I’m drunk, let’s deal with this shit.
Cold open on Marco, in the middle of the night. He runs through the woods, pursued by an unseen force.
He trips and falls–he turns to face his attacker–it’s a FUCKING DINOSAUR AND IT BEARS DOWN ON HIM AS HE SCREAMS.
Cut to the intro.
Holy shit. Is this happening? Is Ani-TV about to attempt an adaptation of In the Time of Dinosaurs, the long-form Animorphs book in which a nuclear blast propels the Animorphs back into dinosaur times?
After the intro, Marco wakes up from his nightmare.
So, yeah, Marco fell asleep in the barn and had a nightmare about dinosaurs for NO REASON. I’ve heard it theorized that the dinosaur puppet was just left over from some other Nick show, so they filled time here by trotting it out. Whatever. Ax is experimenting with yoga.
So, Ax has has started watching TV, which means he’s completely taken on the speech patterns of infomercials and has started treating them as the one true gospel. Cassie and Marco are like lol. It’s worth noting that everyone looks a little different here–note Ax’s more-curly hair–implying that this, rather than the last episode, was probably the first one filmed as part of Season 2.
A commercial comes on the portable TV (lol) announcing that tickets for the movie “Conquest Galaxy” are now on sale. Marco is pretty pumped, but when we and Jake hit the box office, tickets are already sold out. So they turn into mice.
The Biker Mice from Earth end up inside one of the theaters, eating nachos.
Marco gets swept up by a janitor and thrown into a dumpster, where turns back into a Marco. I don’t know what their plan was or what the point was. I’m screaming.
Our boys laugh about their lives, then notice a dog about to get hit by a car. Before they can stand by idly and not accomplish anything, some kid in a soccer uniform runs into the road and shields the dog, taking the full brunt of the car’s impact. And like Edward Cullen, spiritual successor to the Animorphs, he is totally unharmed.
He walks away, as does the dog, leaving our heroes shocked.
The boys hold a meeting of the minds at CyBeria, where Ax is still doing this infomercial bit. They invite all of the Animorphs except Tobias, because even if he can turn into a real boy now, he’s still a stinky bird.
They fill Cassie, Rachel, and Ax in on the situation with Soccer Dog Boy, named Erek. They are like, “Oh!”. Marco and Jake fear that Erek is some kind of robot slug monster boy engineered by the Yeerks to save dogs. The girls pretty much blow them off and call them dumb. They leap into action.
Due to Erek’s clear affinity for dogs, the guys turn into dogs and hit the park. Jake becomes Homer and Marco becomes beautiful.
They find Erek heading into a picnic thrown by The Sharing, which raises some warning flags. But since the Animorphs are the Animorphs, they hurtle themselves headfirst into hell and trick Erek into petting them. They sense something off about Erek and run away to the barn.
There, they tell the girls that Erek “has no human scent.” Rachel continues to make jokes and blow them off, and so does Cassie, and why are the girls being such biddies about this?
All of a sudden, Erek appears in the rafters and says, “So, you’re the Andalites Visser Three has been looking for.”
The Animorphs are like “woops!” but Erek tells them to chill. He casually reveals that is an android known as a “Chee,” and that his human form is but a hologram around his robotic body. He offers them a glimpse of this android interior, and let me tell you, it looks like fuck.
The gang accepts this pretty quickly, especially when Erek tells them he’s anti-Yeerk. Marco tries to be a dick about it, so Erek lifts him into the air with his super-strength and threatens to tear out his soul.
Why has Erek chosen to reveal himself, you ask? Well, the Yeerks have gotten their hands on some kind of super-weapon, and he needs a bunch of assholes to help stop them.
Without any further ado, Erek drags the gang to a Yeerk Pool, where Chapman is dicking around with a “Chee holographic crystal.” I can’t deal with this. The kids and their robot pal watch as Chapman uses the crystal to, basically, create extensive, realistic holograms. So basically, he could use it to make a Yeerk Pool look like a happy park full of soulless, screaming children. Doesn’t sound great, right?
So Erek needs Ax’s help to execute his plan. And Ax is still doing this TV shit, and I love the kid playing him, but he seems so uncomfortable dealing with this–and it’s his least-funny material ever.
Jake, Rachel, and Erek head to the Yeerk Pool party and, I don’t know, Rachel turns into a monkey?
In the woods, Marco and Cassie are waiting to meet up with Ax. But he is doing this.
Erek uses his hologram powers to cause a distraction, allowing him to lock the Yeerk goons out of the science room. Monkey-Rachel steals the magic crystal…
…and when Chapman tries to stop her by yelling, “HEY!”, Jake uses his Tiger Green-screen Powers to scare him away.
Ax realizes that he is an asshole, then goes to help his pals. He shows up in the woods with some fucking thing strapped to his back, I don’t know, you figure it out.
Apparently Erek told him to build it. Jake and Rachel convene with everyone else in the woods and shove the magic crystal into Ax’s machine. Ax activates the machine (while saying, “And now a word from our sponsors,” because I hate him) and it doesn’t do anything. Erek shows up, tells him “The crystal’s in backwards!” (lol fucking what?), and fixes it.
The machine spins around and turns the whole gang invisible via hologram power. The goons are fucking astounded, so they all give up.
Back at the barn, Erek tells us that they’ve “safely buried” the crystal off-screen, so, good, I guess? Also, Ax learned that “the real world is far more interesting than television could ever be.” Everyone says how proud they are of him. Is this real?
Marco apologizes to Erek for being a dick, and Erek is like “it’s chill.”
Also apparently Erek is “programmed for non-violence,” which he never mentioned until this instant, so he won’t be helping the Animorphs in the future or ever appearing again on this show. He exits the barn, and our lives. Everyone else decides to go and see a movie.
The series returned to trying to adapt books with this episode, and it didn’t do that great. The episode is fine, but as an adaptation, it’s pretty limp. Erek’s exposition, character, and the fact that he’s an ALIEN ANDROID are blown through pretty quickly, leaving us with just a really simple plot that is resolved very easily and pretty devoid of drama. And we have to deal with Ax’s TV obsession, which sounds like it’d be endearing, but it’s absolutely the worst material the character has ever had to work with besides that flashback episode.
Also, the opening sequence–Marco’s inexplicable dinosaur nightmare–is absolutely insane. It has NOTHING to do with ANYTHING. Which is totally bizarre, because while a lot of Animorphs episodes are stuffed with time-filling bullshit, this one is comparably tight–except for that insane intro.
On a positive note, you can feel in this episode that the cast has become more and more comfortable with each other and their characters. I didn’t really detail them, but there are a lot of little moments where they’re just joking around with each other, and it’s nice to see that element of the books become more and more prevalent in the show.
Also, weird that they wrote Tobias’s actor back into the show…and then did not have him appear or be mentioned this week.
Jeff Schechter wrote this. It’s his only episode of the show. It was one of his earlier works, leading to a steady career of writing for kids’ shows and, recently, doing some more adult stuff.
Special Effects: 1/5. Shitty morph effects, horrifying hologram, garish green screen tiger.
Adaptation Rating: 2/5. A pretty shitty and compressed adaptation of a story that they may as well have skipped, considering how irrelevant Erek will be for the rest of the show (he was a pretty major character in the book, with a much more extensive personality and backstory).
’90s Bullshit: Portable televisions. Relying on TV announcements to find out tickets for a movie are on sale. Dogs.
Humanoid Dog Androids: Humanoid Dog Androids.
Character Development: Ax realizes that TV isn’t as fun as having friends!
Overall Rating: 3/5. I feel like I was too harsh when writing this, to be honest. It wasn’t that interesting, but it WAS more competent than, say, mid-Season-1, and I should really just be appreciating that.
Next Time: So here’s the thing. There are only four episodes of this show left. Three of them are a three-parter, called “Changes,” which I think originally aired as an edited-together-TV-movie-event. Then the final episode, an unremarkable stand-alone called “The Front,” aired. Well, that is like, fucking stupid, and Netflix places “The Front” before “Changes,” so I am going to review them in that order. Deal With it Dog.
Thanks for listening to what has literally become drunken ramblings. Seeya next week, dogs.