The fourth and final installment of last weekend’s Big Hero 6 episodes put the spotlight on Aunt Cass (Maya Rudolph), who gets into a cooking competition with… Gordon Ramsay? I did not see this coming.
1. Yes, that is Gordon Ramsay
Look, as someone remembers how controversial Gordon Ramsay’s demeanor was when he hit the big time in the UK, it is weird how he’s perceived as cuddly enough to appear on Disney cartoons, even under a fake name. Ramsay appears in this episode as Bolton Gramercy, an altogether slimmer looking and slightly less rude British chef. My initial response to his alter-ego was a) it’s nice they decided to make him look handsomer and b) we’re just doubling down on silly names now aren’t we? Then I realized, it’s a fun reference to Ramsay’s Game of Thrones namesake, so well played Noelle Stevenson.
2. Expect the Unexpected
Speaking of the writing, I really have to credit Stevenson’s script for strengthening what could’ve been two pretty basic storylines. Aunt Cass’s story could’ve been like any sitcom episode where a character goes to compete on a cooking TV show, but a fun dynamic is put into play of it being an underground tournament that she’s only participating in by accident, and Hiro finding himself in the role of the frustrated parent who demands to know where she’s going to at night. I love how overly dramatic the contest, it’s a terrific parody of both martial arts films and cooking shows where they wring the tension out as much as possible.
3. Blue (Cat) Chef
Likewise, our big bad of this episode, Momakase (Torchwood‘s Naoko Mori) is on paper, a pretty generic character, being an female Asian thief/ninja who runs an underground group. But she’s also meant to be the best sushi chef in the whole of San Fransokyo, which is admittedly another stereotype, but combining the two is pretty original. She’s also a really wily character: why steal something when she can use her knives to cut it in half and offer to steal the rest for another check? I gotta say, she goes beyond the usual Dragon Lady archetype, and could be considered the show’s answer to Catwoman.
4. Everything is Blue
Nørlum, the noticeably clunkier of the two animation studios working on the show, is back on this episode. As jarring as seeing their work is after watching an episode by the superior Snipple Studios, there are some moments that make having them on this episode almost worth it. For example, the scene where Alistair Krei slowly recovers after being paralyzed by Momakase’s poison, is perfectly in-tune with their jerky motions. Similarly, it makes the sight gag of her seemingly leaving no object uncut much funnier than if it had been rendered with a higher framerate.
During the episode’s climax, Momakase activates the anti-gravity device she was hired to steal, and it turns everything blue. It was a weird artistic decision, and wondered if it was a brief attempt to save money as well as to disguise the weaknesses in the animation. (And yes, it did leave a Halsey song stuck in my head.)
5. Mochi’s eyebrows
Speaking of animation, Aunt Cass’s cat Mochi gets plenty of screentime. In particular, he gets a standout moment when Hiro is arguing with his aunt where he just shifts his eyes back and forth, clearly bored:
Great storyboarding. And maybe there’s more to Mochi than meets the eye? This is a superhero show.
– Like Wasabi, I too wonder if I’m being honest with myself when I say, “no pun intended.”
– I’m curious if Baymax to learn some new curses, but him always saying “oh no” is becoming funnier because it is so repetitive.