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Friday, April 22, 2016

Jem Reviewed: Episode 5 - The Battle of the Bands

Previously on Jem Reviewed, we saw Ashley attempt to be just like the Misfits, but when Jem was about to be framed for a crime she did not commit, Ashley - with help from Stormer - had a change of heart, pissing off Pizzazz and Roxy in the process.  Oh, and Synergy might be dead. 

This is the end of a very long five part episode.  It's time for Episode 5 - The Battle of the Bands!

But, wait.  If Jem only exists because of Synergy...and Synergy exploded...then how can Jem compete in the Battle of the Bands?  That Malone guy smashed Synergy up with a chair!  By all accounts, this episode and the series should be over!  But somehow, Synergy issues a warning to Jerrica through the JemStar earrings and Aja does a really wicked U-turn to try and get to Synergy - even though she's already exploded.

Oh, look!  How nice of Blanche, Rose, Sophia, and Dorothy to make a cameo appearance from "The Golden Girls"!  I love it when stars support each other's shows!  But why is Betty White wearing JemStar earrings?

Oh, wait!  That's just Jerrica, Kimber, Shana, and Aja using a hologram to keep Malone from spotting them.  But, wait...if Synergy has been destroyed, how can Jem's earrings continue to work?  I'd think they'd be deader than a Tamagotchi owned by a careless thirteen year old girl!

Whatever the case, Malone is not finished with the investigation yet.  He goes to the Bureau of Records, and demands to know who the owner of the Starlight Drive-In is so he can report back to Eric his findings.  Uh-oh...that reminds me.  He took a picture of Synergy before he destroyed her.  That can't be good for anybody!

And as Malone shows Eric the photo of Synergy before Malone smashed her up, Eric is intrigued it...especially when he hears that Emmett Benton - Jerrica and Kimber's father - is listed as the owner of the movie theatre.  Although Synergy is now circuit boards, wires, and broken glass (cue the Limp Lizards record), they must investigate it to figure out how Emmett managed to build such a thing and what it is used for.

At the same time, Jerrica and the others run through the holographic wall at the movie theatre and are shocked to see Synergy in pieces.  I could swear that Kimber probably thought it was anything but outrageous.  But before they have time to mourn, Synergy announces that she projected a hologram and that she is still safe and sound, restoring herself back to normal!

Uh...WHAT?  Okay, so if the Synergy that Malone destroyed was a hologram, shouldn't the chair that Malone swung have GONE THROUGH IT WITHOUT DESTROYING ANYTHING?  And if Malone took a picture of the hologram of Synergy, would it...oh...I don't know...NOT SHOW UP IN A PHOTOGRAPH?  At least, they didn't back in 1985 anyway...

...this show makes my brain hurt.  But with Eric fast approaching, the Drive-In Theatre is now a dangerous place.  The girls decide to take Synergy and stash her somewhere else where nobody else will find her.  Great plan, except that Synergy is not an iPad.  She's a computer that probably weighs 7,000 pounds.  I'd like to see how they even plan on getting her out of there with just the four of them.

Oh, wait.  I forgot.  It's a cartoon.  When cartoon characters are threatened, they have superhuman strength.

The girls load Synergy up in a truck as Eric and Zipper arrive at the drive-in with Malone.  How embarrassing for Malone when he takes Eric and Zipper inside and there's no broken computer.  Foiled again, it seems.

The girls decide to rebuild Synergy in one of the many rooms inside the new Starlight Mansion - which is to be honest a really stupid idea given that the house technically isn't theirs thanks to Howard Sands lacking any cojones whatsoever.  And then the girls realize that they know nothing about computers, and don't even know if they put together Synergy correctly.  But Aja seems to be in charge of the rebuilding and she seems to be the Hologram that has the most common sense, so how bad could it be?

Oh, look!  Synergy lives!  And now it's time for another happy song from Jem and the Holograms!

You know, Synergy may have the power, power, she may have the power...but this song is more of a brownout.  Not the greatest song at all, although it is marginally better than "Deception".

Back at the Misfits hideout, Ashley decides that after Pizzazz and Roxy tried to throw Jem in jail, she doesn't want to be a Misfit anymore, and she goes to return the thirty dollars that Pizzazz and Roxy extorted from Stormer.  Naturally, the Misfits grab the money and Pizzazz and Roxy insult Ashley some more.  But what Ashley doesn't realize is that she may have walked into a trap.

You see, Eric just happens to also be in the room at the time, and he orders the Misfits to grab Ashley and lock her up somewhere.  His plan is that if he kidnaps one of the Starlight Girls and holds her for ransom, then Jem and the Holograms will be forced to drop out of the Battle of the Bands, making the Misfits win by default.  Or at the very least, he'll send them on a wild goose chase so they miss the concert.  That is really low - but surprisingly I've heard that Eric can go even lower than this.

In fact, in a split screen conversation between Eric and Jerrica, he threatens exactly that!  And, naturally Jerrica is determined to rescue her...mainly because if she doesn't, child protective services will throw her ass in jail.  But they never really mention that.

Of course, if you think Ashley is going to sit and be a hostage like a good little girl, you'd be mistaken.  Ashley does her best to hide from Pizzazz and Roxy, and almost succeeds in getting away, but in the end, she can't escape from either of them and they lock her in a box.

Stormer, by this point, is quite upset, and when Pizzazz and Roxy temporarily leave, it's Stormer who tries to comfort Ashley.  For a moment, I almost think Stormer will release her.

But before Stormer can even have the chance to do anything, Pizzazz and Roxy come back and shame Stormer for going soft.  It's a heartbreaking moment as Stormer gives into peer pressure and leaves Ashley behind in the trunk.  I wonder if as the show progresses, we'll understand more clearly why Stormer went with Pizzazz and Roxy.  I certainly hope so, because you could tell that Stormer's loyalties were very conflicted. 

Now, as for where the trunk is going?  I'm assuming that it'll go to the concert venue where the Battle of the Bands is being held.  It most certainly won't be at the Starlight Drive-In, where Jem and the others are going to be.

But let's hold off on Jem and the others.  It's time for the Misfits to perform at the Battle of the Bands.

I have to admit, I've been a general fan of the Misfits music moreso than Jem, but I'm not feeling the song "Takin' It All".  In fact, as of right now, I'd say this episode has the weakest songs so far.  I definitely don't think the Misfits would win with this song, but since Jem hasn't shown up yet, they may win by default.  Of course, Rio demands to Howard Sands that they wait for Jem to show up, but Mr. Stickler for Rules Sands states that if Jem doesn't show up, he'll have no choice but to award the prizes to the Misfits.

It's too bad that Jem and the others are at Starlight Drive-In instead of the Battle of the Bands because once they've arrived they're immediately ambushed by Eric, Zipper, and a couple of other goons who were responsible for the robbery in Las Vegas last episode.  If this doesn't say "We fooled you", I don't know what else they'd have to do.

Of course, Jem tries a valiant attempt to escape by suckerpunching Eric (right on!) and she attempts to flee before getting caught by one of Eric's goons on a motorcycle.  The only thing that Jem can do is take off one of her earrings and throw it on the ground, leaving a frantic Synergy wondering where Jerrica is.  Wait a minute...I thought robot computers couldn't share emotions.  Oh, wait.  It's a cartoon.  Never mind.

Back at the Battle of the Bands, Rio is getting even more concerned by Jem's lateness, and he correctly suspects that Eric is involved.  And Eric strolls into the venue after making sure that Zipper and his goons are babysitting the Holograms, where Rio grabs him and threatens to kill him if he doesn't reveal where Jem is.  Howard Sands and Danielle DuVoisin break up the fight, but soon all four of them hear a strange noise.

It's the trunk where Ashley is being kept hostage in!  And it's about to be sent into a machine that likes to eat wooden boxes for snack!  Fortunately, Rio manages to rescue Ashley after someone calls out a warning that she's trapped in there.  We don't see who alerted Rio, but it sounded an awful lot like Stormer.  So, as far as I'm concerned, Stormer has redeemed herself.  A bit.

But you know who HASN'T redeemed themselves in my eyes?  Howard Sands.  Despite the fact that Eric more or less had Ashley kidnapped and almost murdered, and despite the fact that Stormer more or less gave away the whole crooked plan, Howard Sands refuses to change the contest rules even though the Misfits have broken every single one.

Guys...say it with me...


You know what?  Ashley's safe, and Rio decides to leave the Countess and the Dopey Mr. Sands to rescue Jem and the others from Zipper and his goons.  But if Rio is thinking that Jem is a fragile little flower, he's sorely mistaken.

You see, Jem tossing her earring outside was actually a very intelligent thing.  Because now she can project holograms from outside and inside the movie theatre.  And she uses this gift to really mess with the minds of Zipper and his cronies by summoning a pack of wild lions to try and scare the creeps away.

She also manages to create several different exits to make Zipper and his pals crash into walls over and over again providing them with even more brain damage than they had before. 

But as the girls really do try to make their escape, Zipper manages to grab a hold of Kimber, and pulls her back.  And since Jem and the others decided that Kimber was an important part of the band two episodes ago after she had a meltdown, they can't very well abandon her now.  So Jem's next plan is to create a hologram of Eric Raymond, ordering Zipper to let Kimber go.

And when that doesn't work, she summons Eric again and again until there's enough Eric Raymonds to fill a haunted house.  That's a scary thought.  And speaking of scary thoughts...

Wanna know how Eric Raymond got his name?  In this edition of "Jem" Trivia, I'll tell you.  Turns out that Christy Marx - the showrunner of "Jem" named the character after her brother!  Kind of makes you wonder if Eric Raymond Marx (or whatever his last name is) was as much a jerk as this one!

Anyway, the multiple Erics cause Zipper to lose his mind.  He shoves Kimber to the side to escape, and runs outside with the goons to see a bunch of police cars pulling up.  Naturally after all of the weirdness that they just experienced, they expect this to be a mirage too.  It's only when Zipper gets handcuffed that he realizes - I'm goin' to jail!  I wonder if we'll see him again...

Rio arrives after all of the commotion has happened, and for a moment there I almost think he's pissed off that he didn't get to play the role of hero because Jem and the others based on his tone of voice.  But that's Rio for you.  It's time for Jem and the Holograms to get to the Battle of the Bands...but to waste even more time, Jem - despite the fact that she is clearly wearing both earrings in the above screenshot - retrieves her lost earring that really isn't lost.

I hate this episode.  I sure hope Jem's last song is worth all of this.  Apparently it's a song called "Music is Magic".  But given the track record of the songs so far, I'm...

...OH.  MY.  GOD.  This song is AWESOME!  I particularly want to make note of that high note that Britta Phillips sings at the very end.  It is phenomenal.  Seriously, I think this is one case where they saved the best song for last, and I think it'll be hard to top "Music is Magic" as the best Jem song.

Of course, I still have 60 more episodes to review.  My opinion could change.

To nobody's surprise, Howard Sands officially declares Jem the winners of the contest - and even the fireworks display seems to spell out the Jem logo!  OUTRAGEOUS!!!

So Starlight Mansion officially becomes Starlight Mansion, meaning that Ashley and the rest of the girls will always have a place to live.  They also get a movie contract.  And with Eric presumably going to jail, Jerrica wins back full control of Starlight Music!  Seriously, this has been the greatest day of the Holograms' lives.

Not so much for the Misfits though.  In fact, Pizzazz now makes it her mission to take down Jem and the Holograms every chance she gets.  The rivalry between Jem and Pizzazz is on, bitches!

Of course, there's one last bit of housecleaning, and Rio accompanies Jerrica to Starlight Music to take over Eric's old office.  Because with Eric being charged with kidnapping, attempted murder, and...


Jerrica is stunned that he is even there in the first place, but Eric explains his lawyers worked miracles and that he's there to collect his personal possessions - including the snapshots of Synergy that by all accounts probably shouldn't even exist, but it's a cartoon.

Eric then bids Jerrica farewell with a bitchslap across her face!  Seriously.  This really does happen!  How dare he?  You want to add assault to your charges?  I dare him to do that to Pizzazz!  But do you really think that Rio will let Eric do that to his woman?

I'm guessing this delightful screenshot will tell us no.  It took me several times to get this shot too.  Well worth it.

So after Eric regains consciousness and leaves Starlight Music, Jerrica wonders if her father would be proud of her.  Rio admits that he's already proud of her, and they kiss as a refrain of "Music is Magic" closes off the show.

Coming up next week, six months have passed, and the girls are ready to shoot their movie.  What could possibly go wrong?

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