Welcome to Multiversity Comics’ “Five Thoughts” on The Tick. Amazon Prime may have dumped the entire series out to us all at once, but this column will be coming out once a week, covering one episode a week, until we reach the end of the season. As is customary here at Multiversity Comics, these “5 Thoughts” will regard generally anything that crosses my mind while watching the episode, along with a dash of criticism here and there as I deem necessary. However, the 5th thought is always a collection of the episode’s most quotable lines: perhaps the strongest aspect of any iteration of “The Tick.” Keep in mind that there will be spoilers, so tread lightly. All that said, please enjoy my thoughts on the sixth episode of season two: “Categorically Speaking”
1. Superian Superman
I’ve written a bunch in this column about how I felt like Superian was headed for a heel turn and how hard its been to watch. With “Categorically Speaking”, I think I may be starting to partially change my mind about that, in that I don’t think he’s going to get into full villain mode. I think in typical warm, welcoming “Tick” fashion, Superian is going to end up getting some de facto therapy from Arthur and the big lovable blue guy before he does anything truly terrible. We’ve already seen a couple of examples in Season 2 where the characters treat someone who is hurting with impressive amounts of empathy and understanding. In fact, it’s not something many people are talking about, but “empathy” almost feels like the major cohesive theme of this season, honestly. It’s a breath of fresh air to see a show care a great deal about how it treats even the least of its characters – it’s not at all cynical, which is not something that many shows meant for adults can claim.
But that doesn’t mean that we’re not going to see Superian go to some dark places before this is all through. In fact, one of the darkest (and darkly comedic) moments of a season which featured one of its recurring characters feeding a live mouse into his own black hole of a heart took place at the end of this episode. Superian carries a frightened E. Morgan Pearl (the screamingly uptight Gavin McInnes/Alex Jones stand-in) through the night sky while reciting a variation on Margot Kidder’s “Can you read my mind?” Lois Lane speech. What a brilliant idea to end the episode on, as not only is it a perfect parody of an iconic Superman moment, but the longer the speech goes on, the more unhinged Superian seems. It begins by trying to get you to laugh, and then by the end I really think it’s trying to get you to worry about Superian’s mental state. But the fact that this was sort of played for laughs tells me that they’re not intending for Superian to go full villain. His dropping off an intact Pearl on the top of his personal temple tells me that Superian is just making another troubling choice, seeking approval, but not actually endangering anyone. I could easily end up being wrong on this, but I feel confident enough in The Tick’s ability to be sensitive with its characters to say that Superian will rise out of all of this.
2. Cracking Lobstercules
I was relieved to find that The Tick didn’t spend too much time on the misunderstanding and lack of communication between Lobstercules and A.E.G.I.S., which is easily something they could have stretched out and spent entirely too much time on. I like this sense of trust that Lobstercules is immediately willing to have with Arthur, and The Tick by extension. We know they’re the good guys, we want the plot to move forward, so why spend too much time on some manufactured sense of distrust between them? Once again, the show shows a strong sense of empathy, and the sequence near the end where Arthur and The Tick make a solemn promise to help Lobstercules and she returns their sign of goodwill was another heartwarming bit in a season that’s been full of them. Season 2 is decidedly milder in tone and content than season 1, and actually lighter on laughs too, but I think I’m actually enjoying watching and writing about it more because it really feels like the antidote to superhero shows that are afraid to feel too much or be too earnest.Continued below
3. A Good Hero is Hard to Come By
I’m also continuing to enjoy the way the show continues to slowly evolve Joan of Arc’s character. When The Tick goads her into signing the release papers so he and Arthur can visit Lobstercules, part of it is coming from a self-serving place, but there’s also an honest sense that The Tick believes there really is a good side of “Miss Lint” that can be drawn out of her. He’s dropped hints about this before and the show continues to make good on it. As with Superian, I’m not entirely certain it means that Joan of Arc will end up remaining a full-blown hero, but the show seems intent on being cautious with handling the character. In this episode, we see her struggling to deal with ordinary people liking her instead of hating and fearing her, which is another interesting wrinkle to the proceedings and not something that the show really rushes to resolve or answer for us. So not only is she straddling this line between her decision about being a hero for her own self interests or truly remaining a villain, but we’re also seeing her struggle with the little things that it actually takes to be a hero. Even if she did fully intend on crossing over, how much would she struggle with acclimating?
4. Tinfoil Kevin: Secrets
Tinfoil Kevin, who last appeared briefly in the first episode of the season before fleeing at the first sight of an A.E.G.I.S. drone, pops back in and brings a big reveal with him. Not only is Kevin a tinfoil-wearing paranoid guy who’s suspicious of A.E.G.I.S., but he is a Category 3 superbeing himself, which would give him good reason to be paranoid. There isn’t much more to say about Kevin just yet, but I do think he’s one of the more interesting actors to watch on the show, as the way he reacts to all the stuff around him that trips his paranoia trigger is pretty fascinating. The actor is Devin Ratray, who most notably played Buzz McAllister in the Home Alone movies, so if you haven’t seen the show yet, you can probably imagine why the character is as interesting to watch as he is. He’s clearly having fun with the role.
5. “Spoon!” watch
The Tick: “Lobstercules forgive me. I misjudged your book by its spiky red cover.”
The Tick: “We thought she was a monster too, but she’s not. She’s a Momster.”
Flexon: “Sage thinks everything is haunted.”
Sage: “That’s cause everything is haunted, Flex-Ass.”