For other uses of "War", see War.
It's all out war in Atlas. Our heroes face an impossible problem. Where do they go from here?

"War" is the the seventh episode of Volume 8 and ninety-ninth episode of RWBY. It premiered for Rooster Teeth FIRST members on December 19th, 2020 and was made public on the Rooster Teeth site on December 26th, 2020.


The Atlas Military sets up just outside the City of Atlas' walls and begins combatting the Grimm. However, Monstra repeatedly spews more Grimm Liquid from its mouth, spawning an endless supply of various Grimm, and flying Grimm come swarming out of its mouth, headed toward the city. James Ironwood begins evacuating the City of Atlas' residents into the underground subways, which were previously closed.

The Ace Operatives' airship arrives at the City of Atlas, with Jaune Arc, Lie Ren and Yang Xiao Long now handcuffed inside. Upon seeing Monstra, Jaune points out that that is where The Hound took Oscar Pine, but Vine Zeki insists that Grimm do not take prisoners. Winter Schnee contacts Ironwood, who informs her of a plan for her and the Ace Ops to carry a bomb into Monstra to blow it up from the inside. This sparks concern from Jaune, Ren and Yang, who fear this would endanger Oscar, and they insist on rescuing him first.

Inside Monstra, Emerald Sustrai secretly watches Salem control and direct the flow of Grimm Liquid out of the whale's mouth to create more Grimm. She then sneaks over to the torture chamber and eavesdrops on Hazel Rainart and Ozpin. There, she hears Ozpin state that, once Salem obtains all four Relics, the world will be destroyed so that Salem can finally die.

In the Schnee Manor, Ruby Rose and Blake Belladonna bring hot drinks to Weiss Schnee's bedroom while Weiss cares for the still unconscious Nora Valkyrie. Weiss states that there is not much they can do for Nora and that they need a doctor to care for her. The three begin to wonder if they should help fight the Grimm, just before May Marigold enters the room and tells them that Fiona Thyme has not heard from Yang's Group. May wants the group to go back to the crater in Mantle, which is also under attack, but Weiss wants to stay in Atlas. Weiss asks about May's family, and May tells her that the Marigolds do not consider her their "son" anymore, comparing Weiss' situation with Whitley Schnee to her own situation with Henry Marigold. The conversation starts to become heated, and Ruby steps in to calm everyone down. Just outside the door, Whitley is listening in, and he thinks to himself.

Ozpin tells Hazel the truth about Salem and the curse of immortality placed on her by The Gods. Hazel is hesitant to believe Ozpin, so Oscar takes back control, tells Hazel how to use the Relic of Knowledge and tempts him to use the last question to find out for himself if Ozpin is telling the truth. Having heard enough, Emerald walks away.

While Mercury Black packs a bag, Emerald tells him everything she overheard from the torture chamber, but Mercury is hesitant to believe Ozpin and Oscar. Just as the two walk out into the hallway, Tyrian Callows arrives and injects himself into the conversation, claiming that Salem is, indeed, going to destroy the world. This seems to cause Mercury to stop and think, but Tyrian soon nudges him along to the docks and pushes him into an airship. Just as the ship readies for takeoff, Mercury looks out at Emerald, who had followed them. The ship then flies away to take Mercury and Tyrian to Vacuo.

On the Ace Ops' ship, Winter listens to the Ace Ops and Yang's Group debate, silently conflicted. Jaune attempts to convince Winter to let them rescue Oscar by saying the Ace Ops could use them as a scouting team, but the Ace Ops feel it is foolish to risk three lives to save one ally. Ren stands and argues that no one is replaceable, and he soon notices that his Semblance has a new ability - reading emotions. With this ability, he realizes that the Ace Ops have been fighting how they truly feel about each other, and he even looks down at himself, seeing his own true emotions. Harriet Bree and Elm Ederne are angered by Ren verbalizing how they truly feel, and Winter steps in to prevent a fight and states that they will go through with Jaune's plan. Harriet objects, but Winter pulls rank to silence her and tells Yang's Group that they have a time limit. The Ace Ops drop off Yang's Group, and just before Ren exits the ship, he states that Marrow Amin and Winter no longer want to be part of any of this.

In the entrance room of the Schnee Manor, Ruby tries to suggest finding and rescuing Qrow Branwen and Robyn Hill, but May tells her that Qrow and Robyn cannot save them and they need to choose for themselves whether to fight for Mantle or the City of Atlas. They are interrupted by Klein Sieben knocking on the front door. After Weiss lets him in, he reveals that Whitley called him to care for Nora. Touched by this, Weiss hugs Whitley, who hugs back after a second. The moment is ruined by a loud rumbling sound, followed by a crash. Ruby, Weiss and Blake run over to a smoking crater in front of the manor, to find Penny Polendina, who reaches out and apologizes before losing consciousness.


The camera opens up on farm plains on the outskirts of Atlas. A squadron of Atlesian Military soldiers ready their guns just outside the city walls. As they watch, Grimm start running through the fields. On the edge of the floating landmass, the whale-esque Grimm Monstra roars, releasing a wave of Grimm Liquid that spawns a plethora of Grimm types: Sabyrs, Sulfur Fish, Apathy, Megoliaths, and more.

The forces of Grimm and Atlas clash as General James Ironwood looks on from the safety of his office. He scowls, then presses a button on his desk console, speaking remotely to a subordinate.

Soldier: Yes, sir?

Ironwood: I am evacuating all citizens to the subway. Prepare Manta Squad Omega, and dispatch to every part of Atlas.

Soldier: But sir-

Ironwood slams his fist on his desk.

Ironwood: Now!

Elsewhere in Atlas, civilians are seen lounging in a public park. High-pitched speaker feedback is heard before Ironwood broadcasts his announcement.

Ironwood: Citizens of Atlas, please proceed to the nearest underground subway station for shelter.

One man gets up from beside his daughter, confused and looking around for a threat. As sirens begin to blare, people start to panic and run for the subway. Then man is frozen with fear until his daughter points to the sky behind him.

Daughter: Dad? Look!

A swarm of Lancers weave their way between the Atlas skyscrapers, sending the man stumbling back. A squad of Mantas swoops in, opening fire on the Lancers. The man hurriedly leaps to his feet.

Father: We need to go!

The Ace Ops and Winter Schnee have taken Yang Xiao Long, Jaune Arc, and Lie Ren into custody, and cuffed them with Gravity Bolas. Their Manta approaches Atlas, and Atlas Military chatter can be heard over the in-ship radio.

Commander 1: We can’t get the Hard Light shields back up, sir. The generators took too much damage!

Ironwood: Then don’t waste resource on them. Beta Squad, the creature?

Commander 2: We tried bombs, missiles, but we can’t make a dent, sir.

Winter chimes into the conversation.

Winter: Sir, Schnee here. Penny is still MIA, but we’ve apprehended Arc, Xiao Long, and Ren.

Ironwood: Stand by for further orders, and don’t let those fugitives out of your sight.

Winter: Yes, sir. Of course.

Behind her, Yang turns to look at her with a grim expression.

Yang: Still just following orders.

Winter turns and narrows her eyes at the girl, then gasps as Monstra slowly comes into view through the windscreen. Jaune and Ren stare slackjawed at the gargantuan Grimm.

Jaune: That’s where the Grimm took Oscar. It’s even bigger than I thought.

Vine Zeki narrows his eyes, clearly skeptical.

Vine: Grimm don’t take prisoners.

Yang: This one did. If you would just let us go--

Yang makes to get out of her seat, but Vine and Elm Ederne grab her shoulders, forcing her back down. Ironwood's voice comes through over the radio again.

Ironwood: Cease fire. Manta squads, concentrate on secondary hostiles. Command is working on a solution for the creature.

Winter: What do you have in mind, sir?

Ironwood: We aren’t making any progress attacking the thing from the outside. But from the inside, it could be vulnerable. Science team is putting together a bomb. When it’s ready, we’ll drop it off as close to the target as possible. Then, your team will deliver it on foot. Sending your rendezvous coordinates now.

Throughout Ironwood's order, Winter's face goes through a cycle of emotions: pensiveness, horror, denial, and finally, resolution.

Winter: Of course, sir. We will hold the point and we will get it done.

Yang, Jaune, and Ren are taken aback.

Jaune: But Oscar’s in there!

Yang: You can’t do this!

As Yang struggles to break away from Elm and Vine's grasp, Winter's expression changes back to one of regret. Her right hand trembles before she steadies it by clenching her fist.

Meanwhile, within Monstra's throne room, Salem is directing her Grimm by making sweeping gestures with her arms, similar to an orchestra conductor. Emerald is spying on her from a short distance away. She seems conflicted about the present situation, steels herself, then leaves the room. In the hallway, she encounters the Seer but is able to evade detection using her Semblance.

Behind a closed door, she overhears Oscar Pine's physical torture at the hands of Hazel Rainart, and puts her ear to it to eavesdrop. In the room, Oscar is suspended off the floor by his wrists. His blood drips onto the floor.

Hazel: That stunt you pulled. She’d have killed you if you didn’t just pop up somewhere else. Still, you can make things easier on yourself if you start telling the truth.

He walks up to Oscar, who has a black eye, is bruised in several places, and has clothes peppered with dried blood, dirt, and scorch marks. Ozpin speaks through the boy.

Ozpin: You’ve never wondered why she recruited you? You, specifically, to help her find the Relics.

Hazel: We share a vision. She’s gonna create a new world order, no Kingdoms...

Hazel steps close to Oscar, almost nose-to-nose.

Hazel: ...and no Huntsmen Academies.

Ozpin: (chuckles) New world order. No. When Salem gets all four Relics, there will be no world left at all. Don’t you get it? She’s been alive longer than you can comprehend. All she craves now is release. Death.

Hazel punches Oscar, sending him swaying by his wrists.

Hazel: Stop lying! Salem can’t be killed.

Oscar blinks repeatedly, trying to focus on Hazel's words.

Hazel: When she came for me, I killed her over and over again. The longest she was gone was only a few hours, before she put herself back together. When I couldn’t lift my arms anymore, she showed me that, through her, I could have the vengeance I needed.

Ozpin: Oh, Hazel, don’t you see? That is why she came for you. Because she could make you believe that this is what you needed.

Hazel: This is what you deserve!

Ozpin: Yes! but Oscar? The people of Atlas, Remnant? You haven’t done what you’ve done for justice. You’ve done it for yourself. Because she pushed you to think it would help you. Well, has it?

In the Schnee Manor, Weiss Schnee has finished treating an unconscious Nora Valkyrie's injuries as best she can. Nora talks in her sleep.

Nora: Now what am I good for?

Weiss brushes a lock of Nora's hair out of her face. Ruby Rose and Blake Belladonna enter the room, hot drinks in hand.

Ruby: How is she?

Weiss: I’ve done what I can, but she needs a doctor.

Weiss goes over to join her friends, accepting a cup from Ruby.

Blake: Hopefully, May’s able to reach the others. I’m… I really hope they’re okay.

Blake glances out of the window at the Atlesian night sky, where distant red lightning can be seen flashing periodically.

Blake: Salem’s monster is making Grimm faster than the Atlas military can kill them. The city won’t stand a chance unless we stop it.

Ruby: It’s massive. Way bigger than a leviathan. What can we even do?

Weiss settles into a chair by the fireplace.

Weiss: Penny launched Amity and our message went out. Do we just wait for someone to come? If they even come.

Ruby stares morosely at her cup, red lightning lighting up her reflection in the liquid within.

Ruby: How did it all get like this?

May Marigold enters the room.

May: Fiona said your friends haven’t been heard from in a while. Unfortunately, the last thing they’re worried about is a couple of kids.

May: Come on, I’ve got the ship ready to head back and-

Weiss hurriedly gets to her feet, setting aside her cup.

Weiss: What? We can’t leave.

May: It’s chaos at the crater. Atlas has its army, but Mantle only has us. People are dying.

Ruby appears conflicted, but Weiss is defiant.

Weiss: People are dying here, too. Don’t you have family in Atlas?

May: No. Mantle needed me, and to the Marigolds, that meant I wasn’t their son anymore. And I made sure that everyone knew that I wasn’t their daughter. So forget ‘em. They’ve got Henry, yours have Whitley. You get what I’m saying.

Weiss: I don’t know about-

May angrily turns to face Weiss.

May: Which side are you on, anyway?

Blake: We’ve heard that before.

May steps toward Blake to confront her, but Ruby chimes in.

Ruby: There are no sides! We want to help everyone. We’re all facing Salem together. And together is the only way we’re going to get out of it.

May: (sighs) So, how exactly do we get out of it?

As the group ponders their situation, Whitley Schnee can be seen in the hallway eavesdropping on the conversation.

Meanwhile, Ozpin continues speaking through Oscar, trying to reason with Hazel.

Ozpin: "So long as this world turns, you shall walk its face". That was the curse cast upon her. But if Salem can divide Humanity beyond repair, and bring all four Relics together, she believes that maybe her curse will be broken. The Gods will rule against us and destroy Remnant, once and for all.

Hazel: Nice story. But if Gretchen’s death taught me one thing, it was never to trust you.

As Hazel moves toward Oscar, the boy's persona talks to Ozpin in his mind.

Oscar: Please, let me.

Ozpin: But, Oscar--

Oscar: You want him to trust us? Then trust me.

The boy closes his eyes, and Ozpin yields control to Oscar.

Oscar: Her name is Jinn.

Hazel stops advancing toward Oscar.

Oscar: You want her to come out of the Lamp? Just say her name. She can still answer one more question.

Hazel's eyes widen in anger, and he grabs and lifts Oscar by the collar.

Hazel: After all that, you’re just going to give Salem the password?

Oscar: No, I’m giving you the password, and hoping you’ll find the truth for yourself.

Hazel slowly releases Oscar's collar, his scowl turning to an expression of surprise. Emerald pulls away from the door, trying to process what she has heard.

Later, Mercury is seen packing an away bag with Emerald in the same room.

Mercury: He’s a prisoner, Em. He’ll say what he thinks will get him out.

Emerald: So you’re still going to Vacuo, after what I just told you?

Mercury: Those are Salem’s new orders, and I know better than to disobey Salem.

Mercury heads for the door.

Emerald: But--

Mercury sighs, turning to reason with Emerald.

Mercury: Look, even if what he said was true, we can’t stop Salem. You told me yourself, Hazel tried. He failed and he got in line. Big guy’s not going to pick fights he can’t win, and neither should we.

Emerald puts on a defiant expression. Mercury turns away, stepping into the corridor.

Mercury: And all of this is pointless, anyway. Salem’s not ending the world.

Tyrian Callows appears down the hallway as Emerald exits the room and joins them.

Tyrian: (laughing) Of course she is! You’re surprised? Salem is destruction incarnate! (giggling) Our mistress wishes to see the end of it all! There is no ideal more beautiful.

Tyrian claps his hand on Mercury's shoulder and curls his scorpion's tail around him, but just as quickly pushes him away.

Tyrian: If you couldn’t see that from the start, you must be out of your mind. (giggling)

He leers at Emerald and Mercury, his tail curling and uncurling sinisterly, then uses it to hurry Mercury down the hallway.

Tyrian: Now come along, Mr. Black. You and I have a date with the desert.

On one of Monstra's landing bays, Mercury is pushed roughly into a Manta aircraft as Emerald looks on, a mixture of dread and worry on her face. Mercury catches her gaze and gives her a solemn nod before Tyrian takes the ship into the distant Atlesian sky.

Meanwhile, in the Ace Ops' aircraft, Yang stands up to confront Winter. Elm and Vine quickly get up, grabbing her arms.

Yang: You can’t blow it up with Oscar still in there!

Vine: That creature causes more damage every minute. We cannot wait.

Winter has her back to the others, hiding her pained expression from them. Jaune gets up as well.

Jaune: Please, Winter, give us a chance to try to rescue him first! We… We could be your test run. You don’t know what’ll be waiting for you inside, right? So we can go ahead to check it out, and look for Oscar while we’re inside.

Marrow Amin turns to look at them from the pilot's seat.

Marrow: You want to go inside that thing alone?

Yang: Wouldn’t you do it for Elm? Harriet? Vine?

Marrow and Harriet Bree trade uneasy looks.

Elm: We don’t let feelings get in the way of making the right call. Trading three lives for one is stupid.

Ren's head is bowed, but as he speaks, he slowly raises it in defiance.

Ren: No, it’s not. He’s our friend. We will do whatever it takes to find him, because we care about him.

Harriet gets up from her co-pilot's seat.

Harriet: (scoffs) I really had you pegged as the most level-headed of the bunch, but I guess you’re just as naive. Feelings don’t matter, the job matters. When you lose someone on your team, you move on. Replace them, like Marrow replaced Tortuga and Winter replaced-

Ren leaps to his feet.

Ren: No! No one is replaceable.

Ren's eyes widen as he stares at Harriet. Surrounding her are red flower petals rising up from below like fire. She is glowering at him, incensed.

Ren: You don’t really believe that. You are furious about losing Clover, and you, you miss him.

Harriet' briefly lets her surprise show, but her expression quickly reverts to anger.

Harriet: You don’t know anything about me!

Ren glances at Marrow, who is surrounded by blue petals slowly falling like snow. Elm has rising red and yellow petals surrounding her, and Vine has green petals swirling gently around him. Ren finally looks down at himself. Pink petals gently fall toward his feet.

Ren: That’s why you lost against Team RWBY. You, you try to fight how you feel about each other, so you’ll never truly work as a team.

Elm lets go of Yang to rage at Ren. The red and yellow petals are still rising up around her.

Elm: Shut up! You don’t know what you’re talking about!

She pulls her fist back to strike Ren before Winter steps between them.

Winter: Everyone, calm down.

She takes a moment to study her prisoners' expressions.

Winter: Fine. We will drop you as close as we can to the monster.

Harriet: You can’t be serious. They’re fugitives and traitors!

Winter turns toward Harriet with cold indifference.

Winter: I outrank you.

Harriet's eyes widen in surprise before she relents, growling indignantly.

Winter: If you aren’t out in time, we drop the payload. No matter what.

Marrow turns back to face the windscreen, uncomfortable.

Jaune: We understand.

The Manta touches down on the outskirts of Atlas. As its hatch opens, Winter deactivates the Gravity Bolas tied around Yang and Ren's wrists. The latter approaches Marrow, who is standing guard by the door.

Ren: You don’t like this either. In fact, you don’t want to be a part of it at all anymore.

Marrow's expression falls. He seems to steel himself, and lowers his gun.

Marrow: I… I have a job to do, and I’m going to do it.

He heads for the cockpit area. Yang uses the blast from her gauntlets to leap off the ship, and Jaune tosses Ren his guns before drawing his own sword and shield, then leaping onto the plains. Winter watches Jaune as he leaves, her expression stony.

Ren: I know you don’t, either.

Winter, in Ren's eyes, has rising red and yellow, swirling green, and falling blue petals surrounding her as she fixes Ren with an indifferent stare.

After Ren leaves the ship, her expression betrays her concern.

In Schnee Manor, the girls, sans Nora, descend the central staircase.

Ruby: Wait, what about Qrow and Robyn? Well, maybe if we can get them out of wherever they’re being held, they could--

May clutches her forehead in frustration and rounds on the other three angrily.

May: No, see, you just don’t get it! This is not a situation where everyone wins. Now, you all can come with me to help in Mantle, or I can drop you off near the front lines, if you still want to help Atlas. Your uncle and Robyn can’t save us. We have to choose. So choose.

Ruby, Weiss, and Blake look at each other uneasily. A knock at the door draws everyone's attention, and they draw their weapons, creeping to the door. Weiss opens it cautiously, her eyes widening when she sees who it is.

Weiss: (gasps) Klein!

Klein Sieben stands in the doorway, doctor's bag in hand. He tips his bowler hat.

Klein: Miss Schnee! I heard there was a patient here who needed my help.

Weiss: I, I am so sorry, Klein. It’s my fault that Father...

Klein's eyes turn green as he holds his hat to his chest. He seems to develop a stammer.

Klein: Please don’t worry, my snowflake, it had nothing to do with you.

Klein's eyes turn red as he puts his hat back on his head.

Klein: And everything to do with Jacques.

Klein enters the manor and slams the door shut. Weiss walks him in, sniffling and wiping away her tears as the others put away their weapons.

Weiss: Well, that’s sweet of you. But wait, how did you know--

Klein blinks, his eyes turning sky blue.

Klein: Ah, young Whitley. I’m so glad that you rang! May I please see the patient? I understand it’s urgent.

Whitley descends the central staircase.

Whitley: Yes, she’s in Weiss’s room. Just go up the--

Klein: I haven’t been gone that long, Master Whitley. I believe I can find it.

Klein pats his hand on Whitley's shoulder before heading up the stairs.

Weiss: You called Klein?

Whitley: That girl needs a doctor. (turns away from Weiss) I didn’t do it for you.

Weiss: I know. That’s why it means so much to me.

Whitely gasps as Weiss steps forward to hug him. After some hesitation, he sighs and embraces her back. Weiss gasps when she and the others hear an explosion from outside.

Weiss: Did you call anyone else?

Whitley shakes his head. Ruby opens the door to find a smoking crater in the manor walkway. She, Weiss, and Blake run out to see Penny Polendina, crackling with electricity and covered with neon green coolant lying in at the bottom of the crater. Penny catches sight of her friends and weakly reaches out to them.

Penny: I’m… I’m sorry.

Penny collapses as the screen fades black.


Minor Characters


  • The subway station seen in this episode has a subway line to Pickens Square Station, in reference to Connor Pickens, the lead editor for the series since Volume 3.
  • Connor Pickens stated that the opening battle scene was a really fun scene and they tried to "pack as much scope into it as possible" because they knew that not much of the battle was going to be seen.[1]
  • According to Connor Pickens, the opening scene of the battle was influenced by "The Lord of the Rings" with him in particular constantly referencing it during production for the scene. The scene in question was influenced by the Battle of Pelennor Fields.[2]
  • When planning which types of Grimm to bring back for the opening scene, the Death Stalker was one of the Grimm considered and very nearly made an appearance. They were cut because creating and rigging new models for them would have been too time consuming for a large creature that would barely be used in the Volume.[3]
  • The scene with the Ace-Ops and Yang's Group was one of the hardest scenes for Connor to direct in this episode and he imagines that it was likely the hardest to write.[4]
  • In earlier drafts of the script, the argument where May points out that they can't save everyone originally started in Weiss' bedroom and they moved to the foyer instead of the scene beginning with them walking down the staircase.[5]
  • Connor stated that Penny showing up at Schnee Manor was not just a coincidence, she had been trying to get there since the end of "Amity" and had been fighting for control against the virus the entire time. Her path would constantly be redirected depending on whether or not she or the virus was in control, causing her to crash into things and injure hersef. It was not a straight fall and the landing was not nearly as hard as a lot of fans had assumed.[6]

See Also

Image Gallery

Main article: War/Image Gallery


  1. RWBY Volume 8 Directors' and Writers' Commentary chapter 7
  2. RWBY Volume 8 Directors' and Writers' Commentary chapter 7
  3. RWBY Volume 8 Directors' and Writers' Commentary chapter 7
  4. RWBY Volume 8 Directors' and Writers' Commentary Chapter 7
  5. RWBY Volume 8 Directors' and Writers' Commentary Chapter 7
  6. RWBY Volume 8 Directors' and Writers' Commentary Chapter 7