Guardians of the Galaxy S01 E05: Can’t Fight This Seedling

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We all get sick from time to time, it’s just part of life. Everyone and everything gets sick, even plants and trees. But what happens when Groot, the humanoid tree creature from “Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy” gets sick? Meet me after the hyperspace jump for my thoughts on “Can’t Fight This Seedling.”

Planet of the Tree Killers

Still on the lookout for Pandorian crystals to power the CryptoCube, the Guardians land on a new planet. Sent by the Collector (always a bad idea), and pursued by Nova Corpsman Titus, following them and waiting for them to break the law, they find the crystal pretty easily. The inhabitants, big purple goat people that seem like Jim Starlin creations, have a very wood-oriented culture, as in they kill a lot of trees.

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As if this in itself doesn’t make Groot uneasy, Star-Lord’s teasing, and the existence of an opposing race of rock creatures attacking them, puts our favorite tree on the offensive. The celebration after vanquishing the attackers includes a variety of what can only be described as lumberjack games. Groot is further offended, and a brush with fire setting the town aflame doesn’t help.

Fungus Among Us

We learn from the villagers that the rock monsters first appeared after a meteor hit. That’s also when the fungi began to get the trees. In the skirmish, Groot was bitten by one of the creatures, and yeah, you don’t have to be a regular viewer of “The Walking Dead” to know what comes next. Groot gets sick, and by sick, I mean mean, and by mean, I mean monster.

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One nice touch is that facially, when infected by the fungus, resembles his original monster form from his Atlas Comics appearances. In trying to save their giant wooden pal, the Guardians journey inside his hollow infected interior. It reminded me of Ant-Man’s trip inside the Vision when the Avengers fought in the Kree/Skrull War, only more… you know, arboreal.

The Fire Down Below

As the villagers try to burn Groot down, our heroes continue to try to save their friend. As they near the heart of Planet X from the series mini-sodes, the adventure inside becomes a bit more like Fantastic Voyage. In a deus ex machina similar to the end of the Guardians movie, Star-Lord saves Groot. This is all done despite the interference of Titus, who seems willing to go rogue at any turn to send the Guardians back to the Kyln.

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This was actually a pretty good episode, simplicity of the story aside. A lot of great dialogue, matched with deeper characterization, and stronger bonds between the Guardians being forged, this was really quite good. And I liked that Star-Lord was brought in on what makes Groot tick. That bonding needs to bring in Drax and Gamora as well to make this team stronger and more like a family. I think those two characters seem outside the circle sometimes. Another excellent episode, and I’m looking forward to more. I do wish they’d avoided the REO Speedwagon pun in the title of this episode however, and it’s notable this is the first one that did not have a classic rock song included in it.

Next: “Undercover Angle” and The Black Order!

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