Episode Twelve – The Homecoming (Part 2)

Episode Synopsis

(This Episode was originally aired as “Episode 7″, even though it’s actually “Episode 12″ in continuity)

We rejoin the Joes after they’ve been captured by the US Government.  News broadcasts announce their apprehension, and mixed reactions are shown…some support the soldiers (holding signs saying “Yo Joe!”) while others are visibly relieved.  With all of this news coverage of their capture, Cobra Commander can’t help but notice that they still have his precious hard drive, and he sends the Baroness in to intercept it.

Placed on a transport train to take them back to the government, the Joes converse on their next plan, while we get a first look at the awesome Cobra Black Dragon transport copter.  Baroness even name drops everyone’s favorite Arms Dealer.  Part of the Joes’ conversation sheds some light on the backstories of the other members of the G.I. Joe team.

Soon, we’re flashing back again to Duke’s past, this time in his early days in the military.  We get our first fan tribute in this episode when Duke is clearing a mine field, and has to help Private Skoog (also known as Tripwire) when he inadvertently trips a pressure sensitive mine.  Duke is injured saving his life, but when he doesn’t show up for the medal ceremony, Flint takes the heat.

Back in the present day, The Baroness makes her move, infiltrating the train and blowing the controls.  As she emerges on top of the car, Snake Eyes confronts her.  But he quickly finds out she’s not alone.

Figuring Snake Eyes would not leave his friends behind, Storm Shadow is also on top of the train, waiting for the time to strike.  As Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow duke it out, Baroness goes back into the train cars and begins fighting her way towards the Joes.

Flint finds out some dirt on Tunnel Rat and Roadblock, and they have some heated discussions…but Lady Jaye quickly interjects.  She believes the tales of Cobra conspiracy, and reveals some details about her past with Duke.  We get some fantastic old school military flashback details with Lady Jaye as a co-pilot on a helicopter, and yet another awesome fan favorite makes an appearance…  referred to as “Stalker-One” we can only imagine Sgt. Lonzo Wilkenson is the man Jaye is talking to.  Awesome.  Truly awesome.

Lady Jaye’s helicopter is shot down, and Duke makes a dramatic rescue of her and her co-pilot against direct orders by Stalker.  Flint remains unimpressed.

Baroness continues her determined march through the train cars, systematically taking down agent after agent while Flint and Lady Jaye are prepared to take a stand.  Up on top of the train, Storm Shadow gets the better of Snake Eyes and is prepared to run him through, but another nice throwback to the old school Joe universe has him narrowly avoid smashing into an overpass, allowing Snake Eyes to gain the upper hand.  The Joe ninja makes his way down to his comrades, disarming Jaye and Flint just time for The Baroness and Storm Shadow to blast their way inside.  Easily making their way through the Joes inside, The Baroness retrieves the hard drive and her and Storm Shadow make their way outside.  Siezing on a chance to escape, Storm Shadow grabs onto a rope ladder from the Cobra Black Dragon transport and escapes with The Baroness, leaving the train careening out of control.

Duke and Flint work together to halt the train just in the nick of time, though Flint is almost caught in the explosion…he is barely rescued by Duke.  Making it look like resistance, the other Joes escape with the Coyote, and even though Flint has a chance to take out Duke, he holds his fire.  Though he immediately orders a 50 mile perimeter and brushes off Jaye’s questions, Lady Jaye gives him a look that tells the true story.  Jaye believes the Joes…and just maybe Flint is coming around.

Back in Cobra Industries headquarters, the Commander is not at all happy with the escape of the “Springfield Four”.  He orders Baroness to return to her office duties as he promises to employee other agents to finish what she could not.  Baroness begrudgingly exits, and runs into Storm Shadow, who offers an allegiance.  It is an offer that The Baroness cannot help but accept.

Episode Review

Everything that I loved about Part One is present and accounted for in Part Two.  In fact, we manage to avoid even more humor in the second part, instead diving headlong into action, and really never letting off the petal until the episode is over.  I’ve seen some complaints about the fact that we’re getting so many two-parters so early in the season, but when they feel like true “events” I can’t complain.  The Snake Eyes origin, and now Homecoming, both feel very much like “event” stories and have worked exceptionally well in the 2-part format.

The dialog continues to flow crisply and smartly, with very little “dumbing down” for a younger audience.  The “Catwoman” like design of The Baroness’ combat suit is absolutely awesome, with some fantastic Cobra tech in the form of the Black Dragon and the Baroness’ awesome jet pack.  Even though this is essentially the third straight episode focusing on some serious Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow action, it doesn’t feel overdone or overblown, and meshed with the rest of the story remarkably well.

And then there are the guest stars.  Tripwire and Stalker barely make a splash, but they are both perfectly intertwined into the tale.  Stalker certainly bares a strong resemblance to the character, and I LOVED that military flashback.  Seeing Duke pop that tire with a sniper rifle that actually shot bullets was a great touch, and a clear indication that the Joes’ weaponry is the exception in this universe, and not necessarily the rule.  Baroness’ casual mention of Destro…  Cobra Commander’s gruff, awesomely evil voice and attitude.  So, so cool.

Best of all, I love all the shades of gray.  Flint isn’t a clear cut “bad guy” and obviously is starting to rethink the Joes’ position as enemies.  Duke’s warning to “look deeper at Cobra” will find legs, I think, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Flint starting to come around.  The smile he got from Lady Jaye in this episode was priceless as well.

And even though they avoid the death issue at every turn, the writers are able to still go heavy with the action.  The Baroness casually walking through the train car and igniting hapless government agents with her flame gauntlets was something that could be just written off, or could have been a pretty vicious massacre, depending on how you look at it.  Throughout this whole two-parter, the Duke flashbacks have felt neither forced, nor out of place, and I think this imperfect character is a very refreshing take on the mythology.

Up until this point, episodes have been well done, and entertaining, but in this Homecoming 2-Parter, everything really came together.  Cobra characters were abundant throughout, there were G.I. Joes and Joe themed guest stars at every turn…this really felt like it immersed us totally into the Renegades universe.  Everything up until this point has been gravy, but Homecoming gave us some real meat.  A fantastic two-part event, a great Christmas present, and a very long two week wait until Episode Eight.

Screenshot Gallery (Courtesy of HissTank.com)

Episode Details

Original Air Date: December 24th, 2010
Writer: Greg Johnson
Director: Scooter Tidwell

Easter Eggs

  1. Stalker (call sign Stalker-1) appears in a Duke flashback
  2. Tripwire (Private Skooog) appears in a Duke flashback