Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Recap: Goosebumps "Attack of the Mutant Part II"

When we last saw our hero...

A mysterious building... straight out of a comic?
A comic... containing a real life building?
Comic drawings of our hero inside said building?
But wait! The wildest is yet to come!
It turns out that the "Masked Mutant" is just a cardboard cutout that Libby found, in flagrant disregard of the cliffhanger where we clearly saw him.

Or is it...?
She also found another elevator, so they have a way to escape. Skipper tries to show Libby what he found, but the artwork seems to have mysteriously vanished....

They leave the room as the standee's eyes start glowing, and are out of the building in no time. Libby just wants to get home, since her parents will wonder where she is, and runs off, leaving Skipper behind to try and make sense off all that's happening.

That night, Skipper doesn't have much of an appetite.

Mr. Mathews: "There's a first. Mark it on the calendar."

Way to call your son fat through subtext.

Skipper: "The weirdest thing happened today..."
Mr. Mathews: "Oh! By the way."

Way to listen to your son when he's trying to tell you something. You are a terrible parent, Clark Kent.

Mr. Mathews: "I'm driving to work this morning, and what do I hear on the radio?"
Mrs. Mathews: "A child psychologist is talking about how he thinks some kids get so involved in comic books... eh? That they... they start living in their fantasies."

Yeah, but you shouldn't believe anything Frederick Wertham says, Clark. I mean, I read comic books all the time, and I'm certainly not delusional. Isn't that right, Doctor?



Ha. Too true.

But poor Skipper seems to be hallucinating a comic book filter over everything while his dad continues to spit on Skipper's favorite narrative medium.

Instagram filters. The true horror.
Skipper decides to go to bed early, which his dad is perfectly fine with, since it means more meatballs for him.

The next day, Wilson offers his moral support.

Wilson: "Maybe you're going nuts."
Skipper: "I swear, I saw them! They were drawings of me. They even drew my braces."

Uh... wrong?
Wilson: "Too bad you don't have one of those drawings to show me."

Yeah, it's a little convenient that you've never been able to back up any of these claims. Boy, this episode would be very different if it were made now, since Skipper would just have to whip out his phone and record video of all this.

Wilson: "You know, that's what I like about collecting my rocks. There's nothing weird about them. No invisible rocks. No rocks that look like me. I like that about them."

Skipper starts to doubt his sanity, which reminds Wilson of his Uncle Ralph.

Wilson: "First, he started seeing things that weren't there. Then he started smelling things. Then they took him away."

"He started smelling things that weren't there?"
"No, he broke into people's houses just to smell their things. That's why they took him away. He's in prison."
That night, Skipper is zoning out in his room while in a cold sweat, unaware that his dad is calling his name. His dad is worried that all the algebra is cutting into his sleep, but Skipper's more concerned with the comic book filter over the world.

Eventually, it disappears, and Mr. Mathews hands his son his latest comic book.

Geez, how often do they print new issues of The Masked Mutant? He's gotten one nearly every day!

His dad tells Skipper to finish that homework first and leaves. Meaning that Skipper opens the new comic straight away, discovering himself within the pages, sneaking down a corridor to rescue the tied-up Galloping Gazelle.

Galloping Gazelle: "Only the boy can save the world from the Masked Mutant's evil. But where is he?"

What is the Masked Mutant's evil plan? Other than just fighting the Galloping Gazelle? How exactly does the world hang in the balance? These and many other questions will not be answered.

Skipper runs downstairs to finally show his parents this proof that something odd is going on, but his dad can't see the pages because of the onions he's chopping for dinner.

Mrs. Mathews: "Oh, well, there's a trick to cutting onions. I have no idea what it is."

Seriously, Superman, stop using your memory kiss on your wife.

And so Skipper ends up on the bus to the Masked Mutant's hideout yet again. Shouldn't his parents be concerned?

"Honey, do you know where Skipper is?"
"'Skipper'? Who's that?"
Luckily, there's a creepy bus driver to talk to. And he wants to know if Skipper has anyone coming to pick him up.

Skipper: "Oh, no."

Wrong answer, Skipper. This guy seems like he drives a white van when he's off the job.

Driver: "This part of town's not a good place for a kid to be at night."
Skipper: "Yeah, well, there's something I have to do."

Thankfully, he's just looking at that comic in Skipper's hand.

Driver: "You into comic books?"

And the grooming has begun.

Driver: "You gotta be careful with those things. They can warp your mind."
Skipper: "...okay."
Driver: "Hey, kid. Be careful out there. Be real careful."

The driver keeps staring at Skipper as he prepares to drive off. Luckily, it's just because he's the Masked Mutant in disguise.

"Bus driving pays the bills. That headquarters wasn't cheap, you know!"
Dipper walks along to the invisible building as a woman's scream rings out into the chilly night air. He steps through the invisibility curtain and enters the amazing Technicolor building again, walking to the elevator again, and traveling down the same corridor from the comic, which he even brought along. I imagine he's using it like a cheat guide to see what comes next.

Eventually, he comes across the tied-up Galloping Gazelle, played by....

Oh my sweet Galactus, it's Adam-Freakin'-West. Yes please.
Skipper: "You're the Galloping Gazelle! You're real!"
Galloping Gazelle: "Real tired of waiting. C'mon, turn that heat off, I'm broiling!"

Skipper deactivates the Mutant's heater deathtrap and starts untying his hero so they can stop the Mutant's evil scheme.

Galloping Gazelle: "You're the kid, aren't ya?"

He's a kid.

Galloping Gazelle: "You're the one who's supposed to help me fight the evil forces, aren't you?"
Skipper: "I..."
Galloping Gazelle:" What's your name?"
Skipper: "Skipper."
Galloping Gazelle: "Weird name for a superhero."

"Have you considering naming yourself after a bird? Sparrow? Blue Jay? How about 'Cardinal, the Kid Spectacle!'"
Galloping Gazelle: "How old are ya, kid? 8? 9?"
Skipper: "I'm 12."

Skipper Mathews. Age 12.

Galloping Gazelle: "Hey, don't get an attitude."

You're the one with the attitude.

The Gazelle tries to radio the League of Good Guys, but no dice. As Skipper continues to untie the Gazelle, he wonders how Skipper even found the place.

Galloping Gazelle: "You used your secret cyber-radar powers, right? Or your ultra mind control to read my thoughts and hurry to my rescue?'

That's not how mind control works. But you did a good job of describing telepathy.

The Gazelle starts leaping up through the stories of the building once he's untied, but Skipper can't exactly follow him. So instead, they take the stairs while 1966 Batman trumpets occasionally sound off in the background. They climb slowly, since Skipper gets out of breath easily.

Galloping Gazelle: "Take your time. Take your time. We only have to save the planet."

Wow. Jerk.

But eventually, they come across the main control chamber of the Masked Mutant's evil lair.

Or maybe this is just where Nickelodeon makes its slime.
Galloping Gazelle: "It's so... overdone."

"Maybe if he went with a more natural, rocky look and labeled everything."
Galloping Gazelle: "Not nearly as impressive as the control room for the League of Good Guys. We have a soft drink machine."

The Gazelle decides to wait for the Mutant to return so they can ambush him. And he sits in a nearby chair so he can be comfy while they wait.

Galloping Gazelle: "Just take a little off the top. Trim around the horns, please!"

Barbershop jokes because... he's in a chair?

I agree with Skipper here.
But it seems as though the chair here isn't very comfortable. And it turns out that the Masked Mutant has taken a play straight from the Haggunenon playbook and disguised himself as a chair. His face emerges from the back of the chair as one of the arms becomes a snake.

The snake from "The Return of the Mummy," yet again.
The Gazelle whips out one of his classic moves by running off to the center of the room and creating a miniature whirlwind by spinning. This accomplishes nothing, and the Mutant nabs Skipper before sticking his foot out and tripping the Gazelle.

Galloping Gazelle: "That's it. I'm out of here."


Galloping Gazelle: "He's right. I'm too old for this superhero stuff."

Oh, Adam, you'll never be too old to be my hero.

Masked Mutant: "Now you."

I love how he points with two fingers like he works at Disneyland.
With the Gazelle gone, he turns his attention on Skipper. As Skipper tries to run, Libby enters the room and explains that she saw Skipper go inside the building and followed him.

Then she takes a look around while Skipper tries to bring her up to speed, but Libby reveals that she was the Masked Mutant all along!

Libby: "There is no Libby."

Only Zuul.

Libby: "And now I must do something very bad to you, Skipper."

This is getting a little creepy.

And not just because the Masked Mutant is grabbing our protagonist in true Goosebumps fashion.
Skipper tries to promise that he won't tell anybody anything, but the Masked Mutant is quite keen on having Skipper as his new arch nemesis.

Skipper: "You're just a character in a comic book! But I'm real! I'm a real boy!"

He's a boy! A really real boy! He's a boy! A real cool boy!

Masked Mutant: "No. You're not, Skipper. You're not real. You're a comic book character too!"
Skipper: "You're a liar!"
Masked Mutant: "Yes! I'm a liar! It's one of my better qualities. But I'm not lying this time."

Apparently, the Mutant used his technology to convert Skipper into a comic book character.

Masked Mutant: "Remember when you walked through the glass door and a beam of light passed over you?"

"Glass door"? I see a metal door, but no glass door.
Masked Mutant: "That was a scanner. When you passed through it, it scanned your entire body. It turned you into tiny dots of ink."

That is not what "scan" means.

And so, the Mutant prepares to destroy his new nemesis with a crane hanging from the ceiling, so Skipper quickly lies and claims to be the Colossal Elastic Boy.

Masked Mutant: "Ah! Elastic Boy! I thought you looked familiar!"
Skipper: "Well, goodbye, Mutant, I have to go back to my home planet of Zargos. You know, I can't guest star in other comic books."

But the Mutant is very keen of squishing his foe. so Skipper points out that since he's elastic, he'll just spring back to his regular shape after being squished. And he quickly lies that only sulfuric acid can kill him.

So now, armed with knowledge of something that can kill Elastic Boy (as well as Skipper), the Mutant changes into sulfuric acid... and starts melting through the floor.

Skipper: "Aha! There's one thing you've forgotten, Mutant. You can change into a solid and back, but once you change into a liquid, you're dead."

I know it comes from the book, but was it ever actually established in the episode that the mutant can't change back from a liquid?

"What a world! What a world!"
Skipper: "Yes, I've destroyed him! The most evil supervillain to walk the planet is dead!"

Once again for Goosebumps, murder seems to be the answer.

Skipper laughs for a bit before leaving, and we cut to the next day, where it seems as though another comic has come for him. But Skipper tells his mom to throw it out. Instead, she puts it on the counter in case he changes his mind. She notices some blobs of ink smeared all over his hand, so she drags him to the sink and starts scrubbing his palm while Skipper walks into the living room and looks for the TV remote. While his arm is still at the sink.

Yes, it seems as though the adventures of the Colossal Elastic Boy have not yet ended.

He could use a new costume, though. What's with the epaulets?
Elastic Boy: "Stretch it!"

And with... that, the episode ends. Now let's review Adam West's big comeback.

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