ANIMORPHS Season 2, Episode 1: Face Off, Part 3

Wow, oh man, Season 2. It feels like only yesterday we began this impossible journey together. And here we are, months later, hurtling facefirst into the utmost darkness without an overcoat.

Last Season, on The Changelings:

A sad alien crashed on Earth and died. But first, to help them save the planet from some fucking incompetent parasitic outer-space overlords, he bestowed the power to morph into animals (hence the title, Goosebumps) to five teenagers. They proceeded to have a bunch of inconsequential adventures that rarely involved turning into animals. Except that time one of them got permanently trapped as a bird. Occasionally, they attempted to recover the Andalite Disk, a plot device of undetermined purpose. Oh, and the dead alien’s brother started hanging out with them and making faces.

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After the gang and the evil aliens spent twenty or so episodes dicking around, everything came to a head at the BIG HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL GAME. Evil Alien Vice Principal and Evil Alien Jake’s Brother planned to shove brain slugs into the heads of every student at the game (and also to release an army of Super Way Cool Mega-Brainslugs). We ended on a real humpdumpfery of a cliffhanger: Cassie & Ax were being dragged off toward infestation; Tobias, given human form again by the magical plot device disk, was posing as an alien slave with Rachel morphed into a brain-slug inside his skull (wait, what?); Jake, trapped by his Evil Dick Brother in a Cave Prison Room, morphed into that brother to cause some REAL CONFUSION.

Oh, and this man was crushed to death.

Oh, and this man was crushed to death.

We pick up with a first-person view of the Cobweb Cave housing the Super Baby Yeerks.

Now made of toilet paper.

Now made of toilet paper.

Already I’m astounded by what I”m seeing. This Yeerk lady is cradling a bunch of Newborn Yeerk Web-Sacs, cooing at them in baby-talk about getting them into their first hosts.

Why!

Why!

She carries the plastic bag full of baby Yeerks toward the pool, and we pan to Marco, Tobias, and Rachel-in-Tobias’s-Head-in-His-Heeeead-Zombie-Zoooombie. They’re just standing there, hands in their pockets, straight chilling. Okay.

"SURE IS FUN DOWN HERE, BIRD."

“SURE IS FUN DOWN HERE, BIRD.”

Also, I don’t know if this is a Netflix issue or what, everything is moving at a super-low frame-rate and I’m freakin’ out!

They discuss the SuperYeerks. Tobias/Rachel want to go set them on fire or something. But Marco remembers, “Yo, guys, we should make sure Jake is not dead.” They resolve to deal with that when they find away around the heavy Controller security.

A few feet away, Ax and Cassie are in line to be, as Tobias calls it, “Yeerked.”

Look how annoyed that cheerleader is with being assimilated by alien warlords.

Look how annoyed that cheerleader is with being assimilated by alien warlords.

Rachel thought-speaks to Ax, who reveals that he only has like a hot minute until his 2-hour time limit is up and he’s trapped as a goofy-looking teenage boy forever, like what happened to Frankie Muniz.

Back at Too Many Toms, I guess they fixed that light Jake shattered last week, because everything is bright as shit.

I do not need all these Toms.

I do not need all these Toms.

Also, it looks like a completely different room. So, there are two Toms now, and Visser Trent is like “this is really annoying.”

Tom 1 starts to tell his Alien Life Story to prove his Tom-ness, but Tom 2 is like “go get a scanner or whatever, and we will solve this by scanning me with the scanner.” But Tom 2 fucks up by not calling his Bowl-Cut underling by his official Yeerk numerical code designation. Uh-oh!

Smug Bitch.

Smug Bitches.

Back at the pool, there’s a bit where Tobias is getting real sick of Rachel accidentally making him do shit by being an alien slug in his brain-ass brain. But Rachel starts having some kind of manic episode, because I guess being a slug stuck in a head sucks, and decides she needs to get the fuck out and be a teenage girl again.

Tobias scurries off to find a hiding place, and he can’t even move because Rachel is freaking out and fucking up his brain, yadda yadda.

I Have No Feathers and I Must Scream

I Have No Feathers and I Must Scream

Marco goes fishing for Jakes, but runs into a guard, so he…pretends to sweep? Because the Yeerks keep a basket of brooms around to keep their caves clean?

Sure.

Sure.

Well, the guard sees this random guy brooming and decides, “Hey, Visser Trent needs help with his captive Andalite, you seem capable of doing that. I can’t do this anymore, I’m going go eat Quaker Oatmeal and die.” So that works out.

Tobias shoves his face to the floor so Rachel can plop herself out. It’s all pretty silly.

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Back with the too many Toms who are spoiling the broth, Marco hides behind some barrels (a classic Animorph maneuver) and watches whatever the hell is going on here.

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Tom 2 tries to prove his identity by sending one of the goons to get the Andalite disk out of his backpack. What happened to the scanner idea? Tom 1 is like “lol that ain’t gonna be there bitch!”. Visser Trent, like the sad dad he is, is sick of this shit.

Or maybe he's just sick of looking like this.

Or maybe he’s just sick of looking like this.

Marco spells things out for the audience by saying to himself, “Jake doesn’t know that I have the Disk! Which means he must be the one on the right!”

Thanks, Marco.

Thank you.

Thanks…

"Oh...Tom is Jake's brother!"

“Oh…Tom is Jake’s brother!”

Marco comes up with a plan. He sneaks into the Cobweb Baby Yeerk Nursery Hell Dimension to do…stuff.

Tobias and Rachel stroll around the caves and manage to get corned by like 80 dumb guards.

Then Tobias falls asleep

Then Tobias falls asleep

The Goof Troop finally finds a scanner and puts it to Tom’s head. But before any conclusions can be made, Marco fucks with the super-thermostat in the SuperYeerk room…

It's getting hot in here, so burn up all your Yeerks

It’s getting hot in here, so burn up all your Yeerks

…which causes the Yeerk babies to scream their scream throughout the caves and give everyone a headache.

And this, in turn, causes me to scream.

And this, in turn, causes me to scream.

Tom flips his shit. He says the temperature has reached meltdown levels, all of his babies are gonna die, game over, man; he runs off to save his children while Visser Trent howls.

In the Nursery of Screams, Marco sees a Tom approaching. He’s hoping it’s Jake, but just in case, he finds a convenient panel in the floor beneath which he can hide. Meanwhile, Jake-Tom is dragged off to hell.

Tobias and Rachel end up in the Give Up Your Soul to the Alien Menace Line with their friends. Here are some things: 1. The line has barely moved in the last ten minutes of episode. 2. Ax is still not trapped as a real boy forever, but apparently has “only 30 seconds” left.

Marco crawls his way out into another room, which is apparently the “control room,” as he narrates to us for no good reason.

The Goofy Gus Guard Goons bring Ax into the infestation chamber, ready to Yeerk the shit out of him.

Frustrated with the lack of explanations on the controls + his life in general, Marco picks up something or other and throws it, breaking fucking everything.

"look at me i am a gorilla"

“look at me i am a gorilla”

The lights go out throughout the caves.

This interrupts Ax’s infestation and sends the Controllers running to see what happened. He takes this chance to morph, and holy shit, this could be the worst morphing effect the show has ever done.

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This part is pretty terrible; Ax just turns blue, and says that he “can’t finish” his morph.

He's blue himself

He’s blue himself

And I guess Marco is a cockroach now. Then a huge rock falls on him.

Uh-oh. Marco died.

Uh-oh. Marco died.

Lights are flashing, there’s an evacuation siren, everything’s gone bananas. Cassie is trying to figure out what to do while Blue Ax has an episode about how blue he is. Cassie screams at him that this is “impossible, you can’t get stuck,” and what the fuck do you know about being a shapeshifting alien, Cassie? Chill out.

Cassie spots Tom, and then Ax is just able to morph again, whatever.

This is hell

This is hell

And then he immediately morphs back into a human. That was a real waste of time.

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Cassie and Ax run away, and Tom pursues.

So, this is what happens, I guess. Cassie and Ax escape down a narrow rock tunnel with Tom following them. Rocks fall, separating the two from Tom, and Cassie says, “Tom’s trapped, we have to help him.”

Rocks fall, my interest dies

Rocks fall, my interest dies

Ax is like “Naw, we will die if we do that.” He fails to add, “Also Tom freaks me the fuck out,” but I’m sure he was thinking it. They flee.

Back up in the gym, Chapman is like “well, uh, so, the tornado is over…I guess you guys can go home…and we’ll try to basketball again some other day.”

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All the kids cheer. So uh, what the fuck? Was EVERYONE who was dragged into the evil alien caves assimilated, except our heroes? No one else escaped and then wondered, “Holy shit, what just happened to me at the big high school basketball game?” Okay!

Tobias, Cassie, Rachel and Ax have all convened in the hall.

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They’re pretty worried because neither Marco or Jake have shown up yet. Then Marco shows up so hey, tension. Their happy reunion (Ax gives a big hug!) is cut short when Tobias asks if Marco found Jake, and Marco is like, “Oh..I sort of…thought you guys had that covered…”

The worst threesome yet.

The worst threesome yet.

So Marco fills the gang in: the last time he saw Jake, he was morphed as Tom. Ax and Cassie realize they left a Tom to die in a rocky cave-in and are like, “Shit.” Marco and Cassie decide to go back down to Yeerk Town and find him.

They find a Tom emerging from the secret entrance, barking instructions to his Goons, so they hide. The Tom finds Cassie hiding in the showers…

Oh. Look at this. This looks bad!

Oh. Look at this. This looks bad!

…but it’s Jake, so everything’s chill. He turns back into Jake and everyone is probably really happy because Tom is a disgusting monster-man. And hey, the Tom-to-Jake effect doesn’t look half-bad, probably because they’re dealing with a human-to-human morph for once.

NOW I'M EVERYONE.

NOW I’M EVERYONE.

Cassie and Marco are happy that Jake isn’t dead or Tom, and all of the Animorphs head to CyBeria for a insanely endless epilogue.

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There’s a news broadcast that tells us authorities are searching for a Victor Trent, who is sought in connection with an “underground explosion.” How the fuck the police connected Trent with an explosion in a secret underground alien lair-cave without also noticing the secret underground alien lair-cave is completely beyond me. But the gang counts this as a win, so I guess they’re happy, and that’s what matters.

Tobias goes to use his new thumbs on a video game, the other boys go to get drinks, and the girls have some girl-talk. It’s all about Tobias’s dong. The boys return and Rachel spills a drink and Ax doesn’t know how to laugh and this is all losing focus.

Marco hits on a waitress and tells her that he “saved the world today.” Tobias beats his old high score with the username “FreedomFlyer.” Rachel comes over and Tobias wonders if she saw any of his dirty dirty bird thoughts while she was in his dirty dirty bird brain.

Ax & Marco talk about girls and Ax eats in a gross manner. Then a waitress hits on him. She “loves a guy who’s passionate about his food.”

Jake and Marco goof around. Jake gives a voice-over about Marco saving the day and friendship. The episode just kind of peters out. Really weird.

Final Thoughts:

I don’t even know what to say about this one. It was just really, really bizarre.

Basically, every outstanding plotline built up in the last two episodes was swept aside without much thought. The conclusions to the cliffhangers were not that satisfying, we ended up right back at that “a character is put in mortal peril for no reason and then just ends up being okay” pattern the early episodes suffered from, and overall, the budget seemed wayyyy worse off–everything looked kind of cheap.

And what the hell happened at the end? Seriously, the plot wraps up awkwardly with like six minutes left, and then there’s this endless sequence at the Cyber Cafe where things just…keep happening. It absolutely feels like they were just trying to fill up time here. I am all for some casual bits where we see these characters just hanging out and being friends, but awkwardly gluing such a segment on to the end of a big dramatic three-part episode of a pretty horrible way to implement it.

Special Effects: Ugh. The Tom-Jake effect was probably one of the best morphing shots ever. But then we have the INCREDIBLY cheap sets and props, and the ridiculous “we painted the kid playing Ax blue for some reason” bit.

Adaptation Rating: Doesn’t matter!

’90s Bullshit: Cyber Cafes, unsatisfying conclusions.

Character Development: Tobias beats his old high school.

Overall Rating: 2/5. Pretty disappointing follow-up to a solid-enough finale.

Next Time: Marco fights a dinosaur and meets a robot.

Thanks for reading. I’m sorry.

ANIMORPHS Episode 20: Face Off, Part 2

Last time on ANIMORPHS: The whole gang went to the BIG HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL GAME, except Jake, who ended up stuck in the dirty Yeerk Pool caves with Tom. Ax stole two drinks. I guess the Yeerks are going to infect everyone at the game. Oh and Tobias became a real boy.

In the Yeerk Pool Cave Subsystem Hellscape, Jake’s still sneaking around. A voice-over reminds us that he’s trying to get to the gym, but he can’t morph due to some morphing sensor shit. Tom accidentally turned that sensor off last week, but hey, fuck it.

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Jake sneaks around to the laser-cage containing Tom, who is shouting all over the place since his Yeerk is currently out of his head and taking a bath. Hope you didn’t start reading this blog with this episode, because that sentence was incoherent to any new readers.

Jake attempts to talk to Tom through a vent, but just when he gets his older brother’s attention, Tom is distracted by the girl in the cage with him. Apparently, her name is Anne.

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Anne tells Tom to shut up because hey, it doesn’t matter, they’re fucked. But Tom goes on a very Jake-like speech about how they can NEVER GIVE UP. But then it’s time for Tom to get dragged away and re-inseminated with alien brain goo slug.

The guy playing Tom is not really a fantastic actor, but I like this scene a lot. This show has gotten progressively better at using the TV format to its advantage, and this is a prime example. Never in any of the books were we able to get a genuine look at what Tom is going through. It not only expands his character a bit, but it creates a pretty clear parallel between him and his brother–he’s the Jake of another (probably more interesting) story.

Anyway, Tom starts struggling and then he falls into the pool. It doesn’t really accomplish much because his Yeerk just swims into his ear and takes over, so hey, good plan, dick.

At the BIG BORING HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL GAME, the basketball players are still playing basketball.

Woo.

Woo.

Here’s the situation:

“Where’s Rachel?”
“LOL IDK”
“Where’s Jake?”
“LOL IDK”

Cassie and Marco attempt to leave the gym and look for Rachel, but they find that they’re locked in. Tom shows up and talks to Chapman, who then puts a stop to the BIG HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL GAME and announces a “tornado warning.” A fake radio message plays over the PA system, instructing everyone to head into the basement shelter and not to go outside.

Basically, shit’s fucked.

Outside, Rachel’s still looking for Tobias. When she finds him, she’s pretty shocked that HE’S NOT A BIRD ANYMORE.

"Sex will be less confusing now," Rachel said incorrectly.

“Sex will be less confusing now,” Rachel said incorrectly.

Tobias is like “Yeah, shit got real.” He’s still pretty stoked about his religious experience with Elfangor’s hologram ghost. It turns out that between episodes, Tobias made a choice re: Elfangor’s proposed dilemma: in order to retain his morphing powers, Tobias will remain a hawk–but one capable of morphing, including back into his human form. Rachel’s like, “Oh,” and so am I.

Chapman checks the windowsill for the Andalite Disk and realizes that leaving it there was a real bumberfuck of a choice.

"UH OH."

“UH OH.”

In the Shit Caves, Tom AGAIN turns off all of the sensors and alarms and shit so they can easily drag their future slaves inside. Jake responds to this, as always, by turning into a lizard.

You think he would've learned his lesson by now.

You think he would’ve learned his lesson by now.

Tobias the Boy and Rachel the Girl try to re-enter the gym, but the school is locked.

Jake the Lizard hangs out while Tom goes on and on about how super cool he is. Then Tom locks Jake in a room and Jake is like:

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Tom the Maniac goes full Bond Villain. He’s so siked, he knew an Andalite would show up, and now he’s got one trapped. He talks about his Super Yeerk Babies and enslaving the Earth, yadda yadda yadda, and then assigns a Goof Guard to guard the room while he does Tom Stuff.

"But sir, I was supposed to carry this bag!"

“But sir, I was supposed to carry this bag!”

Tobias drags Rachel to some undisclosed entrance to the Yeerk Pool that he apparently knows about from being a bird. He wants to just sneak right into the Yeerk Pool, and Rachel is all, “How?!?!??!?!” So Tobias pulls out the Andalite Plot Device Disk.

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And here’s some dialogue.

“Touch the disk.”
“It’s warm.”
*stares*
“What’s happening?”
“I haven’t figured it all out yet, but…but it’s working.”

Hmm.

Anyway, Tobias tells Rachel, “I need to become a Controller. Don’t worry, you can do it now. The DNA pattern of a Yeerk was on the disk.” So, I guess I’ll have to accept it–the disk can do whatever it wants, it’s just the best thing in the universe.

In Prison Room, Jake turns into a boy again for no real reason.

For all his rage, Jake is still just a Morph in a cage

For all his rage, Jake is still just a Morph in a cage

Rachel turns into a Yeerk and chills in Tobias’s brain (off-screen, of course). Then he just strolls into the Pool. A guard gives him shit, but Tobias sweet-talks him.

"Hey, kid, do you know about BIIIIIIIRDS?"

“Hey, kid, do you know about BIIIIIIIRDS?”

This is a nice call-back to the last time they went to the Yeerk Pool, in which Tobias pulled off the same shit pretty decently.

Rabois runs into another guard–the one keeping watch over Jake’s prison cell. The dumb hunk discloses that there’s an “Andalite’ trapped inside, so Tochel, realizing where Jake’s been all day (what a goof!), gets him to fuck off. They end up in a real mess, though, because while Jake can hear their thought-speak, they can’t hear him yelling back.Then Tom shows up, so they give up and leave Jake to die.

Abandoned, Jake makes out with this wall.

Abandoned, Jake makes out with this wall.

In the school halls, Tom’s dumb buddypal sends Marco, Cassie, and Ax down into the tunnels to be brain-assaulted.

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Tom calls Visser Trent on Skype to tell him “everything is going swimmingly, oh and BTW, totes caught an Andalite.”

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Marco, Cassie, and Ax reach the Pool, just in time to see another kid get dragged away for assimilation. Oh my God, no! It’s that kid from last week, the one who was totally disgusted by Ax’s sexual assault!

Not HIM!

Not HIM!

Then they notice Tobias walking around in human form and they’re just like, “LOL FINE GOOD THIS IS A TOTALLY NORMAL DAY WE ARE LIVING IN THE CAVES.”

"Oh, this?"

“Oh, this?”

And since he’s acting like a Controller, well, they assume he is a Controller. These three have really been contributing a lot to this finale. Marco, as usual, assumes that everything is over and they’re totally fucked and they should all just give up.

I guess Tom realizes the Disk is gone.

Marco, with nothing to lose, charges up to Tobias and asks, “What’s going on here? Did you trade us in to get your body back?”

Bird vs Birdface

Bird vs Birdface

And hey, I have been giving this whole “what a misunderstanding!” bit a lot of shit, but that is actually a pretty fitting assumption for Marco to make, and this is a cool interaction.

Tobias has no choice but to stay in character and be aggressive right back. But then he drags Marco off into a corner and is like “DUDE YOU’RE FUCKING EVERYTHING UP.” Marco is confused, but Tobias pulls out the Disk and is like “hey, look at this, it can do everything.”

Meanwhile, Cassie and Ax are being dragged off to hell.

Tom is convinced that the captured Andalite must have stolen his Disk, so he’s about to charge in and crack some skulls. Inside the Prison Cell, Jake shatters the overhead light just in time for Tom to open the door and face total darkness instead of, you know, his doofy little brother.

Budget!

Budget!

Tom wanders into the dark.

Visser Trent shows up to shake his jowels.

BLARGH

BLARGH

He heads into the darkened room to find Tom and Jake…who has morphed into Tom.

Too Many Toms!

Too Many Toms!

And with that, Season 1 of ANIMORPHS is over.

What a doozy.

Final Thoughts:

Hey, this was pretty fun.

With this exposition out of the way, a lot was actually able to happen in this episode. The original story they put together here isn’t amazing or anything, but it’s fun, it’s interesting, and it feels like there are high enough stakes for a season finale.

Part 2 improved on Part 1 in pretty much every way. While the “what a misunderstanding!” thing in Part 1 felt like pointless time-killing, here it was used to create some dramatic situations (Marco thinking Tobias is a Controller, Tom thinking Jake must have the disk). And seriously, the choice to make a large part of the finale actually from Tom’s point of view–seriously, it’s insane how many scenes feature Tom as the focal point with no Animorphs involved whatsoever–was a really inspired choice from a show usually content with middling along. Also, Tobias actually being a character portrayed by a human actor has added a nice change to the group dynamic.

If I watched this episode when it aired in 1998 and I was a happy little kid eating potato chips, I would’ve been on the edge of my seat to see what would happen next.

There are, as always, some parts that are just silly nonsense. Tobias’s choice to remain a hawk (but with morphing powers) is handled offscreen, the Andalite Disk is just fuckin’ magic and can do whatever it wants, etc. But hey, what can you do?

Special Effects: Butts out of 5 Butts

Adaptation Rating: I’m pretty sure they did the “morph into a Yeerk so we can get into the Pool” thing in the books at some point.

’90s Bullshit: Thinking compact discs are magic sorcery that can do anything.

Character Development: Tom is a real human being and a real hero. Tobias decides to be a bird who is also a boy who is also a bird. In a shocking reversal of sexual dynamics, Rachel ends up inside of Tobias. Disgusted Guy is led off into the dark, surely facing certain death.

Overall Rating: 4/5.

Next Time: I considered writing up a retrospective on Season 1, but fuck it, we’ll deal with that after Season 2. So all of this bullshit will come to a thrilling (I guess) conclusion next week.

Thanks for sticking with me through an entire season of this shit. You guys must really think I’m funny.

ANIMORPHS Episode 19: Face Off, Part 1

This is the first part of the Season 1 finale. I’ve lost control of my life. Also, this multi-parter continues into the Season 2 premiere, “Face Off, Part 3.” Get ready to hang on a cliff. Or just hang.

In Jake’s room, our hero (?) is doing teenager stuff when he overhears Tom and some hunk in the hallway. He goes to bug them. Turns out the Sharing is setting up some thing at the BIG HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL GAME. It’s gonna be a blast!

Jake's room is, as usual, a set dressing disaster

Jake’s room is, as usual, a set dressing disaster

Jake responds to this news as he does anything: by turning into a lizard.

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At the ol’ barn, all the other kids are waiting for Jake to show up with their tickets to the BIG HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL GAME. Marco is siked but Ax doesn’t understand basketball because he is an alien. Also, Tobias can’t go to the game because he’s a bird.

Did I make a "NO BIRDS ALLOWED" joke yet?

Did I make a “NO BIRDS ALLOWED” joke yet?

Jake the Lizard slithers around the house and actually asks, in voice-over, “Why did I choose to be a lizard?”. Which is, yeah.

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He sneaks into Tom’s room to find his older brother looking for the Andalite Disk. Apparently Tom has had it the whole time, but I guess casually losing alien plot device technology runs in this family.

Just kidding, because Tom finds the disk instantly. It appears that he will get promoted to Visser if the Yeerk shebang at the BIG HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL GAME goes smoothly. Also Jake gets trapped in Tom’s backpack because he’s an asshole.

After the intro, the Barn Kids have managed to figure out Tom’s plan completely without any evidence other than “there is going to be a basketball game.”

Braintrust. Birdtrust.

Braintrust. Birdtrust.

Good thing Jake got himself stuck in a backpack, that was really helpful. They go to save the day and leave Tobias to eat a dead mouse or something.

Rachel and Cassie show up at the school, but are turned away by Tom’s buddy.

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They respond by turning into animals. What is this, Animorphs? Oh. Oh.

Inside the school, Tom yells at Chapman for the shitty security, which is really something the Yeerks should’ve noted as a problem long ago.

The Sinister Sips of Tom Berenson continue.

The Sinister Sips of Tom Berenson continue.

Cassie and Rachel, as rats, show up just in time to see Tom head into the Yeerk Pool through a Secret Door.

Oh, shoerats?

Oh, shoerats?

He lies to Chapman, saying that Visser Three hasn’t trusted him with handling the Andalite Disk. Interesting if true!

So the girls, with their stupid rat-eyes, manage to misconstrue Tom handing Chapman an empty soda can for Tom handing Chapman the Disk. How did they even know Tom had the disk if they never spoke to Jake? Whatever, this is sure to be wacky.

Tom walks through the BioFilter, which detects Jake in his backpack and sounds an alarm. Tom responds by yelling at everyone and they’re just like “lol sorry.”

Also Tom fucking terrifies me.

Also Tom fucking terrifies me.

There’s this whole bizarre moment where Tom tries to turn the filter from “beep annoyingly” to “vaporize someone completely,” but accidentally turns off the “morphing sensor” instead, I don’t know.

Marco’s off looking for all of his friends.

Think before you drink...

Think before you drink…

The girls turn back into girls and meet up with Marco in the boy’s locker room (hoo hoo hoo!), where a locker houses the secret Yeerk door.

Marco achieves a fantasy.

Marco achieves a fantasy.

They tell Marco that Chapman has the Disk (he doesn’t) and start coming up with elaborate plans to get it from him covertly. Realizing that all of their plans are dumb, they go to watch the BIG HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL GAME.

In the Yeerk Pool Network of Tunnels and Science Labs, a bunch of stuff happens. A sexy scientist girl asks Tom for his progress on the disk. Now-human Jake sneaks around and eavesdrops.

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Then this fucking shit happens.

Broo! Scaredya.

Broo! Scaredya.

Visser Trent bitches at Tom for not being able to open the Disk. Tom has learned, though, that the Disk can only be unlocked by another Andalite–a specific Andalite, a member of Elfangor’s family. Also, since they know there is at least one Andalite posing as a student (see: The Release), Tom plans to infest everyone at the BIG HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL GAME.

In the very underwhelming, barely-populated gym, Marco, Rachel and Cassie watch Chapman walk around.

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Face Off? More like Sitting.

They’re worried he’ll unleash some diabolical plan with that disk he doesn’t have. Ax steals some drinks because he’s such a goof.

"What is this human e-con-o-my?"

“What is this human e-con-o-my?”

This episode is really boring. Hey, look at this guy.

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Jake continues to hide in the dark of the Yeerk caverns. He ends up in some kind of spiderweb room.

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From looking at this shit, he deduces he’s found “a new breed of Yeerks” that don’t need Kandrona rays to survive. Whatever you say, Jake!

Back in the gym, Ax makes this face and spills a drink on Chapman. This calls back to one of Marco’s earlier rejected plans to spill a drink on Chapman’s jacket and use this as a distraction to take the disk. But Ax wasn’t there for that plan, so whatever. Ax sexually assaults Chapman, who doesn’t go for it.

That look of shame.

That look of shame.

This guy in the background is totally disgusted.

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Jake fucks with the spiderweb sacs, tears one open, and a bunch of vomit-colored Yeerks fall out.

Goop.

Goop.

Then all of the spider-Yeerks start screaming and give Jake a headache.

Tom screams some shit about the beautiful “warrior cries” of his new SuperYeerk babies.

"I AM TOM GOD." - Tom God

“I AM TOM GOD.” – Tom God

He sends Dingus, Drangus, and Brangus into the spiderweb room to console his screaming children. Then, since apparently he needs a replenishing bath, Tom’s Yeerk plops out into the pool for a minute.

Tom and the Bath Buddies

Tom and the Bath Buddies

Tom, free for the moment, is just like “ugh goddamn it this sucks” as the Goon Patrol drag him off to be contained in a laser prison. While this is going on, Chapman snags the Disk from Tom’s bag.

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Back in the gym, Ax tells the others that he tried to steal the disk, but Chapman doesn’t have it. They deduce that Tom must still have the disk. Jeez, this is a real carnival of idiocy. I want to get off this ride. They decide to siege the Yeerk pool, even though they aren’t armed with weaponized oatmeal. Oh, and they finally notice that Jake has been missing for like 8 hours.

Jakes hides under a grate (great) as the Goon Patrol complain about the new Yeerks and their aversion to warm temperatures. Jeez, I wonder if that’s awkward foreshadowing.

Chapman opens a window and, for some reason, hides the disk on the outside windowsill before going back into the school.

I'm so sneaky, you already know.

I’m so sneaky, you already know.

Are you kidding me, dude? There’s no other place you could’ve put that? Tobias is chilling in a tree wishing he could have legs, so he immediately flies over and snatches the disk.

Jesus Fucking Christ

Jesus Christ

Well, that was fucking easy.

Tobias tries to fly off with the disk, but he gets a headache (more like Headachemorphs) and falls out of the sky. How many times have I written that sentence now?

Rachel heads outside to fuck Tobias.

So the Disk, having fallen to the ground near the downed Tobias, starts glowing blue.

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Then it turns the whole world yellow and we see flashbacks of Tobias morphing into a bird as our bird-brain croaks in pain. The flashbacks are then played in reverse.

And then Tobias was a human.

But still trying to be a bird, clearly.

But still trying to be a bird, clearly.

Tobias realizes what’s happened and he freaks the fuck out, super stoked to not be a bird anymore. The disk projects an Elfangor hologram, which starts talking to him.

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Tobias couldn’t be happier, this is the best day since that time he found half a McDonalds hamburger in Rachel’s trash.

Hologramfangor tells Tobias that he has unlocked the Andalite disk. Wow, all of this bullshit could’ve been avoided if Tobias had just touched the disk when they had it like 16 episodes ago? Elgangor tells him the disk will help the Animorphs in their fight, but Tobias is seriously in a state of total shock, awe, and delusion. He keeps saying things like, “I’m so glad you’re back,” apparently under the impression that Elfangor has risen from the dead.

Human Tobias has a lot of emotions.

Human Tobias has a lot of emotions.

So Elfangor gives Tobias the Alien Magic Disk Power skinny: he can remain human, but if he does, he’ll forever lose the ability to morph. Tobias doesn’t take this well. Then Elfangor fucks off back into the disk. Tobias cries.

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Final Thoughts:

I guess this episode wasn’t horrible, but man, it sure was boring. I guess the show is trying to set up for the rest of this multi-parter, and maybe that will pay off, but very little happened in this episode. Jake wandered around the Yeerk pool caves and got screamed at by slimy Yeerk babies; everyone else sat in the gym and watched a basektball game.

And when things did happen, they were pretty inexplicable. Animorphs has often had problems with this, but almost none of the characters actions in this episode make any sense. Characters make huge leaps of logic that barely have any connection to what they’re looking at; everyone keeps having knowledge of conversations they weren’t a part of.

And the whole Scooby-Doo Switcheroo with “who has the Disk”–what the fuck was the point here? By the end of the episode, it ends up all being totally pointless–Tobias just stumbles across the disk. Whatever!

The last scene, though, was actually pretty great. Tobias is a pretty different character in the show than in the books, and here, that actually works out. Book Tobias becomes pretty stoic and comfortable with his bird-life pretty quickly, but Show Tobias has always seemed pretty sad about being a bird. And when he finally gets to not be, he is delusional, crying, and happier than he’s ever been in his life. Christopher Ralph did a pretty good job here. It gives me hope that Parts 2 and 3 might be decent, without the burden of so much exposition.

Writers were Jessica Scott and Mike Wollaeger and I’m not writing about those two again!

Special Effects: 3/5, sure. The morphing effects and dumb holograms return in full force–they must’ve been saving their budget (lol lol lol lol)

Adaptation Rating: Yeah, so, basically everything here–the BIG HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL GAME, the Super Baby Yeerks, Jake going missing in the Yeerk Pool, the Yeerk Disk, that’s all totally original. I do give them points for creatively tying Tobias’s return to being a human into the Disk plot. That’s probably the most pragmatic adapting they’ve done since the pilot.

’90s Bullshit: High School Basketball. Seeping out of your cobweb spider-sac and screaming into the night.

Character Development: Tom attempts to get his big promotion. Ax learns that stealing isn’t okay. Tobias stops being a bird.

Overall Rating: 3/5.

Next Time: Who will win the BIG HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL GAME–the HOME TEAM or the VISITORS? Tune in to find out!

Thanks for reading, gang.

ANIMORPHS Episode 18: Not My Problem

Slappy the Dummy returns in this episode, now played by a small man in a suit as he torments a young Hayden Christensen. Oh, we’re not doing that? Okay.

Jake is moping around school.

He loves CAR and BASEBALL PLAYER

He loves CAR and BASEBALL PLAYER

Marco wants to come over later and play video games and Rachel wants his help with something and Jake just wants to go home and do his homework. He’s being a real Pissy Pete this week.

"Jake, we need Stuff."

“Jake, we need Stuff.”

At home, Tom throws an orange at Jake.

One of those days!

One of those days!

And he drinks milk out of the carton.

Dick!

Dick!

So I see he’s still an asshole. He and some lunatics want Jake to come play basketball with them.

This guy can Animorph his neck into a snake.

This guy can Animorph his neck into a snake.

Jake’s parents come home and save him from playing basketball or being infested by an alien parasite, I can’t really tell what the goal was here.

Jake storms into his bedroom, slams the door, and shouts, “I can’t do this anymore! I quit!” Man, how could this happen to him? He’s made his mistakes, got nowhere to run…

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Me, when I write reviews.

Oh, great, this guy is back.

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Jake is like, “Aw, man, the Ellimist? We’re doing this?”. So Jake yells at the Ellimist about how shitty it is to be 15 and defending the Earth against aliens. He just wants to be normal! He wishes he’d never met Elfangor and started this stupid show. The Ellimist is like, “Okay,” and changes the past.

So yeah, this is the exact same plot as that episode where the Ellimist showed them a shitty future, only this time he’s showing them a shitty present.

In Alternate Universe #2, Jake eats cereal and doesn’t get an orange thrown at him. He overhears his parents discussing what a dickface Tom has been lately. They all seem to think he is on heroin or something. Actually, that might explain Tom’s appearance and asshole behavior. Is it canon that Tom is on heroin? I think so.

"Our son is going to die in a gutter."

“Our son is going to die in a gutter.”

Tom talks up The Sharing. They’re having a big old club party tonight, and he invites Jake to come. Jake, wanting to make sure his brother doesn’t die on the curb outside of the Viper Room, agrees to go along.

Ugh

Ugh

At school, Tobias–who isn’t a bird!–stalks Rachel. He gets cockblocked when Jake shows up. Turns out Tobias has been stalking her for like weeks, pretty fun.

I missed you, Stalker Tobias!

I missed you, Stalker Tobias!

Jake invites Rachel to the Sharing party and there is a pretty weird sexual vibe between them. I guess this is Incest Universe. Anyway, Jake gets called into Chapman’s office.

In science class, Tobias and Rachel are sexy lab partners.

ScienceBird came to town

ScienceBird came to town

Tobias is still wearing his leather jacket in the middle of class because he is a freak. Tobias talks to Rachel about how weird everyone has been acting likely, telling her that everyone seems to be going through a huge personality shift. Tobias keeps things real vague, but he tells Rachel that she’s in danger–and so is everyone else!. It seems that Alternate Incest Universe Tobias knows a little more than everyone else there. Rachel begs him to tell her, and he does.

Cut to Rachel laughing with Cassie about Tobias’s insane “slugs in people’s head” bullshit. That went over real well, Tobi, you’re never gonna get laid even in the universe where you have a dick. Rachel tells Cassie that Tobias is “fixated” on The Sharing, and invites her to the club as well.

That night, Tom is the asshole MC at the Spider Club, where teens dance in a dimly lit room with SPOOKY COBWEBS everywhere. Jesus, I should’ve reviewed this one at Halloween.

Rachel runs into Marco at the (soda, I’m sure) bar and holy shit, look at this guy.

Ha!

Ha!

He’s become a total prep, and accordingly, it turns out he joined the Sharing over a week ago. Rachel is blown away by what a fucking weirdo he’s become, and this is the girl who willingly hangs out with Tobias. Preppy Marco welcomes Rachel to the club and tells her to “keep her ears open” and fuck this script.

Rachel wanders away from that weirdness and finds Jake; Tobias strolls in a few seconds later. Rachel is still really thirsty for him but Jake reallllly hates him. Jake bounces to flirt with Cassie while Tobias sneaks around in the background.

Jake confronts Tobias is a back room. He tells ol’ Toby that he’s been noticing weird shit, too, and they should chat about it. Tobias flips a gasket and tells Jake all about the Sharing being an alien infestation front, Tom being infected by an alien slug, etc. Jake says, “You’ve been watching too much Mystery Science Theater.” I feel like Joel sometimes, trapped in space with Animorphs.

The Idiot Brigade

The Idiot Brigade

Tom and his Goon Pals show up to rough up Tobias and throw him out of the club. Jake shares Tobias’s alien conspiracy theory with Tom; in the club proper, Cassie mentions seeing a slug in the bathroom sink, and why would that ever happen? Tom asks Jake what he thinks about all this, and Jake says, “I think if he knows too much about us, we have to act quickly. I have to do something to stop him.”

Also WHAT THE FUCK

Also WHAT THE FUCK

Plot Twist City, Bitch!

The next day or whenever, Tobias and his Leather Jacket chat up Rachel at school.

Or he sexually harasses her. I can't tell.

Or he sexually harasses her. I can’t tell.

He warns her not to trust anyone and gets paranoid when Cassie shows up. They do the whole “But it could never happen to her!” “It could!” thing.

Jake meets with Chapman, and there’s a pretty funny reveal that Jake is actually Chapman’s superior in this reality. Jake is mad pissed that Chapman diidn’t notice Tobias dicking around under his nose. You know, nosedicking?

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The soundtrack goes bonkers in the hallway while Tobias and Jake have a staredown. They both know each other’s secret, it’s going down now.

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Tobias calls Rachel later on, but Jake is in her room being creepy, so she pretends it’s Cassie on the phone.

That "My creepy male cousin won't leave my bedroom" look

That “My creepy male cousin won’t leave my bedroom” look

Also Tobias is calling from a payphone, which is pretty funny. He asks her to meet him at the Spider Club so they can do spy shit. He also calls Jake a dicknose.

'90s Bullshit

’90s Bullshit

Rachel heads to the empty club (how did she get in?) but runs into Jake instead.

"They'll never find your hair."

“They’ll never find your hair.”

He gets real creepy real fast but then gets attacked by a lion.

Bark!

Bark!

The lion is so scary Jake turns, falls, and cracks his head open on a countertop.

He takes after Visser Trent.

He takes after Visser Trent.

With Jake unconscious, the lion turns back into Tobias and Rachel is like “ohhhhhh. This is this!”.

I missed you, special effects!

I missed you, special effects!

"Sorry Jake is dead let's make out"

“Sorry Jake is dead let’s make out”

Tobias ties Jake up (I guess he woke up offscreen or whatever) and has a spat with Tobias.

All roads end here.

All roads end here.

Smarmy Alien Jake asks Tobias, “Where’s the Andalite? The one that’s been foiling our every move?”. Rachel answers, “Here. This human was the lion.”

DOUBLE TWIST, MAN!

"Tobias, why would I want to fuck a bird?"

“Tobias, why would I want to fuck a bird?”

Tobias’s little bird heart break. He tries to run, but is stopped by Cassie, Tom, Marco, and the Goons.

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They even call him Tobi–way to add insult to injury!

Check out that hat.

Check out that hat.

They’re about to break Tobias’s legs or whatever when Rachel has a migraine. Rachel breaks the Yeerk’s control (which apparnetly happens all the fucking time on this show) long enough to apologize to Tobias. But it doesn’t matter, because Visser Trent is here to do stuff. He promotes Jake to the rank of Visser 10 while Tobias sobs in the background.

Tobias says, “We should’ve been on the same side, Jake, We should’ve fought together.”

Jake replies, “We will, Tobias. Just not the side you want.” It’s time to shove a slug in Tobias’s ear.

But hey, Jake gets his own migraine.

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Then he wakes up in his bedroom in Boring Old Universe A.

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Every Animorph in the goddamn world has showed up to ask Jake why he hasn’t been answering his beeper or whatever.

"I came by to see if you wanted to go Animorphing, but clearly you're having an episode."

“I came by to see if you wanted to go Animorphing, but clearly you’re having an episode.”

Jake is super happy to not be in the Darkest Timeline, especially when Ax shows up and reminds him of human innocence by blowing a bubble.

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Then Tobias shows up. Jake happily screams, “TOBIAS, YOU’RE STILL A HAWK! I LOVE YOU AS A HAWK. YOU LOOK GREAT AS A HAWK.” Tobias is understandably bummed by Jake’s glee.

Jake has a complete mental breakdown, screaming, “We’re not controllers!” over and over again, so all of his friends tackle him onto the bed and tickle him.

Ax: "Fuck this dumb planet"

Ax: “Fuck this dumb planet”

Final Thoughts:

The set-up was pretty quick and silly (seriously? That was all it took to completley break Jake’s spirit?) but the actual alternate universe stuff was a lot of fun. The twists were actually twists (I did not see Jake being a controller coming the first time through, but on a second watch they definitely laid the groundwork for it to check out), and the idea of Tobias being a lone Animorph and completely fucking everything up on is actually more interesting than the book version of “what if no one was an Animorph and they all just did stuff and then there was a lame cop-out ending.”

Like the last episode, this one told a nice, self-contained story that made sense, was taken seriously (but still had some funny moments, like Preppy Evil Marco), and was fun to watch. It’s too bad the set up was so silly (Simple Plan Jake is worst Jake).

George Melrod was the writer on this one. He only wrote one other episode (the series finale) and has only written one thing since (the 2006 CGI film Valiant, which you definitely didn’t remember existed).

Special Effects: 2/5 for Stupid Ghost.

’90s Bullshit: Mystery Science Theater 3000. Payphones. Backwards baseball caps. Spider clubs.

Character Development: Jake stops being a whiny shithead. Ax learns to blow bubbles.

Overall Rating: 4/5.

Next Time: Part one of the season finale. It’s all come down to this, that’s right: the big basketball game!

Thanks for reading. Hope you assholes enjoyed the Goosebumps review last week, I had a lot of fun writing it. Hoo hoo hoo!

Goosebumps Episode 10: Night of the Living Dummy II

It’s tough to talk about the popularity of Animorphs without also mentioning Goosebumps.

Viewer beware - you're in for a scare!

Viewer beware – you’re in for a scare!

Before Harry Potter started waving his dick in our faces, these were the two hottest book series for kids in the ’90s. They both relied on the same “let’s pump out 19 books per month” business model, and both gave birth to TV adaptations.

Goosebumps was always more popular than Animorphs (for evidence: Goosebumps relaunched a few years ago and is still going strong, while the recent Animorphs revival crashed and burned after 7 books), but comparing the two TV shows is totally laughable: Goosebumps ran for five seasons, is incredibly memorable for our generation (start humming the theme song–you won’t be able to stop), and was such a hit that they produced a series of book adaptations of the TV show adaptation.

This happened.

That all being said, let’s jump into a spooky tale featuring probably the most popular Goosebumps character ever conceived.

That's right: R.L. Stine's mole!

That’s right: R.L. Stine’s mole!

First of all: the opening sequence is dope as fuck.

Open on a nice house in a nice neighborhood with some nice music playing, then cut to the happy family of five inside. They’re doing some kind of family night show-and-tell weekly funfest.

Preteen daughter Sarah has painted a painting of the nice house, which she is entering in “the city art show.”

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Her parents are totally stoked. Her little sister, Amy, is not. Also, she’s a bitch. Also, she has a ventriloquist dummy. Bet you didn’t see that coming.

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Next up is Sarah’s little brother. He’s got a video to show. It includes the mom dancing poorly, the dad putting on his toupee, and Sarah trying on her mom’s makeup. Also, the background music is a remix of the theme song, so that is incredible. Uh-oh–Little Brother has also filmed Amy trying on Sarah’s sweater!

As you can imagine, this causes a whole debacle. The sisters start squabbling and the parents are all “I don’t even give a fuck.” Also, Dad is played by Richard Fitzpatrick, and even if you don’t realize it, you’ve probably seen him in something.

In spooky news, it’s Amy’s turn and she’s got a ventriloquism act to perform with her dummy, Dennis.

Hoo hoo hoo.

Hoo hoo hoo.

“Dennis, how was your picnic? Were there any ants?” “No, worse–termites! You’ve heard of the Terminator–we had to call the EXterminator! Hoo hoo hoo!”

The joke is so bad that Dennis’s head falls off.

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Boy, I’m lucky that logic doesn’t apply to me and my blogs. Hoo hoo hoo!

Amy throws a fucking fit and tosses Dennis’s body halfway across the room while pouting. She wants a new dummy (same as the old dummy). Well, luckily, her dad already bought one and it’s behind the couch. Amy opens the trunk containing her new friend. His name is Slappy and he’s a real asshole.

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Hey, Slappy’s got some kind of card tucked inside his jacket. It’s filled with Latin.

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Amy reads the Latin.

I’m drawing a line in the fucking sand here, do not read the Latin.

Amy starts hugging the dummy and her parents consider sending her to a psychologist. Oh and Slappy winks at the camera but that is probably not important.

His eyebrow game is on point

His eyebrow game is on point

Later that night, Amy’s practicing her new act with Slappy. Dennis sits slumped in a chair, forlorn.

Dumb dummies

Dumb dummies

Sarah shows up to yell at her sister for wearing her sweater. Is this really such a fucking issue for young women? I have never once seen two girls argue over one wearing the other’s clothes except in every television show ever made. Whatever, Slappy tells Sarah to fuck off and Amy is like “oh shit, I didn’t DO ANY PUPPETRY AT ALL!”

She tries to force the two dummies to socialize while she sleeps, but everyone knows you can’t just put two dummies in the same habitat; the stronger one will always eat the weaker. Accordingly, Slappy throws Dennis to the floor and Amy is all, “Aw, Dennis, you’re always defying the laws of physics, you little rascal.”

We cut to a first-person view as SOMEONE sneaks around the house and into Sarah’s room. Then cut again to the next morning…and SARAH’S PAINTING HAS BEEN RUINED.

Or improved.

Or improved.

Everyone blames Amy because, let’s be honest, she’s sort of a bitch. She runs off to cry and then finds red paint on Slappy’s hands. Don’t worry, Sarah, it’s probably just the blood of his last victim, Andy.

That night, the real horror starts:

Hoo hoo hoo!

Hoo hoo hoo!

Papa Cowboy yields the floor to Amy and her puppet bullshit. Midway through the act, Slappy begins talking on his own and systematically insulting every member of the family. “You call yourself an artist? Why don’t you give up on the brushes and try using a roller? Oh, and Dad–how about that erectile dysfunction? Hoo hoo hoo!” I may be misquoting.

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The family forcibly separates Slappy from Amy and sends them both to bed for being dickheads. Slappy laughs on his way out of the room, which no one seems to realize is a problem.

Amy’s had enough of Slappy’s shit, so she locks him in a box.

Her parents will soon do the same to her.

Her parents will soon do the same to her.

Some number of days later, Amy is painting in her room with her friend, Friend, and Little Sister of Friend. While Amy complains about being a middle child, LSoF spots the Locked Slappy Box in the closet. Sarah comes in to yell at Amy for using up her markers. This gives LSoF enough time to pull Slappy out of his box, and he immediately starts screaming obscenities and refusing to let go of LSoF’s finger while laughing like an asshole.

Eeek!

Eeek!

Mom comes home and is like “Jesus, kid, I thought we talked about this.” Amy continues to blame the dummy, which causes her friend to run away and her mom to consider calling Child Psychological Services. Also Slappy won’t stop cackling so that might be something worth noting.

The family assembles in the living room to discuss Amy’s psychotic break.

"I'm sorry, hun, but you're whacked!"

“I’m sorry, hun, but you’re whacked!”

They don’t make much progress.

That night, as the family sleeps, someone starts running around and wakes Amy up. Uh-oh, Slappy’s missing! Amy goes on the hunt while someone grabs her dad’s guitar.

She walks into the living room, where her parents have fallen asleep, to find Slappy about to beat them to death with the guitar.

Say Rock and Roll and Die!

Say Rock and Roll and Die!

She tackles him to the ground, waking them up.

Amy tells her parents that she was just trying to save them from being bludgeoned to death by a living dummy. This doesn’t go ever well. They send her to bed and wonder where they went wrong as parents and whether or not the neighborhood would notice if they started locking their crazy-ass daughter in the attic.

At breakfast the next morning, Amy’s parents are like “Bitch, you’re out of your gourd, but we have to go to work so please don’t murder anyone at school today.”

Then Amy throws Slappy down a stormdrain.

She comes home later that night to find a house full of footprints leading right to her room. She goes to investigate and oh shit it’s Slappy!

More like SuddenAppearance-y!

More like SuddenAppearance-y!

Slappy is like, “Guess what, bitch? You read my Latin and now you’re my slave, bitch!” He’s a real misogynist, that guy. He’s pretty pumped that her parents are going to lock her away in the nuthouse, though that kind of makes her useless as a slave, so I don’t know what his plan is. He’s a real DUMMY about that stuff. Amy responds by tackling him to the ground because he is a dummy.

This will have an impact on my Google search stats.

This will have an impact on my Google search stats.

Sarah comes in, probably to yell at Amy for using her toothpaste or some shit, and she watches in horror as Slappy comes to life in front of her. The two girls run for it and lock themselves in the bathroom as Slappy gives chase. They hug it out and have some sisterly bonding before they remember that they also have a brother in the house.

They go off to save him and find Slappy hanging out on this chandelier for some reason.

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It’s worth noting that Slappy is playing by an actual puppet throughout the entire episode, which makes things pretty entertaining. Anyway, he manages to knock Amy to the ground and is about to, I don’t know, do something spooky when someone rushes in from offscreen and tackles him to the ground, where Slappy’s wooden head hits the floor and explodes.

"I fucked up"

“I fucked up”

A cloud of green CGI gas escapes from Slappy’s head-hole and dissipates.

"I REALLY fucked up"

“I REALLY fucked up”

The girls are like “lol what.” The parents arrive home all “god. dammit.” Amy explains that the dummy tried to enslave and/or murder them, but luckily Little Brother saved them. Then Little Brother wanders into the scene and is like, “lol, no, I didn’t do shit.”

SO WHO KILLED SLAPPY?

The family turns to see a figure standing in the darkness…

Oh, that guy.

Oh, that guy.

Dennis opens his mouth and, with the voice of Goofy, says, “It’s good to be back in the family again! HYUCK HYUCK HYUCK!”

Final Thoughts:

Spooky!

Adaptation Rating:

4/5 I guess. It’s a pretty faithful adaptation, though simplified–if you thought this story could’ve used 15 more scenes of someone causing a minor inconvienence and then blaming a dummy, please check out the book.

Special Effects:

Let’s just say there’s a Living Dummy episode where Slappy is played by a small man in a suit. We really got off easy on this one.

’90s Bullshit:

The Terminator. Ventriloquism. Goosebumps.

Character Development:

The family is enslaved by a never-ending string of living dummies, turning their idylic suburban life into a nightmare maze.

Next Week:

We go back to Animorphs for some stupid alternate-reality episode or whatever.

Happy Halloween, beautiful people!

ANIMORPHS Episode 17: The Release

We’re in class! The Animorphs are learning! It’s about time.

Today Lesson: Making a Not-Shitty Episode

Marco: Checking out that ass since ’98.

They’re in, I don’t know, science class with a teacher named Mr. Perkins. They’re talking about surviving in the woods and cross-country hiking. Their assignment is to come up with five wilderness survival techniques, and then Perkins pulls out a barrel full of crickets.

Oh, CricketBarrel?

Oh, CricketBarrel?

Then he eats one.

Borp.

Borp.

One of the students throws up. Rachel is disgusted.

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And this is the chick who wants to fuck birds.

When Marco laughs, Rachel is like, “That could’ve been one of us.” What the fuck kind of reasoning is that? Perkins stares at a cricket like a real creep.

After class, Marco is doofing around when Perkins stumbles through the hall, sweaty and disoriented.

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Marco is like “I don’t care about this” as Perkins climbs the stairs, locks himself in a storage room, and loses his freaking mind. He picks up the phone, makes a call, and says, “557 here. I’ll take care of things on my end.” Then he unplugs the phone and continues having an episode as we go into the opening credits.

Wow, what an intriguing intro that was. I’m not even being sarcastic!

After the credits, we catch up with the whole gang (minus bird) at Cyberia. Marco relates the story of the sweaty Perkins. Rachel posits that the teacher’s speech about survival may have been some kind of message to the Animorphs. Seems like a stretch, but whatever.

This chick walks in, all disorientated but not as sweaty. She spins around yelling “I’m free! It’s out! The Yeerk’s out! Freedom!”

Oh, this is the "Don't drop acid" episode....

Oh, this is the “Don’t drop acid” episode….

Well, shit. Another (not-freed) controller walks in and sets his sights on this girl. Jake immediately goes into action mode and barks out some orders. He and Rachel try to talk to the girl, but two meaty male controllers show up and are all, “She’s a friend of ours, it’s okay, we’ll get her home.” Oh. There are some unfortunate implications there, guys. They drag her off and Marco gets food all over Jake’s nice shirt.

"We'll take her back to our nap van. For naps."

“We’ll take her back to our nap van. For naps.”

At Stupid Yeerk Labs, Visser Trent chats with a hologram of Evil Mama Marco.

"LOOK AT MY TEETH."

“LOOK AT MY TEETH.”

So basically the jist is that Yeerks are “running out of energy,” allowing their hosts to get free. Trent has assigned high-ranking Yeerks to just kill off the freed humans.

In the barn, the gang is like “Woops, we fucked up.” Ax announces that he has some news: apparently the radio has been talking about a “flu epidemic,” and those infected are being quarantined. Marco brings up Sweaty Perkins and Jake notes that Tom has been sick lately. The gang puts together that the Yeerks must be running low on energy after they destroyed the Kandrona last week (continuity??!?!??!!). They’re excited about the prospect of freed humans alerting the population at large to the Yeerk problem. Um, well, you guys can turn into animals, you could really blow the lid off of this thing at any moment. But whatever.

Visser Trent and Chapman (hey, buddy! Long time, no see!) chat at Yeerk Labs about the situation at hand. Chapman says he’s assigned Perkins the Yeerk to round up freed student hosts. Perkins is also going to take Tom to a “pickup site” so he can be whisked away to Secret Yeerk Re-Energizing Spaceship Hovering Over Earth.

At the Jake House, Tom is sick in bed.

Yet he still looks like he just murdered a child.

Yet he still looks like he just murdered a child.

Their mother delivers him some soup before Jake, Marco, and Homer Dog come snooping around. Things escalate really quickly: Jake decides to take Tom to the barn, tie him up, and wait for the Yeerk to shrivel up and die of starvation, just like they did with Jake back in “The Capture.” Marco is like “No dude,” and Jake gets really pissed, insinuating that he’s not allowed to save Tom just because Marco couldn’t save his mother. Fucking cold. The point ends up being moot when Tom puts on his hideous shirt and heads out to a meeting of The Sharing.

Despite Marco’s pleas otherwise, Jake runs out of the house and after the car taking Tom away. He screams out that he knows everything about The Sharing in a desperate hope of getting the car to stop…and it does.

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Also Marco looks like a bird

But after the commercial break, it just keeps going. Weak. Marco is like “lol good,” but Jake’s already turned into dog to give chase.

Dog Jake the Dog follows the car out into the woods, where another ’90s-looking guy escorts Tom into the wilderness.

Woofbark

Woofbark

Tom meets up with Perkins, who brings him to the “pick-up site”–a little shack out in the forest. Jake watches through the window.

Oh, wow, a plot twist! Perkins ties Tom to a chair, telling him that he’s been through this, and it’ll all be over soon.

Worst porno ever

Worst porno ever

Yeah, cool, Perkins is already free from his Yeerk’s control, and he’s become a one-man human-liberating army. Shit, this dude has accomplished more than the Animorphs, and he can’t even be dog. Marco the Wolf catches up with Jake and convinces his friend to peace out and let Perkins handle Tom.

The boys head back to the barn and Jake is super stoked to tell everyone the good news. Ax rains on his parade by noting that if Tom is freed, he’ll have to leave and start a new life somewhere else–otherwise, the Yeerks will either kill or recapture him. Jake tries to find away around this, but he really can’t. Still, the gang rallies together and resolves to help Tom once he’s free. Ax is having none of this emotional human bullshit.

Oh and Tobias is still a bird

Oh and Tobias is still a bird

At school the next day, Jake chats up Perkins after class. He covertly asks about the woods, which pisses off Marco, who wants Jake to just let things play out and stop risking their cover. But Jake don’t give a SHIT because he then spots Tom in the halls.

But, uh-oh, Tom is looking pissed off; he shoves a bunch of kids out of his way. Jake surmises that Tom is still a controller, and that they have to warn Perkins. But as Marco says, it’s too late; Chapman and some security goons are already stomping toward the science lab. Jake wants to intervene, but Marco is still worried about revealing themselves.

Tom confronts Perkins in the classroom…

Oh my God lock this guy up he is a monster that shirt

Oh my God lock this guy up he is a monster that shirt

…followed by Chapman and the goons.

Look how fucking bored that goon is!

Look how fucking bored that goon is!

Jake and Marco spy from outside, then morph off-screen. Perkins tries to make a run for it out the window, but the goons grab hold of him and drag him away. Chapman tells Tom not to reinfest Perkins with a Yeerk; he’s too be executed.

The goons drag Perkins into the hallways but FUCK THERE’S A TIGER GET IN THE CAR.

This dude is so cute

This dude is so cute

Jake the Tiger stuns the goons long enough for Perkins to break free and fall against the wall; Jake then chases them away.

Bored Goon is uninterested. "Oh, SchoolTiger? Whatever."

Bored Goon is uninterested. “Oh, SchoolTiger? Whatever.”

Tom comes out of the room and towers over Perkins, only to be confronted by Marco the Wolf. Tom goes running, too, and Perkins makes his escape.

Jake the Tiger confronts Chapman in the classroom, but he doesn’t actually do anything. Cut to Chapman and Tom reporting back to Visser Trent at Yeerk Labs. Trent is real pissed about how sour this thing went–way too many science tigers for his liking.

That night, Perkins sits alone by a campfire in the woods, hiding. Jake shows up to say hi. He’s brought some food and supplies for the sad teacher.

"Please don't tell your parents that we do Secret Camping."

“Please don’t tell your parents that we do Secret Camping.”

In exchange for helping him out, Perkins gives Jake some info: namely, that Visser Three has the Andalite Disk, and he’s “close to unlocking it.” Jake tries to tell Perkins that he can transform into tigers and dogs or whatever, but Perkins cuts him off; he doesn’t want Jake exposing any more secrets than he needs to. Jake and Perkins wish each other luck, and Perkins gives the kid one last piece of advice: “You won’t regret saving me, Jake. Whatever happens–never give up.”

He disappears into the woods, leaving Jake alone.

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FINAL THOUGHTS:

This episode is fantastic.

I know the show has been on a surprsing upturn lately, but they really knocked it out of the park with this one. We’ve passed out of “this is good….for Animorphs” to “this is good.” I can’t really ask for more than this episode gave us: a wholly original plot that was well-thought-out and taken seriously, a storyline that reflected ongoing character dynamics and moved the ongoing story along, an interesting one-off character, a midpoint twist that was actually surprising. If you’re going to watch one of the first 17 episodes of Animorphs, this is easily the best choice. Awesome.

Writers on this one were Carl Ellsworth and Marc Scot Zicree, both of whom we’ve seen before. Ellsworth also wrote “Tobias,” so what the fuck. Zicree worked on “The Alien” and “The Stranger” (the dumb fucking future episode). This is the last time either will write for the series, so, hey, it was good knowing you, guys!

Adaptation Rating: Someone can tell me otherwise, but I’m pretty sure this is an original plot.

Special Effects: Other than the Mama Marco hologram, which wasn’t the worst hologram of the series, I don’t think there were any other effect shots.

’90s Bullshit: Marco references The X-Files.

Character Development: Jake tries really hard to save Tom but fails again; Marco and Jake are still shaken up over Marco’s evil mom; Perkins gets a complete and satisfying character arc within twenty minutes.

Overall Rating: 5/5 FUCK IT, IT WAS COOL.

Next Week: We’re gonna do something non-Animorphs for Halloween. Spooky!

Thanks for reading! Do you like candy corn? If so, tell me why in the comments and I will disagree with you.

ANIMORPHS Episode 16: The Leader, Part 2

Hey, Halloween is coming up, and it’s on a Friday. Is there anything spooky you guys wanna see me review that week? Someone suggested Goosebumps, I don’t know, does anyone care? Anyway, this episode exists.

Previously on Animorphs: Marco and Jake got shot iinto space and Visser One is Marco’s mom. Cassie and Rachel jumped across a big hole. Ax and Tobias were drafted and killed in Vietnam.

We pick back up with Marco freaking the fuck out. He is simultaneously horrified that his mom is under alien control and psyched that she isn’t dead. Jake says, “Just don’t do anything stupid,” and Marco immediately tries to vault over the boxes they’re hiding behind and charge the stage. Jake stops him.

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Mama Marco (who is a shitty actress) demands the Andalite Bandits, but some Yeerk asshole shows up to tell her they’ve gone and escaped.

No wonder this guy gave up his humanity.

No wonder this guy gave up his humanity.

Visser Trent shakes his jowels around and disperses his goon squad to look for them.

"Raggle fraggle."

“Raggle fraggle.”

Jake realizes that this situation sucks and tries to come up with a plan, but Marco has completely lost it and just keeps staring into space. He’s gone totally dead inside and Boris is way better at playing “in shock” then “emotional crying.”

Mama Marco tears Visser Trent apart for being a useless shithead. Her lips are out of control, dude. She storms off and Trent hates himself before doing the same thing.

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Back on Earth, Cassie and Rachel crawl through some more vents at the EGS Tower.

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They’re searching for the new Kandrona so they can beat it to death. They bemoan not being able to morph due to the sensors from last episode. I would not be surprised if they use this excuse to completely elimnate morphing from the rest of the show. Look forward to next week’s review of Ani.

Turns out that in space, no one can hear you morph. Jake and Marco hang out on the ceiling as lizards and Marco has seemingly gotten over his emotional shock so that was fun while it lasted.

They look like a heart.

They look like a heart.

They eavesdrop as the two Vissers chat about alien business. Also they are in some kind of plant room where Mama Marco tends to her plants.

Spooky scary spritzing

Spooky scary spritzing

I guess before being possessed by aliens, Mama Marco dug plants. The idea here is that Mama Marco is a difficult host to control because she’s so strong-willed or whatever. Do you think after he acquired his bald businessman morph, Visser Three murdered the real Victor Trent?

Jake and Marco end up in a space elevator that takes them to a space hallway. Marco walks straight into a hanging wire and I’m convinced it was a blooper they just ran with. Well, the guys find a smaller ship docked inside the larger one, start fucking with the controls, and Jake decides they will just fly the lil’ fighter home.

Marco isn’t down with this, first because it’s a fucking bonkers idea, and second because he doesn’t wanna leave without his mom. He storms off and Jake follows him.

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Jake is like “Nope we gotta go now, this place is bogus.” Marco isn’t budging. He tells Jake that he (Jake) should go back to Earth, but that he isn’t gonna leave without his mom no matter what. This scene is really good, guys! Is this show becoming watchable?

Rachel and Cassie continue fucking around.

"LOL"

“LOL”

Marco is on his own in the space hallways. He hears footsteps and hides, but it’s just Jake, who has come to help him.

"Hey, I guess we're on a spaceship."

“Hey, I guess we’re on a spaceship.”

Cassie and Rachel beat the Kandrona to death with wrenches. An alarm goes off. They run away.

The boys sneak around. Marco is convinced that if his mom sees him, she’ll be able to break free of the Yeerk’s control due to the power of love. They’re spotted by the Goon Patrol, who give chase and shoot at them until Jake expertly knocks some barrels over and then they spray them with a hose full of steam or whatever.

Running!

Running!

They end up being chased back into the smaller ship, where Jake urges Marco to help him start the ship up. Marco is like “Fuck, Jake, we JUST talked about this.”

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Jake convinces Marco that if they don’t fly off now, they’re gonna get shot to death by flashlights and he is gonna be real fucking useless re: saving anyone. They rocket off into space .

Space.

Space.

There is a pretty funny bit where Marco closes off all the viewscreens, and Jake complains “Now we can’t see anything.” Marco’s response: “It’s space.” “Oh, yeah.” Pretty funny.

Still space.

Still space.

There’s some stuff where Marco makes the ship descend too quickly and they rush to stabilize it while arguing and you get the point.

"Ahhh!" - Audience

“Ahhh!” – Audience

In the rush to fix it, they end up flying back toward the larger ship they came from. Doofuses.

In the Plant Room, Visser Trent reports that there are two life forms aboard the ship coming toward them. He wants to just shoot them out of the sky but Visser One is like no, that would fuck up the plot. She wants to use them to unlock the secrets of…the Andalite disk! Wowzer.

Then the show cuts to Ax standing in a barn and what the fuck.

"I am in this episode."

“I am in this episode.”

So apparently Ax has used his magic psychic powers to locate Jake and Marco in space. He relays to Cassie and Rachel that the boys have stolen a ship. This magic is justified as Ax being able to hear Visser Three’s thought-speak but that is pretty retarded. Cassie is like yo, Ax, can you send out a telepathic bullshit message to the boys like when you crashed your dumb ship into that dumb warehouse and gave me headaches all day? Ax says that sounds pretty insipid but he will try anyway.

And hey, like bullshit usually does on this show, Ax’s message reaches them crystal clear. There’s a good gag where he describes a button to them, Marco proudly finds and presses it, and Ax says, “Do not press that button. It will only turn off the lights.” Fucking gold, dude. So he walks them through turning on the autopilot. In a ridiculous turn of events, there are two unlabeled autopilot buttons: one will send the ship to Earth, one will send them to the Yeerk planet. Spooky!

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Marco tells Jake to pick a button. Jake goes, “No! You do it,” and I’m like, what a dick. Then he adds, “I trust you,” so I guess this is supposed to be a nice gesture. Marco surprisingly doesn’t bitch any further. He picks a button and the ship immediately loops away from the mothership, leaving Visser Trent to stare out the window in frustration.

Mama Marco strokes her plants until her hands begin to twitch outside of her control. I don’t really know why.

morphs18

Hours later, the girls and Ax are still waiting for the boys. Then they come strolling in all wet, having landed in a swamp offscreen. They look fresh from a facefucking by Shrek. They thank Ax for saving their lives and Cassie gets a boner. She gives them some dry clothes to wear that are covered in horse shit.

It's not ogre 'till it's ogre.

It’s not ogre ’till it’s ogre.

When the others leave, Marco tells Jake he doesn’t want the others to know about his mom. Jake is like “K.” He assures Marco they will get his mother back and Marco feebly says, “I know” and tells Jake he smells like shit/Shrek.

Back at the Sad Dad Apartment, Marco’s dad has a surprise for him. Not only did he paint the entire apartment without him, but he put a frame around the hand-turkey drawing on the wall to save it. He tells Marco that he’s sure his mom is real proud of him.

"I love you, son with incredibly vascular arms."

“I love you, son with incredibly vascular arms.”

A really half-assed Marco voiceover tells that Marco won’t stop until he gets his mom back. Then all of his friends come over to smile and laugh at him.

Final Thoughts:

Okay, so this is probably the best episode of Animorphs.

Combined, it easily makes for the best two-parter. There is some silly shit, and the whole Rachel/Cassie subplot was clearly there to just fill time, but hey, for Animorphs, it was mad entertaining. Like The Capture, Part 2, this is one of the few times the show really takes itself seriously (but still has some of the most genuinely funny jokes the series has offered). Boris’s performance as Marco in this episode was easily the best acting so far aside from Paulo as Ax, who is always great.

Maybe I’m just having a good day, but whatever, I liked it.

Adaptation Rating: I don’t care!

Special Effects: Nothing really, but I just wanted to remind you how great that spaceship shot was last week.

’90s Bullshit: Being comfortably numb.

Character Development: Marco goes through a whole thing.

Next Week: An episode that I vaguely remember being not bad.

Seeya, kids! Thanks for reading .