After the encounter with Father, Envy takes the Elric brothers back above ground to Wrath, though he has Ed take a shower first. While he’s got a moment alone with Al, Ed reveals what he saw at the Gate, and Al reveals that he’s still got May Chang with him, hiding inside the armor. The two are then escorted to a meeting room with Wrath and Mustang, and Mustang explains how his subordinates have essentially been taken hostage. Even though Wrath refuses to reveal anything new about the Homunculus plan, given what he already knows, Ed wants to quit being a State Alchemist. Wrath, however, threatens Winry and forces Ed to remain in the military, though he does allow the brothers to continue their journey to try to return to their old bodies. Mustang is going to stay put as well, though he does ask Wrath if it was he who killed Hughes. Wrath reveals that it wasn’t him, but he doesn’t reveal who really did it. Although Mustang and the brothers are now free to leave, Wrath stops Al first and stabs his armor. Fortunately, the blade comes out clean, and May Chang survived by hiding herself in Al’s leg.
The brothers then run off to call Winry and check on her. She’s fine and is happy that Ed called, and he doesn’t tell her about Wrath’s threat. While the brothers are at the phone booth, Greed finds them and passes along a piece of cloth with some Xing writing on it to give to Lan Fan from Ling. Ed and Al then split up, with Ed going to Dr. Knox’s place to get May Chang treated and to pass along the message. As it turns out, the Xing writing reveals to Lan Fan that Ling got the Philosopher’s Stone, but Al has to break the news to her of how it all happened. In light of this, Lan Fan decides that she needs to get an automail arm replacement as soon as possible. In the meantime, she and May Chang meet and immediately engage in hostilities because of their respective backgrounds, but Knox stops them from fighting in his house. Back at military headquarters, Greed meets Wrath and discusses how Ling accepted him for power. When Wrath comments on how Ling ended up being greedy and losing everything, Greed surprises Wrath by letting through Ling’s voice and telling him not to underestimate humans. Greed, however, is well aware of how Ling is watching vigilantly for an opportunity to take back over.
Mustang meanwhile has met up with Hawkeye and Armstrong and explains the situation to them. In spite of this, Armstrong refuses to quit because he can still remember how he ran away from the Ishval conflict, and he knows now that he has to fight against what’s wrong. As for Ed, he goes to help clean up some of the destruction caused in the earlier fight, and he notices that he can use alchemy again. What’s interesting is that he learns that some other alchemists had failed to use alchemy earlier in the day, and the time corresponds to when Father shut alchemy down. Ed remembers though that May Chang and Scar had still been able to use their alchemy, and he realizes that finding the secrets behind other forms of alchemy might be the key to opposing Father and getting Al’s body back without using a Philosopher’s Stone. He also realizes that he’s still got the gun Hawkeye gave him, and he decides to return it. Back underground, Scar is still trying to find his way out, and he happens to come across Marcoh’s prison. When Marcoh realizes who Scar is, he explains that he’s being forced to help the Homunculus and reveals his role in the Ishval conflict. He wants Scar to kill him, but Scar first wants to know all the details about what really happened during the Ishval conflict.
After so many straight episodes filled with action, this episode was a relatively void of it. That doesn’t mean it was boring though since there was a good deal of character development and plot advancement instead. My favorite moment was actually the scene between Greed and Wrath because the look on Wrath’s face after Ling’s voice came through was priceless. It does seem to imply though that Ling might eventually find a way to usurp Greed, and I’ll be looking forward to when that happens. Maybe by then Lan Fan will have her new automail arm too (I certainly like her determination).
I did find it a bit frustrating that Ed and Al are basically helpless against Wrath and the Homunculus as long as their loved ones are held hostage. It’s not a big deal in the short term, but they’re probably going to have to do something about it eventually, like finding someone to guard Winry or something. I was also a little surprised that Scar was still hanging around the sewers, but he’s now found Marcoh, and it looks like we’re going to hear a lot about the Ishval conflict next episode. On a related note, I really liked how the opening notes of Tsunaida Te played during the final Ed scene and lead into the ED, but they kept playing the song into the Scar/Marcoh epilogue, and it really didn’t fit that scene at all.