Overall this is a step up from the easygoing tempo of “So That’s How It Is,” although it still doesn’t achieve the trademark pace of action that I have come to expect from Rooster Teeth’s fantasy anime web series.
(SPOILER ALERT: This is a full breakdown review for “The Coming Storm”)
“The Coming Storm” is the fifth episode in RWBY: Volume 6 and lasts almost fifteen minutes. It starts with Lil’ Miss Malachite informing Cinder Fall that Ruby and her friends were last seen taking the Argus Limited train. Deciding that they must be heading to Atlas, Cinder is about to leave the tavern, but she stops when Lil’ Miss calls her by her name and remarks, “It’s not often a single client brings me double the business.” Cinder looks up, taken aback by the girl with one pale pink eye and one dark brown eye watching her from the balcony above, equipped with her signature parasol: Neo, an ally of the crime boss Roman Torchwick; he took orders from Cinder before his death in Volume 3. Blaming her for her indirect responsibility in his death, Neo engages Cinder in a fast-paced brawl backed by “One Thing,” an appropriately fierce hard rock number sung by Casey Lee Williams and written by her father Jeff Williams. They briefly stop when Lil’ Miss tells them to take it outside. Out on the street, the scuffle ends once Cinder convinces Neo that they need to team up and hunt down Ruby — the girl whom they both hold grudges against.
As Team RWBY, Qrow Branwen, Oscar Pine, and Maria Calavera explore Brunswick Farms in the midst of a snowstorm, Ruby points out how empty towns normally look damaged or unfinished, yet this place looks perfectly fine. They enter one of the farmhouses to get away from the cold. While the rest of the group heads upstairs, Ruby and Blake examine photos on the wall of Brunswick Farms’s residents. Then they run up the stairs in response to Weiss’s scream, discovering the sunken-eyed, dead bodies of a man and a woman tucked into bed — appearing all the more disturbing with their calm expressions as if they’re serenely asleep.
In the living room most everyone has gathered around the fireplace, except for Qrow, who returns from exploring the other houses and claims that it’s the same in all of them: people in bed who look like they just went to sleep and never woke up. Everyone would freeze to death if they left Brunswick Farms during the snowstorm, so they split up to handle different tasks. Qrow does another sweep of the grounds, Ruby and Weiss go off to look for food, Yang and Blake search for vehicles, and Oscar tends to the fire while Maria finds a storybook to read.
Yang and Blake explore a shed of odd equipment, including a large flatbed. When Yang peers through a window, she imagines seeing Adam Taurus outside unsheathing his sword. Startled, she admits to Blake that she still thinks back to the night when Adam cut off her arm. Blake says that he gets his power from his ability to control people and that she will protect Yang if he comes back for them. Yang is relieved at first but then becomes insulted that Blake wants to “protect” her. She curtly exits the shed, saying over her shoulder to a puzzled Blake that they can hook up the flatbed to her motorcycle, Bumblebee, so it can carry everyone. This scene, quickly reminding us of the effect that Adam has had on the two Huntresses-in-training, feels unnatural here, although it could have been a better fit for an alternative episode.
Back in the farmhouse, Weiss enters a room with Ruby and sets the candles alight with sparks of Dust from her Myrtenaster (a splendid bit of animation). The room turns out to be a bar, which Ruby hopes Qrow won’t discover; she says that he isn’t handling all this news about Brunswick Farms well, referring to his drunken tendencies. Weiss questions the journey to Atlas and reminds Ruby that Jinn said they can’t defeat Salem. Ruby’s response of disbelief makes Weiss excuse herself by saying that she’s tired and “really, really hates this place.” Upon entering a side room with more alcohol and a locked entrance to what they assume is a wine cellar, Ruby is excited to find a shelf of canned beans, much to Weiss’s dismay. Seconds after they leave the room to regather with everyone else, one of the double doors of the “wine cellar” creaks upward, pushing against its chained lock, and then thunks closed.
It’s funny how they brought back Cinder first and now Neo, considering how much it seemed that both of them died. Neo, for her part, was last seen falling off an airship in the middle of helping Torchwick fight Ruby. I’m very certain, however, that Torchwick, unless he somehow gained powers of invincibility, died when a Griffon gobbled him up. Seeing everyone settle into Brunswick Farms has its highs, including the settlement’s increasing eeriness, but I was expecting something more meaningful to happen. I expect whatever abomination is being kept in the cellar to be revealed in the next episode.
Windup score: 80/100