This is by no means a perfect episode, but the setup of our heroes’ daring scheme to escape Argus is entertaining enough and supplemented by a sprinkling of RWBY‘s brand of irreverent humor.
(SPOILER ALERT: This is a full breakdown review for “Stealing From The Elderly”)
RWBY: Volume 6, the anime-style fantasy-action web series by Rooster Teeth Productions, has released its tenth episode, “Stealing From The Elderly.” Lasting thirteen and a half minutes, it picks up from the end of the previous episode, “Lost,” where Jaune Arc introduced the idea of stealing an airship and flying it to Atlas.
The episode begins at the Argus Military Base as commanding officer Caroline Cordovan and her obedient pair of Nubuck Guards escort Weiss Schnee, Saphron Cotta-Arc, and her baby boy Adrian through an airfield. Cordovan congratulates for Weiss for returning home and following in the footsteps of her elder sister (Winter, a specialist in the Atlesian Military’s Special Operatives unit). The Guards offer their help to carry Weiss’s “heavy” suitcase, but Saphron surreptitiously gives Adrian permission to launch into a full-blown crying fest, distracting the Guards. Once Weiss gets on the airship, we hear Maria Calavera from inside the suitcase remark that she’s only heavy because she’s all muscle.
The next scene shows Ruby Rose, Team JNR, Oscar Pine, and Qrow Branwen on the coast of Argus, waiting for Weiss’s airship to get out of range from the radar. At the same time Yang is riding her motorcycle Bumblebee with Blake. Saphron’s wife Terra Cotta instructs them over the phone how to disconnect the radar tower so that the airship can’t be detected once it flies back.
During the ride I couldn’t help but notice Yang and Blake exchange quite a few endearing glances. And when they reach the drop-off point, Yang asks Blake if she’s sure she can go to the tower by herself and starts to say that she isn’t stealthy. Blake cuts this off with a little glare, and Yang backtracks with “You’re great!” I’ve been sensing their romance slowly fostering throughout Volume 6, but this interaction is the first confirmation of that. Even the way Yang watches Blake run off to the radio tower is charming.
Weiss gets rid of the Nubuck Guards piloting the airship, dropping them out into the sky with a parachute. When Maria claims the pilot’s seat, Weiss points out that she can’t fly because she has to get her eyes fixed. A defiant Maria plugs a small device from the dashboard into her goggles, which connects her to the flight system. Now Ruby, checking the signals on her phone, sees Weiss is far enough away that she isn’t showing up anymore, so she tells Blake to do her part with the radar tower. But she doesn’t respond, and Ruby finds out over the phone that Yang, still waiting by Bumblebee, also doesn’t know where she is. This results in the returning airship popping up on the radar, and Maria assumes that someone dropped the ball with the plan. Where is Blake?
At the Argus Military Base Cordovan is informed that an unauthorized airship, one of their own, is entering their airspace. Maria tries to fool them through the radio with piloting jargon, much to the chagrin of an outraged Cordovan. Being the haughty officer that she is, she glorifies Atlas, which elicits a chewing noise over the radio from Maria eating out of a bag of cashews — a reference to the recent episode “Dead End.” She goes on to brag, “You hear that, Cordo? That’s the sound of me not caring!” Honestly I don’t know why Weiss couldn’t have flown the airship by herself or why Maria didn’t disguise her voice by imitate the Nubuck Guards, but the humor she brings along helps me to forgive those plot holes.
Ruby still doesn’t know where Blake is, and Yang zooms off on Bumblebee to find her. Qrow gets upset about his bad luck Semblance, believing that he dragged the others into this. Ruby reminds him that they would have done this with or without him and they’re not his responsibility. Although I understand Qrow’s Semblance has always been frustrating to him, the way it plays off here feels superfluous. Then the Base splits open to unveil a gigantic robot. Yes, it is on the border of ridiculousness, and I’ve heard people compare it to Voltron, but it does mesh with Cordovan, who is operating it from inside. She declares, “Clearly the people have forgotten that they live in peace thanks to the awesome might of Atlas. Consider this a reminder.” She raises an arm cannon and blasts Weiss and Maria’s airship with electricity Dust, jamming the controls.
The final scene shows Blake at the radar tower, agitated by finding a dead guard while trying to take cover from gunfire. The threat turns out to be the White Fang leader Adam Taurus, who has a blindfold over his eyes instead of the white Grimm mask he used to wear. He accuses Blake of not being able to leave his life, and she retorts that he was the one who stalked her across Anima. We did see him two other times during the trip — once on the train in “Argus Limited,” the first episode of Volume 6, and then Yang’s hallucination in the fifth episode, “The Coming Storm.” But did she see him for real that time?
Blake and Adam both fall off the tower during the scuffle, and when they land Blake firmly tells him to let go of the past. Adam is offended, believing she let go of him as well and threw away all their memories together. He states that he let go of her once and he will never make the mistake again.
This is a good example of RWBY keeping us hooked with gripping action that contrasts with the apt delivery of lighthearted gags, e.g. Adrian’s feigned sobbing, Maria’s comically audacious one-liners, and the “twin humor” of the Nubuck Guards. We have one cliffhanger with most of our heroes pitted against Cordovan and her ridiculous robot. Then we have the second cliffhanger with Blake facing off against Adam. His final words hint at the possibility that only one of them will leave this fight alive. I’m pretty certain either Blake or Yang will kill him, which would be a fitting resolution, considering their three-way conflict back at the end of Volume 3. It would also be nice if we could see Adam’s eyes, which have always been hidden thus far. As for Qrow’s hatred of his Semblance, it’s beginning to get old. He has been going astray from the others more often with his increasing alcoholism, and I wonder if all this is supposed to set up for his death.
I thought the climax would take place once the heroes reached Atlas. Now I’m wondering if it’s taking place now, in Argus. A few more questions I have are: What will happen with the Relic of Knowledge? How will the villains (Salem, her circle of henchmen, Cinder and Neo, Emerald and Mercury, Adam) affect the outcome? Will Ozpin unlock himself from Oscar’s mind and save the day to make up for his past transgressions? We’ve got three more episodes of RWBY: Volume 6, so let’s wait and see.
Windup score: 89/100