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For the apparent season finale of the Guardians of the Galaxy animated series, the show turned to its only remaining villain who still had credibility: Thanos. Comic book movie fans are going to be seeing a lot of Thanos in the next couple of years, and hopefully he’ll be a tougher opponent on the big screen.

After last week’s episode, Thanos and his army invaded Spartax at the invitation of J’son, Spartax’s recently deposed leader and the father of Peter Quill a.k.a. Star-Lord. It was refreshing to watch Thanos as he mopped the floor with the Guardians, Thor, the Asgardians, and even the Destroyer. For a few brief moments, it seemed like “Rescue Me” might actually redeem this series’ first season.

Only J’son’s reminder that Star-Lord can operate the Cosmic Seed’s Crypto Cube managed to convince Thanos to spare Quill. Thanos then kidnapped Star-Lord, which led to an unlikely coalition of Thor, Angela, the Destroyer, and even J’son joining the Guardians on a mission to rescue Star-Lord. That was a decent setup, and yet after establishing the fact that everyone knew that J’son was going to betray them, the Guardians still let him run around with his hands free after he activated the beacon to track Thanos. That was pretty stupid, even by the standards of this show.

The episode’s standout sequence was an extended mental assault on Star-Lord as Thanos attempted to trick him into opening the Crypto Cube by forcing Quill to relive the last moments of his dying mother on Earth. The show did the whole Wizard of Oz “you were in my dream, and you!” thing with the Guardians by giving them human counterparts in Star-Lord’s vision. Despite a vague awareness that the set up was a lie, Star-Lord still opened the Crypto Cube out of the hope that it could save his mother.

Left unexplained in this season is the very simple question about why Quill was the only person who could open the Crypto Cube and find the Cosmic Seed. J’son must have been able to control the Cube at some point, considering that he stole the Cosmic Seed from Asgard. And yet it seemed like he locked himself out of the Cube…for reasons? It doesn’t hold up well to scrutiny.

Guardians of the Galaxy 119 part 2

Regardless, Thanos was greatly enhanced by the lingering Cosmic Seed energy from the Crypto Cube as he took on the Guardians and their Asgardian allies. Then the show made perhaps the biggest misstep in its entire first season. Who do you think played a major role in Thanos’ downfall? Drax? Gamora? Star-Lord? Drax and Gamora both tried to attack Thanos, but didn’t have much of an impact. Instead, the biggest blow to Thanos came from Loki, who basically showed up out of nowhere to cast Thanos into his own black hole.

Are you frickin’ kidding me with that crap?! Now, it would be one thing if Loki’s turn had even been slightly earned throughout the episode. But Loki was barely in it! He had cut and run during Thanos’ initial attack, only to show up in the 11th hour to steal a moment that should have belonged to the Guardians themselves. A Thanos vs. Loki battle could have been very interesting on its own, but this wasn’t a battle and it was over before it really began.

In the aftermath, Loki claimed that he stole the Cosmic Seed by forced himself to forget where he hid it…and Thor basically pardoned Loki for trying to overthrow him. That was also pretty stupid. As for J’son, he was imprisoned, while Star-Lord turned down the throne of Spartax in favor of his sister, Captain Victoria. Cree Summer was absolutely wasted in the role of Victoria, and sadly, Mantis didn’t make a return appearance even though the episode was the fulfillment of her prophecy.

The way the episode wrapped up the first season’s major plotlines seemed very rushed and forced. And as a quasi-cliffhanger, Star-Lord realized that his Thanos-induced vision told him that the Cosmic Seed had been hidden on Earth.

Let’s just get this out of the way: Guardians of the Galaxy had a horrible first season that squandered a lot of good will that the film had built up. The counter argument in favor of this show has always been that it’s aimed at children. But it’s not even a good children’s show! Everything from the writing and the acting to the animation and production values were lackluster at best. At the end of the season, Guardians of the Galaxy has left behind only one thing: a crushing sense of disappointment for what should have been a great animated series.

What did you think of the latest Guardians of the Galaxy episode? Let us know in the comment section below!

Image Credits: Marvel TV/Disney XD

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