Red Vs. Blue: Season 9 (2011)

Rating: ****
Review Date: 11/20/11

Another superb outing from Rooster Teeth as they manage to bring classic "Red Vs. Blue" shenanigans together with a whole new cast of Freelancers for what is essentially a prequel to "Blood Gulch Chronicles." The ever tormented Church/Alpha/Epsilon/Director returns to Blood Gulch, but everything is wrong. Particularly the Reds, who are completely out of character (except for Simmons). Church's bungled intervention slowly causes the characters to evolve into their classic selves, but their world is collapsing. It seems that Church is in an endless loop of finding and losing Tex, and by the end, he finally knows what to do - until his "friends" in the real world mess everything up. Interspersed with this is a series of high-octane action vignettes featuring the Director's budding Freelancer project. Several new characters round out the team, and Tex once again makes a jaw-dropping entrance. We see the Freelancer project clearly spinning out of control, spelling certain doom for all of the members. The series ends on yet another cliffhanger that brings a bad-ass Agent Carolina front and center for Season 10.

Rooster Teeth continues to amaze me with the depth and thoughtfulness that they bring to their writing and execution, and while I can't make sense of it all, it is amazingly solid and self consistent. The story seamlessly blends sarcastic wit with thought-provoking science fiction and pulse-pounding action sequences. It's pretty much got something for everyone, and puts all of RVB's cards on the table. The Freelancer segments completely forego the series' machinima roots and are fully constructed from scratch, giving the team complete freedom to create whatever they want. The action is full-bore craziness, as the Freelancers fight their way in and out of increasingly impossible situations with amazing style and grace (and superior firepower). The choreography and cinematography are very exciting, and my only complaint is that the camera bobs and weaves too much. The grand rotations and sweeping pans are nice, but the chase camera just bounces up and down too much for my tastes and forces me out of the action. The dialog for the classic characters is brilliant and of a rapid-fire nature that I haven't seen since the original Blood Gulch series. Unfortunately, the gung-ho muscle-bound dialog of the Freelancers is a big turn-off, and deflates the dramatic impact of those characters. Still, it's a fabulous piece of work and highly enjoyable. That Rooster Teeth has managed to keep the series going this long and still keep it fresh, interesting, and evolving is an incredible feat and a testament to the talents involved.