This week, the Guardians of the Galaxy animated series finally got to deal with Star-Lord’s lineage as the team went to Spartax and they soon found themselves on the run as fugitives. It was an inspired bit when the incoming aliens (and the Guardians) had to deal with a crowd straight from the airport of your nightmares. It was also quite funny when Drax declared that the purpose of his visit to Spartax was “vengeance,” and yet that didn’t raise an eye from the Spartaxian customs agent. Perhaps it’s a common reason to visit that world.
Because Peter Quill (Will Friedle) is ever the man-child, he impatiently left his team behind to be prodded and provoked by the customs agents. Of course, that led to an inevitable escalation of hostilities, thanks in large part to Rocket (Trevor Devall) and a particularly dickish agent. It was very clever for Rocket to use the pocket dimension storage device on his team to get them out of a tight spot. So clever that it should probably be one of the team’s regular tactics, but their reaction to a few minutes in the device probably means it was one-shot deal.
Meanwhile, Quill ran into Mantis (Jennifer Hale), one of my favorite Guardians from Marvel’s comic book universe. The show even used a costume design for Mantis that was pretty true to her roots, but she was disappointingly one-note in her initial appearance. It would be nice if this show had any desire to give its characters any meaningful development. Mantis was instantly taken by Quill and she assumed that he was the Star-lord of her prophecy. From that point on, Mantis just wouldn’t stop talking about belief, and almost every character started to ignore her.
Quill being Quill, he quickly got captured by Spartaxian security forces and accused of stealing his signature weapon, which belongs only to Spartaxian royalty. Given how Rocket (and probably everyone else on the team) figured out the reason before Quill did suggests that Star-Lord really is as stupid as he appears to be.
But first, the team had to find Quill and escape arrest; which led to the absolutely hilarious visual of the Guardians in disguise. Hipster Drax with a head full of hair and a shirt was priceless. Those rare moments when the show is genuinely funny give me hope that it can someday be more consistent than it is now.
Mantis quickly met the Guardians and agreed to help them find “the Star-Lord.” That led to a series of elemental tests to get past the maze leading into the royal palace, J’son. Each of the Guardians got a moment to shine, and this was one of the more entertaining parts of the episode.
By the time that the Guardians and Mantis found Quill, he was already down to his boxers and attempting his own ill-considered jailbreak. On their way out, Quill found that the castle and everything in it obeyed his commands. No one pointed out the obvious reason until later in the episode, when Quill came face-to-face with his dad, J’son. Casting Jonathan Frakes in this role was a really good move, as he made J’son’s first scene with Quill more than just an exposition dump. Mantis used the moment to try to assassinate J’son, but she was foiled by Quill. Weirdly, the scene suggested that Mantis was just using Quill and the Guardians to get to J’son, but it didn’t match her portrayal up to that point.
J’son seemed pretty reasonable after his reunion with Quill, and he even revealed that “Star-Lord” is the title given to Spartaxian princes. In an oddly mean spirited ending, Quill and the other Guardians used his newfound status as royalty to get back at the customs agents who briefly turned them into fugitives. I get the feeling that was meant to be funny, but it just seemed vindictive.
There’s another problem on the horizon for the team, as J’son was revealed to be in league with Thanos (Isaac Singleton Jr.) and all too willing to sacrifice his son if it meant that the Cosmic Seed could be found. It’s quite early to be revealing J’son is secretly evil, as he was barely onscreen in this episode. But there is a lot of potential conflict between J’son and his son, especially once Quill realizes that he should have probably let Mantis finish off his father.
This episode wasn’t quite as good as last week’s, but it’s refreshing to see Guardians of the Galaxy embrace a more serialized format. This was quite literally the beginning of the second half of the show’s first season. There have been a lot of rough episodes along the way, and not all of them good. In fact, there’s been a remarkably low percentage of “good” episodes up to this point. Hopefully those days are over.
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