Episode 30, "Assault on South Headquarters"
Synopsis: At a refugee camp, Yoki spots Scar. Scar and Ishbalans are allowed to stay there with the other people. Yoki runs off to tell the military, hoping to gain his position back. Back in Dublith, Ed and Al chase the mysterious boy, but are approached by a strange lizard-man. Lieutenant Colonel Frank Archer and Armstrong arrive in Dublith, looking to find Izumi. After chasing off the lizard-man, the brothers find the boy on a rooftop. Edward figures that if his arm was brought back from the Gate, that Al's body could be, too. Armstrong captures the boy for Archer, who reveals the homunculi's identifying mark, the tatoo of the ouroborus. Juliet Douglas recieves word from Yoki about Scar. The lizard-man calls Greed, who has Tucker and Kimbley with him. Greed dispatches Kimbley to retrieve the boy. Izumi angrily chides the Elrics, but collapses and is taken to the doctor. The doctor reveals that Izumi is missing several internal organs, making the brothers realize she committed the same taboo they did. Izumi escapes with her husband and walks into the Southern Headquarters, using alchemy to make her way to the mysterious boy. Sig reveals to Winry that Izumi sacrificed her organs in a bid to bring their son back to life. Ed and Al confront Izumi inside, but then Kimbley and the lizard-man arrive, as well as the Fuhrer (Envy in disguise). In the refugee camp, Scar investigates the home of an Ishbalan outcast, and finds the same tattoo he has on his arm on the wall.
Yikes. There is a lot happening in this episode. A whole lot. It hardly lets up.
We're formally introduced to the black hole of charisma that is Lieutenant Colonel Frank Archer, the douchebaggier equivalent of Roy Mustang, if he wasn't an alchemist. Instead, Archer has a pet Armstrong for a while. He's really not a remarkable character. The only interesting thing about Archer at this point is that Armstrong is working under him, and becomes an obstacle to the Elric brothers' goals.
Woah, did Alex Louis Armstrong use his alchemist watch chain to restrain Wrath? Jeez
We get that scene that Brotherhood unfortunately cut out, which was Armstrong's first meeting with Sig Curtis at the meat shop, with their muscles forging a friendship. In the manga, this bit has Fuhrer King Bradley and Armrstrong following Edward back to Dublith from the Southern HQ. That part would have really helped the fact that in Brotherhood they just sort of appear in Dublith and automatically know about Greed, but let's get off that, since this review is about an episode of the first show. (I really like the humor in this scene, though.)
When on the roof, Edward figures that since the child has his arm and leg, it might be possible to bring Al's full body back out of the Gate. And we got this without two hours of chatchatchatchatchat about nutrients and memories.
One of my favorite Greed scenes is in this episode, where he's just sort of hanging out with some women and his gang at the Devil's Nest. A hive of scum and villainy, that place. It's scenes like this that made me really like Greed. His jaunty smugness and off-beat attitude really makes him a colorful character. Although, it's a bit weird that he actually keeps that bag around, especially considering what we later learn about it.
My favorite part of this episode is Izumi's assault on the Southern Headquarters (title drop!). She just walks right in and completely dominates the whole place, showing what a true badass she is. Although a lot of it is that they're completely caught off guard, not expecting some woman to just waltz in and grab the boy. And the scene manages to tug on the heart strings, too, since Sig tells Winry about Izumi's child over the footage of Izumi retrieving the child. My only question is, where exactly is Southern HQ? It must be pretty close to Dublith for them to get there so fast.
Things really get busy at the end of the episode with Izumi being confronted by Ed and Al, Armstrong and Archer, Kimbley and Bido, and a Bradley-disguised Envy. But the real conclusion of the episode has Scar stumbling on the design of his tattoo in the shack of an Ishbalan outcast. This episode is packed, but it doesn't feel too frantic, and is one of my favorite in the series.
4 out of 5