RWBY V5 Ch.10: ‘True Colors’…Part II of II
Disclaimer: This episode was split up into two parts for my own sanity and for your viewing pleasure. If you are interested in reading Part I of this episode, please click here. Now let us move forward…
Blake and Ilia Are Actually Child Soldiers
While Blake is momentarily out of sight, Ilia says, that Blake used to see things the way she and Adam did. What she says next though is clearly wrong, since she’s been kept out of the loop as to how even Corsac and Fennec Albain (voiced by Derek Mears and Mike McFarland respectively) think Adam is mentally unstable.
She doesn’t parrot Adam here. Ilia channels Sienna Khan; remember her?
She says that when humans attack they’ve got no choice but to strike back in self preservation: violence when necessary. Adam’s current philosophy is enslave the humans. Two very different things.
Blake uses ice Dust ammo to freeze Ilia’s whip. The cat Faunus quickly disarms Ilia and literally pounces on her. She says, “You’re wrong! There’s always another choice.”
For Ilia Amitola, somebody who has outright said she detests violence, violence when necessary it the only creed holding her life together. Without that creed, what does she have?
Ilia once told the Faunus of Menagerie that the White Fang would fight for those who were too afraid to fight for themselves. It’s poetic that Blake becomes that person for her.
Blake continues with, “Ilia, please, you’re a good person but you’re making all the wrong choices.”
Ilia tells her to shut up, but Blake will not be moved.
They’re both basically in tears at this point. Blake then asks Ilia if all this violence is what her parents would want.
And Ilia’s response breaks my heart every damn time: it’s currently my favorite moment of the whole show. I don’t think this show’s ever been so flawless in terms of in-world story, and asking real world questions. Also breaking my heart.
“I don’t know what else to do.” She repeats, brokenly. She starts sobbing with Blake still on top of her, pinning her to the ground. Ilia and Blake are both child soldiers, no matter what side they fight on, really. Ilia’s breakdown is one of the best written emotional notes of the show that was built up to since her debut last Volume.
“It’s time for you to choose. It’s time for you to choose good“- Uncle Iroh
They are interrupted when the fight from the rest of the house spills into the room the two women are in.
Ghira Belladonna (voiced by Kent Williams) sees his daughter on top of Ilia and calls out her name in panic. I’m sorry, but I laughed really hard at that.
And then he gets shanked a little bit.
But it turns out that kind of thing doesn’t even slow him down.
Ghira grapples with the other Albain brother while Blake is collecting herself and Ilia is standing there, conflicted as hell.
Sun comes through the wall too, and ignoring Blake’s warning, immediately attacks Ilia.
She’s not conflicted anymore.
This scene mirrors the first time these two met in Volume 4. When Ilia stabbed Sun upon immediately recognizing him as a romantic rival…also his denial she was a Faunus cause she didn’t look like one.
And Blake cries.
Sun knocks Ilia into a pillar, and the pillar breaks.
Ilia looks up at her death, just like her parents did in the Dust mines.
The screen went black.
But death was not Ilia’s destiny today.
For clarification, Ghira didn’t catch the crumbling pillar, he caught part of the second story balcony the pillar was supporting. For all he knows, he just chose to sacrifice himself for Ilia Amitola. Such a powerful moment.
Also, they didn’t literally bury the gay character. I shouldn’t have to be so happy about that, but I am.
After a moment of utter shock, Ilia takes Ghira’s advice, and gets out from under the balcony collapse. Sun makes himself useful by using his semblance to help brace the balcony on Ghira’s shoulders.
Fennec gets up and sees his brother unconscious. He sees Ghira with his back turned and takes the tactical advantage. But Blake sees what’s about to happen. She uses the tether on Gambol Shroud to wrap around her father and pull him out from under the balcony just as Fennec launches himself at the former leader of the White Fang.
The balcony collapses on the would-be assassin and the Dust inside his weapons detonate.
There’s a voice that comes from behind everyone. Corsac has awakened, and he’s ready to go down and take as many of them as he can. After gutturally accusing them of “[ruining] everything,” he charges the shaken Belladonna family.
And then he gets a teensy bit electrocuted…by Ilia. It was predictable, but I didn’t care, I loved that Ilia took down somebody who could go toe to toe with Ghira (albeit also knocked out by Ghira) with one move, even if it was a sneak attack.
Everyone just looks at her stunned. Ilia starts to openly sob, she drops her whip, and then falls to her knees. The conflict is over, for now.
Blake Belladonna: The Leader We Need
Outside the Belladonna Mansion, which is now severely damaged by fire, a great many Faunus have gathered. There are a couple of the Belladonna guards keeping the Faunus public back from the smoking mansion.
Ghira Belladonna exits first, in a very symbolic way I might add.
Blake and her mother aren’t to be out done.
I can’t understate how important it is thematically that they are helping evacuate the incapacitated White Fang assassins as well as their own people. They seem surprised by the crowd. Blake looks between Sun and Ilia, both who don’t quite meet her gaze in shame. Blake descends the steps alone to make the speech that Ilia denied her all those episodes ago.
Ghira makes a move to stop Blake, but Kali isn’t having any of that. She trusts her daughter to speak her heart.
She starts by pointing at her ruined childhood home. And I’m going to include most of her speech, as it is so powerful and something the peoples of RWBY and the ‘real world’ need to hear. I can’t summarize it or talk about it and do it any sort of justice. Here is her speech:
“Humans didn’t do this. We did this. Faunus. We did this to ourselves. We’re just as capable of hate and violence as the humans but I don’t think any of us would jump at the chance to point that out. So why are we letting Adam do it for us?
By doing nothing and staying silent, we let others speak and act in our place. And if we’re not proud of the choices they make, then we have no one to blame but ourselves.
This is the message Adam Taurus will bring to the world if no one stops him. But we can stop him! You have to understand that all of you are looking for simple answers to a very complicated problem, and I can’t give that to you.
I don’t know how to make hate go away, I don’t. But I know that this kind of violence is not the solution.
I understand that to ask you to leave your homes and protect Haven Academy is asking you to put your lives at risk, but that’s what’s at stake. So I’m going, and I’ll stand by myself if I have to.”
“I’ll stand with you!” is the immediate reply to this speech. Blake is shocked.
Guess who is finally ready to stand side by side with Blake?
You’re damn right it’s Ilia. She’s the first to stand with Blake. Before Sun, before the Faunus assembled outside, and before her parents. Ilia Amitola is finally at home at Blake’s side.
One of the guards tries to restrain her, but Ghira agrees with Blake. He’s so proud of his daughter. When the guard tries to stop Ilia.
Blake says, “Let her come.”
The guard doesn’t understand. It’s also notable he wasn’t there in the house to see Ilia take down Corsac Albain. He yells at Blake, “Are you just going to forgive her for everything she did?”
Blake looks at the worried Ilia and says, “I am.”
The music swells and it’s of the most emotionally impactful moments this show has built up to.
As Ilia starts walking down the steps, the guard remains clueless until Ghira says that Blake learned how to forgive. A lesson Blake has taken to heart at a far younger age than he did.
Ilia joins Blake with the most adorable look on her face. Blake puts a gentle hand on her shoulder and all is right in the world. And then the Faunus of Menagerie speak up.
They want to fight with Ilia and Blake too.
Sun and Ilia have a cute non romantic rival moment where Sun takes exception for that one time in Volume 4 she stabbed him a bit. So he pinches her arm in a show of good faith and calls it even. I suddenly want the two of them to be best friends.
There’s a short discussion of training some of the non-combat oriented of their new army. When the question of transporting a lot of people to Haven comes up, Blake cheekily reminds us there’s a ship captain who owes them a favor.