Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood - Episode 35 Review

Episode 35, " The Shape Of This Country" *****SPOILERS*****

Synopsis: Using tanks and tank fuel, the soldiers of Briggs, with the help of Ed and Al, immobilize Sloth and leave him out in the freezing storm. The brothers are treated as hostile and locked up, to prevent them from looking like they're giving out information. In the hospital at the base, Kimbley recovers from his injuries from his run-in with Scar. Lt. General Raven arrives with the same gold-toothed doctor who contributed to the making of Wrath. Reading over the notes from Scar's brother, Marcoh and Mei exchange information about their countries' alchemy. Armstrong takes the Elrics into the tunnel Sloth had been building and tells them to explain what they know. The brothers, with the help of Falman, conclude that a giant transmutation array has been dug with points on it corresponding to bloodshed caused by the military, with the intention of sacrificing the country. They realize that the entire country has been created for this purpose, and the next place for bloodshed is Briggs. Olivier is called to meet with Lt. General Raven, and Edward has an idea to fool him. Armstrong prods for information on immortality, and Raven takes the bait. Comments:

Quite a bit went on in this episode. A little bit of action, and quite a lot of information, though some of it was just the characters catching up with what the viewers already knew. The episode began with Olivier's plan to defeat Sloth put into action, with the help of tanks, tank fuel, some brute force, and nature. It's good to see Edward and Alphonse in action again, together, if just for a short time. I was impressed that Buccaneer could actually throw Sloth over his shoulder like that. I'm guessing Sloth didn't offer much resistence, though, as lazy as he is. The plan was pretty smart, too, using the fuel to rob Sloth's body of warmth then putting him out in the Briggs cold during a snowstorm. The plan was one part brains, one part brawn. Well, maybe two parts, since Falman had to shoot some icicles and the brothers still had to kick him. Kimbley and Lieutenant General Raven both reappear, with Kimbley recovering from his injuries and Raven coming to check up on him (but mostly the Philosopher's Stones, important commdodities). We last saw Raven when Roy tried to get information out of him, but ended up being exposed as suspicious of the Fuhrer, and was put in his current situation. Raven brought the same gold-toothed doctor seen last in Bradley's flashback, the guy who helped make him Wrath. Dr. Goldtooth is a creepy bastard, that's for sure, even moreso than Kimbley. Much to the chagrin of Miles, Kimbley is up and healed in no time, not giving him the chance to cause him any "accidents". He probably regrets not just snuffing him out as he lied in his bed. Kimbley now has ample opportunity to mock Miles with information on killing his relatives. They're not going to be friends. We finally get some explanation of the mechanics of alchemy, outside of the "flow" and the alchemy arrays. Amestrian alchemy supposedly uses the energy released from movements within the earth, while Xingese alchemy ("alchehestry", I think is the term Funimation uses) uses "the dragon pulse", or some energy flow that exists. They seem pretty similar, though Mei insists that Amestrian alchemy is really caused by something else. We've seen that Father can cancel out Amestrian alchemy, perhaps he's the real source.

It's a real shame they didn't show the little diagram/illustration for Marcoh's explanation of Amestrian alchemy here like in the manga. Edward comes to the realization that the homunculi are creating a giant alchemy circle around the country and using certain points where there's been bloodshed in their calculation. But to do what? They say that they're using certain alchemists as "human sacrifices", but the other people in Amestris will probably also be sacrifices, just filler. This is a huge version of what happened in the first series, where a Philosopher's Stone was created out of soldiers in Lior (as well as whatever souls that were in Scar's arm). Are the homunculi trying to create a large Philosopher's Stone? Probably not. When Marcoh guessed that several episodes ago, Envy said he was only "close" to the truth. When Ed flashes back to what Isaac told him in the first episode, it really puts a new spin on that character, doesn't it? Knowing what was going on (though how, I don't know), he was going after the Fuhrer before the country could be sacrificed. In essence, he was sort of a well-meaning extremist who was trying to save the country, while Edward was actually defending the villain. The first episode is put into an entirely different perspective. Anyway, it looks like Raven has taken the bait from Olivier. Let's see how long she can bite her tongue and put up with this jerk before she snaps.

Overall Score: 4 out of 5

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