This is the first episode I've covered since the show was given the axe to make room for a Guardians of the Galaxy cartoon. While the prospect of no more episodes is good cause to celebrate with the good champagne, the fact that I still have to cover the rest of Season 2 seems like good cause to drown my sorrows in whiskey. Either way, I believe I might need to be inebriated to endure the next half-hour. Let's get this over with.
|Alcohol, I still drink to your health.|
Now, look. There are a lot of people out there who think that one or two squares of toilet paper is enough. But I think we can all agree that one square will not do the job for a Hulk. No wonder Red Hulk's in such a bad mood.
Skaar, in this desperate time, has taken to drinking the water droplets leaking out of the faucet.
|My girlfriend's cat does the same thing.|
Skaar: "Skaar not shower. Ever."
Which is why Skaar is no doubt riddled with all sorts of skin diseases.
Over with Hulk, he's busy with something this show rarely has. Continuity. Using the star chart the Guardians of the Galaxy gave him back in "Guardians of the Galaxy," he's found a wormhole that leads straight to Earth. But according to the computer, it's got some timey-wimey wibbly-wobbliness to it.
Skaar's not too happy about not being able to get back... well, huh. I was going to say "back home," but Skaar's home is the place they all left at the beginning of the season.
For whatever reason, Skaar's not too happy about not being able to get back to Earth, so he throws his sword at the screen.
Hulk: "We'll take the long way home. It's safer."
Does it feel that your life's become a catastrophe?
Skaar, down in the dumps, sulks through the ship for a bit, coming across the Leader, making a log entry from his hamster-ball prison. He complains about how Hulk's choice to not take the wormhole to Earth is going to doom them all, despite the fact that he shouldn't have known about the wormhole Hulk found. Clearly, something's up.
Leader: "My intelligence may dwarf Hulk's, but what we need is one with the courage to take charge and save us."
This gives Skaar an idea, as the Leader had hoped. Skaar walks back to the bridge and pushes She-Hulk out of the pilot's seat in a way that shouldn't be as funny as it is.
|I'm probably a horrible person for laughing at a random act of cruelty. I'll admit it.|
Leader: "It was worth it for me to say, 'Skaar has doomed us all.'"
They enter the wormhole, and everything goes wibbly.
After the opening titles, they find themselves orbiting Earth. The Leader also finds himself on bathroom cleanup duty. Because screw the victory of returning home, we need toilet humor.
|Why is the toilet water green? Just... why?|
It feels like this show is cramming in toilet humor to make up for all the time I was spending not recapping it.
But when the spaceship lands at the coordinates for New Mexico, the Hulks find a tropical paradise. And as if that wasn't weird enough, and army of lizard-men riding monsters comes to greet them. A fight ensues, as you might expect, and the Hulks soon take out the platoon of lizard men by mimicking Hercules' Fifth Labor with a nearby waterfall.
Then, from out of the sky, a purple figure floats down. All the lizard-men bow before the divine figure and call him "Master."
|You answer is as hilarious as it is wrong.|
|There ya go.|
To be fair, the lizard-men attacked first.
High Evolutionary: "You are the aggressors here."
No, they actually weren't this time. And Hulk actually brings up my point to the High Evolutionary.
High Evolutionary: "What else could these simple creatures do when threatened by the rampaging monsters known as the Hulk and his Agents of S.M.A.S.H.?"
And don't think I realize what's going on with the High Evolutionary's voice. It's provided by none other than Corey Burton, who perfected his creepy robot voice in the DC Animated Universe, where he voiced Brainiac. And his performance here is trying to ape that for all it's worth.
He reveals that he knows who they are because he, like all the other villains in the show, watches Rick's vlog. But he doesn't do much of that anymore because the place they're standing in hasn't been called "New Mexico" in a thousand years.
As Hulk realizes that the wormhole must be responsible for taking them to the future, High Evolutionary explains that a few months after the Hulks went missing, the Earth was hit by a meteor.
|"That was me. I did that."|
This is a bit of a departure from his comic book incarnation, where he's known for creating half-animals of every sort called "Beast Men." Guy's just a furry at heart, I guess.
Anyway, the Hulks aren't fans of this future where the High Evolutionary rules over his half-humans with an iron fist and they plan to change the past by going back through the wormhole, which High Evolutionary won't stand for. He captures the Hulk in an energy bubble and starts dreaming of the monsters he could make by hyper-evolving the Hulk. And when his friends try to save the green lug, he changes them into cave-Hulks. Except for Skaar, who's immune to the devolution through virtue of "the plot says so."
|Wow, did the animators really not see the potentially racist implications of having Red devolve into an ape with an afro?|
Skaar, having recovered from the shock of the High Evolutionary's blast, tries to attack him, but just gets blasted again. And again, no effect.
High Evolutionary: "Interesting. You are already so far down the evolutionary ladder my devolving ray has no effect on you."
Okay, let's talk about evolution. And I'll be doing my best to simplify it so as not to take up too much time with this, but it needs to be said.
Evolution is just a species changing over time to adapt to its environment. For example, let's say there's a bunch of butterflies. They're all the same species, but their wing colors vary. Some have really blue wings, others have greenish ones. The blue-winged ones don't blend into the leaves as well as the green-winged ones, so more of them get eaten by predators. The green-winged ones pass on their genes, and the next generation will tend to have greenish wings.
So you can't "evolve" or "devolve" a creature. What the High Evolutionary does is just mutate them.
And furthermore, "devolving" as it's used in science fiction, with creatures reverting to primitive forms, is impossible for the simple reason that no creature's DNA contains the complete blueprints for its evolutionary ancestors.
And furthermore, his plan to "evolve" Hulk into the pinnacle of Gamma-induced evolution is laughable because there is never a "next step" in evolution. The "next step" is whatever traits in a creature's offspring lend themselves to survival.
- Takes place over generations.
- Happens to species, not individuals.
- Does not have set "levels" or "steps."
|The only thing that would make it more inaccurate is if he said that evolution wasn't real.|
Skaar: "Listen to Skaar! Attack purple man!"
|"Wait, what? What'd I do?"|
Skaar voices his frustrations in a cut-away where She-Hulk is picking bugs out of his hair, meaning that Skaar decided to walk back to the ship's convenient filming room to talk to a camera while this ordeal was going on.
But Skaar gets the idea that if the other Hulks are stupid, he should talk to the only smart guy left. The Leader. Who is currently plunging a toilet. Skaar talks to him on a video communicator on the bathroom wall. For some gross reason. He explains the situation.
Leader: "Well, free me, and I will tell you the first rule of leadership. If you can't win their minds, then you win their hearts."
Um, you realize that Skaar didn't free you and you told him anyway, right, Leader?
Skaar goes to each of them and wins their hearts one by one. He teaches A-Bomb not to hit himself in the face with a rock, gives She-Hulk his kaboomerang as a back scratcher, and gives Rulk a stick, which he immediately pretends is a gun by saying "Boom boom!" Which I guess makes it a boomstick.
|How appropriate, the main characters are now primitive screwheads.|
|You get one point, episode.|
Meanwhile, at the villain's lair....
High Evolutionary: "If there's one thing I've learned over the centuries, it's that any life form can always be improved."
|Not if you put the right parts on.|
Over with the Smashers, they're now outside the evil lair. And they knew exactly where it was because shut up.
Skaar asks if anyone has a plan. A-Bomb suggests hitting himself in the face, Rulk complains that his stick is out of ammo, and She-Hulk grins like an idiot. So Skaar uses his head and come up with the idea of literally using Red's head as a battering ram. A joke that was actually funny.... When it was used in Toy Story 2.
Once inside, Skaar starts attacking the robots inside. and leading the way to Hulk. Thanks to some stupidity, they stumble into High Evolutionary's main evolution room, where he's already evolved the Hulk into his evolutionary pinnacle... a pointy-eared, big-headed Hulk with bat wings.
|Yeah, I'm writing this off as a delayed side effect of when Hulk was bitten by Dracula.|
A fight ensues, and Hulk shows off his new heat vision. So I guess Hulk evolved into a Kryptonian. He starts blathering on about probabilities, and strategies, and blah blah smart people stuff. High Evolutionary announces his intent to devolve the rest of the smasher into primordial slime, making me wonder why he didn't do that in the first place, especially on Skaar. And if Skaar's immune to devolution, then how does the High Evolutionary plan on turning him into primordial slime?
In the ensuing kerfuffle, while Hulk exposits about his own attacks more than a character written by Stan Lee...
|Seriously, were you paid by the word, Stan?|
Skaar: "If Hulk so smart, why Hulk not lead? Isn't Hulk 'ultimate creation'?"
Hulk concedes the point and attacks the High Evolutionary while pointing out the flaw in this episode's take on "evolution."
Hulk: "The very purpose of evolution is for the next generation to supersede the previous one."
|Thank you, episode, for pointing out why your own take on evolution is stupid and wrong.|
Yeah, my dad says the same thing to me sometimes.
They fight each other for a bit, discussing strategy all the while, until Skaar manages to take High Evolutionary's technological evolution scepter thingy. But since Skaar is, you know, an idiot, he turns Red Hulk into a slug, despite the fact that slugs and humans are so far separated, evolutionarily speaking, that... Nah, I'm aborting that criticism. Let's just chalk it up to the other ways this episode fails evolution.
High Evolutionary brags that only the evolution chamber can restore the Smashers.
Skaar: "You're wrong!"
High Evolutionary: "I am never wrong, you fool! The green button releases a mist that restores an organism to its original form."
First of all, you're an idiot, High Evolutionary.
Second of all, the Smashers' "original forms" are normal humans, technically. But don't worry, this episode won't remember that.
Skaar: "Skaar knows smart guys always talk too much about plans."
Skaar knocks out High Evolutionary and saves Red Slug from being eaten by the others, restoring him with the green mist first while Hulk and High Evolutionary continue their fight, calculating each others' odds of winning.
Hulk: "I will give you one chance to submit. Otherwise, I calculate a 99.9% probability of your destruction."
High Evolutionary: "I put your chances at less than ten percent."
Hulk: "Impossible. My calculations are irrefutable."
High Evolutionary knocks Hulk across the room while he's distracted.
High Evolutionary: "I lied."
Honestly, that was a pretty cool bit.
Red Hulk is soon back to normal, and goes to fix the others while Skaar rejoins the fight, saving Hulk from High Evolutionary. This confuses Hulk, because the whole "friendship" thing is now a foreign concept to him. But when Skaar explains it, Hulk remembers just how valuable friendship can be.
High Evolutionary: "Friendship. An obsolete concept. I never quite understood it."
A-Bomb: "Gee, I wonder why."
She-Hulk: "To have a friend, first you have to be a friend!"
Red Hulk: "Even if that means putting your own life on the line!"
When did this become an after-school special?
The Hulk devolves himself back to normal, delivers a speech about friendship, and High Evolutionary gets hoist by his own petard and devolves into a baby. A creepy as all get out baby.
|Also, "devolving" and "de-aging" are not the same thing, episode.|
|And now, reptilians rule the Earth. The conspiracy theorists were right!|
Skaar: "Skaar not need. Not need ever."
That's right, everybody! For the past 32 episodes, Skaar's unwiped, unshowered, butt has been separated from the world only by a simple loincloth. So the others decide to drag him off to the shower against his will as Hulk delivers the morals of the story in a cutaway.
Hulk (cutaway): "One, there's no point to being the smartest creature in the universe if you forget the people you care about. And two... huh. What was the other thing?"
I don't know, was it "remember basic hygiene"? Maybe it was, because we cut to the Leader, ankle-deep in glowing, green toilet water.
Mercifully, though, we've reached the end of the episode, so I can give this piece of crap a piece of my mind. I mean, more so than I already have.