On the eve of the Promised Day, it's fair to say that the stakes within Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood are reaching ever-higher, but that doesn't mean that this series is going to rush forward to cover this landmark date.
First of all, we see Edward finally meeting up with his father, which proves to be a predictably ill-tempered affair on the younger Elric's part. However, despite his deep-seated emotions, Ed still finds the time to listen to Hoenheim's story just as his younger brother did previous, and of course he finds it even more of a shock than Alphonse did. Still, given that time is short, Ed still has no argument against working together with his father to stop the Homunculus' plans, although even he is surprised to see the emotional response he receives when he finally delivers his mother's final words to Hoenheim.
While the appearance of Alphonse suggests that a full-on family reunion is just around the corner, it becomes immediately clear that there's more than meets the eye to his appearance here, and thus the second half of the episode becomes something of an action fest as Ed, Greed and company finds themselves subjected to the attentions of both Pride and Gluttony, saved only by some quick thinking, useful skills and the appearance of an old friend at a most convenient time....
Just as this episode seemed to be shaping up to be a relatively quiet affair before building up to the all-important Promised Day, so it managed to do a complete one-eighty to meld itself into a chunk of the rip-roaring action that this franchise also does so well. While this perhaps wasn't the very best the series has offered up to this point, it still remained both intelligently plotted and engaging to watch, which is pretty much all you can ask for from a series of this calibre when it comes to keeping this enjoyable. Despite my impatience to see what the Promised Day will hold in store, I'm certainly more than happy to make the most of some more of the build-up to the big event first if it can keep up this kind of quality.