EPISODE REVIEW: GI Joe Renegades: “Knockoffs” (Episode 14)

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Flint and Lady Jaye take Zartan out of prison to help them find the Joes. Turns out Snake Eyes has been using the guy’s bike, and it’s got a GPS tracker in it.

Meanwhile, the Baroness has stolen the prototype for some experimental bio-camouflage technology, and wiped the mind of the inventor to keep him from talking or selling the tech to others.

Meanwhile, Duke and the Joes intercept the Baroness to take her captive and get evidence to clear their names. A fire fight ensues. Meanwhile, Flint, Lady Jaye, and Zartan turn up, and it degenerates into a three-sided fracas while Zartan escapes. He steals the Cobra truck - with the morph-o-matic in the back - and hauls off. Accidentally triggering the device, he discovers he can now change appearance at will. He was already a pretty good mimic before, so that’s working for him as well.

We end up with several of your standard “Which one is the good one and which one is the fake?” scenes, some nice character bits, some sweet Ninja action, and the funniest use of a squirrel in a cartoon thus far in 2011.

As usual for this show, it ends badly: the device is bonded to Zartan and can’t be used by anyone else, the inventor’s brain has been wiped so he can’t fix it. The Baroness is in trouble, and the axis of evil (As opposed to, say, and Axis of Subway Sandwich Shops) aligned against the Joes continues to grow.

OBSERVATIONS

I’m still not entirely thrilled with the new Zartan, but tonight’s ep went a *long* way towards redeeming him in my eyes, and giving his powers a semi-plausible origin. Also, I like that Zartan (After he gets his powers) really looks a lot like the old ‘80s version. Really, I think my reluctance to accept him is mostly personality-driven. He just doesn’t engage me. His powers - and those of his sister and brother - were never really explained on the original series.

Flint clearly didn’t believe the Baroness when she claimed shooting at him was all a misunderstanding. Lady Jaye already knows the Joes are innocent, and Flint’s not stupid. He must already suspect that something is up, or at least notices that aspects of the story don’t make sense. So how long will it be before he actually catches on and joins up with the Joes? My prediction is it’ll happen in the season finale, 12 episodes from now.

Interestingly, Cobra Commander pretty clearly wanted the camo-suit for himself. Exactly how deformed is he, and why? And how self-conscious of it is he? This is the first real glimpse of his actual personality that we’ve gotten. He’s all forcefulness and intimidation, and of course there’s an obvious covert and practical reason for the suit, but I think we’re catching a glimpse of human frailty there.

Roadblock's voice changed at age seven. He wears size 11 triple-E shoes. The only person he knows with the same size shoes is his cousin Herschel. He sang in the church choir.

I like how Tunnel Rat is the comedy breakout character of the show, but at the same time he's really annoying to everyone around him. Also, this was like the sixth consecutive reference to him not smelling very good. In fact, Roadblock is able to identify Zartan in disguise as 'Rat simply because Zartan doesn't smell as bad as the Joe.

It drives me nuts how everyone consistently manages to mispronounce “Baroness” in this show. They keep saying “Baron-ness” like it’s a name/rank rather than just a rank. (“Hello, I am Baron Ness of Loch Loamand”)

The whole sequence in the convenience store is possibly the funniest thing in the whole history of GI Joe: Duke goes into a gas station, and the clerk recognizes him from the news and thinks he's going to rob him. Embarassed, Duke explains that he's not a bad guy and leaves. Several minutes later, needing a car, Duke then comes back in, apologizes politely, and actually really does rob the guy. That's a great gag. I wish I'd thought of that.

WILL CONSERVATIVES LIKE THIS EPISODE?

Sure, why not?

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