Despite such episodes not being the jewels of the “Avengers Assemble” series, Loki is back, so Thor and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are headed once again to Asgard. So far, the animated Golden Realm hasn’t compared to that of the comics or films, but perhaps this will be different. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on “Back to the Learning Hall.”
Back to School
As we open, we’re back to sitcom mode again after what was probably one of the best episodes so far. The Avengers are drawing straws to see who has to clean. Ya know, guys, if you’d stayed true to the comics, you’d have a butler to do that, ahem. Anyway Thor is drawn away by a tmail – a transdimensional mail from Agard inviting him to basically a school reunion.
Before knowing Loki was involved, I knew it was a trap and so did you. Thor is reluctant to go, probably because he read the script. After playing a bit with his Zuul-like Asgardian pet, Bilgesnipes, Hawkeye and the Hulk convince Thor to go. Sigh, situation comedy set up, but then again, this is a Thor-centric episode. After a quick and unfulfilled tease with Surtur, the three stooges, ahem, Avengers arrive in Asgard.
Most Likely To… Duh…
There’s trouble at the interdimensional crossroads due to someone playing with the lost Space Stone, which explains the brief side trip to Surtur’s realm. On Earth the rest of the team are either cleaning or cleaning up after the earthquake caused by the disruption. In Asgard, we find that Loki was the all-star at school… because Thor had to drop out. Yeah, we see where this is going, just like a certain famous first season episode of “Happy Days,” the Thunder God will have to ‘drop in.’
I like Thor as an Avenger in the comics, and I love when he is used as a weapon of last resort, taking down Nefaria or Graviton, or even better when someone like Moondragon calls him out for slumming. He’s a great character who contrasts well with his comrades, but Thor has never been played that way in this series. The animated Thor is the dumb jock, the idiot, and it makes these Thor-focused episodes hard to watch.
Breaking the Rules
In Asgard, to get to the Learning Hall, the three Avengers must face challenges and opponents. Yes, even for an apparent reunion that’s really a trap. The rules of these challenges are that one per challenger. Based on how this show’s team does teamwork, this should be a snap. So while they plow through wolves and dragons, things are getting dicey back on Earth.
One thing this series does do well however is break the rules and bend perceptions. Things aren’t what they seem, or what they were in the comics. They did this to good effect with Teen Tony Stark and the Dark Avengers, and here we have the visual of Asgard floating over New York, and Thor not being worthy of Mjolnir- recent events in the comics.
Of course this is all brought about because of the imprisoned Loki having the Space Stone, and all a ruse to free himself. I liked the Kronan Stone Man cameo, and the Falcon’s plan to enter Asgard, but found everything else at the end of the episode far too quick and far too easy.
I never liked Loki in the comics, and I like him less here. If he’s not the sexy, charismatic, and smoldering hot Tom Hiddleston, just don’t use him. All in all, this week’s episode was a disappointment, and several steps backward.
Next: “Downgraded!” Uh oh, that doesn’t sound good, especially after this week…