Summery: Briggs is being controlled by officers sent from Central while General Armstrong is answering her summons to Central in regards to General Raven’s disappearance. While there, she meets Colonel Mustang who tries to ask her out for dinner, but gets rebuffed when she says she’ll eat him into bankruptcy. Before leaving, Mustang at least wants to give her some flowers during her stay stating there are some wonderful florists in Central. During her meeting with King Bradley, General Armstrong admits to killing Raven crediting him for informing her about the immortal army, the history of the country, and Bradley’s identity as a homunculus. General Armstrong then requests to have the seat that Raven held; Bradley is amused that she answered the summons knowing what she does and agrees to give her the position if she allows one of his men to control Briggs, she excepts the condition.
Up in Briggs, Captain Buccaneer and some of the other soldiers note that Briggs is in enemy hands now and that the enemy knows nothing about Briggs soldiers being united even if their leader is absent. In Central HQ’s mess-hall, Mustang meets up with Hawkeye and the two talk about work over lunch; Mustang can’t escape the paperwork anymore, Hawkeye is kept busy by the Führer, but he actually gets his work done without slacking off unlike Mustang. The conversation takes a turn when Hawkeye puts a coded message into the conversation; later on (in the bathroom) Mustang deciphers it to read “Selim Bradley is homunculus” and then burns the paper and flushes it.
Meanwhile, Father is busy sleeping and the story flashes back to a young man being called out to by a flask. When he takes note of the voice just coming from a flask, the flask is a little disappointed that he wasn’t surprised at all. When it asks his name he tells it he’s Number 23 and that he is a slave. When the flask starts talking and 23 can’t understand much of the words it’s saying, it calls him dumb (to 23’s annoyance) and can’t figure out how it was born from his blood. To express its gratitude for giving it life, it decides to give 23 a name; the first attempt is rejected because it’s too long (the flask realizes that 23 wouldn’t be able to remember it anyway, him being dumb and all) and shortens it to Van Hohenheim. When the flask realizes that Hohenheim can’t even read or write, it decides to share its knowledge with him; when Hohenheim asks its name it tells him to call it “Homunculus.”
A lot of time passes and Hohenheim gets smarter, even learning alchemy in the process granting him more freedom than a slave. When thanking Homunculus for how much better his life has become due to the knowledge it gave him, they start to discuss happiness leading Homunculus to admit being able to leave it’s flask would make it happy. Sometime later, Homunculus is summoned by the king of Xerxes to grant him immortality. Homunculus decides to grant him his wish and a massive transmutation circle it construed around the entire country disguised as a water canal for irrigation. The bloody crests are also ordered by wiping out towns along the way marking the points on the circle.
Several years go by and the transmutation circle is finally completed. Upon it’s activation, everyone in the room dies suddenly (much to Hohenheim’s shock) expect Hohenhiem and Homunculus who are standing in the true center of the circle.
When Hohenheim comes to and finds everyone dead, Homunculus appears in a copy of Hohenheim’s body and tells him in exchange for giving him life he gave him a name, shared his knowledge with him and even made him immortal. To explain it better, Homunculus tells him to focus inward which allowed him to hear the voices of all those sacrificed to make his immortal body, of course Homunculus took half the souls for himself though, and thanks Hohenheim for his help.
Hohenheim wakes up in the present while on a train and meets Izumi and her husband. While talking with them after departing, Izumi starts coughing up blood again; after examining her, Hohenheim tells her husband to hurry and call a cab. Once he’s left, Hohenheim asks Izumi if she had seen the truth and what it took from her. After hearing her story, he stabs her in the abdomen with his hand and then gets decked in the face by her husband.
When Izumi realizes she can breathe more easily now and that there is no wound, Hohenheim explains that he rearranged her organs to ease the blood flow and that he cannot return the lost organs as they are proof of her sins. When she asks what he is, he tells her that he is a philosopher’s stone in human form.
After the end credits, Ed explains to Miles and the other Briggs men with him that a philosopher’s stone has as many forms as it has different names. He goes on to say that he’s never seen one any bigger than the size of a small stone and that one any larger would take a ridiculous number of live to create (scene fades to Hohenhime having dinner with Izumi and her husband) and that he’d rather not see a larger one.
Manga notes: (spoilers impending) This episode was so rushed going by pages is not worth the time to explain. It takes material from chapters 74, 75 and just the first few pages of 76, as condensed and rushed as the Ishabl flash back and just as tedious to point out the vast number of things missing (this adaptation really hates flashbacks it seems). Going in order from the episode:
The conversation between Roy and Riza is cut SUPER short, originally Riza tells a story about the East Army’s joint training with Briggs mentioning all those names in it, lots of funny stories really, about how bad the rations are (Roy commenting the coffee at Briggs is the worst anywhere), the survival training, how Miles and Buccaneer’s hair styles are burned into her memory as she wondered how cold they must be, etc.
Greed was supposed to show up as the guard of Father’s layer asking Pride (who rarely stops by) what Father is doing only for Pride to tell him Father is taking a nap. Greed got to see two rare things in one day.
The Xerxes flashback was also cut SUPER short, after Homunculus starts to teach slave 23, he starts teaching all the other slaves which eventually gets him caught by his master who he then convinces to let him help in a more useful way since he knows some alchemy (we know where Ed gets his silver tongue from now). Homunculus gets summoned before the king while they are discussing what would bring them happiness and the master gets mad because Van keeps taking Homunculus outside the lab. Plenty of killings were cut short when carving bloody crests into the land and the reason why Homunculus is wearing the king’s clothes after everyone is dead is because he thinks they suit him.
Before rearranging Izumi’s insides, Van was supposed to ask her if the military tired to contact her which brings up a point of no Bido being shown (the lizard chimera from the Devil’s Nest) anywhere yet since he still has kinda an important role to fill in this series… Also, this is trivial, but Sig originally knocked Van into a wall noticeably cracking it.
Hopefully they’ll show Ed’s deductions on how Kimblee’s transmutation circles next episode and also hopefully they’ll show the military stopping in at the butcher shop to ask where Izumi is soon so Bido can get to Central already.
Of course some one is going to start bitching about the anime AGAIN now, but even with the occasional episode like this (which most non-manga readers will probably enjoy none-the-less) this adaptation is still… a googolplex (1 followed by 10^100 zeros) times better than the first anime…