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Friday, June 16, 2017

Jem Reviewed: Episode 65 - A Father Should Be...

Say it isn't so!  This is the final Jem Reviewed post?  Wow...I can't believe I made it through the whole series.  I also can't believe that last episode I found myself liking Riot after thinking he was a complete jerknugget throughout Season 3.

And now here we are...the finale.  One that I think was sort of rushed.  You'll see why as we proceed...but at least this one will answer one mystery that has been ongoing since the latter half of season one.



This is Episode 65: A Father Should Be.  Hey, isn't that the name of the song Ba Nee sang during the Jem Jam?  I bet this episode features her prominently.



What do you know?  I was right.  Seems as though Jerrica is attending some open house at Ba Nee and Krissie's school.  Ba Nee's teacher proceeds to tell her nothing but good things about Ba Nee, and even shows off some of the artwork that she has done.



Okay, so all of the male characters have red hair.  That must be coincidence right?  Other than that, not bad for a kid.  She definitely was a better artist than I was.



However, Ba Nee isn't interested in hearing how well she's doing.  All she can do is stare at all the kids who have fathers and she suddenly bursts into tears right in the middle of the school.  Ba Nee tearfully tells Jerrica that she doesn't have a father and that all she wants is to have him come back.  It certainly breaks Jerrica's heart, but Ba Nee is supposedly an orphan.  Even if her father was alive, she wouldn't know how to find him.  Especially in 1988 where the Internet wasn't exactly readily available.



Ba Nee is moping in her room when Ashley and Krissie arrive to cheer her up with a nice slice of carrot cake.  Ba Nee is in no mood for sweets and tells both of them to leave.  Jerrica is absolutely stunned that Ba Nee didn't want the carrot cake.  To be honest, I agree with Ba Nee.  Carrot cake is an acquired taste.  At least it is for me.  I would much rather have devil's food even though it is no good for me.



Jerrica believes that she might have a way to cheer Ba Nee up.  She remembers that Randy James is in town working on a collaboration with the Stingers and she thinks that a visit from Randy might be just what Ba Nee needs.  If you recall, Randy was the guy who Ba Nee thought was her father and she nearly got eaten by a bear at the zoo trying to prove it in the "Jem Jam" episodes.  I hope you liked the "Jem Jam" episodes, because this episode seems to bring up a ton of references to them.



It doesn't take much convincing on Jerrica's part to get Randy to visit Ba Nee, and Randy is excited to see the girl who claimed that he was her daddy.  Yeah, I can't believe I just typed that sentence out either.  To Randy and Jerrica's shock, Ba Nee greets him somewhat coldly and bursts into tears about wanting her father.  Jerrica does try to comfort Ba Nee by singing a song about how a family can be made up of people who love you and that Ba Nee has a family that loves her.



Seriously, she sings a song called "Family Is" - the last original song by Jem and the Holograms.  And while the song is nice, I get the feeling that it misses the point that Ba Nee is trying to make.  Because as soon as the song stops, Ba Nee cries even harder and makes the admission that she knows that her father is alive and if she can't find him she doesn't want to live anymore!

Um...wow.  It's like Ba Nee just ripped Jerrica's heart out and stomped on it.  I mean, I get why Ba Nee is so upset, but she does realize that she has eleven adoptive sisters and five foster mothers who love her enough to get abused by the Misfits so she could see again.  It's another one of those "What the hell, Ba Nee" moments, but given how upset she is, I can't get mad.  It's so frustrating.



However, unselfish Jerrica does seem to be touched by Ba Nee, and she decides that she will try and find her father, if for no other reason than to give her peace of mind.  She gathers all the other Holograms around for a brainstorming session where Jerrica goes over all the information they know about her father.  They know that Ba Nee was born in Vietnam at the tail end of the Vietnam War.  Her mother's name was KeOH-ChinH (and yeah, I know I butchered the spelling), and she died shortly after she and Ba Nee immigrated to the United States.  All they know about Ba Nee's father was that he was a soldier in the war, his name was Martin, and that he had red hair.  Not much to go on.

However, one of the Holograms (I think it was Aja or Raya) comes up with the idea that since Ba Nee's father served in the army, maybe Riot could help.  After all, his father served for the army.  Perhaps he could get into a database for all soldiers who fought in the war.  Jerrica seems to think that's a great suggestion, but knows that she'll have to dress in her Jem outfit to make that happen.  Because as we know, Riot is as obsessed with Jem as he is with hair spray.



Riot is reluctant to help out at first, mainly because of his troubled history with his father...but admits in the same breath that it was because of Jem that they are talking to each other in the first place.  After Jem promises to give Riot a kiss (I'm surprised he didn't ask for more to be honest), he goes to talk to his father who is more than willing to help out his son with Jem's request.  Aw...it's nice to see that Riot has softened up a bit.  He's still obnoxious and arrogant, but his heart is in the right place.



Thanks to Riot, the Holograms have found three men who match the criteria in the search for Ba Nee's father.  The first man is Leonard Martin, who lives in Nebraska.  Jerrica sends Raya and Rio to meet him.  Kimber and Aja seek out Martin O'Carolan, whose address is unknown.  This leaves Jerrica and Shana to fly out to Las Vegas to meet up with Andy Martin.  Jerrica has hopes that one of them will turn out to be Ba Nee's father.



Right off the bat, Kimber and Aja are unsure of what to do first, since they have no current address for Martin O'Carolan.  Since they had heard that Martin might have undergone treatment for war injuries, they seek the help of his primary physician, Dr. Sakai.  At first, he plays the doctor-patient confidentiality card, but after convincing from Kimber and Aja and telling the doctor the story about Ba Nee, the doctor gives in and reveals that his address isn't that far away from Starlight Mansion.  He also warns Kimber and Aja that Martin was a prisoner of war, and sustained serious injuries.  One injury to his head caused him to lose all memory of the time he spent in Vietnam, so it could be difficult for him to remember.  But that's a chance that Kimber and Aja are willing to take.



Raya and Rio strike out in Nebraska where they discover that Leonard Martin is a paraplegic who works at an assembly plant.  It's implied in the conversation that there is no way that Leonard could be Ba Nee's father, and Raya and Rio agree...but my question is...how do they come to that conclusion?  I mean, unless it's implied that the accident that left Leonard paralyzed also left him sterile.  Alas, we'll never know as that's the one and only appearance Leonard makes.



And in Las Vegas, Shana and Jerrica arrive to see a scuzzy looking man with red hair gambling all of his money away at roulette, craps, and blackjack.  Ah, yes...we can't have a shot of Vegas without a compulsive gambler, can we?  Shana and Jerrica try to introduce themselves to Andy, but Andy is not interested and brushes them aside.  Shana and Jerrica are appalled, but Jerrica seems to notice that Andy is rubbing a picture of Jem, telling her to bring him luck.  I find that really creepy...but surprisingly, Jerrica thinks that could be the ticket to getting him to open up.  Okay, seriously, everything about this guy is a red flag.  Leave him be and go find another lead!



Back at Starlight Mansion, Ba Nee is still obsessed with finding her father, and she's sort of scaring Krissie a bit when she keeps drawing pictures of him...smoking a pipe.  Well, I guess in Ba Nee's eyes, you can't be a dad if you don't blow smoke out your mouth. 



And once more we're treated to the song that Ba Nee sang on the "Jem Jam" episodes - "A Father Should Be".  I don't mind though.  Of the three Starlight Girl songs sang on the Jem Jam shows, this one was the best.  But after Ba Nee sings the song, she bursts into tears, and all Krissie can do is comfort her and tell her that Jem will find him for her.  You know, I get that Krissie is trying to help, but if Jem comes up empty, that false promise would scar her even more.



Back in Las Vegas, after Synergy gives Jerrica a Jem makeover, it's enough for Andy to have a change of heart towards the two of them.  In fact, the very sight of Jem makes Andy actually blurt out that he is Ba Nee's father!  Um...wow?  Yeah, Shana looks just as confused about this bombshell revelation as I am.  And honestly, there should be a lot of red flags going up because all Andy seems to talk about is how rich Jem is and how famous she is, and he even butchers Ba Nee's name by calling her Bonnie.  Despite all this, Jem decides to fly the complete stranger home with her and Shana to meet Ba Nee because Jem has taken a whole bottle of stupid pills.  Seriously, this is the reason why this finale isn't as good as it could have been.



So, what about Kimber and Aja?  The address that the doctor gave them leads to a building with a sign reading "O'Carolan Gallery".  Ah, so Martin O'Carolan is an artist.  And a fairly good one too.  Martin O'Carolan is a handsome chap complete with red hair and a red beard, and he treats Kimber and Aja with charm and courtesy.  Unfortunately, Kimber is disappointed when Martin reveals that he is not Ba Nee's father...though his memory is still quite fuzzy from when he served in Vietnam.  As much as I hate to say it, Andy Martin seems like he really could be Ba Nee's dad.



At least until Aja alerts Kimber to a discovery she found hanging on Martin's wall.  It's a portrait of a young Vietnamese woman.  In fact, Kimber remarks that it looks a lot like Ba Nee, only grown up.  Very curious.  Kimber and Aja ask Martin who the woman is, but Martin has no idea.  He says that she keeps appearing to him in his dreams, but can't explain why this is the case as he still suffers from memory loss.  Still, this clue seems to be a huge one, and Kimber and Aja aren't ready to let Martin O'Carolan slip away.  They invite him to come to Starlight Mansion to meet with Ba Nee, and while Martin seems to dismiss their claim as being silly, he at least agrees to hear them out.  So, we have Andy Martin and Martin O'Carolan both on their way to Starlight Mansion.  Which one is going to arrive first?



Well, it looks as if it's going to be Andy Martin, who immediately runs towards Ba Nee and gives her what could be the creepiest hug ever.  I mean, seriously, even Shana comments on how horrible a man he is.  But Jem, still under the influence of stupid pills, insists that as long as Ba Nee is happy, that's all that matters.  Ba Nee wastes no time in showing Andy her room which has everything that a girl could ever want - and I can just see the dollar signs glowing more and more green with each item Ba Nee shows her "father".  And yes, I did put that word in quotation marks.



Now, to prove that Jem isn't entirely an idiot, she does try to ask Andy some follow up questions - especially after Andy accidentally calls Ba Nee "Betty".  Again, more red flags pop up, but Jem chooses to ignore them.  And when Andy refuses to answer any questions about Ba Nee's mother or where he was stationed in Vietnam, Jem grows even more frustrated.  Despite this, Jem decides to let Andy take Ba Nee for a car ride because Jem is as dumb as a box of rocks.

Jerrica Benton.  WORST. FOSTER. MOM. EVER.  THERE, I SAID IT!



Not more than ten minutes after Andy leaves with Ba Nee, Kimber and Aja arrive with Martin O'Carolan, who are excited to share with the rest of the Holograms their news.  But Jem responds that they already found Ba Nee's father, and that he's with Ba Nee right now - to which Aja smacks Jem across the face and calls her every name in the book.  Okay, that didn't happen - but it really should have.  Jem does offer to have Martin stay over for dinner, and Martin does accept graciously.  Personally, if Martin does end up being Ba Nee's father, I hope he tells Jem off.  I really do.



So, Andy brings Ba Nee to an old abandoned zoo, and immediately Ba Nee starts to get frightened.  When she starts sobbing, Andy screams at her to shut up which tells Ba Nee that this guy is NOT her father.  It's kind of sad that a preteen girl has more common sense and brain power than a 22-year-old woman who essentially has dual identity disorder.  Andy sneers that Ba Nee is correct.  He's NOT her father.  But she will be his meal ticket towards a better life for himself.  Oh, Jem...you done screwed up good this time.



Ba Nee tries to escape, but she is no match for Andy, and Andy locks her in an area of the zoo with a gigantic high wall that Ba Nee cannot climb up.  In fact, this looks EXACTLY like the bear pit that Ba Nee fell down when she tried to claim that Randy James was her father.  Wouldn't it be something if Ba Nee was at the same zoo and because of the accident involving the bear, the zoo was shut down for safety concerns?  Mind. Blown.  Kaboom.



Back at Starlight Mansion, Dummy...ahem...Jem, along with all of the other Holograms hear the story of Martin O'Carolan...or at least what he can remember.  As Martin finishes up his story, Jem receives a call from Andy who demands a million dollars in exchange for Ba Nee.  She can deliver the money to the abandoned zoo or else she'll never see the girl again.  Yep...Jem's really blown it now.  Fortunately, Martin decides that he will help Jem rescue Ba Nee.  Rio offers to tag along as well, but Martin tells him no, as too many people will cause Andy to flee or cause him to do harm to Ba Nee.  Rio looks like he might cry, but agrees that Martin just might be right.



Once Jem and Martin arrive at the zoo, he tells Jem to go ahead and try to stall Andy long enough for him to track down Ba Nee.  Once Ba Nee is found, he'll double back to assist Jem in apprehending Andy once and for all.  Despite the fact that the duo probably shouldn't stray too far as they don't know if Andy has a weapon, Jem decides it's a good idea.  Besides, she's already done enough to put Ba Nee in harm's way as it is.



And just in case you needed any more indication that Martin O'Carolan is Ba Nee's father, he conveniently has flashbacks to his days in Vietnam as he searches for Ba Nee.  We see him get shot by snipers in Vietnam, we see him meet a young woman, and we see him get nursed back to health by the same woman.  The woman of course is the same one in the portrait that Aja and Kimber discovered.



While Martin is having his flashback episodes, Andy confronts Jem and demands that she give him the money he was promised for Ba Nee's safe return.  Jem stands her ground and informs Andy that she has no money to give him, as all the funds are tied up with Starlight Mansion.  Andy calls Jem a liar, and Jem is beginning to really fear the man.  It's a very tense situation that JEM CAUSED mind you, but still...she must be frightened.



Meanwhile, Martin is having more flashbacks.  This time, he flashes back to his own wedding, where he marries the girl who saved him and nursed him back to health.  He remembers sending the woman to safety as bombs explode all around him.  And the last thing he remembers is getting knocked out by the enemy - right after he says "I'll find you...Keyo-Chinh".



Yep.  The man with the art gallery and beard is none other than Ba Nee's father.  And luckily for him, he has super sonic hearing, as he hears Ba Nee screaming from a ways away.  He arrives in time to see his daughter hanging from the wall and manages to catch her before she goes kersplut on the ground.  A tearful Ba Nee grabs Martin and holds him tightly, and Martin is relieved that his daughter is okay.  It is such a sweet moment.  Gimme a minute.  I need to find a Kleenex.



And I'm sure that Jem wants a can of pepper spray to get rid of Andy who chases her through the abandoned zoo.  At first, Jem seems to think that her stupidity has gotten her killed...at least until some lucidity comes back into her brain and realizes that Synergy can save her.  She gets Synergy to project the image of what I can consider to be a gorilla in heat, and it's realistic enough for Andy to run for his life!



Though Martin O'Carolan might be a far scarier sight than a holographic gorilla.  He physically grabs Andy by the scruff of his neck, blasts a glorious "The Reason You Suck" speech, and locks him in the monkey cage like a damn, dirty ape.  And when Jem asks if everyone is all right, Ba Nee remarks that she's fine now that her dad is back...and Martin responds that he is never going to go away again.  Awwww...where's that box of Kleenex?



So the final scene takes place at Starlight Mansion where a "Farewell, Ba Nee party is taking place.  It seems as though overnight, Martin O'Carolan has gotten a DNA test done, signed the birth certificate, won legal custody, and packed up all of Ba Nee's belongings for their new life together.  Boy, he wastes no time, does he?



The Stingers are there at the party, as I assume they made amends with each other following Jem helping Riot reconcile with his family.  Riot insists that Jem deliver on that kiss he was promised, and Jem responds by picking up Ba Nee and making her plant a kiss on Riot's cheek!  Heh...I guess Jem's stupid pills must have worn off.  That was actually pretty clever.  Luckily, Riot's not mad.



The party is somewhat interrupted by the arrival of Pizzazz, Roxy, Stormer, and Jetta, and everyone is shocked to see them there.  Jem even accuses Pizzazz of trying to start trouble.  But it's Stormer who explains the reason why they are there.  They heard that Ba Nee was moving away and they wanted to present her with some gifts to show how much they care.  Well, okay...maybe Roxy and Stormer had some gratitude to show her.  Pizzazz and Jetta...not so much. 



But hey, this ends with a truce between the Holograms and Misfits, so um...yay?  I really wish this was a two parter episode and that the Misfits would have helped Jem find Ba Nee's dad...but I guess this cameo appearance is enough.



It's time for Ba Nee to leave with her father, but Jem is feeling very sad.  Aja tries to talk to her, but Jem reveals that not once did Ba Nee ask to see Jerrica, and she's insecure that Jerrica didn't make as much of an impact on her as she thought.



At least that is until Ba Nee refuses to leave the party until she says goodbye to Jerrica.  With that, Jem changes back into Jerrica, gives Ba Nee a huge hug, and tells her that she'll always be her little girl.  Okay, I need another box of Kleenex now.  And Martin promises that he will bring Ba Nee back for visits with all of them very soon.  For now...this is farewell.  And I'll end this recap off with the final song featuring all of the talented vocalists who sang on this show for 65 episodes.



I can't believe that I made it through the whole series.  I can't believe it's really over.  I can't believe that Rio never discovered who Jem really was!  But hey, as rushed as the finale seemed, I did kind of enjoy it.  And, for a first, I have no Jem Trivia this episode.  I think I used all of it up!

So, stay tuned this Sunday, June 18th - appropriately enough on Father's Day - for my Season 3 recap, as well as my thoughts on the show overall.




Thanks for sticking with me the last 65 weeks!

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