It’s time for another review of an episode of everyone’s favorite 80’s cartoon! If you don’t know the basics of G.I.Joe you’ll probably want to
skip right over this post read one of my previous reviews.
If that seems like too much work, just remember the basics:
- G.I.Joe = good guys, Cobra = bad guys
- Real world physics do not apply
- This cartoon was designed for children, not for men in their thirties to point out flaws in logic
The episode opens with a few of the Joes hiding out in a swamp: Sci-Fi (who for some reason has been drawn to look like R2-D2), Wet Suit, Leatherneck, and Beach Head. Obviously this is a season two episode since it heavily features the newer Joes, while the old guard like Duke and Snake Eyes are nowhere to be seen.
Next, they show a village where, despite the primitive surroundings, there is a giant television screen. And who is on that screen? It’s the Cobra Emperor – Serpentor!
In season one, Cobra was led by Cobra Commander. The Commander was shrill, cowardly, and incompetent, and we loved him for it. In season two, the other Cobras decided that they had enough of him and replaced him as leader. This might not seem like a big deal since the Cobras seemed to hold a coup against the Commander every other episode, but this time around, they took a rather unique approach: They created a new leader.
By create, I don’t mean they named another Cobra officer to be their leader. Rather, they actually created a new human being by combining the DNA from some of history’s greatest soldiers and leaders. With that, Serpentor was “born” and became the new leader of Cobra.
Cobra wasn’t really any more effective under his command, but unlike the Commander, Serpentor would often punch anyone who disagreed with him. As a result, the Cobras didn’t seem to question him or his effectiveness.
Serpy is talking to an operative in the South Pacific who has been leading raids on American military positions. Mid way through their conversation, a hat flies through an open window. Most viewers recognized that the hat belonged to Sergeant Slaughter, and for some reason, so does the Cobra operative.
A couple of questions:
- Is Sergeant Slaughter so famous that his hat is instantly recognizable by natives of the South Pacific?
- Why would Slaughter give the enemy an advance warning? If he was able to throw his hat right in front of the guy, why not just shoot him? (Aside from the fact that nobody ever actually got shot on this show.)
The other Joes weren’t aware that Slaughter was going to emulate Oddjob and announce his position. They call him a “glory hound” and seem understandably annoyed that he didn’t stick to the mission plan. They’re forced to charge the village, but fortunately for them, these guys are about as accurate as the usual Cobra soldiers.
Thanks to his brilliant plan of simply charging into the village, Slaughter has gotten himself into trouble and has six guys draped all over him.
Do you think that the superior numbers allowed them to get the advantage on Slaughter, or did he manage to overpower them? If you guessed the former, then you haven’t watched much G.I.Joe.
If you’re unfamiliar with Sergeant Slaughter, in real life he’s a somewhat overweight professional wrestler. In cartoon form, he’s the strongest man alive (They literally call him that in one episode), and the greatest soldier who ever lived. Any time he’s in an episode, most of the dialogue centers around how wonderful he is.
The Joes emerge victorious, and later on, they appear to be sitting around the porch of a resort hotel. Wet Suit (wearing a Hawaiian shirt for some reason) receives a telegram. Slaughter grabs the telegram away from Wet Suit (ever hear of privacy, Sarge?) and reads it, discovering that Wet Suit has been invited to take place in a martial arts competition hosted by “international criminal” Pierre LaFonte.
Slaughter reams Wet Suit for this invitation, and tells him its against Joe regulations to participate. For a guy who almost sabotaged his team’s mission by not following the plan earlier, Sarge is being a real stickler for the rules now.
Slaughter is checking out of the hotel, (Apparently they are staying at a resort. Does the military usually put their men up in resorts when on missions?) and the same messenger announces that Wet Suit has a phone call. Once again, Slaughter completely violates his teammate’s privacy by taking it. It serves him right that he gets attacked by ninjas when he picks up the phone.
Since he’s the greatest solider who ever lived, Sarge is able to hold his own against the ninjas, but they gain the advantage via some sort of knockout gas. Following a long sequence in which two scantily dressed men transport him down the river, (seriously, we watch these two guys row a boat for a lot longer than we should) Sarge – as well as a few other oddly dressed characters – is dumped out of a basket in front of the infamous Pierre LaFonte.
LaFonte tells Sarge – who he thinks is really Wet Suit – that he’s in a competition to see who gets to become an assassin for Cobra. To prove his worth, he’s got to fight a pack of men who are unnaturally pale for some reason. This proves to be little problem for the greatest soldier who ever lived.
The other Joes have finally noticed Slaughter is missing and begin to search for him. They locate one of LaFonte’s safe houses, which happens to have two ninjas just sitting around enjoying a drink. The Joes burst in, and after a brief fight, the ninjas are subdued.
For the next part of the competition, Sarge is forced to fight a guy who is dressed like a French chef (complete with boxing gloves?). The chef gains the upper hand early on,but once Slaughter breaks out a few wrestling moves, the chef is subdued.
The other Joes have found the location of LaFonte’s temple and are walking through the jungle. Demonstrating that legendary Joe discipline, Wet Suit falls behind the others and gets ambushed by some of LaFonte’s men. Instead of calling out to his teammates, he decides to take them on himself and promptly gets knocked out.
Back at the temple, Slaughter’s next opponent looks like he came right out of a 1990’s video game. Despite his impressive appearance, Slaughter finishes him off in about a minute.
LaFonte congratulates him on his victory, and informs him that his final test is to kill a member of the Joe team – Wet Suit.
Wet Suit and Slaughter quietly argue about which one of them should lose. Wet Suit says that if Slaughter wins, he still has a chance to escape. Slaughter refuses, and starts attacking Wet Suit. I’m not sure if this was part of a plan, or if Slaughter is just determined to be a dick to Wet Suit in this episode.
Realizing their only chance of escape is to get outside, Slaughter knocks Wet Suit out the door and down the stairs. Slaughter continues to beat on Wet Suit and really seems to be enjoying a chance to beat the crap out of his teammate.
We cut to the rest of the Joes who are still marching towards the temple. Somehow, LaFonte’s men were able to ambush Wet Suit and carry him back to the temple faster than the Joes could get there. I guess they’re just slow walkers?
They arrive to see their teammates fighting each other. For some reason, instead of running into the fray indiscriminately firing their weapons like they normally do, they choose to watch the two men beat the crap out of each other.
Things were getting kind of boring at this point, and I was really hoping that one of the big name Cobras would show up. I finally got my wish when Cobra Commander and Storm Shadow arrived on the scene.
Cobra Commander asks who won the contest, and he is none too pleased to see Slaughter. For some reason, he seemed perfectly okay with Wet Suit being his assassin, but not Slaughter. He shows his displeasure by lifting LaFonte by the throat.
The Commander prepares to shoot Slaughter, but the Joes reluctantly intervene and stop him. This sparks a battle between the Joes and LaFonte’s men.
Slaughter and Wet Suit have been led inside by two guards, but because Slaughter is so incredible, the Joes are able to quickly overcome their captors. Slaughter tells Wet Suit to free the other combatants, while he – and these are his exact words – “goes to help his brothers in arms.”
The highlight of the ensuing battle is when the giant sumo wrestler throws a guy to the ground.
At this point, I expected to see some ninja badassery out of Storm Shadow – after all, this episode does have “Ninja” in the name – but all he does is run away with the Commander. What a let down.
Since he doesn’t have a corresponding action figure, the Joes are able to capture LaFonte. They ask who was the intended target of the assassination, and it is revealed that Cobra Commander wanted Serpentor killed. (A running subplot of the season was that the Commander desperately wanted Serpentor killed so that he could regain control of Cobra.)
Slaughter seems crestfallen that he won’t have a chance to kill Serpentor, but I’m not sure how this changes anything. If he was capable of killing Serpentor, he certainly shouldn’t wait until Cobra Commander pays him to do so. Besides, I’m not sure how effective a known member of G.I.Joe would be as an assassin. Serpentor wouldn’t exactly have been caught by surprise. Heck, Serpentor even shares some of Slaughter’s DNA! (Don’t ask.)
This was a disappointing episode. We barely see any of the big name Cobras, and the Joes are left fighting a bunch of generic thugs. But the biggest problem is that there is WAY too much of Sergeant Slaughter.
There’s no way that Slaughter didn’t help write this episode. His entire role in this series is that of a Mary Sue. He’s already been touted as one of the strongest men in the world, and he’s also able to defeat some of the world’s greatest martial artists, despite only seeming to know a few wrestling moves.
Sadly, he probably didn’t even realize how much of an a**hole he comes off as. He’s the one who messes up the Joes’ plan in the beginning, and the hostility he shows to Wet Suit is inexplicable.
I’m sorry I reviewed such a weak episode. To help make it up to you, here’s another classic PSA:
So…this girl doesn’t know what sun screen is? I realize this is from the 80’s, but everybody knew about sun screen back then, right?
After the girl has gotten a nasty sunburn, Captain Hindsight, aka Leatherneck arrives to give her some advice that would have been helpful hours earlier.
I found it weird that Leatherneck was on a first name basis with one of the girls, and that the sunburned girl instantly recognizes him. Do they know each other? Does Leatherneck regularly roam the sands, offering belated advice to young ladies?
I suppose it doesn’t matter. The important thing is that the girls will always wear proper protection when in the sun…which apparently means dressing like 60-year-old women.
Now we know, and knowing is half the battle!