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Friday, August 05, 2016

Jem Reviewed: Episode 20 - Island of Deception

You might have missed last week's Jem Reviewed, as you were all likely hunting Pokemon, but just to recap, Kimber's exact double was a princess and blah blah blah.  Not my favourite episode.  Let's go ahead with the next one, and hope it doesn't suck as much as last week.

We're already at Episode 20:  Island of Deception.  Sounds mysterious.

It appears as though we won't be going to the island of deception just yet.  Instead, we'll be watching a scene in which Jem and the Holograms are boarding a luxurious cruise ship called the "Bahama Queen".  It seems as though they are going to St. Thomas.  The reason why they are going isn't exactly explained, but I would hazard a guess that it has something to do with a music video shoot or a concert or something music related.  With Rio going along, it has to be - because we all know that if Rio was going to get hot and heavy with Jem/Jerrica, there's no way that Kimber, Aja, and Shana would be there.

There won't be any Starlight Girls on this cruise either, much to Ashley's disappointment.  Girl, you just went on a free vacation to Italy eight episodes ago - one that you probably shouldn't have survived.  Shut your mouth.

Guess who also happens to be going on this cruise?  If you guessed Eric and the Misfits, you get a gold star!  And as Eric is breaking his back carrying the luggage of all of the Misfits, Pizzazz, Roxy, and Stormer are discussing Jem, and why she and the Holograms have boarded this ship.  Pizzazz seems to think that they are there as part of a rock promotion, and she thinks that it is her right to try and intervene.  Gee, Pizzazz, feeling paranoid?

So, the ship departs and crashes into an iceberg, wait.  That's Titanic.  Actually the ship departs, and the Holograms talk about how they are only on the ship a couple of days, so they should enjoy it while they can.  And Jem decides that she wants to be Jerrica for a little while so that she can spend the whole afternoon with Rio.  You know, given that she's too afraid to tell Rio who she really is, does it really matter who she dresses as?  

What follows is a boring montage with Rio and Jerrica kissing, staring out into the sea, kissing some more, hugging...yeah, that iceberg can come out of hiding any time now.

Instead, Rio tells Jerrica that Captain Warren has invited all of them to have dinner with him at the ship's banquet hall.  Jerrica politely declines the invitation saying that she has to rest, but Jem will definitely be in attendance.  Rio kisses Jerrica, tells her he'll see her later, and Jerrica turns into a 12-year-old who just met Bon Jovi. 

You know, one thing I will at least say about Jem and the Holograms is that they do know how to dress for dinner.  These days, pop tarts would dress in skimpy outfits that leave nothing to the imagination, but all four of them look absolutely stunning.  You might want to savour this moment because this is really one of the only times this episode they look this good. 

Turns out there's a reason why the captain invited them on board.  His daughter is a Jem fan, and reportedly plastered Jem posters all over the captain's quarters!  Can we say obsessed fan much?  But Jem and the others don't mind that much.  They're actually quite flattered.

At least they seem to be showing more class than the Misfits.  All three Misfits are dressed in loud garish colours and are complaining about everything from the food to the decor.  Yeah, even the captain must be really annoyed by the fracas because he actually coerces Jem and the Holograms to get up on stage and sing a song so that they could enjoy some real entertainment!  Wow, the captain has sass!  I kind of like it!

I also kind of like the song that Jem and the Holograms perform for the people in the banquet hall.  The song "Set Your Sails" is appropriate for a cruise ship setting.  I mean, you wouldn't expect them to sing "Bad Reputation" by Joan Jett.  But what really makes the video pop is the cinematography and animation.  Using a pirate ship as the main setting is kind of genius, and whoever sketched this video out did so beautifully.  It's not quite on my list of favourites, but it's a good tune.

After dinner, Jem and the Holograms decide that they want to turn in, but Jem wants to spend a little extra time with Rio.  We can only imagine what she has in mind for him.  But before Jem can fantasize about undressing Rio to his Speedos, they are interrupted by some creepy looking crew member of the ship named Krebbs who tells the band that the captain's birthday is today and he was wondering if they would help plan a surprise for them.  Now, you'd think that because they just had dinner with the captain that he might have let them know this, but they decide to go ahead with the plan anyway because the plot dictates it and it must be so.

The plan involves the band hiding in a lifeboat attached to the ship until the captain comes.  When he arrives, the band will pop out and sing Happy Birthday to the captain.  Sounds nice.

Except that our creepy crew member was bought off by the Misfits so that they could have some fun with the Holograms.  And how do they plan on having fun?  By pushing the buttons next to the lifeboat to send it off the ship with the Holograms still inside of it!  Stormer tells Pizzazz that maybe she shouldn't fool around with the equipment, but Pizzazz tells Stormer to shut her foreshadowing mouth and not to interrupt her fun.  Pizzazz manages to move the lifeboat out into the open water using crane technology, and Jem and the Holograms believe this is their cue to start singing Happy Birthday.

At least that is until Pizzazz hits a few too many buttons and sends the boat tilting towards the edge.  Which wouldn't be so bad except Roxy was standing too close to the boat, and she too is dragged in.  Pizzazz tries to physically pull the boat back to the ship, but Pizzazz quickly realizes that the lifeboat weighs a lot more than her and she nearly falls off the edge too.  And Stormer is such a cream puff that she can't possibly hold onto Pizzazz.

So, as a result, all seven women end up falling into the ocean.  I sure hope those dresses weren't expensive.  To make matters worse, Stormer suddenly realizes that she can't swim and falls underneath the water's surface, causing Jem to respond by diving in after her in an attempt to save her life.

But remember how Jem's earrings shorted out when she fell in that pool at the marine park?  The same thing happens here.  So when Jem rescues Stormer, Stormer actually sees Jerrica instead!  Jerrica manages to change back to Jem once she pulls Stormer to safety, but this makes Jem panic, as she may have exposed her secret to Stormer!

The next morning, the Holograms awake on a deserted island.  Their clothes are in tatters, they have no shoes - but surprisingly, their hair and makeup is on point.  All four are lucky to be alive, and presumably, the Misfits survived the ordeal as well because Jem tells the others about Stormer seeing Jerrica underwater.  The others tell Jem to make a hologram of Jerrica so that the other Misfits don't get suspicious, but Jem seems to have another idea of how to buy them some time.

Meanwhile, the Misfits - who are looking just as beat up as the Holograms, are their usual charming selves, and they proceed to insult the Holograms, who waste no time in insulting them back.  At least, that is until Stormer asks about Jerrica and where she is. 

Jem explains that Jerrica likely went ahead into the jungle by herself to find help, and points to an arrow made out of sticks to prove it.  Immediately Pizzazz and Roxy scoff at the idea until Jem reminds them that Jerrica was a girl scout and knows how to survive in the wilderness.

THAT'S YOUR PLAN, JEM?!?  Jerrica was a girl scout?  I mean, I know you all nearly drowned in the ocean, but come on!!!

The Misfits immediately want to run into the jungle to force Jerrica out of hiding, but the Holograms tell them that it is impossible based on the fact that it is too dangerous to split up and that if they want to survive, they will have to work together.  Well, there's Jerrica is standing just four feet away from them in the guise of Jem.

Aja tells the group that they already have a good start.  She managed to retrieve a first aid kit from the lifeboat they were on and points out that the stuff inside will help them survive for a little while, though they need to worry about finding food and shelter, since they don't know exactly how long they will be stranded on the island, and Jeff Probst isn't around to help the girls vote each other off the island.  After all, this episode aired fourteen years before the first "Survivor". 

Reluctantly, the Misfits agree that working with the Holograms will increase their survival rate by 100%, so they begrudgingly help out.  Stormer helps Aja and Shana pick fruit from the nearby trees.  Jem and Roxy work on building a shelter together.  And Kimber and Pizzazz manage to catch a gigantic fish together without any fishing pole, net, or lure whatsoever.  I tell you, when Kimber and Pizzazz aren't trying to compete with each other for men, they actually seem to get along with each other.  It's so...bizarre.  Pizzazz even boasts that she can gut and clean the fish all by herself.  Somehow, that doesn't surprise me.

Though we do get a glimpse of how dangerous this island can possibly be as Stormer is watched by what appears to be a wild boar or a warthog, who thinks that they can make a Misfit or a Hologram their next meal.  Though, with Pizzazz on their team, I have a feeling that they might end up having bacon for lunch...for the next twelve days.

As night falls, the girls dine on fresh fruit, fish, and all sorts of other delicious treats that just happen to be there even though if this were real life, their journey would more than likely be much more complicated and that two of the seven would have likely expired by now.  But since nobody is allowed to die on this show except for Jerrica and Kimber's father, we have to assume that all seven stay alive.  And even though they seem to be in good spirits with a fire going, a nice shelter, and jewelry made out of tropical wildflowers, the Misfits talk about how it takes a lot to survive.

This, of course, leads straight into a song that solidifies why I enjoy Misfits music for the most part.  Okay, so ignoring the spelling mistake (alot should be spelled like a lot), the song "It Takes A Lot To Survive" is absolutely brilliant.  The single itself has an infectious chorus and an action packed video.  Whoever storyboarded this video did a great job.  And you know, I don't even think the Holograms minded the performance because before you know it, all the girls are fast asleep underneath their little grass hut.  Could it be that being stranded on a deserted island could squash the feud between the two groups once and for all?

Well, this episode is called the "Island of Deception", right?  And when Jem, Kimber, Aja, and Shana wake up the following morning, the Misfits are well as all of their survival gear.  Seems like the Misfits deceived them once more.  Though Jem realizes that the Misfits have put themselves in a lot of danger when they went out on their own, so they decide to find them before the Misfits end up dead.  Because let's face it, Stormer's the only one who really has any common sense of the three of them.

Speaking of which, Stormer seems to be exhibiting some of that common sense as she tells Pizzazz and Roxy that what they did was a mistake and that they should turn back.  Naturally, Pizzazz and Roxy don't agree with Stormer, and decide that they will continue on their quest to find the elusive Jerrica, thinking that she may have found a way off the island.

The bad news is they don't find Jerrica.  The worse news is that they find a family of angry warthogs who come stampeding towards them.  Pizzazz and Roxy manage to climb a tree to safety, but Stormer slips and falls, and is in danger of being mauled by a group of Bebop wannabes.

Have no fear!  Super Jem is here!  And even though they happen to be on a deserted island, Synergy can still communicate with Jem, and Jem projects a hologram of a few gigantic elephants to scare the warthogs away so that they can save Stormer. 

Now, my question is...if Jem can communicate with Synergy to project holograms, then WHY DIDN'T SHE JUST USE SYNERGY TO PROJECT AN S.O.S. SIGNAL TO GET THEM OFF THE BLOODY ISLAND IN THE FIRST PLACE?!?  That would have been a much better plan than "Oh, Jerrica's a girl scout and she's gone into the jungle to find help" strategy.  Seriously, if this really were "Survivor", her ass would've been voted out first.

Oh, that's right.  There needs to be an excuse for the Holograms and Misfits to continue working together.  Otherwise, we would miss scenes of Stormer swatting a spider away that landed on Kimber, or Jem saving Roxy from being attacked by a swarm of insects.

And we certainly would miss the scene in which the seven girls come across a giant waterfall where they decide to go for a swim and wash their hair.  Yeah, I'm sure having clean hair is more of a priority than drinking the water to stay alive, but was the 1980s.  It was a weird time.

Ah, but this scene sets the stage for the catalyst of the episode.  See, Aja nearly gets bitten by a water snake that is slithering nearby, and the other girls are too far away to help her.  So, Jem decides that she will project a Jerrica hologram to save Aja from kicking the bucket.  The Jerrica hologram runs into a dense patch of forest which sends the Misfits running after it - which in turn sends the Holograms right after them!  After a wild chase around the side of a mountain, they end up at what appears to be an abandoned cabin.  Strange, what's a cabin doing in the middle of this "deserted island"?  Certainly, nobody else could be on this island, could there?

Apparently whoever lives here has some very primitive equipment including one of those old school record players that I believe are called victrolas.  I actually learned that term from playing "Maniac Mansion" in my youth.  One of the girls touches the victrola which starts the record that is sitting in it and...

...OH MY GOD!  IT'S A ZULU WARRIOR!  Oh, now they've done it!  They have angered the gods, and now they will pay with their lives...and...

...oh, wait.  Pizzazz, Roxy, and Stormer beat him up.  Nevermind.  I guess the fact that our Zulu warrior was wearing tennis shoes kind of gave him away.

Turns out that our evil beast is a friendly chap named Angus Bean.  Based on the accent, I'm guessing he's either from Australia, New Zealand, or the school of really bad accents.  Instantly, he seems to develop feelings for Stormer, who responds that for her, love isn't easy.  Kimber reiterates that love isn't easy for anyone.  And I get the feeling that we're supposed to have a song here, but this episode only has two songs - which we've heard.

Ah, time for some Jem Trivia.  According to Mary Skrenes, who wrote this episode, there was supposed to be a third song inserted called "Love's Not Easy", and it was a Jem and the Holograms song.  For whatever reason, the song was cut, but don't worry.  It makes an appearance MUCH LATER in the series.

For now, we come to learn that Angus Bean was shipwrecked on the island for quite a long time, and he decided that he would take a break from civilization.  I hear you, Bean.  The way 2016 has been, I'd want to take a break myself!  But when the girls discover that he has a radio in his possession, Jem seems to think that they can use it to contact the coast guard, or their cruise ship, or Domino's Pizza...anyone who might be able to help them out.  Angus isn't sure if the radio even works, but tells Jem that she's welcome to try.  I am guessing that Angus must have been stranded on the island for a while if he doesn't recognize Jem or the Misfits.

It takes a long time.  A VERY LONG TIME for Jem to even make contact.  But somehow she manages to get in touch with the coast guard who makes it a mission to contact the Bahama Queen to come and get them.  The Holograms and Misfits are saved!

And as the girls see the cruise ship approaching, Rio and Eric are just as relieved to know that they are alive and well...though Rio is concerned that Jerrica isn't with them.  

Of course, quick thinking Jem summons a hologram of Jerrica, and then switches places with her, making Jerrica easier to hug.  I don't know...I think it would have been hysterical had Rio run up to hug Jerrica only for him to run right through her, crash into a palm tree and get knocked unconscious by a coconut.  But this is Jem I'm watching - not "Gilligan's Island".

So, Jerrica and Rio reunite, and a lifeboat is sent out (wouldn't it be funny if it was the same boat they fell out of), to escort everyone home - including Angus Bean.  Too bad this is his only appearance.  It would have been nice to have seen Stormer get the guy and have Roxy and Pizzazz seethe with jealousy.

Kimber and Stormer seem to entertain the idea of coming up with a permanent truce between the two bands, but Pizzazz and Roxy argue against it, which causes Aja and Shana to snap back at them.  The final scene is Jerrica and Rio kissing while the rest of the girls try to kill each other.  How sweet.

All in all, I like the fact that the Misfits and Holograms could put their differences aside when all of them were in danger.  And I think another reason this episode worked was the fact that Eric and Rio took a backseat.  I almost think that the male characters of this show sort of bring it down!

Coming up next week, the Holograms work with a legendary rock and roll crooner to save a building loaded with history.  Can they do it?


  1. Hey Matt,
    Enjoying your write ups... Massive fan of Jem since I was 12...
    Loved this episode in particular, as Stormer was a main focus - which quite often she wasn't.
    Now, if only Rio was eaten by those wild bores!!!
    Look forward to reading more of your reviews.
    Arron. :-)

  2. Just had to add...
    Between this episode and "Rock and Roll Express" in Season 2 ~ Stormer obviously learnt how to swim...

  3. I'm just sorry that I haven't seen these comments until just now! Thanks for your comments! :)