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The Carnage Begins

Carnage - The Giant Bacteria Reviewed
Contributed By
KooshmeisterKooshmeister

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).

Carnage - The Giant Bacteria Reviewed

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.

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?

Carnage - The Giant Bacteria Reviewed

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.

Carnage - The Giant Bacteria Reviewed

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.

Splitting Up

Carnage - The Giant Bacteria Reviewed

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.

A Bad Day to Be Commuting

Carnage - The Giant Bacteria Reviewed

In the subway, a train shoots along down the tunnel, and the bored-looking motorman 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.

Weakness Revealed

Carnage - The Giant Bacteria Reviewed

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.

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