This particular episode of Captain Planet and the Planeteers is not about pollution. (Gasp shock horror and et cetera.) It's about drugs. Drugs, in case you're wondering, are bad, and they piss Captain Planet and his Planeteers off something fierce. This episode is available to watch on YouTube, or you could just watch them here. See how I've embedded them into this post for your convenience? I'm thoughtful that way.
Whoever posted this video did NOT include the awesome-upon-awesome theme song, but since they bothered to upload my daily dose of nineties nostalgia in the first place, I won't hold it against them. Besides, who doesn't remember it? "Earth! Fire! Wind! Water! Heart! By your powers combined, I am Captain Planet!" And so on and so forth. Also, did you know that the Planeteer rappy bit ("We're the Planeteers, you can be one too," etc.) in the New Adventures series was written by one of the B-52s? That is wicked. Just plain wicked. Without the intro, I can't tell if it's the original series or New Adventures. I could probably look it up somewhere, but I'm not going to, so don't hold your breath.
The episode begins at the White House. Has Captain Planet been elected president? Looks like not. A blonde-haired kid is running through the streets of Washington, and he looks a bit like Wheeler. Ever notice that all the white guys in this cartoon look like Wheeler? I think the reason Ted Turner decided to make the Planeteers racially diverse is so we can tell them apart. Anyway, Verminous Skumm (remember him?) approaches the blonde kid and, um, sells him drugs. That's really the only way to put it. He sells the blonde haired kid some sort of pill, and the blonde kid gets high. Um, yeah. Then for some reason, the kid almost gets hit by a bus, falls over, hits his head, and starts laughing. Dude's high as a kite. Wow. I do not remember Captain Planet being this heavy.
(Side note: according to Wikipedia, Captain Planet actually did an episode dealing with HIV/AIDS, which I guess is forward-thinking but seems a little inappropriate. Kids don't know what AIDS is. They don't particularly care, either. When I was growing up, they mentioned AIDS in passing in an I Hate Fridays book, and for years I thought it was just a regular illness on par with strepthroat or chicken pox.)
At Planeteer HQ (which, inexplicably, is a paradise island of some sort), the gang is checking out their jet to make sure everything's working. Linka has a checklist, because she's in charge. Linka was totally my favourite growing up. Back then, I didn't know what a communist was, or that she was one. Simpler times, my friends, simpler times. Linka tells Wheeler to make sure that the bolts underneath the jet won't loosen up upon take-off, and he says, "I know someone who could use a little loosening up." Dirrty! I know what he means, but it still calls for a Dirrty!! Another random fact -- I always wanted Linka and Wheeler to hook up, or as we called it back then, like like each other and become boyfriend and girlfriend. Because even at a young age, I couldn't watch a show without wanting two of the characters to get together. I skipped that boys-are-icky phase in a big way, in case you can't tell.
Apparently, the Planeteers are taking a vacation. Weren't they just on an island? Anyway, Linka's excited about visiting her uncle in the Soviet Union. Hee! This must be from the first Captain Planet series, then, because in the New Adventures they changed her origin to the rather vague 'Eastern Europe.' In case the name 'Russia' didn't stick, I suppose.
Linka tells us her cousin Boris is charming, which is a bit of a weird way to describe one's cousin, but okay. They drop Linka off in the Soviet Union (what a short plane ride) and she rushes straight to her uncle Dimitri's house. He answers the door in a bathrobe and hugs Linka for an uncomfortably long time. So that's how it is in their family. Dimitri calls charming Boris downstairs -- and he's in a robe too! The only thing I can think is that it must be really early in the morning. But ruh-roh, it seems that Boris is not his usual charming self. He's all tired and dishevelled, which means what, children. Boris is on THE DRUGS. At first sight, I actually thought Boris was the blonde kid from the start, but I seem to recall a high-school geography lesson where I learned that Washington is not in the Soviet Union.
Sure enough, Boris goes upstairs and takes the same generic-looking drug the blonde kid took. It's kind of sparkly, and it makes that cartoon noise all shimmery things make, sort of a swooshing noise. You know what I mean. I'm sorry, but making drugs out to be sparkly and special? Doesn't sell 'wrong' to me. Sparkly usually equals cool and must-have. In my Captain Planet-watching days, I was obsessed with anything sparkly. I'm wearing a sparkly T-shirt right now. Anyway.
Dimitri tells Linka that Boris has been acting strange recently, and begs her to try and get to the bottom of it. That's some good parenting right there. Boris enters in a radical skull T-shirt and sunglasses, because only druggies wear skull T-shirts and sunglasses! Linka notices that he has a cut on his head. Oh snap, Boris is the blonde kid from the start of the episode! He got that cut by smacking his head on the pavement! He doesn't tell Linda this, though, or offers me an explanation as to why he was in Washington at the start of the episode. Linka tries to put some alcohol on his cut, and Boris knocks the bottle onto the stove, causing it to explode and engulf the kitchen in flames. See kids, this is why you don't take THE DRUGS. Linka manages to put out the fire using her wind ring and some baking soda. Right. You know, Linka's time would be better spent working as a firefighter. She might actually do some good, instead of traipsing around the world on her neverending attempt to stop global warming or whatev. Plus, we now know she'd kick Wheeler's arse in a fight.
Linka and Boris are riding bikes to the Russian cafe. Wait, aren't we...isn't this...you know what? I think I've missed something. Perhaps they're not in the Soviet Union after all. Let me just go back and check...yep, okay, they're in Washington. Linka said before that she's going to visit her uncle at the Soviet Embassy in Washington. My bad. I just heard 'Soviet' and then let my mind wander. I do that sometimes. Sorry.
Amway, they're riding their bikes to the Russian cafe, and Boris keeps stopping to catch his breath. Another reason why THE DRUGS are bad, y'all -- no more bike-riding. Oh, and the skull on Boris's T-shirt is wearing a party hat, which doesn't scream 'badass' to me. Maybe it's supposed to be ironic, I don't know. Boris is all like, "How the hell did you manage to put out that fire with your ring?" and she gives him a really vague explanation of the whole protecting-the-earth business. Boris says that if she lets him try it sometime he'll give her one of his pills. She's like, "Hells no, not on my watch!" and tries to take the bag of pills from him. They struggle and the bag breaks, spilling the pills down the drain. Hee, they're making that shimmery noise again! Maybe they're magic pills!
Boris calls Linka a stupid cow, and I laugh. That's kind-of harsh for a cartoon. Anyway, Boris rides away and meets up with Verminous Skumm again, saying he needs more bliss. Wow, it even sounds pretty. Worst anti-drugs campaign ever. Skumm tells him that the price has increased. Since Boris doesn't have enough money, he offers to give Skumm Linka's magic ring in exchange for THE DRUGS. What a dumb idea -- if he's going to go home to steal Linka's ring, why doesn't he just walk into his father's bedroom and steal some money? Thievery's thievery, you know? Anyway, Skumm works out that he's talking about Linka, and tells Boris that if he brings Linka, Scumm will give him all the bliss he could ever need. Boris tells him to fuck off. Yeah, go Boris!
Linka returns to her uncle's house, but he's gone to the embassy. Linka turns on the TV in time to see a news report about a group of vandals who were apparently high on bliss trashing some building or other. How they could possibly know what drug they were on when no one's been caught yet is baffling, but okay. Boris walks through the door, and Linka says, "Oh Boris, I was afraid you were in that blissed-out mob!" Direct quote. I'm so calling them that from now on. Boris gives her some lie about how he knows THE DRUGS are bad now, and Linka believes him...despite the fact that he's holding a shitload of bliss behind his back. And you can imagine how much shimmery noise it's making. Boris, you suck. I can't believe you would sell your cousin to a drug-dealing half-man half-rat. That's just not done in polite society. He gives Linka something to eat, and it's so obvious that he's roofied it that I'm about to scream.
Back on Planeteer Island, the remaining four Planeteers have returned from their boring, non drug-related vacations. Apparently there was some mix-up and none of them picked up Linka. What great friends. They get worried because nobody's heard from her, and suddenly Gaia the Earth Mother appears and takes them to her Crystal Chamber...which, if you'll recall, is a cave with a control panel type thing that a giant screen in the centre. She shows the gang all the destruction that the blissed-out mob (that will never stop sounding ridiculous) has been doing in Washington, and this exchange made me laugh so hard, I had to quote it for you outright:
Wheeler: Babe, what went down in that neighbourhood?
Gaia: What went down is
Yes, thank you, Wheeler, for reminding us that you're the complete embodiment of an American pig. And thank you, Gaia, for reminding us that you're a preachy, judgemental bitch. Apparently this drug thing is the Planeteers's problem, because it's "pollution of the mind." Nice. The Planeteers see vision of Verminous Skumm pushing THE DRUGS and taking everyone's money. Oh, and they also hear his plan, which is to start selling bliss to everyone all over the world, thereby getting rich and ensuring he is the only one around thinking straight. Firstly, who is filming this? And if Gaia can see everything, why didn't she, you know, STOP BORIS FROM SWAPPING LINKA FOR DRUGS? Just thinking out loud here. Also, what a shit plan. I could spend the whole day listing reasons why that plan's not gonna work, but for your sake, I won't.
The Planeteers arrive in Washington, flying their jet right next to the Capitol Building. I don't care if they are the Planeteers, that seems like a breach of security to me. Wheeler and Ma-Ti go to the Lincoln Memorial for some ridiculous reason. Ma-Ti's so lame. Seriously, what is the power of heart anyway? I never got that. Suddenly all four Planeteers are accosted by the blissed-out mob. Why are they attacking the Planeteers? I'm so confused. Wheeler tries to stop them by setting fire to the grass between them and the blissed-out mob. Again, I have to wonder where security is. One of the blissed-out mobsters actually says, "We do not care about injuries; just running out of bliss!" How oddly informative. Thank you, blissed-out junkie.
Verminous Skumm appears at the back of the pack, and Gi admits that they need Captain Planet's help. Skumm agrees and then ominously says that they'll never be able to summon him...and reveals Linka, blissed-out something fierce! Oh no! Wheeler instinctively tries to rush over there (because he, like, totally loves her) but the other Planeteers hold him back. But seriously, Skumm is the dumbest villain ever. Why not just kill Linka, or even steal her ring? Why risk it? WHY??
Skumm offers free bliss to the people who kill the Planeteers. Because apparently the ones who aren't hot and blonde are expendable. I see what's going on here now. He even calls Linka a "Glamourteer," and I feel a little uncomfortable. Wheeler tries to reach her (so cute!), but the blissed-out mob is coming towards them, looking very much like the extras from the 'Thriller' video. Gi uses her water power to create a tidal wave, washing the mob away. Of course, it's only a temporary solution, because it's not like the Planeteers could, I don't know, cause an earthquake or start a fire or anything useful.
Ma-Ti thinks he has an idea. Well good for you, Ma-Ti, it's about time you started pulling your weight. He gets Wheeler to distract Skumm by setting fire to the bag of bliss he's holding. Wow, good aim. Skumm responds by shouting, "But I have the bliss formula right here! I can make more in minutes!" at Wheeler, holding a notebook in the air. He wrote the formula for his mind-consuming drug in a notebook that he carries around with him? DUMB. And why doesn't Wheeler just fireball that as well? This whole problem could've been solved on seventeen different occasions already.
While he's doing this, Ma-Ti grabs Linka's arm and drags her away. That's the plan? Seriously? Ma-Ti, there's a reason no one likes you. And I seriously doubt he's strong enough to drag Linka anywhere. Linka falls over and lands in a puddle, which she finds hilarious in her blissed-up state. Ma-Ti can't get her up again, because apparently he used all his little boy strength to drag her away the first time. The rest of the Planeteers manage to outrun the mob, and Wheeler and Kwame pick Linka up and carry her away from the mob.
They rush into the Capitol Building, because we're in Washington, remember? If you forget, don't worry, they'll remind us again soon. The whole place is deserted, and Wheeler awesomely says, "Why is it that when the city is under siege by zombies, you can never find a cop?" A very good question, Wheeler, one I've been asking for half the fucking episode.
Ma-Ti activates his heart ring, which is good, because I can't for the life of me remember a time when that thing's come in handy. He says he can sense that everyone in the city has either fled or is high on bliss. Even the military? Fail, USA. Oh, and Boris is the leader of the blissed-out mob now. The other mobsters are even chanting his name. Boris, that is so slack -- you have your lifetime's supply of THE DRUGS, and you're still selling out your cousin? Mean, Boris, mean!
The Planeteers barricade themselves inside, while Linka downs another pill. She wanders over to the window to let Boris in, because zombies think alike, I guess. Wheeler gets there just in time to shut Boris out. Yay Wheeler! Linka tries to get Wheeler to take THE DRUGS, but he refuses. He gets her to look in the mirror and "see what this junk has done to you!" Linka thinks she looks beautiful. Hee! Then Boris comes crashing through the window, which sucks because we were right in the middle of Linka/Wheeler sexual tension! Fucking Boris!
Boris gets his, though, as the glass from the window cuts him and causes him to bleed profusely. And I mean profusely. Jesus, is this Captain Planet directed by Eli Roth or what? Kwame uses his earth power to knock over a bookcase and block the window to prevent any of the other zombies getting in. Because earth power works on bookcases? What? This whole episode's on THE DRUGS.
As the others escape, Gi stops to bandage Boris's arms with the emergency gauze she must carry around with her wherever she goes. Wheeler's like, "Just leave him!" but Gi feels sorry for Boris because she knows it's THE DRUGS that's been making him act all mean and traitor-y. Wheeler says, "Yeah, but nobody made him take the drug. He did that on his own." Because that's the moral of the story, after all -- if you take drugs, you're a bad person and you deserve to die in a pool of your own blood.
The gang (even blissed-out Linka and cut-up Boris) escape through a window on the roof. Which wasn't locked or anything. Why would it be? It's not like this is an important building or anything. One of the junkies smashes through a window and tries to grab Ma-Ti, and Kwame pulls him back to safety. Unfortunately, the two fall off the building. Even more unfortunately, Kwame doesn't drop Ma-Ti to his death. (That I'd like to see.) Wheeler grabs Kwame just in time, and now the three of them are hanging on to each other (and Wheeler to the ledge) for dear life. Verminous Skumm appears in his helicopter (?) and offers a lifetime's supply of bliss to whoever pushes them off the edge. Boris, who last I checked was bleeding half to death but apparently isn't anymore, agrees. Boris, you already have a lifetime's supply from the last psychotic thing you did! Keep up!
Linka tries to pop another pill, but Gi stops her. Linka decides that she'll simply blow the Planeteers off the roof with her wind power, but it doesn't work because "her mind's too polluted." Another side-effect of taking THE DRUGS, children -- your magical, element-commanding rings will no longer work.
Then Boris falls over and passes out. Linka's like, "what the fuck?" and Gi checks his pulse and announces that he's dead. Um, what? What just...what just happened here? Boris DIED?! They killed off Boris?! WHAT?! That's kind-of harsh for a kids' cartoon, even if he is a drug-addled psycho. They all decide that it was the bliss that killed him, even though I don't think the lacerations on his arms could've helped much. I suppose this wouldn't be very good anti-drug propaganda if the druggie died from glass wounds.
Linka's all broken up about how her traitor cousin is dead from drugs. Wheeler tells Linka that she has to snap out of it (nice, Wheeler, you ever hear of mourning periods?) and un-cloud her mind so they can call Captain Planet. She does so, because it's that easy to sober up after spending the entire day off your face like that. And is it just me, or wouldn't it be easier for Gaia to simply call Captain Planet directly when she has an eco-problem? All these kids seem to do is get kidnapped and destroy government buildings. But I digress.
Captain Planet flies the kids to safety, and ruins Skumm's day by burning his secret bliss formula in a giant fiery tornado thing. Fucking A, Captain Planet is all-time! He says to Skumm, "In my house, the dealer always loses!" See what I meant about the bad puns before! Captain Planet should just stick to making flaming tornados. Skumm ends up in a river for some reason, probably because people falling into bodies of water is funny for a child. Not so much for me anymore, though.
The next day, all the crazy blissed-out zombie folk are getting medical attention, even Linka. Gi solemnly says, "They've got a long, hard fight ahead of them," and Wheeler tells us that "withdrawal is the worst kind of pain." Because, um, I don't know, DRUGSAREBAD! Even if they're sparkly!
Skumm crawls out of the river, swearing revenge on Captain Planet. Then he takes out a sandwich from his pocket, which is not only completely bizarre but also pretty unsanitary. I guess he must've laced it with bliss and forgotten or something, because he's shocked that he gets all strung out. Yeah, I don't really get it either. I never realised it, but Captain Planet kind-of blows. How disappointing.
Well, that's it for Captain Planet. (This episode, anyway.) Next time -- Ship to Shore!