ANIMORPHS Episode 18: Not My Problem

Slappy the Dummy returns in this episode, now played by a small man in a suit as he torments a young Hayden Christensen. Oh, we’re not doing that? Okay.

Jake is moping around school.

He loves CAR and BASEBALL PLAYER

He loves CAR and BASEBALL PLAYER

Marco wants to come over later and play video games and Rachel wants his help with something and Jake just wants to go home and do his homework. He’s being a real Pissy Pete this week.

"Jake, we need Stuff."

“Jake, we need Stuff.”

At home, Tom throws an orange at Jake.

One of those days!

One of those days!

And he drinks milk out of the carton.

Dick!

Dick!

So I see he’s still an asshole. He and some lunatics want Jake to come play basketball with them.

This guy can Animorph his neck into a snake.

This guy can Animorph his neck into a snake.

Jake’s parents come home and save him from playing basketball or being infested by an alien parasite, I can’t really tell what the goal was here.

Jake storms into his bedroom, slams the door, and shouts, “I can’t do this anymore! I quit!” Man, how could this happen to him? He’s made his mistakes, got nowhere to run…

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Me, when I write reviews.

Oh, great, this guy is back.

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Jake is like, “Aw, man, the Ellimist? We’re doing this?”. So Jake yells at the Ellimist about how shitty it is to be 15 and defending the Earth against aliens. He just wants to be normal! He wishes he’d never met Elfangor and started this stupid show. The Ellimist is like, “Okay,” and changes the past.

So yeah, this is the exact same plot as that episode where the Ellimist showed them a shitty future, only this time he’s showing them a shitty present.

In Alternate Universe #2, Jake eats cereal and doesn’t get an orange thrown at him. He overhears his parents discussing what a dickface Tom has been lately. They all seem to think he is on heroin or something. Actually, that might explain Tom’s appearance and asshole behavior. Is it canon that Tom is on heroin? I think so.

"Our son is going to die in a gutter."

“Our son is going to die in a gutter.”

Tom talks up The Sharing. They’re having a big old club party tonight, and he invites Jake to come. Jake, wanting to make sure his brother doesn’t die on the curb outside of the Viper Room, agrees to go along.

Ugh

Ugh

At school, Tobias–who isn’t a bird!–stalks Rachel. He gets cockblocked when Jake shows up. Turns out Tobias has been stalking her for like weeks, pretty fun.

I missed you, Stalker Tobias!

I missed you, Stalker Tobias!

Jake invites Rachel to the Sharing party and there is a pretty weird sexual vibe between them. I guess this is Incest Universe. Anyway, Jake gets called into Chapman’s office.

In science class, Tobias and Rachel are sexy lab partners.

ScienceBird came to town

ScienceBird came to town

Tobias is still wearing his leather jacket in the middle of class because he is a freak. Tobias talks to Rachel about how weird everyone has been acting likely, telling her that everyone seems to be going through a huge personality shift. Tobias keeps things real vague, but he tells Rachel that she’s in danger–and so is everyone else!. It seems that Alternate Incest Universe Tobias knows a little more than everyone else there. Rachel begs him to tell her, and he does.

Cut to Rachel laughing with Cassie about Tobias’s insane “slugs in people’s head” bullshit. That went over real well, Tobi, you’re never gonna get laid even in the universe where you have a dick. Rachel tells Cassie that Tobias is “fixated” on The Sharing, and invites her to the club as well.

That night, Tom is the asshole MC at the Spider Club, where teens dance in a dimly lit room with SPOOKY COBWEBS everywhere. Jesus, I should’ve reviewed this one at Halloween.

Rachel runs into Marco at the (soda, I’m sure) bar and holy shit, look at this guy.

Ha!

Ha!

He’s become a total prep, and accordingly, it turns out he joined the Sharing over a week ago. Rachel is blown away by what a fucking weirdo he’s become, and this is the girl who willingly hangs out with Tobias. Preppy Marco welcomes Rachel to the club and tells her to “keep her ears open” and fuck this script.

Rachel wanders away from that weirdness and finds Jake; Tobias strolls in a few seconds later. Rachel is still really thirsty for him but Jake reallllly hates him. Jake bounces to flirt with Cassie while Tobias sneaks around in the background.

Jake confronts Tobias is a back room. He tells ol’ Toby that he’s been noticing weird shit, too, and they should chat about it. Tobias flips a gasket and tells Jake all about the Sharing being an alien infestation front, Tom being infected by an alien slug, etc. Jake says, “You’ve been watching too much Mystery Science Theater.” I feel like Joel sometimes, trapped in space with Animorphs.

The Idiot Brigade

The Idiot Brigade

Tom and his Goon Pals show up to rough up Tobias and throw him out of the club. Jake shares Tobias’s alien conspiracy theory with Tom; in the club proper, Cassie mentions seeing a slug in the bathroom sink, and why would that ever happen? Tom asks Jake what he thinks about all this, and Jake says, “I think if he knows too much about us, we have to act quickly. I have to do something to stop him.”

Also WHAT THE FUCK

Also WHAT THE FUCK

Plot Twist City, Bitch!

The next day or whenever, Tobias and his Leather Jacket chat up Rachel at school.

Or he sexually harasses her. I can't tell.

Or he sexually harasses her. I can’t tell.

He warns her not to trust anyone and gets paranoid when Cassie shows up. They do the whole “But it could never happen to her!” “It could!” thing.

Jake meets with Chapman, and there’s a pretty funny reveal that Jake is actually Chapman’s superior in this reality. Jake is mad pissed that Chapman diidn’t notice Tobias dicking around under his nose. You know, nosedicking?

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The soundtrack goes bonkers in the hallway while Tobias and Jake have a staredown. They both know each other’s secret, it’s going down now.

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Tobias calls Rachel later on, but Jake is in her room being creepy, so she pretends it’s Cassie on the phone.

That "My creepy male cousin won't leave my bedroom" look

That “My creepy male cousin won’t leave my bedroom” look

Also Tobias is calling from a payphone, which is pretty funny. He asks her to meet him at the Spider Club so they can do spy shit. He also calls Jake a dicknose.

'90s Bullshit

’90s Bullshit

Rachel heads to the empty club (how did she get in?) but runs into Jake instead.

"They'll never find your hair."

“They’ll never find your hair.”

He gets real creepy real fast but then gets attacked by a lion.

Bark!

Bark!

The lion is so scary Jake turns, falls, and cracks his head open on a countertop.

He takes after Visser Trent.

He takes after Visser Trent.

With Jake unconscious, the lion turns back into Tobias and Rachel is like “ohhhhhh. This is this!”.

I missed you, special effects!

I missed you, special effects!

"Sorry Jake is dead let's make out"

“Sorry Jake is dead let’s make out”

Tobias ties Jake up (I guess he woke up offscreen or whatever) and has a spat with Tobias.

All roads end here.

All roads end here.

Smarmy Alien Jake asks Tobias, “Where’s the Andalite? The one that’s been foiling our every move?”. Rachel answers, “Here. This human was the lion.”

DOUBLE TWIST, MAN!

"Tobias, why would I want to fuck a bird?"

“Tobias, why would I want to fuck a bird?”

Tobias’s little bird heart break. He tries to run, but is stopped by Cassie, Tom, Marco, and the Goons.

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They even call him Tobi–way to add insult to injury!

Check out that hat.

Check out that hat.

They’re about to break Tobias’s legs or whatever when Rachel has a migraine. Rachel breaks the Yeerk’s control (which apparnetly happens all the fucking time on this show) long enough to apologize to Tobias. But it doesn’t matter, because Visser Trent is here to do stuff. He promotes Jake to the rank of Visser 10 while Tobias sobs in the background.

Tobias says, “We should’ve been on the same side, Jake, We should’ve fought together.”

Jake replies, “We will, Tobias. Just not the side you want.” It’s time to shove a slug in Tobias’s ear.

But hey, Jake gets his own migraine.

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Then he wakes up in his bedroom in Boring Old Universe A.

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Every Animorph in the goddamn world has showed up to ask Jake why he hasn’t been answering his beeper or whatever.

"I came by to see if you wanted to go Animorphing, but clearly you're having an episode."

“I came by to see if you wanted to go Animorphing, but clearly you’re having an episode.”

Jake is super happy to not be in the Darkest Timeline, especially when Ax shows up and reminds him of human innocence by blowing a bubble.

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Then Tobias shows up. Jake happily screams, “TOBIAS, YOU’RE STILL A HAWK! I LOVE YOU AS A HAWK. YOU LOOK GREAT AS A HAWK.” Tobias is understandably bummed by Jake’s glee.

Jake has a complete mental breakdown, screaming, “We’re not controllers!” over and over again, so all of his friends tackle him onto the bed and tickle him.

Ax: "Fuck this dumb planet"

Ax: “Fuck this dumb planet”

Final Thoughts:

The set-up was pretty quick and silly (seriously? That was all it took to completley break Jake’s spirit?) but the actual alternate universe stuff was a lot of fun. The twists were actually twists (I did not see Jake being a controller coming the first time through, but on a second watch they definitely laid the groundwork for it to check out), and the idea of Tobias being a lone Animorph and completely fucking everything up on is actually more interesting than the book version of “what if no one was an Animorph and they all just did stuff and then there was a lame cop-out ending.”

Like the last episode, this one told a nice, self-contained story that made sense, was taken seriously (but still had some funny moments, like Preppy Evil Marco), and was fun to watch. It’s too bad the set up was so silly (Simple Plan Jake is worst Jake).

George Melrod was the writer on this one. He only wrote one other episode (the series finale) and has only written one thing since (the 2006 CGI film Valiant, which you definitely didn’t remember existed).

Special Effects: 2/5 for Stupid Ghost.

’90s Bullshit: Mystery Science Theater 3000. Payphones. Backwards baseball caps. Spider clubs.

Character Development: Jake stops being a whiny shithead. Ax learns to blow bubbles.

Overall Rating: 4/5.

Next Time: Part one of the season finale. It’s all come down to this, that’s right: the big basketball game!

Thanks for reading. Hope you assholes enjoyed the Goosebumps review last week, I had a lot of fun writing it. Hoo hoo hoo!

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