Ed and Armstrong arrive in Resembool and are surprised to find Mustang’s subordinate Breda waiting for them. Breda and a guide then lead them through the desert to the Xerxes ruins, and there, they meet up with Fu. Ed knows about Xerxes because of the legends of the Philosopher of the East who supposedly spread alchemy to Amestris, and it turns out that there’s a similar legend about someone from the West coming to Xing. Inside the ruins, Ed notices a certain engraving on the wall, but he isn’t able to stare at it for long before having to catch up to the others. A short while later, the group finds Ross who is actually alive and well. As it turns out, Mustang had been suspicious about her arrest, and those suspicions were confirmed after talking with Barry. He had thus gotten Breda to gather the materials to transmute a burnt corpse, and when Ross ran into him that night, he had burned the body and thrown her into a dumpster where Havoc had retrieved her through a secret passage. Ling was the one who later arranged for Fu and Ross to head east.
Breda also reveals to Ed and Armstrong that Mustang is now trying to reel in the person behind the scenes in the military. As the others then review what they know about the Homunculus, Ed reflects on what Gracia told him and how he feels they have to move forward. He also vows to protect anyone who’s going to be sacrificed. Ross, on the other hand, is continuing onward to Xing, so she asks Armstrong and Breda to pass along her gratitude to Mustang and to tell him that he can call on her in an emergency. After bidding farewell to everyone, she leaves with Fu and can’t stop herself from crying. Meanwhile, in Central, Falman’s apartment gets attacked by a wild man in an iron mask, and Barry keeps Falman from shooting him. Havoc then rushes in with guns blazing, and he, Falman, and Barry decide to escape outside. They are followed out by the wild man, and fortunately, Hawkeye has them covered with a sniper rifle. She shoots the wild man in the hand, and that keeps him at bay long enough for Barry to realize that their enemy is his old body with something else’s soul.
Back in Xerxes, Ed returns to the large engraving he noticed earlier which resembles the transmutation circle he saw at the Fifth Laboratory. When he suddenly gets attacked from behind, he’s able to pin down his assailant, but he’s then surrounded by a group of Ishval people who want to take him hostage. They are stopped though by a female elder who knows that not all Amestris people are evil. More specifically, she knows of a husband-wife doctor duo who saved them during the war, and Ed realizes that she’s talking about Winry’s parents. When he asks about their death, he finds out that they were killed by an Ishval patient whose identity is unknown but who had a certain tattoo on his right arm. The group ends up letting Ed go, and the elder asks him to visit Winry’s parent’s grave to pass along their gratitude and apology. Unbeknownst to him, back in Central, the battle is intensifying because of the appearance of Gluttony in the tower where Hawkeye was sniping from.
Not too shockingly, Ross was alive after all. I was happy to see that they were pretty thorough in showing how Mustang pulled it all off, but I really didn’t like the music they used when Ed and Armstrong realized she was still alive – it was too victory-ish and seemed overboard for a scene like that. In any case, I hope what Ross said about being called on in an emergency means that she won’t disappear entirely from the story. As for the rest of the episode, I thought that inserting the Ishval group into Xerxes was sort of random, however the stuff about Winry’s parents was certainly interesting. That tattoo is a pretty obvious give-away that Scar killed them. Related to that, my other (albeit minor) complaint about the episode was how it jumped around a bit in the latter half. They should have just kept all the Xerxes stuff together and had the Barry action at the end of the episode. At least Hawkeye being threatened by Gluttony makes for a good cliffhanger, though the preview seemed to indicate that she survives the encounter. It looks like there’s plenty more action to be had though, and Mustang himself is going to get involved, so it should be good.