Another day, another quest for the Cosmic Seed on the Guardians of the Galaxy animated series. It feels like these stories are already becoming repetitive after only eight episodes. This week, there was a slight change to the formula, as the series took us to someplace we haven’t seen in the movies: the Planet of the Symbiotes. Casual comic book movie fans should probably just think of it as Venom’s homeworld.
Although the team was together, Groot (Kevin Michael Richardson) felt the brunt of some verbal abuse from Rocket (Trevor Devall) after he tripped an alarm and a booby trap that set Rocket on fire. The team was really taking Groot for granted in this scene. Rocket also brought back the pocket dimensional vial that he took from the Collector, which someone has been using to vacuum the ship.
Peter Quill a.k.a. Star-Lord (Will Friedle) had some fun with the echos of the cavern until the team realized that it wasn’t an echo…it was the Symbiotes mimicking Quill’s voice. Ever the master of understatement, Drax said that the Symbiotes were attacking them.
Drax himself ended up getting possessed by the Symbiotes, which led to an amusing scene of Quill and Rocket burning the Symbiotes off and a cheerful Drax praising Rocket for knowing that fire wouldn’t have harmed him. Rocket clearly didn’t know, and it was funny to see him play that off. But on reflection, Rocket wrote off the possessed Drax really quickly, as he even told Groot that it wasn’t Drax anymore.
To make their escape, Quill brought the team over to an abandoned mine cart and basically alluded to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, leading Drax to declare that movies are a lie. Ha. The resulting mine cart chase was the highlight of the episode, even though it was really contrived for the mine cart to have a compatible speaker for Quill to blast Zhané’s “Groove Thang.” Along the way, Drax had another funny Drax moment when Gamora (Vanessa Marshall) told him to use the cart’s brake, so he “broke it” for her. Drax also cut off Groot’s left arm after a Symbiote latched on it.
Outside, the Guardians were confronted by Yondu (James Arnold Taylor) and the Ravagers…and Yondu’s shtick is really getting old as he was once again working for Korath and holding the whole “not letting Quill get eaten by his crew” thing over his head again. That joke was funny in the movie once or twice. It’s lost its effectiveness now.
The arrival of the Symbiotes forced the Guardians to actually defend the Ravagers, and one of the Symbiotes even had Groot’s arm before Rocket sucked them into his pocket dimension vial. Wait… why was Quill’s underwear in the pocket dimension? That’s just gross. Anyway, the Guardians left a very pissed Yondu behind, but a Symbiote stowed away on their ship. Once safely on the Milano, Quill and Gamora came to the conclusion that the Cosmic Seed must have evolved the Symbiotes to become more aggressive and less afraid of fire.
Once again, the show had a very funny visual of Groot with his baby left arm objecting to Drax’s declaration that they were unharmed by the Symbiotes. Rocket even forced Groot to clean the ship…while Drax cooked for the team?! We got to see the Destroyer in the kitchen before falling prey to the stowaway Symbiote. Likewise, Gamora was also taken out by the Symbiote after discovering that the ship had been locked into a course to Hala, the Kree homeworld.
As Quill discovered that both Drax and Gamora had been cocooned, Rocket was confronted by a Symbiote-possessed Groot, who echoed Rocket’s unkind words back at him before the Symbiote actually evolved to the point of monologuing its plans for expansion in the universe. There was a nice moment when Rocket told Quill that he couldn’t stop and think about what his makeshift anti-Symbiote weapon would do to Groot…and it ultimately destroyed Groot with the Symbiote. For once, there was nothing left of Groot but a pile of ashes.
The show just narrowly missed what could have been a great emotional scene because of the pacing. It literally just needed a few more moments of Rocket mourning his friend, and Quill not being a dick about it (for once) before Quill realized that Groot could live again if they retrieved Groot’s arm from the Symbiote in the pocket dimension. But Rocket insisted upon going himself.
It has to be said that the animation inside of the pocket dimension was really well done as Rocket proceeded to kick Symbiote ass. Outside, the Milano was captured by the Ravagers’ ship and Quill got knocked out by Yondu, which made him miss his first chance to free Rocket after he retrieved Groot’s arm. Meanwhile, Drax and Gamora escaped from the cocoons by themselves…with no adverse effects? They weren’t even possessed by Symbiotes? Then what was the point of that?!
The last really funny moment of the episode came when Quill tricked Yondu into opening the pocket dimension to let Rocket out, and Yondu expressed shock that Quill kept his “pet” in there. Rocket’s anger at that line was tempered by the escape of the remaining Symbiotes, which forced both the Ravagers and the Guardians to flee the Ravagers’ ship.
Yondu vowed vengeance against Quill for this disaster, which would be a nice change of pace if he really meant it. Rocket also revealed that the wrench he had thrown to Yondu earlier in the episode had a hidden explosive, which allowed them to blow up the ship and the Symbiotes. However, the show completely glossed over the fact that Rocket seemed to have planned that contingency as a way to kill the Ravagers…presumably if he had to. But still, that’s pretty dark.
Later, the Guardians gather around Groot’s arm, which now had his face as his body slowly formed again. Rocket apologized to Groot and he even took on Groot’s cleaning duties. It was almost a good moment, but it was undercut by Quill’s bad joke the end. The writers of this show really need to figure out that the ending would have been fine without that cheap attempt to go out on a laugh.
There were definitely some good scenes in the episode, but on the whole, I wasn’t that enamored with it. Branching out beyond the MCU’s previously established threats and dealing with the Symbiotes was a step in the right direction. But Yondu and the Ravagers were completely unnecessary and one dimensional. The interactions between the Guardians were strong in this episode, but it still feels like the series has absolutely no trust in its audience to appreciate any subtle nuances. Guardians of the Galaxy has so much potential, it’s just not living up to it yet.
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