Where do you go when nanobots are about to sweep over the globe? If you’re Goliath and Dingo, you travel to the Dreamtime. Once there, it’s up to them to stop a hivemind that seeks to create perfect order out of Earth’s chaos. By that, it means wipe everything out. But how do you stop a being that can control the reality of the Dreamtime? It’ll take some quick thinking and even quicker talking to keep from turning into nanobot fuel.
Who Let the Bots Out
Only Elisa and Dingo go, but the shaman ask them to bring Goliath, Angela, and Bronx out as well. He says that the gargs are from the Dreamtime.
He also says the Matrix is loose, and it is a “flawed vision.” They need to go into the Dreamtime and convince it not to wipe them out. Well, that sounds totally rational. I know that when my computer or phone is acting up, I meditate really hard and convince it to shape up. Then again, it does make sense… If the Dreamtime is some sort of energy plane that can interface with the computer code and hardware that is in the nanobots, communicating with the Matrix is like installing a new program.
In the lab, the Matrix has figured out how to deactivate the magnetic field. Saw that coming! Now it’s running rampant through the halls.
Fox and her mom have no choice but to flee. It’s not clear what it’ll do if it grabs a living creature, but I think using them for bio-electrical energy isn’t on its mind(s). Elisa fell into a puddle of it, but it didn’t use her as raw material. It’s not something you want to play with, though.
Fortunately, Fox is really good at running while being, like, 8 months preggo. She’s also a phenomenally good helicopter pilot. She takes the XE bird up and does a splendid job of navigating around the giant spikes that the Matrix sends at them.
But even her mad skills are no match for it. It manages to knock the tail, forcing her to make a crash landing. She sets it down without a scratch. Awesome.
I love Fox. She’s one of the very few female characters in fiction who is smart, cunning, strong, and capable, yet not annoying. It’s not surprising I like her, since I like David. The writers are incredibly skilled with developing their characters, which means that when a character appeals to another character, it makes logical sense.
They bail from the helicopter and run. They of course meet up with our protags and Dingo. Now that we’ve got everyone herded together, we can get on with this.
Fox introduces her mom as Anastasia Renard. Whoa there! Renard? Anastasia? This is Halcyon’s ex!
Anastasia isn’t all that surprised to see the gargs. Evidently Fox has told her about them, because Anastasia guesses that the big purple dude is Goliath.
Side note: I’ve always loved that antagonists usually are quite calm when they run into a protag and aren’t actively trying to take them down. Fox knows she and her mom as safe around Goliath, despite the history House Xanatos has with the gargoyles. When she introduces them, she acts like they’re old acquaintances – and she’s on good terms with them.
Goliath is thunderstruck by the fact that Fox is Renard‘s daughter. Now, the first time we met Renard, he mentioned he lost his Janine and his Anastasia. And by “lost” I don’t mean they died. Now Goliath knows that these women are the long-lost family of Renard. Given what he’s been through with the old man, and how he considers the crotchety, holier-than-thou hypocrite a good buddy, this has to shock G.
Dingo blows the game by saying he thought Fox was in control of the Matrix. Ooh, so he did know. How surprising.
Fox explains they’re basically screwed if the Matrix eats the power plant.
Anastasia pipes up with her optimistic view: the gray goo scenario. If the Matrix goes completely rogue and succeeds in eating the power plant, it will have enough energy to cover the whole globe in nano creatures. Okay, so you guys were aware that this was a possible outcome. Yet you persisted. That’s pretty common with scientists, though. “Oh, our experiment won’t go awry!” Yeah, that’s how we got sticky notes. And we know how those turned out. *looks at coworker’s wall of pink sticky notes meaningfully*
Fox feels the need to justify herself . She says the experimental Matrix was made to make order of terrain. It didn’t work the way they planned, though it did make a lot of order.
The only way to shut it down is to introduce a new program into it. Fortunately, Anastasia has an optical drive cartridge. I don’t know what this is. I’m thinking it’s kind of like a floppy disk, but on steroids. Dingo thinks that if he jams it into his suit, which apparently has a giant optical drive, his suit’s modem can transmit it. So…your suit turns into a hotspot? I’m really not sure how your modem is doing squat without a phone line to transmit this. I want to hear that little dialing, whistling, and beeping if he tries it.
Anastasia shuts down that idea, as there’s too much magnetic interference to transmit it. He needs to get in the middle of the gray soup. That’s encouraging.
The shaman is disapproving. He still thinks they should talk to it. They opt to bang on the keyboard.
You know that despite the fact that they think this is going to work, it’s not. They have 7 minutes left to play in the episode. And we all know that the first plan a protagonist tries will always fail. Just once I’d like to see the first plan actually work. You’d be spending the entire time thinking, this is not going to work. When is it going to go wrong? Suddenly the episode will be over and everyone will live happily ever after. And then we have a Xanatos Tag Ending saying how he won.
Indeed, the plan does fail. Everyone almost gets sucked into the Grey Goo. Tentacles like in Cold Steel’s virus-infested mind grab the gargoyles, but they’re able to break free.
They return in disgrace. The shaman’s plan is worth a shot, since they’re basically going to die anyway. They also think it might work because they can slow down time and speak with the Matrix. In the Matrix plane, or Dreamtime, the world is what you make it. That’s according to the shaman. I take it he’s been to the Dreamworld before. He’s probably seen the Cats of Ulthar and the Nightgaunts and the Ghouls. But I digress. This is obviously going to be like the virtual-reality episodes, where the characters can conjure anything out of thin air.
Dream a Little Dream
The shaman has them stand over the fire. He throws some hallucinogenic drug into the flames. Our to heroes instantly fall into a trance.
They end up in a very Lovecraftian realm. Dingo is less shocked than one might assume. He says he’s always wanted to go to Disneyland.
They travel toward the sun of that realm. This is the source, or the brain of the hive mind.
They confront it. It states that its job is to make order. The world is imperfect, so it will make it pure and pristine. That’s awesome, except that I think what it means is that it will make the Earth a ball of chrome.
Despite the fact that about 15 times now they’ve been told they need to talk to the hivemind, they decide they’ll achieve peace through superior firepower.
This goes about as well as you would think.
Goliath talks to the Matrix after it grabs both him and Dingo in iron pincers. Order, he says, is dynamic. The order that the machine wants to create “is that of the grave.” Now, I’m not sure how much a hivemind from a lab knows about death. Maybe it equates it to being shut down.
Dingo says there’s such a thing as Law and Order. That’s funny coming from him!
This catches the Matrix’s attention. It pops them back to reality, then pulls itself into a humanoid form to address them. It wants Dingo to explain what Law and Order is.
Dingo starts by saying that he and Fox were heroes at one point. He pauses after he says “me and Fox,” and from the look on Fox’s face you know she’s expecting him to say they were at one point criminals. It’s a nice turn that he remembers when they were the good guys.
I wonder what Fox thinks about being seen as a bad guy now? Not by the gargoyles, but by the people who used to look up to her. All those kids who have posters of the Pack on their wall, action figures on their shelves, and Pack lunch boxes are let down. It’s like when your sports hero or favorite actor does something incredibly stupid. You feel like an idiot for idolizing them. But what do they feel like? No one ever asks what the villain feels.
The Matrix and Dingo agree to team up. They will fight for Law and Order. Great, more vigilantes!
20/20 moment: we never see Dingo again in the TV series. We do have or see him in the Bad Guys comics. Among other antagonists, for now I should say anti-heroes perhaps.
Do we really want Dingo in charge of the Matrix? What if he says the wrong thing? What if he teaches it how to be evil? We’re gonna end up with Ultron…
I just realized, they could have uploaded Xanatos’s virus – the one he got from the DoD when he had Coldstone steal those files.
How will this adventure affect Fox? The Matrix is her version of Thailog. She created a monster. But at least hers isn’t still evil. The fact that she created the nanobots goes with the theme of offspring. She’s about to deliver her son, who will inherit one of the world’s greatest empires. His upbringing will fall to her and David – now that is a massive responsibility. A large part of who he becomes will be due to their influence. Well, they better do a better job than they’ve done with the Matrix and Thailog.
Will Fox live differently now that she’s almost accidentally wiped out the world? David had a similar experience with Anubis. Will she tell David everything, or will she sterilize the truth to keep him from freaking out?
How will Dingo move on from this? He’s now bonded with a hivemind artificial intelligence. That’s one heck of a change.
Next week it’s all about moms. And family. Elisa’s, in particular. Tune in for Mark of the Panther if you’re ready for a page out of the Jungle Book.