Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (Episode 34) – Ice Queen

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood Title

Olivier Mira Armstrong questions Edward and Alphonse about their mission, but they can’t tell her about the Fuhrer for fears of the information getting back. Even so, she agrees to help them find Mei Chang.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (Episode 34) – Ice Queen

What happened?

Edward and Alphonse find themselves standing before Olivier Mira Armstrong, the Major General of Fort Briggs and she wants to know why they’re there. They’re unsure how to answer. They can’t tell her about the Fuhrer or the Homunculi and Father. Eventually, they decided to go with the story that they are trying to recover their bodies and to do that they are looking for Mei Chang to teach them alkahestry.

Olivier is less than impressed with their responses but agrees to help find Mei Chang so that she can find a way to use alkahestry as a weapon. She tells them to sit tight in the fort while she makes plans to search for Mei Chang. Also, if they want to eat, they’ve got to work so she gives them jobs.

After completing their first task, which was to knock icicles from above a walkway, they bump into Vato Falman, who used to work under Mustang and he shows them around. On the tour, they end up on the lowest level of the wall. There’s a bit of a commotion and then an explosion as something emerges from beneath the ground.

It appeared to be a homunculus which has Edward and Alphonse worried that he’s come to check on them for the Fuhrer, however, it appears to have no idea who they are. It seems quite unsure of anything. Olivier leads the charge firing empty shells from a tank at it, but it’s no use. They can’t even seem to slow it down.

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood Episode 34 Major General Olivier Mira Armstrong questioning

What did you think?

Welcome to the Olivier Mira Armstrong show. Seriously, there will probably be nothing but Olivier screenshots for a while now as she’s quite photogenic… just don’t tell her that, she’d probably kick my ass. Anyhow, this was a fun episode. I liked that we got to see more of Olivier from the perspective of those around her. Miles’ story of how she was prepared to fight him as a representative of the military was hilarious and so was everyone’s reaction to it. You don’t mess with Olivier.

All that said, this episode did have one massive flaw. It used the power of coincidence. I’m reminded of the movie adaptation of World War Z and how wherever Brad Pitt went things suddenly exploded into terror. The same thing happened here. What were the chances that Edward and Alphonse would be at Fort Briggs the exact moment a homunculus showed up, especially one that wasn’t looking for them? No one there had seen one before. It was just too coincidental and lacked any plausibility.

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood Episode 34 Major General Olivier Mira Armstrong challenging

What have you learnt?

I believe that coincidences are things that are best kept to a minimum in storytelling. If the story can only move forward because of some random event happening then it devalues the story and the character’s journey. Things can happen to the characters to make them change and evolve, but I’d try to keep them free from coincidence, especially if several coincidental things happen together.

That’s not to say that it can’t work. It can certainly have its place, however, in this instance, I would have been more inclined to believe it if someone had been reporting a strange noise coming from one of the machines. Maybe the mechanics had been unable to work out what it was, so Armstrong asked Edward to look at it since he’s the Fullmetal Alchemist. Similarly, with World War Z, it would have been better had Brad Pitt’s appearance at those places had caused something to happen that created a domino effect. I prefer to think in terms of cause and effect and not coincidences.

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood Episode 34 Major General Olivier Mira Armstrong scheming

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What did you think?