The recession is an asshole.

Finally. Months after continuous viewing of season two, Metalocalypse returned to Adult Swim for another season of unadulterated brutality. I inadvertently watched episode 2, “Tributeklok,” before the premiere, which did me no good. Under the impression that “Tributeklok” was the season premiere, I was left disappointed in the direction of the series, feeling that it was a weak return that made no effort to address the cliffhanger ending of season two or the story arc that spans the series. I was wrong.

Bear in mind that this is my first recap, and it’s very long.

(spoilers and screengrabs after the jump).

In a triumphant return to the airwaves with “Renovationklok,” Metalocalypse picks up where it left off: Mordland was burned down and their manager, Charles Foster Offdensen, is presumed dead. The world is in financial turmoil, which is usually an indication of Dethklok’s prolonged absence, whether they haven’t played a show or released a record. In this case, they haven’t performed since Mordland, their fortress of solitude, was attacked and set ablaze at last season’s record release party.

The episode opens with a flashback (“a number of years ago”) to Dethklok’s contract talks with Crystal Mountain Records. We see a younger, mustache-less, belly-less, Toki-less Dethklok signing a deal that will make them, and their associates, trillions of dollars—and the fastest growing isolated economy. Naturally, Nathan Explosion punches the record exec’s son for being a rich, condescending prick. The son, aptly named Damien Cornickelson, promised to never forget this event like it was his own, personal 9/11. What good of a plot device would a flashback be without some foreshadowing? After chiding Nathan, and the rest of the band, for their behavior in these meetings, Charles Foster Offdensen warns them to pay attention to the contractual stuff because “what if [he’s] not around in the future?” Wait? What? Oh yeah! As far as we know, he died at the end of season two. But we already knew this. Some people needed a reminder.

Sans Offdensen, the members of Dethklok have put themselves in charge of handling all of the business decisions, or, as Pickles says, the “financial thingies.” We find them spending money willy nilly, getting ready for their first show since Offdensen was pronounced dead. In an effort to boost the world’s economy, and to make spending money metal, Dethklok, with no sense of the severity of the financial situation, are putting on the most expensive, most elaborate metal show in history. You mean there’s something more expensive and elaborate than performing in a giant, walking spider machine that shoots rockets at death row inmates? As Nathan Explosion declares, “There’s no recession for metal! The recession is an asshole.”

Dethklok’s detachment from reality, after years and years of being the world’s most famous, most profitable band, leads them into a downward spiral of spending. They spend their money on crystal posters, a platinum practice chamber, a mausoleum with endangered furniture, and converting corn silo’s into giant Dorito dispensers. This excessive spending, as well as the renovation of Mordland, has left Dethklok in financial turmoil. This is only realized once their checks start to bounce. I know the feeling. It comforts me to see that the recession, combined with poor judgement, has had an impact on the most brutal metal band in history.

Dethklok’s new financial burden has put them in a precarious position, and the wrong person is privy to this information. Damien Cornickelson (remember him from the flashback?), who we find out is the heir to Crystal Mountain Records, sees his window of opportunity to finish off Dethklok. By threatening to pull the plug on what will be the most brutally expensive concert ever, Cornickelson aims to prevent Dethklok from making all of their money back, thereby forcing them to renegotiate their contract. This can only work to his favor. Don’t you love when plot devices are brought full circle? I do.

Over the rest of the episode, we see the members of Dethklok facing the music. Toki took on a second job (did he have a first one?) as a stripper. A headline roll shows that Nathan Explosion was spotted at the Dimmu Burger. Pickles has to drink cheapo canned vodka. This montage shows that, while Dethklok is combing the couches for loose change, Cornickelson is making cash off of their record sales. If only Offdensen was still alive.

The concert does, in fact, prove to be the most expensive ordeal in history. They have synchronized swimmers forming pentagrams, some sort of awesome laser orb, and balls full of Benjamins (100 dollar bills) that are shot by rockets like skeet. Cornickleson, not bluffing, shuts off the power, bringing the epicness to an even more epic halt. You can cut the tension with a hacksaw as Nathan Explosion is about to sign the new contract, in slow-motion of course. As the pen touches the paper, the door bursts open, revealing a brightly lit silhouette (not an oxymoron). At this point you realize that it’s Offdensen. Dethklok’s voice of reason, their bread and butter. While we’re on the subject of plot devices coming full circle, Nathan knocks Cornickleson in the kisser, giving him his comeuppance and removing a tooth.

this should be an animated gif. click to see.

After the epic display of money squandered, we find out that Charles Foster Offdensen made sure to be pronounced dead. He was off taking care of more important matters—focusing on the bigger picture, that is, the titular development promised at the end of season one: the Metalocalypse. The credits roll and we see General Crozier, eyes aglow, placing troops in battle stations all over the globe, as a parka-clad Mr. Selatcia watches with malevolence.

Having mistakenly watched episode two before the premiere, I can infer that this season will touch on themes of authenticity and detachment more substantially than in previous seasons. In “Tributeklok,” which I’m not planning on recapping right now, Dethklok, in an effort to get back to their humble roots, reforms as the Dethklok tribute band, Thunderhorse. Hilarity ensues as the band realizes that they have to do their own setup, promotion, and gig for spaghetti. “Renovationklok” dealt with the band’s inability to see money as something tangible, seeing their spending habits as something normal. The band, in losing their manager, loses their ability to make rational decisions, as they haven’t had to do this on their own for quite some time. We’re never given the specific number of years that Dethklok has been in the big time. The only indication of can be taken from the flashback scene. Damien Cornickelson is a loudmouthed brat, initially. Upon his return, we see that he’s aged substantially. His hair has grayed and his face is wrinkled. While the band has been out of touch with the general notion of money since season one, we’ve never seen them have to deal with the immediate consequences of their exorbitant consumption. In one scene, their financial collapse is paralleled with the literal collapse of Mordland, suspended above the clouds for the purposes of renovation. This parallel is even acknowledged in the episode via newscast. Dethklok has never been this vulnerable.

The closing sequence gave me goosebumps not felt since I first saw “The Metalocalypse has Begun,” assuring me that a lot of our questions will be answered in what will more than likely be the most brutal season. With Metalocalypse’s transition to a half-hour format rather than an eleven minute minisode, it looks like Tommy Blacha and Brendon Small will be dedicating a large chunk of their time to developing the Metalocalypse story-line. I hope to see more use of the Tribunal with perhaps some development of Mr. Selatcia. How exactly is Dethklok involved in the unfolding of these apocalyptic prophecies?

After seeing this epically brutal premiere, “Tributeklok” was put into context, allaying my fears for the fate of season 3. I see the band becoming more cognizant of their humanity and figuring out their role in the larger picture. Somehow they will be instrumental in the imminent world war. With much more time to develop the larger story line, Small and Blacha can take their time and build the suspense properly. If there’s one thing they’re good at, it’s building to a brutal climax. This show gets my blood flowing, but in the 12:30 time slot, immediately following The Venture Bros., they’ve certainly got their work cut out for them.

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One Response to “The recession is an asshole.”

  1. The Recession is an Asshole. « Felix Incognito | baseclosingconsolidationsouthcarolina Says:

    […] Months after continuous viewing of season two, Metalocalypse returned to Adult Swim for another season of unadulterated brutality. I inadvertently watched episode 2, “Tributeklok,” before the premiere, which did me no good. …. After seeing this epically brutal premiere, “Tributeklok” was put into context, allaying my fears for the fate of season 3 . I see the band becoming more cognizant of their humanity and figuring out their role in the larger picture. …Page 2 […]

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