In the last episode, the Elric Brothers – Edward “Ed” and Alphonse “Al” – arrived in the town of Xenotime, looking for info on the Philosopher’s Stone. Instead, they found a town with a lot of ill people and 2 boys calling themselves “The Elric Brothers, Ed and Al”. They also found out that the Impostor Elrics, along with a scientist named Mr. Mugear, had developed a highly potent mixture called “Red Water”, which, under extreme amounts of pressure, can be made into a strong (but imitation) Philosopher’s Stone. The real Elrics confront the Imposter Elrics, a fight occurs between the Eds, and the Impostor Al, real name “Fletcher”, is injured. This episode picks up right at the end of the battle, with guards outside of the Impostor Elric’s lab.
To differentiate between the brother duos, text involving Imposters will be in purple.
The episode starts with a lot going on: guards trying to get in (Al tells them that he’s OK), the Eds verbally sniping back at each other, and Fletcher (“Al”) drawing a Transmutation Circle on the door to the rest of the Compound. Fletcher blocked the door with a tree so the Elrics could escape; they dive out the window.
Guards, followed by Mr. Mugear, finally break into the lab, as Al heals Fletcher with a Stone. Mugear asks about the lab first, the Stone 2nd, then asks about the Brothers.
That usually isn’t a good sign.
Mugear commends Ed on the Stone but instructs them to “move up the timetable – and go to the Contingency Plan!” When Ed objects, Mugear pulls out this machine….
… drops the Stone in it, and binds the brothers. That machine lets non-alchemists (like Mugear) perform Alchemy. By the way, he knows that they are not the real Elrics because Ed has an Automail arm.
The real Elrics sneak back to Uncle Belsio’s house, where Belsio is awake and waiting for them. Alicia, the little girl that was saved at the beginning of the last episode, is still at the house, in bed, coughing. They meet Belsio in front of the living room fire, and explain what they discovered. Belsio thinks (and confirmed by Mr. Mugear in the previous scene) that the Elrics are the sons of the famed theorist, Nash Tringham.
Cue the non-existent Dramatic Music.
Belsio explains: Nash went to Central City to work on his research. After years of being absent, he showed back up in Xenotime, in the middle of the night. He told Belsio that he abandoned his research, abandoned Central City, and abandoned pretty much everyone and everything…. but wouldn’t explain what drove him to those decisions.
Mr. Mugear then “pounced on the wounded animal”. Mugear wants the Red Water: he thinks it will help the town recover from… whatever might be wrong. He eventually caved and joined Mugear.
The town recovered, but the town started suffering from a plague: many babies started getting sick (including Alicia) and most died. A passing doctor named Marco examined Alicia and saved her from death. Belsio then hounded Nash about the Red Water; all he would say was “it’s all his fault… I’m going to stop it, once and for all!” That was the last time any one in town saw him. The town declined again, shortly after.
Ed reminds Al that what the other Elrics are doing (finishing their father’s work) isn’t so much different than their own work.
Meanwhile, Dr. Mugear is standing at the door to the cell where the Elrics are being held. They are locked up because Ed wouldn’t enact “Phase 2” of Mugear and Lust’s plan: introduce Red Water to the drinking supply of pregnant women; it would permeate into their placentas, where a natural condensing occurs; extract and transmute the results into a Stone. Oh, by the way, Mugear reveals that their father was probably killed for not going through with Phase 2.
That was a fairly monstrous plan, even for an anime!
Mugear reports back to Lust – she warns him about the resilience and power of the Elrics, but he thinks he can handle a couple of kids.
The next morning, the real Elrics are in the Fake Elric’s lab, talking with Dr. Mugear. He’s “impressed” with their prowess and asks for some help with Red Water. Specifically, he wants Ed to help him make those imitation Philosopher’s Stone. Ed doesn’t exactly agree: he wants to “take care of those pathetic prisoners” (the Elrics) first.
In reality, Ed frees the other Elrics. He also tells Ed and Fletcher to “live their own lives”, starting with abandoning their father’s very toxic work. Ed and Al run off, leaving them to ponder his advice.
Mugear is evilly planning the usage of the next Stone when Ed and Al confront him. Ed basically reveals that he knows that Mugear killed Nash Tringham, and that he “doesn’t work for murderers”. Mugear pulls out another Stone, drops it into his machine from earlier, and answers Ed’s accusations with alchemy-aided gun fire.
Ed learned what happens when you ask “Is that all you got??”, when Mugear’s machine turns into a multi-barreled cannon. Fortunately for Ed and Al, Mugear runs out of Stone and Stone fragments to power his cannon. Also, Ed and Fletcher show up; they transmute a plate into vines and bind Mugear. Ed and Al push a heavy piller on to Mugear, immobilizing him for the moment.
“Ed” – real name Russell – decided that he and Fletcher will live their own lives again, giving up their dad’s research.
(For the rest of the review, all text will be in black)
Before the brother duos can celebrate, Al notices a secret passage in the floor that was exposed by the crashing of the pillar. The 4 boys go down the secret passage until they come up to an unexpected wall. Ed breaks through the wall, only to find Mugear behind it, waiting, with a floor-mounted cannon. He fires a couple of times, with the pre-requisite “I’m unstoppable!” declaration. Ed throws up a barrier for the last shot; the barrier snaps but the backlash knocks Mugear down.
It also triggers the collapse of the tunnel.
The 4 boys leave the chamber but Mugear does not: he tries to physically hold back the suddenly leaking red water but is crushed by a boulder that falls from the ceiling.
Ed throws up a stone barrier to hold back the water but Russell realizes that the Rd Water “has to come out somewhere”:
Ed rushes off and Transmutes a rock barrier. Fletcher runs to a nearby tree, draws a Circle, and…
…gets the trees in the area to absorb the Red Water. Russell joins him with the Transmutation. The trees eventually absorb all of the excess Red Water; when they finish, Fletcher freezes and explodes the trees, turning them into a fine blue snow shower, while Ed brings down the rock barrier. Xenotime is saved!
Russell, Fletcher, and Alicia meet Ed and Al at the train station. Alicia gives Ed and Al a basket full of lemons – a gift from her uncle. Ed and Russell chat: Russell says that he and Fletcher were hired on at Belsio’s farm (“their Agricultural Alchemy should be pretty useful around his farm”), Russell offers to tell him how to crystallize Red Water but Ed refuses (he wants to find the real thing). The train leaves town (after another short joke, this time via Alicia, about Ed).
On the train, in the basket of lemons, there is a farewell note from Russell (he is a year younger than Ed, but nearly a foot taller).
This 2-episode mini-story was one of the better stories of the series, so far. There were a couple of big reveals, an antagonist that wasn’t as in control as he thought (“Lust” seems to be main Big Baddie right now), and the Elrics move another step closer to the Philosopher’s Stone. You also saw the ‘little brother’ (Fletcher) finally stand up to the ‘big brother’ (Russell) and convince him to look at things in a different light – maybe Al and Ed have a similar meeting, down the road?