Sixteen years ago, Scarlet figures out the combination on her father’s safe. He tells her there’s nothing in there so interesting as she may think, and he shoos her on her way.
Eight years ago, Scarlet’s father, a scientist for Cobra, perfects the MASS device, a teleported, in an effort to end war. He quickly realizes Cobra is evil.
Scarlet is on summer break, having just graduated High School. Her dad packs her up, and tells her to go to her new college six weeks early “So she can get settled in.” She’s furious with him for yet another of his ‘Broken Promises,’ and storms off in a huff, swearing never to return. Her dad gives her a locket with a red stone in it and a picture of him. He tells her to keep it close to her heart and not forget him. He seems nervous.
Shortly after that, Scarlet’s dad hires Snake Eyes to help him in some not-entirely-clear way: Kill Cobra Commander, perhaps? Whatever the mission, it goes horribly wrong and culminates with Scarlet’s dad and Snake holding off bazillions of Cobra troops at the lab. Scarlet’s dad asks Snake to look after his daughter, and Snake agrees. Her dad then throws himself into the MASS device, blowing it up before Cobra can get their mitts on it. The explosion disfigures Snake Eyes.
Shortly after that, Scarlet goes to her father’s memorial service at the house, and then never returns. “There wasn’t anything to return to.”
In the present, Mindbender and Destro are attempting to make the MASS device work, and having no real luck mastering the crystal aspect of it. Without that, the device simply eats matter, it doesn’t reconstitute it. The Baroness is displeased. Snake Eyes comes in, steals some stuff, and sends some email to Scarlet.
Scarlet, meanwhile, awakes to the ghostly outline of Ben Kenobi telling her she must go to the Deggobah system and find Yoda, who will teach her the ways of the force, excepting in this version it’s her dad instead of Ben Kenobi, and Deggobah is Atlanta and…uhm…I guess Yoda would be Snake Eyes, and she already learned the ways of the force from him….uhm…years ago? Ok, so most metaphors don’t bear close observation. Anyway: They head to Atlanta on the advice of Scarlet’s Dad’s Ghost, during which time Cobra learns the crystal is in the locket, and they can track it. They send drones and techno vipers and stuff.
Scarlet, meanwhile, is furious with Snake Eyes for not telling her about knowing her father, or keeping tabs on her, or, well, pretty much anything he’s done in the last eight years, really. She confronts him when he shows up.
They end up at Scarlet’s daddy’s house, and Scarlet checks the safe based on the ghost dad’s say so. It’s empty. A dustup happens during which Duke sees the ghost, too. Everyone escapes, but the Baroness gets the locket and gets away with it. The mansion is destroyed, and Duke resolves, this time, to take the fight to Cobra.
To Be Continued…
A lot of stuff to like in here. The MASS Device itself is a callback to the original GI Joe Miniseries back in the early ‘80s. The relationship between Scarlet, Snake Eyes, and Duke has entered a strange and uncharted new territory. I really like the whole “everything you thought you knew about me is wrong, and here’s what really happened” aspect to the Snake/Scarlet story.
The Baroness/Destro/Mindbender relationship in this episode provides a kind of counterpoint to the Joe’s romantic triangle: Snake loves Scarlet, Scarlet love Duke, and Duke doesn’t care. Likewise, Destro loves the Baroness, and Mindbender doesn’t care. Ok, so it’s not an exact 1:1 comparison, but there’s definitely a similarity in that these two groups of people are forced to rely on each other, even though they don’t want to.
Shauna “Scarlet” O’Hara is from Atlanta, and grew up in a neo-Georgian styled mansion. Let’s call it “Tara,” shall we? Notice, BTW, that neither she nor her father had any kind of Southern accent?
Scarlet’s in the habit of holding her locket without realizing it when she’s nervous or thinking. She attempts to do this after she loses it in this ep, and it’s not there. She clutches air, looks confusedly at her hand, and suddenly realizes what she’d been doing, then looks away. It’s a nice touch.
Another nice touch is Snake’s body language in the scenes with Scarlet. He loves her, and he knows full well that by telling her all this, he’s going to lose any chance he may have had with her forever. He does it anyway, but it pains him. This is well telegraphed by the way he carries himself, and the un-Snake-like pauses before he nods or shakes his head or whatever. I also like the forceful way he grabs her at one point, almost frantic, not as polished as usual. He’s losing self control. Well done.
The spinny bit on the MASS device struck me as a call back to the frequently-appearing randomly spinny bits in the wonky futuristic technology on The Prisoner. Here’s an example:
That might just be me, though, and not intentional.
The stone glows when the Mass Device is activated. Presumably this is because the crystal is part of the machine, whether it’s working or not, connected by some doubletalky wormholes.
So what’s the deal with Scarlet’s Dad’s Ghost? My hunch is that he jumped into the device when he destroyed it, and as a result is unstuck in time. Yeah, never seen that one before. Sigh. Anyway, I’d imagine that when the crystal is put in the machine, everyone it’s eaten will be reconstituted, including him, and then they’ll destroy the machine next week.
Scarlet’s dad’s plan to end war by inventing a fast way to travel doesn’t really follow logically. Generally improvements in transportation have been followed by more devastating wars. The Train led to vastly faster and larger troop movements and hence bigger battles. The car led to tanks. The steam engine led to Battleships. The plane led to Bombers…logically a teleported would cause devastating wars pretty much everywhere, pretty much all at once, pretty much forever. Which is, presumably, why Cobra wants it. Stupid hippie.
I like how this didn’t end on a cliffhanger. It’s a self-contained episode, but it’s a game-changer.
WILL CONSERVATIVES LIKE THIS EPISODE?
Sure, why not?