Daily Cartoon: GI Joe Ep. 4 “The M.A.S.S. Device, Part 4: Duel in the Devil’s Cauldron”

Welcome to the fourth installment of the GI Joe mini-series. Everything has been going swimmingly thus far for us as viewers, but it’s been very different for the Joes as they continue to fight from behind to collect the catalytic elements that will power their own M.A.S.S. device that could be the turning point in this battle with Cobra, a ruthless, terrorist organization determined to rule the world.

The Joes caught a break in the last episode when Snake Eyes, by some act of god, didn’t die of radiation poisoning and was able to bring back a supply of the Arctic crystals that Dr. Vandermeer was insistent on needing. However, the canister that contained those crystals starting emitting a poisonous gas into the air in the command center rendering everyone there unconscious which is where we’ll pick up today.

Damn, I love these multi-parters. Ready? Let’s do it.

Episode 4: The M.A.S.S. Device, Part 4: Duel in the Devil’s Cauldron

Original Air Date: September 15, 1983

The Plot:

With the poisonous fumes permeating throughout the base, the only one left partially standing is Cover Girl who is reaching for a strategically place beaker of water. Unable to get to it in her weakened state, she gets an assist from Timber the wolf that just started tagging along with Snake Eyes in the Arctic. Using the water and a rag, Cover Girl is able to filter her face from breathing in the gas and rushes to grab the canister from which it emanated. She’s able to get it out of the control room and rushes to chuck it as far as possible from base just as it FUCKING EXPLODES in midair from a safe distance.

What the fuck? This dude Snake Eyes just casually brought back a bomb to Joe HQ?! Nobody thought it was suspicious that it had a giant COBRA logo on the cap? How fucking stupid is this team?

They still need the third element which is located in the DEVIL’S CAULDRON which is in a volcanic ring of fire in South America. Oh, I cannot fucking wait to see this. It’s some kind of rock that’s literally just sitting in a pool of lava on the inside of a volcano. Yes. A thousand times yes. Keep cheating death, babygirl. The Joes are getting themselves hyped to dive into a fucking volcano and retrieve some silly rock, but at that moment, they get FaceTimed by Stalker, who informs them that, by order of the president, all members of GI Joe are to surrender to Cobra. That wily Cobra Commander got them again! He’s like Gene Parmesan!

Turns out, Stalker’s transmission was all a ruse! Breaker, the computer guy, had noticed that Cobra was intercepting the Joes’ transmission feed and they set up this whole call from Stalker knowing Cobra would see it and think that the jig was up! It’s genius, really. And I don’t throw that around lightly as a genius myself, I don’t usually enjoying sharing the mantle. With this, the Joes have bought themselves some time to gather the third element in the Devil’s Cauldron.

Within seconds, GI Joe has a team in South America to retrieve the meteorite, but are met by Cobra forces being led by Destro who are after the same thing. You know Cobra means business if Destro is being sent out on a retrieval mission. You don’t have your top guys do grunt work for no reason.

Cobra Commander becomes impatient waiting for GI Joe’s surrender and orders the Baroness to destroy New York City with the M.A.S.S. Device even though they’re incredibly short on the third element. It uses up all their supply of the third element – the meteorite, which Destro is trying to replenish – but Commander is suddenly stymied when Selina, the slave girl who assisted Duke’s escape from Cobra Temple, pours water on the machine, short-circuiting it and stopping the effects of the M.A.S.S. Device from reaching New York.

The battle continues at the Devil’s Cauldron for control of the meteorite with Cobra actually being the ones to come away with control of the element, but GI Joe would never give up that easy. Scarlett, Gung-Ho and Wild Bill strap on some jetbacks to raid Cobra’s airship and are soon joined by Duke, Snake Eyes and a host of other Joes who layeth the smacketh down on the gaggle of jabroni Cobra Troops. They round them all up inside of a force-field prison cell which begs the question: where do they detain all these Cobra Troopers after this? And how does Cobra continue to find new trooper recruits when their numbers get thinned from mass arrests like this?

Do you think Cobra Commander shows up at some job fair and just hands out pamphlets? “So, you’ve decided to be a henchman…” It’s basically ripped right out of The Venture Bros. but it’s a genuine query. If you’re a down-and-out, going-nowhere type, would you trust the guy in the blue helmet and silver face shield who slithers his S’s when he speaksss with your future? Also, what kind of benefits do you think Cobra offers? Like most other terrorist groups, I can see the benefits being really weak with really high co-pays and deductibles…wait…that’s just every corporation in America. Maybe being a henchman isn’t such a bad career move after all.

Anyway, all the baddies are rounded up except the biggest of the bads: Destro. He’s still loose and breaking off pieces of the meteorite to load in his classic Cobra-branded element container before hopping in an aircraft so he can leave there on a jetplane, but Scarlett’s been tracking him and Destro knows it. Destro is able to sneak attack her, causing her to lose her crossbow before taking her hostage as the rest of the Joes arrive to support. It’s no use, though, as the Joes can’t do anything while Destro has Scarlett and he’s able to escape while Duke and Gung-Ho can only watch. There is one piece of good news, however: the remaining portion of the meteorite is now in the Joes possession and completes the search for the elements needed by Dr. Vandermeer to finish building another M.A.S.S. Device.

Destro’s really enjoying this as he begins the flight back to Cobra Temple, but he has made a fatal mistake: he’s left Scarlett’s crossbow too close to her so, even though her arms are chained behind her back, she’s able to reach it with her feet. Destro sees it play out in front of his, but reacts too late, screaming that she’ll kill them both as she fires an arrow in the controls of the Cobra airship. It spirals out of control and looks to be headed toward the side of a mountain as…

…we fade out and get left on the cliffhanger for tomorrow’s concluding episode.

The Thoughts:

This episode was badass. The battle scenes can be silly if you overthink them, but if you can just suspend your disbelief enough to accept that sure, despite all this laser-fire nobody’s going to get shot or killed or anything, then you’ll get a ton of enjoyment out of this chapter. The sky fight around the volcano was a lot of fun as well as on the Cobra airship once the Joes invaded by jetpack. At the end of the day, this show is about army people going against evil people who rally under a snake so the battle scenes should have some substance.

We also get a some more time with some newish Joes as Gung-Ho and Wild Bill get some time to show off their characters more which is always a good thing.

Honestly, I just really dug this episode a lot. I understand that a lot of this is because it was written as a mini-series so it has a concurrent story that is building to a final payoff, but I think it still holds up pretty well almost a full 37 years after the fact. Good times.

Main Man Standings:

Strong episode, good fights, good utilization of characters. I’m giving this a QUADRUPLE MAIN MAN! Four stars! Enjoyed the shit out of it and cannot wait for tomorrow’s thrilling conclusion!

Comments & Concerns:

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Twitter: @MaxSexPow

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