are so shocking.
  • I’ll get there. So! When Fu was telling Edward about the Dragon’s Pulse and how it allows Fu and Lan Fan to read the chi of the Homunculi, I immediately wondered what the hell Dr. Marcoh and Scar were up to. What other secrets did Scar’s brother’s research hold? Where are they? I still don’t see how they can use alchemy and alkahestry together.
  • May. I miss May so much. 🙁
  • I don’t want to freak out too much about this detail, but was it significant that Hohenheim’s chi was so detectable? Like, I get it, he’s a human Philosopher’s Stone. So can that be the only thing to this detail? I don’t know if I can deal with another plot twist involving Hohenheim.
  • I still can’t get used to Heinkel attacking Selim. It’s just so surreal to see, y’all! And Selim just stands there. He looks so BORED. Ugh, it’s too creepy.
  • But let’s get to why this episode is called “The Oath in the Tunnel.” THERE ARE TWO REASONS WHY. In the process, I do need to question something.
  • Okay, so I don’t have a problem with the idea that Bradley and Selim have used their positions in the government to hide their true identities. Nothing about that is inexplicable. I get it! And obviously, they don’t age. But how does a public not question their non-aging leader and his child? If Madame Christmas was able to find photographs of Bradley and Selim from twenty to fifty years prior, how on earth did they get away with not aging? SO PUBLICLY??? I think maybe I just missed some detail here to explain this. Maybe?
  • Though I suppose that Mustang’s line about Bradley being able to fabricate everything is the answer to this. I’m probably looking into this too much.
  • Anyway, I didn’t expect another PLOT TWIST from this show involving Madame Christmas, but there it is: She’s Mustang’s foster mother.
  • !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • This show and mothers, I swear. I’m so into it.
  • Seriously, she risks her life to acquire this information for her son, then allows him to blow up her bar so that she can slip away undetected. She is giving up her livelihood for Mustang!
  • And thus brings us to the first oath: Chris Mustang wants her son to survive this. I know that Mustang jokes that his mother should stop treating him like he’s a child, but I think he takes the oath to heart, because immediately following this, he requires the same oath of Hawkeye, Fuery, and Breda. He makes them swear not to die. And I know on the surface that seems rather simplistic because OBVIOUSLY NONE OF THEM WANT TO DIE. But for me, I read this is a positive affirmation of life.
  • So much of Fullmetal Alchemist is about valuing life and all that it has to offer, good and bad. That’s why Edward refuses to use a Philosopher’s Stone to solve his problems. It’s why Alphonse refused to give up in his search for the truth. It fuels Hohenheim’s need to correct what’s been made wrong. Olivier is all about the vitality of life! And I think you could find a way to talk about this theme for each of the main and secondary characters because this show is about living in a world with alchemy. Now I have a bunch of Buffy crossover feelings because there’s nothing harder in this world than living in it, and COULD YOU IMAGINE IF BUFFY SHOWED UP TO HELP ED AND AL.
  • okay I have to stop or this will never, ever, ever end. I just… no, I can’t stop this. I love being alive so much, specifically because I spent so much time in my past hating it. And as stressful and ridiculous as my life can be these days, I have a visceral need to feel alive, to experience what life has to offer, and to make this adventure a memorable one for myself and those around me. So I love this. I love this oath dearly because the best way these characters can fight against Father and the Homunculus, who all view human life as disposable and useless, is to stay alive.
  • Oh my god, I love this show.
  • So I genuinely don’t know if the Eastern forces are walking into a trap or if they’re going to be taking advantage of a rare opportunity! The problem with this is that I still don’t know where Bradley is. He could pop up at any time and then EVERYTHING IS IMMEDIATELY AWFUL.
  • Something I love: continuity. And this show is so chock full of it that it’s sometimes difficult to remember every detail. But how great is it that Ed’s northern-made automail is brought back up and used to his advantage? Brilliant. BRILLIANT WRITING.
  • As is the idea that the flash grenade can tear apart Pride’s shadow. I found the dual uses of light and dark to be unreal in this episode. In one context, they’re horrifying. That scene where the Kanama citizens arrive with a lamp is ABSOLUTELY TERRIFYING. Yet, at the same time, it’s light that kills the shadows, that prevents Pride from possessing Al’s body anymore. Okay, so maybe the use of light and dark is a trope that dates back to the beginning of time, but I’m totally into it.
  • (This provides me a neat opportunity to recommend something I’m reading over on Mark Reads. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms has an utterly fascinating subversion of the trope of light = good, darkness = bad. Go read that book and be destroyed.)
  • So, that scene where Lan Fan adjusts her automail… does that mean it was poorly assembled, or was she just getting tired?
  • WINRY TO THE RESCUE. I just want Winry in every episode, and this seems like a good way to get her back in the action. EVERYONE WINS.
  • Let’s go back to the beginning as I get to the end of the episode. It’s totally surreal that there are three Homunculi in the area, and that all three of them have different goals and different motivations. (Add Hohenheim to the mix and we’ve got a party.) Still, putting aside Greed’s complicated arc, I expected Pride and Gluttony to be on the same side! Well, I don’t even think this was a matter of Pride switching sides so much as making their side the only one. That moment where Pride decimated Gluttony in order to get his Philosopher’s Stone is SO FUCKED UP. Again, I felt this swell of sadness for Gluttony, who seems to get the short stick every time. He’s so confused! And then I have to remember that he eats the protagonists so that I don’t develop a criminal case of the feelings for a villain.
  • I was blown away by the post-credits sequence. I’m a bit confused by Olivier’s actions, though I have a theory: Maybe she suggested the truth because it seemed so absurd, and it will distract Father and the other officers away from what’s actually happening. BECAUSE MUSTANG AND HAWKEYE HAVE MRS. BRADLEY

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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