A Red Hair-ing Emerges
Emerald’s doubts in dealing with Salem without Cinder continue to rise, so she decides to ask Mercury why he joined up. He tells her about his time training with his assassin father, who abused and tortured him throughout his life, even stealing his own son’s Semblance. It was because of this upbringing that Mercury is fine being on the side that ends up ruling the world, regardless of whether it’s under Cinder or Salem. But for Emerald, Cinder was the one who saved her life and taught her how to live, so that’s where loyalties lie. This argument attracts the attention of Tyrian, with his new and improved tail, who’s just about to leave for Atlas with Watts to…“ prepare”.
In Argus, JNR and Saffron continue the search for the lost Oscar. Loaded with guilt over how he treated the kid, Jaune goes to a bench to think but sees an autumn leaf float into a nearby park. In the center is a memorial for Pyrrha. Also, there is a girl with red hair, green eyes, and voiced by Jen Brown, who tells Jaune how Pyrrha trained at Argus’ Sanctum Academy, hence why the memorial is here. Jaune tells her that even though she never graduated, he sees her as a huntress, which makes the girl happy. Yet oddly, when Ren and Nora come back, she’s gone. When Jaune gets down on himself for letting Pyrrha go, the two comfort him and recommit to their mission.
Ruby and Yang peel a plastered Qrow off the porch when JNR returns, only to find Oscar has been back for a while; and with a spiffy new coat! Jaune apologizes to him, but also has a plan to get them to Atlas: stealing one of the airships that have clearance to leave. Qrow objects, but Ruby forcibly asks to hear Jaune out. They’ve handled situations without adult supervision before, so what could possibly go wrong this time?
Alright, ladies and gentlemen, gather round and place your bets on the identity of this new Mystery Ginger! Is she:
A-Pyrrha’s long-lost twin sister who she coincidently forgot to mention but will become Jaune’s new love interest!
B-A Pyrrha clone made by Atlas scientists on the base after her death so they can steal back the Fall Maiden powers from Cinder and claim it for Atlas!
C-Pyrrha resurrected from the dead to please the fandom ER I MEAN by some form of magic that we’ll learn more about a few seasons from now at the earliest!
Or D-It’s actually Neo disguised as a Pyrrha-lookalike just to screw with Jaune! She and Cinder have just gotten to Argus and are messing with him for shits and giggles before they capture Ruby.
In all seriousness, I’m honestly not sure what to think about this new potato generator…though personally, my money’s on Option B. Mainly because Option D is mostly a joke, I really hope they don’t go with C just to win back fans like with Neo’s return, and if that was Pyrrha’s sister or relative, it would be weird to prolong that reveal when they just showed us one of Jaune’s sisters. Plus, if Young Justice has taught me anything, it’s that characters with the same voice actor are clones of each other! (Yes, even Superman and Zatara because they’re both voiced by Nolan North!), but it does make me notice the return of one of my bigger Team JNPR pet peeves, and that’s that JNPR’s story is usually just Jaune’s.
Aside from Pyrrha’s Maiden plot in V3 (which is now being used to fuel Jaune’s motivation) and Ren’s very brief and benign trip down traumatic backstory lane, Jaune is still basically the main character of his team. This is understandable, given that he’s the ostensible leader, but his underdeveloped relationship to Ren and Nora leave them sort of relegated to “upbeat supportive friend” and “monotone supportive friend”, taking over for Pyrrha’s previous role of “really nice and supportive almost girlfriend”. I don’t need convincing that they care about each other and are friends, but I was reminded of how half-baked their friendship is when they all stood in front of Pyrrha’s statue.
Because the lion’s share of Pyrrha’s development and screen time was focused on her relationship with Jaune, she never really shared more than a handful of sentences between either of her other two teammates, so whenever the two of them talk about how they were “family”, I honestly have to wonder if they’re serious. And it looks like whoever this Mystery Ginger is will be yet another thing for only Jaune to really grow or learn anything from, which is disappointing for me as someone who would like all of JNR to get their time to grow and change in ways that aren’t just in character design.
Speaking of which, we also have the impetus for this introspective little stroll: Oscar’s sudden disappearance that…wasn’t really a disappearance, he just went out for a bit and came back with a better attitude and a “Niemen Marcus Character Development Sports Coat” to show he’s all better now. Like…what? None of that time reflecting about how his mind is going to be eventually absorbed by Anime Dumbledore/Dante from FMA 2003 was deemed important enough to spare screen time? Where did he even get that coat? But whatever! Guess he’s just totally fine with everything! Move along! But really, I know that having this many characters can make it hard to determine who should get priority on camera, but this just feels like we hit a plot cul-de-sac and are just now finished doing the K-turn to get us back on the road. Not to mention the show’s further attempts at non-diegetic anime-style humor which have never EVER made me react in any other way but cringing.
But yeah, now we’re back on track. That track apparently being Jaune coming up with the plan to hijack an Atlas plane…somehow? How did that idea come up? I could maybe understand this coming from Weiss, who is from Atlas and has snuck onto one of their ships before, but…Jaune? Nothing during his walk involved anything about planes or security, and even with the amount of time JNR had in Argus ahead of the rest of the characters, nothing came up about them observing incoming planes or how something like this could be even remotely doable. Just like with Oscar’s acceptance of the situation, there seem to be some missing scenes here that could possibly explain how we got from points A to F. Though at least now we have some idea of where the last four episodes might be headed for the finale.
And lucky me, both times I get to review this season have the Evil Council of Doom C-Plot! Which actually turns out to be the most coherent part of the episode. We finally get a good look at Tyrian’s new tail (which better have more going for it than a glossy finish if he wants me to think of him as a threat after that last fight), but what most fans have probably been anticipating more is some long overdue fleshing out of Emerald and Mercury’s relationship to themselves and Cinder. As many have probably guessed, Emerald is pretty much devoted to Cinder first, but whether it’s because she sees Cinder as a mother figure or in a romantic sense is unclear.
Mercury, meanwhile, just wants to take his anger issues out on everyone, feet first. There’s been some speculation over how exactly his father “stole” his semblance, though the fact that his feet are prosthetic is probably pointing towards it being something in his feet that he lost when his dad took them off. Either way, their seething hatred for one another probably puts the kibosh on them teaming up to break out of Mount Doom to find Cinder. The next step in the group’s evil plans seems to be taking them to Atlas, so that’s another to look forward to over there.
Overall, this episode seems to have some of the more irksome quirks of RWBY’s writing creeping back into the frame along with some noticeable short-sightedness, but with enough development and new questions to balance things out for now. Looks like we’ll be taking to the skies next week, so here’s hoping the last four episodes stick the landing, not crash and burn.