We open right on Visser Trent talking to a beetle at Yeerk labs. He spouts some shit about fear and Andalites to another Yeerk Scientist. Hey, it turns out he wants to capture the “Andalite Bandits.” Yeerk Scientist has made a remote control that detects the “morphing energy” given off when they, well, morph.
For no apparent reason, Visser Trent’s head morphs halfway to Andalite and stays like that. He talks about how important success is to this silly plan, as if he fucks it up, the Yeerk higher-ups are ready to replace him with a less-annoying Visser. We can only hope.
Also, we’ve got a new credits sequence. The song has been replaced with an instrumental version of “It’s All in Your Hand” while Jake narrates the gist of the plot. The spooky footage is replaced with clips from past episodes. Ax still is not featured in any way. It’s way less interesting than the original opening, and it’s here to stay.
After the worsened opening, we’re at Marco’s apartment. He and Sad Dad are repainting the living room. Sad Dad moves a framed painting, which has been covering a hand-traced turkey Marco drew on the wall as a child. They reflect on how angry Marco’s mom was, and when Dad leaves the room, Marco puts his hand up against the drawing in remembrance.
Marco starts painting and manages to fall off the ladder in spectacular fashion, landing in a tray of paint. He and his dad do the whole “getting paint on each other” thing.
The phone rings and Jake rushes to pick it up, but Tom beats him to it. The call’s for Tom, which gets Jake real paranoid about secret alien business.
Jake becomes his dog to eavesdrop. Tom’s talking about building a new Kandrona and further preparing for the arrival of…VISSER ONE. I just hope it’s not another hammy bald man .
Jake heads to Marco’s place, where no painting at all was actually accomplished. Jake says that he has big news and Marco makes a joke about having a date with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, keeping things topical.
So Jake fills Marco in on what he’s learned. It turns out the new Kandrona is at the “EGS Tower,” which Marco correctly remembers as the building from the shitty future episode. He also calls the Ellimist “that Elmo guy” which I guess is funny. I cannot believe this show is bringing back a past plot point.
Jake wants to lay siege to the tower, but Marco is like fuck that. He throws a fit about being tired of the superhero life. He says “we’re just kids,” which is funny because Marco looks particularly 35 today.
Basically, it’s been two years almost since Marco’s mom died. Sad Dad is finally getting out of his depression and Marco doesn’t want to fuck that up by dying; he just wants some normalcy. Marco shows Jake a picture of his shattered family and starts crying.
Jake relates, but he says he has to keep fighting if he wants to get Tom back.
Wait, that was too subtle for Animorphs. Let me fix it.
Later, Jake sneaks around the fences outside of the EGS Tower .Cassie and Rachel are there, too, but Marco’s blown them off. Also, Tobias and Ax are apparently “laying low” this week. I’m starting to wonder if there was some kind of contractual limit to how often the actors could appear.
Hey, Marco’s here! He decided to show up, insisting that after this adventure, he is totally donezo for reals. The gang sneak into the building without turning into animals or doing anything.
Surprisingly, this is relevant: Marco notes how weirdly easy it was. They quickly find a closed door emanating an alien red light.
Apparently it makes the same sound the tower made in the future. Jake and Marco turn into lizards to sneak under the door.
Of course, this sets off the “morph energy” sensor. It lights up a sector on this security guy’s console map—which is clearly a piece of paper serving as a computer display.
Marco and Jake demorph in the room of red, where they’ve found the new Kandrona–basically a miniature red sun. But the guard sounds the alarm before anything can be done, and walls slide into place to trap Jake and Marco inside of a small, featureless black box.
Then the box they’re in launches into space.
Cassie and Rachel break into the red room too late, finding the guys gone BECAUSE THEY WERE LAUNCHED INTO SPACE.
The girls hide in a vent before Tom and his goons show up in the room. Tom calls Yeerk Labs to tell them the Andalties have been captured and are “on the way.”
In the Rocket Box, the boys attempt to find some way out of their predicament. They eventually manage to pull a panel down off the wall.
Doing so reveals….this.
Which I guess represents outer space, because Marco says, “Jake, we’re rocketing into space,” which will be the name of a song if I ever start a punk band.
The girls crawl through the vent and emerge on some ledge with a fucking chasm in front of it. They can’t morph due to the sensor, so Rachel has to convince Cassie to make the jump across. Then they jump across. This was pointless.
In outer space, whatever the fuck the boys are trapped in is beamed up into a mothership.
And it looks…really good, so good I’m suspicious that they just reused stock footage from some other movie or something.
Sensing doom, they morph into cockroaches. This astounds the human security Yeerks with their flashlight guns, of course, because the Yeerks are complete assholes. The bug-boys scurry off into the mothership bowels.
Cassie and Rachel decide to beat the Kandrona to death. That is their plan.
Human again, Jake and Marco run around the ship’s halls until they stumble into the back of some big assembly. They hide and watch as Visser Trent takes the stage, with Marco complaining “he’s everywhere”–I feel your pain, brother.
Trent gives a big speech about how they’ve captured the Andalite bandites, emulating George W. Bush’s Mission Accomplished bit. He introduces Visser One for the purposes of bragging about his victory.
Visser One joins him on the stage. It’s a middle-aged woman dressed all in black.
Jake’s eyes go wide.
Marco looks ready to cry.
Jake says, “Marco…it’s your mom.”
Hey, this was pretty good! Marco crying was a bit too much, the foreshadowing was incredibly obvious, and the premise is sort of ridiculous–rocketship room!–but it was well-paced, flew by (no pun intended), and not too full of inane shit. If Part 2 is as good as this, this will easily be the best two-parter so far.
The writers on this one were Mike Wollaeger and Jessica Scott. Scott also wrote the oatmeal episode (lol) and now has a career writing lots of Disney Channel Original Movies. Wollaeger, interestingly, worked only on the same episodes as Scott; he hasn’t written anything since 2002.
Adaptation Rating: Numbers are stupid. This one isn’t too far off conceptually, except that in the book, the entire group is captured. Also, the EGS Tower isn’t made to be such a thing, as this book–The Predator–was published before any Ellimist shit.
90’s Bullshit: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, outer space.
Character Development: Marco’s dad is beating his depression; Marco wants to quit the Animorphs again; Visser One is Marco’s mom; Marco’s mom is Visser One.
Overall Rating: A high 3/5.
Next Week: We’ll see if Part 2 can fuck this up.