Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Danger Mouse 2.0 E7: The World Wide Spider

SPIDERS! Arachnophobes, turn back now!

Our hero, ladies and gentlemen.

We open with a stirring speech, courtesy of the narrator, about how London is the home of heroes. And here, in a quiet corner of Mayfair, is the bravest of them all.. Danger Mouse! Except that DM is currently running screaming from the bathroom because there's a spider in there! The narrator is aghast, but quickly freaks himself out and also runs out of the episode screaming.

Penfold is adamant that a cup and a newspaper are all that's needed to take care of any pesky spiders. However, the spider in the bathroom manages to pummel him and fling him bodily from the room. Rolling up his sleeves, the stouthearted assistant gets serious. Moments later, a rather large spider and an assortment of luggage have been kicked to the curb.

Apparently Penfold could get work as a bouncer if he really wanted to.

Dang, excellent work, Penfold!

A little later, as Penfold dusts the flat, he notices a bit of webbing hanging from the ceiling. As he tugs on it, DM gets a static-riddled call from Colonel K. The very internet is under attack! How will doctors and police function? Worse, you can't even play Giraffe Warriors! Something MUST be done!

How big is the SPIDER?

Promising to take the perpetrators offline permanently, DM signs off to discover Penfold's rolled up a truly impressive giant wad of spider web. Our hero bravely tells his sidekick to take care of all things related to eight-legged crawlies here at home and sets off on his own. And by that of course, I mean he nearly sets a land speed record for a mouse running away in his flying car. We're treated to a brief gag where DM activates another of the Mark IV's seemingly endless supply of handy gadgets, an "Auto-Penfold". The "AP" promptly explodes to pieces in a panic upon being told there's a crisis, which DM muses is uncannily like the real thing.

Hey, we've seen tall-hat monkey guy before in Planet of the Toilets! Is this what he does in his spare time?

Well, to work, then! DM asks the iPatch to locate the source of the internet attack, but due to the state of the internet being what it currently is, he's instead treated to an "Interesting Cat Rack" before the system manages to trace the source of the attack... back at HQ! Danger Mouse hangs a u-turn in the sky over London and sets off once more!

Look out behind you, Penfold!

Penfold's hard at work on the giant gob of spider web when DM swings in through the window, creating an entrance at least 80% more dramatic than really needed. When asked if he's seen anyone "attacking the web", the assistant replies in the incredulous affirmative that HE has been doing so with his saw. DM theorizes that maybe... possibly... the "web" that carries information and the giant spiderweb that Penfold's working on could be one and the same!
Penfold's also tried a chainsaw on that thing.

Professor Squawkencluck is rather incredulous that DM had to have something so blatantly obvious explained to him. "Of course it's a giant spider web covering the entire planet! What did you think it was?" And of course there's an ENORMOUS spider that made it! But there's no danger as long as no one tweaks the web and attracts the spider's attention. Cue Penfold (who hasn't been told to quit yet) and his jackhammer, and an impressive set of worldwide tremors smashing up iconic landmarks.


Squawks assures DM that the giant spider wouldn't eat mice. It would just eat THE ENTIRE PLANET! The danger's as big as it's ever been on eight legs, and our hero reacts exactly the way you'd expect a raging arachnophobic to... By passing clean out.


Meanwhile, the narrator is demanding to know just where, exactly, a spider that size could hide on Earth. The answer is, of course, under a giant rock. Ayers Rock, to be precise. A group of tourists runs screaming as the biggest spider your nightmares have ever conceived of comes crawling up from beneath. But not before one tourist takes a selfie with it. The spider then encases the Sydney Opera House in webbing before cocooning the rest of the city.

Wait... that's not how spiders... You know what? At that size, spiders can do whatever they want, however they want.

And Danger Mouse is... heading in exactly the wrong direction? After Penfold and the DangerNav berate him for his faulty directions, we're back on track at a speed so slow, snails are insulted by it. Colonel K calls with some good news and bad news. The bad news is that the spider has encased Australia and East Asia in web and is headed to India. The good news? All the extra webbing means the internet speeds are just smashing now. The boys must stop the spider, but without tampering with the web. At least not until the Colonel's unlocked this next achievement. They speed off for India, whose cocooning is already in progress.

And now we've moved to "goofy tourist holding something up" poses!

 And there's that selfie-tourist again! The boys arrive to see the whole city is nearly covered with webbing. DM is petrified. Not to worry though, Penfold has a plan! They just need to scale up the tried and true "cup and paper" spider trap. DM manages to get a massive newspaper and prepares to snap the trap with a construction crane and the massive onion dome from the Taj Mahal. Penfold is to play the part of the bait.

The spider is enchanted with the lively musical number that Penfold's able to whip up, and dashes in to join the dancing. When DM hesitates to drop the dome on the spider, however, the spider is very unamused with their trick. Danger Mouse panics, falling from the huge crane. Luckily, Penfold saves him in the Mark IV, crowing that "running away is his specialty!"

 The Earth is very shortly encased in spider web. And what of our heroes? Well, DM's got a plan. They'll hide in this cave. Forever, apparently. DM finally sputters out a confession; he's "slightly unnerved" by spiders. Penfold's reaction is one of complete and utter disinterested "duh, no kidding." However, Penfold notes DM picking up a tiny, tiny spider in the cave. Danger Mouse isn't at all afraid of this miniature spider. After all, no one is. Penfold has once again got a plan! Spiders are spiders, regardless of size. They just have to work DM up to facing the giant spider!

So this is Raoul's day job?

The duo spring into action, and DM is presented with ever-larger spiders to raise his tolerance. They even get massages from Raoul, the big spider Penfold tossed out on his ear this morning. The Colonel calls once more to update them on his Giraffe Warriors score and the World Wide Spider. The huge beast has made its way to London. It's now or never if they want to save the world! DM has a plan this time. To fight a giant spider, they need a giant vacuum. And Danger Mouse has one in mind... The Vacuum of Space!

Wow. Uh... literal.
Back in London, the selfie tourist and the rest of his tour once again are treated to the World Wide Spider, this time making an appearance at Nelson's Column. This time, however, DM is ready! Drawing the spider's attention, he cues Penfold to start the vacuum. It's working! The massive spider is caught up in the suction and is moments from vanishing down the vacuum hose forever!

But then, the spider babbles a plea for mercy. He's afraid of vacuums, you see. DM springs into action, seizing the last of the spider's giant hairy legs as it's nearly pulled completely in. Penfold shuts the giant vacuum down, and the guys have made a new friend. One who likes table tennis, actually.

And thus, Danger Mouse indirectly caused the extermination of the fly people.

Back at HQ, DM briefs Colonel K on how the giant spider (whom we discover is named Lionel), has agreed it's too dangerous for him on Earth, but he fixed the internet before taking the Danger Pod into the nearest black hole. Checking up on Lionel, we discover he has crash-landed... on a planet of giant flies? Well at least he's happy. We fade out on the Mark IV with the Vacuum of Space attached, cleaning up the excess spider webs as our narrator ponders what new dangers will be popping up next.

Episode Rating: 4.5/5
It's not often we see Danger Mouse petrified with pure terror! And it's even less often that we've seen his faithful assistant rise to the occasion several times over the course of a single episode. DM is knocked down a peg with his debilitating fear of spiders, which creates a lot of interesting (and funny) situations for Penfold to get them through. This one was a great team-building event for these two!

Danger Rating:4
This episode was pretty dangerous, even without the giant spider! Here's a recap of all things "Danger" in this episode.

Danger Flat
Danger Car
Danger Pod
Callback Moment
THIS is how we deal with spiders, by sealing off the room and nuking the house from orbit. It's the only way to be sure!
This isn't the first time DM has tangled with giant spiders! In the episode "AAAGGHG! Spiders!" (which also started out with the boys discovering a big spider in the bath), Greenback's minion Stiletto is using an enlarging ray to create huge spiders that have covered most of the city of London in webbing. But while DM was frightened of the big spiders in this episode, Penfold was (predictably) the one so scared he had to be talked through it.

Come to think of it, was this ever used in an episode? I'm blanking on it.

For that matter, later seasons of the 80's series included a bit in the title song where DM is startled by and flees from a spider about the size of our friend Raoul up there.

The Auto-Penfold's exploding into bits is a callback to an episode of the 80's series, where in an intro we're told that Penfold's code name is "Jigsaw", because he goes to pieces in a crisis. Just like the real thing, that AP!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Danger Mouse 2.0 E6: Big Head Awakens

Sorry Rocko's Modern Life fans, this is not the Big Head you're looking for!
Who's ready for more machines gone amuck?

I love that Penfold's been at the magnetic letters back there on the fridge.

As Penfold shambles into the kitchen as we begin this misadventure, he's distressed to discover that there's no milk for his daily bowl of Honey Crumbs. Luckily(?), a milkman who bears absolutely no resemblance to Greenback's henchman Pandaminion appears, handing off a bottle that is rapidly counting down to zero. Having a bit more situational awareness than his groggy sidekick, Danger Mouse seizes the combustible dairy product and chases Pandaminion through HQ.

That's the face of impending defeat, right there.
 Pandaminion believes he's gotten away in his milk float (during a getaway that reaches blistering speeds of up to two miles per hour), but DM appears, handing off the bottle with a smug "No milk today, thank you." Operation Milk Go Boom is, in a way of speaking, a success. Milk does indeed go boom, and Penfold regrets asking for some for his cereal.

Colonel K's hologram joins Squawkencluck and the boys for breakfast, attempting to have a cup of tea and really just making a mess. Squawks is baffled, the security alarm wand that.. wait. yes. That is exactly what DM is using to unclog the blender. The professor is incensed. She complains that she spends all this time making the greatest gadgets and devices that the world has ever seen, while DM just seems to constantly destroy them. And yes, she CAN name three times that it's happened, Mouse.

This is also the face of impending doom.

Luckily, she has something new that will be "Danger Mouse Proof". A new HQ security system that she calls HEAD. The Headquarters Electronic Assault Deflector will prevent any unwanted intruders from gaining entry to the pillarbox AND it comes with a nifty Max Headroom theme pack! She just has to activate it on her tablet...

...which DM is using as a plate. Sensing that they should quickly vacate the premises before Squawkencluck can annihilate them, Danger Mouse ignores Penfold's queries about finding out how they're supposed to use the security system in favor of grabbing breakfast down at Big Mike's pie stand. The Colonel's hologram likewise checks out. With a grunt of annoyance, Squawks realizes that she's alone. Fine then. She's activating HEAD without them.

Sorry Penfold, but a man's... er mouse's trousers are his castle.
Outside, Penfold is insistent that he will NOT go anywhere in his bean-covered Giraffe Warriors onsie, and since DM refuses to loan his trousers out, the duo decide to go back inside and grab him a change of clothes. HEAD immediately locks down HQ in response, and demands an "extremely complex access code".

Pictured: yet more faces of impending doom.

Danger Mouse has several tries at brute-forcing the code, but... yeah he broke it. Better go in and tell Squawkencluck.. Oh. Yeah.

In response to the enemy Danger Mouse detected outside, HEAD sends the Mark IV after the boys. Squawks' brief respite of calm is interrupted by a distress call from DM as he bullfights with the car. Squawkencluck is furious, telling DM he's a TERRIBLE secret agent. DM retorts that some people might think she's a terrible gadget-maker... thingie or whatever it is that she does.

Oh yeah. NOW she's upset. The boys go back to dodging the Mark IV as she hangs up on them.

As Squawks investigates the maladjusted bit of software causing the trouble, the Colonel's hologram appears, asking what's going on. Unfortunately, he startles Squawks into dropping a screwdriver into what is apparently a very vital bit of logic center in HEAD's electronic brain. HEAD is now engaging self-protection protocols and she does NOT like them being there. The professor and the hologram are quickly seized, along with the real Colonel K (what the heck IS going on with him and that hologram?) who apparently just wandered in.

Malicious Max Headroom mode: Engaged.

Yeah, this doesn't look good.

Outside, the boys charge the front door, only to be beset by little men off the crosswalk signs that HEAD somehow zaps into existence. After stuffing some through a nearby letter slot, DM has an idea on how they can get back inside HQ.

Sending themselves through the parcel delivery slot gets them back inside, but it also gets them immediately captured. Even though HEAD objects to DM's dubbing her "Big HEAD", she then uses the name herself as she assumes full override and takes over security of the entire nation. Luckily, it appears that SpamChops is not affected.

DM and Squawks immediately begin their "Penfold, tell that scientist/that mouse" routine, prompting him to give a heartwarming speech about working together and combining their strengths to serve the common good. Moved (if a bit annoyed at how Penfold's milking it), the duo agree to work together and Squawks says she'll take down the "Danger Mouse is Stupid" website. This is all well and good, but then Squawkencluck reveals that the flat above HQ is apparently called the Danger Flat.


Yeah, okay why not. Danger ALL THE THINGS! Sure. Add THAT one retroactively to past synopses too, I guess. (UGH. WHY?)

Squawks has a wall escape gadget hidden in her hair, which DM manages to use his impressive powers of... "getting one foot loose in a manner professional contortionists are scratching their heads over" to grab. Thanks to actually waiting to hear how the device works, they're freed. The group takes off for the flat, determined to pull HEAD's plug before it an go world-wide. HEAD is determined to stop them though, and seizes control of all gadgets in HQ.

And she went for a TRON theme? That MANIAC!

Up top, DM is horrified to discover that HEAD has redecorated the flat in their absence. The trio quickly decide that Danger Mouse and Penfold will distract HEAD while Squawkencluck removes the chip.

A quick dance number seems to be working at first, but it's too late! HEAD has summoned a gadget-melded body and is about to destroy them. The narrator isn't that interested, since he's got an audition to get to. Squawks sics DM on the monstrosity, urging him to "Misuse those gadgets like never before!"

HEAD never even stood a chance against DM's patented "press all the buttons until something explodes" technique. HEAD's body is destroyed! The heroes live to fight another day! Penfold's teddy bear is safe! HEAD's monitor crashes to the floor and...!

Y'know, CBBC, the effect is somewhat ruined by the giant banner ad.
Also, I WOULD check out the game, but the whole page is region-locked. Thanks.

And oh... so THAT'S what the "Danger Mouse is Stupid" webpage looks like!

Squawks destroys the screen before we can get a really good look. But peace has returned to HQ, and everyone's enjoying a nice breakfast together even though the narrator didn't get the part he auditioned for. Squawks' tablet detects the presence of HEAD, but DM grabs it to destroy the ominously floating toaster that's heading for him. We leave the heroes as breakfast dissolves into a fresh batch of indignant pandemonium.

Episode Rating: 4/5
We did just have a recent "rebelling machines" episode in Planet of the Toilets, but the threat being localized in HQ, necessitating the quarreling DM and Squawkencluck to try to get along is a new twist. Danger Mouse's casual indifference to pretty much any threat (including an angry chicken) threatens to be a bit annoying at times, but having it used here as a part of the plot as a strength to be exploited is hilarious. I especially like that he doesn't learn a darn THING about not breaking things, specifically BECAUSE he just learned what a strength his aptitude for destruction is.

Danger Rating: 2
Danger Flat has officially surpassed Danger Car as the dumbest, most pointlessly named "Danger Thing" in the show so far for me. Here's today's Danger Count.

Danger Car (Mark IV)
Danger Flat (really?)

Callback Moment

We've already covered a lot of mechanical revolution and rebellious devices, including the old Mark III, in the callbacks for Planet of the Toilets. HEAD is definitely reminiscent of Mega Brain from Mechanized Mayhem and to put another episode with a "killer car" motif on it, we saw Greenback chase the boys with their own car in Remote Controlled Chaos. DM bullfighting also feels like a callback, probably to a gag used more than once, but I can't think of what episodes it would be from at the moment.

Note to self: seatbelts.

The narrator attempting to secure a different gig (unsuccessfully and bitterly) is yet another gag that has carried over from the OS, and it appeared in several episodes.

Peril via milk delivery is nothing new for DM and Penfold. In the episode Beware of Mexicans Delivering Milk, the evil El Loco drugs Danger Mouse via the stuff, leaving Penfold to (gulp) save the day! Or try, at least.

Come to think of it, button-mashing saved the day in that one, as well!