Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Season 1 Episode 17 Review: Cool-Headed Flames

This episode amps up the tension in the series, especially between Edward and Roy, who he now percieves as being quite brutal. I thought that they handled the material decently, but they could have handled it so much better just as easily. The problem is, of course, due to the reshuffling of events, present in the previous episode, this one came off as being a little crammed, and thus a tad rushed.

For instance, if ever there was a scene for the end of an episode of FMA, it was the one where Ed stands over the charred corpse of 2nd Lt. Ross as Roy stands opposite him with a glare on his face. Ed's reaction to the death was a great ending to the chapter it was taken from, and I would have preferred they take that cue. Because it was halfway through the episodes, the rest of the episode petered off a bit. Not to mention, the death itself loss a lot of credibility with all of the hint dropping.

Another thing affected by the event order from the previous episode was Ed and Al's discovery of Maria Ross' arrest. In the manga, the newspaper article about her arrest for Hughes' death is how they find out about Hughes' death to begin with, and that's what jolts the brothers into trying to find Colonel Mustang as soon as they can. That is when they run into Barry and Ling, and the scene in the alley occurs.

A weird thing I noticed, but it was probably there to focus on Ross' situation, was that it was Henry Douglas (looking as awkward and square-faced as the previous episode) who interviewed her in the beginning of the episode. In the manga, we don't see her being questioned, we see Alex Louis Armstrong visiting her and going over what she had told those who questioned her. I guess the scene as it was done here is supposed to make the viewer really feel like they're in the thick of the predictament with Ross.

Still, since I was a fan of the ordering in the previous episode, I can't really blame the event order in this episode too much. Still, I think it would have probably been better if they had simply cut the scene of Ed and Al reading the paper to begin with and just had them hear about Ross' arrest from a different source or have them hear about her escape from prison and go to see why she was there to begin with only to run into those events. I also think they should have waited before implying that all is not as it seems until after the battle with Lust in Laboratory 3, like in the manga.

Even though they lost out on doing a really great episode finale, it was still a pretty well done episode. Art and animation were decent, strong voice work (except by Maria Ross' VA- I prefer the old one), and story felt like it was building. It wasn't one of the better episodes, but maybe my expectations were too high.

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