Episode 42, "His Name Is Unknown"
Synopsis: Kimbley dies after tranmuting Alphonse, who will slowly become explosive. Lust appears and Scar rejects her. Beneath the city, Edward battles both Sloth and Wrath, subduing them. Mustang, Hawkeye, and Armstrong confront Archer and Tucker on their collusion, but chimeras are released to attack them. Scar puts his brother's locket on Alphonse to keep Lust from him and sacrifices his arm to transform Al into a different material. He plans to turn Al into the Philosopher's Stone to save his life, but Lust dislikes the idea. Edward tells Rose and Lyra to scatter with the people of Lior and tell people about what happened. In town, Scar is shot several times when he throws himself in front of Lust to protect her, despite knowing she can heal. He reveals that he loved the woman she was made to bring back and resented his brother, but loved him and is jealous of the bond between the Elric brothers. Edward tries to prevent Archer from ordering his troops in, but the colonel goes ahead anyway. Walking out into the carving for the array, Scar lies down, dying as he ignites the transmutation. The charging soldiers are swallowed up by the light. Roy and his group defeat the chimeras, getting the news about the light in Lior. Edward finds Alphonse in the ruins of the town, and discovers his brother's been turned into the Philosopher's Stone.
This is one of my favorite episodes of Fullmetal Alchemist. Really one of my favorite episodes of any anime, period. It has this big emotional impact, is a new turning point for the story, and ends a character arc pretty well. The art is good, the animation is good, the voice acting (at least, in the Japanese version) is excellent, and the music all fits well and is beautiful. I haven't been so fond of an episode of this show since episode 34.
Scar meets his end in this episode, succeeding in his gamble to create a Philosopher's Stone by sacrificing soldiers, but also having to sacrifice his life in the process. More to the point, he sacrifices himself not really to fulfill his goal, but to save Alphonse Elric. He does burden Al with the Philosopher's Stone, but to save his life. After all is said and done, Scar recognizes that the love between the Elric brothers is something he envies, as he simultaneously resents and misses his own brother. His admission of this in his talk with Lust is one of my favorite moments in the series. It's a very poignant scene.
This is an episode that ends up causing a real change in Lust, as well. She comes to make sure that Scar creates the Philosopher's Stone, with no interest in Alphonse, and is even angered when Scar gives the Stone to Al. She desperately seeks to become a human being, and is confused at Scar's behavior in sacrificing his power to somebody else, because it's something she would naturally never do. More to the point, she has a fascination with Scar and what he has to say about his brother, probably due to some residual memories of who she was intended to come back as. My favorite Lust scene in this episode is when Scar throws himself in front of her to protect her from bullets and she chides kills the soldiers and chides him, telling him she wouldn't die so easily. She can't understand sacrificing oneself for others but you can tell she wants to understand it. She wants to be human.
Archer's bloodthirst causes what probably should be his demise in this episode, as even Edward's warning to him falls on deaf ears. He wanted his massacre and he got it, but in a very different way. I'm not sure what he had in mind when he left those chimeras to attack Roy and the gang, though. He was probably not thinking straight, as he was desperate to distinguish himself in battle. He could have easily gotten out of that situation by explaining that the Fuher authorized his actions, but then he might have been detained in the meantime and miss the battle. He's almost a tragic character. Almost.
Finally, a true Philosopher's Stone has been created. Unfortunately, it's been created in Alphonse. I wonder what the mechanics of that is. Is each individual part of him part of the Stone or just the main body? Like, if you remove the head, is that also part of the Stone?
A minor nitpick I have with this episode is, how was Scar able to throw Kimbley's body off that building without any arms? How'd he get up there? Was he dragging Kimbley with his teeth?
This episode still gets to me today. The next few episodes aren't quite as good, but they do set up the conclusion.
5 out of 5