Review: RwBy “Fall”

If you missed the previous Episode “Never Miss a Beat” Penny and her newly introduced teammate, Ciel, defeat Russel & Sky Lark of Team CRDL in the “Doubles” round, allowing them to move forward in the tournament. Ruby goes to congratulate Penny, during which she says to Ruby that she wants to stay at Beacon and has a plan to make that happen but she has yet to share with Ruby what said plan is. The next “Doubles” match is Weiss & Yang vs Flynt Coal & Neon Katt of Team FNKY, from Atlas. During the match, Weiss and Yang initially get overwhelmed by the unpredictable fury of Flynt & Neon’s attacks, and Weiss sacrifices herself to save Yang, resulting in Yang powering up and delivering a massive beatdown towards the two members of Team FNKY.

Later on, Cinder finds out about Penny being a robot after accessing Ironwood’s computer files. Meanwhile, Qrow asks Ozpin if he found his “Guardian”, and Ozpin replies that he has found a candidate who’s “ready”. At the same time, Pyrrha is seen presumably heading to Ozpin’s office via-elevator with an ominous smirk.

And now Spoilers…

Circle

Pyrrha is called into Ozpin’s office where she at first encounters Ozpin & Qrow and Ozpin begins to ask Phyrra about her favorite Fairytale and they Delve into the story of the “Seasons” and Ozpin tells Phyrra that this specific Fairy Tale within their universe is actually true.

These Gifs I thankfully came across tell the “Seasons” story a lot better than I can.

Maiden 1

Maiden 1

Maiden 1

Maiden 1

Maiden 1

Maiden 1

Maiden 1

Maiden 1

So, basically, the “Seasons” tale is about “four sisters/maidens” who are named after the earthly seasons. (Spring, Winter, Summer and Fall.) that helped an old man break out of his proverbial shell and as a reward the old man gave all four of these women the natural gift to use magic without being limited to Dust or an Aura and could perform feats of power without the assistance of Dust or a dedicated semblance.

In this big reveal to Pyrrha, Glynda & Ironwood show up and it then cuts them going to an underground chamber via-elevator and in a collection of Gifs it sums up what Pyrrha is at her core, A scared teenager.

Elevator

Elevator

Elevator

Elevator

Elevator

Understandably Pyrrha is in shock by this revelation wondering how the very teachers that she’s learned and practiced with would know such a secret and the fact that the Inner-Circle as the group safeguarding these secrets from the world is compelling, and their reasons are sound. They are like a secret society, bound unequivocally to a secret truth which is contemporarily dismissed as myth. Because panic, in this universe, has dire and real consequences, as Ozpin consistently warns. Like every nightmare, there’s a monster at the end of it, and this Inner-Circle is trying to avoid that nightmare at any cost.

Circle

And to do that, Ozpin is now calling on Pyrrha to inherit the gift of the Fall Maiden, the incumbent of which is in a comatose state and presumably on the verge of death. Suddenly, and now all the foreshadowing conversations in Ozpin’s office slowly begin to make sense. “Autumn” from Episode 3 is a girl called Amber, the incumbent Fall Maiden, who was attacked in an unspecified amount of time prior by Cinder Fall.

As they walk in the chamber Glynda explains that the Maidens are thousands of years old but “no two summers are alike” and “When a Maiden Dies it seeks out a new host ensuring the seasons aren’t lost and that no individual can hold on to that power forever.” As she asks how this process works it leads to some fun dialouge with Qrow.

Pyrrha: “How does the power choose?
Qrow:”Through a series of stupid & covoluted rules.”
Glynda:”Qrow!”
Qrow:”Hey don’t get mad cuz I’m right!” (HA!)

Circle

Glynda explains to Pyrrha that at first the powers were specifically passed-on to young women but as time went on the selection process was much more… intimate.

Glynda:”As we understand it now when a Maiden dies the last person who is in their final thoughts is the next candidate to inherit her power.”

Qrow: “Unless it’s a dude or some old hag, then the power goes to someone random and our jobs get a lot harder.”

Pyrrha is still overwhelmed by all of this and asks why not wait until she graduated from the school before giving her said “power” and Qrow reveals that they’re running out of time and that the Grimm are progressively getting stronger and that their moment of peace & prosperity may not last long yet vaguely says to her that when she knows they’re on their side is when they’ll tell her the details and tells her for the first time in history a maiden was attacked and a good chunk of her power was extracted. (Basically the Inner-Circle fears that if an individual with evil intent got their hands on this unlimited & powerful magic source, It’s a Recipe for Disaster and we the audience are left to assume this is the magic Cinder is presumably using.) Ozpin reveals to Pyrrha the current Fall Maiden Amber who is in critical condition and is inside what looks like a “Stasis Pod” from the Alien movies,

Circle

Ironwood tells her she’s kept stable thanks to his technology but they’re unsure what would happen if she passes but it’s uncommon for last person’s thought to be her attacker and knowing that only a large chunk of Amber’s essence was stolen it has the ability to seek out it’s other half.

The Inner-Circle has a well-intentioned plan to hopefully transfer Amber’s aura/life essence into Pyrrha, in the hopes of awakening the Fall Maiden’s gift within her and mitigating some of the conflict to come and Ozpin explains to Pyrrha that if word got out that certain legends were revealed to be true it cause panic & anarchy and knows what kind of emotions would potentially lure Grimm to “claw to their kingdom’s walls” and Pyrrha says she’ll do it but Ozpin warns her that it’s not that simple…

Ironwood says that his people at Atlas have found a way to extract an Aura and put it into objects which understandably shakes Pyrrha to her core and he shares this brief exchange with Ironwood about it in this gif.

Test

Wow, Ironwood, this got ethically dubious fast. This also kind of explains why the other council members think you’re such a dick. (Seriously, this raises a substantial number of questions. In particular: They don’t have extensive knowledge on aura’s, yet they can transfer them? And where the hell did Ironwood get Penny’s aura from?)

They warn her that Upon Amber’s death, there is a possibility that the assailant (Cinder) would become the new Fall Maiden, something likely to bring about a giant shit storm of fear and Grimm for everyone in the kingdom. So, with fancy-schmancy Atlas technology provided by Ironwood but become the actual next Fall Maiden, Pyrrha would probably have to then eliminate this person herself. But that’s me speculating, and I don’t really do that. Now, Pyrrha is faced with a not so easy decision. Sure, it would be easier if it was a normal succession. But this could be fraught with many consequences.

Chamber

In Theory by merging Amber’s essence/soul into Pyrrha, could compromise Pyrrha’s identity and most likely transform her into a destructive force of nature like the “Phoenix Force” did with Jean in the X-Men Comics, or the merge might not work at all. And who knows what would happen then? (If you know any history at all, her name itself is a play on words and in a literal sense means “Phyrric Victory.”)

Circle

They tell her she has an important decision to make and they’ll need her answer before the Vytal festival ends on whether or not she’s with them on their plan and in another series of Gifs, Pyrrha looks at Amber’s condition in her stasis pod which properly convey’s the emotional weight she’s feeling.

stasis

stasis

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stasis

Intrigue and questioning is the lifeblood of exposition like this, and let’s not get this wrong: this entire thing is a massive reveal, perhaps the biggest, in the context of everything we understand about RWBY’s universe and how it could shape future seasons, let alone episodes. Who knows how this will be resolved, and how it affects future story lines?

Cinder

We cut back to the Tournament with the camera panning away from Cinder where the “Singles/Finals” round begins which leaves us to assume this takes place long after the Inner-Circle Meeting with Pyrrha happened but with no revealing answers to whether or not Pyrrha said yes to this plan as she’s in line with a number of other fighters including Sun, Penny, Mercury and of course Yang.

Lineup

Oobleck tells says the rules in the finals are: Instead of a traditional bracket system, each round of the finals will be randomly determined Immediately before the match takes place. Knowing what we know, there’s a strong possibility that Cinder fixed another match since she put Mercury against Yang and with Team RWBY showing their support in the audience, Ruby excitedly says these 4 well-meaning harmless words of encouragement to her sister which I’m sure is in no way unintentional foreshadowing. 😛

Leg

And for some bizarre reason Cinder abruptly proceed’s to leave the stadium.

Cinder

The Final’s begin with Yang Vs Mercury as the enter the ring. (There’s a fun little exchange of Banter between Yang & Mercury before their match of course.)

They proceed in their battle stances and the back drop is no longer randomized scenery but is now just a plain concrete looking ground and the battle in a Series of gifs, it’s a pretty intense hand-to-hand fight.

At first Yang has the advantage by uppercutting him into the ground but Mercury quickly moon-jumps and flips back into her direction delivering a flipkick and knocking her to the ground before unleashing a swirling projectile attack that all concurrently comes down upon her only for Yang to quickly recover and go into her “Rage-Mode” with her bright red eyes.

And then proceeds to punch the fuck out of him like he owes her money and ends with a punch to the chest that sends his glowing aura shimmering in a red color before getting knocked down.

Yang huffs a sigh of relief. She has just won the singles battle. She has made a name for not only herself but for her team as well. Wiping away some sweat that has formed on her forehead she tells her opponent who fought so hard and nearly bested her ‘Better luck next time’ before happily walking off.

“There is not going to be a next time blondie!” Mercury growls.

Yang stops in her tracks at his voice. He is threatening her. Snapping her head around she sees her opponent flying through the air, his leg outstretched and posed to hit Yang.

Instinct kicks in as Yang reacts without thinking. The muscles in her arm move towards her assailant. In a split second, in the blink of an eye, Yang’s fist makes contact with Mercury’s leg. The grey-haired boy falls hard to the ground and cries out in sheer pain. Yang stares at him as he rocks himself in pain. The echoes of boos and gasps fill the stadium. Yang believes it’s because of Mercury’s cheap last shot.

“Ugh, my leg.” Mercury moans. “My leg!”

“That’s what you get you little-Huh?“ Yang stops when she sees eight armored military men circle her.

“Yang Xiao Long stand down!” One shouts as they raise their guns at her.

Yang looks at the men. Shouldn’t they be doing this to Mercury? He was the one that attacked her. She only reacted in self-defense. Yang turns towards one of the men looking at her, seeking answers. “What? Why?”

“Mercury!” Emerald shouts. Yang watches as Mercury’s brightly colored haired teammate runs over towards him.

“Why’d she do that?” Mercury asks in pain and disbelief. “Why’d she attack me?!?”

Emerald gives a nasty looks at Yang. More and more questions enter Yang’s mind. Why was everyone going after her and siding with him? Did they not see him lunge at her? Maybe she shouldn’t have gone as far as firing her weapon at his leg but Yang wasn’t thinking. She just reacted. Could they really blame her that much for trying to protect herself?

Something catches her eye. The blonde looks up as sees on the screen the replay of the last few moments. There she is, walking away from a down Mercury. Surely it will show the truth. Surely it will show that he attacked her.

Yang watches in horror herself, firing at Mercury without provocation. His screams of pain fill the stadium. Yang cannot believe her own two eyes. Had Mercury not attacked her? She clearly remembers him threatening her. She clearly remembers him flying through the air to harm Yang. Had that all been a trick of her mind. No. It could not be. How could it.

Then she sees them. Her teammates. Even from far away Yang can see their expressions of horror and disbelief. Ruby is holding her face and rocking. Fear and confusion is written all over her younger sister’s face along with the audience. Weiss even covers her mouth, unable to say anything while Blake just stares at her, not able to understand what just happened and then it cuts to Grimm watching the Floating coliseum from a distance at an abandoned city. (Is this hinting that Grimm are attracted to negative emotions?)

Yang’s mind begins to spin and tries to comprehend what the hell is going on and it cuts to black.

For those of you who are confused, It’s heavily implied that either Mercury or Emerald (or Possibly Neo) have a semblance power that’s ability to create visual and mental illusions which appear to be entirely real (such as when Coco thought she saw Yatsuhashi in the doubles round.) which caused Yang to believe she was being attacked and simply defend herself. However since it was an illusion and since no one else could see it, to everyone else it looks like she just attacked him for no reason. But regardless, It’s one hell of a way to keep us hooked since we have 6 more episodes left…

Overview.

Well I wasn’t expecting that. It looks like the drama was set up in part to cause an uproar to draw in the Grimm due all the negative emotions. It’s worth remembering that Cinder has control over all the electronics for a large part. She could have been manipulating the monitors showing the replay and what happened in some way if it isn’t all just an illusion of some sort. Also all of the Atlas robotic guards could likely be under her control.

I had a strong feeling that RWBY would be one of those shows that starts out kind of kiddish and gets more mature as it goes along. I’ve seen this happen with other shows and it’s really great to see character development for each of the characters and how they’ve grown since the beginning of the show so I feel like RWBY is going to be one of those shows that goes on for a really long time and the characters change drastically by the end of it. 🙂

Perhaps the greatest sin of this big storyline-reveal is how out of left-field this “Maidens” lore/plot is. There has been nothing from the previous seasons or even this season to even set it up so why do they play it off like its suppose to be this grand reveal almost?? Dammit RWBY writers, I just wish you could elaborate on the plot alot better. Like legitimately stop setting so many damn things up and then not finishing them and just adding even more things to make it complicated and then tell us that “oh don’t worry you’re gonna know what all of this means soon” I mean Literally its been nearly 3 Motherfucking years and we still have no idea what Cinders plan is we don’t have a full entire backstory or on every single character because you keep setting things up and then nothing ends up really happening to advance the plot! Give us something!

On another note, I’m a little confused by how Pyrrha (and I guess the rest of people in Remnant) seem so shocked by the existence of “Magic” when Semblances and Aura are practically already magic. So I guess since Semblances and Aura are something that can be manipulated through will and brought out by training they’re considered science in this world? And its so commonplace for them they don’t think of it as “Magic”?

I’m not entirely convinced that’s Pyrrha due to end scene smirk last episode, so they’ve possibly just spilled their plans to I’m guessing whoever has said illusion semblance powers, and then I get how the bad guys can change what’s played on the replay screen, but they can’t have changed what everyone saw with their own eyes…. right?

Many of the fans got a prediction that Cinder didn’t expect Yang to win. Remember that they never researched or targeted Yang before the festival, so it’d make sense that they had no idea that her semblance would turn damage into power. Henceforth, Mercury thought things were going according to plan, but got cocky, didn’t look at her aura meter, and ended up losing fair and square to Yang, signifying once again how strong she really is.

However, in case they lost, Neo or whoever has the illusion powers was their backup plan, manipulating Yang into doing something that’d look REALLY bad to get team RWBY removed from the tournament anyways. Regardless, team RWBY is still set up for failure, and it’s sad to see that really not be their fault.

As a side note, Yang is likely the best candidate for “tricking” due to her being the most prone to impulsively succumbing to anger.

Legs

If you pay attention at 15:55 you see Yang punch Mercury in the stomach and when she does there’s this gray color that covers his body.Maybe that has something to do with Yang hallucinating later on when she’s powered down. Maybe, that’s not the case because the announcers would know everybody’s semblance.

When Yang turned around and Mercury said “there wont be a next time”, you hear a faint sound effect before Mercury “attacked” that signals someone did something. The same sound was heard when Coco and Yatsuhashi were fighting Emerald and Mercury. When Coco thought Yatsuhashi was behind her, you hear the same sound effect. I honestly believe Neo fooled Coco too. Not Emerald. Or maybe that sound just signals an illusion power being activated in some manner. Guess we’ll find out…eventually.

There is no doubt Mercury lost that battle on purpose. I think he could have won that handily, and would never turn his back on an opponent he was sure was down for the count. The purpose of that fight was to generate the unease in the stadium. It wasn’t even to disgrace Yang, I don’t think they really needed anything other that Yang’s hot temper at the end of the fight for her to react with violence to an attack. Other candidates (Pyrrha for example) would have repelled the attack, or dodged it completely, whereas Yang reacts with a punch, that’s how she is. There will of course be negative light cast on Yang, and she will take her punishment, and maybe start to doubt herself for a while, but the great big goal of that attack was to really just get an entire stadium full of people afraid, worried, and to certain degree, panicked. We say that the Grimm are taking an interest in Vale/Beacon now, the stadium acting like a beacon (topical) to draw them in. This, along with Ironwood bringing the whole Atlesian army to Vale, and the tell-tale signs of conflict on the horizon, Qrow and Winter fighting in the courtyard, the whole town is going to be on edge, and this last fight, by breaking his leg, Mercury probably ensured the Grimm to come clawing at the walls of the Kingdom. Trust me my dudes, Yang will be fine, I think Ozpin is going to understand, Qrow and Ruby both know Yang wouldn’t get violent without a legit reason, I don’t think Yang is going to suffer too much externally from this. I think her confidence will be shaken, she might not be as strong of a fighter when the real battles are starting to get fought, but she’ll snap back. It’s not like the higher-ups at Beacon are completely unaware of the fact they’ve been infiltrated. Plus, seeing as Pyrrha is most likely to accept Amber’s aura, she will probably be able to pick out Cinder as the villain seeing as Cinder is (presumably) the one who attacked Amber and stole her power.

Though to be honest my theory is that Mercury’s leg isn’t broken at all given he has (possibly two) illusion-casting teammates and has proven a very good actor.

Kerrigan

Poor Yang, I feel like the only people who are gonna believe her are her teammates, maybe JNPR and CFVY since Coco and Yatsuhashi faced them and they used that illusion thing on Coco. (I’m hoping they at least touch upon this in the next episode.)

There’s now a theory going around among the RWBY fan community on Tumblr and Reddit that Ruby is already one of the maidens. If the “Summer” they speak of was Ruby’s mother then when she died, thought of her daughter Ruby and gave her those powers, That’s why Ozpin mentioned her “silver eyes”. in episode 1 of Season 1. Like a lot of people, my first thought upon hearing that the last person in a maiden’s thoughts when they died is who gets the power was that if Summer was a maiden, she absolutely thought of Ruby and Yang in her dying moments. She’s a mom. It’s what moms do. (Besides dying in cliche Disney stories. :P)

That said, I’m not sure I really believe that all the season-named characters are maidens. I definitely don’t think Winter is one. The Autumn maiden’s name was Amber, not Autumn or Fall. The odds that Summer’s parents or the Schnee’s just happened to name their children after a season whose power the girls then inherited are minuscule, how could their parents know?

At last, I think I’m prepared to say that this is a season which, for the most part so far, has held up exceptionally. Plot on plot on plot. Character development when needed, for those who needed it. Strong, intriguing writing which makes us ask questions rather than trace the brick road to the obvious, irritating resolution. That, in addition to more tempered and less caffeinated action sequences, is the formula which has found this year’s RWBY moving and doing Monty Proud.

Of course, there are gripes still to be had. Some of them – splitting of screen-time, content focus – are sure to be addressed as the show continues to mature, and can be overlooked in favor of the current good points. Others, and by that I pretty much mean Chapter 2, as well as the personalities of the show’s male characters, continue to exhibit how easy it is for the writers’ room to fall back on familiarity rather than putting a more concerted focus into the writing of the females, who (as we find out in this latest episode) actually have a claim to main character billing, and now have a claim, limited though it may be, to superiority over their opposites in show’s universe.

Another big plot-hole in this episode is that we are six episodes into this season at the time of this review and Blake has had absolutely zero storyline! Adam (From the Black Trailer) is back after the Events of Season 2 and they have yet to touch upon what role he’ll play in this plot!

I Can’t believe that we now have to wait two weeks to see what happens next as this is the last episode of this year. Next week a new “World of Remnant” and on January 16th  They’ll be back with Episode 7.

If Rooster Teeth wanted us to be left hooked for a “Mid-Season Finale” they succeeded.

SCORE
8/10

OriginalOutcast

A Self-Styled Punk/Goth/Gamer/Otaku that's Trying to Find a Purpose...