The following is a review of Red vs. Blue season 1, episode 5, “The Package is in the Open”.
We start at the top of Blue Base, where all three Blues have gathered. Church and Tucker are scanning the area for Donut. Church recaps the last episode’s developments by confirming Caboose’s story of what happened. Caboose asks if it’s bad that he gave Donut the flag, and Church goes on a rant about it.
Tucker spots Donut, and Church brings up his sniper rifle. After a moment, he sees Donut carrying the flag around the cliffs. Church notes that Donut must have gone there to stay hidden. Tucker comments that Donut must be really smart, and then we quickly cut to Donut muttering about how lost he is, before cutting back to Blue Base.
Church sees that Donut’s armor is red, and he and Tucker make the assumption that Donut must be Sarge. Tucker tells Church to take him out, and Church fires… and misses four times. Tucker notes that Church really isn’t good with that thing.
Donut, scared by being shot at, yells that he’s the guy that bought the flag, and he waves it around. Back at Blue Base, all they see is a Red guy waving their flag at them and assume he’s taunting them. “That’s just embarrassing,” Tucker says.
They move on to Plan B. Church tells Caboose to stay put while he and Tucker go through the teleporter. Tucker, however, refuses to use the scary-looking teleporter. Church reminds him that they already tested the teleporter by throwing rocks through it and found it worked fine. Tucker points out that the rocks were “all hot and covered with black stuff”. Church then threatens to kill Tucker with an assault rifle if he doesn’t go through the teleporter. Tucker counts to one, two, and then he darts through the teleporter.
Church and Caboose look over to the teleporter output destination out in Blood Gulch… and wait. The seconds tick by. They look over to the output again. They wait some more… Nothing.
Finally, Caboose remarks that Tucker didn’t come out the other side. Church says he’s changed his mind about going through the teleporter himself. He tells Caboose to wait there while he goes after Donut on foot.
Cut to Red Base. Grif scans the horizon, saying he’s sure he heard shots. Simmons swears he heard nothing. Then Grif sees Donut, identifies the flag, and dramatically tells Simmons to “get the Warthog”. Simmons chuckles and asks if he means the “Puma”. Grif, annoyed, tells him that joking won’t win the war.
This episode continues the plot arc about capturing the flag, and I think it’s when Red vs. Blue starts to come into its own. The Donut/Caboose misunderstanding situation of the previous episodes is an overused comedic plot, but this episode starts to flesh out the series with the teleporter and a plot that involves the conflict in a direct way.
The characters, particularly Church and Tucker, get used more and we get more familiar with them. At this point, I think that Church isn’t very likable. By the end of the series, he becomes the main character, but at this point he’s just a gruff antisocial guy. Tucker is likable in this episode, though, as just an everyman sort of guy. Church and Tucker play off each other nicely. Simmons and Grif are still different from the characters they become in later seasons, where Simmons is the dedicated soldier and Grif is the lazy underachiever. In this episode, Grif is eager to get his part done in the war and Simmons doesn’t seem too interested. I'm curious where it is that their roles reverse.
The teleporter is a classic part of the series, and its introduction is important. You don’t think about it as you’re playing the game, but the teleporter really would be scary to just hop into. The idea of going into the box and not emerging from the output is rather disturbing, which makes for a funny moment in the show. The dialog about the “black stuff” is also very amusing. Whenever a blizzard covers Seattle in snow, the phrases “all cold and covered with white stuff” and “I am afraid of white stuff” go through my head.
The Puma bit notably ends in this episode, through reference is made to it later on. Grif calls it the Warthog and Simmons mentions the Puma name like they both agree it shouldn’t be called that at this point. In season 2, Grif calls it the Puma again, but the car itself refers to it as the Warthog. Rooster Teeth refers to it as Chupathingy in one of the DVDs, so it’s fairly unclear what the car should be called. I and many other fans like Puma.
Church: “He’s sneaking around back behind the cliffs.”
Tucker: “He must be one smart son of a bitch.”
Donut: “Aw, man, I am so freaking lost. Where the hell is the base?”
Church: “We don’t have time for this. Why would they give us a teleporter if it didn’t work?”
Tucker: “I don’t know. Why would they give us a tank no one can drive?”
Church: “The rocks came out the other side, didn’t they?”
Tucker: “Yeah, but they were all hot and covered with black stuff.”
Church: “Oh, so that’s it, then? You’re afraid of a little black stuff?”
Tucker: “Yes, I am! I am afraid of black stuff.”
Caboose: “Huh… He didn’t come out the other side…”
Church: “Yeeeah… I’ve, uh, I’ve decided I’m not gonna use the teleporter.”