Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Darkwing Duck, Season One, Episode Thirty-Seven: "Heavy Mental"

Here's a crazy idea: let's try watching a Darkwing Duck episode and see what happens!  Crazy, I know, but I'm thinking it just…might…work.  Yeah, okay, I should be watching a Quack Pack episode right now if I want to follow my own rules, but fuck me, after all this time, the first thing you want me to do is watch more of that shitpile?  I mean, I will.  Eventually.  But for now, let's call Dee Double-You.

This episode opens with Darkwing and Launchpad on a mission to the Swiss Alps to deliver a top-secret something to SHUSH, which turns out to be a stapler, ha ha, how wacky.  While they're there, SHUSH scientist Sara Bellum (boy, I'll bet that one took a lot of thought) gets LP to try out her new psychic ray machine which is supposed to endow people with psychic powers.  I want to note that the rays in question are called "Norma Rays," and to further note that a pun like this would be a whole lot more effective if there were, you know, any connection whatsoever between Norma Rae and psychic business.  Without that, it's just weird and arbitrary.

Anyway, LP seems unaffected, because everyone comically misses the trees out the window that he levitates and sets on fire, so off they go, back home.  It turns out that the powers that LP, inevitably, gained, are kind of random and impossible to control; sometimes he predicts stuff, sometimes he summons fire or ice, and sometimes he just moves stuff around, but his ability to do this seems to be triggered more by momentary sense impressions than by anything he tries to do.  It's actually somewhat well-done.

Meanwhile, FOWL's Psychic Division, led by a bear named Major Synapse and staffed exclusively by a couple of hippies (hmm…I'm getting a real Men Who Stare at Goats vibe here), is also trying to figure out this psychic-powers business.  Why does he only have these two staff members?  Because "troops perish when they're marched into erupting volcanoes."  Jeez, show--that's pretty brutal.  Long story short, they end up invading the Alps SHUSH facility, and the two hippies get psychic powers.  They also get supervillain costumes and identities (and turn evil, apparently--they just seemed kind of neutral before).  He's called Hotshot, an' she's called Flygirl, an' it's up to our heroes to come an' stop them, which they do.  Though not before DW is incapacitated and threatened: oh noes! They're gonna drop a giant anvil on his head!  As I've noted, though, these life-or-death situations just don't work on this show, because we know damn well that getting flattened by an anvil is never going to be anything more than a minor inconvenience for anyone--as we later see, when the hippies get smashed but don't die.

Oh, and in the end, Major Synapse becomes godlike and then gets his brain exploded.  Crikey.

Did I like this?  I liked it okay, though that was surely at least in part for not having seen the show in some months.  I wouldn't say the writing was the greatest; there was a bit more of the "look how ZANY it all is, goddammit!" stuff than I usually like.  Still, it certainly could have been worse!

Stray Observations

-We get a close-up image of Synapse's drivers license, and we see that it expired on 04-07-66.  Oh man--driving with an expired license?  Is there anything those fiendish FOWL fiends won't do?  Also, if I'm reading it correctly, he was born on 02-06-39.  I wouldn't have thought he was quite that old, but it is kind of hard to tell in situations like this: you can differentiate between youngish and oldish with anthropomorphic animals, but precise gradations can be more problematic.


  1. Nice to see this blog starting up again! Ignoring "Quack Pack" in favor of "Darkwing Duck" is always a good idea.