|Advance of the Fool|
|Series||Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood|
|Title||Advance of the Fool|
|Japan airdate||August 30, 2009|
|U.S.A. airdate||September 3, 2009 (online stream)|
July 4, 2010
|Preceded by||Father Before the Grave|
|Followed by||Backs in the Distance|
Hoping to learn more about the Homunculi, Ed and Al devise a risky strategy to lure the creatures out of hiding. Step one of the brothers’ plan: risk death at the hands of their most dangerous enemy – Scar.
|Full Synopsis: Plot Details Follow|
|At the hospital Roy Mustang criticizes Riza Hawkeye for believing Lust's words during their battle and falling into despair. He points out that if she is to remain as his subordinate she needs to focus more on the will to live and be more assertive. Mustang is also disappointed in having to share a hospital room with Jean Havoc, as he would prefer his own room with a beautiful nurse. After Hawkeye mentions it is easier for her to protect both of them, Mustang points out that it is odd the Homunculus haven't tried to kill them yet after what happened. At the Homunculus hideout, Envy is furious with King Bradley (Wrath) that he allowed Mustang to leave after he incinerated Lust. As Gluttony is moping over Lust's death, Bradley reveals to Envy that the reason why he won't kill Mustang yet is because he is an important sacrifice regarding The Gate. At their hotel room, Al is worried that his body may be rotting at the gate, and imagines that if he does get it back it might smell too putrid to be around Ed and Winry. Ed believes that when they both used their blood to try to revive their mother it a created a connection between him and Al's body at The Gate due to their souls mixing during the process, which Ed as much as he doesn't want to believe is the reason his body is so short. While a disbelieving Winry says it is due to Ed not drinking his milk, Al believes with Ed's sleeping habits it might also be part of the process.
Heading to the hospital to visit Mustang and Havoc, the Elrics meet up with Kain Fuery who is on a mission for Hawkeye. Using the maps Fuery delivered, Hawkeye explains that based on the symbols from the transmutation circle found in the white room below Laboratory 3, the Lab is the center for a potentially large circle that goes around Central. Since this also includes Central Command and the Führer's mansion, it becomes clear that the Führer is connected to the Homunculus who are below Central. Al then reminds them of the oddity of hunting down Greed, and Ed points out even if Greed wasn't connected to them, the Führer's actions of slaying him and his Chimeras without questioning them is also strange. Mustang know believes the enemy has infiltrated the State Military with deep connections to the top brass, and asks that Ed should be careful from now on. After the Elrics leave, Mustang is happy of catching a big opportunity like this and asks his men to be ready, however, Havoc must decline as he has to drop out of active duty due to becoming a paraplegic from his injuries. While in the lobby, Mustang meets with Doctor Knox, who had come for an exam, and admits how he had to help cover for Mustang during the Maria Ross incident due to their relationship from the Ishval Civil War. Before leaving, Knox warns Mustang not to get in too deep from what he is involved with, to which Mustang admits that he is. Noticing the book Mustang has regarding the spinal cord, Mustang reveals it had to do with one of his men in a recent operation.
While talking it out with Heymans Breda, Havoc reveals that he will now help out at his family's General Store and there is nothing that can reverse his condition, not even Automail. Breda leaves stating that this retirement won't suit Havoc. Secretly communicating with Mustang downstairs, Breda reveals what Ed mentioned on Tim Marcoh who could possibly restore Havoc's legs and Mustang dispatches Breda to search for him. As Major Armstrong has to cover up Ross's survival when he sees Denny Brosh who also came to deliver a letter to him, Ed returns outside from Lab. 3 to reveal to Al the entryway to the white room had been sealed with alchemy. Remembering what the Homunculus said about both being sacrifices, Ed suspects it has to do with seeing The Gate and returning from it. Brosh then arrives with the letter and asks that they return to their hotel room. It turns out that Scar has returned to Central again and has killed more State Alchemists. At their hotel room, Ed reveals to Al what he had been told in Scar possibly killing Urey and Sara Rockbell but needs more details to confirm it. Agreeing to not tell Winry yet, Ed suggests to lure out Scar, not only to confirm this, but also to lure out the Homunculi since they can't let them die. Al doubts this plan will work considering how tough Scar was last time and the Homunculus are already difficult enough to defeat.
Ling, who was eavesdropping with Lan Fan, decides to aid them since finding out the secret of the Homunculus' immortality will help him with his own mission, especially since he needs to repay Ed for his food bill. Upon seeing the bill causes Ed to angrily throw both of them out and also wake up an angry Winry in the process. Suggesting that she delay her return to Rush Valley in case Scar breaks his automail arm again, Winry asks he doesn't do anything to dangerous after angrily hitting him with a wrench. Breda arrives at Marcoh's house in the Nameless Village and finds it messed up and deserted. After Breda contacts him, Mustang meets with Havoc who is going through the retirement process and he urges Mustang to leave him behind and move forward for Maes Hughes' sake. All Mustang can say is to one day catch up with him, and Hawkeye mentions after Mustang left the room that Mustang doesn't give up on his subordinates. Despite having not fully healed, Mustang decides to return to active duty.
Ed begins helping the people of Central with their problems through alchemy to try and get attention, quickly becoming a "celebrity". Mustang soon meets with him, and while talking, Mustang mentions of Marcoh's disappearance and this was likely done by the Homunculus. While questioning Ed's recent activities, Ed confirms to Mustang it is to attract Scar to him and while the two argue about how useless they were against Scar last time, Hawkeye notices that Scar has arrived. While Ed starts the fight, Al explains that it is to fish out the Homunculus since as sacrifices they can't let either of them die. Al then suggests that Mustang work on diverting the MP's to avoid any interference since Scar getting shot would ruin their plan. While the Elrics begin using their transmutations, Ling and Lan Fan watch the battle from above. As Al has to keep two MPs at bay that arrived, traveling with Hawkeye to use the radio equipment at Fuery's apartment, disguising his voice, Mustang sends out false Scar sighting reports as Henry Douglas at the Central Command office dispatches soldiers to confirm these sightings. As Bradley heads out with Gluttony to Scar's true location, Ling and Lan Fan sense Gluttony and immediately head after them. As Ed cancels out Scar's decomposition technique with alchemy, it exposes his tattoo, confirming to the Elrics that he killed Winry's parents. Lan Fan knocks Gluttony into a building and as Ling demands to know how many souls he possesses, they point out it is pointless for him to flee due to their ability to sense his Qi. Upon learning of this, Bradley unsheaves his swords, seeing their ability as a hindrance. Seeing Bradley's speed as he charges towards her, Ling orders Lan Fan to get out of the way, but Bradley quickly strikes her and breaks her mask in the process as Ling calls out to her.
- Several elements are changed around in this episode. Lan Fan has a more active role in Ling's deal in the manga, to protect Mustang's group even while they're in the hospital, but in the anime she just stays with Ling. Also, Al visits Mustang before Ed fixes him up, but in this episode Ed comes back first.
- In the English dub, Edward refers to himself as "Your Friendly Neighborhood State Alchemist", which is possibly a reference to Spider-Man
- The events of Heymans Breda's search for Tim Marcoh in the Nameless Village are notably shortened in this episode compared to the original manga chapter. In the manga, Envy disguised as Breda (in his military uniform) arrived with Gluttony first to kidnap Marcoh by reminding him of the deal he made with Lust, shortly before the real Breda (dressed in civilian clothes) arrived, causing the villagers to recognize him despite it being the first time he visited the village. This also took place before Jean Havoc made it clear that Mustang must leave him behind to accomplish his own goal.
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