Sunday, September 22, 2013

Wander Over Yonder Blogs - "The Fugitives"

Watched: September 20th, 2013 / Written: September 20th-22nd, 2013
Episode IV (102b):
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All right, more Wander Over Yonder=D  Four episodes in, and it's still a really good show!  After over a month since "The Picnic" (102a) aired, let's talk about its long awaited companion-piece "The Fugitives".

Sylvia and Wander are on the run in a distant planet by Lord Hater's eyeball soldiers, the Watchdogs (I'll remember to reference them as that), and the neat thing about this episode is that we're in the middle of the chase, so there's no beginning and end.  It's sort of like how "The Egg" (101b) started immediately with the battle between Sylvia and the dragon-like creature, and that's cool.  So why are these two being hunted to begin with?
Dude, Lord Hater is really being true to his name.  All Wander did was have fun and be friendly to others (including you), and you label him as a fugitive?  Man, that's cold!  =(  Oh, and Sylvia's a fugitive by association; that's good to know.  T-T  Lord Hater must hate fun, happiness, and optimism if Wander and Sylvia are also wanted for "other punishable-by-death type stuff" (I shudder to think what he qualifies as an offense).  If they made him "look totally stupid", then it was not intentional!  Anyway:
the Watchdogs are searching the planet thoroughly for the likable yokel and strong fighting Zbornak (since Lord Hater is now ruling the planet... off screen; he's not in this episode either), and all the while that's happening the two wanted aliens try to find a way to escape the planet and head away to safety.  Well... Sylvia's number one priority is escape, but any time Wander notices someone in need of help, he goes out of his way to help that individual.  However, as Sylvia consistently tells him, his knack for helping almost has them get caught by the Watchdogs.
"It just feels so gooooood!"  =)
For Wander, it's an irresistible urge to help others in need.  For him the needs of everyone else outweigh their own (in other words, he's selfless and considerate, which I like); Sylvia, on the other hand, thinks otherwise.  There are a few moments when Sylvia notices and plans an escape route, tells Wander to stay covert until a signal is called, but he always ends up helping others at the expense of their own escape.  At one point Sylvia, while acknowledging that what he's doing is a good thing, tells him that in order to escape he has to stick with the plan or they're going to get in serious trouble with Lord Hater.  How will they get out of this one?
Wow, so where to start?  Um, "The Fugitives" is an episode of a different caliber compared to the likes of "The Greatest" (101a) and "The Picnic", and I don't mean that in a bad way.  It's just that the set up is different; immediately the episode puts us right in the middle of the action as the two of them are being tracked down and searched by the Watchdogs.  Now that's clever!  These episodes waste no time getting to the bulk of things, I enjoy that.  Another thing that I should bring up about this episode is the music; for the lighthearted and comedic scenes it's of course lighthearted, but any time it cuts to the Watchdogs and this one dark scene in particular (I'll get to that shortly) the music sounds very dark and menacing.  Great!  A perfect balance for the episode's score as far as I'm concerned!
"Gangway!  Wanted fugitives coming through!"
The flash animation, as usual, is superb to look at!  There is so much fluidity in motion that I find it refreshing, and the various designs for the various inhabitants of this episode's planet are very fascinating and at times rather quirky, ranging from a bellboy with a doorknob and keyhole for a head to a civilian made entirely out of balloons.  There is so much imagination flowing throughout the show that I cannot help but find appealing (as well as other reasons).  =)  "The Fugitives", like the previous episodes, is overflowing with both cute and funny moments, and a lot of the jokes worked.  For example there is a visual gag where the episode starts from a distant view of the planet, which then zooms in on Sylvia who is snarling, but then the camera pulls back and reveals that it's just a photo for a wanted poster.  XD  I thought that was funny, immediately got a chuckle out of me (for the most part... Wander's in it too, which I felt was sad because well, he's super kind).

A few scenes later Wander explains to Sylvia how helping others is rewarding and that "It just feels so gooooood!"; he gradually floats from the ground as a light is simultaneously shining behind him, only to reveal that the Watchdogs had found them while pointing the flashlight to them.  That's clever!  =)  Another clever bit was the dust cloud which was shaped like their bodies as they ran away (with the title appearing with that cute little banjo twang).  There are a couple sound gags Sylvia makes too which I thought were hysterical (but may need multiple viewings to fully comprehend what the words are) as she's angry whenever she's on the verge of escaping but notices Wander out in the open trying to help others.
Even though Sylvia is a rough fighting machine and Wander is a sweet, helpful, and innocent cute little yokel, I honestly feel that they make a really good team; it somehow manages to balance each character out, for they've got a wide range of strengths and weaknesses.  Some shots look normal at first, but then a few cuts later we see Wander rushing to the rescue after noticing someone in need of help; at first it seems like it was done for naught, until seconds later it's revealed to have done good!  =)  For example Wander has just removed a nail in the road, Sylvia's reaction is "really?", this balloon man walks in and is scared, "Oh, my stars!  I could've been killed!", Sylvia is speechless, he thanks Wander for removing the nail and says that he owes him one, finally ending in such an electrifyingly cute hug.  That is adorable.
I love the usage of colors here.  I honestly think that the colors match the environments, characters, and various things around so sublimely.  The lighting and shading is also effective, particularly during the moments when our two friends are hiding in the shadows.  I love how even though the planet they're in is very big, Wander manages to get to the person in need with no problem (if I didn't know any better, I'd say that he's got the "helper" sense like Spider-Man has his spider sense).  He is so efficacious, caring, helpful, and incredibly nice to others (even those that want to detain and/or destroy him) that I cannot help but love him a lot (I mean look at him: he is exceedingly cute... why would anyone possibly hate this guy?).  He's also positive and happy-go-lucky, never harsh towards others or cynical, but then there's this one scene that really struck me by surprise in terms of, well, everything.
Wuh?
... What?  o.O
Why are you quoting Return of the Jedi?
This quote is significantly relevant.
Oh, are you talking about a literal trap, trapped in a sense that what follows shortly thereafter will be inevitable, or trapped in an ambiguous way?
Actually all of the above.
In what sense?
Okay, do you want me to elaborate, Lord Blog, are you gonna prolong my analytical thoughts on this episode?  =/
No, no, keep going!  I'll just go and survey some other blogs then.  Go ahead.
...  So, before any more interruptions are made:

More than halfway through the episode after almost having gotten both himself and Sylvia caught a few times, she tells him to stick with the plan and not help anyone else so they do not risk getting caught again.  At this point Wander makes a promise to not help anyone anymore.  That may turn out to be a big mistake, as will be evidenced shortly.  =(  After that Sylvia finds a way out, but it's jammed; meanwhile the Watchdogs are still looking vigilantly, and two of them think up a plan to get Wander out of hiding.  =O  They're going to attempt that by oppressing and intimidating innocent civilians, thereby forcing him to come out and help them through this ruse.  And Wander just promised Sylvia that he wouldn't help anymore.  'o'
Uh oh!!!  D=}
Seeing poor Wander like this makes me a sad panda ='{
This scene in particular somehow struck a chord with me, and it's got to be perhaps the most noteworthy scene in the episode (in my humble opinion).  When I first saw this whole sequence I was taken aback, rendered completely speechless; I mean, holy crap!  O.O  Then after having rewatched the episode a couple more times, the scene became more haunting and more harrowing to me; for a show that's lighthearted and cute, this sequence was incredibly hard to watch (not because it's a bad scene, far from it; it's a very potent scene, but it's because of how powerful this scene was for me that makes it hard for me to watch, and I'll get to why).  I'm not going to lie, I was scared at this point; not because the Watchdogs were attacking and intimidating the civilians, I could take that just fine, but I was scared for Wander's sake (and I was so worried that he was going to break).  Let me start.

As soon as Wander sees these oppressive atrocities committed by the Watchdogs, he's got a strong desire to help, but he's been bound to the promise he just made for Sylvia, so he reluctantly decides to stay hidden as he watches in horror as those in need are completely helpless against the eyeballs.  His deep desire to help is highly strong, but he wants to stay true to his promise to Sylvia as a friend.  The longer he hides the worse it gets for the others.  Not being able to help is really killing Wander inside, and it's very apparent.  The more the oppressed keep crying for "help", the stronger his urge becomes.  Seeing the others get hurt only deepens his pain even further, but he tries to maintain control for Sylvia.  The more he does nothing, the more helpless he becomes; and the more helpless he becomes the more unbearable it becomes for him to sit back.  And the more unbearable it becomes for him to lie low, his urge becomes too much to fight, all the while he looks as if he is about to break under pressure.  In the crux of things he starts to feel as if the walls are closing in on him, as if he had seen his worst nightmare come true and he just cannot take it anymore.  This powerful, powerful scene culminates in Wander screaming in agony as he snaps wildly, no longer wishing to let the poor people down (it doesn't matter if it's a trap anymore, he just won't take it) and decides to risk everything to save them.

But words aren't enough to describe this scene, and I'll tell you why.  This whole sequence where Wander is feeling tortured inside is so visually arresting.  There are swift cuts that switch from the innocents (or the Watchdogs) to Wander, rinse and repeat.  The more we cut to Wander the more terrified and scared he looks, and the deeper we go the more intense and emotional the scene feels.  On a visual level this harrowing scene was so poetic, and I feel so bad to say that considering the ordeal Wander had to go through.  =(  Also... hey, you know what, watch that scene; I implore you to watch that scene!  It's one of those moments you'll have to see it to believe it.  Seeing Wander feel so hopeless and tortured inside during this scene really hit me hard... those Watchdogs are devious ba- uh, monsters!  >=(  How deplorable of them!

This scene as a whole was so overwhelming that I just could not believe it, and by the time the scene was over (please don't laugh) I really wanted to hug him, like get in there and hug him because from the way he looked really needed one.  ='(  I mean, poor Wander; seeing him at his most vulnerable hurt me a little inside, and I felt so bad for him.  The scene was so perfectly handled, succinctly showing how he felt as he descended deeper and deeper in the abyss; and that in itself is why it's so hard for me to watch (especially when taking into consideration that Wander is an extremely likable character).  As I slept during the night I saw "The Fugitives", there was a moment when I dreamt of this very scene, and as I pictured it more thoroughly I was crying on the inside and I almost choked up.  Later on in the next day (the 21st) I recalled the scene once more, and I felt a little overwhelmed and I almost cried.

This was the first time that I felt so emotionally connected to Wander.  Wander is a free-spirited ray of sunshine, and anytime he smiles, does things that make everyone happy, or is just being Wander, it cheers me up and makes me feel so happy.  =)  Characters like these don't come around very often, and that's a shame because he's so charming and innocent.  It's funny, a little before "The Fugitives" came up I was so enamored of the way these episodes were both cute and entertaining that I pondered (regarding Wander's character) how long it would be until an episode of Wander Over Yonder would have a scene that brings out tearful emotions.  ...  Apparently four episodes it seems.  =|

Four episodes!  Four!  I cannot for the life of me recall the last time I felt so deeply connected to a show or character in just four episodes; this episode almost made me cry because of that one powerfully executed scene.  I cannot explain it, but it seems to me like anytime Wander is happy it turns my frown upside down; when he's the opposite of happy (or is feeling deeply tortured), I somehow feel sad.  Wander is also a character I sympathize with, for I really get him.  I like to help people out too, and one of the last things I want to do is to let people down (which is one of my biggest fears).  At first I didn't think much of it, but after watching the episode a few more times that scene resonated and has stuck with me.  I don't know if other people that saw this episode felt that way, maybe I'm overthinking this as a whole, but that is honestly how I felt about the scene.  If you've wanted to know what would happen if Wander were to not help people even though deep down he really wants to; this episode showcases that "what if?" scenario with absolute perfection.  Sylvia admittedly does come across as a bit selfish in the episode, but she does have a change of heart later on.

I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I know I've gone on so long about this sequence, and I know that Wander Over Yonder is an animated comedy, though that's not to say this episode didn't have funny moments, it most definitely did.  Shortly after the whole traumatic scene has concluded it has some new funny scenes, and there's still that feel-good ending.  =)  The thing about "The Fugitives" is it's largely funny with one helluva deep scene that grabs you and doesn't let go until the very end.  That's how incredible this episode was for me.  While I can't say that it's as excellent as "The Greatest", "The Fugitives" does come close.  =)
The credits sequence for this one is good, even though it's a prolonged version of a scene that was used in the episode, albeit in sketch form (in a similar way to the one in "The Picnic").  I think it's cute, and it's also nice to see how the characters and set ups used to appear in sketch format.  Also... hey, wait a second, I know what those dotted lines represent!  *looks up towards the heavens and shakes fist*  Damn you, pan-and-scaaaaaaaaan!!!!
This episode (and the show too) also deserves my heart-shaped quality seal of purity because as I've mentioned before, Wander Over Yonder is a show with a really big heart!  =)  That, and it's one big joyride that makes me feel like a child again!
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( >'.')>TO EACH THEIR OWN<('.'< )
All right, this Friday's newest episode will be "The Good Deed", and it's going to ask the simple question as to how many of them it takes to undo it all.  I'm curious to see how the next episode pulls it off.  =)  I don't have many problems with the show insofar as I've watched, but I wish it was shown in letterbox format (preserving the intended aspect ratio) when it shows in SDTV quality.  =(  It's just a personal nitpick of mine, though.
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Wander Over Yonder is the property of Disney
Screengrabs taken by my video camera

Thank you for reading my Wander Over Yonder Blog, and I hope you have a great day!  Take care!  =D

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