Episode Review


Battle of the Baseball Know-It-Alls


Sunday, December 3, 2006, 9:30 AM - Monday, December 4, 2006, 1:16 PM


Summary (9:31 AM)

Just read the novelization of the episode at http://ldloveszh.tripod.com/episodes/3basebal.html


Misc. Tidbits (9:32 AM)

The episode was written by Calvin Kelley.

The episode originally aired on Saturday, October 19, 1991, as the sixth episode of Season 3 and the thirty-third episode of the series.

I first saw this episode on NBC and then possibly on "Captain N & The Video Game Masters".


Interesting Notes (9:44 AM - 10:25 AM, 2:05 PM - 2:51 PM, 10:53 PM - 10:54 PM)

The title is yellow with quotes.

Bo Jackson is the team captain of the Videoland All-Stars.

Simon wears white boxers with red hearts.

Baseball World has a cellar, where they lock up all of their bad equipment.

Kevin's Zapper beams are blue in this episode.

Mother Brain hates baseball.

Kevin's weapons don't lose power in this episode.


Great Lines (2:06 PM - 2:51 PM, 3:41 PM - 4:19 PM, 5:45 PM - 6:01 PM)

Bo: "Bo knows an amateur when he sees one, and I eat 'im for breakfast."
Kevin: "Okay. Eat this, slugger."

Simon: "Next time, don't be such a hot dog."

Mother Brain: "I don't know which one of you dimwits is dimmer, Tweedledumb or Tweedledumber."

Bo: "Somethin' tells me we're not in Kansas anymore, N Team."
Simon: "Who cares about Kansas?! Where's the warp outta here?!"

Bo: "I haven't seen this many foul balls since the World Series."

Kevin: "I'll hold 'em off! Everybody make a run for it!"
Bo: "The only run I'm makin' is a home run!"

King Hippo: "You couldn't scrub your back if it was in front of your face."

King Hippo: "Hey. This is my toothbrush, rutabaga breath!"
Eggplant Wizard: "Well, you never use it."
King Hippo: "I was just gettin' around to it."

Kid Icarus: "What's thaticus?"
Bo: "I don't know, and what Bo doesn't know can hurt him."

Simon: "Let's make a run for it! On second thought, let's run away from it!"

Bo: "Guess it's game time, whether we like it or not. Let's make it a no-hitter."


Dumb Lines (5:30 PM - 5:31 PM)

None.


Rant (10:16 AM - 10:25 AM, 1:40 PM - 2:51 PM, 3:32 PM - 4:18 PM, 5:14 PM - 6:01 PM; Monday, December 4, 2006, 10:13 AM - 1:16 PM)

This is a special episode - not special in terms of being good or addressing an issue or anything like that. It's special in that it basically serves as the series finale of "Captain N: The Game Master", despite the original air dates (assuming they're accurate). I know there are fans that disagree with me and claim that this was just another episode, but consider the following: this is the only episode of Season 3 with the entire N Team; this is the only episode of Season 3 with Mother Brain and her lackeys (sans Dr. Wily, who's dead, still running from the robo-bees, or plotting his next evil scheme back at Skull Castle, and that's fine, since he wasn't in the first episode either). If this wasn't meant to be the series finale, then what is it?

This episode was written by Calvin Kelley. Calvin Kelley had never written any episodes of the series prior to this. It's his only episode.

The series finale of Captain N was written by a newbie.

Well, enough dawdling. Let's get into the episode and see how well that he does.

Right after I watch 2 episodes of "Yu-Gi-Oh!" and my first "Winx Club" DVD.

Okay, I'm back. I can't put off watching this thing any longer, so let's get into the episode.

This episode is loosely based, supposedly, on "RBI Baseball" (which stands for "Run Battled In Baseball") for the NES, which came out in 1988. At least, that's what Wikipedia claims. Personally, I've always thought the episode is based on "Bo Jackson Baseball" for the NES, which came out in 1991. However, depending on when in 1991, that might have been too late to have an episode in Season 3.

Either way, the series finale of Captain N is based on a baseball game. Strike one.

Since this is Mother Brain's sole appearance in Season 3, she must be defeated in this episode or not at all. Therefore, I will periodically count down the time left to play, er, the time left in the episode.

10:29 and counting.

The music that plays over the Captain N logo in this episode is the same music that plays during the episode title. It's a parody of "Take Me Out To the Ball Game".

Baseball World looks very weird - a giant baseball glove and giant baseballs. Stupid, stupid, stupid!

10:20 and counting.

So Bo Jackson is in this episode. Yes, Bo Jackson, the baseball player. I have no idea if he's voicing himself or not, but I'm wondering how much that it cost to use his name and likeness.

10:03 and counting.

Simon has a "special, super deluxe vampire catcher" baseball glove. Did he get it at the same place that he got his vampire ball (see "Three Men and a Dragon")?

9:50 and counting.

Why is Duke playing the game? How could he possibly understand the rules of baseball? Then again, Kevin did let him play football...

9:43 and counting.

Simon's boxer shorts in this episode are pretty similar to those that he wore way back in Season 1's "Simon the Ape-Man", except those were yellow, and these are white.

9:39 and counting.

Duke licking Simon is teh cute. :X

9:31 and counting.

Lana cheering Kevin is teh cute, too. :X

Lana even gets a throne to sit on while watching the game.

I'm wondering, though, why Lana isn't playing with the rest of the N Team. We know from Season 1's "Mega Trouble For Megaland" that Lana is a good runner and slider.

Hey, could Lana have warped to Baseball World way back in that episode?

9:26 and counting.

Well, after taking a break for most of this season, Mother Brain, King Hippo, and the Eggplant Wizard decided to show up. Hippo and Eggy look okay, but Mother Brain really suffered from the animation downgrade. She no longer looks hideous, just laughably bad.

But at least it got rid of her wrinkles, er, beauty lines.

What room is this scene occuring in? It's never explained where MB and her lackeys are.

So Mother Brain can now telekinetically pick up Hippo and Eggy, rather than using her tentacles?

8:58 and counting.

Ugh. How could Kid Icarus go into the ground just by falling down?

Does the baseball hitting the scoreboard activate the warp, or is the timing coincidental?

Gameboy finally shows up. I guess he's still on the N Team, after all.

8:34 and counting.

Eggy says "they'll never get out alive". Whoo-hoo! Talk of death!

8:17 and counting.

How can Bo (at least the Videoland version of Bo) know what Kansas is? Or is this supposed to be the Earth Bo Jackson, brought to Videoland?

It's neat that there's a Wizard of Oz reference in this episode, though, since there was one in "Kevin In Videoland" and another one in "Happy Birthday, Megaman". It's like a recurring theme with this series.

8:02 and counting.

Okay, so Baseball World has a cellar, where they lock up all of their bad equipment. Reasonable enough. However, the bad equipment is really bad, and it's alive!

What the fucking hell?! These have got to be the lamest enemies to ever appear on this series!

7:41 and counting.

I call a short time-out! I can't deal with all of this shit all at once! I'm gonna go to the convenience store and get a soda!

Okay, I'm back! I had a 24-ounce can of Rockstar Energy Drink.

Which means I'm pumped to continue with this review!

Or not.

Bo mentions the World Series. Is he talking about a World Series on Baseball World or the one on Earth?

7:37 and counting.

How come Lana is back at the Palace of Power? Did she retreat there? Did Mother Brain and her lackeys force her to go there? Did Lana let them in, or did they force their way in? Did they warp in, like in Season 1's "Wishful Thinking" and "Metroid Sweet Metroid" and Season 2's "Gameboy"?

And how does attempting to get Lana to clean the floor with a toothbrush qualify as "bringing Videoland to its knees"? Because Lana would be on her knees, if they got her to clean the floor with a toothbrush?

6:34 and counting.

Ugh. King Hippo knocks Eggplant Wizard's head down into his body. I hate these stupid, lame cartoon physics.

And how could Eggy possibly survive that?

6:10 and counting.

Okay, first, we had evil baseballs. Now, we have evil baseball gloves!

Also, I'm confused as to what Kid Icarus was asking about. Was he asking about the baseball gloves? If so, then Bo should have known what they are. But it looks like Simon was the one that pointed them out.

5:37 and counting.

I stand corrected. We have evil, acid-spitting baseball gloves!

I hate this episode.

I wonder why it doesn't show Bo actually swinging his baseball bat at the evil, acid-spitting baseball gloves.

5:27 and counting.

Now, we have evil fly balls.

5:06 and counting.

We're at the halfway point. I'm gonna eat dinner before I take on the rest of this mess of an episode.

Okay, I'm back. There's nothing like chicken gizzards and mustard potato salad to put me in the mood to finish reviewing this episode.

Yes, I realize that makes no sense, but I'm trying to make myself laugh, because this episode wants to make me cry.

If the evil regular baseballs can fly, then why are the fly balls specifically called fly balls? Is it because they have wings...like flies?

Groan.

Is Lana communicating using the same equipment that she used in Season 2's "Germ Wars"? If so, then where's the microphone?

Judging by the tiled floor, it's the same room in which the N Team received the "emergency call" from the android duplicate of Mike Vincent in Season 1's "The Most Dangerous Game Master".

Come to think of it, Lana appearing as a hologram kind of reminds me of that inexplicable vision that Kevin had of her in Season 1's "Nightmare On Mother Brain's Street".

4:10 and counting.

Lana sure learns fast, judging by how quickly that she goes from "I'll get you out of there somehow" to pressing the WARP button on the console. Or was she just taking a chance and hoping that it would work? Or did she already set everything up and understated her intentions in her conversation with the N Team just to later catch Mother Brain and her lackeys by surprise?

4:02 and counting.

Bo suggesting that they use teamwork reminds me of how Kevin and Link came to the same conclusion in Season 2's "Quest For the Potion of Power". In both episodes, it takes the heroes a while to realize this.

3:51 and counting.

If there are all of these baseballs on the wall where the heroes are, then why don't they attack them?

Simon complaining about Duke's seeming inability to find anything is similar to his comments in Season 1's "The Most Dangerous Game Master".

It's odd that it doesn't show anyone blasting down the wall to get to the warp. They're just suddenly exiting it. Weird.

3:20 and counting.

Okay, now, we have an evil, walking, talking baseball card.

He's the Baseball Card King.

He's also a stupid villain.

And he's got a baseball throne.

Which is stupid, too.

3:12 and counting.

Now, we have evil baseball bats.

Wearing baseball caps.

This episode seems so long.

2:48 and counting.

There are 2 minutes and 48 seconds left in Mother Brain's final episode of Captain N, and she's still in control of the Palace of Power. They're not really going to save her defeat for the last minute; are they?

Simon's v-for-victory sign is teh cute. :X

2:31 and counting.

Kevin's debate with the others is similar to their debate on top of the volcano, all the way back in the first episode, "Kevin In Videoland". All of the N Team members involved are the same in both situations: Kevin, Simon, Mega Man, Kid Icarus, and Duke. In both situations, they're trying to find a way off of the world that they're stuck on. In both situations, there's an enemy on their tails. In both situations, they're coming to rescue Lana from Mother Brain. In both situations, Simon protests Kevin's idea. In both situations, Kevin wants them to trust him. That's a very nice parallel, whether it was intentional or not.

1:23 and counting.

I'm gonna take a bit of a break to shave and watch the news.

Okay, I watched a bit more than the news. I also watched "7th Heaven", "Family Guy", and "Star Trek", and it's now the next day. Well, back to Captain N...

How can Hippo and Eggy push MB? Or is she driving on her own, and they're just pretending to push her? Are they guiding her in the right direction?

1:16 and counting.

And Mother Brain is still in control of the Palace of Power...

They really are saving her defeat for the last minute.

Hippo and Eggy's song, "For She's the Evil Bad Queen" (a parody of "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow"), and their dance are hilarious. :D

0:50 and counting.

I think (and I could be wrong) that this is the first time that we've seen Mother Brain cry.

0:44 and counting.

So it's Eggy's "special spongecake recipe", but who actually made it? I doubt they did. Hippo would have eaten it (see "Mr. and Mrs. Mother Brain"). Maybe Lana suggested making the cake, Eggy gave her his recipe, and she made it?

I'm surprised that they had enough time to make it, though.

0:39 and counting.

They're cutting it a little close; aren't they?

Lana timed the warp to open at a certain time? How'd she know that everyone would be at the chasm at just the right time? They could have fallen to their deaths!

0:33 and counting.

Okay, there are 33 seconds until the end of the episode. Is Mother Brain gonna be defeated or not?

Oh. Yes, she was.

And it was extremely fucking stupid!

Seriously, Lana opens a warp and sets up a giant cake, so everyone could fall out of the warp and onto the cake, thereby creating a cake wave, which would propel Mother Brain, King Hippo, and Eggplant Wizard up and into the warp?

What the fuck was Calvin Kelley thinking?!

32 episodes, and this is how Mother Brain ends up being defeated?!

0:21 and counting.

So the final scene shows the N Team and Bo Jackson, hanging out in the room where Lana had sent the message, watching Mother Brain, King Hippo, and the Eggplant Wizard being chased through the cellar of Baseball World by the Baseball Card King and the evil baseball equipment.

0:14 and counting.

I never noticed this before, but Kid Icarus and Gameboy are not in the final scene. It seems inappropriate that they don't watch Mother Brain in defeat. Did they have something more important to do? Perhaps organize a victory celebration? Did they watch for a while before leaving, and everyone else was having such a good time that they stuck around to watch some more? Did Kid Icarus and Game Boy perhaps leave the N Team, now that the war is over?

Okay, I'm checking the cake scene again. I'm using RealPlayer, which doesn't let me advance 1 frame at a time. Try as I might, I can see any clear indication that Kid Icarus exited the warp from the cellar. Could someone else please check?

0:09 and counting.

Kevin's line doesn't make much sense. Doesn't "batting a thousand" mean doing really good? Or does he mean that she will, as they did, have to deal with a lot of bad equipment?

And the final shot is Kevin and Bo slapping a high-five.

Gameboy doesn't speak in this episode. I guess Frank Welker had left the cast, which would explain Gameboy's absence for most of the season.

0:00

And that's it. That's how the war against Mother Brain ends. After 2.5 seasons, it all comes down to cake and a preset warp.

I love how it's Lana that ultimately defeats Mother Brain, but you gotta wonder why they ever needed Kevin. Lana could have pulled this stunt over 2 years earlier. Problem solved.

I know there are fans that believe this is just another defeat for Mother Brain, and she'll get out of it, but remember that Lana said Mother Brain sealed all of the warps out of Baseball World, and Lana opened a single warp to let the heroes out and send Mother Brain and her lackeys in. Logically, she would have closed the warp afterward - or had already preset it to close. Even if Mother Brain and her lackeys somehow escape from the cellar, they still have all of that evil equipment on their tails and no way off of the world (unless they came there in a ship like the one in "Gameboy"). This seems like a pretty convincing defeat to me.

Of course, if the series continued for a fourth season (and we don't know what the people involved knew regarding that, if anything), then Mother Brain could have been brought back through some deus ex machina or another, or they could have moved into the Super NES era - or both, since Mother Brain would return in "Super Metroid".

As for why the Ultimate Warp Zone didn't open up to let Kevin go home, maybe it did, and he declined. Remember, he can go home whenever he wants (see "The Big Game").

I know there are fans that believe that Kevin's mission was much more than to simply defeat Mother Brain, but that's not true. There's no reason for Kevin to remain in Videoland to go up against Dr. Wily or the Count. Mega Man and Simon can do that. Mother Brain had formed a group of bad guys from different worlds and was intent on conquering all of Videoland, not just a particular world. That's why Kevin was needed. His purpose has been fulfilled, albeit by Lana, not him. Okay, he (unknowingly) participated in creating the cake wave, which sent Mother Brain into the warp, so he had an (unknowing) hand in her defeat, but Lana was responsible for it.

Lesson: Use teamwork. Cooperate.

I don't know how to rate this episode. On first glance, it's a horrid piece of shit. It has a very stupid concept - possibly the stupidest concept in the entire series. I understand the point of using an actual, real-life game for the final episode, but it doesn't work. Also, there's no indication that Calvin Kelley chose this game. He might have been told to use it. It would be tempting to say that this is the worst Captain N episode ever.

However...

This episode can't be called the worst Captain N episode. That dubious honor goes to Season 1's "Happy Birthday, Megaman", since it wasted an entire story episode on something that was completely pointless. Also, Season 2's clips episode, "When Mother Brain Rules", is bad and would be considered the worst Captain N episode, but it was an extra episode, not one of the core 13 episodes. This is one of the core 7 episodes of Season 3. It's not as bad as "Happy Birthday, Megaman", because it does serve a purpose. It's badly executed, but it does achieve the ultimate goal of the series: Mother Brain's defeat. Therefore, it's a must-see episode, if for that reason alone. Also, it reminded me of quite a few previous episodes from Seasons 1 and 2, and it contains a nice parallel to "Kevin In Videoland". Also, unlike "These Are the Voyages...", the series finale of "Star Trek: Enterprise", "Battle of the Baseball Know-It-Alls" doesn't kill off a main character for no reason and make the other characters not react to his death. Finally, it doesn't let characters from another series dominate the episode, relegate the main characters to holodeck recreations, and try to shoehorn this episode into the plot of another episode of another series. In other words, it respects the characters.

So...

This episode is below average but not the bottom of the Captain N barrel. It's not what we hoped for, but it's better than not having Mother Brain defeated at all.

As for what to cut out, I can't think of any filler in this episode. Calvin Kelley made good use of the short running time that he was given to work with. This is a lean episode.

Overall, "Battle of the Baseball Know-It-Alls" is a below-average episode. I call it BOBKIA. I wish Bob Kia had written this episode. It would have been a lot better.

No, I don't know who Bob Kia is. I'm being silly. I need to be silly.

Usefulness ratings:

Kevin: 6 (zapping 3 baseballs, zapping 1 fly ball, zapping 2 baseball bats)
Lana: 2 (freeing the heroes from Baseball World, defeating Mother Brain)
Simon: 1 (defeating 1 baseball bat)
Mega Man: 2 (defeating 2 baseball bats)
Kid Icarus: 2 (getting 2 baseball bats tied up)
Duke: 1 (tackling 1 baseball bat)
Gameboy: 0

This is a team episode. Kevin is the most useful N Team member, getting a lot of points. Lana, Mega Man, and Kid Icarus are in a three-way tie for second place with 2 points each (though I'm tempted to give Lana bonus points for winning the game). Simon and Duke are in a two-way tie for fifth place with 1 point each. Gameboy is in seventh and last place with 0 points. Why'd he even show up? Did the producer and/or writer want to show the audience that Gameboy was still on the N Team?

The running total usefulness ratings for this season so far are:

Kevin: 39 (6 episodes)
Lana: 6 (3 episodes)
Simon: 4 (3 episodes)
Mega Man: 4 (2 episodes)
Kid Icarus: 4 (2 episodes)
Duke: 7 (4 episodes)
Gameboy: 0 (1 episode)

Kevin goes further into the lead. Duke is still in second place. Lana is still in third place; followed by Simon, Mega Man, and Kid Icarus in a three-way tie for fourth; followed by Gameboy in seventh and last.

The running total usefulness ratings for the series so far are:

Kevin: 176 (32 episodes)
Lana: 48 (29 episodes)
Simon: 54 (29 episodes)
Mega Man: 47 (28 episodes)
Kid Icarus: 52 (28 episodes)
Duke: 31 (30 episodes)
Gameboy: 18 (14 episodes)

Lana is still in 4th place. We'll see how long that she stays there.


That's the end of my review of "Battle of the Baseball Know-It-Alls". "The Fractured Fantasy of Captain N" originally aired seventh in Season 3 - on Saturday, October 26, 1991, so I'll review that next. See you all in my next review!


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