Monday, January 14, 2013

Loonatics Unleashed - Sypher

Remember last episode? Remember basherball, the sport of the future that’s a personal injury lawyer’s wet dream? Another game’s about to start, and we see players suiting up. Particularly Trick Daley, the star player for the home team.

Drake Sypher, a player Trick doesn’t recognize, high-fives him for good luck, and then we see a bunch of shots making it obvious Sypher’s just stolen all of Trick’s skill to play a ridiculous sport.

“At the start of the fourth quarter the Acme Rangers are in the lead,” and Mr. Leghorn throws out the last ball of the game. Trick catches the ball, but then he looks groggy and the other team steals it in time to make a goal, sending them into overtime. The coach looks to sub Trick out.

Look, Sypher even stole his ethnicity!
Bugs and Roadrunner are in the stands, and in his own inimitable way Roadrunner tells us Trick’s been like this the whole game. Oh good one, coach. Your star player’s been shit for the whole game, and it’s only at the final play you call for a substitution? Yeah, yeah, it had to be right at the end so Sypher could use his stolen skills to win the game to make it more impressive. Everyone in this show’s still an idiot.

Bugs and Roadrunner meet up with Sypher at an autograph signing after the aforementioned amazing win, and under the guise of a friendly handshake he steals both their powers. This makes their eyes turn weird colors for handy identification as he works his way through the rest of the team, no doubt.

As they attempt to fly home (oh for crying out loud, you guys are just at a sports game. Do you have to fly everywhere?), Roadrunner realizes his powers are gone because flapping his arms real fast doesn’t get him off the ground anymore. This seems kinda counterintuitive with how everyone else is allowed to have a jetpack. Particularly since he's the only member of the team without some kind of distance attack power, and this forces him to use his arms to stay in the air when he could be holding a laser gun or something.

They also notice he’s not talking really really fast. Sounds like it’s officially a mistake how he still kept talking fast when their powers were switched around in “The World is My Circus”.

Back at HQ, Wile E. runs tests on Bugs and Roadrunner and determines that they have indeed lost their powers when Roadrunner can still run fast, but only as fast as a regular roadrunner, and Bugs has no laser vision to blow up cinder blocks. He still has his martial arts skills. “You can take away my powers, but you can’t take away my moves.” Are we saying what Sypher stole from Trick wasn’t a set of practiced skills? Because if we are, we’re being pretty dumb. But yeah, based on the rest of the series, that’s how his power works: he can steal any innate ability, but not a learned one.

Even worse than that BS prologue, then, is they have no idea what caused them to lose their powers. Even though they only felt weak and sick and didn’t have powers anymore right after they shook hands with Sypher. I’d say he stole their common sense too if anybody on here had ever had any.

Yeah, I'd assume that was one too many chili dogs myself...

Daffy interrupts, and says that superheroes need superpowers, and the two of them should be benched and a new leader appointed. Even Zadavia agrees. Guess we’re not learning a valuable lesson about how it’s not the powers that make the hero. And it’s going to suffer for that, boy howdy.

Of course the joke is Daffy thinks he’s going to get Bugs’s job, but “there’s only one clear choice,” and that turns out to be One-Dimensional Female Stereotype. I mean, Lexi. Oh, and before I forget, one of Zadavia’s criteria was “a dazzling smile.” I’m not sure if she was serious or not, but then, this show’s really bad about deciding when it should be humorous and when it should be dramatic anyway.

And she gets the chance to prove her chops right away, as the dam “for the central Acmetropolis reservoir” is about to burst. The central reservoir for the whole planet, huh? Saying the city and the planet are the same thing has always sounded retarded, no matter what fixture we’re talking about. Wonder if there’s a reason Loonatics Unleashed is the only show I can think of that did it like that.

Lexi, Taz and Daffy head out to deal with this while Wile E. presumably stays behind to try to find a way to fix Bugs and Roadrunner. And we just how bad the episode’s going to be about that weird eye colors denoting Sypher’s victims thing.

Looking kind of normal there, Roadrunner.
...and again.

The trio flies out and the dam does indeed crack, threatening a packed campground. I don’t really need to tell you this, but the dam was cracked by Sypher using Bugs’s laser vision, leading me to ask, how, well, powerful are the Loonatics supposed to be? Comparable to your average X-Man, or your average Justice Leaguer, or what? I don’t know, it’s just that dams and nuclear reactors are actually made so that the slightest mishap doesn’t cause a horrible environmental disaster. As much as action shows and movies love to forget that. Eh, it’s a cheap plot device, I should just shut up.

Lexi advises her teammates that “it’s time to get slammin’,” and Taz spins out to do…something. What’s the plan? It doesn’t really matter, because on his way to do something, Taz is distracted by a guy caught in the flood. This is actually Sypher, and as soon as Taz tries to save him, we have another powerless Loonatic.

Lexi fails to block the rushing waters with avalanches caused by her ear lasers, but using Taz’s spinning and Bugs's lasers, Sypher is able to try the same trick and stop the water himself. He grabs Lexi by the hand and absorbs her powers next, because for a superhero Lexi’s kind of slow on the uptake, and doesn’t think that maybe a guy with the exact same spinning powers as one of her teammates is a little bit suspicious. Daffy’s only spared because the campers swarm up to show Sypher their gratitude.

“Hey, don’t we at least get a C for trying?” Lexi queries as Sypher’s carried away by his adoring public. Hey, if you guys always give Daffy thinly-veiled mockery for trying and failing, indifference seems more than fair for the rest of you neon ninnies.

Looking kind of normal there, Taz.

At least this time back at base, the Loonatics have realized it was Sypher that robbed them of their powers. Roadrunner tries to see the bright side by pointing out that at least he’s using their powers to save people. Lexi’s response? “Sorry, but stealing is stealing. Time to take this guy down. I want my powers back.” Oh, screw you, high and mighty bitch bunny. Don’t even advance the theory that he set up the whole thing as a ploy to lure them there and depower them. No, just go straight to “I want the only thing that makes me unique back.”

For all I know, the writer was trying to avoid the trite “it’s what’s on the inside that makes you a hero” moral I touched on above. But to borrow another cliché, clichés usually become clichés because on some level they still work. Since Lexi’s all pissed off about losing her powers even though for all they know Sypher really is going to use them for good, I’m kind of getting the feeling she wants her powers back because without them she can’t be a superhero anymore, and if she can’t be a superhero anymore it means going back to her horrible normal life. And I got quite enough BS that supernatural gifts are the only way to elevate you out of a dull living situation from Stephenie Meyer, thank you very much.

Daffy repeats his demand that only a powered Loonatic lead the team, and Lexi's out of the running now. Since he’s so eager to call the shots, Bugs asks Daffy what they should do. Daffy flounders for a bit before declaring they need to find Sypher and get their powers back. “Whoa, he got it on the first guess,” says a snide Lexi. Shut your noise hole. That’s about all your vaunted “real” leader can manage on his best day.

Zadavia pops in and says Sypher won’t be too hard to find, since he’s presently presiding over a parade in his honor, complete with a giant Macy’s Day balloon of himself. Crap, how long’s it been since the last scene? What good deeds has he done with his purloined powers in the meantime?

She also reveals that Sypher did in fact sabotage the dam, via “images retrieved by one of my own satellites.” And these aren't just forwarded to the cops or the media, exposing Sypher without them having to lift a finger against him because...?

And again, the animators screw up the weird eye colors gimmick.

Looking kind of afflicted there, Wile E. Even though you shouldn't yet.

“And he needs to be stopped before he does something even superpowers can’t fix,” Zadavia warns ominously. Since the show’s depicting the Loonatics as borderline useless without their powers, and they’re in charge of fixing everything, I’m left wondering what that might be.

Daffy insists on giving the “Autobots, transform and roll out!” call since he’s technically the leader, but can’t think of anything suitably snappy, so Bugs whispers they should “rain on his parade” to him. Those awful one-liners are why Bugs is in charge? Screw you, show!

Guess so. Daffy confronts Sypher at the parade: “Save the celebration, Sypher, for the real superheroes. Because there isn’t any ‘super’ in ‘Sypher,’ because the real Sypher is a super…Sypher-less…Sypherhead!” This makes Lexi actually facepalm. Look, I’m sorry, but even the guy who’s supposedly good at snappy banter is terrible at snappy banter, and with the emphasis the show just placed on that…I hate this show.
Looking kind of normal there, Taz.

Daffy calls him a fraud, and Sypher plays to the crowd by retorting, “They’re buggin’ cuz I can do everything they can do but way better.” And it’s not suspicious at all that this guy has the exact same powers as the members of the resident team? The question’s either, “Why did Lexi talk about the previous scene when it was obviously several days later,” or “how dumb are the people of Acmetropolis,” since they buy this and start jeering the Loonatics. That is, upon Sypher telling them, “I say they go back to the pettin’ zoo where they came from!” So Sypher’s not just a douchebag, he’s a full-on racist. And so’s everyone else for getting fired up by that specific line.

By the way, if you haven’t actually watched any episodes of the first season, right before the end of the opening sequence there’s this part where they parade through some of the show’s villains before the show logo. One of them’s apparently Sypher. Apparently, because he’s wearing a blue costume instead of the red and yellow one he actually wears.

He zips over and grabs Wile E., leading Bugs to tell his teammate to get away from Sypher. After the damage is already done. Nice reflexes, Glorious Leader. Daffy suggests they all rush Sypher at the same time, and everybody insists on running up and being knocked to all corners of creation by Sypher’s spinning even though the others had plenty of time to see what was going on and stop after Daffy got knocked away. Idiots.

I have plenty of time to stop running at this, but no reason to.

Sypher continues to play up his own supposed innocence, but unless this really is a full-blown idiot world I’d say the effect’s probably destroyed by him using laser vision to blast debris from surrounding buildings to attempt to drop it on the Loonatics. And yes, he totally does that under the pretense of defending himself from the crazed petting zoo people.

Rocks fall and you...uh, never mind.

Daffy starts taunting Sypher and then teleporting away before he can get close enough to steal Daffy’s powers too. “He’s elevated annoying to a superpower,” Lexi laughs. You’d know all about that, lady. And poor language skills. Since “annoying” is an adjective, and “annoyance” is a noun. This works pretty well until Daffy throws one of his power balls at Sypher, who rebounds it with some spinning. Even though Daffy sees it coming several seconds before it hits, he doesn’t bother to teleport out of the way. Hey, all the “heroes” have bouts of raging incompetence like that.

With his face splattered with grape jelly or something, he stumbles off the rooftop and Sypher catches him, completing the stolen powers collection. Sypher even shows he’s stolen Bugs’s lame banter power when he asks, “How’s it feel to be quackin’ with fear?”

“Deth-picable,” Daffy says before passing out. Then they leave. Seriously. Next scene they’re at their meeting room bemoaning their uselessness.

Bugs points out they’re not beat yet. “We can still beat him with what he have left: our skills!” Except nobody except you and Wile E.’s ever really shown any. But Wile E. does use his skills to even the playing field.

By building armor suits that simulate their normal powers.

It's the Worth-Restoring Armor 5000!

Look, I’m not saying Iron Man or Batman are any less of a superhero than anybody else because they use gadgets to fight crime. But you know why Batman can (supposedly) still kick anybody’s ass even though he's the posterboy for a crimefighter with no powers? His analytical skills and over-inflated ability to strategize.

The show’s still telling us the Loonatics are only worth a damn when they have their powers. They’re going to put these suits on that give them makeshift approximations of their normal powers, then charge up to Sypher and try to beat him into submission with them (how's that supposed to work with Wile E.'s rapid healing in his arsenal?). They’re not trying to get tricky or lure Sypher into a trap where his powers don’t do him any good, or otherwise level the playing field or turn the tables with the abilities they still have (granted, their attempts would be lame anyway. This is still Loonatics Unleashed, after all). They’re just using artificial means to duplicate their normal abilities and strategies.

They fly their flying motorcycles up to Sypher’s new headquarters. And when did he get that? Has it been a while since the last scene or not? Wile E. even says he “only had five minutes to come up with all this.” And what’s the hurry anyway? Are they afraid that if they wait too long some villain might show up and Sypher might go out, ostensibly to stop them, and in actuality steal their powers too? That’s a perfectly viable explanation, but it’s a problem if I have to fill in the plot holes myself.

And I was right about them not being the least bit intelligent about this, because Wile E. just mooshes the front door open magnetically and they stomp right in.

Bugs shoots some lasers at Sypher until our villain says how sad it is they have to artificially replace their powers, leading Bugs to lay the smackdown with his karate. Sypher humors him, saying, “I’ve got your moves, too!” Will you please make up your damn mind already, show? Can he or can he not steal skills?

Bugs gets Sypher in a bear hug, and in doing so steals his powers back. Wile E. realizes that’s why Sypher doesn’t let them get close enough to touch him. Even though he was willing to get into a hand-to-hand fight with Bugs despite having Bugs’, Lexi’s, Daffy’s or Wile E.’s own powers to fight from a distance with. To say nothing of Taz’s tornado mode to keep Bugs from touching him, or Roadrunner’s speed and flight to get the hell out of the way before anybody could stop him.

Clearly Sypher isn't letting the Loonatics get close enough to touch him.

Stupid show.

Oh, and even though Wile E. actually made the suits so that they’d be immune to the Loonatics’ stolen powers, that only seems to apply to Bugs’s lasers, since Sypher uses Lexi’s and Taz’s own powers against them and knocks them all over the place doing so.

Stupid show.

And even though we’re operating under the assumption that Sypher won’t let them get close enough to touch him and steal their powers back, has about eight different ways to keep them from doing so, not the least of which being teleportation and super-speed, the Loonatics still think they can get him by rushing him all at the same time. And he knows what they’re doing, not just because he has Lexi’s super-hearing as he tells them, but presumably because he knows Bugs already got his powers pack.

Looking king of normal there...everyone. And I by no means claim to have caught all of these.

And while I'm being nitpicky, "sonic hearing" is the same thing as "normal hearing."

Daffy splatters Sypher in the face with an oil pellet or something. This leads to Sypher screaming, “My eyes!” Even though he’s wearing goggles. Guess I gotta do it…

The goggles, they do nothing! Happy?

He’s blinded long enough for the Loonatics to grab him and get their powers back. Even Bugs. Did he only get some of his power back before?

Sypher ends up in jail wearing metal oven mitts to keep him from stealing powers again, even though most of the Loonatics weren’t touching his hands when they stole their powers back, so I’m pretty sure his whole body counts.

Daffy continues to act like he’s the leader. “I want your reports on the Sypher mission on my desk first thing in the morning before group calisthenics.”

“Since when do we write reports?” asks a bemused Lexi. “Or exercise,” adds Wile E. Or exercise?! And you asshats have the nerve to call yourselves the real superheroes!

I guess so, since Daffy’s being treated like an overbearing prick for wanting to institute some kind of discipline. Lexi reminds him Bugs is the leader, and Daffy reminds her Zadavia didn’t say things were changing back. Then Zadavia does come back on and say Bugs is the leader again. How does she do that? And once again, why is she calling the shots?

Stupid show.

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