Recap: Jojo fights Cars, with Lisa Lisa’s life in the balance.
Zigg’s Thoughts: This is a solid but unspectacular episode until about the last 30 seconds. That’s not to say it’s bad before that, but merely that nothing really thrilled me until those last few moments where Cars whipped out the Stone Mask. It’s also an episode which suffers badly from the transition to the printed page, as 90% of the runtime is talking about something or another. Take the initial JoJo/Cars faceoff, which is a combination of an utterly absurd set rules by Cars (JoJo can fight him but he can’t put any sort of effort into it?) and a combat trick which the show is unwilling or unable to express visually. Instead we have to sit through JoJo telling us what happened rather than actually watching it, something which lessens the impact needless to say. What saves this fight though is that it’s admirably tense given the high stakes involved and features a suitably awesome climax, with JoJo’s hand chop right through Cars’s blade being a genuine punch-the-air sequence and Cars falling onto the crystals (what?) being nicely wince inducing.
Following this the show sudddenly takes an extended exposition break to fill in some backstory, which is tedious, unnecessary and totally breaks the flow of the action. I particularly like how Speedwagon describes this as matter for the Joestar family…and then proceeds to tell Smokey everything anyway. While JoJo is full of crazy things, this flashback pushed my suspension of disbelief a little too far. So we’re supposed to believe that a vampire escaped Jonathan and co., just happened to be the one bloodsucker smart enough to not create a bunch of new ghouls, survived undetected for 20 years, retained enough humanity to enlist in the RAF and then was posted to the exact same airbase where George Joestar was serving? It’s an unnecessary and dumb series of coincidences thrown in purely for the sake of creating some tragic backstory and justifying the twist that Lisa Lisa is JoJo’s mother, something which I’m not even really sure is worth anything. It also utterly destroys the momentum of the episode – all I could think of while Speedwagon was droning on and on was whether Stroheim had turned on those bloody lights yet.
Yes, Stroheim’s refusal to just turn on the approximately ONE BILLION ultraviolet lights he already has and finish Cars off the moment he hits the ground is pretty egregious, but it does lead to that great ending. I’d briefly wondered why Cars didn’t just use the mask at the beginning of the episode, but as time went by I totally forgot he even had it with him, so I was genuinely taken by surprise at the ending. It’s fantastically presented too, with Stroheim’s sudden shift to despair brilliantly presented. It’s definitely a strong cliffhanger and I’m super pumped to see what Cars’s ascension to the ‘ultimate lifeform’ brings (hopefully not a terrible spin-off game).