- #4045-A, B and C (original three part mini-series, also combined three by three into full episodes)
- #4046 (with some edits and released on VHS as a movie)
- #5205-12 (with long added scenes and extended music videos)
The Battle Of The Bands
Synergy has been found by Eric's private detective, and Jerrica and the Holograms have to act quickly to save her. When the big Battle of the Bands is approaching, Eric kidnaps Ashley, and gives Jem and the Holograms an ultimatum to come to the Starlight Drive-In. Now everything is at stake, because if Jem and the Holograms don't make it to the contest in time, Eric gets complete ownership of Starlight Music, and the Misfits get the Mansion and the movie contract.
Jem/Jerrica and the Holograms (Jem, Kimber, Aja, Shana), The Misfits (Pizzazz, Roxy, Stormer), Synergy, Rio, Eric, Starlight Girls (Ashley, Ba Nee, Krissie, Deirdre, Terri, Lela, Anne, Marianne, Joellen, Becky, Nancy, Delaree), Howard, Danielle, Zipper, private detective Manny Malone, Dumbo, male TV announcer at Music Bowl, Howard's female secretary, Flak, Tork, Buster, male policeman.
Synergy, Ashley, Eric, Rio.
Locations & vehicles:
Rockin' Roadster, Starlight Drive-In, Malone's car, Bureau of Records, Starlight Music, Zipper's truck, Starlight Mansion, Music Bowl, Zipper's motorcycle, Howard's office, police cars.
"She's Got The Power" Jem and the Holograms
"Takin' It All" The Misfits
"Music Is Magic" Jem and the Holograms
Parts of songs:
"Winning Is Everything" The Misfits (not included in the retakes version), "Music Is Magic" by Jem and the Holograms.
"Gettin' Down To Business" by Jem and the Holograms, "Music Is Magic" by Jem and the Holograms.
Action, Drama, Humor, Romance, Message.
Italy: Aired on TV. Released on DVD. The episode title was "Synergy" (Synergy).
France: Aired on TV. Released on DVD. The episode title was "Synergie" (Synergy).
Holland: Aired on TV. Released on DVD.
Sweden: Released on VHS. Released on DVD.
Denmark: Released on VHS.
Finland: Released on VHS.
Venezuela: Aired on TV. Released on VHS. The episode title was "Misfits Contra Holograms" (Misfits versus Holograms).
UK: Aired on TV. Released on VHS. Released on DVD.
USA: Originally aired on 29 December 1985, 5 January 1986, and 12 January 1986. Released on VHS. Released on DVD.
Australia: Released on DVD.
This episode was available in several slightly different versions. Originally it consisted of three segments, which were later put togheter to form this episode. The titles of the three segments were 13: Synergy, 14: Prisoners!, and 15: The Big Contest. It then had retakes made, including extended scenes. Read more about the different versions of the material in this episode on Retakes.
Starlight Music has a parking entrance which we never see again in the series.
The private detective Malone actually sees Synergy.
Synergy is brought to Starlight Mansion. Until now she had been pretty much unprotected at the Starlight Drive-In.
There is another sign on top of the Starlight Music roof, of Jem, than the one in the rest of the series.
"In Stitches" (Synergy disguises Jem as an old lady, like she does with Jerrica and the Holograms here)
"The Presidential Dilemma" (The pictures of Synergy that Eric gets from Malone here, are referred to again, and Synergy is being taken apart again)
u-turn, older ladies, ownership records, bureau of records, photos, truck, wrench, map, gate, fashions, eyes, candles, sun, bow and arrow, camels, sunglasses, star, rainbow, office, desk, door, money, mirror, bed, telephone, kidnapping, threat, trap, concert, stadium, filmcamera, reporter, garbage truck, backstage, trunk, contest, escape, chase, capture, door, whisper, control room, audience, prize check, key, car, jewelries, boat, diving, treasure chest, deck of cards, money, dollar bills, coins, helicopter, airplane, statue, dancing, guards, wheelbarrow, shovel, football, football players, cheerleaders, maids, lions, elbow, running, motorcycle, car chase, earring, rescue, police, clones, kiss, smoke, stage, smash guitar, fireworks, movie contract, elevator, waste basket, lawyers, slap, knock out, sign.
Fashions: Jerrica's original doll outfit, Jem's original doll outfit, Kimber's original doll outfit, Aja's original doll outfit, Shana's original doll outfit, Pizzazz' original doll outfit, Roxy's original doll outfit, Stormer's original doll outfit, Flip Side: Let's Rock This Town (Jem), Flip Side: Gettin' Down To Business (Jem), Flip Side: City Lights (Jem), Flip Side: Like A Dream (Jem), On Stage: Command Performance, On Stage: Permanent Wave, On Stage: Only The Beginning, Flip Side: Music In The Air (Jem , but worn by Kimber), On Stage: Dancin' the Night Away, Flip Side: Up & Rockin' (Jem and Jerrica), On Stage: Encore, On Stage: Music is Magic.
Vehicles/playsets: Rockin' Roadster, Star Stage (Jerrica's office).
Alot is at stake here already from the start. It's not life threatening, but as far as we know, the irreplacable technology of Synergy is about to be completely destroyed forever, which would mean the end of Jem. And who knew that wasn't gonna happen the first time this aired? Because there were no signs this was going to be a continuous series with a toyline, certainly no Jem dolls in stores yet for months, nor announced, and none of the other series of Super Saturday/Sunday went on to become a series afterwards. Either way, the secret of Synergy is already at high risk after being photographed by a private investigator.
Or... can Jerrica wear a wig? For Clark Kent it was enough to take off his glasses and change clothes. And Synergy never helped Jerrica sing better anyway, nor anything musicwise at all, nor writing a note, nor even playing a single tone (unless you read some way off Jem storybook with another canon, where Synergy did all kinds of things). So maybe there would be ways to make it to the Battle of the Bands even without Synergy, but still sad to lose the technology and Synergy as a character.
It was clever of Christy Marx to have made Jem turn back into Jerrica already in the previous episode as they exited the drive-in, because that way it both covered making Malone wonder if they were the same person, and thereby it didn't reveal to us viewers nor Jem and the Holograms whether Synergy was really broken or not, by Jem automatically changing back to Jerrica or something. Although someone in the animation editing team made a blooper by adding a scene with Jem in the roadster at this point, where also all of Jem and the Holograms switched places.
Really cool to see Jerrica and the Holograms in holographic disguise as old ladies (and no probably not a hint at the Golden Girls series, since it premiered less than a month before Jem), in a '58 Chevy, according to Christy. So now we don't have to speculate what they would look like in the future (incase Christy let them age naturally, which she once hinted). Although they're in disguise here, it sure was clumsy of Malone to not pay any attention to them being right there outside the theater entrance, where no cars went by regularly, and with those haircolors even as old ladies (colored that way for us viewers to recognize them better of course). But Christy never specified for them to have those haircolors when appearing as old ladies.
This is not the only time Jerrica changes herself into an old lady (but at that point it's not based on an older version of her appearance), it happens also in "In Stitches" and also in the 80's UK comic.
And what a bad private investigator who stayed long enough to be discovered by Jerrica and the Holograms, and this clumsy private investigator is followed all the way to Starlight Music. Which means they now know that Eric knows about Synergy, which is a slight advantage still for the Jerrica and the Holograms.
Here comes a scene that was remade in retakes. Originally Sunbow only animated the scene where Malone asked for photos to be developed here, but in retakes they went back and removed that and animated a scene Christy had already written, where Malone asks for property ownership records. Not sure whether they used the same voice actor for his retakes scenes. Can anyone tell?
Here Eric is actually looking at a photo of Synergy, well five photos it seems! But, notice Synergy's face is not seen on the computer screen (and Malone never saw her face at the drive-in), even when this scene was re-animated in retakes they did it this way (and infact even in the later episode "The Presidential Dilemma" the Misfits do not see Synergy's face).
Malone is smart enough to figure out Jem and Jerrica is the same person though. Malone even insists it's because of this "machine", which was a very daring scene to write by Christy, and so early in the series. For retakes, Christy wanted this scene cut out, most likely because this revelation of a scene needed to be toned down now that the series was to continue beyond this five parter. But they kept it, and I guess they thought it was enough that Eric says he thinks it's impossible because he has seen them (Jem and Jerrica) together. And there's never any obvious reference later in the series of Eric being suspicious of them being the same person, not even when he and the Misfits discuss the earrings in "Adventure In China" and the Misfits even take the earrings and can see them up close.
Notice Eric says he wants it (= Synergy) though. Not uncommon in cartoon series that the badguy wants what the good main character has, whether it's some kind of power, or even a location like castle or something. Eric is not meant to know much about Synergy, so this episode is pretty much it for him wanting Synergy (but of course Starlight Music is his other and more commonly mentioned desire in the rest of the series). Who knows what Eric would had done with Synergy. Well first of all he would keep Jerrica from using Synergy, for whatever he thinks she and the Holograms uses Synergy for.
If Malone suspected Synergy was responsible for the holograms, why didn't he tell Eric specifically about the holographic wall? Just to say the words that "this computer can create holograms" would have done half the job for Eric to understand. Malone must had either thought the wall was something else, forgotten to tell Eric, or just kept it to himself for some reason.
Eric keeps the photos he gets from Malone for a later episode "The Presidential Dilemma".
We never see Malone again after this. Did he just not care anymore after Eric was done with him? Shouldn't he be super interested in Jem and her computer for the rest of his life, or something like that? Well he did think he broke Synergy though. But I'm guessing the holographic wall was still there when he exited (they didn't show his exit though). If so, he must have thought the "machine" didn't project the wall, which would have vanished, but then again why then does he still tell Eric that he thinks Jem and Jerrica are the same? Perhaps he just thought Synergy was not completely broken yet? Christy did cover Malone's possible future nosiness, by writing a new scene about how Eric paid Malone off some extra to not show any more interest in Synergy, that was not added though in retakes. And... according to what takes place in that scene, Eric must have thought this machine is used for something important at this point.
Here Jerrica and the Holograms arrive inside the Starlight Drive-in, and for the first and only time it looks like a corridor after they have entered through the holographic wall. Well this is not really showing us a different angle for this place, nor a deliberately changed look. It's just a blooper, because the animators re-used the background art (here side by side) from when the fashions were revealed to Jerrica and the Holograms in the first episode (without of course the fashions themselves being here now). So couldn't it have been that they already moved all fashions to Starlight Mansion, and this was the actual entrance? No, because then they would have passed the fashions the first time they entered, which they didn't even see until Synergy undercovered that holographic wall.
Also for the first time in the series we get to see the Synergy computer as not part of the background art, but as an entirely drawn animation cel (not just for Synergy's face). Probably since they drew the broken Synergy like that, and had to match with colors when she transformed back.
Jerrica is kinda scared, well she doesn't look nor sound too shocked of the shape she finds Synergy in (well she already suspects Synergy still works since she just talked to her in the earrings, used her holograms to become old ladies, and walked through the holographic wall, which was revealing also to very attentive viewers).
Quick thinking of Jerrica that they had to move Synergy. Jerrica and the Holograms get themselves a truck. And although we never see a clue of it in this episode, Christy covers that they moved more stuff than Synergy, which explains why this place was entirely empty once Eric and the others got there.
And Eric is already on his way. Now we get to see a character called Dumbo, obviously because he is dumb. Kind of a stereotypic look, although Christy never requested him to look this way, but on the contrary muscular. No relation to the Disney elephant btw (although I guess Disney now owns Marvel which co-produced the Jem cartoon, so does that mean the two Dumbos could meet up in the same universe?).
We get to see how Synergy is taken apart, what parts actually come apart (apparently she quite easily divides into seven pieces). So they did this already in the original five-parter, Sunbow practically designed a possible toy for Hasbro, yet Hasbro didn't realize how much money kids would had spent on this (and tyhey still don't). First thing you do when taking your holographic computer apart, is to unplug the cord. The next time we see Synergy taken apart is in the episode "Out Of The Past" where Aja is trusted with an even more delicate task. But we also see Synergy taken apart in "The Presidential Dilemma" (where they still stick to the model art shown here, of how the pieces come apart).
Jem and the Holograms make it in time. And Eric is furious for not finding anything. Here is a question what Eric makes of this situation. Did he think Malone tricked him? Or that Jerrica and the Holograms tricked even Malone, or does Eric realize that there is a Synergy but that Jerrica and the Holograms were able to move it in time? Eric says "this is the last time THEY make a fool out of me", but the word "they" is very hard to hear. In the Swedish dub Eric says "you" where the Swedish word only refers to one person, like assumingly Malone.
So this is where Jerrica and the Holograms take Synergy to Starlight Mansion. I would had wanted to see something of how Jem and the Holograms snuck Synergy past the Starlight girls and Mrs. Bailey at the mansion, and hear them discuss where they placed Synergy (and they would have had to move her again if they would lose the contest). According to Christy, it was meant to be the the basement at this point. But perhaps that was dropped in animation, because I'm not sure if this looks like a basement room, or if Starlight Mansion even had a basement in how the model designers imagined it, but I see no windows though in the room, so maybe). But since it wasn't said in an actual line, and never shown any hints of, the location was never picked up upon for the entire series. Infact nothing in this cartoon ever tells us even what floor Synergy is on, but it certainly never looks like they go down to a basement.
They seem nervous about whether they put her back together correctly, and whether she will start up. We all know what computers are like! Imagine someone in the 80's trying to understand a computer from today (well Synergy was lightyears ahead of any technique even now!).
Kimber says her famous line "Outrageous".
Here starts the music video "She's Got The Power". A powerful song that builds upp more and more. Not a favorite of mine, but definitely a hit! And a strong musical start to this episode. "She's Got The Power" is something so unusual as a music video about Synergy in particular, and the wonderful things she can do. Maybe daring if Jem and the Holograms storywise are releasing this to the public with these lyrics, but on the other hand it doesn't reveal too many details about Synergy. This is Jem and the Holograms showing their "girl power" long before some trashy 90's girlgroups.
The sights of Jem in different fashions consist of xeroxed model cels. Then comes some short moments showing Shana and Jem, that make no sense since they cut out stuff here. As Synergy is seen between huge candles, that's new scenes added in retakes, until we see Jem with candles which is an original scene.
Jem and the Holograms on camels is an original scene, but funny to see and reminds me of the Rama Llama (no it wasn't originally pink here, I re-colored in in this screen cap, which you'll see if you move the cursor over it). Then when Synergy is seen up close turning around her face, those are also added scenes, including the ending with the band. Even the added scenes look fine, but as usual not completely understandable.
A very cool scene was cut out of this video in retakes, where we originally saw lots of Synergy's floating around, and another one where Synergy's face had a transition into becoming all of Jem and the Holograms in different poses. And if you're wondering why Aja isn't seen neither in the desert on a camel, nor at the end when Synergy transforms the outfit for Kimber and then Shana, well atleast Aja was originally included at the end with a city from high above in the background, but cut in retakes.
Nothing in this particular music video actually takes place in the story, unless you can imagine Synergy actually projects different fashions on Jem and gives them this whole holographic show in that very room.
This music video (mixed with some other videos) is also shown at the end of the movie version of these episodes, during the ending credits but with the "Music Is Magic" instrumental playing.
Storywise, exactly six months have now passed since Eric challenged Jerrica in the park in the first episode.
After last episode, when Ashley went with the Misfits all the way to Las Vegas, Jem and the Holograms and Ashley probably found each other a little better since Ashley defended Jem. But still, Ashley sneaks away again in this episode, but only to Starlight Music and only to angrily give the 30 dollars back. Honest of Ashley to do the right thing and return the money (and now we realize one of the reasons Christy made a point of that in previous episodes, to build up for Ashley appearing here). But a bad idea of Ashley to meet Eric and the Misfits when they are desperate.
When Ashley tells Roxy she was never her friend, she is facing the two Misfits Roxy and Pizzazz, while Stormer is standing behind Ashley. This placement of the Misfits was done on purpose by Christy, but of course Pizzazz and Roxy don't realize Stormer kinda is her friend.
When Ashley says her line, she emphasizes the wrong word "You can HAVE your money back!", while she should emphasize "back". I guess the voice actress assumed there had been discussion previously about getting the money back.
What a funny scene when Pizzazz grabs the money from Ashley and then Eric just grabs them from Pizzazz. It shows how Eric was in charge over Pizzazz at this point (spoiler: long before Eric was hired to Misfits Music by Pizzazz and her father). Why did he do that though, is it Eric's money? It wasn't written by Christy this way.
Nice to see Stormer atleast hesitates before she leaves with the other Misfits, and leaves Ashley with Eric Raymond. Can't say Stormer is perfectly good or brave here, or does the best for Ashley. She's still a Misfit, but I'm guessing she didn't simply choose her career over Ashley. She was just outnumbered anyway by Pizzazz, Roxy and Eric, and probably didn't expect the worst for Ashley (despite what Eric had already done to Jem and the Holograms, and Ashley isn't even part of the Holograms anyway). But Stormer could atleast have done more after she left with the Misfits... well she does make some more attempts in this episode.
Here is a scene of a random bedroom, and Jerrica and the Holograms are picking clothes. We get to see they have a bunch of clothes. Interesting to see what kind of clothes they own, and some of the ones shown are known ones like Aja's original stage outfit, Jerrica's original pink/blue striped outfit, Jerrica's "City Lights", Shana's original stage jacket, Jerrica's "Gettin Down to Business", Shana's "Dancin' The Night Away", Aja's "Encore", Kimber's original stage outfit. We even see a bunch of shoes.
Since it was such a big deal with Kimber feeling left out two episodes ago, it seems surprising they added a scene in retakes after Kimber says "Oh, here it is, the big night, and I don't know what to wear", where Jerrica says "pick something soon or we'll go without you". Well maybe Kimber can take it by now.
When Eric calls Jerrica and says his threat with Ashley, he says the line "get down to business" which seems like an injoke reference to the Jem and the Holograms song "Gettin' Down To Business".
Hmm I wonder why Eric didn't ask for Jerrica aswell. Or atleast he doesn't seem concerned why she didn't come along with Jem and the Holograms to the drive-in later. A clue that he thinks Jem and Jerrica is the same person? Or probably he is just satisfied with having the entire band there, to keep them from performing.
Rio is such a good guy that notices and cares there's something wrong with Jerrica and the Holograms, and he is probably very disappointed here for not being trusted with it. Christy even wrote a scene to be added in retakes, which would take place at the Music Bowl after the Misfits susprised him, where Rio would wonder about it. In a later episode by Christy, "The Music Awards Part 1", Rio actually leaves in anger for not being trusted.
Jem and the Holograms did suspect Eric set a trap at Starlight Drive-in, but Jerrica probably figured they have the advantage of Synergy, and they couldn't take the chance to let Ashley down.
Outside the Music Bowl it's a mystery who those Jem and Misfits clones are, and the answer is... they are dressed out fans. I guess they happened to be lookalikes, aswell as good at sewing clothes. I guess it's logical, because look online today at all the beautiful works of the real life Jem fan customizers, some of which even print their own fabrics.
Christy wrote some interesting lines here with Eric telling Pizzazz off, which never made it into the episode. If you've read through these reviews, you know Christy was used to writing for action series, with dangerous scenes, tough characters and lines, and Sunbow toned it down for Jem on several occasions, or cut it like they did here.
Here comes some added retakes scenes with the Misfits, Eric and Ashley. It's added scenes in retakes from when Ashley runs away, until she is captured. Just like Jem and the Holograms are doing at the same time at Starlight Drive-in, Ashley is fighting to run away, and is running towards a door. That door Ashley is trying to escape from the Misfits through, turned out veeery tiny in the animation though, looks so funny (and the retakes animators even happened to create an obvious blooper of the door disappearing). And Christy didn't write for Roxy to stop her at the door though, but Pizzazz, so... blooper there too.
Stormer tries to talk to Ashley inside the trunk. Brave of Stormer, because maybe Pizzazz and Roxy would even start figuring out she was the "mystery lady". But Stormer oughta had opened the lock (because it was clearly not locked with a key, which you can also see when Rio later opens it) and hope Ashley stayed inside just until they had all left. Maybe that was what she was trying to do.
The Misfits go see Rio backstage, where he is running a check of the sound board. Interesting that Rio thinks it's Jem sneaking up behind him, and not Jerrica. As if he hopes for Jem, but on the other hand Jem was expected to be there and perform.
Here starts the song "Takin' It All" by The Misfits. This must be the most direct and biggest hit of the Misfits so far. This is a really cocky and cool song, a great song to compete with in this contest, and it also shows the Misfits' way of seeing things.
The music video has a continuous story you can actually follow. The Misfits are acting like they already won the contest, maybe hard to grasp whether those scenes are taking place for younger viewers? But very interesting example of how things could had ended up, in an exaggerated reality where they win all the money in the world and Jem and the Holograms work for them. Jem and the Holograms working for the Misfits is a theme that would later appear in several more Misfits videos. We see some card games here, fits the casino theme that has continued in Misfits videos. Rio as a football player has the number 86 on his shirt, as in the year 1986 I guess. Kinda fun to see Rio, a man, being viewed as a prize by the Misfits here.
We actually see what Howard's secretary looks like for the only time in the series. The Misfits are driving away in a car that resembles the roadster but in another color. After that, everything we see are added retakes scenes, until wee see them dancing in front of lots of green dollar bills. Not bad animated added scenes though, which is a refreshing thing for being retakes, I guess the people who did the added scenes had learned to draw this style by now.
The movie version cut off the intro to this song and instead played the end of the song "Winning is Everything" before this song started, kinda insinuating that the bands compete with more than one song, or that the Misfits had to keep the audience entertained while waiting for Jem and the Holograms. BTW pretty short concert for all these people, to only see two songs. I guess there must have been warm up acts. Limp Lizards?
Was Eric so smart to think it would be fine to return Ashley after the contest? This was one scheme he couldn't get away with. Even if he was ready to go to jail to have the Misfits win by default, I guess Jem and the Holograms could tell the contest people that Eric kept them from competing. Eric probably didn't mean for Ashley to end up in such a dangerous situation though, he didn't even know where the Misfits kept her.
I wonder why Eric choose to meet Jem and the Holograms at the Starlight drive-in, maybe a safe abandoned place. But it was a good idea for us viewers so that they use a place that is known by now.
But shouldn't there have been an opening in the wall now that Synergy's holographic wall at the drive-in was gone? Actually Christy covered that in the script, the wooden door was put up by Zipper and his henchmen.
Here Jem actually knocks Eric down, with her elbow. The scene where Zipper helps Eric up, was originally slightly longer before he dropped Eric, but was cut in retakes.
Jem driving away in the roadster was not written by Christy. Maybe Sunbow took the chance to add the roadster, which was a Hasbro product. Very exciting when Zipper chases Jem, and some unexpected turns! Jem is so cool in these scenes, really giving Zipper a challenge, and it was all by herself at this point without the help of any of Synergy's holograms. And it sounds wrong to say it, but this is where Zipper really shines as a bad guy.
I don't know if it was any inspiration or not to either Christy, the model designers, or animators, but I get Terminator vibes when I see Zipper with his haircut and black leather jacket on a motorcycle (yeah I know I mentioned Terminator also in the review for the first episode). And the first Terminator movie was a huge success and was released the year before Jem premiered.
Very daring jump of Zipper over the fence. Jem could still have escaped if she hadn't mind hurting Zipper. But atleast she started running, in high heels. Very smart of Jem to throw off one earring at this point, so that Synergy can later project holograms outside the drive-in. I love Christy's sense for details like this. Synergy is actually calling for "Jerrica" although she is currently Jem, which is logical because Synergy only sees her as Jerrica, and it's a good reminder to new viewers that Jem is Jerrica. In the French dub, here Synergy yelled like she was possessed.
Kinda funny how Christy turned things around by now. Jem and the Holograms are at the Starlight Drive-in and Synergy is at the Starlight Mansion. The opposite of how it was just moments ago.
Here starts the next mini-episode. We see an unknown henchman of Eric/Zipper, instead of Tork, who doesn't look like Tork, and I'd actually like to name him Flak (he can also be seen in the recap in the beginning of "Starbright Part One: Falling Star"). Infact that was Christy's name for a henchman who was cut out of these scenes. His role wasn't big, he did nothing of his own, just included in things the other henchmen did.
No idea why he was cut out, but I guess the upcoming scenes didn't call for so many henchmen, if Jem and the Holograms should even come close to being successful with their escape-attempts. Flak was most likely cut before animation, and the animators accidentally used the wrong model cel here instead of Tork's, with a somewhat similar hairstyle, and strangely Tork's clothes are re-colored here compared to the previous episode, into this same color of clothes as "Flak" here. However, this is most likely not how Flak would had looked though, since this model cel more resembles one of the roadies who helped Rio set up the show in Las Vegas.
Eric goes from being at the Starlight Drive-in, to appearing at the Music Bowl on stage in the very next scene, only 20 seconds later, in screentime (or zero seconds in the movie version). This was kinda hard to grasp when I was younger, where he actually was, when he left the drive-in and how far it was to the Music Bowl. Especially later when Jem created three holograms of him it kinda confused me whether one of those was really Eric or not (but infact it was holograms projected over Jem/Aja/Shana, we just didn't get see them turn into three "Erics", and just barely saw them change back).
The Rock Meter is a giant guitar, a really cool idea to display how the cheering of the audience decides the winner. The Rock Meter was meant to be about 20 feet high according to Christy (looks like it ended up being about 200 feet instead), but she meant for it to be another shape in her script, not a guitar, but a stylized vertical shooting star.
When Eric says "let's hear it for the Misfits", we see the Starlight girls, not applauding nor cheering. I guess a contest like this could depend on how many friends you have in the audience (well atleast if there's more than 12 of them). Interesting how high the Misfits end up on the Rockmeter, so they were quite appreciated by the audience after all.
Before Ashley arrives in the trunk, there is a partly cut scene between Eric and Rio, which can be seen in the movie version of this episode, that included Eric saying "It's no wonder your girlfriend didn't show up, she'd never beat the Misfits!" to Rio. So Eric actually called Jem the "girlfriend" of Rio.
Here comes a line in the scene with Ashley, that atleast originally wasn't written by Christy. Stormer actually saves Ashley's life here by telling Rio Ashley is in the trunk, which is about to get smashed. I really don't think the other Misfits and Eric mind at all that Stormer called out in a situation like this! Then Rio saves her by grabbing the trunk at the last second. Sounds like Ashley screams for Rio, although she can't see him. Maybe she just heard people outside who might hear and free her, or did she even realize the workers are trashing stuff? In return, Ashley has valuable information for Rio of where Jem and the Holograms are. Great writing of Christy here how one thing leads to another. And this is my general impression when watching episodes by Christy, that she wrote scenes for a reason, often even smaller details, and was very good at following up on the occurrences all the way and not leaving loose ends.
Here Howard is making things extra exciting by saying they have 15 minutes until he has no choice but to award the contest to the Misfits.
What comes now are lots of unexpected events at the Starlight drive-in that may be hard to follow. Infact I remember when I was younger and wasn't sure what actually took place storywise and what was holograms by Synergy. Christy did give us a clue since Jem is talking to Synergy through her earring first.
These holographic scenes are so entertaining. Christy saved some of the capabilities of Synergy so far, to max it for now I guess, and shows great imagination.
Why lions in particular though? Well... very scary, and direct! And Christy loves cats, so maybe that's a reason. And remember, before they went in to the Starlight Drive-in, Kimber actually said the lines "Talk about walking into the lion's den..." and Jem replied "We're going to pull the lion's teeth". In the 1986 hardcover storybook "Battle of the Bands" by Golden it's tigers instead of lions though (and since they obviously based most of their story for this book on early drafts of Christy's scripts, perhaps Christy originally had written tigers here rather than lions? But wait, is that a train in the background in the book art?).
Why make holograms of the police outside though? Maybe to distract attention so they can all run away? But maybe Synergy could had kept the holograms and not faded them away. Did she remove them once they were about to reach so far as to touch the badguys, which would reveal them anyway? Or did Synergy just have no further instructions by Jerrica? Or was there some interference for her signal? Or too many holograms projected at once maybe, from each earring?
Synergy even projects a hologram of Jem and the Holograms being "invisible" (reminds me of Kimber's line a couple of episodes ago about being the invisible woman behind Jem) and then appearing (and invisibility also happens in a UK 80's comic in another situation though). Jem and the Holograms run towards a door, and Buster and Tork run to intercept them, but Jem and the Holograms stop, and the thugs run right into a fake door which was only a hologram. How stupid of Buster and Tork not to remember where the door was. But such a hilarious scene!
So brave of Kimber to scream "keep going" for the others, when she is captured by Zipper. Second time Zipper grabs for Kimber in particular when he gets the chance, and it repeats in a later episode by another writer aswell, Hot Time In Hawaii. But this scene where they all three stop automatically, I think Christy deliberately wanted to show how the others care and are instinctively going by the "it's all of us, or none of us" policy they have built up by now. Sure Jem was about to leave earlier on her own, but Kimber did call for her to run, to get help.
So cool to see three Eric Raymonds, which are (as mentioned earlier) actually projected over the bodies of Jem, Aja and Shana. This scene wasn't originally in Christy's script though. I wonder if Zipper told Eric about these crazy holograms later on. But since the series proved so popular and continued beyond this episode, we must assume neither Malone nor Zipper (or the other henchmen) told Eric anything in specific about the holograms they saw, anything we didn't hear, or Eric would suspect too much.
For anyone who claims the bad guys didn't see consequences in this series, here four of them are arrested already in the fifth episode (and fact is Christy had written a very good explanation why the Misfits themselves were never arrested in this five-parter, already for the second episode, Disaster, but Sunbow changed it before animation). We never see Zipper's henchmen again. But it takes Zipper only four episodes to appear again, in "The World Hunger Shindig" (then with another haircolor, and by another writer) and to find new "friends". But this was the last episode Christy ever wrote about Zipper. The next time she needed a lasting bad guy, Techrat was introduced. So I guess as far as she was concerned, Zipper was arrested too at this point.
Nice retouch on the fact that Jem earlier threw away her earring, and is now picking it up here. In some later episodes, by other writers, details like that would be skipped.
When Howard is about to present the Misfits as the winners, and Jem and the Holograms appear on stage, it's quite a magical moment! It's very well executed and the amazing song "Music Is Magic" more than does the job. As a viewer you pretty much know here that Jem and the Holograms have made it. Infact they practically just needed to arrive there to win.
"Music Is Magic" feels like the best song of these five episodes when it arrives unexpectedly just at the right moment, and with those uplifting lyrics, celebrating all the magic we feel when listening to music. To see how perfect it is for the occasion, compare it to throwing in songs like "Gettin' Down To Business" or "Deception" in this scene (also amazing songs that fit their occasion perfectly though). Well it's indeed a great song in itself! Ford Kinder and Anne Bryant gave us a fantastic music piece! And Barry Harman puts it into words what the meaning of music really is to Jem and the Holograms, with lyrics like "it lets you see the world the way it oughta be" and "it finds you when you're low and lifts you to the sky", which I really love!!! And Britta Phillips' amazing voice really lifts this song and especially those high tones in the end!
During this video we see what happens storywise at the same time, with Eric leaving the Music Bowl, in the ROCKIN' ROADSTER! Christy didn't write more here than him trying to escape and being caught by the police. I guess he drove it there from the Starlight Drive-in earlier on, after Jem probably left the key in when running from Zipper. I guess it was the fastest way to escape for Eric now. But here Eric is officially arrested aswell, which we also hear mentioned in added retakes scenes in this same episode, aswell as the next episode. For kidnapping, grand theft auto, and who knows what else they got on him by now of the things he did to Jem and the Holograms. I guess logically a trial must have taken place that we never see.
A Pizzazz clone shows up in front row of the audience, cheering for Jem and the Holograms, and close to her is a blonde woman dressed out like Pizzazz will look later with her main outfit in the rest of the series (the top of it atleast). So she showed up here with Pizzazz' new look before Pizzazz even had it (creepy!!!)! This can barely be seen unless you pause at the audience in the music video. And no, this was not an added scene in retakes (at which time this re-design of Pizzazz' outfit had been created), so there is no logical explanation why this version of Pizzazz' dress appeared already here before it was even designed. Infact, this scene is not even included in the retakes version of this episode.
Nice to see a re-connection on Danielle (who didn't get alot to do in this episode). I guess the only character completely missing here would be Lindsey, interviewing them and getting to show her joy for them since they have become something of friends by now. Even Mrs. Bailey should be there to celebrate because she could now keep her job and live (assumingly) in a very nice place, and someone needed to be there in the audience to take care of the Starlight girls.
Some dancing scenes added in this music video in retakes. The retakes animation looks kinda fine by now, but you can still tell what is retakes and not, by looking at the movements.
Funny with the Misfits smashing three guitars backstage. I thought rockstars did this just for effect, but I guess the Misfits do it even off stage, for anger management therapy.
We now see Sunbow accidentally used the oldstyle Jem logo, the one from inbetween the M logo and the final Jem logo, with a star with lots more spikes. Speaking about the fireworks, perhaps they were rigged by Rio here, considering he says in the later episode "Renaissance Woman" (by another writer), that he's been rigging pyrotechniques for Jem and the Holograms' concerts for years by then.
Any lines after the last music video, after Kimber says "Truly Outrageous", were not there originally but added later in retakes.
The added scene with Howard giving the awards to Jem and the Holograms were a good addition, to point out that they actually won, and remind us what it was they won. Also nice to see that the Starlight girls hadn't taken the mansion for granted by now, and said excitedly "it's really ours" here.
I guess if Eric and the Misfits had won this contest, Starlight Music would soon be renamed "Raymond Records", a name he comes up with in a later episode by Christy "The Stingers Hit Town Part 1".
The added retakes scene with the Misfits looking straight at us viewers and promise to get even, sounds kinda Scooby Doo in attitude (well I guess it's the retakes animation that did that). A similar scene takes place also in "The Talent Search Part 1" when Jetta has joined the band, also written by Christy.
I don't feel the least sad for the Misfits not winning. Well maybe for Stormer, after we've seen all of her nice moments, like how she saved Jem and Ashley. But the Misfits didn't seem to need the mansion, nor Starlight Music. Spoiler: And the next time we see the Misfits, in the next episode, we feel even less sad for any of them when Pizzazz' father shows up and let's them practically live in his even huger mansion, and buys the movie studio for Pizzazz, and a few episodes later even a record company. All written by Christy, so she evens it out for the Misfits, I guess to make them equals again as rivals for Jem and the Holograms.
Nice to see Jerrica and Rio return to Starlight Music here. Jerrica is after all kinda the main character rather than Jem, and I think Christy wanted to give her some more attention here. On top of that, there was a scene that was supposed to be added at Starlight Music in the retakes at the end, including Eric's secretary.
Here Christy was kinda forced to take a line from the upcoming episode which she had already written, to explain why Eric wasn't in jail. She needed that explanation already here to be able to include Eric, which thereby made it excess in the next episode where Jem said the same thing (except you could argue Jem isn't known to be Jerrica, and could aswell had been trying to act as surprised there as Jerrica was here, or perhaps as sarcasm against Eric at that point). I don't think Eric should have arrived here at all, but I understand Christy probably wanted to show how Eric grabbed the picture of Synergy to use for later episodes, now that Christy knew the series would continue. Christy never did refer to those pictures again though, but another writer did, in "The Presidential Dilemma". Spoiler: And another writer, in "Out Of The Past", referred to Eric having liberated (stolen!) lots of more things from Starlight Music at this point, like the recordings of Jacqui Benton's master tapes.
Eric actually slaps Jerrica in the face here. Christy did not actually write for Eric to slap Jerrica, just push her towards the door. Some Jem fans have incorrectly interpretated this scene as removed from the movie version because it was too violent, but no, that is not correct. It was not even animated at that point. Instead it was consciously added as a retakes scene here, and never removed from any version. Jerrica slaps Eric back though in the later episode "Out Of The Past", for another reason.
Spoiler: This is not the last time Eric ever sets his foot in Starlight Music, he returns as the owner very late in the series, "The Day The Music Died", and is of course seen in flashbacks at Starlight Music in "Out Of The Past".
Nice to see, by these last scenes, that Jerrica is the one who gets the final kiss from Rio, rather than Jem (because Rio is Jerrica's boyfriend after all).
Even in the very last added scene in retakes, when the final version of the Jem logo had been established since many episodes ago, they still add the previous version of the logo, even twice, with the differently shaped star with more spikes. I actually like that version better, because it kinda looks like a Jemstar earring.
This episode keeps you on edge throughout the whole thing. Not alot of time for many new storylines in this one though.
This was the closing episode, with an unavoidable resolution to what is set up already in the first episode, and needed to tell who won the big contest. We also first needed to know what happened with Synergy from the previous episode. But we even do get to see some new twists here like kidnappings, lots of bad guys, lots of action and holographic projections, finally another Misfits song, and this episode even has some love scenes.
Infact, is there any other episode that had more holographic projections than this? I see that as an accomplishment. Holograms was a very special ingredient of this show, and it's not used as a quick solution to all troubles in this series, but a consciously added ingredient that I wish was included in more episodes.
This is the only episode of the series (except for the very last episode), that introduced no new actual fashions in the stories. It did introduce some very simple ones in music videos though, and Jerrica and the Holograms as old ladies in a car, if that counts.
Christy manages to let both bands sing a full song at the contest here, and is still able to keep the music videos from being presented right after each other, by adding a lot of exciting scenes inbetween.
This fifth episode was no exception for silly animated retakes though. Most written by Christy, and writing-wise I of course have no complaints. They fill up some interesting gaps. The animation wasn't terrible in this particular episode, but if they had been done in better animation, aswell as left the music videos completely untouched, it would had been much better! Infact I'd love for Christy to write in more inbetween scenes at some points in this five-parter to explain even more things. Isn't that a great idea? And maybe talented Jem fanartists can even animate them in a project similar to this: Jem re-animation project (or atleast make still images) and perhaps even have the voice actors voice them. That's what I call extra material for a possible upcoming DVD release.
What traumas Ashley go through in these first episodes, and yet she turns out so nice and responsible for the rest of the series. Next time we see Ashley, is in the very next episode, she is working nicely with the other Starlight girls at a party.
Though you might not pay attention to Rio in particular in an action-packed episode like this, he's quite active here, with a bunch of scenes. First he worries about Jerrica and the Holograms, then he is surprised by the Misfits at the Music Bowl, he is quite visible in the Misfits music video, put Eric in place at the Music Bowl, saves Ashley at the Music Bowl, saves Jem and the Holograms at the Starlight Drive-in, and goes back to Starlight Music and knocks down Eric.
If the resolution in this episode had come already after the first two episodes, it would had worked storywise (although as a Jem fan I want as many episodes as possible of course). The inbetween stuff Christy created in the previous two episodes may not have been totally necessary to tell the story of Jem, but those episodes gave heart to this show, by letting us get to know the characters, and Christy sure did a good job on making it all connect logically.
So what is my favorite of the 15 segments? What... you don't care? Tired of reading all my random notes by now? Well I'll tell you anyway. Hard to avoid saying the first or second segment of "The Beginning" because of all the introductions, or the last one in "The Battle Of The Bands" because alot of excitement is resolved there. Nontheless those episode are aswell very wellwritten. But to look especially at all of the inbetween ones, I'd like to point out the second and third segments of "Kimber's Rebellion" because I hold ontopic character-driven episodes high and these are emotional in a beautiful way. But I also very much prefer stories where Synergy is in focus, which is also highly ontopic for this series, and all of the action in the first episode of "The Battle Of The Bands" is especially great! What are your favorites?
So after seeing these first five episodes, and looking very closely at them, do they introduce a story and characters that hold up interested for an entire series of 65 episodes? Of course! Christy definitely made loveable and complex characters, they're also very well designed, and you'll be hooked on the songs, action and drama, and perhaps even the fashions! Christy set up for a possible continuation, partly by added retakes. Christy had even created very detailed background information, possible stories for the main characters, aswell as for secondary characters in the Jem bible. Spoiler: As for one of the main questions of this show, Jem's identity, we're never promised by any means that Jem will tell her secret to Rio, but the tension sure built more and more as the series went along.
Good thing for the rest of the series that Christy didn't already give a resolution to Rio finding out Jem's secret. But I guess that had to be saved unresolved for now, just incase the series would go beyond these first five episodes. Spoiler: Was it ever meant to be resolved? Well Christy has actually said: "Were it up to me, I would have moved the arc of the series ahead at some point by having Rio learn the truth and make Jerrica deal with the consequences.".
Incase you haven't already, I can strongly recommend you to watch the rest of this series! The many writers of the following 60 episodes explore all kinds of scenarios which allowed us to get to know the characters more, learn about their past, see where the careers of the bands went, new members and bands join in, new bad guys, twists to the lovetriangle. And even time travel!!! No series is complete without a time travel episode, right? And a yeti. But seriously, if you enjoyed these first five episodes, you'll probably enjoy the rest alot!
Feel like buying any of the things you've just seen, as toys or other products? Well as for anyone who criticizes brands that start as toyline for just being a toy commercial, let me just point out that none of the Hasbro products for this show was even available in stores at this point when the first five episodes had originally aired. Not even for months and months. Not even in the same year! Infact many of the characters, fashions, vehicles and buildings never became available for purchase, because they were part of Christy's stories. And perhaps you can enjoy and respect these stories even more knowing how much creative freedom Christy had. It came straight from the imagination and heart of Christy.
For fun stuff:
Synergy seemed to be smashed in the previous episode, and this is the start of a very busy actionpacked episode.
Why was Rio driving a policecar?
Maybe Eric would have had a greater chance making the Misfits win, if they had concentrated more on their music and image?
Why did none of the characters that re-appeared here from the previous episode, ever appear in the series again?
Best thing in the entire episode: Interesting to see Synergy come apart. All of the holographic projections (like the funny one where the henchmen run into a fake door). The way Jem and the Holograms' entered the stage.
Worst thing in the entire episode: The retakes scene where Pizzazz and Roxy chase Ashley wasn't a favorite. It did paint out Ashley as slightly more of a fighter, and perhaps added some excitement, but most of all it just took alot of time.
New style: Not much fashion-wise here, since this was an episode that closed storylines rather than introduced new stuff. But how about Jerrica and the Holograms getting an "old style" as old ladies? Or Rio as a football star.
Surprises: Synergy being perfectly fine, she must be made of some sturdy materials. All of the clones outside the Music Bowl, and the three Eric Raymonds.
Most exciting moment: When Zipper chases Jem in the roadster with his motorcycle. And also the other escape attempts at the drive-in. Or when Rio saves Ashley. Or when Jem and the Holograms have minutes to show up on stage.
What should be cut out: Well the retakes aren't so badly done in this episode, but I guess some of them could be cut out, like the chase scene with Ashley.
What else could it had done: It could had shown us more of where they placed Synergy.
Covered what happened with Zipper, because we don't see him getting arrested.
Something I missed, not specifically in this episode, but somewhere in the five-parter, was another attempt of Jerrica to approach Starlight Music again during the six months until the big contest, or atleast a comment on how they managed to release their music on their own (well I guess they commented on that in the second and third episodes, by the help from their new wealthy friends).
Biggest argument: Jem vs Zipper. The one between Eric and Pizzazz, was written but never animated. And Rio going at Eric two times.
Best look: It has to be Rio, because there are no new looks here and he looks great as a football star in a Misfits video.
Worst look: Jem and the Holograms dressed as maids in the Misfits music video.
Where could the Rama Llama fit in: Jem could had projected llamas chasing Zipper and his henchmen instead of lions (but then maybe not as scary). Or Kimber could had ridden a llama in that music video instead of a camel. Or a llama could had presented the Battle of the Bands contest instead of Howard Sands.
Is Rio a "hero" or "Ken doll": He saves Ashley, arrives with the police to save Jem and the Holograms, and hits Eric. That last one would have hurt Ken's plastic hand.
Who do Rio love most, Jerrica or Jem: His thoughts are with Jem and he kisses her, but the ending with Jerrica, including kissing her, means she wins, for now.
What character practically does nothing: Aja and Shana don't do much of their own, they just tag along (Kimber gets a few more moments). Danielle practically does nothing, but atleast she is here unlike Mrs. Bailey, Lindsey or Anthony.
This episode has alot of...: Fans. Holographic projections. Lion references. Kidnappings. Henchmen. Clones. Violence.
Someone should make a toy out of this: Rockmeter, although I'm not sure why. Starlight Drive-in, oh wait, it looked kinda cooler in the earlier episodes with the projected interiors. Synergy playset, that could be taken apart as seen here. Zipper's motorcycle!
What character from another cartoon should be brought into a scene: Maybe Zipper from Chip & Dale: Rescue Rangers, could come with Jem and the Holograms to the Starlight Drive-in and then being able to escape and contact Rio.
What would Barbie had done: She would had sat at the Starlight drive-in and cried for losing her first contest in her lifetime. Because she would had frozen by fear of the dangerous men, and she would be shocked another band won the contest because in Barbie's world she has the only band.
Best mischief-award in this episode goes to: Well she does it for a good reason, but what Jem does at the drive-in to mess with the minds of Zipper and the others is hilarious! Other than that, there's not really anything funny mischief-wise in this episode, just scary things like chases and kidnappings.
Challenge for you while you watch this:
Figure out who is really who of the henchmen.
Figure out how much Eric really realizes about what he hears from Malone.
Find as many Jem and Misfits lookalikes as you can count.
How could Jem's identity have been revealed by mistake: By Malone obviously. And if Eric and his henchmen had driven a little faster to the drive-in and found Synergy. By all the unrealistic holograms at the drive-in. When the hologram of Jerrica backstage bumps into Rio and he can't actually touch her, because her body is currently performing on stage as Jem.
Animals: Three camels in a music video. Holograms of lions.
Where could another song fit in: When Jem and the Holograms hurry to go get Synergy, I guess a song like "Time Is Running Out" would fit here. The Misfits would have had plenty of time to entertain the audience at the Music Bowl with more songs, or why not a warm up act before the main bands? Limp Lizards could had sung some of their greatest hits!
Room for a yeti or timetravel somewhere in here: I bet Jem and the Holograms would want to do a timetravel and call the police instead of going inside that drive-in. And I bet one of the dressed out fans at the Music Bowl was actually a Yeti.
What made the series take a step forward or back: More holograms was a step forward. This episode gave resolution to some things more or less permanently, which it had been building up for many episodes. Ashley found her place with Jem and the Holograms which was a lasting thing for the series. Synergy was moved into a safe place. A step backwards was the lack of new fashions, there were actually a few fashions created for these first five episodes that were not even used until later episodes, atleast "Award Night" for Jem which she easily could had worn in this episode, or even the Jem version of "Rock Country" which never appeared anywhere in the series but in the show intro.
Animation quality: Even the retakes scenes look better than previous episodes here.
Ending: It didn't tell us all things we would have found interesting, but then again this was not the end of this show. We can't be anything but satisfied though, since we even got an extra ending with Jerrica, Rio and Eric at Starlight Music.