The team crash land on the bizarre settlement known as the Conjunction – a place full of fast ships, bars and fighting arenas. Between the Nova Corps presence, the mysterious Grand Master and the ongoing rivalry between Drax and Gamora, will they manage to get out in one piece, let alone continue their quest for the cosmic seed?
Another strong episode which riffs strongly from the movie, referencing it both indirectly with Rocket’s incessant tinkering with the Milano and directly with Quill reminding Corpsman Titus of the team’s credentials as saviours of his home world, with all criminal records expunged. We even get to meet that Oskavarian girl, though now she’s dating one of Quill’s rogues gallery of old friends. Much like the movie, the episode balances its cast well, giving enough screen time to each that nobody really feels left out. Quill and Gamora are after a piece of crystal which will power up the cube and help their quest, Rocket and Drax hatch an ill-advised scheme to make the credits to repair and upgrade the Milano and Groot – well, okay, Groot largely remains the muscle, there to forcibly get the gang out of trouble when brains aren’t enough.
The Grand Master is a reasonably entertaining villain, and once again we have a plot that won’t surprise older viewers with its structure, but is still done well enough to entertain. When we get the revelation which leads to the final match up in the arena between Drax and Gamora, we get the showdown both characters have boasted of wanting, and though it ends predictably it’s nonetheless fun to watch.
The inclusion of Corpsman Titus, the Oskavarian girl from Quill’s past and other nods make it feel properly connected to a wider universe, which is useful in a twenty minute cartoon for kids. Unlike previous animated efforts, this feels like a properly integrated part of the MCU, and it will be interesting to see how this all connects to the future movie instalments. The fact that this series has an arc (the quest for the cosmic seed) but is deft enough to switch between episodes where this is in the foreground and others where it is merely a backdrop for more immediate, character-focused interplay is a great strength.
Verdict: The show goes from strength to strength, and both long term fans and newbies will find plenty to keep them entertained. A great show for parents to watch with the kids, in true Disney tradition. 9/10
Greg D. Smith