After experiencing trouble in finding their bearings, Ruby Rose and Jaune Arc finally locate Beacon Academy's training arena, where all of the other new students are waiting. Yang Xiao Long, who is already among the crowd, calls Ruby over, and Ruby leaves to join her sister, much to the chagrin of Jaune, who complains as he is left alone. However, another student, Pyrrha Nikos, silently takes an interest in him.
Ruby angrily recounts her earlier encounter with Weiss Schnee to Yang, stating that after Yang left her alone, she literally blew up, oblivious to the fact that a scowling Weiss heard everything. Weiss scolds Ruby once more about the incident before giving her a pamphlet called "DUST for Dummies and other Inadequate Individuals". Ruby tries to make amends by attempting to reintroduce herself to Weiss, but Weiss sarcastically scoffs at her offer and insults Jaune at the same time. However, Jaune seems oblivious to her sarcasm, having only caught the part about "cute boys".
Ozpin steps onto the stage and gives his welcoming speech which, although short, is rather blunt. He states that all he sees in the students is wasted energy in need of purpose, which they believe knowledge will free them from. However, knowledge will only carry them so far, and it is up to them to take the first step. Ruby and Yang both notice that something seemed off about Ozpin, like he was not even there. After the speech, Glynda Goodwitch instructs the students to gather in the ballroom and prepare for tomorrow's initiation.
Later, after everyone is ready for bed, Yang and Ruby chat about feeling like they are having a sleepover before talking about Ruby making friends. Soon, the two sisters notice Blake Belladonna light some candles, so she can read her book. Hoping that they can be friends, Yang forcibly drags Ruby over to her. Blake simply wishes to read her book and be left alone, but Ruby is able to make a connection with her when she states that she likes reading as well, stating that the stories about heroes Yang used to read to her are part of the reason she wants to be a Huntress.
Although a bit astounded by Ruby's ambition, Blake reminds Ruby that the real world is not a fairy tale. Ruby responds by stating that part of their job is to make it that way, and Yang, overjoyed at Ruby's goals, hugs her tightly. However, Ruby, finding her too clingy, punches her sister in the jaw, leading the two to break out into a comedic fist fight. Weiss walks in on the commotion to complain they are being too loud while everyone else is trying to sleep before realizing she is talking to Yang and Ruby. Yang starts an argument with Weiss, who claims Ruby is hazardous to her health, and the episode ends as Blake blows out the candles.
The opening ends to an aerial view of Ruby and Jaune entering Beacon Academy's giant auditorium, filled to the brim with people. Ruby looks over when she hears Yang's voice.
Yang: (waving) Ruby! Over here! I saved you a spot!
Ruby: (to Jaune) Oh! Hey, I-I gotta go! I'll see you after the ceremony! (leaves)
Jaune: Hey, wait! (sighs) Ah, great. Where am I supposed to find another nice, quirky girl to talk to?! (he moves on to reveal Pyrrha standing behind him, hand on her hips as she watches him walk away.)
Yang: (once Ruby joins her, arms crossed) How's your first day going, little sister?
Ruby: You mean since you ditched me and I exploded?
Yang: Yikes! Meltdown already?
Ruby: No, I literally exploded a hole in front of the school! And there was some fire, and I think some ice...?
Yang: (smiling broadly) Are you being sarcastic?
Ruby: (scoffs as the camera pans around to reveal Weiss right next to her) I wish! I tripped over some crabby girl's luggage, and then she yelled at me, and then I sneezed, and then I exploded, and then she yelled at me again, and I felt really, really bad, and I just wanted her to stop yelling at me!
Ruby: (quickly jumping into her sister's arms) Oh, God, it's happening again!
Weiss: You're lucky we weren't blown off the side of the cliff!
Yang: (deadpan) Oh my God, you really exploded.
Ruby: It was an accident. (getting down; to Weiss) It was an accident! (Weiss holds up a pamphlet titled "DUST for dummies and other Inadequate Individuals" to Ruby) What's this?
Weiss: (listing off policies to a clueless and horrified Ruby, going faster and higher pitched with each word) The Schnee Dust Company is not responsible for any injuries or damages sustained while operating a Schnee Dust Company product. Although not mandatory, the Schnee Family highly encourages their customers to read and familiarize themselves with this easy to follow guide to Dust applications and practices in the field.
Weiss: You really wanna start making things up to me?
Weiss: (handing the pamphlet to Ruby) Read this, and don't ever speak to me again.
Yang: Look, uh, it sounds like you two just got off on the wrong foot. Why don't you start over and try to be friends, okay?
Ruby: (putting the pamphlet away) Yeah! Great idea, sis! (holding out her hand as she clears her throat) Hello, Weiss! I'm Ruby! Wanna hang out? We can go shopping for school supplies!
Weiss: (seemingly enthusiastic) Yeah! And we can paint our nails and try on clothes and talk about cute boys, like tall, blond, and scraggly over there!
Ruby: Wow, really?!
Weiss: (dead silence under her glare) No.
The girls' attention is drawn to the stage, where Professor Ozpin is readying the microphone, with Glynda beside him.
Ozpin: I'll... keep this brief. You have traveled here today in search of knowledge, to hone your craft and acquire new skills, and when you have finished, you plan to dedicate your life to the protection of the people. But I look amongst you, and all I see is wasted energy, in need of purpose, direction. (as the students whisper among themselves) You assume knowledge will free you of this, but your time at this school will prove that knowledge can only carry you so far. It is up to you to take the first step.
Glynda: (as Ozpin leaves, she steps up to talk) You will gather in the ballroom tonight; tomorrow, your initiation begins. Be ready. You are dismissed.
Yang: He seemed kind of... off.
Ruby: It's almost like he wasn't even there.
Jaune: (approaching Weiss from the side) I'm a natural blond, you know!
Weiss puts her hand to her face in exasperation.
The first night at Beacon, students are splayed out in sleeping bags. Ruby, in her pajamas and with a sleeping mask around her head, is writing in a journal when Yang crashes next to her, similarly dressed.
Yang: It's like a big slumber party!
Ruby: (not looking up) I don't think Dad would approve of all the boys, though.
Yang: I know I do! (purrs as she watches several muscular, shirtless guys... and Jaune, dressed in feetie pajamas, waving to her, which makes her groan before she returns her attention to Ruby) What's that?
Ruby: A letter to the gang back at Signal. I promised to tell them all about Beacon and how things are going.
Yang: Aw, that's so cuuuute! (knocked back as a pillow is launched at her face)
Ruby: Shut up! I didn't get to take my friends with me to school! It's weird not knowing anyone here!
Yang: What about Jaune? He's... nice! There you go! Plus one friend! That's a hundred percent increase!
Ruby: (turning on her back) Pretty sure Weiss counts as a negative friend. Back to zero...
Yang: There's no such things as negative friends! You just made one friend and one enemy! (hit with another pillow, this time looking like a dog, to the face) Look, it's only been one day. Trust me; you've got friends all around you! You just haven't met them yet!
The two sisters notice a candle being lit nearby, and Blake Belladonna is seen leaning against a wall, reading her book.
Ruby: That girl...
Yang: You know her?
Ruby: Not really. She saw what happened this morning, but left before I could say anything.
Yang: Well, now's your chance! (grabs Ruby's arm and lifts her up)
Ruby: Wait! What are you doing?!
Blake looks over her book to see Ruby unsuccessfully struggling against Yang's grip as she leads her sister over to Blake's spot before letting go.
Yang: (singing) Hel-looooo! I believe you two may know each other?
Blake: Aren't you... that girl that exploded?
Ruby: Uh, yeah! My name's Ruby! But you can just call me Crater... (smiles, embarrassed) Actually, you can just call me Ruby.
Blake: (back in her book) Okay.
Yang: (whispering to Ruby) What are you doing?
Ruby: (whispering back) I don't know - help me! (goes back to smiling)
Yang: So... What's your name?
Blake: (sighing as she's distracted yet again) Blake.
Yang: Well, Blake, I'm Yang, Ruby's older sister! I like your bow!
Blake: (irritated) Thanks!
Yang: It goes great with your... pajamas!
Yang: (as Ruby laughs uncomfortably) Nice night, don't you think?
Blake: Yes - it's lovely! Almost as lovely as this book! (Ruby and Yang stand there) That I will continue to read. (Ruby and Yang continue standing) As soon as you leave!
Yang: (to Ruby) Yeah, this girl's a lost cause.
Ruby: (to Blake) What's it about?
Blake: (surprised) Huh?
Ruby: Your book. Does it have a name?
Blake: Well... i-it's about a man with two souls, each fighting for control over his body.
Yang: (sarcastically) Oh, yeah... That's real lovely!
Ruby: I love books. Yang used to read to me every night before bed. Stories of heroes and monsters... They're one of the reasons I want to be a Huntress!
Blake: (laughing a little) And why is that? Hoping you'll live happily ever after?
Ruby: Well, I'm hoping we all will. As a girl, I wanted to be just like those heroes in the books... Someone who fought for what was right, and protected people who couldn't protect themselves!
Blake: That's... very ambitious for a child. (her smile turns into a frown) Unfortunately, the real world isn't the same as a fairy tale.
Ruby: Well, that's why we're here! To make it better.
Yang: Oh, I am so proud of my baby sister! (hugs Ruby into the air)
Ruby: (kicking out) Cut it out! (the forced sisterly bonding evolves into a dust cloud of fighting limbs and flying stars)
Blake: (laughing slightly) Well, Ruby, Yang, it's a pleasure to ha-
Weiss: (storming onto the scene in her own pajamas as Ruby traps Yang's leg) What in the world is going on over here?! Don't you realize some of us are trying to sleep?
Weiss and Yang: (at the sight of each other) Oh, not you again!
Ruby: Shh! Guys, she's right! People are trying to sleep!
Weiss: Oh, now you're on my side!
Ruby: I was always on your side!
Yang: Yeah, what's your problem with my sister? She's only trying to be nice!
Weiss: She's a hazard to my health!
Blake, who rolls her eyes at the fight, simply closes her book, reaches over to grab her candle, and blows it out, enveloping the scene in black. The ending credits play.
- The first half of this episode was the earliest dialogue scene to be animated in Volume 1.
- The book Blake is reading is about two souls fighting for control of one body. This seems to be a reference to The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, in which Dr. Jekyll struggles to control himself after creating a split personality, Mr. Hyde. While Dr. Jekyll is a kind-hearted doctor, Mr. Hyde is a foul-tempered murderer. The two personalities are often in conflict and attempt to contest control of the same body.
- Fans online transcribed the book from visible screenshots - it is indeed the The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, specifically the scene when Dr. Jekyll drinks the potion for the first time.
- "The Vacuum", the 6th episode of RWBY Chibi, jokingly names the book as The Man With Two Souls, and also names its sequel The Man With Two Souls II: The Man With Four Souls.
- It is possible that Blake's book may have been foreshadowing Ozpin's own circumstances as revealed in Volume 5's "Unforeseen Complications".
- Ruby's eye mask looks like the eyes of the Beowolves in their old design, and her pajama shirt has a heart-shaped red Beowolf head on it.
- The back of Weiss' information pamphlet reads: "Hey. How's it going? So, you're interested in Dust. That's cool. Hmm, I'm noticing that you're not very smart, though. Some might say you're a dummy. Probably think you can't use Dust. Well. You probably shouldn't. But you're going to anyways. So, if you are going to, you should at least read this pamphlet. That way you won't kill anyone. Probably won't."
- Yang's comment about Blake's bow was intended as a hint at Blake's identity as a Faunus.
- The event of "The Shining Beacon, Pt. 2" are re-told in Chapter 1 from RWBY: The Official Manga.
- Main article: The Shining Beacon, Pt.2/Image Gallery