Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Mask: The Animated Series - Shadow of a Skillit

I was going to continue Halloween special month with another Disney cartoon, but then I noticed that three out of the four previous posts were Disney-related, so the episode I was going to do (a Darkwing Duck ep, and I'm not saying which one) got postponed.

But that doesn't mean I don't have another show in mind when I think "creepy Halloween episode from an awesome 90's cartoon in the superhero genre". And today, I am going to revisit a green-faced old friend of mine. The Mask! Because I found out that not enough sites talk about this show (even 90's nostalgia fans seem oblivious to this show, meaning they're not doing their jobs) and I can't abide it going unnoticed.

Masks are Halloween related, right? This counts!
First, I have a small confession to make. This is NOT the series' Halloween special. The episode I should be reviewing is the one helpfully titled "All Hallow's Eve", which has everything to Halloween parties to trick-or-treating to actual zombies.

The reason I chose this episode instead is because of several different reasons. The first reason is that All Hallow's Eve is a sequel to this episode, and the second reason is that, in my mind, this fits the mood and tone of Halloween better than the sequel ever did. The Mask's Halloween special is the side of Halloween that everybody loves, the one filled with costumes and candy. This episode deals with the more sinister side of Halloween, the fact that there are creatures lurking in the shadows, boogeymen that won't think twice about stealing your soul just for a cheap thrill.

Now, if you remember my last post about this show (which dealt with "Convention of Evil", the first episode I myself ever watched of this show), the villains were pretty amicable fellows who loved to hang out and swap stories about The Mask while drinking cups of coffee and talking about how nice the weather was. Even Satan and the horrifying bug mutant were friendly. A lot of them felt like, if they weren't criminally insane and found total city domination to be a great career move, they'd be your bestest pals.

Skillit? He's not friendly. He's the opposite of friendly. Skillit's the kind of villain that the other villains stay away from, just because he's the guy in every group that finds human suffering to be gutroaringly hilarious. He's seen civilizations fall, wars kill countless numbers of people, and horrible atrocities wreaked upon mankind, and he enjoyed every minute of it. I'd like to imagine if, say, The Stinger or Kablamus had caller ID and saw Skillit's name pop up on their cellphone, they'd chuck the phone in the fireplace and hide under the couch for several weeks.

But I'm hyping this up a bit too much, especially when I know a good number of you probably scroll right past my intros. I should probably stop flapping my gums and dive right into the scary, mentally-scarring horrorfest that is charmingly named...

Shadow of a Skillit


Availability: Online Only

Before I get myself totally immersed into this episode, I just want to point out the font used for the title. Notice how it's the same font you used to write your high school papers? Really observant Mask fans can immediately tell if an episode is from the first season or the later two seasons just by this informative green font that only lingers for a couple seconds. And, since the font for today's episode is completely lazy (compare it with the last episode I did) and not in the same font style of the show's title, this is a Season 1 episode. I probably should've covered a Season 1 episode first before a Season 2 episode, but if you're saying that, shut up, you're not writing this blog.

Anyways, onto the episode, where things kick off by showing a man wearing a cowboy hat wandering through a dark alleyway while pushing a hot dog cart. I'm not sure why a cattle wrangler is selling processed wieners, but from the looks of it, he's totally oblivious to the fact that most alleyways in the big city contain supervillains, muggers, and just all-around not nice people.

But don't worry, he learns his lesson pretty quickly when a ghastly shadow being manifests itself on a wall next to him, leaps onto him, absorbs itself into his body, causes him huge physical anguish, and then sucks away his shadow.

...okay, point goes to The Mask. My interest is instantly piqued. I can't think of any other show that would open by dealing such grievous harm to a cowpoke.

Cowboys are a very vulnerable demographic in inner city neighborhoods.
As you can imagine, Film Roman wastes no time in presenting the spooky villain and his method of attack, and man is it creepy. It's enough to get you into the Halloween mood. When a small "Written by" credit happily sneaks on by with some sick creep actually claiming ownership to this tragedy, we see the poor hillbilly shivering his dogs off because all the warmth and feeling has been forcefully ripped from his soul. The camera is even nice enough to pull out just far enough to let his fetal position sear itself into the backs of our eyelids. That's pretty dark there, cartoon.

Tears of a cattle wrangler.
But we can't focus on some poor suffering hot dog salesman and his ability to say "tarnation" even though he's in the 20th century, there's someone reading a newspaper in a cartoon! Therefore, it's vital to the plot!

And yes, it turns out that shadow thefts are indeed on the rise, and the paper blames "the sinister shadow snatchers of Saturn", because alliteration sells more copies. I bet some vampire is reading this and feeling all good inside that this widespread surge of crime doesn't affect them in any way.

I love the passive-aggressive name on that newspaper.
Tabloid newspaper falls away, revealing the face of our main hero. Since I'm a terrible blog writer and focused on an episode that didn't have this character in it as my first episode (I had my reasons), I might as well introduce him to the viewers back home. This is Stanley Ipkiss, bank teller and the main protagonist in this show. He's the current owner of The Mask and happens to be a nerdy doormat who has friends who take advantage of him, a landlord who is openly hostile to him, a car that breaks down whenever it rolls into an animation frame, Rob Paulsen's glorious voice tumbling out of his vocal cords, and the pathetic inability to get a date. Save for his voice (because who wouldn't want to sound like Mighty Max?), Ipkiss's life kind of sucks.

He basically represents middle America, the average joe who has a crappy job but wishes just once that he could be a green-headed buffoon that stays up all night in dance clubs and makes out with complete strangers. He also has the best damn pair of pajamas that have ever existed in the world of cartoons. They don't make an appearance in this episode, but I just felt like letting you know.

"Sir, this is a bank. I don't know how to fix your computer!"
He receives a phone call from Peggy, which brings me to my second character introduction. This is Peggy, but I like to call her April O'Neil because she's basically the exact same character. Nosy reporter, reddish hair, gets kidnapped a lot. The main difference between April O'Neil and Peggy is that while April reports weird crap but still maintains a pretty lofty job in a very important news station and has like film crews and vehicles at her disposal, Peggy works at a dinky little tabloid business and just records stuff with a pencil and a pad of paper. Basically if April O'Neil was realistic (and wore more conservative clothing) is what I'm saying here.

Oh, and even though this episode has nothing to do with the Jim Carrey film (I try to avoid bringing up the film since the cartoon is a completely separate entity), I need to point this little thing out. Peggy was actually a bad guy in the movie, and actually got killed in a deleted scene. For some reason, here, she's one of Stanley's bestest buds even though technically she's not even supposed to be alive. But then again, considering how Beetlejuice was a good guy in HIS cartoon, I can cut Pegsters a little slack. 

"Hey, TMNT? Are you aware of the term "legally distinguishable"?
So you can't take me to court for copyright infringement!"
Anyways, what's the first thing Peggy does in this episode? Brag about how much of a hit her story is over the phone and how she's suddenly Miss Popular. I love how she had to call up Stanley in order to tell him about her awesome headlines in her tabloid paper. Peggy's an attention whore.

Stanley reacts with skepticism, because he can't take her job at all seriously even though he works at a freaking bank, but then another one of his exploitative friends walks in. This sad sack of shadowless sadness is Charlie. Charlie is a jerk that likes chicks...aaand that's really all you need to know about him. Sadly, next to Peggy, he's Stanley's best friend. I say "sadly" because there are some episodes where Charlie reeeally screws Stanley over. He's the kind of friend that will only show up to your parties if there's free beer and chips, and then when he's gone, you find that several of your DVDs are missing. Charlie's shadow may be gone, but he so does not deserve your sympathy.

If I was wearing a tie that horrible, I'd be bummed out too.
Charlie quickly gets over his lack of a shadow (so does that mean that light now travels through this asshole instead of bouncing off of him and making core shadows? How does the shadowless thing work?) by then complaining about his male pattern baldness and how he doesn't want any "babes" to hear about his hair loss. Because he likes girls. This is essentially Charlie's biggest character trait and the cartoon won't let you forget this.

Luckily, the writers realize how shallow Charlie is and then make him go on about how soon, with the shadow thefts and all that, the shadowless look will soon be "in". Charlie's a trendsetter, after all, even if he does look like he'd appear under the dictionary definition of "douchebag".

Charlie's Scumbag Sense is so acute that he can sniff out females like a bloodhound.
We cut to night, letting the audience assume that absolutely nothing happened during that entire work day, and we find Stanley and Peggy walking around with Stanley's loveable pet dog Milo. All you need to know about Milo is that he saves the day a countless amount of times because he's some sort of superintelligent super dog. Anyways, the first thing we hear is that Rob Paulsen spilled the beans and let Peggy O'Neil know that Jerklie is going bald. Normally, I'd chastise our main hero for being such a tool to his friend, but considering the person involved is Charlie, I'm going to let it slide.

Also, you can tell that this is a cartoon because these two are walking through a city park in the middle of the night without any fear of muggers or serial killers.

They talk, have some friendly banter, the topic of The Mask comes up, the cartoon continues its merry attempt at drumming up suspense, but then, the most exciting plot twist ever occurs. Stanley and April O'Peggy can't continue their conversation because...his dog is hungry. Horror upon horrors!

It's basically an excuse to get one of them alone, because after hearing about amorphous blobs stealing shadows, the viewers want to see it happen again. So far the cartoon is doing the equivalent of nonchalantly whistling and pretending like something isn't going to happen.
"Gee, Milo. I sure hope my shadow doesn't get stolen. It would sure be inconvenient if my shadow was
stolen. My shadow is incredibly important to me, and I don't know what I'd do if it was gone!"
And, sure enough, just like the build-up said it would, Stanley's shadow gets stolen. It's sad that when I watched this attack, besides getting the feeling of deja vu because it's staged just like the cowboy's attack, all I could really think of was be thankful that Stanley only had his shadow get stolen. He was walking his dog in a very deserted, abandoned part of town. People who walk their dogs in those kinds of neighborhoods usually turn up missing.
Oh no, the cartoon is turning into a music video!
What happens after Stanley gets his shadow stolen? He decides he's going to kick some ass. Showing an amazing amount of guts, he immediately marches right back home, declares that he's going to teach that shadow-stealing thief a lesson, and turns into The Mask right then and there. Nice to see that he's right on top of this case.

I believe we learned a valuable lesson today. Mess with a man's shadow and you're going to kiss pavement because he will hunt you down. And, just because I don't want anyone to be looking out for either catchphrase, this is the rare episode where The Mask doesn't utter either "Ssssmokin'!" or "Somebody stop me!". I blame the lack of a shadow.

Annie, are you okay? So, Annie are you okay? Are you okay, Annie?
But before The Mask can go out and be his delightful cartoony self for the American audience, he has to feed Milo. He does so by emptying an entire box of dog food into a bowl and letting the animal help itself because he's lazy. I find this scene really unintentionally gross because, even though the food's in a box, it slops around like wet food. What kind of sick manufacturing factory would put wet, nearly liquid food in cardboard? Disgusting!
Made out of 90% recycled parts.
Now that Stanley is wearing The Mask, he's on the prowl, in search of the one responsible for the shadow stealing. He does this by morphing into various parodies of various TV personalities. One of The Mask's shticks is to spin around in a tornado and then turn into various forms and imitate their method of speech and solving puzzles, all for the sake of comedy. First he turns into a dashing news reporter that says a tongue-twister of a line, and then he turns into a wrestler that may be modeled off a famous WWF star. It's fun, it's silly, it's classic cartoon comedy, and it accumulates to The Mask beating up a shadow on the wall just because he thinks it could be the one that took his shadow. It's everything one would look for in an animated show.
"Submitted for your approval, a man without a shadow."
Oh, and somewhere along the way, while The Mask is beating the living crap out of a brick wall, a little kid is involved, which leaves me to ask this simple question. Why the hell is there a little girl walking around the streets of Edge City all alone in the middle of the night? Where are her parents? From the looks of these neighborhoods (scummy, filled with trash, devoid of intelligent life), this kid should be on a milk carton by now.

But then The Mask bribes her with paper money so that she doesn't say anything about his presence so it's all good. know what? Let's never talk about this scene ever again. The girl never existed. Otherwise my brain's going to short-circuit.
I can't even figure out what's going on...
The Mask finally finds the shadow-stealing shadowbeast of shadowy shadows and, after The Mask scares off any potential eyewitnesses, the shadow grabs him, shadowwrestles him to the ground, and shadowstuffs him in a shadowbag made out of shadows. Guess our secret word of the day!

...The Mask is stuffed in a bag made out of shadows. A physical object made out of the absence of light. Somewhere, the laws of physics are crying.

Also, geez, talk about anti-climatic. I guess shadows are powerful forces of nature or something.
You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch....
So the shadow flies through the air (because shadows can do that now), taking The Mask to...a place with a very illegible sign. Considering the worn down gate, at first glance it looks like a cemetery, but there's a swing set and a slide inside. Abandoned school? Basic run-of-the-mill park that just happens to look creepy on account it's night and the city lacks funding to replace the walls?

...okay, this is one of the many reasons why this show needs to be on DVD. So I can actually read signs like this. This will probably bug me later, when I'm trying to go to sleep and all my mind can think about is that unimportant sign and how I can't read it.
What does that sign say!? Auuuugh!
The shadow flings The Mask down, and we see just how tight continuity is in this show when the bag suddenly transforms from a shadow into a simple burlap sack. Shadows are awesome!

Also, thanks for doing your job, Mask. You can eat nuclear warheads, breathe in space, and swim in acid (not making any of these up) and yet a simple burlap sack overpowers you. If this is The Mask's kryptonite, then won't those other villains feel silly about their wasted attempts at destroying him.

Finally, after all of this nonsense, we meet Skillit, the owner of the shadow. He's a pretty accurate representation of the fey folk in a cartoon, especially after Disney portrayed them to be such delightful little scamps that can make you fly if they sprinkle fairy dust on you. Skillit may look like a cross between Peter Pan, the Bride of Frankenstein, and a Warcraft Troll, but rest assured, he doesn't care about you. He's the kind of fairy that will turn you into a tree just out of sheer spite. And that's not even going into what he'll do to you if you make fun of the highlights in his hair or his whimsical elf boots.

I will say this. That cloak behind him, I thought was a pair of wings the first time I saw this episode. Now I'm really disappointed that they're not, because even though he floats around using the power of magic and sheer evil, tattered leafy-looking wings would somehow complete the look.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Shadowsnatcher
Then Skillit, terrifying fairy child who holds the entire human race in utter contempt, decides to make a mockery of his own villainy by, I'm not kidding you, tackling the Mask and fondling him inappropriately. I like to call this scene "Freezeframe Heaven", because Skillit happens to be at the right height to make some pretty awkward freeze frames. To make things even creepier, consider the fact that this horrifying little imp has the body of a young child. I wonder if the animators got any phone calls from any federal organizations after inbetweening this.

No captions neccessary. This really says it all.
Anyways, while this cuddle session is going on, (how this character is not popular with the yaoi fans is beyond me) Skillit lets us know that he thinks of The Mask as a friend. While he does this, the soundtrack takes the turn for the creepy and ethereal by having the voices of little children chant over the audio. Remember that one episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog with the sadistic barber? It's a toned down version of that. He returns The Mask's shadow back to his palsy-walsy and then he lets us know just how much of a horror show he is by saying rather casually that, since the city is crawling some people, they should spend this evening "slaughtering some innocents". I'm not kidding. He actually says that.

I like how The Mask is able to actually attach his own shadow to him in a subtle allusion to Peter Pan. Because he's The Mask. Yeah, go to hell, natural laws!

"Way to get my shadow wrinkled, kid! This thing's dry clean only!"
Oh, and Skillit and his blue hair also drop the subtle hint that he can only be out at night and has to be back in Shadowland before the evening is up. That's nice, since it gives us a set timeline when this little demon can roam the streets, but I'm still creeped out that this character talks like a little kid waiting for Santa when talking about killing mortals. He also keeps touching the Mask. He needs to stop doing that. Like right now.

I think my brain just tried to vomit.
Creepy Invader of Personal Space says that they should totally go out for a night on the town and kill people, just like they did back in the day, but The Mask totally blows him off, saying that now that he has his shadow back, he's going to ditch the little fart and go to a dance club. He even says that Skillit "must be this tall to ride" in a club famous for its hot, sexy females, making me wonder if the script writers intended for that to have such a double meaning.
Hey, Skillit IS that tall if you count the hair...
The Mask walks away from the creepy kid, unaware that he has just made a powerful enemy, an enemy that's lived for eons and has turned killing people into a fun little hobby like collecting baseball cards. I like to imagine the only reason The Mask survived this endeavor is because he's nigh-invulnerable and is a powerful, cosmic being himself. If this were DuckTales, this episode would've ended with Scrooge turned inside out like that baboon from the 1986 version of The Fly.

It's Hades Jr.!
Commercial break, and fade into morbidly obese dog. Turns out Milo lacks self-control and completely stuffed himself. Now he looks a lot more like the actual dogs I see around my neighborhood. Right as Milo passes out from being too fat, our green-faced hero returns, changes himself back to normal, and we get a really odd scene where Stanley yells at a magical hunk of wood over how much he sucks as a hero. It's been established that The Mask brings out what you're hiding inside of you, the parts of you that you keep restrained thanks to modern society, so technically he's yelling at himself for only getting his shadow and not everyone else's and for overfeeding Milo.

"Oh, thanks, mystical artifact from a Norse god! You just killed my dog!"
But then the show instantly takes a turn into Terrifying Town. Because he's omnipresent, Skillit now knows who's under the mask and he magically appears in Stanley's apartment. They forget to color Skillit's eyes the right color throughout this entire scene, but I can ignore that because this scene frightens me so freaking much. This villain can travel through space and time and can overhear anything in order to pinpoint his enemies. Even in your own home, you're not safe, because he'll travel through a mirror and tell you that the only reason he didn't blow up your dog is because he finds you amusing.

And yes, Skillit actually said this last part. He levitates Stanley's dog with his powers and said that he could be smelling scorched fur right now, but isn't because Skillit's being nice. For a little kid with Super Saiyan hair, this character manages to emasculate the entire cast of Darkwing Duck with every line of dialogue. Negaduck wishes he possessed even a small ounce of Skillit's abilities.

Puck is such an asshole nowadays.
While his shadow messes around with his dog, Skillit says that Stanley is not like the other mask users. See, he's over four thousand years old, and he has connections. He's known everyone that's possessed The Mask (leading me to wonder the possible backstory involving Skillit first finding out about The Mask), and the list includes names like Blackbeard and Genghis Khan. Blueskin McPointyhair found them to be fun guys because they were murderous hellions who wreaked horrible suffering and terror on countless amounts of people.

For those keeping track, Skillit is a four thousand year old fairy folk who's palled around with murderous pirates and conquerors because death is fun. He has no rhyme or reason to the horrendous acts he performs other than they give him a sick thrill. And the only reason Stanley's still alive is because Evil Puck is feeling generous today. Bring me my brown pants.
All the old paintings on the tomb
They do the sand dance, don'cha know?
Skillit, who happens to have a really lame name that seems to have no meaning (no seriously, what the flippin' hell does Skillit even mean?), decides to amp up the creepiness by grabbing Sir Ipkiss by the shoulder and flying out the window with him in tow. Somehow this doesn't dislocate Stanley's shoulder even though it has to hold all of his weight because magic! Peggy manages to see this, and, instead of being even slightly worried, she sees this as an opportunity to make front page once again and decides to follow them. Peggy's an asshole, but it's nice to see that her career comes first.

...also, why didn't this get more of a reaction from her? I guess hanging around with a green-faced shapeshifter that fights a man who sounds like Tim Curry would desensitize anyone.

The second star to the right
Shines in the night for you
To tell you that the dreams you plan
Really can come true
While the terrifying specter of death and the newest source of my nightmares soars through the air with his helpless victim in tow, Skillit lets Rob Paulsen know that he gets pretty bored really easily. Ominous little children start singing in the soundtrack once more as Chilling Murdergremlin says that he finds children entertaining (oh god no), but they're always locked up in schools. Before a feeling of dread can bloom in my gut, he quickly switches over to how he finds The Mask fun because he enjoys a good mindless rampage. And he wants to take The Mask to Shadowland with him.

I find it kind of funny that I find a murderous elfin creature to be more unnerving and terrifying than the Satan on this show. Probably because, when you get right down to it, Satan's just doing his job, and in Convention of Evil, he was surprisingly courteous. Skillit goes against the natural order of things. And finds it hilarious. If he was in Convention of Evil, I'm pretty sure that episode would end with a room full of dead bodies.

...oh geez, what if he's not the only one of his species? How many of his race are out there, floating around and stealing people's shadows? ...if anyone needs me, I'll be under my bed for the next ten years.

Look at that face. He finds that man's screams amusing.
Stanley tries to reason with this otherworldly bringer of suffering by saying that The Mask itself doesn't possess a set code of morals, but rather whoever wears it. If a good guy wears a mask, Stanley says, then The Mask will be a good guy. This goes against the original comic books (where continued contact with The Mask gradually turns you into a murderous psychopath), but okay, I'll buy it.

Skillit's reaction? He shouts "Tell it to the sidewalk" and drops Stanley.

...well. That was short and to the point, Mr. Skillit. Thanks for killing the main character so effortlessly. Can you please cease to exist now before I have to see a psychiatrist for viewing this episode?

Wile E. Coyote the bank teller.
Luckily, Skillit changes his mind and saves Stanley at the last minute, (probably because he can't wring terror and suffering out of a dead body, making this so much worse) saying that he'll let him live because The Mask will soon fall into the hands of someone more fun, like a serial killer or a politician. Because, after all, he's eternal and Stanley isn't. Ouch. I love how the supernatural beings in this cartoon are so blunt.

I love how his solution for not killing Stanley is to stick him on a flagpole that's seven stories high in the air, just so Stanley realizes just how close he was to turning into a sidewalk pancake. Holding onto a flagpole is one of those things that is constantly portrayed as simple in cartoons but is really harder than it looks.

"Please don't kill me, scary demonchild."
Unfortunately, Skillit may be bloodcurdling and scary, but he falls under the same traps that befall any cartoon villain because he decides to tell Stanley how he stays immortal. Why, he steals the shadows of mortals (probably because stealing the shadows of inanimate objects would be too easy), sucking out their youth and adding their years to his lifespan of course! Yeah, all those shadows he stole? He's slowly killing the owners. He even steals Peggy's shadow just to prove his point. I've probably said this thousands of times before, but this kid is terrifying. Mostly because he thought wearing skintight little tights was a good idea.

...and how old are those clothes? Imagine the smell.

I wish the Shadow Temple's Hover Boots were that effective.
 After Stanley manages to get himself off the flagpole without dying (thank goodness someone left the window right next to the flagpole open; that was sure convenient!), he decides to check up on Charlie. What he finds is that Charlie has morphed into a doughy old man, and he's even walking with a cane that I'm sure he had just lying around his house in case he rapidly aged. Course, personally, my attention was instantly drawn to the giant trainwreck that is Charlie's house. I am an especially big fan of the giant mounted warthog head just chilling next to that giant framed rooster poster. If I were Charlie, I'd be ashamed of myself.

By the way, Stanley doesn't help by saying "Charlie, you're old." Stanley, you're stating the obvious!

That apartment isn't doing you any favors, Charlie.
With that visit now over, Stanley now knows that he has to do something or else everyone who lost their shadow is going to wither away and die. I have to wonder how they would die. Would they just pass away or would their bodies collapse into a pile of dust? We'll never see this in action so we'll never know, but it sure makes you think.

Anyways, his asshole friends are dying. You know what that means. Time to suit up and get ready for our final battle between green-faced man that sounds like Raphael from TMNT and that bizarre floating Link. This should be fun. But mostly disturbing because man, that Skillit kid just rubs me the wrong way. I blame the tights.

And, since I have to point this out, when Stanley turns into The Mask there's a very odd audio glitch in this scene. The Mask spins around and then instantly stops to talk about how it's taboo to hurt little dogs, but while he's talking, the spinning sound effect still plays, covering up most of the dialogue. Hah hah, silly editors, thinking no one would notice. Little did they know, there are people on the Internet nitpicking every single part of an animation no matter how silly it is.

Only The Mask would make a banana-colored suit look dignified.
We're back at that creepy abandoned park/school/place/whatever, and Floaty McKillEverything brags that, now that he's stolen the shadows of everyone that the Mask's wearer knows, he's going to show up any second now for a showdown.

Wow. Wow. Skillit personally targeted all of Stanley's friends just because he hates how nice he is, planning for an inevitable showdown. He's personally sucking out all the life of his friends due to a personal slight. That's hardcore.
What's not hardcore: That sitting position while floating. That's just weird.
But that's not even the creepiest part of this cartoon. The creepiest part comes when The Mask shows up and Skillit tries to convince his "old pal" to come back to Shadowland with him. No amount of sugarcoating will make his dialogue seem any less insane, so I'm just going to copy verbatim what Skillit said.

"Let's come to the Shadowland instead! Come on, we'll boil Shadowlanders denizens in oil, flay their skins from their bodies, split their spines like boiled lobsters!"

...yeah, I'm going to need a moment to let that sink in. The tone of his voice made it that much worse. He's like an Internet Creepypasta brought to life.

So how would Skillit know what splitting a spine is comparable to...oh geez.
The Mask reacts to this in a really restrained manner, when a normal person would probably throw up and yell "What the hell is wrong with you!?", simply saying that he doesn't play that game. Instead, he gives atomic wedgies. He even tries to strike up the deal with the spine-splitting maniac by saying that if he goes to Shadowland, Skillit needs to hand over the shadows.

This leads to one pissed off fairy boy, one that can shoot lasers from his fingers and command his shadow to attack at will. Looks like our episodic battle is upon us! I wonder if it will involve shadows in any way, since that is this episode's theme and all that jazz.

I'm now really disappointed that that laser isn't made out of shadows.
We then get our fight scene, which is, to be quite frank, rather absurd considering the rather dark tone the entire episode was carrying earlier. I guess it's really sort of a letdown to go from a kid talking about ripping people's skins off to shooting minty green finger lasers, but what can you do? While Skillit fights The Mask's detached shadow (because now The Mask can do that), The Mask fights Skillit's shadow until it accumulates into The Mask turning into a wrestler and well, doing this.

Okay, what. Why did they feel the need to put this in.
Before this could continue for too long (thank goodness), a portal to the originally named Shadowland opens. Through some brilliant use of rushed exposition, Skillit says that he needs to get into the portal before the 13th chime rings and he, for one last time, tries to convince The Mask to go with him.

Course, this time The Mask says yes. Of COURSE he'll go to Shadowland with the little blueberry freak and do unspeakable things to random strangers. IF he hands over the shadows.

...I see what you did there, Mask.

"Does this look like a face that would lie to you?"
Skillit frees all the shadows because he doesn't know when he's getting duped, curing every shadowless person in Edge City. There's even a montage of everyone Stanley knew getting their youth back, letting us all know that those people we care about aren't going to die off-screen. All said and good, but personally I kind of wanted to see the cowboy guy from the beginning of the episode too, just so I know that he didn't just turn into a pile of aged git r done.

And how did the shadows know where to go? They're merely an area of relative darkness cast by both a light source and an object intercepting that light. It'd be kind of embarrassing if Charlie ended up with Peggy's shadow on accident.
"This is a warning to all living mortals that whom should ever open this chest of demons
will release thirteen of the most terrifying ghosts upon the face of the earth."
When The Mask walks into the portal, Stanley starts to fade out of photographs, invoking Back to the Future flashbacks, because now The Mask's human counterpart is ceasing to exist. Things just all around look bad for Stanley now, even though technically he's not even dying since The Mask needs a body. He fades from a picture with Milo, he fades from an "Employee of the Month" photo, but my absolute favorite is the one where he's somehow dressed in his work clothes even though Charlie is clearly on a fishing trip. Something's not right about this setup.
I like how Stanley in that picture looks embarrassed to be near Charlie.
But don't worry, The Mask didn't mean that whole "leaving for Shadowland" thing. He backs out at the last minute like we knew he would. He even steals Skillit's shadow by, I'm not kidding you, just grabbing Skillit's back and ripping it off like a band-aid just so that he can shake out all of the last remaining mortal shadows Skillit still had stashed away. I can ignore the disregard for physics because, see, Skillit lied and still tried to kill people anyways because he's a horrible little snot. Villains never have a strong sense of honor.

...and how does one wring out a shadow? I know it's supernatural, but I'm still kind of curious as to how a pure shadow would feel like.

So, by somehow by using brute force on a fairy that possesses cosmic powers, after The Mask steals his shadow, The Mask and Milo keep Skillit from going back to Shadowland, Skillit loses his shadow and his powers, and now Skillit's a mortal. He even gets to go to school and age and die just like the rest of us! Huzzah! Take that, frightening kidmonster!

...well now, wait a second, that seems kind of cruel. I know he was happily talking about boiling people in oil, but come on, giving him the gift of dying? That's just mean. How long does he even get to live anyways?
I sure the school is going to love the weird murderous kid with the blue skin and elf ears.
The Mask wedgies the now helpless, powerless, mortal Skillit, because it isn't a Mask episode without wedgies, and the episode ends on a strangely happy note. With The Mask toting away Skillit, now wrapped in a painful underwear cocoon coated with his own shame, to a corrective school for the socially challenged that was conveniently right by the Shadowland portal this entire time.

Ooooh, so that's what the playground was for! That gate led to a school! I feel enlightened now. Thank you, cartoon.

...and why would a school be open right when the sun rises? That seems kind of early for elementary school.

...wait, is this supposed to be a happy ending? A creature that's four thousand years old is now going to grow old and die for its crimes against humanity, and not only that, but it's been thrust into a society that it does not know or understand, in a world where children without parents end up in foster homes. That can't be good for anyone.

The Moral of this Cartoon
Take good care of your shadow, because it's more important than you would believe. In reality, that pool of intercepted light cast on surfaces is really what's keeping you from rapidly aging.

Final Verdict

This is still a great show and everyone should watch it...buuuut this might not be the best episode in the show.

Compared to the previous one I did, this episode is more straightforward. There's a conflict, the conflict never changes, and the conflict gets solved. It's pretty cut and dry.

I think what floors me about this episode in particular is how dark it got while still maintaining a level of comedy. People are rapidly aging, a teleporting elflike being finds pain to be hilarious, and the threat of death is pretty real, but they still found a way to work in some jokes. One topic of conversation I've seen come up in cartoon blogs is how far you can go with the villains while still keeping it a comedy aimed for all-audiences. Can the audience still laugh even when the villain is talking about splitting spines open, or is that crossing the line? I feel they found a happy medium with this, because Skillit manages to be dark while having a child-like playful nature to him.

There are some parts of this episode that I don't like, but it mostly chalks up to personal preference. Skillit is not my favorite The Mask character, but mostly because, when it comes to this show, I like The Mask the best when he's dealing with normal people who turned to crime. I don't know, it's just funnier when normal people react to The Mask's shenanigans. Skillit is just too otherworldly, and he works in that regard, but I'm not going to hunt down Skillit episodes. He lacks that something that compels me to keep watching him.

Plus, personally, I feel like they did a better job nailing the theme of The Mask facing a really old, powerful being with magic far greater than his in "Boogie With The Man", the episode where he squares off with Satan. But then again, that's a Season 2 episode and this is one of the first episodes. The fact that the writer got tighter and better as the show went on is definitely a good sign.

But yeah, great episode despite this. The Mask is once again funny, and I love how Stanley's friends have such negative traits but manage to be fun characters. Skillit manages to be scary without being in-your-face scary. Good episode from a fantastic show. Not one of my favorites, but then again, I think it just clocks up to the fact that my favorite episodes tend to have villains I look forward to.

Just...did we need that lobster line, Skillit?

Also, thanks to this post, "shadow" now looks misspelled. Shadow shadow shadow shadow sonic shadow.