BET is re-releasing the 6 episode, animated series of “Black Panther”. In Episode 1, we were introduced to T’Challa (the current Black Panther), the country of Wakanda, and some of the plotting by Dondi Rice and senior members of the U.S. Government. We left off with some sort of super-soldier that was training and Dondi threatening to send “very special forces” to Wakanda. What does Episode 2 bring us? Stick around.. or click the link.
The first thing Episode 2 brings us is wonky audio. I was watching from BET’s actual site, instead of their Facebook page, and the audio was 5-7 seconds behind the animation for nearly the entire episode. Kinda takes you out of the immersement of the show. Nevertheless, we have an episode to recap….
Episode 2 starts in Morocco, in some kind of palace or mansion. Guards are standing about, silhouetted in moonlight, when a face peers down from the roof. Off the rooftop jumps a figure and down go the guards. This guy – briefly revealed – takes out a few more guards before entering a bedroom and seeing an old man in bed, sleeping. He pulls out a silenced gun, shoots the old man… and someone in a chair, in the shadows, applauds. Chair Guy tells Killer Guy that “he now has a new employer – me.” The ‘me’: Klaw.
Klaw is adding Killer Guy, whose name was never revealed, to join a team that he is putting together: Klaw wants to take over Wakanda and kill the Black Panther!
Intro to the cartoon.
We next go to Wakanda and what looks to be a sparsely furnished training room. We look in as T’Challa, newly-minted “Black Panther”, is sparring with his still-fuming sister, Shuri.
(side note: for some reason, this version of Shuri is mentally clashing with the movie version; the movie version seems much more carefree, while this version, so far, has that “teenage rebellion” trait within her)
T’Challa warns Shuri that her bitterness in not competing in the “Battle for the Crown” will eat at her spirit. T’Challa flat-out asks Shuri if she will betray him and can he trust her; if he can’t, he will “take care of things”.
“What are you gonna do? Exile me?”
“Worse. I’ll tell Mother.”
This relieves the tension considerably but it does plant the seed that Shuri’s jealously might come back to haunt her and T’Challa. We’ll see.
We then go to a “U.S. Federal SuperMax Prison” (no other location details given). A bird flies by the camera, towards the main building of the prison… and POOF! Disappears! Strange…
Anyways, Klaw is talking to a prisoner about his Panther-killing team. Prisoner asks why Klaw is doing this – “is it the money”? Instead, Klaw goes into his family’s history, starting with “I come from a military…
“… my great-great-grandfather helped form South Africa”, as we are now in the grasslands of Africa-past. The condensed version of Klaw’s story: Ancestor Klaw (easier to label him as such in this recap) and his men, guided by natives, are heading towards Wakanda.
The natives refuse to go any further, greatly fearing the Wakandas. Even after flogging, they run away; Ancestor Klaw’s men mow them down with gunfire. The journey slows to a crawl, as his men now have to lug the equipment that the natives were lugging. They eventually reach Wakanda’s borders, only to be spotted by Black Panther. Ancestor Klaw’s men fire on BP but their guns mysteriously jam, sending most of his men scurrying for the hills. Black Panther warns Ancestor Klaw: “leave or only 1 of you will survive” (similar to the opening of Episode 1); Ancestor Klaw stays… and Black Panther made good on his promise: only one man survived… one of the gunners that refused to fire on Black Panther in the beginning.
At this point, nearly 5 minutes of unskippable ads interrupted the story. The silver lining is that the sound aligned, afterwards. It was only for a few minutes, though.
Back in Wakanda, one of T’Challa’s aides(?) gets a phone call from a woman with a deep voice. The scene pans to a woman floating in the air:
“Tell him that an old friend called.” A mix-up between the aide that took the call and a frazzled uncle of T’Challa causes Storm(!!) to hang up and the uncle to lament that it her “nearly a decade to make that call”, when asked if she would call back.
Another 3+ minute ad interruption.
We are now in a new location: Newark, New Jersey. There is wreckage everywhere: cars laying upside-down or against buildings, broken light posts, broken windows, damaged buildings. So, a normal day in New Jersey. 😉
The camera pans around the damage until it stops on… Cyclops? The X-Men leader? He’s in NJ, for some reason, and is fighting the source of this destruction: Juggernaut. Cyclops fires his Optic Beams, Juggernaut shrugs the streaming blast off, then makes a John Cena joke: “Is that all you got, Cyclops? You can’t see me!”
As Cyclops struggles with Juggernaut, a new combatant enters the ring, so to speak:
Wolverine and Cyclops tag-team Cyclops but to little avail: Cyclops grabs Wolverine, uses him to knock Cyclops across the street, through a building, then flings Wolverine into an opposite building, for good measure. Juggernaut wants to fight more but a figure walks up behind him: Klaw! Klaw “is not an X-Man, [I’m] a Business Man.”
Klaw and Juggernaut, who wants his payments in Euros, walk off together, with Juggernaut somehow punching a teleporting Nightcrawler out of the air as they walk by. I don’t know how the back half of this episode became an X-men episode, but I like it.
We end the episode in Wakanda, with Black Panther spying on a natural inlet. He throws down some kind of explosive stone, then takes off through a swampland (….wait! Swamps, in Wakanda??). He runs to another inlet, sees something that he doesn’t like, and jumps off the small cliff, towards the water. He is suddenly shot with a few dozen bullets, mid-jump, and falls to the earth, dead! Two scientists…
… walk up to the corpse and you realize: 1) we weren’t in Wakanda and 2) (after pulling off the mask) that it wasn’t T’Challa that was shot: it was a Spec Ops soldiers. The 2 scientists? They were the same ones recording the “re-animation project” at the end of Episode 1. “Field tests were successful – he’s ready” were their final statements as the camera focuses in on the shooter: the Super Soldier from Episode 1.
This was a much shorter episode than #1 – only about 15 minutes long. The audio issues certainly didn’t help matters. The animation seemed better with Klaw’s flashback, compared to the sparring scene. I was pleasantly surprised at 3 of the “big guns” of the X-Men showing up but was also surprised that no one from the U.S. (Dondi, Ross, etc.) made an appearance.
So far, I think I liked #1 better than #2, although neither episode was bad.