When we last left Cody, flying Sky Marshal of the Universe, he had taken a bothersome shoulder bonk and was tumbling off a cliff to his certain death!
How is flying Cody, the flying Commando of the skies going to get out of this one!? Can you guess? You have only seconds left to guess!
As usual, Commando Cody’s title card forgets to mention the extreme danger the show left him in, so I’ll remind you: he fell off a cliff. When we left, the flying man was falling! Off a cliff! Do you have your guess locked in for how he survives!? Ready?
As he fell, Cody remembered he could fly. Zero stars out of five. And instead of flying up to kick the ass of the men who insulted him with such a sad murder attempt and finish his mission, he flies away. This continues the trend of episodes opening with a very obvious solution to last week’s problem followed by every character forgetting what the hell is going on and leaving in opposite directions. Hi, everyone! Welcome back to…
At the end of Chapter Seven, Cody and Ted are, without question, blown to pieces in their plane. Graber and Daly aim their ray gun at the plane, watch as no one jumps out, and then destroy it. It’s fucking over. Cody is dead. Unless he and Ted did something extremely clever, they are wet plane debris and all of this was for nothing.
So here’s how they survived: Somehow, between frames of film, Cody put on his helmet and said, “We should bail out,” the same way you might tell your wife, “Taco Bell is discontinuing Mexican Pizza.” Ted responded with, and I quote, “Okay.” He said it how your wife might say, “I can spread some dog food between two crackers if you ever want one.” It’s mostly bored disgust, but with a touch of whimsy. Ted figured out the rules to this show long ago and he knew the moment he got on he wasn’t going to have to land this plane. He parachutes to safety using the same stock parachute footage as Joan, and then, of course, the bad guys leave.
Back on the moon, Cody and Ted steal one of the moon cars which, as you may remember from Part I, are sweet as shit. Unfortunately, the Radar Men chase after him in a sweet car of their own. Ted forms a desperate plan. Remember those grenades from earlier that did nothing? Ted wants Cody to fly out with one of those and try again. Cody says, and I quote, “Okay,” and flies away.
It’s a bad plan and Cody immediately screws it up by flying the wrong way. Two seconds later he’s nowhere to be seen and the enemy car blasts Ted. This is a show where falling off a 30 foot cliff takes four to five minutes and twelve different mannequins, and here we are with a dead Ted two seconds after the fight starts. And he’s not “dead” like we see a tank explode and next week they show how he climbed out before that. They show him bounce off the wall and get his space suit’s air tube knocked out. They show him asphyxiate. They show him die. And the last thing he ever said was something moronic to the dumbest man in space who ignored him and left.
Cody drops one grenade on the enemy car which does nothing, then flies back and climbs inside the car it’s shooting. Without saying a word, he fixes Ted’s air tube. Through a series of events so insane they’re difficult to coherently describe, we are back exactly where we started before the cliffhanger. It’s like the producer came in and said, “Are the Chapter Eight and Nine pages done? Actually, let me guess– the tank blows up and then we find out, gasp, Cody isn’t in it?”
And the writer said, “N-no! The crisis is Ted! Ted, he loses an air tube, right? A-and Cody can’t help b-because he… he already left! To fight the tank! But here’s the thing: he comes back. To fix: the tube?”
And the producer said, “My god, Ronald. Hot dagnabbit, you’ve done it again.”
Normally if I saw this sequence of events I would assume it was a coded message sent by the prisoner being forced to write a moon drama, but it’s pretty normal for Commando Cody and his enemies to stop making sense at the beginning or end of a chapter. And while it’s weird as fuck how they got there, we all knew Ted was going to be saved by either A: Cody Plugging The Tube Back In, or B: Just Waking Up. Half a star, you predictable dipshits.
At the end of Chapter Nine, the bad guys shoot their ray cannon at a mountain to drop it on Cody. We know he’s normally pretty indifferent to danger, but this time he is straight-up daring Death to take him. He stares up at the toppling mountain, motionless, for thirty or forty seconds which is nearly 60 seconds in watching-an-avalanche-fall-on-you time.
After some more time, the flying man finally decides his best move is to wait some more and then jog very close to the mountain, presumably hoping the disaster forms some kind of stone igloo over him. It’s strange, even for him, but it seems to be the show’s way of saying, “You thought he flew away. Nuh uh. Here he is, verifiably not doing that. Now who looks stupid, viewer?”
When we last left him, Commando Cody was buried alive by a roaring tidal wave of rock! He’s fine, by the way. And the bad guys had something else to do, so they drove away.
At the end of Chapter Ten, Cody is trapped in a room being filled with deadly gas! Like the resourceful survivor he has proven himself to be, he leaps into action after a long, ponderous silence. He’s holding a pistol and standing by a window leading to fresh air and escape, so naturally he crawls toward the phone in the center of the room and dies along the way. How’s he going to get out of this one? Does he deserve to get out of this one? This feels like they locked him in a room with a key and a sack of poisonous snakes and it says “TO BE CONTINUED” just as he starts emptying the bag into his pants.
He might really be dead this time? This predicament is so serious even the guy writing the title cards calls attention to it. To put that into perspective, he did not bother mentioning the exploding plane, the avalanche, the fall off a cliff, the asphyxiated friend, the exploding car, or the other exploding car. And speaking as a writer, it’s going to be a real challenge for them to write Cody out of this “clearly dead from poison gas” jam he’s in.
I mean this: God bless the Radar Men From the Moon writer’s childlike understanding of all things. The lab Cody and his friends were in had a giant ALARM button next to the phone, presumably in case of some kind of viral or toxic disaster. As is protocol for this type of thing, the alarm sounded until a cop heard it from his car and strolled inside. The officer saw three dead bodies in the chemical lab and took a couple big sniffs of the air. He decided,”Yep! Poison!” and made three trips into the deadly gas cloud to drag the corpses into the slightly less poisonous hallway. I am almost certain none of you saw that coming. If you’ve seen this before you said, “Oh yeah, this is the Cody episode that introduced the poison-proof supercop character.”
Cody, by the way, is still clinging to a pistol as he gets pulled from the room. The cop doesn’t find this suspicious since in 1952, most of science was pouring chemicals on apes to see which ones made them bulletproof. Finding a room full of dead scientists without handguns would be the situation worth mentioning.
It took some time, but the writer is really starting to get a hang of these cliffhangers. At the end of Chapter Eleven, Commando Cody gets shoved into a high voltage prop and the show fades out on him getting fucked in the nervous system by a moon base’s entire supply of electricity.
This isn’t how you leave an audience in suspense. This is how you change the way we think about meal preparation forever. Commando Cody is so beyond dead. The most underpaid stuntman in the world stood in the center of a fireworks factory explosion for such a ludicrous amount of time he probably smelled like a gunfight until the day he died. And in the fiction of this universe, Cody is functionally nothing more than a pot pie. Don’t even bother with next week’s title card which probably says something like “DEATH OF THE MOON MAN.”
You might be thinking, “I know how this show works. There’s no clever twist. He didn’t swap himself out for a robot or put on rubber moon pants. The bad guys are going to walk out and Cody will get up as if nothing happened.” Come on, don’t be ridiculous. They won’t end the series on that.
Goddamn it, Commando Cody.