WARNING: SOME MINOR SPOILERS!
Now that’s more like it.
While the seventh episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return isn’t perfect, it is a step up from the mildly disappointing Starcrash episode. The Doug McClure vehicle The Land That Time Forgot is a fittingly terrible target for Jonah, Crow and Tom. Plus, the “Mads” (Felicia Day and Patton Oswalt) actually pull an entertaining fast one on a non-observant viewer.
This is a solid episode throughout, full of the laughs that this reboot has consistently delivered over its first season.
“That’s Where They Harvest Paramount Pictures Logos”
The lackluster adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ The Land That Time Forgot moves at evolution’s pace. The incredibly boring B-movie features terrible dinosaur puppets, looong shots of the heroes stalking those puppets, and weird plot twists. It’s tailor-made for our boys’ riffing and they dive right in.
But let’s not waste anymore time. We all know the real highlight of this movie.
Jonah, Crow and Tom are merciless with their funny barbs at the ham-fisted actor. Their utter joy at cutting down the movie’s hero calls back to Space Mutiny’s Reb Brown or even Steve Reeves from the 1950’s Hercules movies: The big, lunkhead heroes. McClure’s hero is often jeered as a dumb jock that somehow stumbles into his position of power.
The boys also have fun with the baffling amount of time spent in the movie’s German submarine. Their faux German accents are on point and provide more than a few laughs. The running “periscope/microscope down” gag is particularly fun.
The terrible pacing and silly looking dinosaurs are made much more entertaining thanks to our guys as well. They make fun of how a group of intellectually curious men go through so much to get to this Lost World only to happily shoot nearly every form of life they come across. The movie also likes to take its time watching the heroes stalk these creatures. As much fun as Jonah and the bots have with McClure’s hero, they can only spend so much time with him.
John Grisham and Easter Eggs
There are some very fun bits outside of the riffing, including one that I didn’t notice. This whole time, Kinga (Felicia Day) and Max (Patton Oswalt) have been stealing their invention ideas from the boys’ jokes during the movies. I sat there giggling, especially after Max justifies their thefts as “easter eggs.”
I admit…I felt silly after this bit. I didn’t notice it at all. It’s a fun idea that I hope continues in the next few episodes. Kinga may have found her business deal. Now, I must go back and watch every single episode again to spot the jokes she stole.
The other skits are hit and miss. The Mads’ barbecue dinosaur restaurant bit is fun, but the attack of the “robosquid” while the boys play the German submarine crew falls flat.
Maybe it’s just me, especially since it’s such a short moment, but I laughed uncomfortably hard at the John Grisham bit. Most of you reading this review probably have no idea what I’m talking about, but it just hit my often strange sense of humor the right way. I won’t ruin it here, but it’s the type of absurd humor that MST3K has always excelled at.
Episode Up, Episode Down
The seventh episode is not the comedic perfection of Avalanche, nor is it the minor letdown of Starcrash. There are some fun jokes at Doug McClure’s expense and I got my giggles from the Grisham joke. This episode is somewhere in-between the best of this reboot and its worst.
One could say it falls in the middle of the “evolution” of the show…
Okay, I’ll leave the comedy to professionals.
SCORE: 8 OUT OF 10
Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return is currently streaming on Netflix