And with that track record, I'm sure people will dig this episode up after the robot apocalypse and say "Is that what they thought killer robots would look like? And then they'll stop watching the episode in order to focus on finding food and shelter.
|You know how it is with apocalypses.|
But since Nighthawk arrived to give this show the villain it deserves, it's more important than ever for the Avengers to find the Infinity Stones first.
|Hey, random thought. How does Red Skull use the bathroom?|
Red Skull: "Time!"
And since Tony notices that "time" is one of the things scribbled on the wall, he finally pays attention to the Red Skull's graffiti. And funnily enough, he mentally scans it like Sherlock Holmes.
|In the shape of a glove. And Black Widow didn't put the clues together... why?|
But Tony manages to put the pieces together and the Avengers are soon en route to the middle of the ocean in the Avenjet. On the way, he explains that each Infinity Stone has a different focus. The Power Stone, they've encountered already. And Tony has figured out not only that one of the stones controls time, but that unlike the other stones, it wasn't blasted to another place, but another time.
But to explain this, he falls back on that old time travel cliche.
Tony Stark: "It's not 'where' the Time Stone is..."
Hawkeye: "This thing better not send us into the past."Captain America: "I try to draw strength from my past."
|"If I end up in a purple mask again, the fans are just going to complain some more about Earth's Mightiest Heroes getting canceled."|
Thor: "History is filled with glory!"
Iron Man: "You kidding? History's a series of bad ideas we're now improving on."
|"I don't need to remind you all how bad last season was, do I?"|
|"I thought we would never stop fighting the Midgard Serpent."|
|"I thought I'd never stop wearing those tights."|
|"I thought Black Widow would never actually join us on our adventures."|
|"Where is Black Widow?"|
|"...Aw, crap, are we doing it again?"|
Iron Man: "I'm a man of the future; you're a nostalgia guy. S'okay."
Which makes sense if we're going by movie continuity, where the arc reactor was reverse-engineered from the Tesseract (aka the Space Stone) by Howard Stark. The Stones are probably drawn to each other some how. I'll buy that.
Anyway, Iron Man falls out of the sky, but Hawkeye's looking on the bright side as Thor goes to catch his teammate.
Hawkeye: "Well, at least we weren't zapped back in time."
Naturally, it's at this moment that Hawkeye is nabbed by one of the many pterodactyls emerging from a time portal like this was an episode of Primeval.
Hulk: "Love dinosaur attacks."
|"Maybe I'll bring another one home!"|
Captain America: "If we're not in the past, then where'd these thing come from? The Savage Land?"
|Can you not see that gigantic portal in the sky? The one that appeared after the Time Stone went nuts?|
Black Widow: "Any explanation, Einstein?"
Iron Man: "Either we just stumbled into some awesome amusement park..."
Meh. The rides in Jurassic World are just okay.
Iron Man: "Or I accidentally ripped a hole in the fabric of time."
Iron Man says he can undo the damage, but he needs to get
the Time Stone out of his chest first.
|Oh, great, here come the Reapers.|
Thor: "Reboot! These are the times you always proclaim 'reboot.'"
I would love to see Thor work tech support.
|"Would you be interested in filling out a brief survey of your service this day?"|
JARVIS: "It thinks someone else is in the armor."
Maybe the armor prefers Eric Loomis over Adrian Pasdar?
Iron Man: "Get it off me, I'm so done with this."
Iron Man is oddly impatient, so he orders the Hulk to rip the faceplate off his armor, causing the others to react in shock.
Thor: "Tony's beard!"
Another temporal wave de-ages Tony a bit more, making it look less and less likely that Teen Tony will be having any armored adventures. The question is what's causing the waves.
Falcon: "His arc reactor's attached to his heart. Maybe heart rate triggers it."
Which doesn't even bother with addressing the fact that Tony Stark didn't HAVE an arc reactor in his chest when he was a kid.
To be fair, though, watching a child version of Tony Stark convulse in agony on the floor as his insides hemorrhage due to living tissue attempting to reform around and inside the machine in his sternum just might be a bit too extreme for the show's Y-7 rating. So I can forgive the writers for ignoring this bit of logic.
But you know what isn't too extreme for a Y-7 rating? Predictable teenager jokes.
Tony Stark: "Is that a zit?"
According to Falcon, every time Tony gets younger, the wave of energy deposits the usual time-travel flotsam (see: dinosaurs) into the general vicinity. And because "dinosaurs" means "T-Rex," a few of them pop up in the middle of New York.
|And as if the show referring to pterodactyls as "dinosaurs" wasn't bad enough, these things are walking like Godzilla in flagrant disregard of how they were built to walk. And don't get me started on the lack of feathers.|
Falcon: "Wow! That was impressive."
Hulk: "Speaks my language."
|"Also, I have a dinosaur of my own back in Nevada."|
Tony Stark: "Why'd you let me do that?!"
Captain America: "I tried to warn you..."
Tony Stark: "Don't act like my dad. He thought you were so awesome that I should just be like you."
Ah, Tony's just grumpy because he turned into Hiro Hamada without an Arsenal to be his Baymax.
Man, there are a surprising number of Big Hero 6 vibes this season. Since Man of Action created Big Hero Six in the first place, I can't help but wonder if these were intentional nods.
But Tony's so grumpy, in fact, that he triggers another temporal shift, making himself even younger while summoning robots to replace the dinosaurs the Avengers took down.
Future Robot: "Time stream disruption detected. Primary programming: Destroy."
The Hulk in particular manages to make the most of this newest incursion by bowling a couple triceratops into a battalion of metal warriors.
Future Robot: "Maestro detected. Eliminate."
Heh. Nice reference. Shame that Agents of S.M.A.S.H. had to follow up this reference in the most lackluster possible way.
Hmmmm, logically, this episode would have to come before the Hulks deflected that meteor, since that chain of events erased the Maestro from history, and the Hulk doesn't have the green eyes of Gamma poisoning, indicating that they future has not yet been changed....
|Dang it, Marvel Animation Universe, why are you this confusing?|
|He also gets stepped on by said triceratops.|
Oddly enough, this is not the heaviest thing that will step on him without leaving so much as a scratch.
Tony Stark: "JARVIS, can't you shut down the elevator, or something?"
JARVIS: "The damage to the tower put the defenses offline, sir."
What? You're telling me that JARVIS can't reroute the power from the elevator? Heck, it doesn't have an emergency shutdown that JARVIS could activate? Your building's not up to code, Stark!
As the fight rages between the Avengers, the dinosaurs, and the robots, the Red Skull makes his way to Tony's floor, slipping and falling on the ball bearings Tony left out for him.
...Oh no. We're Home Alone-ing this?
The Red Skull chases Tony into the training room, where he lunges at a hologram Tony whipped up instead of the real thing.
Tony Stark: "Why do you want this thing so bad? It's nothing but a pain in my butt. Well, actually, my chest."
Because the Time Stone grants its wielder dominion over the whole of history and beyond, probably. The Fourth Doctor once spent a whole season looking for the pieces of such an artifact.
Since the Skull isn't lucid enough to answer Tony's question, Tony runs off while target drones from a training exercise wallop the crimson cranium in the head. But he manages to escape from there and falls for Tony's next trick: a note on Thor's room that says "Do Not Open." And he's not too happy to come face to face with Thor's bilgesnipe, which starts chasing him around.
Now that he has a bit more time to formulate a strategy, Tony heads to his room and finds a few old mementos from his actual childhood, including a helmet and self-made rocket skates. Then for no particular reason, given the dire situation, he pulls out an old birthday card from his dad, with a picture of a robotic claw serving cake in lieu of Howard Stark.
|Interesting that the show keeps painting Howard as a loving, if busy, father while over in Gravity Falls, Soos's dad was considered a major jackass for pulling this exact stunt.|
But Tony cheers up when he finds the design for the Iron Man armor he designed as a kid.
|So really, getting shrapnel in his heart was Tony's excuse to live out his dream.|
Probably because you designed it in crayon as a kid. I know the Zord I designed never worked.
Tony Stark: "Without an arc reactor!"
As Tony gets a brainstorm, the Red Skull finally gives Thor's bilgesnipe the slip in a stairwell. So he resumes his search, starting in Hawkeye's room, where he finds a crossbow.
Luckily for Tony, his babysitter wakes up from his dinosaur-induced nap and radios Tony, who's busy welding in the lab. He has another Time Stone flash, adding HYDRA pilots in the Red Skull's secret weapons from the end of Captain America: The First Avenger.
|Which were also based on real life Nazi designs. So technically, the Nazis did concept art for this episode.|
Semantics are weird.
Remember this for the end of the episode.
Speaking of HYDRA, the Red Skull follows the trail of armor pieces into the lab, where Tony hides behind the lab bench.
Red Skull: "Come out, come out, wherever you are...."
|...Please stop being actually creepy, Red Skull.|
|Well, I believe I have just peed every pair of pants in the vicinity.|
Red Skull: "Don't... be such... a baby."
He picks up Tony, making him freak out and cause the Time Stone to go nuts yet again. But this time, the Red Skull is made younger, too. But while Tony is stuck as a kid, the Red Skull gets zapped back to his physical and mental prime.
Red Skull: "Your friends are occupied with the chaos you've created. Now..."
Luckily for Tony, Cap arrives to bonk Red Skull in the head with his shield. They fight as Tony puts the finishing touches on his improvised plan.
Tony Stark: "Jet skates deploy!"
|Foul! I call foul! Where did the skates come from? Are his feet hollow?|
Thor: "Avengers assemble!"
Hawkeye: "Aw, come on!"
Back inside, Red Skull beats up Captain America until Tony shoots his rocket skates at him. But when Red Skull bashes Cap in the head with an Iron Man chestplate, he regains the upper hand.
He nabs Tony, but Tony voice-activates his new armor to save the day.
Tony Stark: "I... am... Iron Kid!"
|Okay, points for using the old 60s armor.|
Captain America: "I was brave long before I was Captain America. And Tony Stark was a hero long before he was Iron Man."
Tony hugs Cap hard and sheds some tears before reaching into his chest and slowly pulling out the Time Stone.
|Could... could he do that this whole time?|
Thor: "It was still a mighty shot, Hawkeye."
Boy, fate seems to be peeing in Hawkeye's corn flakes today.
Oh, hey, also. Remember the "lost HYDRA squadron"? They were sent back to their proper place in the 40s. Sure, Hawkeye shot all of them down with a single arrow, but still. Dead? Maybe. But so much for "lost." Unless they went down over water, or history briefly changed when they came to the future, resulting in a lost HYDRA squadron in the 1940s until they were sent back, meaning that there never was...Once back in the tower, Falcon admires Tony's 8-year-old self's armor design.
|Me too, Miles. Me too.|
Falcon: "I should go through my old sketchbooks."
Yeah, me too. Haven't done that in a while. Let's see...
Tony puts the Time Stone into containment before Thor goes to get the bilgesnipe out of the stairwell. Later, Tony meets up with Captain America in the training room to tell him that he was right all along.
Tony Stark: "The past can teach us things. Like what being a hero is."
And he also shows off a photo of his old Halloween costume.
Tony Stark: "I made that shield myself."
Tony Stark: "You know, I can take this to the lab and make some modern improvements."
Fun Fact: In the comics, he did.
And so, Tony wields the mighty shield against some training spheres, and the episode ends. So let's review this episode and... hey, wait. Age of Tony Stark...
I get it!
I get it!