Monthly Archives: April 2009

Spyro Agnew: Eternal Nixon: Part 2: Electric Boogaloo :: Overuse of Colons : The SATs

In day 2 of our Spyro experience, Leah spends several hours trying to defeat some scorpions in a gladiatorial arena, where one of the times she gets killed, the game gets confused and gives her a cutscene anyway, which we accidentally skip, thinking that it’s the cutscene from when she respawns. Frodo blacks out and wakes up back at Sir Ian McKellan’s house, where he learns the power of Earth, leaving only Air and Heart (What kind of a lame power is Heart, anyway?). The power of Earth involves spiro having a six-foot long energy tongue with a giant bulbous nodule on the end. Frodo also learns a new finishing move, which is exactly like Eruption and Blue Balls, but it’s green. He receives instructions to travel to Mount Doom The Well of Souls before the rare astronomical conjunction whereupon the evil forces will be able to bring about Eternal Darkness, which was a Gamecube survival horror game with Lovecraftian overtones and a neat gimmick where they would represent the player character’s growing madness by things like having little bugs appear on the screen or claiming that the disc was damaged (Once, my gamecube really did crash, and it took me several minutes to work out that the game wasn’t just dicking with me.)
Frodo wakes up, and has to fight a flying boat with the head of a shark. From time to time, the boat crashes, and you can kick the ass of the pirate inside, which hangs out the tail end of the boat while it’s crashed for extra damage. Unfortunately, once you deplete its life bar, the game does one of its favorite tricks: refills the life bar and makes the monster more dangerous.
Frustrated, Leah goes off to get some soup, leaving the game unattended, whereupon we learn the trick to this boss: if Frodo just stands stock-still in the center of the ring, the flying boat can’t hit him more than once every two of three minutes
The Power of Earth turns out to be a red herring, as Leah spends four hours trying to defeat the damned thing, before I suggest she switch to her much upgraded Power of Fire, and kills the thing on her third try. Back in his cell, Frodo laments that he can’t escape because of the wooden gate that blocks his cell, and a mole named Moliere gives him some fan mail. After that, Frodo is sent to fight the Dilldozer executioner, who can kill him in one hit.
The Executioner nonetheless proves to be a much less aggravating adversary than the flying boat, whereupon the pirate king brings out Frodo’s Girlfriend and orders them to fight. Before they can, though, flying monkeys attack, kidnap the girl, and bust shit up enough for Frodo and Fry to have a go at escaping.
Hours later, Leah’s still fighting her way though this fleet of flying pirate ships, fighting enemies with names like “Tribad Whitespace” and “Ebikat Snakebeard”
Finally, Frodo defeats the boss pirate, and he and Fry fly off into the sunset, revealing that he can fly, so why the hell does he keep on dying by falling to his death when jumping between platforms?
In mid-air, Frodo the Narcoleptic Dragon has another metaphysical experience, gaining the Power of Electricity,, which means he can now summon Captain Planet, and also perform her new Fury move, the Electric Boogaloo.
Sir Ian goes on break, so Frodo has a vision all on his own, seeing his ex, who is bound and being threatened by the monkey goat thing who is going to turn out to be the penultimate boss of the game. (Right now, he’s the boss, but he’s planning to ressurect some sort of ancient evil force of some sort, which undoubtedly he will, and you’ll fight.)
Frodo wakes up on a ruined island, where Fry claims they’re stranded, as they can only fly when the plot demands. This appears to be the same place as the temple of Magneto that Frodo keeps narcolepting to, except that it’s ruined, and possibly sideways. Fortunately, someone set all the broken ionic columns to “levitate” so Frodo can use them to jump around the ruined temple.
Eventually, Leah hits upon a section where Frodo must solve puzzles to awaken enemies. This gets me thinking, Spyro’s very egregious about it, but you see this throughout the genre, say, in Zelda. There’s a huge element of “The goal of this puzzle is to cause monsters to show up and attack you, because real progress is only made by defeating monsters.” If Spyro had any sense, he’d just stop lighting braziers and electrifying switches and pushing things onto pedestals. It never does anything good.

Ross and Leah Play Video Games: Spyro: Eternal Night

Leah has decided that we should stop having a pile of video games we’ve never played. At about the same time as she suggested this, I went out and bought her a new video game. Now, I can’t promise that I’ll blog everything we play and keep to a schedule and be as thorough as Baf, nor will I present as detailed and critical analysis, but I do intend to be snarkier.
And maybe, in the unlikely event I ever get a working video capture device for my MythTV, Leah and I might start taking videos and such to show you our progress. But until then, please just enjoy my sarcastic thoughts on the subject of Spyro: Eternal Night
First off, I’d like to point out that this is the most unlikely game about a former vice president I’ve ever seen, and that includes Aaron Burr and Dick Cheney’s The Most Dangerous Game You play Frodo Baggins, a purple dragon who can fly, but only well enough to make difficult jumps, and, as is apparently standard for purple dragons, HALT THE FLOW OF TIME. He’s got a little dragon-fairy sidekick, Phillip J Fry, who serves to offer “hillarious” commentary.
I should step aside here that, unlike pretty much every other person who has ever written a review of a video game, I actually like the color-commentary-wisecracking sidekick archetype. I liked Arthur in The Journeyman Project, and Dalboz in Zork Grand Inquisitor. I liked your paraplegic tele-psychic friend in The 11th Hour, and I liked the Cheshire Cat in American Macgee’s Alice. I even liked Clippy the– no, wait, actually, I didn’t . And, HEY! LISTEN! I did not like any of the god damned faries in the 3D Legend of Zelda games. But still, there’s a reason I included Julia in my game. It’s saying a lot when I tell you that I do not like Ninja Butterfly Phillip J. Fry. Billy West seems to be playing the role under the impression that he’s meant to be channeling Gilbert Godfried.
Anyway, the game opens with Frodo the Dragon getting dumped by his girlfriend, at which point he falls into a coma where the helpful ghost of Patrick Stewart reminds him how to use the game controls. This involves jumping on a bunch of spinning platforms as you learn to control DragonTime ™, which is a lot like BulletTime ™, except that it is slightly blue. I assume this is a gimmick based on Prince of Persia, but I’ve never played that, so instead, it reminded me of Braid, which I’d just played a few hours earlier.

  • Patrick Stewart: As a purple dragon, you have access to many powers, including power over time itself. Master this power, and you will be able to see things almost before they happen.
  • Ross: Wait a second. Isn’t “Almost before they happen” the same as “When they happen”?
  • Ross: (Lisa Simpson voice) Wow! You really can see the… Present…

After we tired of hearing Elija Wood’s terrified screams as he fell to his death off the edge of a platform a few times, Leah got about the business of actually jumping across abyss after abyss, and was rewarded with “re-learning” the power of Fire, allowing Frodo the Dragon to summon elemental powers based on Fire. So, Spiro’s powers right now:

  • 1. Flies (poorly)
  • 2. Mastery over the inexorable flow of time
  • 3. Breathes fire

At this point, Patrick Stewart has some leftover Staffloses from Zelda attack Frodo so he can show off his attack skills: “Breathe fire”, and “run towards something while breathing fire.” This is when I notice one of the most interesting details of this game. Like lots of games, when Frodo engages an enemy, you get to see the enemy’s life bar up in the corner of the screen. Along with the life bar is the enemy’s name. And this is the cool part: when I say “the enemy’s name”, I don’t mean something like “Skeleton Knight”, I mean an actual, individual name, for Every Single Monster. Like “Skeletor McLovin” or “Keith Richards”. Well, actually, the names all look to fit a fixed formula of taking four random nature-or-fantasy-related words and stitching them together according to some simple part of speech rules, so the names are all things like “Deathmaul Underhill” or “Honeylocust Meadowlawn” or “Dickmonkey Marshmellow”.
This section also introduces us to the game’s number one door-opening mechanic: lighting braziers. Any video game fan will tell you that in a room with a locked door and a bunch of unlit braziers, it’s patently obvious that the door will only open once you light all the braziers. Also, I like saying “braziers”. Braziers! Anyway, you eventually prove yourself worthy and Patrick Stewart sends you back to reality, where you and Phillip J Fry are immediately beseiged by insects and mollusks of unusual size which explode into disgusting goo when you kill them. Leah incinerates the first few, then discoveres that her magic doesn’t automatically regenerate here, as it did in the land of Professor X. So Leah switches over to using Frodo’s non-limited “just whack the bad guys with your body” technique. This isn’t as effective as fire, but it can be used without stopping to recharge. Still, in the heat of battle, I keep having to remind her to use her fire attack from time to time, by shouting ‘Immolate!” occasionally in my Angry-Homer-Simpson voice.
The first boss we encounter is a thingamajigger riding on a giant snail. His name is “Snail Rider”. What, really? You can name every mook we run into, but not the boss who gets his own cutscene?
Shortly after defeating the snail, Leah is halted momentarily by a room one of whose braziers is behind a barrier.

  • Ross: Immolate!
  • Leah: No. (smashes barrier) The answer to everything is not immolate
  • Ross: It should be!

This game’s favorite brazier trick is that lighting the brazier opens the door, only to disgorge a couple of enemies, then close again. Lighting the final brazier here releases a pair of enemies whose last names are, I am not making this up, “Snakekiller” and “Snakefeltcher”.
Other enemies we encounter in this area include spiders who shoot a white, sticky goo at Frodo and Fry, and these sort of bipedal elephant things with scimitars.
Another Snail Rider requires Leah to take a few stabs at it. It’s at this point that I’d like to mention that when Frodo’s “Rage Bar” is full up from fighting, he can unleash the “Eruption”, an attack so devestating that it causes a cutscene to happen wherever he happens to be. This would make short work of the Snail Rider, except that Leah went into a Wii Gesture Fit just before he emerged and swung the nunchuck when she meant to swing the wiimote, causing premature eruption.
Incidentally, everything in this game makes a sort of squelchy sound when you whack it and then explodes into goo. Just sayin.
Eventually, Frodo comes upon a battle between a bunch of elephants and a very large red dragon played by Sean Connery. His name is St. Ignatius of Loyola, unless Leah is having me on. He beckons you to help, then promptly vanishes leaving you to fight some kind of giant demon bat thing by yourself. Fry buggers off, leaving you alone for the battle, as opposed to previous battles, in which he was there but useless. Once you kick the flying thing’s ass, St. Ignatius reappears and asks you what became of your girlfriend. Frodo cops to being dumped, and they do some more cutscenes in which Frodo reveals his creepy nightmares, which turn out to be prophesy about the coming evil. A bunch of big dragons discuss his prophetic dreams in cryptic, vague terms and incredibly overblown accents. They’re especially worried about Frodo’s encounter with Patrick Stewart, since they know that he’s only ever cast in big epic movies where the fate of the world is at stake. The old powerful dragons decide that they can’t just sit back and do nothing, so they decide to bugger off and do nothing, and let Frodo do all the actual work.
St. Ignatius decides to wait back at the temple while Frodo, the chosen one and the only one who can defeat the Eternal Darkness (Hey, that’s an entirely different game! Holy crap! This whole game is just one of those hallucination sequences whne your sanity gets too low!), treks through a poisonous swamp.
In the swamp, Frodo sees some pirates, and then his narcolepsy kicks in again. Fry attracts the attention of the pirates by being a dumbass, and Frodo is sent off to have another zen encounter with Patrick Stewart. (Actually, he sounds more like Sir Ian McKellen now that I think about it). He hands over the power of Ice, which leaves Frodo only two more elements to master, Air and Boron.
Leah masters Ice after quite a few tries at not falling off some more frakking platforms, and learns the Ice-based Rage move, which is like Eruption, but icy. Since I wasn’t paying attention when they explained the move, I’m going to call it “Blue Balls”.
After defeating the pirates, Leah spends the next hour making her way through a cavern that can be navigated only by jumping on jellyfish. Eventually, she makes it to the wizened old tree, which is somehow linked to Ian McKellen, whereupon it turns into a giant wooden monster attacks noble Frodo, eventually, and this is not snark, wiping Spyro’s entrails off his foot
Immolation ensues.
Afterward, the game decides not to let Frodo duke it out against the pirates, so it is assumed that while he could take out a gigantic tree monster five times bigger than she was, it’s not even worth giving you the chance to try to beat the pirates.
Thus do we end tonight’s gaming adventure, locked in the hold of a pirate ship. Fortunately, the USS Baimbridge and a team of Navy SEALs is on-hand to rescue our hero.

Live Free or Cheap

One of the little corner-of-the-screen tags on CNN yesterday informed me that “The average American spends more on taxes than on food, shelter, and clothing combined!” And I’m outraged by this.
No, I’m not outraged that our taxes are so high, especially because they’re not; taxes in the US are lower than pretty much anywhere resemblign civilization, and if you want to know how great it is to live in a tax-free society, ask a Somalian.
I’m outraged at CNN for repeating someone else’s lie. This particular lie comes from The Tax Foundation, an organization whose raison d’etre is to announce that everything you earned between January 1, 2009 and April 13, 2009 was stolen by the government, and only now are you earning money for yourself instead of being a slave.
I suggest that we immediatelyt let anyone who wants it be declared exempt from all taxes. And then, at the end of the year, send them a bill for their usage of the roads, all public services, their share of national defense, police service, the fire department, and a hefty bill for the education of their children. After all, they’ll all be so much richer from having that extra 28% of their income that they surely won’t mind paying a fair market rate for all the tax-supported services they normally enjoy. Of course, that fair market rate would have to be two or three times as much as they’d pay in taxes, since they wouldn’t be able to leverage the same sort of government protections that tax-supported services do, but, hey, it’s their money.
(I’m declaring 2 PM “Boss Freedom Hour”, when I celebrate the fact that up until that point in the afternoon, the money made by my labor goes to my employer, not to me. But I actually totally made up the calculation since I have no idea how much my employer actually makes from my labor)
Anyway, about that outrage. I make a good living. I make a very good living. I’m not rich, even by the standards of pundits who claim that anything under $250k is “poor”. And my housing costs are ridiculously low. I bought my house shortly before the whole housing insanity that drove us into this recession. So I’m making a very good living, better than most. And I’m paying less than most for housing. (As a data point, Leah, until she moved in with me, rented. My monthly mortgage payment is less than half her monthly rent). A quick, back-of-the-envelope calculation tells me that I spend 15% of my income on housing. If, as the Tax Foundation claims, the average American pays April 13 — sorry, 28% of his income in taxes, and that’s more than he spends on food, clothing, and shelter, then that means I must spend less than 13% of my income on food and clothing…
Now, I was taught in school that you spend 1/3 of your income on food no matter what. I thought this was impossible then, and I think it’s impossible now (It turns out that the 1/3 number came about because back in the 50s, the US government hired a Czechoslovakian immigrant to work out the poverty level, and she did, based on the fact that in Czechoslovakia, housing was incredibly cheap, and food was incredibly expensive), but if it were, that would mean that 33% + 15% + x% < 28% where x% is the amount the average American spends on clothing. So, the average American spends -20% of their income on clothing. I go down to the store, and I buy a new shirt, and the store pays me fifty dollars. But let's just assume for the moment that the Tax Foundation is right, and that the average American loses 28% of their income to Uncle Sam, and they lose a further something-less-than 28% on food, clothing, and shelter. That still leaves 44% of the average American's income unaccounted for. So, 44% of the average American's income, according to the Tax Foundation, is disposable, not used for anything necessary (Yeah, yeah, health care, but real men don't need health care. God gave you two kidneys for a reason). Almost half the money you make, you can use for anything you like. Which makes July 25 "Necessity Freedom Day", the day after which any money you earn is not used for food, clothing, or shelter, and you can just blow it on, I dunno, booze and hookers if that's where your heart lies. Call the office, I'm taking off the rest of the year.

The Tribe: Season 3 continued…

The Gaians and Lex capture May as she hands out leaflets on the resistance, which she cooked up with the Guardian to lure him out of hiding, and they concoct a clever plan to snatch Trudy. which is really a clever plan to snatch Bray. but Bray doesn’t know that.
Dal shows up at the last minute before the ambush, having decided to do one last act of active violence before settling down and being the farmer he’s always wanted to be. He goes off alone to play his important role in the fight.
This. Can’t. End. Well.
About ten seconds later, Dal runs into the army of the Chosen. May doesn’t know this, so she gives the signal for Bray and the others to come ambush them. Dal shows up just in time to warn Bray and Amber off before they get ambushed, but then falls to his death when he tries to escape by climbing over a railing and then… Um, well, falling I guess.
Amber doubles back to find him, taking advantage of the Chosen’s lack of peripheral vision (It’s the hoods, Leah reminds me). When she finds him, she shouts his name, which Leah thinks is a dumb idea with the Chosen around. I remind her that the Chosen have amply demonstrated that they can’t hear you unless you address them directly.
After a few dramatic mutterings, Dal shuffles off this mortal coil, whcih would be a lot more touching if he hadn’t buggered off mid-season last year to run the farm instead of being part of the powerful Jack-Dal dynamic.
Amber breaks up after they bury Dal. She talks about their past, when they were neighbors, “He was younger of course, but you wouldn’t know that,” aside from the fact that he’s two feet shorter than the rest of the cast. She also decides to sidestep the whole question of whether she’s going to stay with Edward Scissorhands (who Ebony is close to convincing to murder Bray) or go back to Bray by deciding to bugger off to raise an army.
Fortunately, Edward Scissorhands is noble and stuff, so he definitively steps aside, leaving Bray and Amber to do the whole sex thing, after which Bray swears to someday find Katy Perry so he can tell her it’s over, which he thinks she’ll be okay with, because deep down she always knew he liked Amber better. Which kinda makes Bray look like a lech given just how much sex he was having with her.
Bray falls immediately into a funk when Amber decides to leave anyway, as raising an army is still a good idea. He is roused only long enough to change his face makeup.
Cloey’s career in espionage ends off-screen with her capture and deportation to the spice mines on Rurapenthe, as related to us by Trudy while she’s being passive-aggressive to May. Later, Trudy marries Patsy to Zoot in a creepy ceremony. May enthuisiastically rats Trudy out for being all creepy and weird while relating the story of her conversion. This is important, because if they ever try to convince us that May was never really into the Chosen and this was all an act, it is going to be a gigantic load of bullshit.
When he brings The Guardian some anti-Chosen leaflets and the Guardian gets all weird and babbles about the glory of being hated, Sideshow Luke Perry starts to cotton on to the fact that the Guardian just might be making this shit up as he goes along, and is just a little nutty.
Trudy goes to throw herself at the Guardian, failing to notice that they’ve both got new Sci-Fi clothes and hairstyles, but he freaks out and shoves her.
Ellie makes another flier, this one says “Say no to Shavery” because she can’t spell or maybe because Brazillian Waxes aren’t available in the post-apocalypse. (None of the men on this show have ever had even a hint of stubble, though. Just saying.)
Rejection sends Trudy spiraling further into madness, and I think they missed a good opportunity to work cutting into the laundry list of dysfunctions the gang exhibits.
Alice and Ellie confront Tyson about her little meetings with the Guardian, and they insist that it’s to her to prove that she’s not a traitor. Leah and Tyson point out that the Mallrats are seriously lacking in the Trust department, which will be exemplified later when Ryan freaks out and thinks Selene is trying to recruit him over to the Chosen and storms off. Selene is sad, because she’s one recruit away from earning the toaster oven.
Tired of Trudy’s shennanigans, The Guardian thinks long and hard about what to do with her, by which I mean, he thinks long and hard about how to justify offing her. He eventually decides that Zoot wants her to join him. Fortunately for no one in particular, Lex was in the midst of a booty call when the announcement was made, so he will be able to report this. Good thing Lex is such a stand-up guy.
The Guardian plans to hold a big public execution to show everyone what happens to those who defy him the highest honor Zoot can bestow on one of his loyal followers. And he wants all the representatives of the former tribes and all the Mallrats, and everyone who wishes them any ill-wil and everyone the resistance might want to rescue all together in one big open indefensible public place. Sideshow Luke Perry continues to be bugged by the transparency of the Guardian’s evilness.
Ryan finally grows a pair and tells his wife that she’s got to choose between him and The Chosen. Everyone spends a sleepless night having Trudy flashbacks, except for Lex, who always sleeps through flashbacks. Even Luke plots mutiny, having decided that The Guardian is being too rash, and he’s got to keep Trudy alive until he calms down.
By the way, there are two burning cars outside the Gaian hideout, while outside the mall, the Chosen have Mad Max’s car. Just sayin.
Once Trudy is locked up, KC creates a distraction by claiming to have seen Zoot, bodily ressurected, and the Chosen all run off to see. It would be awesome if every time someone claimed to see Zoot, the Chosen totally bought it. Trudy escapes, but Luke makes her leave Brady behind.
Three seconds later, Ellie throws off her Trudy costume and leaves the cage, making it unclear why she’d have gotten in in the first place. May totally sells out KC in order to be appointed Brady’s permanent nurse, despite the fact that she hates caretaking.
KC fesses up to having seen The Mighty Zoot, but claims that it was a for-real vision. The Guardian challenges him to describe Zoot, and KC does to a tee. Of course, since there’s posters of Zoot on every wall, this is not a tremendous surprise. After the Guardian has had him hauled off, he notices that the teacup was made by the Zoot China Company of Portland.
Bray sends Trudy off with Edward Scissorhands to see Amber, and Sideshow Luke Perry gently nudges the Guardian into deciding that KC had a vision of Zoot because he happened to be in the right place at the right time, and not because KC was in any way special, and the Guardian reaches the conclusion that Zoot appeared to warn the Chosen that Trudy was about to escape. This is because the Guardian isn’t quite unhinged, but he’s certainly sub-optimally hinged. As evidenced by the fact that The Guardian declares KC an Oracle, and then gives him a creepy backrub.
Commercialsign in 5… 4… 3… 2…
The wacky adventures of Mentos the Freshmaker, and a foray into the world of Power Rangers RPM, the eighteenth season of the show you were just surprised to discover is still on…
I like shows with giant robots, okay. So I do watch Power Rangers from time to time. This season is set in a post apocalyptic wasteland where most of the human race has been wiped out by an insane AI and its squadrons of killer robots, including some which look exactly like humans.
No, really.
I swear I’m not making this up.
Anyway, the reason that I bring this up is that John Connor — irm, Flynn, the current blue ranger, is none other than Ari Boyland, little KC, all grown up and with a ridiculous overblown Scottish accent.
1… 2…. 3… 4… 5….
May misplaces Brady because she’s useless. Lex bitches Trudy out for sending Trudy off with Edward Scissorhands. Ellie throws herself at Sideshow Luke Perry in order to get some insider information. The Guardian, being crazy, decides that Ranger Blue’s latest vision means that the Chosen should take all the babies and care for them personally. Ryan shouts over the crowd for Selene not to fess up to being With Child, which you’d think would be a dead giveaway, but remember the immutable laws of this world:

  • Any car, once ignited, will continue to burn indefinitely
  • Ebony is always believed unless she’s telling the truth
  • Lex Luthor is no good in a fight
  • Viruses mutate, just like computer viruses.
  • The Chosen can not hear any dialogue, no matter how loud, unless they are being addressed directly.

So, Selene gives herself up anyway, because she’s basically half-brainwashed.
Edward Scissorhands isn’t back yet, because he stopped along three way to help some kids, who I will call Hansel and Grettle, and their older brother, a leprechaun, captures him and makes him their pack animal. The Weasley family (they’re all redheads) are a bunch of grifters who take Edward Scissorhands about ten minutes to set at each other’s throats.
Meanwhile, Ryan starts a fight and Luke has to bail him out, and Lex Luthor, who is all torn up about the absence of his wife, tries to seduce Ebony.
As the Guardian becomes more and more crazy, he calls for Tyson, to whom he talks about how depraved and evil Trudy was for throwing herself at him — of course, Tyson responds by showing him how to rationalize sex into his notion of “purity”, which causes him to nearly grope her, then to freak out and call for his guards.
Selene has second thoughts upon finding out that Zoot’s her new baby-daddy. She relates how hard it is to be without a dad, because her dad left when she was — WHAT THE FRAK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? EVERYONE IN THE WORLD KNOWS WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE WITHOUT A FATHER!
May decides to leave the Chosen because the writers have changed their mind about her being an unlovable character. Patsy, by the way, has been carted off to the spice mines or something. I don’t remember this happening, it’s possible that it happened some time ago, and her appearance when May was looking for Brady was an anomaly. It’s also possible that Leah and I missed an episode or something.
Ellie and Sideshow Luke Perry have a heart to heart about their respective political philosophies, and Ellie totally falls in love with him.
Ryan blows his top when he finds out that part of the Guardian’s master plan is that the fathers will never get to see their children, getting so angry that he sounds Scottish for a moment, which prompted Leah to point out that the future-KC, in his life as a Power Ranger, will look (and, for that matter, move) like Ryan. Seriously. Present-Ryan and Future-KC could be brothers.
Poor Ryan. He stages an incredible action sequence in which he tries to assassinate the Guardian. He fails, though it’s a close thing.
As he’s being drug off, he bizarrely shouts, “I’ll be seeing you!” I suppose that quoting The Prisoner is as good a way as any to end one’s tenure on the series, because Wikipedia informs me that this is the last we’ll ever see of Ryan.
You will be missed. Dumbass.

The Tribe: Yet Another Season

After declaring Bray and Lex dead, the Chosen march back to the mall, stopping only to let everyone redo their facial markings and hair color. Trudy freaks out at the news of Bray’s death and Tyson goes cross-eyed at mention of Lex’s. Fortunately, the Chosen aren’t any good at deducing the difference between life and death, and Ebony shows up seconds later to rescue them.
This rouse fools the Chosen for about thirty seconds. The Chosen get rid of all the tribe leaders, which is why Katy Perry will not be appearing in this season.
When Bray wakes up, Lex has slipped off, and Ebony wants the two of them to run away together. But with Bray’s ankle hurt, he’s not going to do much running, which makes it a good thing that the new character who I am going to call Edward Scissorhands, (even though he looks more like The Crow, but that’s awkward to keep saying), doesn’t seem interested in attacking them.
The hungry Mallrats start a protest because they want food, so the Guardian orders all of them executed on the spot. Just kidding. The Chosen seem totally confused by the idea of anyone rebelling. The Guardian shows up and declares them all slaves, and promises to feed them and let them join the Chosen once they’ve proved worthy, once YOU WILL BOW DOWN BEFORE ME SON OF JOR-EL. Which everyone does, because they’re hungry. Except Tyson, who is more morally flakey. But Jaffa (The Guardian), who Leah has decided probably was totally gay for Zoot in life, decides to be a dick, and won’t feed any of the Mallrats until they all KNEEL BEFORE ZOD ZOOT. This starts the rats down the path of in-fighting, since it’s been something like two hours since their last meal.
The Chosen manage to track Lex because he’s molting, and Bray either gets captured or lets himself get captured. At any rate, he points out immediately that they’ve pretty much instantly redecorated the mall with the Zoot posters that were conveniently mass-produced during the fall of civilization.
While Trudy tries to persuade Bray to join the Chosen with the same success Bray has in trying to persuade Trudy to reject the Chosen, Lex and Ebony meet up with Edward Scissorhands, who promptly traps them with a net.
Jack is captured trying to escape, and the Guardian executes him. Nah, just kidding; Ellie pleads for his safety by explaining how Jack is a brilliant scientist. This is because Ellie missed the memo about the Chosen being anti-science luddites. So I guess instead of executing him, they take him off for something worse than being executed. Or something.
Selene claims that she didn’t tell Ryan about the baby because she wanted him to marry her for her, not out of duty. Ryan finds this convincing, because, as I have mentioned, Ryan is incredibly stupid.
Edward Scissorhands reveals that he’s a member of an eco-tribe lead by a chyk named “Eagle”, who he is cryptic about, except that he goes on at great length about how awesome she is. Though when Lex mentions that “Eagle” sounds a lot like Amber, Ebony inexplicably freaks out.
The next morning, Bray’s ankle is entirely healed, because the writers do not comprehend the passage of time. When Bray refuses to submit, they lock him in a room and show him a three-screen multimedia presentation made by their AV department.
Thirty seconds later, Bray is all but brainwashed, until he boldly looks up and shouts “THERE ARE FOUR LIGHTS!” We also get to see that Trudy can still have her baby yoinked away for disobedience, so when she creepily tells the Mallrats that Zoot is real and his spirit dwells within his followers, we can maybe just about get that the point here is that she’s gone completely ’round the garden path.
Lex wants to rope Edward Scissorhands and his tribe into helping out in the fight against the Chosen, but Ebony is still freaking out at the idea of Lex meeting Eagle. Fortunately for her, Edward Scissorhands isn’t a big one for confrontation.
Ellie and Alice grill Patsy to work out what the weakness of The Chosen is (Turns out, it’s bullets. Unfortunately, a working gun is harder to find than kryptonite in New Zealand).
Bray agrees to join The Chosen in order to save the Mallrats, and apparently is savvy enough to know not to lie to the Guardian, so he outright tells him that he’s going to go along with them in order to save the Mallrats. Jaffa, however, finds this close enough, and lets Bray talk to the Mallrats
Bray does exactly what we expected, and gets two-thirds of the way through telling the tribe to submit, then has a crisis of conscience and tells them to fight back, so he’s next for the chop.
Later, when Lex meets up with Ryan on a chain gang, Ryan reports that all the Mallrats are okay, except for Bray,. who faces execution, and Jack, who has been taken off to Dick Cheney’s Undisclosed Location. Ryan has gotten the memo that Katy Perry is no longer part of the cast, so she doesn’t count.
They take Bray out to the beach, which close as I can tell is the only actually scenic place reachable by bus from the studio, since all the climactic outdoor scenes are set here, and prepare to burn him at the stake. With thousands of Chosen surrounding him, armed to the teeth, they have absolutely no trouble executing Bray. Just kidding, it’s totally going to come crashing down.
Ryan returns to the mall and tells everyone about Lex and Ebony, because, so close as Leah and I can tell, the Chosen can only hear you if you address them by name, like NPCs in an Infocom game. May continues to make herself unlikable.
Trudy is ordered to kill Bray, as proof of her loyalty to Zoot, and Bray begs for his life like a little girl. Trudy just about turns, but it turns out that she’s just crazy enough to do it anyway. With the surprise help of Edward Scissorhands and a cassette of “Listen to the Scary Sounds of Jungle Animals”, enough of a distraction happens that Bray and Dal escape. Though The Guardian just tells everyone that they’re both dead anyway.
Bray freaks out when he finds Edward Scissorhands wearing the ring he’d left on Amber’s grave. Which leads to the entirely unsurprising and frankly not well done revelation that — yes — “Eagle”, the leader of Edward Scissorhands’s tribe — is really — (wait for it) — Zandra!
Nah, just kidding. The show’s gotten kind of tedious at this point, frankly, though I’ll say this: I totally expected them to string us along until they actually showed Amber, instead of just having Edward Scissorhands blurt it out.
May and Selene are edging toward joining the Chosen, May because she’s a little bitch, and Selene because she’s with child, and thinks that starvation might be bad for that.
Dal reveals that he’s had prophetic dreams about Amber still being alive. Lex reveals that he’s had that dream too, as has Bray. So, despite Ebony’s protests, they set out for Eagle Mountain, in order to check that she’s still in her grave. Well, until Ebony actually does talk Bray out of it. So Dal has to set off on his own.
Leah points out that when Bray was given the ring, he was doing Amber, and we may draw what conclusions we like from the fact that Edward Scissorhands has it now. They notice that Dal’s gone like eight hours later, but fortunately, Dal for some reason climbed not Eagle Mountain, but the next mountain over, so I imagine they have time to overtake him.
We also get a name for The Blue Haired Number Two Chosen Guy, which is Luke, so I shall call him “Sideshow Luke Perry”. He seems like a True Believer, but he’s not devoid of compassion and love and goodness and so forth. Which I suspect means that he’s going to make a last-second noble sacrifice.
Dal finds the grave empty, causing them to notice that no one actually remembers who buried her. So they follow Edward Scissorhands back to the Ewok Villiage, where they finally meet Amber, who looks angry, possibly because of her ridiculous Eagle costume.
Intermission: The wacky adventures of Mentos the Freshmaker
Leah has discovered that the Dance Remix CD of the Tribe Soundtrack CD contains music videos for Abe Messiah and two of the songs that aren’t as good. You can find them on YouTube, but I kinda suggest that you don’t. They’re a weird mix of Kids Incorporated, Riverdance, and that David Hasslehoff music video where he’s dancing around the world, with the selfsame Video Toaster effects. The Abe Messiah video includes most of the scenes from the end credits that we were never able to make sense of, including the Mystery Blonde Guy with whom Trudy is dancing in the rave bit from the credits. We only get a clear look at him in the Bye Bye Bye This Is The Place, and if the YouTube comments are to be believed, this is “Good Zoot”, some sort of hypothetical Zoot who had decided to reform and stay with the Mall Rats, to which there has never been any indication in the show.
I like to think that somewhere out there is an entire alternative second season, complete with a radically different continuity. Maybe this hypothetical one makes more sense.
There exists a second version of the Abe Messiah video, which just features Bray, Ebony, Tyson, and Lex Luthor dancing in weird symbolic poses as if they’re about to shout their names and totem animals, then turn into Power Rangers. Which is utterly ludicrous, since we all know that only one of them is going to turn into a Power Ranger.
5… 4… 3… 2… 1…
Amber wants the others gone, because she’s pissed for reasons she isn’t yet willing to go into in detail. Bray has a feverish night of flashbacks, brough on by the stress of finding Amber still alive, or possibly the fact that he’s been wearing the same knitted wifebeater since last season.
Dal is the first to notice that Ebony was conspicuously unsurprised when Amber turned up not dead. Lex discovers that Edward Scissorhands’s tribe is called the “Gaians”, and they all take their names from animals, except for Pride (Edward), who didn’t understand the rules.
Amber gives Dal a flashback, in which she wakes up after having been buried, gets found by Edward Scissorhands, and gets adopted by the Gaians. He teaches her how to hunt and fish, and she teaches him about this earth thing they call “Kissing”, and she is shocked, shocked, when Dal tells her that Bray and Ebony haven’t gotten together.
Ebony tries to talk Bray into doing a runner, but this is unconvincing since he’s actually in a location shot, while she’s in front of a greenscreen. Well, actually, I wanted to say that, but Ebony totally convinces him… Until Bray goes ballistic and fights his way to her, demanding an explanation.
Amber does her usual “You know what you did so I will not tell you!” bit, and manages to tell him her entire life story about six times without hitting on it.
After repeating the flashback from Dal, she adds that Ebony saved her, then told her that she’d had Bray’s baby. And, because this is Ebony, when she’s lying, everyone believes her, and when she’s telling the truth, no one does. So Amber faked her own death, believing the lie.
Bray should just kill Ebony. He should just break her neck. Like Tirol did to Tory. But instead, he just yells at her a little and believes her when she swears that that Amber hallucinated the whole thing.
Alice and Ellie plot mutiny, loudly enough that even the Chosen who’s guarding them has a hard time not hearing them.
Lex, who knows of only one way to resolve conflict, calls Edward Scissorhands a pussy, so they have a big steel cage match.

  • Leah: Pride cometh before the fall
  • Ross: Pride also cometh before Amber two times out of three, which is why she’s going to kick his ass to the curb in favor of Bray.

But seriously, Lex gets his ass handed to him, because, as we have previously established, Lex gets always gets his ass kicked. But that means that he and Edward Scissorhands get to be friends now. Of course, Lex was practically gay for nature-boy before.
Episode 7 ends on the startling revelation that Bray and Ebony didn’t have a baby! Wait. We knew that. And Bray’s “proof” is that he found the picture Ebony showed Amber, and he’s got… A good explanation! Wait. Does Bray have some kind of plan here? Seriously? If his word was going to work, oughtn’t it have worked by now?
Actually, his “proof” is that he rips up the photo, which Amber accepts as proof, since Bray would never tear up a photo of his own son. Ebony has another ace up her sleeve, of course, with the metnion of Katy Perry, which basically moves amber from “Jealous and Self-Righteous Anger” to “Ambivalent”
Meanwhile, Selene and May are going to join the Chosen, which makes them look like total bitches, because Selene is determined that no one find out that she’s pregnant and in pretty serious danger of miscarrying if she doesn’t start getting regular meals. May, on the other hand, is just a bitch, at least until the writers decide they like her.
The Guardian and Tyson have the sexiest discussion on theology since the confessions of St. Augustine of Hippo, and Edward Scissorhands shames Amber over the fact that she’s clearly letting her personal feelings get in the way of the fact that helping the city tribes is totally the right thing to do.
Selene, May, and Patsy all agree to join the Chosen, Patsy under duress, May happily, and Selene with reluctance. But Ryan backs out and tells them to get stuffed when they get to the whole “Renounce your former tribe” bit.
The Gaians hole up in a church to plot the retaking of the mall, where Bray and Edward Scissorhands whip them out and compare sizes:
Amber: (To Bray) Pride’s got skills you don’t.
Brainwashing 101 starts out with the Guardian asking the novices to remember how their parents died, share their pain with him, and draw strength from it. Selene ends up brainwashed almost instantly.
Ebony and Lex, who have returned to the city on their own ahead of the Gaians, buy some poison from a young Peter Lorre, as part of their complex plan to kill the Guardian and seize control of the Chosen.
Immediately before invading the mall, Bray asks Edward Scissorhands just how close he is with Amber, and finds out, though he would almost certainly prefer otherwise once Edward Scissorhands explains that they’re New Agey Gaian-Married.
Lex and Ebony corner the Guardian, and are just about to execute him — well, Ebony is, then the Guardian overpowers her, then Lex overpowers him, but he just sort of hmms and haws over the actual murder — when Bray shows up, and Selene decides it would be a good time to scream, thus ruining the whole “surprise” thing.
The battle doesn’t really go anywhere; the Guardian stabs Ebony, the Gaians fight, they see Tyson, then they leave. It’s not clear what they were trying to accomplish, nor whether they actually did it. The Guardian decids to enjoy his favorite pasttimes: reveling in being hated, and threatening Trudy. Afterward, Lex sneaks up for a bit of a cuddle with his wife. Tyson, by the way, has a smallpox innoculation scar. Just thought I’d mention.
Back at the church, Edward Scissorhands explains that both Bray’s plan and Ebony’s were good, but they ought not to have executed them simultaneously. He also is cutely uncomprending of why Ebony is such a bitch.
May is a little too enthusiastic about wanting to catch the traitor the Guardian has imagined is among them, which causes him to suspect her, and accuse her baselessly. I suspect that we’re being shown that Jaffa’s just as crazy as the rest of them, and not just an evil manipulative bastard. Later, May tries to come up with a way to throw suspicion off herself. I suspect that she’s planning to sell out Selene for a pack of smokes, which makes me notice that no one in New Zealand smokes. Funny that. I thought unruly teenagers loved to smoke.

The Tribe 2×41-2×52

While Trudy makes pronouncements to Patsy about the coming new age, Seline turns down Ryan’s proposal of marriage, and the Chosen’s careful plan to lull everyone into a false sense of security falls apart because they just can’t stop kidnapping people, whose kidnappings get noticed.
Or, it would ruin their plan, except that everyone is too caught up in themselves to notice. Lex and Tyson have become a couple, but have to keep it on the DL because Alice thinks Lex likes her, and no one wants to risk upsetting Alice. Dal’s lusting after Ellie, so it’s a good thing that Jack isn’t nearby. Chloe’s going crazy with abandonment issues. And Trudy convinces Ryan that Bray talked Seline out of marrying him.
When Trudy reveals that Ebony sold her out to the Chosen, it occurs to Bray and Katy Perry that maybe the Chosen haven’t really broken up, and this has all been a smokescreen to lull them into a false sense of security… And Ebony’s behind it all! Because Trudy is entirely trustworthy!
Also, Patsy creepily imitates Trudy’s speech and movement patterns, which I think suggests that she’s a much better actress than the rest of the cast.
While the Chosen kidnap people using the van from The A-Team, Trudy goes to meet with Jaffa, whereupon they reveal to us that the baby Trudy’s been carrying around isn’t really Brady, who the Chosen still have.
The Chosen know that there’s one thing that always works: planting evidence on someone. So thye stick some evidence in Ebony’s pool in order to make it look like she’s behind the kidnappings. That something is Spike’s corpse
As usual, this works like a charm, resulting in civil war.
Seline runs away from home, deciding that Ryan’s too good for her, and happens upon May, the girl who stole Lex’s shoes, while running from a gang of Sharells who appear to be a crossbreed of High School Musical characters and leftover mooks from Power Rangers. Seline throws up, for once without actually meaning to, and May deduces that she’s pregnant. Because basically, there are only three reasons in the world that anyone would throw up. And the virus has died down, so that only leaves pregnancy and bulimia, and Seline’s on a diet.
The Sharells show up at the Mall and accuse Lex of killing their leader, that guy who lived in a tanning booth and wore tinfoil, which prompts Katy Perry to decide that they’re being set up to create civil disorder, but, again, she won’t even consider the possibility that it was anyone but Ebony behind it. Ryan proves he’s still in love with Seline by kicking their asses when he finds out that they were the ones who chased her.
Also, May recognizes Trudy as the Supreme Mother of the Chosen. Of course, if anyone believed her, that might foil their plans. But they don’t, not after Trudy claims that she was just playing along to keep them from taking her baby away.
KC, who hasn’t been paying attention, hires the Sharelles to play at Ryan and Seline’s wedding while he’s stealing a ring for Ryan. All the love and whatnot makes Lex decide to propose to Tyson. She doesn’t believe in marriage, and Leah agrees that in the post-apocalypse, marriage is kind of pointless, especially the sort of fakey and frivolous marriages they have around here. But Tyson comes around when Lex explains it purely in terms of love.
Trudy, by the way, is going to perform the ceremony for Ryan and Seline. Though the Chosen plan to crash the wedding and take over the city.
During the wedding. Patsy leads Ebony to her own murder, wherein the Chosen drive their truck at her, forcing her off a pier into the water, on the theory that, since Ebony basically spent the whole first season in the pool, she probably can’t swim. Trudy performs a ceremony that weirdly oozes with evil that no one notices.
And then they decide they have to kill Patsy too. So if she didn’t get that the Chosen might not be as benevolent as Trudy had been claiming by now, she might have a suspicion now.
Patsy predictably runs back to Trudy, who tips her hand that she’d been playing her the whole time, but Patsy still doesn’t quite get it.
Alice gets herself captured when she bursts in on the Chosen who are in the process of converting or murdering the Locos. She challenges Jaffa to single combat or something, he responds by trying to brainwash her.
Seline forces herself to sleep with Ryan, despite the fact that she now finds him repellant, so that she can sell the idea that the baby’s just a couple of weeks early, instead of the only reason she married him.
The unsurprisingly still-alive Ebony confronts Patsy, and helps her down the road to recovery from evil. Chloe changes Brady since Patsy is too zoned out to notice, causing her to notice Brady’s shiny new penis.
The newly reformed Patsy and Chloe warn Bray that the tribal meeting is a trap, showing up about 5 seconds before the Chosen do so that they’re absolutely no help, except that they manage to stop Bray going in.
The Chosen capture the tribal leaders, then they take the mall because no one believes Alice when she shows up, predictably, ten seconds before the chosen.
Patsy denounces Trudy, at which point, everyone just stands around debating what to do until the Chosen show up and capture them.
The Chosen threaten to execute Katy Perry unless Bray surrenders himself, which he does, but not without bringing a small army with him to kick some ass. The captured mallrats are rescued, but they misplace Ryan in the process (Leah and I think Lex beat him up by accident, as he was wearing a Chosen costume). Finding him unconscious, Selene gives every indication of actually loving him for once.
Bray corners the Guardian and the Chosen, but can’t bring himself to kill the Guardian. Which is unfortunate, because he reveals that he’s actually got an army of what looks like about a thousand men he’s been hiding. Having forced everyone into submission, The GUardian just sits there and looks confused when Lex shows up up in a go-kart and rescues… Bray. Bray?
Anyway, by the time you’ve got your head around this one, Lex has already crashed the go-kart, apparently killing the both of them.
And thus does our season end, not with a bang, but with frakking Ebony looking on from the distance.

The Tribe 2×31-2×40

Episode 31 is a rave, and my hatred of raves is prevents further comment. In episode 32, however, everyone falls off the wagon: Lex, having cleaned up his act, has a drink with Ryan who is getting drunk to deal with Selene’s refusal to have a baby with him, and this causes him to regress into full-on alcoholic asshole mode. Meanwhile, Ebony confesses her love for Bray, and he rejects her, causing her to fall off the “goodness” wagon and go back to full-on evil mode. And the rest of the tribes decide that they’ve had about enough of the Mallrats trying to restore order and everything, and return to lawlessness.
Which is, of course, the perfect time for Trudy to come back, quite obviously brainwashed and crazy. Also, we get to see Katy Perry in bed with Bray.
No one is at all suspicious of Trudy’s return, despite the fact that thus far, they have always been suspicious of everyone for everything.
By the way, for some reason, Ebony has “Aba Messiah” tattooed on her arm. That’s the name of the closing theme music. They really like their own soundtrack.
Alice returns to the farm out of anger at Lex’s claims to have gotten back on the wagon, where she is crushed by the only thing larger than herself, a barn.
Between sex and sloppy makeouts, Katy Perry decides to organize a tribal forum to prepare a defense against the Chosen, while Selene yells at Ryan for not coming up with a better way to reconcile with her despite the fact that she never gives him a chance to speak.
Bray and Katy Perry have some pillow talk about Bray’s reluctance to bed her on the morning of the Tribal Forum, now that Trudy is back.

  • Katy Perry: It means that you were obviously glad to see her, and it means I know that you and her have some kind of history
  • Leah: True and true.
  • Katy Perry: … And it means I’m being a jealous cow.
  • Leah and Ross: True!

Later, Katy Perry catches Bray calming Selene down when she freaks out about Ryan going out into the big scary city where the Chosen might nab him. Katy Perry decides that “Jealous Cow” works for her, so she becomes jealous and mean.
Speaking of Ryan, he’s out in the big scary city with Ellie, tracking down a rumor about a Chosen in “sector 13”. Do cities anywhere have numbered sectors like that? (Fun Fact: Paris does.) He decides not to come home with her, and instead, to go climb a mountain and off himself.
Katy Perry and Bray fight, then make up, which makes Selene sad, as she’s realized that she’s secretly still in love with Bray. Meanwhile, Chloe has noticed that Trudy isn’t herself any more, but no one else really believes her despite her creepy weirdness.
Bray goes to visit a tribe who wear silly costumes and live in a place lit entirely by blacklight, causing me to wonder why I haven’t noticed so far that everyone is evolving into extras from The Warriors.
Alice goes on a date with Lex, to Lex’s chagrin, because he can’t muster the balls to forthrightly reject her. Personally, I think Lex should just try showing her some affection — she’ll run a mile. Or kill him, since as we know, Lex can only show affection in the form of rape attempts.
Patsy makes cryptic comments that imply she’s being brainwashed by Trudy. then gives Chloe a scary jack-in-the-box. Ellie meets a cute boy who convinces her that the Chosen have broken up. She prints it in the newsletter, and everyone believes it since if you see it in the Sun, it’s so.
Episode 30 ends with the guy who convinced Ellie that the Chosen had broken up meeting with someone who is obviously a Chosen in the sewers to be told that it is Time To Put Their Evil Plans In Action. Shadowy figure? Well, if you haven’t worked out who it is by now, I’m not going to tell you.

The Tribe: Season 2 21-30

Selene tries to talk Lex out of being a drunk, and Lex opens up to her, then tries to sleep with her. Which finally makes Ryan grow a pair and confront Lex. Lex’s Jack Sparrow imitation doesn’t help matters and it’s only Bray’s intervention that stops Ryan from out and out murdering him.
This ends with Lex getting thrown out of the Mall, leavign Ebony one step closer to her evil plan of total domination. By the way. she more or less explicltly told Katy Perry that she set her up in order to get rid of her as a threat to her power over Bray.
Ryan, who, in spite of being a moron, is probably the nicest guy on the show and may even be the most emotionally stable, declares that he doesn’t blame Selene, and that he does want to sleep with her, but he’s concerned that if he submits to his lust, it makes him no better than Lex. Ryan, if you think about Lex every time you get an erection, you’ve probably got some other issues to work out. But Selene will have none of Ryan’s homoerotic fixations, and beds him.
Ebony gives the prosecutorial speech at Katy Perry’s trial. Everyone finds her very convincing, because no one has noticed that everything Ebony has EVER said has been a lie. Bray, for the defense, gives a terrible speech, causing the episode to devolve into a clip show.
When Alice accuses Ebony outright, everyone is so pleased that someone has finally said the most obvious thing ever that it triggers a flashback to Ebony buying the poison. Now, we all knew that Ebony did the poisoning, so it’s not like we didn’t see this coming. Leah works it out for me: They’re trying to do a CSI thing. Thus, when Ebony accuses Katy Perry of being a spy for the Chosen, we have a flashback of the Chosen. And everyone finds this unsubstantiated accusation very compelling, because, as close as I can tell, they can see the same flashbacks as we do.
In fact, Katy Perry’s tissue of lies of a backstory turns out to be motivated by the fact that her dad created the Virus. Bray, to his credit, does not get confused and think that Katy Perry has just claimed that her father was a comet. Good thing it wasn’t Ryan taking her confession.
Leah thinks Katy Perry is overreacting, because it’s not like she created the virus, and I point out that we’re basically the only civilization in the history of mankind who hasn’t held children responsible for the sins of their fathers.
Bray tries to save Katy Perry by confessing to having told Ebony the formula, which for some reason makes her look even more guilty and gives Ebony even more power. (Some reason == “Because Bray is terrible, terrible at explaining things”)
Chloe and Patsy decided Katy Perry did it right away and haven’t been listening to the trial, really, because that might cause them to learn something that makes them reconsider their knee-jerk reaction. So the republican party will survive the apocalypse. So when the “not guilty” verdict comes in, they decide they’ll never trust Bray again, and run away or something.
Spike either takes the fall for the frame-up job, or Ebony frames him instead, they don’t specify which. He definitely leaves on some evil mission at Ebony’s order, but it’s not specified whether his mission is to take the fall, or sending him away was just an excuse to get him out of the way so he’d be a good fall guy.
Katy Perry puts her hair down, which makes her look less like Katy Perry. Also, she’s actually looked much more like Zooey Deschanel this whole time, but I can’t see myself spelling that name more than once.
Oh, I had a revelation in the shower last night. Pre-Zoot Martin looks exactly like Nick Stahl, circa Disturbing Behavior (I just discovered he was also John Connor in Terminator 3, but I did not recognize him at that).
Lex gives his last watch to Vanilla Ice in order to get into a bar, and promptly gets thrown out because Lex is unable to show affection in any form other than attempted rape.
Ryan and Selene are just about to do it when Dal reveals that he’s traded for some diesel and wants them to help him learn to drive a tractor, a distraction which gives Ryan a chance to — well, he’s about to have sex, so let’s guess what he thinks about. Seriously, every time this guy gets wood. Ryan’s consumed with guilt over Lex, and Seline sends him off to go find him.
Once everyone finds out Katy Perry’s deep dark secret, they decide that while they don’t actually hate her because her father ended civilization, they find her lying about it to be the same class of bad as the adults used to wipe themselves out. And since they can’t trust Bray, and they can’t trust Katy Perry, and they can’t trust Lex Luthor, Ebony suggests that she’d be a great leader, as she can be trusted.
Katy Perry decides to do a runner, and Bray tries to talk her down,. She doesn’t believe the others will ever forgive and forget, because she’s new to the cast — as Bray well knows, the Mallrats have the collective memory of a goldfish with head trauma.
Captain Jack Sparrow — sorry, Lex — pours his heart out to some strays in order to allow his healing process to begin. They steal the nothing he has, including his shoes.
Dal’s found a pentacle on the farm, causing Tyson for the first time to notice that the symbol of their tribe is a pentacl. She takes it as a sign that the symbol on the amulet Dal found just happens to be the same as the symbol of the Mall Rats which just happens to be one of the most ancient and common symbols in the history of western civilization.
Lex’s return beings with it the alarming news that it now appears the virus has run its course and the antidote is no longer a pressing need, which is a problem, since the need to get the antidote is basically the only thing holding civilization together at this point.
They decide to resolve this issue by not telling anyone, with leads to the series changing into a kind of absurdist political drama, with the gang organizing urban renewal, and Katy Perry granting divorces to ten-year-olds. Poor Lex finds himself confused by the sudden calling everyone finds to do real work, while Dal and Ryan moon over their first pumpkin, which is introduced along with a romantic remix of the theme music, which, as I have mentioned, is the only piece of incidental music they have.
Spike has decided he’s unhappy with having been framed, and begins to plot revenge. As people to have plotting your downfall go, I would totally want it to be Spike.
Spike has his legion of Michael Meyers impersonators grab Ebony when she shows up to intimidate him into submission. Like Trudy before him, once he’s got Ebony completely in his power, the first thing he wants is to make her shut up. I hope this becomes a pattern.
Leah points out that in the post-apocalypse, people have given up surnames. This makes me think about the tendency of people not to have last names in kids’ shows.
KC skips school in order to buy rotten tomatoes with which to feed the crazy kleptomaniac they keep locked up in the basement. Lex and Alice both take note of this, and at this point, I discover that Lex is the guy they’re talking about when they claim that there are people who say “to-mah-toe”.
In bondage, Ebony flashes back to Zoot, who apparently abused her in weird ways, giving Tyson a vision, which leads her to gather the Mallrats to go rescue her, which is complicated by the fact that (a) they don’t believe in her psychic visions, and (2) they don’t especially want Ebony back.
When Ellie and Jack catch Patsy, Chloe, and KC making book on which of the resident couples will have the longest snog of the day, she yells at them, causing Patsy to realize that she really needs to find herself a man. Yes. Really.
Since it appears that the virus has died out and no one needs the antidote any more, civilization is sort of hanging on by a thread, what with the threat of the virus being the only thing keeping everyone in line. Fortunately, the Mallrats carefully avoid letting anyone cotton on to this and thwart the rumors. Except for Lex. who gets in a fight with someone and shouts that he doesn’t need the antidote.
Which leads to everyone deciding that they don’t need the antidote, which basically ends civilization. Fortunately, Tyson and Alice rescue Ebony, which is fortunate, um, for some reason. But she’s been reduced to a gibbering wreck from being locked in a closet. No one’s interested in trade or farming or urban renewal or anything now that they don’t need the antidote. So, for example, thye trash Dal’s milk, because they don’t trust that it’s not secretly antidote, which they don’t need. Instead it’s food, which they also think they don’t need. Because the human race does not deserve to live.
And in case you missed the memo on how being locked in a dark place and ordered to beg for her freedom was linked to a traumatic incident in her past, and that’s why she cracked up like this, Tyson poorly summarizes the end of 1984 to make it explicit.
As Ebony suffers from a bad case of Zoot Flashbacks, an angry pitchfork-weilding mob descends on the mall, shouting that the Mallrats conned them out of the nothing they’d been paying for antidote. Fortunately, mention of Bray brings Ebony around, who promptly shouts down the angry mob by pointing out that the Mallrats gave them the antidote for free, climbed through a minefield, found the antidote, created trade, promoted the arts, and, the way she tells it, was experimenting on themselves to be sure that no one needed the antidote.
Bray whines that everyone listens to Ebony but not to him.

  • Leah: That’s because she hasn’t lied to them so much.
  • Ross: Everything Ebony has ever said has been a lie!
  • Leah: She’s better at it.
  • Ross: At least she’s consistent.

Tyson explains to Ebony that the key to her recovery is to admit her feelings for Bray, as if somehow Ebony had ever made any sort of secret about wanting Bray.
Meanwhile, back in reality, a thirty year old man (me) is sitting in his armchair with a pain in his back, humming “Aba Messiah”, the end theme to this show. His fiancee (that’s Leah) is in the kitchen, getting two glasses of plum wine. She suddenly shouts in that she really wanted me to pause the show and is annoyed that I haven’t. I explain that I have, some time ago. She says that it doesn’t sound like I did. This story should serve to illustrate that this show has no repitoire of incidental music.
Ellie wants to publish everything they know about the virus, but she knows that Katy Perry will be anathematized. But she really wants to publish, so she decides to ask Ebony’s opinion, because either Ellie is an idiot, or because she knows Ebony will tell her to fuck over Katy Perry.
Unimaginably, Ebony tells her not to publish, which either means that she’s really turned over a new leaf, or this is the most complex gambit ever.
Katy Perry and Bray have decided to invent money again. The system is this: At the beginning of the day, they loan each trader ten tokens. All day. they trade and make profit. At the end of the day. they reclaim ten tokens from each trader.
Leah actually makes me stop the video at this point so we can discuss the flaws with this system. I come to the conclusion that: ‘Yes, this system is based on the idea that if you just move money around fast enough, it will reproduce. However, I feel the need to point out that this is also the basis of our economic system.”
Episode 30 ends with Lex having let their entire economy be stolen while he’s sleeping it off, Ellie tearing up her newsletter because Katy Perry had to go and make herself seem like a real person who could get hurt instead of an abstract concept to betray in the name of journalism, and, um, there’s something up with Ebony.