Sometimes you gamble and win big. Other times, you gamble and lose even bigger. And yet there are still those times where you gamble and the dice end up bouncing around the table, off people’s drink glasses, glance off the ceiling, and end up right in front of you with mixed results, making you wonder how did something so ridiculous not either end in spectacular fashion or in horrible, terribly ugly failure?
That horrible, terribly ugly failure of a metaphor is the best approximation I can get to how the most recent episode of Moonbeam City played off.
In this episode, the pitiable Rad Cunningham, fed up by the constant humiliation he absorbs from fellow officers and arch-enemy/handsome protagonist Dazzle Novak, seeks to find the key to bringing eternal shame to his aforementioned arch-enemy. Doing so via an archaic virtual headset that allows him to traverse all of cyberspace–which includes Dazzle’s sensitive files–he swiftly cocks it up in Rad-esque fashion and is summarily banished to a quaint and cozy little cabin in the digital woods, where he encounters not only a single computer-program woman, her son, and her dog, but also true happiness. Meanwhile, Dazzle is framed for the “murder” of the multiple-day-missing Rad–something he is completely and totally okay with and also proud of–and is sentenced to life in prison. A prison with whom he falls in love with thanks to its amorous computer program, much to the spite of its steely fox of a warden, who also has the hots for the supple Dazzle Novak.
A pattern of leapfrogging outlandishness seems to stem from each episode of Moonbeam City, with every new show being crazier than the one that came before it. Usually this works in the show’s favor, and, generally, that was the case for “The Legend Of Circuit Lake.” At the very least, there is something to be said in how genuinely interesting and satisfying it is to see Dazzle tick off the ways he would murder Rad, as well as the overtly-intentional glee he displays at the prospect of the loser’s demise. This is new–for most of the show’s arc thus far, while Dazzle has dislike Rad to the point of being ambivalent towards the other man’s well being, the handsome cop hasn’t yet shown this much darker side of himself where, again, he delights in the idea of seeing Rad’s bloated corpse.
That being said, the episode also tripped over its own ridiculousness. Most of what took place in cyberspace was overly-outlandish and beyond believability, even by Moonbeam City standards. It felt at times that the show had definitely become aware of its outrageousness–something that is not inherently a bad thing–but for whatever reason made a lot of the more “out-there” situations in the show seem altogether forced and stilted rather than organic. Alongside that came the glaring point that there is a severe lack of female presence within the show. Both Chrysalis Tate and Pizzaz Miller are, once again, relegated to only a few scenes during the show, something that is disappointing given their limited usage throughout the series thus far, and also something that the showrunner are–hopefully–taking steps to amend. I’m not asking for this thing to pass the Bechdel Test, but when you have the superb voice talent of someone like Elizabeth Banks, you better damn well use it.
While this episode in particular didn’t seem exactly like a step in the right direction for the budding show, I have confidence in it still. If they can put to air an episode that depicts a character voiced by Rob Lowe having sexual intercourse with the walls of a hyper-advanced prison, then by God, these people at Moonbeam City can do anything.