Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Recap: The Spectacular Spider-Man "Interactions"

Well, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 came out recently, so I thought it'd be appropriate to return to The Spectacular Spider-Man. They both have Electro, Gwen Stacy, and adjectives! Let's begin!

Spectacular, Amazing, Superior, Web of, Peter Parker colon, etc.

Our episode opens up on a shot of New York, which I realize is a sentence I’ve been typing more often than “It turns out Jean Grey wasn’t dead.” So, yeah, a lot. But the next shot is in the Empire State University laboratory of that mono-armed genius, Dr. Curtis Connors. As you may remember, Eddie Brock, Gwen Stacy, and Peter Parker are all interning there. At the moment, they’re standing in front of a tank filled with electric eels as Dr. Connors gets all philosophical.

Dr. Connors: “In nature, everything is connected.”

Yes, yes, we know. Lions eat grass, grass eats the antelopes, hakuna matata.

I just like that bit.
He preaches for a bit about the duty of scientists to better humanity, and Eddie tells the others what Connors has been doing besides espousing doctrine.

Eddie: “We’re experimenting with genetically altered electric rays and eels.”

I was going to point out that “electric rays” aren’t actually a real thing… but it turns out they totally are. And because my marine biologist-to-be girlfriend doesn’t read my blog, she won’t be disappointed in me.

This shall forever be our secret.

Anyway, Doctor Connors accesses the tank and outlines his master plan: to harness the electricity as a “clean” power source. That’s a terrible plan for many reasons, but I’ll limit it to the two biggest reasons.

1.  Due to the Law of Conservation of Energy, you’d have to put in more energy than you’d get out (“energy in” being chemical energy stored in food).
2.  Eels and rays zap things in short bursts. Even if you could store the energy given off, it would probably only power a TV.

Although, that last one is actually addressed. As it turns out, they’ve developed a “sludge” that’s mixed in with the water in the tank which increases the amount of electricity given off by the eels. They’re now giving off so much energy, that Dr. Connors is having his assistant Max Dillon rework some of the electrical systems in the lab.

Let’s see… genetically-altered animals? Chemical sludge? A lab worker? Yep. It’s freak accident time.

Connors’ wife tells the good doctor exactly how late it is, and everybody leaves to go home except for Dr. Connors and Max. Aunt May calls Peter as he leaves (His ringtone is “The Itsy Bitsy Spider". Cute.), and he tells her that he’s going to make sure Gwen gets home safe. After all, we’ve seen that guys in helicopters can apparently fly around the city wildly firing weapons with no police or military action. New York is freakin’ dangerous!

Back at the lab, we get some foreshadowing as a lizard watches Dr. Connors look at some strange cells under a microscope. Max, however, tries to pull out a jammed bit of electrical equipment, knocks over his drill onto a control panel, and electrocutes himself. This knocks him into the eel tank, which breaks, and he gets electrocuted even further from the eels, sludge, and lab equipment.

Don't say "shocking," don't say "shocking"....
Cue intro.

When the show resumes, Dr. Connors and Eddie are accompanying the paramedics who are wheeling Max into the hospital. Max is twitching around like he’s being tazed, and it’s because his body is so charged with electricity that it’s electrocuting itself. Quit self-tazing, bro! They take him to the isolation room, and we cut to the next day as Spider-Man swings onto a train, then a helicopter (one that’s not opening fire everywhere), and then swings through the city. All the while, he’s freaking out about something. Namely, being late for school. Peter literally slides into class with a little bit of his costume showing as Flash Thompson reads the Daily Bugle.

Flash: “Spider-Man in action…”
Peter: “It’s not what you think!”

But as it turns out, Flash was referring to the fact that the Bugle wants pictures of Spider-Man, and is apparently offering “major fundage”. It takes a second, but Peter realizes that the Bugle stole the idea he suggested to them last episode.

Peter: “I told that big-mouthed Bugle guy to…”
Harry Osborn: “Take photos of someone famous? Yeah. That is revolutionary.”

Okay, that was funny.

The teacher hands back the graded tests, and it seems that Liz Allan, Flash’s girlfriend (?), failed. We get some antics with Flash involving a football, and we cut to the hospital, where Doctors Bromwell and Connors finally emerge from the isolation chamber to meet with Eddie Brock. Max is alive, but, as Eddie sees, Max is stuck in a containment suit to regulate the electricity that his body’s constantly generating. Dr. Connors promises a cure, and Max brushes him off. Back at school, the teacher tells Liz that Peter’s going to tutor her. But Liz doesn’t want to be seen with such a nerd, and… why does she have an accent? Sorry, I got distracted. Anyway, she wants Flash to “tutor” her instead, but the teacher says he wants her grade to go up.

In the hands of a 13-year-old female fanfic writer, this scene would have the teacher secretly be Loki in disguise.
It would end with everybody being pregnant.
Back at the hospital, Eddie’s visiting Max in the hospital. It seems that his electromagnetic field is keeping the TV from working, and he begins develop some cabin fever. This, coupled with the fact that his life is over as far as he knows, leads him to flee the hospital. Later, outside a coffee shop with Liz and Peter…

Peter: “See, this chapter’s really about how biological systems interact.”

I’ve heard better pickup lines. So has Liz, because she just texts away. Max, meanwhile, has put some clothes on over his containment suit and orders a coffee, scaring a little girl and her dad.

Max: “What’re you staring at?”
Barista: “I was waiting for your order….”

Max Dillon has no patience for those stupid names Starbucks gives to drinks and cup sizes. Also, he just grabbed a drink that was probably for someone else. But he did pay for it, so there’s that. He tries to drink the coffee through a hole in his mask, but only ends up zapping it. His subsequent anger takes out all the electronics in the shop, and he flees.

Don't say "shocking," don't say "shocking"....
Peter, spotting this, suddenly grows a pair and tells Liz to tell him when she’s actually ready to learn, and leaves to go chase down Max. Liz can only stare in such a way that suggests she likes his newfound bad boy tendencies.

Peter swings into action, taking a few selfies for the Bugle in the process. He webs up Max, poses, takes a few shots, and gets zapped for his troubles. In a quick scuffle, Max’s headgear gets removed, and it seems that the electricity flowing out of his head is in the shape of the Electro mask from the comics. A no-prize to the first person who guesses which villain Max just turned into.

Max: “Why did you attack me?”

Actually, good question. Spider-Man just assumed that the suspicious-looking man was a criminal. And now, he’s going to turn into one. Nice job, “hero.”

They fight (with Spidey nicknaming Max “Electro” in the process), and Max begins firing bolts everywhere as Aunt May calls Peter’s phone. More zapping, more dodging, and Peter calls her back.

Peter: “I’ve been… tutoring.”

Max finds his headgear and runs off before Spidey and rejoin the action. The next day, Peter goes through all of his blurry photos. Gwen interrupts him and tells him about the lab accident. One fade in/out later, and Peter realizes that not only did he attack an innocent man, but one that he may have been able to help. He runs into Liz, and tells her to meet him after school for tutoring, maybe.

Later, at the lab, Peter, Gwen, Doc, and Eddie are failing to figure out a cure when Liz ends up taking Peter up on his offer.

Over with Max, he’s walking up the steps outside his apartment building when Dr. Bromwell and a couple cops gently try to talk him into coming back to the hospital. Well, the doctor’s being gentle to the stressed-out Max. One of the cops goes all Brooklyn and starts yelling at him. End result? Max zaps off to the lab to demand a cure from Connors. Speaking of the lab, Liz is there making small talk, and Peter starts giving her the exact same speech that Connors did in the beginning while he wrangles a giant eel.


Gwen is clearly not appreciative of Peter showing Liz his giant, wriggling eel. Hey. Mind. Gutter. Remove the former from the latter.

Connors, alone in his office, is apparently about to shoot up with something while his wife barges in on him. He shuts the door and tells her that it’s not heroin. It’s lizard DNA! Before he can elaborate further, Max appears and demands a cure. Now!

Max: “I. Don’t. Have. TIME!”

And before I can speculate on whether or not the chemical sludge quickened his synapses, which would make the world go in slow motion to him, the begins throwing an electrical tantrum. Also, “Electrical Tantrum”? Awesome band name.

Eddie tells Peter to get the girls out and rushes off to fight the electric fiend. The girls manage to hide in a nearby building, Eddie gets zapped, and Peter goes off to change his clothes and return as Spider-Man.

Spider-Man: “Look, I messed up before, but now I really want to help.”

But Max is slowly becoming less rational. In fact, he decides to take that final supervillain step and change his name.

Max: “I’m… what’d you call me?”
Spider-Man: “Lightning-Butt?”
Max: “No, not that. Electro.”

Electro sends out more lightning, zapping Doc Connors’ lizard DNA serum, and the fight starts. It’s more of the same. Lightning, dodging, zapping, webs, the usual. But Spidey also has to save a kid trying to get Bugle photos outside. Way to be an accessory to child endangerment, Jameson.

...crap, I was trying to do better than James Bond puns.
Aunt May, predictably, calls. After dealing with her, Spidey knocks Electro into a swimming pool, taking him out of commission. The cops show up, and Spidey leaves. The next day, Liz and Peter talk about the incident at the lab, showing a hint of attraction to him before quickly returning to being Flash’s arm candy.
Peter meets back up with Harry and Gwen, and over at the lab, Doc Connors recovers his now-sparking lizard serum. We get some ominous chords, and the episode ends.

Now let's get to reviewin', and see if this episode had that certain spark. I'm not apologizing for that pun.

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