ANIMORPHS Episode 9: The Reaction

We’re at the zoo and Cassie is giving a voice over about how and why Tobias turned into a bird. She warns us that “sometimes a morph can have a mind of its own.” Spooky. We see her looking at crocodiles and Rachel walks up talking about how they’re on a field trip. There’s another kid here, too. His name is Ponytail Ethan. I really think this is the first time there’s been a non-recurring-character kid with lines.

THE SIXTH ANIMORPH? No.

THE SIXTH ANIMORPH? No.

Ponytail Ethan leads our ladies away to look at animals more interesting than crocodiles. Immediately a little shit of a kid surmounts a fence and wanders into the croc den, garnering the attention of our heroes.

He dies, and the rest of the episode is Cassie's guilt.

He dies, and the rest of the episode is Cassie’s guilt.

Rachel sends Ponytail Ethan off to get help while Cassie strolls lackadaisically into the pit and grabs the kid. Rachel joins her and within seconds they are both surrounded by threatening ‘odiles. The camera zooms in doofily on one of them and we go into the intro.

"DOOF"

“DOOF”

When we get back, Cassie orders Rachel to escape with the kid while she literally throws herself on a crocodile and acquires it to calm it down. There were four crocodiles around them before so I don’t know how this works but whatever. Cassie escapes just before Ponytail Ethan returns…without any help. What the fuck was he doing?

morphssss

Cut to Yeerk Labs and Visser Trent is watching TV and bitching about how stupid it is. He’s hanging out with Tom. Apparently they’ve infested “Jason John McCole,” a popular celeb amongst tweens. He’s supposed to be a Jonathan Taylor Thomas riff, but the dude they have playing him is about thirty-five—Tom can relate. Anyway, Jonathan Jason John Taylor McThomas is going to be on a talk show soon.

No screencaps of Visser Trent this week. You're welcome.

No screencaps of Visser Trent this week. You’re welcome.

At the barn, Cassie’s been feeling sick ALL DAY. Well at least she isn’t a bird. The Barn Phone rings and she answers. Apparently it was The Talk Show. They heard about the girls saving the boy from crocs, so the show wants to have them on as guests. I guess they don’t need to discuss this with their parents or anything because Cassie accepts.

morphssssss

Then her arm starts crocodiling. Uh-oh, yo. It fades, and Cassie blows it off as nothing.

please see a dermatologist

please see a dermatologist

The girls meet up with Jake and Marco at THE CYBER CAFE. Jake is pissed at them for putting themselves on display in public, although it’s not like they even did any Animorphing. He doesn’t want them putting themselves on display like that, much less on a TV show.

The girls don’t care. They check out an article about themselves on the probably-terrible talk show’s definitely-terrible web page.

Where is the link to Rollerblades?

Where is the link to Rollerblades?

Marco eats chips.

morphsssssssss

The girls realize they are going to be on the same show as John Jason Thomas and have a Typical Teenage Girl Freakout. Then Cassie’s arm crocodiles again.

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Jake comes over and he’s mad jealous that Cassie’s got a crocodile boner for someone else. Also, it’s occurring to me that the Cyber Cafe is a business built around teenagers operating computers while goofing off with food and drink in hand. Anyway, Jim Jason John Flying Jimmy is going to be on the show to talk about The Sharing. All boners in the room subside.

Rachel wants to save Jeremy Josh Peck if he hasn’t already been infested by Yeerkos. The girls decide they’ll talk with Ax later and get some advice. Marco’s mouth is full of chips.

Marco's chip-eating subplot is my favorite.

Marco’s chip-eating subplot is my favorite.

Cassie goes to the library and reads a book about reptiles that is definitely aimed at eight year olds. Hey, you know, this is the time to talk about something. The girl playing Cassie constantly does this thing where she walks with her hands on her hips and her elbows pointing backwards. It gives off the feeling of a pregnant woman. It’s bizarre. She did it in the croc scene, she does it here, and she’ll do it again in the very next scene.

The Nadia Waddle

The Nadia Waddle

Then Tom comes around the corner, prowling for young girls as usual. While she makes awkward small-talk with him, she starts growing crocodile scales first under her shirt, then on her arms.

morphsssssssssssss

morphssssssssssssss

Tom asks Cassie if she wants to bang his little brother; she manages to avoid both exposing her crocodile skin and her teenage yearnings. After some talk, Tom realizes he is not gonna get laid and peaces out. Cassie itches her arm.

In the barn, Jake has drawn a plan on a whiteboard. That is way more than I expected from these kids.

"So first, Marco is gonna buy a boombox. If you see a pipe, WARN ME."

“So first, Marco is gonna buy a boombox. If you see a pipe, WARN ME.”

Tobias is here. He still is alive. So. Okay. Cassie continues to not tell everyone about her problems until she collapses in a bale of hay and painfully morphs into a crocodile.

Yep. Painful

Yep. Painful

Everyone watches with mild interest, then the camera does the same stupid zoom-in again. Then she turns back into a girl. Then she turns back into a crocodile. Then she turns back into a girl. What a day, you guys.

Ax explains that Cassie is displaying “an allergy to a morph.” There’s nothing they can do, but apparently Cassie’s body will eventually “burp out” the animal she is allergic to. Cassie is going to burp up a crocodile. She is going to create new life. This is the thing that is going to happen. Maybe she burped up our Replacement Tobias after his death so Rachel would stop writing poems about him and listening to Evanescence.

There’s an argument about whether or not Cassie should cancel the TV appearance because of her crocodile gas. They want to go to find out if Jeremy Jackson Jones is a controller or not, but Jake bans them from appearing to protect their secret morphing power/so John Jackson Jane won’t feel her up in the dressing room.

The night, Cassie calls Rachel. Rachel picks up and immediately assumes Cassie burped up her crocodile. She does that thing where she just keeps talking and never gives Cassie a chance to explain otherwise. So they’re gonna be on the show.

Typical girl talk

Typical girl talk

At the TV studio, Cassie has decided to wear overalls to her television appearance.

morphsssssssssssssssssss

The girls head inside while the boys go into Action Mode. Cassie gets makeup applied to her face for the first time in her life and the girls meet JTMC. He’s kinda got this Emilio Estevez thing going on, if Emilio was a shitty actor. He turns out to be a total asshole and mocks them while Cassie’s arm goes scaley, revealing her lie to Rachel.

"You girls ever want to fuck Simba? Okay okay okay."

“You girls ever want to fuck Simba? Okay okay okay.”

Rachel concludes that Jason MUST be a Yeerk, because why else would he be a dick? Oh, and by the way, the third guest on the show is some dude who works with animals. So Marco’s morphed his llama and is llamaing around while Ax and Jake skitter by as roaches.

morphsssssssssssssssssssss

The girls wait in the audience while the show is set up on stage. Cassie starts having labor pains so I guess it’s time to shoot a croc out of herself. Rachel takes her to the restroom, where Cassie locks herself in a stall, burps out a crocodile, then crawls out and runs away. So that’s dealt with, I guess.

I'VE HEARD OF TEEN PREGNANCY BUT THIS IS RIDICULOUS

I’VE HEARD OF TEEN PREGNANCY BUT THIS IS RIDICULOUS

They head back on stage, and so does the croc, freaking everyone out. Jonathan Taylor Notmas faints, and according to the guys in morph, it’s because his Yeerk has slithered out of his head in order to escape the crocodile. That doesn’t really make any sense at all.

morphsssssssssssssssssssssss

PICTURED: Me after writing an ANIMORPHS review

The croc makes a beeline for unconscious Jason, so the girls wake him up and save him. Marco the Llama sits on the floor.

morphssssssssssssssssssssssss

Then the croc eats the Yeerk slug.

morphsssssssssssssssssssssssss

Cut to the Cyber Cafe, where everyone is celebrating their success (?). Rachel says that Jeremy Jason has decided to quit show business and move out of the country. I mean they should probably have a chat with the guy considering he’s now a survivor of Yeerk infestation, the first person like that they’ve encountered, and if they don’t step in to protect him, he’ll probably be hunted down and reinfested or killed by the Yeerks—oh, they have a food fight instead.

morphssssssssssssssssssssssssss

Cassie has a voice over about how important trust is and how she shouldn’t have lied to her friends. That’s a real bullshit moral lesson, Cassie. In fact, lying to your friends directly caused the Yeerk to be expelled from JTT, saving him from infestation. Who knows what their plan was going to be otherwise, other than that it involved Marco being a llama.

Final Thoughts:

It wasn’t terrible like other episodes I’ve faced. It was mediocre, I guess. An okay story bogged down by a lot of weird choices. What was the point of Ponytail Ethan? What even was the original plan to save Jason John McCole from the Yeerks? Why did they try to shoehorn in a lesson about being trustworthy when Cassie’s lies led to the day being saved (in a completely bizarre way)? }

The writer on this one was Carl Ellsworth. He wrote two more episodes of Animorphs…then went on to write for major movies including Red Eye, Disturbia, and the remakes of Red Dawn and The Last House on the Left. Good on him. His current project is the screenplay for the Goosebumps movie. Full circle.

Cameron Graham, who played Jason John McCole, was also on a Goosebumps episode. He also had a role on the ’80s Degrassi High series playing Dale, a character who apparently never did anything of note.

Adaptation Rating: 2/5. They took the Rachel-centric THE REACTION and made it into a Cassie episode, I guess because most of the Cassie books are pretty annoying. Then they trunucated the plot and resolved the climax in a completely asinine way. Seriously, “The Yeerk crawls out of his head in order to escape a crocodile and then is eaten by a crocodile” reads like the first draft of a script before someone comes in and points out all of the clear problems with the idea.

Special Effects: 3/5. Compared to some of the shit I’ve put up with, the croc-arms weren’t the worst.

Character Development: Cassie learns that lying is the worst except she didn’t actually learn shit. Marco gets to be a llama.

’90’s Bullshit: Ugly web pages. Jonathan Taylor Thomas. Cyber Cafes. Boys with ponytails. Lying to your friends.

Overall Rating: 3/5. Not that great, pretty stupid, but not irritating, either.

Next Week: A horrible episode.

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