When Banana Joe returns Darwin’s pen with bite marks all over it, Gumball forces Darwin to embark on a journey of vengeance. Things soon spiral out of control, however, when their attempt to find justice only makes the problem worse than it originally was.
I noted in my recap for “The Colossus” that the show was making an effort to give many of the side-characters their own episodes this season, but also that I didn’t think that it would always work out for the best. Banana Joe was one of those characters that I was cautious about. He was very annoying in season one, despite being the breakout character among the target demographic and appearing in the only Elmore Stream video that actually went somewhat viral. He was also more of a bully in the first season than Tina and her gang, which was something that I thought was odd even back then. Well, this episode turned Banana Joe into an angel. He was just downright adorable, being as nice as he could be, and while he still told some very bad jokes, they didn’t make me dislike him. I really like what they did with him, especially since turning him into an angel made the climax – his breaking point and then absolute rage – that much more enjoyable.
This was an episode that got better and better as it progressed. The brief scene towards the end, when Banana Joe was whistling a happy tune while Darwin and Gumball madly dashed towards his locker, crashing into things, was brilliantly handled. It was very cinematic. I could have gone without the boys beating themselves up at the end in an effort to make it appear that Banana Joe won the fight, but unlike in previous episodes, they were being ridiculously happy about it and didn’t appear to be suffering. That made it funny instead of sad, and I like funny. I’m also happy that they didn’t go with the predictable outcome of Gumball being the one who chewed Darwin’s pen, at least not directly, as it shows that the writers are recognizing the tired clichés and tropes and are striving to avoid them. All in all, this was one of the best episodes of season two so far and I’m looking forward to “The Phone” on September 25th, provided the schedule doesn’t change.