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Blaise writes...


Ah, yes. The one where Brooklyn officially becomes Second-in-Command and the Pack become (for lack of a better term) bona-fide supervillains.
First off, I'll say that all the animation errors you mentioned, Greg, were eventually corrected--on my tape Fox's lips do move, and Goliath follows in pursuit of the Coyote head (I don't know about the Dingo hitting his head twice thing; never noticed that...or the glitch with the head/full-robot so that reveal still worked for me).
Anyway, when the Pack robs the bank, I kind of felt it was sort of "pathetic" for them as well, and I somehow KNEW Dingo would comment on it in that way. Actually, Dingo always seemed to be a bit distanced from the rest in one way or another. I mean, in his first appearance he didn't leave too much of an impression on me (I couldn't even remember his name), but then he's revealed to have fled to Europe while Jackal and Hyena stayed behind. Then, in LEADER OF THE PACK, he's Coyote's accomplice from the beginning, and the only one besides the robot to take down a gargoyle during the fight at the studio. Here, even in the first Act, Dingo is the one most disgusted with the Pack's current status, the one who figures out how to turn the tide in the beginning battle (which I'll get to in a bit), and, as Hyena points out, the only one to get away with any money. So even before the titular upgrade, Dingo kind of seemed the odd-man out of the group.
The Pack's battle with the gargoyles is interesting to me mostly because of how thoroughly Broadway trashes Jackal. I mean, he claws him across the chest, and then after recovering from a weapon blast, jumps on Jackal, pounds him a few times, and hurls him against the hull of the Pack Attack vehicle. Neat (in a brutal sort of way).
Well, the Pack gets away and a wounded Goliath is taken back to the Clocktower. Here comes the "it's time to choose a second in command" scene. I just knew that Goliath would try to make Hudson that ('cause that just seems like Goliath), but that eventually it would come down to the Trio.
Now, I had read that original comic in the Disney Adventures magazine that came out back in October of 1994, and it literally referred to Brooklyn as Goliath's Second in Command. So I pretty much knew who'd end up getting the job. However, I hadn't paid much attention to Brooklyn's "displays of leadership" before this episode. He really was the de facto leader of the Trio, and this episode does show his leadership capabilities in handling situations.
Back with the Pack...and Coyote. I just loved its nonchalant (sp?), "May I come in?" A robot with style--definite Xanatos style.
One note, despite the difference in appearance I kind of figured that the mutate shown in Coyote's pitch was Talon. I guess he must have gone back to Xanatos by this time.
I never realized before that Owen was absent from this episode. Having read your memo to Gilad, I now understand why that was--as cool as the guy is, he would have been a bit superfluous.
A month passes (which surprised me--the first major jump of time *within* an acutal episode), and while the Trio are away, Goliath and the rest meet up with the new and improved Pack. I was not really expecting what showed up, even with the robot's pitch. Dingo's initial appearance was a surprise, followed by Jackal, who inspired a sort-of "should have known" feeling when he revealed himself as a cyborg. Then Hyena gave me the creeps with her jumping and cackling, and finally Wolf in all his beastiality showed up and pretty much capped off the whole thing. A lot of fun touches here, the line about the Archmage, Hudson's referring to Wolf as a "forest demon," and Jackal's arm revealing a life of its own.
Dingo distinguishes himself even further with his disdain and horror at his comrades (maybe it's because he was the only one with dignity or humanity left, but I really jived with Dingo in this ep).
Coyote appears, bigger and badder than before, and Hyena starts up her infatuation with him again. It is "sicker than usual" as Jackal says, but also a lot of fun.
When the Trio reconnoiter (sp?) at the Clocktower, it always surprised me that Broadway stopped the most crime that night (and he of course follows it up with his modest "Just gotta know where to look"). I don't know why--maybe I'm a closet size-ist (or my "Brooklyn-fan" mind-set was kicking in).
Wolf still has it out for Goliath. This is a very interesting aspect of his character the more that I think about it. More than any other gargoyle, Wolf has singled out the big "alpha male," if you will. I just find it fascinating right now.
Returning to the Trio, we have a (for me at least) fun scene with Broadway zinging Lex's musing, and Fox's fun commercial. I just love the way Laura San Giacomo read that--just as I love Jeff Bennett's "She's talking to us."
It was at about this point that I FINALLY picked up on the "game" X&F were playing. Again, style for the both of them. And even though I noticed the recycling of "the edge" line, it still worked for me. "The edge" seems like something in which Xanatos places great interest.
Brooklyn displays his leadership qualities by his cool-headedness and capable planning (and you just knew Lex was going to try to fly in there right of the bat--hey, it's the Pack!). It didn't hit me until later viewings just how well Brooklyn planned that--divide the enemy's forces, impair their primary sense (vision), and free trapped comrades during the confusion.
The battle itself had some memorable occurances. As strange as Jackal's arm was, Hyena beats him (and the rest of the Pack) in the "unnerving" catagory with the way her fingers bend backward, her leg rotates completely, and her limbs become insectian (is there such a word?--who cares now?). Dingo impresses me yet again by how STRONG his head is. He crashes through the roof without a helmet and is just momentarily stunned.
I actually got that Wolf's features became more feral when he got into a "battle rage" but, yeah, the way it was handled I kind of felt that was just me rationalizing the change than realizing it. Maybe a "morphing" scene would have helped. I don't know.
I love how they take out Coyote. Especially when Goliath crushes the head (that's just that sick, twisted part of me again).
I actually didn't mind Morgan's line. Seemed kind of fun to me. Of course, that just may be the way Kieth David reads it.
Brooklyn is made Second in Command. Are we surprised? No. Are we happy? Speaking as a Brooklyn fan--OH YEAH!
And the Xanatos (or is it Fox) Tag. I love Xanatos' cheer over the fact that Fox is his equal.
"Care to play again?" That line always makes me smile, even if it's only at its sheer audacity.
Personally, I kind of liked that the Pack was "upgraded." I mean, they were tackling "supernatural" creatures, why not even the playing field a little?
I don't know whether you know this or not, Greg, but UPGRADE has become another episode that Toon Disney will not show. I can only guess it's because a building blows up (never mind the fact that it's abandoned, barely taller than five stories, and such a throwaway occurance that it wasn't even brought up in the ramble). I wish they'd just grow up.
Anyway, fun episode.

Greg responds...

I'm hoping that by now, Upgrade is back in the rotation. I think someone told me that it was.

I'm also glad that most of the most glaring animation errors were fixed. It's definitely a fun episode and packed with stuff.

And "Care to play again?" is way up there for me in the category of lines that are both funny and chilling.

Response recorded on January 30, 2004