With the important parts of the back story out of the way last time around, it's time for Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood to get on with the business of the start of the Elric brothers journey proper, as they make their way to Lior to investigate the strange goings-on there.
Of course, if you're familiar with the original series then you'll know this particular episode all too well - From "Father" Cornello, a man of miracles who promises that he can even resurrect the dead through to Rose (she of the gorgeous hair), one of his most devout followers in the hope that he can bring her dead lover back to life. Naturally, Ed and Al are most interested in how the Father performs his miracles, as it becomes clear that this is simply alchemy of some kind, but without a transmutation circle and seemingly without any equivalent exchange. In the brother's mind that can mean only one thing - This man possesses the Philosopher's Stone.
As it's been so long since I watched the original Fullmetal Alchemist series it could be my mind playing tricks on me, but it seemed that this new treatment of the whole Lior plot had a much more explicit focus on religion versus science than the original, arguably taking on an even more atheistic stance than its predecessor. That aside, the main check boxes of the story were all there as I remembered, although this time around the series seems far more happy to descend into comedy even at what would otherwise be more serious moments - A little light-heartedness is never a bad thing, but I can't help but worry that Brotherhood is overdoing it rather and losing some of the impact of its story-telling as a result. This comical turn also extends to the animation, which also frequently switches to a more comical styling which jars occasionally.
At this point in time it's still far too early to get a real handle on what Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is hoping to achieve in comparison to the original series, and watching it remains rather an odd experience as everything feels so different yet so similar much of the time. As of right now, I'll have to admit that if I had to choose between the two my vote would go for the original series, but then again it's always impossible to say whether I'm looking at that show through rose-tinted (or should that be Rose-tinted?) glasses. To me, Brotherhood is still feeling a little rushed in place and entirely to flippant in others, which is taking the sheen from what would otherwise have been a solid start to the series for me. I certainly don't want to write this show off, but I'll be the first to confess that my skepticism towards it is very slowly growing week on week.