EPISODE REVIEW: Sym-Bionic Titan: “A Family Crisis” (Episode 18)

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This episode was scheduled to run Tuesday night, but for whatever reason it was pre-empted at the last moment for some other goofball crap. They “Repeated” it today (Saturday), though really it was the first showing.

PLAY BY PLAY

Lance and Illana reason that it’s been roughly a Gallalunan year since they escaped, and decide to have a surprise birthday party for Octus/Newton/Dad. This goes well, but then they get a distress signal from The Men In Red, begging for help. Both Illana and Octus agree with Lance that it’s a very bad idea, and they should just let him to die, then decide to go help out anyway. This irritates Lance, who has fewer moral qualms.

Illana: “Maybe we could change their perception of us, if they realized we were here to help them…”
Lance: “We’re not here to help them. We’re here to keep you safe.”

Team Titan flies to a now-derelict Men In Red space station orbiting Saturn, where they find a whole bunch of people dead or dying, and the station entirely powered down. They meet up with Solomon, leader of the MiR, who explains that there’s a beastie who eats energy, and whatever is powered down can’t be reactivated again. They fight the thing, but to no avail.

Solomon recognizes calling the kids in was a mistake and selflessly (Surprisingly!) tells them to just go, then passes out from air loss. While Octus saves Solomon’s life, Lance and Illana discuss their options, and decide to send Octus home and deal with the threat themselves. Octus overhears and more-or-less lets it be known he won’t go.

In another dustup with the beastie, Octus is injured, and loses the use of his leg. Lance reasons that perhaps they can trap the beast, rather than destroy it. Octus cobbles together a capacitor that should do the trick. Illana stays with Octus in a reasonably safe location while Lance and Solomon go to trap the beast. This *appears* to be working at least somewhat when MiR reinforcements come. Turns out Solomon sent out a distress signal to his own people earlier, but wasn’t sure it got through.

Everyone evacuates to the MiR ship, but Lance falls back in harm’s way. Octus rushes down and saves him, but is drained by the energy vampire beastie, and dies. Solomon jumps back into the fray and hauls Lance out, along with Octus’ skull (Or whatever). On the ship, Lance goes completely ballistic, seizes control of the ship’s weapons, and completely destroys the space station.

Octus remains dead.

OBSERVATIONS

Well, I did not see that coming!

I’m sure Octus will eventually return in some form, but the fact that he died and stayed dead was pretty stunning. We’ve got two episodes left until the season (And possibly series) finale, so I’m expecting he’ll stay dead until then.

Illana’s goal seems to have been met: Solomon thanks the kids, actually saves Lance, and offers to help them in the future.

The birthday party scene was cute, particularly the scene where Octus blissfully pulls sheet after sheet after sheet of paper out of Illana’s girly gift bag, before he finally gets to the shoes. Him blissfully walking around in them was really funny, too. Also, nice to see Lance happy, and playing an impromptu - and not very good - song for the robot was a good continuity nod. The flashbacks to random incidents of Octus screwing up and improving their lives were really well done, and Illana’s admission that “You have become more than your job” was well timed and nicely done, particularly since Octus is pleased by this, but also doesn’t know how to respond. Though it was predictable almost from the outset that Octus would die, and these personal moments telegraphed that, their sense of loss was really palpable.

So Titan is out of the show for probably the rest of the season. Can’t form it without him. The MiR are realistically all that’s protecting earth from the Mutradi now.

How will they explain Octus’ absence at school? How will they explain “Dad”s absence around the neighborhood? How will Lance and Illana deal with this? What will become of Kimmy? (I have to think Kimmy isn’t out of the show, and I have to think that eventually they’ll let her in on the secret)

Gallalunans evidently reckon time by “Lunar Cycles” rather than solar years. This makes sense as they’ve got 3 big moons. The “Harvest Festival Dance” from a few eps back showed the three moons lined up in a triangle in winter time, the implication being that it’s a regular event. I’d assume that’s their new years. Thus, presumably, the Mutradi invasion took place very shortly thereafter. The Gallalunan “Lunar Cycle” would appear to be considerably shorter than an earth year. When the kids got to earth, the school year was already going on, and it’s still going on, ergo the Lunar Cycle has to be less than, say, nine months. Though they’ve made it repeatedly clear that Lance is about 16 or 17, in Gallalunan reckoning he’d be about 23 or 25. I wonder if that’s at all relevant. Probably not. I’m OCD, y’see.

I like the episodes where they have bad guys other than the Mutradi. Though I like the flashback episodes, I find them kinda’ tedious most of the time.

WILL CONSERVATIVES LIKE THIS EPISODE?

Love? Family? Noble self-sacrifice? Defining a person as a person, regardless of their age or origins? Those are core values for us, don’t you think?

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