her delivery and her expressions

One day, I hope I’ll be able to write exposition half as good as this…

Of all the improvements I thought I’d see in Volume 4, I never imagined one of those things would be Cinder’s characterisation.

Putting opinions about performance/direction/scriptwriting aside (hard I know), Cinder during season 1 is pretty easy to describe. She’s smug. She’s self-assured. She has complete faith not only in the water-tightness of her plan, not only in its adaptability, but in her ability to use all the tools at her disposal to carry it through.

And she succeeds. Cinder is wearing her trademark smirk almost all the way through that finale, even during battle. She wanted to be strong and feared and powerful and now she will be, of course she will be, she is so close, right on the cusp of securing that victory, all according to plan–

Until that one, final hitch.

That single blast of Silver Eye power destroys Cinder as we knew her. That “WHAT?!”, from the delivery to her expression, marks a shift in character that is only now being made known to us. She doesn’t petrify like the Grimm Dragon. Her fate is something worse: identity death.

She has, as Salem says, done everything right. She is the Fall Maiden. She has removed Ozpin. She has destroyed Beacon. But she is not strong nor feared nor powerful, and nor is she the self-satisfied, self-capable person she used to be. There is a crater on one side of her face, her voice is reduced to clicks and growls, but more than that she is reliant on her ‘tools’ to defend herself, to operate, where once they were simply accessories in her machinations.

Her plan - her plan, the one that she was so sure wouldn’t fail that she allowed her very character to be defined by it - did.

And now Cinder wants revenge on the little girl who killed her off.

I don’t know. I think it’s a good sign for Volume 4 if in a single scene the writers  not only provide context for the entirety of Cinder’s character up to this point, but take it forward in a very new, exciting and dangerous way.