Monday, October 3, 2011

Buzz Lightyear of Star Command - Wirewolf

Why look, it's October. You know what this calls for? An entire month filled with nothing but Halloween specials! Those who are allergic to vampires and werewolves should probably avoid this blog for the next month on account the episodes I do are going to be all about the things that go bump in the night (and I don't mean that claymation show) and the strange, hostile creatures that celebrate the witching hour.

Now, while you enjoy your candy corn and chocolate bars shaped like pumpkins, consider the following. Suppose they made an animated series of a character in a Pixar movie without any of the original voice actors, with a completely new cast of characters, and in a completely different style to said Pixar movie. Sounds like it'd be pretty stupid and unwatchable right?

Allow me to prove you wrong by introducing you to Buzz Lightyear of Star Command.

This show sounds like one of those things that could've been terrible, could've been a horrible blemish on the face of Disney, and could've been considered another cash-in franchise like the many direct-to-video sequels that were coming out at this time. I mean, even the premise sounds dumb. It's supposedly the TV show that Buzz Lightyear the toy was based off of, which means we're dealing with sort of a different Buzz Lightyear but not really. And he's in a crimefighting team that includes a token chick, a talking robot comic relief, and a fat janitor alien. Bound to be crap, right?

Pictured: Not crap.
Instead, it was actually a decent show, probably because they actually had Tad Stones, the man behind Darkwing Duck, working on it. The people that do remember it remember it fondly, but unfortunately, since it wasn't a Disney afternoon show, therefore that means that it doesn't have the fanbase that say, Darkwing Duck or Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers. And that's a real big shame, because in the years that have passed, they managed to tighten up the writing and animation in Disney shows. This was probably one of Disney's last great shows with the spirit of the 90's coursing through its veins before Disney decided that kids really want to see live-action pop stars in sitcoms.

Yeah, Disney. I'm a tiny bit pissed that you feel that having only two animated shows running at a time does the trick. It really doesn't. One of the reasons why the 90's was so great for you is because you had variety. Come back to school, get bombarded with like six different shows. Now, if you don't like Phineas and Ferb, you're pretty much out of luck.

Also unfortunately, since Disney afternoon show DVDs apparently didn't sell as well as Disney would've hoped (well, gee, Disney, maybe if you included the uncut episodes instead of porting the cut-for-TV cuts from Toon Disney and maybe if you had just a couple of extras...), this show never got a DVD release. If I sound a little bitter, that's probably because I am, on account Disney is usually really good at releasing DVDs and Blu-Rays with all of the bells and whistles...provided that they're well-known animated films. Come on, Disney. Warner Bros. was embarrassed by Loonatics Unleashed and they gave that show a full DVD release! The entire show of Loonatics Unleashed is on DVD and yet we can't get Season 3 of Darkwing Duck.

But I'm getting off-topic and ranting about cartoon politics instead of the actual episode. Buzz Lightyear! The first episode I'm going to do of this show was going to be, as expected, one of the first episodes in the series, but then October happened and I tossed that out in favor of a Halloween episode. I went with this one first because, like a lot of my posts, I chose it because the villain and the premise sounded neat.

Allow me to introduce you to an episode named after the villain, because this is...


October 28, 2000

Availability: Online Only

After the episode is kind enough to name itself after the main conflict, a world filled with strange green beams, thick clouds of fog, and sparse populations reveals itself to the eyes of the audience. Since, you know, space and stuff. While the writers, the executive producers, and story editors let their names fade in and out of view (ooh, we're dealing with some high-class animation if the beginning of the episode needs a small credits list!), the strange clouds of mist part and reveal a man and his robot on patrol.

Considering they're both wearing space ranger uniforms, we instantly learn that they're on Team Buzz. For those who never watched this show, remember that Buzz Lightyear is like the popular head jock of a whole team of people that work in Star Command, the one that gets the gold medals and the cheerleaders and the fame. I imagine it must get pretty frustrating for these poor saps in Star Command if only one guy is getting all the toys and merchandising deals.

And, considering this is the first time we've seen either character (well, not really, since Disney was nice enough to air these episodes out of order and have the sequel to this episode air before this episode, killing all of the suspense), I just know that we're looking at our first victims. Just calling it now before some serious crap goes down.
Kind of overdoing it on the special effects, animators.
This episode wants to immediately cover all of the major horror tropes just to get them out of the way, so the very first lines of dialogue involve the fact that there's nothing suspicious in this sector while the other partner whines about the lack of action, because he took this job so that he can fight monsters on the moon, not play security guard to an abandoned hunk of rock spinning through orbit. The complainer is a charming ball of sunshine known as Ty Parsec (because this is a space show and he can't have "Smith" as a last name), and his biting sarcasm and his expressions that read as silent pleas for someone to please kill him now. This instantly make him likeable, because if I was wearing that suit, I'd be making that exact same face.

That face just screams "just graduated from a formal theater institute, now stuck in a dead-end job".
They continue walking in their unfashionable clunky uniforms, and Ty Parsec complains about how he's starving for some action. Luckily, the universe happens to hear his ironic plea, and decided that he's going to have one hell of a night. Because his backwater planet happens to have...a vampire! A space robot vampire that drinks energy, no less! Disney cartoons are great.

That is when we meet NOS-4-A2, one of the more memorable villains in this cartoon. He's a robot, he's a vampire, he's got a monocle built into his face, and he's got a sexy voice. I don't even have to tell you that he's a fan-favorite, because that's exactly what he was programmed to be. His name is also a very clever reference to Nosferatu. I say clever because usually when Disney makes allusions to pop culture, it's something really obtuse like "The Life, The Negaverse, and Everything" or "Night of the Living Spud" or "Dry Hard". Leet speak for an old vampire that isn't Dracula, though? That's smart.

...and, to be honest, I'm not sure why Sir NOS is here on this particular planet. I guess he saw the strange moon, the thick mists, and the lack of people and thought he'd move right in.

"Beautiful? This is the skin of a killer, Bella. I'm a killer."
After showing the face of one of our delightful villainous monsters, since the Wirewolf hasn't shown up yet, the camera focuses on some random space spires and a green moon before finally choosing to pan down on Ty Spacename and Expendable Robot Sidekick. Not sure why they did that since it's not establishing anything. I guess the background artists insisted that they stuck this in.

"I worked on this layout for two days, and by god, it's going in the cartoon!"
Ty and Nameless Robot Bound to Get Trashed continue walking, still bored out of their minds on account, even though this is the future, they still haven't invented things like handheld consoles or cellphones with solitaire built right into them. Or at least Ty is bored. The robot seems pretty content, on account of his lack of free will.

Right when Ty suggests they turn off the sensors and head back to base, possibly for some movies and late night sitcoms, the robot is snatched away and dragged into the bushes. Bushes that mysteriously glow red as Ty's pal's energy is forcefully sucked away. Looks like Ty's fairy godmother granted his wish.

"Yeeeeah, I'm just going to walk away. I know a dangerous situation when I see one."
Since Ty Parsec traded his survival instinct for more sarcasm, he decides to pull the space bush away, revealing a pretty gory sight if the two people involved weren't both robots. Ty's nameless compadre's energy is leaking out of the two puncture holes in his side (because his engineers forgot to install a neck), lighting the world with a ungodly red glow. And bathed in this bloody illumination is NOS-4-A2.

One minute in and already this vampire's established himself as pretty badass. He's not going to sparkle and talk about how gorgeous your love makes him while lovingly caressing your fragile mortal shell; he's obviously the kind of vampire who breaks into your house uninvited and slaughters your body for sustenance. Provided you're a robot of course.
Children of the night. What a mess they make.
And, since he pulled away the bush, a bush that looks strangely like an Earth plant even though this is a separate planet, and interrupted the vampire's snack, the vampire decides he's going to teach him a lesson by manifesting giant bat wings made out of energy and screaming like a banshee. In short, this might be the closest a Disney cartoon gets to looking like a Judas Priest album cover. And man do I love this episode for it.

Plus, I sure hope Ty has some sort of plan, because just because he's not a robot doesn't mean NOS-4-A2 won't kill him out of pure spite.
Wow, gloves and a monocle? This is one classy monster.
But wait, remember that light bulb that blinks on Buzz Lightyear's arm in the Toy Story franchise, the one that's been used in countless jokes on account how useless it is? It's an actual weapon in this show. And Ty uses it to shoot the robot vampire in the chest with it.

To sum this up, we have a space ranger attacking a robot vampire, one that just slaughtered his partner for food, with freaking lasers. I guess the creators decided to give the kiddies watching this an overdose of pure awesome to go with their Saturday morning bowl of cereal. Why isn't this show on DVD?

Luckily for Ty, NOS-4-A2 decided he was going to be a total puss tonight, because all it takes is one laser to the chest and the horrifying demon screams and flies away. But, to be fair, the damage has already been done. R2-D2 is dying, and there's nothing Ty or his caustic nature can do. The robot even has the balls to croak out "You got your action sir" in a slow, pained voice, just in case Ty didn't feel bad enough already. Why don't you just say "It's all your fault", robot? I don't think the point's been driven far enough into Ty's heart.

"Oh please, don't be such a drama queen. We'll fill up the holes and recharge your batteries, you big baby."
Freaked out and feeling partially responsible for this senseless loss of robot life (are robots considered living in this show?), Ty Parsec quickly phones up Star Command and reports his findings. From this conversation, we learn two things. First, the planet Ty's located on is called Canis Lunus, which is so not a foreshadow to anything. Second, Ty's got a bit of an ego problem and insists that this is nothing he can't handle. Again, so not a foreshadow to anything.

...well, to be fair, he did kind of shoot a murderous vampire pretty hard in the chest, causing it to flee in terror. That would make anyone a little cocky.

"I'm the best damn space ranger in the entire universe and don't you forget it!"
But while Ty is being intentionally vague about "the situation" that happened on his planet, this causes his dying robot buddy to summon up all of his last remaining strength and start screaming into his communicator that they're dealing with an energy vampire and for them to send backup because Ty sucks at his job. Mr. Sarcastic tries to cover it up to save his ego, but alas, the robot's damage has been done. His last remaining breath (do robots breathe?) has doomed his mission and now Ty will be unable to face this threat on his own. He's going to get...backup. Dun dun dunnnn...

"Don't listen to him, Star Command! He's a madman! He'll kill you! He'll kill you all!"
And who else is his backup but Buzz Lightyear and his gang of various assorted species to make sure that Star Command doesn't look bias towards humans. You know, even though they send the same guy and his same partners on the most significant missions. What if the Garglebrex space ranger wanted something important? What then?

And apparently Buzz knows Ty Parsec on account they were in the space academy together, and the big fat red alien named Booster just loves hearing about the stories where Buzz Lightyear saved Ty from various monsters with vaguely Dungeons N Dragons' sounding names. I mean, come on. Flesh-eating drill wasps?

I also have to point this out. Buzz Lightyear in this show is voiced by Patrick Warburton, who's well-known for his role as Kronk in the Emperor's New Groove. The voice fits, and they certainly couldn't get an A-list celebrity star to make constant appearances in their dinky little TV show, but there are moments where I wish Buzz would start talking about spinach puffs with his shoulder angel and devil.

I've noticed that Ty's space uniform doesn't cover most of his head like Buzz.
Does that mean that Buzz is bald?
But the atmosphere isn't completely happy in Buzz's spaceship. XR, their robot companion, is kind of irritated that Buzz took a mission that involves a monster that feeds entirely on robots. This makes sense, since that was kind of a dick move by Star Command. Just because you can just rebuild most of XR if you damage his body doesn't mean he doesn't have feelings.

Buzz insists that they're, and more importantly, XR's going anyways since they're a team and Canis Lunus happens to be a top secret energy facility that's vital to the Galactic Alliance. Wait, top secret? Then how did NOS-4-A2 find out if it's a secret...?
"Technically, according to the galactic constitution, you don't have any rights and are considered
company property. So I'd stop complaining if I were you."
And then, the last member of the team, Mira (the token chick), decides to speak up. They took down NOS-4-A2 one other time and things turned out okay. Sure, XR happened to be under mind-control for about a week serving a dark master, but things turned out okay. Sure, Star Command was nearly destroyed, countless lives were jeopardized, but they won their previous fight.

This conversation and Mira's awkward attempt at making XR feel better is obviously an allusion to a previous episode called just "NOS-4-A2", where the delightful vampire made his big debut and, like what Mira said, nearly destroyed Star Command while XR was under his control. I've noticed that a good portion of these episodes are just named after the villain, when typically in Disney cartoons, they try to make the title be all puntastic. I mean, just grab a Disney afternoon DVD and scan the titles that pop up. You never get an episode titled just "Bushroot" or "Fat Cat". I have to wonder why they broke tradition with this show in particular.

Although, to be fair, puns of some famous movie or song title got real old real fast, and I'm all for Buzz Lightyear not naming episodes things like "Wrecks, Lies, and Videotape" or "Paint Misbehavin'". By the way, if you came to this article because you were searching for those episodes, I apologize in advance.

Wait, if Mira and Buzz are both looking behind them, then who's steering the ship...?
Since the mood hasn't been very uplifting so far (and it just leaves the viewers wondering how long XR is going to last before he's completely demolished), the ship finally lands on Canis Lunus, where Ty Parsec is just as bright and sunshiny as ever. He complains constantly under his breath while he receives his back-up because he doesn't need back-up, because he can just kill the vampire with his snarky attitude and his pointy chin. Meanwhile, a robot avoids eye contact with him, probably because he's blaming Ty for the death of Number One. Note the numbers on both this robot and Expendable Vampire Lunch from earlier. Tension is pretty high on Canis Lunus.

I bet Ty's a real hit at the company parties.
Turns out Star Command is run by assholes, because not only did they send back-up, but they sent the one person Ty can't stand; Buzz Lightyear. Why does Ty not like Buzz? Well, it turns out our loveable Toy Story star is a bit of an asshole about all the times he's saved his "friend", constantly rubbing it in that he's had to save Ty's ass multiple times. You can cut the awkward that arises from Buzz's interactions with a knife, it's that thick. There's also a small scene where you learn that the robots are really uneasy and already picked hiding spots (hey, wouldn't you?), but that pales in comparison to this charming reunion.

By the way, people who are genre-savvy enough about werewolf films can probably pick out who's going to be the werewolf just from these lovely little scenes, if one wasn't cynical enough and didn't figure it out at the very beginning of the episode. I'm trying not to spoil anything, but come on now. The fact that Ty is introduced in this episode makes it that much more suspicious.

Ty wishes he can turn into a giant wolf monster and eat Buzz right about now...
They make their way inside the facility, where Ty, probably realizing that his name is also a company that makes Beanie Babies, tries to assert his authority in his own base by making them have to verify their identity with security. It doesn't work, because even the space ranger hand scanning machine (I'm sure it has a futuristic space-like name but they never say it) decides to overdo it on the compliments aimed in Buzz Lightyear's direction the moment his palm grazes its surface. Geez, no wonder this guy has such a fat ego if even the security machines are telling him how awesome he is. I have to wonder what the company toilets and hand dryers have to say about Buzz.

And why do I get the feeling that half of this post's screenshots are going to be Ty Parsec reacting hostily to everything? I blame his face. This guy can pull some classic expressions, adopting some of the most withering looks I've seen in a Disney production. I'm going to be so heartbroken if it turns out this guy is only in like one or two episodes, because a man this awesome needs to be a regular on this show.

His face is permanently stuck in "I hate everything" mode.
After that ego-feeding moment courtesy of Star Command's technology, we learn exactly what Ty Parsec is doing in his spare time besides starting flamewars in Internet forums and writing meaningful poetry in iambic pentameter. Turns out Canis Lunus is a pretty important energy facility filled with electric bowling pins. Electric bowling pins that store energy, no less. Futuristic!

"And here you can see the world's most electric 7-10 split."
These pins hold the stored energy from the radiation emitted from the strange green moon, which is later turned into pure energy. Ty Parsec, knowing that he's in his element, starts bragging about how this energy will change the playing field forever and will be bigger than "crystolic fusion" or something. Basically psuedo-scientific technobabble from our acidic friend while he waves his ego in front of everyone's face. Little does he know that the moment he says a source of energy is going to revolutionize life, it's going to get destroyed or prove to be harmful. So don't count your space chickens before they hatch in a pure vaccuum, Ty.

Also, moonbeam radiation? That seems rather werewolf-y. If you consider both that and the Canis Lunus name, I'm half expecting the two lab techs we just saw earlier to be named Remus Lupin and Howly McFacechew.
"Yeah, you would be too dumb to understand all of this. Want me to get the hand puppets, Buzz?"
 But then they get right to business. It's time to examine the robot body! Even though I was half-expecting the robot corpse to be stored away in a janitor's closet, they even put it on an operating table and everything. I guess robots are people too in this universe, even though robot repair shops and robot part shops make regular appearances in this show. Yeah, the relationship between robots and other sentient beings in this show is kind of creepy if you dwell on it for too long.

Anyways, sure enough, the vampiric bite wounds to the energy source is clearly the work of NOS-4-A2! ...not sure why he needed Buzz Lightyear to examine the bite wounds in order to determine that it was, indeed, the work of NOS-4-A2. Ty Parsec saw him with his own eyes. He even shot the monster with a laser!

Oh, and Mira decides to be an ass by saying that the bite wounds could be from a lethal robot hickey, because that's child-friendly. This joke cracks her up so much that she starts laughing so hard that she has to grip the dead body for support. Now, imagine if she did the exact same thing, but with a freshly dead human body. Way to be insensitive, Mira.

"Hmmm, this could be a vampire, but we're going to need DNA samples before we're sure..."
Buzz Lightyear suggests that they search for the robot Edward as if he's the only person to come to that brilliant conclusion that they must locate the monster killing personnel. He even, like a total dickhole, says "Like I always said in the academy, Buzz Lightyear to the rescue!", totally making fun of all the times he's saved Ty in the past. I really admire Ty's level of restraint while this guy has the gall to come to his energy facility and make fun of him in front of his colleagues. If that were me, Buzz would be tasting the front of my fist.

I love how oblivious Buzz is to Ty's hostility by the way. The Buzz in Toy Story wasn't a jerk like this one. Maybe something was lost in translation when they went from cartoon to toy adaptation.

...come to think of it, how did Ty get into trouble all those times during the Academy? He looks really capable here; nothing at all like someone who would get captured by flesh-eating drill wasps. I feel like we're not hearing the whole story here.

Ty Parsec's head is made of triangles and hatred, I've noticed.
The troop heads outside, and it turns out the entire group has split up into smaller groups to cover more ground. Buzz is by himself, hamming it up like the jock he is, but Ty Parsec is stuck with Booster, who's a big raging Buzz Lightyear fanboy. Since he's so huge, he's able to store more love for Buzz Lightyear than your average alien. Booster is like if you mixed all of visitors to the San Diego Comic-Con in a giant economy-sized blender, distilled all of the nerd out of the resulting blend, and then spliced that pure unadulterated nerd juice with a giant red dinosaur. That's basically Booster. Booster's great.

Words cannot describe how much I love this scene with Booster and Ty. This is one of the stronger character interactions in this episode and man does it make me wish that these two could hang out more. Booster gushes on on about how amazing Buzz Lightyear is while Ty Parsec silently leads the way, maintaining this amazing look of pure hatred. It's such a withering animosity that radiates out of his pupils that Booster should be glad that he's behind him. That look could kill, man.

I adopt that same look whenever my friends talk about Glee.
But then the humor instantly gets sucked out of the show when NOS shows up. First Buzz Lightyear discovers a drained battery, and when he looks up, he finds a surprise waiting for him while attached to a dead tree. One ear-piercing screech later and the vampire robot is once again on the prowl, even though the creature didn't do the smart thing and attack Buzz.

I have to say, the robot vampire is pretty creepy. When he talks, he has this urbane air to him, like he'd invite you for tea and crumpets and talk about the weather in London before ripping your face off, but when he's in hunter mode, all he does is scream inhumanly and chew your body to an unrecognizable husk. If he was in Twilight, Bella would have a pretty short life span is what I'm saying here.

Also, it says a lot about how attentive Buzz is if he didn't notice the scary bloodsucker until he was right underneath him. Some space ranger. Come on, Buzz, you defeated flesh-eating drill wasps!

Ironically, if NOS-4-A2 sparkled, it would make way more sense since he's made out of shiny metal.
NOS-4-A2 screams, swoops through the air, settles on a branch, and then notices the delicious pure energy just being sucked in willy-nilly into that giant power facility, but first he figures that before his big main course, he's going to have a little snack.

Yes, that's right. It turns out they left XR, their little robot friend full of delicious energy, all by himself. And now they have to rescue him before he gets ripped apart and his innards drained. Wow, nice going there, Buzz. Don't protect the part of your group that's most vulnerable.

Is it me or is Buzz kind of making some really big mistakes in this trip? First not noticing the vampire and then leaving the robot alone. And yet he was the one doing all the bragging to Ty, the one more on top of this, the one who's actually trying to defend his livelihood. Buzz, you idiot, maybe there's a reason why Ty doesn't want to hang out with you.

Strangely, NOS-4-A2 doesn't immediately tackle XR and suck out his energy right then and there, like what he did with that unimportant robot from the beginning of the episode. Instead, he advances very very very very veeeery slowly while XR just hams it up and fills the air with rapid improv, trying to lighten the mood by how panicky his humorous lines are. Hah hah, it's funny because this robot is about to die!

I like how so far, XR's big moments in this episode is to whine about vampires, be fearful of vampires, and get nearly attacked by vampires. I thought you were a space ranger, XR! Fight back!

Quick, XR! Fry his brain circuits by telling him the liar's paradox!
Suddenly, Ty Parsec to the rescue! Instead of, oh I don't know, using his laser like last time, he tackles NOS-4-A2 to the ground and starts wrestling with him, because that's how you beat frightening monsters from beyond the grave. It's a stupid move, but you have to admire the sheer testosterone of a man who figures the best strategy to fighting a vampire is to punch his lights out.

Furthermore, is it me, or is it not smart to get within close range of a supernatural creature that infects by biting things? Geez, Ty. That's not a good idea at all. In fact, one could almost say that it ties into the episode title.

You should see what he does to zombies.
This manhandling gives Buzz an idea. Thinking that Ty Parsec needs rescuing (when really, Ty has the upper advantage) he angles that satellite dish collecting raw moon energy at both of the combatants. He hopes he can save Ty (he even says "Rescue 51!" under his breath, because Buzz is a jerk), when really, this dumbass idea does the exact opposite. Why? Because Buzz does this right when NOS-4-A2 tears a hole in Ty's uniform and bites Ty, drawing blood and infecting his wound both with moon radiation and NOS-4-A2's supernatural energy., just so we're clear. Buzz thought the best idea to save his friend would be to angle a highly unstable moonbeam of energy on him right as he was being attacked by an energy-sucking creature that infects people by biting them. As you can imagine, Buzz isn't too smart and doesn't read up on supernatural lore and that this action makes a big impact on the plot.

Hey, thanks, Buzz.
And as you can also probably imagine, we just found out who the Wirewolf is. Congratulations, Ty Parsec! Thanks to Buzz Lightyear, you just contacted lycanthropy!

...from a vampire. Yeah, it doesn't make sense, but what are you going to do?

Because none of the space rangers in the group have ever read a werewolf novel, they congratulate Ty on a job well done. Especially XR, because he's the one that got saved. Course he doesn't just say "thank you for saving me", he decides to write a short novel with the amount of words he vomits out to Ty, all while Ty stands there and radiates pure irritation out from every pore. Not even a vampire bite wound will stop this glorious creature from being contemptuous of other people's existence.

Even when he's in pain, he manages to look hateful. I love this man's talent.
But the crowning jewel of Class A Ty sarcasm comes when Booster is all happy that Buzz saved Ty once again, causing Ty to sarcastically tell the big fat red guy to please, by all means, call Star Command and inform them on how Buzz saved him again because that would be swell. He's met with a thick wall of happy-induced idiocy and Booster just lets all of that acid go in through one ear and out the other and take Ty's words at face value. We could all learn a little from Booster. Sure, a vampire just savagely attacked someone he knows, but gee golly, that was awesome!

I would kill for a spinoff where it's just Ty Parsec and Booster fighting crime. These two are awesome together.
Ty walks away, still clenching his so-not-important bite wound, and Mira confronts Buzz on the fact that Ty is a little cold towards him. Buzz ignores it, because hey, they're the bestest of buds! Oh dear, I bet this is going to become important later when there's a wirewolf problem.

Later, in an empty room containing nothing but Ty and lit only by the glow of the moon, he starts complaining about how much that Toy Story star just sucks and then strips himself of his uniform. Before anybody can get all excited (I'm going to assume that Ty is popular and has a sizable fangirl population, because if he isn't, then the Internet has failed me), he has a full set of clothing underneath the space uniform.

Yeeeeah, it isn't hard to predict what's going to happen next, now that Ty is alone in a room all by himself talking about how much he hates Buzz Lightyear while he bathes in moonlight and holds a hand to his bite wound.
"Huh. I have the strangest urge to run around on all fours and slaughter livestock with my teeth."
What happens next? A transformation sequence, of course, and it's possibly one of the creepiest transformations ever to make it in a Disney TV show. This change starts with, I'm not kidding you, wires bursting out of Ty's skin with blood leaking out of the exit wounds. I'm not making this up. Actual blood. In a Disney cartoon. Aired on Saturday mornings.

And it took me a long time to get this, but now I know why wires burst out of his skin first even though the resulting monster doesn't really have wires in its design. Because he's turning into a Wirewolf. Hah hah, that's clever, Disney! But mostly scary. Why would you subject me to these nightmares?

At least now he's compatible with most television sets.
It's hard to say just what's so creepy about this horrifying transformation in particular, but let's just say it involves a squishy human being filled with squishy organs turning into something mechanical. Just ponder that for a while and think about how much that would hurt, especially if you're a Sonic fan and are familiar with the term "roboticization". Ty screaming in agony (hey, wouldn't you?) so does not help either. Amid the ungodly chaos, they switch from showing what's happening to Ty to just showing his shadow on the wall, and at this point, you're grateful. Because holy crap, animators. Just...holy crap.

I sure hope Ty's last human thought was "Goddamnit, Buzz!" by the way, seeing as technically this is all Buzz's fault. Remember the moonbeam laser Buzz aimed at you, Ty? I sure hope you do.

It's not a werewolf unless if it makes an homage to American Werewolf in London!
And then, Wirewolf is born! Hooray, the episode's star finally makes an appearance.

Unfortunately, he's...not as impressive as his metamorphosis. It's hard to really say why, but I think it involves the fact that it's hard to make robots really scary, especially when they have very smooth articulated limbs and look suspiciously like an evil version of a Poo-Chi. He doesn't so much gracefully rampage through the halls as he does slowly stomp around on legs that resemble giant soup cans, all while uttering growls that sound like my cellphone getting its battery charged. The mutton chops kind of ruin the look too. Why the hell does he even have mutton chops anyways? Ty didn't have facial hair.

In short, kind of a weak-looking werewolf, but I guess this is what you get when you get bitten by a robot vampire underneath space moon radiation. Not sure how a vampire bite turned Ty into a wolf-like creature when literally nothing NOS-4-A2's done in this entire series has even hinted that he's had this sort of power. Radiation is just powerful stuff, I guess.

But Ty totally makes up for his silly looks by disemboweling a robot onscreen.

This bears repeating. He disembowels a robot onscreen.

First, he flings parts everywhere and then a plume of blue liquid shoots through the air once Wirewolf hits the robotic version of a major artery. Buzz Lightyear of Star Command followed the Samurai Jack rule of using robots; if it's too violent to be shown on a kid's show, suddenly turning the characters involved into robots suddenly makes it okay. This double standard is harmful for robotkind everywhere.

This is Disney Cinemagic alright!
One cut to commercial later, and the first thing we see is Ty Parsec, now back to normal, violently shivering and curled up in a fetal position with torn clothing while he's surrounded in robot bodily fluids. I wonder what people would think if they just tuned into this show and saw this image without any previous context. It would explain why Ty has issues dealing with his aggression if waking up in pools of random fluids after passing out is a regular thing.
Hey, if you drink more than one Monster a day, this is bound to happen...
He gets up from his curled spot on the floor, confused as to how he got there and why there's a slaughtered corpse right by him. This sort of scene has to make it into every werewolf-ish production known to man, but what makes this kind of funny is that all of Ty Parsec's clothes were shredded completely off when he turned into the Wirewolf, and yet here he is with a shirt and pants that just magically appeared when he changed back. Even if they are fashionably ripped. Not sure how turning into a robot managed to rip only the knees of his space suit and yet here we go.

I have a fun game I like to play with these scenes. It's called "mentally replace the robot parts with human parts".
You're welcome.
Ty stumbles into a room, uttering the stock phrases "What happened?" and "What's going on?" since his confusion node is eating up his sarcasm sensors. Right after he does this, Buzz Lightyear and his crew just happens to walk down the same hallway. So...I guess everyone in this galaxy is near-sighted because no one managed to spot Ty stumble around looking like a car hit him. Be more observant, guys!

Luckily, XR manages to say a really good line. Instead of saying "oh, the humanity" at the, to be frank, really grisly robot corpse, he says "oh, the technology!". Because saying "oh, the robotity!" would be just stupid.

Also, I admire how desensitized XR is. The little robot is standing mere inches away from a blood-soaked body that was forcefully decapitated and yet he's not even slightly grossed out. I guess a vomit reaction isn't programmed in this model. Probably because, with his inability to eat, regurgitation would be just unnecessary.
"And he had one day left until retirement! He was the greatest Number Two robot on this task force!"
It gets kind of disturbing when XR later spots a part he can use from the robot and loots the corpse. Huh. So this is what my troll looked like whenever he's looting rare spotted livers from the various animals he's slaughtered in the Barrens.
"29 more of these and I can finish that Daily and get my Netherdrake mount!"
Buzz immediately sees this as a sign that NOS-4-A2 is back, because hey, we need a reminder about who was the villain prior to the really gory whirlwind that is Ty Parsec the Wirewolf. Even though the corpse has no bite wounds and none of the energy was drained so much as it was flung everywhere. Buzz then makes everyone split up and, because he wants to paint a huge Wirewolf target on himself, he cracks yet another "I'm better than Ty Parsec" joke. Geez, man. The guy's not even within earshot and you're pulling this crap.

Considering the cold reception Buzz is getting, I'm not the only one who thinks Buzz is being a jerk.
At least he actually puts XR, aka Scrumptious Energy Dinner, on a team that includes one other person that can possibly hold off the ravenous robot-eating monsters. How courteous of Buzz to learn from his past mistakes. Too bad it took a half-eaten corpse to get him to realize this.

"I know you can't help being that short but would you please stop looking there?"
Buzz finally finds Ty's room, asks casually if Ty's seen anything suspicious, and then we get possibly one of the best pieces of animation in this entire episode, where Ty informs Buzz that nothing weird is going on while looking like a hurricane survivor. Trust me when I say this, but I can't watch this scene without bursting out in laughter because the sheer level of awkward kills me every time. I'm just going to let Buzz and Ty speak for themselves and I'm going to once again remind everyone that this show is still not on DVD. I feel that's a great shame because this brilliance is being ignored.

What happens on Canis Lunus stays on Canis Lunus.
Buzz quickly regroups with his fellow rangers, possibly to ignore that that incident with Ty ever happened. They collect what reconnaissance they've gathered so far, and find out that no one got in last night and the robot sentry was the only one attacked. When Booster describes the damage, XR looks like he's about to vomit, leading me to wonder why he didn't look like that when the robot body was right there at his feet. What, so standing in a puddle of blood doesn't do a thing and yet hearing a description about the same scene does? Where's the logic in that?

And, now that he is actually making a vomit face, now all I can do is wonder how a robot without a neck is able to collect vomit in his mouth without it shooting up out of his neck like a plume of chunky soup prior to that. I apologize for the mental image.

Aww, robotic Earthworm Jim is grossed out...
But then, robot tracks! NOS-4-A2 doesn't have any feet. Therefore, they're dealing with something that is not a robot vampire! It only attacks at night too (even though all the outside shots show is night skies, making it really hard to gauge how much time has passed in this episode), so they need some bait.

Gee, I wonder if they have a small, annoying robot sidekick to place in their trap. You know, something that the monster will want to kill, if only to spare the universe.

Pictured: A small, annoying robot sidekick.
Things take a turn for the predictable (they even did the whole "everybody silently looks at the bait" thing) as night falls, the green moon rises in the sky, and XR is our delicious treat for the hellbeast that's massacring robots in this facility. He tries to keep the show still in "humor" level as opposed to action level by never shutting up. Instead, he fills the air with mindless deadpan words meant to tempt the monster closer to him. Things like "Boy is my body packed with energy!" and getting dangerously close to getting the Energizer people on Disney's case by referencing their commercials.

It's time to try defying gravity,
I think I'll try
defying gravity,
And you can't pull me down!
Everyone sits there, none of them looking at all happy that Saturday night is going to be spent looking at a robot dancing around and talking about how much energy he has. Luckily, Mr. Moon decides to make things exciting by conveniently parting some clouds (because every werewolf fiction needs some clouds hiding the moon, only to dramatically reveal it when it's needed) and shining radiation right on our angry little buddy. Wirewolf is on the prowl once more!

I have a big question for this scene. How the hell did no one see Ty transform? That's a small room! Booster is facing Buzz and Ty! And even if they didn't see him, he still made a lot of noise turning into that thing. Man, you guys are unobservant. Do your jobs!

"Ty, would you stop breathing in my ear? You're creeping me out."
Luckily, like NOS-4-A2 attacking XR earlier, Ty takes a very long time when it comes to eating someone's head off, because Buzz is able to deliver several long lines of dialogue while Wirewolf-Ty towers over him with his mouth hanging open. Luckily for Buzz and his soft, vulnerable bald head, the moon is able to be covered up by clouds before this show takes a turn for the R-rated.

Incidentally, I love how no one questions Ty's mysterious new ability that allows him to tear through his tough space uniforms at supersonic speed. No one's the least bit suspicious?

"Ty, there's a deposits on those suits! Keep destroying them and I'll have to write you up."
Ty sort of kind of figures out that hey, maybe he's the monster, so he actually tries to sneak away from duty. He even adopts the classic "sneak" pose. Yeah, so not going to work, but you can't blame the man for trying.

That's not how you do the Thriller dance, Ty!
But nope, moon's going to be an ass tonight. Ty transforms for a third time and this time he actually succeeds in killing off one of the members on the team. Don't get too excited though, thinking that Disney is trying to fight against their kid-friendly label, because he kills XR, a character who gets trashed on a regular basis.

Also, holy crap, look at the attention to detail in XR's shattered remains. You can actually see the area where Ty shoved his hand through solid glass and tore XR's head off. This is a violent cartoon. I don't care if it all involves robots. This makes Darkwing Duck look like Baby Looney Tunes.

...and why weren't the other space rangers, oh I don't know, paying attention to the bait? This plan was dead in the water, I see.

Mira and Buzz decide to run after the source of the noise while Booster remains behind to pick up the remains of his fallen companion. I love how chipper this fat blob of an alien is, because even when picking up dismembered body parts, Booster even sings a little song about pinkie fingers. Nothing destroys the smile on his face and I love it.
I make that same face whenever I collect my friend's body parts in a burlap sack.
At least before the cops found me.
Our plucky heroes and their dorky space suits run down the same hallway the Wirewolf is traveling down when, once again, that stubborn jackass moon pulls the whole "gets covered by clouds" trick and once again Ty changes back. For those keeping count, this has happened to Sir Sarcasm three times in one night already.

Oh, and we get our episodic "Mira reminds us that she can ghost through walls" moment when she finds him by going through a wall. They do it every episode just in case this happens to be your first Buzz Lightyear of Star Command episode and haven't learned Mira's awesome ability (she is an alien, after all), but sometimes she does it for the most random things. For example, this scene, she could've just pressed a button and the door would've swooshed open on its own. She's either being lazy or just showing off, and I can't abide either one.
I wonder if she's ever done that when the people in the other room clearly
wanted some privacy, if you catch my drift.
The other two discover him face down on the floor in a room while trumpets on the soundtrack triumphantly blaze in an attempt to sound dramatic. All of the space rangers surround Ty and his stylished ripped clothing and brief him on what the intruder did. And, of course, right when they say that the monster attacked XR, they find a piece of XR on Ty's person.

And it's his voice box. For those keeping track at home, Ty as the Wirewolf shoved his hand through XR's glass dome, ripped his head off, and tore out his voice box. He ripped his throat out. His throat. Just because they're all made out of mechanical doohickeys doesn't make it any less brutal, and now I'm seriously questioning whether this is an actual Disney cartoon. Normally the censors would see an allusion to someone's throat getting ripped out and order it replaced with a talking duck.

...but then again, XR's voice box manages to lighten up the mood by yelling "Step away from the robot! You are too close to the robot!" in Ty's hand. So I guess getting so close that you're making physical contact with an internal organ is the robot definition of "too close".

And how did Ty as a Wirewolf carry that piece of evidence around? His hands were totally empty earlier!
"What? I carry around robot throats around with me all the time! It's perfectly normal where I come from!"
With the evidence all there, plus the fact that he keeps turning up in random places in torn clothing, suddenly it all hits Ty and he begins to shout at the others to leave the planet now because he's a monster. Ty goes on about how he keeps blacking out, robots keep on getting ripped to shreds, and how he wakes up with battery acid caked in his teeth. This scene basically exists for the main characters to catch up what the viewers already knew several minutes ago. That Ty is a wirewolf.

Also, does werewolf lore just not exist in this universe? Why couldn't anyone fill in the blanks until it was much too late?
"I'm turning into a wolf monster on a planet called Canis Lunus, where
I collect moon energy for a living. What are the odds?"
He warns everyone is in danger, especially Buzz. Buzz questions this, because how could someone as awesome and as majestic as him ever need help? But then, when he tries to bring up for the thousandth time that Ty is the one that always needs help, this causes Biting McAcidwolf to scream "Stop saying that!" in a voice that sounds both human and mechanical. Holy hell, he's going to wolf out right in front of them!

Geez, so hostile, Ty. No one likes to deal with a temperamental breed.

I love how while Ty is transforming, they manage to make room for a quiet scene where Mira tries to bring up the difficulty in Buzz and Ty's relationship. Yeah, uh, Mira? I know both of them have some major issues they need to resolve but now is not the time. I like to imagine what Ty thought about that, getting ignored while he's turning into a freaking werewolf.

Since the animators decided to shorten the transformation scene to mach speed levels, it almost looks like Ty exploded and there was a Wirewolf underneath. So exploding werewolves were not a Stephenie Meyer invention? Man, so many satire websites have been invalidated right about now.

In touch with the ground
I'm on the hunt I'm after you
Smell like I sound, I'm lost in a crowd
And I'm hungry like the wolf
With the climax of the episode upon us, Tywolf hilariously leaps into action and swipes rather ineffectively at them. But he makes up for it by shouting "Yooooou're deeeeeead!" in a distorted voice. Damn, Ty. That's intense. I was shocked when you ripped that robot's robot aorta out but wow.

But wait! It's the green moon that's triggering the transformations, Mira helpfully informs us. That's what mutating him! Naw, really Mira? I never would've figured that out without you helpfully pointing that out.

Although to give her credit, she hasn't had much to do in this episode. It's nice she's pointing out something important.
Princess Obvious to the rescue!
Commercial wipe, and we see that during the commercials, both Ty and all four of the Rangers changed positions drastically to something more action-y and dynamic, just in case you tuned in really late to the game. They even managed to work XR into the shot even though he's currently "dead". Out of context, it looks like three of the ranger are dramatically aiming their lasers at Ty while XR is trying to hide in some random sack thrown on the ground.
"Face the power of our synchronized brofists, wolf demon!"
Suddenly, inexplicable random ability that the Wirewolf has even though it's never used it! It turns out the Wirewolf can shoot wires out of its hand like some sort of freakish canine version of Spiderman. And he can use it to drain the laser modules' energy before the heroes have a chance to use it.'s kind of a good thing he did that, actually, because I imagine it would get kind of awkward if this episode ended with Mira, Buzz, and Booster blowing Ty Parsec up. It would leave unanswered questions like would Ty revert back to human form after you shoot his head off with a space laser or not.

"Well, huh. A Wirewolf can attack with wires. Should've seen that coming."
With their lasers dead, the Space Rangers decide to gracefully retreat and calmly inform everyone in the area to retreat. This clears out all of the nameless, dialogueless extras from the sets so that we can have our final battle without any civilian casualties. WireTy even helpfully lets the extras escape while blocking off only the space rangers' exit. Aw yeah, it's high noon at the energy facility ranch! High midnight. You knew what I meant the first time.
Off through the new day's mist I run
Out from the new day's mist I have come...
Since if Tye-Dye destroys their cruiser, they'll be stranded and it'll be hours before the sun comes up, what's their plan? That's when Buzz comes up with a killer solution, one that will go down in the history books as one of the best ideas ever.

He's going to fight a blowing up the moon.

"That moon just makes me so angry, with its roundness and its synchronous rotation."
Buzz doesn't actually say out loud that he's going to blow up the moon, choosing instead to be pretentious and call it a Nerzonian Maneuver, but that's exactly what he's going to do. Anyways, Mira and Booster get to do the dirty deed of blowing up an entire planetary satellite in order to cure one person, while Buzz decides he's going to fight a werewolf...with his fists.

Man, both Ty and Buzz seem to share this issue, considering Ty trying to punch NOS-4-CU113N out earlier. There is such a thing as too much testosterone, guys.

...actually, where the hell is that stupid vampire anyways? Don't tell me he's sitting on the sidelines, watching this all go down with a smug smile on his tinny little face and a bag of popcorn in his hands.

Ty Parsec is sporting some nice uggs now that he's a werewolf.
Mira and Booster destroy the moon by, I'm not kidding you, abandoning ship and letting the spacecraft destroy the moon in a powerful collision (wasting ungodly amounts of money), all while Ty is trying to kill Buzz by draining all of the energy from his spacesuit (or electrifying him; it's hard to say) while he has him tied up in wires. This show is the pure definition of manly right here.

Buzz manages to reach Ty's humanity at the last minute and cause him to stop before he goes too far, but just look at how complex this setup is. Whatever happened to just gnawing his limbs off? He was able to shred a robot to shreds with just his teeth and claws, and yet extracting Buzz from his hard candy shell needs heavy-duty precision.
If this doesn't come up in a Google search for Buzz Lightyear bondage,
I'm going to be severely disappointed.
The moon's explosion reverts Ty to normal and, since he's outside and humans can't breathe in this atmosphere, his clothes manage to magically pop out of nowhere and give him a life support helmet. Wirewolves are amazing.
"Whoa. The ground looks awesome."
So with the Wirewolf gone and the power facility shut down since there's no moon to drain energy from (gee, thanks, Buzz), things are looking pretty wrapped up. Ty lets some demons out of the closet, Buzz gives credit where credit is due, Ty looks really bummed at the fact that his livelihood is down the toilet and he killed several sentient beings thanks to the fact that he's now a supernatural being made of metal and terror, but everything's coming up peachy.

And why is Mira bandaging Buzz's arm when Ty never attacked him there?

Well, an entire space station filled with people are now out on a job and Ty has
the guilt of several murders on his conscious, but the day was saved, right?
But then a good point comes up. What about the energy vampire?

Oh, NOS-4-A2's alright. He's even picking up a souvenir in the vacuum of space. While putting on his best happy face, our elusive little vampire robot gathers up a radioactive moon rock. One that he can use to harness its energy in order to exploit Ty's little infection.

...uh oh.
"Oh boy, a radioactive sequel hook! My favorite!"
With a "Wirewolf will live again", NOS-4-A2 swoops through the cosmos while ominous latin chanting follows him like a bad smell.

And that's honestly how it ends. On a freaking cliffhanger. It did at least address several issues that look like they weren't completely tied up, like the fact that Ty Parsec is technically not cured of his silly looking disease and the fact that they didn't really deal with NOS since they got a little side-tracked halfway through the episode. Normally when cartoons just leave plot threads hanging, they usually pretend that they were never there in the first place.

But you know what? I'm going to complain about the cliffhanger anyways. Cliffhangers suck, man. They always turn the mood from "Yay, the day is saved!" to "But it can't be over! Something's going to happen! Wirewolves! Vampires that are robots!" and then I end up glaring at the credits as if they're a personal insult to my honor.

Cliffhangers. By god, they're worse than Wirewolves.

The Moral of this Cartoon
Don't be an egotistical jerk to people you know, because if they contact lycanthropy, they will try to kill you first.

Final Verdict
This is a great show. No, scratch that, this is a fantastic show.

This episode in particular is one of my personal favorites just because of how tightly everything comes together. Every single plot thread is accounted for, there's a nice level of suspense, it's surprisingly edgy for a Disney cartoon, and they managed to make this have a real horror movie edge to this. Also, the animation? Incredibly gorgeous. This was definitely colored digitally so you'll get some purists saying this can't beat the classics (although this moves way more smoothly than Darkwing Duck, and I'm saying this as a Disney Afternoon fan), but this animation is really nice. I'd be totally fine with Disney making more shows that look this nice.

I feel this show's main strength is its cast of characters. The heroes and the villains are equally strong, and I love how complex everyone is. Ty Parsec especially is a great character, because while he's sarcastic and the typical "snarky foil to main lead" guy, he gets pretty complex at the end. He's the monster and he dislikes Buzz, but he's not really a bad guy. He's just infected.

I think my only complaint is that NOS-4-A2 mysteriously vanishes for most of the episode after he bites Ty and the Wirewolf design could be a little stronger. It's hard to illustrate just how silly this monster moves sometimes with just the stills, but there are times where Wirewolf just feels clunky and not ravenous.

But yeah, great pacing, great animation, great use of color, great plot. It's a great episode in general and is an example of this show running on all cylinders. Excellent way to kick off Halloween.