Ye Olde Laser Duel
Can I Keep It?
Ben Again and Again
Fear the Fogg
Chicken Nuggets of Wisdom
The Nature of Things
All Koiled Up
The Sound and the Furry
That's the Stuff
Past Aliens Present
Innervasion: Part 1-5
With season 2 of the Ben 10 reboot finally over and with me having managed to catch up, I can now provide a part 2 review to this very second season. There's a lot of episodes to cover here but I'm not going to get too much into them. Just going to point out certain aspects of most of these episodes while providing an overall statement of what I think their quality is. After that, I'm going to shift my focus towards the Innervasion season finale and what I thought of it. By the way, I'm not going to cover The Charm Offensive here because, well, I already reviewed it and there's nothing else that I need to add on that. Also, there's going to be spoilers. Let's begin.
First off, remember Tetrax? Remember how in the Original Series he was a bounty hunter/mercenary that put his entire race to near extinction and because of his actions, he decided to redeem himself by helping Ben and turning on Vilgax, thus making him a compelling character that fans and viewers were able to root for? Remember how in Omni-Tricked it was set up where Tetrax, Sixsix, and Kraab were going to take on more of a good guys role due to them trying to stop Vilgax? Bounty Ball threw that out the window. Now Tetrax is just a generic and bland bounty hunter that does things for money. Like almost every other returning character, Tetrax has now become nothing more than just a shell of his former self. We also get introduced to a new villain in this show known as King Koil, some snake-like villain...because we clearly haven't seen that before in Ben 10 as well as plenty of other forms of entertainment media according to some people that I recall discussed about King Koil on a Ben 10 reboot forum. In the episode King Koil, we first get introduced to, well, King Koil and Ben defeats him by using Diamondhead to hide from his infrared vision. Ok, so at this point you'd think that Ben would just use Diamondhead or Heatblast (to overwhelm King Koil's infrared vision) for when he encountered King Koil again in the episode All Koiled Up, right? Nope. Apparently, everyone forgets that King Koil has obviously easily exploitable infrared vision and out of nowhere, King Koil gained the ability to hypnotize people. Where was that ability back in his debut episode, huh? How did King Koil gain hypnosis? There's no explanation behind it. Next, something recently came up that I realized about the episode, Ye Olde Laser Duel. Steam Smythe gives Ben a dilemma where Ben has to decide to either defeat Steam Smythe in their little laser tag duel or give the game up to stop Steam Smythe's machine and thus lose the game. Ben could've just easily took his laser tag vest with him to stop Steam Smythe's machine, thus leaving Steam Smythe with nothing to shoot at to gain points and win the game. Remember Tim Buktu? For anyone that has read my season 1 reviews, remember how I stated how creepy he looked? Yeah, Safari Sa'Bad pretty much made him look even more creepy. I'll give the show this though. There's finally an episode that involved Zombozo where's he's not trying to hypnotize people. In the episode, Dreamtime, Zombozo instead tries to haunt Ben, Gwen, and Max in their dreams using some dream machine that he's hooked up to. Granted, Hex pretty much already tried a similar approach like that to Ben and it's not even the first time in the franchise that a premise like that has happened anyways so it's nothing new (of course).
Other than that, as I stated plenty of times before (including in my part 1 review of season 2), it's really just more of the same as season 1. Often times the action scenes are decent at best but the biggest issues that still plagues them is that they lack tension and are still often used to build up more comedy. It often times doesn't make the action scenes interesting and worthwhile. These are dangerous situations that are happening where people could possibly die and it often times doesn't feel as if these situations are indeed dangerous. Add some more tension to these action scenes. Add some more seriousness. Add some more challenge and difficulty. Ben, Gwen, and Max are still pretty much in the same state they've been in since the beginning of season 1. Gwen and Max still don't feel any more useful than they had been before while Ben still hasn't learned from his past experiences and mistakes and therefore still hasn't really grown as a character. He's still making the same mistakes as before. Lessons and morals that Ben is supposed to learn don't translate to later episodes. In fact, come to think of it, I've been noticing that this show repeats quite a good bunch of lessons and morals pretty often. Most noticeably to me is that there's quite a good number of episodes that covers Ben "learning" teamwork and "learning" to rely on Gwen and Max for help (whenever that happens, that is) as well as Ben "learning" from making mistakes (again, he doesn't learn from his mistakes because he keeps making the same mistakes over and OVER and it makes him such a frustrating and unlikable character to me). Overall, these episodes don't really add much to the show...as usual. Pretty much what I find to be the best part of these episodes is the action scenes and again, they're often just decent at best and that doesn't say much considering the overall quality of the rest of the show. I had a little bit more enjoyment out of Fear the Fogg than other episodes yet that episode is really just, well, decent. Average. Ok. I've heard a good number of people say that season 2 is an improvement over season 1. Maybe arguably by a little. Maybe. Regardless, no, I don't find season 2 to be an improvement. The action scenes are pretty much the same. The characters and villains are pretty much the same and haven't really changed at all. We don't really get an overarching story here until the specials. Anything new that season 2 does add is pretty much just meh or mediocre and bland or freakin stupid or just ok. No, season 2 of the Ben 10 reboot is not an improvement over season 1. Season 2 doesn't really do much, if not anything at all, that's better than season 1...and good lord, I haven't even touched on Innervasion yet because that finale was something. Speaking of Innervasion, I've discussed enough on the other episodes now so let's go ahead and get to the season 2 finale.
When it came to Omni-Tricked and The 11th Alien, despite the issues that they have, we at least get something that's more competent and better quality out of them. It's doesn't really say much though considering the overall quality of the rest of the Ben 10 reboot. I find Omni-Tricked to be decent but it's certainly the best that we got out of the reboot (again, that doesn't really say much). The 11th Alien wasn't as good in quality though as it was more significantly flawed compared to Omni-Tricked. How does Innervasion stack up? It's the worse special episode in the reboot so far. There were so many moments about Innervasion that baffled me. So many moments that made me go "Wait...WHAT?!". Part 1 starts off pretty decently well at least as it does a pretty decent job of building up the events that would transpire in the rest of the season 2 finale. Then things start taking a nose dive after nose dive after nose dive. Remember when I say how Ben keeps making the same mistakes over and over throughout the show? How he seems to have this trend of being the reason that situations happen in the first place and how he tends to make situations worse than they already are? This happens AGAIN in Innervasion. It's because of Ben that the Fulmini (I'll get to them in a bit) were able to open their portal inside the Omnitrix. I know that I said that Ben shouldn't have believed Vilgax so easily back in The 11th Alien but considering the situation that Ben was in at that time and considering that Vilgax was legitimately freaking out over the Fulmini, even almost begging for Ben to run away (not give up the Omnitrix but to instead run away) with such urgency, I think it actually makes sense now for Ben to listen to Vilgax for once, believe him, and do what he says. It's also because of Ben that he ended up getting mind controlled by the High Override (I'll get to him in a bit as well), thus preventing Vilgax from rebooting the Omnitrix, getting Vilgax trapped in the Null Void, and allowing the Fulmini to invade Earth. Ben's tendency to cause situations to happen in the first place and to make situations even worse is what ended up putting Earth in more danger; is what ended up having the events of the rest of the finale to take place. The High Override's plan almost succeeded because of Ben. Our hero, folks. Yes, in the end, Ben does stop the High Override and the Fulmini but this episode is more on the lines of Ben making a mess and cleaning it up...like he's done so before so so so many times in previous episodes of this show.
What about the Fulmini? I've noticed plenty of people being excited for them. Do they bring anything worthwhile to this finale? No, they don't. I don't really find the Fulmini to be interesting nor their leader, the High Override. They don't have much of a personality to them. In fact, they're really generic and bland. The Fulmini act more like mindless drones connected to some hive mind and the High Override is just another power hungry villain that wants to take over the universe. In fact, if that's all that he wants, why use the Omnitrix to create a portal? Why invade Earth first? Why not just go and invade other planets that are closest to Fulmini territory? This isn't the worse part about the Fulmini though. What makes the Fulmini at their worse is that they are incredibly under-powered. It takes such little effort to defeat the Fulmini. Ben, as Heatblast, would shoot little streams of fire at a Fulmini and it would crumble in one hit. Christ, Gwen and Max had to deal with a Fulmini themselves and it didn't die because Gwen and Max got resourceful with their methods of defeating it or because they had something powerful enough to kill it. It died from being too far away from the Omnitrix and it wasn't even that far of a distance either. Why? Why establish that? That just raises a lot of questions. Do the Fulmini have to stay near the Omnitrix to stay alive? Is it because it was too far away from the High Override? How are the Fulmini going to be able to successful invade Earth if they can't even get pass 50 feet without losing all of their energy and become a pile of rocks? A few people have told me that they think the Fulmini were made to be so weak is so that Gwen and Max can defeat one. That just makes them look even worse and makes Gwen and Max look even more useless than they were before since that the Fulmini would have to be brought down to their level. It would've been better to make the Fulmini tougher and more difficult to defeat so that the main characters can actually go through the struggle of defeating them and make their victory in their battle against the Fulmini feel all the more satisfying and rewarding. Even when supercharged by the High Override, the Fulmini still feel under-powered since that they can easily be knocked over or killed by a wooden derby cart, as shown on plenty of instances in this episode. The Fulmini are supposed to be an end-of-the-world threat (as characters like Vilgax emphasized them to be) yet they're as fragile as the leg lamp from A Christmas Story, which kills the tension of fighting off the Fulmini completely. They don't seem as if they're an actual danger to the characters if they're so freakin easy to kill. That's such a blatantly inconsistent thing here because the Shock Rock is a Fulmini and we've seen plenty of instances of Shock Rock receiving much greater punishment than the other Fulmini yet he shakes it off.
That's not the only inconsistency with this show. Another pretty blatant inconsistency is the alien pods that Ben uses to transform into his aliens. When Ben first entered the Omnitrix (like we haven't seen that before), you see him go through multiple alien pods and each time he just transformed between each of his aliens. When Ben goes through those very same exact alien pods in preparation for his fight with the High Override, all of a sudden and with no explanation behind it, Ben's alien forms splice together into one amalgamation. Nothing is indicated that explains why this happens. It just happens. It would've been so simple to explain as well. This episode introduced a new character called Glitch, who is a combination of Ben and Upgrade's DNA. On multiple occasions, Glitch interacts with the Omnitrix using Upgrade's abilities. It would've been so easy to just have Glitch put his hand into a wall and then have the alien pods blink or change color or whatever and there we go, you get a proper explanation as to how and why Ben's alien forms amalgamate when Ben goes through the alien pods. It's that simple and yet the writers screwed that up. As for other things to address, the inside of the Omnitrix doesn't really seem interesting to me. It looked more like the inside of an alien space ship than the inside of an alien watch filled to the brim with alien DNA. Even though Innervasion is over one hour long, it does suffer a little from having issues with its pacing due to the final being split into 5 11-minute-long parts. There are moments where it felt as if things were being rushed a little and the pacing was off. Even Omni-Tricked and The 11th Alien had this issue as well. I don't get why they had to split these specials into 11-minute-parts. Just air the whole thing as one continuous episode. I'm pretty sure that would've helped alleviate some of the issues that Innervasion has...maybe...hopefully. Finally, even when using some of Ben's alien forms, Gwen and Max didn't really seem that useful in this episode. When they do try to help Ben fight the High Override, they don't really do much to it and their assistance was pretty short lived.
Is there at least anything that's good about Innervasion? Pretty much what I find to be the best part of the episode was Glitch. Glitch is overall a pretty decent character that does help out a lot. There's just not much else that they really do with him. He doesn't have much of a personality. There's not really much about him that's interesting. He's just Upgrade with some resemblance to Ben. That's pretty much it with Glitch and by the looks of it, it seems as if the finale built him up to basically be the reboot's version of Ship, who was first introduced in Ben 10 Alien Force. I wouldn't really be surprised if the writers go that direction but it's a direction that I think wouldn't really work out well for Glitch as a character. Other than that, yeah, Glitch is indeed the best part of Innervasion...which doesn't really say much considering the issues with Innervasion. I also did mentioned that part 1 did start things off pretty decently well so there is that. I'm glad that they at least got rid of Shock Rock and the Omni-Enhancements though and I already covered my reasons as to why I don't like Shock Rock and the Omni-Enhancements in my part 1 review so I'm not going any further into that. However, the Omnitrix's appearance changed...again...which means that it's very likely that season 3 is going to introduce another unnecessary gimmick that really exist just to sell more merchandise. So yeah, obviously, I'm not looking forward to that. The action scenes are decent as usual. The two action scenes that stood out the most were in part 1 with Ben fighting that machine controlled by Vilgax and Ben's final fight with the High Override in part 5 and that's pretty much because those two fights offered the most challenge that Ben faced in this entire season finale. To me, that's pretty much it with all of the positives that Innervasion does have.
That's pretty much everything that I want to discuss. In regards to Innervasion, it was freakin mediocre. Compared to Omni-Tricked and The 11th Alien, Innervasion is the worse special episode that we got out of the Ben 10 reboot so far. There were so many issues that caused it to tank in quality. Recently, someone had told me how Innervasion is a positive step for the Ben 10 reboot and how the writers are getting a better idea of how to tell stories. You're freakin kidding me, right? No, Innervasion is not a positive step for the Ben 10 reboot. Season 2 as a whole was not a positive step for the Ben 10 reboot. The writers have not improved in their writing and storytelling at all. Otherwise, Innervasion wouldn't have these issues that I addressed here in the first place. Many of these issues (such as Ben's tendency to cause situations to happen in the first place and his tendency to make things worse than they should be) are issues that have persisted in this show since the beginning of season 1. That's not getting better. That's not making an improvement. That's an example of writers being lazy and incompetent in their work. It baffles me that this is the level of quality that Man of Action and Cartoon Network Studios thinks is suitable enough to give to their fans and viewers. Therefore, for those that haven't seen Innervasion yet, I don't recommend checking it out. There's just too many significant issues with it for me to recommend it to others. If anyone does want to check it out, it's your choice. Regardless, I say that we deserve better with this season finale. No, correction, fans and viewers of Ben 10 deserve better out of this show itself; out of Man of Action and Cartoon Network. Innervasion baffled me and it acts as a pretty good example of at least much of what's wrong with the Ben 10 reboot as a whole. That's my final verdict here. If anyone has any thoughts and opinions of their own about Innervasion, season 2 as a whole, the Ben 10 reboot as a whole, my review, etc., feel free to leave a comment down below.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter, Deviant-art, and the Ben 10 Club. Links are down below.
Ben 10 Club:
Also, feel free to help support the Ben 10 Club by subscribing to their YouTube channel and watching and liking their videos as well as signing up on the official website itself and going to the "Donate" link on the top of their website home page to donate to them through PayPal to help keep the website up and running. The Ben 10 Club also has new merchandise available to purchase on Teespring. If anyone is interested in checking out the new merchandise, feel free to check out this page on the Ben 10 Club website in the link below.