GI Joe: The Greatest Evil
Submitted by Dave Lawrence.
Starring: Chris Latta, Scot O’Neal, Gary Chalk, and many more
Well gang, here’s a look back at one of the silliest chapters in G.I. Joe history
The Greatest Evil
Now, the GI Joe line was going through some serious changes by the time this episode aired. The Gulf War still fresh in everyone’s mind, Hasbro decided to shift the focus of the Joe line from ‘military guys fighting terrorists’ to specialized groups (i.e. Battle Corp-standard Military stuff, Ninja Force, Inviso-force, etc.) and one of the newer lines was called DEF-Drug Elimination Force, set to capitalize on the whole War on Drugs. And of course, the best way to get a new toy over with the kids (and parents) is to have the new stuff debut on the show. Now the show itself had fallen on hard times by this point.
After the cluster f*ck of the film known as ‘GI Joe: The Movie’ had arrived DOA, Sunbow (either losing the rights or just getting rid of the show) stopped doing the cartoon. Aside from the commercials, the movie ended their collaboration with Hasbro, who in turn gave the rights of a new show to DiC.
The DiC shows were, to be kind, a bit odd. There was more humor, and Cobra had gone from an international terrorist organization to a bunch of bankrupt gits who were always trying to rob somebody. In a cost cutting measure, DiC jettisoned most of the original cast (and as such, most of the original characters), leaving the writers to come with new heroes and villains.
The show starts off with a new credit sequence and theme song, which most of the words consist of the phrase: “Got to get tough! Yo Joe!” over and over, etc.
But now on to the episode itself, which begins with a shot of some urban street. Various people mull about buying drugs from some of the worst dressed drug dealers I’ve ever seen. I mean it, these guys are decked out in black and yellow riot gear with faceplates and combat boots and the two guys near the front of a building are carrying two BIG ass guns. And this takes place in broad daylight mind you.
A blond girl walks to one of the dealers and tries to buy some drugs, but is turned down because she’s broke. Just then (oh lord)…The Headman appears! He’s apparently the boss of the bunch, as exampled by his pinstriped zoot suit and Lone Ranger mask. He chides the dealer for refusing a favored customer and proceeds to give the girl a brand new drug he just invented called ‘Spark’. Just before the girl can tune in and drop out, a mob of irate citizens appears and storms the block screaming: “No more drugs! No more selling drugs to kids!”
A nice sentiment (although you have to wonder where the damn police are) but it’s sadly wasted as the Headman and his henchmen retreat to the blasted out building. At this point, all logic goes flying out of the window when the building converts into a giant fortress, complete with big ass missiles! Now, I know drug dealers are usually well armed, but this is just silly. The henchmen return with guns roughly the size of a car fender and blast away at the crowd. But keeping to the spirit of Sunbow, nobody is shot. The Headman gloats as the crowd gives up and goes home, screaming: “this is the Headman’s city! And the Headman reigns supreme!”
With that in mind, the action then shifts to the Joes preparing for a mission. It seems that there is a huge shipment of diamonds coming into town, and the Joes have it good authority that Cobra might make a move for them at the local airport. Now, is this something the Army does? I mean, wouldn’t protecting a shipment of diamonds more of a police thing, right?
But never mind that, as Falcon shows up! Yes brothers and sisters, Falcon has retuned to the Joes; let the panic set in. But Falcon’s got a problem. He needs a pick me up before he gets into his Battle Copter (think a helicopter blade attached to a jetpack) so what does he do? He pulls a small red bag (the same kind of bag the Headman gave to the girl) and uses the red dust inside. You know, I never had a good impression of Falcon before, but this scene of “Hey I’m going to get high before piloting what is basically a engine and a gun!” just takes the damn cake. I mean it; Falcon is now the dumbest bastard I’ve ever seen on any TV show. Don’t they have drug testing in the army? Doesn’t anyone see him doing this? Some of the other Joes that are flying with him notice his behavior, but nobody seems all that concerned.
Meanwhile, a Crimson Guard Immortal (think a really, really high ranking member of the Crimson Guard, which is pretty darn impressive seeing as to how the Crimson Guard are already the elite troops of Cobra, but I digress) is troubled. It seems his sister Cindy (the same girl who was given the drugs by the Headman earlier) has been taken to the local hospital. And he’s told this by the Baroness. Now, why exactly would she tell him? And how would she know? The Baroness was always ruthless and even her loyalty to Cobra Commander and Destro was often suspect, why would she even bother telling a anonymous foot solider about his sister getting ill? Is she doing it to make Destro jealous?
But back to Falcon, as he decides the best way to disable a Night Vulture (Cobra troops who use hang gliders) is to…wait for it…unhook himself from his own safety harness and freefall onto the glider! By only the grace of the writers do they both survive and they both steal separate baggage cars to continue the chase. I’m guessing the drug Falcon’s using is suppose to be either cocaine or perhaps PCP, because he only seems more aggressive. He’s not having any problems driving and his motor skills seem fine. But it’s all for naught, as Cobra actually manage to do something right for a change and they get away with the diamonds.
Duke, who’s pretty pissed about the whole mission, orders all the Joes to stay behind and help clean up the mess. Shouldn’t they be chasing down Cobra? But never mind, as we cut later to the Joe HQ, where Duke is chewing Falcon out for screwing up everything. Falcon, cool as ever, mouths off to Duke, ordering him to back off and that’s he is ok. Now, in case you failed to read my review of GI Joe: The movie, Falcon is UNDER Duke in terms of rank. That has not changed, so why the hell is Falcon back talking to his superior officer? Of course, Falcon just walks off while Duke talks to Bulletproof (leader of the DEF) about how Falcon’s general attitude has taken a turn for the worse. Didn’t he see the damn movie? Falcon’s always been a jackass!
But again I digress as we see Falcon in the hallway outside the meeting room. He’s suffering from some serious withdrawal symptoms and he needs more Spark.
Inside the local hospital, we see Cindy being visited by her brother. Her brother by the way is decked in his full Crimson Guard uniform, and nobody at the hospital says anything. Wouldn’t a man dressed in a bright crimson uniform with snakes on it attract some attention? Cindy tells her brother that she overdosed on the Spark she got from the Headman.
We then cut to the Headman, who’s ranting to himself how he will reign supreme over everyone.
Then we go to Falcon, who’s gotten his bag of Spark, but has the ill luck to try and get high right in front of the same room where Duke and Bulletproof are. Duke leaves, hits Falcon with the door, causing him to drop and spill his precious bag of Spark all over the floor. Duke, who apparently has gotten sick of the fool, throws Falcon out, both out of the Joes and his own life. He then leaves, but as happy as I am to see Falcon get kicked out, it does raise some more questions; such as isn’t there a proper procedure for this? I mean, when a man is kicked out of the Army, they don’t just say “leave and don’t let the door hit you on the way out”, do they? And if Falcon is now official an EX-Joe, shouldn’t he be escorted off of the base pronto?
Falcon whines to Bulletproof about how he just wanted to have more energy and be a better Joe so Duke will like him. So he gets illegal drugs to help him do this? He also mentions the Headman, but it does bring up this: Falcon has apparently been doing Spark for a while, yet the Headman said he just invented it. Maybe I’m thinking about this too much.
Bulletproof tells Falcon how he used to be in the same boat, but he cleaned up his act and got off drugs. He insists that Falcon get help, and Falcon actually agrees.
Back at the hospital, Cindy quietly slips into a coma (she should be thankful she didn’t get a snake shoved through her chest) and her brother storms out.
We then cut to Duke and the Crimson Guard Immortal as they both meet each other (they’re flying around in Battle Copters) and they both decide to fight. Long story short, they both manage to blast apart each other’s rides and somehow their parachutes somehow get tangled together. Duke cuts away his chute and the CGI allows him to hitch a ride down. On the way down, Duke and the CGI talk their problems out and they both realize they have a common enemy. And, in perhaps the craziest damn thing I’ve ever seen on this show, Duke and the CGI leave to go and convince both their sides that they need to team up and take out the Headman
The CGI convinces Cobra Commander to go along with the plan, stating that the Headman is a drug dealer, and drug dealers always have some serious amounts of hard cash lying around. CC agrees, and we cut to
GI Joe HQ, where Duke is trying to get the Joes ready. The Joes (and we only see a handful of them) are less than impressed with Duke’s plan. And why shouldn’t they be? I mean, they are a elite group of military specialists, and besides, they have the entire US government at their disposal. Why do they need outside help? It would be like the entire Marine Corp and Osma teaming up to take down a crack house. There’s no damn reason why this should happen, and shouldn’t Duke be arrested for associating with known terrorists? But Bulletproof puts everyone in their place by giving a nice little speech that basically says ‘drugs are evil’. Right, and teaming up with the same people who put half the planet in total darkness, destroyed the world’s currency, stole the world’s oil, burned D.C. to a husk, not to mention trying to starve the planet by destroying the world’s grain would be ok, as long as the viewers know that drugs are bad? I guess causing global upheaval is cool, but doing drugs is bad!
Later, the Joes and Cobra meet. Each Joe will be paired up with a Cobra agent, so as no one can get the drop one another. Which does make a little bit of sense, but not a whole lot.
The mayor of this unnamed city hears of the plan (wait, how would he know?) and he agrees to it! This loon is going to allow a group of terrorists free reign in his city just so he can get rid of ONE drug dealer? How did this bozo get elected?
CGI and Shockwave (a former SWAT member, sort of the urban combat expert for the Joes) go in together to try and take out some of the gun batteries on the Headman’s house. Remember the cannons? They’re back in full force along with the storm trooper knock offs and their big ass guns. When the Headman learns that his fortress has been breached, he decides to kidnap Falcon and Cindy to show that even GI Joe and Cobra aren’t safe from the Headman!
In the hospital, Falcon wanders into Cindy’s room (Cindy is in a drug induced coma, yet she isn’t hooked up to anything) and he whines about how cold turkey isn’t fun. As he continues to whine about how he wants to be out there fighting (and we can see the battle from the hospital window) the Headman and his goons show to kidnap them! Never mind that the Headman wouldn’t know that Falcon and Cindy would be in the same room at the same time, how did he know which hospital to go to? Does he keep track of all of his customers? Considerate of him, isn’t it?
Back to the fighting, as the Headman’s goons get the drop on CGI and Shockwave and order them to surrender, which they do.
High above the battle, Duke and CC are flying around in a small plane when they are hit by stray laser fire! It knocks out the controls! It’s also somehow managed to fuse the cockpit shut so they can’t eject! And thus the first part comes to a close.
And as the second part opens, CC blames Duke for their imminent deaths, but Duke somehow cuts his way out of the cockpit and drags CC along with him so they can share a parachute down (hey Duke, you do have the ringleader of the guys you’ve been fighting for years hugging your waist, no one would blame you if you kicked him…no really, we wouldn’t).
And as they float gently down, we go back to see CGI and Shockwave having some problems with the Headman’s men. CGI acts like he wants to switch sides, and the goons have no problem giving him his guns back.
Back at the Headman’s main base, we see Falcon (who’s wearing his full uniform under his gown) and Cindy arriving.
Back in the city, it turns out it was a trick, as CGI is now the one to get the drop on someone, as he takes out the guard and with Shockwave’s help they blow up the automated guns and other weapons systems.
While cleaning up the rest of the house, Duke finds out that the Headman escaped and he has Falcon and Cindy!
And speaking of the Big Poochie, Falcon is being tempted by the Headman to join his group. After all, he pissed away his military career and his only living family disowned him (wait, how would the Headman know Falcon and Duke are related? I guess we can add giving out classified information to Falcon’s crimes as well) so why not join him and make a fortune selling Spark? Falcon stares the Headman directly in the eye and he says: “I just say no!” Which is nice, but seeing as to how easily he was tempted to drugs and given his IQ displayed so far, I’m less than enthralled with his choice. It just seems too quick and moralized for him to reject the offer.
He and Cindy (who has just woken up from her coma) escape from the Headman and make their way to the radio room. Yes, a drug dealer has a room stocked to the brim with high radios. Hopefully he doesn’t share the same designers as Cobra. And Cindy sees a tad bit too perky for someone who until a few minutes ago was in a coma.
But I digress, as Falcon actually manages to do something right as he gets the message out to Duke where they are. He knows they are in the Red Rock Mesa (And I don’t know how he knows, the Headman didn’t say anything as to the bases location). Falcon and Cindy get captured again as the Headman’s thugs break in. Of course, most dealers would have had them shot by now, but never mind as the Joes and Cobras suddenly appear and attack en masse.
Bulletproof (driving what I think is the Battle Wagon-think a built up four wheeler with a big ass multi shot cannon on top) and his Cobra partner Metal-Head have a interesting debate about explosions. Metal-Head was one of the DiC characters, and of all of them, he’s actually my favorite. This is a guy who loves blowing things up, and his main weapons was a rocket launcher suit. Which was voice activated, so we could hear him stare down a target and say stuff like” Target-fifty meters. BANG! BANG! BANG!” and all the missiles on him would fire. A great and lovable loon, shame this is his big part.
But as before, I’m getting off topic. Bulletproof suggests that maybe firing the rockets at the gun turrets (oh yeah, the entire mesa is in fact one giant building) would create more explosions rather than simply firing them wildly. Metal-Head reluctantly agrees (he hates taking orders forma Joe) but he smiles with childlike innocence as the guns explode. Ah Metal-Head, we hardly knew ye
Then (after a pointless scene between the Baroness and Mutt) we cut to the CGI and Shockwave, who are arguing tactics. They decide to go with the CGI’s plan, which is to sneak in and try to find Falcon and Cindy.
Speaking of Cindy, she has a relapse of some kind, and now has to be carried by Falcon. After beating one guard, they found themselves inside the Headman’s secret stash of cash and his super duper secret escape hatch. They grin as they come up with a plan…
And speak of the devil; we cut to the Headman in his office. He’s freaking out, so he decides the best to clam down is to start taking Spark by the handful. Judging from Falcon’s reaction, this isn’t the best stuff to take if you need to relax. CC and Duke bust in, but the Headman escapes, giggling like a schoolgirl all the way. Just what the heck is Spark supposed to be anyway? But while CC stays behind to look for the Headman’s money, Duke and the others take after the dealer.
They find him standing near a large vat filled with red liquid, with the Headman manning a hose. If they get any closer, he’ll spray them all with Spark! Now, up until now, Spark has been shown to be a red powder. Is the liquid form meant to be more potent? Is it Spark that hasn’t been refined yet? But it’s moot, since Falcon just shoves and tackles him, causing the Headman to be bathed in own drug. Note that none of the Joes or Cobras try to help the flailing figure any, they just stand around and look.
The CGI tries to get Cindy to join him and Cobra, but she rejects his offer, saying she needs help, not crime. He’s cool with that and leaves with Cobra
But since none of them tried to help him, the Headman is rather pissed. So, when no one is watching, he gets up and hit the big red button marked ‘self-destruct’ before dropping dead. Why do all of these secret bases have these buttons?
Both the Joes and Cobra make it out in time (with Cobra making off with large sacks and chest, hopefully containing all of the Headman’s money).
And as the rubble burns, Duke tells Falcon he’s finally proud of him. I don’t know why exactly, but he is. Falcon says he and Cindy are going back to rehab, but first they have to make a donation to the fight against drugs. Yes, we all saw this joke coming.
It seems that while Falcon and Cindy found the Headman’s cash, they took all of the money out of the various bags and boxes, and they are going to give to charity. And what did Cobra steal? Newspaper. Yup, two drug addicts in the fit of withdrawal were able to replace several million dollars in cash with shredded newspapers in about five minutes. That made no damn sense when I was child, and it still doesn’t. Where did they get the newspaper? And why would the Headman keep shredded newspaper around his money? Or did Falcon shred it?
But, since we can’t have death in a cartoon, we once again cut back to the Headman, whose hand slowly twitches as the credits roll.
Now, I have never cared for moralizing in cartoons. It tires to boil complex issues to simple ‘yes and no’ scenarios, and that never works. This episode was written by Bob and Eve Forward, who thankfully went on to write better things on the show Transformers: Beast Wars. This would be the end of the GI Joe cartoon, as it went on for only a couple more episodes before being cancelled. The DiC (or Do it Cheap) shows were goofy, but they did have their own charm. The toy was halted shortly there after so Hasbro could make way for GI Joe: Extreme and Sgt. Savage and his Screaming Eagles. Never line made much of an impact, and the Joe line was brought back in 1997.
Best Lines: “Newspaper?” Sorry, but just the way Latta delivers the line.
Sex and Nudity: None.
As fun as it has been, it time to go. See you round kids, and remember- Winners don’t use drugs!