EPISODE REVIEW: Ben 10 Ultimate Alien : “The Transmogrification of Eunice” (Season 2, Episode 1)

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Welcome to the second season premier of Ben 10: Ultimate Alien. I don’t know how accurate this is, but word on the street is that this is to be a loooooong season, thirty-two episodes.

PLAY BY PLAY

Team Ben is going camping, much to Kevin’s chagrin. He’d much rather do something fun (I’m right there with ya’, brother: Nature is none of my business), but Ben’s fans swamp him wherever they go, limiting them to hind-end-of-nowhere locations.

Because that alone would make for a pretty boring episode, a space ship escape pod crashes. Gwen touches it, and hit shocks her. Then it opens up to reveal a beautiful, naked teenaged amnesiac girl. Just like Firefly! Except, you know, blonde. And, well, River wasn’t an amnesiac. But you’ve still got the naked underaged hot chi…eh, nuts to that. Joke ain’t working. Moving on…

So she thinks her name might be “Eunice,” which is an oddly specific name for an alien chick to have. You’d expect something like, oh, I dunno, “Eunizord” or “Eunicron”

Or something like that. Ah well. Anyway, Ben’s instantly smitten with her, and she seems to find him fetching as well, so they flirt for a while. Animals like her, and she’s a vegetarian, and she’s basically got Animal Man powers. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Animalman1.png
Then Sunder turns up and starts hacking at everyone with his axe. At first Ben assumes he’s trying to kill him again, but, no, turns out that he’s after Eunice. Somehow he transforms her into something that looks like an Omnitrix core, and leaves.

More WWF Smackdownery ensues, and they manage to turn Eunice back into a real-live girl, there’s more fighting, and then Azimuth shows up to explain the plot:

“Eunice” is actually “The Unitrix,” an early Omnitrix prototype, which could only hold one form. It was inactive. When Gwen contacted it, it sampled her DNA, randomized, and cranked out the hot naked jailbait, as so many alien machines do these days. (Seriously, just watch Species. Whatever happened to Natasha Henstridge, anyway? I mean, there was She Spies, and then, nothing…) Azimuth hired Sunder to get it back, but once again Ben screwed that all up.

Given that he’s a colossal jerk, Azimuth was just going to stick her back in storage, but Ben talks him out of it, and she leaves.

The End.

OBSERVATIONS

I liked it. Nothing brilliant here, but it was a fun little action/mystery and it was paced pretty well, with clues in the right places. My kids figured out Azimuth was going to be involved just moments before he showed up, which is generally the mark of a well-timed mystery. Yet another solid outing from Dwayne McDuffie, who penned this one himself.

Dan Riba’s direction was solid, too, and this one wasn’t as oppressively dark as a lot of the 10 franchise has been. I mean “Dark” as in “Poorly lit,” not in the sense of “Emotionally oppressive,” though of course the show moved in that direction a lot last year. I like the brighter episodes. More visually interesting, and I feel the whole ‘90s “Paint it on black paper” style is a bit played out. That’s just me, though, not really a part of this review of this episode.

The girl was cute, I don’t know who did the voice, but really good line readings there. I have no doubts that “Eunice” will be a recurring character.

Kevin’s either got a new car, or his old one was off-model in like every scene.

We’re told that Julie and Ben are kinda’ sorta’ broken up.
“She dumped me!”
“No, she said you two might as well be broken up.”
This strikes me as kinda’ like the McGinnis/Tan relationship from Batman Beyond, where Dana was Terry’s girlfriend when he needed to have a girlfriend but *not* when the plot called for him to have a new love interest. It’s not an uncommon device, but it always feels a bit disingenuous to me. It frees them up to do different kinds of stories with Ben, of course, and it always felt like they never quite knew what to do with Julie anyway. She really *should* have been a more regular part of the team, particularly once she got the mighty fighty Ship battle armor, but, eh, I’ll not second guess them. I suppose it doesn’t really change much. Basically now they just have an excuse not to use her, as opposed to not using her and having no real explanation of it before.

There was no apparent season/arc in this episode, it was just a standalone like about half the episodes of Alien Force. I was a little bit disappointed by that, not because I feel we *need* to have an arc, but simply because last season’s ending was so abrupt. Now Ben and Kevin and Gwen are tooling along like nothing happened, when in fact Kevin went crazy-eight bonkers and killed vast numbers of people. Yeah, ok, granted they all got better, but you’d still expect a little awkwardness after something like that. I mean, heck, I yelled at my mom three weeks ago, and she’s still not talking to me, and that was just over whether or not I needed to go see a doctor for my cold. That’s really just nothing compared to getting stoned on superpowers and beating the crud out of Kevin and trying to kill his girlfriend.

Still and all, I can see why they’d want to put that behind them, but a passing reference would have been nice.

Interesting animation style on Eunice’s chest. I’ll just leave it at that.

WILL CONSERVATIVES LIKE THIS EPISODE

Absolutely! No reason not to.

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