Today I re-watched the classic GI Joe episode, the season two opener, Arise Serpentor Arise. Part 1. This classic tale first aired 30 years ago today.
I’ve been trying to remember watching it for the first time. I’m not sure where I watched it, but I can narrow it down to three TVs. My house, my best friend’s, or at the babysitter’s. Those were the after school cartoon TVs. The New York channels, 5, 11 and sometimes 9 had all the cartoons needed.
I also wonder how much I knew going into the episode and how much I learned later. Did I know all of these characters already thanks to the toys? Somehow I feel like I knew who and what Serpentor was before the episode aired. But that could be 30 years of time in between.
The episode doesn’t provide any clarity. I was writing down the characters as they were introduced. There are at least 30 characters in this episode. I lost count eventually. Brand new ones are given their moments while familiar faces are shown to still be around and doing well. Roadblock and Shipwreck get a bit of air time for example, but its just an excuse to introduce new team members – Leatherneck, Wet Suit, LifeLine, Low Light, Sci Fi, and more and more. Also a great excuse for exposition. Not only does every character get named but the leadership break down is established and the big conflict of this episode is established. The Joes have gotten lazy. Brand new leaders Hawk (well, he was around but not in action figure identifiable form) and BeachHead have their own ideas. But where does Sgt. Slaughter fit into the hierarchy?
I am going to continue to look at 30 year anniversary episodes of GI Joe for the rest of the year. Any chance I get. Tune in next time for a look at Dr Mindbender, Sgt Slaughter, leaps of faith and logic, and oh yeah – Serpentor.