The fallout of RWBY’s last episode are felt far and wide throughout Atlas and Mantle. Last time, Penny was framed for murder, and Jacque Schnee won the Atlesian election. General Ironwood’s reaction to Tyrian’s attack on Robin Hill’s rally comes in the form of a public curfew. Mantle is locked down at night, all citizens must go home, or be arrested. Tensions and fears are running high. Not that it is stopping Robin and her Happy Huntresses from commandeering military trucks taking supplies to Amity Tower. The gang show off their impressive Semblances to pull off the heist. Fiona Thyme, completely fine after Tyrian’s attack, displays the amazing ability to disintegrate an entire structure and absorb/store it in a pocket dimension!
Meanwhile, Ironwood is understandably furious by the attack and election results. Robin’s repeated heists have convinced Mantle suppliers to fob Ironwood off until the city is adequately repaired. A reasonable request, but Ironwood’s knee jerk reactions haven’t been helping things. His intentions are good, but his methods have not exactly been rational or sensible. When it is suggested that martial law may be needed, Nora loses her temper, angered that Ironwood would trivialise Mantle’s suffering. Considering her own past, Nora’s words ring true. Interestingly, Ironwood is facing his worst case scenario, and is now trying to counter it with an equally terrible decision.
The conversation turns to Tyrian’s presence, unveiling the lunatic’s past. He was a serial killer who terrorised Anima for some time. The criminal file held by Clover reveals some juicy details about Tyrian’s arrest and escape. A Mistral Huntsman named Pickerel requested for additional backup to escort Tyrian’s prison ship, but was denied. The ship was attacked by Grimm, in an area thought to have been barren of their kind. And, they were implied to have been led by noneother than Salem, who Tyrian regarded as “beautiful”.
While Ruby thinks the people should be warned, Clover dissuades this, since the military just took one hit with Penny’s framing, and a rogue serial killer would only add panic. Nora snaps about all the secrets, suggesting they tell the public about Amity and Salem. Ironwood gives his commands – Robin is to be arrested, though a deal may be offered, whilst everyone else is to find Tyrian. Ren is the most vocal in following orders, probably regretting that smooch with Nora.
That night, Blake and Yang are on the mission to find Robin. However, the duo are apprehensive about the task at hand, also worried about lying to Ironwood about Salem. Yang believes Ironwood deserves to know the truth, but Blake believes his reaction would be even larger and more drastic than ever. Blake worries that they will run out of good options when it comes to doing the right thing. Of course, Yang knows what Blake is referring to – Adam’s death. There is clear regret between them, though Yang rationalises it was their only choice. Blake doesn’t wish to repeat this with Robin, so Yang suggests that they shouldn’t.
Ruby and Weiss visit Pietro’s lab, where Penny is offline, her visual data downloaded to prove her innocence. The show remembers Maria is around, helping Pietro all this time. Pietro is deeply hurt by Penny’s stitch up, becoming increasingly unwell. They compare the hacking in Mantle to Beacon, concluding it is the same culprit. Weiss asks who could have access to Atlas and Mantle’s security network. Pietro explains only a handful of people do: Ironwood, the council, cyber security leads, and those who oversee Atlas’ key systems like the sewage and heating. Weiss comments that the heating grid runs in partner ship with the SDC, though does not dwell on the matter further.
Pietro has a coughing fit, explaining why Penny is the only one of her kind. He and several other colleagues were asked by Ironwood to research new defence technology. Pietro pursued a more unusual course, which led to Penny’s creation. However, Penny’s artificial aura turns out to actually be Pietro’s. He briefly uses it, revealing what can be best described as holes in his aura. He gave parts of his own soul to Penny, and each time she is rebuilt, it costs him more. This may explain why he is confined to his spider-mech wheelchair. During the scene, Pietro holds a framed photograph of his colleagues. One of them is Watts, looking rather resentful towards Pietro.
In Mantle, Yang and Blake surprise Robin when she stops their truck, and have to chase her through the streets to talk. Short on time, the two tell Robin about Amity Tower. Robin reveals her Semblance is like an aura-based polygraph test, holding Blake’s hand, confirming she is telling the truth. Blake further details that Atlas is being set up to intimidate Mantle, though she does not divulge the true culprits. With the AceOps on their way, Robin flees, but tells Yang that she will learn the whole truth.
In the episode’s most surprising moment, Ironwood takes Oscar to the Relic of Creation’s chamber, hidden beneath Atlas Academy. The chamber is impressive and beautiful, a blend of an ancient temple and Atlas’ technology. The Relic itself is hidden behind a door on a huge pillar of icy crystals. Ironwood reveals that the Relic keeps Atlas itself afloat, which was Ozpin’s idea. Seems like a bit of fatal flaw. Ozpin apparently even suggested the Relic could take Atlas as high as imaginable. That would certainly be a memorable way for Atlas to be destroyed, floating off into space. The Relic may only be used for one task at a time, so Amity’s launch is being done with dust.
Ironwood reminisces about his relationship with Ozpin, wishing for his advice. Oscar offers his own advice, warning Ironwood that his current path is not a good one. He further states they have to hold on to their humanity. Ironwood mulls this over, wondering if Salem still has her own humanity. He rather eerily expresses how he felt so powerless when Beacon fell, and how Salem made it clear she was there (via the black queen chess piece used to hack Ironwood’s fleet). Ironwood summons the elevator, asking Oscar if he believes in him. Oscar confirms this, but also believes in others too, advising Ironwood that it is alright to be afraid as long as it doesn’t control him. Oscar advises Ironwood to sit down and talk to the people he is most afraid too.
Unfortunately, bad news awaits Ironwood when he returns to the academy. Jacque Schnee has invited him and everyone to dinner, where Ironwood will have to defend his seat on the council. Well, it had to happen sooner or later. Everyone will have to suffer the company of Jacque and his wretched mouth. Wonder who will punch his head off first. Anything could possibly happen next episode, though I doubt Tyrian and Watts will try to assassinate Ironwood’s entire inner circle at once.
The next episode is the final one of the year, with RWBY returning in early January 2020.