All right...it's a new week of Jem Reviewed. And considering that last week's edition was so bad that I sort of gave up at the end, I'm hoping that Episode 36: Music is Magic is a lot better. After all, the show's title is named after one of the Jem songs I liked during season one. And, I'm going to wager dollars to donuts that the song will be making a reappearance at some point.
For now, let's watch as The Great Kimberini makes a huge fool of herself in front of all the Starlight Girls. Apparently, Kimber has a side hobby of practicing magic tricks, and she's decided to practice on the girls. So, if you happen to see Deirdre, Krissie, and Lela dead on the floor, you'll know Kimber tried to saw them in half. But I don't think Jerrica would even let Kimber do that.
Besides, it doesn't look like Kimber is even that skilled with trying basic tricks such as getting out of a locked chest. Ba Nee has to rescue her with the skeleton key that Kimber had her hold. Some magician you turned out to be!
Well, maybe Kimber can learn some things from the actual magicians that will be appearing at the place the band will be performing. It's a place called Magic Island (how original), and they will be performing alongside real magicians and illusionists for a primetime "Music and Magic" television special. Sounds like a really cool idea, and I'm sure it's going to be a big hit.
Well, okay...it looks like someone wants to sabotage the event because we see them tearing apart the poster. My money's on Eric, but we'll see.
By the way...have you noticed that the animation for this episode isn't all that great? It's very different from the 35 episodes that we previously watched. Well, in this week's Jem Trivia, I can tell you why. Of the 65 episodes that were made, 59 of them were animated in Japan. The other six were animated in South Korea - whose animation budget clearly wasn't as high as Japan's. But it did save them some money overall. One way you can tell that it's a Korean production (aside from the bad animation) is the fact that in these episodes, Raya has been made Caucasian. Whitewashing at its lamest. For future reference, the episodes made in South Korea are 36, 43, 46, 48, 56, and 58.
It's time for the Holograms to meet up with the rest of the illusionists. First, they are greeted by magician Devon Silverstone. I'm guessing that they couldn't legally use the name David Copperfield because of the fact that he didn't give them permission - or they couldn't use it because of the character from the Charles Dickens novel. Either way, Copperfield might have been too busy chasing Claudia Schiffer to really care. Silverstone's eyes seem to be focused entirely on Jem, and he magically makes flowers appear.
But then we're introduced to Marla "Get Your Hands Off My Man, Bitch" Martell, who clearly is disgusted by the attraction between Devon and Jem - mainly because she makes it painfully obvious that she wants to be in control of his...magic wand, so to speak.
And to prove it, she makes a snake appear in the flowers that Devon just gave Jem. My, Marla must be really fun at parties.
Fortunately, another pair of magicians come along to lend a hand by taking care of the snake. Yeah, I suppose having Jem hospitalized for getting bit by a poisonous snake would be considered bad for ratings. The man who made the snake disappear is named Frick, and his homely looking sidekick is Frack, his assistant. But before you think that Jem has found an ally, think again. Frick is not happy with Jem and the Holograms being there because he doesn't like sharing the stage with non-magicians. Sorry, Kimber. I guess you have to go home. And Frick also complains about the other band that is set to perform alongside them. Uh oh...do I even want to know who this other band is?
Oh look...when the moon hits your eye like a huge Misfit pie, that's anything BUT amore.
But you want to know what IS amore? The song "Abracadabra". This ain't the Steve Miller version either. It's a brand new Misfits song, and it is absolutely phenomenal. The visuals, the music, the lyrics. I was worried that the Misfits had used up all their great song stylings, but this one is a keeper. Easily a contender for favourite Misfits Season 2 song.
Oh, and of course, the Misfits are trying to make THEMSELVES the main performers so that they can force Jem and the Holograms out. Of course they are. That's their whole purpose of existing!
Fortunately, Devon interrupts the action to ask Jem to marry him. No, wait. He just wants her to be his guinea pig for a new magic trick. Either way, Jem agrees to the trick, provided that it doesn't take too much time. I'm guessing just based on the giant box on stage, it's one of those classic disappearing rock star tricks where Jem escapes from the box and reappears behind a curtain on stage.
At least, that's what is SUPPOSED to happen. As soon as Jem enters the box and Devon starts doing his magic spiel, the box explodes in a gigantic fireball and Jem is nowhere to be found!
OH MY GOD! DEVON KILLED JEM! YOU BASTARD!
The strange thing is that there is no body present, so I'm thinking that the trick worked like a charm. I'm also thinking that the trick was actually sabotaged on purpose and that the perpetrator has Jem locked up in a different location.
The number of suspects is quite high, and my first instinct is that for someone to get away with it, they would have to know magic themselves. So, Kimber's out as a suspect. And I'm thinking Devon is out as well, since he genuinely looked shocked at Jem's disappearing act - unless he's a really great actor. If I were the Holograms, I'd suspect Marla or the Frick/Frack combo, as both expressed dislike for her.
But no, the Holograms have suspected the Misfits because they seem to be all on stupid pills. Though, it does lead in nicely to the Jem and the Holograms song "It Could Be You" - which again is a fantastic song. Say what you will about the animation of this episode - the music is incredible this time around.
The Misfits, of course, deny the accusations, and it is decided that the three groups (magicians, Holograms, Misfits) split up so they can cover more ground in locating Jem. Seems reasonable.
Group #1 contains Pizzazz, Marla, and Kimber, who seem to be on a side stage away from the main stage. The stage is loaded with dozens of magic props as well as musical instruments. And almost immediately, Kimber and Pizzazz are frightened by the suddenly appearing image of a frightening monster.
Marla is quick to point out that the image is nothing more than a hologram being projected via a machine. See, Kimber...you of all people should recognize a hologram when you see one! See? Stupid pills. Of course, most Holograms don't shoot laser beams at random women, and poor Kimber gets locked in a giant sarcophagus as laser beams seemingly make Marla disintegrate!
And to make matters worse, the creepy orange monster grabs a hold of a shrieking Pizzazz and both of them disappear in a cloud of smoke! It's official. Someone DEFINITELY doesn't want the show to go on.
Luckily for Kimber, Aja's group arrives in time to help her out of the sarcophagus. But because Kimber didn't see the moment in which Pizzazz and Marla disappeared, she's unable to know where they could have gone. The groups decide that splitting up is not the way to go, and they regroup.
They soon find themselves in a basement of the theatre, where thanks to some quick thinking by Devon, they have enough light to see. And Raya thinks that she sees Jem locked up in a cage in the corner. Oh, that's just too obvious. You know there has to be a catch.
Sure enough, when Raya enters the cage, she finds that "Jem" is really a cardboard cutout. And when Raya tries to leave the cage, it locks behind her and spins her around in a cloud of thick smoke. It seems that Raya is our next person to pull a disappearing act...
...or she turns into a tiger that is set on making Stormer her next meal. Funny...I would think that if the tiger really was Raya, she'd want to bite off Jetta's face before attacking Stormer. Either way, more quick thinking from Devon blinds the tiger long enough for them to get away, and for Devon to lock the tiger back into the cage it came from. So, I'm officially crossing Devon off the suspect list too, meaning that Frick and Frack are looking mighty guilty to me - well, unless Marla staged her own disappearing act.
But before the group can approach them, Frick decides to pull out a tarp to hold them off, loses his grip on the tarp, and somehow finds a way to make Devon, Roxy, and Aja disappear! Oh, sure...that's a great way to prove your innocence!
For the remaining people left - Kimber, Stormer, Shana, and Jetta, it's all the proof that they need to suspect that Frick is the one who masterminded the whole plan and kidnapped all of their friends. They immediately chase after them, and plan to make them reveal where their friends are.
But just as the girls have the magicians cornered, they're ambushed by a gigantic cannon that shoots balloons and confetti all over them!
It shoots them with such force that all of them end up sliding down a hidden trapdoor where they all land in individual cages that are sealed up tight!
Kimber looks around and sees Jem, Aja, Raya, and the others have all suffered the same fate as them. Well, okay, Pizzazz is locked in a coffin and Roxy is dangling upside down in a straitjacket. But with everybody locked away in the catacombs of the theatre, it seems as though none of them could be guilty.
That is, until Frack opens up his door and announces his evil scheme. It seems as though Frack was getting a little tired of being Frick's second banana, and he decided that he would use his own magic skills to take over the whole Music and Magic show! Oh, and he locked up the Holograms and the Misfits as well, because he refuses to share the stage with anyone. So this whole plot was to make him a star, was it? Well, Jem is determined to stop him. Of course, it's pretty hard for Jem to do anything locked up.
But as soon as Frack leaves to start the show, Kimber remembers that she still has her skeleton key on her. You know, the key that can open up any lock? Kimber tries the key on the lock of her cage and successfully gets out! Thinking she's onto something, she runs over to Jem's cage and frees her! Kimber saves the day yet again!
As Kimber runs around the area unlocking Holograms, Misfits, and magicians, Marla approaches Jem and apologizes for treating her so badly at the start, which Jem accepts. I think Frick also apologizes for having a psycho assistant, but I can't remember that part.
Unfortunately for Pizzazz, she's the last one to be rescued, and Kimber's skeleton key breaks in the lock. Since they have no time to waste, the Holograms and the magicians go on ahead to try and stop Frack from destroying the show...leaving Roxy and Stormer to try and get Pizzazz out with a handsaw! Oh, why do I get the feeling that this isn't going to end well? Though kudos to Paul Dini for including so many sight gags!
On stage, Frack is definitely enjoying the limelight of being the sole performer of the show, and he truly believes that he has gotten away with the perfect crime. Well, that is until the curtain opens up behind him, and Jem and the Holograms are standing there along with Frick, Marla, and Devon.
Stunned, but surprisingly prepared, Frack uses his powers of magic to make the magicians fall on stage thanks to a game of 52 Pick-Up! But what Frack doesn't know is that Jem has her own book of tricks - or rather, an earring of tricks.
With help from Synergy, Jem clones all the members of her band six or seven times to really confuse Frack. Then when Frack uses his magic wand to attack one of the groups, he turns Jem into an ugly green monster that makes him retreat!
He backs up so much that it allows the Misfits who are backstage to kidnap him and tie him up in a straitjacket! You know, when the Holograms and the Misfits work together, they actually become stronger. I just wish their silly feud didn't get in the way all the time.
With Frack now tied up, the show can go on. But Devon approaches Jem and is blown away by how she made those illusions appear! He tries to get her to reveal her secrets, but Jem doesn't take the bait. Instead, she and the Holograms perform a song.
And that song is - of course - "Music is Magic". It was originally performed in Episode 5, and I named it one of my favourite songs from Season 1. I'm really glad they reused it for this show, and I'm really glad that it received a better music video than the one used in Episode 5. All in all, this episode - in spite of its flawed animation - is one of the better ones of Season 2. Actually, on the whole, the first part of season 2 (with a couple of exceptions) has started off really strong. I like it!
The next episode of Jem Reviewed helps kick off our POP CULTURE ADDICT'S ADVENT CALENDAR! And in that episode, Jem tries to perform a Christmas miracle by bringing the members of a 1940s jazz band back together for one more record!