For the song of the same name, see Divide (song).
More than ever before, the allied forces standing against Salem need to be united. But after Ironwood refused to continue evacuating Mantle, our heroes need to choose a new path forward -- if only they could agree on one.

"Divide" is the first episode of Volume 8 and the ninety-third episode of RWBY. It premiered on the Rooster Teeth website on November 7th, 2020 for FIRST members and on November 14th, 2020 for the public.


There is a brief flashback of young Cinder Fall scrubbing a wooden floor. In present day, Cinder and Neopolitan take an airship to Monstra to meet up with Salem inside the whale. Cinder gives the Relic of Knowledge to Salem and takes full credit for retrieving it, much to Neo's annoyance. After some teasing from Tyrian Callows, Cinder introduces Neo to Salem, referring to her as an asset, which once again upsets Neo. Soon after, Emerald Sustrai, Mercury Black and Hazel Rainart arrive. Emerald is delighted to see Cinder, but Cinder harshly shuts her down. When Cinder declares that she will take the Winter Maiden power from Penny Polendina, Salem reminds her that she is not to act without Salem's orders.

In the slums of the crater beneath Atlas, Oscar Pine is hanging out with and taken care of by Faunus. He is found by Ruby Rose, Weiss Schnee and Maria Calavera, who fly him to a restaurant in Mantle that the Happy Huntresses are using as a base. Inside, Penny and Pietro Polendina are watching a news broadcast that lists Team RWBY, Team JNPR, Oscar, Maria, Penny and Pietro as fugitives.

Joanna Greenleaf requests that the group help evacuate the rest of Mantle into the crater before nightfall so that they can better protect everyone and keep people from freezing to death. This leads to Yang Xiao Long and Ruby having a disagreement on how to proceed. Ruby wants to finish the Amity Communications Tower and warn the rest of the world about Salem before she moves on from Atlas, but Yang believes Ruby's plan is impossible due to the tower needing permission from one of Ironwood's two terminals to launch. As such, Yang would rather focus on evacuating and protecting the citizens of Mantle. Through Jaune Arc's suggestion and Oscar's reassurance, the group splits into two teams. Jaune, Oscar and Lie Ren side with Yang, while Nora Valkyrie, Penny, Weiss and Blake Belladonna side with Ruby.

While Ruby's group gets ready to infiltrate the military base at the bottom of the City of Atlas, James Ironwood calls Penny via Scroll and attempts to convince her to return to him. Angered by their refusal to cooperate, he tells her and Ruby that everything will be on their hands if Salem manages to attack Atlas.

Inside an Atlas medical facility, Ironwood and the Ace Operatives are coping with the death of Clover Ebi, and Winter Schnee is being attended to by medical technicians. Ironwood is informed that Qrow Branwen and Robyn Hill are being processed as prisoners. He then privately talks to Winter about the situation at hand, stating that the city's Hard-Light defense is keeping them safe from Salem's Grimm horde, although only temporarily. He is interrupted by the arrival of Councilwoman Camilla and Councilman Sleet who are furious with him. Just as Sleet accuses him of being afraid, Ironwood shoots him without a word, much to the shock of Camilla, Winter and most of the Ace Ops.

Inside Monstra, Salem commands The Hound to bring "him" to her so that she can find out how to use the Relic of Knowledge.


A lone girl with black hair tied back into short pigtails is on her knees in the middle of a dim spotlight, slowly scrubbing a wooden floor. In present day, Cinder Fall scrapes the claws of her Grimm hand against an airship seat to the same slow rhythm of the girl scrubbing the floor. Neopolitan is sitting in the seat, piloting the airship. Thunder rumbles, and red lightning illuminates the dark clouds ahead, revealing Monstra. Focused on the whale, Cinder moves to her right to stand between the pilot’s and co-pilot’s seats.

Cinder: There.

Neo looks at Cinder and then at the whale with a frown. The airship flies past Manticores and Teryxes, soon arriving at a landing bay within the whale’s flesh. She lands the ship on the platform furthest to the left.

Some time later, Neo and Cinder walk up a set of bone stairs, leading to a large chamber. In the middle of this chamber, Salem is sitting on a throne made of bone. Neo stops and stares with her mouth slightly open, before walking forward to stand beside Cinder. She watches as Cinder kneels and places her right hand to her chest.

Cinder: My queen.

Salem stands from her throne and turns to face Cinder.

Salem: Cinder.

Salem slowly descends the steps of the platform on which her throne rests.

Salem: When I chose you as my vessel for the Maidens, I put my trust in you. So, I trust that you wouldn’t possibly return to me empty-handed.

Cinder holds out the Relic of Knowledge.

Cinder: The Relic of Knowledge. I took it right from under Ironwood’s nose.

Upon hearing this, Neo blinks her eyes rapidly in disbelief and looks at Cinder with an indignant expression. She then crosses her arms and glares. Tyrian Callows’ voice then draws her attention.

Tyrian: Outsmarting the general speaks less to your intellect and… more to his.

Tyrian steps out from the shadows behind Cinder while Salem takes the Lamp. He begins walking across the room.

Tyrian: After all, you were outsmarted by those children first.

Cinder: And according to radio chatter, that same general and his forces outsmarted you. A shame Watts never made it back.

Tyrian: I’m afraid the doctor was a necessary sacrifice. (pointing his tail at Neo) I do hope this little one doesn’t become another.

Neo glares at Tyrian and lowers her arms with her fists clenched. Cinder turns to look at Salem, who adopts a look of suspicious curiosity as she speaks.

Salem: Who is she?

Cinder: Neopolitan has some very useful abilities and has proven to be a valuable asset.

Neo looks somewhat upset by Cinder’s use of the word “asset”.

Salem: Hm, you certainly do enjoy collecting assets.

Neo lowers her gaze, clearly displeased. The squelching noise of the nearby membrane door catches her attention, and she turns to see Emerald Sustrai, Mercury Black and Hazel Rainart entering the room. Upon laying eyes on Cinder, Emerald smiles.

Emerald: Cinder.

Emerald begins running across the chamber toward Cinder.

Emerald: You’re here! I knew you’d co--

Cinder: Quiet.

Emerald stops with a hurt expression on her face, glancing at Tyrian who clicks his tongue in disappointment.

Tyrian: So devoted to someone so incompetent. While the good doctor and I were advancing the will of our goddess, dismembering the very body of this kingdom… you were merely atoning for past failures.

Cinder glares intensely at him.

Cinder: Polendina’s creation interfered with the transfer of the Winter Maiden power… but now I know she has it. And once I return to Atlas, it won’t take long to finish what I started. That power will be mine.

Cinder’s expression turns from anger and confidence to surprise as Salem lifts her hand to shush her.

Salem: I’ve given no such command.

Salem approaches her throne, and Cinder shakes her head in confusion.

Cinder: Ma’am, now is the time to--

Cinder cuts off as Salem rests her hand on the throne. The glowing red holes on the back of the throne light up more brightly. Salem’s hand produces a red shockwave, and in response, a red design on the floor begins sending out repeated shockwaves, which move across the fleshy walls. As Salem speaks, a bright glow can be seen pulsating through red lines that lead out from the throne across the floor in several directions. She walks away from the throne with her back to everyone else, and a dark fog clears from the wall at the front of the room, revealing a view of the City of Atlas.

Salem: This game is not yours to win, Cinder, it’s mine. Just because you’re more valuable to me than a pawn, does not make you a player. Everything is already in motion. All you need concern yourself with is your ability to act when I tell you to.

Cinder: Of course. (lowering her head) Without you, I am nothing.

Salem’s frown turns to a smile, and she lifts her hand and waves them off. Footsteps can be heard as her subordinates begin leaving. As dark clouds drift in between the whale and Atlas, Salem turns and walks back toward her throne with the Relic of Knowledge in her hands.

Oscar Pine and numerous Faunus are gathered in the slums in the crater beneath Atlas, using blankets and Schnee Dust Company crates as seats. An older man with furry clawed hands steps out of a small home made from corrugated metal and thrusts a bowl of something at Oscar, who looks confused. The man gives an encouraging nod, and Oscar takes a sip from the bowl.

Oscar: Thank you.

Oscar hands the bowl back, and the man gives a nod and a grunt in response before walking away.

Ozpin: (in Oscar's mind) Heads up.

A small Atlas airship flies overhead, and the Faunus flee the area. Oscar picks up The Long Memory and stands up, watching the ship with suspicion. The side door slides open to reveal Ruby Rose, who waves.

Ruby: Need a lift?

Oscar relaxes, and is soon after inside the ship with Ruby, Weiss Schnee and Maria Calavera as it flies over Mantle.

Oscar: I was stupid to think the general would listen. Every choice I’ve made was the wrong one, and now…

The ship flies over a street where people are using fires to keep warm while a Grimm siren blares.

Ruby: We all did what we thought was best. I’m just glad you’re alright.

Ruby places her hand on his shoulder and offers a comforting smile. Below, Joanna Greenleaf peeks out at the ship from around a corner, and then steps out into the open and waves her arms at it. Maria who is piloting the ship, looks down at her.

Maria: Yeah, yeah, I see you.

Maria lowers the ship to land, and she, Ruby, Weiss and Oscar soon hurry down a sidewalk to Joanna, who ushers them into an alleyway.

Joanna: Inside! Hurry!

A camera drone comes hovering along, and just as it turns to look at Joanna, she shoots it down and then runs into the alley.

Inside a restaurant kitchen, May Marigold leaned over a map on the counter, speaking over a communication device. While she talks, Ruby, Weiss, Oscar, Maria and Joanna walk inside and head across the kitchen.

May: I know, Sector 3 is going to need the most help. I’m sending backup your way right now. Fiona, do you copy? We need transport from Sector 3 to the crater.

Fiona: Copy!

In the dining area, Jaune Arc, Yang Xiao Long, Blake Belladonna, Lie Ren and Nora Valkyrie are sitting at tables while Penny and Pietro watch the news. The news network is displaying a “Fugitives” notice for Team RWBY, Team JNPR, Oscar, Maria, Penny and Pietro.

News: --once heroes, are now fugitives on the run. Many in Mantle are left to wonder what the future will--

As Ruby’s group enters the room, Nora turns and stands from her chair, smiling. She approaches Oscar, who recoils in fear, turning his head to the side, closing his eyes and putting his hands up to stop the tackle that he assumes is coming. Instead, Nora calmly walks over and hugs him, much to his surprise. He relaxes and hugs back, and Weiss and Ruby smile at the scene.

Blake: (voice shaking) When we heard you went off after Ironwood on your own, we…

Nora lets go and walks away.

Weiss: How did you end up down in the slums?

Oscar: It’s a… (sighs) long story. I get the feeling there’s been a few of those tonight.

Everyone looks at Penny, who looks down at her hands.

Ozpin: (in Oscar’s mind) You’re not going to tell them?

Oscar: (in his mind) You and I aren’t done talking yet.

Oscar’s eyes widen slightly as he realizes someone is missing from the group.

Oscar: Where’s Qrow?

Ren, Blake and Yang lower their gazes, and Jaune looks toward Blake and Yang before looking down, as well.

Ruby: We don’t know. The last we heard he was with Robyn, but…

Joanna enters from the kitchen.

Joanna: Alright, your friend is back now.

She walks further into the room to stand in front of them.

Joanna: You ready to work?

She is met with silence. Joanna turns to look through a box of supplies and continues talking.

Joanna: (sighs) The largest Grimm horde ever seen is hovering over the tundra, and out there is a city full of people with no heat and, from what you told us, no more military protection. And while we’re happy to give you guys a place to lie low for a while… It’s time to get those people some help.

Ren: How? Ironwood is stopping all evacuations to Atlas. And we can’t get them out of the city with Salem’s forces surrounding us.

Joanna: The crater. Beneath Atlas. It’s not safe, but it’s warm, and with everyone in one place, we can do a better job protecting them. May can send you where you’re needed most. We’ve got to get everyone down into that crater before nightfall. In the slums, we might have a chance.

She turns and heads back toward the kitchen.

Weiss: We’re never going to sleep again, I just know it.

Joanna stops with her hand on the door and turns to look at Weiss.

Joanna: Either you’re helping… or you’re baggage.

She then exits into the kitchen. Yang gets up and moves to stand in front of everyone.

Yang: We need to get out there and do what we can for Mantle.

While Yang speaks, a view of the near future shows Yang running through an alley in Mantle. As present day Ruby begins speaking, future Yang spots a pair of Sabyrs around the corner and hides against the wall.

Ruby: We need to do what we can for everyone. What about Amity? And telling the world about Salem? We can’t do this alone. We need help.

Future Yang moves to sneak away from the Sabyrs but is distracted when she steps on a watch on the sidewalk. It is then that she notices an abandoned suitcase and a photo of three friends.

Blake: Ruby’s right. The Happy Huntresses are handling the evacuation better than we could. And there’s a bigger picture.

The view switches back to present day Yang.

Yang: But Amity isn’t even finished. It was still under construction.

Ruby turns to Pietro.

Ruby: Doctor? What would you need to launch Amity now?

Pietro: Uh... We’ve made decent progress on construction and fuel collection, all potentially manageable, but uh… hm… Amity was designed so it couldn’t launch itself without first being granted clearance from General Ironwood’s terminal.

Yang turns to Ruby with her arms crossed and lowers her arms as she speaks. Ruby, meanwhile, is thinking.

Yang: Ruby, there is no way Ironwood will cooperate with us.

Ruby: But he doesn’t have to. We just need the green light from his terminal, right?

Yang: You want to go back to the academy?

The view changes to Ruby on a Mantle rooftop in the near future, as she hurries with her hood on her head and hides from a drone camera behind an air conditioning unit.

Pietro: Actually… there is more than one terminal. The one in his office and uh… one in the main Atlesian Military Compound… at the base of the city.

Future Ruby lowers her hood and peeks over the air conditioning unit to look up at the underside of Atlas. She then starts contemplating, and the view changes back to present day Pietro.

Pietro: You’d have to get into the compound somehow, then, uh, get inside the operations room, and then… hoo boy… I might need to think about this some more.

Oscar looks at Ruby.

Oscar: And just to clarify, this is the easy option?

Yang: What you’re saying is it can’t be done. It’s pointless. And even if you got the message out, there’s no guarantee help would come.

Ruby becomes annoyed while Yang speaks.

Ruby: It’s not pointless! Atlas is only Salem’s current target. She’s not hiding anymore and once she’s done here she’ll move on to the rest of Remnant. We need to warn them!

Yang stands in silence for a moment.

Yang: Ruby… when we came here, we said we’d follow your lead… but... things haven’t exactly worked out.

Ruby recoils somewhat with a mix of emotions on her face. Yang’s statement elicits various reactions from Weiss, Nora, Oscar and Penny, as well.

Yang: I just--

Ren steps forward, interrupting Yang.

Ren: There are people here who need us right now.

The view changes back to Yang in the near future, as future Ren approaches her. They nod to each other.

Ren: That’s something we can actually do.

Nora: But this isn’t about just Atlas. Ruby’s right. It’s about all of Remnant.

Future Yang looks away from Ren, who looks somewhat saddened. The view changes to future Ruby, still looking over the air conditioning unit, as future Nora places her hand on her shoulder. Future Ruby turns to look at her.

Nora: They need to know in Vacuo, in Mistral, in Vale, what’s coming.

The view shifts back to present day Nora.

Nora: So they can prepare.

Jaune steps between Ren and Nora, putting his hands up to each of them.

Jaune: Okay. Okay… Then let’s go for both. (gesturing to Nora and then Ren) Get Amity up and running and evacuate Mantle.

Ruby: But that’s how Salem got this far - by dividing us. We have to stick together.

Oscar: No. What Salem wants is to turn us against each other. Just like this. Jaune has a point. We can work separately and still be united.

Penny: Or… let me take the Relic to Salem… and maybe she will call off her attack on the Kingdom.

Oscar: I don’t think we can trust Salem to actually do that. And the moment she uses the Staff to create anything else, Atlas falls onto Mantle.

Yang: Nobody’s turning you over to anybody. (giving a stern look toward Ruby and Nora) I think that’s the one thing we could all agree on.

Ruby: (sighs) Okay. Then I guess we’re going to Atlas. (to Pietro) Can you help us get to that terminal?

Pietro: I… suppose someone needs to help you bypass security.

Penny: (softly but firmly) I’ll go.

Pietro looks at Penny, who has her back turned.

Pietro: Penny, we can’t risk--

Penny turns to look at him, activating the Maiden flares in her eyes with a determined expression.

Penny: I’ll go.

Yang: (sighs) Do what you’ve got to do. I’m going out there to see what I could do.

Yang begins walking toward the kitchen, and Blake watches her with a sad expression.

Pietro: Yang.

Yang stops and looks at Pietro, who tosses her a key. As she looks at the key, the view changes again to future Yang, who looks at Pietro’s pharmacy.

Pietro: Go by the pharmacy. I was developing some new tools for you all before… this happened. You’re going to need them.

Future Yang turns and looks at Ren, who turns to share a nod with Jaune and Oscar.

Ren: Nora?

Nora: I’m going with Ruby.

Future Ren looks somewhat sad.

Ren: But what about Mantle?

Nora: Oh, I’m saving Mantle! Because I actually believe we can do this.

On the rooftop with future Ruby, future Nora has a somewhat sad expression, but then musters up a look of determination. She walks over to Ruby, Blake and Weiss. This view of the future becomes the new present. Blake puts her hand on Ruby’s shoulder.

Blake: Hey, we’re still united.

Ruby: I hope so.

Maria: (over ear-piece) I can get Pietro out to Amity to prepare, but that doesn’t answer how we’re getting all of you up to Atlas.

Weiss: I might actually have an idea f--

A beeping tone starts playing from someone’s Scroll. The girls look confused, and Blake, Ruby and Nora check their Scrolls. The four of them then turn to look at Penny, who is holding her ringing Scroll, unsure of what to do. The scroll’s screen says:

Incoming Call
General Ironwood

Penny nervously taps the Talk icon, accepting the call.

Ironwood: (calmly) Hello, Penny. I’m worried for your safety. Tell me where you are and I’ll have you picked up right away. Atlas needs you, Penny. Salem is here.

Ruby walks over to Penny, who allows her to take the Scroll.

Ruby: She’s not going anywhere until you change your mind about Mantle. There’s still a chance for Remnant to be--

Ironwood: Mantle… You’re still worried about Mantle?! Remnant is doomed, Ruby. Unless we leave, Salem will destroy Atlas and with it, any hope Humanity has left. We need to think about the future. If she makes it through our defenses, everything that follows will be on your hands.

With Ironwood’s final statement, Penny tenses, becomes worried, and then leans into a hug from Ruby. Ruby’s brave face falters, and she looks somewhat worried.

In an Atlas medical facility, Marrow Amin, Vine Zeki, Elm Ederne and Harriet Bree are staring at Clover Ebi’s corpse on a table in front of them. Marrow is saddened, Vine is stoic, and Elm and Harriet are angry. Ironwood watches them through the window of Winter Schnee’s patient room across the hall, while Atlas technicians check on Winter.

Ironwood has retrieved his black gun and has had his injured left arm replaced with a prosthesis. He looks at his new left hand, flexing his fingers, and then looks over to the door as an Atlas crewmate enters the room and salutes him. He briefly salutes back, and they both place their hands behind their backs.

Crewmate: Sir, the prisoners have arrived. They’re being processed in Stockade B.

He nods with an affirming grunt, and the crewmate leaves.

Winter: Qrow and Robyn?

Winter winces as one of the technicians makes her bend her wrist back.

Ironwood: Could you give us the room, please?

The technicians promptly exit the room, and Winter gives him a reassuring smile.

Winter: I’ll be fine.

She struggles to curl her fingers into a fist, grimacing, leaving Ironwood unconvinced. His expression softens slightly, and he relaxes his stance.

Ironwood: Thank you, Winter. I don’t know what I would do without you. (turning away) I’ve never-- no one has seen a Grimm force this large before. The city’s Hard-Light shields will hold, but not forever.

Winter: What will you do… sir?

Atlas Technician: Wait, you can’t be in here!

In the hallway, the technicians who had been tending Winter move forward with their hands up to stop Councilmen Camilla and Sleet from approaching.

Sleet: This is absurd! Let us through!

Ironwood watches through the window, and Harriet steps out of the room across the hall and watches with her hand on her hip.

Camilla: I told you, we need to speak to the general!

Ironwood: I’m going to do everything I can to defend this kingdom.

Camilla and Sleet push their way past the technicians.

Camilla: What in God’s name do you think you’re doing, James?!

Ironwood: No matter the cost.

With his hands clasped behind his back again, Ironwood calmly walks through the door and into the hall.

Sleet: And what’s this about martial law? Have you lost your damn mind?! Are you that scared of what--

As he makes it into the middle of the hall, Ironwood draws his white gun and shifts his stance, aiming and immediately firing a single shot at Sleet, who cannot be seen from Winter’s view of the window. As Ironwood takes aim, Camilla’s eyes widen, and she turns to look at Sleet, bringing her arms up close to her chest and screaming in terror as the gun fires. Elm, Vine and Marrow had been watching the councilmen while Ironwood walked into the hall, and when the gun fired, Vine maintained his stoic expression, while Elm and Marrow’s eyes widened in shock. All three look at Ironwood, who lowers his gun. Camilla is staring wide-eyed at where Sleet stood, and Sleet has gone completely silent. She hyperventilates and looks at Ironwood.

Ironwood turns and walks in the opposite direction down the hall, holstering his gun, while Winter and Harriet watch. Harriet looks at Winter, then lowers her gaze. Winter sits there, processing what has happened with her mouth slightly agape. She closes her mouth and frowns.

Back inside Monstra, a fleshy membrane door tears open. Salem stands on the other side holding the Relic of Knowledge.

Salem: I have questions for you.

She holds the Relic out to a Grimm, whose only features shown are its large jaw. It sniffs the Relic and opens its gaping maw slightly.

Salem: But first I need the one who can show me how. (to the Grimm) Bring him to me...

The Grimm growls menacingly.


Minor Characters


  • Chris Kokkinos had a hard time working on the first scene of the episode featuring Cinder's scraping of the floor and chair, as the sound effects needed made his teeth and ears hurt.[1]
  • Kerry Shawcross refers to Monstra as an "organic ship".[2]
  • While Chris Kokkinos is not the voice actor of the elderly Faunus in the episode, he had to record effort audio for his scene in the episode.[3]
  • The spinning door to the Happy Huntresses' hideout was a challenge to design the audio effects for.[4]
  • In one script, the scene featuring Ruby's Group was much more chronological as opposed to the flashforward editing used in the final episode. This was changed in order to make the sequence more visually interesting and have it so that it flows much better.[5]
  • Originally, the scene in the hospital started by showing Clover's corpse and the Ace-Ops reactions to it. However, it was later changed to the Ace-Ops being shown first and then showing Clover's corpse due to them feeling like showing his corpse would send the wrong tone for the volume and felt like it would have seemed like it was for shock value.[6]
  • The scene featuring Ironwood and the Atlesian forces in the hospital was written before Volume 7 had started airing during 2019, and was stated to have become a heavier scene as the year 2020 went on.[7][8]
  • The vocalizations for the Grimm at the end of the episode were done by Chris Kokkinos.[9]
  • The painting in the Happy Huntresses' bar with the woman wearing an eyepatch is an image of the bar's owner.[10]
  • The bar also features a poster of "Six Swans Vodka". This is the same alcoholic drink that Willow has been seen drinking in "Cordially Invited" and "Dark".
  • In earlier drafts, this episode was originally intended to focus more on Cinder's backstory. This direction was changed and most flashback sequences involving Cinder's upbringing were moved to "Midnight" in order to start the Volume with a better pace, the brief tease of a young Cinder scrubbing a floor is a leftover of this.[11]
  • Neither Kerry Shawcross or Kiersi Burkhart can remember which one of them wrote the introductory scene for The Hound, so Kerry decided to give the credit to Kiersi.[12]

See Also

Image Gallery

Main article: Divide/Image Gallery


  1. RWBY Volume 8 Episode 1 Watch Party
  2. RWBY Volume 8 Episode 1 Watch Party
  3. RWBY Volume 8 Episode 1 Watch Party
  4. RWBY Volume 8 Episode 1 Watch Party
  5. RWBY Volume 8 Episode 1 Watch Party
  6. RWBY Volume 8 Directors' and Writers' Commentary Chapter 1
  7. RWBY Volume 8 Episode 1 Watch Party
  8. RWBY Volume 8 Directors' and Writers' Commentary Chapter 1
  9. RWBY Volume 8 Episode 1 Watch Party
  10. RWBY Volume 8 Episode 1 Watch Party
  11. RWBY Volume 8 Directors' and Writers' Commentary Chapter 1
  12. RWBY Volume 8 Directors' and Writers' Commentary Chapter 1