If you want to read my reviews for previous Transformers shows, click here
for the first archives or here
for the second archives.PREVIOUS SEASON FOUR REVIEWS79. New Normal
80. Burning Bridges81. Arrivals
82. Plus One
EPISODE 83. BACK TO VIRTUAL REALITY“That’s what’s great about gaming, you learn from your mistakes a lot quicker than you do in real life.”
Huh. I was expecting Vigil.
I think it should have been Vigil, because Vigil would have brought a certain level of creepiness and this episode needed
creepiness (or anything really) because “Back to Virtual Reality” follows the tread of its predecessor episode “A Virtual Disaster” as dull and secondhand embarrassing. A part of it is personal taste: I can’t stomach TV shows that cannot do video games right. Out of all the things that are inaccurately portrayed in the media, video game mishaps tend to make me cringe the most. The dated 8-bit noises in what is an otherwise modern-era game, terminology that doesn’t make a lick of sense within the context of said game such as “levels”, “1-ups”, etc. Griffin Rock Quest’s
only accuracy is the unlimited continues, otherwise it reminds the same yawn-fest as it was before. Promises of new levels by Frankie never show up in the upgrade (just a color palette swap when Morocco arrives) and nothing extravagant stands out. To be fair, the game seems to be designed to look like the kind of electronic devices you’d hand your preschoolers to before smartphones paved the way for whatever Angry Birds
or third-party iphone game they’re playing now, so if that was the creators’ intent, it makes sense.
Dr. Morocco’s last appearance
shifted a major change for the man. He reunited with his old friend Jules Verne (yes, that
Jules Verne) and had his mind wiped (in a questionable move by said friend; kid tested, Burns approved) and left to live in peace in future France. Presumably meant as his swan song, season four had to do something to fill in the man’s big shoes, so here’s a plot about a Morocco virus he planted ages ago. It ultimately hinges on someone rebooting the game in order for the plan to work, but he’s been known to play the waiting game before
. While Virtual Morocco has his cake (complete with another new voice actor for him), he never really eats it. Just goes to show only the real Morocco’s the one who’s got game.
Also, why didn’t they just destroy the Mini-Morocco? Wouldn’t that also destroy whatever is left of the virus? They could at least break it up apart and dump it on the Best Left Forgotten section or hell, spread the damn pieces all over the friggin’ planet.
However, I’m not disappointed with the Morocco we’ve been presented nor the possibility of his return. Certainly Virus Morocco is a clever way to keep the man around, but the reason why I’m holding my breath has to do with the summary of a future episode. If there is anyone out there who doesn’t want to be spoiled on what future episode plots may be, skip to the next paragraph.
According to this
, the 86th episode of Rescue Bots
will force the Burns family to face a new enemy, only to form an unexpected alliance with an old one. This can fit a number of previous baddies and it doesn’t necessary mean said baddies have to be good to help; it could be mutual benefits against a bigger foe. But for my money, I’m betting this is the real Morocco popping in from the future to lend a hand. Said “new enemy”could be the Virus Morocco we’ve seen, though would it be considered “new” if it made a previous appearance? Who knows? But I’m dying to see the resolution for, so something to look forward to.
Otherwise, “Back to Virtual Reality” doesn’t have a whole lot going for it. Charlie playing games is fun and all and Boulders getting a library card is adorable as hell, but the only real compliment I can give this episode is that it’s a better sequel than “A Virtual Disaster”, but that isn’t saying a whole lot. OUT OF FIVE STARS
BONUS OBSERVATIONSAN ENERGON A DAY KEEPS DOCTOR BLADES AWAY:
Because they can’t always show people getting hurt, Blades canonical status as a medibot is a rarity, which is why I like it whenever the show acknowledges it. Blades is the first to suggest Jerry get a doctor after being trapped under frozen water and opts to fly him there. Blades knows, dude, he’s been trained for this. It’s just such a lovely detail.BEST LINE: “Your attention, please. Why was the numeral six afraid of its consecutive number? Because seven consumed nine!”
Okay, so I’m going to have to explain the joke (which defeats the purpose of why this line is funny anyway, but hey), but what gets me is that Chase told the joke right, he just worded the pun wrong that made it a joke for a reason. And it’s an amazingly pure Chase thing to do.WORST LINE: “The cake…is…a…lie!”
Nothing wrong with the line itself, but among all the video game quotes they used, this one feels tiring. Personal opinion, I’ve just heard it so many times back when Portal
was out that I got sick of it. But can you imagine Blades playing the Portal
series? He’d probably have Vigil flashbacks.
EPISODE 84. VANISHING RETURNS“[But] we’re a quiet town, that’s part of the charm!”Yes!
Madeline Pynch is back! Her absence throughout season three was felt. She’s that rare female villain who is not defined by negative traits often associated with lady baddies (that is, sexually explicit; often in servitude with a man and just as likely to turncoat because of a man), able to stand on her own two feet as a competent villain. Her wealth means she can afford to play in the shadows and/or use her influence to get what she wants and escape with ease. If she’s returning to Griffin Rock after presumably a three year absence, that means she’s got a dangerous trick up her sleeve. With Morocco officially gone (though with a possible virus version of him as a potential enemy), we need a reoccurring antagonist who will provide a serious threat to Griffin Rock and Madeline is it.
Last we checked, she made off with the Verne Device, hiding in Paris to escape jail time. Madeline has not lost any of her touch; she ends this episode with the invisible magnetic piece and made herself known to her wayward daughter with it. Priscilla, as far as I know, is unaware of her mother’s criminal activities. With Madeline appearing from out of nowhere in front of her, this has me wondering if she will be a part of her mother’s plans, whether she likes it or not. It’s a worrying prospect to be sure, but Priscilla, as spoiled as she is, does not strike me as the kind of person to go the extra steps beyond her simpering bullying. I’m predicting a conflict between mother and daughter and I’m all for it.
What I’m more confused about is her overseas trip. Season Two’s finale ended with Madeline and Priscilla hightailing it to Europe. This episode seem to indicate that they came back from the same trip, but Priscilla makes an appearance during season three’s “I Have Heard the Robots Singing.” To Rescue Bot’s
credit, they never specify when Priscilla returned (that European trip Cody mentioned could have been months ago let alone three years), but with Madeline on the run, it raises an eyebrow. Still, if anyone is rich enough to go back and forth on a plane like it’s nothing, it’s the Pynch family. I am disappointed the creators didn’t alter Priscilla’s character design a bit to indicate her age (the most they seem to have done is raise her height to match Cody and Frankie’s), but presumably she’ll just be a minor reoccurring character that this might not matter in the long run.
What I’m really intrigued is Cody’s behavior. His story (”One is the loneliest number”) is tried-and-true grounds at this point (and tiring, to be frank), reiterating an issue he’s always faced, but has always been reassured about. It seems a bit late to go back to this territory, but it does come with an interesting reaction from the teen. Cody tends to sulk whenever he feels ignored, but “Vanishing Returns” Cody does not. After he gains invisible powers, he takes this as an opportunity to prank his friends and family. It’s an oddly proactive display of (mild) malice that we’ve never really seen him do. Mischief does not become Cody, but he performs it relatively well. I theorize Cody’s brief rebellion is a symptom of his teenage growth, but I may be reading too deeply into it. Then again, the creators have shown how much they give a damn about this show that I wouldn’t put it past them.
Otherwise, “Vanishing Returns” is kind of mish-mash. Cody’s subplot is only a passing fancy, it’s as if the writers knew this would be another dime-a-dozen arc for Cody to bypass yet again. It does provide another obstacle the Rescue Bots need to bypass to maintain their secrets, though mainland tourist attractions aren’t the most riveting of opponents. It’s probably why they needed Madeline to spice up the episode and it’s her involvement that ultimately prevents what is an otherwise an average episode.
I can’t wait for more Madeline Pynch. Just imagine her bumping into Virus Morocco. ;D OUT OF FIVE STARS
BONUS OBSERVATIONSKITTY CONUNDRUM:
Mr. Pettypaws doesn’t care for Blades, but warms up to Boulder easily. Another great little detail, especially the annoyed Blades in the background.