While the last few episodes seemed to be setting the rest of the volume up for something grand, the previous episode gave the audience the promise of some high octane action, as the RWBY team and the rest of the heroes went into Mantle to evacuate the citizens and slay the Grimm who were laying siege to the city. Here, in ‘Out In The Open’, the audience gets to see the start of that promise come to fruition in a gloriously exciting episode.
Also, spoilers ahead for RWBY.
‘Out In The Open’ starts out right in the middle of the attack. With the Atlesian military barely holding the line, our heroes jump in to turn the tide. This genuinely feels like a scene that could fit into the original volumes, all the way from the witty one liners – Nora laying the smackdown on a Sabyr after saying ‘Here, kitty kitty’ – to the insane, balls-to-the-wall, comical action – Elm from the Ace Ops grabbing a charging Goliath with her bare hands, Yang sticking explosives on it while it’s distracted, only for Elm to throw the giant into the air. It’s just awesomeness in its purest, simplest form. And that’s what made RWBY as a show so popular initially: not political manoeuvring or dialogue heavy scenes, just hardcore action that was fun to experience.
As the battle continues, hope seems to dwindle as the Grimm continue to invade the city, and the terrified people turn to the huntsmen and huntresses for a way out. Suddenly, all throughout the city, Robyn and Ironwood air public broadcasts, revealing the truth about the attacks on the cities in previous volumes, about Salem and how they must unite, all the while Robyn using her semblance to confirm what he is saying. Even the villains who are hiding throughout the city hear this, much to their surprise. It’s an awe-inspiring scene which really gets the viewer hyped up. But it kind of loses its effectiveness when Jaune organises the citizens he’s helping evacuate based on his school run experience. It’s a joke which falls a bit short and feels out of place compared to the rest of the inspiring dialogue.
With their plan up in the air, the villains are forced to regroup. Both pairs seem to have an interesting dynamic mirrored between them: a particularly aggressive, psycho villain, with the cooler of the two holding the leash. Tyrian, who usually takes psychotic glee in anything he does, flips out. The only other time that this has happened was when he lost his scorpion tail back in Volume Four, while Arthur Watts continues to act the smooth calculating villain. Elsewhere, the other villains have a similar situation, with Cinder initially losing her temper before going after the winter maiden, leaving Neo to retrieve the relic Oscar holds despite wanting to go after Ruby.
Back in Mantle, the situation is getting worse. As the evacuation goes on, the Grimm approach a landing airship, and Elm steps in to save them, switching her war hammer into a rocket launcher. While it is still cool to watch, it seems like the creative crew are getting a little bit lazy: Nora already has a war hammer that turns into a grenade launcher, so it isn’t that much of a change. Elsewhere, the rest of the team go to clear a landing zone from another Goliath. Ruby tries to tap into the power of her silver eyes, but is distracted. This forces her to come up with a plan, which – along with the help of Penny, who has seemed to find her confidence again – ends up with the Goliath getting impaled on its own tusk. It’s a fun fight with a very creative execution. Well done to whoever had that idea.
While RWBY and the Ace Ops continue to clear the city, Robyn explores another area of Mantle to look for more survivors, only to be confronted by Tyrian. At first, it looks like they are going to do battle alone, but then the pair are joined by Clover and Qrow, the scene cutting off before they have a chance to fight. In the intro sequence, the audience get to see Qrow and Robyn going head to head with Tyrian, so the future may not be looking too bright for Clover. Additionally, it’ll be cool to see Qrow and Tyrian possibly get some closure after their fight in Volume four.
‘Out In The Open’ concludes with Arthur Watts infiltrating the Amity Colosseum, only to find Ironwood waiting patiently for him. With his knowledge of technology, Watts manipulates the Colosseum in his favour by activating the Colosseum’s biome system and causing different platforms to levitate. Finally, he pulls out a revolver and proclaims, “At the risk of sounding cliched, James, I won’t be going down without a fight”.
RWBY as a show tends not to curse: the last time anyone cursed in the show, it was when Tyrian called Ruby a bitch after she cut off his tail in Volume Four. But here, when Ironwood confronts Watts, he describes him as always being “a pain in the ass”. For a character who is usually so graceful, polite and official, this is a welcome change and is a subtle way of showing the relationship the two have. Additionally, up until this point, Arthur has been a villain working from the shadows, working through nefarious means rather than through outright combat, so it’ll be interesting to see how he does in combat. His weapon, a steampunk looking dust revolver, looks a bit plain in comparison to other weapons the characters have but it fits Watts’ character design.
If ‘Out In The Open’ had to be summarized in one word, it would be awesome. The fights and promise of more action to come leaves the audience entranced and wanting more by the episode’s end. Despite having one of the shorter running times of the volume at a little over quarter of an hour, ‘Out In The Open’ is one of the strongest episodes simply for its simplicity: no talking, no exposition, no set up, just the heroes and villains of the piece coming head to head.
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Perfectly hyped up and full to the brim of action with the promise of only more to come, 'Out In The Open' is an exciting episode which feels like a return to RWBY’s roots.
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