Episode Twenty-One – The Anomaly

Episode Synopsis

We start off the episode in a mysterious Cobra lab, where Mindbender continues Bio-Viper related experiments.  The Bio-Viper isn’t able to remain integrated, and leaks into the sewer grate.  Cobra Commander radio’s in and demands some updated information.

Meanwhile, a young kid named Reggie is cornered by a gang who demand money, and is rescued by a mysterious large being in the shadows…

As the Joes cruise along the highway in the Coyote, Ripcord has a dream about transforming into the Bio-Viper.  Ripcord is worried about the chip that remains buried in his head, and Tunnel Rat stumbles upon a news story about a “sewer monster” who supposedly kidnapped at young kid.  The Joes stop by and visit Tunnel Rat’s brother Teddy, and they offer to help find Reggie, the missing kid, suspecting Cobra is somehow involved.  Teddy gets the Joes in front of the only witness, and he admits that Reggie was taken by a “monster”.

The Joes decide they need to make their move and see if they can uncover this Brooklyn Bio-Viper.  While Mindbender continues his experiments, Cobra Commander demands some information about what he’s doing to find a cure for the Commander’s sickness.  The Commander is not at all happy about reports of the Bio-Viper out in the open.  Demanding a more personal touch, Cobra Commander encourages Mindbender to get his hands dirty.

The Joes enter the sewers, determined to figure out what’s going on with the escaped Bio-Viper and where it may have taken the youngster.  They quickly get a bead on the creature and move deeper into the underground tunnels, in search of the creature and its victim.  Ripcord seems to have a sixth sense about the creature and leads them through the tunnels.  Soon enough the Joes find themselves on the wrong side of the creature, deep under the streets of New York!

The Joes open fire, but it has little effect on the twisted green mutant Bio-Viper who is even nastier looking than the normal model.  During the skirmish, young Reggie leaps in to stop the Joes from firing, and the ceiling ends up coming down on all of them.  The Bio-Viper grabs Ripcord and dashes off, leaving the Joes helplessly looking on.  As Duke and Tunnel Rat pursue, Duke asks Roadblock to take care of Reggie, the kid.

Back in the hospital, Mindbender approaches the young witness who sent the Joes after the mutant Bio-Viper while Roadblock brings Reggie back to Tunnel Rat’s brother.  Teddy Lee talks to the young man, and finds out that he wasn’t actually kidnapped, Reggie followed the creature down into the sewers.  Roadblock prepares to head back down, with Tunnel Rat’s brother close behind.  In the sewers, Duke and Tunnel Rat continue their pursuit of the Bio-Viper and Ripcord.  It doesn’t take long before Ripcord meets up with them and tells them that this particular Bio-Viper seems to have some protective tendencies…but before he can explain further, they’re interrupted by Mindbender and his own squad of more normal Bio-Vipers.  Mindbender is quite pleased to see that Private Weems, AKA “Patient X” is with the Joes.  Wasting no time, Mindbender controls Ripcord and forces him to slam the Joes against the wall.

Just as things appear to be going Cobra’s way, Roadblock busts in and tackles Mindbender, knocking the control helmet off and freeing the Bio-Vipers of his control.  Of course it isn’t that easy, as the Bio-Vipers threaten to explode and Mindbender reveals that unless he takes control of them again, they’ll detonate in the sewers and potentially take out half of Brooklyn.  The Joes reluctantly let him go and he grabs the helmet again, quickly ordering the Vipers to take the Joes in.  Ripcord tries hard to resist the Doctor’s control, but ultimately has no choice but to give in.  The Cobra scientist orders Ripcord to execute the Joes and Tunnel Rat’s brother, but the green Sewer Viper leaps to the rescue.  Mindbender immediately attempts to control it, but attempts are fruitless.  Mindbender orders Ripcord to tear it apart, and the two battle it out, resulting in the mind-control chip within Ripcord being fried.  The Joe lashes out, destroying Mindbender’s mind control helmet…and the Bio-Vipers once again begin the count down to detonation.

The green Sewer-Viper selflessly steps in to contain the blast as the Joes race to the surface just as the Bio-Vipers explode, but the explosion is ultimately harmless and the Joes make their escape, but not before Tunnel Rat stops to visit his family.

Episode Review

Throughout this entire season of G.I. Joe: Renegades, I have used many words to describe an episode of the cartoon…but this episode is a first.  For the first time, the only word I can think of is…  disappointing.

Yeah, this episode was a bit of a let down, I’ll be honest.  For a while there, G.I. Joe: Renegades was screaming along at an awesome pace, giving us some terrific episodes back-to-back, and while I wasn’t crazy about Ripcord being revealed as Patient X, the episode that surrounded those events was still enjoyable.  This next progression, however, was not.

Even as a devout G.I. Joe: Renegades fan, I grow a bit tired of the whole Bio-Viper concept, and the fact that this episode pretty much focused purely on the Bio-Vipers was pretty frustrating.  I think most of us accept their existence as a necessary evil in the cartoon, since the Joes really can’t kill human beings and they need someone (or something) to shoot.  But to put such heavy attention on the thing that most of us hate the most about the series when there are only 6 episodes left to tell the story was just very discouraging.

I found the episode pretty predictable, short on action, short on backstory, and without a single real guest star to spark things up at all.  The Joes wading through sewers for half of the episode, with their enemies being pipes, rocks, and fumes was somewhat dull.  When there was action, the animation was pretty top notch, and seems to be improving on an almost weekly basis, but in the end, even the great flow of action during the last Bio-Viper combat session couldn’t really save the episode.

Ripcord successfully breaks free of Mindbender’s control, yet still maintains his Bio-Viper abilities and still seems to be a very central part of the ongoing story, and like everything else in the episode, it felt somewhat empty.  There was really no gravitas or sense of importance, and while I really love the dynamic between Cobra Commander and Dr. Mindbender, it’s starting to feel like if CC doesn’t just execute the scientist, the build up won’t give us the pay off we want.  Don’t get me wrong, Cobra Commander in this series continues to wildly impress, and he was, without a doubt, the best part of this episode, but now with only 5 left to go, this one felt like a serious waste.  I mean, here we are at this point with terrific characters like Destro and Zartan, and we end up with another 22 minutes of Mindbender and the Bio-Vipers.  Granted, you can’t entirely blame the series writers, since they couldn’t have known that the series would be abruptly ended after a single season, but it sure as heck makes you wish for a stronger focus on some of those better characters in Season One, since we evidently won’t get a chance to see them develop in the future.

Hopefully the pace starts to take off next week, as we continue to run out of time to tell this story, and the probability of fans being disappointed in the outcome increases.  Let’s all hope the show ends its season (and its life) on an upswing.

Screenshot Gallery

Episode Details

Original Air Date:
Writers: Ed Lee & Tim Jennings
Director: Nathan Chew

Easter Eggs