EPISODE REVIEW: Ben 10 Ultimate Alien: “Eye of the Beholder” (Season 2, Episode 2)

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Gah. Remember when I used to have live action shows like Terminator 2.5 and Stargate: Universe and Caprica and Dollhouse and Galactica to review on Firday nights? I really miss that. Friday night has become my Saturday Morning, and even though most of these shows are pretty good, I still miss my Friday night.

PLAY BY PLAY

Baz El, a Mechamorph, is stealing jewels from an alien Stonehenge. He’s captured by the aliens. On earth, Julie’s alien pet, Ship, freaks out and goes to help Baz El, abandoning Julie. “Oh, Ship,” she says in much the same way someone might become extremely frustrated and say “Oh, Excrement!” Only substitute a word that sounds like “Ship” for “Excrement,” and there you have it. I’m sure you can figure it out. I’ve been watching you for a while, I think you’re up to it.

Julie goes to ask Ben, her ex, for help. He refuses because she’s his ex. Kevin and Gwen both think Ben’s being a jerk, however, so they take the Rustbucket II and Julie and head off. Ben goes to his #1 fan, the 8-year-old genius who gives them occasional tech support and discusses his problems. The kid suggests he just go talk to Julie. He transforms to Jetray and flies through hyperspace to find her. Since when could Jetray do that?

Everyone meets up on the alien world, but no one’s happy to see Ben. They get to the alien Stonehenge to find Baz El strapped to an altar, being painfully interrogated. Ship gets injured, and Kevin discusses alien cake. Ship is better, more fighting ensues, and Baz El is freed. This whole time he’s been claiming he didn’t steal the statue’s eye, but it turns out he ate it to hide it. Ben inadvertently causes the guardian statues to come to life, more fighting ensues, until Julie takes the eye forcibly from Baz El and gives it to the blind sentinel. Placated, the statues go back to sleep.

Bas El gives a really funny diatribe about how awful and boring his life is, and then talks about selling ship as a weapon, but it decides to go with Julie.

Ben and Julie get back together.

The End.

OBSERVATIONS

Man, I’m sorry, I’m just not feeling it. I mean, I love Dwayne McDuffie, and there was a lot of really good stuff in tonights’ episode, I laughed several times, but still I’m just not feeling it. I can’t explain why. The quality of the show keeps improving, the writing is much better than it was, say, two years ago, and it’s a clever premise for a superhero show. And yet I’m feeling kind of Bened out. I can’t explain it. I’m hoping it will pass. I felt kind of this way last year, too, but the last third of last season put me solidly back in my seat and held my attention. And yet here we are again, with a solid show, and me looking at my watch. I can’t figure it.

My best guess is that as my kids have largely aged out of the target audience for this show, I find myself not enjoying it vicariously through them anymore. So that’s a review of me, not the show.

There was some very clever dialog tonight:

Kevin: “If I hear that one more time, I’m gonna’ go psycho.”
Gwen: “Again?”
Kevin: “It’s just an expression.”
Gwen: “And yet I still feel like I need to ask.”

Kevin: “You’re being a jerk.”
Ben: “So when did you become an expert on love?”
Kevin: “I’m not. But I’m an expert on jerks.”

Baz El’s whole diatribe - “Oooh! Argon! My favorite!” - was pretty great. The whole “Ben talking to a shrink who turns out to be an obsessive fan” was pretty great. The whole scene on the alien world where people keep walking away from Ben was fun, too.

“It’s not my fault that you missed the recap.”

Will Harangue makes a brief appearance.

We see Julie in Ship Armor again. Been a long time since they used that. I’m hoping the ending means we’ll see Julie as a more integrated member of the team. Always liked the character, never liked how they underused her.

“Baz El” might be named after “Farouk El Baz,” one of the lead geologists with the Apollo Program, and a personal hero of mine. (We used to sing, “Farouk, Farouk, Farouk is on fire! Let the Mutha’ f…oh, wait, that’s inappropriate. Nevermind.) It might also simply be a goofy way of saying “Basil.” I tend to read too much into stuff.

WILL CONSERVATIVES LIKE THIS EPISODE?

No reason not to.

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