ANIMORPHS Episode 20: Face Off, Part 2

Last time on ANIMORPHS: The whole gang went to the BIG HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL GAME, except Jake, who ended up stuck in the dirty Yeerk Pool caves with Tom. Ax stole two drinks. I guess the Yeerks are going to infect everyone at the game. Oh and Tobias became a real boy.

In the Yeerk Pool Cave Subsystem Hellscape, Jake’s still sneaking around. A voice-over reminds us that he’s trying to get to the gym, but he can’t morph due to some morphing sensor shit. Tom accidentally turned that sensor off last week, but hey, fuck it.

morph1

Jake sneaks around to the laser-cage containing Tom, who is shouting all over the place since his Yeerk is currently out of his head and taking a bath. Hope you didn’t start reading this blog with this episode, because that sentence was incoherent to any new readers.

Jake attempts to talk to Tom through a vent, but just when he gets his older brother’s attention, Tom is distracted by the girl in the cage with him. Apparently, her name is Anne.

morph2

Anne tells Tom to shut up because hey, it doesn’t matter, they’re fucked. But Tom goes on a very Jake-like speech about how they can NEVER GIVE UP. But then it’s time for Tom to get dragged away and re-inseminated with alien brain goo slug.

The guy playing Tom is not really a fantastic actor, but I like this scene a lot. This show has gotten progressively better at using the TV format to its advantage, and this is a prime example. Never in any of the books were we able to get a genuine look at what Tom is going through. It not only expands his character a bit, but it creates a pretty clear parallel between him and his brother–he’s the Jake of another (probably more interesting) story.

Anyway, Tom starts struggling and then he falls into the pool. It doesn’t really accomplish much because his Yeerk just swims into his ear and takes over, so hey, good plan, dick.

At the BIG BORING HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL GAME, the basketball players are still playing basketball.

Woo.

Woo.

Here’s the situation:

“Where’s Rachel?”
“LOL IDK”
“Where’s Jake?”
“LOL IDK”

Cassie and Marco attempt to leave the gym and look for Rachel, but they find that they’re locked in. Tom shows up and talks to Chapman, who then puts a stop to the BIG HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL GAME and announces a “tornado warning.” A fake radio message plays over the PA system, instructing everyone to head into the basement shelter and not to go outside.

Basically, shit’s fucked.

Outside, Rachel’s still looking for Tobias. When she finds him, she’s pretty shocked that HE’S NOT A BIRD ANYMORE.

"Sex will be less confusing now," Rachel said incorrectly.

“Sex will be less confusing now,” Rachel said incorrectly.

Tobias is like “Yeah, shit got real.” He’s still pretty stoked about his religious experience with Elfangor’s hologram ghost. It turns out that between episodes, Tobias made a choice re: Elfangor’s proposed dilemma: in order to retain his morphing powers, Tobias will remain a hawk–but one capable of morphing, including back into his human form. Rachel’s like, “Oh,” and so am I.

Chapman checks the windowsill for the Andalite Disk and realizes that leaving it there was a real bumberfuck of a choice.

"UH OH."

“UH OH.”

In the Shit Caves, Tom AGAIN turns off all of the sensors and alarms and shit so they can easily drag their future slaves inside. Jake responds to this, as always, by turning into a lizard.

You think he would've learned his lesson by now.

You think he would’ve learned his lesson by now.

Tobias the Boy and Rachel the Girl try to re-enter the gym, but the school is locked.

Jake the Lizard hangs out while Tom goes on and on about how super cool he is. Then Tom locks Jake in a room and Jake is like:

morph8

Tom the Maniac goes full Bond Villain. He’s so siked, he knew an Andalite would show up, and now he’s got one trapped. He talks about his Super Yeerk Babies and enslaving the Earth, yadda yadda yadda, and then assigns a Goof Guard to guard the room while he does Tom Stuff.

"But sir, I was supposed to carry this bag!"

“But sir, I was supposed to carry this bag!”

Tobias drags Rachel to some undisclosed entrance to the Yeerk Pool that he apparently knows about from being a bird. He wants to just sneak right into the Yeerk Pool, and Rachel is all, “How?!?!??!?!” So Tobias pulls out the Andalite Plot Device Disk.

morph10

And here’s some dialogue.

“Touch the disk.”
“It’s warm.”
*stares*
“What’s happening?”
“I haven’t figured it all out yet, but…but it’s working.”

Hmm.

Anyway, Tobias tells Rachel, “I need to become a Controller. Don’t worry, you can do it now. The DNA pattern of a Yeerk was on the disk.” So, I guess I’ll have to accept it–the disk can do whatever it wants, it’s just the best thing in the universe.

In Prison Room, Jake turns into a boy again for no real reason.

For all his rage, Jake is still just a Morph in a cage

For all his rage, Jake is still just a Morph in a cage

Rachel turns into a Yeerk and chills in Tobias’s brain (off-screen, of course). Then he just strolls into the Pool. A guard gives him shit, but Tobias sweet-talks him.

"Hey, kid, do you know about BIIIIIIIRDS?"

“Hey, kid, do you know about BIIIIIIIRDS?”

This is a nice call-back to the last time they went to the Yeerk Pool, in which Tobias pulled off the same shit pretty decently.

Rabois runs into another guard–the one keeping watch over Jake’s prison cell. The dumb hunk discloses that there’s an “Andalite’ trapped inside, so Tochel, realizing where Jake’s been all day (what a goof!), gets him to fuck off. They end up in a real mess, though, because while Jake can hear their thought-speak, they can’t hear him yelling back.Then Tom shows up, so they give up and leave Jake to die.

Abandoned, Jake makes out with this wall.

Abandoned, Jake makes out with this wall.

In the school halls, Tom’s dumb buddypal sends Marco, Cassie, and Ax down into the tunnels to be brain-assaulted.

morph14

Tom calls Visser Trent on Skype to tell him “everything is going swimmingly, oh and BTW, totes caught an Andalite.”

morph15

Marco, Cassie, and Ax reach the Pool, just in time to see another kid get dragged away for assimilation. Oh my God, no! It’s that kid from last week, the one who was totally disgusted by Ax’s sexual assault!

Not HIM!

Not HIM!

Then they notice Tobias walking around in human form and they’re just like, “LOL FINE GOOD THIS IS A TOTALLY NORMAL DAY WE ARE LIVING IN THE CAVES.”

"Oh, this?"

“Oh, this?”

And since he’s acting like a Controller, well, they assume he is a Controller. These three have really been contributing a lot to this finale. Marco, as usual, assumes that everything is over and they’re totally fucked and they should all just give up.

I guess Tom realizes the Disk is gone.

Marco, with nothing to lose, charges up to Tobias and asks, “What’s going on here? Did you trade us in to get your body back?”

Bird vs Birdface

Bird vs Birdface

And hey, I have been giving this whole “what a misunderstanding!” bit a lot of shit, but that is actually a pretty fitting assumption for Marco to make, and this is a cool interaction.

Tobias has no choice but to stay in character and be aggressive right back. But then he drags Marco off into a corner and is like “DUDE YOU’RE FUCKING EVERYTHING UP.” Marco is confused, but Tobias pulls out the Disk and is like “hey, look at this, it can do everything.”

Meanwhile, Cassie and Ax are being dragged off to hell.

Tom is convinced that the captured Andalite must have stolen his Disk, so he’s about to charge in and crack some skulls. Inside the Prison Cell, Jake shatters the overhead light just in time for Tom to open the door and face total darkness instead of, you know, his doofy little brother.

Budget!

Budget!

Tom wanders into the dark.

Visser Trent shows up to shake his jowels.

BLARGH

BLARGH

He heads into the darkened room to find Tom and Jake…who has morphed into Tom.

Too Many Toms!

Too Many Toms!

And with that, Season 1 of ANIMORPHS is over.

What a doozy.

Final Thoughts:

Hey, this was pretty fun.

With this exposition out of the way, a lot was actually able to happen in this episode. The original story they put together here isn’t amazing or anything, but it’s fun, it’s interesting, and it feels like there are high enough stakes for a season finale.

Part 2 improved on Part 1 in pretty much every way. While the “what a misunderstanding!” thing in Part 1 felt like pointless time-killing, here it was used to create some dramatic situations (Marco thinking Tobias is a Controller, Tom thinking Jake must have the disk). And seriously, the choice to make a large part of the finale actually from Tom’s point of view–seriously, it’s insane how many scenes feature Tom as the focal point with no Animorphs involved whatsoever–was a really inspired choice from a show usually content with middling along. Also, Tobias actually being a character portrayed by a human actor has added a nice change to the group dynamic.

If I watched this episode when it aired in 1998 and I was a happy little kid eating potato chips, I would’ve been on the edge of my seat to see what would happen next.

There are, as always, some parts that are just silly nonsense. Tobias’s choice to remain a hawk (but with morphing powers) is handled offscreen, the Andalite Disk is just fuckin’ magic and can do whatever it wants, etc. But hey, what can you do?

Special Effects: Butts out of 5 Butts

Adaptation Rating: I’m pretty sure they did the “morph into a Yeerk so we can get into the Pool” thing in the books at some point.

’90s Bullshit: Thinking compact discs are magic sorcery that can do anything.

Character Development: Tom is a real human being and a real hero. Tobias decides to be a bird who is also a boy who is also a bird. In a shocking reversal of sexual dynamics, Rachel ends up inside of Tobias. Disgusted Guy is led off into the dark, surely facing certain death.

Overall Rating: 4/5.

Next Time: I considered writing up a retrospective on Season 1, but fuck it, we’ll deal with that after Season 2. So all of this bullshit will come to a thrilling (I guess) conclusion next week.

Thanks for sticking with me through an entire season of this shit. You guys must really think I’m funny.

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