Episode 19, "The Truth Behind Truths"
Synopsis: Devestated by the secret of the Philosopher's Stone, Edward and Alphonse hole themselves up in a room. Maria Ross urges them not to give up. Looking at a map of Central, they determine that Philosopher Stone research must have been done in Laboratory 5, which was supposedly shut down, which is next to a prison. The brothers are told to stay put while it's investigated, but they sneak out during the night to investigate on their own. Scar finds the notes and decodes them with his arm (wtf). Edward makes his way into the lab while Alphonse stays outside. After avoiding various traps, Edward finds a chamber where he is confronted by an armored guard. Another guard attacks Al outside. Meanwhile, Winry realizes she forgot to put a screw in when she repaired Ed's automail.
After discovering what the Philosopher's Stone is made of, the brothers Elric are shocked to the point of giving up. This is an interesting turning point, because up until now they were determined to do whatever it takes to restore their bodies, but now their best hope has been dashed because the key ingredient is other peoples' lives. I like the little speech that Maria Ross gives them about sticking through it now that they've seen so much and seeing where it leads them. Of course, this could also be very dangerous advice, because they can then find themselves in a place they can't get back from.
This would have been a really excellent episode, had it not been for one scene. One scene that, okay, on its own should not be able to spoil the rest of the episode, but every time I think about it my mind does cartwheels trying to figure out why the director and writer thought it would be a good idea to do, when the same scene could have easily been done in a way which, I don't know, made some sort of sense.
The scene I'm talking about, of course, is the one where Scar finds the notes in the Elric brothers' room and lays his right hand on it, and the letters and such form this big glowing red orb which he uses to decode the notes, and thus find out what the Elrics know and where to find them. This sudden ability of Scar is never again seen or mentioned, so not only is it on its face extremely stupid, but it seems the Bones staff agree that it is.
The real problem with the scene isn't that it's just an ability that doesn't fit in (maybe it can be seen as "word alchemy"), but that they easily could have done this scene in a much simplier fashion if they wanted Scar to follow the brothers. The brothers already decoded a good amount of Marcoh's notes, so there probably should be some sheets of decoded text there. Then there's the map with Laboratory 5 circled on it. Scar should be clever enough to put two and two together without needing to pull out some weird superpower we never see again.
Or hell, Scar sees the Elric brothers sneaking out of their room and follows them! There!
Anyway, we get to Laboratory 5, where we'll be for the next few episodes. Some people may find the filler bit with Edward avoiding traps to be annoying, but I thought it was pretty funny seeing Indiana Edward roll just out of the way of the boulder (how did they set that trap up in an enclosed building, by the way) and fit into a small crevice due to his size. It's a bit excessive, I guess, but I enjoyed it, anyway.
But now there's some real action!
3.5 out of 5 (I know I'm being generous, but I do like the intro of the guards)