(This Episode was originally aired as “Episode 8″, even though it’s actually “Episode 3″ in continuity)
This episode starts out with the Joe team continuing their trek through the country in the stolen Coyote, only to run into a police checkpoint, designed to try and capture them. Taking some drastic measures, Snake Eyes takes the jeep and drives it off the road and into the river as a distraction.
As the police are distracted, the Joes slip by and end up in Chicago. As they hunt down clothes to try and blend in, a disgruntled Military Vet goes on a miniature rampage, and disaster is barely averted when Duke tosses a live grenade away from the crowd. They take him to the hospital and find out that he’s not alone… Vets all over the city have been coming in with the same strange rampaging symptoms.
While Duke and Scarlett want to stick around and try to figure out what’s going on, Tunnel Rat makes a different decision, and wants to get out of dodge. Frustrated with the other Joes, he storms off and ends up talking to a priest, who offers him some hot coffee (thinking that he’s another homeless Vet). Tunnel Rat takes it, and instantly falls unconscious.
Tunnel Rat awakens in a mysterious location, strapped down into a high tech mechanized vehicle. He ends up facing off against another Vet, surprisingly named Ralph Pulaski (who we know better as Steeler).
In the lab, we meet Scrap Iron, who is talking with Mr. McCullen, who apparently work together. They have been kidnapping veterans to test next generation technical equipment. While plugged into these Mechs, the soldiers are jolted by the “Rage Effect” from Scrap Iron, which causes them to go on controlled rages as the two Mechs battle each other. Meanwhile, McCullen and The Baroness converse about this new technology and how MARS works alongside Cobra Industries.
Scrap Iron reveals that the sonic tone used to control the Rage Effect is having a negative impact on the test subjects, and they need someone stronger.
The Joes stumble upon Tunnel Rat and take him to the hospital where Snake Eyes calms him down. The rest of the Joes vow to find out what caused this and head out to see if they can figure something out. They return to the scene of the crime and see the preacher who offers Roadblock the same coffee he gave to Tunnel Rat. Within seconds, the large Joe is in the van and is driving away, with Duke and Scarlett in pursuit. However, the Joes stop for a second as a convoy truck races by, and the van drives away into the darkness.
Roadblock awakens a short time later in the same suit we saw Tunnel Rat in not shortly before. McCullen hits Roadblock with the sonic tone and the Joe machine gunner takes to it like a fish to water. McCullen and Scrap Iron decide to try and pick up the pace.
Duke and Scarlett are on the hunt in another part of town, and Scarlett leads him to a building that she’s heard rumor of being a Cobra front. They break right in through the wall with the Coyote, and McCullen turns up the juice. The Rage Effect hits Roadblock hard, and he charges after the Coyote, not even listening to his friend’s pleas. Tunnel Rat wakes up in the hospital, runs into Snake Eyes and they both take off after the other Joes.
Duke manages to temporarily break Roadblock out of his rage, and he goes after McCullen and Scrap Iron, who escape in a Black Dragon helicopter. Hot on their heels, Roadblock is intercepted by the Coyote once again, but not before he tosses a missile at the copter, which explodes near the cockpit. Roadblock turns back towards the Joes in the Coyote, but Tunnel Rat intercedes, playing the larger Joe’s favorite music. While Tunnel Rat distracts Roadblock, Snake Eyes slides in and cuts Roadblock free of the mech suit.
They all retreat to the hospital, where they use the music to help free the minds of the other vets in the beds. They are thanked by Pulaski, who introduces himself as Steeler, while at the same time, the Doctor is paged as “Doctor Greer”, who is better known as Doc!
The Joes slip out just in time as Flint and Lady Jaye barge in, hot on their tail, but not before they slip away and escape into the night.
So finally. We finally get our glimpse of the G.I. Joe: Renegades version of Destro.
I love it. The perfect Scottish accent, the perfect arrogant attitude, not to mention an established relationship with The Baroness and Scrap Iron. Gotta love the name dropped “Grenadiers” as well. He was handled to absolute perfection. The way he and Baroness bounced off each other, and Baroness’ almost flirty nature with him were excellent additions to the story and some really cool insight into potential future events.
The rest of the episode was amazingly well done, I thought. For a kids cartoon they tackled some pretty mature themes, including homeless veterans, addiction, and even touched on the religion angle. This episode seemed like a return somewhat to the status quo after some departures in the Arashikage 2-Parter and the Homecoming 2-Parter.
I was glad to see that the point of the Mechs wasn’t necessarily mind control per se, but more of an enhanced “rage” technology that forced normally docile soldiers into becoming fighting and killing machines. The designs of the Mechs were pretty cool, and the cameo by the HISS Drone was awesome as well.
Speaking of cameos, Steeler and Doc made an appearance in this episode, which was awesome, and I’d even argue some of Steeler’s buddies might have been designed as former Joes. The guy with the beard certainly looked like Clutch, but without identification, that’s just hypothosis. Again, too, it was great hearing Destro talk about his “Grenadiers”. Such a good touch.
Scrap Iron is obviously a work in progress… I loved seeing how he got his scars, but seeing him as more of a techie than an explosives expert was kind of weird. Perhaps he will evolve into that.
There was some good action, I love the fact that we finally got introduced to James McCullen, and the cameos and Easter eggs continue to come full tilt, which is awesome. That being said, it didn’t quite feel to be the same quality of the previous four episodes, but I strongly think that speaks more to how good those were than to any failings of this one. It was certainly a great half hour of Joe entertainment.
It will be very interesting to see how McCullen evolves, and where we go with Scrap Iron from here. A good start, and I’m looking forward to some Zartan action next week.
Screenshot Gallery (Courtesy of HissTank.com)
Original Air Date: January 7th, 2011
Writer: Stan Berkowitz
Director: Kevin Altieri
- Scrap Iron receives scarring to his face
- Destro makes mention of his private army “The Grenadiers”.
- Roadblock rhymes during conversation as a tribute to the Sunbow series “Leave or stay, I’m fine either way”.
- The canceled HISS Drone appears during Roadblock’s Mech training session
- Steeler appears as a homeless veteran who helps the Joe team
- Doc appears as a local city doctor who helps the Joe team