— at least, Hygena is claiming that with Whip-Snap’s dismissal, she’s got to represent for all the women that were previously booted. Me, I’d be in it for myself. Remember, we’re at the final four. It’s not like the guys are helping each other win, or that Hygena would get to bring back Basura and the gang for her comic-book debut, so the sisterhood seems misplaced.


Stan appears to the heroes and says now that Dr. Dark has infiltrated the lair, he has to give them messages in code. And this first code, he says, is so easy even a fourth-grader could crack it. I start to roll my eyes, but then I remember that the heroes visited a school last year too, so this isn’t really a rip-off of a certain hit quiz show.

Once at the school, the heroes display their powers (and the kids, who don’t get to see the admittedly cool CGI, play along like champs) and then each is handed an envelope. Each hero has a set of multiple-choice questions, and the correct answers feed into a cypher that will tell the heroes their next mission. There’s a five-minute time limit, and of course the kids have to help, so the class is divided among the heroes.

Three of said heroes must never have seen this show before, because Parthenon answers all the questions himself; Hygena goes slow; and Hyper-Strike reveals his real last name. Gah! Hygena’s team comes in last, and messes up some of the answers, but she corrects the mistakes with a little time to spare.

The clue leads to a park, and at that moment Dr. Dark breaks into the heroes’ wrist-communicators with Evil Stan sitting in. This next sequence is hilarious, because Evil Stan tells the heroes to pull various pranks — borrowing clothing, singing and dancing (Hygena), shouting out catchphrases … Defuser has to ask a man with a keyboard to compose his theme song, and dude whips out a Defuser theme that’d do honor to "Shaft." I love it, and Defuser does too judging by his dance. The pranks culminate in Hyper-Strike stealing a woman’s cane and Hygena playing in traffic.

For a bit, I wondered why the heroes didn’t think to stop (though Defuser does get suspicious after a while). My personal opinion is that the judgments are so arbitrary — Mindset eliminated for standing up to a supervillain; Basura getting cut for being meek while Whip-Snap stayed on despite repeatedly giving up — that the heroes are afraid to do anything that might interfere in one of Stan’s whims. This one sequence says just about everything about how the contestants are in it to win, not to become avatars of goodness.

Also, it’s funny. Really funny. I wish we could have a supervillain-themed spinoff.

Having had his fill of fun, Evil Stan directs the heroes to an abandoned warehouse and into a cargo container which, no surprise, shuts and locks behind them. Yes, Stan’s pencil is there, but the heroes have only an hour to escape before certain doom. Lo and behold, there are tools outside the container, and various bricabrac inside, so the heroes are able to build a makeshift grabber out of some pipe. With 30 minutes to spare, even! Could tonight’s show end early?

Nope, the grabber breaks when Defuser tries to retrieve a tool. There’s some panic, especially on Hygena’s part — and let me just say, it’s more clear every episode that her cleanliness is not an in-character affectation but a real compulsion.

Hyper-Strike and Parthenon whip up a plan to use the heroes’ belts and scarves and such to get back the broken piece of grabber, and it actually works. And with that, they’re able to get a crowbar and escape with around 49 seconds left.

Time for mission reports, but we’ll skip them because they have no bearing on the rest of the show. I mean, maybe, if heroes voted one of their own out, this would be worth the time. It’s not, instead serving to sow dissent with no outlet.

Up on the rooftop, Stan berates each hero as usual and then tells Hygena, Hyper-Strike and Parthenon to step forward. Defuser and I are equally shocked he’s not up for elimination. In their defenses, Hygena asks for another chance, promising she’ll prevail; Parthenon says he wants the win more than any of the others there; and Hyper-Strike says he has the potential to inspire people. Well, goodbye, Hyg–

Wait, what? It’s Parthenon instead. Whoa! I had him pegged for at least the top two, but no, he’s gone. The outro shows Dr. Dark growing Evil Stan to Godzilla height, but my head’s still reeling too much to care.

Posted by:Andy Grieser