"Fault" is the fourth episode of Volume 8 and the ninety-sixth episode of RWBY. It premiered for Rooster Teeth FIRST members on November 28th, 2020 and was made public on the Rooster Teeth site on December 5th, 2020.
Inside the Atlas prison, Robyn Hill attempts to lighten the mood with a story and ends up having a solemn talk with Qrow Branwen about Clover Ebi's death and how their Semblances have affected their ability to have relationships with people. They are interrupted by two of the Ace Operatives bringing Arthur Watts back to his cell. Robyn angers Harriet Bree, who firmly believes Qrow killed Clover, and tempts her to open her cell, but Marrow Amin stops Harriet.
Yang Xiao Long, Jaune Arc and Lie Ren chase The Hound into a chasm in the mountains. They attempt to slow The Hound by having Ren abandon his hoverbike and hang onto The Hound with one of StormFlower's cables, but The Hound calls for backup. Interference from the horde of Grimm leads to Jaune's bike being ruined, Yang's bike sustaining damage, and Ren having to rescue Yang and Jaune from falling off a cliff. As a result, The Hound escapes with Oscar Pine, flying away to Monstra.
Weiss Schnee takes Ruby Rose, Blake Belladonna, Nora Valkyrie and May Marigold to the Schnee Manor to hide. Displeased, Whitley Schnee complains about the family's reputation, the loss of the house staff and his mother locking herself in her room. Ruby convinces him to allow them to stay, and Weiss and May take Nora to another room. Ruby is worried about Yang and admits to Blake that she has tried and failed to call her.
Yang, Jaune and Ren are stranded in the tundra, unable to make contact with anyone on their Scrolls. With the sun beginning to set, the three take Yang's damaged bike and trek toward an outpost Ren had seen while he was in the air, hoping to take shelter from the cold before they run out of Aura. On the way there, Ren's attitude sparks a confrontation from Yang, and the two argue about whether or not they should be Huntsmen. When Jaune attempts to stop them, Ren snaps at him about how he cheated his way into Beacon Academy. Jaune refuses to take the bait, insisting they still have a job to do, while Yang berates Ren for pushing everyone who cares about him away.
Inside Monstra, Salem asks Oscar about the location of the Relic of Choice as well as the password for the Relic of Knowledge. When Oscar lies about the Lamp, she tortures him with magic and then lets Hazel Rainart enter the room to begin beating him.
Soon after, Salem encounters Cinder Fall and Neopolitan in a hallway while walking with The Hound. Growing impatient, Cinder continuously tries to convince Salem to let her hunt down Penny Polendina to retrieve the Winter Maiden powers, but Salem refuses, instead ordering Cinder to remain inside Monstra. Much to Neo's silent protest, Cinder goes to the docking bay with the intention of flying to the Amity Communications Tower. Having overheard Cinder's plan, Emerald Sustrai offers to help.
By nightfall, Yang, Jaune and Ren have arrived at the outpost and taken shelter from the heavy snowfall. Jaune gets the heater running and attempts to talk to Ren about opening up and not pretending to be strong. Ren storms out of the outpost, and while Yang works on repairing a part from her bike, she and Jaune talk about Ren's outburst toward the latter. Yang vaguely asks if Jaune thinks "she" thinks less of Yang for not helping with Amity, and Jaune reassures her, incorrectly assuming she was talking about Ruby. While Jaune lies down to rest, Yang goes to keep an eye on Ren. In a field nearby, something causes the ground to begin cracking.
Robyn Hill cheerfully laughs, lying on the bed in her cell and examining her fingernails.
Robyn: You should have seen the look on Joanna’s face. I don’t think she’d ever lost a fight before that. At least, not fair and square.
Robyn: (sighs) Tough crowd tonight. Guess Ironwood should have paid for better cell block entertainment.
As she speaks, Robyn stands up and stretches, walking over toward Qrow’s cell. Her comment earns a small chuckle from Qrow while he stares at Clover Ebi’s pin.
Robyn: And he smiles. Did I win?
Qrow: Hey, it’s your game. I don’t make the rules.
Robyn loses her cheerful demeanor.
Robyn: I’m sorry for what happened. It wasn’t your fault.
Qrow: It was, though. I made a deal with the darkness, and he paid the price. It was all happening so fast, but Clover wouldn’t let up. Could have worked together against Tyrian if Clover just... But the thing that really stings? For the first time in a while I thought, maybe, maybe I could be around somebody - anybody - without my Semblance making it… complicated. And now, it just feels like a childish dream. Gone... like everybody else.
Robyn sadly looks at her hand, listening to Qrow.
Robyn: Believe it or not, I know a little of what that’s like.
She walks over to the wall between her and Qrow’s cells.
Robyn: When people are worried you’re gonna sniff out their secrets, they tend to push you away. It makes a real connection… difficult.
She places her fingertips to the cell wall, the Hard-Light distorting in reaction to her touch. She then pulls her hand away and looks at it.
A small beep is heard, and the door to the chamber opens. Qrow looks over to the door, clutching Clover’s pin to his chest, and continues speaking as Atlas soldiers bring Arthur Watts back to his cell, accompanied by Marrow Amin and Harriet Bree.
Qrow: Never thought of it that way.
The soldiers toss Watts to the floor, and Harriet stands next to Qrow’s cell with her arms crossed.
Harriet: You don’t get to keep that.
Qrow: I didn’t kill him.
Harriet: You keep saying that, but it was your weapon covered in his blood.
Qrow lowers his head and sighs. Robyn speaks up, drawing Harriet’s attention.
Robyn: If you really wanna know what happened, mohawk, why not open this cell and take my hand?
Harriet scoffs and starts walking over to Robyn’s cell, while Marrow locks Watts’ cell.
Harriet: If I open this cell, it won’t be to shake hands.
Marrow looks over to Harriet, a worried frown appearing on his face.
Robyn: Yeah, because you don’t care about the truth. You just want someone to be mad at. Easier than taking an honest look at what side you’re on.
Harriet narrows her eyes and quietly growls in annoyance. There is a tense silence as Qrow watches the two and Harriet looks over at the security panel for Robyn’s cell. Harriet looks at Robyn and shifts on her feet.
Marrow: Hare? What’re you doing?
Harriet looks at Robyn, then at Marrow, angered. She pushes past Marrow, storming out.
Marrow watches Harriet leave, then looks at Robyn, who walks back over to her bed and lies down with her arms behind her head.
Robyn: Well, that was… almost exciting.
Jaune: It’s going to lose us in these mountains! We can’t keep up!
Ren’s bike starts shaking, and he looks at the frost-covered display, to find its engine is losing integrity.
Ren: I don’t know how much longer these bikes can stand the cold.
Yang: I’m really wishing one of us could fly right now.
Jaune: Wait, hold on!
Jaune deploys his shield on his arm and hits the brakes on his bike, moving back to drive parallel with Ren.
Jaune: Ren, going to get you up there.
Jaune lifts his shield up, and Ren leaps from his hoverbike to land on Jaune’s shield. Jaune charges the Gravity Dust in his shield and blasts Ren toward The Hound. As he flies through the air, Ren launches one of StormFlower’s blade cables and wraps it around The Hound’s hind leg.
Yang highfives Jaune, causing Jaune to briefly lose balance on his bike. The Hound begins flying more erratically, slamming Ren against cliffs.
Yang: (over comms) Okay, not as nice.
Jaune: He’s slowing him down. (over comms) Hold on, Ren!
Ren: I don’t have much of a choice!
Ren shoots his other blade cable, wrapping it around a boulder to further slow The Hound. However, The Hound suddenly pulls up, causing the cable to come loose from the boulder, with the blade zipping past Yang and Jaune.
The Hound slams Ren onto the ground and against pillars, continuing on its way through the chasm. Yang spots an incline to her left and drives up it onto a cliff parallel to The Hound, where she begins shooting it in the head. The Hound lowers Oscar Pine from its mouth into its hands and flies faster, leaving Yang confused. The Hound then lets out a loud roar, and the earth begins trembling before a horde of Centinels emerge from the ground, cliffs and archways.
Yang: Did it just call for backup?
A Teryx swoops at Yang, who leans away and drives over an arch. Down below, Jaune slashes Centinels in half as he passes them while a flock of Teryxes flies behind him. Ren continues to hold onto StormFlower’s cable, which has been detached from the gun. He watches what is happening on the ground, then looks up at The Hound, seeing Oscar pale and unconscious in its arms. Ren holsters his second gun and begins pulling himself along the cable toward The Hound.
A Centinel spits acid onto the engine of Jaune’s hoverbike. As she zips across a stone arch above, Yang calls out to him.
A pair of Centinels twist around each other, heading straight for Jaune from behind. He sheathes his sword and leaps from his bike, then uses his shield’s Gravity blast to bounce off a Centinel’s head onto a stone arch. He tucks, rolls and teeters on the opposite edge before Yang drives by and grabs him, swinging him onto the back of her bike.
Yang drives off the arch and onto a cliff, where a group of Centinels burrow up from the ground ahead of her. She accelerates and expertly dodges past them, only for a Teryx to land up ahead. Jaune pulls out a shield device and activates and tosses it. The device bumps into a boulder before deploying its Hard-Light shield, and Yang rams the shield with her bike, causing it to lean against the boulder and form a ramp. The bike is sent flying over the Teryx’s head before it can stop them. There are two Centinels behind the Teryx, and Yang fires Ember Celica just before landing, sending the bike into a spin and hitting one of the Centinels with the engine. Before she can regain control, the bike slams into a rock. The engine begins smoking, and a tank on the side of the bike begins leaking a glowing purple material.
Yang continues driving, dodging and speeding past Grimm on her way out of the chasm. She and Jaune sigh in relief, but when they look in front of them, their eyes widen with the realization that they are driving straight toward a sheer cliff. Yang turns the bike, and it topples over, sending her, Jaune and the bike tumbling along the ground. The bike slams into a boulder, while Yang and Jaune continue rolling toward the cliff. In an attempt to prevent their fall, Jaune stabs his sword into the ground while holding onto Yang’s hand, only for him and Yang to fall over the edge, screaming.
Ren suddenly appears in the air above them, firing StormFlower’s cables. One cable wraps around Jaune’s sword, and the other wraps around Jaune’s leg. A Teryx flies toward Ren, but he activates his Semblance, hiding himself, Yang and Jaune. The Teryx passes by harmlessly. An army of Centinels and Teryxes arrive at the top of the cliff, only to turn and leave when they fail to sense anyone. Once it is safe, Ren deactivates his Semblance and looks into the distance to see The Hound flying toward Monstra.
Weiss Schnee knocks heavily on the front doors of the Schnee manor, and soon after, the double doors are opened by Whitley Schnee, who looks upon Weiss and her friends in surprise. Ruby Rose is standing with her, Blake Belladonna is holding the still unconscious Nora Valkyrie, and May Marigold is keeping watch behind them.
Whitley: Oh, you’ve picked a fine time to--
Weiss interrupts by pointing Myrtenaster at him, and he looks at the blade in fright.
Weiss: Not. Another. Word. We’re coming in.
Whitley steps aside and groans as Ruby’s group walks into the manor.
Whitley: Things are already bad enough after what you did to father, now you want us to harbor fugitives too? Our family has a reputation.
He crosses his arms in annoyance. Blake, having set Nora down on the floor, looks at him.
Blake: That’s what you’re worried about? Your reputation?
Whitley: I’m just saying that we’ve already lost all the house staff, and mother locked herself in her room.
Weiss: Maybe you haven’t figured out what’s going on, Whitley, but we’re busy trying to save Atlas.
Ruby steps between the two.
Ruby: Look, our friend is hurt. We just need a place to lay low while she rests, and then we’ll be out of your way.
Whitley: Fine. What do you expect me to do, then?
Weiss points to the staircase behind her.
Weiss: Go to your room.
There is a brief pause, and Whitley sighs and follows her command.
Weiss: (sighs) This way.
Weiss walks away, and May lifts Nora and follows her. While Weiss and May exit the room, Blake walks over to Ruby, who is staring outside through the front doors.
Ruby: I hope everyone’s doing alright.
Blake: If you’re worried about Yang, you could always try calling her.
Ruby: That’s the thing. I did.
Ruby turns and shows Blake her Scroll which is actively calling Yang’s Scroll.
In the mountainous tundra, Yang gathers up nuts and bolts while Ren does nothing and Jaune waves his Scroll in the air in search of a signal.
Jaune: I repeat, if anybody can hear me...
Jaune looks over at the crashed hoverbike, which has a trail of the leaked purple material in the snow leading to the damaged tank.
Jaune: (sighs) We need transport back to Mantle.
Some time later, the three are trekking through the tundra, with Ren leading and Jaune pushing the hoverbike. The sun is beginning to set, and it is snowing. Yang is using her Scroll to keep an eye on their Aura levels. Jaune’s is at 41% but then lowers to 39%. Yang’s and Ren’s meters turn from yellow to red as Yang’s drops from 34% to 32% and Ren’s goes from 33% to 31%.
Yang: We need to get out of this weather before the cold drops our Auras completely. How much farther to the outpost?
With an angry expression, Ren remains silent.
Yang: Ren, how much--
Ren: I don’t know.
Yang looks back at Jaune, who shrugs. She catches up with Ren.
Yang: I thought you said you saw it when you were up in the air.
Ren: I did, before I had to cut myself loose to help you guys.
Yang uncomfortably brings her hand to the back of her head, then lowers it as she speaks.
Yang: Yeah, you’ve brought that up a couple times now. Something you need to say?
Ren: Not really. Wouldn't want to waste any more time.
Ren walks ahead, while Yang stops with a small gasp. Annoyed, she catches up with him again.
Yang: Hey! What is your deal?
She steps in front of Ren, stopping him.
Ren: Don’t worry about it.
Yang: Well, I’m sorry things aren’t going smoothly enough for you.
Ren: They’re not going smoothly at all.
Yang: I hate to break it to you, but that’s part of being a Huntsman.
Ren: Are you kidding?! We don’t know the first thing about being Huntsmen. We clearly weren’t ready.
Jaune takes a couple steps toward them.
Jaune: Guys, stop it.
Ren: And then we lost it! And after that, when we had to make real decisions, we got every single one wrong.
Yang: I’m not going to pretend like we did everything perfectly, but if we’d done nothing, things would be even worse than they are now.
Ren: How could they possibly be worse? We are stuck out here while Salem has the Lamp and Oscar. We’ve got no plan, no army.
Yang: We’ve got the Maiden.
Ren walks away from Yang, in the direction of the City of Atlas, gesturing to it as he speaks.
He lowers his arms.
Ren: People are going to die. Because of us.
Yang: So what, we should just give Ironwood what he wants? Abandon Mantle? You think Atlas is still gonna be able to float to safety now that she’s here?
Ren turns to Yang, throwing his fists down, and then walks back toward her as he speaks.
Ren: I don’t know. But these aren’t the kinds of decisions we should be making because we have no idea what we’re doing.
Jaune: Okay, both of you. Cut it out.
Ren walks toward Yang, getting in her face.
Ren: I’m just saying what nobody else wants to. We’re in way over our heads, Ruby is barely more than a kid, I’m just an orphan from the middle of nowhere--
Jaune: Ren, I--
Ren turns to Jaune.
Ren: You cheated your way into Beacon!
Yang’s eyes widen, and her mouth drops open. They stand in silence for a few moments, until Ren relaxes his shoulders and gains a regretful expression. He looks away from Jaune, frowning. Jaune stares wide-eyed, then lowers his gaze with a frown.
Jaune: You don’t think we should be Huntsmen, fine, but I’m getting out of the cold.
Jaune resumes pushing the hoverbike, walking past Ren and Yang.
Jaune: (mumbling) We’ve still got a job to do.
Yang: (to Ren) Seriously, is your goal just to push everyone away?
Yang walks away to follow Jaune, while Ren clenches his fists.
Ozpin’s voice speaks from the nothingness just as Oscar begins regaining consciousness.
Ozpin: Oscar? Don’t panic. We’re going to be okay.
Oscar is looking at his feet, which are hovering above the ground.
Oscar: Uh, what?
Oscar looks up to see fleshy walls, bone spikes, a bone staircase and a membrane door. Standing in the shadows of the doorway is Salem with a cloud of smoke hovering above her hand.
Salem: My long-lost Ozma, found at last.
The smoke forms shapes of her daughters, all running in a circle and giggling. As Salem turns her head to look at Oscar, the smoke dissipates. Oscar’s eyes widen, and he looks around and begins struggling. The Hound is holding him in the air by the back of his coat’s collar. Salem walks over to him.
Salem: So small, this new host of yours. It’s a wonder my Hound didn’t break you. It’s been how many years since we saw each other like this, face to face? And nothing to say?
Oscar adopts Ozpin’s speaking mannerisms as he responds to her.
Oscar: I’m sorry the reunion isn’t living up to your expectations.
Salem suddenly grabs Oscar’s face, her own face wrinkling slightly with a furious glare.
Salem: You can pretend, boy, but you’re not fully him. Not yet, at least.
She relaxes and lets go of him with a sigh.
Salem: Well, perhaps you and I can have a better working relationship. Oscar, was it?
She begins walking around The Hound.
Salem: The Beacon Relic. My forces have been unable to locate the Relic beneath the school. If I know my Ozma, he has used some means of deception to hide its location differently than the others.
She stops next to Oscar and smiles at him, scratching The Hound’s shoulder.
Salem: I need to know where it is.
Oscar: I... That’s not something I know about.
Salem stops and walks away.
Salem: Of course. He would keep that one guarded as long as possible.
Oscar sighs, and Salem stops at the other end of the room.
Salem: How about something easier, then? The password for the Lamp.
Oscar pauses for a moment, his eyes dart down then back up.
Oscar: The Lamp is all out of questions.
Salem turns to face Oscar and smiles, before summoning a black orb of magic in front of her. The orb sends out a rainbow of magic beams, all converging on Oscar’s chest, causing him to scream out and writhe in agony. With an intense glare on her face, Salem keeps the torture going for eleven seconds, then lowers her hands with a frown, letting the magic fade. She walks over to Oscar, who is still squirming and gasping with remnants of the magic floating from the scorch mark on his chest.
Salem: The lies come out of you so easily.
Oscar turns away, cowering, as Salem gently puts her hand to his cheek and gives a sweet smile.
Salem: Like-minded souls indeed.
She turns and walks away, heading back to the door.
Salem: One of you is going to tell me what you know. I don’t much care if it is you or Ozma. Either way, I’ll finally have the Relic.
Oscar: I won’t tell you anything.
Salem turns to face him once again.
The membrane door pulls open to reveal Hazel Rainart.
Hazel walks over to Oscar, who weakly lifts his hand toward him.
Oscar: Wait, wait--
Hazel slaps his hands away and punches him, causing The Hound to drop him on the floor.
Hazel: That was for Haven Academy.
Hazel kicks Oscar toward the wall, then cracks his neck.
Hazel: Everything that follows... will be for my sister.
Hazel approaches Oscar, while Salem watches.
Salem and The Hound walk together through a hallway inside Monstra. There is a low, rhythmic beating in the distance. As they turn a corner, they encounter Cinder Fall and Neopolitan. Cinder kneels and addresses Salem.
Cinder: Your grace, I--
Cinder notices The Hound.
Cinder: What... is that?
Salem scratches The Hound’s chin and then scratches behind its ear. It appears to enjoy the scratching.
Salem: An... experiment. So far I am pleased with the results. (losing her cheerful tone) Did you need something, Cinder?
Cinder: (unnerved, at first) Yes, I… I want to search for the Winter Maiden. I think--
Salem: Do you hear that, my pet? She thinks. She wants.
Salem stops scratching The Hound, and she and her Grimm walk past Cinder.
Salem: As if she’s done something that warrants me caring about either of those things.
Frustrated, Cinder stands up and turns to face Salem and then begins following her.
Cinder: We’re just sitting and waiting. Without the Maiden power, the vault means nothing. Let me claim it for you.
Salem: I will tell you when and where you are needed.
As Salem speaks, she glances toward Cinder, unamused.
Cinder: But your grace--
The Hound turns and roars at Cinder, frightening her. Salem stops walking, keeping her back turned to Cinder.
Salem: I would like to think I have shown a great deal of patience over my many years walking Remnant. But I do hate repeating myself.
Salem looks over her shoulder at Cinder.
Salem: You will remain here. Is. That. Clear?
Cinder stares for a moment, then adopts a more docile tone and kneels, lowering her head.
Cinder: Yes, yes, of course. Without you, I am nothing.
Salem resumes walking away, and The Hound follows her. Cinder stands back up with an angry expression, and Neo steps up beside her, raising an eyebrow.
Shortly afterward, Cinder is walking through another hallway, with Neo following her with a “Seriously?” gesture.
Cinder: I know what she said. I just wanna check on something. We’ll be back before anyone realizes.
Cinder begins descending an incline toward the docking bay. Neo, looking unconvinced, uses her umbrella to float down, putting her hand on her hip as she passes Cinder.
Cinder: I wanna see if anything is still going on at Amity Colosseum.
When Neo reaches the wing of the airship she and Cinder arrived on, she tiptoes across it and then drops down to sit on it with one leg crossed over the other.
Cinder: Salem doesn’t know those children like I do. They wouldn’t just abandon their misguided attempt to save the world.
Cinder stands at the edge of the dock, then turns to look at Neo, who looks away. Cinder growls in frustration. Suddenly, Emerald Sustrai’s voice is heard, surprising both of them.
Emerald: If she doesn’t want to, I’ll come.
Neo looks at Emerald with her eyes narrowed, and Emerald walks forward.
Emerald: I’ve been working on my Semblance. I can help. I won’t tell anybody.
There is silence for a moment, as Cinder thinks it over.
Cinder: (frustrated sigh) How much did you overhear?
Cinder walks toward Emerald.
Night has begun, and there is heavy snowfall over the Mantle tundra. Inside an abandoned outpost, Jaune hits a furnace until it lights up. Ren is staring out of a window with his arms crossed.
Jaune: (sighs) You’re right, Ren. I… I did cheat my way into Beacon.
As he speaks, Jaune stands up and walks over to Ren, standing beside him.
Jaune: And I’m glad that I had people around me to help me see that I was bigger than that mistake. You’ve got people around you, too. You don’t have to force yourself to be strong. The more you hide from what you’re feeling, the more alone you’re going to feel. Trust me.
Ren glances at Jaune, then uncrosses his arms and walks out of the small building, shoving the door open. Yang is standing by the door, having just returned, and she sadly watches Ren leave. She holds up a purple canister.
Yang: If anyone cares, I found a part to fix the bike. So, yay. Good news.
She walks over to a workbench, and Jaune turns back to the window to watch Ren sit down beneath a lamp post.
Yang: For what it’s worth, I’m sorry he said that to you. I know you’ve had to work hard to get here, Jaune.
Jaune: We’re all under a lot of stress right now. I used to push people away too.
Yang turns to the workbench and begins using a wrench to put the canister inside a piece of the hoverbike. After a bit, she pauses.
Yang: Do you… think she thinks less of me… for not helping out with Amity?
Jaune: Ruby is your sister, she’s always going to love you even if you disagree with each other.
Yang: Yeah. Ruby…
Yang resumes fixing the bike part, and Jaune sighs and lies down in one of the bunk beds.
Jaune: I need to get some sleep, but I can’t stop thinking about Oscar.
Yang puts the wrench down and walks over to the window.
Yang: Go on. I’ll make sure Ren doesn’t brood himself to death out in the cold.
Jaune: Thanks. I just have a bad feeling. Things always seem to get worse before they get better.
Down the hill from the outpost and a fair distance away, the ground has begun cracking and noises can be heard beneath it. Suddenly, the cracks lengthen and then expand.
- "Fault" is taking responsibility or blame for a negative accident or misfortune. A fault is also when a land or rock formation is broken by a fracture, causing it to split open.
- This is the first episode of RWBY to be animated entirely from remotely at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
- When Oscar regains consciousness, silhouettes of Salem and Ozma's four children can be seen in the smoke in Salem's hand.
- Given the episode's long length, several lines from the final script were cut from finalized episodes. These include:
- Robyn attempting to bond with Qrow in prison between making him chuckle and comforting him over Clover's death, asking him about Team STRQ, which Qrow refuses to say anything about.
- After becoming frustrated with Oscar's unwillingness to speak, Salem taunts Ozma and asks him if he's hiding from her. She later comments on leaving Hazel, Oscar, and Ozma in the torture chamber while she strolls away.
- Main article: Fault/Image Gallery