Episode 48, "Goodbye"
Synopsis: In the North, soldiers begin to question the delay in action. Armstrong announces that they will revolt against Central. Back in the warehouse, Sloth dissolves away, burning Wrath, who seperates from her. Sloth fades away. A Winry-disguised Envy appears and captures Alphonse, dismissing Wrath who wants to bring Sloth back with the Stone, and leaving. A devastated Wrath attacks Edward, but stops when Izumi appears. Wrath runs off. The Tringham brothers appear in Central, but get arrested when Russell impersonates Ed again. Ed decides to go after Fuhrer King Bradley next, as he's the only one he knows the location of. North, Armstrong and Roy's group (with Havoc and Feury disguised as Mustang and Hawkeye) have difficulty with the other troops. Back in Central, Roy and Riza make plans and Maria Ross and Denny Brosh visit the Tringham brothers in their prison. Edward and Izumi are held up at Central HQ after realizing that Bradley went home early for his child's birthday. They encounter the Tringham brothers, working alongside Ross and Brosh. The Tringhams pass along something from their father's notes. However, Frank Archer bursts in, apparently having been made part mechanical. Edward leaves while Izumi and the others hold Archer off. Edward encounters Roy and Riza, and gets in the car with them. Ed and Roy discuss their beliefs, admitting there are bigger things than their own desires. They part ways.
I realize that the rebellion plan of Roy's is just a token diversion so that he can kill Fuhrer King Bradley (though he probably should have garnered more support first, so that after Bradley dies he's not just replaced with some other douche), but come on, did he just expect soldiers to just suddenly side with his group because Armstrong can flex his muscles? The rest of the officers present should have packed things up and gone right back to Central to report that Mustang is a traitor and an idiot. Why even bother to stay and fight the few that sided with Armstrong? It's a handful of guys. And Armstrong isn't even bothering to use his alchemy. This is just about the last time we see Armstrong do anything in this series, and he doesn't use alchemy.
Sloth fades away in this episode. Wow, Wrath really got burned. You wouldn't think he'd get that badly burned, or that, being a homunculus, he'd heal right off. I think his burns are supposed to make him seem more sympathetic, as is his crying over the loss of his "mommy". I actually felt a little bad from him, especially when he claimed she was Edward's mom, and when he was grasping onto Envy's leg, wanting to use Al to bring Sloth back.
By the way, how gullible is Alphonse to get suckered into thinking Envy was really Winry? Well, in his defense, he doesn't have a lot of experience with Envy.
I like the moments Edward has with Izumi. He refers to the Nina chimera as the shape of Tucker's sin has taken and decides to let him live that fate. When she says he's grown up he says that he always thought he had grown up as soon as he'd become a State Alchemist. Of course, it was also great to see them team up at Central HQ, even though they weren't very successful. I would have liked to seen more of a fight between them and the soldiers.
We have the return of the Tringham brothers, Russell and Fletcher, who get in trouble again for impersonating the Elrics. I'm glad Bones decided to bring these characters back, if just for a little bit. Their father did work on the Stones in Central, after all, so tying that in with the main storyline makes sense. They still use plant alchemy, but apparently they can make and disappear doors, too. They team up with the other two we haven't seen much recently, Maria Ross and Denny Brosh. There's a spinoff idea right there.
Oh, let's see, what have I failed to mention?
Oh yeah. Cyborg Archer!
Well, there's not really much to say that hasn't already been said about this element. I won't try to defend it. I love this series so much, but this, this is by far the stupidest element in the entire thing. It's just dumb. Obviously, the sort of technology that we see with Cyborg Archer should not be available in the world of Fullmetal Alchemist. It doesn't even exist in real life yet. It's insane to think that Frank Archer could have been fitted with robotic parts. Automail, fine, but this is way farther than that. This is just head-scratchingly bizarre.
However, it's not detrimental, because Archer is such a nonentity, you barely notice something like this until after you've already watched an episode with him in it. It's one of those things that, after an episode, when you're getting a drink, you ask yourself, "What exactly was that?" It doesn't ruin the show, or anything, but you realize it's out of place in that world.
They could have slapped some automail on him and said that the he recovered quicky because of drugs being pumped into him that make him crazy. Crazier, anyway. But a cyborg? It's a little much.
There you go. My Cyborg Archer comments. You knew it was coming, and that's about it. I might make a comment in the last episode review about it, but this is pretty much it for a while.
The final five or so minutes of the episode are dedicated to Edward and Roy having a discussion while Riza drives. Roy admits that while he was planning to "swallow all the evil" and rise up to the position of the Fuhrer the best he can, there are certain things he just can't swallow, and he feels like he owes Hughes as much as avenging him. He doesn't pretend it's the mature thing to do, however, and even says he's like a little child trying to live out his dreams. Edward claims that there are more important things than their dreams, which is why he abandoned his search for the Stone to defeat those who are using the country to create it.
This is interesting, because in the end, it's Edward who makes the more mature choice, though it's probably still the correct thing to get rid of the Fuhrer, especially now that it's clear that he's putting his soldiers in harm's way to erase evidence of the Philosopher's Stone research. But Roy seems clear that he's doing this because he can't stand by and let himself let evil occur, even if it's to get to a place where he can prevent it. Does that mean that Roy has truly abandoned all of his ideals for something as petty as revenge, or is it the country that needs avenging?
As Edward says, even if Roy is successful in killing Bradley, the people won't accept him as a leader.
The production values in this episode are mostly excellent (though when Ed and Izumi are attacking soldiers in Central the art seems weird). I love the beautifully firey look of the evening sky as Ed and Roy say their goodbyes. The music in this episode is great, too. I really like the piece they use as Sloth is fading away. It's so simple, but sad.
The Japanese voice actors do an excellent job here, too, showing a clear difference between the Japanese and English versions. Edward and Roy's conversation seems somber, but heartfelt in Japanese. In English, it just seems empty and forced sounding. Roy's group has some of the worst English performances I've ever heard, Havoc especially. Chris Sabat's Armstrong is decent, though, and I really like Christine Auten's Izumi. The Tringham brothers sound great, too. But in general the English version just doesn't make it for me.
One of my favorite things about this episode is how it doesn't end in a cliffhanger. Not every episode needs to. The next few will, though, and they're doozies, but it's not always necessary.
3.5 out of 5