Invader Zim Review #5: Walk of Doom
It’s been much, much too long. I’m sorry, I guess I forgot these reviews were a thing.
Well, they’re still a thing! And here’s one of them. Specifically, that one everyone confuses with Walk For Your Lives.
Walk of Doom
Original air date: April 6, 2001
Length: 12 minutes, 20 seconds including end credits.
Written by: Jhonen Vasquez, Rob Hummel
Zim repairs/upgrades (he calls it a repair first, and an upgrade later — could have been both) Gir’s guidance system. Surprisingly, this is not the part of the episode where things go horribly wrong, as the new guidance system appears to work splendidly. In order to test it further, Zim decides to get himself and Gir as lost as possible and then see if Gir’s new system can guide them back home. They get into their disguises (Zim wears an old-man disguise rather than his usual disguise) and set off.
Once they’re good and lost, Zim tells Gir to activate his guidance system so they can go home. Naturally, it turns out that Gir removed his guidance system before they left, in order to “make room for the cupcake”. (He was storing a cupcake in his head. Bet you wish you could do that.) Zim yells at Gir, but stops when Gir starts crying. (It turns out that Gir is crying because he ate his cupcake and now misses it. Yeah, I don’t know, go figure.)
Zim tries to reassert control over the situation by quickly fashioning a compass out of scrap metal. It’s kind of impressive how quickly he does it, but since the compass is magnetically attracted to Gir it’s also completely useless. Gir suggests they ask the “information humans” for help. This is a good idea, so naturally Zim ignores it. They try to take a bus, but are thrown off for not being able to pay the fare.
Remembering that Earth’s sun always sets in the west, Zim decides to watch the sun to determine which direction is west. However, staring directly at the sun causes Zim’s contact lenses to melt. Several hours later, Zim’s vision returns, but by this time the sun has already set. A man passing by takes Zim for a bum and tells him to “get a job”; this gives Zim an idea, and he and Gir head to a local park. They do a dance routine until they’ve collected enough money for bus fare. (Unnoticed by Zim, a man wearing clothes very similar to Zim’s old-man disguise and who also happens to be about Zim’s height puts some money in the hat. He’s very clearly just robbed a bank, as he’s carrying a sack of money.)
With their newly collected money, Zim and Gir board the bus, but the traffic is so bad they don’t actually go anywhere, and the close proximity to so many humans makes Zim feel ill. They leave the bus, and Zim decides that if they were up high enough he could spot their neighborhood. The nearest tall building happens to be the bank, but upon entering Zim is spotted and believed to be the bank robber.
Zim grabs Gir and runs up the stairs with the spider legs on his PAK. Once on the roof, he looks around and spots his neighborhood (or thinks he does, anyway), and instructs Gir to use his jets to fly them home. They escape from the police helicopter, but seconds later Gir’s jets give out and they crash-land in a dumpster. Gir, as it turns out, emptied out his jet fuel to “make room for the tuna”.
Zim hails a cab and orders the driver to take him to “THAT WAY!”. Astonishingly, with such specific directions to go on, the cab driver doesn’t manage to take Zim and Gir home. In fact, it appears that he took them to Mexico. The end.
- This is the first episode to have the word “doom” in the title.
- It’s also the first episode in which Zim wears his old-man disguise.
- And the first episode featuring the Spooky Chihuahua.
- And the first episode in which Dib doesn’t even make an appearance. (Neither does Gaz, for that matter.)
- And the first episode that doesn’t take place partly at Skool.
- When Zim and Gir are in the park, the screaming man has a sign reading “Will stop screaming for food”.
- Also in the park is a man in a sparkly suit doing the moonwalk, probably intended to be a young Michael Jackson.
- This is the only Invader Zim episode to contain the question-sleep symbol from JtHM. (See below.)
- There is a Fillerbunny bobblehead on the bus.
- As noted on the DVD commentary, the baby on the bus looks a lot like Stewie from Family Guy.
- The drooling man on the bus also appeared in Parent Teacher Night. (He’s standing behind Mr. Elliot in the scene where Mr. Elliot talks to Membrane.)
- At the end of the episode, a little girl is seen trying to sell Zim and Gir candy. The word “feo” — Spanish for “ugly” — is on the candy. (“Feo” can also mean “bad-tasting” or “foul”, apparently, which makes more sense in this context. I don’t know. I’m getting this off Google Translate.)
Changes and Cuts:
- When Zim and Gir are dropped off in Mexico at the end of the episode, there was going to be a sign reading “Welcome to Mexico”. Nickelodeon thought that might be perceived as offensive, so it was changed.
Goofs and Inconsistencies:
- Again, squiggly-font title.
- When Gir goes into Duty Mode in this episode all his cyan parts turn red. In previous episodes, only his eyes turned red. From this point on in the show, all Gir’s cyan parts go red while in Duty Mode.
- Gir pulls the cupcake from his head while still in his dog suit; the head of the costume appears to unzip in order to allow this. Since when is there a zipper there? (Same goes for when he sucks tuna out of his foot.)
- After Zim blinds himself staring at the sun, the camera pans up to reveal the question-sleep symbol from JtHM (Z?) above him on the wall. When the camera pans back down, it’s gone.
- It is again implied that Zim slept in this episode, so again I have to point out that Zim claims in an unfinished episode (Roboparents Gone Wild) that Irkens don’t sleep.
- When Zim yells “I’m going to beat you, city!” his gloves disappear.
- When Zim and Gir crash-land, a dog near the dumpster makes a cat noise before running away.
- Zim claims he improved on Gir’s guidance system. To be fair, Zim is a pretty solid inventor, so maybe he did. On the other hand… did he? We don’t really know what Gir’s guidance system was like before Zim messed with it.
- Zim seems pretty uncomfortable with Gir crying; uncomfortable enough to back down and nearly apologize. Is he just uncomfortable with displays of emotion? Is he worried that Gir’s crying will attract attention? Or does he genuinely feel bad for having made Gir cry?
- I previously stated in the summary that Zim’s contact lenses melted when he stared at the sun, but the episode never actually comes out and says that. Was the damage primarily to his lenses, or primarily to his eyes themselves? Did they heal that quickly because of his PAK? Is there self-repairing technology in the lenses? Is it all just cartoon physics? I don’t know.
- Zim mentions in this episode that “ocular implants are standard Invader issue”. In the unfinished episode Day of da Spookies, Dib says that Zim’s eyes are artificial implants. However, in Planet Jackers one of Zim’s eyes briefly pops out of its socket and it seems to be attached in a more or less organic way, and smeet!Zim’s eyes in the Parent Teacher Night flashback seem identical to his adult ones. So what gives? Are Zim’s eyes artificial? Are they artificially enhanced? This is the kind of stuff that keeps Zim fans up at night.
Things We Can Blame This Episode For:
- A great many incessantly-quoted Gir lines
How’d They Get That Past The Radar?:
- When Zim and Gir first board the bus, there is a bomb under the driver’s seat.
This is an episode that every Gir fan loves. As a result, if you’re in the fandom, you are going to hear this episode referenced nonstop. So, while I like this episode quite a bit myself, I do sometimes wish everyone would just shut up about it.
It’s not surprising it gets quoted so much, though — some of Gir’s finest moments are in this episode. I do like how he goes from doing something as stupid as removing his own guidance system to make room for a cupcake to quite sensibly suggesting they ask information for help.
Perhaps my favorite thing about this episode, though, is that it’s an episode in which every attempt Zim makes at doing something as simple as getting home goes horribly wrong, yet all the while he’s claiming to be a member of a superior species. He also talks constantly about how they’re in enemy territory despite the fact that the humans are completely unaware he’s even there and would be too dumb to stop him anyway. That’s a plot point in basically every episode, of course, but this episode does illustrate it particularly nicely.
This episode also breaks the formula a little; none of it takes place at Skool, and Dib doesn’t even get a mention in it. It’s just Zim and Gir failing horribly at everything they do. And, hey, that’s pretty amusing.