This week on the Emmy Award-nominated Big Hero 6: The Series, Aunt Cass’s pet cat Mochi became a viral sensation, enraging fading game show host Mr. Sparkles (Patton Oswalt) into kidnapping him. As Hiro worked to iron out the bugs in Big Hero 6’s new delivery system, the rest of the team were forced to compete in outlandish and dangerous challenges to rescue the family pet.
1. “We really need to find a better way to suit up.”
This episode was all about following up from that crazy scene in “Failure Mode” where Hiro, Wasabi and Go Go had to speed off to deliver their gear to the rest of the team when they needed it. The cold open this week had the whole gang using Fred’s limo to go get their stuff before heading to stop a fire, only to realize they had placed it somewhere else and wound up arriving too late to help the fire department.
This led to a couple of standout scenes where Hiro tests out a couple of ideas for a delivery system in the park, first with an Iron Man-style system of flying armor, and then with a great big bowling ball that can unravel to hang out their suits. The Iron Man-style system doesn’t work as the armor doesn’t know who it’s going onto, but honestly, I’d love to see how a randomized system plays out. Poor Wasabi gets the worst of it as he’s forced into Honey Lemon’s tiny outfit, and later when the bowling ball prototype rolls away and chases him down a hill.
2. Thinking Slow and Steady
We get some insight into how Wasabi deals with such a stressful life when the pressure to succeed causes Hiro to be unable to think. We all know how the stress of needing to get something done, so all I can say is, I feel you Hiro. First Baymax offers a therapy session, and then Wasabi reveals how he meditates to clear his head. Whoever thought we’d see meditation and therapy brought up on a cartoon, and who knew someone as panicky as Wasabi knew how to cool his head? I guess he has a life where he functions normally offscreen. The meditation sequence itself gifts us with an unforgettable moment where Hiro, his head now clear, imagines himself back at work, and an incredulous Wasabi intrudes on his dreamscape as a cloud. This show is just full of delightful surprises.
3. Uhuh, Japanese Game Shows are Weird
What’s not so surprising is that the show has a villains inspired by Japanese game shows. I get it, I used to watch Takeshi’s Castle, they are so bizarre and goofy, but honestly, it’s like making jokes about airplane food, and frankly, Mr. Sparkles’s appearance isn’t that odd looking: if anything, the pink bowl cut and purple clothes are too subtle these days.
Maybe that is the whole point, that it’s hackneyed: I’d much rather watch a clip of Mochi slow clapping than whatever Sparkles is serving up. For what it’s worth, Oswalt is always an entertaining and charismatic performer, and I am looking forward to see more of his Arcade-style character. I would be lying if I said I didn’t find his challenges, with Mochi’s life hanging in the balance, slightly nailbiting too.
4. Last Minute Rewrite?
I got the impression for the synopsis for the episode that the episode would focus a lot more on Go Go’s reluctance to participate in silly games. It reads, “Mr. Sparkles, a deranged game show host, threatens Mochi, forcing Go Go to get over her fear of looking stupid in public to beat his crazy obstacles.” I imagined that her initial refusal to participate in his show would’ve been the catalyst for Sparkles’s declining ratings and his descent into evil.
As it is, when Go Go wins Sparkles’s obstacle course, he refuses to give up Mochi, and Hiro has to save the day with his latest invention. Go Go sulks about it, feeling her experience doing an obstacle course dressed as a broccoli was a waste of time, and as a result doesn’t really reflect or feel changed by it: she presumably still finds the thought of childish things bloodcurdling. I wonder if the writers were making the point that you shouldn’t force friends into doing things they don’t want, but I just think it’s a shame no one thought to tell her attempt at saving Mochi was still pretty awesome.Continued below
5. Thunderbird 2
So let’s talk about Sky-Max, the new robot Hiro builds to deliver their suits, and to save Mochi from being shot in space. He kind of looks like the secret love child of a Cylon and EVE from WALL-E, and I have to say, I’m a little skeptical he can fit both those arms and all of Big Hero 6’s equipment into his body (nevermind a washing unit, Fred). Anyway, he’s a cool addition to the team, though one wonders if they’re going to have to rename themselves Big Hero 7. Probably not, which is why I’m dubbing him the Thunderbird 2 of the team, the big carrier, support crew, instead of a member of the team like Baymax. And who knows? That could be the cause of some tensions between the two, we’ll see I guess.
– Hmm, no overt references to Mr. Sparkle from The Simpsons.
– Felony Carl’s moving up in the world!
– Aunt Cass must be a really oblivious woman if she can’t see Mochi on the TVs Baymax tries to block.