EPISODE REVIEW: GI Joe Renegades: “Cousins” (Episode 23)

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Man, this was a good one!

PLAY BY PLAY

Jinx is back and, unexpectedly, in the employ of Destro! He’s hired her as an assassin and outfitted her with a snazzy suit of mecha armor, tasked with the job of killing Cobra Commander. Clearly the big D holds some resentment from the whole “Man in the Iron Mask” treatment. She impressively bungles this, taking out about a zillion guards, but unable to seal the deal. Meanwhile, Scarlet and Snake Eyes are planting cameras in CC’s office, but following the assassination attempt, the bad man heads back to the corporate headquarters to hole up in his panic room. The Baroness brings in Storm Shadow.

Snake intercepts Jinx, and quickly recognizes her. Scarlet is able to convince her that Snake *didn’t* kill her father, but was trying to save him after he’d been poisoned. This leads to a tearful reunion, followed by Jinx K.O.ing Snake and Scarlet to finish the job anyway. Once inside she ends up going head-to-head with Storm Shadown. Rather than fight (much) she reveals herself as his cousin, and explains that Snake is innocent, Hard Master was poisoned.

Flashback: We see Storm as a teen putting poison in Snake’s tea cup. A bungling waiter reverse the cups. Storm Shadow killed his own master! His face falls, he’s devastated, he just walks off without a word. It’s a pretty impressive scene. He’s been motivated by hate for half his life, and then the bottom drops out, on top of which he realizes *he* was the cause of it all.

Jinx busts in on CC, neutralizes Baroness and a random redshirt, and has CC on his knees begging for his life. She can’t bring herself to seal the deal yet again, so she turns and leaves. CC - who is in actuality Zartan - shoots her in the back, but she manages to escape to the roof. There she’s met by Snake and Storm, and they fight off a gaggle of Destro’s prototype Battle Android Troopers (Which aren’t as cool as the ones in the old show) as a team. Afterwards:

Storm: “I am…emptied…after what I have learned.” He then confesses the whole thing.

Jinx: “Why did you do this?”
Storm: “You know why.” He wanted control of the clan, and Snake was his only rival. He runs off.

OBSERVATIONS

Last week, Snake and Scarlet were conspicuously absent, this week, it’s just the two of them, with no Duke, Rat, Roadblock, or Ripcord. Presumably both these episodes took place more-or-less simultaneously.

Cobra World Headquarters is in Manhattan. The Cobra Tower is the tallest building in town. We see it in shot with the Empire State Building in the foreground, and it clearly dwarfs it.

Breaker has been feeding the Joes info since his first appearance, but this is the first time we’ve seen him to have an actual network of infiltrators. Interesting! Not bad for Private from The Penguins of Madagascar, huh?

This is the first time we’ve seen deformed Cobra Commander in the presence of one of his lackey guards directly. Heretofore he’s kept his appearance secret from the public, and all but his innermost circle. Here, he was being surprisingly open. One can assume these were an elite guard, something like the Crimson Guard Commandos from the old show, but their uniforms were no different her than normal Cobra troopers. This is also the first time we’ve seen him with his helmet off in a while. He doesn’t appear any worse than when he put it on a month back. I was under the impression that his condition was worsening. We’ll see, I guess.

Tunnels: We’ve known since the pilot that Cobra had an elaborate subway system for moving freight between their stores. Evidently they’re still expanding it. What for? Well, obviously to move troops and supplies quickly across the country for when their attempt at world domination begins.

This is not the first time we’ve seen Destro try something duplicitous to get out of his unwanted fealty to CC. It won’t be the last, either. I kinda’ like this new Destro. I like that he was actually trying to get Baroness out of harm’s way, and he seems to want her to take control of the company. Destro and Baroness have always had a relationship - I mean, heck, Destro, Destro and the Baroness, Practicing their Clarinets

- but it’s slightly different here. He’s interested in her, she’s aloof and only occasionally flirtatious. In the past iterations, she loves him and he her (They’re both bluebloods after all), but in this one, he loves her, but I seriously think she’s just playing him.

She’s smoking’ hot in the video above, by the way. Wow!

Unlike most shows of this type, and this early on in their run, they actually resolved a story arc! Wow!

What I *expected* to happen was that we discovered Hard Master was killed by one of CC’s goons, as per GI Joe Resolute (Review: http://www.republibot.com/content/review-gi-joeresolute-2009 ) and then Storm would continue to disbelieve, be a jerk, etc. What I *did not* see coming was how simple - and tragic - the actual cause was. I was surprised by it’s simplicity and plausibility: It was a botched attempt to kill Snake. What I was totally *floored* by was Storm Shadow’s reaction when he learned the truth. If this hadn’t already been the best GI Joe thing ever, just that scene where his face falls would have made it the best GI Joe thing ever. You can’t call it heartbreaking, because the guy’s a monster, and you don’t feel sorry for him. You can’t call it sympathetic, because, again: monster. What makes it fascinating to me is that it’s the moment when the bad guy *realizes* he’s a monster, that he’s not the misunderstood anti-hero, or the criminal badass with a sense of nobility. He’s not even the star of his own life’s story. He’s just the monster to be killed by some other star in their life’s story. It’s devastating, and of a sort so rarely seen. Color me impressed!

So next week is our last regular episode, and then we’ve got the big three-part season finale. Place your bets about what’ll happen.

WILL CONSERVATIVES LIKE THIS EPISODE?

They’d better!

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