Episode 54, "Beyond The Raging Fire"
Synopsis: Riza tricks a Roy-disguised Envy into giving himself away, and fires at him repeatedly. He manages to gain the advantage over her, but Roy arrives and continues attacking him viciously with his flames. Envy's body begins to decompose as his embryonic form tries to escape, but is trapped under Roy's foot. Riza points her gun at the real Roy, however, refusing to let him surrender to his rage in revenge. Edward and Scar arrive, and Ed takes posession of Envy, with Roy threatening him. Ed, Scar, and Riza talk him down from his madness, which surprises Envy. Envy tries to rile them up against each other, but is unable to. Edward suggests that Envy is jealous of humans, of how they help each other and endure crises. Outraged and humiliated, Envy commits suicide. Meanwhile, the Armstrong siblings continue to fight Sloth, with Alex tricking Sloth into slamming his arm back into place, and then plummeling him repeatedly and using his alchemy. The Briggs troops attack the front gate, leading the commander in charge to order firing at the unevacuated areas, but before he can complete the command, Buccaneer arrives to stop him, as does Falman, and Izumi Curtis. Deep underground, Hohenheim confronts Father, formerly the Dwarf in the Flask.
Well, in this episode, we have the second part of one of my least favorite parts of the manga. It would be pretty awesome, if it weren't so fucking stupid. I mean, the production values are great, it's neat to see Roy really let loose, and hey, who doesn't enjoy Envy's suffering? Er, I mean, I felt bad for him! Poor Envy. Or did I?
Seriously, Envy couldn't get a single shot in on Roy? He was even taking it from Riza pretty hard for a while. I realize he was surprised, but come on, he should have taken her down almost immediately. It's bad enough Roy is overpowered, but for Riza to be, I wanted to shut the episode off for a few moments.
I won't get into Roy's overpowered status any more, though. First, because I already covered it. And second, you won't get to see something like this for a while, so enjoy it while you can! Ahahahaha.
What I wanted to tackle here was how overstretched the confrontation with Roy to talk him down was, as well as Envy's suicide. Now, Envy's death by suicide after he realizes that he was jealous fo the people he was looking down on, that makes sense. It's actually a pretty good end for Envy. It was thematically sound. And Roy struggling to return to normal, that's reasonable too. But fuck, it took up nearly the entire episode, and just dragged and dragged. People are always talking about how melodramatic the first series was. Maybe it was, a little bit, but this, this was like that times eleven, and in a show that doesn't really accomodate that type of thing as well as the first series. I rolled my eyes as Envy wailed for three minutes. Gimme a break. There's a reason Arakawa didn't dedicate an entire chapter to this. It's not worth it.
I still think the Roy vs Envy bit in the story was completely unnecessary, or at least was handled poorly. But we can move on now that it's finished. Let's get to the good stuff in this episode, the Armstrong part!
That Alex is a real beast in combat. I mean, he's taking a beating from Sloth and manages to get the homunculus to put his arm back in place, then deliver a beat down using his fists and alchemy. And meanwhile, Olivier is leading the soldiers who've come to kill her in combat against the stupid zombie things. These are the most badass siblings ever. It was a real highlight of the episode to watch them in action, and I loved the music they were using during it, too.
Izumi has made her reappearance, helping Buccaneer and the Briggs troops get into Central HQ. From the previews of the next episode, she and Sig will be helping the Armstrongs, too. That's good, because I felt that, for a while, Izumi wasn't getting enough attention. The first TV series had Izumi breaking into the Southern HQ and fighting soldiers to get the child Wrath back, had her fighting soldiers later on to help Maria and Denny fight off the cyborg Archer (which was so bizarre, wasn't it?), but for a while in this show, she wasn't doing much. Now she's back! It's good to see her again, because she kicks ass.
The episode ends with Hohenheim confronting Father, and we'll probably be seeing a bit of their showdown next time, too. I'm really looking forward to that, because bothe are really powerful in their own rights and it'll be more of an even match than Roy vs Envy.
Oh, I almost forgot, a bit more from volume 15 of the manga, the Ishbal war volume, in this episode! But you know, while it does sort of work in this episode, it's a case of "too little, too late" to me. It was better off with the rest of that material.
Overall Score: 3 out of 5