Episode 21, "The Red Glow"
Synopsis: As Alphonse reels from Barry's suggestion that he may be fake, Scar arrives on the scene. Barry makes his escape, triggering an explosion that causes a man, Greed, to awaken deep within the lab. Greed breaks out prisoners kept in the lab, telling them to follow him. Inside, Edward continues to refuse to finish off the Slicer brothers, but the younger one destroys its blood seal. Meanwhile, in the nearby prison, convicts are rounded up to be taken to Laboratory 5, including Zolf J. Kimbley, the Crimson Alchemist. Lust and Gluttony discover that Greed has escaped. Edward and the older Slicer brother wander through the hall of the lab, encountering several chimera, as well as Shou Tucker, still alive and turned into a chimera. Edward is appalled. Alphonse and Scar walk through the lab, Scar recalling how his brother tried to create the Philosopher's Stone in Ishbal. Lust and Gluttony appear and Scar identifies them as homunculi, artificial people. Edward discovers that Shou has been trying to remake Nina with chimera parts. Tucker takes him to a room full of vats of the red water, encouraging him to make a Philosopher's Stone. He reluctantly agrees.
We get quite a bit of stuff here, and that's good. Scar arrives on the scene, Greed awakens, the younger Slicer brother offs himself, Shou Tucker reappears, we get an Ishbal flashback, and we get a lot of set up for the next episode. The production values remain pretty steady. I love the music.
However, what's with all the padding? It feels like it takes forever for anything to get done in this episode. When Scar arrives, there's a lot of dicking around with Barry. Then there's the dicking around in the hallway with Edward and the chimeras. Then there's tons more dicking around with Tucker's tube-Nina. It feels like everything is just stretching out. But maybe that's just because I know what comes next and am anxious to get there.
This is the first episode with my favorite character, Greed. I love this guy. Part of what made me love this guy was his voice, Junichi Suwabe, who also did Fuuma in X. His voice is so perfect as Greed, giving him this deep, but jaunty sound that adds to the charisma of the character. You want to pay attention to everything he does. We see here that he's enlisting some test subjects to be his subordinates, and we'll see more of them later.
Turns out that Shou Tucker is still alive and has been turned into a really weird chimera-man with his head upside down. Uh, why, though? I can see keeping him around to do chimera research and pretending he's dead, but why make him into a chimera with an upside down head? Was he the one who did that? I guess maybe it's difficult to turn oneself into a chimera in the same way it's difficult to perform surgery on oneself, unless you're Black Jack. But isn't it difficult to do research with your head upside down? In a way, it's fitting punishment for what he did to Nina, but if the military still needs him for his research, it's a bit impractical.
It can be difficult to follow Scar's flashbacks at times, given that the time lapses that happen. We eventually get the whole picture, though. Here, they just covered that Scar's brother was using alchemy to ressurect his girlfriend, and later was trying to create a Philosopher's Stone. I think I just noticed that there was blood all over the crotch area of Scar's brother's clothes when he was trying to recreate his girlfriend. Does this mean he sacrificed his junk to make his girl? What a weird sacrifice, given that if he was successful, he'd certainly need that.
We end the episode in the Redquarium. I half-expected an orange aquarium full of Rei Ayanami clones. Is the Room of Gauf empty, Tucker? I still don't understand how the red water is made, but apparently a whole lot of it can be used to make a Philosopher's Stone. But if they want Edward to make it, why go through so much trouble to prevent him from getting in? Then again, the guards were eager for a fight.
3.5 out of 5