Welcome Total Drama Wikians! I am Gumball2!
Well with the nightmare of All Stars in the past, it is now time to move on to Pahkitew. What will this installment entail? Will this be what brings FreshTV back on its feet or will the suffering continue?
To answer this question, I will be watching every episode of this new season as they air in the US. I will post a reaction blog for each one; talking about my thoughts, hopes, and predictions.
I should tell you now that I have not watched any episode prior to its US airing nor have I visited the Spoilers Wiki. All these blogs will be fresh from me watching the episodes on TV on Cartoon Network. With that in mind, I will not be processing my thoughts with hindsight of the future. I will solely be judging the episode by what it gives within itself. As we move on, however, I will be elaborating on what has already been established. This of course will be as the episodes air in the US. And at the end, I will be doing a giant season overview.
Well, what am I waiting for? Let’s dive into Episode One!
Okay, so back in December when All Stars ended, I posted an 11,000 word (give or take) blog that overviewed the season. I went into great detail describing everything that is wrong with the season. If you click on my name at the top, you can find it under my blogs. Feel free to back out now and read it and then come back, or later, or not at all. It doesn’t really matter.
Anyway, back in December, I had hopes that this upcoming season couldn’t possibly get lower than All Stars (after all, that’s a pretty low bar to reach), however as time went on my feelings soured. So by the time Pahkitew started, my hopes were basically nothing. I thought that this first episode would have been the end of me; keeping me from posting these blogs.
So the episode starts and I watched Chris’s introduction. There was some undie joke I don’t think made sense and then we got to our opening (again cut for time). So far, this new island didn’t seem anything special to me, but I’ll get to that later.
Anyway, we get onto this blimp where the new contestants are and I was surprised. For about a minute and a half, the episode devotes itself to establishing character. This may seem abridged, but there is absolutely no narration. We as an audience learn about these characters strictly through their interactions. I never thought I’d say this again, but FreshTV actually did something right.
I mean seriously! I could not believe what I was watching!
So I guess it’s about time for me to talk about my first impressions, right?
Okay, so in no particular order:
· 'Samey and Amy'- So unless these two get divided by character-driven politics, I’m going to pair these two up. Anyway, I actually like both of these characters. For the moment, none of them seem to annoy me by taking their traits to the extreme.
· 'Beardo'- This guy looks alright. As long as he stays in the background, he could make some good comic relief.
· 'Max'- Is this guy going to do that all season? I’m not sure if I’m going to like him. But hopefully, he’s just harmless. It’d be pretty stupid if his “diabolical” plans actually play a role in the game.
· 'Sugar'- When I first heard of this girl, the first thing I thought was Honey BooBoo’s mom. And for the moment, she seems that way. But I can’t say I hate her. At the same time, I’m not sure if I like her. So, I’ll say neutral.
· 'Shawn'- I can’t say much about him right now.
· 'Dave'- I’m glad FreshTV decided to make a character that’s relatable to the audience. With all this other cartoony stuff going on, at least there will be someone to complain over how stupid it is.
· 'Sky'- Please don’t tell me we’re in for another Zoey!
· 'Rodney'- I think his face is kind of creepy. But aside from that, I can’t make much out of an opinion at this point.
· 'Topher'- Pretty likable if I have anything to say about it. Something tells me that if he sticks around, we could actually be in for an alright season.
· 'Jasmine'- I’m sure I’ll think something eventually.
· 'Ella'- For a musical theater buff like me, she seems like a fine addition to the cast. Hopefully she’ll be one of my favorites.
· 'Scarlett'- Okay she’s a smart girl. Surprised she doesn’t have a British accent, but I hope she won’t be the female Cameron.
· 'Leonard'- He looks alright. Maybe he could bring in some laughs. But at least he can be kind of a link to people married to the Internet.
Okay, so I know that’s not the most descriptive first impression list, but I am still blown away. I honestly came into this episode expecting the worst, but already we look like we’re in the clear (for the most part).
So Chris appears and tells everyone to grab a parachute and get out of the blimp. To speed things up, he bombs one of the engines. So stuff happens and they all fall out. Oh yeah, and that Chris is just a hologram because the real Chris would never put himself in that much danger. Chef- who is still on the plane- complains that he is not guaranteed safety and is on the same level as the contestants.
Yes! Something else I like!
It felt like an eternity (I think) and we finally get some good old-fashioned Chris-Chef head-butting. As mediocre as Action was, their conflict was one of the highlights and was one of the only things that was built up over the course of the entire season. So to see Chef retaliating against Chris’s insensitivity to others is a nice callback.
Alright, so everyone falls onto the new island. We get some nice Disney stuff from Ella and everything is okay. Oh wait, did I mention that only half the parachutes are parachutes. Well aside from a cruel trick, it’s actually how we divide our teams.
Chris splits everyone and gives the team Cree names that he mistranslates. It turns out Sky just happens to know Cree and is able to correct his mistakes. Where did she learn that? Does she have relatives? Is this ever going to be explained? Well…not in this episode at least.
With that stuff done, we can get to our first challenge. It turns out that Pahkitew Island is some random place in the wilderness that they decided to go to. No renting or buying or anything. And since it’s abandoned, everyone has to build a shelter.
I really like this challenge. It harkens back to the days of Island that had simple, safe challenges. I’m really happy that this challenge had absolutely no gimmicks or anything.
Back to the episode, we get some more character stuff. We see that Topher is in love with Chris to the point of cutting to a commercial. And he sticks around for the whole thing. We see him after the commercial still there. Is this episode happening in real time?! Or is this whole thing just scripted. Well in either situation, I didn’t find Topher annoying. In fact, I still like him.
Skipping ahead, it’s implied (and by that I mean lightly shoved) that Dave and Sky will eventually end up in a relationship. For the moment, I’ll allow it. Dave is not Mike and I can’t say whether or not Sky is Zoey’s sister, cousin, or whatever.
While on the subject, Creepy Face- I mean Fat Scott- I mean Rodney has his eye on Jasmine. It’s a crush and I’m rather neutral about it.
Moving forward, the teams finish their shelters and they are put to the test by being bombarded by a herd of wild moose. Jasmine builds her shelter high up on a tree, so it’s unaffected. But where’s the ladder? Did you see a ladder? Was it in the back? If you know the answer, please comment.
Meanwhile, Leonard builds a tower out of rocks. It looks good, but it also looks flimsy. It barely makes it out of the herd. That is, until Leonard touches it; sending the whole thing tumbling. Boy, I didn’t see that coming (sarcasm).
Because of Leonard’s mess-up, Jasmine’s team wins. The only thing that bothers me about this outcome is that it’s basically every build-it-yourself competition Total Drama has ever done. There’s one that’s perfectly bulletproof in its perfectness while the other makes you lose faith in humanity. As quickly as it gets you through the challenge, it makes the fans of the losing team angry too soon. Maybe have two good shelters and actually have Chris debate over which is better (although he’ll probably just bring in a group of professional judges). Or the way around! Have them both be terrible! Just add a little suspense!
Okay, so now the…Waneyihtam…Maskwak has to send somebody. You might be thinking its Leonard because he screwed everything up. But it could also be Beardo because he does nothing but make sound effects. I kind of like them, but I do see how the team would hate him for doing nothing. And it’s enough for Beardo to go home.
There’s a winding staircase leading down to a dock that leads to a boat. That way the eliminated can take a long walk down; reflecting on what they did wrong. Fans will shed tears as he makes his slow, solemn walk. But we can also remember the joy th-
It’s a cannon.
That’s right! We’re continuing with the tradition of ridiculous exits that have no substance to them. Hooray? And it turns out B does stand for Beardo. Because we get an exit very similar to his exit in ROTI; him rushing out something in normal speech.
And that’s the end of the episode. What are some after thoughts?
Overall, I liked the episode. I know it’s weird for me to say, but this indicates that FreshTV tried to make something good. Some things look promising and some of the things this episode provided were worthwhile. There was some good humor, homage to Island, and there was less condescension. Although I liked Beardo at first, he did start to get on nerves with those sound effects. He was a useless character that needed to go. The island did unravel itself to present some interesting nooks and crannies. I definitely look forward to seeing more of this island as the season goes on. So far, Topher and Dave are my two favorite characters. The former did bring in some good laughs while the latter is relatable to the audience while still having the genuine snark that Noah had.
But with that in mind, the episode did have its problems.
One, Sky is really starting to scare me. With this episode in the books, it looks like Sky may turn out to be Zoey. Although it’s only one episode, I saw some parallels to the red devil. Out of all the characters in this cast, she has the plainest appearance. Reminds me of someone! Also, she doesn’t have any interesting character traits so far. Sure, you could say her fluency in Cree, but we don’t know how she knows it. Reminds me of Commando Zoe and her one-shot athleticism. It would be interesting to see her expand upon this. Maybe have her talk about relatives that are Cree, perform rituals, and other stuff. Maybe they’re saving it for later, but so far Sky is the least memorable character in my opinion.
And I guess the only other major problem I have with the episode is the Cannon of Shame. My review of All-Stars goes into more detail about these degrading forms of elimination, but to place it simply: it destroys the emotional impact and seriousness of the scene.
And there, I did it!
I know Episode Two also aired tonight, but I’ll probably write it tomorrow.
Until then, this is Gumball2!