EPISODE REVIEW: GI Joe Renegades: “The Anomaly” (Episode 21)

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After a surprisingly long hiatus, GI Joe returns with a mild surprise: Ripcord is back in the opening credits! And he’s on the team. Yeah, I know he left with the team when they rescued him in the previous episode, but so did Shipwreck a while back, you know? So they’re open to expanding the core team, rather than just endlessly lining up allies and enemies. That’s a nice touch.

Oh, yeah, the episode: Meh. Good meh, but still basically meh.

PLAY BY PLAY

Dr. Mindbender is merging human DNA with a Bioviper for unclear reasons. The viper fails, falls to goo, and goes literally down the drain. Later on, some wannabe gang bangers are roughing up a kid named “Reggie” when said bioviper reject beats the crap out of one of them.

Ripcord is having nightmares of hulking out and killing Scarlet and Snake Eyes. Fortunately, they’re just dreams, and Scarlet and the ninja are off on a mission anyway. Tunnel Rat, meanwhile, is following a story about a missing kid in Brooklyn (His home town). The gangbanger kid - in the hospital - describes the monster, and the Joes recognize it as a bioviper. Since it’s a slow week, they head to NYC to check it out.

Tunnel Rat meets up with his older brother (Voiced by Daniel Dae Kim of Lost and Crusade), who’s a youth center leader for the city. He gets them in to see the gangbanger in the hospital, who confirms what they suspect. Tunnel Rat takes charge:

Duke: “Who died and made you Scarlet?”

The four Joes head into the sewer to find the kid, and after much Buffyesque walking and talking in the sewer, they do. They get into a fight with the reject bioviper who’s green, so, since I’ve already made one Hulk reference in this review, we’ll just call him “Greenie.” (I toyed with calling him “Shane McGowan” since he’s got really bad teeth, but decided that was too obscure). Anyway, Greenie gets in a fight with them, then gets away. The kid explains that Greenie was protecting him, so he followed it into the sewers since no one else ever bothered to protect him. Roadblock (unwillingly) takes the kid home while the others move on. Ripcord mentions that he felt like Greenie was trying to protect him during the fight, whatever that means. Oh, and I should have mentioned before that Ripcord can sense when Greenie’s around and track him.

Mindbender, meanwhile, after being threatened with death by Cobra Commander, goes to recover Greenie himself. He meets up with the Joes in the sewer with four Biovipers, and promptly takes charge of Ripcord, who hulks out and attacks the other Joes. Tunnel Rat’s brother shows up and they momentarily get the advantage, capturing Mindbender, but it turns out he left a failsafe in the biovipers, and they’ll explode if his mind control helmet is severed. If they blow up, with all the fumes in the sewers, “They’ll take out half of Brooklyn”

Mindbender: “Then the Bronx can thank me afterwards.”

They let him go, and he once again captures everything and hulks out Ripcord. Then Greenie shows up and fights, then engulfs Ripcord, and pulls out the mind control chip in his head. Greenie lets him go. Ripcord retains his powers, but is no longer a slave. He destroys Mindbender’s helmet, and the doctor flees. The other Biovipers are about to explode, but Greenie sacrifices himself to save the Joes.

The end.

OBSERVATIONS

So what’s the mission Scarlet and Snake Eyes were on? Will we find out next week? This is the first time we’ve seen the Joes separated for more than a few hours. Will they be operating more in smaller teams in the future? Will the Joes continue to add more active members like Ripcord? My hunch is probably not before the end of the season (5 episodes left), but if they do then the ‘small team’ thing would make sense.

It seems rather abrupt to me that in the last ep they re-introduce Ripcord and stress that he has no control over his Hulkification, then in the very next episode they give him control. It feels like they intended a longer arc there initially, then changed their minds. Ah well.

This was an ok episode, nothing really wrong with it, but it didn't sing and dance, really, and there was nothing particularly clever. "Wandering through the sewers" episodes are such a cliche. It didn't wow me. The scene where they let Mindbender go and immediately got captured really didn't make any sense.

Is Greenie really dead? Will we see him again? My hunch is “Yes.” Why was he trying to protect them?

Mindbender was merging human DNA with the Biovipers. *Who’s* DNA was it? Not his own, surely? I suspect it was Cobra Commander’s. CC is very sick (No longer showing his face at all) and he makes it very clear in this episode that he’s dying unless the bad doctor can find a cure. I’m assuming he’s hoping to save him by some kind of merger with Bioviper tech. I’m assuming that since Ripcord is the only human that’s successfully merged with a Bioviper, that’s why they were so interested in him as “Patient Zero.”

That said, I’m surprised CC is so murderously threatening with Mindbender: He’s made it clear that Mindbender’s the only one who can save him, so why does he keep threatening to kill him, knowing it’ll mean he - CC - will die, rather than *may* die? I’m thinking CC probably doesn’t hold out a lot of hope for Mindbender’s work.

We’ve seen that they’ve screwed around with the relationships of the characters a bit in this show already: Breaker is English, Lady Jaye is Hispanic, Lt. Falcon is Duke’s brother rather than step-brother, both Duke’s parents are still alive, etc. With that in mind, I find myself wondering if Tunnel Rat’s older brother is Quick Kick, or some variation thereof. In all previous iterations of this franchise they’re not (TR’s real surname is “Lee” and QK’s real surname is “Ito’), but when Rat said “You still kick like a girl, Bro,” it made me wonder.

Duke: “Ripcord can sense biovipers, Tunnel Rat’s swinging around like a monkee…I’m almost afraid to ask what your secret ability is.”
Roadblock: “I can play the accordion.”

Since the Lee family are Jewish, and since Rat mentioned that his family ran a restaurant in Brooklyn, there’s been some speculation as to whether or not it’s a deli. It’s not. It’s a traditional (And apparently very nice) Chinese restaurant.

So it’s time to place your bets for how the season will end. My hunch is that Duke will finally realize that the Joes are on the level, and start covertly helping them out - possibly with the assistance of General Hawk - but there won’t be enough proof to actually do anything official about it, so the Joes will be officially on the lam, but unofficially with the support of Hawk. Kinda’ like the final season of “The A Team.”

WILL CONSERVATIVES LIKE THIS EPISODE?

Heck yeah!

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