If the last episode of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood was full of surprises, then this eighteenth instalment is perhaps a little less shocking, if only because it confirms what I would imagine we'd all more or less guessed at come the climax of the previous offering.
Of course, from the very start we knew that Ed hadn't been sent off to Resembool (complete with Major Armstrong in tow) just for repairs, and so it proves, as he meets up with yet more comrades and ends up making his way to Xerxes, a place of legend for both the East and West as the birthplace of Alchemy. It's here that they learn the true intent of Roy Mustang, as we also flash back to see the events of the last episode from his perspective to learn the almost Jonathan Creek-esque truth of Lieutenant Ross' "death".
With Mustang's character now no longer blemished by the seemingly unsightly behaviour of the last episode, that leaves us plenty of time to look in on his efforts (along with the rest of his team) to flush out whoever has been manipulating the military in the case of Hughes death and the like - This leads to some surprising revelations surrounding Barry the Chopper, and what looks likely to be a rather disturbing experience for Riza Hawkeye.
All in all, this proved to be a top-notch episode of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood from beginning to end, from the truth about Maria Ross' escape (which was inevitable if we're honest, but somehow the last episode did enough to keep you doubting your own thoughts) through to the more action-packed segments surrounding Barry the Chopper. It also sets things up nicely for a fascinating episode nineteen, with Mustang and company looking likely to be facing off against at least one of the Homunculus... and you can't get much more fascinating than that, can you?