An alarm clock goes off. A hand hits snooze. Who could this hand belong to? Oh, it’s Tobias.
A singsong-ass voice from offscreen croons, “Toby! To-by! Are you up? C’mon, To-by! You don’t wanna be late for your first day of school!” Tobias rises from his slumber and pouts, “IT’S TOBIAS, AUNT MARY.”
Tobias heads to the bathroom, muttering and bitching to himself. As he starts to brush his teeth, the screen begins to get all fuzzy like a VHS tape. It turns out that we’re watching this scene on some kind of little video screen bullshit device courtesy of Ax. Bird Tobias is watching, too. ANIMORPHS: Directed by David Lynch.
After the opening, we’re with Ax and Tobias. They’re hanging out in a river for some reason. So here’s the set-up: Ax is using some kind of Andalite technology/magic to convert Tobias’s memories from his bird-brain to video. Tobias is freaked out by how “real” the video is.
This all immediately escalates when Ax closes the device’s screen and suddenly our two heroes are standing in a vast black void. Apparently Ax is using the machine to project Tobias’s memories around them. Why did we even bother with the video screen, then?
Tobias remembers his frist day of school, which he and Ax are poorly green-screen transition’d into. Past-Tobias drops all of his books like a doof.
He attempts to get into his locker, but it’s blocked by a dick in a letterman jacket. The Dick gives Tobias the whole “FUCK YOU, NEW KID” routine, telling him these are lockers FOR SENIORS ONLY, YOU IDIOT, YOU DUMB PIECE OF SHIT.
Dude Dick is about to tear off Tobias’s face when Rachel breaks up the fight and leads Tobias away. The two try to be cute as Rachel shows Tobias his locker WHICH IS RIGHT NEXT TO HERS DESTINY <3. It’s flirt city; Tobias falls in love/boner.
Then, with the only transition being a dimmed screen and Ax muttering “My turn,” we cut to an Ax flashback. He’s living in Cassie’s barn just after joining the group, wearing his clothes backwards, learning how to walk, you get the picture. Cassie brings him some old clothes, including a leather jacket…with 10 DOLLARS IN THE POCKET.
So Ax wobbles out of the barn (seriously he can’t walk for shit) and nearly gets hit by a car. He manages to inadvertently flag down a taxi BUT HE DOESN’T KNOW HOW TO OPEN A DOOR. The cab takes him to the mall and Ax WALKS AWAY WITHOUT PAYING, STARTING A TIFF WITH THE CABBIE. The cabbie tries to give him change for the fare and Ax says, “CHANGE? INTO WHAT?” Basically, it’s like a solid five minutes of this shtick. And I love Ax, but this is killing me.
So Ax wanders into the Cyber Cafe, which Tobias calls “Cyberia” or something, so I guess it is called that, who am I to argue with a bird. Ax introduces himself to random teenagers while saying things like “HELLO. I ENJOY YOUR CLOTHING.” Then he walks up to a few kids playing a video game…the Beast Wars game Jake and Tobias were playing in the first episode. So I guess this whole time, the arcade and the weird Cyber Cafe have been one in the same. This episode really IS giving us some revelations.
Finally, Ax gets into a fight when he tells some dude how implausible the video game is. Luckily we cut away to the black memory void, where Tobias’s memories have conjured the ghostly visage of Elfangor. Now we’re just seeing stock footage of the first episode, particularly Elfangor giving Tobias the Andalite Disk (hey, remember that?) and Tobias fucking it up. Seeing his dead brother frazzles Ax, who cancels out the simulation (or whatever) and we’re back to the river.
Tobias apologizes for bringing up Deadfangor and tells Ax how much his brother meant to all of them. This little thing over, we go back into Tobias’s memories. This time we’re seeing new footage of his perspective from “My Name is Jake, Part 2,” specifically after he acquires the hawk for the first time and disappears from the group.
Past-Tobias is out in the woods, having a breakdown over the crazy state of his life. He’s got a sweaty forehead. Then he just…runs home and reads a book. While there, he overhears his aunt talking on the phone about sending him to live with another aunt & uncle. So he flees again, back to Cyberia to distract himself with Beast Wars.
Now an old janitor shows up and tells Tobias “you look like you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders.”
Tobias tells him it’s easy to feel like that when you’re the one person chosen to save the world; the janitor counters that, in such a situation, it would be best to team up with others. Tobias claims that the others don’t need him. The janitor’s point basically becomes “stand up and face your problems.” Why is Tobias meeting a Wise Old Janitor? This episode is all over the place. AND THEN THE JANITOR DISAPPEARS. WHATEVER.
Tobias runs BACK to the woods, where he turns into a bird with much difficulty.
Then he flies away…and a song starts playing…and the lyrics are…
SWEET BIRD OF PREY
FLY, FLY AWAY
NOTHING CAN…STAND IN YOUR WAY
SWEET BIRD OF PREY
So this is basically the funniest thing on the planet. Hearing this inspirational song in his head inspired Tobias to go help his friends and become an Animorph/sweet bird of prey.
But Tobias won’t give his Magic Janitor all the credit. The next flashback is set the day after “My Name is Jake, Part II.” Rachel and Tobias are flirting in the road, as they do.
Rachel basically tells him, “Hey, we thought you were a creepozoid, but thanks for saving us.” Basically, Rachel tells Tobias that she feels just as apprehensive about the whole alien bullshit thing as he does. Tobias goes home and jerks off for the final time.
THEN, WHATEVER, BACK TO AX’S STORY I GUESS. The video game bully throws him next to a dumpster and the cabbie shows up at that exact moment to pick him up and drops him off in a park where he buys an ice cream and is flirted with by the ice cream scooper girl and tries to eat the ice cream through his shoe DO YOU GET IT YET?
Then he morphs some woman’s dog and runs back to the barn as a dog and dog dog dog until dog.
Then some stuff where Tobias creates a “living memory” of himself as a human so Human Tobias can talk to Human Ax in the Black Memory Void and Tobias’s sad piano theme plays and fuck this episode.
If you couldn’t tell, this episode is all fucking over the place. It tries to tell like three different stories–Ax’s first day as a human, Tobias’s first day at school, and Tobias morphing for the first time–in the absolute most disjointed way possible, stitched together by a frame story where Tobias & Ax stand in a river and project their memories through a convoluted magical mystery device.
The format problems aside, none of the stories work on their own. Tobias’s first day of school is meant to show us how rough his human life was, but instead of being a dweeby guy with completely negligent guardians, Tobias’s biggest problem is that his aunt calls him Toby instead of Tobias. Yeah he gets bullied by an older dick at school, but also immediately gets hit on by a hot girl.
Seeing the events of the first couple episodes from Tobias’s POV was a good idea, but it’s all wasted on Tobias hanging out in the woods alone, the completely bizarre magical vanishing janitor of inspiration, and the cheesy-ass flying sequence.
Ax’s story drove me up the goddamn wall. I’ve raved about Ax’s comedy bits being the best part of this show but they laid it on SO thick and constant in this episode. I couldn’t stand it.
The shittiest part is that Tobias REALLY could’ve used some character development. He’s basically non-existant in most episodes (unless he is BEING SHOT AND KILLED AND REVIVED WITH NO EXPLANATION), so spending twenty minutes just on his backstory or his feelings could’ve been fantastic.
It wasn’t fantastic.
This was written by Carl Ellsworth, the guy who wrote “The Reaction” and went on to have an actual screenwriting career in Hollywood. Whatever.
Adaptation Rating: 0/5 Who cares.
Special Effects: Magic I guess
90’s Bullshit: Calling your establishment “Cyberia”
80’s Bullshit: John Travolta, Grease
Character Development: Everyone is an idiot.
Next Time: Marco’s mom is dead. OR IS SHE?
Hey gang, we’re officially over halfway through this series. Thanks for reading this dumb shit I’ve been writing and if you’ve been commenting, thanks even more for that. Big shout-out to my readers from Reddit. These ANIMORPHS reviews have been a nice constant in my life through two huge moves, living in three different places, unemployment & getting a job, a relationship & a breakup, depression & getting better…through all of that and more, it’s always been really nice when someone says “Hey, that stupid joke you made about kids turning into dogs really made me laugh.”