"The Pilot" is the first episode of gen:LOCK. It premiered on January 26th, 2019, the same day as both the second episode of the series, "There's Always Tomorrow", and the season finale of RWBY Volume 6.
Unlike "There's Always Tomorrow", it was publicly free to watch immediately upon release. It was later made available on YouTube on March 9th, 2019, the same day as the season finale "Identity Crisis" was released.
In New York City in the year 2068,Julian Chase introduces his mother, Roberta Chase, and sister, Driana Chase, to his girlfriend, Miranda Worth. Roberta then proceeds to tell an embarrassing story about Julian’s childhood. The four of them then sit down to eat, and soon afterwards, Chase and Miranda leave, as they were simply hologram projections, since they are currently stationed at the Anvil. After the two leave, Roberta turns her attention to the news. Suddenly, swarms of Nanotechnology released by the Union slowly obstruct a speech which was being given by President Patricia Bartlet-Young in a United Nations building, beginning its assault on the city.
When Chase arrives, a swarm of Union Drones attack him and his squadron. Meanwhile, on the ground, civilians attempt to flee New York while the Union’s Nanotech overwhelms the defending forces of the Polity. In the sky, Chase and Simone Rasmussen, a fellow pilot, continue to battle the drones, as Miranda is deployed within the city.
After defeating several more drones, Chase and Razzle notice a Behemoth heading towards the city. After attempting to launch several failed attacks on it, Razzle attempts to deploy an ESD to disable the Nanotech defending the mech, but the walker detects the ESD and manages to shoot Razzle down before she can detonate her ESD. Colonel Raquel Marin orders Chase to retreat, but he instead attempts to detonate his fighter’s ESD to buy time for Miranda to find his family. He manages to charge and launch his ESD, but is shot down and crashes, and his signal has gone dark.
Four years later, Miranda welcomes Doctor Rufus Weller, Yasamin Madrani, and Caliban to the Anvil. The three are part of the Experimental Science Unit, or ESU for short. As they walk through the base, Doctor Weller asks Miranda how her battalion has been doing, and she states that they could just barely hold the border at the 88th.
Soon afterwards, Colonel Marin briefs them on Operation Coyote, a small mission to rescue a group of refugees fleeing the Union. Miranda, Leon August, and Jodie Brennan are among those sent on the mission. However, as they are loading the refugees onto a Razor, the Union attacks them, and manages to shoot down one of the Razors. Miranda and her fellow Strider pilots attempt to hold back the Union's forces, but are slowly pushed back. Suddenly, a pair of humanoid mechs known as Holons appear, buying time for the refugees to flee, and the Vanguard forces later retreat while unknowingly noticed by Union soldiers. Miranda notices one of the mechs has Chase's voice and gives his signature salute, arousing her suspicions.
Back at the Anvil, Miranda and the other strider pilots demand answers to who were inside the mechs. Colonel Marin responds by officially welcoming the ESU to the Anvil, and then, to everyone’s surprise, Chase appears beside Marin.
- Julian Chase (First Appearance)
- Miranda Worth (First Appearance)
- Yasamin Madrani (First Appearance)
- Raquel Marin (First Appearance)
- Rufus Weller (First Appearance)
- Caliban (First Appearance)
- Roberta Chase (First Appearance)
- Driana Chase (First Appearance)
- Patricia Bartlet-Young (First Appearance)
- Miguel Garza (First Appearance)
- Leon August (First Appearance)
- Jodie Brennan (First Appearance)
- Able (First Appearance)
- Simone Rasmussen (First Appearance)
- Prior to its release, this episode was broadcast on Rooster Teeth's live streaming service on December 22, 2018 at 10:15 (after a broadcast of the most recent episode of RWBY) in a surprise screening, which was teased on Rooster Teeth's Twitter account the day before.
- The title of this episode has a double meaning: while here it refers to Chase (the pilot), in television a pilot episode is sometimes erroneously referred to as the first episode in a series, usually to gauge a group's reaction to see if they should continue production. However, pilot episodes are not typically shown to the public.
- The four year time skip from the battle at New York City to present day is in reference to RWBY creator Monty Oum who passed away February 1, 2015, nearly four years from the January 26, 2019 premiere of this episode.
- A few people from the show's crew make cameos in the Vanguard's memorial wall: Michael Pedro, the art director, and Erin Winn, a concept artist, are among the portraits.
- As Chase flies between buildings, he stops by an apartment building with an elderly man in a wheelchair. That would be a caricature of Burnie Burns, who acknowledged the scene as "my cameo".
- The Toonami edit of the episode adds a grunting noise when Yaz's Holon gets impaled by debris.
- Nemesis' dropship can be seen in the background of the final shot of Union soldiers watching the Holons leave, four episodes before the character's debut.
- ↑ roosterteeth twitter: Caliban activate gen:LOCK, candidate Rose. 10 15 27.
- ↑ roosterteeth twitter: gen:LOCK initiated.
- ↑ graymartigan twitter: Thank you, Monty.
- ↑ graymartigan twitter: No, it is not coincidence that gL’s time skip is four years.
- ↑ roosterteeth twitter: Most of you probably didn't catch @burnie's #genLOCK cameo.