After introducing us to some new characters and plot points last episode, this fifteenth instalment of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood returns its focus back to the core characters of this series as Edward, Alphonse and Winry return to Central.
While Ed and Al head off to give a progress update to their superiors, so Winry goes to meet Maes Hughes and his family, leading this trio in two very different ways towards learning about the terrible truth of Hughes' death. While Colonel Mustang tries to spare the Elric Brothers the pain of learning about his death just yet (somewhat foolishly it has to be said), they soon find out for themselves just moments later, with Ed inevitably blaming himself and his pursuit of the Philosopher's Stone for the tragedy. Indeed, he even says so in front of both Gracia and Winry by way of an apology... Not that such a confession makes anybody feel better about the state of affairs.
Meanwhile, various wheels are still turning regardless of the Elric Brothers' grief, with the Homunculus checking up on Roy Mustang's plans in a number of ways before launching a plot to try and bend him to their will even further, while Mustang himself continues to inevistage what has been going on at the fifth laboratory and the like, even keeping Barry the Chopper stored away in a safe house for further questioning.
After the relatively light-hearted goings-on last week, the emotional content of this episode certainly hit home ever harder the further it progressed, with Winry's breakdown over a monologue about apple pie the heart-rending climax of the episode. Thankfully, these poignant moments of sadness were blending in quite well with keeping the main plot of the series moving, making for a good balance of the two which never got too bogged down in either one or the other. As per usual, I find myself looking forward to seeing what comes next, especially now we're well and truly breaking free of the "shackles" of the original anime series.