This week on Amazon’s The Tick, Arthur goes back to his boring ass day job, The Tick shows a little muscle at the bodega, and we get a little tired of Arthur’s indecision. But unlike Arthur and his superhero destiny, we’re going to jump right into these “5 things” head-first:
1. Overclocking Overkill
I spent my 5 things on other things last week, so I didn’t get to talk about the new vigilante in town, Overkill. And Overkill he did, indeed. Luckily, the opening of this episode found Arthur trying to explain what he saw when Overkill violently dispatched a bunch of criminals, leaving behind a bloody battlefield. One commenter last week mentioned that the Tick isn’t supposed to be bloody, and I think I agree. The Tick has existed as a parody of all types of comic book superhero characters, and while the “extreme ‘90s” character has been done before, it’s surprising to see it rendered with so much violence in The Tick. Amazon’s version of the Tick is also peppered with more cursing than we’re used to, so I suppose this is a conscious choice on the part of Edlund and Co. to go for a more mature audience. While the Tick remains a big, earnest, naive ball of positivity, the show doesn’t feel quite right with the rest of the world being so dark. Maybe that’s the point.
2. Arthur’s Angst – Another Overkill
Another thing that’s holding the show back a little is the continued focus on Arthur as a reluctant hero. This episode was mostly about Arthur adamantly rejecting his “destined” role in crime-fighting and finding himself drawn back in time and time again. If this sounds familiar, it may be because the first 2 episodes of the series spent a great time dealing with this. In a show with only 6 episodes, and so much potential for populating the world with Edlund’s creations, a little bit of Arthur’s reluctance goes a long way. While Arthur was always the nebbish sort in the comics and cartoons, this kind of interminable push and pull was never needed to establish his character in prior adaptations.
3. The Everest Sister, Dot
In episode 3, we get to spend a little more time with Arthur’s sister Dot, someone we’ve seen before but haven’t really talked about here. She’s an EMT by trade, who turns around and helps with undercover medical work (whispering:for the bad guys!) at night. There’s no evidence that Dot is anything but a good-hearted person just trying to get by; only that she may be just starting to realize that the bruised and beaten criminals that she’s helping stitch up at night are the very same ones that Arthur and The Tick are up against. I’m guessing that before this is all over, Dot will be used as some sort of bargaining chip that will put Arthur in a difficult spot.
4. The Tick’s Big Hairy Blue Past
Last time, we talked about how The Tick’s “Fight Club” duality with Arthur turned out to be a red herring and in fact they were two distinct entities, with other characters being able to see and interact with both of them at the same time. Episode 3 chooses to reroute the idea of an existential link between The Tick and Arthur by suggesting that while they are separate people, The Tick depends on Arthur’s brain for his existence, regardless. While Arthur is at his day job, the Tick is very much out in the world, being super. But without Arthur, The Tick comments on how he’s liable to forget the details of his mission and what his overall goals are. The Tick realizes, quite literally, that he needs Arthur’s mind and Arthur’s ability to direct The Tick, or he’s just an aimless apparition.
Again, the show remains cagey about whether this means the Tick would not be real without Arthur to begin with, or whether they’ve become inextricably linked somehow. Nevertheless, by the end of the episode Arthur offers to help the Tick recover his past. And so, instead of a Tyler Durden situation, we’re left with a mystery about The Tick that is no less intriguing, but perhaps easier to narratively navigate.Continued below
5. “Spoon!” watch
Arthur: “It was like he was looking for some place to keep his knife…and no place was good enough.”
The Tick: “Your responsibility is in the fresh, out there with me, fighting the ever-churning butter churners of evil.”
The Terror: “That pain you feel between your eye sockets? That’s me nailing up my blacklight posters.”