Here we are again. Rachel walks down the street expositing that she is on her way to gymnastics camp for the weekend and also she is wearing a sweatervest.
She tells us she wanted to cancel her plans due to alien invasion, but the others insisted she go. Before she leaves, she has to check in with Tobias, because birds are like R.L. Stine: they give her Goosebumps. Rachel runs into the wooded glen like the happy schoolgirl she is and stares at the sky and turns into a bird.
She flies around using what I’m almost sure is repeated stock footage…until she suddenly spirals out of control and crashes into the forest below. Woops!
After the intro, Rachel wakes up on a log.
She is still providing voice-overs, but now they have the thought-speak distortion effect applied to them, and also she has a bird arm.
Her arm becomes an arm again and Rachel wanders off into the woods. By the way, I guess she has amnesia now.
Meanwhile, Tobias is flying around the area searching for her. He’s pissed as shit that she’s late for their date, he’s a bird with a lot to do. Then he finds her abandoned backpack. Detective Bird realizes something is amiss.
In the park, Jake and Cassie are playing baseball while Marco sits under a tree and laughs at them. This reflects the couple’s sexual dynamic: Cassie has the bat, Jake is the pitcher, and Marco awkwardly watches and giggles.
Tobias shows up to ruin their fun. Marco’s hair looks extra stupid today, and I know I say that a lot, but it’s really true this time guys I swear.
Tobias tells the gang that he thinks Rachel is all missing, then flies off to search for her some more.
In the woods, Rachel is crossing a stream and walking through the trees and other woodland activities. Then she trips on a rock and falls down like a regular Visser Three.
Luckily, she notices a woodland shack while getting back up. She goes to investigate. Hey, did any of you guys ever read Cold River as a kid? That was a neat book about the woods & bears & escaped lunatics & dead dads & bears.
The shack is empty, so Rachel eats some food and plays with a collection of mason jars. Looking at a jar causes her to have a flashback of flailing around in the Yeerk Pool a few episodes back (you know, when Tobias was murdered).
This crazy old broad shows up and locks Rachel in some kind of wooden prison cell room.
Rachel tries to explain, but the woman is convinced she is a Yeerk. Rachel has a flashback to the time she dressed up like a doctor and watched as that oatmeal guy became re-Yeerked. Hey, whatever happened to weaponized oatmeal?
The old lady starts waving the jar around, and I guess it contains the Yeerk that used to be in her head. Spooky.
The others (minus Ax who I guess is at a rave party or something this week) have gathered around Rachel’s backpack and Jake the Dog is attempting to acquire her scent.
The plan falls through when they realize she must’ve become a bird and flown away. Maroc argues “Rachel hasn’t acquired a bird morph,” and Cassie is like “Yes she has.” It comes out that Rachel semi-secretly got herself a bird morph solely to hang out with Tobias. He tells everyone, “She can be a bird,” and I bust out laughing at that line.
Back in the prisoner shack, the old woman is rocking back and forth and having the time of her life while Rachel experiences further flashbacks and recalls words like “Andalite” and “morph.”
The two pretty much just argue with each other. It turns out that despite being out of her gourd, this old woman knows her shit: she escaped from the Yeerks, knows about the Sharing, etc. Rachel busts out of the shack because, hey, it’s a wooden shack, and runs away.
Jake the Dog is still tracking and Tobias is still flying around birding. Jake picks up the old lady’s scent and the gang run into her as she’s looking for Escaped Rachel.
She’s convinced they’re Controllers, too, which gets their attention. She makes vague references to Rachel, and Tobias says, “Rachel’s hurt. We’ve gotta find her before she talks to anyone else.” Well, nothing about this woman’s dialogue implied that Rachel had amnesia, but whatever. The old lady throws dirt at Cassie.
Rachel trips over a log in like the most spectacular fashion imaginable and then decides to give up, sit down and die alone in the woods.
Jake the Dog and his Human Friends show up at the prison shack. Cassie spots the Yeerk-in-Jar and is like oh okay. Jake smells danger.
Rahcel’s back on her feet again (commercial breaks really fix everything on this show, shoulda known that) and she runs into…this dude.
This guy asks Rachel if she needs any help, and she says she’s looking for The Sharing. He’s like oh, hey, shit, it’s not far from here. Rachel nearly faints from poor life choices and the guy agrees to lead to her Sharing Camp.
This old nut is still on her trail.
Tobias lurks around Sharing Camp until he sees Rachel and That Guy walk in. He tries to thought-speak to her, but she has no idea what’s going on. Maybe he should’ve tried saying “I’m that bird you want to fuck.”
Tobias reports back to Jake the Human and his Human Friends. They discuss Rachel heading to The Sharing and Marco wonders if she’s just been infected by the Yeerks. I’m pretty sure this is like the fourth time Marco has accused a member of the group like this. Tobias goes into a bird rage over these allegations. Much like Shawn Hunter, he flies away in a huff.
At Camp Sharing, Rachel lets a bunch of strange men massage her head.
She mentions the word “Yeerk” and they go on alert. Rachel is an idiot. She allows these strange men to use strange alien tools on her head. They scan and find no Yeerk in her brain.
The others hide in the bushes outside the camp. I am hoping this will end with Rachel running toward them, then catching & spiking a football.
The two strange men decide to just let Rachel nap an put an alien in her head later at the Big Alien Bonfire & Snack Party or whatever. Later, the others watch a big oil drum being pulled into the camp. Cassie says it “looks like a Yeerk Pool,” and it doesn’t, but okay. They see Rachel being led out of her tend and toward certain doom, and decide to finally use their power to transform into animals.
Rachel has a flashback to what appears to be a Yeerk-infected Jake shoving his finger in his ear. That hasn’t happened yet, so I’m guessing this was aired out of production order or that no one involved with this show gave a shit about anything ever.
The flashbacks give Rachel a headache, but the strange men trick her into letting them do stuff to her head again.
Outside, someone is a wolf and they spook all of the flashlight goons.
This dude seriously almost infects Rachel by telling her “hey, look over there” and then trying to shove a slug into her head with a pair of chopsticks.
She sees what he’s doing (shocking right) and tries to run; she’s cornered, but then Marco the Wolf shows up to make the strange men cower in fear.
Rachel runs off into the woods, where Jake and Cassie grab her. Thinking they’re assholes, she breaks free and runs off again.
Guy #1 wants to call Visser Three and alert him that they fucked up, but Guy #2 is like, “he doesn’t have to know.” Pretty funny, even these dorks don’t want to deal with Visser Trent’s bald shit.
I guess Cassie and Jake wrangled Rachel again (or maybe Wolf Marco just took a huge bite out of her leg, crippling her), because they’re all back at the barn trying to convince her to end this storyline. Rachel just keeps trying to run away. She calls them “freaks,” and I guess she got even more amensia and forgot that she had a bird arm earlier.
Jake morphs into a tiger (I don’t know what this is supposed to prove) and it’s exactly the same shot as when he did it in “Underground,” also, they don’t even show the tiger, just the reused morphing shot. Cassie urges Rachel to morph into a lion because I guess that will fix her dumb head.
Rachel has some kind of spiritual vision of a lion, then she gets on all fours (oh boy) and starts being one. And then she remembers everything.
A couple days later or whatever, Rachel does gymnastics in the park with her friends (how are they going to explain this whole incident to her parents by the way?).
Then there’s a spooky POV shot and it turns out the crazy old woman is watching from the bushes. I’m sure that will totally be brought up again.
Also the credits say her name is Fran. Great!
I watched this episode on my shitty old ripped copy instead of Netflix, and the credits contained a VO of Angelica and Chuckie from RUGRATS talking abotu SNICK. Jesus. Also it was apparently recorded from an “ANIMORPH-A-MANIA” marathon. Double Jesus.
This was pretty good, sure. The concept isn’t that interesting (Rachel randomly gets amnesia until she doesn’t have amnesia) but it’s executed pretty well, which I guess in the inverse of most ANIMORPHS episodes. There’s nothing aggressivley irritating, the plot follows and makes sense, all of the characters get something to do (except Ax who is literally never mentioned), Visser Trent made no appearances, etc.
Weirdly enough, this was written by Scott Peters, who also wrote “On the Run,” my most fuck-this episode of the show so far. He has had a solid career of writing spooky sci-fi for TV: before this he did a bunch of ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARKs, and he went on to write for THE 4400 and V. He also did eight episodes of BEYOND BELIEF: FACT OR FICTION. So I guess I can’t hate him for the “On the Run.” I am going to continue hating him, though.
Also weird that we just did two Rachel episodes in a row, right? This combined with the flashback of Jake that seems to come from next week’s episode seem to solidify that something fucky was happening here.
Adaptation Rating: I don’t know. This was based on one of the subplots from MEGAMORPHS #1. Megamorphs was a line of special, longer books with bigger-concept plots (the second one sends them back to dinosaur times for no reason) and multiple POVs. This plot was sort of annoying in the book and I don’t remember much about it. Sorry.
Special Effects: 3/5. I was going to give them a generous 4 but they are losing points for how apparent the stock footage has become.
Character Development: Rachel likes to turn into a bird so she and Tobias can make out. Rachel gets amnesia but then doesn’t have amnesia anymore. Marco is still an asshole.
’90’s Bullshit: Letting strange men touch your head when you’re a pretty teenage girl. Gymnastics camp. Rugrats and SNICK.
Overall Rating: 4/5. Good execution of a boring idea.
Next Week: Another two-parter where Jake does a bunch of stuff.