Thursday, January 30, 2014

Wander Over Yonder blog: The Bounty

So yeah, I'm going to start up a routine blog, where I post my thoughts on the latest episode of Wander Over Yonder.  Who knows, maybe enough people will see this and get into the show.  I think I'll do the same with Adventure Time and Steven Universe, once I catch up with those shows, and I'm also doing the same for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.  Same goes for Gravity Falls, once it comes back.  It's funny, this is starting to turn into an animation blog, even though I didn't exactly want it to be like that, but hey, as long as I'm using this blog for something!

So yeah, Wander Over Yonder.  I made a post about this show a while back, explaining my hopes and expectations for the series, and so far, the series might have exceeded my expectations.  It definitely has a lot more going for it then on the surface, and I really hope more people get into it, because it truly is a funny and entertaining show!

I believe the first season is almost halfway over, which is a shame, I probably should have started doing this from the beginning.  But like I said with Friendship is Magic, better late then never, so instead, I'm starting with The Bounty, the latest episode of the show.  It's a really good episode, check after the break to see why!


Well, first I guess I should talk about the central focus of this episode, Commander Peepers.  This is the second episode to focus on him, the first being The Prisoner, and I have to say, I really like him.  I think he's kind of under-advertised compared to Wander, Sylvia, and Lord Hater, but Craig McCracken and company tend to treat him like he's one of the main cast, and so will I.  I think part of the appeal of him is that he's seems to be slightly more competent then Lord Hater, in that he's not as short-tempered, and also, he's not a Starscream, i.e. plotting behind Lord Hater's back, nor does he follow Lord Hater out of fear (though he can be very terrified of Hater), he seems to follow him out of genuine loyalty and admiration, which I totally respect and appreciate.  Oh, and being voiced by Tom Kenny, Craig's "good luck charm" as he calls him, that helps a lot.  Having said that, when I saw him as the focus in The Prisoner, while I did like that episode very much, I did have a minor issue with it.  See, the thing I appreciated about this show was that it wasn't mean-spirited in any way, like the vast majority of shows today.  If there is slapstick or someone who's the butt of jokes, it's typically someone who kind of had it coming for being unreasonable or being a jerk.  This is why Lord Hater works as an antagonist, as much as I love how much of a hammy villain he is, the fact that he's obviously a jerk makes it all the more satisfying to see him fail, and more importantly, fail because of his own incompetence (like in The Picnic, where he constantly lets Wander's antics get to him).  Thing about The Prisoner, though, is that Lord Hater is barely in it, and that it's Peepers in his role now, and honestly, in that episode, I couldn't find myself laughing that much at Peepers' misfortune.  After all, he was just following orders, not to mention he didn't see Wander as that big of a threat as Hater did (and at the time, neither did I, though my opinion on that has changed since then).  And the ending shot where Peepers gets blasted off-screen...  it's a little uncomfortable, even to listen to.

Those problems are fixed in this episode, if only slightly.  The episode makes out Peepers to be just as much of a jerk as Hater is, treating Watchdogs like crap and also being INCREDIBLY egotistical, and just like Lord Hater, his misery is typically his own doing.  Plus, much like Lord Hater in The Picnic, Peepers is shown to be fairly competent on his own, yet powerless when it comes to dealing with Wander and Sylvia, making his attempts to capture them all the more hilarious!  Then again, this episode doesn't focus that much on trying to capture Wander and Sylvia, and more on keeping the bounty hunters from catching them first.  It's actually quite remarkable what he can do, again, just like how Lord Hater can single-handedly take out Emperor Awesome's entire army, including emperor Awesome himself, in The Picnic.  Yet despite thinking he's "won" when he defeats all the bounty hunters, he still lets Wander and Sylvia get away, which leads to probably the funniest joke in the entire episode.  Not saying what it is, just watch it for yourself.

The bounty hunters themselves are pretty cool, too.  Craig McCracken and company truly have a knack for creating really neat characters with interesting designs, and this series is perfect for creating whatever creature they come up with.  I like how each of them has their own theme, and typically, their strengths end up being their own downfall.    The huntress ends up getting hunted herself (by a creature who appears to be the some one she uses a skull to make a hat out of), the robot ends up zapping himself (which, incidentally, him zapping people is the second funniest joke in the episode), and "the potted plant" eats Peepers, who cuts it open from the inside (thus leading to Wander and Sylvia's escape).  That fair/zoo setting was a nice place to have this episode, showing Wander and Sylvia, who are barely in this episode BTW, relaxing and just having a good time, while the bounty hunters and Peepers end up ruining everyone else's time by trying to get them (or not, I'll explain in a moment).

Lord Hater, once again, steals the show for me.  It actually kind of sucks, because despite being really prominent early on, he's now mostly a secondary or minor character in a lot of more recent episodes.  I like the idea of Hater interacting with Wander and seeing him fail at his own evil plots.  Peepers is cool and all, but again, the series sets up Hater as the primary antagonist, so I'd like to see HIM fail, too.  That being said, whenever Hater's on-screen here, it's always incredible, from playing that video game, to showing off his torture soundtrack, to leading the transported people into his torture room, to the aforementioned funniest scene in the episode!  He's just great all the way through!

Other minor stuff I want to talk about:

-I like how the triumphant "COMMANDER PEEPERS" theme returns here, and how it turns into "JANITOR PEEPERS" when he imagines what would happen if the potted plant succeeded in delivering Wander and Sylvia to Hater.
-I kind of didn't really get what Peepers was expecting Lord Hater to say when he asked if he learned his lesson about hiring bounty hunters.  That if you hire them, Peepers will mess things up for them?  Yeah, I don't think that's a good way to make yourself look valuable to the guy your sucking up to.
-The ending was funny; again, it feels like an improvement over The Prisoner's ending.  Here, Peepers' suffering feels more deserved, as he's being egotistical, not to mention, like I said, what was he expecting Lord Hater to say in response to "learning his lesson about hiring bounty hunters"?  There's one more joke added to this, but again, I won't spoil it.  ...BTW, you're probably wondering why I'm not spoiling jokes but I'm talking about everything else.  Well, that's kind of because I feel like I'm free to talk about the plot, but I don't want to spoil jokes, because part of the joke is seeing it happen yourself and being taken aback by surprise.  I always feel like, the less you see it coming, the more you'll laugh in response.
-The ending credits has a great gag that follows up on the whole "people get transported to Hater's ship".  Won't spoil it, but it's definitely a lot better then some of the other things we've been getting during the ending credits.

And I think that's it...  again, REALLY liked this episode.  Please check out the show for yourself, and if you actually bothered to read all of this, tell me what you think of it!

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