ANIMORPHS: A Retrospective on the Series

So I watched all of ANIMORPHS, and now I’m going to talk about it.

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I guess the main question to ask when someone says, “I watched the ANIMORPHS television series” is “Why.” Well, that’s not something I can answer. The second question would be, “Was it awful?”

Well…yes.

Definitely yes.

Definitely yes.

I’m a firm believer that an adaptation does not need to be a good ADAPTATION to be a good THING. In fact, some of the best adaptations are those capable of being pragmatic–realizing what will work in the new medium, and what will not. ANIMORPHS did not need to be “a good adaptation of the books” to be a “a good show.”

ANIMORPHS is neither.

Fans of the books like to say that this show was doomed from the start, because you just can’t pull off such an effects-heavy, serious-minded series in the format of a low-budget Nickelodean kids show in 1998. I think that’s true to some degree, but honestly, a lot of the blame should be put on the show itself. They could’ve told a decent, interesting story here, even if the effect shots had to look like shit or not exist.

But even though it improved throughout the later episodes, this series as a whole was very poorly put together. So, one last time, let’s take a look at Nickelodeon’s ANIMORPHS so I can disappear into the sky.

The Characters

Jake (Shawn Ashmore) – Jake was our hero, I guess. And he was fine. Shawn Ashmore has been proven to be a solid actor, and he did good here–but he was given very little to work with. Outside of his storylines with Tom or the episode where he becomes a Controller, TV Jake is very bland. Every so often, a bit of goofiness is allowed to show through–mostly in scenes with Marco. But mostly, he is the epitome of a completely average suburban white boy.

Marco (Boris Cabrera) – Marco is my favorite character from the books, but I don’t think I’m too strongly biased in saying that his TV counterpart is pretty lame. The writing doesn’t allow him to be nearly as funny or as morally conflicted, so he’s left with the most annoying of Book-Marco’s characteristics: being a complainer who is always the first to give up or villainize someone. Initially pretty awkward, Boris seemed to get more comfortable with the character as the show went on–but while he became better at pulling off “Funny Marco,” he was not great in most of the “Emotional Marco” scenes.

Which brings us to Marco’s main ongoing storyline–his Big Bad Yeerk Dead Mom. Like many things on this show, it’s meaningless. She never appears after her introduction episode, and that’s also when his dad–probably the closest thing this show has to a genuine-feeling relationship–vanishes from the story at the same time.

Rachel (Brooke Nevin) – First, I think Brooke Nevin was a great choice for the character. But like everyone else, she never gets much material to work with. Her relationship with Tobias is schmaltzy from the start (Do you ever wish you could just…fly away?), but cute enough; her family drama fades from the plot almost immediately. Her character lacks the edge that defines Rachel in the book; instead of “beautiful warrior girl,” she’s more “beautiful girl who will make fun of you if you make fun of her.”

Cassie (Nadia Nascimento) – Cassie is by far the least interesting of the main cast. I guess her storylines in the book were always the more “out-there” ones, and as a result, she doesn’t get much focus on the show–the only episode for her I can really remember is the one where she can’t stop being a crocodile, and that was based on a Rachel book. Instead of “bleeding-heart activist,” she’s pretty much reduced to “likes animals.” They finally let her try to free all the animals at the testing facility…in the series finale. And Nadia is probably one of the weaker actors.

Ax (Paulo Costanzo) – Ax really put me through the fucking ringer. Despite his introduction episode being AWFUL, Paulo’s performance was so on-point–especially compared to the “uninterested actors playing uninteresting characters” vibe that characterized early Season 1–that he became an instant high point for the show. By Season 2, his shtick had become pretty played out and it really seemed like they were trying too hard with it. But he was still usually capable of making me smile at least once an episode, and honestly, he’s probably the best-adapted character on the show.

Tobias (Christopher Ralph) - What the fuck happened here? I feel like I could write a thesis paper on how much they fucked this character up.

Things started out really positive with Tobias. Instead of only having one book with him before he’s trapped as a hawk, the show gave us three episodes. But then it took like, weeks for him to show up again and reveal his bird-doom. And once he did…he was basically relegated to being a background bird. I get that it must’ve been annoying to work with having one of the characters be a live bird, but man, the show suffered for it. Tobias has almost NO character development from the time he becomes a bird until the Season 1 finale. Outside of that horrendous flashback episode, we don’t get any look at all into how’s he’s dealing with BEING A FUCKING BIRD, and that just makes the situation so much more ridiculous. And that’s not to mention the time they literally KILLED HIM OFF ON SCREEN AND THEN FORGOT ABOUT IT.

On the positive side, he fared MUCH better in Season 2 once they basically gave up on the pretense of him being a hawk (he’s only a bird for like, two scenes in the entire season). Ralph is a little stiff sometimes, but I generally enjoyed him when we got to see him. This must have been such a bizarre role for the kid to play.

The Five WORST Episodes of Animorphs

Honorable Mention: Changes, Part 2 (Season 2, Episode 5)

The Plot: The Animorphs need to stop Harold, the most annoying character ever, from doing whatever.

The Worst: Sandwiched in the middle of an already-underwhelming 3-part finale, I have to deal with this shit?

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No thanks!

5. Underground (Season  1, Episode 3)

23The Plot: The Animorphs lead their first idiotic attack on the Yeerk Pool and accomplish absolutely nothing but pissing me off.

The Worst: Part 1 of the premiere stills stands as being solid, and while Part 2 disappointed, this was the episode that certified what a mess we were into with this series. Once the gang heads for the Yeerk Pool, everything awful about the show comes right to the forefront. Nothing flows from one shot to another or makes any sense, the “battles” are reduced to kids randomly turning into animals for a half a second and everyone in sight running from fear, nothing gets accomplished or has any meaning…every aspect of this sequence is dogshit, and it was the first of many times I thought, “Should I be watching this?”.

No. The answer was no. 

4. The Message (Season 1, Episode 6)

morphsssssssssssssssThe Plot: Cassie gets some headaches, which are revealed to be a crashed Andalite (Ax) sending out distress signals. So they go and find him sitting in a warehouse.

The Worst: While this episode brought us the glory of TV-Ax, it needs to be on this list as the most scream-inducing adaptation of the series. This episode takes a book about a harrowing undersea adventure to a downed spaceship and reduces it to Ax sitting around in an abandoned warehouse (why wouldn’t he just…leave?) and Visser Trent shaking his fists in anger at butterflies.

3. The Stranger (Season 1, Episode 10)

2The Plot: After everyone gets trapped under a net (!), a space ghost appears and shows them a shitty alternate future where Rachel is a mean old bitch and Visser Trent ate Tobias. Then he allows them to completely avoid that future with no consequences so what was the point.

The Worst: Let’s see: the Animorphs are nearly defeated by a net. There’s a lengthy scene of Ax being lassoed. The Ellimist appears out of nowhere and looks like a shitty blue space ghost. The Shitty Future is reduced to a couple scenes of people talking In a yellow-tinted desert set, and the resolution is meaningless. Even for an episode of Animorphs, this episode is almost incomprehensible.

2. On the Run (Season 1, Episode 4)

131The Plot: Marco’s “Yeerk-free day” (go fuck yourself) at the mall is ruined by a ridiculous, boring misadventure as our heroes try to get the inexplicably-missing Andalite Disk back from the cheesiest Yeerk goons ever.

The Worst: If “Underground” made me question this show, “On the Run” completely broke me. Not only is the “kids in a mall” action completely unremarkable—they can turn into animals! Why are we doing this!—but this is one of those episodes where we go into every commercial break with a cliffhanger, only for it to be meaninglessly resolved off-screen when we return. There are stupider episodes of this show, but none so soulless.

1. Tobias (Season 1, Episode 14)

morphs15The Plot: Ax uses his magic powers to create a device which turns Tobias’s memories of not being a bird into watchable, boring clips.

The Worst: Finally given a chance to explore Tobias’s inner turmoil and past, this episode completely throws it away. What we’re left with is two equally-lame storylines. In one, Human Tobias is revealed to be a whiny little shithead who didn’t bail on the Animorphs only because a magical black janitor told him not to. In the other, Ax’s quirks are ratcheted up to an unwatchable level and we get like 7 minutes of slapstick.  It’s like they were an episode short for Season 1, so they just called up Paulo and Christopher over a weekend and shot this shit in someone’s backyard.

The Four BEST* Episodes of Animorphs

5. The Leader, Part 2 (Season 1, Episode 16)

morphs20Real talk, guys: I don’t remember much about this episode or why it was good. But in my review, I wrote: “This is probably the best episode of ANIMORPHS.” And that’s good enough to put it on this list.

4. The Front (Season 2, Episode 4)

"PLEASE ENGAGE ME IN YOUR HUMAN HAND-SHAKE."

“PLEASE ENGAGE ME IN YOUR HUMAN HAND-SHAKE.”

The Plot: Ax gets a job at Fake Radio Shack, which is actually part of some ridiculous Yeerk scheme.

The Best: As the last non-three-part-finale episode of the series, The Front is a great representation of how much the show improved from its abysmal beginnings. This is just a silly standalone without much depth, but for what it is, the plot is tight and makes sense, and this is as comfortable with the characters as anyone in the show would ever be. The Front gives us a sad glimpse of what the show might’ve become had it not crashed and burned so quickly.

3. My Name is Jake, Part 1 (Season 1, Episode 1)

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The Plot: You should know this by now: alien crashes on Earth, kid turns into a dog.

The Best: Let’s think back to the warm summer days when I watched the first episode of ANIMORPHS and thought, “This is pretty good!”. The first three episodes were the only ones I ever saw as a kid (thanks, VHS!), and my memories of the show were pretty favorable; almost entirely due to “My Name is Jake, Part 1,” which does an excellent job of adapting the first book and setting up the series. If the entire show had been of this quality, this would be a very different blog and I’d have spent much less on alcohol.

2. Not My Problem (Season 1, Episode 18)

"Sorry Jake is dead let's make out"

“Sorry Jake is dead let’s make out”

The Plot: Jake pouts until the Ellimist shows him ANOTHER alternate future. But this time, it’s actually interesting: Marco is a preppy controller, Tobias is a lone freedom fighter, and everything goes to hell.

The Best: The set-up for this episode is pretty silly, but everything in the “what if” world is GREAT. With plot twists that are actually twist, jokes that are actually funny (Preppy Marco will forever kill me), and a seriously bleak tone, this episode managed to be better than the (unrelated) book with a similar plot. Also, this is the one where Jake taunts Tobias for being a bird, which is funny.

1. The Release (Season 1, Episode 17)

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The Plot: Jake’s teacher, Mr. Perkins, is revealed as a freed controller raging war against the Yeerks.

The Best: Once in a great while, this show came up with a great original idea. Mr. Perkins was a rad character given more development and personality in one episode than many characters received in 26. This was also one of the few times the show took a serious approach to morality, high stakes, and genuine human drama. The scene at the end, when Mr. Perkins leaves Jake in the woods, is easily one of the most well-executed in the series.

My Favorite Screenshots

LOL

LOL

God is dead & we are punished

God is dead & we are punished

I was born in the right generation.

I was born in the right generation.

Fuck yes finally

Fuck yes finally

Surprisingly, author K.A. Applegate didn't enjoy this series.

Surprisingly, author K.A. Applegate didn’t enjoy this series.

ming morphs22 morphs20 morphs7 morphsss morphssssssssssssssssss

Also this

Also this

lol

lol

"I'm so glad no one is abandoning me tonight."

“I’m so glad no one is abandoning me tonight.”

morphsssss morphsssssssss

"RAGGLE FRAGGLE"

“RAGGLE FRAGGLE”

OH GOOD THIS AGAIN

OH GOOD THIS AGAIN

LION AM MAKE ROAR

LION AM MAKE ROAR

Oh, and this man was crushed to death.

Oh, and this man was crushed to death.

Ha!

Ha!

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It's a real green-screen scare.

It’s a real green-screen scare.

Okay, guys, that’s it. I reviewed all of ANIMORPHS, and unless someone mails me the book Scholastic published about the actors and the behind-the-scenes (please do this), I am not going to be touching this shit again!

But PLEASE come back to the site next week, because I have a REALLY special announcement to share with all of you.

Thank you so much for coming along this dumb nightmare maze of a journey with me. It’s been a weird, rough year, and I GUESS laughing at this stupid show with you people has made it somewhat more manageable. Here’s to a 2015 without ANIMORPHS.

I love you all.

Morphs dismissed.

ANIMORPHS Season 2, Episodes 5 & 6: Changes, Parts 2 & 3

THIS IS IT. WE ARE HERE. THIS IS THIS.

ANIMORPHS SERIES FINALE SUPER-REVIEW.

MERRY CHRISTMAS.

WELCOME.

IT’S HERE!

Last Time:

A bunch of THINGS happened, but I am going to go ahead and assume only three of them will be important.

1. There is to be a big school dance. Tobias won’t go because even when he’s a boy, he’s a bird.

2. Tobias spotted a suspcious hawk mural painted in the mall.

3. Marco’s morphing was videotaped by a pervert.

title1Look at this nerdy-ass bedroom.

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It’s the outer-space loser lair of our favorite pervert, Harold. When he’s not out videotaping in the woods for no apparent reason, Harold likes spaceships and space and wearing glasses and whatever else the most stereotypical nerd ever might like. Tonight, he’s taken time out of his vigorous Star Trek schedule to watch his footage of a dog turning into Marco over and over.

Ugh.

Ugh. Haven’t I been through enough?

In another episode of Contrived Coincidence Theater, there’s a TV show called “World’s Weirdest Videos” airing just as Harold watches his footage. With a prize of $1,000 dollars on the line, you know what’s happening here: Harold calls in and sets some nonsense in motion.

Next scene, Jesus, we are still focusing on Harold. He’s sitting on the steps at school writing a letter to accompany his World’s Weirdest Videos submission. He’s immediately distracted by Rachel, and then this shit happens, so you know he’s in love.

Aieeeeeeeee

Aieeeeeeeee

Tobias gonna peck your eye out, dick!

Rachel finds a rose pinned to her locker, causing her to sigh, “Oh, Tobias!”. Harold immediately jams his fuckin’ face into the scene to reveal that the rose was his.

Friendzone? More like fuckOFFzone.

Friendzone? More like fuckOFFzone.

Rachel doesn’t even know this kid’s name and would clearly rather have a yeast infection than Harold’s love. She blows him the hell off until Harold decides to seduce her with “a DOG turning into a GUY.” This wrinkles Rachel’s nose.

Cut to the barn, where Rachel fills in her friends on the horror of Harold.

These kids really like their barn.

These kids really like their barn.

Marco’s response is pretty much, “Oh, sorry, guys, I guess.” Apparently the video is “too dark” to identify Marco, but once the TV show “cleans up the footage” for broadcast, he’ll be recognizable. The gang decides to head to Howard’s house while he’s sleeping and slit his throat.

Jake and Marco, mice white as snow, sneak into Harold’s bedroom to find the tape.

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Sadly, it’s 1999 and that means this nerd’s room is LITTERED with tapes. Also, he’s got a cat. I’m sure its name is Spock or some bullshit. The boys decide to demorph INCHES from a sleeping Harold because I guess they want to die. Harold only stirs enough to moan, “KLINGONS!”. Dead fuckin’ serious. Marco then weasels right up to the bed and starts talking to the dreaming Harold as Scotty.

Not the Animorphs porn parody I wanted, but the one I deserved.

Not the Animorphs porn parody I wanted, but the one I deserved.

Why does he do this? Because Harold is SLEEPING WITH THE TAPE CLUTCHED TO HIS CHEST. Marco snatches that tape and our heroes flee.

They bring the tape back to Jake’s bedroom the next day to watch it with the girls. But instead of one stupid thing, the tape contains another:

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I hate Harold.

Rachel rings Harold to find he’s already gone to submit the tape, but that he’s stopping at the mall first. So it’s another mall adventure. The four human Animorphs split up and resolve to beat Harold to death whenever they find him.

In an absolutely bizarre moment, Tobias just strolls into the mall for reasons completely unrelated to this vital mission, notices Rachel walking by, and thinks, “Oh, I should follow her, she’s pretty.” But he’s distracted by some hunk spraypainting a hawk on a nearby sign. So Tobias chases him through a carousel until the boy completely vanishes at a dead end.

So, this is happening.

So, this is happening.

Rachel runs into Harold at, I don’t know, the nerd store. She uses her feminine wiles to search his bag for the tape, but he’s already dropped it off at the TV station.

I guess Marco and Cassie gave up on trying to protect their identities, because they’re at CyBeria eating fast food. Cassie seems to think Ax might’ve been brain-slugged due to his weird behavior. I didn’t really mention this because it was barely a thing, but Cassie spotted Ax walking around with some tools or something earlier. She should probably just accept that he is always out of his gourd. Rachel and Jake stroll in to discuss Harold’s shittiness and what can be done about it. I’m sure his parents have similar discussions.

So Jake and Rachel get themselves delivered to the TV station in a box full of geckos. That is, I think they are geckos.

Is this a gecko?

Is this a gecko?

I think geckos are cool.

After doing this…

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…the kids hide while a TV executive talks about how “this show will change the world.” Oh, it’s that guy Visser Three is morphed into. I totally forgot about him. As did Hollywood, I am sure.

At the park, Cassie stalks Ax as he carries a bag full of stuff to some place. Ax reaches, I don’t know, a nuclear bomb shelter in the middle of the woods, and lets himself inside.

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Then Marco shows up to scare the shit out of Cassie, ha HA! Ax emerges from the vault sans bag and tromps off into the woods looking frazzled.

Visser Three and another TV exec watch a tape of “the show that will change the world.” It’s a ridiculously hammy teen sitcom called “Me and My Big Mouth.” There’s a joke there. Hmm.

Blowjobs!

Blowjobs!

So here’s the trick: the TV show is evil and it uses evil subliminal messages to hypnotize the viewer. It does just this thing to the TV exec, and while he’s zoned out, Visser Three pulls a Yeerk out of his pocket and shoves it in his ear. Visser Three demands the show be aired that night at 8pm. Jake and Rachel freak out, including this darkly ironic bit of dialogue:

“We have to cancel it. RIGHT NOW.”

Marco and Cassie let themselves into Ax’s secret hell chamber. It leads to a cave-ass cave and, hey, Ax built himself a spaceship.

Because, why wouldn't he?

Because, why wouldn’t he?

In a real act of serendipity (am I using that word correctly? let’s ask my BA in English), the surprise airing of “Me and My Big Mouth” will be pre-empting “World’s Weirdest Videos.” Rachel turns into a snake to scare off the guys in the…putting tapes in…room…so she and Jake can take over.

In the Space Cave, Marco and Cassie hide as Ax returns with more supplies. He notices them instantly because despite hiding behind random shit almost every week, these kids are still the most conspicuous assholes I’ve seen since “Me and My Big Mouth III” hit RedTube.

Ax confesses that he has been secretly constructing a spaceship so he can fly away and leave this show behind.

Jake and Rachel have four minutes to stop the evil sitcom from being aired, but it’s on an automatic timer. The Evil TV Exec Army realizes they’ve been locked out of the…tape…room…and begin attempting to bust their way in. Rachel stumbles across Harold’s tape and snatches it up.

Ax puts the finishing touches on his spaceship while doing a John Wayne impression. The countdown for his test launch is intercut with a countdown to the Evil Sitcom being aired, so that’s a nice touch. Basically, here’s a summation of this whole segment:

How visually interesting for the viewer.

How visually interesting for the viewer.

Both timers hit zero, and…

Well, everyone loses: the spaceship doesn’t work, and the broadcast can’t be stopped. But luckily (I guess) enough, the failed ship launch cuts the power to the entire town, allowing Jake to remove the tape. He then turns into a dog and runs away.

Ax is bummed that he fucked up and cannot return ot outer space. Marco consoles him with some, “WE’RE your family!” shit, but surpsingly enough, Ax seems to be having none of it. No one wants Marco as a brother.

Harold calls the TV station and screams at them over not airing his tape and not paying him $10,000 he doesn’t deserve. The scene fades out and he, presumably, dies alone and unloved at the age of 27.

In a post-blackout world, Tobias is at CyBeria and somehow not wearing his leather jacket. He uses some kind of ancient device to scan the hawk graffiti into the computer.

I have no idea if this was ever a thing.

I have no idea if this was ever a thing.

A ridiculous search engine turns up one match: “Join us if you want to save the world.”

Beep-boop, computing

Beep-boop, computing

So this sounds like it will be a whole thing.

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Tobias has put his jacket back on to prowl the streets searching for hawk symbols. He follows the string of graffiti to a sketchy building and lets himself inside. Eventually he ends up at some secret room where the hawk spraypainter from earlier begrudgingly lets him in.

Basically, there’s a whole secret base of young people here. Their goons hold Tobias in place while the guy in charge, named Hugo (although the show won’t inform us of his name until his final scene), scans him for signs of Yeerkitude.

I REALLY hope that's just a scanner, dude.

I REALLY hope that’s just a scanner, dude.

Meanwhile, Marco hangs out creepily by the high school track and uses Ax-as-a-bunny to get the attention of a cute girl name Naomi and ask her to the dance.

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This fails. He drops Ax off outside to demorph, then goes to pursue Naomi. Inside, he runs into a suspicious goon who tells him part of the school is being investigated for a “gas leak.”

The true villain of ANIMORPHS: minor inconvenience.

The true villain of ANIMORPHS: minor inconvenience.

Naomi is never seen again.

After being declared Yeerk-free, Tobias tries to play dumb about the whole thing. But these guys aren’t buying it. See, what we’ve got here is something interesting–a small resistance formed of humans formerly under Yeerk control. Tobias is shocked!

In Weird Teen Drama World, Cassie asks Jake to the dance by presenting him with her grandpa’s suit.

She know what boys like.

She know what boys like.

Also, Cassie is wearing a hoodie and a skirt that goes down to her ankles, so that’s great. He is charmed, but I mean, he’s also an idiot. Jake asks her out to get a cappuccino (lol) and I’m sorry, but whether it’s the writing or the actors, these two have absolutely no chemistry.

Tobias continues to feign ignorance as Hugo relates his tale of escaping Yeerk control. If you’re wondering how he did it, well, it’s dumb: he just ran out of the Yeerk Pool when the guards were distracted by nothing.

g2g peace bye

g2g peace bye

“Distracted by Nothing” would be a great alternate title for this series. Graffiti Boy says that the hawk sympols are a “bird of prey” representing how they’re going to prey on the Yeerks. Fine. Tobias tries to leave, but the gang won’t let him for fear of his being caught and ruining their fun. They’re about to tie him up when the Andalite disk falls from his neck and causes a debacle.

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Hugo and Graffiti Boy bring the disk to their tech guru, an older woman who escaped the Yeerk Pool “and brought half of their technology with her.” She finds some “Andalite writing” on the disk and asks Tobias what it does. He says that he found the disk in a construction site, recognized the writing on the hawk graffiti, and brought it to them. Luckily, Tech Guru Lady has one of those little spinny-derbishes to pop the disk into.

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Okay. So follow me on this shit. I guess the disk is emanating some kind of magic brainwaves. Tech Guru Lady says they might be designed for aliens brains, and thus capable of melting human heads. So Tobias volunteers to get radiation beamed into his brain at risk of his own death.

Back at school, Marco sneaks around the off-limits “gas leak” area. He discovers…anti-smoking posters!

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He turns into a lizard (how many more times will I get to write that sentence? Please, a thousand) only to be snatched up by a clueless science teacher and thrown in a tank.

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That’s it, guys. Marco’s trapped forever. His story ends here.

Later (I guess), the school dance has commenced. Chapman is chaperoning (more like chaperoning…oh…) and it brings to mind the question: where the fuck is Tom? Shouldn’t evil plans at the school be like, his main shit? Anyway, Chapman hits on Rachel or something.

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Jake shows up in Cassie’s grandfather’s suit. I wonder if her grandfather is dead. I sure am. Ax shows up with a perm and he is either excited to dance or he has just figured out what sex is.

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Either way, he squires Rachel off onto the dance floor. Here’s a picture of Jassie:

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Marco the Lizard sends out a thought-speak distress call and, for some reason, Ax is the only one who hears it. He stumbles into the science lab and lets out least-favorite lizard loose.

Back at Casa Resistance, dear God.

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Lawnmower Bird

As you can see, Tobias has been strapped into some disaster so they can beam beams into his beam. What happens next is absolutely insane and involves the phrase “mental hologram,” so I am going to let the screenshots speak for themselves.

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Marco quits being a lizard.

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And now everyone else is in the lab, too, for no reason.

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Marco reveals what he saw in the secret no-smoking area: the entire gym floor has been rigged to collapse at 9pm, dropping everyone into the Yeerk Pool below. Why the hell didn’t the Yeerks try that last season, instead of creating a ridiculous ruse based around a basketball game?

Marco wants to scare everyone out of the gym by turning into a bunch of huge, scary animals. Jake rejects this idea on the grounds of “putting our school on the front page of the news,” and how would that be a problem, exactly? I mean, I just want to see Green Screen Bear again.

Bad news, guys. Fake Visser Three has found his way to the Graffiti Building, and he’s about to charge in and fuck up the Resistance.

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The merry band of misfits gets ready to escape, but their leader doesn’t want to pull Tobias out of his vision quest before it’s finished.

Not that Tobias is accomplishing that much. Instead of elaborating about, you know, how the FUCK he bedded a human woman and produced an angsty baby boy in a leather jacket, there are just a lot of flashbacks to the Andalite’s appearance in the very first episode. Elfangor basically says that he came all the way to Earth with his dying breath to make sure his little baby boy would be safe.

Hugo pulls Tobias out of the machine just as the Yeerk Patrol reach the door. Everyone makes a mad dash to escape, and the disk is trampled to death underfoot. So I guess that’s the end of that.

Hugo stops the Yeerks from getting in so Tobias can turn into a bird and make his escape.

untitled39 untitled40

Then they do get in, and that’s it–Hugo is fucked. He’s dragged away to hell.

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Speaking of heroic efforts, Rachel turns into a skunk and ruins the dance. Fine!

Blurry Image of a Skunk: The Perfect Summation of this Shit

Blurry Image of a Skunk: The Perfect Summation of this Shit

So that’s it. That was the climax. The climax of the series was Tobias flying out of a window and a skunk walking down a high school hallway. Thanks, ANIMORPHS! Thanks, Nickelodean!

Thanks!

Thanks!

With three minutes left in this series, we cut to CyBeria. Our heroes (sans Tobias) are all sitting around in their formalwear, and if this finale ends like the premiere did–with unending, directionless bits of discussion in the goddamn Cyber Cafe–I may scream.

Dat hair, tho...

Dat hair, tho…

Jake, Rachel, and Cassie are bummed that the Yeerks ruined their big high school dance. Ax, in his wise alien ways, points out that all of the people from the dance have migrated to CyBeria–because if a high school dance was skunked out, everyone there would surely head to the fucking CYBER CAFE in their expensive formal clothes–so why don’t we just HAVE THE DANCE RIGHT HERE, DUMB HUMANS?

And then…

Okay, guys, this part…it’s kind of cheesy, and it doesn’t really gel with the rest of the episode–how would he know they were all there?–but I don’t care…I still think it’s cute…

Someone starts up a romantic song on the jukebox, and that someone is Tobias, looking fly as fuck.

No pun intended. Bird.

No pun intended. Bird.

Rachel’s heart skips a beat or two on sight of her love. Everyone remarks that something is different about Tobias–he’s SMILING. Tobias struts over and asks Rachel to dance, and she is like, “Finally.”

Just fly away.

Just fly away.

So they dance, and Jake dances with Cassie, and Marco sits awkwardly watching from his seat as Ax sidles up next to him. Marco tells him, “Don’t even think about it,” but Ax is SO saddened by this rejection that Marco says hrumph to society’s norms and dances with him.

"Teach me how to human kiss."

“Teach me how to human kiss.”

Tobias quotes Elfangor to Rachel, saying “I’d gladly sacrifice forever with strangers for one moment with someone I love.” Which doesn’t fit this situation at all, but whatever. She asks for the origin of this quote, and Tobias says, “My father.”

Rachel puts her head on his chest and sighs a sigh of “Fine, Tobias, we’ll deal with whatever that means later, let’s just fucking dance.”

And you know what? I think that’s been the moral of this show all along.

Let’s just fucking dance.

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Final Thoughts:

Okay, I’m going to do a retrospective on this entire series-ass series next week, so I’m going to keep this brief; more extensive thoughts will probably be found in that post. But in short:

-The Harold stuff was completely inspid, even for this show. It took up almost the entire second part and had no bearing on the third. Honestly, other than the Tobias plot, these might as well have been three totally unrelated episodes.

-Tobias’s plot was an interesting concept–a group of resistance fighters!–but uiltmately it amounted to nothing…beyond the RIDICULOUS reveal that Elfangor is his father. Yes, this happens in the books, too, but there’s an entire novel building the backstory for it, and then an entire book for the reveal. Here…they just threw it out with no explanation or purpose. But I guess it made Tobias learn how to smile. Whatever.

-Seriously–half of the final episode is spent establishing Hugo and the other resistance fighters. I don’t know if they were planning on having these be recurring characters or what, but as this ended up being the final episode, it’s a total waste.

-The climax came out of nowhere and was resolved just as quickly. Far more time was spent on the teens getting ready for the dance than there being any threat of something happening there.

-Also, what the hell happened with Ax’s random spaceship? These episodes are so bizarrely strung together into one kind-of-a-narrative. I don’t know if the writers were mandated to come up with a 3-parter (this aired as a “tv movie,” so maybe they were fufilling some kind of requirement) or if they were just incompetent.

-The ending was cute.

All three parts of “Changes” were written by Ron Oliver, who brought us the abysmal “The Underground” (first dumb Yeerk Pool episode) and “The Escape” (the good one about the Yeerk-free teacher). He wrote for a lot of similar shows in the ’90s, and since the mid-2000s he’s been churning out TV movies like a motherfuck.

Special Effects: Did you see the screencaps of Tobias on his vision quest?

’90s Bullshit: Star Trek. TV shows based on home video footage (take that, Daniel Tosh!). Me and My Big Mouth. Going to your big high school dance. Cyber Cafes. Animorphs by K.A. Applegate.

Character Development: I guess Tobias is Elfangor’s son. Tobias and Jake get to dance with girls. Marco overcomes his latent homophobia for good.

Life Lesson: Let’s just fucking dance.

Overall Rating: 2/5.

Cancelled: ANIMORPHS.

That’s it, guys. We did it. Thanks for sticking with me through this entire warhellride. Have a merry, Animorph-free Christmas, and check back next Friday for a retrospective on the series–aka, “I am going to drink eggnog and get MAD.”

ANIMORPHS Season 2, Episode 4: Changes, Part 1

This is it. We’ve come to the beginning of the end: the first installment of a 3-part ANIMORPHS series finale. It seems like only moments ago, we were at the BIG HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL GAME in the Season 1 finale. Well, I guess that’s because this show fared disasterously and only received a 6 episode second season.

Oh.

We open on the Museum of Science and Technology.

See?

See?

You know–that famous museum! It’s the middle of the night and a lone security guard is bopping around the exhibits. He notices an odd smell when passing by a display of a vet operating on a dog (?) but keeps on truckin’.

Nothing odd at all.

Nothing odd at all.

The dog is Jake Dog the dog.

Jake is always The Dog

Jake is always The Dog

Marco is here, too. He’s a duck.

"Bark!"

“Bark!”

Both boys morph back to their human state, grab their disposable camera (which Jake had to hide under the operating table..despite constantly being able to carry similar objects into his morphs…), and continue whatever adventure they’re on.

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The boys head into the Space Room to examine some doohickey. Apparently Jake noticed this dongle during the day’s earlier field trip, and he’s convinced it’s Andalite technology because, apparently, it features Andalite writing “like on Elfangor’s ship.”

Also it kind of looks like a dong

Also it kind of looks like a dong

Jake snaps a few pictures before Marco picks it up and sets off an alarm. They really didn’t think this might happen?

After the intro, the boys abandon their new toy and flee the crime scene. The exasperated guard isn’t able to catch them, but he does realize he’s chasing A DOG WITH A CAMERA IN ITS MOUTH AND A MOUSE RIDING ON ITS BACK. Then he says, “I’m so gonna get fired,” and a fucking, honest-to-God, BWAH-BWAH sting plays.

BWAH-BWAH

BWAH-BWAH

Hey, you know what’s been really nice about this season? A lack of Visser Three and/or his jowels. Lucky for us, he’s watching the news in his Alien Hell Caves. An interview with Security Guy about the attempted robbery is followed by the news that Martin Tessmacher, a TV producer, is still missing. Why does Visser Three have a hologram that gets cable?

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Oh, I found Martin!

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Visser Three acquires Martin and morphs into him, and I’m starting to wonder, could they not get Eugene Lipinski (Visser Trent) back for this season? Regardless, the Real Martin gets dragged off to “the cells.”

At school, the girls are SO SYKED FOR THE BIG HIGH SCHOOL DANCE. Rachel wants Cassie to ask Jake to the dance, but Cassie is like “oh Rachel we are just friends” and the phrase “fashion emergency” is used and oh, Lord.

While his friends are at school, Tobias the Human is spending his day at the mall, forlornly staring at suits.

"Alas! I can only wear all black."

“Alas! I can only wear all black.”

Unfortunately, this moment of possible character development gets sidetracked when he notices a hawk emblem painted on a nearby pillar.

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Looking at this graffiti gives him flashbacks to his Strange Days at Bird Holsey High, and then we find out that Tobias has taken to wearing the Andalite Disk around his neck on a cord. Don’t really know how that works out most of the day when he’s a bird, but okay.

Fashionmorphs

Fashionmorphs

He then has a weird sepia flashback to some day when all of the other Animorphs had no idea what to do with the Disk, so they put it around his neck and told him to deal with it.

They later tried to build a ladder to Bird Heaven.

If he dies, they will build a ladder to Bird Heaven to retrieve the Disk.

This is really bizarre, considering that the Disk could apparently do goddamn everything a few episodes ago, and since Tobias seemed to just innately know what it could do.

At CyBeria, Jake and Marco look at their photos of the alien doozongle and debate its purpose.

"What if it's...pointless?"

“What if it’s…pointless?”

Then Ax shows up and is like “lol guys this is an alien toilet.” So that was silly, but I’ll give the show points here; the book series spent an ENTIRE BOOK on this gag.

The girls show up. Apparently their shopping trip was ruined when Cassie jumped on top of a counter and screamed “Animals are people, too!” at the top of her lungs. Well, that’s stupid. But hey, it segues into an actual plot. Cassie is pissed about this company that tests makeup on animals. She wants to use their Animorphy powers to free all of the animals at the zoo!

I mean, free the animals from the testing facility.

Jake suggests writing a letter instead, which is pretty funny. Cassie doesn’t think so, and she leaves in a huff. I guess Jake’s not getting laid after this dance!

To make it up to his lady love, Jake puts on his best sleeveless sweatshirt and heads to the zoobarn.

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The two have a heart to heart while this thing goes fucking bonkers on Cassie’s shoulder.

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It ends with Jake deciding to help Cassie free all the animals for the pursuit of sweet teen barn ass.

Jake and Cassie turn into lil’ monkeys and get brought into the facility in a Monkey Shipment, where they’re caged up.

Cassie turns back into a Cassie after letting herself out, but Jake continues to monkey around. Apparently the show decided to remember that plot point about new morphs being hard to control. A scientist comes out and drags Jake into the EXPERIMENTATION ROOM.

"Monkey toys! This is fun!" - Jake

“Monkey toys! This is fun!” – Jake. An actual quote I didn’t fabricate.

Luckily, Cassie follows them in as a roach. She hitches a ride on Jake’s cage as they stick stick him in a van and drive him off unveiling of a new January Rose Cosemetics building, hosted by January Rose herself, that conniving bitch.

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Here’s another quote from Jake: “I love this monkey business! This is great! This is so great! MON-KEY BUSINESS!”

Her cut-the-ribbon-with-oversized-scissors shtick (you’re such a cliche, January Rose!) is interuppted when the van carrying Jake and Cassie cruises up onto the scene, honkin’ and honkin’.

The scientists–actually Animal Rights Freedom Fighters in disguise–leap out and start fighting for freedom. Cassie morphs back to human and looks on from the crowd as the Caged Jake is bandied about on stage as an example of cruelty. She’s mad worried, because if they don’t free Jake soon, he’ll be monkeying around…forever!

Meanwhile, Rachel is getting ready for the big school dance and also she looks like Minnie Mouse.

"Gwarsh!" - an unrelated character

“Gwarsh!” – another famous dog

Tobias flies into her bedroom unexpectedly and, disappointed that she is wearing clothes, turns into a real boy using some recycled stock footage. He’s still wearing all black and a leather jacket, by the way, which is so silly. Tobi breaks the bad news to Rachel: HE CAN’T GO TO THE DANCE. An argument ensues, and it turns out he’s bein’ a doof because he’s a BIRD and before the dance is over he’ll have to go be a BIRD and they’ll never get to share THE LAST DANCE. Rachel is like, “That shit don’t mean ass to me!”. Tobias flies out the window in frustration.

"I'm sorry ,Rachel, but I have to go have some more emotions."

“I’m sorry, Rachel, but I have to go have some more emotions.”

In a series of insane coincidences, Marco calls as soon as Tobias leaves, and he’s watching the animal protest on TV. He’s spotted Cassie and MonkeyJake, so he and Rachel go to their rescue.

At the protest, Cassie steals the JakeCage during the hoopla, only for a security guard to see her and take it back. She yells ineffectively to MonkeyJake that’s he only got two minutes left.

But then, a green-screen bear.

It's a real green-screen scare.

It’s a real green-screen scare.

Rachel the Idiot Bear scares everyone away….except the security guard, who catches Cassie making a monkey of herself for a second time. Thankfully, Dog Marco the Dog (a Different Dog than his last Dog) scares him off.

"Quack!"

“Quack!”

Then Dog Marco saves January Flowers from being hit by a car. She gives him an emotional stare to reflect a change in her life’s direction.

Cassie frees Jake just in the nick of time.

"Man, we certainly got ourselves into a...BANANA!"

“Man, we certainly got ourselves into a…BANANA!”

Cut to CyBeria, where Rachel, Jake, and Cassie watch January Rose announce the end of her animal testing on the TV. They all toast to “changing the world,” then wonder where the fuck Marco is at.

"Our friend may be dead."

“Our friend may be dead.”

Turns out Marco is still a dog, running around in the woods and looking for a safe place to demorph. Why the hell he couldn’t just do so at the protest where Jake did, or wherever Rachel did, I’ll never know.

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Will I….will I miss this?

But despite looking around beforehand, he gets caught on video by this fucking pervert.
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Final Thoughts:

A step down from the previous two episodes. It’s fitting that the beginning of the series finale calls back to one of Season 1’s biggest recurring flaws: so much of what happens here is just meaningless. The intro at the museum is meaningless. The animal testing plot isn’t interesting, it’s resolved in a contrived manner, and it’s just a device to get us to Marco being caught demorphing. And that conclusion could’ve been tacked onto literally any plotline–in fact, it doesn’t even make sense connected to this climax. Not a great start.

Special Effects; Did you already forget the glory of Green Screen Bear?

’90s Bullshit: Sleeveless sweatshirts. Animal rights. Perverts with videocameras in the woods.

Character Development: Tobias can fly, but he can’t dance.

Overall Rating: 2/5. Boring days.

Next Time: I fulfill my non-existent contractual obligation to this series once and for all!

Thanks for reading. Please come back next Friday to see the culmination of my life’s work.

ANIMORPHS Season 2, Episode 3: The Front

titleAx, Jake, and Marco are at the mall. Marco needs a new pair of shoes. “ANOTHER pair?” asks Jake.

This will be a riveting half-hour.

This will be a riveting half-hour.

Jake and Marco talk about how rad the mall is and I get flashbacks to that shitty mall episode from Season 1. They want to check out teenage titties with Ax, but he’s wandered off to a Radioshack Rip-off, capitvated by a TV broadcast about some guy who exposes shitty business practices and is “Always on your side.”

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Then a boombox possesses his heart.

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Ax attempts to buy the $250 boombox, but he still hasn’t really figured out money. He tries to walk out of the store with the boombox after paying an employee $2.50. This leads the boys to teach Ax a lesson about working and money and the value of not reviewing ANIMORPHS, I mean, a dollar. Ax resolves: “I WILL GET A JOB.”

It's overrated, Ax, trust me.

It’s overrated, Ax, trust me.

After the intro, Ax strolls by a customer arguing with the manager of yet ANOTHER RadioShack rip-off about her faulty digital watch. Ax is able to solve her problem with his magic fingers (hehe), and somehow this is a magic space watch that you can watch TV on.

The '90s, right?

The ’90s, right?

It’s worth noting that the show on her watch is the same “on your side” show from earlier. Hmm.

This act of technological wizardry impresses the beatnik-ass manager so much, he offers Ax a job for “five dollars an hour, plus commission.”

And he looks like this.

And he looks like this, because why wouldn’t he. .

Ax loses his fucking shit.

Manager Beatnik gives Ax a tour of the store, ending with their most popular item, something called a “cell phone.” Ax, being Ax, is distracted by already-full water guns that are, for some reason, available in a high-end electronic store. Turns out the manager’s name is Gustav. Of course!

"PLEASE ENGAGE ME IN YOUR HUMAN HAND-SHAKE."

“PLEASE ENGAGE ME IN YOUR HUMAN HAND-SHAKE.”

Later, at the arcade, the boys are playing Beast Wars again. Tobias has even shown up with his leather jacket, unshackling himself from his birdly form to indulge his cruel video game addiction. Poor soul.

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Wait…what’s that in the background?

OH, NO.

OH, MARCO, WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU BACK THERE.

Ax brags about all the dollar-ass dollar bills he’s making, and then a “cute human female” walks in.

Dammnnnn guuuuurrrrl

Dammnnnn guuuuurrrrl

Oh, shit, it’s Melissa Chapman! Do you remember her? Wowzers. The boys recognize her, and one of them asks if she’s a controller. Ax says, “No. I can see it in their eyes.” Well, that’s a useful and ridiculous skill to have. But hey, not for long, because she’s getting drinks with Tom!

Sexual Assaultimorphs

Sexual Assaultimorphs

During Ax’s next shift, a businesslady shows up to buy a cellphone. While Ax dips into the backroom, Gustav puts a cell phone to the woman’s ear and she has an interesting reaction before murmuring, “I’ll    take     six     of    them.” Acting!

I   will   pursue   this    car-eer

“I      will      pursue      this     act-ing      car-eer”

Jake and Marco spend their evening eavesdropping as Tom makes further plans with Melissa. He then calls up Chapman to say, “We need to talk.” The boys have a kinda-funny conversation about what dumb animals to turn into. They settle on bats and then turn into bats. “Move over, Dracula!”

I couldn't get a screenshot of the bats. Here's a picture of Dennis.

I couldn’t get a screenshot of the bats. Here’s a picture of Dennis.

Our BatBoys find Tom hanging out with Chapman, another controller, and some CRATES. They’ve got some vague plan to make “half the country” into controllers. Then a fourth goof shows up, and hey, it’s Gustav! Marco and Jake make their escape after realizing the Yeerks have created weaponized cell phones.

Tom shows up at the Store and buys a cell phone from Ax.

"You're right, Ax. I AM a dick."

“You’re right, Ax. I AM a dick.”

Ax is all, “Gulp,” as he sees Tom hand the gift to Melissa. Marco and Jake show up to share the bad news with Ax. They’re like, “Yo, Ax, I guess YOU CAN REALLY SEE THE YEERKS THROUGH EYEEEES” and Ax is like “Gwarsh, guys, I guess Gustav DOES wear glasses!”

Then it turns out that there are literally Yeerks inside of the cell phones.

Jake runs off to stop Tom from putting slugs in Melissa’s brain. He tells Marco to call the other Animorphs AND Erek, and I’m completely shocked they remembered Erek’s existence here.

Melissa and Tom’s romantic slugging is interrupted by Jake just in time.

Fuckin' little brothers, am I right?

Fuckin’ little brothers, am I right?

He proceeds to totally crash their date and be a total cockblock. I hate Tom’s shirts. Jake dicks around long enough that Melissa gives up on getting that dick and decides to ditch the whole date. Tom is like, “Dang!”

"fuckin' hate you bro"

“fuckin’ hate you bro”

Rachel intercepts Melissa and walks her home. Once they arrive, she flushes the Yeerk down the toilet.

A metaphor

A metaphor

Ax refuses to sell a cell to some1999 guy, and then HOLY SHIT, EREK shows up.

"I am on this show.'

“I am on this show.”

I am fucking blown away here, guys, I absolutely thought we would never see this kid again. Is he going to show up in the finale? This is madness.

Erek drops some “there is always a way out” zen wisdom on Ax. He hologram-hides as a gumball machine until Gustav leaves to do BUSINESS. Erek says, “Time isn’t exactly on our side,” which gives Ax a eureka moment.

Gumball wisdom

Gumball wisdom

The other ‘morphs watch in horror as Gustav invites the entire mall into his store for free cell phones, but then that “Always on your side” TV Dude shows up with a camera crew. Apparently he was tipped off about “unfair business practices” at the Not-Radioshack.

"Hello, I'm here to resolve the plot."

“Hello, I’m here to resolve the plot.”

TV Dude’s argument is basically “everything in your store is frivolous and fucking stupid.” He cites an “underwater fax machine,” so that’s pretty funny. Gustav hands him a phone, all “no! phones are cool! Please put this up against your ear, there is no slug inside.” But Ax saves the day by ruining the phone with a blast from his Super Soaker.

The TV Madman notices, oh, there is a slug in this phone. He declares the phones dirty and worthless and the story a sin slit on the Earth’s surface, and everyone in the crowd goes home to await the release of not-awful cell phones.

We get our wrap-up at CyBeria. Ax lost his job, as the store closed down completely. Melissa stopped giving Tom the time of day. Ax used his Earth money to buy gifts for Jake and Marco: handheld fishing games, which totally baffle the boys.

"Maybe I should leave this planet now."

“Maybe I should leave this planet now.”

There is a prety funny bit where Marco makes Jake switch him games so he can have the yellow one. They argue playfully as Ax has some dumb voiceover that I’m not going to transcribe beyond this beautiful line:

“Sometimes you want a cell phone, but get a Yeerk instead.”

Also, this happened at some point

Also, this happened at some point

Final Thoughts:

I gave this episode a hard time, but it was even better than last week’s. This episode gave us another nice, contained plot, but also featured ADVANCED plot techniques like foreshadowing (!) and some amusing character bits…even if Ax’s shtick has kinda run its course.

This upswing in quality and consistency (minus that fucking dinosaur dream sequence) actually makes me pretty bummed that the show was cancelled so quickly into its second season (there are only three epsiodes left). It’s clear that, by this point, everyone involved had gotten a bit more comfortable with the project: the plots are tighter and more interesting, the characters have more, well, character, and they even started a bit of worldbuilding with elements like Erek. Yet soon, we’ll be all out of ‘morphs!

I guess you don’t know what you’ve got until it stops being so shitty and then is gone.

Adapatation Rating: I don’t know, sorry, I haven’t read the book this is based on.

Special Effects: 3/5, I don’t care.

’90s Bullshit: Dumb cell phones. TV watches? Boom Boxes. Super Soakers. Beast Wars. Getting a job.

Character Development: Ax…learns the value of a dollar? Erek continues to exist.

Overall Rating: 4/5.

Next Time: All we have left is the three-part finale. So I’m gonna do Part 1 next week, Parts 2 & 3 the week after, and a retrospective on the show after that. We’ll start 2015 fresh with….something better.

Good tidings to all!

ANIMORPHS Season 2, Episode 2: My Name is Erek

I’m drunk, let’s deal with this shit.

Did this have to be so cruel? Like the moon...

Did this have to be so cruel? Like the moon…

Cold open on Marco, in the middle of the night. He runs through the woods, pursued by an unseen force.

2

He trips and falls–he turns to face his attacker–it’s a FUCKING DINOSAUR AND IT BEARS DOWN ON HIM AS HE SCREAMS.

3

holy shit

Cut to the intro.

Holy shit. Is this happening? Is Ani-TV about to attempt an adaptation of In the Time of Dinosaurs, the long-form Animorphs book in which a nuclear blast propels the Animorphs back into dinosaur times?

After the intro, Marco wakes up from his nightmare.

"I dreamt I was somewhere interesting."

“I dreamt I was somewhere interesting.”

I’m done!

So, yeah, Marco fell asleep in the barn and had a nightmare about dinosaurs for NO REASON. I’ve heard it theorized that the dinosaur puppet was just left over from some other Nick show, so they filled time here by trotting it out. Whatever. Ax is experimenting with yoga.

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So, Ax has has started watching TV, which means he’s completely taken on the speech patterns of infomercials and has started treating them as the one true gospel. Cassie and Marco are like lol. It’s worth noting that everyone looks a little different here–note Ax’s more-curly hair–implying that this, rather than the last episode, was probably the first one filmed as part of Season 2.

A commercial comes on the portable TV (lol) announcing that tickets for the movie “Conquest Galaxy” are now on sale. Marco is pretty pumped, but when we and Jake hit the box office, tickets are already sold out. So they turn into mice.

The Biker Mice from Earth end up inside one of the theaters, eating nachos.

What do you call a mouse that's not yours? A rat.

What do you call a mouse that’s not yours? …a rat.

Marco gets swept up by a janitor and thrown into a dumpster, where turns back into a Marco. I don’t know what their plan was or what the point was. I’m screaming.

The Dumpster & Barrel Show

The Dumpster & Barrel Show

Our boys laugh about their lives, then notice a dog about to get hit by a car. Before they can stand by idly and not accomplish anything, some kid in a soccer uniform runs into the road and shields the dog, taking the full brunt of the car’s impact. And like Edward Cullen, spiritual successor to the Animorphs, he is totally unharmed.

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He walks away, as does the dog, leaving our heroes shocked.

The boys hold a meeting of the minds at CyBeria, where Ax is still doing this infomercial bit. They invite all of the Animorphs except Tobias, because even if he can turn into a real boy now, he’s still a stinky bird.

They fill Cassie, Rachel, and Ax in on the situation with Soccer Dog Boy, named Erek. They are like, “Oh!”. Marco and Jake fear that Erek is some kind of robot slug monster boy engineered by the Yeerks to save dogs. The girls pretty much blow them off and call them dumb. They leap into action.

Due to Erek’s clear affinity for dogs, the guys turn into dogs and hit the park. Jake becomes Homer and Marco becomes beautiful.

This is me, writing the blog.

This is me, writing the blog.

They find Erek heading into a picnic thrown by The Sharing, which raises some warning flags. But since the Animorphs are the Animorphs, they hurtle themselves headfirst into hell and trick Erek into petting them. They sense something off about Erek and run away to the barn.

"You keep thinkin' you understand dogs, but you never will." - Dog Lord and Savior

“You keep thinkin’ you understand dogs, but you never will.” – Dog Lord and Savior

There, they tell the girls that Erek “has no human scent.” Rachel continues to make jokes and blow them off, and so does Cassie, and why are the girls being such biddies about this?

All of a sudden, Erek appears in the rafters and says, “So, you’re the Andalites Visser Three has been looking for.”

Shit!

Shit!

The Animorphs are like “woops!” but Erek tells them to chill. He casually reveals that is an android known as a “Chee,” and that his human form is but a hologram around his robotic body. He offers them a glimpse of this android interior, and let me tell you, it looks like fuck.

Just let me die

Just let me die

The gang accepts this pretty quickly, especially when Erek tells them he’s anti-Yeerk. Marco tries to be a dick about it, so Erek lifts him into the air with his super-strength and threatens to tear out his soul.

Fair punishment for that dream sequence.

Fair punishment for that dream sequence.

Why has Erek chosen to reveal himself, you ask? Well, the Yeerks have gotten their hands on some kind of super-weapon, and he needs a bunch of assholes to help stop them.

Without any further ado, Erek drags the gang to a Yeerk Pool, where Chapman is dicking around with a “Chee holographic crystal.” I can’t deal with this. The kids and their robot pal watch as Chapman uses the crystal to, basically, create extensive, realistic holograms. So basically, he could use it to make a Yeerk Pool look like a happy park full of soulless, screaming children. Doesn’t sound great, right?

This is this

This is this

So Erek needs Ax’s help to execute his plan. And Ax is still doing this TV shit, and I love the kid playing him, but he seems so uncomfortable dealing with this–and it’s his least-funny material ever.

Jake, Rachel, and Erek head to the Yeerk Pool party and, I don’t know, Rachel turns into a monkey?

NO

NO

In the woods, Marco and Cassie are waiting to meet up with Ax. But he is doing this.

Television--the new religion!

Television–the new religion!

Erek uses his hologram powers to cause a distraction, allowing him to lock the Yeerk goons out of the science room. Monkey-Rachel steals the magic crystal…

Some true monkeyshines!

Some true monkeyshines!

…and when Chapman tries to stop her by yelling, “HEY!”, Jake uses his Tiger Green-screen Powers to scare him away.

Ax realizes that he is an asshole, then goes to help his pals. He shows up in the woods with some fucking thing strapped to his back, I don’t know, you figure it out.

Things

Things

Apparently Erek told him to build it. Jake and Rachel convene with everyone else in the woods and shove the magic crystal into Ax’s machine. Ax activates the machine (while saying, “And now a word from our sponsors,” because I hate him) and it doesn’t do anything. Erek shows up, tells him “The crystal’s in backwards!” (lol fucking what?), and fixes it.

The machine spins around and turns the whole gang invisible via hologram power. The goons are fucking astounded, so they all give up.

Back at the barn, Erek tells us that they’ve “safely buried” the crystal off-screen, so, good, I guess? Also, Ax learned that “the real world is far more interesting than television could ever be.” Everyone says how proud they are of him. Is this real?

Marco apologizes to Erek for being a dick, and Erek is like “it’s chill.”

"You're some sort of shitty robot, but at least you aren't a dinosaur."

“You’re some sort of shitty robot, but at least you aren’t a dinosaur.”

Also apparently Erek is “programmed for non-violence,” which he never mentioned until this instant, so he won’t be helping the Animorphs in the future or ever appearing again on this show. He exits the barn, and our lives. Everyone else decides to go and see a movie.

Final Thoughts:

The series returned to trying to adapt books with this episode, and it didn’t do that great. The episode is fine, but as an adaptation, it’s pretty limp. Erek’s exposition, character, and the fact that he’s an ALIEN ANDROID are blown through pretty quickly, leaving us with just a really simple plot that is resolved very easily and pretty devoid of drama. And we have to deal with Ax’s TV obsession, which sounds like it’d be endearing, but it’s absolutely the worst material the character has ever had to work with besides that flashback episode.

Also, the opening sequence–Marco’s inexplicable dinosaur nightmare–is absolutely insane. It has NOTHING to do with ANYTHING. Which is totally bizarre, because while a lot of Animorphs episodes are stuffed with time-filling bullshit, this one is comparably tight–except for that insane intro.

On a positive note, you can feel in this episode that the cast has become more and more comfortable with each other and their characters. I didn’t really detail them, but there are a lot of little moments where they’re just joking around with each other, and it’s nice to see that element of the books become more and more prevalent in the show.

Also, weird that they wrote Tobias’s actor back into the show…and then did not have him appear or be mentioned this week.

Jeff Schechter wrote this. It’s his only episode of the show. It was one of his earlier works, leading to a steady career of writing for kids’ shows and, recently, doing some more adult stuff.

Special Effects: 1/5. Shitty morph effects, horrifying hologram, garish green screen tiger.

Adaptation Rating: 2/5. A pretty shitty and compressed adaptation of a story that they may as well have skipped, considering how irrelevant Erek will be for the rest of the show (he was a pretty major character in the book, with a much more extensive personality and backstory).

’90s Bullshit: Portable televisions. Relying on TV announcements to find out tickets for a movie are on sale. Dogs.

Humanoid Dog Androids: Humanoid Dog Androids.

Horse:

5

Character Development: Ax realizes that TV isn’t as fun as having friends!

Overall Rating: 3/5. I feel like I was too harsh when writing this, to be honest. It wasn’t that interesting, but it WAS more competent than, say, mid-Season-1, and I should really just be appreciating that.

Next Time: So here’s the thing. There are only four episodes of this show left. Three of them are a three-parter, called “Changes,” which I think originally aired as an edited-together-TV-movie-event. Then the final episode, an unremarkable stand-alone called “The Front,” aired. Well, that is like, fucking stupid, and Netflix places “The Front” before “Changes,” so I am going to review them in that order. Deal With it Dog.

Thanks for listening to what has literally become drunken ramblings. Seeya next week, dogs.

No, not you.

No, not you.

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.

morph11

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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.”

morph26

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.

morph31

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.

morph1

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.

morph10

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.”

morph15

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.