Suggested Title: Lucky Break

 

Summary:

 

Besides, "bulldozer" is easier to write, and actually makes more sense for this plan.

Technically these are front end loaders, but who am I to argue with the Code Lyoko translation staff?

The principal has gathered a bunch of students around the school’s track to show everyone some bulldozers and talk about the school’s bright future of sports equipment.

 

Meanwhile Jeremie tells Aelita that he’s nearly completed his devirualization program. He runs a test, but it yields an angry red exclamation point of failure. Jeremie leaves his room in a storm of emo angst, lending Odd the opportunity to sneak in and spill non-descript candy all over the keyboard. Jeremie returns to his room moments later and discovers what Odd has done, treating us to this exchange:

 

Odd: “Relax Max, I didn’t hurt your little toy”

Jeremie: “You’re such a cosmic creep, look what you’ve done, those keys are incredibly sensitive!”

 

They say if you give a thousand monkeys a thousand typewriters eventually they’ll write Shakespeare. It turns out the same is true of Odd and the devirtualization program as he has accidentally solved the problem. Jeremie says he only gets one shot to bring Aelita to Earth since he has no idea what monkey-typewriter nonsense that candy coded.

 

The group discusses Aelita’s virtualization and they agree to hold off for now. Jeremie can’t sleep and talks to Aelita instead. It’s a good thing too, because you remember those bulldozers from earlier? Well, it turns out they’re Chekov’s bulldozers and Xana takes them for a spin. Jeremie quickly gathers the boys and heads to the factory.

 

Actually, no one seems all that concerned by the building gradually collapsing around them, which is in itself concerning.

Here's a nice little touch I really liked; they added some debris to the stock footage in the factory, since it's being bulldozed and all.

Ulrich chases after the bulldozers to try and stop them. Manually. For some reason. When he realizes that this plan doesn’t make any sense, he decides to stay inside the bulldozer until he’s figured out Xana’s plan which, as it turns out, is to bulldoze the factory and level the human access to Lyoko.

 

On Lyoko Odd and Aelita are surrounded, making escape difficult. Odd manages to take out all but one of the monsters, but then a curious thing happens. He has another one of those premonitions, like from the very first episode. Despite its many similarities to a video game, Lyoko does not pause for the cutscene, which warns Odd that Yumi is about to fall into the digital sea, and thus he is devirtualized.

 

Meanwhile Ulrich has become trapped inside one of the bulldozers and is knocked unconscious as they begin to tear the factory apart. Yumi races to his rescue and drags him to safety before going to Lyoko. As Yumi nears Aelita’s position, Odd and Jeremie warn her of the premonition. A barely conscious Ulrich agrees to go after her to try and save her.

This is why you always leave a note!

Oh come on, she's managed to miss every outcropping on the way down! If she just landed on one of those everything would have been fine!

 

Yumi finds Aelita just as a monster is about to attack her. She shoulder tackles it, ruining its aim, but also sending the pair of them off the cliff. She manages to grab the ledge of the cliff, but can’t pull herself up. Ulrich arrives just in time…to see her fall into oblivion.

 

Jeremie launches a return to the past, but it turns out they’re actually too late this time. Yumi fell into the sea and did not make it back with them. Together, Aelita and Jeremie realize they can use the devirtualization program to save Yumi, and while it’s a slightly bittersweet rescue, Aelita points out it’s a proof of concept for devirtualization.

 

Reactions:

 

Well this episode marks a rather extreme change of pace from what we’re used to. The comic relief cast doesn’t show up at all, nor does a B story of any kind. Plot holes in this episode are kept to a bare minimum and there’s only one womp womp moment this whole time!

 

This episode also does a lot to explain rules of Lyoko. We discover that Odd’s Laser Arrows have a limited capacity, we get a clearer picture of what happens when someone falls into the digital sea, and we learn a bit about “Roachsters”. Of course that last discovery comes complete with a new question.

 

Aelita says that Roachsters travel in groups of five, which sort of implies that these monsters have instinctual habits like animals here on Earth. Whether or not that’s the case, it sort of begs the question “where do the monsters go when they’re not attacking”? I mean, we’ve seen a largely abandoned Lyoko on multiple occasions, and when we see a scan of the virtual world from Jeremie’s computer, we never see any stray monsters outside the ones our heroes are fighting. Do they exist when Xana is not attacking, or can he just conjure them up when he feels to need to cause property damage?

 

Seriously, you guys couldn't find a ladder or something?

Considering how unnecessarily difficult it is to get into the factory now, it shouldn't be too hard to sabotage.

Probably the most notable difference between this episode and the previous five is that Xana’s plan actually makes sense! At first it may seem confusing to target the factory where his computer lives, but you have to consider that the factory is what gives Team Lyoko access to his world. If you take out the scanners, Jeremie’s interface, or even just any feasible way for a bunch of middle schoolers to get into the factory, then it really makes their lives difficult. While I still don’t understand the interaction between activated towers and the real life possession of various objects, it seems that Xana can function just fine without Team Lyoko’s plot devices.

 

However we can’t go a full episode without a puzzling Xana decision to ponder, and today’s is this: why doesn’t Xana always attack at night? The Team is automatically down one member (Yumi, who lives off campus), plus the gang already has trouble figuring out Xana’s plans in a timely manner half the time. If you catch them while they’re sleeping, it could easily give Xana enough time to turn those “just in time” rescues into disasters.

 

In fact, we see some evidence of that here. Instead of a nick-of-time rescue for Yumi, dangling off the edge of a cliff, she almost ends up doomed forever to a still somewhat ambiguous fate and the difference between the two was mere seconds!  I think this was a really great moment for the series as a whole, not only proving the possibility of bringing Aelita to Earth and hinting at exciting future possibilities, but also showing that Lyoko has some serious high stakes, and that it’s really no video game.

 

I’m going to go ahead and let my knowledge of programming be suppressed by my suspension of disbelief on the whole “one shot devirtualization” thing, and beyond that my issues with this episode are pretty minor. When I first watched this show, I’m pretty sure I started in season two and I remember the episodes being of a quality more like this one. Don’t get me wrong, despite all my sarcasm and complaining, the shows that I’ve discussed here so far are shows I do enjoy.

 

Today’s episode was a good one and does a better job of showcasing why I watched this show in the first place than the rest we’ve seen.  It has exciting action without glaring plot holes, it makes good use of its characters and the situations they find themselves in and does a really good job of giving us new details about their world and its good and bad aspects.

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