Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Review: Exo-Squad Season 2 Episode 4--Ultimate Weapon
The seventeenth episode of Exo-Squad, loosely continuing the Pirate Alliance arc, is Ultimate Weapon. The Pirate Clans transition from Saturn's moons to Io, but the Neos have built a massive Fusion Pulse Cannon on Sinope, one of Jupiter's moons. They plan to bombard the fleet and, when Io and Sinope are in alignment, destroy the Exo-Fleet base. Further complicating thing, Simbacca wants Marsh and DeLeon to train up some of his best and brightest as e-frame pilots, using captured Neo gear. With the help of his new squad (and heavy casualties), the Sinope weapon is taken out and the Pirates successfully reach Io.
The Fusion Pulse Cannon makes a good deal of sense. The GRAF Shield makes Io impregnable (or so the Neos believe), but sending giant balls of matter at the base is a good way to bypass. After all, crush a rock to 1/10th its size but leave all the mass and it'll still do the same amount of damage.
I like that the tension between Pirates and Exo-Fleet remains, hasn't been magically brushed away. Simbacca is impatient with Marsh and DeLeon, Hollis punches Marsh for defending him, etc. (But see below.)
It makes sense that DeLeon would deduces the existence of a spy. Their response, blinding all ships but the flagship. They're both shrewd ones. Barca, too, is a savvy guy. In response to the fleet going blind, he transfers to Simbacca's flagship. There he continues to sew dissent, specifically trying to turn Hollis against Simbacca. (This will pay off in episode 9 of the season, Inner Dark.)
It's sensible that Simbacca would want his own e-frame pilots. (But see below.) It's also sensible that, even for trained pilots, getting proficient in e-frames will take more than a couple of days. I also enjoy the repaint potential inherent in the various pirate 'frames. I don't think we ever got a toy, in any colors, of Hollis' frame, which surprised me back in the day. It seemed like an obvious candidate for a toy. Plus it would have settled the spelling of his name once and for all.
I thought Marsh was a bit caviler about bringing the Pirate squad out a second time to assault Sinope, especially after the apparent loss of 5/6th of his recruits.
The humor and banter was a bit mixed. After Hollis punches Marsh, DeLeon cracks wise ("you've got to keep your eye on his right... and THEN duck") which works. When Simbacca says he'd kill anyone who did that to him, Marsh's attempt at humor falls flat.
Bio: This outing is Marsala. Once again, it feels largely redundant with what we learned of him in the Into the Heart of Darkness storyline. Like the three previous ones, this seems like padding.
Overall: Probably the weakest episode to date, with the possible exception of the S1 opener. This is the first semi-stand-alone episode in the series, which doesn't help. The FPC is introduced here and then disposed of, a first (but not a last) for the show. This isn't necessarily bad, but add in some of the odd humor and Marsh's change of heart about sending raw recruits into the meat grinder and a strange ending and this episode feels like it can't quite decide if it wants to be a solo endeavor or part of a larger arc. I'm still enjoying it, but for pretty much the first time since early EARLY season 1 I find myself picking at the flaws more than just along for the ride. On the plus side, the story continues to steamroll ahead at a fast pace, and it feels like the momentum is still here. Perhaps the next one will be better. (Spoiler alert: it will be.)