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    • On the Slow Collapse of Season 15's Narrative

      1 year ago

      anneapocalypse Shine bright like a Lina

      Or, Anne's Big RvB15 Meta Post

      Red vs. Blue’s season 15 starts off very strong. In fact, in my opinion the first five episodes are the strongest in the season, and with that setup, I found myself taking a very optimistic view of the season even as the cracks in the writing began to show later on. I still enjoyed watching, and withheld an overall judgment until the season was complete. Now that it is, I’ve had the chance to rewatch it start to finish and think about the progression of this season as a whole, as a complete narrative arc.

      What I want to explore here is this: where, why, and how does season 15 go off the rails? Why is the writing so much weaker in the back half, where does the narrative fall apart, and perhaps most importantly to me as a writer, how could some of these problems have been avoided? 

      Keep reading...

    • RvB 15.09

      1 year ago

      anneapocalypse Shine bright like a Lina

      Wow, I do not trust Temple even a little bit. Interestingly, he still gives me way more of a smarmy Captain Flowers vibe than a Church vibe. And his comments to Tucker about Dylan are a pretty effective red herring. He’s drumming up suspicion of the reporter team, positioning them as the outsiders and his own team as allies, using the mistrust of Dylan to gain Tucker’s sympathy.

      I’m not saying I 100% trust Dylan, of course, but at this point I’m far more suspicious of Temple. Dylan’s motives, at least, unless she’s hiding something major, are fairly clear. Temple’s are still pretty blurry.

      The prototype explanation I like. Whether or not it turns out to be completely true, I’m glad both that the Blood Gulchers are actively questioning the situation, and that there is an explanation given–I wrote last week that I hoped that would be the case, and once again, Joe delivers.

      I even like the explanation itself, because frankly, setting up a trial outpost with recruits of similar psychological profiles… well, that certainly doesn’t seem outside the realm of things Project Freelancer would do. Specifically, things the Counselor would do. 

      Furthermore, Doc’s familiarity with the Blues and Reds bears out at this part of their story. Of course he’d know them–he was probably serving as a medic for other sim bases even before Blood Gulch Outpost was set up. 

      I’m also just very happy to see Doc back in general, and to learn that he’s been safe thus far. I’ve had about enough of Doc being forgotten.

      I come back to Temple. It’s emphasized how much the Blues and Reds are like their Red and Blue counterparts… all except Temple, who really doesn’t resemble Church in anything but color and name. One of these things is not like the other. Perhaps the rest of the Blues and Reds really do have nothing to hide and are just following their leader. It’s the leader who doesn’t fit, and it’s him I don’t trust. Others have suggested he might be a Freelancer just as Captain Flowers was a Freelancer, and I think that’s a pretty viable theory. Either way, I think he’s the one to keep an eye on.

      did enjoy very much hearing someone tell Tucker he fights like a Freelancer, even if it was underhanded flattery–and I’m not convinced it was, not completely. However much the Blues and Reds may resemble the Blood Gulchers, they aren’t them–they haven’t lived their lives, had their experiences. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say Tucker might truly have surprised Temple a little. It wouldn’t be the first time Tucker’s been underestimated.

      Glad to see a glimpse of Carolina and Wash at the end. I hope we get to see what they’ve been up to next week.

    • RvB 15.08

      1 year ago

      anneapocalypse Shine bright like a Lina

      I was so busy last week, I flaked on making a real episode post, but I'm back!

      So we’ve met the imposters, and transitioned into what I’d call the third chapter of this storyline.

      And I’m really not sure yet how I feel about these new characters. We’ve learned a few things about them, but everything we learned really raised more questions than it answered.

      So Church is supposedly in UNSC hands, and the imposters are supposedly responsible for relaying his message to Chorus. Mm. I still don’t like it, nor do I necessarily believe it, but those are really two separate things.

      A bigger question in my mind, though, is: the imposters have identified themselves as other sim troopers, and they claim to have reasons for their actions, namely someone within the UNSC trying to mop up all traces of Project Freelancer. But to me, that still doesn’t really explain what they stood to gain by blowing up buildings and stealing supplies, when the UNSC already had it out for them. Are they going to claim they were just preparing to defend themselves? It feel not just unnecessarily violent, but unnecessarily complicated. The raids have only raised their profile and made it more difficult for them to hide.

      But perhaps the biggest question mark for me is this: I’m not sure at present whether the way they mimic the Blood Gulch troops–in color, in voice and mannerism, even down to the absence of Grif and Doc figures–is just for shits, or is meant to indicate that they are still, despite their claims, deliberately imitating. I’d honestly prefer the second. I’d rather have it actually be plot-meaningful in some way, because if it’s purely a gag and yet one we have to read as canon, then it becomes vaguely uncomfortable without being useful or meaningful. It’s coincidence for the sake of a gag that, honestly, isn’t particularly funny. Sure, we all still get a good chuckle out of the Blood Gulchers’ characteristic quirks, but I don’t particularly find them funnier just because they’re happening in stereo.

      Cooperating with these duplicates, too, raises the question of stakes for me, since not only do I not have any emotional investment in these new characters, but the dissonance of their similarity to the main cast sort of actively discourages me from caring about them–and this is coming from me, who gets interested in new characters pretty quickly. I’m easier than most. But it’s hard to sell even me on characters who feel like throwaways–characters who, in fact, feel like they need to be removed for things to be set right, like the Tuvix episode of Voyager or the two John Crichtons in Farscape. Their presence creates a constant low-level sense of wrongness in the viewer, that will need to resolve somehow for a satisfying conclusion.

      Some minor notes:

       - “Four-star bureaucrat sweeping us under the rug before he runs for office?” That sounds like Hargrove, except as far as we know, Hargrove was captured, but hmm.

       - I am enjoying the little documentary-esque segments at the beginning of the episodes! I hope those continue.

       - I particularly enjoy Simmons pretending to have no feelings about Grif while continuing to talk about Grif constantly. 

       - Okay, there’ve been some travel jump-cuts in RvB but this one takes the cake. I have absolutely no clue where this underwater base is in proximity to the desert gulch, and it’s… kind of disorienting. Like way more than usual.

      I’m by no means unhappy, per se, just eager to see where this all goes and how it resolves. Looking forward to next week, and hoping to see Carolina and Wash again soon.

    • [RvB 15.06] On Grif.

      1 year ago

      anneapocalypse Shine bright like a Lina

      So, Grif was my favorite part of this episode, and I mean, if my favorite part of an episode isn’t Carolina and she was there, that means it was damn good.

      Grif is my favorite member of Red Team. I’ve long felt he’s the most multidimensional of the Reds, and I love how much he’s developed over the years. Though Tucker is in the protagonist position for most of the Chorus trilogy, and thus gets the most character development, I’ve always felt like Grif’s side arc was fantastic, and his “I don’t want to be the one giving shitty orders that no one wants to follow!” is a favorite moment of mine.

      And it would’ve been so easy to just sort of plateau his character development there. Not stop, just… level out. He’s gone through all of Blood Gulch, being transferred away, getting a promotion and losing it. Underneath it all, Grif can care and he is capable of putting in effort when he chooses too, but he dislikes the responsibility of leadership, and the asking other people to take risks for you that comes with it. Nevertheless, season 15 Grif could’ve echoed Recollections Grif, and Chorus Grif, with his resigned “Let’s just do it already.”

      But Grif isn’t quite that Grif anymore.

      It’s worth mentioning that Grif functions here as a bit of audience proxy, and it’s not the first time Joe’s used that particularly device. Thus far, the audience proxy has mostly been Dylan, stating out loud theories Joe anticipated his audience would formulate–for example, “Those aren’t the real Reds and Blues, the weapons are wrong,” etc. It’s something he seems to be really good at, anticipating where the viewer’s mind will take things and putting a character right there with us to confirm, deny, or simply relate. So Grif, with his “Why can’t Church stay dead?” gets to be a stand-in for the members of the audience who feel similarly.

      Of course, that’s not all he is. This is the next step of Grif’s personal arc. After years of following the others around on their wild adventures, even volunteering for those wild adventures more than once and yet still being characterized as the lazy one–after embarking on multiple high-risk operations to save others, Grif is done. He just wants some peace. While the Freelancers argue with the rest of the Blood Gulchers over which fire to put out first, Grif chooses door #3. Grif doesn’t want to play anymore.

      And he is really, genuinely, deeply upset. Dylan thinks she can talk him out, smooth things over–she thinks that from watching the logs, she knows him well enough to do that. She doesn’t. 

      Wash thinks he knows Grif well enough to think he’ll come along for the ride, that his (in his mind) good-natured ragging about “look who finally decided to join us” will go over fine. Sarge thinks he knows Grif well enough to crack a joke and give an order and make him come back.

      They don’t.

      None of them know Grif as well as they think they do.

      But I think the one hit the hardest by that realization is Simmons, who doesn’t say a word. He just stands there, staring, as Grif walks one way, and everyone else walks the other. He seems completely at a loss.

      Then, too, their little hook-up probably has hell’s bells of unresolved feelings behind it. I’m not holding my breath for that to be touched on in canon, but I’ll admit, the way the camera lingered on Simmons, there… I wonder.

      Either way, Grif’s characterization has taken off in a direction that’s new yet not at all out of left field. I can’t wait to see where it goes, and how his relationships with the others change along with it.

    • [RvB 15.05] On that Halo thing.

      1 year ago

      anneapocalypse Shine bright like a Lina

      To be honest my biggest concern about Church coming back is that we’ll get a remix of the plot of Halo 5. (Spoilers for that game follow, so if anyone cares, you should probably back out now.)

      When season 15 was pitched, it was a pretty clear parallel to Hunt the Truth, for anyone familiar with it. (You can find it here, and I highly recommend listening to it even if you’re not into Halo, because it’s a great story.) Hunt the Truth was a promotional podcast/audio drama released prior to Halo 5. In it, journalist Benjamin Giraud is working a story about Spartan John-117, or the Master Chief, who appeared to have gone rogue and betrayed the UNSC. During his investigation, Ben finds a number of details that don’t add up, and finds himself embroiled in lies, military secrets, political intrigue, and rumors of unrest in the outer colonies. 

      See what I mean?

      I was definitely apprehensive about the idea of season 15 being, well, that closely derivative I guess (RvB has always been vaguely derivative of Halo but has never just borrowed a plot wholesale to my knowledge), but you know what, Joe hooked me early with good storytelling, and interesting characters, and my worries all but evaporated. Even if it was derivative, if it was a good story, I’d be on board.

      The potential reappearance of Church… well, that rings some Halo 5 bells. For the uninitiated (again, spoilers), at the end of Halo 4, the AI Cortana is nearing the end of her AI lifespan, and sacrifices herself to save the day, leaving her longtime Spartan companion and close friend John-117 behind. Again, sounds familiar. 

      In Halo 5, the big “twist” is that Cortana is alive… and is now the villain.

      Yeah, there are a lot of reasons why a lot of Halo fans do not consider this a good story.

      And given the already close parallels to Halo, Church’s reappearance in this context makes me nervous. I’ve written already about why I do not particularly want Church resurrected again, but I especially don’t want him to return as a villain. I hope Joe’s smart enough not to go this route; the blowback from Halo 5 was pretty loud if I understand it, and I would think you wouldn’t exactly want to pull from the playbook of a story with that much negative fan reception. But I’ll feel a lot better about it when I can clearly see that RvB isn’t going that route with Church.

    • [RvB 15.05] On [spoiler redacted].

      1 year ago

      anneapocalypse Shine bright like a Lina

      All right, so let’s talk about Church. 

      This post is much more personal feelings than theory. You might not agree with me and that’s fine–I understand that character deaths can be a sensitive subject and I am not interested in telling anyone else how they should feel. These are my personal feelings only. If you want Church back, you are welcome to want Church back and I’m not here to tell you otherwise. That said–

      I really do not want Church to come back.

      As of now, my working theory is that the holographic message is just that, a message, possibly something from when Epsilon was alive, possibly a manipulated voice recording or one constructed outright. While the word “Alpha” is clearly intended to make us think of Alpha Church, in context it sounds much more like he’s saying “This is Church from _ _ Alpha.” The double beat of static before Alpha makes me think he said “Crash Site Alpha,” but “Blood Gulch Outpost Alpha” is also a possibility.

      My favorite variant of this theory, courtesy of a comment from CheshireOfStars here on the site (man I wish you could permalink comments), is that the message is a trap intended to draw the Reds and Blues out of hiding, potentially to finish them off for good. I’m hoping it’s something in that vein.

      There are several reasons I do not want Church to come back.

      First, I’m just not a big fan of heroic sacrifices being immediately reversed. I said the same thing right after [spoiler redacted] died in RWBY; while there are times when it works, I tend to dislike denial of death narratives generally, though it really does depend on how it’s done. I didn’t mind Donut coming back, because his death had been so senseless that it was never particularly about his character development (the point of it was to be senseless, to show that Wash was at the end of his rope), and thus he had a lot more narrative value being alive.

      Church… well, Church is more complicated.

      Epsilon didn’t exactly pop up as a fully formed replacement goldfish for Alpha Church immediately following his death. In fact a lot of season 7′s plot is Caboose trying to figure out how to give Epsilon a body so that… well, so that they can be friends, mostly. Epsilontucker on tumblr 

      wrote some great stuff here about how Epsilon doesn’t immediately take on the identity of Church, how it takes some time for him to decide that “I’m Church now.” He grows into that identity over time. So Epsilon isn’t really a “Surprise! Alpha’s not dead,” not in that context (no matter how much the writers themselves just wanted to bring Church back). If the Church in this hologram is a living Alpha or Epsilon or fragment of Epsilon (epsilon!Epsilon if you will), his appearance would be much more of a “Surprise! Church isn’t dead!” if in fact that’s what he is. 

      Then too, neither Alpha nor Epsilon died for nothing. They both made a sacrifice, though for different reasons. I’m pretty firmly in the camp that Alpha did know what he was doing at the end, and did it for Tex and no one else; your mileage may vary on that one. Epsilon we know gave his life for his friends, in a final selfless act that we now know allowed the Reds and Blues to not only win their battle but take Hargrove prisoner. It’s also strongly hinted that he was closer to the end of his AI lifespan than the beginning, and that that might’ve contributed to his decision.

      I’m not going to say it necessarily cheapens a heroic sacrifice if the hero survives anyway, but I will say that I often find it unsatisfying. It’s not so much about believability, for me; it’s more that from a narrative standpoint, I feel like the writers are trying to have it both ways. They want all the emotional impact of a major character death in a dramatic manner, without the repercussions of actually losing that major character from the cast.

      And I gotta say that on a show where it’s been done a couple of times, it gets a little old. To put it bluntly: make up your mind, Burnie. You either want to keep voicing your very special Halo OC or you don’t. (And for the record, I’m not laying it on Joe if Church comes back because I’m 99% convinced that would be Burnie’s decision either way.) If you’re done, be done. Let it go.

      That’s the thing about Epsilon: his story is all about learning to let go. He’s the first version of Church who did. He’s the first one who decided to stop chasing Tex, to let her go and try to exist without her (and whether or not his forgetting Tex actually deleted her is another thing entirely and I’m not going to get into it here).

      Epsilon and Carolina learn that lesson together, the importance of letting go and moving forward–and Carolina is very clearly doing her best to do that, even in her grief. She is the carrier of the Church legacy–she is the spiritual successor to Tex (and really she has been since the Chorus trilogy but that’s another post and one I need to make). Wash carries forward the legacy (and the memory, literally) of Church the leader of Blue team, but Carolina carries forward the legacy of the Church family.

      Letting go has become a rather important theme in Red vs. Blue. Bringing Church back from the dead again does not play well with that theme at this point in time, regardless of which Church it is.

      The “Alpha” in the message is certainly going to stir up theories that Alpha Church wasn’t destroyed in the EMP, so here’s why I don’t want it to be Alpha, specifically:

      From both a character standpoint and a narrative standpoint, Alpha Church might not fit so well with the Blood Gulch characters anymore.

      That doesn’t mean they no longer care about him. It doesn’t mean they don’t miss him. But he has been gone for years. Alpha being dropped back into the cast would be a major adjustment at the very least. If Epsilon was pissed at Wash taking his place on Blue team, can you fucking imagine how Alpha would react to that? Alpha never showed the kind of affection for Caboose that Epsilon developed over time; how would he treat Caboose? How would he treat Tucker? Hell, Epsilon was gone for mere weeks and acted shocked and affronted upon his return at Tucker’s (then) modest character development. How would Alpha act toward him, having witnessed none of his development since Blood Gulch?

      Alpha and Epsilon were both Church, but they weren’t the same person. And I’m not saying I don’t like Alpha; I do, very much, and always have. But that’s not the question–it’s whether his return would make for a good story, and I feel that barring some very careful handling (of the sort that would take considerable time away from plot), no, bringing Alpha back to the cast would not be good story.

      As a final note, I really, really do not want this season to become a direct parallel of Halo 5… but that’s another post.

      In conclusion, I do not think bringing Church back in any iteration serves either the story or the extensive character development we’ve seen over the past several seasons, I don’t think it’s a good fit for the overall themes of the series, and I’m hoping the message is a red herring leading into some other kind of plot development.

    • [RvB 15.05] On character continuity.

      1 year ago

      anneapocalypse Shine bright like a Lina

      For most of us fans, I think, this episode was a real treat. Dylan and Jax have been a delight and carried the season very successfully thus far, and it was wonderful to see President (!!!) Kimball and Dr. Grey. But naturally, some of us were waiting eagerly for our old faves to show up: the Reds and Blues, and our Freelancers.

      One of my favorite things about this episode was how well it held together tonally. I think it struck a really great balance between Blood Gulch style shenanigans and emotional continuity from the heavier events of previous seasons, and did a great job of demonstrating how those things aren’t at odds with one another. These characters being themselves, being goofy and doing what they normally do (Sarge needing a new enemy! Donut burning down buildings with the misuse of scented candles!) doesn’t have to mean acting like everything else never happened. 

      Wash has quietly come a certain distance from his high-alert drill instructor self at the crash site on Chorus, afraid to let his guard down or ease up on training. Here, he seems truly relaxed, even enjoying the Reds and Blues’ antics and content to watch how even their most ridiculous plans play out. And him trying out a beard is funny, of course, especially the way Carolina delivers the line, but I think that’s character development too, in the sense that Wash can finally allow himself to be nonreg, to be something other than a soldier.

      And Carolina. Oh, Carolina.

      What more could one even ask for, for Carolina? True to her season 13 declaration to Epsilon, she seems to have full adopted the Reds and Blues as family, and has become every bit as protective of them as Wash. She’s one of them now.

      And despite her difficulties with taking down time (she can try, oh my darling, I laughed so hard), despite her obvious grief for Church (which I am so happy was acknowledged), in describing their time on the moon, she sounds happy.

      She sounds happy.

      Her scene with Grif was easily my favorite (I’ll never be over “You’re not ready, Padawan!”) but you know what else I love? Carolina not liking water parks very much! Carolina being bad at singing! Carolina showing some traits that don’t revolve around her need to be the best. Carolina being a full person, getting new development, having quirks of the sort that make her fit in more with the Blood Gulch crew.

      Carolina being dramatic about Wash growing a beard because holy shit she’s never seen him like that.

      Carolina laughing.

      Joe has obviously given a lot of attention to all these characters’ development from season 13, and with the level of character writing this episode delivered, I’m thrilled to see what comes next for them.

    • RvB 15.04 (FIRST SPOILERS)

      1 year ago

      anneapocalypse Shine bright like a Lina

      One of the really neat things about this season so far is how the plot is really clipping along. Theories are arising and being confirmed or disproved from one episode to another. Which is exciting! And shows a certain amount of faith in the audience, I think. It would’ve been possible to write a story that dragged out the reveal about the imposters to the back half of the season–but a lot of tension would’ve been lost, and we would’ve gotten impatient waiting for the real Reds and Blues to appear. It’s satisfying to guess and so quickly be proven right, and it keeps things interesting to guess and quickly be surprised.

      So I’m pretty happy with the way things are shaping up this far, even if not all of it is precisely what I’d hoped for.

      This episode defied my expectations in a variety of ways–starting with Dylan’s uh, dedication to getting inside for a story. Heh. To be honest, I like her having a lot of grit maybe to a fault–I wouldn’t, for example, want her to be just the reporter version of Kimball, much as I love Kimball.

      So, Dylan is married. I’m surprised, but not particularly broken up about it since I try not to get real deep into headcanoning for characters we’ve only just met. Her husband doesn’t sound like a bad dude, though it’s clear they’re having problems and might be headed for a split because that’s generally how this trope goes. I don’t really think RvB needed another canon f/m ship, but I also don’t have super strong feelings about it at this point in time. 

      Lieutenants! Dr. Grey! Dr. Grey being protective of Kimball! Dr. Grey seeing right through Dylan’s little shot-in-the-butt caper! Dr. Grey having some Words about the UNSC and the media! I have grown so fond of Emily and I’m so happy to see her again.

      And speaking of Kimball, while I can envision many roles for her in post-war Chorus, I appreciate canon making her the planet’s new president. Besides demonstrating that she’s been able to unite the factions enough to, presumably, be democratically elected, it shows a certain respect for her as a character and as a leader. Many viewers, myself included, noted that Kimball unlike Doyle was never referred to as “General” during the Chorus trilogy, which had the effect of subtly undermining her position, so it’s nice to see her given an official title of leadership and respect. (Oh, and I did love “General Doyle General Hospital.” That was a real nice touch.)

      Seeing Dylan interact with Kimball was pretty exciting, even if Lindsay’s voicing of Kimball did feel a little off to me. I’m not quite sure why, and I might need to go back and watch some Chorus-era Kimball to compare. Nonetheless, it was a treat seeing them interact, and even more of a delight to see Kimball’s dedication to protecting the Reds and Blues and respecting their need for some peace. My theory’s out the window, but I can live with that.

      That said, I have mixed feelings on the Reds and Blues having actually voluntarily left Chorus. I’m not the first to say that, I know. I think it’s tough to swallow when so many of us have spent two to three years imagining the Reds and Blues and their Freelancers settling down on Chorus, and making a home there. And that’s the kind of thing that Joe, as a new writer picking up where season 13 left off, may not quite realize. It’s understandable and I don’t necessarily want to come down on him real hard for that, but I think it’s something a lot of us are going to be “Hm” about.

      That said, I’m deeply interested in finding out where they’re hanging out. Long before we knew anything about RvB15, I had hopes they’d set some portion of it on Sanghelios, since parts of Halo 5 take place there and the environments are available. I don’t off the top of my head recognize the island environment (it’s been a long time since I played the game) but I would still absolutely love it if the Reds and Blues had taken a trip back to Sanghelios so Tucker could spend his vacation reuniting with Junior.

      I remain very pleased with this season overall, and excited for more.

    • RvB 15.03

      1 year ago

      anneapocalypse Shine bright like a Lina

      “I spent a fortune on this slipstream so you could hear me loud and clear.” I… what. Carlos, what. I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

      Okay, so. there are a lot of things off here, besides Carlos’ vocabulary. For one thing… this is not the Mother of Invention crash site. It cannot be.

      There’s no cliff. 

      This cannot be the same crash site. There’s no way the ship just… magically is suddenly nestled in a valley surrounded on all sides by mountains (dare I say: a box canyon), instead of at the edge of a cliff with arctic waters below. While this could just be the limitations of the Halo map, they went to the trouble of showing the recognizable husk of the ship and then... no cliff. Two characters got tossed off that cliff! It's important!

      So I say: this is not the real crash site. This is staged.

      And if Dylan’s intel on the Project led her here… well, that explains why her information is so off. “Every single former agent is either dead or missing,” sure, true enough. “Most of the disappearances happened since the Reds and Blues started their crime spree.” They most definitely did not. Every named agent except Wash and Carolina has been dead for years already.

      So: bad intel, staged location, and Red and Blue imposters poised to ambush our girl and her trusty cameraman. At least Dylan’s catching on quick!

      I can’t wait to see what she’ll find on Chorus.

    • RvB 15.01

      1 year ago

      anneapocalypse Shine bright like a Lina

      New female character in the first five seconds? You know the way to my heart, Mr. Nicolosi. And yes, I know what happens a minute later, but the thing is, she’s not the only one and I always appreciate it when they remember that the background characters and extras shouldn’t be all dudes anymore than the main cast should be. So for me personally that was a great start and speaks well of later things.

      Speaking of, well. That bombing shouldn’t have surprised me per se (I mean, they did set that up in about the first five seconds) but it was, imo, an effective plot point kill-off in that manner of Rogers and Cunningham from Season 12. It’s not like we were attached to these new characters exactly but I can say for myself that I was already finding them pretty endearing based on their dialogue and it certainly was a jolt to realize, welp. They’re all dead now.

      Which brings us to dialogue, an area in which I think this episodes absolutely shone. I really didn’t feel like a single word was wasted–without fail, every line worked to set the scene, establish the new characters, and entertain besides. The dialogue was well-paced and well-delivered. It’s got me really looking forward to seeing how the writing plays out as the season goes on. We’ve yet to hear the established characters speak, of course, so we’ll see how that goes, but as far as the new ones, I have nothing but good to say about the writing.

      We are ten months post-Chorus. I appreciate being given a concrete timeframe upfront rather than having to extrapolate later–that’s something later seasons of RvB have been much better about. I’m also very happy that this new arc is connected to Chorus and following up on the events of Chorus while still being a new story. There is so much affection for Chorus and its story and characters among the present fandom (myself included!) that I think that was a very good choice.

      The people of Chorus (and possibly the Reds and Blues) are actual insurrectionists now. I could not be happier. (Regardless of what the Reds and Blues are actually doing, I think it’s safe to say they’ll be on the side of Chorus.)

      I wasn’t necessarily on board with the Imposter Theory at first, but as of now it’s definitely looking plausible. Lots of people have pointed out since the trailer that the Reds and Blues’ weapons don’t seem right–Sarge not using his trusty shotgun, Tucker carrying a sniper rifle with no sword in sight. The fact that we don’t hear any of them speak, I think, only supports the idea that it’s not really the Reds and Blues we know.

      Then there’s the Church-colored soldier disembarking from the Pelican. Personally, I’m not hoping Church is somehow alive (I think it’s time to let him rest). That aside, Epsilon post-season 8 has been actively disinterested in having a physical body, even bragging about the advantages of his incorporeal state, so the appearance of a physical body I think supports the theory that it isn’t him or any Church derived from him.

      As for where Wash and Carolina are? I think they're still on Chorus. With the news that the Reds and Blues disappeared after the events of the Chorus Trilogy, I think it's likely the Reds and Blues didn't return from Hargrove's ship. Maybe the ship jumped out of the system. Maybe it appeared to have been destroyed. Maybe Wash and Carolina are down planetside still fighting the good fight to keep Chorus free, all the while hoping their friends are still alive out there.

      And at last we come to Dylan Andrews, our intrepid reporter–don’t worry, I’d never forget about our new girl. :) Making her the reporter who ran the “Colorful Space Marines” headline after season 10 was such a good decision. Not only does she have a previous story connection, she has a connection to the Reds and Blues themselves–so much so that she says with some confidence, “I know them.” She’s motivated to find out what’s happening not only as an irresistible story, but as a huge question mark that is at least a little bit personal. She wants not just to know, but to understand. 

      And thus far, she’s a delight. Her banter with her boss was fantastic, and one of the most entertaining bits of dialogue, though as I said above, I thought all of it was wonderful. I really enjoy the already-emerging relationship between Dylan and her boss Carlos–he’s grumpy, sure, and full of hilarious vinegar about her ambitious lead-hunting, but there’s a clear rapport between them, because Dylan doesn’t hesitate to respond with snark: “Thanks a million, honey bucket.”

      Next episode seems highly likely to give us our intrepid journalist meeting everyone’s favorite party Grif down in Blood Gulch, and I can’t wait to see how that goes. (It also offers a not-unreasonable probability of this season passing the Bechdel test in episode 2, and when was the last time that happened?)

      In short, I am frankly thrilled with this prologue. These days I try to come in without many expectations, preferring to see what comes and enjoy it for what it is, but this new episode is pretty much my bag in every single way, and I couldn’t be happier. I think we’ve got a fun season ahead of us, and I look forward to it.

      (I write a lot more RvB analysis on tumblr! anneapocalypse is my main blog and agent-apocalypse is my spoiler blog for season 15.)

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