EPISODE REVIEW: GI Joe Renegades: “Cousins” (Episode 24)

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“Do you know how to tell the difference between a gator and a croc? Neither do I, but I be they both look the same from inside.”

Flint enlists Roadblock’s cousin Heavy Duty to help track down the Joes, under the theory that his familiarity with one of them will help him track down the whole group. This actually is a pretty good plan, since their grandfather has just died, and Heavy Duty knows full well that Roadblock will be at the funeral. Sure enough, ’Block is there, hanging back out of the sight of all. Once the ceremony is over, he goes to talk to his grandmother, who’s annoyed with him for not bringing his cousin along, but not for going rogue and all that stuff.

While leaving, Heavy Duty manages to capture ’Block, and while he’s taking him away, the two are attacked by Major Bludd, last seen very early in the series, when a weapons cache went off in his face. He gets all Road Warrior on ’Duty and ’Block for a while, eventually causing them to crash their car into a river and sink. They swim away, but are handcuffed together without the key (Lost in the sinking car). We get a fairly standard chase through the swamps in Mississippi while Bludd tracks them. ’Duty refuses to accept that ’Block is telling the truth about Cobra, but accepts that Bludd is a mercenary. Since the official theory is that the Joes have gone mercenary themselves, he sees nothing unusual in this, just a feud between criminals.

Bludd captures the cousins and is set to kill them via an [Sigh. Say it with me:] overly elaborate means involving an alligator, a bomb, a trap door, and what appears to be an old abandoned sawmill. Honestly, there seems to be some confusion as to what Bludd intends to accomplish here, made worse by him calling the Baroness and telling her he wants extra cash for his capture. While whatever the heck is going on here is going on - again, no clue why Bludd wants to explode them, then feed them to an alligator, then maybe saw them in half, then turn them over for money, then, maybe, explode them again - Bludd mentions that “I do like racking up a body count on Cobra’s money, but you boys went and made it personal.”

“Wait, so it’s all true?” ’Duty says.
“What, you believe *him*?” ’Block says.

The other Joes show up and rescue the cousins, and then the Baroness shows up on some heavily-armed airboats (Yeah, I know, that never stops being funny) and rescues Bludd. (Man, she made good time from NYC, didn’t she? Must not have caught any lights). We get a fight, several remarkably ineffective claymores, ’Block inexplicably saving the life of an alligator, and, just when he had the drop on ’em all, and was about to kill ’em, a gator eats Bludd.

No, really!

The Joes get away, and Bludd crawls out of the swamp missing an arm. “I hope you choke on it,” he says to the gator. The Baroness is visibly shocked.

The cousins go to visit their grandmother, who gives them both their inheritance: Their grandfather’s Tuskegee Airmen pilot’s wings, berates them a bit in grandmotherly fashion, then invites them - and the rest of the Joes - in for dinner. In the process she reveals that “Heavy Duty” was a nickname she, herself, gave the guy as a baby because “He could fill a diaper faster than anyone.” Evidently it’s spelled “Heavy Doodie.”

The End.

OBSERVATIONS

Bludd has a long scar running along his face, up to his left eye, and then up from the eye over his scalp. His left eye is a different color, and drawn with the pupil slightly larger, and no iris: Clearly he’s blind. This tracks, as Bludd has always worn an eye patch in the past (Though he doesn’t here). This might explain his for-suck aim in this ep. Losing an arm is new, though.

Heavy Duty and Roadblock were not related up until this iteration of the show. Normally ’Duty is a guy from Chicago. In this version, we’re told he was born and raised in Biloxi, and moved to Chicago to go to school.

The racial aspects of this episode were understated, but interesting. ’Duty says, “I have no fondness for the South,” but their grand dad was one of the Tuskegee airmen, the all-black Army Air Corps unit in WWII, and always said that race didn’t matter (I paraphrase).

We’ve met a lot of recurring characters - both Joes and Cobras - in this series, but Heavy Duty has gotten more screen time in this episode than any of ’em: He’s in like 70% of the story, gets half the good lines, and becomes a somewhat unwilling believer at the end. He doesn’t feel like a recurring character, he feels like a newly-introduced principle cast member.

“What kind of country bumpkin is so stupid he wrestles an alligator?”
“The kind that just saved your sorry city boy butt! You’re welcome!”

Flint’s Falcons have their own unit logo now. It’s pretty cool, though it looks like one for a football team (And in fact, I think we’re supposed to believe it *is* the logo of his old high school team). Flint has an office, and apparently a platoon of his own. Maybe this is why we haven’t seen him much lately? Lady Jaye, his usual sidekick, is unseen in this episode.

So now there are two falcons who know the truth: Lady Jaye and Heavy Duty, and one more who probably knows the truth or suspects (Wild Bill). Flint himself appeared to be starting to suspect the official story wasn’t the real story. Just the same, what is ’Duty going to do now that he knows? Lie to Flint? Try to convince flint? Work as a double agent for the Joes? What?

Whomever wrote this episode clearly is unfamiliar with alligators: they’re not nearly this aggressive. They’re not nearly this huge, either: the one that first attacks the cousins is like 25 feet long!

‘Block implied a few eps back that there was some unpleasantness in Biloxi, which is why he left. In this ep there appears to have been no such trouble, though he was evidently dirt poor. ’Duty, meanwhile, was ashamed of his family, moved away, “Got an advanced education,” and then became a lowly Sergeant in the army. Seriously: An E-5 with a college degree? Shouldn’t this dude be an officer? Weird.

Tunnel Rat can smell swamp gas. Swamp gas has no smell, however.

The Joes were supposed to be checking out an underground disturbance in Virginia, but ended up in Mississippi. Wonder what all that was about?

Ripcord is a full member of the team, though somewhat peripheral. He does hulk out in a fight and take down some bad guys, though.

Nice to see Baroness actually *Shocked* at something.

‘Block cooks breakfast for the Joes.

Man, were those the weakest, most ineffectual claymores in history, or what?

Evidently the Joes sleep in shifts on one of the two available bench seats in the back of the coyote.

WILL CONSERVATIVES LIKE THIS EPISODE?

Heck yeah! Lousy no-good Australians…

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