Mystery Science Theater 3000 The Return (S01E04) “Avalanche”

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WARNING: SOME MINOR SPOILERS

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return has been incredible so far, but this episode just might be its finest. Everything comes together perfectly as the skits hit a new high with a fun cameo that gives us yet another catchy parody song. With suitably terrible disaster movie Avalanche providing more than enough fodder for Jonah, Crow and Tom Servo this is b-movie satire at its finest.

That is a genre right?

“This Is The CBGB’s Of Ski Resorts! Everybody Knows That!”

Spoiler alert: This happens VERY late in the movie. source: Netflix

Kinga Forrester (Felicia Day) describes Avalanche as a disaster movie in every way and boy, is she right. Rock Hudson and Mia Farrow lead a no star cast of strange, hollow caricatures at a new ski resort. Hudson is your typical hard driving entrepreneur who doesn’t heed the warnings from the experts…in this case, a photographer played by Robert Forster. Farrow’s character is barely emotive and the rest of the characters are haphazardly introduced. Not only that, most of them are terrible people. Jonah, Tom and Crow actively root for the avalanche to wipe this ski resort out.

Unfortunately, the titular avalanche takes forever to actually happen. “By this point, Gene Hackman was already halfway through the Poseidon,” Crow quips as the movie meanders well into its second half with nary a stray snowflake to be seen. Somebody die already!

Jonah and the bots instead find most of their fun in the awkward relationship between Hudson and Farrow. Hudson is unnecessarily rough and controlling, yet the often blank faced Farrow somehow still feels something for the oaf. The movie doubles down as safety nut Forster (“That towel…not up to code!”) takes an interest in Farrow. Our boys hilariously tear this bizarre love triangle apart as the movie insists on focusing on it.

Give. Me. KISS!!! source: Netflix

Once the disaster finally happens, our heroes delight in the terrible special effects. “This could be a snow fort for all we know,” Jonah points out as the mountains (Or rather a scale model of the mountains) finally “unleash hell.” Even the movie seems confused by the nature of its disaster as people are literally thrown in the opposite direction of the avalanche. “Is this an avalanche or a poltergeist?” Crow asks. Hilariously, the avalanche is a decidedly bloodless disaster.

Mad-Bots and Online Dating Ballads

The skits between the Avalanche massacre range from pretty funny to downright hilarious. Jonah and the bots have their moments, but Felicia Day and Patton Oswalt truly stand out this episode. They share an amazing musical number with guest star Neil Patrick Harris.

source: Netflix

Kinga finally meets her online love Harris’ Neville McCoy. A space magician (Yes, you read that right), McCoy and Kinga literally sing the praises of their online relationship in an awesomely over the top power ballad. Both Day and Harris are absolutely hilarious in their completely dead pan delivery of the song where the lack of physical contact is considered a great thing.  “The only thing I don’t need is you!” Harris sings without irony. Even Oswalt gets a cool moment in the number.

The rest of the skits do not quite hit the same highs, but they are still very fun. Jonah and his friends go from a charming Mad Men parody to a fun PSA railing against purposely bad “hybrid movies” like Sharknado. Kinga and Max also chime in. The whole crew has steadily built up their comedic chemistry, not surprising as all are credited as writers.

Good Times Ahead

This is the only the fourth episode of the first season and the comedy is coming together as though this group has been together for several seasons. Chemistry like this only comes around so often. How much better can this show get?

SCORE: 10 OUT OF 10

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return is currently streaming on Netflix

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