There is no denying that Red vs. Blue has taken a distinct shift towards the sitcom-style writing that was more prevalent during the early days. With the presumed death of The Director in the previous season, the Project Freelancer story arc seems to have come to a grinding halt. Instead, viewers are given the more humorous product that attracted them to the series in the first place. That said, the immediate tonal shift was not without its flaws, as viewers had become accustomed to a much different RvB over time. Overall, I have to admit that I have some serious mixed feelings for the current season of Red vs. Blue.
Today’s release, Episode 10 serves as the perfect example for RvB’s image this season. With Simmons “defecting” to Blue team and Sarge assuming he was captured, the episode was rife with situational comedy. This is what Red vs. Blue is all about: providing some good laughs in a small amount of time. This creative situation that fans of the show could certainly appreciate, coupled with some excellent dialogue, is what ultimately defines season 11. Throw in the promotion of Caboose to blue team leader and you have yourself a pretty solid comedic premise, worthy of viewers.
That said, the humor is interrupted by the looming questions left by the previous season. As I have mentioned in my previous article, viewers have yet to find out where Church and Carolina have disappeared to. In general, it is understandable why the characters have been absent in season 11. The tonal shift back to a comedy from a drama required writers to do away with the more dramatic characters. Having been the source of much of the conflict in the past, Church and Carolina just don’t have a place in the current season. But are we really supposed to believe that none of the characters are wondering where they are? Both teams fought hard to free Church from the storage unit in season 10, and supported him through much of the conflict with The Director. Yet, there has been zero mentioning of the characters in season 11.
More specific to episode 10, who is this unknown soldier with the sniper rifle, previously seen in episode six? While initially I believed it to be a unique way to bring back a disgruntled Maine, it seems this is a new character to the RvB world. Having been initially against the tonal shift, I am more than open to the appearance of some dramatic tension. But the introduction of a new character does not seem like the best way to do this. As stated, there are quite a few loose ends from previous seasons still lingering out there. Rooster Teeth’s decision to bring in a new foe without answering old questions seems a bit unwarranted, and overall, sloppy. However, because the character’s identity has yet to be revealed, I cannot yet make a definitive judgment of good or bad. Hopefully, the character will fit nicely into an open slot in the RvB canon, forcing me to eat my own words.
All tonal shifts aside, RvB, while certainly flawed, is still worth watching. The high-quality humor it delivers and the characters it continues to find merit in are nothing short of fantastic. Providing weekly doses of laughter in a matter of six minutes, Rooster Teeth reminds us why we started tuning in in the first place.
Episode Score: 8/10