Friday, October 14, 2016

Episode Review: "Girl Meets World of Terror 3" (#3.15)

I actually took a class on chaos theory my senior year, and indeed, if you perform some series of continuous operations on some number x, and then perform the same stuff on an unimaginably slightly different number, say x+10^(-100000000000000), you can end up with wildly FANTASTICALLY different results. It's definitely interesting to see when and why that happens. So I appreciate Farkle and Smackle's brief explanations, ever more so by their lack of the phrase "butterfly effect." 

Holy crap, everyone just groaned when Ghost Auggie introduced the episode. How did that get on tv? That's hilarious! Loved that.


Did you see Maturo's satisfied look when he says "I'm your ghost"? I bet he thought of that himself. Honestly he just looks like a nun, and I'm not interested in going to church tonight. He actually said he was your ghost in the first World of Terror too. And it actually got a laugh then. So he probably thought he was making a great callback.


You can't tell from looking at it, but that's actually a doctored photo.

We head to an alternate timeline where Riley never met Maya and Riley's best friend in high school is her teddy bear.
Yeah, we know Abed. Honestly the problem here, and to be honest it's why I don't like that episode Remedial Chaos Theory as much as everyone else, is that nothing is canon! I have another 20 minutes of this episode and none of it matters. I want a story and character development. Not hypothetical situations. It doesn't even matter how good the writing is here (don't hold your breath), I have to hate it by default. I don't mind non-canon things, but they need to set up a mini one-episode canon that I become invested in and/or reveal something interesting about who the characters likely are when they are canon. For instance, DC does non-canon a lot and the vast majority of the time, no matter what else is the same or has changed, Lex Luthor is a good guy who uses his wealth, brains, and influence for altruistic means. It's like the canon universe is the one universe in which Lex went bad. This reveals something interesting about him, showing how very different he may be from, say, the Joker who never gets a good version (and if he does, it's a ruse or almost immediately does not stick) Stuff like that I can get behind. 

Other than the bear, Alternate Riley is just an extreme version of her real self and Maya has transformed into exactly who I would have dated if I went to this school. Ehhhhhh..... And by "date" I of course mean "look at but never talk to." There we go. Phew! Should have kept the faith you'd make the joke.
Alternate Farkle never grew out of being a sex offender, Smackle is somehow more of a stereotypical geek than when we met her in season one, and Lucas is the world's very first goth cowboy.

Strike that, second. Did you catch that the girl Joey and The Hombre fight over in that episode is Ainsley Hayes? SAAAAAAM. Yes. I was actually first exposed to her on CSI Miami, but I don't wanna talk about that.

Jokes aside I'm actually interested to see what he does with it. The golden rule about Lucas is that he's only compelling when they give him some range (there's a cowboy pun somewhere). I'm generally pleasantly surprised when Peyton has some room to do different things. That's what people say, but that's not precisely what it is for me - because "I have rage issues and a past!" Lucas usually doesn't work for me either. I just like when they're willing to make fun of him and acknowledge that his "Aw, shucks, ma'am" perfectness makes him kind of a goober.

Haha! I knew it. He's hilarious. And let me be clear Christian, I told you I was going to need some shots for this episode, but I haven't had any yet. Everything so far has been the opinion of Sober Sean. I think the writers are painfully aware of how awful Farkle was in season one. Yikes.

......Well they've done it. They gone and did it. Alternate Lucas and Riley have more chemistry than the real ones. 
Seriously. I love this scene.
And you wanna know how? Well I'm gonna tell ya, because that's my job. Because my name is on the door of this building. No, MY name is on the door of this building! I'm the Red Ranger around these parts, you're some Johnny-Come-Lately Green Ranger! Roger Stirling likes to remind people his name is on the door, that's what I was going for.

It's because Alternate Riley isn't that awkward mess she was in season one. She's ten times more bubbly, sure, but now she owns it, she's confident. It doesn't bother me anymore how annoying she is because she isn't taking any kind of bullshit from anybody. You think Alternate Riley would fall apart if some bully started texting her mean texts? Hell no. And she's instantly better than what we saw in Meets She Don't Like Me. And of course season one Lucas was an empty shell of nothing, so these small bits of character put Alternate Lucas way out in front as well. If Riley and Lucas had met like this in the first episode, I would be riding that train all the way to the station.
Okay not that station, but you know what I mean. Somehow we ended up with the opposite problem I predicted, where instead of not caring at all because it's not canon, I care too much because it's not canon. Weird.

Moving on, to quote ghost Auggie, "a world where everything is different*."

*Except Topanga being relegated to stupid child actors. That is not different, it is in fact the same.

Alternate Ava is kid-married to Doy instead of Auggie, and instead of telling you how fascinated I am, I'm going to show you.
Alternate Auggie doesn't exist. I don't know, is this suddenly my favorite episode? Cory isn't even trying to interfere with his students' lives! I'm on board with all of this, except for Farkle, but I'm willing to take that bullet. I think my next project after this series ends is to rewrite every episode with these characterizations. Or lack thereof. Cuz Auggie's not in the show.

What are you trying to tell us, Michael Jacobs? Is this what you wanted? Is this what we could have had? 

IS THIS WHO I COULD HAVE BEEN?

I don't mean to pile on, but Riley also mentions that in this world she doesn't spend so much time at the Bay Window.

Oh man, they're refocusing on Auggie. Sorry kid, I'm not really interested in your problems. I wanna see Riley and Lucas flirt some more.

Holy god, did I just say that? I ACTUALLY WANT MORE RILEY AND LUCAS. I'VE NEVER FELT THIS WAY. This is so insane, I honestly don't know how to deal with this episode.

Smackle somehow sneezes her headgear onto Farkle, I think we can just skip over that. Just hop and skip and jump right over. Nun Auggie gets some pity laughs out of the audience and we're at the Bay Window.

Nun Auggie's plan to unite Alternate Miley doesn't work. This might have been a better origin story, honestly. I'll just say that I don't remember their real origin story, but I'll probably remember this, so... that's something.
Riley accidentally got Maya a B- when she did her homework, so Maya's worst nightmare of being called on in class has been realized. So now there's going to be a rumble between them, like in The Outsiders.

...Yeah. Just like that.

Cory comes up with a way to extend his lesson about Newton to Riley's life. Honestly this too is more palatable than the real version. Like, Riley is in a bad spot, she actually needs help and Cory comes up with on-the-spot advice based on his life experience. He's not pulling the strings, he's just there for her. 

That's... all I ever wanted.

Okay so obviously Maya is warming up to Riley a little too fast, but the idea is fine. And like... Lucas being ready to protect Riley from Maya, even though Riley turned out to be in control? That scene has more character than the ENTIRE FIRST SEASON. WHY ISN'T THIS THE SHOW? 

GOD DAMMIT.

GOD. DAMN IT.

I don't know why Smackle and Farkle are here honestly, but nothing can ruin this for me. They hug and then walk through a dark doorway straight to bone city.

Auggie comes back into existence and it wouldn't take a lot of effort to count the number of people who are happy about it.

This tag scene... Is that how it happened? We haven't seen how Riley and Maya met before? No.... I dunno. I feel like we have. I'm not going to look into it, but I think we have. Isn't that why we first met these actors to begin with? Holy shit, that's kind of a big deal. 

So obviously this wasn't perfect. Sunshine Riley warming Maya's cold cold heart is pretty obvious and easy, but if we had put the right amount of time into it, instead of, say, whatever the fuck we were doing in season one, then it could have been great. And I've got to believe that this is who Lucas was supposed to be, who Jacobs wanted him to be, before Disney got in the way. I have to believe it in my heart because it makes the world okay again. 

If Riley and Lucas had talked this way originally, where Riley has her feet on the ground, brimming with confidence, instead of... you know..
Yeah, that. And for everyone about to say "Oh Riley was so much younger back then, blah blah," it doesn't matter. Season one Maya was perfectly capable of being confident around Lucas (which is why we shipped it.) Sixth grade Topanga was perfectly capable of being confident in herself, strange as she was, around someone like Shawn. 

Man... this is not how I expected to feel after this episode. Alternate timeline rocks. The "world of terror" is the canon one. Ain't that some shit.

Oh, hey. Sorry, I should have posted before now but I was busy and also I didn't want to. But, you've caught me at a moment where I seriously injured my ankle and am more or less bedridden so... let's watch this sucker. I'm going to post here when I have ORIGINAL thoughts, and comment on Sean's post when it's an offshoot thought about something he covered.

No, lie, when Auggie showed up it took me a second to identify who that was. Some of it may be the costume, some of it may be how much he's sprouting up, but I think some of it is I forgot about Auggie.

Haha, if Lucas wore a cowboy hat at all times in a Manhattan high school he would be the biggest fucking loser. His thing, Cory's thing, and Smackle's things don't work. In the case of Lucas and Smackle we saw what type of people they were before becoming part of the group... they weren't like this. And where did Professor Cory Plum come from? Cory's identity far predates Riley and Maya meeting. Why would their meeting change him from who he is now... basically the same exact guy he was on BMW but a little older and "wiser".  This Cory, like the other Cory, still had Mr. Fucking Feeny and he thinks education's all about names and dates nothing more? That's nuts. Farkle's works best because it's just who Farkle was only he's gotten a little more preposterous because he's too old for this. 

SEAN! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? How did you not pick up on the fact that the instrumental music they play when Lucas scarily knocks the gum off his hat is the EXACT music from "And Then There Was Shawn". That's an AMAZING callback. What the fuck are you talking abou-

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Haha, I enjoyed that the show tried to create some build up and suspense to the question of "WILL THIS LUCAS ALSO WANT TO BE A VETERINARIAN?!" It's so amazing to me that after this long it's still, like, his signature personality trait. That he maybe wants to be a vet. 

I knew it was gonna be Doy. Oh man, I love that he can admit his name is Dewey in this world. Dewey is better of if Riley and Maya never met. Anyway, I can't remember, does Auggie having never been born track? Was he really born after Riley and Maya met? That doesn't seem right to me. Didn't we see these same actresses playing Riley and Maya, and an Auggie that was like 4?

You kind of hit on anything else I'd talk about. This is most certainly the best of the Worlds of Terror, but that's pretty faint praise. I'll go with....

Episode Rating: C
Episode MVP: Eh, Rowan mainly had to carry this one (well, her and August, but that part was no good), and she was fun, so Rowan Blanchard.