Regular viewers of the Guardians of the Galaxy animated series were probably surprised when this week’s episode opened with a legitimately good scene between Star-Lord and his father, J’Son, the King of Spartax. For almost a minute, there was a sense of real drama between Peter Quill and his “king.” For once, the show didn’t treat Quill like a joke. But that didn’t last long.
“Come and Gut Your Love” also had unusually interesting ideas for this series, as Quill’s confrontation with his father turned out to be a ruse that allowed him to steal the ship that J’Son used to find the Cosmic Seed years before. Onboard the ship was a female artificial intelligence named Roara, who had fallen in love with J’Son decades earlier. To get her assistance, Quill allowed Roara to believe that he was J’Son.
Back on Spartax, J’Son mobilized his forces to find his son, and Quill’s parting gift was pretty funny: a fake version of the Crypto Cube with a doll of J’Son that called him out on his lies. Near the end of the episode, there was an even better scene in which Quill learned that J’Son sold him out to the Ravagers years ago. Despite J’Son’s previous claims, he could have retrieved Quill any time that he wanted. Instead, he treated his only son like a pawn for decades.
The divide between Quill and his father was a very solid foundation for the episode, as was Roara’s feelings for both men. But then it was almost as if someone said, “We’d better throw Supergiant and Lucy in there to keep things from getting too interesting.” And that’s pretty much what happened. Two of Quill’s ex-girlfriends showed up to try to kill him…and then they fought each other over the right to marry him and become a Spartaxian princess.
Really, the less said about Supergiant and Lucy, the better. Just when it looked like the show’s writers were finally figuring out how to make this series work, they took a significant step back with a subplot that had the nerve to be both poorly executed and badly animated. It was a truly terrible extended sequence that was difficult to watch. Not even the King Kong parody could save it.
It’s not as if all of the scenes with Roara were stellar, but it was still engaging to see Quill’s uncomfortable reactions to Roara’s affections for his “father” and her harsh words for his mother, Meredith. That means Roara had to have been aware of Quill’s existence, even if she didn’t initially recognize that he wasn’t his father. Roara’s initial attempts to eliminate Quill after learning his identity were a little shrill (which is not an uncommon characterization of females on this show, regrettably), but she redeemed herself in the end when she saved Quill’s life and revealed the truth about his father before setting out on her own. That would have been a great way to end the episode.
…Instead, Quill and the Guardians burst in on J’Son’s intergalactic council meeting with evidence that he stole the Cosmic Seed from Asgard over 20 years ago. However, Thor declared war on Spartax before Quill could reveal that Loki stole the Cosmic Seed back from J’Son. This was an attempt to raise the stakes for the series, but Quill once again came off as an idiot for sparking an intergalactic war that could have been easily avoidable.
This show can get really frustrating, because it could have turned out so much better. And it still can get better! There are a lot of pieces in the series that could potentially come together and salvage the first season. Quill’s conflict with his dad has turned out to carry some dramatic bite, even with plot holes that you could fly the Milano through. The whole reason that J’Son sold Quill out to the Ravagers was to groom him as a thief and send him to steal the Cosmic Seed. But why did J’Son and Meredith program the Crypto Cube to respond only to Quill’s commands? It seems like there must have been an easier way to recapture the Cosmic Seed than to wait for Quill to take up the quest himself.
Next week’s episode will begin a multi-part storyline revolving around the war between Asgard and Spartax. If we’re lucky, the Guardians of the Galaxy creative team will deliver a story that deserves that spotlight. But we haven’t been very lucky this season. Not at all.
What did you think about this week’s Guardians of the Galaxy? Let us know in the comments section below!
Image Credits: Marvel TV/Disney XD