EPISODE REVIEW: GI Joe Renegades: “Fire Fight” (Episode 10)

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The Joes come to the town of Green Ridge, which was a nice riverfront town before Cobra came in and built a dam. They claimed they’d provide water and electricity to the townsfolk free of charge, and after the initial construction, the river would start flowing again. When the Joes get there, the townsfolk have decided Cobra’s no good. The mayor (Fred Willard) tells the Baroness that the courts have ordered the construction halted, and that the floodgates must be opened. The Baroness is not amused, and says that all Cobra-provided services - including water and the fire department - will be shut down immediately.

The Joes have a run-in with the local Cobra-employed firefighter, Gabriel Kelly. He thinks they’re arsonists, they think he’s a fool. The Baroness sends Firefly (Peter MacNicol) to burn down the mayor’s house, but the Joes show up in time. Firefly runs away, Roadblock and Tunnel Rat help put out the fire, but he still thinks they’re arsonists. The Mayor has already IDed them as fugitive who blew up a Cobra facility, and so the whole town is on their side. Kelly follows them as they drive off, and sees Firefly in a fight with Duke. Firefly runs off.

Scarlet and Snake eyes, meanwhile, get into a fight with Baroness and Mindbender on a cable car up the side of the dam, which ends in a stalemate. Baroness orders Firefly to burn down the whole town. A fight ensues, duke and the boys stop Firefly, and they blow the dam to put out the fires that were already a-burnin’. The End.

OBSERVATIONS

Not the most inspired episode, but still pretty good. They did a particularly good job introducing Kelly as a good guy who happens to work unwittingly for evil people. His slow acceptance of the fact was nicely done, and pretty believable. They don’t really have time to develop his guilt, but they do at least mention that its there.

Gabriel Kelly is Barbecue, of course, one of the old school Joes. There he was a military fireman, and infantryman. He was introduced in one of the weirder, funnier episodes of the original GI Joe episodes, “The Viper is Coming.” In this new iteration, he’s a civilian fireman who’s got some bad scarring on one arm. We’re told “Someone with a book of matches” cost him someone (Perhaps more than one) that meant everything to him, and he swore he’d do all he could to make sure no one else ever had to go through that. One wonders if that backstory will get developed. One also wonders if Firefly was the one who did it. In any event, Kelly is the first Cobra to change sides.

Firefly’s identity has always been unknown. Despite the name, he wasn’t specifically tied to fire. He was a Ninja (Again with the Ninjas. It was the 80s. Everyone was crazy with Ninjas. You can’t swing a dead cat in the Joe universe without hitting at least two of ‘em), saboteur, commando, and mercenary working for Cobra. Cobra outsourced evil to a lot of mercenaries. In this new iteration, he’s clearly insane. He’s also clearly disfigured, with bad burns peeking out behind his costume on his face and hands. He’s got a psychological attraction to fire, and he seems to have imbued it with some religious aspects as well. Again, one wonders if they’ll develop this backstory a bit more. I’d be interested to know what drove him over the edge.

We get a couple nods to the old 80s show in addition to the introduction of these characters. Firstly, Roadblock chants in rhyme. The original roadblock spoke in rhyme most of the time. Secondly, when the Renegades drive into down after the Mayor has told everyone who they are, people start shouting “Yo, Joe!”

Cobra’s plan was to use the electricity to power Mindbender’s bioviper research. Exactly where the water turning the turbines was going is unclear. The makers appear a bit fuzzy on how hydroelectric dams work (The secret, guys, is that the water flows in through one side and out the other…) They had no intention of making good on any of their promises to the townsfolk.

Everyone keeps pronouncing Baroness like they’re saying “Barron Ness.” It’s annoying.

Rank is acknowledged in this ep. Flint and Lady Jay do not appear at all.

There’s an Environmental element in tonight’s episode. Environmentalists hate dams for some reason (And yet they like Beavers. Go figure). Thus we’ve got a bunch of protestors complaining about a dam which, of course, has mucked up the local ecology. Sigh. The episode ends with the heroes blowing the dam, and the trout returning to the river and the town. Not too hard to figure the motivation behind that.

WILL CONSERVATIVES LIKE THIS EPISODE?

Probably not. The Environmental aspect is comparatively minor, but annoying just the same. If you’re a member of the nobility, you’re going to be annoyed by the continual mispronunciation of a noble rank. The action is sub-par. On the up side, however, we’ve got a fireman as a decent guy who does a heroic thing and changes sides. Who doesn’t love a heroic fireman?

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