Thursday, January 9, 2014

Wander Over Yonder Blogs - "The Pet"

Watched: October 4th, 2013 / Written: January 7th-10th, 2014
Hi!  Happy New Year!  Here is an episode that Wander Over Yonder fans (or readers of my blog) have probably been waiting awhile to hear my full thoughts about.  And, it's not my fault; at least, not entirely.  Since this was the first full episode at twenty-two minutes, I got a little overboard with screenshots, and I wanted to talk about shortly after it debuted, I really did.  But lots of things happened: sometimes I try to overreach when it come to certain game reviews or certain screenshots, and as a result it can hinder my progress.  Another reason is that I'm such a big procrastinator when it comes to my blog sometimes, which is unfortunate because I like to talk about these things but I want to word them properly and as best as I could express.  I didn't find an opportunity to make a rough draft, which I should have, so these words are just all popping from my head right now.  This is the first of many belated Wander Over Yonder Blogs from yours truly.  I deeply apologize.  =(
Episode VI (104):
*eerie music in the background*
Another thing that drove me back was that I wanted to watch the movie this was based on, Aliens, but I didn't get a chance to do it.  Fascinatingly, this episode came out on the same day that I saw Gravity, perhaps the single best 3D movie I've seen (and I love that movie to death, seen it twice now).  I might talk about my thoughts on that movie too, but I'm trailing off (as I sometimes do).  This is the first full Wander Over Yonder episode "The Pet", and it is a really great episode, one of my favorites.  The first few minutes are absolutely spot-on.
One of the many things I enjoy about the show so much is how its episodes waste absolutely no time getting to the plot that the title implies.  None of that transportation sequence bullcrap, they're there!  Wander and Sylvia, traveling space via Orrble Juice (which will be called that a few episodes from this one), come across a derelict broken down ship.  Wander wants to go inside to check to see if there's anyone out there that needs help, but Sylvia is reluctant and scared but being the strong type she doesn't show it.  And let me tell you right now: for an otherwise lighthearted animated show, the first few minutes (all cleverly building up to the debut of the creature they'll find) feel really intense and really suspenseful.  =O  There's debris everywhere, there's acid dripping all around, bones abound, and everything is rundown.  I mean, holy crap, dude!  There are a few lighthearted moments, but until the reveal (which occurs five minutes in) it just doesn't let up.
I especially like this sequence since it starts off with the duo silently walking down a corridor with many different points of view (creating a feeling of eerie suspense).  Wander announces that the "rescue part-ay is here!  Whoo!  Whoo!", Sylvia tells Wander to stick close, but he stops as he sees drops of acid circling around him (yeah, I hate to say it but it's not the brightest thing to be doing at this point) which will eventually melt and create a hole, and Sylvia finds herself in an abandoned room where she sees the final captain's vlog of the late captain.  Just as he's about to instruct "the person that finds this video message" what to do, something attacks him in the blink of an eye before the monitor abruptly turns to static (not getting a clear shot at what it was).  Yep, he's dead (as is revealed when Wander finds Captain Tim's dogtags lodged inside the spider-lip creature's mouth)!  You know, for kids!  =D  I know it seems cruel to say that, but I like it when shows like these take risks... risks in good taste, mind you.  Not like that... animated show about freaky high school fish, but to each their own.  =|
Sylvia rushes to where she left Wander at, but he's fallen through lots of floors (without screaming), so he goes around to look for her best friend.  Wander, on the hand, is not at all phased about having fallen through countless floors (and good thing too, since he's a happy-go-lucky ray of sunshine), minding his own business as he searches for those that might need help.  As this is going on, there is a feeling of tension as he goes through a dark room briefly lit up revealing bones, the sound of a stirring creature that is after him, and looming sense of danger.  It's at this point that Wander realizes that Sylvia's right and that they should leave, but before he can go anywhere he turns around as a mysterious creature is creeping up before him.  And once that happens, the lip-spider creature menacingly roars and screeches with drool protruding from its mouth until it cuts to commercial.  The first time it aired there was no commercial break, but it was definitely a sign for it, and what clever way to do that!  =)  And that was the first five minutes!
As soon as it leaps towards Wander, they roll backwards until Wander's on his feet and grabs the creature, treating it as a pet.  Actually that part's not 'til later, but he finds the spider (furthermore called Captain Tim since Wander found the dogtags with his name; c'mon, you can't be mad at the guy) to be so cute and decides to take care of it.  And as a result, there are moments that range from funny to cute to genuinely terrifying (more on that later), so it works... it's very creepy but it works.  So the two spend time together; Wander, because he feels that Captain Tim needs help, and Captain Tim because he wants to make Wander his lunch (if you know what I mean).  As this is going on Sylvia finds lots of artillery and decides to bring it all with her.  Basically, Sylvia goes full Ripley mode in this episode, which kicks ass by the way!
XD  This is so over-the-top, I love it!
Let me rephrase that.  Sylvia once gets attacked by Captain Tim early on, but she finds a blaster to scare him off, so she starts finding more blasters and heavy firepower in order to be prepared to take him on.  And here's the thing: Wander thinks Captain Tim is cute, while Sylvia considers him a threat, which leads to very fascinating conflict.  She finds even more blasters once they encounter each other again, after she's been "cocooned" up to the ceiling (while Wander was playing "Hide and Seek" with him).  Captain Tim finds Wander, he discovers the dogtags, so he decides to take care of him as a pet, but Captain Tim doesn't want any of that and tries to run off as Wander's holding on to him by leash.  They both end up at a kitchen, so kindhearted and amiable Wander decides to feed the spider creature beans (to which it tries to resist).  Once that happens, Captain Tim crawls slowly and feels overpowered, to which Wander believes he's feeling tired.  So he pulls out from his hat something that the spider may need (or Wander thinks he needs), resulting in perhaps the cutest moment of the episode:
"Look who came to visit you: it's Sleepy Weepy Beddy Bear!  'I love you, Captain Tim!  I, love, you!'"
How can you not love moments like these?  It's the most adorable thing ever!  And look at those eyes, that cute accent he talks through a stuffed animal, it is just cute!  I always get a kick out of how characters can interact to someone through a stuffed animal, just like Goofy did to his son Max with Old Stuffed Bear in the "A Very Goofy Christmas" segment of Mickey's Once Upon a ChristmasXD  Captain Tim, not wanting to take any of that nonsense, unleashes its rage on the bear as he rips up its stomach, spits acid on there (O_O), wraps it in a cocoon, and attaches it to the ceiling.  I know it's an animated show, and on one hand its cute; but on the other hand, it's pretty damn horrific if you view it in a certain way.  But Wander, being the charming alien that's oblivious to most dangers around him, is not phased at all which makes it funny, in a weird sort of way.
Oh, but the darkness does not end there, as the moment Wander goes after Captain Tim to try to give a "love bite" after the spider almost "does" to him, Sylvia emerges from the nearby tube as she was searching for her Star Nomad friend.  But once she looks up she sees the cocoon, and once she opens it up she finds nothing but fur (which is the same color as Wander), which leads into the most dramatic scene in "The Pet": Sylvia thinks Wander is dead.  It's a really sad moment (this is not played for laughs, people, this is serious emotion-wrenching stuff), for it just devastates her, and it overwhelms her so much.  This shows how much she cares for Wander, and knowing that Wander is alive to see her like this is really sad, a bit emotional even.  So what does she do?  The fighting Zbornak exacts vengeance by planning to detonate the ship's self-destruction sequence in order to blow Captain Tim up for having killed her friend.  There are a few minutes remaining, so Sylvia finds an escape pod and takes it, still feeling sad about the loss of her friend.  But little does she know that Wander is still alive and on that ship (which will still be afloat for less than three minutes)... and this was just the first half of the episode, folks!  First half!  =O  I mean, wow!  The rest I'll leave up to you to see.
The plot is very good, I like the premise behind it and how it all transpires and unfolds so cleverly.  =)  The animation, as usual, is beautiful and I loved the little details here and there, especially with the lighting and shading in certain portions of the episode.  Good usage of perspective too!  Wander's great, always optimistic and always upbeat despite the dire surroundings, which is really endearing and uplifting.  Sylvia kicks ass in this episode, particularly when she's in the mecha suit (yes, they actually went there, and if you've seen the movie you'll know exactly where that leads)!  =D  The first few minutes are legitimately tension-filled, the comedic moments are funny (such as the scene where Captain Tim is chasing Wander around a broken glassy pillar and the voice of the self destruct mechanism), the homage to Aliens is well done, and the emotional moments are genuinely emotional.  There are two in this episode, and the second one takes place during the second half of the episode where there is this sweet, tender Randy Newman-like song playing in the background.  And the lyrics are so touching, as are the notes that are used for it; it's poignantly deep, man.  =)  What's nice about this show is that it can share scenes and/or moments with emotional depth so genuinely and not forget that it's a comedy first and foremost, and when it comes to any of these moments they really count.  I'm glad there is a sense of balance in these episodes, which really work for me.  "The Pet" is pretty dark in certain moments, but it ends on a happy note for everyone.  =)
"Get away from him, you--"
The chemistry between Sylvia and Wander is effective, and this episode really shows how much she cares for her best friend.  The colors were chosen succinctly for each scene and the decrepit setting lends a ton of atmosphere.  Captain Tim is great (obviously he's not staying with Wander), and his scenes with Wander were cute and funny.  I had a fanboy moment when it came to the mecha suit scene, and the line too (it was censored, but I didn't mind so much as the delivery could not have been timed any better).  I mention how clever this episode is at times, and no truer is that said than the animatic for "The Pet" during the credits.  It is so ingenious that I cannot stand it!  I don't wish to spoil the exact details, but it does such a good job at lulling you in a false sense of security that in the last five seconds it executes a jump scare, scaring the everliving crap out of the lulled viewer!  The first time I was distracted to notice, but the next few times I took notice and it gets me every time (just like the Ben Gardner head scene from Jaws and that one jump scare moment in Gravity).  Oooh, so clever!  Well done, Craig and team, you've successfully crafted a genuine jump scare, and for a lighthearted animated show no less!  I salute you!  =)  So yeah, I liked "The Pet" a lot, and I highly recommend it; but do not introduce newcomers to this episode (start with "The Greatest" (101a) and then go from there).  Next episode is "The Prisoner" (103b), which I liked a lot too, and hopefully I'll talk about it soon!  Until then, Wander Over Yonder fans, take care!  I am not even halfway done with these WOY Blogs yet!  D=
( >'.')>TO EACH THEIR OWN<('.'< )
Wander Over Yonder is the property of Craig McCracken, Disney
Screengrabs taken from the Wander Over Yonder News tumblr
Thank you for reading this, please leave a comment and let me know what you think!

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