What was this 90’s cartoon from Marvel Entertainment and Saban Entertainment? What is Silver Surfer about? Who stars in Silver Surfer Season 1, Episode 2?
This is a review and recap for “Silver Surfer” – Season 1 Episode 2, “The Origin of the Silver Surfer (Part 2).”
Viewer beware – Spoilers below!
Missed our Silver Surfer Episode 1 recap? Head here.
Silver Surfer Season 1, Episode 2: Recap
We start this episode with the Watcher giving us a recap of the previous episode, which amounts to almost recounting every major beat. But once we’re past this, and the opening credits, we find our titular hero out surfing the spaceways as he waxes poetic about travelling the universe, while lamenting his lack of memory or an clarity on his purpose for working for Galactus (which feels like a bit of an oversight on the big guy’s part).
Silver Surfer comes upon an entirely artificial world and curiosity leads him to explore a bit before deciding it will make a good meal for Galactus, all while being watched by the interesting dinosaur/insect aliens that are hiding there (if a name for them is given I missed it). Deciding they’d much rather not see their planet serve the same purpose as a hamburger they use the planet’s defence systems to attack, leading to an extended sequence of the Silver Surfer versus lasers.
Silver Surfer is confused why they even bother fighting against one as powerful as he, though he’s just as confused why the fact they do touches him on an emotional level. Eventually leaders figure there’s nothing they can do so evacuate their entire planet, a pretty amazing feat, before Galactus rocks up and does the thing that he does.
We then jump through space to a ship with a skull aesthetic and within we find Thanos as he admires Galactus’ handiwork, though he isn’t named yet he’s pretty recognisable in modern culture. He seems to be talking to somebody unseen to us, who he refers to as ‘my love’ so it seems he has some kind of intimate relationship with the hidden entity.
Silver Surfer heads off to find Galactus’ next meal as he continues to question how it was he came to join Galactus, making sure we’re well aware what the purpose of the episode is. Back in Thanos’ skull ship he gloats that he could so easily crush the Silver Surfer, but needs what is in our protagonist’s mind in order to learn how to enslave Galactus for his own goals. So Thanos just casually creates a nova (which does beg the question why he needs Galactus if he is able to create cosmic forces with seeming ease) which turns out to be too much for Silver Surfer and tosses him wildly off course.
Now running out of time to feed Galactus again he picks a nearby planet and discovers that it is filled with light and plant life despite having no sun whatsoever. The planet then decides it doesn’t like Silver Surfer as several volcanoes all erupt across the surface, one eruption successfully knocking him from the board and falling towards the certain doom of a lava flow. Thanos, watching on through apparently magic cameras, learns that Surfer is weak without his board.
Retrieving his board again Silver Surfer takes off, noting that this planet can do impossible things yet still decides that this miracle of the universe is best suited to a meal. The planet not wanting him to leave then throws a storm at him, somehow producing a whirlwind that, according to Silver Surfer, creates a perfect void which cuts him off from his necessary source of Power Cosmic (I think this might be the first reference to it in the show). The planet then entirely ices over in the attempt to keep Surfer trapped.
Galactus has finally finished his lunch, and is rather disgruntled that Silver Surfer has yet to find him another, so jumps to the conclusion that his herald must have betrayed him. The planet now introduces itself to Surfer as Ego, and stubborn as always Surfer makes another break for it only to be stopped by a Thanos ray. Thanos takes a moment to berate Ego for his incompetence, only Thanos could be upset at a planet for failing their job, and then probes Silver Surfer’s mind.
Thanos is pretty shocked by the sheer empty space in Surfer’s mind, and somehow avoids actively insulting him about it. Thanos reveals his big evil plan and Surfer laughs in his face, stating that even the combined might of the entire galaxy could not control Galactus. Then Thanos finds Surfer’s memories all locked inside a big metal box, so starts trying to unlock them.
Surfer fights him about it but some memories slip out and he starts remembering being Norrin. We then get a series of quick short clips from the first episode, basically filling in more of the Watcher’s recap from the start. Then Thanos starts having a freak out, apparently remembering studying on Zenn-La himself and failing. This may also be Norrin’s memories mixing with his own, it’s unclear at this point and left unanswered as it freaks Thanos out so much that he bails.
Ego then informs Silver Surfer that he is in his debt, as Thanos forced him to serve. Surfer asks if he’ll still feel that way when Galactus shows up to eat him, to which Ego replies with a ‘good luck with that’ and literally vanishes from that space.
Silver Surfer reflects upon what Thanos unlocked, evidently not having full access to those memories yet. Mighty mad at the revelation that Galactus has stolen his life from him, Silver Surfer takes off to have some words with his boss.
Thanos is still a bit of a wreck on his ship, pleading for forgiveness for his failure from his ‘love’. It is now revealed that he has been speaking to a statue of a ‘Lady Chaos’, who seems to be a replacement for Death from the comics. This likely because it’s a show for kids, but feels weird when you consider that Galactus genocides planets for food.
Anyway, we reach the end of the conclusion as Silver Surfer confronts Galactus. However, the world eater has little concern for Surfer’s issues as he has managed to find his next meal without the herald, Earth.
Silver Surfer Season 1, Episode 2: Review
This episode has the very strange role of being the middle part of a three-part story that kind of feels like it didn’t need to be. I get why they made this a three parter, as much as it feels weird to me. Firstly, it helps justify the first episode and the general lack of Silver Surfer within. This is the story of his growth from Norrin Radd, to Herald of Galactus, to universal adventurer. Making the first three episodes cover this allows the first to focus more on the Norrin aspect and learn who that was, even if, in my opinion, he doesn’t come off the most interesting in that part of his life.
The other reason is that it encourages the viewer to keep watching. You may not like the first episode or two, but you might just hang out for that ‘part three’ to see if it all comes together for you. There’s a lot to exposit so it makes sense to encourage the viewer to get through it all.
It does make me sad that my excitement to see two big cosmic characters, Thanos and Ego, was undercut by what I felt was otherwise rather weak as an episode. We start off interesting with an entirely artificial world, only for that to be done with so we can move onto Thanos’ plans and using Ego as a pawn, which is then brushed aside quickly so we can start with Surfer’s returning memory, which then gets abruptly stopped for our cliffhanger with Galactus preparing to eat the Earth. I’m sure the next episode will help justify some of this as Surfer’s confrontation with Galactus occurs, but in this episode it just leads to rather weak and inconsistent pacing.
I do think the overall intent of the show, to have a central spine of emotion and sacrifice that supports the action around it, is a good one even if it doesn’t always do the best job of it. This does help make it more than the action show it could be. I’ll be curious to see how this stands up given the last two episodes have hung more on the emotion, but this episode did see more action than the first. This makes me wonder if we’ll see episodes that fully favour action later in the season and I hope not.
I will say, since I forgot to say it in the first review, I do really love the theme song over the opening credits. The operatic/cinematic song (not sure what the correct term is) just works so damn well for this character, and, though I don’t know exactly what this show went up against, I imagine it stood out amongst the themes of other shows at the time.
Something that also occurred to me this episode is the quality of animation. For the most part it’s really good and holds up surprisingly well considering. The most notable weak spot is the definition of the 2D characters is worse than that of the 3D environments so it makes them appear blurry next to the sharper backgrounds. This is most notable with Silver Surfer himself, especially in close-ups. Though this isn’t really a fault of the animators given that it was made for old tube televisions and they couldn’t have future proofed it for streaming onto high-definition televisions. Just something that may make it a little harder for some people to watch today.
Who are the Silver Surfer Voice Actors?
- Paul Essiembre as Norrin Radd /Silver Surfer
- James Blendick as Galactus
- Colin Fox as Uatu/The Watcher
- Gary Krawford as Thanos
- Roy Lewis as Ego the Living Planet
- Camilla Scott as Shalla-Bal
- Aron Tager as The Master of Zenn-La
What did you think of this Episode?
Did you enjoy this episode? What did you think about Silver Surfer’s first contact with Thanos?
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