For the first RWBY Episode of 2016 and to pick up where “Fall” left off, (And my review to that can be found here.) Rooster Teeth decided to take a different direction with this episode. Before completely moving forward with the plot. We the audience are now left hanging about Yangs Fate in favor of a flashback episode.
I also want to point out that this is the first Episode Rooster Teeth felt the need to insert a viewer discretion advised warning which gives us an Idea how dark & violent the tone will get with this despite never having a televised release at the time of this Review. (who knows if that will change overtime since The El Rey Network is showing “Red vs Blue” episodes.)
And now Spoilers…
Cinder as a Villain really needed to step up and get some kind of characterization/back story – something! And finally that’s what we’ve got. So I’m glad to see Cindy doing something and having a glimpse at what her big bad plans really are. Still not sure of her full motivation other than “I want power” but its a start.
The story begins at first entirely in black with an inner-monologue of Cinder’s Desires for Power followed by someone being robbed followed by the sounds of running steps indicating somebody is running away after stealing jewelry before showing a presumably younger short-haired Cinder which reveals the person who committed the robbery to be a younger Emerald who has long hair.
Emerald is at first put-off by this complete stranger’s words of persuasion and encouragement of theft then it cuts to black just after Emerald asks “Who Are you?” followed by some creepy animalistic snarling and Cinder’s promise to Emerald that she will “Never go Hungry again” if she becomes Cinder’s apprentice.
Suddenly it cuts to how Mercury Met with Cinder looking beaten & bruised with the indication that she met him immediately after an altercation and approaches him seeking an assassin named Marcus Black only to meet his son which in a subtle way is heavily implied that Marcus was abusive towards him by the fact that Mercury murdered him and doesn’t seem too broken up about it and asks his name.
Unlike most normal people who would be be horrified to witness a murder at all, The second thing Cinder asks if Mercury is anything like his father (Implying that he’s also a Hit-man) and it cuts to black once more with a voice over Emerald Objecting to Mercury joining the team and Cinder bitch-slapping Emerald followed by the words “Do not mistake your place!” Mercury shares some Info about how to gain knowledge on a particular city and a uprising cameo voice of Torchwick of him saying “Hello Gorgeous!” (a fun call-back but greatly needed to somewhat explain his connection to Cinder.)
It now cuts to Cinder and her two new followers in the Tent of Adam from the White Fang asking for his help.
Of course Adam questions why they would be here given that they could’ve picked more criminals or a corrupt huntsman/huntress but instead come to an Extremist Group who aren’t particularly fond of Normal people and tells her coming to them is a Mistake since they aren’t Hired Thugs but Self-Proclaimed Revolutionaries who’s only desire is to give Equal Rights for all Faunus through any means necessary.
Cinder claims they’re both working for the same goal but Adam isn’t having it and tells her in his own words to “fuck-off” because she’s basically asking his men to risk their lives for the cause of a human, the very humans who oppress & abuse them for being different and only wants the best for his people even if he’s pretty much sweeping all humans under the same rug the same way Magneto from X-Men objectively views humanity as a whole.
As a fun little call-back, Blake briefly appears in this very flashback after Cinder and her newly formed teen brigade politely leave and asks what that was about and Adam tells her to Ignore it and talks about a making preparations to meet up with a Train which we’re left to assume leads up to the events of the Black Trailer.
It cuts to black again where they decide to seek out an unknown individual and they ask for this person’s whereabouts and then talk about a plan for whom they are meeting and This is where things get really dark in tone as it cuts to an empty backdrop of a bleak foreboding forest that has a road-way for horses & cars.
In the roadway is a hooded woman on a white horse who notices a crying child on the road and she stops to give the child an apple only to reveal it’s not a child at all but Emerald’s powers.
The Hooded woman quickly notices something is wrong and jumps back revealing to be the Fall Maiden Amber who readies her staff as Emerald comes toward her guns blazing only to quickly deflect her bullets.
As she blows a gust of wind to repel Emerald only for Mercury to try and attack her from behind and she uses a fire attack on him revealing Mercury to have Mechanical Legs.
This catches her off guard knocking her to the ground followed by Emerald stomping on her before she quickly gets back up and proceed’s to wail on them like she’s Storm from X-Men while Mercury demonstrates how advanced and nimble his legs are while Cinder slowly approaches the fight. (I’m not kidding either as demonstrated by these Gifs.)
She then uses her powers to gather up leaves and freeze them into sharp projectiles aiming it at the two assailants.
Cinder quickly runs towards her and Amber quickly throws a firey projectile that she quickly dodges revealing her semblance to form the shapes of stabbing shards and fires at Cinder knocking her back to the ground where Amber makes a Valiant Effort taking all three of them on at once Hand-to-Hand.
As Amber is distracted by the other two, Cinder makes a clear shot with her Bow using explosive-tipped Arrows like she’s Rambo wrecking her Aura in the process.
After the smoke clears, Amber tries to get up recovering from her injury and further stands her ground with long distance attacks towards Mercury & Emerald. Just as she’s about to deliver a final blow towards Emerald, Amber gets cowardly attacked from behind by one of Cinder’s Arrows.
In her now fully defeated state, the Teen Brigade hold her still as Cinder puts on a magic white glove and places it upon Amber’s face while Amber trembles in fear with her only line in the entire episode. “Please Don’t!”
And what comes out of the glove is even more bizarre, A Red small red portal comes out of the gloves palm with a creepy looking insect that splashes a black sludge on Amber’s face extracting her powers and transferring them onto Cinder.
Before the process could be complete, Qrow Jumps in putting a stop to their attack but they quickly step back and a black tattoo appears from Cinder’s back. With her new Maiden powers, she quickly attempts blow both of them up which then he jumps out of the way and she vanishes.
It cuts to black again only this time with Cinder talking to someone which reveals that she is in reality working for someone higher than her and says to them “I will claim what is ours”.
It cuts to the White Fang’s base with Adam expressing anger and frustration after the events of the Black Trailer and hears explosions outside seeing Cinder drop her weapons and single-handedly lays waste to his camp with her new Maiden powers and we’re left to assume that he yielded because he didn’t have a choice.
From a storytelling standpoint this adds a level of Tragedy for Adam as a character.
He thinks he’s strong and tries to fight for what he believes in and he’s so bitter but he’s just being pushed around by things he can’t control.
He basically is doing things for Cinder because he has no choice, not because he’s being made to believe that he’s doing the right thing, but because Cinder is stronger than him and he can’t say no and he’s fully conscious of it.
And that’s just so horrible for him? Imagine his entire life being pushed around and discriminated for being a faunus. And then becoming stronger and joining and directing a revolution to never be treated like that again. And then, one day this chick comes up and fucking DESTROYS your camp and makes sure that you know that if you don’t comply with her demands, she’ll destroy everything you’ve worked for. And he’s back to being controlled and treated as an inferior and he can’t do anything about it.
It finally cuts back to the present immediately after the ending to “Fall” Where Yang is being apprehended by the Atlas Troopers while Emerald uses her powers to trick the Medics into thinking Mercury’s leg is fucked up.
Can we take a moment to appreciate how the medics who were clearly following procedure by bringing Mercury to the designated location for the ambulance just let the patient go to an ambulance that wasn’t where it was supposed to be without being told about it over the radio. Or how the medics didn’t even examine the supposed wound beyond the torn part of his pants.
As Yang tries to talk them down saying she was attacked first, Emerald takes Mercury privately in the hallways and a woman in a nurses outfit tells them they have an Air-Ambulance ready to go and they bring him in and leave revealing to be Cinder in a Nurses disguise.
Emerald reveals that her using her powers on two people at once put a strain and left her with a headache which annoys Mercury while Cinder & Neo are behind the controls guiding them back to their hideout.
Also does anyone notice that Neo is using the same Green Eye Shadow as Phyrra? That’s pretty damn ominous.
Afterwards it cuts to a news broadcast about Yang’s supposed crime with a dramatically different art style for Lisa Lavender revealing that Grimm attacks have increased substantially.
Emerald & mercury watch the news broadcast and bicker like petty children a bit and Cinder decides to carry out the next part of her Vague plan with Emerald while ordering Mercury to lay low and avoid suspicion and works on his mechanical legs with screwdrivers before cutting to black.
It kinda feels like the writers purposely left us hanging on Yang’s fate until the next episode but for once they’re finally addressing a problem both me and possibly other frustrated fans had towards Cinder and his Teen Brigade since the show even began and we finally see how all the main villain’s backstories including how they met and Cinder’s motivations on what she’s trying to accomplish. (It’s not a the first time an Anime has devoted an entire episode to a character’s backstory or what they’ve been doing during a Time-Skip.)
It’s clear Cinder has a pattern to her sociopathic behavior: First she approaches someone who’s very desperate. Second she lures them in with promises of shelter, protection, security, or some combination of those things. Lastly she intimidates them and strokes their egos as she sees fit to keep them in line.
Adam only wants the best for his own people (even if he’s a piece of shit trying to get it) and it’s abundantly clear he’s not happy working for Cinder’s Teen Brigade but he’s got no choice due to how overpowering Cinder is.
Did anyone notice the first time Cinder met Adam was roughly the day before the train robbery from the Black trailer? He did say to Blake, “The train leaves at dawn.” This episode also shows Cinder started her recruitment before the events of Season 1.
Aside from Mercury revealed to be an Amputee, the 2nd thing I take from this is that Cinder is not the main villain. After she steals the power we hear her report to someone. Also that Grimm bug in her glove… i think someone made that. Qrow in the episode “A Brawl in The Family” says “I have seen the things she has made and they are fear.” I think he is referring to the current Spring maiden who can grow Grimm. Spring is the only unaccounted for maiden. Summer used to be Summer Rose and I believe her power passed to Raven (Yang’s mom she can travel through portals seems like magic) and Winter is obviously Winter (Weiss’ sister) so it makes sense that the only unaccounted for maiden is the villain behind the scenes. There needs to be a more powerful villain considering Cinder was reporting to someone.
It seemed Qrow might have gotten a good look at them, so why hasn’t Qrow noticed them yet, especially since the tournament match is broadcast on television? Unless they’re doing their best to avoid him, in which case why hasn’t he given a description to Beacon staff and tournament security about what they look like so THEY can fucking out them?
Noticibly there’s a substantial difference in the art style as demonstrated by the 2D News Segment with Lisa Lavender.
Season 1 Episode 1.
Season 3 Episode 7.
Also Did Anyone notice how Eerily similar the the Portal is in Cinder’s hand to the one Raven Traveled with in Season 2?
Episode 7 Season 3.
Last Episode of Season 2.
My theory is that Emerald’s powers can only work at a very particular distance like most stand-users in Jojo as we’ve seen with this episode which could also explain the shit they pulled in the “Fall” episode as Emerald was not too far from Yang to use her powers.
I personally found it kinda funny that the most striking thing for me was that Mercury was using a philips head screwdriver when all the screws we could see needed a flathead screwdriver. I guess there might have been a different type of screw somewhere we couldn’t see, but it’s still funny. Also, where exactly did the string come from on Cinder’s bow? Did she conjure one using Dust?
You also gotta hand it to the Episode’s writers & artists for giving the episode the dark atmosphere needed to tell it’s story, esspecially these shots that help give it the bleak foreboding tone.
Really great episode to get back into RWBY to start the new year. I loved seeing the backstory of how everything has gone with Cinder and her plans. It was cool seeing Emerald and Mercury’s backstory on how Cinder found them and the fight against the fall maiden was pretty awesome. It was interesting seeing how Cinder pretty much intimidated Adam and the white fang into joining her. This episode finally does prove that it was Emerald that tricked Yang as we saw how her illusions work on people and how Mercury actually has robot legs so he wasn’t even hurt! There was only one thing that bugged me and that was how Qrow saw them but couldn’t tell when he sees Yang fighting mercury or any of the previous times they showed up in fights in the tournament, I don’t know but that feels like a plot-hole there. Well other than that it was an awesome episode that builds up what is going to come in the next episode and I cannot wait for it!