Sunday, February 21, 2016

Danger Mouse 2.0 E14: Danger Fan

And we're off to a smashing start already with today's Danger Rating with that title.

We open as dawn breaks (literally) on the city of London. The Mark IV is hurtling through the streets as Danger Mouse savors the aroma of "danger", which he's especially excited about in light of today being his agent assessment day. Resolving to pass in style, he sets out to make Penfold lose his brekkie as the assessor loses his lunch.

Let's see, who are Mr. Snowman's SpamChops friends? Pandaminion, Greenback, Stiletto, Colonel K, Quark, the Spaghetti Monster, one of the portable toilet minions, Nero, that monkey guy with the penchant for big hats, Birch Badboy, and Tutankamoo. Hm, and there's that Alien Chicken advertisement again.
The next part of the assessment involves capturing a dangerous villain. There's a conveniently-timed alert on Colonel K's old nemesis the Snowman, and thankfully the villain has embraced the advent of technology and social media with almost as much enthusiasm as DM's own longtime foe, Baron Greenback. A quick visit to the Snowman's Spamchops page reveals he's in Trafalgar Square, and preparing to do some "evil stuff".

In fact, the Snowman has frozen the place solid, making landing the Mark IV a tricky thing. Professor Squawkencluck has luckily installed a set of huge robot arms on the car. Maybe she's been watching Outlaw Star, because it does have the effect of making the Mark IV look like a grappler ship. Penfold, forgetting their passenger, complains about how these things "always happen" before recalling that they're being graded. Oops.

The Snowman fires his rocket carrot at them, but DM uses the grappler arms to simply raise the car out of the line of fire. The icy villain tries shooting a blast of ice at them, but DM's got that covered, too. A few rounds from the rock salt guns and the ice and the Snowman are rapidly melting away. Not bad considering it's not yet 7 a.m.!

The trio head back for HQ, and Danger Mouse is smugly glad to deliver a beaker of bad guy to Squawks for processing. As he smirks to the assessor that he might as well pass him now since it's the "same thing every day", Squawks informs him that actually they DO have a change today. Today, it seems, he's to meet the winner of a Danger Mouse Fan competition.

I think we all remember how the last "meet a contest winner" event went, don't we?
I guess the RSS must get some funding from these things or something. What, do they have a Kickstarter for every one of HQ's new projects? Well, at any rate, let's see the video that won the contest.

WAIT A COTTON PICKING MINUTE, WE'VE SEEN THIS KID BEFORE! And it was IN the last ep that had a contest winner, too!

We last saw this mega-fan gleefully ogling DM and his rocket shoes in Pink Dawn.
What. The. Heck. This show is going to have actual continuity!?

Ian's got 235 friends, including DM, Danger Moth, K, Quark, Penfold, Pandaminion, Greenback, Stiletto, and a few aliens who apparently also love DM.

Apparently it is, as "Ian DM Fan", Danger Mouse collector with no volume control, shows off a few items from his collection. These include such rarities as transformation pills from Crumhorn Strikes Back, Giglelococos germs (from Die Laughing), and a limited-edition DM bike that even he has never touched. Was that a real piece of DM merch? I'm honestly a little curious. It's not like it would be a stretch considering that Knight Rider had a licenced bike that was only slightly less ridiculous.

DM muses that while he's happy to meet a fan, exam day isn't the best time. Ian's already here, however, and is rambling away about his favorite DM adventure. Ian is apparently a huge fan of 80's DM. I appreciate his enthusiasm. :)

A quick tour of the weapons locker is all DM is really prepared to do, and Ian is awed by the anti-gravity hoverboard, the "Perminator" hair curling ray and the Shrinkitizer gun. Colonel K's hologram interrupts the tour with news that Pandaminion is on the loose, which gives DM the perfect excuse to end things early. At least it WOULD if going on a mission wasn't part of Ian's prize. DM creeps the Mark IV along at an incredibly sedate rate as Ian pushes buttons on the dash to trigger the car to transform several times, including a hovercraft mode AND a classic Mark III mode!

Luckily for DM and his hero rating, Pandaminion's eaten so much stolen bamboo that he just falls over, allowing the heroes to capture him with another Mark IV gadget, the Bamboo Boombox. However, when they arrive at HQ, the Boombox is empty! An escaped villain is just the sort of thing the assessor is going to take a dim view on. DM pleads with the Colonel to end Ian's ridealong for the duration of the test, but K is unmoved. After all, if the Secret Service stands for anything, it's keeping promises to fans in online contests.

See if you can spot the foreshadowing in this image!

While Ian's perplexing K by asking what his actual job IS, Penfold and Danger Mouse note a news broadcast of Greenback and Stiletto attempting to steal Buckingham Palace. Ditching Ian, they take off in pursuit with the assessor. After making quick work of the bad guys and their attempt at flying off with the palace, DM's feeling pretty confident. However, Ian has caught up with them on his prized bicycle and demands a selfie. The moment the flash clears from DM's eye, it is apparent that the bad guys are gone. Two escapes in one day? Oh things are looking dire for the mouse's approval rating.

I have to admit, I'm impressed that Ian's packaging them that well on the go!

Back at HQ, Danger Mouse attempts to leave Ian with Squawkencluck, who is more concerned that one of the weapons is missing. As they argue over who has less time to deal with Ian, Penfold notes something flashing from Ian's backpack and investigates. After a brief scuffle, the contents of Ian's pack spill out on the floor, revealing that he's the one who's stolen the Shrinkitizer AND the missing villains (and K)! He's packaged them up like limited edition action figures and is not letting his collection go without a fight. Penfold and Squawks are shrunk and captured, and that leaves only DM and the assessor! Ian glories in being an "actual Danger Mouse villain" before discovering the Shrinkitizer's batteries are dead. Somehow he manages to steal the Mark IV and flees, with DM and the assessor in lukewarm pursuit on Ian's bike.

Ian charges up the ray with the car, and as he leads DM on a breakneck chase through London, uses the device to shrink tunnels and bridges, cutting off the spy. Frustrated, DM tells the assessor to fail him if he must, but he's getting his friends back.

I appreciate that he drew a second eye on the glasses. Nice touch, DM.

At Ian's house, he's putting the finishing touches on his display of kidnapped DM cast members as a special broadcast comes on the television. A rather poorly disguised DM announces that a "limited edition, gold 1:1 action figure of Danger Mouse" is being displayed for a limited time in Trafalgar Square. Infuriated that some "wannabe" fans think they're going to get some merch he doesn't have, Ian takes off.

Time to play "Who Takes a Worse Photo", starring Squawkencluck and Penfold!

In Trafalgar Square, a huge crowd is gathered to see the statue. Ian swipes it effortlessly by shrinking it, and brings it home to gloat at it about how he knows that it's actually DM himself in disguise. (After all, he's seen In Gold Blood from season 12... wait... that wasn't a real episode... Was it?) To Ian's shock, the REAL DM isn't the statue, but hidden in the base! Ian's attempts at using the Shrinkitizer to reduce his furniture so DM can't hide behind it just make it hard to keep track of the hero. And when Ian puts the ray gun down to look for the tiny Danger Mouse, the assessor pops up from the statue base and activates the ray to shrink Ian! Ian is delighted to be vanquished by his hero. Well, at least he's happy.

They say you should never meet your heroes. Maybe that should be "You should never meet your fans"?

Back home (and at the right size), DM tells the assessor that he should probably fail DM since the assessor was actually the one who caught Ian. The assessor fairly explodes in a bout of fanboyism, gushing that he's actually a HUGE fan, and he's been so nervous all day that he couldn't speak. Meanwhile at Arkwright Asylum, tiny Greenback and Stiletto discover they have a new tiny roommate in their tiny cell. Ian's thrilled to be roomies with his "third favorite" DM villains. Greenback is much less happy about it.

Episode Rating: 5/5
This episode is a LOT of fun for someone who (like Ian), is familiar with the 80's series. It's also practically a satire of self-insert fanfic, with Ian turning villain and attempting to hoard all the Danger Things for himself.

Danger Rating:7
I honestly can't tell when they're intentionally using "Danger" on things and when they're just being silly with it, so let's just count everything, shall we?

Danger Car (Mark IV)
Danger Car (bike) 
Danger Fan (Ian's villainous moniker)
Danger News (So I guess that's what we call crime alerts now?)
Danger-Tainment (Apparently RSS-branded news has its' own callsign)
Danger Flat (I could be imagining it, but Ian's room looks like he's trying to recreate DM's apartment in cardboard and crayon)

Callback Moment

Ian's a walking callback-spouting mega-fan just looking for a place to happen.

His huge collection of DM items destroys whatever we thought we understood about the space-time continuum on this show as he directly name drops one classic DM episode (Crumhorn Strikes Back), references another ( Die Laughing), apparently making another up entirely (unless there really WAS a season 12, but I don't think so), and makes me wonder just what in the heck is going on with our continuity, here.

The "favorite adventure" he references (the Loch Ness monster robot and the hotel that was an upside-down boat) is a reference to Who Stole the Bagpipes, or possibly the original DM pilot The Mystery of the Lost Chord, which the former was adapted from.

The classic 80's Mark III makes an appearance as one of the alternate transformation modes of the current Mark IV. Nice!

Incidentally, we never DID find out just what Colonel K's job description actually is. Additionally, I'm a little let down that Ian never asked Squawks about "back when she used to be a hamster guy." THAT would have been interesting!