Thursday, June 5, 2014

Recap: Avengers Assemble "Ghost of a Chance"

Well, the Avengers have assembled. Let's see if they can stay that way while being invaded by alien ghosts.

Who you gonna call? Someone else.
The episode opens up on the Falcon, holding a box, flying through the city. Iron Man pops up alongside, wondering what's in the box. He asks if it's a bomb, a heart transplant, or possibly vital evidence needed to help a wrongfully convicted man. After Falcon denies those possibilities, Iron Man takes the box, and flies off towards Avengers Tower, followed by Falcon.

They land on the tower, and the nervous Falcon takes the box back while worrying over being late for his first meeting. Tony tells him to calm down, because he never goes to those meetings on time himself, and they head to the briefing room. 

We then smash cut (how appropriate) to video footage of the Hulk dropping a building on Doctor Doom, which Captain America is going over for the Avengers who bothered to show up on time.  Falcon and Tony enter the room, the former being the only one to apologize for being late. Hulk stands up and sniffs.


This better not go all Se7en on us. Actually, that'd be one heck of a twist. But no, the box is filled with cookies, baked by Falcon's own mom. Hulk takes a heaping helping, and the others soon eagerly join in.

Black Widow: "Dibs on that last oatmeal!"

...she says while clearly going for a chocolate chunk. Also, the term "last" implies that the Hulk already took the other oatmeal cookies. Who knew he was such a health nut?

Actually, Hulk apparently really does like oatmeal cookies, because he starts making swipes for it after Widow takes it. Thor takes this as a cue and joins in.

Thor: "The Son of Odin shall have that cookie!"

As they brawl, Captain America tries in vain to get them to stop while Tony and Falcon exit the room and run into Hawkeye. Hawkeye seems to be in a terrible mood, and barely acknowledges the two, other than not recognizing Falcon. Tony and Falcon walk off to tour the tower while behind them, unseen, a ghostly Hawkeye (apparently stuck in the reflective wall) pounds on his mirrored prison, with muffled cries for help.

Okay, show. You have my interest piqued. You may continue.

Tony and Falcon walk through the halls, and stop by Falcon's room, which is filled with spare science junk. With staying in his own room not an option, Tony and Falcon go off to "mingle" with the other Avengers. Uh, wasn't there a meeting, guys? Not-Hawkeye, meanwhile, enters Tony's lab.

JARVIS: "Master Barton, surely you received the memo that the arc reactor is not for popping your kettle corn."
Not-Hawkeye: "I'm here to pop something else."

Meh, I think you could have made a snappier comment.
Try this one next time: "I'm here to pop corn and kick ass... And I'm all out of corn."
You can't go wrong with the classics.

He stabs a JARVIS console with an arrow. Having taken out the computer, he then goes over to some kind of SCIENCE machine (judging by dialogue, the arc reactor) and turns it on, which instantly creates a portal. It's like the one from The Avengers, but smaller.

Okay, here's the problem. That portal in the film (which this episode is directly referencing) was made with the Tesseract, not an arc reactor. Arc reactors have never been shown to be able to do this. You could apply the fan theories that say that when Howard Stark invented the arc reactor, he was actually reverse-engineering the Tesseract and therefore all of its applications could be duplicated, too... but that's not only fan-based canon, it's fan-based film canon, and this show kind of flip-flops on how the film fits within continuity.

...but enough whining about canon, I should get back to the portal that Not-Hawkeye just made.

A few purple ghosty guys come through before the thing shuts down. They discuss, what else, their plans for taking over the world.

"Everything is proceeding as planned. The cookies shall soon be ours."
Not-Hawkeye informs them that there's one more than they planned on (Falcon), so they need to distract him until they can stabilize the portal. Or kill him, whichever. Speaking of Falcon, he and Tony are entering Thor's room. Not only is it much bigger on the inside than the outside, but it's filled with golden halls as far as the eye can see. Hey! You! Get those Doctor Who thoughts out of your head. Dimensional transcendence doesn't automatically mean that somebody's a Time Lord.

Thor, meanwhile, is wrestling a bilgesnipe. I tell you, the bilgesnipe is probably the most beloved thing to get a passing mention in the Thor films. I mean, they're only mentioned once for like a second, and now bilgesnipe references are all over the Marvel universe. You know, it's time for another mini-rant. How did Thor describe a bilgesnipe in the film?

Nice miming there, Thor.
And what does it actually look like? A palette-swapped Final Fantasy monster.

Oh, yes, just look at those horns "antlers".
You know what? I could do better. No, seriously, I accept the challenge. ...that I'm offering to myself.

Saturday. Sketchbook. Be there.

Anyway, they leave Thor to his "Viking thing."

Thor: "I am not a Viking!"

As they leave, one of those ghost guys envelops Thor. They enter Hawkeye's room, and find him absent, so Tony tracks his location.

Tony: "In the lab. I swear, if he's making popcorn again...."

He leaves to find Hawkeye and suggests that Falcon go find the Hulk. Falcon enters what he believes to be the Hulk's room, and finds a plain, white room filled with rows and rows of shelves of delicate glass figurines.  Figuring he's in Black Widow's room, he picks one up and teases her to himself. As it turns out, though, this is the Hulk's room. And he's not happy. He quietly demands that Falcon put the figurine back exactly the way it was and delivers an ultimatum.


Falcon exits the room in a haste, and finds Captain America. The two go off to the training room as another purple ghost flies into the Hulk's room. Meanwhile, Iron Man enters his lab and finds Not-Hawkeye and Not-Thor messing with his machinery.

Iron Man: "We do not play with the big boy equipment in the House of Stark."

Um... Ummm... Shoot. Sorry, everyone. I don't get HBO, so I've never seen Breaking Thrones, or Game of Bad, or what have you.

Tony scans the two, and sees that they're really purple ghost things in disguise.

Meanwhile, Falcon and Cap have a good training session, which turns into a f'real fight when Cap gets replaced by a duplicate. Falcon gets locked in the training room, but breaks out, only to be attacked by Not-Black Widow. Falcon and Iron Man rush off together, and Black Widow alerts the other duplicates.

Iron Man locks down the tower, and he and Falcon adjust their optic sensors to see any and all ghosty dudes. Like the one behind Iron Man, in the form of the Hulk, who knocks them both down in one punch.  They escape, and head towards the lab, with Not-Hulk in hot pursuit. Iron Man technobabbles that it's not mind control (like last time), but each atom of their bodies has been replaced with a packet of dark energy. Iron Man gets restrained by Not-Hulk, and the same process happens to him.

Meanwhile, in a dark matter dimension, or something, Tony Stark arrives to where the other Avengers have been taken all this time. It's your typical floating-rocks-and-swirly-energy dimension, but they can see the real world by using reflective surfaces as windows, which is how they can see the Falcon flee the Not-Avengers. Also, what are they breathing?  But before I can fully worry about that, more ghosty guys appear!

Meanwhile (don't make a drinking game out of the word "meanwhile"; this episode cuts so often you'll die of alcohol poisoning), Falcon fights his way through the tower and hides in an elevator shaft. He hacks into the computer's surveillance archives, and finds a video log from Tony Stark, who says that he found a link into a dark matter "limbo" and decided to investigate. Apparently, his experiments let the first one through. And... Yes, we see that Tony customized his own arc reactor to open dimensional rifts. So I apologize for my previous rant at the beginning of this Recap. However, I'm keeping said rant in the Recap not only for posterity, but to give you an idea of how frustrating it is to watch a show which exists in an ill-defined universe.

Not-Hulk suddenly manages to attack Falcon, and they end up in Real-Hulk's room. A couple of flashbombs to the face, and Falcon escapes (after making sure the figurines are fine). Not-Thor and Not-Cap surround Falcon and reveal the evil scheme to take over reality, and Falcon gets attacked by Not-Iron Man, who brags that his armor is an exactly copy of Tony's. Falcon, in a moment of insight, reaches over and engages the manual air brakes on the armor, taking Not-Iron Man out and finding a new hiding place.

Back in Limbo, the Avengers discover a tactic for defeating the purple ghosts: hitting them a lot!

Captain America: "We can handle a few Space Phantoms."

Oh, finally, I can stop referring to them as purple ghosty guys.

Hawkeye: "'Space Phantoms'? Seriously? That's what we're calling them?"

Well, Space Ghost is already taken, so you don't have many options.

Black Widow: "'Creepy, ugly bad-dudes' wasn't a better suggestion, Hawkeye."

Sounds like what Joss Whedon would have called them. Anyway, the Avengers start smashing away, keeping the Space Phantoms away from the now-active portal to Earth. It needs a bit more oomph before it can let the rest of the Phantoms through, but Falcon flies in and attacks before any oomph can be added. But the Not-vengers manage to rip off Falcon's flight pack, and the portal is fully opened. The Space Phantoms rush the Avengers, but manage to be kept at bay.


Well, at least someone liked my name for them. Falcon voice-activates "Redwing Mode," which has nothing to do with Wayne Gretzky, but remotely controls his backpack, creating a vortex that sucks the Not-vengers back into Limbo.

Hawkeye: "Does this mean Falcon's officially smarter than you, considering he survived the longest and got the Phantoms out of the tower?"

The Avengers fight their dopplegangers and make quick work of them. There's even a Fastball Special!

That's nerd-talk for "Somebody throws someone else at another person."
The Avengers return to Earth and shut the dimensional door behind them by blowing up the equipment. Falcon demands a bigger room for all this trouble, and Hawkeye, now in the tower for the first time this episode, smells cookies, and quickly finds the last one, which the Hulk takes.


Petty bickering, and the episode ends.

Review time.

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