Monday, March 30, 2015

Review: Avengers: EMH "Some Assembly Required"

The episode was called "Some Assembly Required," and we end up losing a piece of the team? Always the same with DIY projects, isn't it?

This episode bears some resemblance to "Secret Society," a two-part episode of Justice League. In that episode, a bit of mind manipulation makes the Leaguers start to butt heads with one another, but their issues are largely resolved after the mind control wears off. This episode ditches the overly-simple happy ending at replaces it with one of the team members quitting. It's entirely in character for the antisocial Hulk, and it's loosely based on the original Avengers comics. The Avengers being manipulated into chasing after the Hulk is what got them together in the first place, and the Hulk ended up ragequitting in the third issue of the series after an incident with a Space Phantom stealing his identity.

This episode updates the story excellently, even tying it into the main story arc by using the Enchantress as the culprit. But we'll get to her motivations in time. For now, all we know from previous episodes is that she's working for Loki.

As I said, the infighting in "Secret Society" was due to mental manipulation that was easily resolved. But here, the Hulk's mind control is simply the chink in the team's armor. Hank is absolutely right; they're all just strangers. To quote a certain film, they're not a team. They're a time bomb.

This naturally raises the question of whether or not the Hulk would end up running away even without the Enchantress's mind control.

Let's look at the facts. Hulk is the only person who arrived on time. Whether through Banner's urging or not, the Hulk is giving this thing a legitimate shot.  Breaking the gate, yelling at people, the foul mood. All of it happened after Enchantress and Skurge walked by in disguise. So it's likely that Banner was mentally subdued in front of Avengers Mansion.

Yeah, you're not hiding, you two.
If that had never happened, Hulk probably would have been on better behavior. And if he had been on better behavior, the others wouldn't have had to go after him because he wouldn't have quit because the other's wouldn't have alienated him. It's entirely likely that they would have all ended up trusting the Hulk after a bit, making any future incidents like this episode unlikely.

Of course, one can speculate all day. But it's clear that this team needs focus. It needs a leader. It needs a star-spangled man with a plan. But that will have to wait for another day.

The Hulk isn't a bad guy, he just has a short temper. All it takes is a little push from a magic voice in his head, and suddenly he doesn't want to be part of the team. But as I said, it's clear that he wanted to make this work. He showed up on time and everything. And when the Avengers throw it back in his face by chasing after him in case he becomes a threat, he feels like he's been betrayed. By them, and by Banner. but even so, the Hulk isn't a bad guy. There's enough of a hero in him to save the others from the Enchantress before he leaps away.

The Hulk isn't a team player quite yet. It'll take some time. Which is, you know, character development. You see, Marvel Animated Universe? Real character development takes more than one episode. Take notes.

Don't worry, I'm not ranting.

I can't really afford it until payday.
This episode makes it clear that she's the heart of the team. She's the one who stops the arguing in the meeting room. She's the one who's gung-ho about staying at the mansion. She's the one who asks the Hulk not to run away.

Tony's the brain, Thor's the brawn, but she's proving herself to be the heart of the team.

Good as ever. 'Nuff said.

Final Thoughts
The series avoids a lackluster second episode by both paying tribute to the comics mythology as well as subverting our expectations.

Next time, we fill in the missing piece of the team. See you then!

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