Welcome to part two of our introduction to G.I. Joe! I’m really excited about this since I enjoyed yesterday’s debut so much so let’s not waste too much time and get right into this.
When we left off, Cobra had seized control of a secret government satellite allowing them to transport physical matter wherever they want after triangulating the signal with Destro’s M.A.S.S. Device. Whether it’s people and troopers, riches or landmarks, if Cobra wants to send or receive, they’re now able to. Duke, who was transported to Cobra Temple by mistake while trying to capture the Baroness is now a slave in Cobra Commander’s Arena of Sport where he’s in the fight of his life against Cobra’s champion who has no name, but has the appearance of a giant barbarian warrior.
And, with that said, we begin Part 2!
Mini-Series 1, Episode 2: The M.A.S.S. Device, Part 2: Slave of the Cobra Master
Original Airdate: September 13, 1983
We open back in Cobra’s Arena of Sport where Destro and Cobra Commander are enjoying the action presented to them. Destro is controlling Duke, but shuts off the mind control to allow Duke to fight his own battle as Commander controls the Champion.
As for the Joes, they’re holding a powwow with their new friend Dr. Vandermeer who will be building the Joes a M.A.S.S. device of their own since that is apparently the only way to stop Cobra’s unit. He informs them that they’ll need to acquire three elements before he can even begin. The first is a radioactive crystal buried in the Arctic Circle.
Back at the Arena of Sport, Duke has exhibited enough free will to wear Destro finally pulls back control, but at this moment, Cobra Commander is given a message that not only has the world refused to surrender to Cobra, but G.I. Joe has also learned of the catalytic elements and will be building their own M.A.S.S. device. The sport is put on hold so that Cobra can hold a meeting with the board of trustees.
While Duke is left momentarily frozen, his mind control tiara shuts off again and he is greeted by Selina, another slave of Cobra who offers him water and some kind of tape that she instructs him to put between his tiara and temple to block the effects of the mind control. Selina is a real one.
Cobra Commander interrupts all of television with his own pirate signal to once again display the power of the M.A.S.S. Device in an attempt to get the leaders of the world to agree to his terms and surrender themselves to Cobra. This time, he up and teleports the army of the Soviet Union right out of Moscow and places them into prisons at Cobra Temple. Destro is infuriated because these continued uses of the device are depleting their supply of catalytic elements, but Commander laughs it off and returns back to the Arena to finish off Duke before dinner.
In the Arctic Circle, Scarlett leads a team of Joes to get the crystals needed by Dr. Vandermeer, but of course, the cave where these are hidden has already been rigged with booby traps and assault robots by Cobra. Snake Eyes goes forward to grab the crystals while the others take care of the robots.
Duke is about to have his wig split by the Champion, but a brief argument between Commander and Destro give him the opportunity he needs to slip in the gold strip given to him by Selina between his mind control tiara and head. Why he didn’t do that earlier…who the hell knows. It seems like something he should have done the second it was given to him, but what do I know? I’ve never been held captive at the Arena of Sport. It’s not like I’m coming from a place of experience. I’m simply armchair quarterbacking the slavery.
The strip not only blocks the mind control, but also short-circuits the entire mind control system causing Destro and Cobra Commander’s controllers to fry in their hands as Duke makes a run for it and tries to escape. Cobra Troopers are bumping and feeding for him one at a time like the nWo did for Sting in 1997 and finally, Duke gets another assist from Selina who points him to a hang glider that he uses to escape from Cobra Temple. Duke gives her what appears to be his G.I. Joe Hall of Fame ring to remember him by. You have to remember that this is years before eBay so Duke never realized that he’d be able to sell that ring to a loaded mark one day and use that money to get himself out of financial trouble caused by not paying his taxes. Ric Flair can’t even keep those rings in stock nowadays.
Snake Eyes has collected the crystals needed and the Joes are about to head out of the Arctic Circle, but they’re stopped in their tracks by Major Bludd who leads a team of Cobra Troopers keeping the Joes stuck in a cave unable to escape. Major Bludd also activated a failsafe explosive device that Cobra had installed during their last visit just in case the Joes ever became hip to the powers of the M.A.S.S. Device. The explosive detonates and unleashes a radioactive cloud that gives Scarlett and team two choices: stay in the cave and be overtaken by radiation or try to break out and have a shooter’s chance against Cobra. They’re still waiting for Snake Eyes, though who is still making his way back from the crystal tunnel. Knowing he’ll never have enough time, Snake Eyes shoots at one of the booby traps which drops a plexiglass barrier. This will protect his team from the radiation, but he’s trapped and the cloud envelops him immediately. He casually waves goodbye as his friends’ lives are saved and he begins walking further into the cloud, surely to enjoy just a bit more peace and quiet before his lungs simply can’t find oxygen anymore.
Duke finally evades the Cobra Troopers tailing him for good, but he’s beaten down in the process. Once clear he stumbles around and is unexplainably located by a G.I. Joe medic team who brings him back to base to be treated by Doc and Cover Girl.
All of the world’s most powerful leaders have gathered on an island as per instructions from Cobra Commander. Representing the USA is General Flagg who tells a reporter that they will never surrender to Cobra under any circumstance. Of course, the island was a ruse and all the leaders are transported to Cobra Temple and placed as slaves thanks to the M.A.S.S. Device.
Duke begins coming out of what I guess is a coma, but is never explained and wheeled into the Joe command center barely able to think where he’s immediately questioned by Stalker. Stalker tells Duke that it’s up to him to remember where the Cobra base is or else they’ve lost. Duke can’t put anything together quite yet, but does have a vague recollection of Selina though even that he doesn’t understand. If he doesn’t remember quick, they’re doomed.
Once again, something that I enjoyed despite some of its sillier aspects. The Duke escape scene is literally every stereotypical trope from 80s cartoons jam-packed into one sequence. Yes, that includes what I guess is quicksand and a vine. The other big moment is Snake Eyes sacrificing his life to save his friends and then casually waving to them as if they were pulling out of his driveway after a Super Bowl party. Obviously, Snake Eyes isn’t going anywhere, but I cannot wait to see how the hell they explain themselves out of this.
The Arena of Sport wasn’t great, but it does display the insane level of hubris in Cobra Commander as he hurries through important world domination details just so he can run back to play with his slaves.
Through two episodes they’ve done a great job at introducing and explaining not just the main characters, but sprinkling in supporting personalities as well. We have been fully inducted into Duke, Cobra Commander, Destro, Scarlett et al, and here we also get more of Snake Eyes, Snow Job and a few others as this world continues to expand.
Genuinely surprised with how much I’ve liked the first two episodes. Going back and watching these old shows can becomes an immediate regret, but that hasn’t happened here. Pretty curious to see if that’s just because this was a scheduled mini-series and written as such and if we fall into the same 80s cartoon pit as we get into the main series. For this week, though, that isn’t a worry as we continue with Cobra’s use of the M.A.S.S. Device.
Main Man Standings:
I’m going to mark this slightly lower than yesterday’s episode at a still very solid, TRIPLE & 1/2 Main Man! Three and a half stars for a very enjoyable episode that keeps interest high to see where we go in the next one.
Comments & Concerns: