Chapter 3: IT’S BRAWL IN THE FAMILY
Buckle up, kiddos, this is gonna be good.
The previous episode ended with Weiss declaring that someone was here, and this chapter picks up immediately following this, with Ruby and Weiss rushing to Beacon’s docking platform to meet the ship. Ruby is very confused about why they’re running, so Weiss exclaims that her sister, Winter, has arrived.
Overcome with excitement, Weiss drops her act of perpetual aloofness as she runs up to her elder sister, energetically exclaiming how happy she is to see her. She immediately catches herself and then curtsies calmly and regally tells Winter that her presence honors her and Ruby. Winter remarks cooly on how different the air at Beacon feels, and Weiss begins asking why her sister is at Beacon and how long she’ll be visiting, both of which Winter responds with a short, ‘classified’. Weiss accepts these answers and is quiet for a moment before her emotions pop back out and she starts rambling about Beacon and how different the military and school systems are compared to Atlas. Winter cuts in with an unimpressed comment about bureaucracy, and how tit not the reason she is there. Weiss tries to apologize, but Winter continues, commenting on how she didn’t come to watch her family miserably fail in a fight. Weiss tries to argue that her team still won, to which Winter calls her a novice, and throws her missed strike count in her face. Weiss visibly flinches, but then Winter sighs and good naturally asks how Weiss has been. She instantly perks up and starts rattling off her academic achievements, but Winter slaps her.
She severely states that she didn’t ask about Weiss’s rankings, and she wants to know how her sister has been, if she’s been eating well, or if she’s made any friends. Weiss smiles gently and introduces Ruby. Winter is less than impressed, but genuinely thanks Ruby for caring for her sister, and Ruby gets a bit flustered by this. Winter suggests that since she’s early, Weiss could show her around. Weiss agrees and they part ways with Ruby.
Winter sends a lot of mixed signals in this scene, but once I think about her for a minute, she makes a lot of sense. It’s implied across the series that the Schnee household is not the most loving or forgiving of environments in which to grow, and it is likely that their father is less than pleased with anything that can be perceived as weakness or any performance other than perfect. With this in mind, the Schnee’s attitudes make a lot of sense, but what I really love is that though their initial dynamic resembles that of a strict teacher to a student, it quickly become apparent that they deeply care about each other, though they both have moderately skewed ways of expressing their love. Underneath the perfect icy facades, they’re just two sisters, an older sibling who the younger deeply admires and wants to please, perhaps even more intensely than her father.
I get the distinct impression that there’s not much love lost between Mr. Schnee and his daughters; perhaps they respect him, but I don’t think that they love him in the usual way one might love their parent. It seems that Winter has adopted the role of Weiss’s maternal figure in addition to her role as older sister, likely after their mother passed away. This makes for a rather interesting sibling dynamic between the two, one that many might not fully comprehend at first glance, but I think it’s both simultaneously endearing and depressing.
As the sisters are walking toward Beacon, the camera POV shifts to the first person of someone stumbling several yards behind Winter and her armored patrol. Our mysterious stalker catches up, and proceeds to trash one of the robots, and chuck the head of the other one at Winter as he shouts at her, calling her ‘Ice Queen’.
Weiss mistakes the nickname to be directed at her and stalks up to the man in a huff, but he shushes her and dismissively pushes her aside. We then learn from Winter that the man’s name is Qrow, presumably the same as Ruby and Yang’s Uncle Qrow. They exchange taunts for a moment, Qrow slurring and wobbling throughout. He bites out a snide remark about how Ironwood’s finally betrayed Ozpin, but Weiss cut in with confusion before Winter can reply. Winter tells Weiss to leave, and Qrow mocks the protection that Atlas will undoubtedly provide. Having had enough, Winter draws her weapon and offers to remove Qrow’s tongue if he refuses hold it. And then, in one of the most attractive moments of the series, Qrow pushes his bang our of his face and challenges Winter to come take it from him.
This article is already gonna be way too long as it is, so instead of spending ten minutes waxing poetic about how smart and skilled Qrow is and how aesthetically amazing his and Winter’s fight is, I’ll just leave this here and let it do the talking. Suffice to say, I personally consider this to be one of the best fight scenes in the series.
In the midst of the battle, Mercury walks by in the background, only to stop short when he notices the fight happening. Obviously something or someone he sees worries him, and he quickly runs off.
Just as we think he’s about to finally reveal his fabled scythe, Qrow abruptly deactivates his weapon before it can fully transform. Winter looks up in confusion, but Qrow simply leans forward with a smirk and gestures ‘come and get it’. Enraged, Winter skates forward to strike but is brought to heel by General Ironwood barking her name. She tries to accuse Qrow of starting the altercation, but he smugly points out that she attacked him first. Ironwood is less than pleased, but before he can question Qrow, Professor Ozpin and Glynda show up to break up the crowd that has formed.
We get a peek at Ruby and Qrow’s relationship as Ruby takes this opportunity to ambush Qrow. She attaches herself to his arm and breathlessly squeaks about him being at Beacon. Ruby pointedly asks her uncle if he missed her, and he smirks and responds with with a flippant ‘nope’ before ruffling her hair and lowering her to the ground. Qrow leans in conspiratorially and remarks that he thinks he’s in trouble, and Ruby agrees, since he did just tear up their courtyard. He winks and agrees, before departing with a fist bump. Weiss appears and mentions that Ruby’s recklessness suddenly makes sense.
Qrow enters Ozpin’s office where the others are already waiting, and Winter and Ironwood immediately start antagonizing Qrow for his behavior. Ironwood asserts that if Qrow were one of his men he’d have him shot, and Qrow scathingly remarks that if he was one of Ironwood’s men he would shoot himself.
Qrow blows up, sarcastically exclaiming how glad he is to be risking his life to get them information that they apparently already had. They argue, and Qrow gets Winter sent out of the room. Ironwood prompt Qrow to continue, and he reveals that their infiltrator is not a pawn, but the one behind someone named Autumn’s condition, whatever it is. Qrow goes on a tirade about how it’s their responsibility to keep Remnant safe, and accuses Ironwood of not caring about discretion when he brought half of the Atlesian fleet with him to Vale. Ironwood tries to justify his actions by claiming that the people of Vale are reassured by the presence of his fleet and that their enemies will be fearful of it, but Qrow laughs in his face and reasserts that their enemies are fear. Ozpin interjects with a bit of wisdom; ‘A guardian is a symbol of comfort, but an army is a symbol of conflict…and if this is the size of our defenses, what exactly are we expecting to fight?’
James sighs, defeated, and inquires what they do next. Ozpin merely states that they need to find their Guardian. What could it meeeeeean?
We shift to Cinder’s room at Beacon, where Mercury is confirming that Qrow is at Beacon. Emerald inquires about their plan of action, but Cinder confidently assures them that the professors have no idea who they are, and orders them to retire and prepare for their match tomorrow as planned. After they leave, General Ironwood’s face appears on her scroll. Cinder apparently has hacked into his computer system, and is able to alter the team selections as she pleases. She selects Coco and Yatsuhashi as Emerald and Mercury’s opponents, and the scene cuts to the next day where the fight is being announced. The episode closes with a shot of Cinder in the arena audience, staring menacingly into the camera.
I originally was very confused as to how Cinder had gained access to Ironwood’s system, but when I rewatched the episode, I caught a detail that I had completely missed.
If you’ll recall, the mid-season finale of Volume 2 involved Cinder infiltrating the CCTS tower during the fall dance, and was able to hide some sort of virus in the system.
Though I’m sure many people noticed the flash on Ironwood’s phone immediately, I freaked the heck out when I connected the dots. It was nice to finally know why Cinder planted that virus, or so I thought.
Easily one of my favorite episodes, entirely because of Qrow, I’m not ashamed to admit it. Again, Qrow is probably my favorite character in the series and XXX. Winter was a lovely addition, and I was immensely pleased to finally get a taste of Weiss’s relationship with her family. As much as I adore RWBY and the other teams, I have to say that the adults probably intrigue me the most at the moment. The fact that they’re supposedly trying to keep Remnant safe, guarding and protecting from the shadows titillates me. In spite of that, it still sets off so many alarm bells in my brain, and I just know it’s all gonna go tits up sooner or later. But I’m always excited to wait it out and see how the story develops, and it’s looking very promising so far. The plot continues to thicken, and we’re only on episode three. Better strap in, guys, things are about to get even more interesting.
And because I can, have one last picture of my husband.