This intro is probably gonna be half the blog, but here we go.
OK, so first, I want to respond to the earlier statements I made in my update blog. Yes, I admitted that I probably wouldn't have much time for episode reviews, but seeing as how my time isn't completely full as of yet, I figured that I could still get away with episode reviews for all 13 episodes, due to the fact that it is, once again, a half-season instead of a full length season. But in order to work around that, and ensure that my time spent writing reviews is as short and easy as possible, I'm changing up the format of my reviews. Here's how: In all 13 of my TDR reviews, what I would do is, since all episodes were leaked online first before they aired in the US, I would simply watch the videos on YouTube with Microsoft Word open on the side. Then I'd watch the episode, and every single time something funny, terrible, or noteworthy for any reason came up, I'd pause the video and write my thoughts about it on the spot, BAM, right there. Although this did a good job of capturing my thoughts on the episode as they were developing, in my VERY first time seeing the episode, I realized that A) This resulted in some reviews being rather lengthy, and B) The fact of the matter is that most reviewers, whether for movies, or TV shows, etc., usually don't get to write all their thoughts down as they're watching it. So I'm taking an entirely different, but still effective approach: I'll watch the whole episode, start to finish, for the very first time, and then write my review based entirely on the things that actually stood out to me so much that I still remembered them clearly by the end of the episode. That way the really mundane stuff is left out as it should be, and it gives me a chance to focus on what I remember the most about each episode. In addition, I'll be keeping it to a very simple format of focusing on all the pros and cons of each episode. I'll list all the pros (and, if necessary, go into further detail about some particular pros and why I really liked them), then list all the cons (and likewise go in-depth on some of them), then talk about the main aspect of the episode that really stood out for me, and whether or not it was a pro or a con. Then I'll close with overall thoughts, complete with comparing how many pros there were to how many cons there were, and then, as usual, giving the episode a rating on a scale of 1 to 10.
So without further ado, let's get on to it. It's the premiere episode of the fifth season, Heroes vs. Villains.
Pros (7): The return of the Invincibility Statues, and the twist with how they are now located on Boney Island, making them a lot harder to find; the debut of an awesome, Survivor-like system of rewards for the winning team including the fancy hotel and exile on Boney Island; the aspect of the winning team getting to watch the losing team's elimination; the nice crossovers of previous challenges; the somewhat hilarious and Total Drama-style elimination of the Flush of Shame; the opening sequence in the prison; and the slight amounts of interaction between the old and new contestants (such as Sam and Sierra, although all this did was reinforce Sierra's annyoingness, and all the interactions with Jo: Duncan and Jo, Heather and Jo, and Gwen and Jo).
Cons (9): Most of the characters are still the same old, same old, as predicted (Sierra is still annoying, Cody-obsessed, and a godplayer; Lightning is still annoyingly self-centered and saying "Sha" at everything; Courtney is still whiny, obnoxious, bossy, complaining about Gwen at every turn, and, once again, more or less responsible for her team's loss and still getting a free pass); the overall repetitive nature of the challenge, which got old fairly quickly; as well as a similarly-repetitve nature to the way each contestant was introduced; the God-awful Zeke joke, which was one of the biggest slaps in the face ever given to a single character and their entire fan base in a single moment; the unusual new aspect of Sam actually liking radioactivity in the hopes that he could become mutated like Dakota (seriously?); the introduction of the newly-cut-down theme song (which is BEYOND stupid); the treatment of Alejandro's revelation as if it was something actually shocking (if they were going for that, they would've made him stay as "The Robot" for at least three or four episodes); the debut of Alex House as Alejandro, which, in all honesty, didn't seem necessary. I could see them changing his voice if he were in the machine for a few episodes and needed a different voice, but his new voice now doesn't sound much different...except maybe slightly higher-pitched, and thus even more annoying than Marco Grazzini was; and, of course, the worst aspect, the reintroduction of the Love Triangle (from Gwen's introduction being related to it, to Jo and Sierra labeling her for it, to the interaction between the three, to Courtney being labeled a hero just because of it and Gwen a villain)...although the bit with Gwen apologizing to Courtney was nice, and helped to reiterate the fact that Gwen is the true hero in this scenario while Courtney's the true villain, just proved that it'll be dragged out as conflict because of Courtney's stubbornness.
Main Aspect (Con): The elimination. I'll admit, had it not been for the horrible spoiling of this elimination by the ever-subtle Cartoon Network, it would have been a genuine shock to me. An angry shock, as Lindsay is my favorite contestant this season and was my personal favorite to win, but a shock nonetheless. It would've been right up there with Heather's TDA elimination and Dawn's elimination in TDR as one of my biggest shocks ever during this show. But the nature of the elimination itself was rather unfair. For one, it was Courtney who forced Lindsay to be the driver without letting Lindsay herself give any input. For two, it was made especially unfair by dumb Sierra ruining it by making the carriage twice as heavy when she obliviously crushed Courtney. Third, they didn't even necessarily lose because of Lindsay's bad driving, since no one ever even had the right key to begin with. With that said, only half of the blame can go to Lindsay, and the other half to everyone else who was too stupid to find the right key. And lastly, the fact that, despite Lindsay being as loveably stupid as she is, they pushed her stupidity just a little too much here ("How do you push again?").
Overall, with my expectations for the season as low as they were going into this, it ultimately wasn't a terrible episode. It wasn't good, it wasn't bad. It was just...neutral. But as a season premiere, that's usually not a good sign, as the premiere episode is supposed to make some sort of impact on you, whether good or bad. But this definitely didn't seem like a memorable episode to me. Definitely the dullest and blandest season premiere in the entire series.
With 7 Pros and 10 Cons, this episode is a 6/10.