'K.O.' returns with a knock-out
On Sept. 21, four new episodes of Cartoon Network’s hit show, “OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes” were released on the channel’s website, after a several-months-long hiatus. “OK K.O.!,” the brainchild of creator Ian Jones-Quartey, is a fanciful homage to Saturday morning cartoons while still taking itself seriously. The series centers around three friends – the excitable-but-strong K.O. (Courtenay Taylor), the sarcastic-but-shy Enid (Ashly Burch) and the tough-yet-soft Rad (Jones-Quartey) – as they work to defend local shopping center Lakewood Plaza Turbo from villainy while coming into their own as heroes.
Last time we saw the Lakewood trio, they had uncovered a malicious secret society at POINT Prep, a school for young heroes to learn from the best. However, the “best” heroes quickly become morally gray, as it’s revealed that the school gives students special power-ups to win sporting events, including Elodie (Reshma Shetty), Enid’s friend and roommate.
In the first episode of the batch and the last one in the POINT Prep arc, “Final Exams,” K.O. and Rad are taken away by POINT guards and Enid and Elodie rush off to rescue them. Chip Damage (Kurt Angle), the ringleader of the society, is revealed to be an android created by Doctor Greyman (Dana Snyder), an alien who lost his superpowers long ago. Enid resolves to return to Lakewood in the end, while Elodie decides to stay at POINT. Chip’s erratic behavior is then revealed to be caused by Foxtail (Melodee Spevack), head of POINT, under the idea that “not all heroes are equal.” The episode ends with Greyman being ousted by Foxtail, arguing that POINT no longer has room for the powerless. Ultimately, “Final Exams” winds up being an excellent episode, tying up the arc while setting up important elements for the future.
A welcome break from the heaviness of the POINT Prep arc is the next episode, “Soda Genie,” in which the gang finds an old set of expired soda which turns out to contain a genie named Citrus Twisty (Ali Wong). The genie ends up turning Rad into a sandwich, bringing the group to court in a Phoenix Wright-esque magical lawsuit presided over by Judge Wally the White (Wallace Shawn). What follows is a hilarious courtroom scenario, finally ending on Twisty getting 70 years in prison (Wally blames those “darn minimum-sentencing laws”), only for her to be freed without turning Rad back to normal.
Getting back to the main story, “CarolQuest” features K.O.’s mother, Carol (Kate Flannery), as K.O.’s babysitter ditches, forcing her to bring him on an important POINT mission with her. For much of the episode, Carol tries to disguise her mission as a scavenger hunt, but by the end, K.O. catches on and Carol comes clean; Mr. Gar, keeper of Lakewood Plaza, isn’t trusted by POINT to keep the Plaza safe, and it’s her job to keep an eye on things so they don’t interfere too much and cause “the end of the Plaza as we know it.” While Carol’s lying wears on a bit too long, the episode highlights both K.O.’s cuteness and Carol’s awesomeness, winning through in the end.
The best episode of the bunch, however, is “Boxman Crashes.” This installment features the hilarious return of season one villain Lord Boxman (Jim Cummings), who was last seen walking off after being ousted by his robot children in early season two. The episode also shows off fan-favorites Professor Venomous (Steven Ogg) and Fink (Lara Jill Miller), last seen in season one.
Venomous, bored with the humdrum life of modern villainy, finds Boxman living in his garbage one day and invites him to stay with him for a while. But after Boxman destroys his house through his bumbling antics, Boxman takes him and Fink on a whirlwind attack on the Plaza, rekindling the professor’s love of villainy. Venomous even buys back Boxmore, Boxman’s robot-building factory, and the pair joins forces permanently. It seems that every Boxman & Venomous episode is hilarious through and through, and this was no exception. We got a good look into Venomous’ domestic life, some dorky hilariousness with Boxman, devilishly cute moments with Fink and tons of romantic tension between Venomous and Boxman for the shippers in the audience (this reviewer included). What’s not to like?
“OK K.O.!” returns to the airwaves this month with “Crossover Nexus,” a special teaming K.O. up with four other Cartoon Network shows, and “Monster Party,” a crossover with “Scooby Doo and the Ghoul School,” each sure to possess that same “OK K.O.!” magic we know and love.