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Friday, June 03, 2016

Jem Reviewed: Episode 11 - Last Resorts

Last time on Jem Reviewed, Jerrica lost her earrings...and her brain.  Here's hoping that the chill of the winter air brings her back to her senses.

This is Episode 11:  Last Resorts.

Jem and the Holograms are on vacation, and they've decided to cool off by skiing at a Colorado ski resort for a week.  I question the fact that they appear to be driving on a snow covered mountain in a convertible with the top down, but maybe having frostbite on your ears and noses is the hottest fashion trend of '86.  Or maybe the top is broken on the car.  Or maybe Jem is an idiot.

Regardless, once Jem and the Holograms arrive at the resort, they enter to check in only to find that there are no other guests around.  Strange.

We learn more about the situation from the owner of the resort, Rick Franklin.  The ski resort used to be a popular one before Jem came, but recently a new resort that opened up a few miles away on the same mountain has been doing better than his.  Furthermore, many of his guests are reportedly having some bad luck, with some of them even getting injured on his own ski trails.  That doesn't sound good.  In fact, it sounds very suspicious.

But Jem and the others aren't concerned.  They check into the resort - with Jem signing in as "Jem and the Holograms"!  Then they go out onto the slopes.

Aja is immediately thrilled to be out on the ski slopes.  The athletic one of the bunch has been itching to slalom down the mountain since they arrived, and she stops to take a deep breath of winter air... she gets beaned by a wayward snowball. 

Oh, look!  The Misfits and Clash are on the ski slope too!  Pizzazz actually makes me laugh a little bit by referring to them as Little Miss Pink Hair and the Singalongs!  Okay, yeah, Pizzazz is a horrible person, but so help me, she has the best zingers!

It's time for another Misfits song.  The song is "You Gotta Be Fast", and this is a really great song.  I mentioned that Jem and the Holograms do the best ballads...well, I think the Misfits do the greatest rock songs.  It's hard to find a single thing wrong with this song.

After our little musical interlude, the Misfits continue to wreak havoc on the Holograms.  Thanks to Clash, Shana gets buried underneath a small avalanche of snow.

And Roxy and Stormer set up a trip wire that sends Aja and Kimber down to the ground.

By the time Jem arrives, she's confused to see Pizzazz by herself.  But Roxy, Stormer, and Clash soon arrive on snowmobiles and start pelting Jem with snowballs.  Four against one is hardly fair.

Is that an echo I hear?  Someone else just said it.  In what appears to be a Swedish accent.  Is ABBA making a special guest appearance?

Oh, wait.  It's just a Swedish skiier named - wait for it - Svenssen.  And, Svenssen just happens to be dressed in the same colours as the Swedish flag.  Great, first China is stereotyped, and now Sweden.  What next?  The Holograms run into Crocodile Dundee while touring Australia?

Whatever the case, Svenssen scares the Misfits away and tries to charm Jem.  Of course, we know that Jem kind of sort of is sharing Rio with Jerrica because she's too afraid to let him know the truth, so Svenssen really has no chance.  Still, I like the fact that he tries.  He's already showed that he has more balls than Howard Sands.  Then again, Pizzazz has more balls than Howard Sands.  In fact, STORMER has more balls than Howard Sands.

Can you tell I don't like Howard Sands? 

Luckily, Howard Sands is not in this episode.  But a whole bunch of angry guests are.  And they want their money back because they claim Rick's resort tried to kill them.  Rick is adamant that he is not at fault, and he seems to think that once again the new resort is to blame.

But Jem seems to have an idea.  She announces that she and the Holograms will put on a concert at the end of the week for all of the guests in the resort, and that they should at least wait until then to make up their minds.  Immediately the guests all decide that spending an evening with Jem and the Holograms at a ski resort might be a lot of fun, and they take Jem up on the offer.  But Rick Franklin is still insistent that a lot of the problems that he has been having is because of the new resort - which leads to the question...who owns the resort?

Oh.  Never mind.

Eric isn't riding alone though.  He's with a man from the bank - I believe it's the same bank that issued the loan that helped Franklin pay for his own resort.  I don't think we learn his name, so we'll call him The Banker.  We learn that Rick has fallen behind on his mortgage payments and that he is at risk of losing his lodge.  And naturally with all the bad luck that has been going on with skiers staying away, making the payments has become harder and harder.  But when Eric and the banker learn that Jem will be performing a concert at the ski resort - which should make up the difference he still owes, both turn as pale as the snow outside.

Now we get to learn the real plan.  Apparently, Eric wants to have the monopoly on the whole mountain and buy Rick's resort so he can double his profits, and he's asked the banker to help him do it because this is a cartoon, and in all cartoons, bankers are evil.  Luckily, the banker has a plan to knock Jem and the Holograms out of commission so they don't make their gig.

Unfortunately, the banker's plan includes our old pal Zipper.  And, Zipper decides to sabotage the ski lift.  Sigh...once again, Zipper displays his homicidal tendencies.  Where did they find this guy again?

Predictably, the Holograms are on the ski lift when it malfunctions, and the chair that Shana and Jem are sitting on starts to fall apart.  Jem nearly falls out of the chair to her death, but Shana grabs a ski pole and Jem manages to hold onto it!  Okay, unless Shana weighs like two thousand pounds, this should be impossible.  At the very least Jem should have taken Shana down with her! 

Rio sees everything happen, and he once again risks his life to save Jem and Shana - as well as Kimber and Aja, who happen to be in the chair directly behind theirs.

But whereas Rio literally tries to climb across the ski-lift to reach Jem and Shana, Svenssen arrives on a helicopter and manages to save all four of the Holograms as well as Rio before the whole chair lift crashes to the ground.  Wow, Svenssen's smart.

Once safely on the ground, Jem is grateful to Svenssen for saving her life, and Rio is disgusted, and tells SWANSON to stay away.  Kimber meanwhile tells Jem that if she doesn't want Svenssen, she'll take him!  Good lord, were slobbering all over Sean and Jeff, and now Svenssen?  Was it always the writer's intention to make Kimber the bicycle of the show, or was this a new plot development?  Seriously, Kimber.  Pick one man and stick with him!

Once word breaks of the ski lift accident, Rick Franklin is absolutely furious, and wants to confront Eric Raymond for the sabotage.  But their anger is misplaced, because we already know that the banker is responsible for Zipper destroying the ski lift.  Even Eric feigns ignorance, which tells me that not even HE is aware of what the banker is up to.  I get the feeling that the banker has ulterior motives here.  What those motives are, I don't know.

But whatever the banker has up his sleeve, it's absolute war between Rick and Eric.  It's suggested that a contest be held to settle the war once and for all.  A ski race between Jem and the Holograms and the Misfits.  The winners of the competition will earn the right to control both resorts.  Sounds like a fair idea and Jem is instantly on board.  But it's a really bad sign when the banker overhears the whole plan and gets a nasty scheme of his own.

Jem and the Holograms and the Misfits embark on their own training regimen in preparation for the big race.  It's time for another Holograms/Misfits mash-up not heard since "Click/Clash"!

This mash-up is slightly better than "Click/Clash".  It's also a nice mash-up and contrast over the Holograms eager work ethic and the Misfits complaining and wanting to be lazy.  I still don't care for the mash-ups, but I don't mind this one.

Before you know it, the race is about to begin.

On the Holograms team are Jem, Kimber, Aja, and Shana.  The Misfits are Pizzazz, Roxy, Stormer...and since there are only three Misfits at the moment, Clash is added in.  It seems like just as the Holograms took in Clash's cousin Video, Clash has wormed her way into the Misfits social circle.

The race is on, and it's neck and neck between the two teams.  But why is Zipper sitting in a tree watching the race with binoculars? seems as though the banker has arranged for a group of henchmen to set up booby traps all over the course so that Jem and the others lose.  

Poor Aja gets sidelined when she somehow gets yanked off course by a rope attached onto her ski outfit by one of the skiers.  Kimber falls into a hole that is covered by snow, and she too is knocked out of the race.

Shana gets a face full of snow caused by one of Zipper's men shooting her with a snowblower, and the shock sends her woefully off course into a flowing river filled with ice chunks!  What is up with Shana getting all the abuse in this episode?!?

Jem somehow seems to be holding her own.  Roxy tries to knock Jem down, severely damaging one of the JemStar earrings in the process, but Jem is like a Weeble.  She wobbles, but she doesn't fall down!  She does however go the wrong way on the ski path thanks to one of Zipper's men switching the sign around.  What else could go wrong?

Well, Clash decides to take matters into her own hands.  You know those nifty cymbal bracelets she wears around her wrists?  She smashes them loudly.  You might think that dinky jewelry wouldn't do much damage, but for some reason it triggers a massive avalanche.  An avalanche that puts Jem right in the way of danger.

Don't believe me?  This is Jem's "Oh, Crap, An Avalanche" face.

Fortunately, Jem has enough agility to outrun the avalanche's path and she skis into a cave.  She's protected by the cave walls, but the avalanche buries her completely.  Not good.

Even worse, she finds that she's trapped in the cave with a big grizzly bear who doesn't like having company over.  Okay, this storyline is getting really farfetched here.  This is a cartoon, not an episode of "All My Children"!

Rio, Svenssen, and Rick watch with sadness as the Misfits cross the finish line in tandem, and it appears as though all is lost.  But Rio is very concerned about Jem and the others, and worries that something terrible happened.  Rio and Svenssen agree to split up covering more ground that way.

As all this is going on, Aja is walking down the path of the ski slope, trying to make her way to the finish line when she stumbles upon Kimber, who informs Aja that the Misfits are up to their usual tricks again.  Aja helps Kimber out of the hole and they move on.

Not long after, they hear Shana screaming, and Shana's situation is much more dire than Kimber's was.  She's in danger of going over a gigantic waterfall, and all she has is a series of small ice islands to guide her.  She hops from island to island as Kimber and Aja hoist a rope across the waterfall.  After a couple of near misses, Shana grabs hold of the rope and inches her way toward solid ground.  So, the Holograms are safe.  I wonder if Jem's having better luck?

Wait a minute.  She's changed into Jerrica?  Oh, I get it.  The bear is standing in front of her blocking Synergy's hologram projecting.  It also doesn't help that she's running on half power since Roxy damaged one of her earrings on the slope.  And she accidentally dropped her good earring a good fifteen feet away because the bear scared her.  What's she going to do?

Rio somehow happens to dig his way into the cave, but is absolutely confused to see Jerrica instead of Jem!  Uh oh!  Does this mean that Jem's secret is finally out and Jerrica will have a lot of 'splainin' to do?

Well, the bear temporarily knocks Rio out, leaving Jerrica to do some major crawling around to get to her earring before Rio becomes the bear's next meal.  She grabs the earring, and uses it to transform Rio into an ugly, scary monster that scares the bear away!  Nice going!  Of course, Rio has now seen Jerrica in the cave, so just before Rio regains consciousness, she transforms back to Jem., you risk your life against a freakin' bear to save the life of your love, but you're too afraid to have that conversation with Rio about your side gig and alternate identity?  Wow...just wow.

It's a good thing that both Rio and Jem are distracted by the fact that the cave walls seem to be glittering.  Heaven forbid this situation get any more awkward.

Back at Rick's ski resort, Kimber, Aja, and Shana are waiting for Jem to come back, and hoping that nothing bad happened to her.  The ski resort is filled with people, but they all came to see Jem and the Holograms.  And, well, as talented as Kimber, Aja, and Shana are, they can't perform without their lead singer.  In the corner, Eric and the banker are putting on their best Snively Whiplash masks, salivating over the fact that they won.  They won by cheating, but by gosh, they won!

Or have they?  It seems as though Jem and Rio are alive and have discovered the secret that the banker has been hiding.  Turns out that the real reason why the banker is so interested in Rick's resort is because the cave on his property contains pure silver inside!  So, that's what the banker was after.  He only wanted Eric to win the resort so that he could have free access to the silver deposits!  But of course, the banker scoffs at that claim, saying they have no proof.

But wait.  Here comes Svenssen with Zipper and everyone else involved in the plot to take Jem down.  I have no idea how he apprehended four men by himself, but Super Svenssen reveals that they have been working for someone - and it's NOT Eric.  After outing the banker as the real mastermind, Eric himself is shocked that he could be so ruthless. know someone is evil when ERIC is disgusted by their actions.  The banker is furious at Eric, and tells him that he's now going to jail, but Eric's more upset that he's lost his resort!  Couldn't have happened to a couple of nicer guys.

In a twist to how the episodes usually end, this one concludes with a song.  In this case, it's the song "Love Is Here", which is quite appropriate given the setting and the fact that this takes place at night.  

So, my thoughts on "Last Resorts"?  I do like it a lot better than "Adventure In China", and despite the impossibilities and silliness within the episode, I do think it was a classic good vs. evil battle.  I do wish the Misfits got more of a comeuppance though.  That would be my only nit picky point.

And since I didn't have any sort of Jem Trivia in relation to this episode, I'll add in a generic piece.  Did you know that there was a Jem Bible that Christy Marx wrote that basically has every detail about the show and its characters inside of it?  It's the same size as a full length novel, and when the show was in its heyday, Marx used to give it out to fans.  But copies of the Jem Bible now are very hard to find.

Next week, Shana gets a chance to design clothes for a fashion competition in Italy.  But when the Misfits do everything to destroy her self-confidence, can the other Holograms bring Shana's mood back up? 

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