This is about something that happened in VOL. 1 but it relates to what happens in Vol. 4 episode 10. Also a talk about the JNR dynamic.
This always bugged me and more so now. Cardin Winchester and his team bullied students, particularly Jaune and Velvet. Yet NO ONE stood up for them. (*1.) Not the other students, not even the teachers as Cardin makes nasty comments in front of Glynda and Oobleck and neither do anything in response. Now three people offer to help Jaune but it's suggested that he has to ask for their help before their actually do anything. Why? I wondered if this was some Huntsmen/Huntress code of honor but that's never mentioned. It might be the fact that Jaune doesn't want someone else to always save him but he doesn't voice this until he's alone with Pyrrha. Even if he did say this earlier it doesn't explain why no one lifts a finger to help Velvet.
Pyrrha and Ruby: Both try to get Jaune to admit Cardin is bullying him and to get Jaune to actually ask for help. While Pyrrha says she can't stand people like Cardin after he harasses Velvet she still doesn't do anything. We know Pyrrha is far too nice as Weiss previously got her to hurl Jaune into a locker just by asking even though Pyrrha truly wanted to be his friend. But Cardin is the first time it's hinted that she would have lost her cool with someone and she might have much later on when she's matched against his team.
Still Pyrrha is one of the few at the table that actually helps Jaune by offering to train him, talking to him and secretly assisting in his Ursa fight. Yet she does nothing but tick Cardin off in class which had nothing to do with Jaune. Maybe it was to help Velvet?
Ruby does have a heart to heart with Jaune and inspires him to put his team first. Otherwise she doesn't get involved in the bullying situation. Which is bizarre to me since a huge part of the character is her wanting to be a hero by helping people.
Blake and Yang: Honestly neither seemed to care about Jaune in this table scene which rubbed me the wrong way. I think we're supposed to get the impression RWBY and JNPR always hang out and are friends even if we don't see all the members interact all the time. Yang might have thought Jaune was weird but she at least liked him for being a good friend to Ruby. During this entire exchange she listens in to Nora's story and then remarks how hard it must be to be a Faunus. I don't get how someone that was known for having a short fuse would just be so passive when people are being bullied. Velvet comments on how Yang is a good person in Vol.3 hinting that the two are on good terms. Yang still doesn't help Velvet or acknowledge what's happening with Jaune.
I can at least understand Blake not wanting to get involved as she's hiding the fact she's a Faunus. At most she later mocks Cardin in class (which he doesn't care about later on for some reason), she only seems to care that he is cruel to Faunus though.
Weiss: She doesn't react to any of it which is pretty damn cold. At this point she doesn't like Faunus as her views were shaped by what the White Fang did to her family. Weiss hasn't cared for Jaune hitting on her but is she really fine with him being bullied? I don't think she would sit around JNPR if she truly loathed him as much as some assumed. She might just be daydreaming but like Blake I can kind of see why she doesn't do anything. At least from a storyteller's POV. It's part of her character development to get her to see what's going on in front of her.
Now the latest episode made me think of this scene because of the what lesson Ren gets as a kid. He first sees Nora as a homeless child stealing moldy bread from the trash and being taunted by other kids. Scared and not knowing what to do Ren tries to run away only to run into his father. His dad tells him the worst thing to do in a situation is nothing. Learning from this child Ren later sees Nora and saves her from the Grimm. Cut back to the table scene back in VOL. 1:
Ren: Corrects the details Nora discusses about her dream but does nothing about the bully situation.
Nora: Offers to break Cardin's legs.
I'm not sure why Ren is so quiet here but Nora's gleeful reaction makes so much sense. She knows what it's like to be picked on and she can do something about it now. Nora didn't actually do it because that was her only idea and it would likely get her expelled. Later on Pyrrha and them discuss the fact Jaune started hanging out with Cardin (due to being blackmailed but N/R don't know that. Pyrrha seems to suspect something.) Ren mentions it, Nora thinks it's weird and after Pyrrha comments on Jaune knowing what he's doing they share a look. Was it because she sounded angry or do they suspect what's going on? Do they think Jaune is hanging with the wrong crowd? Why don't they try to help?
I came across a character analyse once that claimed Ren didn't respect Jaune but I don't see that. When Jaune says Ren is like the brother he never had Ren returns the sentiment. We know the former has 7 sisters and the latter has no siblings so this bond is important to both. Ren and Nora wanted to protect a village before they had to help RWBY out at the end of Volume 2 and it seemed important to Ren. We now know that he was thinking of his own village that had no Huntsmen. Jaune made sure to let Ren know they would still go to that village later on because he knew it mattered to him.
Many have noticed how protective Ren has been towards Jaune in this volume. The hug shows that their family, which means so much to Ren and Nora since they have no one else. Nora has teased Jaune much like how a sister does and has shown concern for him. So no, I don't buy into the idea that their not close. I think the three of them are probably closer after Pyrrha died. Ren and Nora had no place to go but Jaune did. He chose to be with them.
*1 At least until Jaune later saves Cardin then told him not to mess with his friends. Unknown if this was just JPNR or Jaune meant "don't bully others in general."