Episode Thirteen – Brothers of Light

Episode Synopsis

On a remote desert highway, a motorcycle slowly drives, soon coming upon a mysterious billboard.  Snake Eyes veers off to the right, and not too long later, the Coyote follows.  The Joes banter back and forth about sleeping arrangements and body odor just in time for a strange woman in the middle of the road to interrupt their transport.  Duke veers the Coyote off the side of the road just in the nick of time.

Tending to the woman, they notice a unique symbol etched into her outfit, and not a minute later, that same symbol glares at them from the billboard that Snake Eyes just passed.  Obviously wanting to get the woman home, the Joes continue on to a strange compound, and are accosted by robed guardsmen who welcome the woman (and them) into the fortified citadel.  The team shortly runs into Tomax and Xamot, who dub themselves the “Brothers of Light”.  They invite the Joes into their “Sanctuary” and are quite convincing, bringing the Joes inside.

Tempted by ample helpings of food and great lodging, the team embraces their new surroundings, though Tunnel Rat is exceptionally doubtful of their good intentions.

Not far away, Mindbender is hunting for sources of supernatural energy, which is what drew the Joes to the area in the first place.  Unphased with his first “victim”, Mindbender interrogates a mysterious feaux mystic until he reveals the Twins to be potential paranormal beings.  Mindbender explains to Cobra Commander his theory about psychic energy, though the Commander does not appear to be fully convinced.

As the G.I. Joe team gets their tour of the sanctuary, these strange brothers seem to know a lot of details about them.  But their inquiries are short-lived as a structure collapses and Duke must move quickly to rescue a potential victim.

Tunnel Rat continues his reluctance, but with word that Mindbender is approaching the compound, they decide to stick around until they can meet up with the Cobra scientist.  While Tunnel Rat resists the urge, the other Joes enter a mysterious structure and are soon bathed in stark light.  As they are drawn inside, once again the Joe agent meets up with “Leia” the woman who they found in the road earlier.  She seems afraid, but Mindbender arrives and Tunnel Rat decides to move towards to temple to complete the mission.  Tunnel Rat runs across the other Joes, who appear to be cast under a strange spell.  Tunnel Rat, it would appear, is on his own.

As the small Joe intruder witnesses the Twins leading Mindbender to drain Cobra’s bank accounts, suddenly they have another visitor.  Snake Eyes has been discovered and captured.  Seeing the Joe ninja getting brainwashed is more than Tunnel Rat can handle, and he moves in to attempt a rescue.  He fails, and ends up in a prison cell with “Tina”, formerly known as Sister Leia.

She fills him in on the backstory of the cult and how they use the temple’s light (and their own mental abilities) to draw people under their power.  His captivity does not last long as Snake Eyes (who was playing possum) breaks him out and they decide to make their move.

As the rest of the Joes are introduced as the Twins new “Crimson Guard”, Tunnel Rat and Snake Eyes move into action!  The two carve up the Twins hapless followers, though the Crimson Guard challenges them.  Tunnel Rat manages to destroy the strange eye that provides the light, but it becomes clear that the Twins are the true power.

As Tunnel Rat battles through the crowd, he nails Duke with an electro-staff, which breaks the Twin’s control.  The two strike together, separating the Twins and freeing the captives from their mind control.

As the battle collapses the temple, the Joes rescue the civilians while the Twins slip away and take off with Mindbender in the Black Dragon helicopter.

The Joes get back on the road as we see Mindbender strapping down Tomax and Xamot and begins experimenting on them, trying to unlock the secrets of their mental bond…

Episode Review

Like many other fans, I eagerly await seeing G.I. Joe and Cobra just get down to it.  The story has been built, I’m ready for some payoff!  That being said, I do think this episode worked pretty well as a building block for Tomax and Xamot in the G.I. Joe: Renegades world.

As most fans know these days, back in the Sunbow era, a proposed “third season” of the animated series had been documented, but never made it through production.  In that third season, the Twins would separate from Cobra and form “The Coil” a very cult-like following dedicated to continuing the Twins evil ways.  Well, it never saw print, but it is pretty evident to me that this was a direct inspiration for this story.

The writers elected to take some of the more esoteric qualities of the Crimson Twins, including their mental bond, and really build on that, rather than fall into the same old “Corporate Tycoons” trap that many continuities have since Sunbow spear-headed that concept twenty-five years ago.  Honestly, it’s somewhat of a refreshing change.  I’m sure there will be the detractors who don’t appreciate the somewhat paranormal aspects of this, but to them I just remind them that the Twins having mental powers is far and away one of the lesser supernatural elements within the history of the Real American Hero.  I also think Clem Sauve did a very good job translating the Twins bizarre uniform designs into something a bit more real world.  Those flowing blue robes with the high collars on one side and the opposite red sashes approximated the look of the classic uniforms very well without looking too strange.  If I have any complain about the Twins, it’s the apparent name swap (Tomax introduces himself, scar and all, when Xamot has always been the scarred one), but that could simply be attributed to an animation error.

What was most striking to me about this episode was how well the Joes are all of a sudden working together.  You can really see how the bond has formed since the first episode.  Sure, they are somewhat at odds as they have been, but especially in the sequence with the collapsing scaffolding, they worked together seamlessly.

It was cool seeing Tunnel Rat get some primary screen time as well, and getting some credit for resisting the Twins urges.  The animation was very nice and clean in this episode, too, featuring some striking smoothness in the fight scenes near the end.

All told, yes I’m ready for the story to evolve, and yes, I do wish the Twins were part of the Cobra organization willingly, but this was another fun episode, a good building block, and yet another lead in to something bigger and better.  My only concern is we’re starting to run out of time for this “bigger and better” to occur.  Still, the writers have a great track record, and I continue to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Screenshot Gallery (courtesy of HissTank.com)

Episode Details

Original Airdate – March 11th, 2011
Writer: Brandon Auman
Director: Nathan Chew

Easter Eggs