Emotions boil over and accountability is questioned in this tense episode of RWBY. The episode is the longest in the eighth volume, able to balance out the drama and action, but prioritises the emotional hurdles the cast are trying to get over. There is hope for some, and continuous self-destruction for others.
The episode starts with Robyn trying to lighten Qrow’s mood as cellmates. Qrow is questioning his actions last volume; teaming up with Tyrian to fight Clover, leading to his friend’s murder. There is blame to go all around, from Qrow’s desperation and partnering with Tyrian, to Clover’s over reliance on his good luck Semblance. Last time we saw Qrow, he still seemed adamant on avenging Clover by killing Ironwood. Robyn may offer him a lifeline, and better yet, a new friend to steer him away from his sense of self-loathing.
Harriet and Marrow arrive to toss Watts back in his cell, but Harriet angrily demands the return of Clover’s badge. She doesn’t want to hear Qrow’s plead of innocence, blindly pointing out that Clover’s blood was on his weapon. Surely in such a technologically advanced location like Atlas, they could do a forensic analysis of the scythe and find Tyrian’s fingerprints. Heck, Robyn offers to give Harriet her hand and let her learn the truth through her Semblance. It is clear that Harriet relies on rage over common sense, although it is possible she is just in a state of grief. Marrow steps in to cool things down before Robyn and Harriet start brawling. There is a growing tension between the Ace Ops, with the odds of Marrow defecting becoming increasingly likely.
In the second episode, Oscar was kidnapped by a talking Grimm called the Hound. Yang, Jaune, and Ren give chase through an icy ravine on hover-bikes, leading to an exciting chase sequence that remains the episode’s chief highlight. The frigid conditions are draining the bikes and the trio’s auras, so time is of the essence. The Hound demonstrates another unique ability to summon other Grimm by howling for backup. Ren tries to drag the Hound down, but when Jaune and Yang nearly fly off a cliff, he has to rescue them, letting the Hound escape to Salem.
Ruby, Weiss, Blake, May, and the unconscious Nora unexpectedly take shelter in the Schnee manor. Whitley is not thrilled with this, explaining Willow has locked herself in her room, and all of the servants have left. How is Whitley surviving on his own? Even if Jacque is in prison, it has left some consequences for Weiss’ brother. Who is he to rely on? Not that Weiss is giving him any time, sending him off to his room. Willow asked Weiss not to leave her brother behind. The opening titles hint that the Schnees are going to fall, but what will become of Whitley? If he survives the volume, will Weiss take him with her for the remainder of the series?
Yang, Jaune, and Ren head for an outpost the latter spotted during the crazy chase. Ren’s bad attitude finally boils over when he and Yang get into an argument about responsibility. Ren stands by his belief that they weren’t ready to become Huntsmen, and their decisions have grown increasingly impractical. When Jaune tries to stop the fight, Ren turns on him, reminding his teammate that he cheated his way into Beacon. Since Ren is hellbent on cutting all ties with his friends, unwilling to deal with all of the negative emotions brewing inside both him and his friends. The pressure he is under has been chipping away at his resolve, to the point he has deliberately dismantled his relationship with Nora. He once had trouble expressing himself, and now he is firing off his anger at everyone.
But, if you thought Ren was having a bad day, Oscar takes the biscuit. Oscar finds himself at the mercy of Salem. The reunion between Ozpin and Salem is tense, yet full of brimming emotion. Ozpin never surfaces, so Oscar has to face Salem’s interrogation. Salem hopes to have a better working relationship with Oscar, asking him where the missing Relic of Choice is. Oscar, however, lacks the information, which Salem realises makes sense. When she asks how to activate the Relic of Knowledge, Oscar lies that the lamp is useless. Salem then blasts Oscar’s chest with a full on round of old world magic!
Though in agony, Oscar still refuses to co-operate. Salem is unfazed, believing she will get the information she needs one way or another. As she leaves, Hazel steps to reacquaint Oscar with his fists of fury. Hazel only joined Salem’s group to avenge his sister Gretchen, who died a Huntress, Hazel blaming Ozpin.
Salem and the Hound bump into Cinder and Neo. The conversation reveals that the Hound is an experiment-in-progress, Salem being quite pleased with the results so far. Cinder is eager to go maiden hunting, but Salem shoots her down. When Cinder starts getting pushy, the Hound lunges at her. Salem pretty much gives Cinder the most threatening grounding ever. Not that this stops Cinder from a little rebelling, plotting to sneak out and go to Amity to find Penny. There’s a cute moment where Neo floats after Cinder with her brolley, clearly conflicted by Cinder’s dumb plans. Emerald shows up to get into Cinder’s good books again, having improved her illusionary Semblance more. It looks like Cinder, Emerald, and Neo are off on an escapade.
In a final scene, Yang, Jaune, and Ren have reached the outpost. Jaune tries to have a heart-to-heart chat with moody Ren, reminding him that he has friends who he can express himself. Ren stomps out of the outpost to sit in the snow, likely freezing his butt off. Yang finds the right pieces to fix the hover-bike, supporting Jaune, though he remains level-headed. Yang ambiguously asks if “she” thinks less of her by not choosing to prioritise Amity. She is referring to Blake, though Jaune thinks she is talking about Ruby. Yang is clearly worried that her relationship with Blake will fall apart as Ren has with Nora.
But, it looks like the group aren’t out of the woods yet. Outside, a frozen plain of ice starts to crack, hinting that something is about to emerge.
What were your thoughts on this episode? Will Ren and Qrow be able to overcome their demons? Will Oscar break? What troubles await Cinder? Leave a comment below, or on our Twitter feed!