RWBY: Volume 9 – Episode 5 ‘The Parfait Predicament’ REVIEW

RWBY Volume 9
RWBY Volume 9

One theme frequently occurs throughout Volume 9: purpose. From Little first asking Ruby if her name was her purpose to the previous episode with RWBY each having their personal conflicts, purpose is the fundamental idea that this volume focuses on. How well has the volume been doing this so far? While far from perfect, the writing has stuck to this, and ‘The Parfait Predicament’ cements this through some of the in-episode discussion and set-up for the future.

‘The Parfait Predicament’ begins with RWBY escaping the Herbalist’s hut, and the Curious Cat leads them to a market in the Ever After. As he does, he explains to them how the Ever After works, elaborating why the Red King is now a prince and what will happen to the Herbalist, concluding his statement with another meta-joke about exposition.

One of the criticisms by fans in the past is that RWBY as a show has the tendency to tell instead of show. An example is Maria explaining to Ruby how her silver eyes work. The audience got answers about how the Ever After works, which, while it may have been telling instead of showing, didn’t feel too distracting. However, as previously mentioned, Cat making meta jokes about RWBY’s problems in the past may have been funny the first time to some fans, but hearing it again was genuinely frustrating.

At the market, Weiss, Blake and Yang help Cat look for items they’ll need to bring them back to normal size. This leaves Ruby and Little alone, prompting a run-in with a Blacksmith – voiced by Kimlinh Tran. The Blacksmith offers to take Ruby’s burden from her but is snapped back to reality when the rest of the group returns, revealing that the Blacksmith was an apparition only Ruby and Little saw. Aesthetically, it’s cool how all the smith’s weapons seem to relate to Ruby’s predicament, like seeing the mirror image of her mother in the reflection of one blade.

It also seems to hint at the future of the volume – will Ruby, ever doubtful of her goal, accept the Blacksmith’s offer? While it could be a great source of character conflict, the writers will undoubtedly be tentative about splitting RWBY up. Maybe there’s a planned future moment where Ruby is prepared to accept the Blacksmith’s offer, only to decline because of her teammates.

Suddenly, the market is attacked by the Jabberwalker, causing the residents to flee. Ruby trades with a retreating merchant in the process, swapping the last item she needs for her friends’ growth parfait for her medallion that she says “carries a mother’s promise.” Ruby has carried this medallion since Volume 1, but it hasn’t had much significance outside of being a part of her character design. However intriguing this is, though, it’s rather late to introduce what the piece is to the audience.

The Jabberwalker threatens the group, but after a series of distractions – including the introduction of the Rusted Knight – the rest of RWBY revert to their normal size. The fight scene that follows though is boring. Excluding Yang’s “I’m not finished with you yet” moment, it’s really short with limited fight choreography. Though this Jabberwalker is a clone made by Neo with more nearby, the writers could’ve emphasised its threat by making the fight more challenging. Don’t just say it’s dangerous because it’s dangerous.

The Rusted Knight helps RWBY escape the masses of Jabberwalker – Cat holds them off, so it’ll be doubtful if he’s seen again. There is a decent character moment for Weiss, who witnesses the fleeing market attendees, mirroring the destruction of Atlas and the displaced refugees. ‘The Parfait Predicament’ concludes with the reveal that the Rusted Knight is an older version of Jaune.

Honestly? While the reveal was something fans guessed at (though it’s faded, you can still see Jaune’s emblem on his shield in an earlier scene), this has some interesting implications. Jaune, as a character, wanted to be a hero like the men in his family before him. If Jaune escapes the Ever After, will he remember everything from his experience as the Rusted Knight? Will he want to leave now that he is the protector he dreamed of being? Also, his mount Juniper is named after his team at Beacon, which is a nice touch.

There are a couple of solid moments in this episode – there is some variety in the animated crowds in the market, and Jaune’s introduction has a lot of promise. However, Cat commenting that exposition is tedious and boring literally after delivering exposition is groan-inducing, and the boring fight scene is distracting, especially when RWBY’s creator lived by the rule of cool. Though the set-up of the rest of the volume has a lot of promise, ‘The Parfait Predicament’ is severely underdone.

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RWBY Volume 9
‘The Parfait Predicament’ is far from parfait, though there are future implications which may improve the volume as a whole within, like Jaune’s time in the Ever After prior to the reveal and the Blacksmith’s offer.