Thoughts from The Abstract on episode 4 of The Spectacular Spider-Man. How can Pete juggle helping Harry with school, helping Aunt May with bills, all while fighting an old foe in a new set of duds? All questions will be answered.
Plot:The Big Man commissions The Shocker to take out the webhead for good, citing him as a thorn in his side. On the other side of things, Harry commissions Peter to help him with some school work, and of course his two lives interfere with each other, making it harder for Peter to keep his friends as long as Spider-Man is needed.
Review: I hate when this happens. I get into something and completely forget to mention something that will probably be important later on. Like, how many times do you see movies where the narrator mentions a plot point and the camera focuses on it for so long that it hurts your intelligence? That’s what I meant to do. So, here it is: Every three episodes in this series is an arc, so the three episodes that connect have titles that coincide with a school subject. The first three (Survival of the Fittest, etc.) were Biology. The second set starts with Market Forces, so for those of you keeping score at home, we’ll have a quiz when I get to episode 6 to see who figured out the school subject these three episodes covered, and how it ties into the series. OK, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s move on.
The interesting thing about this episode is that the action seemed to take a back seat. That’s not to say that the action was dull, but the plot points being addressed and seeds that were planted were much more interesting to me, and I think the right villain was picked so that the drama and character moments could shine brightest. The Shocker has never been the most terrifying villain or the smartest, and most Spider-Man fans see him as comic relief often, so I think it was wise to make Montana the man under the mask. Herman Schultz never really defined who Shocker was, unless you look to the Ultimate universe. Plus, making him Montana adds more layers to this universe and more layers to Shocker. Instead of being some villain who just popped up, he now has a motivation to destroy the webhead: Revenge. Spidey made short work of The Enforcers in the first episode and that can’t be something that sits well with Montana. As The Shocker, he can exercise that frustration. With all that said, he isn’t the main attraction.
Spidey is the main character of the series, no question, but that does not mean he will always be the focus of the episode. For this episode, that honor goes to Harry Osborn, in my mind anyway. Harry comes to Peter needing help in a class before a test, and before Harry can get any help, Pete runs off to collect the money for his Spider-Man pictures. He gets his check, gets into it with The Shocker and completely forgets about Harry. Strike one. He apologizes to Harry and promises to make it up to him, only to have the exact same thing happen again. Strike two. It’s at this point that we begin to see Harry search for an answer. His grades are not great, his best friend seems to be ditching him and has a problem keeping his word, and his father despises him. The episode sets up future events with Harry, especially with Norman telling Harry he should “cowboy up” and take control of his life.
Pete is not just messing up his relationship with Harry, but Eddie and Gwen as well. They are both rarely seen in the episode, but when they do show, its effective in showing how things have changed since the incident with Doc Connors. The series also does a good job of setting up future relationships, as MJ gets her first mention. She is not seen, but Aunt May has put the bug in Pete’s ear that he needs to meet this girl with a “wonderful personality.” Also, as many fans know, Betty Brant and Pete dated for a while, and this episode addresses that in a clever way for 2008.
The episode comes to an ominous close, with Hammerhead telling Norman that the Big Man would like him to engineer super villains to keep Spider-Man busy, and with Otto Octavius already working at Oscorp, I wonder what will happen to him??? Hmmmmm. Tune in for the next episodes, true believers..or just those of you who don’t know how to understand simple clues:)
Likes: I love the arc they are setting up for Harry and the way his relationship is painted with his father. I also loved the way they show the relationship between Peter and Eddie beginning to fall apart. The fight scenes with Shocker were great and the way Spidey defeated him was very clever, but as I said, Shocker was not the main attraction here. I also loved Jonah Jameson in this episode. I know I haven’t spoken about him much but this was the first episode he was actually in. His voice is perfect and he even shows a BIT of a tender side toward Pete when he realizes how hard he worked to get the picture of Shocker and Spider-Man.
Dislikes: Not really much to dislike here. If you disagree, by all means, leave a comment.
Rating: 5 Webheads out of 5. Another great episode for the series, one that seemed to pride itself on planting seeds for future growth.