The previous episode of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood brought us to the brink of victory for a newly regenerated Edward Elric (now with all original limbs intact) against the original Homunculus in his God-like form; but of course, this series being what it is, the battle isn't quite over yet.
With defeat imminent, Father makes one last grab for power via the Philosopher's Stone of Greed, leading him to depart from Ling Yao's body, although not without a fight from the latter, still keen to hold the powers of that stone for himself. However, Greed's departure is anything but a greedy one, using his powers to further weaken his new host to the point of no return, leaving him ready for Ed to deliver the final blow.
With all danger now gone, thoughts turn to Alphonse, and how exactly to return him complete with his own body from beyond the Gate of Truth. The prospect of using a Philosopher's Stone in proffered but quickly refused, as is the thought of trading Hoenheim's life for that of his son. Of course, something has to be traded in return for Al's life, and eventually Ed is struck with exact what could be given up in return for this brother as he sends himself off to make this very personal trade.
So Al returns, original body and all, and so the mainstay of the story ends with happiness pretty much all around - The Elric brothers have their original bodies, Mustang takes control of Central by weaving his previous tales of a coup against Bradley with his and Selim's death, and even Hoenheim finally manages to find peace from his many years of wandering. Perhaps all that is left now for the final episode is to see what becomes of Winry, who seems to be the only party left unattended at this juncture.
After the previous episode of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood was absolutely fantastic in its treatment of the story at hand, so this penultimate instalment found itself with time for a more slowly paced, emotional and thoughtful treatment, bringing the subtitle of the series to the fore with the relationship between people clearly becoming a key tenet of the show. Really, this was as good an ending as you could have hoped for - Emotional without being overly soppy, and happy without feeling like too many compromises were made to reach that happy ending. All that's left now is for the final loose ends to be tidied up, and that is perhaps the biggest sadness of all - That this absolutely wonderful series is about to come to an end after this intense journey which has taken over a year. I'm starting to miss it already, and it isn't even over yet.