The GeeksverseGI Joe: Renegades episode 10 (“Busted”) review

GI Joe: Renegades episode 10 (“Busted”) review
Published on Thursday, February 3, 2011 by

Review’s a little late this week. Youtube apparently got wind of the videos of the show being posted by Youtube user “GIJoerenegades” (gee, I wonder what gave them that idea?) and pulled the latest episodes to prevent the site from competing with The Hub’s own online repository of episodes (which is a week behind the US broadcast schedule, and is on the same schedule as the Canadian broadcast). Here’s the funny thing about clamping down on unlicensed video feeds, though: shut one down, and others will take its place. Also, The Hub’s web apps developers really need to optimize their site’s embedded video player, stuff takes forever to play (by the time the video loads, you might find yourself two weeks behind the broadcast episode schedule ha ha). They should really just pay Youtube to set up an official channel for them. Anyway, despite Youtube’s perfunctory efforts at self-regulation, here I am with a review of an episode I wasn’t supposed to see until Sunday.

Episode 10, “Busted,” sees Duke being captured by local law enforcement in a sting operation (the “ordinary Joes” get caught trying to buy parts for their stolen Cobra vehicle from a chop shop). Given that the show has consistently been trading in nostalgia and 1980s tropes (mostly in the form of nods to The A-Team TV show and the 1980s GI Joe comics and cartoons), I wondered what shout-out to the decade we were going to see. References to Sly Stallone’s super-cheesy Lock Up, perhaps? Well, whatever specific 1980s pop culture references there were flew right over my head this time around, I’ve seen the “corrupt prison warden profits from his prisoners” thing so many times it all runs together for me.

The warden’s inmate profiteering scheme revolves around running an illegal gambling ring where high-rollers remotely place wagers on internet-broadcast cage fights involving inmates. My mind flashed back to the plot of 2002’s The Circuit 2: The Final Punch (a terrible B-movie that maybe five people saw). A deliberate homage or a coincidence? I don’t know, and really, who cares? I did derive some measure of amusement from seeing Duke in an illegal no-holds barred fight, though. Channing Tatum, who played the character of Duke in the live-action GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra movie also played the role of a good man caught up in gambling-driven illegal fighting in 2008’s Never Back Down. Yes, these are the kinds of things that I amuse myself with when trying to make it through an episode I’m not particularly invested in.

Scarlett plays the unusual role of being this episode’s comic relief, showcasing an adorable ineptness at prevarication while trying to gain access to Duke in prison. Voice actor Natalia Cigliuti gets a chance to do more than the usual deadpan monotone the character’s lines usually require, and hams it up pretty good as she goes undercover as a pregnant girlfriend?/wife? of an alleged inmate in the team’s final gambit attempt to break out Duke.

They do spring Duke eventually, the warden gets his comeuppance, and we are again treated to the Renegades just barely escaping Flint’s clutches with a little help from Lady Jaye (which is getting a little tired at this point).

The Verdict: Fairly entertaining if somewhat unremarkable. Not a particularly engaging episode, but you could do a lot worse with your 22 minutes.

Stray Notes and Comments:

  • We get to see a character based on 1980s GI Joe MP Law (along with his dog Order) in this episode as one of the few prison guards who isn’t part of the warden’s racket, although he isn’t referred to by the character’s 1980s codename. Instead, he is referred to by his surname “Lavigne,” which the actors pronounce as “La-VINE” (instead of “La-VEEN”) to my minor annoyance. I liked that his appearance wasn’t just a superfluous name-drop, though (as opposed to the shoe-horned “guest appearances” of Doc and Steeler in episode 8).
  • Pretty light on the Snake-Eyes appearances this week, which is good. I was getting a bit tired of him showing up to save the day all the time.
  • I think the episode order has been re-jiggered somewhat from the original episode order to make sure that the the Christmas-themed double-episode (episodes 6 and 7, “Homecoming”) would fall on the Christmas holidays. I can’t put my finger on why exactly I think this is, but it has to do with the motorcycle that the team has. I think it’s supposed to be a motorcycle appropriated from the Dreadnoks (whom we first see in episode 9), but the motorcycle already made its appearances in episodes 6 and 7 (and maybe episode 8), I think. Anyway, I don’t feel like spending the time looking it up but if you know this is the case for sure, go to the forums and let me know.
  • The prison guards referring to the cage where the illegal fights take place in as “The Arena of Sport” was a nod to the 1980s GI Joe cartoon, where Cobra maintained an arena of the same name where prisoners fought for Cobra Commander and Destro’s amusement. One of the funnier elements of those early GI Joe episodes (Cobra Commander and Destro would sometimes use Atari 2600-style joystick controllers to remotely manipulate their poor captives), and sucker that I am for nostalgia pandering, the mention of it in this episode brought a smile to my face.
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