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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”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (322 votes, average: 4.30 out of 5)


• 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 as 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.”

219 Replies to “Episode guide: 1008- Final Justice”

  1. Raigely says:

    The credits song at the end of this episode is my favorite of all time. Probably helps that it’s already super catchy to begin with. I sing it all the time [when I’m hungry].


  2. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    For instance, in “Mitchell,” why ON EARTH did [Deaney] shoot the burglar (I know, for laughs) when he’s already into all sorts of shady dealings? Why bring that on himself? Same thing in “Final Justice. ”Why did [Palermo] kill the guy in the rain at the start of the flick?

    Deaney killed the burglar because he knew that, due to his importance to the FBI, there would be no legal consequences for him doing so (or there wouldn’t have been if Mitchell hadn’t kept disobeying orders); he killed the burglar because he COULD.

    Palermo believed himself similarly untouchable (although being psychotic was also a big piece of the puzzle (“There’s “psychotic”! Really big!”), as indeed he evidently would’ve been if not for T.J.G.

    Criminals basically operate under the presumption that, for whatever reasons, they will not be caught, or that the chance of them being caught is minimal compared to what they stand to gain. That’s kind of the whole point of CRIME, to take actions while avoiding legal consequences for them.

    Unless one considers the results of one’s crime (killing the criminal who set off the film’s plot by killing one’s spouse, for instance, an action which obviously has no practical purpose because, hey, guess what, the spouse is STILL DEAD) to be worth going to prison for or even worth being executed for, I suppose. Most criminals don’t proceed under that sort of presumption, though.

    Mitchell and T.J.G. (and Dirty Harry, and Death Wish Guy*, and John Shaft, and…) themselves committed crimes under the unspoken presumption that they would not be punished for them. And they were pretty much right. In fact, they succeeded where their enemies failed, meaning that they were better criminals than the criminals they stopped.

    Just as was the case with the fictionalized version of Sheriff Buford Pusser, yet another cop-on-the-edge played by Joe-Don Baker.


    *his official alias in the films is “Mr. Vigilante” but relatively few people are aware of that


  3. Kenneth Morgan says:

    For the record, these are the good (or great, even) movies that Joe Don Baker has been in:

    -Cool Hand Luke (in a small, uncredited role.still, good movie, tho)

    -Junior Bonner (directed by Sam Peckinpah)

    -Walking Tall (maybe Baker’s most iconic role)

    -Charley Varrick (a GREAT movie, directed by Don Siegel)

    -The Outfit (with Robert Duvall and Karen Black)

    -Fletch (with Chevy Chase!)

    -Cape Fear (Scorsese!)

    -Reality Bites (oooh, the 90s!Winona!)

    -Mars Attacks! (Tim Burton’s last not-terrible film!)

    he was in a trio of James Bond movies,
    The Living Daylights, Tomorrow Never Dies, and Goldeneye,
    although I’ve never seen those so I can’t speak to their quality.

    Joe Don Baker was most recently in Mud, from director Jeff Nichols, co-starring Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, and Michael Shannon.Mud is a great movie, overlooked from last year.Baker has a small role in the film, not much dialogue, but he strikes quite the presence with just the slightest bit of menace.

    So yeah,
    Joe Don Baker has made some good movies.

    I’d add “The Wild Rovers” to that list, a good latter-day Western with William Holden and Ryan O’Neal. Baker plays the more sensible of a couple of revenge-minded brothers. And, while I haven’t seen it, I understand Baker is very good in the British mini-series “The Edge of Darkness”.


  4. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    Of all of MST3KI’s non-sf/fantasy/horror films, this one was one of the “newest” if not THE “newest.” I think that contributes to it being a IMHO definite lesser-effort episode, although I’m honestly not sure why. Maybe it just wasn’t eighties ENOUGH. Oh well. Even a lesser effort is better than none at all.

    So… WHY exactly am I supposed to be interested in someone’s opinions on these episodes? I totally get that people have their own opinions on what is good and what isn’t, but its being presented like some sort of official dictum. Why can no one on the internet S E P E R A T E factual data and their own prissy, message-boardy opinions? Is it honestly that hard?

    Seriously. I’m not asking this rhetorically. I want an answer. Why is it so hard to do that? Am I just THAT out of touch with the modern dumbed down society?

    It’s a COMMENTS section. Metaphorically step inside and, unsurprisingly, one finds COMMENTS within it. You’re not obliged to be interested in us. And, fortuitously, vice versa.

    Was there supposed to be any sexual tension between Baker and his sidekick? ‘Cause I never got that impression. But then why bother having the sidekick be female? Joe Don Baker movies aren’t exactly known for being progressive.

    You get that he didn’t DIRECT the film, right?

    Why NOT a female police officer? Female police officers EXIST.

    Johnny Ryde:
    The jokes about Joe Don Baker’s size start falling flat after a while (although there are some good zingers in there).Still, does anyone else think it’s odd that they are merciless about his weight when many of the Best Brains themselves are not that much smaller?

    Odd? No. Hypocritical, yes, but not odd. As I’ve mentioned way too many times already, IMHO the Brains just weren’t as pleasant a bunch during the SFC years. Maybe Trace Beaulieu was the true glue of the group all along.

    I vaguely, REALLY vaguely, remember some at-least-as-vague allegation that Trace didn’t return to MST3K because of some romantic “scandal” in the cast. Anything to that? Anyone? Thanks.

    Johnny Ryde:
    Is there a cut near the end, or does Maria really have no reaction when JDB comes back from the dead?

    I think it’s more a question of the ACTRESS having no reaction. ;-)

    Then again, even when T.J.G. disappeared into the Mediterranean, she believed he had somehow survived. Maybe she just took it for granted that he just wouldn’t die until he’d finally beaten Palermo. In which case she might have expected him to just drop dead after killing Palermo and that’s why they cut to the end credits so abruptly.

    Really, I think the episode could’ve used a few more Seinfeld/Elaine riffs. Not all that many more, just a few.

    As for the Brains calling T.J.G. a “cheater” at the end….not unlike what I said before about cops in general, when someone’s about to kill you, there aren’t really any “rules” as such. It’s not a game of tag. Sure, there are “rules” that some cops break (to get results) but I don’t think that’s one of them. Even civilians are allowed to use lethal force if they have a reasonable belief that their lives (or the lives of others) are in danger. From the people that they use lethal force AGAINST, that is.

    Plus Joe Don deserves it for thinking he can star in a serious action movie.

    He did. If I’m not mistaken and frankly what are the odds of that, “Walking Tall” Is generally considered to be a serious action movie.

    Is there any movie in the history of cinema that has more boat chases than this dreck of a film?

    More than one or two? Yes, one might think.

    Well, you have to give Greydon Clark “credit” for daringly broadening the thematic scope of his oeuvre.This movie furnishes quite a contrast to ANGELS’ REVENGE. :lol:

    On the contrary, both films are built around the theme of “vigilante justice.” One of “The Seven” is even a cop.

    Chris Lark:
    STILL can’t believe that Greydon Clark wanted MST3K to riff on ALL the films in his catalog too. Still it did lead to a great Weekend Thread Discussion (that I suggested) so I can’t complain on that one ;-)

    What’s not to believe? That way more people would be watching his films.

    Besides, Black Shampoo, Satan’s Cheerleaders, Without Warning, Wacko, Joysticks, Mad Dog Coll, Stargames … sounds like plenty of fun to me. :-) Unfamiliar with the Weekend Thread, though.


  5. littleaimishboy says:

    Anybody here besides me have happy memories of watching THE GOOSIO SHOW growing up as a small Maltese child?


  6. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    Oh, and another thing…

    You know how T.J.G. “gave his word” as an American police officer (in contrast to as a Texas lawman)? Yeah, that kind of thing isn’t legally binding, either. Without paperwork or legal ceremony or stuff like that, “breaking a promise” isn’t against the law. Unless I’m wrong.


  7. Be right there says:

    After this episode aired, my mom was rather upset over Crow and Servo’s treatment of poor Goosio in segment two.


  8. Was the hogpiling of M. Waverly in ep. 1108 a callback to the the hogpiling of Goosio in ep 1008?


  9. Sitting Duck says:

    Ironic that this popped up in my newsfeed today.. haven’t read it yet but I thought it was mighty fitting.

    I checked out that article, which describes the police of Malta as being at best incompetent. if this was equally applicable in the Eighties, TJG may have been a step up.

    Endoplasmic Reticulum:
    Was the hogpiling of M. Waverly in ep. 1108 a callback to the the hogpiling of Goosio in ep 1008?

    If nothing else, it’s a curious numerical match-up.


  10. Endoplasmic Reticulum:
    Was the hogpiling of M. Waverly in ep. 1108 a callback to the the hogpiling of Goosio in ep 1008?

    I’m pretty sure the Goosio sketch was a mix of “Issues about working on a TV puppet show” and “Kids-TV watches weird stuff in funny other countries!”, in movies where they have funny other countries to talk about.
    (Y’know, like that time Mike dressed up as Xuxa, when she was trying to get American syndication.)

    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.

    Since there’s no SciFi Malta to troll directly, it just sort of falls into that Italy/Europe general-geographic-ballpark thing from “Devil Fish”, where they think they’re “supposed” to, but it’s on autopilot and their hearts aren’t in it.

    For the record, these are the good (or great, even) movies that Joe Don Baker has been in:
    also, he was in a trio of James Bond movies,
    The Living Daylights, Tomorrow Never Dies, and Goldeneye,
    although I’ve never seen those so I can’t speak to their quality.

    So yeah, Joe Don Baker has made some good movies.

    In Living Daylights, Baker basically plays the privately funded Lord-and-missiles American Pentagon-slob who had hoped to be a patsy for the villain’s weapons deal.
    Which was in keeping with Baker essentially being the Doughy Loudmouth American Stereotype to contrast the cool internationally-civilized keeping-calm-and-carrying-on of Her Majesty’s MI6 agents. For good or bad, it’s perfect casting, Baker knows he’s being put in as a sort of villainous Reagan-era comedy relief to look stupid, and plays the role accordingly. (And even Timothy Dalton makes a good audition as 007, but the Quantum-like mess that was “Licence to Kill” just proved he was too sour and cranky.)
    In the others, Baker’s character basically DOES work for the Pentagon, where the starred generals all have Texas accents and want to solve world problems by blowin’ em off the map, before Bond can defuse the bomb/computer.

    The idea that “Gasp, JDB could make good movies!” is a bit of a legacy that’s been handed down from the second-half Mike generation–
    Since it contrasts the “This movie is the worst movie ever made because we SAY it is, and no one who ever bore the foul taint of it ever worked again and died in a Florida retirement-home gutter!” wish to punish the movie’s entire family, and anything else that was ever linked with it on IMDb.


  11. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    The Original EricJ:
    Since there’s no SciFi Malta to troll directly


  12. eegah says:

    I was favorably impressed by Helena Abella, the actress who plays the Maltese policewoman Maria.I wondered why she hadn’t appeared in any other movies, and after some quick research, I learned that she has definitely moved on to bigger things: she is now Helena Dalli, Minister for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties in the Maltese Parliament:

    Cool info. She’s still in Parliament; here’s a new link:

    Here’s a recent video of her:


  13. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    I wonder if she and Greydon Clark keep in touch. ;-)

    I further wonder how often the Malta Film Commission gets asked about “Final Justice.” Feel free to ask them about it yourself, audience. :-)

    Yes, scenic Malta, catering to the makers of crappy action films for over half a century…,asc&ref_=ttloc_loc_16


  14. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    robot rump!:
    or i guess i could ask… if Geronimo is a hobo on a train leaving Malta at 3pm, meanwhile Mitchell! is a hobo on a train leaving LA at 8am. both trains are travelling at each other at 45 mph. with these facts when will Mitchell! 2 be made?

    Malta’s trains never leave Malta. What with the ocean and all.


  15. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    FWIW, Mike’s not a doctor, so him pronouncing Goosio dead doesn’t really mean much; besides, what with wearing clothes and talking and all, it’s safe to presume that Goosio is no ordinary goose, so just as it’s possible that Crow didn’t really make a meat loaf out of an alien creature (back in Season 8) but was just yanking Mike and Servo’s chain, it’s at least as possible that Goosio recovered and flew back to Earth while M&tB weren’t looking. After all, it’s just a show, we can believe whatever we want about it. ;-)

    All that said, I can zero in on that Host Segment as one of the reasons I find this episode to be a lesser one. Crow’s Malta rant is another. The rest of the Host Segments weren’t distinctive one way or the other IMHO.

    Sitting Duck:

    At least Greydon Clark was willing to admit in the DVD interview that Geronimo escorting the mobster to Italy was contrived.

    Really, as far as contrived plot points throughout film history go, I’m not sure that one would even make the top hundred.

    Sitting Duck:

    Revenge is a dish best served with laughter and giggles.

    Revenge is a dish best served over thirty minutes after calling in an order because then it’s free.

    Yeah, when you stop and think about it

    Why would you want to do that?

    that’s really the key moment of incompetence from Geronimo in this film. He’s stranded at the airport with a dangerous mob hitman handcuffed to his wrist that he’s got to get to the police for incarceration. So he takes a PUBLIC TAXICAB?!? Why not tell the Customs officers and have them arrange for a police escort? One could argue Geronimo was trying to keep a low profile, but the handcuffs, pearl-handled revolver and Buffalo Bill outfit kind of put the lie to that idea.

    Because he’s stubbornly independent and doesn’t want to ask anyone for any sort of help, especially not in a foreign country. That’s less incompetence per se than outright stupidity, if not a legitimate character flaw or even just “a Texas thing.” In which case, again, ACTING! ;-)


  16. goalieboy82 says:

    surprise there was no squeal like a pig riff when Bill McKinney was next to Joe Don Baker.


  17. thequietman says:

    touches no one’s life, then leaves:

    Why would you want to do that?

    Because if you’re like me, and I know I am, when you’ve watched these episodes enough times you start to think about the whys and wherefores of the plot while you’re waiting for the next riff to laugh at.


  18. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    The Original EricJ: I’m pretty sure the Goosio sketch was a mix of “Issues about working on a TV puppet show” and “Kids-TV watches weird stuff in funny other countries!”, in movies where they have funny other countries to talk about.
    (Y’know, like that time Mike dressed up as Xuxa, when she was trying to get American syndication.)

    Wouldn’t Bridget or Beez have made a great Xuxa as a visitor to the Satellite?


  19. Lason Strike says:

    Somewhere in this episode, Mike, in a parody of Geronimo says something like, “pork ribs have more flavor but beef ribs have more meat”. Can someone tell where that is?


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