Review Date: 12/2/12
The Freelancer story arc comes to a dramatic end in the tenth season of "Red Vs. Blue" and manages to bring everything full circle. After agent Connecticut defects from Project Freelancer, her teammates are ordered to take her down. Agent Carolina leads the mission, but Agent Texas beats her to the punch again, bringing their feud to the boiling point. Carolina demands to have an AI implanted and challenges Texas to what could be a duel to the death, but The Director's interference causes all of the AI fragments to go berserk. After some investigation, Texas discovers the reason why Connie (CT) defected, which causes her to abandon her AI and jump ship as well. With Agent York's help, she sabotages the Mother Of Invention and shuts down Alpha. Back in the present, Carolina is still chasing Tex's ghost and trying to make sense of everything, but every lead turns out to be a dead end. Miraculously, Church's memory returns, which leads him and Carolina to The Director's current hideout, where a bittersweet confrontation takes place, and the loose ends are tied up.
The first half of the series is disjointed and schizophrenic, jumping back and forth in time between the action packed Project Freelancer story and the present day shenanigans with the Reds and the Blues. Private Donut and Doc return to the fold, and Carolina has recruited Agent Washington and the rest of the gang to help her track down The Director. The action scenes of the Freelancers in battle are fierce, energetic, and extremely exciting to watch, but the character animation for the non-action pieces is overly exaggerated and unattractive. The writing and characterization is also surprisingly poor, as the Freelancers spout grating action clichés and strut about with abrasive attitude and bravado. The action music is also disappointing and way too loud. The addition of abusive rap to the soundtrack makes the package that much worse. However, in the final act things become much more serious and dramatic, and the heartbreaking revelations of both Church and Carolina offer some pretty intense and extremely well played moments. Jen Brown gives an outstanding performance as the eternally pissed off and emotionally wounded Carolina, and the show is all hers. Burnie Burns gives another strong performance as Church, and shows a good amount of dramatic range. Agent Washington is a bit schizophrenic this time around. In the Freelancer timeline, he's the idiot with all the stupid lines that everyone makes fun of, while in the present he's a serious bad-ass guy. It's difficult to reconcile. Elijah Wood makes a special appearance as the voice of Sigma, Agent Maine's sinister AI, which is a bit of a surprise. Another surprise is how prominent the female characters are in the Freelancer project, which is certainly welcomed. I just wish the characters were written with a more mature mindset.
It kind of feels like "Red Vs. Blue" has jumped the shark with this season, but it wraps everything up quite nicely and opens up some interesting options for the future. It seems the team at Rooster Teeth is ready to try something different, and I'm curious to see what that will be.