We’re reaching the halfway point of the latest batch of The Tick episodes and things are moving at a pretty brisk pace. “My Dinner With Android” juggles every character the show has pretty deftly, and even introduces us to one of Overkill’s guns by name (it’s “Shakira”). It’s a good episode, so if you haven’t watched it, what are you waiting for? This column will definitely spoil some things, so watch the episode before you read. Without further ado, here’s my 5 thoughts:
1. Arthur and Dangerboat, sitting in a tree
The episode opens with Arthur taking a shower after a long night with little sleep. Oh, did I forget to mention he’s inside Dangerboat’s shower? That complicates things a bit, given Dangerboat’s well-documented crush on Arthur. The overly eager sentient boat offers him a water-massage and loofah scrub, which both feels good and also weirds Arthur out just a little. Arthur is starting to get the feeling that Dangerboat is being a little “too familiar” with him. The Tick sees it too, but in his own typically optimistic and oblivious way. The Arthur/Dangerboat situation is a curious one. It’s not played for many laughs, but it’s also not treated with insensitivity. It’s yet another instance of the creative team behind The Tick hitting a surreal tone with just the right balance of humor and empathy. I don’t anticipate Arthur and Dangerboat ending up together, but the situational comedy of it all somehow feels very earned, regardless.
2. Looking For Karamazov
Once again, the actual forward momentum of the plot is probably the least interesting aspect on an episode of The Tick. In this one, Arthur and The Tick regain contact with the missing-in-action Dr. Karamazov at the very same time that the Urmanian government has gotten wind of his location. Neither Dr. Karamazov nor the Urmanians are particularly funny characters, but rather they’re a means to an end in uniting The Terror and our heroes, I suppose. They find Karamazov in a city deli run by an Urmanian confidant (try the FLTs – face, lettuce, and tomatoes). Karamazov’s tiny body sports a adult man-sized head, which again, provides for less comedy than you would think, though having him roll through the city streets in a baby carriage is kind of a funny gag, I guess. The Urmanian “diplomats” are actually there to eliminate Karamazov, a mission which they appear to accomplish until Arthur reveals to the Tick that he switched Karamazov out of the baby carriage with a frozen turkey. In the end, the lack of consequence made the whole thing kind of feel like a waste of time.
3. Even An Android Can Cry Spoon
Thanks to an intensly close reading of Midnight the Dog’s book, The Tick has been showing more curiosity toward the nature of his identity and origin than ever. “My Dinner With Android” explores this by bringing Tick face-to-face with the Urmanian android character (called “Bakkup”) whose strength and body type matches his own. The Tick begins to wonder if they’re not cut from the same cloth, and while Tick is clearly possesses more humanoid features, an incidental character suggests that lots of progress has made in robotics since the development of the Urmanian droid model. The Tick and Bakkup spend much of the episode brawling, an exactly equal match, until the apparent murder of Dr. Karamazov causes The Tick to angrily knock the robot’s head off. The Tick is no closer to learning the true nature of his origin, but he proved that he’s more than an android with a showing of emotion above that has nothing in common with the subserviant Bakkup. The Tick’s lack of identity is a fascinating aspect that the show keeps going back to without weighing things down. The Tick has oft examined his nature and his reliance on others for direction, and the fact that the shows writers are consistently touching on this shows that they want to make Tick’s self-actualization a big part of his character. It’s one of the strongest plot threads the show has, as a result.
4. Overkill Stealing The Show
Aside from just flat-out being the funniest character on the show, Overkill keeps revealing layers to his character that we didn’t know he had. In “My Dinner With Android”, he continues to take Dot under his wing, beliving in her ability to help the group in their mission to expose The Terror to Superian and help take him down. As they grow closer, it’s revealed that he has a deeper connection to Ms. Lint than we ever knew. When he was a member of the Flag Five, they were apparently romantically involved and she ended up breaking his heart. The show continues to highlight how much has been taken from Overkill: his original superhero identity, his partners in the Flag Five, his eyes, his hands, and now, apparently, his heart. There’s no doubt that Overkill is a broken man; and he’d have to be, considering the brutally violent anti-hero he’s become. Again, the show’s writers are putting in some heavy work on making Overkill into a more layered character than he’d have to be, and it’s really appreciated.Continued below
5. “Spoon!” watch
Overkill: “You fired this 52…” *sniffs the gun* “No. 53 times.”
The Tick: “When it comes to identity, I’m an itchy man up a fuzzy tree.”
The Tick: (quietly) “Spoon.”