The following is a review of Red vs. Blue season 1, episode 3, “The Rookies.
“The Rookies” begins with Simmons and Grif talking on the Red Base roof again. They’re interrupted when their new recruit, Private Donut, walks up wearing regulation red armor. According to Grif, only officers and recruits wear red. Grif’s armor is orange and Simmons’ is maroon. Donut inquires how he can get new armor, while Grif comments to Simmons that he bets the Blues don’t have to put up with annoying rookies.
Cut to Blue Base. The new tank’s arrived, along with new recruit Private Caboose. While Tucker and Church stare at the tank and enjoy the moment, Caboose rambles on about his dealings with the guy who dropped off him and the tank, and Caboose presents a subpar quip he made like it was comedy gold. Tucker tells him to shut up, and Church mutters about how he could “blow up the whole goddamn world” with the tank.
Back to Red Base. Grif and Simmons start hazing Donut. They tell him he needs to go to “the store” to pick up “elbow grease”, as well as “headlight fluid” for the Puma. Donut runs off on his fools’ errand.
Back to Blue Base, where Tucker continues the running gag about picking up chicks with a tank, which he now considers quite easy. He comments that he could probably pick up three chicks at the same time with it, which Church finds excessive.
Quick cut to Red Base, where Simmons questions if they were too mean to Donut. Grif thinks they were fine, and that Donut will just wander around for a while and come back with no harm done.
Cut to Donut, approaching Blue Base. Donut is happy to have finally found “the store”. He sees the tank and mistakenly believes it’s just an item being sold.
Now we’re starting to get some real plot going. The store gag is cheesy and predictable, but I can give Rooster Teeth a little slack because they were just starting out at this point.
The episode starts with an in-joke about Simmons running off to “the Vegas Quadrant”, which is a reference to one of the Rooster Teeth guys suddenly getting in his car and driving off to Las Vegas because of a dare or something. It’s pretty out of place with the Red vs. Blue world, and I don’t like its inclusion. It doesn’t make sense in context unless you know stuff only the creators would know. I imagine at this point Red vs. Blue was kind of a group project for that group and not exactly taken seriously as a serial comedy. I wish that instead they did something more in theme, like Simmons and Grif talking about life, the universe, and why Halo multiplayer doesn’t make sense or a reference to Lopez or something, or at least made another reference to the Vegas Quadrant in a future episode, but they didn’t.
This episode is notable for defining the whole gimmick of the armor colors. Back in Halo: Combat Evolved, the only multiplayer model was just the Master Chief and the only way to distinguish them was through color, specifically the color of the full suit rather than just certain parts. That throws a monkey wrench into the concept of “Red vs. Blue” in that it’s the Red Army against the Blue Army based on the Capture the Flag gametype where you’d play with a red team composed of red guys that look exactly the same. That’s fine for gameplay, but bad for machinima because you want to be able to distinguish the characters somehow and be able to recognize them. So, Rooster Teeth decided to make it so characters could get slightly varying armor colors as a status thing as long as they stay within their general categories of red and blue. That’s clever, and it set the stage for a bunch of jokes and plot elements based on armor color. I suspect Rooster Teeth would have gone a more subtle route if they had started with Halo 2 and used emblems, but that wouldn’t be Red vs. Blue as far as I’m concerned.
Donut: “Private Donut reporting for duty, sir. Ready to fight some aliens.”
Grif: “Couple of things here, rookie. First off, ‘Private Donut’? I think somebody needs a new nickname.”
Grif: “I just refuse to call him ‘Private Donut’…”
Church: “Aw, man, listen to you! What are you going to do with two chicks?”
Tucker: “Church, women are like Voltron. The more you can hook-up, the better it gets.”
Donut: “Oh, sweet! They sell tanks!”