Maz Katara has a name now: Maria Calavera. She’s apparently the first Hispanic woman in the World of Remnant, which is further emphasized by her Day of the Dead-styled skull cane. Yay, diversity. So yeah, we’re calling her Maria Calavera now. Sounds similar enough to the old moniker, doesn’t it?
For a sixteen minute episode, this one is packed with plenty of shocking and noteworthy moments. For starters:
Cinder is Back.
Yup, she’s not dead. Just resting after a lengthy battle with the Spring Maiden. The shadowy figure with the claw hand on the Volume 6 promotional art was an indication of this, but I was hoping she’d stay dead.
Her fall (haha) last volume was a startling, unexpected end for the character, deliberately ambiguous with an air of much-deserved finality. Bringing her back seems like a lazy way to renege on this very powerful decision. Understandably, Cinder (and her voice actor, the stunning cosplayer/model Jessica Nigri,) are fan-favorites; but since when do the CRWBY bow to demands for fan service outside of the Chibi world?
Time and again, my eye keeps drifting back to the red-banded bowler hat that flutters past the hooded woman we know to be Cinder in the opening montage. Look, if Cinder can be resurrected by the powers of fan service after falling from a great height, there is clearly hope for a man quite thoroughly digested by a giant Nevermore….
Little Miss Muffet
One minor thing that I find noteworthy is the introduction of a side character, a spider-obsessed Kelly Clarkson doppelganger named Little Miss Malachite. I’m curious to know if she’s related to the twin partygoers from Yang’s Gold Trailer, circa Volume One.
Flashbacks are Weird
In terms of pacing, this episode was somewhat disjointed. In addition to Cinder’s return scene, we got a flashback to when QROWBYNGR was still in Mistral. They discuss the relic and its abilities, though Ozcar neglects to reveal how attracted the Grimm are to it. Because of how difficult it is to tell what’s a flashback and what isn’t, I now have questions about the passage of time in the previous episode.
Like, did the scene with Adam killing the White Fang mutineers occur on the same day that QROWBYNGR left for Argus? Because if that was Adam we saw on the train, there’s no way he could’ve killed the rebels, cleaned up, gone clothes shopping, and followed them to the train that quickly.
Give Aaron Dismuke an Oscar!
At this moment, the distinction between Oz and ‘Car is further strengthened and defined. Oscar is learning to wrest control from Ozpin over his body, and once again, Ozpin’s nefarious side is brought out. In portraying this dynamic, I am really impressed by how well Aaron Dismuke transitions into Shannon McCormick’s Ozpin speech pattern for scenes where Oz is talking through Oscar.
The Inappropriate Genie
The second biggest revelation of this episode is that the relic is actually a magic lantern containing … a naked genie. (Could this be why the episode was titled “Uncovered”?) But that’s not the shocking aspect of this point that I wanted to talk about.
Unlike most genies who grant wishes, this genie provides answers to three questions per century — and there are still two questions remaining. Ruby and company clearly intend to capitalize on this, much to the fear and chagrin of Professor Ozpin’s spirit, because their first question is, “What is Ozpin hiding from us?” And Oz doesn’t take it very well.
Just as he lunges to stop Ruby (a major red flag that I believe all Rosecar shippers should be wary of), the four girls are transported to that familiar, all-white realm of sci-fis past. It is the as-of-yet final resting place of Captain Benjamin Sisko of Deep Space Nine, and the place where Morpheus showed Neo the reality surrounding the Matrix.
Sympathy for the Villain
In this realm, RWBY and Qrow are individually shown a presentation about a lonely girl living in a lonely tower. You may recognize her as the girl looking up at an Ozpin statue in the opening montage. Her name is….
…Okay, how about Rapunzel? Nearly everyone in RWBY has a fairytale analogue.
Oh, no, now that would be too easy.
Yup, get this: Salem was once an ordinary human. Like you. Until she took a metaphorical arrow to the knee.
I was pretty shocked at this revelation the first time I watched this. On the one hand, I’m excited to see the narrative continued in the next installment; we’re getting some background on the series’ main antagonist. But after my second viewing, I’m feeling a wee bit cynical.
What I think is most likely going to happen is the writers will attempt to give Salem a tragic, sympathy-garnering backstory. After all, bullies become bullies because they were once bullied themselves (so we must sympathize with, and even befriend our abusers). This backstory reveal would definitely give her character dimension, but I really don’t want to sympathize or, worse, empathize with Salem.
Perhaps by learning how she came to be the evil sorceress of the past, we’ll be able to find a weakness, her Pyrrha’s heel…. (I’m so not sorry!)