Episode 23, "Fullmetal Heart"
Synopsis: Edward awakes in a hospital and is chided by Maria Ross for his reckless behavior. He calls Winry who offers to come and fix his automail (not letting on that she screwed up before). Hughes continues to keep the latest situation a secret from Roy. Alphonse keeps the words of Barry the Chopper in his head, fearing he is fake. Winry is taken to Hughes' daughter's birthday party, where Sheska is also in attendence. With his automail fixed, Edward fixes Alphonse's armor body, but Alphonse is convinced that he isn't real and runs off in anger.
It's the angsty Alphonse mini-arc. Whoopee.
Edward gets slapped by Maria Ross for being reckless, and accepts it, given that he really got himself into a rough situation that put himself, Alphonse, and others in danger. This bit shows that despite being a State Alchemist, it's hard for him to see himself as a real member of the military. He and his brother are just looking for a way to restore their bodies. He doesn't see himself as a soldier. But I guess that was sort of Lust's point in the previous episode, that he can't just ignore that he's become a State Alchemist and act like a child when it's convenient for him. The question is, was Ross slapping him as a child or as a soldier?
One wonders, by the way, what became of those prisoners. We know Kimbley escaped with Greed, but did the other prisoners just get rounded up and put back into prison? Tucker sure seemed to disappear quickly, too.
Winry gets "kidnapped" into attending Hughes' daughter's birthday party. Sheska attends, and is called a bookworm even by Elicia. Poor thing. But I guess there are worse things to be than a bookworm. I really like the scene where Hughes and Winry talk, and Winry's later echoing of Elicia's "congratulations" chant when presenting Ed with his birthday cake.
So, a lot of this material was in the manga, but everything gets solved in a single episode of Brotherhood. I'm trying to figure out exactly what they added here. Maybe Elicia's birthday party is longer here? The manga and Brotherhood handled this material better, to be honest. One chewing out from Winry ("Who would risk their life for a fake brother?!") is all it took in the manga. But most of the stuff in this episode is pretty well adapted.
Here, Alphonse runs off before Ed can clear things up with him (Winry not wanting Ed to jump off a roof in his condition), and that leads to the oh-so-wonderful next episode, wherein Xingese alchemy first gets used! No, really!
3 out of 5