With Drachma about to take on the might of Fort Briggs with a massive army of their own, you could be forgiven for thinking that this forty-third episode of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood would depict the long and drawn out conflict that is about to take place.
Well, you'd be wrong - Drachma is crushed easily before Fort Briggs takes so much as a scratch. What was the purpose of that little charade then? To allow Kimblee to create his "blood crest"; clearly another most disturbing part of the Homunculus' current plans.
Speaking of the Homunculus, Envy finally gets to catch up with Doctor Marcoh, which seems like it can only be bad news both for himself and the rest of the group he has been travelling with. However, while Envy initially appears to have the upper hand, in fact he's simply blundered into an elaborate trap created specifically for him to be lured into, and even when it appears that any attempts to take on this almighty Homunculus has failed it's Marcoh himself who has the last laugh, sowing the seeds for a victory that also serves as an opportunity for May Chang to return to her own country with renewed hope of a solution to its particular problems.
If Envy's defeat is the "headline act" of this episode, there's still plenty of other business to be getting on with; Bradley reveals that he knows all about Hawkeye's knowledge of Selim, Major General Armstrong is given a tour of an underground store which holds a shocking secret, and Alphonse returns to Lior along with Winry to find that his old friend Rose has a most surprising guest on-hand helping out.
While this more thinly spread coverage of important events is perhaps slightly less compelling than focusing on one or two more grandiose plot points, I do mean it when I say "slightly" - The entrapment of Envy was a fantastic visual and story-telling tour de force no matter how crazy it seemed at first (in fact, I suspect it's still a slightly ridiculous plan, but who cares?), and once again we find ourselves satiated by the sheer quantity of story progression served up in a single episode. There's certainly no time to dawdle of waste with filler in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, and that goes a long way to making each new episode one of my most anticipated moments of the week these days.