Episode 36, "The Sinner Within"
Synopsis: Ed and Al meet up with Ishbalans being transported by train by the military, including Rick, Leo, and Scar's master. Ed and Al agree to take the kids with them in return for information on Scar's whereabouts. Winry finds a tractor for the group to travel on and they escape from the military. Edward steels his resolve to kill if Scar gets in his way again. Going back to where the refugee settlement was, Ed and Al sneak into the outcast's hut, but are confronted by Riza Hawkeye. She reveals that Mustang used his flame alchemy to surround the rebelling Ishbalans, causing them to settle down and that they've taken the outcast into custody, as well as several Ishbalans who attacked him. Ed and Al ask the outcast about Scar and his brother and the old man tells them that the Ishbalans used to use a skill called the Grand Art that was like alchemy, but ended up rejecting it and casting out those who used it. He says that making the Philosopher's Stone would require several human sacrifices. Ed and Al are disappointed by this. Rick and Leo accidently reveal to Winry that her parents were killed by Roy Mustang. Winry reacts to this causing her to be restrained by soldiers. Edward suggests that Rick and Leo go to Risembool, but they decide to go to the camp with the other Ishblans. Edward lectures the two about discrimination. Winry decides to go to Central with Riza. Sloth introduces Wrath to Lust and Gluttony and tells them to find the Elrics. Arriving in Central, Winry discovers that Maes Hughes has died, finding it difficult to believe that he died trying to help the man who killed her parents.
Oh hey, the main plot takes a peek from behind the veil again.
Rick and Leo. These kids are still around? Well, at least in this episode, they learn a very important lesson about not discriminating against people different from you. And then you never see them again. Well, to be fair, I think you see them again in the last few minutes of the final episode, but they don't get any more lines. I don't think you see Scar's master again until then, too, or any other Ishbalan refugee. No cameos in the movie, either. These kids get shafted.
So, apparently the Ishbalans had a kind of alchemy in the past, but ended up shunning it. Well, I guess that's an interesting argument for Scar's arm, but couldn't it just as easily have been because Scar's brother studied Amestrian alchemy? It seems like they're needlessly complicating things with this outcast character, but I guess it's to prove a point about different cultures being able to develop similarly even while apart. So Scar's arm is a Philsopher's Stone in the making, but Scar's brother blamed himself for the massacre because he was trying to make one. We find out some more information about this later on.
My favorite part of the episode was Edward's talk with Rick and Leo, his little speech about how he was afraid of Ishbalans (no surprise, considering the first one he met tried to kill him), but just because you feel frightened, doesn't make it right, nor is what your parents say about others necessarily right. It doesn't come off as too heavy-handed, because of Edward's examples about his arm and the kids' red eyes. It's a great, underrated moment of the series. I also like how Alphonse pointed out how ridiculous it was that the Ishbalans were discriminating against the old man despite themselves being discriminated against unfairly. Then again, who knows what type of stuff he was up to when he was studying the Grand Art. If he was like Majihal or Tucker, they might have good reason to hate him.
Another thing we have in the episode is Winry's discovery that it was Roy who killed her parents. The scene with her and Riza Hawkeye on the train mirrors one in a flashback in the manga where she asks if she ever shot anyone (or was that in the Simple People gaiden?). This is a great placement, as Winry has just learned that the person Riza is protecting is the one who killed her parents. But more than that, she discovers Hughes had died trying to help Roy, so that drives her even further into sadness. I'm not a big Winry fan, but I really wanted to give her a hug at the end of this episode.
3 out of 5