Asskicking Alchemy and Automail
Episode 9
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Fullmetal Alchemist

Episode summaries and thoughts. Major spoilers!!! Go away if you don't want to know!

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Episode 9:
 
Winry is still in town visiting the Elrics. She is on a souvenir shopping spree, courtesy of Ed. She buys tools as souvenirs...weird. Ed is all depressed because he has just been given his first assignment from Roy as a National Alchemist: to inspect the mines in a mining town in the east. Ed hadn't fully realized that he was subject to orders from the army. Al accompanies Ed on the journey, despite Ed's protests. Al expresses his desires to become a National Alchemist once again, and once again Ed discourages him. Ed would rather only one of them be subject to the orders of the army.
 
The mining town resides in poverty, while the army officials overseeing the town live in luxury. It's no wonder that they treat Ed badly once they find out he is a National Alchemist. In order to protect Al, Ed claims Al is a complete stranger to him. In interactions with the town residents and the local army officials, we see that Ed, as a 12 year old, has an unusually astute grasp of the way society is between classes. He also displays his exceptional knowledge of alchemy in his dealings with the toady-alchemist who stupidly follows the orders of the army officer in charge. In a devious scheme, Ed gains the rights of ownership to the mining town, mines and trade routes, and turns them over to the town residents.
 
At the end of the episode, we find that Roy is promoted to Colonel, Lisa is promoted to First Liutenant, and they are moved to East Headquarters, where Ed also will end up moving to, in order to remain under Roy's command. Time also shoots back to the present (which began in episode 1), where Ed is 15, Al is 14, and are very well known alchemists who side with the people, even though they work for the army.
 
In this episode we learn:
 
-the public's general opinion of the army is very poor
-Ed is able to restore an entire building to its original form
-Roy is still a manipulating jerk
-don't mess with Ed; you're gonna lose
 
Note: a continuity bobble is evident at the end of the episode. Ed is shown wearing the short black under-jacket he wore when he first became a National Alchemist. You can tell the difference, because his present-day underjacket has a large, rectangular silver buckle placed horizontally at the top, and hangs open underneath it. His earlier-time underjacket is held closed with a zipper from neck to waist.

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