Review: RWBY “The Grimm Reaper”

Stories of the past.

Overview:

Maria tells her story of how she used to be a huntress.

Our Take:

This episode felt very weird to me. Not because of the content, the content was actually pretty interesting, but the structure of it.

The first half of the episode is about Maria and a glimpse into her past when she was a huntress, where she used to be known as the Grimm Reaper. She used her silver eyes and her combat skills to defeat Grimm, and managed to stay lowkey enough that her face wasn’t commonly known.

There is one issue with this though, whereas impressive as Maria was, enough to have Qrow model his weapon after hers, there’s been no mention of her previously. If there has been some mention, it’s been far enough back that I certainly don’t remember it, and that’s not a good thing. It at least should have been brought up, even briefly, at the start of the season as an introduction or as a refresher. Otherwise, it feels very exposition-like, or something even was thrown in at the last minute. I have no doubt Maria’s an important character this season, but it feels very jarring. It really feels like Maria’s story should have been its own episode, or possibly part of the last one. She feels like someone that should have been very important but was set up poorly. And that’s a shame because it’s good to finally get more information on silver eyes and what they could possibly mean or do.

Also, Maria’s story is extremely somber, more fitting the previous episode. How she was hunted down for her eyes and crippled, both physically from being injured and with fear that the unknown people who took a hit out on her would find her again- that’s a really unpleasant story. Except the tone shifts drastically when the group finally gets to Argus, into something more comedic. There’s nothing wrong with tonal shifts, any good media can employ them well, but this felt like emotional whiplash. A harrowing story of how a woman was crippled to cute and fun family antics feels so weird to digest in a single episode.

There’s not much wrong with the content that’s presented, but this episode felt so jarring emotionally that I couldn’t bring myself to enjoy it as much as I could have been it segmented properly. That’s a shame because I truly am enjoying this season, but the decisions to cut this episode where it ended up just weren’t good decisions.

Score
8.0/10

Noelle Ogawa

A writer, editor, and 4th generation New Yorker. An avid fan of comics and manga, particularly psychological thrillers, or featuring sports. Can't stay away from the horror genre. Long-time kaiju enthusiast.

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