Though at times the volume had its questionable moments, ‘Seeing Red’ helps Volume Six stand out among the latest seasons of RWBY, as the gang conclude their business with Cordovin as a bigger problem approaches on the horizon.
Spoilers ahead for RWBY.
‘Seeing Red’ opens up questionably and almost humorously: what kind of professional military staff would abandon their post to watch a video feed of their commanding officer trying to take down a rogue airship, all the while cheering them on? This lapse becomes all the more apparent, as just before the episode cuts back to Ruby hanging off the sea cliff, an ominous red blip appears on one of the radars, ignored by the staff.
Back at the sea cliff, Ruby climbs back up to where the rest of her group are at. She quickly gets on her scroll to Oscar, who thinks he might have found another weakness to exploit in the mecha’s dust cannon: while the main cannon is protected, her missile launcher is briefly exposed when firing. Using this information and Cordovin’s blind hatred of Calavera to her advantage, Ruby hops aboard the airship to attack.
Cordovin receives a call from Argus Base and just as she goes to answer, she is distracted by Calavera telling her where she’s going to stick her airship’s last rocket. Gleeful at this, Cordovin moves her cannon towards the airship, revealing her mecha’s missile payload. However, before Ruby can fire her sniper, she sees her leaning out of the ship, pulling back the payload and making Ruby’s bullet bounce off the mecha’s armour. She attacks with the main cannon, causing the airship to crash land. As the passengers stumble out barely alive, Cordovin approaches the sea cliff and Ruby confronts her. She offers Ruby surrender, which she defiantly rejects, proclaiming that they will go to Atlas. She goes on that they should be fighting together, that Cordovin uses her power as a display of status instead of a tool of protection. Ruby offers her ‘one last chance to stand down and hear us out’, which is rejected. As the mecha powers up its cannon aimed straight at Ruby, she climbs into it and fires her sniper down the barrel, blowing up the raw dust within and incapacitating the mecha.
Back at the waterfall, Adam remarks that if Yang and Blake couldn’t defeat him at Haven, how can they win now, Blake replying that she has people that she promised she’d never leave again, so she refuses to die. When Adam points out that Blake broke a promise to him, Yang responds that it was to the promise he was pretending to be. Before launching into battle, Adam finishes by saying ‘I know you’ve made your choice, and I’ve made mine’. The first bout between them lasts only a minute, with Blake being knocked to the cliffside and Yang on the edge of a PTSD attack when Adam asks her ‘do you think you’re faster than you were at Beacon?’
Adam lunges again, but as before Yang goes on the defensive. This pays off well: just as Adam activates his semblance and moves to kill Yang, Yang also activates her semblance, catching his blade with her robot arm and throwing it into the river. As Blake re-joins the fight, a scared Adam lunges for Blake’s broken sword, but not fast enough, as Blake drives one half through his front and Yang the other through his back. Adam stumbles forward a few steps, then falls along with his sword, his body crashing off the rocks and plunging into the river. The scene ends with Blake breaking down and Yang embracing her.
The episode cuts back a final time to the beach. A defeated Cordovin orders all her fighters on her position to destroy the group, but they soon reply that Argus is in danger: multiple winged Grimm fly in from land, while out to sea, a giant Grimm called a Leviathan slowly strides towards the city. Again, the creators have come through with an awesome design on this beast, looking somewhere between a Spinosaurus and a crocodile. The episode concludes with the Military beginning Cordovin for help as she struggles to lift her mecha’s dust covered arm. It can be noted that the creators hinted at something like this happening, as in the last episode, Jaune made a comment that it was designed for larger Grimm that came in from the sea, a nice bit of foreshadowing.
‘Seeing Red’ is an exciting build-up. While the situation the gang find themselves in is by far the tensest cliff-hanger of the volume so far, the sword fight between Adam, Yang and Blake is the true highlight of the episode: it’s just a huge treat for fans. The story between Blake and Adam has been a key part of her character: their relationship was inspired by a darker view of Beauty and The Beast and was first shown in Blake’s trailer before Volume one.
The fight between Adam and Yang has been set up for three years now and all throughout this volume, while Yang and Blake’s affectionate relationship – whether of love or of strong friendship – has been strongly hinted. All of these elements come together in such a satisfying payoff: the conclusion of the toxic relationship Adam shared with Blake with his ‘death’ (if Cinder’s ‘death’ at the end of Volume Five is anything to go by) and fans of the Yang and Blake ship getting the display of affection they’ve always wanted. The action is so well done, and the whole aspect of Yang and Blake defeating Adam together is such a perfect way to do it. It is just an amazing scene. It would’ve been cool to see Blake take ownership of Adam’s blade to replace her broken one, but otherwise, just incredible.
With the final episode just on the horizon, ‘Seeing Red’ helps cement Volume Six as one of the better seasons of RWBY. Though the quality of Volume Four and Five were average overall at best, this episode is representative of aspects that made RWBY great: the daring and bombastic action, the relationships that team RWBY share with each other, the cool but dangerous Grimm which they fight against. The addition of Cordovin as an antagonist was an interesting one, as instead of making her a clear member of the opposition, she’s actually a problem from within the side of the good guys. Seeing how the gang and the Atlas Military are going to get out of the situation they created will leave fans with bated breath.