Bucky O’Hare and the Toad Wars – “Kreation Konspiracy”

img_3530Episode Number:  6

Original Air Date:  October 13, 1991

Directed by:  Karen Peterson

Written by:  Martin Pasko

Frist Appearance:  Dexter, Major Bottlenose, Dr. Hopkins, Dr. Wartimer, Dr. Croakley

If you couldn’t tell based on the name of the episode and its liberal use of the letter ‘K,’ episode 6 is going to deal with Komplex to some degree. It provides a little extra backstory on how Komplex came to be. This is another largely stand-alone episode, but it’s at least going to introduce some new characters that probably would have reappeared in season 2 had there been one. It feels a little more important than last week’s episode, which is welcomed.

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A hidden base in a pile of crap, plus spies. This is actually going to be a fun one.

The episode opens with Dead-Eye bemoaning that Bucky has taken them all to the planet Sludge. Sludge is appropriately named because it’s a heavily polluted, mucky, pile of crap. It’s undesirable, which is why the mammals of S.P.A.C.E. (Sentient Protoplasm Against Colonial Encroachment) have hidden a secret base there. From this base, they’re able to spy on Toad activity and intercept top-secret transmissions. They apparently have something for Bucky, and as the Righteous Indignation lands to go check it out a trio of cloaked individuals watch from the junk heaps of Sludge. What little skin of theirs is visible is green, so I think we know what that means.

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Even the characters in the show are surprised to find an octopus.

Inside a bubble dome, Bucky, Jenny, and Dead-Eye greet Dexter (Scott McNeil basically just doing his Dead-Eye voice without the pirate stuff), a large octopus who works under Major Bottlenose. Dead-Eye seems surprised to see that Dexter is an octopus, causing Bucky to remark “We all gotta be something.” Very true, Bucky. As those three dive into a pool of water to follow Dexter to Bottlenose, Blinky and Bruiser are tasked with looking after the ship.

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It would have been pretty funny if Major Bottlenose turned out to be something other than a dolphin, but I guess the writers weren’t feeling cheeky.

The base is hidden underwater, so Bucky and the others have to wear oxygen tanks and helmets. Jenny especially does not seem to enjoy the placement of this base, but she goes through it while insisting to Bucky that she actually likes water, though unconvincingly. They eventually meet up with Major Bottlenose who has a video he’d like to show them (apparently, S.P.A.C.E. has perfected underwater computers). At first, it looks like any old broadcast of Toad TV, this time with a 21 Jump Street parody called 21 Hop Street, which disgusts Bucky. Bottlenose then tells them it contains a secret message when played backwards. Doing so reveals the visage of Komplex, and he details the location of a weapon called the matter-transmuter. It’s a special ray gun that can turn non-living matter into any other type of matter. He wants his toad forces to recover it from the planet Toxus 3 where it’s believed to be lying in wait. Bucky knows how destructive such a device could be in the hands of the Toads and vows to recover it.

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“Get lost, Blinky. I got something I need to take care of.”

At the ship, Bruiser has run out of bananas, but has the problem of still being hungry. Blinky has also run out of places to store the banana peels (good thing they landed on Sludge where they can probably just dump them). Blinky decides to head to a nearby outdoor market to purchase more bananas while Bruiser stays behind to watch the ship. He’s happy to do so as he whips out a baboon magazine that appears to feature a nude centerfold. Alone time on the Righteous Indignation is probably hard to come by and it looks like Bruiser is ready to take advantage.

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Blinky, you were only supposed to bring back bananas!

At the market, Blinky finds a merchant selling brown bananas. Reasoning that a brown banana is better than no banana, he makes the purchase and heads back to the ship. Meanwhile, those three toads from earlier are watching and following him. When he returns to the bubble dome and radios to Bruiser to let him in, the three toads slip in behind him. Bruiser opens the door to the ship and sees the three coming up on Blinky’s rear and they’re armed. He calls out to his little buddy and runs out to help him. Meanwhile, one of the toads uses a gun on Blinky that coats his arm in ice. The other two approach Bruiser, and fighting their fear of baboons, they drop to one knee and fire the same ice weapon at him hitting him in the leg. Bruiser is able to get a mitt on one and his hood flies off to reveal he’s indeed a toad, an old-looking one at that. They succeed in freezing Bruiser’s arm and head and decide they don’t need the ship, just the android, as Blinky is turned into an ice cube. Bruiser, his head inside a block of ice, collapses and passes out.

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Well that’s a handy little weapon.

Jenny, Dead-Eye, and Bucky find Bruiser and thaw him out, apparently before he lost anymore brain cells. He wakes and is discouraged to see that the toads got away, but worried that Blinky apparently disappeared with them. They had back to the ship knowing they need to find Blinky, but also knowing they have to get that matter-transmuter before the Toads can. Bucky contacts Dexter and asks him to keep an eye out for Blinky via their scanners. It’s really all they can do for Blinky at this point.

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Must be a retirement ship.

Aboard another ship, Blinky meets his captors. The three elderly toads explain they need him and for the second consecutive episode Blinky finds himself strapped to a chair. He can tell they’re toads, but he mentions there’s something different about them compared with other toads. They don’t elaborate much, only to tell him he’s needed to be their navigation computer. They want to get to Genus where they apparently have some business of some kind.

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“Bruiser! How many times do I have to tell you; use the latrine!”

The Righteous Indignation heads for Toxus 3 to retrieve the matter-transmuter and find the Toads there to do the same. When Bucky tries to engage them the engines overheat and the Righteous Indignation is essentially crippled. What do you do when your ship doesn’t work? You call Willy, who was preparing to head to the movies with his folks to see something about Woodstock. He wasn’t looking forward to it and is happy to tell his parents to go without him as he heads back to the Aniverse. There he sees Bruiser first who basically can’t even tell him what happened to Blinky as he seems like he’s about to cry. It’s sweet. Willy ends up finding the engines clogged with some gunk, and Bucky reasons it’s probably from the polluted air of Sludge. Willy clears it out, but it’s too late to stop the Toads from getting what they came for.

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That Air Marshall needs to smile more.

Toad Air Marshall interrupts his lazy subordinates, Frix and Frax, who are once again watching Toad TV. He’s rather proud of himself for recovering the matter-transmuter and theorizes he has a new medal to look forward to. Komplex interrupts him to basically put him in his place. Komplex hasn’t forgotten the Air Marshall’s many failures up to this point, and is particularly irritated that Bucky O’Hare nearly foiled its plans again. Komplex, unlike many of its minions, is smart enough to know that the mammals deciphered their code in order to find out what they were doing. Komplex has a new plan though, one that it hopes will finally rid it of those meddlesome mammals.

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Komplex needs a dentist.

With the matter-transmuter in Toad hands and no leads on Blinky, Bucky looks to Dexter and Major Bottlenose for help. It just so happens that they’ve uncovered a new transmission from Komplex in the same manner as the one that lead them to the matter-transmuter. This one is Komplex confirming the existence of three toad scientists thought to be dead. They’re the ones who created Komplex, and when Komplex first took over the Toad home world it had the first Storm Troopers imprison these three on a slave ship. For some reason, Komplex didn’t have them killed and instead sent them into deep space frozen in a state of suspended animation where they were supposed to live out the rest of their lives. Komplex says that didn’t happen and they crashed near Toxus 2 and could very well be alive aboard their ship. The Toads are to recover them and bring them to Komplex.

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For some reason this really freaked me out as a kid so it’s an image that’s stayed with me.

This being their only lead, Bucky takes the crew to Toxus 2 where a slave ship is discovered just floating in space. The Indefatigable arrives soon after and Dogstar radios to Bucky that they’ll be providing backup. Bucky is happy to have the help as he and Willy take the Toad Croaker over to investigate and find three partially frozen beings onboard. Bucky, who seemed skeptical about this from the start, is puzzled how they’re frozen while the interior of the ship remains warm. Willy inspects the bodies and notices one isn’t cold, and then is alarmed when the arm falls off. They’re dummies, and so are Bucky and Willy. It’s a Toad trap, and as Bucky and Willy rocket away on the Croaker the Indefatigable morphs into a Toad cruiser.

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The Air Marshall and his new toy.

Apparently, the Air Marshall does a great Dogstar impersonation as we see him at the controls of the matter-transmuter demonstrating his apparent talent. The device had been used to disguise their ship, and now it’s being used against our heroes. The Air Marshall first sets his sights on the Righteous Indignation changing its engines into a giant anchor and the tower into a big jester head or something. The anchor causes the ship to plummet through space (which makes zero sense) and the new piece on top of the ship apparently knocked out the power to Dead-Eye’s guns. He then turns his attention towards Bucky and Willy. Bucky is able to dodge the first few shots from the Air Marshall, but eventually the Croaker is hit and converted into a giant glob of glue. Like the ship, Bucky and Willy just start falling and the goo adheres to the side of the Righteous Indignation.

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Notice how Blinky had to be configured to function as a navigation computer.

Blinky has led the three elderly toads here and they have an apparent score to settle with Komplex. They reveal their origin to Blinky, and since they have no love for Komplex, they seem content to let Blinky do what he must to save his friends. He sets the cruiser they’re in on a collision course with the Air Marshall’s cruiser. The shields on the Toad Slave Ship they’re in prevents the Air Marshall from using the matter-transmuter on it. Seeing no alternative, he bails as the ships collide. The resulting collision blows a hole in the Air Marshall’s cruiser and the matter-transmuter gets sucked out. It collides with Willy and Bucky, but Blinky is there to make the save. Apparently, his arms extend really, really, far and he grabs onto the matter-transmuter and hauls it into the ship along with Bucky and Willy.

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Blinky is really making up for screwing up the ship in the last episode.

With the matter-transmuter now in the hands of the mammals, Willy looks to figure out how it works. Meanwhile, Toad Double Bubbles are on the attack and Willy has to react fast. He undoes the damage to the Righteous Indignation, which helps calm a rather distraught Blinky, and allows Dead-Eye to return to doing what he enjoys most. It’s still a tall task to ask of the mighty gunner, and Willy turns the matter-transmuter on the uninhabited Toxus 2 converting the entire planet into a giant Berserker Baboon, the sight of which causes the Toads to flee in terror. It makes no sense since this space baboon appears to now be alive, but this episode especially is not concerned about pesky “rules.” This stunt apparently overheated the matter-transmuter as well and it explodes, but the heroes escape any harm. Willy seems disappointed, but Bucky is happy it will no longer be in Toad hands.

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Nothing like a giant baboon to scare away some toads. So, is this thing alive now? Is there just a colossal, planet-sized, baboon roaming space now?

The crew heads to Genus where everyone is shown getting a bite to eat at a restaurant. Bucky and the others are seated with the three toad scientists who devour green hamburgers. Bucky is interested in learning from them and asks what’s the secret to destroying Komplex? The three scientists look at him as if he has two heads before asking him if there was a simple way to destroy him don’t you think they would have done it already? Bucky and the others can’t even attempt to hide their disappointment.

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Sorry guys, there’s no secret to taking out Komplex.

“Komplex Konspiracy” is actually a pretty fun little episode. It’s not directly tied in with anything else, but at least the heroes are actively working towards ending the Toad threat. They get a lead on a potential way to do it learning a little more about Komplex in the process, but we obviously can’t have the ultimate evil on the show destroyed so soon. I also like seeing the ingenuity of the mammals in concealing a secret base on a junky world underwater and it’s equally neat to see Komplex beat them at their own game. The trap they lay for Bucky is actually a pretty good one and the only thing they didn’t count on was the actual scientists (Dr. Hopkins, Wartimer, and Croakley) being there to toss a wrench in things. And of course the Air Marshall’s incompetence played a role as well.

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We learn in this episode that, like most cats, Jenny is no fan of water.

In terms of character progression, we got a little more out of Blinky’s personality. It was entertaining to watch him fret at finding places to store Bruiser’s banana peels and the logic he displays in his various tasks was pretty amusing and at times cute. The episode also doubles-down on the Bruiser and Blinky dynamic, which is sweet, and the little joke at Jenny’s expense with the water also produced a smile on my face. This episode isn’t heavy on humor, but it manages to be effective without the usual amount of cheese found in children’s cartoons. The fake-out ending was also pretty well done, the only thing I didn’t like about it being that it’s really rushed. This show has pacing issues, and it’s a shame it didn’t have just five additional seconds to linger on the shocked faces of the crew when the scientists explain there’s no secret way to destroy Komplex.

Major Bottlenose and Dexter are interesting additions as well. Bottlenose may be a mammal, but he’s the first aquatic mammal we’ve seen. It’s also amusing to see the reaction of Dead-Eye to the non-mammal Dexter, who also possesses a dry sense of humor. I just wish this show had one or two more voice actors as Scott McNeil has way too many roles. He’s a good voice actor, but he can only do so much.

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The matter-transmuter turned out to be an interesting plot device, but damn did it lead to some weird choices in animation.

Visually, this episode is actually one of the better ones so far. I think that has more to do with the setting than anything. There’s a lot of stationary scenes and space travel, which makes things easier to animate. The underwater sequence also actually helps since characters often look floaty and weightless. Sludge is appropriately gross and the ice gun the scientists utilize is a nice touch. The only negative is the weird physics (or maybe I should say lack of physics) at play during the climax. There was even a sequence during a Toad TV demonstration of the matter-transmuter where characters are seen parachuting out of a destroyed space ship. The show plays fast and loose with the laws of space, but this is the most loose it’s been so far.

All in all, this is a rather serviceable episode. If it had a touch more importance and set up another story then that would have helped elevate it, but as a stand-alone episode this is fine. It’s definitely good to see as after last week’s episode I was fearful we were in for a really bad slide until the finale. Hopefully the momentum carries into next week’s episode, “The Komplex Caper.”


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