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Bucky O’Hare and the Toad Wars – “The Taking of Pilot Jenny”

img_3765Episode Number:  13

Original Air Date:  December 1, 1991

Directed by:  Karen Peterson

Written by:  Neal Adams, Peter Stone

First Appearance:  Komplex-2-Go, Cousin Jeffrey

After three months of blogging, we have arrived at the final episode of Bucky O’Hare and the Toad Wars. The show began aggressively, with a three-part story that also bled into several other episodes to follow before transitioning to a format of stand-alone episodes. Those episodes were utilized to flesh out the world and characters in the show, while this finale will largely return to plots from the earlier part of the season. While not every one of those stand-alone episodes felt entirely relevant, it was a solid approach to story-telling for a relatively short season of television. It might seem like nothing, but for children’s programming it’s fairly ambitious. Networks aren’t too fond of such methods. They think it’s easier to just present simple, concise stories. Missing an episode can be a burden on viewers, or so some would think. And if there are production delays on a particular episode that can pose a problem when something has to air out of order. X-Men encountered these problems just a year later allowing the network to mandate future seasons of that show abandon the serialized format of its first season. And while some still hold onto the belief that serialized story-telling does more harm than good, the incredible success of that show makes a case that it’s also what children want.


Hopefully you remember what this thing is because it’s important to today’s episode.

Unfortunately for Bucky O’Hare, it did few favors here. Whether it hurt or helped is unknown, but what is known is that the show did not continue past this episode. This episode not only serves as a season finale, but also as a series finale. It’s unknown if the writers expected that outcome, but there is at least some finality here. To further add to the episode’s importance, the producers brought out the big guns. Comic artist Neal Adams co-wrote this one with Peter Stone. It’s the only writing credit for Adams on the show, though he probably has had input on it throughout the development process.


The episode opens with Jenny and Blinky immediately running into trouble. Why isn’t it called “The Taking of Pilot Jenny and AFC Blinky”? Poor Blinky.

The finale begins with Jenny and Blinky piloting the Toad Croaker through an asteroid field. Jenny is making some daring maneuvers that appear to have the android unnerved. She assures him everything is fine, but they’re behind schedule and need to make up for lost time. Blinky isn’t the only nervous one as Bucky O’Hare radios for an update. She advises him to stop worrying as well but they soon run into trouble. Toads up ahead force Jenny to take evasive action. When she wonders why they don’t pursue Blinky points out the reason why. Up ahead are dozens of Double Bubbles waiting for them.


Willy is met with bad news when he enters the Aniverse.

Willy DuWitt is at home looking rather bored. He says aloud to himself that he hasn’t seen Bucky and the others in days and tries contacting Jenny through the memory stone she gave him. When she doesn’t respond he gets worried and activates his photon accelerator. He enters through his door to find the Righteous Indignation rather quiet. He calls out to the others and eventually runs into Dead-Eye as he climbs down from the cockpit area. When Willy asks what’s going on he tells him “They got Jenny,” but he does it in such a manner that it sounds like he means she’s dead. Willy appears to get the meaning and he heads up to tell Bucky they have to get her back. Bucky agrees and he’s traced the Toads to a specific location:  Warren.


The captured pilot. Blinky is allowed to just hang around.

The Righteous Indignation approaches the Toad Mothership which is surrounded by the entire Toad fleet. Toadborg speaks on behalf of the Toads to tell them they have their pilot (no one seems to care about Blinky) and he shows the confined Jenny on the video monitor. He threatens to “cybertize” her, or something, and I guess that means they intend to make her a cyborg. Bucky demands her release, but Toadborg wants to make a deal. One pilot for one climate converter. It would seem the Toads have wanted to reclaim the converter they lost to the mammals on Kinnear back in episode 4, but the hares hope to use that to restore the climate on their home planet of Warren which is still under Toad occupation. Willy insists Bucky would never make that trade and the writers use his explanation as a way to remind viewers of what Toadborg is talking about. To Willy’s surprise, Bucky agrees and he orders the ship to head for Kinnear. Willy tries to protest, but Bucky orders him to engineering. Willy tries reasoning with Dead-Eye once the two leave the cockpit area and Dead-Eye has a rather logical explanation for why Bucky is willing to deal:  there are multiple climate converters out there, but only one Jenny.


Dead-Eye seems rather on edge for being on a friendly planet.

The crew arrive on Kinnear and Bucky heads inside to meet with the hares still there while the others wait on a bridge. While waiting, Bruiser enjoys a large bundle of purple bananas so apparently they grow in other places besides the planet his brother presently calls home. Willy thinks the hares will never agree to give up their lone climate converter, but Bucky emerges from the meeting with them and they’re all in agreement:  Bucky gets the converter. Willy is astounded as everyone heads back to the ship.


Frix and Frax get a little taste of what Jenny is capable of.

On the Toad Mothership, Frix and Frax are enjoying taunting Jenny. They question if she actually believes that Toadborg will set her free once they make the trade and laugh at her when she indicates that she does. While the two howl with laughter, Jenny uses her psychic powers to control them. She has one slap the other and then return the gesture until Toadborg enters to break things up.


Willy with the save!

The Righteous Indignation, along with the climate converter, enters the area and Willy asks Bruiser if he’s concerned about Bucky. It seems the captain hasn’t said a word since they left Kinnear and Willy is worried about him, but Bruiser just encourages him to have faith in their captain. Willy enters the cockpit area and speaks to Toadborg on behalf of the crew demanding the release of Jenny in exchange for the converter. In response, the Mothership fires on the Righteous Indignation striking Dead-Eye’s M.A.S.E.R. canons and knocking the duck from his seat. Willy is there to catch him and Dead-Eye compliments him on his reflexes, and justifiably since he went from the cockpit to the gunner position in seconds. A tractor beem then engulfs the Righteous Indignation and it’s pulled into the Toad Mothership.


Captured again.

Aboard the Mothership, Bucky and the crew are lead into the same room as Jenny. Bruiser has his hands bound and a sack over his head, though they forgot to illustrate the sack in the establishing shot. Apparently that’s all that needs to happen to calm the other toads in his presence. How they actually got the restraints on him is not explained. As Toadborg celebrates his victory, he’s alerted that another mammal frigate has entered the picture. It’s the Indefatigable, and it has a message for Toadborg and that message comes from Captain Bucky O’Hare! It would seem he switched places with his cousin Jeffrey on Kinnear, which is why Bucky has been mute ever since and he also acquired a snazzy new space suit. They’re taking the fight to Warren, and it’s up to Toadborg to stop them. Toadborg is forced to summon a trio of spider-like androids (Tri-Bots) to serve as guards to watch the prisoners while he confers with Komplex. Before he leaves, Dead-Eye happily taunts Toadborg by relaying their plan to switch the climate converters and restore Warren’s natural climate. He then just runs from Toadborg and the whole sequence is rather amusing.


Digger McSquint getting in on the action.

Aboard the Indefatigable, Rumble Bee and Digger McSquint get to have some dialogue of their own as they take up arms against the many Double Bubbles surrounding the Mothership. Rumble Bee fires from the customary gunner position while Digger has ports he can apparently shoot a rifle through. Dogstar pilots them to Warren and things get a bit confusing. They land on a climate converter and Bucky takes Dogstar’s crew with him leaving Dogstar aboard his ship. The climate converter appears to be in space, though establishing shots will make it look like it’s still on Warren, and Bucky and them emerge as if they’re floating in space.


More Toad robots, nothing Jenny can’t handle.

Aboard the Toad Mothership, Bruiser has apparently grown sick of waiting around. He breaks his restraints and removes the bag on his head. He wants to squash toads, but the robots Toadborg left behind aren’t scared of him. They combine into a tower and blast Bruiser knocking him down taking out Dead-Eye and Jeffrey in the process. With those guys distracted, Jenny busts out her powers to destroy the Tri-Bots. She then urges everyone to follow her as they need to get back to the Righteous Indignation and retake the climate converter they launched from Kinnear, but before they can do that they need to sabotage this fleet.


Even Blinky gets a moment to shine in this one.

They head for the command room and once there Bruiser peels back a piece of paneling and instructs Blinky to do his thing. There’s nothing behind the panel, leaving me to believe there should be circuitry of some kind. Blinky is able to seize control of the Toad Mothership’s many turrets and fires them at the surrounding Double Bubbles. The Toad pilots are shown to be both confused and reluctant to fire on their own Mothership. For some reaosn, the “K” emblem on their helmets has been replaced with a solid black oval. I’m guessing AKOM just got sick of drawing them.


Komplex has a new trick to show off.

Toadborg is shown conferencing with Komplex. He’s forced to admit to mighty Komplex that he has been tricked by the mammals. He relays the mammal plan of switching the climate converter thus restoring Warren to its natural climate. Perhaps sick of Toad incompetence, Komplex tells Toadborg that it has a special surprise waiting for Bucky O’Hare and not to worry about the rabbit. We’re then shown a monitor aboard the climate converter with the Komplex visage upon it. The monitor removes itself from its housing and gathers up a bunch of stray parts to construct a body:  The Komplex-2-Go.


Not wanting to be out done, Toadborg has a new trick as well.

Jenny leads the crew to the Righteous Indignation, Toadborg sees them and pursues. Jenny fires up the controls and the ship takes off, and so does Toadborg. Apparently he’s got some rockets of his own that we haven’t seen before and he blasts off after them. Frix and Frax see the mammal frigate heading for the exit and, fearing what Toadborg will do to them should they escape, they begin the door close sequence. Jenny calls down to Willy that she needs more power and he does as commanded. The ship barely squeaks by, but Toadborg gets caught in the closing doors. Frix and Frax are left to ponder if Toadborg knows it was them that closed the doors as he shouts to be set free. They decide to chance it that he did not, and leave him there. Jenny pilots the ship to the other climate converter and informs the others they need to get to Warren on the double – Bucky’s waiting for them!


Time for Komplex to introduce itself to Bucky and…Dead-Eye?…Dogstar? Come on, AKOM…

Bucky leads Rumble Bee, Digger, and Wolf to the main hub of the climate converter. They intend to steal it, but will have an adversary they did not anticipate. As they get to work launching the converter from Warren, a gurney lifts up with Komplex-2-Go aboard it. It must have been waiting awhile for Bucky and decided to take a nap or something. The heroes are surprised to see this creation and are quick to take up arms against it. Komplex fires some missiles at Digger which destroy his gun and leave him looking comically charred. Komplex then targets Rumble Bee apparently damaging the android in the process. Wolf, climbing a tower-like structure, decides he’ll need to “take a hand.” He grabs some hanging wire and swings like a pirate calling out to Komplex a command to “Catch!” He tosses a spherical grenade which Komplex does indeed catch, only to have its arm blown off. Komplex then gives us the line of the season, “The filthy mammals blew off my arm!” The line reminds me of the famous Jack Nicholson line from Batman, “He took my balloons!” which amuses me since that film just turned 30.


Wolf swinging into action!

It’s going to take more than that to take down Komplex. Bucky regroups with Digger and Rumble Bee and tells them they need more fire power. Rumble Bee agrees and changes modes in which he basically transforms into a turret. One blast from Rumble Bee like this is enough to knock Komplex down. Bucky then heads for the climate converter controls, which can be piloted like a ship. Bucky regains control of the converter, which has been flying around aimlessly since they launched it. He orders the other three to return to the Indefatigable. They try to talk him out of it but he says he needs to take this thing and destroy it. They then head out leaving Bucky to pilot the converter alone.


And Komplex missing its arm.

The Indefatigable returns to the other climate converter where Jenny and the others await their arrival. Jenny has taken the pilot’s chair and orders Willy to join Dead-Eye below to learn how the thing functions. Bucky then appears in the stolen climate converter from Warren. As the two approach each other, Komplex begins to stir behind Bucky. Apparently it can self-repair, and as Bucky pilots the converter Komplex simply walks up behind him and blasts him. Unconscious, Komplex flings Bucky aside where he collapses in a heap.


Dogstar and company have arrived. Nice to see Digger recovered.

Komplex uses the climate converter to shoot lightning bolts at the one piloted by the mammals. Under fire, Rumble Bee figures that Komplex must have taken out Bucky and retaken the converter in order for it to fire upon them. Jenny calls down to Willy that they need to return fire, but Willy claims he still needs a few minutes to figure things out. This is basically the first time Willy hasn’t been an instant genius with something. Since they don’t have two minutes, Jenny decides to take matters into her own hands. Commanding Dogstar to take over, she demonstrates another one of her special powers.


It seems everyone has some new ability they want to show off today.

Jenny astral projects herself to the other converter. There she finds an unconscious Bucky. Initially, she tries to nudge him awake then admonishes herself for being a silly cat, she can’t touch anything in this ghost-like form. She then flits her fingers about and little colored lights flicker around them. I don’t know what they do, but it works and Bucky regains consciousness.


Whatever Jenny did apparently worked.

Komplex turns around to regard the meddlesome mammal and fires away. Bucky admonishes Komplex for being too slow and bounds over it. From behind, Bucky can see a giant power supply feeding into Komplex via a simple wire. It didn’t appear to be in the machine prior to this moment, so this is quite convenient. Bucky simply rips the plug out and Komplex collapses.


“I wonder what this will do?”

With Komplex dealt with, all that’s left is for Bucky to destroy the converter still laden with Toad programming. Willy helped get a start on that by getting the other converter to fire upon it and also create some sort of solar wind storm while Komplex still had control of it. Bucky places a detonator on the main console, then fastening on his space helmet, he takes off. As the device explodes, Bucky out runs the flames to safely arrive in space where the others can pick him up.


Time for the heroic run away from disaster shot.

The new climate converter is then placed on Warren. As it’s being activated, there’s still the matter of the Toads on Warren to deal with. Harking back to “On the Blink,” the crew uses Bruiser once again to broadcast a message of violence towards the Toads. It gets picked up by the various monitors likely constantly tuned to Toad TV and has the desired effect. The Storm Toads flee the planet in terror leaving it once again toad free.


It should be noted that Bucky never apologizes for keeping Willy in the dark.

Once reunited, it’s revealed to Willy that the whole thing was a setup. Jenny wanted to get captured so that they could switch out the climate converter on Kinnear with the one on Warren and restore the planet’s natural climate. They basically explained they knew they could outsmart the Toads. When Willy asks why they didn’t let him in on it, Bucky explains because the plan was already well underway when he arrived. They felt his sincerity would be an asset in getting the Toads to go along with the scheme so they ran with it. Willy is apparently fine with this, though I wouldn’t have blamed him for getting mad.


Check out the happy rabbit family.

On Warren, the climate is restored thanks to the climate converter reprogrammed by the hares on Kinnear. The hare population is shown returning and a small family emerges from their spaceship for a look around. A little kid asks his dad if they can finally return home and his dad says they sure can, thanks to the members of S.P.A.C.E. and Captain Bucky O’Hare! We then get our requisite shot of the Righteous Indignation making a dramatic fly over and cut to the entire crew onboard with Bucky giving a wave to close out the series.


And there goes the Righteous Indignation speeding out of my childhood.

And that’s how Bucky O’Hare and the Toad Wars ends. It’s a fitting and satisfying way to close out the season as it harkens back to the start. Bucky’s homeworld, Warren, is taken over and converted into a swamp by the Toads. The hares are then enslaved and put to work making another climate converter which Bucky is able to liberate. The hare scientists then convert the converter to their specifications, get rid of any pesky Komplex presence on it, and are able to use that to restore their planet by season’s end. It’s a nice through-line and makes me wonder if another one would have been established for a season two, but that was not to be.


There’s some pretty odd visual blunders in this one. Someone obviously thought Digger was supposed to be Dead-Eye, even though a couple of arms are missing.

That may be a satisfying way for the season to be approached, though the episode itself is not without its problems. Willy is a bit annoying as he constantly questions Bucky throughout the episode. I think the audience is supposed to agree with his line of questioning, but I didn’t feel it. There’s some animation blunders as well, which we’ve come to expect from this show. In one shot aboard the climate converter, Digger McSquint is colored like Dead-Eye and then in another he is Dead-Eye. Dogstar also appears alongside that crew more than once further muddying things. It’s mostly par for the course, but I was hopeful the finale would be a little more polished.


This ended up being the last shot of Toadborg in the series. How fitting.

A lot of the plot points in this episode are also quite convenient. Jenny has a power she’s never used which can awaken Bucky, and Komplex was felled by a simple power cord. Wouldn’t they have noticed that during the initial confrontation? Maybe they would have had it actually been drawn into any of those frames as opposed to just magically appearing when Bucky needed it to. Toadborg was also ultimately felled by a door, but also by Toad incompetence on the part of Frix and Frax. Though after the events of episode 3, you would think the Toads would know to keep their doors closed or maybe just empty the captured Righteous Indignation of fuel or whatever powers it. Toad Air Marshall is also no where to be found which is rather curious. I don’t know that I missed him, more just that I was surprised by his absence. Also absent is Pit Stop Pete who isn’t shown aboard the Indefatigable at all. And it would have been nice if the plan included the Screaming Mimi as well, just to get all three ships together for the first time.


There’s still a lot to like about this one as a season finale. It brought together most of the show’s characters and even brought back Warren and the climate converter.

All in all though, this is a suitable way for the season to end. Had it been written as a series finale there may have been more finality to it. I don’t think we’re supposed to think Komplex has finally been defeated or anything, and obviously Toadborg will be just fine. Instead it was just an important, major, victory for the mammals and Bucky can rest easy knowing his home is back the way it used to be. It has imperfections as an episode (or should I say warts?), but they all do. I wanted this to be the best episode of the series, and it’s not, but it’s one of the better ones. I’ll reserve my final thoughts on the series for a follow-up post next week, but right now I mostly feel content with how the series ended.

Bucky O’Hare and the Toad Wars – “The Komplex Caper”

img_3558Episode Number:  7

Original Air Date:  October 20, 1991

Directed by:  Karen Peterson

Written by:  Doug Moench

First Appearance:  Rumble Bee, Digger McSquint, Pitstop Pete

For the second consecutive week, Komplex gets top-billing by being included in the episode title. Surprisingly, they didn’t stick with the “K” theme and call it The Komplex Kaper, but I guess once was enough. This is an episode I had almost no memory of going into it. Once I started watching it things started to come back, but for one reason or another it was not a memorable episode for me. That had me a bit a worried, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that this episode isn’t bad. It’s not threatening “Home, Swampy, Home” as my favorite thus far, but it’s nowhere near as bad as “On the Blink,” which itself wasn’t without its charms.


If Boss Fight Studio is looking for a variant of its Storm Trooper figure, here’s a goofy one.

This episode opens with Dead-Eye out scouting in the Toad Croaker. He happens upon a Toad Cruiser which has just launched a satellite of some kind. The hatch of the Cruiser conveniently opens and Dead-Eye sneaks aboard. There he finds a lone Toad pilot referred to as the Toad Master Spy. He mostly resembles a Storm Trooper, but his suit is less detailed and he has these weird little antennae on his helmet, plus what appears to be a nose. He sees the abandoned Croaker just floating around his ship which he regards as curious, until Dead-Eye blasts a hole through his door. Dead-Eye radios to Bucky and informs him of what he found and asks what to do. Bucky, in an irritated voice, tells him to tie him up and bring him aboard. When Dead-Eye asks “With what?” Bucky instructs him to improvise.


I bet no one is surprised they made a tongue-tied joke here.

Aboard the Righteous Indignation, Bucky heads down below to interrogate Dead-Eye’s prisoner. He finds one toad with his tongue wrapped around his entire body and a proud duck. Bucky commends Dead-Eye for his resourcefulness, but seeing as how the toad needs his tongue to speak, he instructs the excitable gunner to untie him. The toad then struggles to get his tongue back into his mouth and complains it’s too limp to utilize. Bucky bangs it around some to wake it up (why do I suddenly hear the sound of Beavis and Butt-Head’s laughter in my head right now?), and AKOM apparently got sick of animating the thing because it just magically returns to the toad’s mouth. Bucky then tries to interrogate him, but he’s not talking. Enter Bruiser, which gets the toad’s tongue working just fine. He says Komplex sent him to position and shield a satellite, but he doesn’t know anything else. Bucky then instructs Bruiser to toss the prisoner in the brig while he ponders what this could mean.


Air Marshall is receiving a temporary promotion which will all but surely remain temporary.

Komplex is then briefly shown discussing this new scheme with the Air Marshall. Air Marshall is being charged with defending Komplex, a task usually reserved for Toadborg but he’s busy with something else. On Earth, Willy is messing around with his computer and the photon accelerator. It’s causing interference on his computer, and eventually it picks up Komplex’s signal. Willy overhears a plan to utilize a satellite to broadcast Toad TV to the rest of the Aniverse which will drain the brain waves of the mammals watching and render them obedient to Komplex. Toadborg is also shown on a sound stage dressing toad actors as mammals in preparation for the first broadcast.


Toadborg has a future in directing.

Willy, realizing he stumbled onto something important, activates his photon accelerator to return to the Aniverse. He starts informing Bucky and the others about what he learned, but he doesn’t get very far before the Toad satellite starts broadcasting its first transmission. The various monitors on the ship display some monster movie, the effects of which seem to hypnotize the members of the crew. All except Willy (and possibly Blinky, who doesn’t say anything but also doesn’t appear to be affected) are essentially paralyzed and we see shots of other random mammal households under the same spell. A green energy is being sucked out of the viewers and floating to the television suggesting this is some kind of brain drain. Willy deactivates the monitors on the ship breaking the spell. Jenny thanks him for saving their lives and Bucky starts formulating a plan.


The brain suck in action. Throughout, AKOM is inconsistent where Blinky is concerned. In some shots he’s being affected, in some he’s not. As an android, I’d assume he has no brain waves.

The Indefatigable is summoned and Dogstar soon shows up with his new crew. Their names won’t be given, but in addition to Dogstar and Wolf we have Rumble Bee, Pitstop Pete, and Digger McSquint. Dogstar is displayed as being especially bumbling so he hasn’t gotten any smarter since we last saw him. He goes along with Bucky’s advice to shut down their ship’s video monitors so at least he’s smart enough to take orders when necessary. Bucky has a pretty radical idea to infiltrate Komplex and take this thing down at the source, and the only way to do that is to attack the Toad home world.


Some new faces aboard the Indefatigable. Pitstop Pete and Rumble Bee presently enduring a rather boring heroic tale from their commander.

Bucky has Dead-Eye take him there via the Toad Croaker which is disguised as a meteor. It will fall to Dogstar to keep the Toads occupied outside the planet while the Righteous Indignation returns to deal with that stray satellite. Wolf launches in their own version of a Toad Croaker while Bucky makes his way to the surface armed with his trusty sidearm and some special crystal Jenny gave him in case he gets in trouble. He also has a handy jetpack on his space suit that helps him get around. A Toad gunner is shown at a console and he regards the Croaker disguised as a meteor as unimportant. The Air Marshall shows up and almost succeeds in fouling Bucky’s plan by ordering the gunner to blast the meteor in order to remain sharp. Before he can do so, the Indefatigable appears drawing their attention away from Bucky, as planned.


Air Marshall doing his best to remain vigilante.

Seeing the Indefatigable in its orbit, Komplex orders the Toad fleet to attack. What appear to be hundreds of Double Bubbles come streaming out of the Toad planet. In the first few episodes, such odds were made to seem insurmountable for one frigate, but apparently Dogstar’s crew will do just fine. We get to see his guys get in position and Rumble Bee, being an android, basically extends his “stinger” and plugs into their ship’s M.A.S.E.R. canon while Pete mans what looks like a missile launcher.


Rumble Bee plugs himself into the Indefatigable’s canon.

Bucky makes his way through the Toad planet undetected. He even remarks it’s rather boring, which is the cue for many laser turrets to activate and train their sights on Bucky. He dodges and shoots a few before reaching a deep chasm. At the bottom is something that resembles the Void Droid from episode 3. Bucky also encounters several more robots designed to destroy sentient beings, and Bucky being a sentient being, is soon targeted. These things look like smaller versions of that same Void Droid and also remind me of the mousers from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Lucky for Bucky, they aren’t as indestructible as the Void Droid and he’s able to blast them


A close call for Captain O’Hare.

It’s at this point that Komplex becomes aware of Bucky’s presence and we see the program is capable of panic. Komplex recalls all of the troops and orders them to defend Komplex at all costs. This even causes the many Double Bubbles fighting with Dogstar and his crew to turn around. Wolf requests updated instructions from Dogstar and he’s obviously irritated with his slow-thinking commander. Dogstar then instructs him to use their tails as fuses and light ’em up! Very poetic.


Willy’s stupid gun

Meanwhile, the Righteous Indignation has found the shield around that satellite to be impregnable. To no one’s surprise, Willy is able to come up with a solution because his brain essentially possesses magic powers, it would seem. The writers usually come up with some jargon to explain Willy’s plan, but this time they don’t bother. He whips up a little gun that somewhat resembles a video camera. Dead-Eye pilots the Croaker and Willy out to take a shot at the satellite, and what do you know, Willy’s weapon works. With the shield down they now just need confirmation from Bucky that they’re okay to blow it up.


This is apparently worse than the robots.

And as for Bucky, well he’s run into some trouble. He ended up in a hallway composed of giant video monitors and Komplex has switched them all on. They’re apparently not broadcasting the mammal-centric programming affecting the rest of the Aniverse though and it just looks like Toad TV. Apparently, regular old Toad TV has a paralyzing effect on mammals. We’ve seen Bucky and the others recoil with disgust when presented with Toad TV, but nothing like this. Bucky falls to his knees clutching his head apparently incapable of doing much else. He then pulls out that crystal Jenny gave him, which floats into the air and sends out a laser blast in all directions destroying all of the monitors and freeing Bucky from their paralyzing effects.


What better way to house a bunch of brain waves than a big old brain itself?

In the inner sanctum of Komplex, Toadborg activates the final component of this brain drain device. A literal brain rises from a center console. It’s in a glass bubble and is very reminiscent of Mother Brain from the Metroid series (though not the version of the character from Captain N, thankfully) of video games. All of the brain waves being collected by the satellite are being consolidated here. Once that task is completed they’ll be scrambled and transmitted back to the source which will render the viewer obedient to Komplex, but it’s still roughly 5 minutes away from completion. Bucky then bursts in, and Komplex orders Toadborg to destroy him before he stops the brain drain. Toadborg has a rifle this time, but hitting Bucky proves challenging. Similar to episode 3, Bucky is able to insult Toadborg which appears to enrage him and makes him sloppy. He vaults over the cybernetic toad to rest atop the giant brain and Toadborg cooperates by continuously firing at Bucky. His sloppy shooting causes him to strike the brain and explosions happen.


Komplex is in quite a panic during the final act.

We then cut to the satellite, which has now reversed its brain suck maneuver and is sending the waves back to their source. A montage of mammals around the Aniverse is shown as they all come to their senses. The writers even slip in a political joke when one mole remarks he feels like he was just subjected to 9 months of Quail speeches, which I can only assume was a jab at the current sitting Vice President of the United States, at the time. Bucky then contacts the Righteous Indignation and orders the destruction of that satellite, and Dead-Eye is happy to oblige. A series of explosions at the Toad planet thrust Bucky back into space where Wolf is ready to scoop him up. He radios back to the Indefatigable to report that Bucky has been secured and their mission a success.


Wolf with the save!

Back aboard the Righteous Indignation the crew is shown celebrating. Bruiser seems particularly excited while Bucky is a bit sullen that he couldn’t take down Komplex once and for all. He’s reminded they’ll have other chances, while Bruiser is just happy to have television back. When he goes to flip on the tube, Bucky whips out his pistol and blasts it. It would seem he’s not quite ready for TV yet. A simple order would have probably been more economical though. Back at the inner sanctum of Komplex, Toadborg is shown angrily barking orders at other toads. They need to make emergency repairs to get Komplex back on-line and he suggests they’re at least a week away from achieving their goal. The camera then pans to Frix and Frax who realize they’ll be without Toad TV for at least a week and they begin to weep like children.


The reaction of Frix and Frax when faced with the prospect of no Toad TV for a week.

“The Komplex Caper” isn’t what I expected given the title, but I suppose it’s still a caper since the Toads were stealing something after all. It just wasn’t something tangible as they were stealing the brain waves of the mammal population. It’s a bit “out there” as a plot device, but it wasn’t a surprise to see Toad TV integrated into a plot in a major way. I still don’t really get how Toad TV works – is it paralyzing to mammals? It seems kind of stupid, but I guess with a kid’s show you’re always looking for non-violent ways for the villains to inflict harm and distress on the protagonists. It was fun to see the fight be taken to the Toad home world for the first time, though it was improbably easy for Bucky to infiltrate it. We also saw Toadborg fail once again. I can’t say I’m happy to see his apparent weakness is a short temper, because it is rather lame, but when you create a villain that’s indestructible you have to find a weakness some where.


I very much enjoyed watching Wolf get annoyed with Dogstar.

They may not have played a huge role in the episode, but it was nice to see Dogstar given a proper crew. Up until now he’s only had Wolf at his side and he briefly had some generic looking dog character when they arrested Tinker back in episode 2. The newcomers all have interesting designs. Their designs were so interesting that Pitstop Pete and Rumble Bee were both supposed to be in Hasbro’s series 2 of action figures, but that wasn’t to be. I’d still like to see a Rumble Bee at some point as he’s just unique looking so hopefully Boss Fight Studio’s current line of figures lasts long enough for that to happen. Considering they have yet to unveil a Blinky or Willy (and maybe they’d want to do a Dogstar first as well) I’d guess he’s still pretty far away.


This episode is at least unique for giving us a look inside Komplex.

This episode is pretty entertaining. Even though it requires a real suspension of disbelief, watching Bucky infiltrate the Toad home world is pretty cool and it’s something I wouldn’t have expected to happen yet in the series. We are at the midpoint though, so maybe this was as good a time as any to go ahead and take the fight to the Toads head-on. There’s some solid humor here too. The sequence at the episode’s start with Dead-Eye and the Toad pilot is perhaps the best piece of humor the show has provided us so far while it was also funny to see Wolf’s interactions with Dogstar. Dogstar annoys me and it’s nice to see he apparently annoys Wolf as well. This episode also makes it seem like Komplex will be out of commission for at least a little while. That’s not the case though as we’ll be hearing from Komplex again quite soon. Komplex isn’t featured in every episode, so I don’t know why they didn’t position one of those episodes to follow this one, but oh well. Opportunity wasted. Toadborg did say Komplex would only be down for a week which is convenient for a weekly TV show. After three episodes though that are very stand-alone in nature, next week’s will bring us a direct call-back to the very first episode of the series with “The Search for Bruce.” See you in a week!

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.


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.


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.


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.


“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.


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.


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.


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.


“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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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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