EPISODE REVIEW: Sym-Bionic Titan: “Under the Three Moons” (Episode 17)

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“We’re going to die because you two can’t stop thinking about a stupid dance!”

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Illana can’t stop thinking about a stupid dance. She’s glum and grousing for home. She joins the homecoming committee and quickly sells them on the idea of a science-fiction-themed homecoming which is, in fact, based entirely on the “Harvest Festival” from her homeworld.

Everyone gets ready to go, amidst much travail for the guys and much giddiness on the part of the girls. (“Want to go to the food court? They’re going to take forever.”) Lance tries to get a date with the goth girl from a few eps back, but fails. Illana gets a date with the geeky boy from the Scary Mary party. Everything goes fine and it’s an engaging kind of fine at that. I’m not a huge fan of enforced frivolity, high school was stupid, homecoming is stupider than stupid, I’m not a nostalgic guy, but this was kind of charming and fun and sort of sweet in a fashion you don’t generally expect in a show this bloodthirstily violent.

Then it all goes wrong, and I won’t go so far as to call it ‘heartbreaking,’ but you definitely feel for these folks. They were invested in it, it didn’t come off, for Octus in particular it’ll have complications.

Back on Gallaluna, the no-eyed emperor sends yet another monster to kill the princess, fails, and takes out his anger on the guy who suggested this particular monster.

The End

OBSERVATIONS

Just like last week, someone unquestionably dies. Probably we should keep track of this…

Octus uses completely inappropriate force in the snowball fight, and knocks three people unconscious. As hilarious as that is, following it up with an irrepressibly chipper “Sure thing, pudding cup!” to Kimmy had me cracking up. His difficulty at the clothes store was pretty hilarious, too (“Enough!”) and his solution makes me kind of wonder why he bothered with clothes in the first place. I mean, is he wearing clothes most of the time? Probably not, I guess, but Kimmy insisted on going with him, so I guess he couldn’t have hid it.

Illana’s discomfort with an overtly slutty dress was pretty funny, too. It looked good on her.

The monster - in fact, the entire No-eyed-general subplot - seemed rather pointless and pro-forma. In fact, the only thing we get out of it are two throwaway lines: 1) The Gallalunan people’s spirits haven’t been broken yet and 2) Word of the general’s repeated failures with the princess have spread and are spoken about throughout the galaxy, presumably making people doubt his power.

My question, of course, is why all this mucking about with monsters? Given what we saw last week, he could easily muster a full-on invasion, so why not just invade earth and kill the girl?

Every girl in school is crazy for Lance, so the idea that he can’t get a date is pretty hilarious. Hooking him up with the ugliest girl in the cartoon was funny, too, and stopped just this side of mean-spirited. I do hope we’ll see more of gothchick in the future. She’s interesting. I doubt we’re gonna’ see more of Illana’s geeky boyfriend, however, it seemed pretty clear that he and marybell were hooking up after this. I should mention that moved the ‘ugly chick’ gag further away from mean-spirited. Interestingly, this show doesn’t hate any of these characters. They don’t like ‘em all, but they’re not mean to ‘em.

Which is an interesting thing: Kimmy, for instance, is a one-dimensional cipher that they forced into a character arc. She’s still one-dimensional, but over the last six or eight episodes we’ve discovered a ton about her emotionally, we’ve seen her paling around (Somewhat uncomfortably on both sides) with Lance and Illana, we’ve seen that she genuinely cares for Newton/Octus - much to her own surprise - and despite being shallow and bitchy, she’s not entirely despicable. Who saw that coming?

Likewise, I pointed out that the ugly Marybell gag never quite became mean spirited, and I think that’s a conscious choice: She’s not a bad person, she’s just ugly and awkward. That’s not her fault. It doesn’t make her a bad person, so why bag on her? Or take the overtly gay dude who was suggesting a 1950s new wave retro theme: again, there’s a lot of low cards in that hand, and they’re all kind of funny, but they never get mean with it. I dunno. For a show as bloodlusting as this, I find its dedication to the (unexpected) dignity of its supporting characters kind of heartwarming. These are just kids, afterall.

Just worth noting: Lance and Illana still appear to have no attraction to each other.

Illan’s tendency to go overboard and get disappointed is first officially mentioned here, and I suspect this is part of the still-fairly-hypothetical character arc for her that started last week.

How will Octus deal with being dumped? Will he tell her the truth? Will anyone tell anyone the truth? I kind of feel like they need to let a local in on this stuff now, you know?

Is it safe for them to go to Mall Omega? I mean, they trashed the place in the start of the season, and there were surveillance cameras.

This is now officially my second-favorite cartoon, after “Young Justice.”

WILL CONSERVATIVES LIKE THIS EPISODE?

Why not?

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