Before we begin tonight, I want to mention the passing of Clement Suave a week and a half ago. Mister Suave was a comic book artist, and he also did the character redesigns for GI Joe: Renegades. He died of cancer at age thirty three. Far too awful a fate at far too young an age for anyone, but doubly so in the case of someone so talented. Our prayers go out for his soul, and for his family.
I’d also like to thank R2 for pinch-hitting for me and writing last week’s review, and for fans of the show and GI Joe in general, I promise never, never, never, ever to let him do that again.
PLAY BY PLAY
The Joes have settled into the general plan of trying to nab Dr. Mindbender, and bring him to the authorities, whereupon he will admit their guilt and everyone will live happily ever after, excepting Ripcord, who’s dead. This is a bad plan on many levels, but for tonight let’s focus on the obvious one: dude moves around a lot.
Attempting to extract him from a Cobra facility goes badly wrong, and nearly gets everyone killed again (Hereafter we’ll just say “NGEKA” since it happens every week), and Scarlet blows up a communications tower in more or less impotent rage, which just makes things worse as the tower falls on them. They get away, however, and check in with Breaker (Played by “Private” from The Penguins of Madagascar).
Meanwhile, “Adam DeCobray” calls James McCullen on the carpet over his debacle in Chicago (Cf: “Rage”, episode 3). Cobra’s invested 14 BILLION in McCullen’s Ironman armor, without anything to show for it. James will produce a working prototype, or else Cobra will assume command of his company. McCullen and Mindbender are forced to work together - not at all well - on making the armor work with Mindbender’s biovipers. This results in a dead bioviper, who’s remains are stashed on a cobra junk barge which is, in fact, a cobra weapons barge.
Someone leaks info to the Joes, who investigate, accidentally revive the bioviper, and blow up the barge.
Later on, someone - well, duh, it’s McCullen - leaks info to them about Mindbender’s location. They go in once again to extract him, but of course this is all part of a complex plan by McCullen to take Mindbender down a peg or three. During the attack, he shows DeCobray and the Baroness how Mindbender’s upgrades to his biovipers actually make them less useful. He then demonstrates his new and improved armor, which works well. They watch the battle live on surveillance cameras.
“You now have your working prototype, and this concludes my responsibilities to Cobra Industries. If, for some unfathomable reason, you want Dr. Mindbender alive, I’d be willing to rescue him in exchange for an order of, say, 10,000 units, with a fifty percent deposit up front.”
To which “DeCobray” responds, “An interesting presentation, would you like to hear my counter-offer?”
Suddenly, bioviper goo pours on some of the exoarmor, becoming essentially biological exo armor, or exo-exo armor. How cool is that? They whup up on McCullen’s iron man armor, and the Joes escape in the process.
McCullen realizes Cobra was playing him all along. “DeCobray” reveals himself as Cobra Commander, and takes controlling interest of M.A.R.S. Industries. He basically enslaves James McCullen, forcing him to permanently wear a metal mask as an eternal reminder of his servitude, and forces him to answer to the name “Destro,” a name clan McCullen reserves for those who have betrayed their proud lineage and brought disgrace to the family.
This one took a while to get going, the first half was pretty formatty, but the second half was great. All twisty and turny. One of the things I love about this show is the slow burn way it’s taking about setting up all of our known adversaries. Each of them has a run-in with the Joes, each one goes for revenge, and this revenge eventually leads them all to Cobra.
In previous iterations of the franchise, it was the Cobra-and-Destro show, with all the other villains being secondary and basically disposable. In this one, the minor bad guys tend to be more front and center, but they orbit Cobra Commander, which makes him seem bigger and badder by extension. I mean, this is only the third or fourth time he’s shown up in the series!
I also like that the bad guys aren’t fully-formed yet. McCullen only “Became” Destro at the end, and it was interesting to see him slide into that. Interesting to see the monster before he became a monster, basically.
We see some riffs of the previous shows here, though: Destro and Baroness clearly like each other, but it’s more formal than we’ve seen, more flirting. They haven’t done anything yet, and while Baroness clearly is loyal to Cobra, there’s some hesitancy, a sense that her loyalty is unquestioning, but not entirely freely given. These characters aren’t as well fleshed out as, say, Young Justice, but they definitely feel more depth and heft than any Joe characters we’ve ever seen before.
An elaborate in-joke: Mindbender gave an enormous cobra to “DeCobray” as a present. Later on, Cobra Commander calls it “Serpentor.” In the original cartoon, Dr. Mindbender spearheaded a project that genetically engineered the “Cobra Emperor,” by the name of “Serpentor.” Serpentor kills someone in this episode, by the way.
Breaker’s blog is apparently pretty popular with Cobra Enterprises employees, some of whom check it out frequently. Doesn’t stop ‘em from working for the company, but if the boss finds out you may well end up as Purina snake chow.
Who’s the scarfaced dude? One of my kids thought it was Bludd, but I don’t think so.
We see yet again that Scarlet is smart, and has a lot of common sense, but she’s not a leader. Duke is a born leader, but he doesn’t see it, which, ironically, adds to his men’s devotion to him.
It’ll be interesting to see how the new dynamic between Destro and Cobra Commander plays out, seeing as Destro is clearly not a willing servant. Duke noted that Cobra and M.A.R.S. were fighting each other. Will this be something the Joes can exploit, or does the hostile takeover heal that breach?
WILL CONSERVATIVES LIKE THIS EPISODE?
Duh! It's GI Joe! The only conservatives who don't like GI Joe are soreheaded old cranks who haven't been paying attention since the Kung-Fu Grip days, and only show their heads to complain about all this "Newfangled" stuff from 1981. But for the non-cootish, heck yeah! This is great stuff!
It's a busy night tonight, lots of shows, lots of reviews going up. Check back often, new stuff'll be going up pretty frequently.