VGHS: S02E06 (2013)

That defining moment of where VGHS is going forward.

This is the final episode we needed, but probably didn’t deserve. I think it is too early to be showing character independence from one another, while I see that doing so allows the series to flesh out into the third season. Which is how I’m viewing this season by the way – a preface to the third season. And it’s not in that, “season two is before season three so of course it’s a preface,” but more of the order of the storytelling goes season one, season three, and oh, here’s what happened in-between.

I’m not dismissing this season, but it didn’t have that magic of season one. It had been a year, and as I’ve expressed maybe I’ve grown in the last year away from their target audience. Regardless, objectively reviewing the series I still find it lacking some major depth that season one had.

Yet as I do with every review, I do backtrack and tell you how there were parts of the episode that I did enjoy.

As you can tell from the picture above, my viewing of the character development (which shouldn’t have to be occurring this late) was sublime! When Ted (played by Jimmy Wong) enters the janitor’s closet I was feeling for the guy so hard. I was coming straight off of the last episode where you think, “maybe he will grow up and understand other perspectives a little, and maybe Brian won’t be so critical” – only to have him get replaced by a girl. It’s a nice touch to show how when Ted and Ki (played by Ellary Porterfield) got into a relationship nothing changed – Brian (played by Josh Blaylock) was still apart of the group. Turn your attention to Brian and Jenny (played by Johanna Braddy) and Ted loses out.

While I understand the story arc for season two is not about “Brian and Ted”, but rather “Ted and Drifters” and “Brian, Jenny, and Mary”, I feel more explanation of the two drifting apart would have been nice. I think I’ll leave that there because it definitely seems like a theme/issue for season three.

I did not like Shotbot v2. I know, I know I said I hope they had a backup of him, but it totally just made the previous episode pointless. Then The Law (played by Brian Firenzi) doing everything for Shotbot was stupid. Simple as that. Sure the robot didn’t have the memories of The Law or getting fired, but the impact of sacrificing himself to be reinstalled just seemed like a huge cop out. As I understand it, from the behind the scenes, the death of Shotbot was to satisfy all the viewers who found him annoying, but stick to your storyline. This seems nearly as comically stupid as Agent Phil Coulson returning for the Agents of Sheild after dying in the film.

Highlights of the episode go to The Law vomiting, then stating he might vomit again. It’s that beautiful juxtaposition of physical gamer versus the game character appearance. Here is one dishevelled, completely pathetic player compared to what we eventually see as The Law in his prime. Even when Mary (played by Cynthia Watros) asks if he had been practising and he just shakes his head. Pure comical genius. I guess it helps to be a writer and actor, but he clearly (obviously) knows his character.

I loved the VFX in the combat scenes, especially The Law shooting fruit. I did not like Ki and Ronin’s fighting VFX. They were good, but assuming that Ki’s parents created the game she should know some hidden talent of bringing an ice dragon out and instant knock out. That would have been amazing, but instead the story had us see Ki needing to find out what she needs to do in order to be great.

The final episode just felt disjointed. We could have ended on a happy note of a win (for all three characters) or we could have ended with The Law leaving. On both accounts I would have been happy. But the ending we did get was amazing. Not the “I love you”, but Brian finding out that even though he has the girl he is more alone than ever.

My view is that in the six episodes we weren’t built up enough to the separation of the characters (until episode five) and enough emphasis on the finals for Brian and Jenny. The focus on Brian losing the scholarship, their relationship, and Mary as coach would have been more valued if they were the final obstacle not some cop out “Jenny and Brian work together and then have dinner with me”.