Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Citizen Ghost

Episode 11 – Season 1

J. Michael Straczynski strikes again in another well written episode.  The origin of Slimer joining the Ghostbusters is answered as well as how he got his name.  I would say this episode has got to be a fan favorite due to the inclusion of how the story continues following the events with Gozer from the movie.  The firehouse gets rebuilt along with a bigger containment unit and a new ghostly foe emerges to pose a challenge the guys didn’t even see coming!

Spare me the crap and let's do this interview!
It all starts when Cynthia Crawford, making her second and sadly final appearance in the series, comes to the firehouse to interview Peter about the history of the Ghostbusters.  She meets Janine first and says, “You must be Janine Melnitz.”  “Well if I must I must though all things considered I’d rather be Meryl Streep.”  Janine answers back.  It’s not the funniest thing in the world but shortly later it amplifies enough to be more worth the initial dialogue.  Cynthia makes her way upstairs into Egon’s workspace where all the guys are.  She again starts off her conversation with, “You must be Dr. Peter Venkman.”  Naturally he replies with, “If I must I must but I’d much rather be..” when Cynthia cuts him off before he can finish!  She says, “If you don’t mind I’ve driven off that bridge already.”  That’s a cold statement to make upon meeting someone wouldn’t you agree?  It’s funny though and still gets better. The two of them head downstairs to Peter’s office area to begin the interview.

Cynthia gets a bit startled when she meets the slimeball himself, Slimer.  She, for a third time, says, “You must be Slimer.”  Slimer starts the same reply as Janine and Peter but gets cut off by Peter this time!  She then points out that it’s a bit strange to have a ghost roaming free in the firehouse with them.  Peter gives one of his best lines in the series in reply, “Strange, weird, eccentric, sick that about covers it.”  It’s so funny how he doesn’t even defend it but that’s what makes his character better.  That leads straight to the back story this episode is all about when Peter explains among other things why Slimer is with them.


Some slight structural damages
After defeating Gozer the Ghostbusters return to the firehouse which is now in shambles.  Egon mentions how he will build a bigger containment unit this time and how important it is to destroy their current movie-esque jumpsuits since they absorbed a lot of psychokinetic energy.  I love it when they talk that lingo it makes it seem more true to the nature of the Ghostbusters.  Janine surprises them with their new duds afterwards which are now the different colored ones we’re all accustomed to.  It’s really cool to see the pieces of marshmallow still sticking to the guys too!

Stay Puft droppings remain..
Later Peter and Egon are going over the checklist of the containment unit to make sure everything is in order.  Of course Peter isn’t taking it seriously and gets caught not paying attention.  “Transwarp drive” Egon asks.  Peter confirms it while Egon says he’s not going to speak to him for awhile and that it’s bad for his health!  It’s a classic scene in the series.  As Egon leaves he reminds Peter to burn the old uniforms which Peter didn’t.  He promptly kicks the box right into a corner next to the containment unit of all places.  Way to go Peter, do you realize what you’ve done?!  It’s that lazy aspect of Peter that I like though and without this action it wouldn’t be an episode.  One last tiny crack remained in the containment unit and slowly seeped out ectoplasmic energy that went straight into the old uniforms.  I hope nothing supernatural happens because of that!

Food doesn't go through walls!
Weeks later I would assume as the guys fixed up the firehouse they had their first dinner back at the newly restored building.  Egon picks up a reading on his PKE meter which he even brings to the dinner table.  The man never stops working not even while he eats!  Slimer makes his presence visible when he floats in and snags their thanksgiving type dinner from the table.  Peter recognizes him immediately and the chase begins with the theme music kicking in!  Slimer goes through the front door thinking the food will come with him but gets surprised when he loses it.  He does manage to get away without the food as Egon wonders why he stuck around the firehouse when all the other ghosts didn’t after the containment unit exploded.  Janine claims it’s because he was lonely and the Ghostbusters were the only ones who paid attention to him.  She could be onto something.  Peter insists Slimer merely wants another shot at him.  They might both be right!

As time passed Slimer had brief run-ins with the Ghostbusters and nothing of concern happened.  The funny scene was when Ray decided to name him Slimer to annoy Peter.  It’s a very creative way to pull that off and it works well.  Next Peter’s negligence shows its familiar face in the form of ghost specters.  They look and talk like the Ghostbusters and come complete with ectoplasmic proton packs!  The problem is that they want to bust the guys.  During the scuffle I like how Janine comes strolling in through the front door clearly after hours with a bag of groceries.  What is she up to?  Go home or are you hoping Egon will come downstairs for a midnight snack?  She does show interest in him as he saves her unaware behind from the specter Egon.  They get away and Ray says, “What we’re dealing with is us, those things look just like us.”  “Speak for yourself Ray I couldn’t look that bad on a bet.”  Peter replies.  Then Egon figures it out but in Peter’s version of the story nobody is to blame.

One of the best explanations for a ghost is then unveiled by Egon as they examine the now empty box.  He says ectoplasm is like putty and the more you add the bigger it gets.  He goes on to say they look like them due to the mental imprint left on things you touched.  It’s neat and justifies the specters soundly.

As more time passes the Ghostbusters almost forget about their counterparts until they show up on one of their calls, nice awareness guys.  Peter nearly gets hit by his specter self as the two argue which one of them must be destroyed.  It’s a great scene to watch as the specters are trying to get rid of the Ghostbusters.  The others encounter the rest of them as they narrowly escape the ambush set up by the specters.  I like to think of it in that way.  How else could they attack the Ghostbusters while standing a chance?  They wait long enough in hiding, round up some minor ghosts to lure the Ghostbusters out into the open and then try to get them.  Later on the Ghostbusters discuss how evenly matched they are with the specters and figure out they need to find a way to drain their ectoplasmic forms.

There's not enough room in this town..
They soon get their wish as the specters sneak into the firehouse and steal ecto-1.  The proton packs were inside so that leaves them defenseless as the specters move in for the kill.  I always enjoy the episodes where the Ghostbusters are on the brink but manage to avoid the grim reapers grasp.  Egon figures out that every time the specters shoot their weapons it actually drains their ectoplasm so Slimer goes in place of Ray to try to get them to use as much as they can.  Of course Peter jokes that Janine should go and she attempts to throw a desk lamp at him!  It’s a nice little moment when Slimer comes to the aid of the guys to protect them.  My question is how would ectoplasm beams hurt Slimer?  Wouldn’t it make him bigger instead?  Let’s try to ignore that and appreciate the finale!  The ploy works and the Ghostbusters race out to get their packs from ecto-1.  Ray shouts, “Say goodnight fellas because the real Ghostbusters are here to stay!”  The capture sequence is fantastic and an excitement rushes through you as they trap the ghosts.

Slimer gets to stay for his role in stopping the specters although Peter would rather not want anyone to know he did OK it.  The flashback ends and as Cynthia Crawford leaves Peter thinks she is crazy about him.  She gives her report on television revealing that Slimer is the true unsung hero of the Ghostbusters while Peter shrugs it off as a ‘win some lose some’ philosophy.

Thus concludes one of the best through these first eleven episodes at the very least but I think I may keep the episode featuring the Sandman as my personal favorite at least for now.  This one is a close second so that warrants much praise nonetheless.  If you don’t watch many of these I’d highly recommend that you turn this one, it might make you think twice about putting your laundry off for another day at any rate!

Rating: 10 of 10


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