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Friday, February 10, 2017

Jem Reviewed: Episode 47 - Renaissance Woman

Previously on Jem Reviewed, the girls took a trip to Alaska to help Ba Nee's pen pal save the home of her pet seal...and despite that plot description, it turned out to be a pretty decent episode.

Let's hope the next one goes off without a hitch.  This is Episode 47: Renaissance Woman.

So, as predicted, this episode is set in jolly old England at a gigantic Renaissance Faire.  The Holograms have been invited to perform at the festival which coincides with a street vendor market and an archery tournament.  It's a nice idea, but considering that this is a Renaissance Faire, shouldn't the Holograms have lutes and harps?  I don't think they had electric synthesizers in the 1600s.  Danse and Rio are also in attendance, as Rio is helping with the concert set-up and Danse is going to be...well, dancing.

It appears as though the Renaissance Faire is the major event leading up to the historic event that is going to take place at the castle.  You see, the host of the event - Reginald Carfax - is turning twenty-one years old in a couple of days.  And in addition to getting sloshed, he'll become the Lord of Carfax County alongside his trusted advisor, Duncan Broadbent.  I'm sorry, but whenever I hear the name Carfax, I think of those commercials with the talking fox telling you how you can find your perfect used car.  And, well...I'm pretty sure they don't have cars at Renaissance Faires. 

Interestingly enough, the general public of Carfax County aren't too pleased with him taking over the title.  I wonder what that's about.  But, I suppose there's no choice in the matter.  His father died when he was a toddler, and the edict states that the heir can only become Lord when he turns 21.

Oh,'s time for Jem and the Holograms to perform a song.  And, pay close attention to Reginald in this video.

This video for "Love's Not Easy" is accompanied by Jem Trivia.  This song was actually supposed to be used in Episode 20, but was left on the cutting room floor.  It's finally heard in full here...which means that for the first time since Episode 26, we have three brand new songs.  Mind you, they're all by the Holograms as the Misfits are absent from this episode.  But still...three new songs!  This one's not too bad, though I'm distracted by the fact that Reginald seems to have fallen for Danse.  I swear, if Danse becomes the next Kimber, so help me...

After the performance is over, Jem and the Holograms take a break where they see two soldiers clad in orange get confronted by a guy who is dressed like...Robin Hood?  Weird.  Anyway, the Robin Hood lookalike manages to grab the money that the soldiers are holding and takes off into the distance, leaving Jem and the Holograms confused over what just happened.

Some time later, the Holograms change out of their Maid Marian costumes and into their Kylie Minogue outfits, and they're talking about what happened when in the distance they spot two vendors complaining about how little money they have collected during the Renaissance Faire.  I have a sneaking suspicion that our "Robin Hood" is going to be making an appearance right about...

...see, what did I tell you?  Oh, and his name is Robin Goodfellow.  Logic tells me that this is going to be the secondary protagonist of this episode.  I mean, the word good is written in his name!  It's a sign!  And, well...he does live up to his name by stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.

Oh, and surprise, surprise.  He falls in love with Danse too.  Man, Kimber must be seriously dying on the inside that she's not the object of everyone's desire for Season 2.  I suppose that Robin has reason to fall for Danse...she seems to believe him when he tells her not to trust Reginald.  I get the feeling that there's a story behind this, but now is not the time to discuss it.

No, instead we're going to peek in on the archery competition where many have entered including Jem and the Holograms.  Before we go judging their athletic skill though, we're treated to a scene in which Reginald and Duncan are verbally bashing Robin Goodfellow.  I guess this tells me that they're onto the fact that he stole money from the guards the day before.

And to try and trap Robin, Reginald announces that the winner of the archery competition will win a bonus cash prize of five thousand pounds!  I have no idea what the conversion rate is between British money and North American money, but back in '87, I imagine it to be a nice chunk of change.  But Danse has figured out the plan and she rushes off to try and warn Robin to stay away.

As luck would have it, Danse happens to run into Robin in the middle of a dense forest, and when Danse reveals that she trusts him, he tells her part of the story.  Robin does NOT trust Reginald.  Aside from tales of him abusing his power to make himself richer (because really what politician hasn't done the same thing), he also throws out his belief that Reginald is NOT the true heir of Carfax County!  Which of course leads to the question...who is?  Danse tries to get Robin to stay away from the archery competition, but Robin insists on taking part anyway despite the danger.  You gotta hand it to Robin...he's certainly stands for his causes.

As predicted, most of the Holograms suck at archery.  Kimber and Aja don't even seem to understand how to shoot the bow and arrow, and Shana only manages to strike the ground.  Raya seems to be the only one who grasps the concept and scores a perfect bulls-eye!

Of course, that bulls-eye gets overshadowed by the three that Robin Goodfellow shoots in a row.  And Robin's talent as an archer all but seals his fate as Reginald spots him and orders his men to take him into custody.

Mind you, custody means he's locked up in the basement of the castle.  But still, Robin's pretty much out of commission, and Danse is very upset.

Danse is even more upset when a little boy arrives with a message from Reginald requesting her appearance at dinner the night before he becomes Lord of Carfax County.  She absolutely refuses to go have dinner, lunch, breakfast, or even order off the dollar menu at Wendy's with him!  Can't say I blame her, since he had her other love interest arrested.

And with Robin behind bars, it leaves the soldiers free to collect a 90% tariff on all the wages earned by the fair vendors!  90%?!?  Not even Canada's carbon tax is that steep!

It's here that Jem decides to contact Synergy and...wait for it...conjures up a Robin Hood outfit of her own.  Oh, great.  I suppose this makes Kimber Friar Tuck and Rio Maid Marian. 

And with Jem dressed as Robin Hood, I suppose it's time for another song.

I'm not liking "To The Rescue" as much.  Other than the fact that we see Raya's archery skills come in handy once again, and that the vendors get their money back from the thieving soldiers, the song itself is kind of dull.  Man, for an episode to have all original music, the music is quite bland.

Though the vendors - who are grateful to Robin...Jem, I guess - confirm what Robin was saying to Danse.  The future Lord is not a generous soul and takes practically all of the earnings of the working class people.  Considering that the Lord is in charge of all job creation in the county, they pretty much have no choice but to live in poverty when he assumes the throne.  Danse isn't too shocked, given that Robin told her his suspicions that Reginald had no claim to the throne, but Jem and the Holograms seem to think that this is reason enough to bust into the castle of the future Lord Carfax and rescue Robin Goodfellow.  This prompts Jem to tell Danse to reconsider Reginald's offer to have dinner with him.  Danse responds as if she'd rather decapitate herself with a rusty old sword, but Jem seems to have the idea that if Danse can distract Reginald long enough, it will allow them more time to explore the castle to see if they can locate Robin, or discover the truth behind Reginald's real identity.  Begrudgingly, Danse accepts.  Though, I get the feeling that she'll be armed with a can of pepper spray should he try anything smart.

While Danse is schmoozing with Reginald, the Holograms decide that to avoid getting all caught at the same time, they'll split up into two groups.  Jem, Raya, and Aja will search the upper levels of the castle, while Rio takes Kimber and Shana to the lower levels.

And of course, Jem's group happens to run into danger first as a group of soldiers spot them and give chase through the castle's many hallways.  But it's here that Jem remembers that she has a secret weapon called Synergy, and she asks her to conjure up a hologram of stampeding horses to scare the guards away, which works like a charm.

Of course, Jem is so distracted by the horses that she was proud of herself for creating that she didn't realize that a second group of soldiers snuck up behind them.  Now Jem, Raya, and Aja are locked up in a tower where Jem reveals that no hologram can help them escape now.  Way to state the facts, Captain Obvious.

Oblivious to the fact that half the Holograms are now locked up too, Danse and Reginald share what could be considered one of the most awkward dinner dates ever.  At least the food sort of looks good.  Of course, when the subject of Robin Goodfellow comes up, Reginald is disgusted that Danse seems to defend him at every opportunity.

Reginald's disgust grows even more when Duncan barges in and informs Reginald that the Holograms have infiltrated the castle and have pledged their allegiance to Robin.  Duncan tells Reginald that Danse can't be trusted, and sure enough, Danse has done a disappearing act.  She actually climbs up on a ledge in front of a portrait of who I am assuming is the previous Lord of Carfax.  It's enough for her to stay hidden long enough for Reginald and Duncan to leave. 

Danse tries to find a way out of the castle, but she is grabbed from behind!  Oh great, it seems as though she's trying to break Kimber's record for getting kidnapped too!  Fear not.  The man who has grabbed Danse is Robin's right hand man, Jolly Jack.  I think he must be the Friar Tuck of this tale. 

It appears as though Jolly Jack is useful though.  He and Danse successfully bust Jem, Raya, and Aja out of jail.  But my question is...what happened to Rio, Shana, and Kimber?

Well, it looks as if they have found Robin's cell and are now working to try and help him escape.  It seems as though they believe Robin's theory about the Lord being an imposter, and they want to find a way to prove it before the coronation begins at midnight.  Did I mention that midnight is only a few minutes away?

Oh look!  Kimber's found a crate filled with cassingles of Roxette's "Dangerous".  Too bad that song didn't get released until 1989!  Oh, no, wait.  They're just fireworks.  Because we really needed to have the word dangerous in big bold letters to let us know that fireworks can kill you.  Rio even has to tell Kimber that they can't use the fireworks to let Robin out of jail because he'll explode.  Gosh, how stupid does Rio think Kimber is?   I mean, yeah, Kimber's brain isn't as well developed as the others, but she's not a complete zombie here.

Luckily before anyone can blow anything up, Jem's group arrives in time and Jolly Jack rescues Robin.  But they still have to find a way to prove that Reginald is a big old fake.  

Well, I suppose if they happened to come across a scene where a bunch of Reginald's soldiers are putting up a brick wall where a prisoner is chained behind it, that would be the decisive evidence they need!  That prisoner looks very familiar though.  Have we seen him before?

The Holograms haven't discovered this yet...but they seem to have found the secret treasure hoard of Reginald in another cell.  It seems as though Reginald's been a very naughty and greedy boy.  Unfortunately, this only serves to prove that Reginald is a jerk.  They still have to find a way to prove that Reginald is NOT the true Lord.  Rio seems to think that he has an idea to stall for time and it appears as though the stolen money and the fireworks will play a part.

It's close to midnight and a large crowd has gathered in Times Square to watch the ball dro...oh, wait.  Wrong show.  Actually, the very miserable crowd has gathered at the castle square to watch Reginald become Lord Carfax.  They seem to be miserable because they know that once Reginald becomes Lord, they'll be destitute.  You can't help but feel bad for them.

But wait!  Just as Reginald is about to make his coronation speech, the fireworks light up the sky.  And these fireworks seem to hold a surprise for the townspeople.  Pound notes fall from the sky into the pockets of the poor subjects, and Reginald and Duncan are visibly gobsmacked!

Well, it's not rocket science to see that Rio and the others are tying satchels of money to each of the fireworks.  It's also not very safe!  None of them are wearing safety goggles or personal protective equipment!  One false move, and Shana's football hair will go up faster than a hydrogen filled balloon!

Naturally, Robin Goodfellow takes credit for the plan, telling the people of Carfax that the money is rightfully theirs and that his next step is to overthrow the Lord!  Cue the customary sword fight!  I'll say this...this episode is definitely action packed!

And it seems as though Jem has found the fake wall that holds the prisoner.  And the prisoner seems very intent on getting to the coronation as fast as possible for he has some shocking news!

Luckily, he manages to arrive in time before Reginald has a chance to harpoon Robin right through the heart with a pointed spear!  Such a barbarian that one!

Remember how I said the prisoner looked familiar?  Turns out, he's the Lord of Carfax!  The real Lord!  The one that presumably died years earlier!  Yes, Reginald is a fake!  Seems as though Duncan is Reginald's birth father, and they saw an opportunity to take control of Carfax County.  They kidnapped the REAL heir, cast him out as an orphan, and brought in Reginald as the heir apparent instead!  How evil.

And the identity of the real Lord incumbent?  No other than Robin Goodfellow!  Or, should I say...Robin Goodfellow Carfax!  You know, all this could have been avoided with one of Maury's paternity tests.  Just saying.  The good news is that father and son are reunited and Carfax County has a shot of really being prosperous once more.

At the real coronation ceremony where Robin is expected to become the new Lord of Carfax, he's sharing a dance with Danse, and asks her to stay.  Danse is flattered, but she lets him down by saying that she needs to stay in the United States.  At least Robin and Danse share one final dance with a song that sounds like it could have been written in San Francisco in the '60s.

There's nothing too remarkable about "Flowers in My Hair"...but I guess it works as the prerequisite happy ending music.  As far as this episode goes, some have said that it's one of the worst episodes of the show, but I disagree.  It's not the best episode.  It's kind of all over the place, and the reveal at the end was quite anticlimactic.  But overall, the storyline was fairly interesting, and I think despite some of the inconsistencies and jarring storytelling, it was fine.  It's definitely not my idea of the worst episode.

But next week, you'll see an episode that could be a contender for worst episode ever.  This screenshot offers just a clue of what to expect.

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