Red Vs Blue Retrospective (2022)

Brandon New, Reporter|April 15, 2021

WEB EXCLUSIVE

Throughout human history man has asked many questions including “What is the meaning of Life?” “Is there an afterlife?” And “why is Belarus a thing?” One of these questions that we asked ourselves is “Why are we here?” And nobody can answer that question better than two soldiers on top of a fort who do nothing but stand there and talk.

I am going to be honest with you, this is just my lame excuse to talk about one of my favorite web series of all time, “Red vs. Blue.” A show made back in 2003 which uses The Halo games to film a bunch of soldiers stuck in a canyon trying to fight each other but are stuck in a deadlock. Though it may seem like a simple plot later seasons has let us explore more of the Red vs Blue universe. There are a total of 18 seasons of the show with a total of around 330 episodes and with no sign of the end of the series. So I decided to give a spoiler free summary and review for every season in the series.

The Blood Gulch Blues (Seasons 1-5):

Season 1: Though being the first season of the series, it still manages to be timeless. The first few episodes were able to establish the characters of both sides. For the Red team it includes their aggressive leader Sarge, the nerd Simmions, the lazy Grief, the spanish speaking robot Lopez, and the emotional Donut. For the Blue team it includes their sarcastic leader Church, the self proclaimed ladies man Tucker, the loveable and childish Caboose, Sheila the tank, and the freelancer known as Tex. Though many of the writers and voice actors were still trying to figure out the personalities of the characters throughout the season, the characters still manage to be funny. Season 1 focuses more on comedy rather than story. When it comes to the plot it is very bare bones but it is what you would expect from an online series back in 2003.

Season 2: It’s similar to season 1 when it comes to comedy over story though they did introduce a third party character in the form of Doc who’s a pacifist and neutral in the conflict along with O’Malley who acts as their main antagonist for this and future seasons. Overall season 2 is a decent sequel to season 1.

Season 3: This is the first time the Reds and Blues went outside Blood Gulch Canyon and ventured into other maps. This is also when the show runners went a little experimental with the series since they jump to different concepts from traveling to different worlds, to time travel, to ending up in the “future” (it was later stated that they only thought they time travel in later seasons), to the Red and Blues calling a truce to fight O’Malley. But in the end the early seasons of Red vs Blue are not serious but are just a way to make jokes. So overall it was a good season.

Season 4: To be honest, I always forget what this season is about. All I remember are the Reds going back to Blood Gulch, the Blues traveling with an alien to find something, and Simmons leaving the Reds for the Blues. Still a fun but also forgetful season in my opinion.

Season 5: The first half of season 5 is forgetful in the beginning in which it shows Blue team returning to Blood Gulch after their adventure in the previous season though there were many funny moments like when Sarge was told that he was suppose to be dead from command, so he buries himself alive because of his beliefs that command can never be wrong. The second half of the season was able to successfully wrap up the first 5 seasons in a nice bow. So seasons 1-5 or the Blood Gulch Blues is a great start to a great series.

The Recollection (Seasons 6-8):

Season 6: Season 6 is what I would say would be the changing point for Red vs Blue. It turned from a comedy driven show, as seen in seasons 1-5, to now a show with a deep story. Now this is not to say that season 6 or later seasons lose the comedic element that made the original 5 seasons so special, but now the show introduces a new element, story. Like I said before, there was a story within the first 5 seasons but it was always used to make jokes. Now the plot is used to tell a deep story about belonging while also being used to make jokes. The plot follows the Reds and Blues as they reunite to take down a powerful rogue Freelancer agent known as the Meta. Season 6 introduces us to characters like Agent Washington (who has become a main character in later seasons of the show), the Meta, the Director, and Project Freelancer.

Season 7: This one was the most forgetful out of the Recollection collection. Season 6 has action, adventure, and a great story. The first half of season 7 is similar to the first few seasons and the other half didn’t really catch my interest as the Reds and Caboose try to tack down Tucker. Even with season 7 faults it still has a lot of comedic value and does set up one my favorite seasons of the series, speaking of which.

Season 8: One of my favorite seasons in the entire season. When it comes to story it falls flat since it doesn’t really fill up any plot holes in the story but it makes up with the action sequences. This is when Monty Oum (the same person who went on to make RWBY) became lead animator. With his talents, the animators managed to utilize CG and use it for the fight scenes in Red vs Blue. No longer was Red vs Blue constrained by the limitations of Halo, now they can do whatever they want. The animations managed to be epic while still maintaining the look and feel of Red vs Blue. The Tex fight scene from episode 10 (“This One Goes to Eleven”) best sums up to this season.

The Project Freelancer Saga (Season 9-10):

Season 9: Monty Oum returns with half of the season being filmed using CG. The season is split into two parts; one where it uses Halo Reach to film and retains the old format of using comedic elements in a classic Red vs Blue style as you follow Church trying to find Tex, and one that acts as a prequel to Red vs Blue in which it explores more about Project Freelancer. This season also introduces Agent Carolina who, like Washington, becomes a main character in later seasons. Though I think both stories don’t mix well as one whole season, it’s still a good season.

Season 10: This is a season that can match the likes of season 8 and probably surpass it. The action scenes are top notch and the season nicely wraps up the story for the entire show. You follow the Reds, Blues, Washington who recently just joined the blues, and Carolina as they hunt down the director. You also continue the backstory of Project Freelancer through fully CG segments similar to season 9. My favorite part in this season is the beginning of the final fight where the Reds and Blues are about to fight an army of robots and they play the original theme song before the battle which puts a smile on my face everytime I watch it. Overall season 10 provides a great ending for the show even though there are still another eight seasons after this.

The Chorus Trilogy:

Season 11: This season is back to basics and after a season like ten it’s nice to get back to Red vs. Blues roots. This is the season in which writer and director of the series Burnie Burns stepped down from his position (but still voiced characters like Church and Lopez) and the season that came out at the same time as the death of Monty Oum. This was also the first season to not use CG since season 7 with it being filmed using Halo 4. It’s an okay season but the story of this trilogy doesn’t really start until the next season. All you do is watch the Reds and Blues go insane after being stranded on the deserted planet of CHorus.

Season 12: This season takes the concept of the Reds and Blues being the center of everything and flips it on its head. Instead the Reds and Blues are in the middle of a civil war between the Federal army of Chorus and the New Republic. This season introduces characters such as Vanessa Kimball, General Donald Doyle, Felix, and Locus. The season does contain a decent story with even a plot twist that I didn’t even see coming but still doesn’t compare to seasons like 8 and 10.

Season 13: It’s so similar to season 12 that I often confuse the two. The main plot of this season is only there to wrap up the plot of the last season. This season does have its moments that I won’t spoil but I will say the ending would’ve made a good end to the series similar to season 10.

Season 14:

This is definitely the black sheep season in the series. With season 13 wrapping up the story, many people including the people who ran the show agreed that the story of the Reds and Blues shouldn’t continue. Instead they made season 14 an anthology season with each episode focussing on something different. Some episodes explored more of the lore in the show like how the Reds and Blues ended up in Blood Gulch and the backstory of Felix and Locus. Others were more experimental with some episodes using 2D animation, Stop motion with Mega Blocks, a musical retelling of the story, rap battles, and the Reds and Blues going up against their creators. Some episodes even crossed over with other shows such as Death Battle and Immersion. When it comes to my opinion of season 14 varies depending on the episode. Episodes like Felix and Locus’ backstory are great episodes while others like “Red vs Blue: the Musical” feels more like filler.

The Shisno Trilogy (Seasons 15-17):

Season 15: This is when I believe the series started going downhill. Though seasons 11-13 weren’t as comparable as seasons 9-10, it still was comparable to seasons 1-5. And season 14 didn’t really hurt the series nor did it help it. But season 15 just feels like the showrunners are trying to keep the series going. It brings back the Reds and Blues after the events of season 13 after a reporter named Dylan Andrews tells them that imposters are framing them as they commit crimes. Though this season has its moments it just feels like they’re just trying to keep the show running. Also the animation for some of the fight scenes look nothing like what Monty Oum made back in seasons 8-10. I would recommend Browntable’s video about why Monty Oum animation works so well compared to what season 15-17 has. Overall, season 15 marks the beginning of the end for Red vs Blue.

Season 16: This was the season in which I completely stopped watching the show. This is also the season where the show runners ran out of ideas. They introduce Gods and reintroduce time travel into the series. The writing makes little to no sense sometimes and the animation has the same quality as the last season. Probably one of the worst seasons so far and made me lose interest in all future seasons of the show.

Season 17: Though this season was a little better than the last it still doesn’t compare to the quality of all other seasons. The main thing this season has going for it is the nostalgia it holds. Throughout the season Donut and Washington and later the rest of the Reds and Blues travel back to iconic moments throughout the series. Though it is kinda cool to see these moments again, it is a sign of lazy writing. Like last season the plot makes no sense and the animation is the same as last time.

Red vs Blue: Zero (Season 18):

This season manages to have animation on par with what Monty Oum had back in season 8-10 but other than that this season is the worst. The plot, the pase, the writing, the characters, the designs, everything feels so wrong. Many of the people who originally worked on the show have now left which does give us an explanation on why this season doesn’t feel like Red vs. Blue. The only characters the showrunners decided to bring back were Carolina, Washington, and Tucker with Tucker being the only one that has been in the series since season 1. Everyone else in this season is new which I wouldn’t have mind If they didn’t give these characters bad writing. Everything in this season is bad, minus the animation which was the first time the show was completely done without the usage of a Halo game to film. I would recommend not to watch this season at all.

Well those are my thoughts on all the seasons of Red vs Blue. I tried to keep it spoiler free so you could watch the show for yourself. Almost every season is free and on Youtube. I would recommend that you watch only the first 14 seasons of the show and avoid seasons 15-18 of the show. With the negative reception of the last few seasons and most of the original cast and crew gone, who knows the future of Red vs Blue. Whether that future may be, we still have to ask ourselves, why are we here?

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