One of the more enjoyable aspects of the Guardians of the Galaxy animated series are infrequent detours in which it offers something that the movie didn’t. “Stuck in the Metal with You” set the stage for the Guardians’ trip to Spartax and a war with Asgard, neither of which are likely to ever happen in the live-action franchise.
While the mystery of Star-Lord’s (Will Friedle) father in the MCU is still being played up, Peter Quill’s refusal to go to Spartax suggested that he either already knows who his father is or he doesn’t want to know. That’s intriguing, but it was undercut once again by Quill’s childish antics on the Milano. It was much funnier to see Rocket (Trevor Devall) mock Drax the Destroyer’s (David Sobolov) constant vows of vengeance against Thanos. Considering that Thanos has only appeared in the pilot episode, this series has shown considerable restraint towards overusing him as a villain.
However, the team did get a very deadly reminder that Thanos is still after them and the Cosmic Seed when the Black Order made another appearance…and they actually took out most of the Guardians. Left unexplained was how the Black Order escaped from Nova Corps, but their security system must have been designed by whoever handles Arkham Asylum. This fight could have established the Black Order as formidable villains in their own right, if the episode hadn’t immediately jobbed them out to Rocket Raccoon in the Destroyer’s armor.
I wish this series would stop playing up the joke about Quill’s multiple ex-girlfriends. His banter with Supergiant (Hynden Walch) was just painfully unfunny. If there had been any laughs to come out of that, it wouldn’t be a problem. But this show’s writers handle comedy about as well as they handle subtlety.
Weirdly, the episode played up the Destroyer as if it was an Asgardian Iron Man suit, complete with the Iron Man style inside the helmet shots of Rocket controlling the armor. There were also hints that perhaps Quill’s father went on a quest for the Cosmic Seed before he encountered Odin and Thor. The temple that the Guardians found had a statue of Loki, and evidence of a truce between Asgard and Spartax. Of course, a truce implies that there was once a war.
The rest of the episode played up the idea that the Destroyer was corrupting Rocket by bringing his grievances up to the surface, as he attacked friend and foe alike with his new power armor. Cosmo (James Arnold Taylor) made his best appearance yet when he demonstrated just how powerful he is while attempting to subdue Rocket. For some reason, I love this talking dog and his cheesy Russian accent. Get him on the team already, show!
Another less satisfying conflict throughout the episode dealt with Drax’s apparent distaste at sharing the Destroyer moniker with the Asgardian armor. But some of the Drax vs. the Destroyer action sequences were really terrific, especially as Drax was demonstrably not a match for his namesake. It was the smaller moments that really had power, as Rocket was horrified by what the armor had done to his team and he seemed genuinely remorseful when he urged Drax to stop holding back.
Of course, the real villain of the episode turned out to be Loki, which was a nice change of pace. Robin Atkin Downes is no Tom Hiddleston, but his voice did have some of Loki’s trademark charm. Although Loki’s plan was a little nonsensical (it would have been a lot easier to attack the team earlier), it was still refreshing to see the Guardians fight someone far outside of their comfort zone. Loki even dropped a key piece of information that surprised Quill: Star-Lord is apparently Spartaxian royalty.
In a rare bit of effective teamwork, the Guardians managed to turn the tables on Loki and the Destroyer, before Loki inevitably escaped and monologued his evil plan to his sleeping father, Odin. That wasn’t a very strong writing choice, but it made it very clear that Asgard is going to play a bigger role going forward…especially after Loki convinces Thor that the Guardians attacked him.
Back on the Milano, Quill somberly agreed that they couldn’t avoid going to Spartax any longer, and Gamora seemed pleased that the team was finally on the same page. That would have been a nice note to end on, but the offscreen dialogue by the other Guardians suggested that they still have different agendas regarding their mission.
This was easily one of the best episodes of Guardians of the Galaxy, but that’s not a very high hill to climb. Most of the previous episodes were thoroughly mediocre at best. “Stuck in the Metal With You” had its problems, but it was still enjoyable to watch and it even had some exciting moments. The real test will be to see if the creative team uses this episode as a template for the remaining episodes of season 1.
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