Sunday, July 5, 2015

redvsblue Season 5

It is time to finally wrap up Rooster Teeth’s Blood Gulch Chronicles with today’s blog on redvsblue: season 5 (trailer). When season four wrapped up, the red army found themselves outnumbered and called command for backup. Season four’s closing shot was a drop shuttle making a seemingly prompt response within minutes and landing directly on Donut (Dan Godwin).

Season five picks up with Donut believed to have been perished from the shuttle’s, but do not get worked up because he simply got crushed through the ground into an underground cavern. The seemingly prompt shuttle for the red base is instead a long delayed shuttle for the blue base with a new private to replace the blue member who got promoted to replace the long deceased Captain Flowers (Ed Robertson). Church (Burnie Burns) claims the new blue captain position, which kind of does not make sense since Church is still essentially dead and his ghost has been possessing throwaway background characters since the first season now.

The new blue army private is a lady who goes by Sister (Rebecca Frasier), and surprise, she happens to be Grif’s (Geoff Ramsey) sister. Originally the red army misconstrued Sister’s message coming from red command, and in one of the highlight moments of the season, throws a mock funeral/roast for Sarge (Matt Hullum), where Simmons (Gus Sorola) uses his eulogy as a campaigning effort to be the new captain. Sister won me over right away, and like most of the rest of the blue and reds, is a lovable clueless dweeb, which means she is a perfect addition to the rest of the misfits on Blood Gulch. Sarge lets his peers bury him for added effect for the funeral, but he winds up falling into the same underground labyrinth and meets up with Donut.

Meanwhile on blue base, Tucker (Jason Saldana) is busy being a father to his alien kid, with him and Doc (Matt Hullum) making somewhat of an effort as being the caring parents. When season four ended with Tucker being a parent after getting raped by that alien, I was dreading how the next season would play out, but Rooster Teeth was on top of their game here with some playful parenting moments that have some nice passed down genetics for the kiddo that pay off in some great scenes at the end of the season. All of the red army winds up trying to find each other in the underground cavern, where sure enough, they discover they are not alone and a bigger conspiracy is at play involving aliens, freelancers, and of course that pesky O’Malley AI that loves to go around infecting nearly every cast member this season in one particularly awesome scene. The last half hour to 40 minutes of this two hour season goes really off the rails as it attempts to wrap up The Blood Gulch Chronicles.

Remember how crazy season three got with the time travelling? Well, you are in for a treat this time, but instead of time travelling, we get Tucker stuck in a repeating time loop until he corrects history the way it was meant to play out, kind of luck how Tom Cruise’s character is in Edge of Tomorrow. Tucker’s repeated time loop winds up with many funny “what if” moments resulting in many hilarious inconsequential character death moments that played out in alternate timelines, and you can tell the guys at Rooster Teeth were having a ball with the final act.

I am not going to lie, the action and exposition gets a little hard to follow in the last act with the repeated time loops, and everyone trying to get a piece of the O’Malley infection which was another standout moment of the season. After neglecting the O’Malley AI for about the first two acts of this season, in a way it made the AI more of a bigger deal when O’Malley returned and started another reign of terror and the season came back to stopping the O’Malley AI, who was essentially the antagonist for nearly the entire Blood Gulch Chronicles. I will also give props to Rooster Teeth for making great use of a few minor characters again in small doses like a few other characters were in season four. Lopez (Burnie Burns) and Andy (Nathan Zellner), along with a couple other characters were not featured acts in much of this season, but the few times they did appear made their impact all the more meaningful. Think of Lopez and Andy this season as Lost’s Rose and Bernard, and it is kind of the same effect.

I was satisfied with what I was able to piece together of the ending and how the greater Blood Gulch Chronicles story arc wrapped up. It essentially comes around full circle in an updated way reflecting all the events that have transpired throughout the seasons, and kind of wrapped up everyone’s predicament on where they stood with a nice little bow on it. You can tell by this season, Rooster Teeth is getting much better at producing more intricate shots and pulling off all kinds of crafty production tricks with Halo’s in-game camera. They also amp up the use of photoshop this season, and while some of the photoshopped items look especially hokey and obviously pasted in, that just makes them fit in perfectly in the world of redvsblue.

There are a few more extra features than usual on the season five disc. There is a five part mini-series titled Out of Mind that is a quick watch at 13 minutes. I highly recommend watching it before starting season five as it takes place in between seasons four and five and explains what Tex (Kathleen Zuelch) was up to and why she did not have a prominent role for most of season five. There are several alternate endings, and all of them are well worth going out of your way to watch them all. After listening to the commentary I came to find out Rooster Teeth released all the endings at once and it was not until the DVD release that they decided which one to attach at the end of the season as the ‘true’ ending. After watching them all, I can appreciate and respect the ending they chose as the rightful ending of this series.

There are several quick bonus videos of outtakes and minor behind-the-scenes videos explaining how they were able to pull off some of the shots they were able to. While some of their aforementioned photoshop skills are self aware at how charmingly bush league they are, there are other effects that they explain in these videos where they go above and beyond to create some new scenery that passes for coming right out of in-game footage. Last season Rooster Teeth started to transition out of their holiday themed PSAs to more random bonus videos focusing on the latest pop culture trends, and they continue that trend in season five with bonus videos riffing on keeping up with the latest tech gizmos, PC-friendly holiday greetings and most importantly having a post apocalypse zombie plan.

The commentary this year is far better and more on point in season five compared to the previous season’s where the cast seemed like they wanted to be anywhere but the recording studio. Commentary highlights are discussing which alternate endings to use as the true ending, wrapping up the Blood Gulch Chronicles, returning to shorter length episodes and a lot of shot production talk. They do reference playing the Halo 3 beta during this commentary and I believe they also allude that season five was the first season shot in HD for BluRay. So perhaps season six is the first season that uses Halo 3’s engine for production. My memory is a little foggy as I think season five here was where I originally stopped watching because almost all of this season seemed new to me this time around. Tune in next month to find out!

Season six starts a brand new story arc, so please stop by again next month to keep up with my latest season recaps. Once again, you can stay on pace with all the redvsblue episodes by watching them like I have been doing through the 10-Year anniversary box set or for free off Rooster Teeth’s YouTube channel or the redvsblue website.
Past redvsblue Blogs

Season 1
Season 2
Season 3
Season 4

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