Fullmetal Alchemist

Season 2 Episode 4

House of the Waiting Family

Aired Saturday 12:00 AM Mar 05, 2005 on Cartoon Network
out of 10
User Rating
117 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

The Elrics finally reach their childhood hometown of Risembool. As the brothers bide their time while Winry and her grandmother make their repairs, they sort through the ashes of their old home. But as Ed makes a visit to their mother's grave, Al comes to a disturbing realization about himself.moreless

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  • Ed and Al head back to their home town (Risembool) because Ed needs automail repairs.

    i can watch this episode over and over again.

    This episode is great it shows how much Winry and Pinako care about Ed and Al and how much they missed them. Ed goes to visit his mother's grave while he is waiting for his automail to be ready. Meanwhile Al is wondering about himself and his memories. After Ed's automail is finished he can use alchemy to fix Al's body,once Al's body is fixed the brothers spar with each other to test their skills along with Major Armstrong. Meanwhile Winry finds Ed's watch with a date written inside which turn out to be the date that Ed and Al burned their house down and left.moreless
  • Ed and Al return to Risembool with Major Armstrong to fix up their bodies, but while there, they truly learn the importance of family.

    A special emotional episode acting as a pit stop between plot points. Ed and Al return to their home of Risembool with Major Armstrong as their guard and companion. Winry and Pinako are happy to have them back, and are glad to help build a new limb for Ed. While Ed visits his mother's grave, Al seems to be losing his memories. The biggest surprise is when Winry discovers Edward's heavy burden, hidden within his most valuable possession. A wonderful episode full of emotion and comedy thrown into the mix. The best moment is when Armstrong, Ed and Al observe the night sky - truly one of the best parts of the show, despite the corny take Armstrong has on it. Winry's relationship with the boys is the main focus here, and this episode also has the shortest amount of characters in it - speaking of short, Ed and Pinako's fight at the start is a nice touch to this great episode.moreless
  • The Elrics go home for repairs.

    The best part of this episode is that it contrasts to the normal ones. The domesticity and tameness are a good divergence from the normal action packed and suspense filled ones. Not to mention that it is sickeningly funny. But in a good way. As an added bonus it goes deeper into Winry as a character. And she turns out to be another great one. Not that its all sun shine and daisies. There are some rather melancholic and troubling bits. Take for example the various allusions towards the darker side of Ed's character. And there are Al’s rather radepressing revelations.moreless
  • Now this is how to do a low-key episode! It features some helpful background and introduction of some key ideas that will be developed later, and the much-welcomed return of Winry and Pinako.moreless

    "House of the Waiting Family" is a decided improvement over its predecessor, and gets almost everything right that one didn't. One wonders if the writers made this episode to apologize for screwing up "That Which Is Lost."

    One of the major strengths of this episode is that it features the reappearance of Winry and Pinako Rockbell. Indeed this is their first appearance in "present time;" all of their others were in flashback. There's even an amusing reference to the Elrics' last meeting with Winry, when she throws the wrench Ed bought her at his head. It's great to see them again, and even better to see the writers develop them and embellish the series' overall canvas. They could have easily been merely The Mechanics, the characters who restore Ed so the Elrics can resume their quest. Instead they are treated with the respect they and their important relationship with the brothers deserve.

    Since it has been four years since they last were in Risembool, the Elric brothers have some catching up to do. Pinako and Winry are concerned about them, and Pinako in particular asks Armstrong questions about their lives in Central since they left. Indeed it seems that Pinako and Armstrong strike up a bit of a friendship. There's a not-entirely surprising reciprocity here: Pinako relates info about Ed and Al's past, while Armstrong tells of their present situation.

    This episode also marks the beginning of a new thread in the series: the question of just what Alphonse is. He can't remember a former playmate of his, but it's not just the passing of time; he claims that certain aspects of his past before his soul was affixed to the armor are hazy. Most noteworthy is that he can't remember his friends. Like many of its key ideas, FullMetal Alchemist will build upon this brief introduction and develop it until it becomes central to an episode. Other memories are pretty clear though, such as the one involving his mother leaving a light on in the window to call them home when they were out late at night. This scene is very heartfelt and moving but avoids being cloying. This sequence serves to drive home the episode's central idea: that home is where you make it, and family are the people you care about, not necessarily your relatives.

    The subplot, if you can call it that, involving the watch reveals some interesting facts. Ed clearly considers the night he and Al burned down their house and left extremely important, despite his cavalier attitude at the episode's beginning. Winry's shame at the discovery is evidence of how important she considers their relationship.

    Truly valuable about the scene in which Winry confesses is that it leads to a necessary conversation, in which Winry accuses Ed of being uncaring since he seems overly focused on his work and unconcerned that he's been away so long. He evidently doesn't think their relationship is that important, and it hurts her. She thinks of him as a dear friend, and since the Elrics have no other family, she thought she and her grandmother were like family to them.

    It isn't all tough conversations and bitter revelations though, there are several humorous lines, most involving Armstrong. There's a great light-hearted sparring between Ed, Al, and Armstrong in which the boys team up to bring down the musclebound soldier.

    "House of the Waiting Family" is an important episode for all of its characters, and best of all, helps the viewer care about them. It's not quite momentous enough to be great, but it's definitely a solid entry.moreless
Caitlin Glass

Caitlin Glass

Winry Rockbell

Recurring Role

Mike McFarland

Mike McFarland

Additional Voices

Recurring Role

R Bruce Elliott

R Bruce Elliott

Additional Voices

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Ed: I know it's only a spare, but there's something about the way the old lady makes them.

    • (After being hit in the head by Winry's flying wrench)
      Ed: I buy you a wrench and you try to kill me with it!

    • (Armstrong scolds Ed for arguing with Pinako)
      Pinako: Who the heck is this guy? Apparently he doesn't get the joke.

    • Pinako: You're shorter than your temper!
      Ed: You're so short you're two dimensional!
      Pinako: Micro Moron!
      Ed: Grandma Flee!

    • (Ed has taken off Al's head and shows Al's anchoring point to Armstrong)
      Armstrong: It looks like that was drawn with blood.
      Ed: Yeah, that's my blood. I was in kind of a hurry.
      (tears streaming down his face, Armstrong gets up and makes a dramatic pose, sparkles appearing around him)
      Armstrong: Awe-inspiring! Such a bond! Such a display of brotherly love!
      Ed: (interrupting) Back up, Major Spazz ... You're really getting in the way of the work here.
      (The sparkles around Armstrong fall to the ground)

    • Al: There's something wrong with me.
      (long pause)
      Ed: So listen Al... There's this thing see, something I've been meaning to tell you for a long time now, but I've been kind of scared I guess of what your reaction would be.
      Al: What?
      Ed: (quietly) Ah, dammit its just...
      Al: Tell me!
      Ed: No, it's nothing, forget it.
      Al: Brother tell me!

    • Ed: Loser machine junkie!
      Winry: Alchemy freak!

  • NOTES (0)