This episode, in some respects, seemed a bit insubstantial to me on the first pass. The episodic content:theme song ratio in this thirteen-minute segment did not look promising to me. But I got to watch it with my friends after an awesome outing to a local anime convention, so I can still look back on the viewing experience positively.
Instead of shifting the perspective from QROWBY to, say, Team JN
PR back on the train, the episode continues to show us how Qrow and RWBY are taking in the information from the genie’s vision. Also, Ozpin reveals that at this point in time, he has no concrete plan for defeating Salem. So, in a fit of indignant rage, Qrow punches Ozpin’s current vessel: a child, Oscar Pine. Granted, Qrow feels like his life’s work has been a waste, given how much Ozpin has kept from him, but punching a child … that’s low, Qrow.
The middle portion of the episode is spent on Salem’s faction. Emerald, Mercury, and “OOZZZPIIIIN” Guy return to her dark castle to report their failure. Tyrian the creep taunts and torments them, and there’s a general feeling of unease as Cinder has, to their knowledge, fallen and can no longer protect her puppets from Salem’s rage.
And honestly, I’m surprised that Salem is this enraged. She should know better. If she’s immortal and truly undefeatable, why didn’t she just wage her battle against Ozcar, a mere child, in person? What is the point of entrusting the battle to mere mortal fallible pawns? Granted, having multiple minions to divide and conquer each of the Huntsman academies seems like a good idea, but she isn’t even doing that — she just sends them all to whichever school RWBY have arrived at, to battle them. In hindsight, her plan has serious flaws.
The episode ends with QROWBY + Maria Calavera finding an abandoned village where they intend to spend the night. At the beginning of this volume, I was optimistic that we’d have a change of transportation pace because the characters were getting on a train. But now I’m getting some serious Volume Four flashbacks: there’s been lots of walking, and now we’re going to an abandoned Mistralese village….. If there isn’t another big, bad undefeatable monster Grimm here, I’ll be very surprised.