SWAT Kats is an animated series created by Canadian brothers Christian and Yvon Tremblay. Produced by Hanna-Barbera, the show aired from 1993 to 1994 and canceled with three episodes left to go in its second season. I post about it here because a few of the episodes had some horror-themed elements. The show's premise was pretty simple. It's set in an alternate reality where everyone is a cat (or "kat" as they call themselves). The coastal metropolis of Megakat City is routinely plagued by villains and monsters, and so is defended against attack by a paramilitary police force known as the Megakat Enforcers, or just the Enforcers for short. But the true heroes are Enforcer washouts Chance Furlong and Jake Clawson, who, following an argument with their superior officer Commander Ulysses Feral, were drummed out of the Enforcers and sentenced to work as mechanics at the Megakat City Salvage Yard. Because SWAT Kats is pure pulp, the duo built a high-tech jet called the Turbokat and, wearing masks, fight crime as vigilantes known as the SWAT Kats under the pseudonyms of T-Bone (Chance) and Razor (Jake). The two are friendly with Deputy Mayor Calico "Callie" Briggs, who uses a secret communicator to contact the duo whenever trouble arises and threatens the city.
Just for shits and giggles, I figured I'd cover the episodes on here one at a time. Hopefully you'll find them interesting. If you can look past the fact that just about everyone in it is an anthropomorphic feline, and ignore some of the dumber aspects, which, yes, I will cover, it's a pretty decent, though not entirely original, action-adventure series with frequent use of horror and sci-fi elements.
Episode one is entitled "The Pastmaster Always Rings Twice," and the tone of the show is set immediately: the very first scene features grave robbery. A couple of Burke and Hare types named Jack and Tom are digging around in an old cemetery looking for anything they can sell to "the museum." Interestingly, in the script, the duo are referred to as "relic robbers," and where they're digging is simply described as a "medieval ruin." The issue of grave robbing is danced around. But in the finished episode, the pair are clearly digging up graves in an old cemetery, complete with what looks like an old gothic church and clocktower.
Anyway, the bigger of the two is named Jack. He was named Mac in the script, but had his name changed, likely to avoid confusion with another character named Mac Mange, who shows up in a later episode. He's the superstitious sort. Insisting the graveyard is cursed, he doesn't think they ought to be messing around in it. His partner Tom calls him a "scaredy-kat" and insists they keep digging. Another change from the script is that Tom initially wore an eyepatch and had a chunk missing from one ear, but he had his appearance toned down for the final episode.
Yelling at Jack to "shut up and keep diggin'," he turns and swings his pick, hitting something in the grave the pair have been digging in. It's an old chest of some sort. He and Jack dig the thing up, and then Tom, insisting that there's buried treasure inside, uses Jack's shovel to pry the lid open. When the lid finally comes off, light comes from within like they've just opened the Ark of the Covenant. When it finally dissipates, they glance inside and are most disappointed at their find: a small, red skeleton wearing purple robes and clutching a gold pocketwatch. "Ugliest treasure I’ve ever seen," grumbles Jack.
Deciding the watch might be worth something, Tom attempts to take it... only for the corpse to open its eye and sit up. The grave robbers back away fearfully. Hopping out, the diminutive ghoul announces himself as the Pastmaster, imprisoned inside the chest for eight-hundred years (!). Jack moans that he was right about the cemetery being cursed before the Pastmaster hurries away, intent on finding "my book of spells." Jack wisely suggests they leave, but Tom has got it into his head that they sell "that old gnome" to the museum ("Watch and all!"). Grabbing his pick, he advances towards the Pastmaster. Proving to be the type who gives in to peer pressure easily, Jack grabs his shovel and follows.
Meanwhile, the Pastmaster is digging around in a kind of cubbyhole at the base of the old church clocktower, muttering about how he can't find his book, cursing "the Council." Don’t worry yourselves wondering about "the Council," because we’ll never learn who they are (although the script elaborates a bit more, specifically that they're actually called the Council of Elders and are the ones who locked shorty in the chest eight-hundred years ago). Brandishing their digging tools, the two grave robbers approach and attempt to apprehend the Pastmaster, who dismisses them as "foolish mortals," and then holds his pocketwatch out towards them, zapping two bone piles which quickly reassemble themselves into a pair of living skeletons, Jason and the Argonauts style. And because Hanna-Barbera was apparently concerned the audience would mistake them for human skeletons despite their visible tails, both of them still have kitty ears (!).
They attack the grave robbers, grabbing their tools away from them. Finally deciding to get the hell out of there, Jack and Tom flee, vaulting over the graveyard fence. At first, the skeletons move to pursue them, but the Pastmaster dismisses them as being of no consequence. Telling the skeletons to let the grave robbers go, he orders them to begin digging around for his book. I have no idea why he thinks the Council would've moved it from its original hiding place only to bury it in the same place as they buried him, but whatever.
The two boneheads move to obey as a helicopter bearing the emblem of the Megakat Enforcers appears over the cemetery. Inside are pilots Burge and King. No, that isn't a Burger King joke. They're named for Barry "Bear" Burge and Gary King, two friends of one of the writers. Burge and King are also our first look at the cost-cutting measure Hanna-Barbera took with the generic Enforcers; most of them are just the same character model recycled, and Burge and King here are no exception. They're identical to each other and every other Enforcer pilot we see throughout the series.
Shining a spotlight down on the obliviously digging skeletons, King emands they drop their digging tools and surrender (!). Either the living dead are commonplace in Megakat City, or these two aren't aware that the apparent grave robbers aren't exactly "alive." Observing from behind a nearby tree, the Pastmaster commands his minions to attack "those modern fools," which they do by... walking up to the hovering chopper and just banging on it with the pick and shovel. "Do we read these things their rights?" asks Burge. Evidently no fan of the undead, King declares over the loudspeaker, "You have the right to remain buried!" and promptly blasts them to bits with the helicopter's side-mounted laser guns.
The chopper lands. Getting out, Burge kicks a skull away and declares "These bones ain't movin' now!" Noticing the chest, he asks King what they ought to do with it, and his partner replies that "Headquarters" wants them to take it over to the museum. As the two Enforcers begin loading the chest into a cargo net, the Pastmaster, still hiding behind that tree, watches them. Apparently concluding that museums are where old things get taken, he reasons that if his missing spellbook, the Tome of Time, is anywhere, it's there. Cut to the helicopter flying over Megakat City, with the Pastmaster hitching a ride by holding on to one of its landing struts. Unimpressed with what he sees, he vows that once he re-acquires his spellbook, he'll change everything back to the way it was in "the Dark Ages."
Great work, kooshmeister. I never saw this, it has been quite a while since one could see HB cartoons on the European channels like Cartoon Network. I am still glad that I taped the Roadrunner marathon on VHS when I had the chance sometimes in the 90s. Still have not digitalized it. There were a lot of the earlier HB series, but never this.
Your scans seem to suggest that the animation was a bit more sophisticated than say Dynomut or others.
I never saw this, it has been quite a while since one could see HB cartoons on the European channels like Cartoon Network.
The show originally debuted on TBS for its first season, before moving to Cartoon Network for its second season. After its cancellation, it was basically in rerun limbo on there for about a decade before moving to Boomerang. Warner Archive finally released it on DVD-R a few years ago. In addition to (kinda) cleaning the image up, they restored a couple of cuts. For example, this episode was missing its title card during virtually every rerun, but the DVD finally restored it.
Your scans seem to suggest that the animation was a bit more sophisticated than say Dynomut or others.
The animation for "The Pastmaster Always Rings Twice" was done by a Japanese company called Mook. They did four other episodes in this season - "Night of the Dark Kat," "Metal Urgency" and "Katastrophe" - while the remainder were done by a Korean company called Hanho Heung Up. Mook did the entirety of season two.
You can actually credit Matt Fiske a.k.a. MoDaD over at The SWAT Kats Encyclopedia for these screenshots.
Thanks+1. This is a mostly lovely review, though I probably won't be able to find a way to watch the episodes!
As I told Andy, the show is available on DVD-R, which I believe is region free. Or, if you're feelin' particularly nasty, the episodes can be found here and there on various streaming sites.
Anyway, on with the recap! It's time we met our heroes, the SWAT Kats themselves, T-Bone and Razor. T-Bone, the larger of the two, is the pilot who flies their high-tech jet, the Turbokat. He's got yellow fur and striped arms. He's more the brawny type. While not exactly dumb, his typical approach to problem-solving is to punch it, and he fancies himself quite a hotshot. Razor has brown fur, is skinnier and he’s the "brains" of the SWAT Kats and invents all their weaponry, and is also the gunner of the jet.
None of which is established here at all, really because we're thrown into the show in medias res; "The Pastmaster Always Rings Twice" was not the first episode made despite the first one aired. That'd be "The Giant Bacteria," the one coming up. But even it doesn't entirely succeed at being a proper introduction to the show's world. This is unfortunately one of SWAT Kats' major shortcomings; it lacked a proper pilot episode.
We do eventually get the main characters' backstories unto the third episode, "The Wrath of Dark Kat," but not only is it in a flashback that has nothing to do with the episode's main plot, but "The Wrath of Dark Kat," despite airing third, was the fifth produced, meaning Hanna-Barbera waited until the fifth episode to bother giving our protagonists an origin (!).
Our heroes are in their secret underground hangar beneath the city scrapyard and are currently engaged in a contest to see which of them can withstand the G-forces the longest, strapped intro a dual centrifuge that swings them around at Mach 4, causing their faces to stretch cartoonishly out of shape (and their eyes to water and snot to pour from their noses).
Evidently, this isn't badass enough for the two, so at T-Bone's insistence, they ramp the speed up to Mach 5. Despite not being quite the best introduction to the SWAT Kats, it does at least establish their incredibly competitive nature, especially with each other; here and in a few other episodes, they're all about outperforming and one-upping each another, even though they're supposed to be best friends and a team. T-Bone wins holding out for ten seconds at Mach 5, a fact he seems to really enjoy rubbing in the face of poor Razor, who couldn’t handle the pressure and blacked out.
After regaining consciousness, he accuses T-Bone of cheating. According to him, T-Bone blacked out, too, and made up the story of lasting ten seconds at Mach 5 "to yank my tail," prompting an angry T-Bone to demand a rematch, to which Razor readily agrees. As they strap back in and start getting spun around again, T-Bone yells for his friend to just accept that he can "tale more Gs than you," to which an indignant Razor retorts, "I'll believe it when I see it." Ah, can't you just feel the love...?
And with that much introduction to the show's title characters, we're off to the museum (see what I mean about this not quite succeeding at being a proper pilot? It does grab you with the opening grave robbing sequence but otherwise just sort of dumps you into the world of Megakat City and excepts you to know who everyone is, with the sole exception of the Pastmaster, since this is his introductory episode). At the Megakat City Museum of History, Deputy Mayor Callie Briggs is meeting with curator Dr. Abby Sinian (the name puns in this show are simultaneously amazing and awful). They're in the back room behind the exhibits after closing hours where Sinian is telling Callie about her plans for a new exhibit that will trace "the evolution of Megakat City from prehistoric swamp to urban sprawl." This is apparently being done so Callie, who has a huge pompadour hairstyle and very late 80s/early 90s shoulderpads with her business suit, can write "the Mayor's press release."
Two things. I find it difficult to believe the museum is only now doing an exhibit about the very city they're based in, and why is the Deputy Mayor writing the press release? In a later episode, Callie is also revealed to be the one who writes her boss' speeches (!). Evidently, the writers haven't heard of things like press secretaries and speechwriters and think deputy mayors are just glorified secretaries. Or at least they have Callie treated like one by her boss. Of course, the more probably explanation is that Callie interviewing the curator about the upcoming exhibit is just a paper thin excuse to have her present at the museum when the Pastmaster inevitably shows up and starts causing trouble so she can be rescued by the SWAT Kats.
Anyway, talk turns to the chest Burge and King brought in, which has been sitting on an examination table throughout the scene. Callie asks if it'll be in the exhibit. Dr. Sinian explains that it "just came in," and judging by the inscriptions on it, it's from "the darker part" of the region's history. Uh, thanks, Doc, but that isn't what she asked. Rather than point this out, Callie just asks what was inside, and Sinian can only guess. "An urn," she guesses. "Jewels, perhaps. Who knows what our ancestors might've buried in here...?"
Speaking of the devil, right as she poses this question, we cut to the Pastmaster, who has snuck into the museum and is exploring the various exhibits (including one for "Kat the Ripper"). In the script, he encounters an exhibit dedicated to himself, complete with a mannequin of what he looked like before becoming all bony and ugly. The exhibit can still be glimpsed, but there's no sign of the mannequin. It features a recreation of what looks like his evil sorcerer workshop, complete with a cauldron an an hourglass. As he passes into the Hall of Prehistory, shorty muses the "Here, the past is dead," and that "I prefer my past alive." His rambling is interrupted by a guard who catches him and demands to know how he got in, telling him the museum is closed. The Pastmaster responds by telling him "And I say it is open!", a declaration that for some reason involves pulling his hood back, giving the guard a good fright at the reveal of his hideous, skeletal visage. Like the skeletons from the cemetery, he still has ears, as well as short white hair.
Wielding his handy-dandy pocketwatch, he turns and zaps a sabertoothed tiger displayed on a pedestal. At first, I thought it was a model, but according to the script it's a preserved corpse found in its current condition in the Megakat City Tar Pits, which abut the museum, making it kind of like those bog mummies you hear about sometimes. This is gruesome stuff for a kids' show.
And, no, I have no idea what a non-anthropomorphic prehistoric feline means in a world like the one see here. All I can figure is that feral prehistoric kats are to the modern kats what apes and monkeys are to us.
Anyway, the reanimated corpse (officially called "Sabertoothed Tiger Zombie" on its model sheet) promptly attacks the guard, who backpedals into a nearby dinosaur skeleton, knocking out one of the support struts, causing the entire thing to come crashing down on him, burying him.
Now, even though the episode will later introduce a fictional equivalent to a Tyrannosaurus, it's quite obviously a T. rex skeleton that collapses on the guy. A quick Google search reveals that the heaviest fossil T. rex skeleton on record is 20,000 pounds. Meaning if the skeleton that just fell on the guard weighs even close to that, then that guy is dead, or at least seriously injured (the script and storyboards never confirm nor deny his death, FWIW). Whether he lived or died, dang, that looked painful.
The Pastmaster, who, remember, is here to find his spellbook, instructs the zombie sabertooth to ensure no one else disturbs his search for the ancient tome, then wanders off, just as Callie and Dr. Sinian, having heard the crash, enter the room. The sabertooth is circling the bone pile as though intent on getting at the buried guard, and is for the moment out of their sight. "Oh, good heavens!" cries Sinian. "One of the exhibits has fallen!" At this point, the fanged horror rises up into view on the other side of the collapsed skeleton, teeth gleaming. "One of the exhibits is alive!" cries Callie, and the monster chases them from the room.
Meanwhile, the Pastmaster has found his way into the back room, and is throwing a temper tantrum and indiscriminately smashing everything in sight, screaming about how he can't find his damn book. He's quite an immature and short-tempered little shit, and his tiny stature plus his medieval style trousers which combine leggings and footwear making it look like he's wearing a child's pajamas. Coming upon Callie's pursue, he begins digging through it. Why? Does he think the book is in it? Whatever. After eating her lipstick (!!!), he throws everything else in the purse onto the floor, including a small triangular device which serves as a communicator for Callie to call the SWAT Kats.
In tossing the communicator to the floor the Pastmaster somehow activates it, causing an alarm to go off back at the SWAT Kats' hangar, where T-Bone and Razor are still going at it in the centrifuge. T-Bone stops the machine and goes to answer the call, pausing to boast at Razor (once again unconscious) that he went "eleven seconds at Mach 5." Why he does this, I don't know. Alarms generally mean emergencies, and yet he takes his sweet-ass time answering it. He then picks up an ordinary telephone (!!) and asks "Ms. Briggs" what the problem is. Naturally, he gets no answer. Back at the museum, the sabertooth evidently has abandoned chasing Callie and Dr. Sinian for the sole purpose of entering the room and biting the communicator, severing the connection.
I think I can explain why he does this. Cut from the final version of the episode and likely never animated was a scene in which the two women hide in exhibit enclosed by glass and pretend to be mannequins (!), which fools the sabertooth briefly, before he eventually finds and resumes chasing them. I dunno if the timeline of events quite line up, but it's possible the bit where he enters the back room and eats the communicator was intended to happen during the brief period where they'd given him the slip.
Anyway, figuring that the suddenly severed communication, not to mention all the growling noises, means "big trouble," T-Bone awakens the still passed around Razor by dunking milk on him (!) and then the two run and get into the Turbokat. Their running animation is unintentionally hilarious. They're shown from the back, and are running bent over with their asses sticking up in the air (!), in a scene somewhat infamously known as "the butt running shot."
I have no idea why this angle was chosen, but whatever. They leap into the Turbokat and soar off down a tunnel, shooting out through a hidden opening somewhere in the city scrapyard (which we'll see more of of "The Giant Bacteria"). The communicator apparently also gives off a signal, which Razor can now follow with the Turbokat’s onboard computer, and–- Hey, wait a minute! The communicator was destroyed!!! What "signal" is Razor following? Does Callie have a microchip implanted in her or something?!
We cut back to the museum, where Callie and Dr. Sinian are racing down the hallway, Sinian saying they can "get out through the garage." It probably helps that the sabertoothed tiger stopped chasing them to go eat the communicator. The Turbokat, meanwhile, lands on the museum roof. T-Bone glances around and notes that all seems quiet, just when Callie and Dr. Sinian burst through the stairwell door, slamming it closed behind themselves.
Um, what happened to going to the garage?
If you're thinking this is another question answered by the script, you're right; there's an entire deleted/never animated sequence where the two do try and get out through the underground parking garage, but find their path cut off by the sabertooth, forcing them to instead go to the roof. I get cutting it for time, but then why did they leave in Sinian's line about going to the garage? Oh well. Fun fact, writer Glenn Leopold, who did this episode (and in fact the majority of the episodes in the show), apparently liked the "they try for the parking garage but are cut off and forced to the roof" thing so much he recycled it almost verbatim in the script for one of the later unfinished season two episodes, "Succubus!" where Callie, Sinian and another character again try for the garage and instead are herded to the roof, this time by a three-headed monster.
Suddenly, the sabertooth bursts through the door, knocking the Deputy Mayor and the curator off the roof! After the obligatory "Quiet, huh?!" from Razor, the SWAT Kats turn to solving the problem of the rampaging zombie sabertooth and rescuing the two women, who have grabbed onto a rain gutter which is slowly but surely giving way beneath their weight. Not that the SWAT Kats seem too concerned about that, weirdly. The undead kitty leaps onto the jet, but Razor pops the canopy, catapulting (katapulting?) the tiger off of the jet and across the roof. Then T-Bone hops out and pulls the Deputy Mayor and the good Doctor to safety before they, like, fall to their deaths and stuff (quipping, "Let me give you a hand, ladies!").
The sabertooth recovers and begins stalking across the roof towards T-Bone and the women. Razor alerts him, and T-Bone looks ready to grapple with the undead pussycat, but as the tiger leaps towards him Razor fires the "cement machine gun." The cement machine gun, sometimes called the cement cannon, is one of the more unique and interesting weapons (and, compared to their other weapons, one of the more plausible ones); a swivel-cannon located on the underside of the jet that is capable of rapidly firing sticky slugs of quick-drying cement. Said cement smacks into the sabertooth, pinning him to the wall and then hardening, "freezing" him in place.
T-Bone grumbles that he could’ve "taken him," but Razor the glory hog says he was just seeing if the cement machine gun was working. He then gets out and walks over to the cement-encased tiger, observing, "Whoa, exhibits are gettin' kinda lifelike, aren’t they?" Hearing sirens, the four go to the edge of the roof and see a bunch of Enforcer squad cars pulling up to the front entrance. This has always bugged me. Why are the Enforcers showing up, and in such force, for that matter? No one called them, and no alarms were tripped or anything. It’s never explained, not even in the otherwise revelatory script.
In any event, the arrival of the Enforcers allows us to glimpse our first example of the fact the SWAT Kats, particularly T-Bone, don't like them very much. We'll find out why in "The Wrath of Dark Kat." Though I take issue with his comment that they're "late as usual." Hey, ease up, there, big guy. They get there when they can. And considering that, as mentioned, no alarms got tripped, it's amazing they even showed up at all. Besides, calling them out for being late is unfair, considering you have Callie and her communicator which allows you get the jump on them and beat them to the scene.
We cut inside the museum, where the Pastmaster has now found his way into the Hall of Ancient Manuscripts and found his book, the Tome of Time, sitting within a glass display case. Oh, good, now he can stop whining like a two year old. He promptly smashes the glass and removes the book, gloating about how "eight-hundred years is far too long to be separated from such power." He holds the book aloft as evil red energy shoots forth from it.
Back up on the roof, Dr. Sinian is examining the cement-encased sabertoothed tiger. She reasons that only dark magic could've brought it to life, and can think of only one culprit: the Pastmaster. "If you mean that weird little guy in the hood," comments Callie over by the roof's edge, "why don't you just ask him?" How civil. They look down and sure enough, there's the Pastmaster walking down the front steps of the museum with the Tome of Time in hand. He's met at the bottom by Enforcer Sergeant Talon, who gets out of the lead squad car and confronts him. Sinian begs him to get the book away from the Pastmaster, and Talon demands he "hand it over."
"The Tome of Time belongs to me!" snarls the diminutive wizard. And he's... technically correct. The book is, or rather was, his, and possession is nine-tenths of the law, though I doubt the legal system is quite equipped to handle cases of dead people coming back to life to lay claim to their personal possessions. From this point onward he ignores Talon, and flips through the pages of the book until he finds a picture of a really big, Godzilla-like dinosaur, called a Megasaurus rex (!). He recites a particularly lame incantation - "Hear the spell of this immortal, send this creature through the portal!" Hilariously, Sergeant Talon, instead of attempting to, y'know, arrest him, has been reading over his shoulder this entire time, which results in him being blown backwards off his feet when a blast of red energy shoots forth from the pages of the book and rocket up into the sky, where it causes a swirling black and purple vortex to appear above. Reddish lightening shoots out from this portal and it is officially, known as a "time vortex."
From the portal comes the real-life version of that dinosaur we saw a picture of in the Tome of Time. It’s a very iconic SWAT Kats monster, since it’s featured prominently in the first season opening credits sequence, which relies heavily on clips from three of the first five episodes (as well as some original animation, admittedly). The beast in question lands on the street, squashing the patrol car Talon had gotten out of.
Sergeant Talon beats feet as the dinosaur bends down and scoops the Pastmaster up in his hand and begins carrying him off down the street. He manages to get in a decent villain line, too. "Out my way, you fools! I command the past... and your future looks bleak!" As to the dinosaur carrying him, you may have noticed that he inexplicably controls whatever creature he summons up, whether it's the Megasaurus rex, the skeletons and the sabertoothed tiger tar zombie. We're never told how or why, so I guess just go with it.
Declaring that they'll take care of things, the SWAT Kats hop into the Turbokat and fly off in pursuit of the dinosaur, who uses his tail to smack a parked car flying into the Enforcers. We're given our first glimpse of the other type of generic Enforcer besides the pilots here; referred to as "Enforcer Commandos" on the model sheet(s), they're pretty basic soldier guys wearing kevlar and armed with laser rifles or rocket launchers as the situation demands. And like the pilots, to a man, they're the same character model recycled over and over. All they do here though is leap as the car lands in the midst. In the script, the car that gets smacked and sent flying was going to be Callie's that she'd driven to the museum in, complete with dialogue from the SWAT Kats about how they'd just gotten done tuning it up (in addition to working at the salvage yard, Chance and Jake own their own auto repair business and Callie is a sometime customer, as we'll see in "The Giant Bacteria"). I can't be sure I believe it's the same model as her car, just recolored. I dunno why it got changed to being a random car, but there you go.
One weird tidbit here is that as the Turbokat lifts off from the museum roof and Callie and Dr. Sinian are waving goodbye to them, with the latter's arm unfortunately posed like she's giving a Nazi salute (!). It's entirely unintentional, I'm sure, but it's hilarious and head-turning all the same.
"Let’s kick some tail!" declares T-Bone, in the first utterance of this cheesy line that gets really annoying really fast. Boy, lotta firsts in this episode. Must be because it’s the first episode. Razor now fires the first of the SWAT Kats' customized, ridiculous missiles, in the form of the so-called Octopus Missiles. These look like regular missiles until their tips pop apart into a little eight-armed claw, and they’re designed to slam into a target, but since they’re non-explosive projectiles, I’m at a loss as to what good Razor thought they’d do against Godzilla’s loser brother-in-law.
The Megasaurus rex turns and sees the missiles coming, so he swings his big ol' tail and the missiles hit that. This has the dual effect of breaking the missiles apart and sending the shards back at the Turbokat. They pelt the jet and one of them manages to cut the fuel line somehow. This causes T-Bone to lose control of the jet (yelling "It just kicked our tails!") and go spinning right into the still-open time vortex.
Looking on, Callie and Dr. Sinian are horrified. And now suddenly down on the street. Huh, they must’ve jumped. They spout the usual, "Oh, no! The SWAT Kats are gone! Who will save Megakat City!" as the Megasaurus rex stomps off down the street, grinding Enforcer patrol cars underfoot.
The portal spits our heroes out into the region of Megakat City, circa 65 million years ago, give or take a few eons. There's nothing but endless jungle and smoking volcanoes as far as the eye can see. T-Bone finally manages to regain control of the Turbokat as Razor, who evidently passed out from the G-forces again, awakens in the backseat, awakens and is most distressed to discover their situation. They fly past several dinosaurs, including another Megasaurus rex. After concluding that "that giant lizard smashed us into the past," they notice they're leaking fuel, forcing T-Bone to make a bumpy belly landing on the shore of a lake. Razor gets out with a toolbox, saying he’ll fix the torn fuel line, but T-Bone reminds him that it won’t do any good because, "The closest gas station is only a million years away." And, although it’s never actually stated, we’re left to assume that the portal closed after them (a theory that’ll be reinforced by dialogue later on in the episode).
Suddenly, two fin-backed dinosaurs (Plesiosaurs, according to the script and model sheets, though they don't really look like them, considering they have legs instead of flippers) emerge from the lake and come ashore with the intention of making a meal out of our heroes.
Razor ducks back into the cockpit, and then the SWAT Kats eject from the jet in their "Ejektor seats" (no, that’s not a typo), which, in addition to being obvious ejector seats, are also self-propelled rocket chairs. In doing so, they clip the two Plesiosaurs under their chins, uppercutting them and knocking them backwards back into the lake.
"I guess we showed them!" cheers T-Bone. "But now we have to show them!" Razor cries, pointing as a flock of winged reptiles comes swooping towards them. Despite appearances to the contrary, these are not Pteranodons or Pterodactyls. Those actually do show up later. Instead, these are just kinda generic winged dinos which are dubbed "long-necked flying reptiles" in the script and model sheets. Whatever they are, they're mean and looking to take a bite out of the two time travelers.
But before the battle can be joined, we cut back to modern day Megakat City where we find the Megasaurus rex lumbering down a city street with the Pastmaster perched on his nose, a crowd of citizens fleeing his approach en masse with cars crashing and such in a scene that’d make Toho proud. Weirdly, among them is an Enforcer sergeant in a miscolored uniform (green instead of gray). Ahead, the Enforcers have constructed a blockade of patrol cars right alongside what a sign identifies as the Megakat City Tar Pits, which is confusing because earlier we'd seen that the tar pits are right alongside the museum. So either the Megausaurus is just aimlessly circling the block while the Pastmaster thumbs through his book, or the episode couldn't remember precisely where the tar pit is supposed to be. Eh, whatever.
Numerous commandos fire upon the dinosaur with rocket launchers. Thumbing through the Tome of Time and ignoring all the missiles and such that are whizzing by him, the Pastmaster observes, as per his repeated statements that he "wants the Dark Ages back," that there is a spell in the book to "turn this modern monstrosity" back to the more medieval landscape he prefers. Which begs the question. Why go all this? We've seen he can open portals through time. If he really hates the modern era (that is, the early 90s) and wants to live in medieval times again, why not just open up a portal and hop through it? Why bother turning the city around him back to its medieval state? I guess he just has a complexity addition.
At the blockade, an Enforcer patrol car different from the rest pulls up (the “normal” Enforcer car has a white and gray color scheme, while this one is white and blue), and a tall, robust fella with a big chin and a black crewcut wearing a greatcoat gets out. This is Commander Ulysses Feral, the head honcho of the Enforcers. He's loud, arrogant and the show can never quite seem to make up its mind about whether we're supposed to like him or not. We see right away that he’s got the J. Jonah Jameson role of this series (that is, disliking the heroes), when he observes that "those meddling SWAT Kats aren’t here." The lead commando at the blockade informs him about how they got knocked through the portal (in the script, Talon was commanding the blockade, but his role is taken by a generic commando here), and Feral responds that they don't need those stinkin' SWAT Kats, ordering his men to fire sleeping gas at the behemoth.
This actually manages to work. Just as the Pastmaster finishes learning that the spell to transform Megakat City must be cast from "the tallest clocktower in the land," he and his dino get enveloped in a cloud of gas that disorients the beast, who stumbles into the conveniently located tar pit and begins to sink. In the script he also stepped on Feral's car as he stumbled in, but here all we get to see is him tramping the fence underfoot. He quickly begins sinking as Callie and Dr. Sinian run up. The Doctor tells Feral they need to get the spellbook away from the Pastmaster. As long as he's got it, he's still dangerous. After doing this weird thing where he closes one eye, then opens it and closes the other, Feral, who evidently views this random woman in a lab coat giving him advice as a challenge to his authority, declares, "I give the orders around here!" Meanwhile, the Megasaurus continues sinking, and is in up to his neck. The Pastmaster continues sitting on his head, casually flipping through the book.
Callie persuades Feral to listen to Sinian on the basis that as curator of the museum, she knows what she's talking about. Feral concedes and orders his men to throw a net over the partially sunken dinosaur's head to trap the Pastmaster. But before they can do so, the Pastmaster finds a page showing some Pterodactyls (this is according to the script and model sheets, though they look like Pteranodons with spiked Stegosaurus tails). After another "Hear the spell of this immortal..." he opens another time vortex
A squadron of the winged reptiles flies through. One of them swoops down and grabs him in its talons, carrying him to safety before the Enforcers can throw their net over him. Airborne, City Hall catches his attention, a tall skyscraper with a clocktower. Since the spell he needs to cast requires "the tallest clocktower in the land," he instructions his winged minions to bear him them. Observing this, Commander Feral radios for "chopper backup." And once more, we’re left to assume that the time vortex closed after the Pterodactyls came out of it.
We also get our first glimpes of Callie’s boss here, Mayor Manx. He’s practicing his putts in his office (he’s a golf nut) when he’s startled by a Pterodactyl flying past the window. More on him in a bit.
Back in prehistoric times, the SWAT Kats are doing their best to evade those long-necked flying things, trying to outmaneuver them with some fancy flying (or, at least, as fancy as the decidedly non-streamlined Ejektor seats will allow). There’s four in all, and they take out the first two by launching Spider Missiles at them. Yes, apparently, the Ejektors can carry weapons. Spider Missiles, meanwhile, are essentially little bolas. They wrap around the two winged creatures, pinning their wings. Unable to fly, the animals fall from the sky and plunge into the lake, where they’ll either drown or get eaten by the two Plesiosaurs, which we see rapidly approaching the spot where they fell in. In the script, there were actually six long-necked flying reptiles, and four of them fall into the lake in this manner, and it's made more evident that the Plesiosaurs do in fact eat them complete with T-Bone joking that the Plesiosaurs should thank them for feeding them. I suspect the fifth and sixth long-necks were cut to shorten the fight scene.
As for the remaining two, Razor has a plan. He and T-Bone fly into the open crater of one of those active volcanoes we saw earlier ("Razor, you're crazier than I am!" T-Bone says of this idea). The SWAT Kats combat the fumes and heat by putting their oxygen masks on, but the two long-necked critters aren’t as lucky. Overcome, they plunge into the lava and die in the hellish inferno, albeit mostly offscreen. "Smells like prehistoric fried chicken!" quips T-Bone as he and Razor fly up and out of the smoking crater to safety. After admitting that "volcano hoppin’ was kinda fun," T-Bone adds that he doesn’t "wanna spend the rest of my nine lives stuck in Dinosaurville."
Luckily, Razor gas a plan that just might get the Turbokat flying again.
Back in the modern day, we're introduced properly to Mayor Manx, the guy who runs Megakat City, in his huge office at Megakat City Hall. He sounds like W.C. Fields and wears a toupee that has a tendency to fly off his head with perfect comedic timing, and doesn't match the hair he has left (it's white while the toupee is dark gray). At present, he's refusing to allow Commander Feral to "blast that gnome and his buzzards off of there," "there" being City Hall, on the basis that he doesn't know who the villain is or what he wants. Does that matter? He's proven himself dangerous and is currently occupying the clocktower of the primary municipal structure of your city, with several prehistoric monsters at his disposal.
But whatever. Manx won't take any action without having all the facts, specifically the evildoer's identity and motives. Callie runs in at this point with Dr. Sinian, who has pretty much ceased to be important to the plot and yet remains hanging around for some reason. Having overheard Manx's half of the conversation, she blurts out that the Pastmaster is "an eight-hundred year old sorcerer from the Dark Ages." Shouldn't Sinian be supplying this information to justify her continued involvement in the story? Also, there's no way the Pastmaster is literally eight-hundred. For him to be precisely that age, he would've had to have been the most evil baby ever, as the Council would've had to seal him inside the chest when he was less than one year old. I get that she's just being hyperbolic, and that what she really means is he's from eight-hundred years ago, but the phrasing is clunky. She also doesn't actually give the Mayor the Pastmaster's name.
Name aside, now Manx has one of the two things he wants. As for the Pastmaster's motivation, he orders Callie to go and get that from him. What? You're sending the Deputy Mayor to confront the evil wizard all by herself? Why does she have to do it? Isn't there anyone else who works at City Hall who can do this? What about some kind of negotiator from the Enforcers? And, again, none of this is necessary; it doesn't matter whether they know who the Pastmaster is or what he wants because he's a hostile individual illegally camped out in city property. Of course, we all know that from a storytelling standpoint Manx is just being an idiot to buy time so the SWAT Kats can return and save the day instead of the Enforcers.
We cut back to prehistoric times. This cutting back and forth between the past and present is extremely jarring, and is thankfully handled better in future episodes like "Bride of the Pastmaster" and "A Bright and Shiny Future," wherein they don’t have two different stories occurring in different time periods to muck things up.
Razor and T-Bone have somehow managed to move the Turbokat away from the lake to the base of the volcano. How they accomplished this, I do not know. Maybe it had enough fuel left that they hovered over on fumes. Razor crawls out from under the jet and tells T-Bone he’s modified the fuel tanks. We see why when, told by Razor to "gimme some gas," T-Bone uses a bazooka to shoot a hole in the base of the volcano. This causes a jet of hot volcanic gases to come out, and T-Bone sticks a hose into the hole, the other end of which is attached to the Turbokat.
Yes, it seems they’re filling the fuel tanks of the jet with volcanic gases. T-Bone rightly asks if Razor knows what in the world he’s doing. Razor explains that the "natural volcanic gas mixture should get us off the ground… or blow us up." Scientific accuracy isn’t one of this show’s strong points.
Then it’s to the present yet again, where we find the Pastmaster alone on the roof of City Hall just beneath the big clock face. The sky is beginning to darken and flash red lightening, while the evil little wizard looks at his book. He has a weird line here where he says, "Alas, it's too late!" Huh? Too late for what? He follows this up by saying that when the clock strikes noon, "my Dark Age city will return and your Megakat City will be no more!" Who the hell is he talking to? And why start with "Alas," suggesting what is happening is some kind of regrettable incident and not exactly what he wants?
Anyway, he takes his pocketwatch and points it up into the sky, causing a beam of evil red energy to shoot out and begin forming another time vortex, which for some reason is required for the spell to work. I'd say he was going to bring the medieval city through the portal and land it on the modern one, but what we actually see is that each time the aforementioned red lightning strikes, the modern skyscrapers briefly transform into turrets and towers and other castle-y structures, meaning what he's actually doing is shifting time back (despite the City Hall clock ticking forward to noon).
All right, let’s stop for a second and see if I can get all this straight. Okay, the Pastmaster’s evil plan here is to turn Megakat City back to the way it was in the Dark Ages. All right, fine. The spell to do so somehow involves the "tallest clocktower in the land," and, apparently, opening a portal, but with his pocketwatch and not the spellbook. The Tome of Time is still involved, obviously, since it contains the spell in question (which we never hear). If all this sounds confusing and nonsensical, I’ve done my job. Oh well. At least it provides some cool imagery. Looks like something out of Ghostbusters.
Callie emerges onto the roof accompanied by Dr. Sinian, who continues to hang around being useless. In the script, there was a scene of them actually walking up the stairs to the roof where Callie tells the curator she doesn't need to come, but Sinian insists that it's her job (it isn't) and that she wants a chance to see "living history" (something she's already done several times). Nevertheless, this cut scene at least attempts to address, clumsily, why Sinian continues hanging around.
And interesting flub here. When Callie first begins speaking to the Pastmaster, he's zapping the sky with his watch (now there's a phrase you won't find anywhere else but a review of a SWAT Kats episode!) and has the Tome of Time tucked under one arm, but then there's a dramatic flash which throws his shadow across Callie and Sinian, and suddenly he's holding the book above his head in both hands. Then when it cuts back to him again, he's holding the watch with the book tucked under his arm once more. Very weird.
So despite the fact Manx never said anything of the sort (that we saw, anyway), Callie says the Mayor has authorized her to give the Pastmaster anything he wants, offering him money and "a parade in your honor." Things he obviously doesn't want, and he outright says so. Dr. Sinian gives the oh-so-helpful advice that they need to get the Tome of Time away from him. Thanks, Doc. I think Callie already knew that. Their grand plan? Rush the guy! Oh, wow, it isGhostbusters! The Pastmaster responds to this puny attempt to relieve him of his reading material by zapping the two with his pocketwatch, sending them flying through the open stairwell door and into a wall. Ouch.
The watch, we've seen, can resurrect the dead, but apparently all it does is stun the living with concussive force, as both women only have the wind knocked out of them. That dire threat to his plans taken care of, he slams the stairwell door in their faces. "Guess it's up to Feral, now," laments Callie. "Especially without the SWAT Kats."
Then we cut back to prehistoric times again, where the SWAT Kats aren't faring too well. The Turbokat is now by the lake again and fails to start up. T-Bone mutters that mabye they should’ve tried "the unleaded volcano," and Razor says that, hey, at least they didn’t, like, explode or anything. Suddenly those two Plesiosaurs return. And despite failing to start mere seconds ago, the Turbokat now roars to life without a hitch and lifts into the sky before the two aquatic dinosaurs can take a bite out of it. Razor then spots another time portal opening (calling it a "time hole"), and T-Bone flies towards it. Why is this happening? Well, judging by a later episode involving the Pastmaster, I think that whenever he's casting a spell that involves opening a time vortex, similar portals open in all time periods, all leading to where the Pastmaster is. This is the only theory I've got as to why opening a portal for a spell involving medieval times also opens one in the prehistoric era. Anyway, the SWAT Kats fly through it.
Back in the modern age, Callie, Dr. Sinian, and Mayor Manx have evacuated City Hall and are standing out front. The Mayor has his golf bag and what I'm guessing is his favorite trophy, as with each flash of red lightening, the buildings are looking more and more medieval.
Manx gets on the radio and tells Commander Feral he’s got three minutes 'til noon to stop the Pastmaster. Muttering that Manx should’ve given that order already (I hear ya, buddy), Feral leads a squadron of choppers to engage the Pastmaster’s Pterodactyls. Initially there seem to be about fifty choppers and at least as many Pteranodons, but we only see three choppers destroyed. One has its tail clipped by one of the winged reptiles and then spirals down and crashes into a second and they both explode.
Then Feral somehow loses control of his and flies it straight into the side of City Hall, destroying Manx's office, much to the Mayor's dismay as debris rains down on him. "My office!" he cries. Screw your office, what about the commander of your police force? Don't worry though, he's okay; he somehow improbably survived a crash that would've killed a less important character.
Suddenly the Turbokat emerges from the "time hole," T-Bone giving a triumphant, “We’re baaaaaack!” Razor comments that Megakat City is having "an identity crisis," and then Callie, who’d spotted them a moment before, radios them. I’m not sure how, since the communicator got destroyed. She must be using the same radio Manx was using to talk to Feral earlier. She tells them have only one minute to "blast the Pastmaster out of the City Hall clocktower." Remember this. These are very specific instructions. Razor then gives the inevitable "can’t fight City Hall" line you just know was coming.
The Pterodactyls attack. I guess they finished destroying the other Enforcer choppers offscreen. One on the back of the Turbokat and refuses to let go. T-Bone makes it "eat afterburner" by pushing the throttle forward, frying the animal with the jet engine exhaust. 'Scuse me; the volcanic jet engine exhaust. Owie!
Two more fly in, but T-Bone evades those by spiraling the Turbokat into a deep nosedive. Trying to follow, the two Pterodactyls lose control and smack into one another, falling from the sky. Razor, amazed that he didn’t pass out, tries to inform T-Bone of this, only now it's T-Bone who’s lost consciousness. Um, why? We never learn. And any suspense that could’ve been milked from the fact the pilot has passed out is thrown out the window when Razor manages to wake him up by simply telling him to, and he pulls them out of their dive. When asked why he didn’t eject and save himself, Razor responds with, "And miss that look on your face? No way!"
And despite the fact that, as I mentioned above, there were about fifty Pterodactyls earlier, the SWAT Kats have no more aerial opposition from this point onward.
Razor then stops the Pastmaster’s fiendish plans by launching a missile that jams into the clock face of City Hall, between the hour and minute hands and preventing them from coming together and striking 12:00. While this is actually quite clever, there’s no way Razor could’ve known that the clocktower was the key component in the Pastmaster's spell, especially from the extremely scant information that Callie gave them. That, and he’s also completely disobeying the Deputy Mayor’s orders to deal with the Pastmaster himself and not the clock. I'd like to say this is solved in the script, that there's a line missing where Callie tells the SWAT Kats they need to prevent the clock from striking noon, but no dice; they just magically know the clock striking noon is central to the villain's plans there, too. Though how Razor stops the clock is different in the script. Instead of firing a missile to jam the clock hands, he actually gets out of the jet and climbs onto the clock face, positioning himself between the hands and using his hands and feet to prevent them from coming together. I think I would've preferred this to the "he just shoots a missile" solution.
The Pastmaster, now riding on another Pterodactyl with the Tome of Time tucked under one arm, flies up to the clock face. The Pterodactyl tries, without success, to pull the wedged missile free from between the hands, and the Turbokat flies close enough that the resulting sonic boom knocks them both away from the building. Or something along those lines. I’ll take that back and say it wasn’t a sonic boom ’cause the clock didn’t shatter, but something knocked the Pastmaster and his Pterodactyl away from the clock face, and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a breeze. In the process, the Tome of Time flies from the Pastmaster’s hands and is sucked into the intakes of the Turbokat and shredded completely. He and the Pterodactyl then get sucked into the still-open time vortex, which closes after them.
Down below, Mayor Manx (who suddenly has stripes on his tie) says he wishes the SWAT Kats had gotten back in time to save his office, while Dr. Sinian catches an examines the falling pieces of the Tome of Time, lamenting that the book won’t be a museum exhibit anymore. "But, at least we don’t have to worry about the Pastmaster anymore,” she admits. Ha! That’s what you think, lady!
The episode then concludes with the Turbokat flying off into the horizon, the SWAT Kats shouting triumphantly, "Rock and roll!"
Oy. So there you have it. Taken at face value, "The Pastmaster Always Rings Twice" is an okay, but not great, start to the series, clearly letting any newcomers know that SWAT Kats will not be a deep show; it is, in fact, really shallow, existing purely to provide some cool action sequences.
Post by kooshmeister on Sept 18, 2020 20:14:39 GMT
So now it's on to episode two, "The Giant Bacteria." Despite airing second, this was actually the first episode of the show Hanna-Barbera produced and it is in fact the story that creators Christian and Yvon Tremblay used to pitch the series to them. It was also the first episode of the show I ever personally saw.
"The Giant Bacteria" is an episode that is both better and worse than the preceding one, depending on how you look at it. The story, simplistic though it is, doesn’t have as many plot holes as "The Pastmaster Always Rings Twice," and actually does a somewhat better job of introducing the main characters and key elements of the show then the "pilot" did.
The animation is also a bit of a downgrade. The Japanese company Mook only did four episodes in season one, and this ain't one of 'em. Korean company Hanho Heung Up shouldered most of the burden of animating the first season, and, unfortunately, their efforts aren't quite up to par compared to Mook's, but that isn't readily apparent in screenshots, I guess, so unless there's an especially egregious animation error (and there are in fact a couple), I'll avoid taking Hanho Heung Up to task.
But enough preamble. Onwards!
The episode starts with a tranquil panning shot along the Megakat City coastline, ending at a seaside oil refinery, which promptly explodes in a huge fireball. Way to start the episode off with a bang.
A purple fighter jet with black spikes along its back zooms through the smoke, pursued by a trio of Enforcer choppers. The obvious implication is that the unidentified jet bombed the refinery, and the Enforcers are chasing after it... and are somehow managing to keep up. I'm no aircraft expert, but can helicopters keep up with jets? Why they're using their helicopters and not jets, I do not know (and, yes, the Enforcers do have jets; they'll be introduced in the next episode). I'll go out on a limb and say it’s because since this was the first episode written and produced, Hanna-Barbera hadn’t yet decided to give the Enforcers jets. The enemy fighter zooms off across the bay with the Enforcers (somehow) in hot pursuit.
The chase is quickly joined by the SWAT Kats in the Turbokat. Evidently, this guy has been at this for a while, as T-Bone comments, "Does that crazy megalo think he can blow up every refinery in Megakat City?" Razor responds that it looks like he’s doing a good job, so far, and I’m inclined to agree with him. He’s already completely annihilated one with both the SWAT Kats and the Enforcers completely helpless to stop him.
Ahead, those three choppers are doing such a good job of keeping up that the villain’s jet turns around and flies straight at them and proceeds to dispose of them by shooting them down with missiles. Oddly, he does this using only two missiles, although it appears as if the third chopper is taken out by one of the other two exploding right alongside it, since they’re flying in a pretty tight formation. The jet then resumes its original course. T-Bone, observing, says, "He shredded those Enforcer choppers like an old scratchin’ post!" and decides that only the SWAT Kats can bring this crazed bomber down!
Gaining on the other pilot, Razor sights him through his targeting scope and fires an Octopus Missile at him. Yeah, because those worked so well last time. As the missile closes on the other jet, its unseen pilot makes no attempt to dodge it, or even gives any indication that he realizes he's about to be hit. "Sucker doesn't even see it comin'!" Don't jinx it, T-Bone! Sure enough, at the last second, the other jet dodges, swooping past a skyscraper, and the missile takes out someone's fancy balcony. Oops. "He suckered us!" cries T-Bone, and asks "Sureshot" how he missed the guy. A disbelieving Razor comments that "This guy must have eyes in the back of his head!"
And SWAT Kats history is made as we cut to the cockpit of the other jet and get acquainted with its pilot, Morbulus. He's a big, muscular guy with a neatly-trimmed beard, and, as he turns to look back over his shoulder at the pursuing SWAT Kats, he reveals a second pair of eyes in the back of his head. He's even wearing flight goggles with four lenses, two in the front, two in the back. Leaving aside why he'd need to turn around if he can already see behind himself, this is a really great reveal. T-Bone turns the Turbokat upside-down and moves over Morbulus' jet so they're cockpit to cockpit, like in Top Gun, and the heroes and villain look at one another.
"Who, he does have eyes in the back of his head!" cries Razor. "No excuses," grumbles T-Bone, and Morbulus tries to lose them by zipping down into the city and moving between the buildings, but T-Bone is right behind him, refusing to give up.
A quick word about Morbulus here. Unfortunately, this is one of the episodes whose script has never surfaced, but I do know that at least one change from conception to execution is that Morbulus was originally named Occulus. He's named this in the model sheets and handful of storyboards that are available. He was called Occulus up until post-production when someone discovered there was a Fantastic Four villain named that. Although Marvel apparently never learned any of this, Hanna-Barbera opted to play it safe. The episode was re-dubbed so that all the dialogue mentioning Occulus' name changed it to "Morbulus." Despite this, the writers continued using his original name in-house (the script for the unproduced episode "Blowout!" mentions him in passing and identifies him as Occulus, not Morbulus).
They emerge from the city proper and are soon back out over the bay again (the geography is a little confusing), and T-Bone notes that, them dogging him notwithstanding, Morbulus is heading straight for another refinery. What is it with this guy and oil refineries? Anyway, Razor has a plan to handle the guy, and instructs T-Bone to fly into a nearby cloud bank. As Morbulus prepares to drop a bomb on the refinery, T-Bone uses the clouds as cover to come up underneath his jet undetected. "Let's see if this guy has eyes under his head!"
He then launches yet another of the SWAT Kats' goofy and contrived missiles, the Cookie-Cutter Missile. The nose cone pops up and a big serrated metal circle unfolds. Attaching itself to the underside of Morbulus' jet through some unknown means, it spins around rapidly and drills a big hole through the bottom of the cockpit, through which the startled villain falls, still sitting in his seat and holding his steering stick!
As he falls, he somehow comes unbuckled from his seat, and rather than let the guy, like, plunge to his doom, the SWAT Kats grab him out of the air in freefall with a big claw on the end of a cable (called the "Sky Claw"). Amazingly, the sudden stop doesn't break his neck and back, and he's perfectly all right. Meanwhile, his pilotless jet splashes down into the ocean.
Discussing what they ought to do with him, they decide whether to "dunk" or "deliver." The former obviously means dropping him into the water from a less dangerous height than he'd originally been falling from, while the latter means handing him over to the authorities. Giving a thumbs-down, both declare "Dunk!" and after dropping the guy into the briny deep, they decide that "the Enforcers can handle it from here" and fly off as an Enforcer chopper arrives and using a big hook to fish what appears to be Morbulus' body doing the dead man's float out of the water. Using a hook to fish someone from the water seems like a dangerous way of rescuing them, but what do I know?
The chopper deposits the body onto the shore near the refinery as Callie Briggs drives up in her green car. More of her doing stuff a real deputy mayor likely would never do. Why is she even here? Getting out, she runs over and stoops down to check Morbulus' vitals as the chopper lands, disgorging Commander Feral, who warns her to stay back because Morbulus might still be dangerous. "Yes, he could be," Callie says, "if he was here." She then removes Morbulus' helmet to reveal it's nothing but his empty clothes. Dang! That guy got undressed and put his clothes back together to make it look like he was still in them, all underwater, and swam away in the like five seconds he was under between when the SWAT Kats dropped him and the Enforcers arrived.
This, by the way, is despite the fact that when the chopper first fished what was supposed to be empty clothes from the water, we could definitely see Morbulus' ears and tail. Oops.
For some reason, Callie blames Feral for this, insisting that "the SWAT Kats practically gave him to you" and that it's his fault the guy got away. Um, no, lady, the SWAT Kats dunked him for their own personal amusement rather than turning him over, which Feral even points out: "If they'd held Morbulus until we arrived, he'd be in custody right now!" This is the beginning of a rather irritating trend to absolve the SWAT Kats of any and all blame even when they royally screw up, and to consistently paint Feral (and by the extension the Enforcers as a whole) as just jealous and incompetent. Feral is perfectly, 100% right that the reason Morbulus escaped is because the SWAT Kats goofed off instead of just turning him in, but his point is ignored.
A limousine arrives followed by two news vans (one of Kat's Eye News and one for Inside Megakat City). A uniformed chauffeur gets out of the limo and opens the back door. Hi, Mayor Manx. A gaggle of reporters pour out of the two vans like they're clown cars and swarm the Mayor, wanting to know if the "refinery reign of terror" is over. Manx humiliates himself by declaring that Morbulus has been captured, only to be told immediately by Callie and Feral that, no, he wasn't. The reporters turn their attention to Feral, who says Morbulus probably drowned.
Meanwhile, we see that, of course, Morbulus isn't dead. And we get to see his underwear preference: a white sleeveless undershirt and purple boxer shorts. Swimming ashore, he climbs into a big drain pipe emptying raw sewage into the bay, and triumphantly declares that there's no way he's going to prison. Not that he would've had to worry about prison rape in the showers. Y'know, 'cause of the whole "he can see behind himself all the time" thing. Suddenly, a pair of glowing yellow eyes appear out of the darkness of the pipe behind him, and a voice, with a definite snakelike hiss, reassures him, "I'll put you to much better ussse than that!"
Something tells me Morbulus might soon be wishing he did get captured after all...
We then wipe to the Megakat City Salvage Yard, with the Turbokat approaching. T-Bone uses a remote control the looks for all the world like a garage door opener to open the entrance to the secret tunnel that leads into/out of their underground hangar (which they’d used previously in "The Pastmaster Always Rings Twice"). The remote seems kind of silly, especially to use when flying directly towards the tunnel entrance. What if it didn’t work, or delayed, like practically every garage door in the history of garage doors? It’d be morbidly amusing to have the Turbokat slam into the door and blow up. But, alas, they make it in safely.
Once inside, they hop out of the jet and T-Bone grabs a rubber stamp and goes over to a wall covered in skull and crossbones marks, obviously a record of their victories. This is confirmed when Chance stamps another one on and goes, "Chalk up another for the SWAT Kats!" Morbulus marks their thirteenth victory judging by the number of stamp marks on the wall.
The two then unmask, giving us our first look at their civilian alter egos, mechanics Chance Furlong and Jake Clawson. Once unmasked, they do a bit of congratulating one another ("Nice flyin’!" "Nice shootin’!") and I swear that Chance actually winks at Jake here. Hmm, it’s not difficult to see why these two are popular with furry slash fans. They then change into their basic "civvy" outfits, a pair of mechanics' coveralls with red baseball caps. Weirdly, Chance wears a short-sleeved jumpsuit but with a long-sleeved shirt on underneath, presumably to hide his arm stripes, which are one of T-Bone's most distinguishing features. Why not just wear a long-sleeved jumpsuit like Jake does? Eh, whatever. The two then climb a ladder up to "the greasepit," their garage which they run and which appears to be their main source of income besides whatever their salary is for managing the salvage yard.
Getting a couple of milk cans from the fridge, Chance suggests they see if their battle with Morbulus made the news. After Jake opens his can using his claws, he turns on the TV, where we see Commander Feral being interviewed by one of the reporters out at the refinery. Hilariously, it's the orange-haired guy with the polka-dotted necktie who was so short he barely came up to the other reporters' waists, and yet her he's suddenly tall enough to be able to hold his microphone to Feral's face without having to stretch. Is he standing on a stool? Chance comments on how angry Feral looks ("Guy looks like he hasn't hit the litterbox in a week!" Hooray for constipation jokes in a kids' show!) and the Commander begins ranting about how thanks to the SWAT Kats, Morbulus got a way. This is news to our heroes, who do a spit take with their milk. An enraged Chance says they "practically handed Feral a gift package" (no, you didn't) and finally throws his milk can at the TV screen, shattering it. Jesus! Chance has anger issues.
"Aw, great," grumbles Jake, tossing the remote aside. "Morbulus is gone, so's our TV." At this point, Callie drives in, and we can hear that her car is making a weird clonking noise. Thanks to an animation screwup, she’s driving on the wrong side (the right-hand side, like one would in the UK, when at all other times in the show the steering wheel is on the left-hand side of the cars in this show). Getting out, she tells the two mechanics that "this crate pinged all the way from Megakat Bay." Yes, it seems that in addition to being the SWAT Kats' civilian contact, Callie is also friends with their mechanic alter-egos. And no, as far as we can tell, she has no idea Chance and Jake are the SWAT Kats. This is an aspect of the show that never really went anywhere, as, apart from the unfinished season two episode "Succubus!" this is the only time we see her interact with them in this fashion (and only one other episode, "Night of the Dark Kat," even so much as alludes to their acquaintance).
Chance does this weird thing where he takes his hat off and fixes his hair... then replaces the hat. Who takes their hat off, fixes their hair, then puts the hat back on? Eh, whatever. Playing dumb, he strikes up a conversation with Callie what she was doing "wait out there," and she begins enthusing about how, like, awesome and heroic the SWAT Kats were! When she comes to the part about the villain escaping, the blame again falls on Commander Feral. "But somehow Commander Feral managed to lose him," she says. Because these two dinguses dropped the guy into the ocean and gave him every opportunity in the world to get away! No, I'm not letting this go! At least Jake, dismantling the broken TV in an attempt to fix what Chance did to it, gets in a good line; "Yeah, so we heard. When we had a TV."
Callie leaves her car with them to look at the engine, and Chance offers her "some milk." She says she can't because she has to return to town and help "His Honor" write his speech for a big park dedication (I smell a plot point!). Again, doesn't Manx have speech writers? Why is Callie writing his speeches? Chance offers to drive her into the city in his and Jake's tow truck. No dice. Manx's chauffeur is waiting outside with the limo. Weirdly, he salutes Callie as she approaches the car like she's a field marshal or something. Despite getting shot down, Chance declares his brief interaction a victory, telling Jake, now literally neck-deep in the dismantled TV, "She's crazy about me!" Apparently having overheard, Callie pokes her head back in long enough to wave and say "Bye, Jake!" all sexy-like. I'm unsure if she's genuinely interested in Jake or just trying to make Chance jealous. Either way, their reactions are funny: Jake smirks and Chance just looks angry/shocked.
Fade to the Dead Forest, a particularly nasty-looking locale right smack dab in the middle of Megakat Swamp. It's a really cool and creepy setting, filled with lots of big, twisted dead trees, wisps of fog snaking through the scene. One of the trees in particular is so large that its hollowed-out trunk contains an entire makeshift laboratory.
Inside, we find Morbulus (still in his underwear) with Dr. Viper, the owner of those glowing eyes from earlier. He's a short, skinny, stooped-over scientist with green striped fur and a long, snakelike tail, funky hair (all slicked down except for three long spikes sticking up), and one of the pointiest chins ever. And he's completely naked except for a lab coat that's about three sizes too big for him. He's part snake, so thank goodness for internal genitalia, otherwise this episode would be rated NC-17 thanks to Dr. V's snake junk. Y'know they've got two of those things.
Viper's origins aren't dwelt on in this episode, but we do know that he's apparently an already established villain, well known enough that even Morbulus has heard of him. He's apparently a fan, as he seems pretty excited to be in the home of "the legendary Dr. Viper." "Quite an 'eyeful,' isssn't it, Morbulusss?" his hissing host asks him. Morbulus admires Viper's stuff, including the usual collection of beakers, flasks and retorts filled with bubbling concoctions of God-knows-what, and for some reason smoke is pouring from the eyepiece of Viper's microscope - might wanna get that looked at there, Doc. Impressed, he says Viper must have "everything a mad scientist needs right here." Surprisingly, Viper isn't offended at being called a mad scientist and merely says that his collection of mad scientist stuff isn't quite complete; he's missing a rare biochemical compound called Katalyst 99. As we've established, Morbulus is evidently a fanboy, and so he immediately offers to help the green stripy doctor get it. Also he's suddenly holding a flask (Viper passed it to him in an earlier shot, but it's easy to miss, so if you don't catch it, he's suddenly just holding a flask for some reason).
This pleases Viper, who tells him they "sssee eye to eye," and that he needs his help in breaking into Megakat Biochemical Labs, a heavily fortified research facility, so he can steal the chemical in question. A nice touch here is that Morbulus is shown in profile so we can see his rear eyes look angry in contrast to his more placid front ones, but due to an animation error, his front eyes blink but his rear ones don't.
Morbulus balks at helping Viper break into that place. Evidently, it's impossible to get into and his eagerness to help his host only goes so far. Not that he has a choice, as Viper grabs a glass dish of some kind of purple liquid. Sucking it up into an eyedropper, he applies a drop of it to Morbulus' arm, and in a scene that scared the living piss out of me as a kid, the stuff fizzes up and starts causing him to transform into bubbling pile of purple ooze (complete with a weird, Aurora Borealis-like effect surging over him. While tame by today's standards, Morbulus' mutation here is still pretty horrific, especially when his head transforms; we see the eyes on the back of his head shift up to the front so that the creature he's becoming has four eyes all lined up in a row. The way his voice distorts as he screams and cries out in pain is pretty disturbing, too.
As his change continues, his body swelling up bigger and bigger, Viper explains that he's turning him "a living test tube" for his new bacteria "ssstrain," and tells him that with his help, he'll soon have Katalyst 99 "and the power to dessstroy Megakat City!" Cut to exterior of the tree, and we get one final gurgling scream of agony from Morbulus which echoes out across the Dead Forest. Yuck. Enjoy your nightmares, kiddies!
Post by kooshmeister on Sept 22, 2020 23:17:18 GMT
So, after that bit of business, we cut to the next morning. Chance and Jake are working on Callie’s car in their garage in what is (I guess) supposed to be the early morning. The sky from here on out is a light red color instead of the usual green, giving the remainder of the episode some pretty creepy overtones. "Red sky at morning..."
We never learn what the problem with the car was was, but we do find out that Chance has installed "turbo plugs" in the engine, something Jake advises him against, fearing he’ll "blow the engine." Apparently the turbo plugs increase horsepower in the engine, as Chance’s reasoning is that, “in case of an emergency,” Callie could use it. Jake reiterates the "You’ll blow the engine" argument, but Chance doesn’t listen. Climbing behind the wheel, he starts the car up, saying that since he’s a pilot he knows what an engine can handle. Apparently nobody told him automobile engines and jet engines aren't the same thing.
He revs the engine, saying it "purrs like a kitten" and "growls like a tiger." Then it promptly explodes and smoke starts pouring from the engine. "Blows like a volcano," quips Jake, face blackened and burnt. He'd been leaning over the engine at the time it went up. Why? I dunno. But since he's suddenly holding a burned out, partially melted turbo plug, I assume he was trying, too late, to remove them before the engine went. He wonders aloud what they're gonna tell Callie, since she brought her car in to get fixed and they broke it even further. "I'll think a' somethin'," grumbles Chance. Truly these guys are master mechanics.
A big dump truck pulls up outside and a short, and we're introduced to brothers Burke and Murray. Burke is the larger of the two, a big oval with arms and legs and a knit cap pulled down over his eyes. Murray, the smaller (but not necessarily younger) sibling has an odd quirk in that his left eye is much larger than his right one. These two also work at the salvage yard. Their job seems to consist of delivering scrap and making Chance and Jake's lives miserable.
There's some time-wasting nonsense with the brothers dumping a load of scrap on the ground and mocking Chance and Jake. Chance signs some delivery form that Murray hands him, contemptuously snapping Murray's pencil in half while he's at it. Murray says they'll "tell Feral you sent your looooove!" and then he and Burke speed off laughing like hyenas. This seems to imply that they’re like Chance and Jake's babysitters or something, and in fact The Wrath of Dark Kat does in fact state this to be absolutely the case, but I’ll talk a little more about that next time.
After they’ve gone, Chance mocks them right back by mimicking Murray's voice (something he is, not surprisingly, skilled at, considering both characters are voiced by Charlie Adler). He and Jake then start digging around through the pile of scrap for anything useful, and Chance finds what appears to be a perfectly good engine (which he lifts up with impossible ease), saying it can replace the one in Callie's car he just destroyed. How fortunate! And speaking of stuff Chance has destroyed, Jake even finds a working TV to replace the old one.
Cut to a small farm outside the city, where a small cow is grazing peacefully alongside the barn. Suddenly, a shadow falls over her and she lets out a moo of fear as something big, purple and slimy steps up to her. We pan over to the side of the barn and see their shadows. The whatever-it-is opens its mouth, lunges forwards and swallows the cow in one massive gulp. A pretty good way to tastefully convey that the cow just got eaten without actually scaring the kiddies.
Hearing the noise, the farmer emerges from his barn, and is startled to find the title monster standing there with the cow's tail hanging out of its mouth, which it promptly slurps up like a noodle. This then is the so-called "giant bacteria." Formerly Morbulus, it's about twice the size of a regular kat, and it isn't quite a "blob" since it has a definite humanoid shape with arms, legs and something like a head. Its main characteristics are that it has four eyes lined up in a row on the front of its face and a huge, gaping maw permanently twisted into an evil grin. Boy, that's one happy monster!
I'm not sure why they're treating this like some big reveal. We saw pretty much every single stage of Morbulus' mutation, and the last time we saw him, the thing he'd turned into didn't look all that much different from the final form of the bacteria monster here. So it's like "Aahhh! He looks... slightly different from before! How shocking?" Oh well.
Now, in most reruns of the episode the scene abrupt cuts from the farmer's reaction to a shot of Dr. Viper, and the farmer just seems to disappeared. This is because a scene was actually cut. In the original version of the episode, the farmer tries to attack the creature with his pitchfork, and then Dr. Viper shows up and grabs him using his snake tail, which proves prehensile. He then holds him up for the monster to eat. As with the cow, this is done by panning over to their shadows cast on the ground so it isn't directly seen, and even that was censored somewhat by the monster's body blocking the actual shot of one shadow gulping the other. Still, however tamely presented, the fact remains Dr. Viper just straight-up murdered a guy by feeding him to his monster! Dr. V is one brutal bastard!
As mentioned, the scene was cut, so in most reruns (especially on Cartoon Network and Boomerang), the farmer just vanishes. But the DVD of the series edited it back in, so the episode is uncut.
Anyway, once the creature is (as Viper puts it) finished with its "breakfassst," the pair leave the farm and head into Megakat City through a big drain pipe across the road.
Meanwhile, Callie and Mayor Manx are attending the grand opening the Manx Municipal Park (I knew I smelled a plot point!). Standing in front of a big something-or-other covered by a white sheet, Manx gives a generic speech to a pitifully small ground of people consisting almost exclusively of the reporters from the earlier scene at the refinery. Then, using a pair of ceremonial gold scissors, he cuts a ribbon and the sheet falls off the big thing, revealing... a giant marble statue of himself. How modest of him.
Since the press are covering the event, Chance and Jake are watching it on their new TV back at the garage while installing the new engine. Except now the TV is blue instead of brown. Continuity, what's that? As we'll soon see, this episode uses continuity as a handkerchief to blow its nose. Seeing Callie on the screen with the Mayor, Chance swoons and says she "sure is pretty." Chance, you thirsty, thirsty boy. "Yeah," grumbles Jake, "but she'll be pretty mad if we don't get her car running." Remember, Chance. Priorities. Chance angrily resumes working.
One of the reporters, Ann Gora (!), finishes her report when suddenly the bacteria monster pops out of a nearby manhole. She tells her cameraman, Jonny, to "get a shot of that," but neither bothers sticking around, bolting as the monster finishes pulling itself completely up out of the sewer. It starts right for Manx and Callie, who run to the Mayor's waiting limo. A braver cameraman than Jonny films the monster advancing towards him as backs away from it, giving us a pretty neat shot of the critter reflected in the video camera's lens.
At the limo, Callie shoves Manx into the front passenger and gets behind the wheel. There's no sign of the chauffeur. I guess he ran off. But if escape was his goal, why didn't he take the limo? And of course when he took off he left the keys in the ignition. And of course the engine stalls and sputters when Callie tries to start it. As the monster advances towards them, Callie screams, and, weirdly, it is this that gets the attention of Chance and Jake back at the garage, not Ann Gora's cry of "What in the0--? Quick, get a shot of that!" or all the roaring the monster has been doing since coming up out of the sewer. At least they're rewarded for their inattentiveness by banging their heads on the underside of the car hood when they jump up in response to Callie's scream.
Callie finally gets the engine started. "Out of my way, slimeball!" She floors it and drives into, and through, the creature, causing it to blow apart into two huge piles of glop. Ick. Then she... stops for some reason. And she and Manx just sit there. Looking back, they watch as the two piles rise up and reform into two new monsters, each with two eyes! It's been split right down the middle!
We'll file this development under "not good."
And for some reason, Callie continues just sitting there as the now two bacteria monsters begin advancing towards the imo. There's no indication that the engine has stalled again or that there's anything else wrong with the car. She just stopped and is sitting there. She and Manx aren't even trying to get out. Ugh. Evidently, the cameraman is still filming this, because Chance and Jake are able to watch on TV as the two grinning purple beasties make their way towards the stopped limo. "Let's hit it!" they cry in unison, and after a quick suit-up sequence, they've changed into their SWAT Kat outfits (and consequently will be called T-Bone and Razor again from here on out; that's kind of the unspoken rule), and blast off to save the day in the Turbokat.
'Cause Lord knows, it seems Callie and Manx are too stupid to save themselves.
Post by kooshmeister on Sept 25, 2020 13:13:01 GMT
Back at the park, Callie is finally galvanized into action when the bacteria monsters reach the limo and begin eating it from back to front. She manages to drag Manx's useless behind from the vehicle and they flee on foot as an Enforcer chopper arrives and drops a rescue ladder.
Callie gets to the ladder first, and Manx, in his frantic terror, knocks her aside and begins climbing up himself as one of the bacteria monsters approaches her. And people call Gennaro in Jurassic Park a coward. Despite the fact she isn't on the ladder, the chopper begins to ascend. I guess they're not aware she isn't on. She grabs the last rung just before the monster grabs her, barely missing her dangling legs.
Manx climbs inside and Callie right behind him. She proves incredibly forgiving, as she not only doesn't toss his ass out, but doesn't even mention that he almost left her for dead. Up front, the chopper is being flown by Commander Feral and a random Enforcer pilot. Feral assures them that they needn’t worry, because "The Enforcers are here now!" "So are the SWAT Kats!" Callie cries, pointing, without so much as a thank you to Feral for being the one who got there first and rescue them. Yeah, he arrived first and saved her and Manx, not the SWAT Kats. Anyway, he looks less than pleased at their arrival and tells them to back off and let him handle things, telling his pilot to fire on the monsters.
He is advised against this by the SWAT Kats, with Razor warning, "We saw what happened when Callie hit it!" Yeah, and so did anyone else who was watching the news, presumably including Feral which is why he’s here in the first place I should think, so why Feral insists on blowing them off the way he does and firing on the monster anyway (surprise, surprise!) is beyond me. He’s usually not this dumb. His pilot looks like he's about to protest, but Feral asserts his authority: "I'm in command here!"
He targets one of the monsters, and tells his pilot to fire (wait, why is he targeting but the pilot is the one firing?). A missile flies at the giant germ and hits it dead center in the face, creating a big explosion. When the smoke clears, the single monster has now become two, each with one eye. The now three creatures turn and lumber out of the park as Dr. Viper pops out of a manhole long enough to declare "Those fools have given me three waysss into Megakat Labsss!" With a hiss, he descends back down into the sewer.
Now begins a bit of a weird sequence. We see the three monsters - two with one eye and one with two eyes - round a corner and head for what is obviously Megakat Biochemical Labs in the distance. Following in his chopper, Feral points out the obvious, that normal weapons won't kill the things ("You've made that abundantly clear, Feral!" sneers Manx). Callie observes where they're going and suggests they beat them to Megakat Biochemical. Meanwhile, somewhere else in the vicinity, the SWAT Kats are also following the creatures. And yet they're apparently lagging behind Feral's chopper. T-Bone asks Razor what they should "throw at these guys." "How 'bout Feral?" Razor suggests jokingly. "Thanks to him, we've got three to fight!" Hooray for joking about contemplating murder! Anyway, T-Bone points out there's suddenly only two of the creatures: the two one-eyed creatures. Remember this.
Using "the X-Ray Scope," Razor scans around for the third one and we see it entering the subway. It's seen from behind, but if you're thinking it's the missing two-eyed one, you're wrong. I love the fact that the one dude waiting for the train barely reacts to its presence. And now, we are introduced to yet another piece of SWAT Kats technology, the Cyclotron. The Cyclotron is, essentially, a high-tech motorcycle that – get this – is deployed from the Turbokat’s bomb bay in missile form, then "transforms" (more than meets the eye!) into its bike form… with Razor on it. Don’t ask me how because I don’t know.
In the subway, a train shoots along down the tunnel, and the bored-looking motorman suddenly gasps and hits the brakes as he finds the tunnel blocked by the giant germ. Whoopsie! Big blooper, here, folks. Remember that there’s three bacteria monsters, two with one eye and one with two eyes? Well, the two we saw walking along a minute ago both only had one eye, which means the creature now attacking the subway train should be the two-eyed creature. Unfortunately, the animators screwed up, so this monster also only has one eye. This is a problem that will keep happening throughout the episode.
The motorman hits the brakes and the train grinds to a stop, flinging all the startled commuters forward. Suddenly, the monster's hand smashes in through the window, reaching in and feeling around, attempting to get at them. Razor takes his sweet time getting to the scene, and when he finally arrives he finds that he’s too late. Te bacteria monster turns itself into a more liquid form and oozes over the train, consuming the entire thing and everyone aboard (!). This sequence in the subway is the only time the bacteria actually like what we generally think of as blob monsters. Every other time, they're just gooey bipeds with arms and legs and eat using their mouths.
This scene represents the most amount of deaths in the show so far. Besides the motorman, there were at least eight visible people aboard the train. Dark. With regards to this episode’s startlingly high body count, since it was the first one they made, one can only assume this is how they planned for the rest of the series to be, only to change their minds after seeing the final product. Anyway, having failed to save the innocent subway commuters, Razor turns around and drives off back the way he came. The monster follows. How the decidedly awkward and lumbering monster manages to actually pursue him in such a way that it poses any kind of thread is that it again kinda liquefies itself, at least partially; it turns the lower half of its body into flowing slime and "flows" after him like a giant purple tidal wave, gooey hands reaching for him, huge, grinning maw open wide to swallow him whole.
However, the hot flames coming from the Cyclotron's rockets make the creature recoil and roar in pain. From this, Razor concludes the things don't like heat and manages to get it to go onto the electrified third rail, where it is promptly electrocuted (which Razor refers to as a "mega-hotfoot"), turns brown, and melts into a puddle of lifeless glop.
One down, two to go. T-Bone contacts Razor on the radio built into his helmet, asking him "what’s cookin' down there," to which Razor responds, "French-fried bacteria." Wait, how does he know what the monsters are? Eh, whatever. He then meets up with T-Bone in the Turbokat again by driving the Cyclotron through a crowded subway station (with almost none of the commuters reacting to his presence; only one guy boredly turns his head to watch the guy on the high-tech rocket-powered motorcycle go by), out onto the street, and then, um, somehow the Cyclotron springs upwards into the open bomb bay of the Turbokat and Razor just sort of pops up back inside the cockpit. Boy, does this whole sequence just plain suck.
T-Bone says the other two "giant zits" are closing in on their destination. After Razor assures his partner he knows how to kill them, we cut ahead to Megakat Biochemical Labs. In the main lab, Callie, Feral and the Enforcer pilot seek the advice of scientist Dr. N. Zyme. There's no sign of Manx. Maybe he's heroically hiding in a closet somewhere. Anyway, Zyme identifies the monsters as "giant bacteria" and whips up a solution of orange liquid which he refers to the strongest antibiotics known. Oh, and he goes from holding two flasks to holding just one test tube. This episode really hates basic continuity.
At at one of the laboratory's unnecessarily huge, nearly floor-to-ceiling windows, Callie sees the monsters approaching. One of them has two eyes again, so at least that's correct. She says she hopes the antibiotics work, and Zyme assures her not worry, calling the glass the windows are made from "practically indestructible." Oooh, yeah, that's gonna come back to bite him in the ass in a minute.
Outside, we see the lab's defenses consist of a bunch of huge cannons on swivel turrets. They begin firing on the approaching monsters, which you'd think would pose the risk of making the two-eyed monster divide and make three again (the one-eyed creature apparently can't divide any further), but fortunately the shells being fired just pass harmlessly through their soft bodies. The single-eyed bacteria smashes one of the cannons and its two-eyed companion follows suit. Even though there's more than two of the things, destroying just them apparently means the lab's defenses have been breached, because Dr. Viper emerges from the sewer at this point. Either that, or the remaining guns get destroyed offscreen. Anyway, declaring victory, Dr. V just waltzes right in through the front door. What, no security? The building's defenses consisted entirely of that perimeter of huge guns? Megakat Biochemical Labs is less "impenetrable" and more "ludicrously easy to get into."
On the roof, Dr. Zyme loads a missile filled with his antibiotic formula that looks like a giant syringe onto Feral's chopper as it's preparing to take off. Evidently only Feral and his pilot are aboard, because as it is about to left off, Mayor Manx comes running up (where was he?), begging to come with them. "I don't want to be around here if this stuff doesn't work!"
Feral calls him a coward, to which Manx points out that he hasn't been Mayor for ten terms without being (as he puts it) cautious. Ten terms? Who keeps electing this idiot?! Anyway, Feral shuts the door and they lift off.
Post by kooshmeister on Sept 25, 2020 22:43:28 GMT
The SWAT Kats come tearing onto the scene. Where have they been? I guess they went back to the hangar and got some weapons that’ll actually work against the giant germs, although so far they haven’t actually done anything except fly around and get chased by the them. Razor targets the one-eyed bacteria monster and fires this episode's third ridiculous, improbably missile in the form of a "Megavolt Missile."
As with most of their other missiles, it looks like a normal missile until the casing breaks away in midair to reveal an electrical conductor. The monster catches this in its mouth and swallows it, but nothing happens. When T-Bone points this out to Razor, he’s told to "Give it time." On cue, the germ suddenly starts convulsing as electrical bolts appear all over its body, and then explodes from the inside-out and is reduced to a pile of flaming brown goo.
Feral and Manx watch from inside the nearby chopper. Manx gushes that "The SWAT Kats took care of that one, Feral!" Feral, probably feeling really underappreciated at this point, promises the Mayor he’ll get the final monster. Although he and Manx (and Callie!) should be wondering where the third creature is, I should think, since they don't know it died in the subway.
The remaining beastie walks over to the front of the lab and peers in at Dr. Zyme and Callie through the window, and then turns to look at Feral's chopper, and–- Hey, wait a second, now this one has only one eye, too! Gah!!! This whole mix-up with the eyes is made even more baffling when one knows that the model sheets for these creatures stresses the fact that "monster size and eye number vary – check your board!"
Feral launches the giant hypo at it like a missile, and the monster catches it in its mouth and eats it, then starts turning a brownish-grey and drying up into a desiccated husk.
Cue Dr. Viper to appear inside the lab with them and rain on everybody’s parade. He calls Zyme an "arrogant fool," and explains that his bacteria monsters are immune to antibiotics. Outside, the “shell” around the bacteria monster starts to crumble away, but Zyme and Callie don’t notice, and, hell, they look pretty subdued in Viper’s presence. Callie in particular is smiling for some reason.
What follows is possibly the worst excuse for a monster attack in the entire series. Zyme and Callie are standing there, and Callie sees the monster's big gooey hand coming up at them, but doesn’t bother to, like, warn Dr. Zyme or anything. The hand then barely nudges the glass and shatters it completely (!!!). So much for the armored glass being indestructible.. Callie actually has the sense to turn and run, while Zyme just stands there and goes "Aaaahhhh!" as the monster’s hand starts to come down over him, and then we suddenly cut to an outside view of the building and the monster, now with two eyes again (!!!!) appears to get distracted by Feral’s chopper, and turns and makes an unsuccessful attempt to grab it.
Despite the fact the monster seemingly abandons its attack against Dr. Zyme to go after the chopper, he's never seen again, and it is generally accepted that he gets killed here. Oh well.
Observing, the SWAT Kats realize that it’s up to them to dispose of the final germ. T-Bone tells Razor to launch another Megavolt Missile. Unfortunately, Razor has bad news: He’s "one short." One short?! That means he only had one to begin with, despite knowing when they set out that there was more than one bacteria monster! And similarly, why the hell was Feral only given one dose of the antibiotics? Man, this episode just really goes downhill in the last five minutes.
In the lab, the window has miraculously fixed itself as Viper begins gathering up armloads of Katalyst 99, which we see is a kind of orange-y chemical in some high-tech looking canisters. Callie, rather than, like, y'know, running away, sticks around to scold Viper for being such a bad, bad boy. "You won't get away with this, Dr. Viper!" she vows. "No, Ms. Briggsss," hisses Viper, "it'sss you who won't get away!" Figuring a hostage is always a good thing to have, he grabs her with his prehensile snake tail as she looses a scream. Well what did you expect, lady? I take back what I said about her having the sense to run. She's back to be stupid again.
The SWAT Kats just happen to fly past the window and witness Callie’s abduction, and now the window is broken again. Also, a blooper here, as T-Bone and Razor swap fur colors. Sheesh. The last remaining bacteria monster, still with only one eye and now mysteriously having hit a growth spurt (it's roughly the size of a skyscraper), chases the Turbokat out onto a bridge with some powerlines running over it. Likely, you can see where this is going. Using a big serrated blade that pops out of the side of the jet, T-Bone cuts the lines just as the creatures walks under it. The downed wires fall onto the creature, and like its predecessors, it is violently electrocuted and melts into brown slime. Man, Morbulus should get an award for being the first character in the show to die three times in the same episode.
Back in the main lab, the window has repaired itself again, and despite having acquired both the katalysts and a prisoner, Dr. Viper hasn't bothered leaving yet. Suddenly the Turbokat smashes through the window and lands inside the lab, which is amazingly big enough to contain the aircraft. This action forces Dr. Viper to drop Callie (and his load of Katalyst 99) and fly back into the far wall. T-Bone hops out and helps Callie to her feet while Razor covers Viper with a rocket launcher. But the villain refuses to come quietly. He shakes up two canisters of Katalyst 99 and chucks them onto the floor. The stuff proves extremely combustible, as not only does it explode, but it starts a huge fire that quickly spreads to some shelves of chemicals. Cut to the exterior of the building, which violently blows up. The Turbokat emerges through the fire and smoke, with everyone except Dr. Viper aboard (Callie is in back, sitting on Razor's lap). Yeah, somehow the SWAT Kats got Callie in the jet, turned it around, and flew back out through the broken window before the flames ignited the chemicals.
They land on the street and help Callie out, as Feral's chopper arrives overhead. Yelling down through a megaphone, he asks if she's okay. "Yes, thanks to the SWAT Kats! Whoever they are..." Another line indicating this was written to be the first episode.
Feral is less grateful. "Thanks to them, half of Megakat City is without power!" As he and Razor get back into the jet, T-Bone snidely asks him if he knows "a better way to cook a giant bacteria." Again, how do he and Razor know what the monsters were? I get Dr. Zyme managing to figure it out since he's a smartypants scientist, but them? Is there a line missing where Dr. Viper stood shouting through a megaphone of his own what his monsters were? Flying past a fuming Feral, the SWAT Kats him a thumbs up.
As they head home, they see none other than those two jerks from earlier, Burke and Murray, using a bulldozer to clean up the melted remains of the bacteria monster(s). "Looks like Burke and Murray have a long day ahead of 'em!" comments T-Bone as he and Razor once again fly off into the horizon.
Sorry it took so long for me to get to it, but here is the next SWAT Kats adventure, "The Wrath of Dark Kat!" This one doesn't have as many (or any) horror elements as its predecessors, but nevertheless, I wanna go ahead and get it out of the way. Once I start something, I like to at least try and finish it (he said while leaving his review of Slime eternally unfinished).
A dark shadow moves over the surface of the water. It looks vaguely jet-shaped, but the episode is teasing us with what it looks like for now. The unseen vessel approaches Old Megakat Bridge, which spans Megakat Bay and looks kinda like the Brooklyn Bridge. It'd been glimpsed in the background of both previous episodes, but this is the first time it's been explicitly focused on. And since this is SWAT Kats, you can bet this means something bad is going to happen to it. Sure enough, a green laser shoots down towards it from offscreen and cuts the thing in half. Why? Apparently just for "teh evulz." Various cars and trucks skid to a halt just in time and avoid falling through the enormous crack left by the laser. Y'know, just in case were were worried about the nameless characters driving them.
The vessel flies on, and we cut to the Megakat Nuclear Plant, which is your basic nuclear power plant with cooling towers and whatnot. It appears to be sitting all by its lonesome in the middle of a desert. For the longest time, I wonder why, if it's in a sandy area, we saw the airship approaching from the bay, but rewatching the episode I noticed there is in fact a body of water to the upper left, suggesting it is in fact near the ocean. The reason it's so hard to notice is because for some reason they colored the water the same as the ground. Go figure. The Megakat Nuclear Plant appears a few other times in the show and is somewhat notorious for seeming to move around a lot, sometimes closer to the city and sometimes further away, with the only consistent feature being that it's "near the water."
A sign at the entrance informs us that this is a "security area," complete with a little guardhouse and two uniformed security guards. The shadow of the approaching aircraft falls over them, whereupon they unholster laser pistols and point them up at the unseen menace. One of them goes, "Halt, or we'll shoot!" When we finally see the thing, the fact these two idiots thought they could take it out with their puny little laser guns will be hilarious.
Cue the green laser. It hits and melts the guardhouse next to them, prompting the two to pretty much immediately give up and run off. The shadow continues on and stops in a large expanse of flat, shiny segmented metal whose exact purpose I can't divine, and then we finally get to see it as it lowers down and lands in front of the power plant. It's a big red vessel that is several times larger than an ordinary jet, with a kind of skull design on the front and a row of spikes down the back. With its clawed landing gear and curved nose, it kinda looks like a bird of prey. According to behind the scenes materials, it's called the Fear Ship. The villain refers to it as the "Doomsday Express," but since that sounds dumb, I'm gonna go with Fear Ship.
So, yeah, that thing is what the guards thought they could take out with their dinky little pistols.
Speaking of guards, more of them show up, including several in a couple of Jeeps. And here we get another example of recycled character designs. Unlike the first two guards, who were distinct from one another, these guys are the same character recycled about twenty or so times. They're also, weirdly, wearing different uniforms from the two guys at the entrance. With the Enforcers, it kinda works due to their visored helmets giving them an element of anonymity, but here it's especially distracting when these guys all have visible faces and it's all the same face. Fortunately, SWAT Kats would only ever do this with large groups of characters besides the Enforcers one more time, in "The Metallikats."
So anyway, this clone army comes out to meet the thread, and a really cheesy-looking hologram of Dark Kat is projected from the front of the Doomsday Express. Dark Kat is a very large, imposing kat who for some reason has purple fur, and wears a scary red and black cloak. Apparently this little message was prerecorded, because Dark Kat addresses the guards as "citizens of Megakat City." Granted, they are citizens of Megakat City, but, ah forget it.
He explains that "my business at this facility will be brief," and warns them not to interfere. But the guards are determined to do their job, however ineffective they might be, and respond to his threat by driving forwards in their Jeeps, whereupon two green lasers shoot out and strike the vehicles. The guards bail as the Jeeps glow bright green and then explode. Dark Kat reiterates his warning and then blows a hole through the side of the building with the green laser of doom. At this point, the guards decide to beat feet, turning and fleeing.
A disembarking ramp lowers underneath the Doomsday Express and, get this, a bunch of little pink, bat-like critters come flying out carrying a large container of some sort. These are Creeplings, and serve as Dark Kat's minions, and at first glance they're the lamest underlings a villain could ever have. They're not particularly intelligent or threatening, although as we'll see momentarily, they're deceptively strong and not entirely unreliable.
They fly into the power plant through the hole in the wall, knocking over some employees in radiation suits (complete with little cat ears on their helmets) before using the carrying case to batter down a door. Entering a control room of some sort, they encounter more guys in radiation suits.
One of the suit guys decides to play hero. Declaring the area "secured," he tells them to scram, and they respond by flying over, picking him up and chucking him across the room. That's impressive. Radiation suits tend to be lead-lined, meaning that those little pink monsters, despite their tiny size, just lifted a full-grown kat in a heavy suit like he was nothing and threw him. One Creepling turns a knob that drains water from a cylindrical tank nearby, exposing a bunch of glowing yellow nuclear fuel rods. Dialogue indicates that this is the nuclear reactor, although you'd think it'd be better protected than just sitting in the middle of the room. Using the container they brought in with them, the Creeplings smash the glass of the tank. Alarms go off. The suit guys run out.
Outside, the Enforcers have arrived and surrounded the Fear Ship with three tanks, called Peacekeepers. They're weird-looking things with dual cannons on their turrets and squarish tracks. A helicopter for Kat’s Eye News flies overheard, carrying reporter Ann Gora and her cameraman Jonny K. These two briefly appeared in the previous episode, but this is the first time they'll have any kind of substantial role. Flying the helicopter is Al. After some reporter-type blather from Ann about being first on the scene, Callie Briggs arrives in her green car and has to contend with Lieutenant Commander Steel, a weaselly-looking blonde guy in a long coat similar to Feral's. He's shouting through a megaphone and yelling at a small, surprisingly disinterested-looking crowd of extras to stay back.
Callie's attempt to shoulder her way past the barricade is stymied by Steel grabbing her and going, "That means you too, lady!" Callie starts get righteously indignant, but Commander Feral comes to her rescue, telling his overzealous second in command to "back off" and "let Deputy Mayor Briggs through." Why, I don't know, since Feral doesn't like her and isn't going to listen to anything she has to say. So why bother letting her past the roadblock? Whatever. After explaining Steel's attitude problem as him being "green" and "a little too ambitious" (tactlessly right there where the guy can hear him), Feral apprises Callie of the situation and explains his plan to basically just blast the crap out of the Fear Ship with his tanks. "We're just about to move in, if you'd like to stay and watch the fireworks!"
Callie freaks out and tells him he can't open fire "so close to the reactor," because "One mistake and the whole city could be poisoned by radioactivity!" On the surface, her objection seems sound, except for two things. First, the reactor has already been breached. But since she doesn't know that, I'll give her a pass. But it's the second thing I have a problem with: the Peacekeepers are sitting between the ship and the power plant, with their guns aimed away from the building, and since like almost every weapon this show they fire lasers instead of projectiles, the changes of the Enforcers hitting the building are practically nonexistent. So unless Callie's concern is that Dark Kat's return fire will hit the building (which is not at all what she seems to be saying), her objection to Feral attacking the villain's aircraft is absurd.
Feral even asks her what she wants him to do if not attack Dark Kat, and when she doesn't offer any alternative suggests, he gives the order to open fire. But it turns out neither of them needed to worry: there's a forcefield around the ship. It's invisible until the lasers hit it, and they just harmlessly bounce off.
The green laser of doom immediately retaliates and zaps two of the Peacekeepers. Like the Jeeps earlier, they begin glowing green, and their two-man crews manage to scramble out before they explode. We aren't shown what happens to the third tank; it just disappears.
Annoyed, Feral decides to throw some jets at his enemy. "Dark Kat will never be able to hit three targets traveling faster than the speed of sound!" he declares as three Enforcer fighters fly down and begin attacking. This seems like it'd be a lot more reckless, but Callie doesn't raise any objections.
Feral's claim about the jets' speed notwithstanding, Dark Kat easily hits all three; the laser splits into three and hits each of the jets at the same time. They glow green and explode. I'm assuming they really were supposed to flying very fast, but the subpar animation, better than in "The Giant Bacteria" but still not as good as in "The Pastmaster Always Rings Twice," isn't doing them any favors. As it is, it just makes Feral's insistence that they're flying "faster than the speed of sound" seem ridiculous.
And, yes, in case you're wondering, we do see their pilots successfully bail out and parachute to safety. It seems that after the "The Giant Bacteria," Hanna-Barbera was determined to tone down the body count as much as they could, so no nameless Enforcers or plant security get killed in this episode.
Anyway, Feral is shocked at the ease with which his jets got shot down. "Those were the best pilots I had," he exclaims. Callie says she "knows two better ones," and slips away to call the SWAT Kats.
Now, if you assumed Callie was talking about the SWAT Kats, give yourself a cookie. Speaking of whom, we cut to them now. Chance Furlong and Jake Clawson are in the middle of a pepper-eating contest, because apparently the only thing the writers could think of to have them doing during their downtime when they're not fixing cars is to hold stupid competitions. If nothing else, it has a fun little fakeout opening where there's dramatic music as we see Chance and Jake tying on headbands and pulling on gloves, gritting their teeth in determination, as if they're about to have a fight, only to then have them put bibs on and reveal they're sitting down with a bowl of peppers between them.
These guys have way too much free time. Is Callie their only customer?
They refer to the peppers they're eating as "mongo peppers." It's sometimes misheard as "mondo," but I actually Googled it and mongo can actually apply here, as it's slang for something particularly large, and, indeed, the peppers are quite big. It's also worth noting that our guys are ahead of their time cramming hot peppers into their mouths (is that still a thing?). If social media had existed back then, you can bet your boots Chance and Jake would be livestreaming their contest.
Jake, for his part, is a dirty rotten cheater. He grabs what looks like the largest pepper in the bunch and prepares to eat it. Chance gasps in amazement... and then suddenly Callie calls. While Chance is answering her, Jake stuffs the pepper into his shirt and makes a chomping sound. When Chance glances up at him suspiciously, Jake fans his mouth to further the illusion.
Chance is suspicious, but duty calls. Callie is contacting them using her communicator. It was introduced back in "The Pastmaster Always Rings Twice," but never used, at least not by her, so this is the first time she herself is using it. And I guess she got a new one, since the saber-toothed tiger ate the other one. This is also the first time the SWAT Kats answer using their own little communicator and not the phone. Eh, whatever. The two are apprised of the situation, leading us to our obligatory suiting up scene.
As they fly out in the Turbokat, T-Bone asks if Razor really ate that last pepper, and when Razor lies through his teeth and says he did ("I can still feel the afterburn!"), T-Bone says he’s "one macho kat." "Ain’t it the truth?" Razor chuckles, and we see he now has the pepper in his flight suit. Yeah, for some reason, he's keeping it with him. And the unfortunate placement of the bulge in the suit (along the thigh near the groin) makes it look like Razor is "one macho kat" in another respect...
Back at the Megakat Nuclear Plant, we see that the Creeplings - apparently unaffected by the radiation that must be pouring off of the breached reactor core - are removing the nuclear fuel rods by hand (!) and loading them into that big container they carried in with them. Outside, Commander Feral and Callie hear the sound of the Turbokat approaching and, sure enough, the jet soon arrives on the scene. This leads to my least favorite moment in the episode as Feral demands to know, "What are they doing here?" to which Callie replies, "Your job, Feral." What? His job? You mean the job you tried to prevent him from doing a few minutes ago? What in the hell?! He’s been trying to do his job the whole time, stupid!
There’s no reason for her to snidely rub his own failure in his face after he’s actually put forth an effort to stop the bad guy; unless, of course, she’s, y’know, a complete and utter bitch. Further, while she objected to Feral using force so close to the power plant, she has no problems with the SWAT Kats doing so, when the vigilantes have an annoying habit of causing more damage than the villains! Callie's favoritism and her tendency to hold the SWAT Kats to different, lesser standards than the Enforcers is really showing here. Fortunately, it's a character trait that would gradually disappear from the show over time.
The SWAT Kats take notice of the Fear Ship and T-Bone notes that "Dark Kat’s back," but says he "won’t get away from us this time." This is another example of the show's tendency to be in medias res, dropping the audience into the thick of things. Dark Kat is the second villain in the series who is already well known to the characters but not the audience.
Razor decides to give Dark Kat his "wake up call" in the form of some Baby Boomer Missiles. Exactly what these do is never shown since they just bounce off the Fear Shipforcefield (which despite being invisible previously can now be clearly seen).Razor decides to give Dark Kat his “wake up call” in the form of some Baby Boomer Missiles. Exactly what these do is never shown since they just bounce off the Doomsday Express’ forcefield (which despite being invisible previously can now be clearly seen even before the missiles hit). Pointing out the blatantly obvious, i.e. the forcefield, Razor decides to use his "new Scrambler Missiles." Judging by what T-Bone says ("If one million megavolts can’t take out those shields, nothing will."), these things are obviously the Megavolt Missiles from the previous episode in everything but name. The question of whether or not electrical charges can disrupt a forcefield aside, why don't they just reuse the Megavolt Missile? It worked fine from what we saw. Why the need to go to all the trouble of making a "new" missile that basically does the same thing?
We cut to the Kat’s Eye News chopper still buzzing around, demonstrating that in Megakat City the press apparently is allowed to just do whatever it pleases during crisis situations. You'd think the airspace over the nuclear power plant would be off-limits. Apparently Ann Gora either thrives on risk or is an idiot, because she instructs Al the pilot to "get in closer." But because he doesn't have a death wish, he refuses, insisting it's too dangerous. Not that his refusal matters, because apparently Dark Kat isn't an Ann Gora fan, and the green laser of doom shoots out and zaps the helicopter's rotor blades, blasting them off.
Al yells that they've lost "our main rotor" (in fact it's the only rotor, as none of the choppers in this show have tail rotors; they must have NOTAR) and they all scream as the vehicle plummets out of the shy, down towards Callie and Commander Feral standing below. The two just stand there and gawk stupidly as the shadow of the falling chopper grows larger and larger. Guys, move!
Oh, and in interior shots of the falling copter, it should be noted Jonny is still filming with his video camera. That's dedication!
Anyway, the stricken aircraft drops like a stone towards Callie and Feral. Seconds before it lands on top of them, the SWAT Kats grab it out of the air using a "Spider Missile" (this Spider Missile is pretty much a rescue bola/net, and not to be confused with the Spider Missiles used in "The Pastmaster Always Rings Twice"). Proving to be a pretty smart guy, Dark Kat takes this opportunity to blast the Turbokat with the laser. Despite destroying tanks with little difficulty, the most it does is nick the jet. However, it does somehow ensure that Razor’s Scrambler Missile jams, forcing the SWAT Kats to beat a hasty retreat before they can be shot again. After they set down the news chopper, I mean. Although it'd be funny if they booked it while stilling carrying the dangling helicopter.
Looking on, Steel, Feral's kind weaselly second in command from earlier, laughs and mocks the retreating heroes, but Commander Feral actually defends the SWAT Kats (kinda), telling Steel now isn’t the time to gloat.
A word about this guy, specifically how he's addressed. His rank is Lieutenant Commander, but he's frequently called "Lieutenant Steel" for short. This is, as far as I know, incorrect; the proper shortened form of address for a lieutenant commander is "commander." So he ought to be called Commander Steel. But I guess they figured calling two guys "Commander" would be confusing for kids about who was in charge. But if that's the case, they could've simplified things by making Steel, y'know, an actual lieutenant or a captain or something. Whatever.
Anyway, after chastising his overeager subordinate ("Don't think! Listen!"), Feral explains that he has a plan to defeat Dark Kat. He says the only way to stop the villain is from inside the Fear Ship. He's going to sneak aboard with a communicator thing that doubles as a signal device, and when Dark Kat leaves, the Enforcers can follow the signal back to wherever his hideout is. Proving to be a suck-up in addition to both inexperienced and ambitious, Steel gushes that it's "an inspired plan." Feral disagrees, calling it desperate and stupid, but figures he has no other choice. He gets aboard by having one of his pilots attack the Fear Ship while the Creeplings are flying towards it with the carrying case. Although the guy is addressed as "Captain," he uses the same character model as all the other nameless Enforcer pilots.
As the Creeplings approach, a hole opens in the forcefield. Just as they're about to go through, the fighter swoops overhead and fires on the airship. That pesky green laser puts paid to his jet, blowing it up. Fortunately, the captain manages to bail out and parachute to safety (somehow despite the fact his jet visibly explodes before he could've ejected; we see the jet blow up and then the parachuting pilot just drifts by from offscreen). While the Creeplings are distracted looking at the explosion, Feral slips in through the hole in the forcefield and sneaks aboard. The Creeplings enter after him, and then the Fear Ship takes off.
I gotta say, that was a risky plan. Not just for Feral, but that captain. Feral really gambled with his life. If he hadn't managed to eject, he could've died, all just to get his superior aboard the villain's ship for a plan that (and this isn't really a spoiler) is ultimately going to fail. Ordinarily, one of Feral's few redeeming qualities aside from his sense of duty to defend the city is the fact he cares about his men and doesn't like throwing their lives away uselessly. He was right when he called this plan desperate and stupid!
Callie and Ann Gora approach Steel and ask where Feral is. Steel informs them that he left, and that he (Steel) is in charge. Apparently hoping for an interview, he introduces himself even though I'm pretty sure they both know who he is, and insists that his name is spelt "with two Es." Despite this, when we see his nameplate later on in the episode "Enter the Madkat," it's spelled "Steele," although the storyboards for that episode spell it the way he says here. The conclusion I've come to is that the nameplate is an in-universe error that Steel has tried and failed to get corrected, and so he has to keep reminding people his name is Steel, not Steele. Anyway, his hopes for an interview are dashed when Feral contacts him using the signal-communicator thingie. He informs Steel that he has successfully gotten aboard the Fear Ship and tells him to begin tracking the signal "while I try to stop him."
Overhearing this, for some reason Callie and Ann are shocked. Well, Callie is. Ann just looks kinda stupefied. I dunno why. But their faces are hilarious.
Anyway, Steel tells Feral good luck, then grins evilly and adds, "And break a leg." Dude, Callie and Ann are right there. Are you sure you wanna be obviously sneaky, evil and suspicious when there's two people standing less than two feet in front of you?