Note: Obviously, I was quite late in posting my reviews for Episode 11 and Episode 12, mostly because I was patiently waiting for a decent, high-quality version of the former to be uploaded to YouTube. But, since it never was, I was forced to endure watching the sideways version.
So, for the first (and most likely last) time in my review series, I’ll be doing a double-review, with both released on the same day. Enjoy.
Once again, the episode starts off with another radioactive joke. A rather slow opening which then transitions to Cameron and Zoey just sitting in a tree branch. That part really made me do a double-take, thinking there was something at the end of the last episode that I missed, only to find that they’re apparently just up there because they feel like it. Weird, but OK.
I also loved Scott’s deviousness in ruining Cameron and Zoey’s talk. Several of his lines in that scene were golden. Cases-in-point:
“Today’s forecast: Geeky showers with a chance of…girl.”
And… “Zoey. Nice of you to drop in.”
And, surprisingly enough, Zoey had some good lines too, such as…
“Better a mega-jock than a mega-jerk”
And… “Ugh! I hate it when Scott makes a point!”
Easily one of the best dialogue scenes in Total Drama history., and it definitely builds up the plot of the episode with Scott – despite being a complete jerk responsible for so many eliminations – actually working his way out of a seemingly-inevitable elimination.
But the follow-up scene with Lightning, Cameron, and Scott was a bit of a speed bump that cancelled out the epicness of the last scene, courtesy of Lightning’s stupidity.
Talk about a curveball of epicness: Chris’s sudden injury was so hilarious not only in physical comedy, but because it allowed for what we’ve all been waiting for a long time: Chef to take over as host. His epic laugh was…epic, even despite the lightning cloud joke. This just set up for a pretty decent episode.
And there’s cameo number nine: DJ. Wow, that was actually a bit of a shock. At this point in time, we only really expected Harold. We had seen hints (or leaks) confirming cameos such as Gwen or Owen, but we had no previous hints, or even speculation, at all that DJ would appear.
I must admit, of all the moments of stupidity from Lightning that I thought were the absolute worst…I think this one just took the steak (pardon the pun). I mean, really? Trees? Making? Steak? REALLY?
HOW DO YOU COME TO THAT CONCLUSION?! I MEAN, I DON’T CARE HOW STUPID YOU ARE, YOU CAN’T POSSIBLY THINK THAT TREES MAKE STEAK! WHERE IN YOUR MISERABLE LITTLE LIGHTNING-ORIENTED LIFE DID YOU HEAR THAT NONSENSE?! NO ONE COULD’VE POSSIBLY TOLD HIM THAT BECAUSE NO ONE IS AS STUPID AS LIGHTNING. NO ONE! HE OBVIOUSLY CAME UP WITH IT ON HIS OWN OUT OF PURE DESPERATION, WHICH ONLY FURTHER EMPHASIZES HOW STUPID HE IS…I MEAN, THIS IS SO STUPID, IT MAKES LINDSAY LOOK LIKE EINSTEIN! EVEN THE MENTALLY ILL AREN’T THIS STUPID!
But at least he got his payback for it, courtesy of some bees. And his girly scream was hilarious to listen to.
And the Scott plot thickens, in true Scott-style. Right after using his silver tongue at its best, he inadvertently does something that invokes the wrath of a mutant monster. Good ol’ Scott.
That little follow-up scene was, once again, another example of a quick, overkilled montage of mutated madness. I guess scenes like that aren’t as annoying as episodes that revolve around it, like Runaway Model or Treasure Island of Dr. McLean, but I still think the episode could do without it.
That’s another thing I’m noticing about this episode: It’s finally bringing the interns to the foreground. For the first time since…the last episode, I guess, but pretty much for the second time in the overall season, we see a true classic staple of the Total Drama series: The interns at their finest. Whether it’s pulling pranks on an incapacitated Chris (which, despite its obvious callback to a previous episode, is still pretty funny) or getting hit by a flaming pan thrown at them by an idiot, it’s definitely refreshing to see this particular style of humor come back, mostly because it still works so well.
Once the initial jokes of mutation/radioactivity died down, the rest of the cooking scene was actually pretty decent, from Lightning continuing to fail, to Scott’s sabotaging of Zoey.
DJ leaving the scene just when he did contributed to this being a very decent cameo, like Izzy or Duncan. While it was still part of the challenge, the cameoing contestant wasn’t overkilled like others (Lindsay or Heather), and they stayed in-character through the whole thing, right up to DJ’s epic scream as he runs off. Once again, even though it’s a character I’m not particularly fond of, I still enjoyed his cameo.
The second part of the challenge, in many ways, reminded me of Brunch of Disgustingness. However, this does have its fair share of new twists that make it not exactly a rip-off while still paying homage to that classic episode: The contestants unknowingly cooked the food for themselves, and this time, the challenge is to finish first without barfing, not finish the most amount of dishes. And, although this was obviously building up to be a barfing bonanza scene (like the aforementioned episode), the much smaller amount of contestants made it less overkilled than it could’ve been. So, surprisingly enough, I think I can safely say that this is one barfing scene that I actually…enjoyed?
On a side note, I’m loving the running joke of Scott fooling others by pointing in another direction and saying something’s there. It just proves that Scott might actually be the smartest person there (alongside Cameron), in the sense that he has the most common sense where two others fell for one of the lamest and oldest tricks in the book. And the only one that he doesn’t pull the trick on is already a world-class idiot, so…yeah.
Plus, I must concede to the opposition and admit to another Lightning moment that I genuinely loved. The first was when he sang “Sha-baaaaam!” after speeding by Jo’s go-kart in Grand Chef Auto. The newest one is when he says “Sha” and then barfs. I think this was easily his best “Sha” moment in the season, because it effectively played on his catchphrase and mocked it rather than just being another “Sha” moment born out of pure ego.
Just when I thought the challenge already was pretty decent, we’re faced with the third act, the final part, of this Chef-piloted ride: A hunting challenge, with Chef as the hunter.
This just in: The episode JUST reached a new level of epicness, a new level of Chef’s amazingness, and might even redeem Chef’s silence for the past season. Want proof?
“Dinner is served…IN YOUR FACE!”
Bring on the epicness.
And epicness we get. The scene between Lightning and Cameron was the most spot-on since their interaction in the previous episode. Switching between Cameron’s big-worded monologues and technological genius, and Lightning’s stupidity, we not only got a funny scene, but a scene that developed the story between the two of them even further. It worked so well.
Then enter the complete…opposite. From a scene where two characters are developed just a bit further, we witness an excerpt from “How to Destroy a Good Character For Dummies.” We see the writers completely throw out the nice, calm, friendly, likeable girl that Zoey was, in favor of…Izzy 2.0. With all of the same guerrilla tactics, swinging on vines, jumping across branches, using bow and arrows, tripwires, other booby-traps, face paint, and a headband. Oh, and with bad dialogue. I don’t care if she thinks she just lost the challenge and broke her boyfriend’s medallion, that just doesn’t add up to such a startling and horrific transition. Credited, we saw hints in the last episode, but those moments were nothing compared to this. And even her epic laugh was dumbed down by that ridiculously stupid line: “Payback time, and I don’t care if that’s OK with everyone!”
Really? They couldn’t come up with a more intimidating line? That’s just their sad final attempt and holding onto the old, more passive Zoey. If they really wanted to convey a true character
destruction transition, it would’ve been something more solid, more definitive, like even the classic “No more Mrs. Nice Girl,” or something. That would’ve captured the magnitude of the scene so much better.
Despite the death of yet another great character, the Chef scenes immediately afterward served as a fairly nice rebound.
And, after all of these amazing scenes, I must admit that the challenge’s climax was probably one of the best challenge climaxes in the series. It was fast, action-packed, intense, and for a few moments, you genuinely didn’t know who was going to win. First Scott was about to win, then Zoey arrived, then Lightning arrived and started celebrating, then Cameron was finally declared the winner. This is definitely a definitive example of how to end such an intense and fast-paced challenge.
And, as if that wasn’t good enough, I think this Bonfire just might actually be one of the best elimination ceremonies in TD history. Really. Right up there with Million Dollar Babies, Backstabbers Ahoy, and Up, Up and Away. It was suspenseful. It was long and drawn-out. It established that every single person except Cameron received one vote. And you truly, absolutely had no idea who would go. Lightning, for being a threat as Scott said? Scott, for being a jerk? Zoey, for becoming a force to be reckoned with? In the end, you’ve almost completely forgotten about Cameron and Zoey’s earlier attempts to vote off Scott, and that makes it an actual shock (as well as a depression) that Scott’s gone. And, even then, it still becomes a bit of a mystery as to who exactly voted for who. Heck, I’M still trying to figure it out. All that we know for sure is that Zoey voted for Scott. That leaves just three votes, from Cameron, Lightning, and Scott. It would make sense that Scott voted for Lightning, since he was trying so hard to convince the others to get rid of him as well. But maybe he voted for Zoey, as payback for her injuring him and effectively preventing him from winning. Obviously, Cameron wouldn’t vote for Zoey. And why would Lightning vote for her? They’ve had, like, no interaction so far, and certainly not in this challenge. And he couldn’t have voted for Cameron. So, most likely, I think these are the results:
Zoey voted for Scott, out of revenge for all that he did to her, Mike, and the others he got eliminated.
Scott voted for Zoey, for the reasons mentioned above.
Cameron voted for Lightning, seeing as how he was truly a threat, as Scott said, and since their alliance has so clearly fallen apart.
Lighting, while obviously most angry with Cameron, was unable to vote for him, so he voted for Scott.
And, in Scott’s final moments, we see the final resolution of the longest-lasting story involving Scott in this season: His conflict with Fang. He loses his lucky shark tooth, and Fang can truly start to get his revenge on Scott. And it also settles the story within this episode of Chris’s dilemma with being unable to host, ending that running gag with another anti-Chris joke. And not just another anti-Chris joke, but easily one of the best play on words I’ve seen in the series:
“Chris, you ARE the hurl master.”
So, while it didn’t take much to rebound off the absolutely craptastic display that was the previous episode, this just drove the point home by being the complete opposite. The filler scenes were either funny physical comedy jokes, or some of the best one-liners and dialogue scenes in Total Drama history. Seriously, some of the banter in here was just golden. From the puns to the punch lines, to the best of some of these characters (even though one dies in this episode). The cameo was spot-on, in-character, and not overkilled, the plots were neatly-introduced and developed at a decent pace (not too fast and sloppy, but not too slow and boring), the action was fast-paced, the first two parts of the challenge were a clever homage to an original classic and featured its own original twists, while the epic third part was intense, the challenge’s climax was one of the best ever, the elimination ceremony was one of the most suspenseful ever, the running gags were good (from Chris’s bathroom problem, to the interns, to Scott and Fang), this was Chef at his all-time best, this was a definitive example of a Chef-hosted episode, and this was easily one of the best episodes of the season, if not the entire series. 10/10.