Episode Five – The Package

Episode Synopsis

(This Episode was originally aired as “Episode 3″, even though it’s actually “Episode 5″ in continuity)

Ever since we first saw the one-line description for this episode as featuring Major Bludd, I’ve been eagerly anticipating this episode.  Turns out, he’s not the only established character that was due to make an appearance!

The first thing you’ll notice is a new opening credits sequence, which omits any mention of Ripcord, perhaps verifying that the operative is officially dead.

The third installment of G.I. Joe: Renegades features the Joes on the run, this time in a Cobra armored truck, with Flint and Lady Jaye hot on their heels.  Cruising along a busy highway, they decide to pull into SSS Market, a Cobra owned and operated chain of department stores.

Looking like their cornered, Scarlett discovers “chameleon mode” on the truck, and they’re able to hide in plain sight, but not forever.  While Flint goes into the store to track them down, Lady Jaye takes it upon herself to escort them right out the front, but not before Roadblock is given a package by a Cobra employee, destined for one Alvin Kibby.

Yes, Alvin Kibby.  Known better to Joe fans as Breaker.  In G.I. Joe: Renegades, Kibby is a British college student who is a conspiracy theorist and has suspicions that Cobra is not what it appears.

Quickly discovering that the package is a bomb, Duke disarms it and the Joes decide to find out what makes Kibby a target of Cobra wrath.

Meanwhile, Flint interrogates the SSS Market worker, who recognizes Roadblock, but instead of revealing the information to the Government, he quickly calls The Baroness and informs her.   Without hesitation she calls a Cobra mercenary to finish the job her bomb couldn’t…and Major Bludd strikes.

After a swift and brutal battle atop the Cobra Armored truck, the Joes retreat to the desert, trying to find a way to hack into this mysterious barcode scanner that Kibby stole from SSS Market when he worked as an employee.  Scarlett recommends they go back to SSS Market and plug it into the central system, which will hopefully re-activate it.  At that same time, Baroness is notified that the emergency beacon has been activated.

In the stockroom of the SSS Market, the Joes and Kibby get to work, plugging in the scanner, and trying to hack into the corporations computer system.  Just as Kibby succeeds, Bludd shows up again.  And he brings company in the form of a handful of Bio-Vipers.

Roadblock, Tunnel Rat, Snake Eyes, Duke and Scarlett take turns driving back the attacking Cobra operatives, adapting and improvising along the way, until finally they ask Kibby to escape with the scanner, that now has all of the information from the Cobra shipping system, now revealed as a front for weapons smuggling.  Just as the Joes are cornered, we find that Kibby did not escape, and instead returned with the armored truck, rescuing the Joes just in time.  As they narrowly escape, Major Bludd is about the fire upon them with a missile launcher, but Kibby reveals that he left the bomb (originally destined for him) in the store.  It explodes, catching Bludd in the blast.  However, this all happens after Bludd chucks a knife at the escaping Kibby, and destroys the invaluable barcode scanner.

The Joes and Kibby escape, and Kibby expresses his desire to re-invent himself, now that Cobra believes him dead, perhaps even with a different code name.  He chooses “Breaker”.

Back at the store, Bludd is alive, but holds a hand to his wounded eye, damaged by the explosion, and threatens to return the favor the next time he and the Joes meet…

Episode Review

So after the standard set for the first two episodes, I found myself really looking forward to this one, and by and large, I was impressed.  However, I will admit there were some minor disappointments scattered throughout.

First of all, the “chameleon mode” of the truck seemed a little bit too convenient, but I know it’s an established technology that according to The Hub, Zartan will eventually come in contact with, and with that knowledge in my head, I kind of like how it ties in.  The inclusion of Alvin Kibby, AKA “Breaker” immediately shows us just what Hasbro and The Hub have in mind with their guest stars, and I’m just a bit mixed.  I love the fact that they’re including them as nods to the fans, but part of me wishes they were more as military operatives than just civilians like Kibby.  I understand, Joes on the run aren’t going to run across other military operatives very often (or if they do, it will be mostly as enemies) and I suppose Kibby’s inclusion made sense.  The British background didn’t bother me a ton, since we can all pretty much assume this is a wholly different continuity than we’re used to.

Another thing I wasn’t crazy about was Duke disarming the bomb.  It’s a VERY minor thing in the grand scheme of things, but it would have been a great nod to Tunnel Rat’s EOD specialty to have him do it, and for crying out loud, he was sitting right there.  But yeah, minor.

Of course…the Bio-Vipers.  Granted, they’re much more humanoid in nature in this episode, which was good, but I still cringed just a little bit when I saw them.  I was hoping they were a truly one-off type of thing that would sort of go away…but apparently that’s not the case.  I suppose there is still time to hope we move on to more human enemies.

Flint’s treatment in this episode left me a little iffy, too.  He came across as the typical Government incompetent, tricked into looking in the wrong place by Lady Jaye, driven into a hole with the air bag in his face by the Joes…I dunno.  Flint is one of my all time favorite characters, and strikes me as a really intelligent, capable foil for the Joes, I would just hate to see him reduced to bumbling comic relief who couldn’t catch his own shadow.

And you’d think with all of these comments, I hated this episode, right?  Hell no.  These were all negatives, but they were all relatively minor.  The major points in this episode were all home runs.

Major Bludd.  Absolute perfection.  Well, I wasn’t wild about the super high and tight haircut, but besides that, the uniform design, uniform color, spot-on Australian accent, fighting ability and overall attitude were absolutely freaking perfect.  Bludd was AWESOME.  I love how he went toe-to-toe with Snake Eyes multiple times in the episode, and while he never had the obvious physical upper hand, he really held his own and established himself as a fully qualified combatant.

His mannerisms were great, his design was awesome, the animation of his fight scenes seemed exceptionally fluid and well done.  Part of me still can’t believe we saw Bludd before we even saw Storm Shadow, Zartan, or Destro, but I really love what they did with him, and definitely hope to see more of him.  The end sequence with him caught in the explosion and holding his bloodied eye was just terrific.  His knife toss into Breaker’s back was an incredible scene too, I thought, and it shows you that atmosphere makes a big difference in this cartoon…I actually thought for a second that perhaps Kibby had actually been killed or gravely wounded.  I never would have thought that back in the Sunbow days.

The animation in general also seemed to take a hefty step in the right direction.  The whole thing was very fluid, very realistic, and didn’t seem nearly as choppy as some points in the first two.

The 3D animation of the vehicles meshed with the more standard 2D of the humans is just damn seamless.  They tried the same thing in Sigma 6, and it didn’t quite work as well…it looks gorgeous here, and I absolutely LOVED Bludd’s macked out ride.

Now, how about those cool little inside jokes?  They were all over the place in here.  Roadblock chewing gum right when they started talking about Breaker?  I mean, sure, it was a plot device to disarm the explosives, but it also tied in very nicely to one of Breaker’s trademark habits from the comics.  And how about that restaurant they parked at? Look familiar?  It sure bore some resemblance to the Red Rocket diner, back in the Sunbow days, owned and operated by Roadblock’s family.  Some awesome homages, I gotta say.  Very obvious that the writers and animators are making some effort to throw us fans a few bones.

So, yes, there were some disappointments that I feel could have been at least somewhat resolved, but by and large, throughout the bulk of the episode, the action was great, the characters were great, and for what was obviously sort of a one-off “filler” episode, it pretty much rocked.  Not perfect, but certainly 22 minutes of solid entertainment.  Next week’s Snake Eyes episode looks pretty amazing as well.  I can’t wait to see what sort of wrinkles they throw into the whole Arashikage mythology.

Screenshot Gallery (Courtesy of HissTank.com)

Episode Details

Original Air Date: December 3rd, 2010
Writer: Rich Fogel
Director: Nathan Chew

Easter Eggs

  1. Major Bludd loses his eye