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Author Topic: SWAT Kats #2: The Giant Bacteria  (Read 7460 times)
Kooshmeister
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« on: July 05, 2007, 06:46:48 PM »

Yay, another SWAT Kats review! This time it's, obviously, the second episode of the show. "The Giant Bacteria" was the first episode of the show I ever saw, and is what got me hooked on the series so long ago. And speaking of firsts, it was also the first episode of the show that Hanna-Barbera produced, and was also the first of roughly five or six episodes that creators Christian and Yvon Tremblay provided the story for. In fact, the premise of "The Giant Bacteria" is what they used to sell the show to Hanna-Barbera. Despite being the first one made, it was the second one aired, and although there's a variety of possibilities for this, I'm unsure why.

"The Giant Bacteria" is an episode that is both better and worse than the preceding one, depending on how you look at it. The story, simplistic though it is, doesn't have as many plot holes as "The Pastmaster Always Rings Twice", and actually does a somewhat better job of introducing the main characters and key elements of the show then the "pilot" did. Unfortunately, the animation is complete and utter crap compared to that of "The Pastmaster Always Rings Twice", done by a Korean company whose name was, I believe, Hanho-Heung-Up or something like that. It also happens to be, to many, the series' most dark and horrific episode and, in truth, part of it it actually scared the living daylights out of me the first time I saw it back in 1993.

On with the recap!

This episode starts off with a bang. Literally. A bayside oil refinery goes kablooey, and we quickly see that it was apparently bombed as a nondescript purple fighter jet comes zooming through the huge column of smoke. It flies off across the bay towards the city (the refinery appears to be on a small penninsula across the bay from Megakat City) with a trio of Enforcer choppers in hot pursuit. How helicopters can keep up with a jet is beyond me, and this is one of the series' silliest moments. Later episodes establish that the Enforcers do have fighter jets of their own, so why they didn't have them use them here is beyond me, but I'll go out on a limb and say it's because, since this was the first episode written and produced, they hadn't yet decided to give the Enforcers aircraft comparable to the Turbokat. Anyway, these three choppers chase the bad guy off across the bay, and the SWAT Kats hurriedly join the pursuit in the Turbokat.

Evidently, this guy has been at this for a while, as T-Bone comments, "Does that crazy megalo think he can blow up every refinery in Megakat City?" Razor responds that it looks like he's doing a good job, so far, and I'm inclined to agree with him. He's already completely annihilated one with both the SWAT Kats and the Enforcers completely helpless to stop him. Ahead, those three choppers are doing such a good job of keeping up that the villain's jet (we don't know who is in the pilot's seat yet) turns around and flies straight at them and proceeds to dispose of them by shooting them down with missiles. Oddly, he does this using only two missiles, although it appears as if the third chopper is taken out by one of the other two exploding right alongside it, since they're flying in a pretty tight formation. The jet then resumes its original course. T-Bone, observing, says, "He shredded those Enforcer choppers like an old scratchin' post!" and decides that only the SWAT Kats can bring this crazed bomber down!

They hurriedly gain on the other pilot, and now they're suddenly flying directly over the city. Razor gets a lock on the other jet, and fires an Octopus Missile (which, if you didn't read the previous review, look like regular missiles until their tips pop apart into a little eight-armed claw). The missile closes on the other jet, which doesn't make any move that indicates its pilot even knows he's about to be hit, prompting T-Bone to wryly go, "Sucker doesn't even see it comin'." Suddenly, at the last second, the villain banks out of the way and lets the missile slam into a random building. That's twice so far the Octopus Missiles have been a complete failure; its track record so far isn't very good.

By the way up until this point, both SWAT Kats have been wearing their oxygen masks, one of the few times in the series they do so. T-Bone rips his off in surprise, demanding to know how "Sure Shot" Razor missed. Equally taken aback, Razor, removing his own breathing mask, cries, "That guy must have eyes in the back of his head!" as T-Bone flips the Turbokat over upside-down for some reason.



We cut ahead to the other jet and get our first look at the bad guy flying it. His name, we'll soon learn, is Morbulus (voiced by Jim Cummings). He's a fairly big, beefy cat with a neatly-trimmed beard, and he turns his head to look back at his pursuers, revealing....a second pair of eyes in the back of his head! He's even wearing flight goggles with two more lenses in the back for his extra eyes. Of course, this brings up an interesting problem. If he has eyes in the back of his head and can therefore see what's behind him, why must he turn his head to look back at the SWAT Kats? It's a fun reveal of the extra eyes until one realizes that they would negate the need for him to look over his shoulder. This character was, also, originally going to be named "Occulus," a name that would actually make more sense given his, er, "power." But after they discovered there was already a Marvel villain with that name, they had to change it. He's also notable for being the first of only two characters in this show to actually have slits for pupils (in all four eyes), most of the time anyway.



The upside-down Turbokat moves over Morbulus' jet so that they're cockpit-to-cockpit. T-Bone and Razor look down at Morbulus while Morbulus looks up at them, with his rear set of eyes no less. "Whoa! He does have eyes in the back of his head!" cries Razor. T-Bone, unimpressed, tells Razor that this is still no excuse for him missing, as Morbulus yells up at them "You'll have to do better than that, SWAT Kats, to catch Morbulus! Or.....die trying!" Laughing evilly, he zooms off between two buildings. T-Bone (in the now all of a sudden rightside-up Turbokat) smirks and says "Four-Eyes" wants to play "canyon tag," and follows Morbulus as he flies down into the city and zooms under a bridge.

After a brief chase through Megakat City, both jets come out of the buildings and fly, um, back over the bay again. The city's placement and layout is a little difficult to determine. Anyway, Mobulus is making a beeline straight for "the Megakat Refinery," one of the oil refineries he hasn't destroyed yet. Razor suddenly tells T-Bone to fly into a cloud bank, saying he's got an idea. T-Bone complies, grumbling, "I hope it's better than your aim." Jeez, give the guy a break, T-Bone! The fact the villain has eyes in the back of his head should immediately render Razor blameless for missing him.
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Kooshmeister
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« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2007, 12:09:55 AM »

Morbulus' jet moves over the refinery. Snickering evilly, he goes, "Scratch one more refinery!" and pulls a lever, causing the bomb bay doors of his jet to open up. A bomb is then lowered down, but for some reason he doesn't immediately drop it. This buys the SWAT Kats enough time to stop him, of course, as T-Bone, having used the cloud bank as cover, flies the Turbokat up underneath the other jet, where, presumably, Morbulus can't see them. "Let's see if this guy has eyes under his head," Razor says, then presses a button. We see a display marked "Cookie-Cutter," and a missile is then launched from the top of the Turbokat.

This is, easily, the episode's dumbest moment. The Cookie-Cutter Missile is an insanely contrived missile whose tip pops off to allow a big cutting metal circle to unfold. It somehow attaches itself to the bottom of Morbulus' jet (what is holding it on?). The circle then spins around rapidly, and then the missile falls away, pulling with it the section of the cockpit to which Morbulus' seat is attached....with Morblus still sitting in it and holding the steering mechanism! He plummets, and, rather than let him fall to his death, the SWAT Kats grab him out of the air using the Sky Claw, a big claw-like mechanism on the end of a cable that comes out of the bottom of the Turbokat. He also somehow comes unbuckled from his seat during freefall, and the seat, cockpit section, and Cookie-Cutter Missile continue falling down to earth. His pilotless jet, meanwhile, spirals out of control and lands in the bay.

Now hopefully I don't to explain why him getting cut right out of his jet is so silly, but I also wanna add that when the Sky Claw snags him (by the collar of his flight suit!) it stops his fall so suddenly that it should've killed him! Except for one other moment later on in the episode "Night of the Dark Kat" involving a surprisingly non-fatal bazooka blast, this is the most ridiculously cartoonish moment in the entire series.



And it just gets worse. Now that they've got Morbulus, they have to decide what to do with him. They can, as T-Bone puts it, "Dunk or deliver." "Dunk" meaning drop him into the water (from a lower altitude) just for the hell of it, and "deliver" of course meaning holding onto him and handing him over to the Enforcers. Guess which one they pick. Yup. Both T-Bone and Razor give a unanimous thumbs-down and say "Dunk!" and then the Sky Claw releases Morbulus who falls a short distance and splashes into the bay. And even though he lands feet-first, they call it a "Mega bellyflop!" Then, figuring the Enforcers can handle things from here, they fly off and head home.

No sooner have they left than another Enforcer chopper flies onto the scene. Morbulus, or what appears to be Morbulus, is floating face-down in the water, apparently having drowned. A little crane extends from the side of the chopper and fishes the waterlogged villain out using a hook on the end of a cable than snags him by the back of his suit. Um, this sounds like a rather needlessly dangerous way to fish somebody out of the water, but what do I know?

The chopper flies over to the shore near the refinery and sets him down just as Deputy Mayor Callie Briggs drive up in her green civilian car. She gets out and comes over, kneeling down alongside Morbulus' body to check his vitals. The chopper lands nearby and disgorges Commander Feral who runs over and tells her to keep away from him, as he could still be dangerous. "Yes, he could be," Callie responds, "if he was here!" She then pulls off Morbulus' helmet to reveal it's just his empty clothes! What?!

There's a couple of problems with this whole part of the episode that drive me batty. For starters, there's no way that Morbulus could've gotten out of his clothes so quickly in the time shown, much less put them all back together so as to make it look like he's still in them. Secondly, and a lot more frustrating for me, is that Callie for some unfathomable reason blames Feral for Morbulus' escape. Look, lady, Commander Feral got there when he could. If the SWAT Kats had held onto the guy and waited to turn him over to the Enforcers instead of dunking him for their own personal amusement, he'd be on his way to jail right now. What's even more maddening, is that Feral actually tells her this, but she ignores him completely!!!

At this point, a white limousine drives up followed by a couple of TV news vans (one marked "Kat's Eye News," the other "Inside Megakat City"). They stop and the chauffeur gets out and opens the back door of the limo, and who should emerge but Mayor Manx. From both vans comes a mob of reporters, who surrounded the Mayor, who doesn't look at all uncomfortable in front of the TV cameras. One reporter, Ann Gora (Candi Milo), asks Manx is the "Refinery Reign of Terror" is over. Ann is a minor character here but she becomes more important later on in the series. Annoyingly, we aren't told at all here precisely why Morbulus was blowing up oil refineries.

Manx assures them that the bad guy's been caught, thoroughly embarrassing himself when Callie steps in and tells him that Morbulus got away. The reporters then turn their attention to Commander Feral, asking him to set the record straight. Feral says that "despite our valiant efforts, the villain known as Morbulus managed to escape, although we believe he may have drowned in the bay."



We're immediately shown that this is not the case. Further down the beach, Morbulus comes ashore wearing nothing but a wifebeater and purple (!) boxer shorts. Not looking wet in the least, he climbs up into a big drain pipe that's emptying sewage into the bay. "No way I'm gonna rot in some Megakat City prison," he sneers. Suddenly, a pair of glowing yellow eyes appear inside the drain pipe behind him. He flinches fearfully as a spooky voice says that he can find other uses for the defeated villain. Uh-oh....
« Last Edit: July 06, 2007, 12:14:23 AM by Kooshmeister » Logged
Kooshmeister
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« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2007, 05:53:36 PM »

We then wipe to the Megakat City Salvage Yard, with the Turbokat approaching. T-Bone uses a remote control the looks for all the world like a garage door opener to open the entrance to the secret tunnel that leads into/out of their underground hangar (which they'd used previously in "The Pastmaster Always Rings Twice"). The remote seems kind of silly, especially to use when flying directly towards the tunnel entrance. What if it didn't work, or delayed, like practically every garage door in the history of garage doors? It'd be morbidly amusing to have the Turbokat slam into the door and blow up. But, alas, they make it in safely.



Once inside, they exit the jet and remove their masks, and we get our first look at their alter-egoes, Chance Furlong (T-Bone) and Jake Clawson (Razor). Unlike most other characters in the show, they have only "headfur" as opposed to actual hair, and, in fact, their character designs are startlingly simplistic compared to most of the other characters like, say, Callie and Commander Feral. Once unmasked, they do a bit of congratulating one another ("Nice flyin'!" "Nice shootin'!") and I swear that Chance actually winks at Jake here. Hmm, the upcoming scene where Chance flirts with Callie notwithstanding, it's not difficult to see why these two are popular with furry slash fans.

Chance grabs a rubber stamp and goes over to a wall covered in skull-and-crossbones marks, obviously a record of their victories. This is confirmed when Chance stamps another one on and goes, "Chalk up another for the SWAT Kats!" They then change out of their SWAT Kat flight suits and change into the outfits they wear for their day jobs as mechanics/junkyard maintainers, which consist of bluish jumpsuits and backwards red baseball caps. Yes, mechanics. I know I'm only one episode away from the one that actually explains how the SWAT Kats came to be, but what the hell. As I noted previously, Chance and Jake are former Enforcers. They were indirectly responsible for the destruction of Enforcer Headquarters whilst in pursuit of criminal mastermind Dark Kat, and when they mouthed off to Feral about it he kicked them out of the Enforcers. Since then, they've been working as mechanics in the city salvage yard, with, yes, a secret hangar/base underneath the salvage yard where they store the Turbokat and all their SWAT Kat stuff. I'll go into more exact details about this in the next review.

Anyway, Chance says the "Fun's over," and then he and Jake climb up a ladder to the surface, with Jake mumbling, "Back to the greasepit." Precisely where on the premesis this ladder comes out at is never revealed in the show. Once upstairs in the garage, which also serves as their home, Chance grabs a couple of cans from the fridge of what appear to be beer at first but it's actually milk. Hey, they are cats after all. Tossing one over to Jake, he tells him to turn on the TV to see if their latest adventure made the news. Jake, popping his can open with his claws, turns the TV on to find an angry-looking Commander Feral being interviewed by one of the reporters from before. Apparently, the volume isn't turned up, because we can't hear what they're saying. A word about the guy interviewing Feral. He's a short, orange-haired guy witha polka-dotted necktie, and is never seen again after this episode. In all future episodes, anything involving the news or a reporter is generally handled by Ann Gora.

Chance comments that Feral "looks like he hasn't hit the litterbox in a week," (ah, yes, scatological references in a kid's show) and tells Jake to turn the volume up. He complies, and we hear the reporter ask Feral whether or not he's got Morbulus in custody. Shoving the guy aside (!!), Feral holds up Morbulus' empty clothes and declares, "Due to the interferance of the SWAT Kats, this is all we have of Morbulus at the moment." Chance and Jake are so shocked by this that they actually spit their milk out (even though they were never actually shown taking a drink), and Feral says, "No one asked for their help and they allowed a dangerous criminal to escape!" So, I guess Feral changed his mind about the guy drowning after they didn't find a body, or something. Either he drowned or he got away, make up your mind, Feral.

He then goes off on a tangent about what a menace the SWAT Kats are, etc., prompting Chance to throw his milk can at the TV screen, breaking it (the TV, not the milk can). Okay, I dunno about anybody else but so far I can't say I find Chance/T-Bone to be that good of a role model. He's short-tempered, not to mention in denial, as he claims, loudly (to Jake) that they "practically handed Feral a gift package!" Um, no, stupid, you dropped the guy in the water and gave him the opportunity he needed to escape. And this isn't the last time that the show will deliberately (?) dance around the SWAT Kats' screwups so that they remain, supposedly, completely blameless.

Jake tosses the now useless remote away as smoke pours from the busted television screen, saying, "Aw, great. Morbulus is gone, and so's our TV!" At this point, Callie Briggs pulls into the garage in her dark green sedan. We immediately notice two things here: one, that her car is making weird noises, and two, that, thanks to an animation screwup, she's driving on the wrong side (the right-hand side, like one would in the UK, when at all other times in the show the steering wheel is on the left-hand side of the cars in this show).  Getting out, she tells the two mechanics that "this crate pinged all the way from Megakat Bay."

Yes, it seems that, in addition to being the SWAT Kats' civilian contact, Callie also knows their alter-egoes. And due to the fact that this would raise way too many questions about whether or not she knows Chance and Jake are really the SWAT Kats, this is the only time we see her interact with them in this fashion (and only one other episode, "Night of the Dark Kat," even so much as aludes to their aquaintance).



Chance removes his hat, fixes his hair.... and then puts the hat back on before approaching Callie and asking her what she was doing "way out there." In a decidedly flirtatious fashion, too. Callie simply relays the day's events, gesturing broadly while describing the aerial battle, saying the SWAT Kats "shot down Morbulus," which they didn't, then contradicting herself by saying they "tore him right out of his plane. All the while, Chance is feigning ignorance of all this, and doing a really crummy job, too. On purpose, maybe? Jake, now taking the busted TV apart nearby in an apparent attempt to fix it, chimes in with, "Yeah, so we heard....when we had a TV," making Chance's acting like he didn't know about the whole Morbulus issue in front of Callie all the more mystifying. Oh, and yes, Callie does once again blame Commander Feral for Morbulus' escape.

The subject changes to Callie's car, and she asks when it'll be fixed. She hands Chance the keys, and he promptly (not to mention carelessly) tosses them to Jake without even looking. Luckily Jake manages to catch them. Chance says, "Jake'll start on it right away," offering her "some milk" while she waits. Callie however has to return to town, since she has to help Mayor Manx write a speech for the grand opening of a new city park that's going to take place tomorrow. I smell a plot point! Chance offers to drive her in the tow truck (the only vehicle that he and Jake seem to have between them), but Callie shoots that idea down when she reveals that there's a limo waiting for her outside. She thanks him anyway and departs, and we see the white limo from the refinery sitting out front, the chauffeur holding the door open for Callie (and saluting for some reason).

When she's gone, Chance turns to Jake, now back to dismantling the TV (in fact he's got his head clean through it, having removed both the shattered screen and the back panel), and says that Callie is "crazy about me." As though she overheard (and she probably did, but I'm not sure how since she was already halfway to the limo), Callie pokes her head back in and seductively says good-bye to Jake, then leaves for real, leaving a smiling Jake and an open-mouthed, flabbergasted Chance. Haha.

We then cut to the swamps outside the city, which is filled with lots of big, twisted dead trees. One of these trees in particular is so large that its hollowed-out trunk contains a makeshift laboratory of some sort. Here is where we find Morbulus, hilariously still in his underpants, with Dr. Viper (Frank Welker! Yay!). Viper is a green cat who just happens to be part snake, wearing a lab coat that appears to be about three sizes too big for him. His origins aren't dwelt on in this episode, so we're left to wonder why he's half snake. At any rate, Morbulus calls him "legendary," so he's clearly been around long enough to have earned a reputation.



Morbulus is impressed with Viper's fully-stocked secret lab, saying, "Looks like you've got everything a mad scientist needs, right here." Oddly, Viper isn't insulted by being called a mad scientist, and although his lab is "quite an eyeful," Viper is still missing one thing. Specifically, a "rare biochemical compound" called Katalyst 99. Morbulus, suddenly holding a flask, offers to help him acquire it. Viper snatches the flask back from him in a cute bit, and says that they "see eye to eye." Argh, enough with the eye puns! Speaking of which, Morbulus is shown from the side here, and while his front eyes blink, his rear ones don't. Huh.

However, Katalyst 99 can only be found in Megakat Biochemical Labs. Morbulus says Viper's out of his mind. "That building's impenetrable!" "Up until now," Viper says. Uh-oh. This doesn't bode well for Morbulus. And what happens next is the scene I mentioned before that scared the crap out of me when I was a kid. Using an eyedropper, Viper draws some purplish liquid from a petri dish and puts a drop of it onto Morbulus' arm. The liquid fizzes up and spreads over his arm and onto the rest of his body, covering him completely before long. It's a little difficult to determine precisely what's happening to him initially, but he appears to be turning into the purple stuff rather than it consuming him or something like that.



Although pretty tame by today's standards, this bit is still pretty unsettling, because every bit of Morbulus' transformation is shown in detail (they even show the eyes on the back of his head moving up to the front), and they seem to go out of their way to make it clear how painful it is by having him yell and scream a lot. Viper gleefully declares that Morbulus, now just a big fizzing purple mass, will be a "living test tube" for his "new bacteria strain," and he has big plans for him, saying that with Katalyst 99, he'll have "the power to destroy Megakat City!" The scene then ends with one final gurgling scream from Morbulus. Ugh, that was just way over the top and so not needed....
« Last Edit: July 06, 2007, 06:01:42 PM by Kooshmeister » Logged
akiratubo
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« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2007, 07:22:37 PM »

Small | Large


There was a screencap in the last one where you could see this, too.  WHAT'S HOLDING UP HER GLASSES?????  Would it have been too hard to draw the arms curving up and behind her ears?
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Kooshmeister
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« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2007, 09:31:37 PM »

Oh, that? After everything else that's transpired in this episode and the one before it, that's what you find weird? Sheesh!  TongueOut

All other characters who wear glasses in the show have the arms going under their ears rather than over them (except Mayor Manx whose glasses are the armless kind that pinch the bridge of the nose). And no, I have no idea what's holding them up up. Anyway because she's not the only bespectacled character I didn't think it worth mentioning, but I probably should've mentioned it someplace.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2007, 09:34:48 PM by Kooshmeister » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2007, 02:11:57 AM »

After that gruesome scene ends we go to a commercial, and upon returning join Chance and Jake working on Callie's car in their garage in what is (I guess) supposed to be the early morning. We never learn what the problem was, but we do find out that Chance has installed "turbo plugs" in the engine, something Jake advises him against, fearing he'll "blow the engine." Apparently the turboplugs increase horsepower in the engine, as Chance's reasoning is that, "in case of an emergency," Callie could use it. Jake reiterates the "You'll blow the engine" arguement, but Chance doesn't listen. Climbing behind the wheel, he starts the car up, saying that since he's a pilot he knows what an engine can handle. He revs the engine, saying it "purrs like a kitten" and "growls like a tiger."

Suddenly, there's an explosion and smoke starts pouring from the engine. "Blows like a volcano," Jake quips, his face all blackened and burnt, as he'd been leaning over it at the time. Why? I dunno, but considering that seconds later he's holding a burnt turboplug I guess he was trying, too late, to remove them. He then wonders aloud what they're going to tell Callie, and Chance assures him that he'll "think of somethin'." Truly these guys are master mechanics.



It's here that our heroes get a most unwelcome visit from Burke and Murray, the other two guys who work at the salvage yard. Their job seems to consist of delivering scrap and making Chance and Jake's lives miserable. Burke (Mark Hamill!) is a big, fat guy with a stocking cap pulled down over his eyes, whilst Murray (Charlie Adler again) is a lot smaller (he's the shortest character in the series, next to the Pastmaster) and, interestingly, has one really huge eye and one little eye. Although never actually stated, they're supposed to be brothers according to some old, long-forgotten promotional material for the series, and I gotta admit they do look a little alike. There's some time-wasting nonsense with the brothers mocking Chance and Jake and Chance signing some delivery form that Murray hands him, snapping in half a pencil in annoyance, before Murray says they'll "tell Feral you sent your looooove!" and then he and Burke speed off laughing like hyenas. This seems to imply that they're like Chance and Jake's babysitters or something but this subplot never really panned out, and Burke and Murray actually disappear from the series altogether before long, but I'll talk a little more about that in the next episode.

After they've gone, Chance mocks them right back by mimicking Murray's voice (something he is, not surprisingly, skilled at considering both characters are voiced by Charlie Adler). He and Jake then start digging around through the pile of scrap for anything useful, and Chance finds what appears to be a perfectly good engine (which he lifts up with impossible ease), saying it can replace the one in Callie's car he just destroyed. How fortunate! And speaking of stuff Chance has destroyed, Jake even finds a working TV to replace the old one.

Cut to a farm on the outskirts of the city. There's lots of cows, one of whom is grazing all by herself over by the barn when suddenly a shadow falls over her and she moos in fear. Something big and purple steps up to her, and then we pan over to see the shadow of the monster lunge forwards and gobble up the shadow of the cow in one huge bite. Unsurprisingly, the cow doesn't go quietly, and a farmer comes out of the barn with a pitchfork in hand, demanding to know what all the noise is about. As he rounds the corner he reacts, wide-eyed, to the offscreen beastie and suddenly we cut to an extreme closeup of the episode's title monster slurping up the cow's tail like a noodle.



Dr. Viper appears at this point and we get our first look at the full body of the so-called "giant bacteria." It would be unfair to call it a "blob" since it's got a definite body shape with a torso, arms, legs, and a head; it is however composed entirely of purple slime. It doesn't really look much like a germ, though, as you can imagine. It's main characteristics are the fact it has four eyes lined up in a row on the front of its face (remember when I said the eyes on the back of Morbulus' head moved up front during his mutation?), and, curiously enough, a big, grinning mouth. Boy, that's one happy monster. I just wanna say, though, that the final version of the monster doesn't look all that different from how Morbulus looked in the previous scene when he was still only partially transformed, so why they did this big dramatic reveal of it and only showed it in shadow until the farmer spots it is beyond me.

Speaking of the farmer, if you're wondering what happened to him, you're not alone. He just disappears. Did he get eaten, too, or did he run away? The cut from the bacteria monster slurping up the cow's tail to Viper is too quick for anything to have happened to him, really. That's some sloppy editing. Anyway, Viper motions for the monster to follow him and they head across the street and into a big drain pipe in the direction of Megakat City in the distance.

Cut to the city. Callie and Mayor Manx are attending, nay, hosting, the grand opening of the new Manx Municipal Park. The Mayor is finishing his speech to a pitifully small crowd of reporters, the same group from the beginning of the episode in fact (once again, including Ann Gora) and we see there's some huge shape underneath a white sheet with a ribbon tied around it. Callie hands Manx some gold scissors, which he cuts the ribbon with. The white sheet falls away to reveal... a big statue of Mayor Manx. Wow, modest, ain't he? There's lighthearted applause as we cut back to Chance and Jake in their garage, working on the new engine. They're watching the Kat's Eye News coverage of the event on their new TV. Seeing Callie onscreen, Chance swoons that she "sure is pretty." "Yeah," admits Jake, "but she'll be pretty mad if we don't get her car running!"

They resume their work, and then we cut to Ann Gora saying, "From the new Manx Municipal Park, this is Ann Gora for Kat's Eye News." Is she finishing a report or beginning one? It doesn't matter because the bacteria monster crashes the party, emerging through a nearby manhole. In another bit of bad editing normally reserved only for live-action fare, Ann reacts to the monster before it actually even appears. She tells her cameraman to "get a shot of that!" and then runs off. Seeing the monster, Mayor Manx shrieks, "It's every cat for himself!" and he and Callie run for his limousine nearby. They get in and Callie gets behind the wheel (there's no sign of the driver, so I'm assuming he took off). Meanwhile, Ann's cameraman continues filming the approaching monster, and there's a nice bit where the critter is reflected in the lens of his camera. He proceeds to lower the camera, gasp in fear, then....resume filming while backing up. We then cut away from him and he's never seen again (in this episode or in the entire series; Ann has a different cameraman in the next episode).

Callie turns the key in the ignition some lame "suspense" as the engine won't start, the bacteria monster stomping closer and closer. When the thing is less than five feet away from the car, Callie screams. Somehow, Chance and Jake hear her in their garage. Ugh, you'd think the constant roaring of the monster would've been heard through the TV, too. Gratifyingly though, they're rewarded for their inattentiveness by smacking their heads on the hood of Callie's car as they jump up in surprise at hearing her scream.



Callie finally gets the limo started and floors it, driving right at the monster. And right through it, too. The impact causes the creature to explode apart into two big piles of goop. For some reason, Callie does not keep driving but stops the limo, and then the two "piles" quickly reform into two wholly new monsters! The eyes are divided between them, so both new bacteria monsters have two eyes apiece now. Rather than, like, driving away, Callie and Manx just sit there as the monsters turn and start towards the limo.

Deciding they've seen enough, Chance and Jake give a unanimous cry of "Let's hit it!" and then they're T-Bone and Razor again, running and jumping into the Turbokat and flying off to the rescue. 'Cause lord knows, Callie and Manx are too stupid to save themselves....
« Last Edit: July 09, 2007, 02:13:56 AM by Kooshmeister » Logged
Kooshmeister
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« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2007, 05:01:44 AM »

Well, okay, maybe not, because when we cut back to the park we find Callie pulling a whimpering Manx from the limo as the two bacteria monsters approach. However I still don't get why they don't simply drive away. They've had more than enough time up until now. It becomes a moot point, though, when the two germs begin eating the limo, starting at the rear end and working their way to the front. They get out in time and run off, as an Enforcer chopper arrives and drops a rescue ladder. Callie reaches it first, but Manx knocks her aside and climbs up himself in a wild panic. There's no shortage of admirable characters on this show, is there?

For some reason the chopper begins to fly off without waiting for her to get on, too, as one of the bacteria monsters approaches, but Callie manages to grab the bottom rung of the ladder and is pulled safely out of the monster's reach, but barely. She and Manx climb safely into the chopper, to find Commander Feral in the co-pilot's seat, a generic Enforcer flying the craft. He assures them that they needn't worry, because "The Enforcers are here now!" "So are the SWAT Kats!" Callie cries, pointing. Feral looks less than pleased as the SWAT Kats theme music kicks in and the Turbokat flies onto the scene. There's some commentary from our heroes about whether Callie is really "safe," since apparently Feral is a really bad pilot (nevermind that he's in the co-pilot's seat, but then how could they know that?). Feral gets on the radio and tells them to back off and let him handle the situation, then tells his pilot to fire on the monsters.

He is advised against this by the SWAT Kats, with Razor warning, "We saw what happened when Callie hit it!" Yeah, and so did anyone else who was watching the news, presumably including Feral which is why he's here in the first place I should think, so why Feral insists on blowing them off the way he does and firing on the monster anyway (surprise, surprise!) is beyond me. He's usually not this dumb. Anyway, Feral asserts his authority and targets one of the monsters, and tells his pilot to fire (wait, why is he targetting but the pilot is the one firing?). A missile flies at the giant germ and hits it dead center in the face, creating a big explosion. When the smoke clears, the single monster has now become two, each with one eye. They, and the remaining two-eyed beastie, turn and lumber out of the park as Dr. Viper pops up from the sewer in a throwaway bit just to remind us there's a mad scientist in the story, snickering about how "those fools" have given him "three ways into Megakat Labs." By the way, it was difficult to tell in the earlier scenes because they were pretty dark and his hair is black, but Viper has got some really wacky hairstyle goin' on. See the screenshot below.



Cut to the three monsters wandering down the street towards Megakat Biochemical Labs, which we can see off in the distance, with Feral's chopper following them. Feral notes that "Normal weapons won't stop those monsters." Mayor Manx, in a rare display if intelligence and wit, snaps at the Commander, "You've made that abundantly clear, Feral!" Callie, though, seems to be the only one who notices where they're headed, and says they should get to Megakat Biochemical ahead of them. The animators can't make up their minds how far away the monsters are supposed to be from it, though. In this scene, they appear less than a block away from it and will arrive in a few short moments, and, indeed, in one aerial shot of this part of the city all three monsters appear to be right at the front entrance, but in the next scene they're still approaching it, and in fact won't actually arrive until several scenes later. And each time, they're shown less than ten feet from it, so it's like they're shown arriving, then shown arriving again, over and over.

The SWAT Kats, it is revealed, are following the bacteria monsters, too. T-Bone asks if Razor has any idea "what to throw at these guys," and Razor, cheekily, suggests they feed Commander Feral to them since it's his fault they've got three monsters to deal with. "Then how come I only see two?" asks T-Bone, pointing. We then see that, indeed, there's only two bacteria monsters lumbering down the street. Razor then uses "the X-ray beam," a little device that lowers from the undercarriage of the jet and allows him to see through pretty much anything, to locate the third creature. He quickly spots the offending germ wandering into the subway (I love the fact that the one dude waiting for the train barely reacts to its presence). And now, we are introduced to yet another piece of SWAT Kats technology: The Cyclotron. The Cyclotron is, essentially, a hi-tech motorcycle that - get this - is deployed from the Turbokat's bomb bay in missile form, then "transforms" (more than meets the eye!) into its bike form... with Razor on it. Don't ask me how because I don't know.

In the subway, a train shoots along down the tunnel, and the bored-looking conductor suddenly gasps and hits the brakes as he finds the tunnel blocked by the giant germ. Whoopsie! Big blooper, here, folks. Remember that there's three bacteria monsters, two with one eye and one with two eyes? Well, the two we saw walking along a minute ago both only had one eye, which means the creature now attacking the subway train should be the two-eyed creature. Unfortunately, the animators screwed up, so this monster also has one eye.

The train finally stops and the monster's big, gooey hand smashes through the window and reaches inside, trying to get at the passengers. Razor takes his sweet time getting to the scene, and when he finally arrives he finds that he's too late: The bacteria monster oozes over the subway train and consumes the entire thing and everyone aboard (!), then decides to come after Razor for dessert. He turns the Cyclotron around and shoots off down the tunnel, the mutant germ hot on his heels as we fade to another commercial. With regards to this episode's startlingly high body count, since it was the first one they made, one can only assume this is how they planned for the rest of the series to be, only to change their minds after seeing the final product.



Coming back, Razor is still being chased down the subway tunnel by the giant bacteria monster in the form of a giant, grinning purple tidal wave that for all the world reminds me of the Smooze from the My Little Pony movie. Yes, I watched - and enjoyed - the My Little Pony movie when I was a kid. It looks like Razor's a goner when suddenly the Cyclotron kicks up some sparks that, we are to infer, make the creature back off (although it really just looks like this makes the motorcycle go faster). From this, Razor gleans that the bacteria monsters can't stand heat. He thus decides to lure the mutant beastie onto the electrified third rail in the hopes of giving it a "mega-hotfoot." How the less-than-spectacular animation portrays this is extremely dubious, not to mention really confusing and hard to describe. Basically they just repeat what we've seen so far, the bacteria monster gaining on Razor, only now with yellow bolts of electricity flying all over the place so it looks like they're passing through an electrical storm.

The monster, finally, reacts to the electricity by turning brown and melting into a lifeless puddle of glop. T-Bone contacts Razor on the radio built into his helmet, asking him "what's cookin' down there," to which Razor responds, "French-fried bacteria." Amazing that he knows precisely what the monster was, iddn't it?

He then meets up with T-Bone in the Turbokat again by driving the Cyclotron through a crowded subway station (none of the commuters reacting to his presence), out onto the street, and then, um, somehow the Cyclotron springs upwards into the open bomb bay of the Turbokat and Razor just sort of pops up back inside the cockpit. Boy, does this whole sequence just plain suck. I'm sure a chase through the subway tunnels looked nifty on paper, and could have looked even spiffier on the screen, but alas, the animators really dropped the ball here. And you know it's got to suck when I go out of my way to point it out, since I normally don't even mention this stuff! T-Bone informs him that the "other two giant zits" are still around, but Razor assures him he can handle them.

Cut to Megakat Biochemical, with the two remaining bacteria monsters approaching it. It's a big, fortress-like building surrounded by a perimeter of artilerry cannons (!). Inside, we find Callie, Feral and Feral's pilot talking to Dr. N. Zyme (Paul Eiding). Mayor Manx is nowhere to be seen, oddly. N. Zyme is a wiry cat with curly red hair who appears to be the scientist in charge of the place, and the owner of one of this show's silliest name puns. He identifies the purple monsters as "giant bacteria" a little too easily, but I'll cut him some slack since he's a scientist and therefore is a little more knowledgable about these kinds of things than Razor is. Anyway, he reveals he intends to use "the most powerful antibiotics known" against the creatures, showing a test tube filled with an orange-ish liquid.



Callie, meanwhile, spots the remaining two bacteria monsters approaching through the lab's ridiculously huge front windows (see what I mean about them continuing to arrive over and over?), and says his plan had better work. Oh, and in case you were wondering, yes, one of the monsters now has two eyes again.... Dr. Zyme comes over and assures her, "These windows are practically indestructible!" and bang his fist on the glass for emphasis. Oh, that's so going to come back and bite him in the ass....

Outside, the monsters arrive and are immediately fired upon by the artillery cannons. I guess no one passed on "don't shoot them" message to the folks at Megakat Biochemical. Not that it matters, as the shells the cannons fire are too small and just pass harmlessly through their soft bodies. The germs promptly smash the huge guns to pieces, which is Dr. Viper's cue to emerge from a manhole in the street and just waltz on into the building, because these guns seem to be the main defenses of the lab. Impenetrable, huh? More like "ludicrously easy to get into."

And, on a side note, if there's a sewer entrance right there in front of the labs, why didn't Dr. Viper have the first bacteria monster come out of that instead of the one at the park? I'd think that'd make his work a lot easier, but then he'd win, and the bad guy can't win. Still, it bugs me.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2007, 05:12:42 AM by Kooshmeister » Logged
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« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2007, 08:29:29 AM »

On the roof, Dr. Zyme loads what looks like a giant hypodermic needle onto Feral's chopper, filled with the same orange liquid seen in the test tube a minute ago - the antibiotics, obviously. Before he takes off, Mayor Manx comes running up and demands to come along, too, and starts struggling to climb into the chopper. Disgusted, Feral tells the Mayor he's a coward. Manx, finally managing to pull himself aboard, replies, "You don't get to be Mayor for ten terms without bein' cautious!" as the chopper takes off. Rather than wondering where Manx has been up until now, I'm wondering how he has remained the Mayor for so long. Either the voters in Megakat City are really stupid, or nobody else wants the job (as we'll see in subsequent episodes, Manx, due to his position, is a favorite target for villains).



And here come the SWAT Kats! Where have they been? I guess they went back to the hangar and got some weapons that'll actually work against the giant germs, although so far they haven't actually done anything except fly around and get chased by the them. Razor targets the one-eyed bacteria monster and fires this episode's third ridiculous, improbably missile in the form of a "Megavolt Missile." As with most of their other missiles, it looks like a normal missile until the casing breaks away in midair to reveal an electrical conductor. The one-eyed bacteria monster catches this in its mouth and swallows it, but nothing happens. When T-Bone points this out to Razor, he's told to "Give it time." On cue, the germ suddenly starts convulsing as electrical bolts appear all over its body (considerably better animated than the ones in the subway), and then explodes from the inside-out and is reduced to a pile of flaming brown, well, crap.



Observing this from the chopper, Manx gushes that "The SWAT Kats took care of that one, Feral!" Feral, probably feeling really underappreciated at this point, promises the Mayor he'll get the final monster. Although he and Manx (and Callie) should be wondering where the third creature is, I should think. Anyway the remaining beastie walks over to the front of the lab and peers in at Dr. Zyme and Callie through the window, and then turns to look at Feral's chopper, and--Hey, wait a second, now this one has only one eye, too! Gah!!! This whole mix-up with the eyes is made even more baffling when one knows that the model sheets for these creatures stresses the fact that "monster size and eye number vary - check your (story)board!"

Feral launches the giant hypo at it like a missile, and the monster catches it in its mouth and eats it, then starts turning a brownish-grey and drying up into a dessicated husk. "Got 'im!" yells Feral. Zyme, looking on from inside the lab with Callie, cheers, "It worked!" Cue Dr. Viper to appear inside the lab with them and rain on everybody's parade. He calls Zyme an "arrogant fool," and explains that his bacteria monsters are immune to antibiotics. Uh, if it's immune then why did the antibodies actually start working? Outside, the "shell" around the bacteria monster starts to crumble away, but Zyme and Callie don't notice, and, hell, they look pretty subdued in Viper's presence. Callie in particular is smiling for some reason.

What follows is possibly the worst excuse for a monster attack in the entire series. See if you can follow me. So, Zyme and Callie are standing there, and Callie sees the monster's big gooey hand coming up at them, but doesn't bother to, like, warn Dr. Zyme or anything. The hand then barely nudges the glass and shatters it completely (!!!). Callie actually has the sense to turn and run, while Zyme just stands there and goes "Aaaahhhh!" as the monster's hand starts to come down over him, and then we suddenly cut to an outside view of the building and the monster, now with two eyes again (!!!!) appears to get distracted by Feral's chopper, and turns and makes an unsuccessful attempt to grab it.

Okay, so, um, there's a number of issues I have with this attack. For starters, the attack shouldn't have even happened. When shot and momentarily "petrified," the bacteria monster was facing away from the lab, so having it just arbitrarily turn and smash the glass for no reason was really dumb. Then of course there's the issue with the glass breaking so easily, when the monster's hand barely even pokes it ("practically indestructible" my left foot!), and finally there's the way Zyme and Callie behave. Callie doesn't shout a warning of any kind, and Zyme just standing there and screaming instead of joining her in running away is the stupidest part of all. There's also some confusion as to whether or not Zyme died here. This has been something of a minor controversy among fans. Most sources tended to write him off as dead, and in an episode that's already racked up quite a body count I wouldn't put it past them, but why else would we be shown the otherwise pointless shot of the monster getting distracted by Feral's chopper if we weren't meant to infer that Zyme escaped? Regardless, he's never seen again in the episode after this and just completely disappears. Whatever.

Observing, the SWAT Kats realize that it's up to them to dispose of the final germ. T-Bone tells Razor to launch another Megavolt Missile. Unfortunately, Razor has bad news: He's "one short." One short?! That means he only had one to begin with, despite knowing when they set out that there was more than one bacteria monster! And similarly, why the hell was Feral only given one dose of the antibiotics? Man, this episode just really goes downhill in the last five minutes.



We cut back inside the labs, where we find Dr. Viper busy gathering up armloads of canisters labeled Katalyst 99. And it just occured to me that we never know why Viper actually wants Katalyst 99. His rant about having the power to destroy Megakat City is vague at best. He can't want the chemical, especially so much of it, just to have it! And I take back what I said about Callie having the sense to run; rather than beating feet, she chooses to remain behind and scold Viper for his evil deeds, telling him he won't get away with this, etc. She then has the temerity to act surprised when Viper grabs her with his big, prehensile snake tail and takes her hostage. Oh, and s'more crummy animation: the window goes from being broken, to unbroken, then broken again, all throughout this scene.

The SWAT Kats just happen to fly past the window and witness Callie's abduction, and, oh boy, another blooper! Suddenly T-Bone and Razor swap fur colors! The last remaining bacteria monster, still with only one eye and now mysteriously having hit a growth spurt (it's roughly the size of a skyscraper), chases the Turbokat out onto a bridge with some powerlines running over it. Likely, you can see where this is going. A serrated blade-thing pops out of the wing of the Turbokat, cutting the powerlines as the jet flies underneath them. The downed lines then fall on the monster, who is then electrocuted and, like its bretheren, melts into brown sludge and dies. This bit is actually fairly well done, what with the way the bacteria monster jerkily convulses as its fried.

The SWAT Kats then fly back to Megakat Biochemical Labs. Mysteriously, Dr. Viper hasn't bothered to, like, escape yet, and the window is once again unbroken (!!). But not for long, as suddenly the Turbokat smashes through the window and lands inside the lab, which is amazingly big enough to contain the aircraft. This action forces Dr. Viper to drop Callie (and his load of Katalyst 99) and fly back into the far wall. Hopping out of the jet, T-Bone declares to Viper that the "game's over," while Razor aims a big bazooka at the mad scientist. But there's "still one more play," as Viper grabs a couple of the canisters of Katalyst 99 and shakes them up, them tosses them at the SWAT Kats. Katalyst 99 proves to be highly combustible, as the canisters explode, starting a fire that quickly spreads to some shelves of flammable chemicals.

Megakat Biochemical explodes violently, but the Turbokat emerges through the smoke and flames completely unscathed regardless; the SWAT Kats even had time to put Callie into the jet with them. I find this difficult to swallow. Anyway they land in the street and help Callie down from the jet, while Commander Feral b***hes at them through a bullhorn from his chopper overheard. Seems that by cutting those powerlines, the SWAT Kats have caused "half of Megakat City" to suffer a power outtage. Not that this bothers "our heroes" too much, as T-Bone merely asks Feral, "You know a better way to cook a giant bacteria?" Again, how do they know what the creatures are (or were, rather)?



The SWAT Kats hop back into the Turbokat and take off, giving a thumbs-up to Callie (and to the audience, I suspect). As they fly home, they spot Burke and Murray (remember them?) cleaning up the piles of burnt, melted bacteria with a bulldozer. Having a good laugh at their expense, T-Bone predicts that they have "a looooong day ahead of 'em." The End.

Phew. Anyways, despite my riffing on it it, "The Giant Bacteria" really does hold a special place in my heart despite all its faults, and despite the sheer grossness of some parts. But that doesn't mean it's without its problems. Most of these issues are minor ones, but I really feel like the writers and animators just gave up in the second half of the episode and in their rush to end the story as quickly as possible made a crapload of mistakes they wouldn't have otherwise. And, Dr. Viper is the first of the show's main villains who come back from the dead without explanation, since he's quite obviously blown up at the end of this story but returns a mere two episodes later, and they don't even bother to explain why.
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