Lasers in the Night
Look, Quick Kick sucks. He does. He's just awful. He's only there because they wanted a Bruce Lee rip-off, and he has no personality except that he constantly quotes classic movie lines with his terrible impressions (every guy thinks he can do the best Bogart impression, and the fact is, none of us can; oh, and your impressions of Christopher Walken suck, too, so please stop doing them). Fun-loving guy who quotes movie lines and does impressions? That sounds like everyone I hate at a comic book convention.
So, in this episode, this chick Amber is bored with her college classes but thinks Quick Kick is interesting. Apparently she doesn't own a record player. She goes to see Quick Kick at a G.I. Joe martial arts expo on campus to go, in her own words, "hunk hunting."
This is the kind of episode that would've had me flipping channels that afternoon. I think ThunderCats might've been on at the same time.
Anyway, Quick Kick goes through the usual martial arts expo stuff (a reminder that martial arts are not just for fighting, but for discipline, followed by chopping a chain in half in a very disciplined way). Quick Kick is impressed because, in true lazy writing style, when he asks for a volunteer from the audience, Amber gets in a lucky punch and nearly collapses his lung, from the sound of it.
Amber really likes Quick Kick, even after his idiot Porky Pig impression, and runs after him so he can do his idiot Bogart impression. She giggles and a montage follows, with Quick Kick dating a college student and clothes and settings right out of some terrible late-forties movie about teenagers courting. She mistakes his James Stewart impression for John Wayne, and he giggles and everything's perfect, and they're sparring in the dojo together, and it's basically Bruce and Linda Lee.
Hilariously, what ruins it all is that Amber says she wants to join G.I. Joe. So he tells her about military training and how you have to put in all of this time and effort and become one of the best in your field to even be considered and--oh, no, wait, that's right, G.I. Joe will take anyone with a costume and a gimmick who walks up to the door that day. That was pretty much Quick Kick's entre into the service, wasn't it? "Uh, well, we met a guy in the Arctic who saved us from Storm Shadow, and he's a stuntman and can fly a plane... and, uh, we don't have a guy who does impressions yet, so why not?" Jeez, not even a background check?
Anyway, Quick Kick thinks it's too dangerous for Amber to join G.I. Joe, which comes across as awful damn sexist considering he works with two women--Scarlett and Cover Girl--who can really handle themselves in the field. (And attention-craving Lady Jaye, but I keep hoping she'll get over her crippling neediness.) It really is the late forties, after all. At least in Quick Kick's head.
Suddenly, as if to get a taste of the horrors that could potentially await Amber, we cut to Gung Ho on an island, running away from Cobra soldiers and casually punching snakes. Why he's alone on this island I don't know, but he gets captured by a Cobra with a laser whip. Cobra Commander and the Baroness are pleased with his capture, and the Baroness is given an assignment.
Cut suddenly to the G.I. Joe electronics lab burning to the ground. Duke, Scarlett, Lady Jaye, and Bazooka rush in to look for anybody; Lady Jaye hears a cry for help but gets knocked out, so Bazooka has to drag her out. The building is totally destroyed. Duke sees a Cobra Rattler flying off and figures they were looking for the new guidance system, which was moved to the Joe HQ for exactly this reason.
Well, things sure have soured between Quick Kick and Amber. He brings Lady Jaye flowers in the infirmary, and when Scarlett makes a light joke about "your new girlfriend had better not hear about the flowers," Quick Kick immediately gets pissy. "The only flowers Amber would be interested in are those wrapped in enlistment papers." Wow, what a bitch. Quick Kick, I mean.
And then the lights are cut and there's a mysterious intruder.
But she's really Amber!
And let me tell you, Quick Kick is pissed. But you know who's even more pissed? Duke. Bow howdy, is he mad. How mad? Interrogation mad.
Seriously, guys? An interrogation chamber? Why, because she didn't just walk in wearing a sailor suit? All Amber wanted to do was join G.I. Joe, and I guess this was her misguided calling card, but you gotta admit, breaking into Joe HQ was pretty ballsy and impressive for a college student with no apparent military training. Amber looks to Quick Kick for support, and he totally hangs her out to dry (and he does it with his crappy John Wayne impression, too). Duke basically says "Aw, fuck it" and lets her go. He even lets Quick Kick show her around. Maybe he's thinking about it.
Amber is way too pissed at Quick Kick to care about Skystriker arcana, so she runs off and he follows. Meanwhile, a tech who goes by the fearsome codename Alice is fitting Lady Jaye's Skystriker with the new guidance system. I wonder what Alice's story is. She kind of looks like Majel Barrett. Really, anyone who isn't Lady Jaye or Quick Kick is more interesting than what's going on in this story, and you don't see too many women in G.I. Joe, despite the big three. Alice really feels like she's only there to show that G.I. Joe doesn't discriminate based on gender, since Quick Kick is being really high-handed and sexist with Amber.
Well, someone finally notices that Gung Ho's been gone an awful long time, so Duke gathers some Joes together (Scarlett, Bazooka, Breaker, Alpine, Roadblock, Dusty, Spirit and Flint) for a briefing. His last transmission was from a place called Snake Island, which probably should have been a red flag long before now. Amber bursts into the room, mortified, and Quick Kick hauls her off.
Flint: "Heh, this is why I don't date!"
Alpine: "Sure, THAT'S why. Got nothing to do with your crippling fear of women."
Meanwhile, Destro makes it back to Snake Island and contacts Cobra Commander. "You've arrived just in time to witness my latest stroke of genius!" the Commander hisses. That raises a red flag for Destro, but let's face it, Destro is the smartest guy on this entire show. "What is that madman up to now?" Probably thinking It's like I have to childproof the damn base and put a babysitter in charge every time I leave.
Doc (Doc! Nice to see you for a change! Doc is so underused it's a damn crime!) reports that the long-range laser guidance system past all tests. Duke is a little too impressed with his new toy, and then Amber accidentally bursts in again. I think Duke is really sick of this chick and any chance of her joining up is over now. Again, she's mortified and Quick Kick is all like "Can someone put a damn bell on her?" and it's time to take her back to sorority row.
Then Cobra attacks (that Snake Island must be, like, down the street) and Lady Jaye, who has been acting weird, seemingly gets killed. I say seemingly because, as everyone in the world has surmised by now, Lady Jaye is really the Baroness in disguise!
Yes, the Baroness changed places with Lady Jaye back at the fire, got the security code to the Skystrikers, called for the Cobra attack as a diversion, and stole the guidance system.
Duke, however, is blaming this whole thing on Amber, since she was (as far as he knows), the only non-Joe personnel in the building all night. Quick Kick's got to bring her in on suspicion of being a Cobra spy. He accepts it and walks off, leaving Scarlett to wonder if Quick Kick even cares. Duke cuts her off and says Quick Kick cares, "he simply just isn't the type to show his feelings." Well, not unless they can be expressed with a terrible impression and an old movie quote. Seriously, Duke, I know your toy was stolen, but the whole speech is right on the verge of saying "Scarlett, men are talking!"
Where's Amber? Well, she's taken a raft to Snake Island, scuba-ed in through a tunnel, and is crawling through a vent when she's captured by the Crimson Guard. She's certain G.I. Joe must think she's a Cobra spy, so she's gone to destroy Snake Island by herself. Seriously. And did I mention that this is all taking place on the same night?
Anyway, Amber's the one the Baroness reveals herself to, and Amber is thrown in a cell with the real Lady Jaye and Gung Ho. How will they escape? Well, luckily Quick Kick's ability to chop through iron chains has transferred over to Amber in some kind of totally made-up girlfriend osmosis.
Quick Kick shows up on the island, too, completely without troops or any kind of back-up, does an idiot A-Team impression, and is almost immediately captured.
Well, this is Cobra Commander's big plan: to use his laser to carve his face on the moon. Yes, Cobra Commander's entire plan was to just get all Chairface Chippendale because he was a little bored and didn't have Zartan to amuse him properly. Destro is unbelievably irritated with the Commander. "You spent millions on this?!--this cosmic graffiti?!" I think Destro feels like a parent returning from vacation only to find that, while he was gone, his son Idiot W. Bush thought it would be "hilarimous" to tag the neighbor's garage and then piss on it, even though he's in his twenties and should know better, especially when he's hiding out from military service. And then you wonder why you didn't hit the kid more often, since nothing gets through to this little asshole, who is an underachiever even despite his inferiority complex...
...it just gets to be too much, doesn't it, Destro?
Amber and the Joes escape and head for the control room, where Quick Kick is being held, and Amber's all thrilled, but then Quick Kick ruins it by being all smarmy and saying "Since there were no good movies on, I decided to rescue you." Oh, die in a fire, Quick Kick.
Well, you know the drill. Snake Island is lost, the Cobra leaders escape, Destro's all like "You're a fool!" and Cobra Commander's all like "Everyone's against me!" without thinking about how idiotic his plan was in the first place.
Quick Kick tries to follow, but gets shot down by Destro. He ends up saving himself and Amber from Destro and snakes by getting all Indiana Jones with the laser whip. He condescendingly tells Amber that this is what she'll have to deal with if she's a Joe, but it seems to me that she's holding her own just fine, even saving his life at least three times by pushing him out of the way of laser fire when he's too busy hot dogging to make sure he doesn't get killed. I mean, she breaks into Joe HQ and takes on Snake Island by herself and he doubts her courage? Wow, fuck you, Quick Kick. How insecure are you?
Back at headquarters, Duke actually apologizes to Amber for thinking she was the Cobra spy, and Amber is responsible enough to tell him his suspicions weren't out of bounds, since she did everything wrong. Duke tells her she's welcome to join the team, but she turns him down, saying she's going to finish school first. Still, she's got a space if she wants it.
And at the end, Amber pulls out a movie quote and Quick Kick doesn't recognize it. Seriously? I mean, even if you haven't seen Now, Voyager and are one of those poser movie buffs, you still have to have heard the line "Don't ask for the moon, we have the stars."
Since guys hate being corrected on their quirks, I'm assuming he dumped Amber as soon as possible. But he's obviously got control issues, anyway.
Did I mention this episode was written by Marv Wolfman? You can do better, dude. You did. A lot better.