Alex Louis Armstrong takes Edward on a trip, but they aren’t going where he said they were. Soon, they’re crossing the desert to the abandoned city of Xerxes which sits at the centre of the legends of alchemy!
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (Episode 18) – The Arrogant Palm of a Small Human
After crossing the desert with Alex Louis Armstrong, one of Roy Mustang’s men, and one of Ling’s personal guards, Edward found himself in Xerxes and was greeted a familiar yet haunting sight. There are legends from either side of the desert about what happened here. It’s said that it collapsed overnight and only a soul survivor emerged, bringing the secrets of alchemy to the West. The East has a similar story.
Suddenly, the mood changes when Edward and Armstrong spot a familiar face. It would appear that Maria Ross is still alive and is being taken to Xing where she can start a new life. Roy Mustang realised that the murder charge was a sham and Barry the Chopper confirmed it when he informed Roy that she shot him. With this in mind, Roy offered Barry a chance to have some fun.
He burnt up a fake body and said that he would take care of the dental records. With Maria out of the way and Barry going on a rampage, they were just waiting for the puppeteers to reveal themselves. Of course, that would be easier without a hot-headed young alchemist getting in the way, which is why Armstrong was ordered to bring him here.
As Edward examined what looked like a transmutation circle similar to the one he saw at the Fifth Laboratory, he was jumped by some Ishvalan fighters who wanted to hold him hostage. An old lady spoke out and told the others to back down. She revealed that she was saved by two doctors from his side – Winry’s parents. She then told Edward who their murderer was – Scar!
What did you think?
This was a great episode, even with Edward’s monologuing in Xerxes. The ancient ruins and mysterious legends surrounding the place are what I love about series like this. With the room to really go to town, this world is getting bigger and bigger, and consequently more interesting. It’s pretty clear that Xerxes was destroyed by someone creating a philosopher’s stone which is why everyone died overnight. That would be the sacrifice.
The only question is whether the survivors that went West and East are the same person or two separate people. It’s also possible that they are still alive today if they have a philosopher’s stone. I’m also glad it didn’t take too long to confirm that Maria Ross was still alive and that Roy Mustang was responsible. I said in the last post that it was fairly obvious, but still entertaining, nonetheless.
What have you learnt?
One thing that I love about the Xerxes side of the story is that legends often are literal interpretations of what happened and can be twisted to fit whatever narrative someone wants to tell. One of the best places that I’ve seen this happen was in A Song of Ice and Fire or A Game of Thrones if you’ve only seen the TV show. The story is packed full of legends and omens that could mean anything if looked at in one way or another. The prophecy will be fulfilled because we will see a solution that fits.
I don’t believe in fate or destiny and this pretty much ties in with that idea. It’s similar to how you can read your horoscope and find something that fits your life. The best thing is it doesn’t have to be exact either. There’s an endless number of ways to interpret things and if you want to see it you will. It’s similar to how you see a lot more of a certain car after you buy one. You’re now just conditioned to look for it. So, fill your stories with legends and prophecies and see how many different ways you can fulfil them. It will keep the readers guessing.
Other posts in the series
- Season Review
- Episode 1 – Fullmetal Alchemist
- Episode 2 – The First Day
- Episode 3 – City of Heresy
- Episode 4 – An Alchemist’s Anguish
- Episode 5 – Rain of Sorrows
- Episode 6 – Road of Hope
- Episode 7 – Hidden Truths
- Episode 8 – The Fifth Laboratory
- Episode 9 – Created Feelings
- Episode 10 – Separate Destinations
- Episode 11 – Miracle at Rush Valley
- Episode 12 – One is All, All is One
- Episode 13 – Beasts of Dublith
- Episode 14 – Those Who Lurk Underground
- Episode 15 – Envoy From the East
- Episode 16 – Footsteps of a Comrade-in-Arms
- Episode 17 – Cold Flame
- Episode 18 – The Arrogant Palm of a Small Human
- Episode 19 – Death of the Undying
- Episode 20 – Father Before the Grave
- Episode 21 – Advance of the Fool
- Episode 22 – Backs in the Distance
- Episode 23 – Girl on the Battlefield
- Episode 24 – Inside the Belly
- Episode 25 – Doorway of Darkness
- Episode 26 – Reunion
- Episode 27 – Interlude Party
- Episode 28 – Father
- Episode 29 – Struggle of the Fool
- Episode 30 – The Ishvalan War of Extermination
- Episode 31 – The 520 Cens Promise
- Episode 32 – The Fuhrer’s Son
- Episode 33 – The Northern Wall of Briggs
- Episode 34 – Ice Queen
- Episode 35 – The Shape of This Country
- Episode 36 – Family Portrait
- Episode 37 – The First Homunculus
- Episode 38 – Conflict at Baschool
- Episode 39 – Daydream
- Episode 40 – The Dwarf in the Flask
- Episode 41 – The Abyss
- Episode 42 – Signs of a Counter-Offensive
- Episode 43 – Bite of the Ant
- Episode 44 – Revving at Full-throttle
- Episode 45 – The Promised Day
- Episode 46 – Looming Shadows
- Episode 47 – Emissary of Darkness
- Episode 48 – The Oath in the Tunnel
- Episode 49 – Filial Affection
- Episode 50 – Upheaval in Central
- Episode 51 – The Immortal Legion
- Episode 52 – Combined Strength
- Episode 53 – Flame of Vengeance
- Episode 54 – Beyond the Inferno
- Episode 55 – The Adults’ Way of Life
- Episode 56 – The Return of the Fuhrer
- Episode 57 – Eternal Leave
- Episode 58 – Sacrifices
- Episode 59 – Lost Light
- Episode 60 – Eye of Heaven, Gateway of Earth
- Episode 61 – He Who Would Swallow God
- Episode 62 – A Fierce Counterattack
- Episode 63 – The Other Side of the Gateway
- Episode 64 – Journey’s End