EPISODE REVIEW: Sym-Bionic Titan: “Shadows of Youth” (Episode 8)

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I have this theory that the number of reads on a particular review tends to show the relative popularity of the show in the real world. Well, duh, right? No: it doesn’t work for shows like “Lost” or whatever, where there’s eleventy-jillion sites covering ‘em, so the numbers on those tend to be rather soft. There are a number of shows we cover, however, that I’ve *never* seen anyone else review on another website. Pretty much the whole CN Friday night lineup falls into that category. Ben 10’s last episode got more than three times as many reads as did last week’s episode of this show.

Which is a shame, because this is a good show.

PLAY BY PLAY

A long time ago, on a planet two blocks over, Lance is a young kid, six or seven years old. He’s at his dad’s funeral. The King and The General (Who will ultimately dethrone the king) give eulogies about Lance’s father, their childhood friend. They arrange for Lance to go to the military academy, where he immediately runs afoul of a cadet named Baron and his cronies. They beat him savagely, and then torment him. This is pretty harsh. I mean, he’s just a little kid, and a fairly traumatized one at that.

Lance shows some inherent abilities in the Academy, but Baron continues to pick on him and haze him and get him in trouble. Lance decides to knuckle* down and try hard. At the end of the term, they have a wargame, and Lance takes out Baron fairly easily, and wins. Baron goes nuts and attempts to kill Lance, which results in lots of collateral damage, and both of them getting arrested. Baron’s dad bails him out, and the King lets Lance go, but tries to advise him and support him. Lance is not terribly receptive.

OBSERVATIONS

This entire episode is a flashback, there’s not even a frame story to set it up.

Stubbornness, drive, silence, and intensity is apparently a genetic trait in Lance’s family: both the General and the King say his dad was like that when he was young. Judging from the picture, Lance’s dad was quite a bit younger than either of his childhood friends.

The General isn’t even remotely evil here, yet. He’s actually a fairly nice guy, and very quick and decisive in action. He shuts down the whole fracas at the end almost instantly, and by himself.

A few weeks ago in flashback, we saw Lance’s dad didn’t die, but went through a portal to some other place. They refer to that again here, when they mention that his coffin is actually empty. Lance feels his dad will return, but no one else believes it. I’m sure this is setting stuff up for later.

Likewise, I’m sure we’ll see evil, psychotic Barron again.

Octus isn’t in this episode at all, though the princess has a cameo.

It's interesting to me that Lance never bothered to protest his innocence. He mentions it once, realizes that won't work, and never even attempts it again.

In keeping with the storybook quality of the series, Gallaluna is a very 18th Century France kinda’ place.

This is probably the best episode of the series to date.

WILL CONSERVATIVES LIKE THIS EPISODE?

Yes, unless you feel it casts a bad impression of extraterrestrial 18th century French military academies, in which case you may find it rather biased to the left. But if you're not crazy like that, there's nothing here to dislike.

* - I had to type that seven times until the spellcheck would accept it. It just looks wrong, even when it’s right.

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