Thursday, August 13, 2015

Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers - Episode 15: Search For The Castle's Treasure!

Okay.  I have a frosty drink (root beer), some snapea crisps (truly the food of kings) and I'm ready to work with you, series.

Sure, you hurt me last time when you brought in Whipla- er.  When you brought he He Who Will Not Be Named.

I was just really starting to feel comfortable with you as a series, so to suddenly see that side of you was just really unnerving.  However, I'm willing to give this another shot.

So please.  Be kind.  I've been hurt by animated series before.

The episode opens with Pepper explaining that the DISK detection system just received an upgrade that will now allow it to predict where the devices will appear from whatever side dimension they're currently floating around in.  After a brief amount of time analyzing data, it concludes that the next DISK is going to appear in France.

Specifically, right near Jessica's home.

Specifically, at Jessica's home.

Akira and Ed ponder how huge Jessica's home must be if she's so rich, so Jessica simply offers to let everybody stay at her place until the DISK shows up.  The boys thank her and Akira casually mentions how great it is to have friends.

Wow, that- that's pretty cold, Jessica.  Look, I know that last episode it was revealed you're a bit of a manipulator, willing to play off Hikaru's overprotective nature to try to beat him at a video game, but you'd think "we're not friends" would be something you'd mention before the fifteenth episode.

Wasp actually calls Jessica out on it, but the girl seems determined to stay "independent" like she learned all her life lessons from Kelly Clarkson and Beyonce.

Meanwhile, at Loki's hideout, one of his henchmen points out that it's now time to prove that his way of "doing things" is better.  Then we cut away.

In other words, that scene was completely pointless.

It turns out Jessica lives in an honest to goodness castle/mansion, and the cast are able to meet her incredibly white and boring parents.

Akira, being the energetic bundle of "inability to think ahead" he is, manages to shatter a vase or statue or something by swinging around a sword that was hanging on a wall.  Hikaru profusely apologizes to Jessica's parents, but they seem happy to just have their daughter home.  Plus, she brought her friends with her!

Man, that's cold.  You do realize they have access to Tony Stark's bank accounts, right?  Tony could probably buy and sell your family, Jessica.

Jessica heads off to her room, and her parents attempt to explain Jessica's behavior to the other kids.  Apparently Jessica has never really had any friends her whole life and spent most of her time at home.  Unfortunately her parents were also never really around because of work responsibilities, so she had to learn to be able to rely just on herself, not on others (not counting the staff that work for her parents, apparently).

However, before you just assume Jessica is actually a terrible person, Akira asks about a phrase Jessica keeps tossing around, noblesse oblige.

The way Jessica explains it to the Wasp, it essentially boils down to the fact that those who are lucky enough to be in the "haves" category have a responsibility to share it with the "have nots" and not, as Jessica puts it, "hog it for yourself."  This applies to anything someone has in abundance over someone else, whether or not it's money.

Come to think of it, I don't think Jessica has once ever lorded her wealth over anybody.  There was a brief mention of it in an early episode, but she seemed to think everybody there was equally lucky to be at the special event where Tony was going to reveal the DISK system.  We've seen her talk about opening up her own business one day, but not once do I remember her throwing it in anybody's face "I'm better than you because I have money."

Jessica gets called back down when the DISK shows up, and everybody starts looking for it.  However, there's no sign of it anywhere, and they start to wonder if perhaps it's underneath the castle.  Jessica recalls a legend about a hidden system of tunnels underground, and I can't help but wonder how Jessica's parents aren't tagging along because they want to see what their daughter does with her spare time and make sure she's safe.

In their attempts to locate a way into the tunnels, they come upon an old well that's long since gone dry.  Jessica, naturally, is the first to climb the ledge and start to scale down a rope ladder leading into the inky depths.

As the group starts down a long passageway, there's a small conversation about whether it's "okay" to be afraid in a cold, dark tunnel under a castle.  Ed, of course, is twitchy, feeling like a "ghost could appear at any minute" (hey, why isn't the villain of this episode the Iron Man villain "the Ghost?"), Jessica completely forgot to stock up on fear, so she's just striding ahead bravely, and Akira tries to put up a strong front, but a cold drop of water down his back sends him into a panic.

The next room from the tunnel is another long passageway, with suits of armor lining both sides.  The armor is also holding up rather large swords, leaving me wondering, "gee, what could POSSIBLY go wrong in a room like this?"

Yeah, you can guess what happens next when Akira hits one of the suits of armor.  Way to go, kid.

In the next room, Jessica triggers a secret floor panel that makes the ceiling start to come down to crush everybody, leading me to wonder what's wrong with the people who built this castle?  I get this kid of a trap in, say, Resident Evil (okay, actually, I don't, but whatever), but a family lives here!

Everybody but Jessica gets out fine.  She trips and falls a short distance from the door,   With her jacket caught between two stones and unable to smash the Wasp to help her get out, Akira dives inside and grabs hold of her before pulling the two of them back out of the room again at the last minute.

Jessica is appropriately grateful.

Or ... not.

Jessica insists she would have saved herself and Akira didn't need to risk his neck "foolishly," leading the boys to finally confront Jessica and ask if she hates needing to be around them.  Jessica, flustered and unable to really answer, instead comes up with a "last minute hair salon appointment" she forgot about and heads off on her own, letting the boys deal with everything themselves.

Cap, of course, went to the Legend of Zelda School of Advice.

With Jessica going her own way, the boys continue on to the "treasure room" under the castle, just to find it filled with old junk.  Faded paintings, rotten furniture, old barrels, the only real thing of note is the nice shiny DISK that appeared on a crate.

Unfortunately, at that moment the bad guy shows up, using a rocket launcher (!) to blow his way through the little mini dungeon to find the DISK.  I'd comment on how it's not a great idea to use explosives in old underground passages to locate treasure, but Hulk says it best.

At this point, the bad guy decides to bring an actual supervillain into play, and we get another classic character from the Spider-Man universe!

...I got nothing.

They actually managed to take a guy who normally fights superheroes while wearing a white lab coat and sports a bowl haircut and make him look even dumber.  Also, what exactly is he supposed to do against the Hulk and Thor?

Well, nothing, actually.  Instead of letting everybody summon their heroes, Doc Ock there grabs hold of Chris, Ed, and Hikaru with his arms (I refuse to say "tentacles" when dealing with an animated series from Japan), pinning their arms to their sides.  Akira is able to get Iron Man out, but the Doctor holds them at bay by threatening the lives of the other three boys.

Meanwhile, Wasp is trying to convince Jessica to go back and help.  Jessica's reluctant, and Wasp eggs her on to reveal what's really bothering her, and it's...actually kind of heartbreaking.

See, Jessica's never had any friends, as stated before.  She's afraid that if she gets close to the guys, they'll get to see past the "proud and strong" side of her that Jessica's always putting up and see her "weaker" side.  The side that gets scared, or is unsure sometimes.

"If I let them see my embarrassing side, like before...someday they'll get bored of me..."

So, in essence, Jessica pushes away everybody before they have a chance to reject her first.

Wasp throws the whole noblesse oblige deal back in Jessica's face, pointing out that you share good times and bad times with friends, and if you're sad, true friends share themselves to help you get through it.

Iron Man, meanwhile, is getting his butt kicked by Doctor Octopus.  It's actually a pretty clever plan.  Keep the three boys "hostage" so Tony can't act against him directly, and if Tony tries to dodge any of the Doctor's attacks, he goes after Akira instead.

It's at this moment, when the bad guy is casually strolling over to pick up the DISK, that Jessica brings the Wasp into play, and to bastardize an old phrase, "you can't catch what you can't catch."  The Wasp's speed more than makes her a match for Doctor Octopus' arms, freeing up Iron Man to use a few quick blasts to sever the arm holding the boys hostage.  This then lets Wasp get in close to deliver the finishing blow.

Jessica captures the Doctor in a DISK, the bad guy teleports out after stating he was really just there to "collect data," and Jessica makes up with her friends, and the DISK that the heroes recovered

I have no idea who that is.  Maybe if we inverse the colors?

Well, that cleared it up.  I have no idea who that is.

So join us next time, when we get possibly the biggest cameo to date (in popularity, not size, that comes later)!

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