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Goodbye Sci-Fi

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett reflect on MST3K's final broadcast.

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Episode guide: 1008- Final Justice

Movie: (1984) A Texas sheriff winds up on the island of Malta in pursuit of the criminal that killed his partner.

First shown: June 20, 1999
Opening: Tom considers the unexplored implications of the song “Owner of a Lonely Heart”
Intro: M&tB are plagued by Yes orchestra hits; Pearl encourages humor in the workplace
Host segment 1: M&tB demonstrate to Pearl how repeating the same sequence can be annoying
Host segment 2: Crow and Tom encounter cute little Goosio. It doesn’t go well
Host segment 3: Crow’s report on Malta includes a good deal of slander on the subject of Maltese men
End: Having suffered through a really bad Joe Don Baker movie, Mike assumes it’s his turn to escape. He’s wrong, the poor dope. Meanwhile, Funny Dress-Up Day at Castle Forrester takes a horrifying turn
Stinger: “Yew think yew kin take me? Go ‘head on. It’s yer move”

• I have to put this one in the fair-to-good column. Unfortunately, there’s no way to avoid a comparison between this ep and the “Mitchell,” episode and unfortunately this one doesn’t measure up to that classic. The riffing definitely has its moments, but they have trouble sustaining a constant level of funny. The movie itself is serviceable and certainly Joe Don’s character is a bit less gross than it was in “Mitchell,” but it’s also a bit less unintentionally zany. In addition, the segments are more miss than hit this time around, but the final segments save the day.
• Mike’s thoughts are here.
• This episode is included in Shout’s Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol XIV.
• Callback: “Stop drinking baby oil!”
• The opening features more Yes bashing. My theory: The only way you could be this anti-Yes is by having BEEN a Yes fan at some point and since repented. I’m looking in Kevin’s direction.
• Last time I said I didn’t understand the riff “Let’s talk loudly about our SUVs.” Commenters explained it to me.
Segment 1 seems a little picky to me, like they couldn’t find anything else to comment on. The footage reuse is pretty mild compared to similar instances in other movies. All in all, I can’t get behind the premise.
Segment 2 is a bit better, and it explains why Mike takes the time to pointedly refer to Goosio by name during the riffing–he was setting up this bit.
• Of course that’s Mike sat the voice of Goosio; Patrick was doing the rather elaborate “technical puppetry.”
• Mike has the broken Goosio in the theater following the segment
• Obscure reference: Perini Scleroso (a hilarious character invented by SCTV’s Andrea Martin).
• Mike, apparently still channeling Joel after his visit, does a very Joelesque bit in the theater when he stands up and appears to be running from the car in the movie.
• Again, I find it amusing that microbrewery aficionado Mike is seen drinking Bud.
• Also in the theater, Servo twice leaps off his theater seat when somebody says “Geronimo.”
Segment 3 goes back to the “pointlessly bash a nationality” thing they’ve had some success with in the past, but I don’t think this works as well this time. Also: Mike knows how to rewire Crow?
• Then-still-slightly current reference: “Christian Slater’s gonna fly tomorrow I better get this back to him.” For those who’ve forgotten, Slater stupidly showed up at JFK airport in December 1994 with a gun in his carry-on and was arrested.
• Yet another fun closing credits bit, as Crow and Tom come up with new gluttonous lyrics for the theme music.
• Nice moment at the end of the last theater segment as Mike leaves early and Tom has to figure a way out of the theater by himself. “What do I do??” He runs left as Cambot pulls away. Somehow he manages.
• The final bit, of course, is the best of the episode and brings the entire episode up from fair to good. A lot of nice little touches in a great parody of Joel’s farewell. One small nitpick, though: “…an escape pod SHE hid…”?? Gypsy did not hide the escape pod in the box of hamdingers. I remember immediately after this episode first aired there was a long nerdy Comic Book Guyesque discussion of this goof on most of the web forums.
• As if the ending bit on the SOL wasn’t funny enough, that bit is further topped by the appearance of Bill’s in full leatherboy regalia. Classic.
• Cast and crew roundup: Executive producer Louis George had the same job on “Angels Revenge, as did producer/director/screenwriter Greydon Clark. In front of the camera, Joe Don Baker, of course, starred in “Mitchell.” Bill McKinney also appeared in “Master Ninja I.”
• CreditsWatch: Directed by Kevin.
• Fave riff: “The last thing a sausage sees.” Honorable mention: “I’m glad we skipped the cavity search.”

187 comments to Episode guide: 1008- Final Justice