The gang arrive on another planet in search of a Pandorian Crystal to add to Quill’s cube and take another step on their quest for the Cosmic Seed, with Corpsman Titus still determined to follow and keep an eye on them. The locals are friendly enough, but an encounter with some fearsome enemies sets off an unexpected chain of events – will the team survive, and will Quill’s awful tree-based puns to Groot ever stop?
This feels like another vintage shot of Guardians in a show that is rapidly becoming one of the best comic book TV properties at the moment. Like the movie, this one crams in humour, heart and enough pop-culture references to keep everyone happy. The opening Top Gun homage is as welcome as it is humourous, and it only gets better from there.
As seems to be the pattern, the episode splits the team into smaller groups, as we get to know them a little better and see their relationships evolve and grow. This week, centre-stage goes to Groot and Quill, the latter being repeatedly ticked off by Rocket for his constant insensitive ribbing of Groot, in the form of endless puns about trees and general dismissal of Groot as a simple creature. Groot seems noticeably put out by this, and it speaks volumes to both the animators and the voice actor that a character with a three word vocabulary can express so much emotion. We also see a softer side of Rocket – after all the only one of the team who actually understands Groot – as he sticks up for his buddy and lectures Quill for picking on him.
When the ‘peril of the week’ starts, it’s been signposted enough that it isn’t a surprise, but it does make for an interesting situation to see played out, as the gang wrestle with the issue of saving the day without hurting one of their own. Corpsman Titus feels a little underused to be honest, merely acting as an artificial injection of impetus to the resolution of the main plot thread of the episode, but it’s still welcome to have a recurring ‘nemesis’ type character and hopefully we will see more of him in future episodes. The conclusion is a little bit neat, but the final scene is a nice one, showing a growth in the bond between Groot and Peter, and some real character development.
Verdict: With each passing week, this show continues to impress. The overarching arc is being well-used to flesh out each character and the dynamics between them, and show them growing together, and this episode is no exception. Top stuff. 9/10
Greg D. Smith