The Elric brothers arrive in the town of Lior to find that there’s a religious leader named Cornello who has been performing miracles. Upon witnessing it action, they realize that it’s alchemy without equivalent exchange, and they focus on the gemmed ring that Cornello is wearing. The two thus decide to pay a visit to the church and find a girl named Rosé praying, so Ed questions if she really believes that the dead can be resurrected like Cornello has been promising. Since she does, Ed reads her the list of materials that constitute the human body and notes how there have been no successful human transmutations. He believes that if science can’t do it, then praying can’t either, and he explains how alchemists are scientists who don’t believe in God. Ed finds it ironic that scientists are the closest to being God, and when Rosé calls that arrogant, he recounts a myth of a hero who flew too close to the sun and fell back to the ground.
In any case, Ed needs to get close to Cornello, so he arranges a meeting. Cornello knows that Ed is a state alchemist and has his lackeys try to take the brothers out, but Ed and Al are more than able to handle them. When Cornello himself appears, Ed accuses him of pretending that his alchemy is actually miracles, and he’s almost positive that Cornello is using the Philosopher’s Stone on his ring. Calling Ed a heretic, Cornello tries to get Rosé to shoot the Fullmetal Alchemist and reminds her of how he promised that he’d resurrect her dead lover. Rosé ends up shooting Al instead of Ed, but this doesn’t hurt Al because he’s just a suit of armor. Resorting to more drastic measures, Cornello brings out a chimera to face the brothers, but Ed is able to defeat it with the help of his automail arm and leg. The combination of Ed’s automail with Al’s empty suit of armor causes Cornello to realize that the two had tried to do a human transmutation to bring back the dead.
With Rosé in shock at the sight of all this, Ed tells her that this is the body of a criminal who has ventured onto God’s domain, and he questions if she’s ready to become like this. Cornello then turns his cane into a minigun and tries to shoot the brothers, but they’re able to escape using alchemy. After getting away from Cornello’s men, Ed and Al split up, and Al tells Rosé about how they failed to resurrect their mother and how his brother had to affix his soul to a suit of armor. Rosé, however, still believes that Cornello can do what the brothers couldn’t. Ed meanwhile waits until Cornello finds him and so that he can confront Cornello about what he’s doing with the Philosopher’s Stone. He gets Cornello to reveal that he’s with the church because it’ll give him believers who will sacrifice their lives for him, and what Cornello doesn’t realize until it’s too late is that Ed broadcasted this to the entire town via a speaker that Al created.
This infuriates Cornello, but he’s unable to beat Ed in a one-on-one battle, even after he strengthens his own body with the Philosopher’s Stone. Unfortunately, the Philosopher’s Stone shatters after the battle is over, meaning that it was a fake. In the aftermath, Ed and Al prepare to leave town, but Rosé tries to get them to hand over the Philosopher’s Stone. She doesn’t believe that it was a fake and thinks that the brothers are going to use it to bring back their mother, but Ed reiterates that the dead cannot be revived. This leaves Rosé at a loss for what to do, so Ed tells her to figure it out herself. He wants her to stand and move forward since her own legs are still good. Later that night, the defeated Cornello flees from the angry mobs and is met by Lust and Gluttony. Lust kills Cornello since he’s served his purpose, but she knows that they’ll have to start over again and that Father will be angry.
Well if you’ve only ever seen the first series, this was definitely different (no birds at all for example, plus Cornello himself became monster-like). And what took two episodes for the first series became one episode here, however I thought it was all compacted pretty nicely, so it never really felt that they were rushing through the story. The key line towards the end where Ed tells Rose to move forward was certainly still there, and in comparing with the first series, Paku Romi makes Ed sound a lot darker and more serious this time around.
The action’s still pretty exciting as well, though I expect that from a BONES production after all the great work they did with the fighting in Soul Eater. If I had any complaints about this, it’d be that they used the split-screen technique a bit too much in the first half of the episode, to the point where it became somewhat distracting. In any case, next week is skipping ahead to Tucker and Nina, so I’m guessing that there won’t be as much rehash as feared after all.