Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Review: Exo-Squad Season 2 Episode 25--Call of the Unknown
Call of the Unknown is the thirty-eighth episode of Exo-Squad, continuing the Return to Mars storyline. Marsh and co breach the alien artifact with a Solar Pulse from Marsh's frame, but not before coming under fire from Typhonus. Typhonus blows his way in to pursue them but their firefight is complicated by "antibodies" from the oddly organic-looking structure that disintegrate (or teleport or otherwise disappear) anything they touch. Their fight causes the structure to grow an enormous tower in the Martian wasteland, a tower which sends out an enormously powerful pulse felt at least as far away as Venus. As Marsh and his Jump Trooper reinforcements look on in bafflement, Algernon observes that it's a radio transmitter.
It does feel like the heroes have to work to gain entry. They spend quite a bit of time analyzing, fiddling with, and shooting at the "door." The Solar Flare (called a Solar Pulse here, but ah, well) does the trick. The Neos, on the other hand, just blast their way in, but with the resources of an entire planet at their disposal it seems fair that they could quickly come up with enough conventional explosives to do the job.
Typhonus quickly grasps the military significance of the discovery, informing Phaeton and ordering "every available e-frame on the planet" to converge. Sadly for him, the pulse is going to shut that order down before it gets started. It makes sense he'd press his advantage. As he aptly observes, if it's on Mars, "it belongs to the Neo Sapien Order." Certainly the Exo-Fleet would be hard-pressed to contest it.
There's some good body language in this episode. When asked what might breach the alien structure, DeLeon just gives a little shrug. Ixion looks at the growing tower with horror, perhaps more aware than anyone besides Algernon what it might portent. And random Neo soldiers look on with apprehension in the moments before the tower erupts from the ground, clearly sensing that something is awry but unable to articulate exactly what. It's all very well done.
I like the little knock on the helmet Longfeather gives O'Reilly. It's a nice touch, not overdone.
What Doesn't: Burns gives up her E-Frame without any appricable reluctance. It feels wrong, especially since she's the nominal squad leader. But that plotline has been dropped.
The jump sequence seems to take way too long, feeling like padding in an episode that's already fairly jam-packed.
Maggie gets hit with an antibody and it doesn't seem to effect her. This might be showing that they are unable to function in the new chamber they've fled to, but it's a weird scene. On the plus side, DeLeon's reaction to it nudges their relationship forward just a hair.
I think we cut to Algernon and Butler in orbit about once too often. We get that they're up there, waiting, we don't need to keep seeing it.
After Takagi gets shot down, he has a little glider that sets him down. Surprise! That's a toy feature his Exo-Wing had.
Bio: Torres... with new footage. Better late than never I suppose.
Overall: Exciting, but feels perhaps a tiny bit off. Most of the moments feel right, but the pacing doesn't quite work for me. Still, given the overall excitement and the importance of the storyline, I'm inclined to rate it fairly high. Probably we're in the B+/A- range on this one.