One thing that’s been impossible not to notice in the first few episodes of The Tick is just how oblivious the title character seems to be. We understand that he’s a relic to old school superheroes, with his primary interest being dishing out “sweet lady justice,” but at times, it just feels like guy is just straight up out of it. About 20 minutes into “Secret/Identity,” we find out why: his memory only extends to the last few days, since he met Arthur. This explains a lot of his behavior; the way he just does things without much consideration for context or potential consequences, and the extreme importance he places on Arthur. He has no frame of reference beyond Arthur, so operating without him would be extremely difficult. Of course, the precariousness of the situation makes Arthur even more reluctant to join forces with The Tick. He was already being confronted by a weird blue superhero at a time when he just wants to get his shit together. Now he finds out the dude has amnesia? That would be a lot for anyone to deal with, much less someone as hopelessly neurotic as Arthur.
At the end of the previous episode, after Overkill killed several members of the Pyramid Gang, Arthur was caught at the scene and presumed to be a superhero. At this point, it looked like he would have no choice but to give up on returning to his normal life, but he finds a way out. Realizing Arthur is far too meek to have committed such a brutal act, they believe his story that a “robo ninja” was behind it, and leave him alone. Desperate to avoid any further involvement with the situation, Arthur attempts to go back to his job as an accountant, though it’s clear from the beginning that this won’t last long.
Arthur’s time at the accounting agency provides some of the episode’s funnier moments, as he is paired up at a cubicle with Jergen (it’s pronounces “Yer-gen”), a conspiracy theorist who will ramble on about the evils of fluoride whether you’re listening or not. Arthur falls asleep at his cubicle, and is confronted by The Terror in a dream. When he wakes up, Jergen is still talking about the government staging false flag operations to impose regulations. Making fun of the InfoWars crowd is nothing new, but in this case, it’s a fine example of the show’s knack for meta-humor; in real life, we’re supposed to think of conspiracy theorists as irritating crackpots who will believe anything that matches up how they already view the world, but this show wants us to believe that Arthur is right about The Terror still being alive, even though a preponderance of evidence points to the contrary. The Tick is acutely aware of this disconnect, and does a fine job of poking fun at itself for it.
Elsewhere, Miss Lint (note: a few of you pointed out that I accidentally called her “Glint” in the last review. My bad. I was thinking of the fake drug from Strangers With Candy) continues to be met frostily by Ramses, as she is now blamed for Overkill killing their henchmen. At this point, there is an obvious mutual contempt between Lint and Ramses, and it appears that a betrayal may have already happened. When Lint confronts Arthur about the suit, and uses her powers to send him into a flashback to his childhood (where The Terror appears once again), he wakes up from his dream on the floor in a t-shirt and underpants. One would assume she was able to take the suit from him, yet she tells Ramses she’s still looking for it. Admittedly, the scene isn’t entirely clear, but it appears as though Lint’s loyalty to Ramses is thin, if it hasn’t already evaporated entirely. It’s easy to see why Lint is ready to turn on Ramses, as he routinely shows her nothing but contempt, but it’s interesting to wonder why she became loyal to him in the first place. Was it just a matter of circumcatnce (needing somewhere to go after The Terror’s apparent death)? Or was their relationship ever on better terms? Hopefully, the history between these two will be fleshed out in later episodes.
When Arthur’s attempt to escape back into the accounting world is thwarted by The Tick showing up (only an hour into his shift, of course), things get even more complicated when Overkill confronts them both. We learn that he, too, is convinced that the Terror is still alive, and wants to take him down. Unfortunately, before any thoughtful conversation can occur about this, Overkill throws The Tick out of a window, as Arthur watches in fear and horror, and the episode abruptly ends. Now, we’re left to wonder if Tick and Overkill can overcome this uncomfortable first meeting, and form some type of alliance. As for Arthur, after witnessing this, no one could blame him for wanting to retreat even further, but with so much chaos happening directly in front of him, it’s becoming clear that when The Tick talks about Arthur’s destiny being to become a superhero, he has an undeniable point.
“Secret/Identity” wasn’t quite as funny as the first two episodes, save for the bits with Jergen, but it made up for it by being interesting, and developing the dynamics between characters. What we’re seeing is that no one really wants to work with anybody. Arthur, the Tick, and now Overkill all have The Terror in their sights, but it’ll be difficult to any mutual trust to occur. Likewise, Ramses’ poor treatment of Lint looks to destroy what’s left of the already diminished Pyramid Gang.. The primary question now is who can trust who, and which alliances can produce the best results. After three episodes, The Tick has done a wonderful job setting us up for some intense conflicts going forward.
- Anyone else notice that The Terror sounds a bit like one of the random nursing home patients on The Simpsons? I keep expecting him to ask why Krusty Burger doesn’t have soft-boiled eggs.
- Apparently, Ramses drinking Vitamin Water in the last episode wasn’t just a fluke. He has a tomb-shaped refrigerator full of it. Can a 50 Cent cameo be far off?
- Dot is only seen briefly in this episode, but it’s clear that her role is about to expand. When caring for one of the henchmen attacked by The Tick, he mentions that he was attacked by a “big blue bug.” Doesn’t take her long to put two and two together.