Search This Blog

Friday, January 20, 2017

Jem Reviewed: Episode 44 - Rock 'n' Roll Express

I don't even want to summarize last week's episode of Jem Reviewed, as right now it's a contender for the worst episode of the series ever.  I certainly wish that this week's episode is much better.

It is time for Episode 44: Rock 'N' Roll Express.  I get the feeling that this episode involves trains.

Huh, what do you know?  I'm right.  Hopefully this episode doesn't end up as much of a trainwreck as the last one.

It appears as though Jem and the Holograms are about to go on tour again, but this time around there are a couple of things that they're doing differently.  First, they plan on doing a cross country tour via train to visit all of the small towns along the way to give people who may not be able to get to the big cities to hear them perform.  And all of the money raised for the concert will be donated to charity.  That's actually a neat idea, but it's too bad the people of Hawaii get screwed. 

And secondly, all of the Starlight girls are boarding the train as well to help with the set up, as well as getting a first hand look at the sights that the United States has to offer.  Also a great idea.

Oh, and Rio's tagging along.  Um...yay?  Oh, well.  Two out of three good things.

The first destination on the Jem and the Holograms train tour is Rock Canyon, Arizona.  And to celebrate the launch of the tour, Jem and the Holograms sing a song about taking a train.

"This song's so lame, this song's so lame, this song's so laaaaaaame."  Okay, seriously, what did they use to write this song?  Those poetry fridge magnets?  Definitely a contender for Jem's WORST song.  I just hope they sing better songs on the road!

Speaking of which, we go ahead to Rock Canyon where a man is being thrown out of the police station by the town sheriff.  This man doesn't have a name, but I guarantee you that he will be appearing in this episode a lot...and he's not exactly who you'd call a friend.  In fact, he's kind of a required outside antagonist that is not a Misfit. 

The first thing he sees when he leaves the police station is a banner advertising the Jem and the Holograms concert, and when he asks a bunch of people in crowd what is going on, they inform him all about the concert and how it's for charity.  You can instantly see the dollar signs popping into his eyes upon hearing that news.

Sure enough, when the train pulls up at the Rock Canyon train station, our resident criminal comes up to the train with a cup of coffee in each hand.  He notices one of the security guards leaving one of the train cars and hands him one of the cups.  Now, if some strange man handed me a cup of Tim Horton's coffee out of the blue, I might be slightly suspicious - especially since I can't stand coffee.  But our guard happily downs the beverage and is fine.  Well, for a few minutes anyway.

By the time Rio comes back to check on him, he's already passed out and moaning about his stomach.  Okay, so our criminal drugged him.  But he'll be okay because nobody ever dies on Jem and...

...OH MY GOD!  Is that a body bag they're carrying out?  He really did die?!?  Wow.  And here's Rio nonchalantly asking for another guard because the other guard got food poisoning.  Um, he's in a body bag.  HE'S DEAD!  Sheesh, this is why I hate Rio.  He's jealous, he's pushy, and he does not care at all about the recently departed.  I mean, sure, they make it out like the guard is still sick and alive, but why the scene with a BODY BAG?  Seriously, this scene is just badly executed.  But hey, we have no time to mourn the deceased.  Mesaville, New Mexico is waiting!

As the train speeds towards New Mexico, Ashley is in a foul mood.  She explains to Raya that she hates being responsible for all of the band's musical instruments and wishes she could do something else.  To Raya's credit (and one of the many reasons I love Raya), she tries to boost Ashley up by telling her how important a job she has and how she should look at the extra responsibility as proof that they trust her. 

But before Ashley and Raya can continue their talk, they are nearly decapitated by a low flying plane.  Fortunately, both of them survive.

Of course, it doesn't take long to figure out what is going on.  Of course, the Misfits have heard about Jem's train tour and they plan on derailing their success by throwing leaflets advertising their own concert.  Great, way to throw litter all over America, ladies.

But it sort of backfires on the Misfits in a huge way.  You see, the Misfits' pilot is flying at so many weird angles that the engine actually stalls midway through the flight and it sends the plane crashing down towards the ground.  But don't worry...unlike our poor security guard back in Rock Canyon, the Misfits survive their plane crash.  Unfortunately, their plane does not.

At this point, Jem has reverted back to her Jerrica form, and Jerrica turns to Rio and makes the grim realization that she has to take the Misfits along with them.  Oh, this ought to be a fun experience.

Well, at least Jerrica thought ahead and put the Misfits in the dining car.  Having all of them stuff their faces with food is a sure fire way to get them to shut up.

Well, at least until Jetta begins to make a little mischief and throws a dollop of mashed potatoes all over Roxy.  This prompts Roxy to throw food all over Pizzazz, who in turn throws an entire steak at Stormer.  Before you know it, the Misfits are in a full on food fight, and it takes a visibly frustrated Rio to stop the melee once and for all.

He does this by locking the Misfits in a separate car, which infuriates all of them immensely.  Though given that the car seems to be covered entirely in windows, I would think he did them a favour.  The scenery views would be incredible!

But Jetta decides that they are going to get back onto the right side of the train by climbing up through a hatch in the ceiling of the car.  Um...are you NUTS?  The train's going a hundred miles an hour and you think you can walk across the train top to another car? 

At least Stormer sees the danger in that, but the other three Misfits are braindead common sense wise, and they all decide to follow Jetta's plan.  It's too bad that as they all make it to the outside of the train, Stormer notices that they are about to go through a railroad tunnel.  So, the question is...if Train A is speeding by at 100 mph with four Misfits on top of the train, how long will it take for all four Misfits to get decapitated by the tunnel?

Well, we never do find the answer to that question because they all leap off the train and land in the middle of a pond.  The good news is all four survive.  The bad news is...they're now stranded in the middle of a New Mexico desert.  Whatever will they do now?

Oh look...they just happen to run into a group of Native Americans on horses.  Yeah, that's not a contrived plot point, is it?  Whatever the case, the Misfits really pile on the sob stories about how they had to jump off the train, and they need to get back on.  Stormer herself remarks that it takes a lot to survive, which sparks the cue for a song first heard in Episode 20.

Though, I'll be the first one to admit...while the song still rocks out hard, I HATE the remake of the video.  It's not as fun as watching Kimber nearly get eaten by a spider, or Jem swinging over a pit of crocodiles.

Somehow, the Misfits manage to catch up to the speeding train and as soon as Raya spots them, she pulls the emergency brake to slow the train down.  The Misfits board the train, and the Native Americans are left feeling used when the Misfits won't even give them the autographs that they were promised.  Seriously, Misfits, you're starting to tread back into "you suck" territory.

Shortly after, the train pulls into the Mesaville station where a large crowd of people have gathered to watch the show.  And this is where things start to kick into high gear.

For one, that replacement guard that Rio called for back in Rock Canyon is here.  But the guard happens to be that criminal that caused the "death" of the previous guard.  My question is...where did he get a uniform so quickly?

As well, the Misfits plan to repay the kindness of the Holograms by sabotaging their show.  See, this is why nobody trusts you Misfits.  You are always sticking it to the people who actually tried to help you.  Jerks.

It seems as though the Misfits are getting their chance though.  Rio and Ashley get into a fight over Ashley's duty to watch over the equipment, and Ashley storms off in a huff.  I don't blame Ashley.  Rio can be a jackass at times. 

But with Ashley out of the way, it doesn't stop the Misfits from sticking Kimber's keyboard keys together, snapping Raya's drumsticks in half, and loosening some of the strings on Aja and Shana's guitars.  Stormer points out that Jem's been nice to them and that she doesn't feel right doing it as she is working on destroying Jem's microphone.  See, Stormer?  This is why nobody takes you seriously.  This is why your brother wants you out of the Misfits!

As to be expected, the Holograms equipment breaks apart as they start the concert, and Jem is embarrassed to have to postpone the show because of it.  Even worse, Rio seems to go off on a rant, blaming Ashley for everything!  Okay, seriously, Rio?  Ashley's thirteen.  And secondly, she's fiercely loyal to Jem now.  Rio, take a seat.  Take SEVERAL seats.

Besides, Jerrica (man, she changes clothes faster than an America's Next Top Model contestant) defends Ashley to Rio, so that goes to show just how much of a jerk Rio is.  And why is he still on the show?

Of course, the Misfits aren't happy that the Holograms plan on continuing with the show, so they must find another way to get back at them.  When they spot the engineers leaving to go on a coffee break, they come up with the idea to board the engine compartment and start the train up while Rio goes into town to fix the instruments.  Never mind the fact that none of them know how to DRIVE a train.  Oh, and while all this is going on, our friendly neighbourhood thief has found his way to the car where all the charity money is kept.  There's really nothing stopping him from grabbing all the loot he wants.  Well, except for Roxy finding a way to pull the lever that starts the train.  The train leaves with such force that it causes Jem and the Holograms to fall down on the ground...

...and it destroys the platform that Rio is standing on, leaving him behind at the Mesaville train station!  That...can't be good.

Even worse, the Misfits realize that they can't control the train...especially since clumsy Jetta has gotten her boot wedged in between the controls!  Okay, seriously, why is Jetta even on this episode...she is the one who has caused all of this trouble!  Such an annoying character.

So, here's the situation.  The train is out of control thanks to the Misfits.  A criminal is aboard, as are Jem and the Holograms and a baker's dozen Starlight Girls assuming that Laura Holloway is still with them.  And, not one of them thought to pull the emergency brake?  I mean, come on.  My dad worked for a railroad for thirty-one years!  I've had train safety drilled into my head from the time I was three years old!  Seriously, these Misfits should have known better.

Of course, we always have to make Rio the hero of the story because his ego is in need of massaging.  Seriously, at this point, I'd almost welcome a Jem/Eric Raymond pairing.  But Rio happens to steal a motorcycle and thinks that he can use it to catch up to the train that is rapidly gaining speed.  I'm sure he makes it, but come on...this is getting silly.

Even sillier is the fact that the criminal somehow wanders into the same car where the Misfits happen to be and actually helps get Jetta's stuck foot free.  I must say, I don't know what crimes he was convicted of in the past, but he seems like a nice guy here.  A nice guy who steals from charity, mind you, but still nice.  In fact, he actually comes up with the idea that I suggested earlier.  Pull the emergency brake!  Unfortunately, he pulls it so hard that it breaks off in his hand.  Sheesh, when was the last time the engine was inspected?  1977?

At this point, Rio has caught up to the runaway train and leaps off the motorcycle to the caboose where Jem and the Holograms are.  Once inside, he orders Shana to pull the emergency brake, not realizing that the Misfits and the fake security guard have broken it.

And in a scene that seems to be tacked on, at another railroad station, two workers discover that a man in his underwear has been locked in a closet and tied up.  Before they question each other about any fetishes they might have, the tied up man explains that someone knocked him out and tied him up, stealing his clothes in the process.  We don't need to guess who the culprit is.  But before anything else can be said, the word about the runaway train hits the station, and everyone is concerned.  If the train gets too fast, the possibility of it derailing could occur.  And if the train derails, anyone on board could end up dead.  The situation has just been made critical.

Rio isn't willing to give up though.  Even though many of the train cars are locked from the inside, he's willing to climb over top of the train cars to reach the engine room.  Why not?  The Misfits did it, why not him?  Who cares about train safety anyway?

After a brief scare in which Rio accidentally falls off the train, he recovers and inches his way towards the engine car.  He manages to get inside where he is shocked to find the Misfits and fake security guard.  Security guard explains that he tried to stop the train, but the brake handle snapped.  This does not faze Rio one bit as he unscrews the panel containing the emergency brake and pulls down on the nub that is remaining.  It's slow going, but Rio successfully manages to make the train slow down and come to stop at the next station.  This is great news, but I feel bad for the people of Mesaville who got screwed out of a concert.  

The criminal who tried to steal the money is arrested and taken to jail again...and in payment for nearly killing them, the Misfits are sentenced to be the Holograms' personal servants for the rest of the tour - of course, the Misfits would have gotten away with it had Stormer not blabbed the Misfits plan to sabotage the concert.  I guess this proves that you can't completely harden Stormer's heart or conscience.

And we end this...rather weird episode with the Jem and the Holograms song "All Across The Country".  I mean, seriously, after the first half of Season 2, is THIS what we can expect for the rest of the season?  I mean, come on...

Maybe next week will be better.  After all, they're celebrating Mardi Gras there.  Though something tells me we won't be seeing Kimber taking it all off for some green, gold, and purple beads.

Oh, before I leave, this week's Jem Trivia.  There's 65 episodes of Jem total, but there's evidence of there being a top secret 66th episode in existence.  Of course it was never filmed or animated, but if you look at the production numbers for each episode, there is no listing for episode 27, and episode 65 is actually labelled as episode 66.  I'm wondering if the first season was supposed to be 27 episodes long and sandwiched in between Glitter and Gold and The Talent Search.  Or maybe that episode would be the one in which Jem reveals herself to Rio.  We'll never know, but the speculation is interesting to wonder.

No comments:

Post a Comment