Episode 40, "The Scar"
Synopsis: Alphonse gets into the middle of the fight between Martel and Kimbley, barely managing to the Crimson Alchemist. Fuhrer King Bradley leaves Hakuro in charge as he goes to the East with Juliet Douglas. Edward engages Scar in combat in an alley, but gains the advantage, until Lust and Gluttony interrupt. However, Scar is able to hold Lust off with a locket and Gluttony takes her away. Then Rose and Lyra appear, and it's revealed that Rose cannot speak. In a flashback, we see that Scar's brother had a beautiful girlfriend who died of an illness. He threw himself into alchemy research in hopes of bringing her back to life. However, he was incapable of doing so and was cast out. Edward tells Scar that a failed human transmutation creates homunculi. The locket has a lock of hair from Scar's brother's lover in it. Scar explains that his brother was welcomed back when the conflict with the military started, but he was incapable of making a Philosopher's Stone. Escaping from the military, the Ishbalans were confronted by Kimbley, who blew up a man and gave Scar his scar. Then he destroyed Scar's arm. However, the little Stone he had was absorbed into Scar's brother's tattoo. When Scar regained consciousness, his brother had given him his arm. Scar's brother dies soon after. Lyra reveals that Scar's plan is to lure the military into the city and sacrifice them to make a Philosopher's Stone while the citizens escape via tunnels. At the outpost base, Bradley arrives. Crawling around, Martel overhears Bradley giving Kimbley the order to kill Edward so that they have an excuse to charge into Lior. Martel threatens Bradley, but discovers that he is a homunculus. She runs to Alphonse for protection, but Bradley puts his sword in Al, killing her.
Wow, is there a lot going on in this episode. I do have some criticisms, but I really like this episode.
We start off with Alphonse protecting Martel from Kimbley, using some clever quick thinking to subdue the maniac. It was good to see Al show some ingenuity. What I don't understand is why Kimbley isn't immediately shot by the military for using a soldier as an explosive. Mustang could have shot him right there and probably gotten away with it. He killed a soldier! End of story! Damn it, Roy, you could save so much later trouble by saying, "Oh, looks like he's a traitor, shoot him."
One of my favorite parts of the episode is Edward's fight with Scar. It's not some prolonged combat, but what makes it special was Edward's use of alchemy, having several kinds of metals in his arm so that Scar couldn't figure out how to dissemble it and using that to gain the advantage. He beats Scar using his smarts, not just his brute strength. Of course he's spared having to actually kill Scar by the appearance of Lust and Gluttony.
Why is it that when Scar flashes back is there so much damn grass? There's no grass in Ishbal. Where are these grassy hills? Is there a single grassy hill in Ishbal surrounded by sand? No wonder the Isbalans cast Scar's brother out. Not because he was using alchemy, but because he was bogarting the one good hill in Ishbal! What an asshole, taking the one hot woman in town (well, Rick and Leo's mother was sort of pretty) and the one good hill. I'm glad he's dead. Grass-hogging douchebag.
Another question is, how does one transfer one's arm to another person? If that was possible, why doesn't Edward transfer some dead person's arm and leg onto himself? They don't need it. He wants an arm and a leg, right? Why not just do that with Wrath, since he has Ed's arm and leg? Just subdue him, then use alchemy to transfer it back! Really, this is just silly. I can see maybe if the scene went off where Scar's brother transferred the soul tattoo over to him or something, but his actual arm? Fine, I'll wave it off. FANTASY, folks.
What bothers a lot of people is how poor Rose was raped until mute and has a baby by it. Well, I guess it could have been worse, they could have showed it. Fine, it's a bit too dark, even for this show. It's more like Now and There, Here and There then Fullmetal Alchemist. There was no reason to throw Rose under the bus like that, especially since she was a side character and it's not like it's going to develop her in any real way. But on the other hand, I like the honesty of it, that the military is so corrupt and this type of thing would probably happen. Using Rose as a symbol of the military's corruption and a reason for the uniting of Lior's people is pretty ingenious of Scar and Lyra.
Speaking of Lyra, nobody seems to question with any effort how she got there and what she was doing there. But then again, things are so chaotic, who has time to question something that, on the surface, seems unimportant?
I remember the first time watching this episode and being utterly speechless by the end of it. I already suspected that Bradley was a lot more in the know than he let on, but with Envy often disguising himself as him, I wasn't quite sure just how in league he was with the homunculi. When that eye appeared with the tattoo, I was floored. Then they follow it up by him easily dodging Martel's attacks and ultimately killing her inside Alphonse, leaving him with her blood coming out of him. Even today it's a great scene. And the show just gets better.
4.5 out of 5