Friday, August 7, 2015

redvsblue Season 6

Season five of redvsblue finally wrapped up The Blood Gulch Chronicles saga that lasted the first five seasons. Season six marks the first part of a new saga spanning three seasons called Reconstruction. This is the new season where Rooster Teeth goes more in depth about freelancer agents and their implanted AIs. This is easily the season with the most exposition in the redvsblue universe than any other before it. It is also worth noting season six of redvsblue is the first to be primarily shot with the Halo 3 engine, so expect a nice bump up in the machinima quality compared to previous seasons.

Season six kicks off with the command base for the freelancers sending agent Washington (Shannon McCormick) to investigate a shipwreck that wound up being the same ship Tex and Andy took off in at the end of season five. Tex’s Omega AI wound up getting loose and infecting/killing everyone who investigated the crash. Wash is sent by his command to interview people who have had experiences with the Omega AI, and he wounds up at Blood Gulch. He does not spend too much time there however as his investigation there has him realizing only a couple of our favorite reds and blues remain there while everyone else got reassigned elsewhere in a funny bit when he comes to realize the nature of the people he is investigating.

I enjoyed how season six changes up the narration compared to prior seasons with a constant change in scenery. Wash goes to several bases in the opening scenes of the film to track down and recruit Caboose (Joel Heyman) and Church (Burnie Burns), and happens to get them both out of dicey predicaments. The trio wind up discovering the Delta AI (Mark Bellman) who is more a logical and helpful AI compared to psychopath that is the Omega AI.

The primary antagonist is Agent Maine along with his Meta AI, who is attempting to track down and assassinate all remaining freelancers in order to capture all their AIs. The reds make a grand entrance as Sarge (Matt Hullum) reunites with Grif (Geoff Ramsey) and Simmons (Gus Sorola) in one of the scenes of the season as they were duped into believing the war with the blues was reignited, only to realize they must team up with the blues to take down the Meta. Only Sarge can master the grand entrance with his mastery of the M12LRV/Warthog/Puma.

In the commentary, Rooster Teeth said they took a little more of an extended hiatus between seasons here to get more acquainted with the ins and outs of the Halo 3 engine before starting season six filming, and you can tell the work paid off. Rooster Teeth’s camera work continues to impress and improve with each season, and there are a lot of standout special effects integrated compared to their low-rent-yet-charming photoshop skills in previous seasons. Expect awesome use of Ghost Recon-esque cross-cam perspectives, and more dynamic displays of Church’s spirit jumping abilities.

As I alluded to before, they really dive deep in the back story of the redvsblue universe and go out of their way to reveal some big revelations of the back story of the reds and blues. A lot of these discoveries happen when Wash and the reds and blues infiltrate the freelancer command center in the season’s final act. I was not anticipating such serious reveals here in the mostly light-hearted nature of the show, and I found myself rewinding and rewatching a few pivotal scenes in this season. Just because there is more exposition than usual does not mean Rooster Teeth held back in the action department. There are plenty of quick little firefights sprinkled throughout the season, and they are filled with the trademark humor that redvsblue is known for. I especially appreciate the running gag this season that Church is a terrible shot.

I will give props to Rooster Teeth for a truly compelling final act. I really dug the planning and the actual course of how the infiltration played out. Church and Wash sneak deep into freelancer command, while the rest of the reds and blues are up to no good holding off freelancer patrols. Eventually the final moments of the season come to a head when Church and Wash encounter the head Chairman (John Marshall Reed) and Director (Asaf Ronen) of freelancer command, and it would not be an awesome close to a season without a dramatic escape before everything blows up around the reds and blues, but not before the reds and blues give you a new understanding of a EMP.

There is the usual amount of hearty extras for season six of redvsblue. There is a four part mini-series lasting 16 minutes called, Recovery One. It takes place immediately after the last mini-series that saw Agent York perish in a firefight, leaving his Delta AI to be recovered by Wash as he as he learns of a conspiracy amidst at freelancer command. The commentary for season six is pretty informative and highlighted by the Rooster Teeth crew talking about getting everything they can with the Halo 3 engine, along with other funny asides like love for the McRib and’s online post game carnage reports unintentionally revealing a little more than they desired to snooping fans. The usual array of outtakes and deleted scenes round off the extra features, and there are also a little over 20 minutes of behind-the-scenes videos highlighted by interviews with new voice talent and the Rooster Teeth crew showcasing how they performed some of their special effects.

I am back on board with where I left off with redvsblue. While this is a bit more of a serious direction for the series, it still retains the vintage light-heartedness and new running gags the show is known for. I was surprised this season pulled back on the cast of the show, as several of the previous mainstays of the series either do not appear at all this season, or only show up for brief roles or small cameos. It probably was for the best, as the old adage goes, less is more and by focusing on a core set of characters this season we got bigger moments for everyone else, and some very big moments this season that I did not see coming. Part one of the Reconstruction saga had a gratifying conclusion, but left just enough open to keep me psyched for covering part two next month!

Past redvsblue Blogs

Season 1
Season 2
Season 3
Season 4
Season 5

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