Last week in Jem Reviewed, the Holograms won a competition in Hawaii without cheating, and it turned out to be somewhat of a halfway decent show. I'm afraid I cannot say the same for this week's episode. I hate it. I mean, I really, REALLY hate it. I'll explain why as you keep reading.
It's time for Episode 19 - The Princess and the Singer.
The setting for this episode is the fictional country of Morvania. And, no - it's not the place where the whole cast of "Dynasty" got shot. I believe that was Moldavia. Wherever in the world this place is, it's quite small. It may even be smaller than Luxembourg.
But apparently Jem and the Holograms are there because the princess of the country just happens to be a huge fan of theirs, and she has personally sent them an invite for them to perform for a grand concert.
Right off the bat, Kimber seems less than impressed with the small country and vocally complains all about it because in all likelihood, there aren't any single men for her to latch onto. Jem reminds her that they are there as guests of the country and that she should be more grateful. It's about time Jem started scolding Kimber for her whiny behaviour.
Besides, it seems as though the princess isn't the only one who happens to be a huge fan of Jem. There's a huge crowd gathered at the airport ready to welcome the group to their nation. In all likelihood, the entire country has come to greet them. It's...strangely nice to see.
It also appears as though the Royal Family of Morvania has gone to every extreme in treating their guests like part of the family, including housing the band in one of the finest suites at the Hotel Victor. The ladies are absolutely ecstatic about the experience, and Kimber starts to dream about being a princess and what she must be like.
And, this is the very reason why I cannot stand this episode. No, that's not a picture of Kimber. That is Princess Adriana of Morvania. Yes. It's a stupid doppelganger storyline that I LOATHE. Last year when I reviewed The New Archies, I reviewed a similar episode entitled "The Prince of Riverdale", and it was so horrible and unbelievable that I regretted watching it. I mean, aside from the fact that the focus of this episode is my least favourite Hologram, the show doesn't even make an effort to disguise Adriana's voice. The Princess of Morvania has a whiny American accent like Kimber. I mean, couldn't they have gotten Cathianne Blore to mimic a British accent or something? She played an Irish mouse named Bridget in "An American Tail" which came out the same year this episode aired!!! That's your Jem Trivia for today.
It seems as though Princess Adriana is just as much of a brat as Kimber is. She yells at some guy named Dimitrios about royal orders or something, and then she gets into a fight with her cousin Lexa after she questions her about sending the royal jet to escort Jem and the Holograms to Morvania for the concert. Adriana reminds Lexa that her eighteenth birthday is fast approaching and when that day arrives, she will officially be crowned Queen of Morvania, which will allow her to do whatever she wants. Oh, poor Morvania. Poor, poor Morvania.
Or maybe Adriana is more clever than we think. Seems as though Lexa and Dimitrios have a partnership together - and the end goal is for Lexa to take over the throne of Morvania. Of course, in order to make that happen, she has to get rid of Adriana before she gets the opportunity to blow out eighteen candles on her red velvet cake.
Maybe she senses that Lexa isn't someone she can trust. Or, maybe she's having one last bit of rebellion while she's seventeen and stupid. But Adriana decides that she is going to bust out of this castle and live her life the way she wants to by climbing down the side of the tower and running away. Too bad Lexa sees the escape attempt and immediately sends Dimitrios to track her down.
In a scene that seems tacked on, we find Eric and the Misfits are also in Morvania as tourists. I'm only assuming that they're there to sabotage the concert so that they can perform for the Royal Family instead. I assume because they never exactly say why they are there in the first place. It's just...weird.
Morvania doesn't seem to have any shopping malls or big box stores. All their stores seem to be designed like a European market square - which to be honest, I'd actually kind of enjoy. There's fresh baked bread, clothing items, jewelry, and all sorts of knick knacks just waiting to be bought or bartered with. Oh, and we see four different angles of the market. Kimber has strayed from the rest of the band to go in her own direction, while Jem and the others are apparently distracted by the smell of fresh bread to notice. On the other side of the market, Pizzazz, Roxy, and Stormer arrive to scope things out. And predictably, while Kimber is shopping at a stall, Princess Adriana appears out of nowhere. Can you guess where this is leading?
Well, when Adriana spots Dimitrios and a couple of his flunkies entering the market, she tries to run away but ends up plowing right into Kimber!
Adriana immediately recognizes Kimber as being Jem's synthesizer player (but amusingly doesn't point out that they look nearly identical), and tells her she's a huge fan. And when she introduces herself as the princess, Kimber thinks that is absolutely - say it with me - OUTRAGEOUS!!!
(Wanna tell which is which? Adriana's in the dark green cardigan. And Kimber's in the lime green one. Oh, and Kimber's wearing enough eye makeup to supply two and a half Kardashians.)
Meanwhile, Jem, Shana, and Aja run into Pizzazz, Roxy, and Stormer, and it's our cue for the first of two songs this episode.
"Here Comes Trouble" is...okay. It's not really great, but it's not terrible. It just happens to be there. It's more or less two minutes of filler.
With the Misfits in the area, Jem decides that they need to find Kimber and hightail it back to the hotel so that they can rehearse for their concert. Gee, I hope they don't run into Princess Adriana and mistake her for Kimber.
Oh, darn. That's exactly what happens. HOW PREDICTABLE. But if Adriana is with Jem and the others, where is Kimber?
Oh, she's only being kidnapped for the - what is it, third time now? Maybe fourth? I lost count.
Either way, Dimitrios and Lexa imprison Kimber in a gigantic tower (gee, how original), and they refuse to let her out. Of course, Kimber basically screams at them, telling them that she is Kimber Benton of Jem and the Holograms and that they need to let her go. Dimitrios isn't too concerned, but Lexa is starting to panic. If they really do have Kimber and she doesn't show up for the concert tomorrow night, then suspicions will be raised. She leaves Dimitrios in charge of Kimber while she tries to come up with a plan.
But Kimber has a plan of her own for escape. Thanks to a mouse that crawls up her leg, Kimber bolts up the side of the wall to the open window and does a swan dive right into the sea surrounding the tower! You know, in real life, Kimber would be dead, or at the very least suffer major broken bones. But since this is a cartoon, Kimber manages to make the dive with ease, as well as receiving perfect scores from the American, Canadian, and Czechoslovakian judges! Oh, sure, Dimitrios and his men try to catch Kimber by throwing a fishing net over top of her, but considering that Kimber had all that practice swimming in Hawaii the previous episode, she is too quick for them. Kimber manages to swim to shore, but she is miles away from the hotel. How will she get back?
Morning comes, and Princess Adriana is sleeping soundly. At least that is until Jerrica comes in to wake her up. A funny scene comes up where a groggy eyed Adriana asks for breakfast in bed, and Jerrica calls her lazy bones. Sad thing is, I can see Kimber making that same request!
Oh, and Jerrica changes into Jem right in front of Adriana. But fear not, Adriana's gaze was in a different direction, so she didn't see anything (though she was left with some confusion as to how Jem got in the room so quickly.)
The rehearsal doesn't seem to go very well either. Every time the band tries to get in some practice time, Adriana plays the keyboard as if she was a two year old trying to play Chopsticks. Jem is really concerned about how "Kimber" is acting, and before Adriana can tell the truth, in walks Lexa to discuss the concert plans with them. Of course, Lexa eyes "Kimber" very intently, which probably makes Adriana shiver with fear. It seems as though Lexa was only there to confirm that the prisoner that they abducted was really Kimber and not Adriana. You know, it actually makes me wonder why Lexa never bothered to try and kidnap Adriana right then and there, but she'd have to shoot Jem and the others or something to make that happen. And guns are a big no-no in the Jem universe.
Oh, and when Jem is talking with Lexa, she introduces Adriana as her SISTER, Kimber. So, basically Jem told both Lexa and Adriana that Jem is really Jerrica Benton. Has Jem been popping stupid pills in this episode?
At least Kimber seems to be showing more brains than her sister. She finds her way to a little shop in town and gets permission from the shop's owner to use the phone to call for help. Sure, the phone looks like it was manufactured in 1920, but still...it will do.
While all this is going on, Adriana confesses to the band that she is not Kimber. She's really the Princess of Morvania. Jem - taking another dose of stupid pills - doesn't believe her, but Aja claims that "Kimber" doesn't sound like Kimber. After all, Adriana has never said the word outrageous once. This leads Jem to wonder what happened to Kimber, but the phone rings before she can answer that question. But when she picks up the phone, it goes dead.
That's because Dimitrios' goons have found Kimber and ripped the phone off of the wall. That's not very nice behaviour in a store! I'd suggest the shopkeeper approach them to throw them out, but he likely ran away in fear.
Back at the palace, Dimitrios and Lexa meet up where Lexa confirms that Adriana is with Jem and the Holograms who seem to have mistaken her for Kimber. Their plan is forced to change a little bit, but it will work out. While the search for Kimber progresses, Lexa and Dimitrios plot to hide a bomb inside of a dragon statue on stage. When Adriana appears on stage dressed as Kimber, they'll set off the bomb which will kill her instantly, making Lexa the Queen of Morvania. It's a really evil plot, I must say. Worthy of a "Criminal Minds" episode. But Lexa is soon distracted by the sound of music coming from outside the palace. When they go to investigate, the Misfits are playing a song.
I must admit that after the lackluster song the Misfits played last week, this song is much better. "The Queen of Rock and Roll" is standard Misfits fare, and the video in which Jem and the Holograms are forced to become their servants is quite clever. Much more clever than the Jem offering heard earlier.
At first Eric believes that Lexa is the princess and he uses his skills of booty-kissing to convince her to let the Misfits perform instead of Jem and the Holograms. But Lexa seems to feel that they can be useful for her in other ways.
We don't get to see what she means right away though because we have to watch Kimber try another escape from Dimitrios' goons. This time, she throws a tablecloth over top of them and runs up to the roof of the store. I sure hope that shopkeeper has insurance against crazy people destroying his store. All we need now is for Link to arrive and smash all of his pots with his sword!
Kimber tries to jump from one building to another, but she can't quite make it and she falls to her death below.
Turns out that today is National Hang Your Laundry Out To Dry Day in Morvania, and Kimber's fall is broken by clotheslines filled with towels, shirts, and jockey shorts. She lands in a laundry hamper, flags down a taxi, and tells the taxi to go to Hotel Victor. I don't know whether I'm watching an episode of Jem or an episode of MacGyver. This episode is too unreal.
Back at the hotel, Jem receives a call from "Kimber" who tells her to meet her at the plaza. And the voice sounds so similar that Jem automatically believes that it is her, so she gathers Aja, Shana, and Adriana up to leave the hotel in search of Kimber.
But Jem seems to have taken even more stupid pills as "Kimber" is really Stormer. See, Lexa's plan is to get Jem and the others out of the hotel so that they can ambush Kimber when she arrives to lock her up again before she can spoil the assassination plot against the princess. Pizzazz wants to know when they can get ready for their concert, but Lexa double crosses them and tells them that there will be no concert. And we learn that Lexa must have gotten the same prescription of stupid pills that Jem is on because she blurts out the whole assassination plot to Eric and the Misfits! Even Eric is absolutely stunned by the plot even though his former henchman Zipper has tried to kill Jem like two dozen times. But now that they are armed with this information...what will they do with it?
Poor Kimber is stuck in an even larger tower completely surrounded by pavement which will cause her to go kersplut if she tries to jump out. Even the balcony is rigged to collapse should Kimber step out on it. Looks like she's really stuck now!
Jem and the others seem to have come to the conclusion that they have gone on a wild goose chase, and decide that they will have Adriana reveal that she's really the princess and out Lexa as the evil mastermind once and for all in front of the audience. But Jem and the others don't know that Dimitrios has already planted the bomb inside of the dragon mouth. But nobody suspects anything...except for one guard named Corven who looks at Dimitrios rather suspiciously.
But not suspiciously enough to stop the concert from going on. Every audience member is dressed in their finest frocks, and Jem and the Holograms are dressed in their usual outfits. I guess it's of good fortune that Kimber and Adriana are the same size in clothes. Unfortunately, Jem's plan to have Adriana reveal who she is at the concert fails, as Lexa manipulates the crowd into believing her story that Adriana is really Kimber, so nobody takes her seriously. But outside of the venue, Eric and the Misfits run into Corven and they beg him to let them in so they can warn Jem and the others that a bomb will kill them all. Yep, you read that right. The Misfits are trying to save Jem and the Holograms. Mind you, they're probably only doing it because they want to teach Lexa a lesson, but still...it's nice to see that they aren't heartless.
And it looks as though Corven and the Misfits save them just in time. They leave the stage just as the bomb explodes. Nice work, everyone! Even Jem is shocked at the Misfits actions, and for a moment, it seems as though even Pizzazz is greatly affected by the notion. But Kimber is still in danger!
Sure enough, when the bands confront Lexa, she motions upward where Dimitrios is up in the tower threatening to throw Kimber off the top unless Adriana abdicates the throne to let Lexa take over. Surely Adriana won't let that happen.
Nor will Jem. Unfortunately, she seems to have finished her prescription of stupid pills and summons a hologram of a giant dragon right in front of the crowd. Yeah, like that'll make them think that it's absolutely normal.
It almost backfires as Dimitrios is so scared of the dragon hologram that he throws Kimber off the tower anyway. Luckily, she manages to hold on to the collapsing balcony long enough for Corven to rescue Kimber as the dragon distracts everyone long enough for the authorities to arrest Lexa for attempted regicide of Princess...ahem, make that Queen Adriana of Morvania. And the band flies home where Kimber pretends she's Adriana for one more throwaway joke.
Next week, 39 hours, 8 castaways...ONE SURVIVOR! Well, okay, maybe there's more than one. And while Jeff Probst doesn't make an appearance in this show, the Holograms and Misfits do show that it takes a lot to survive.