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KAMEN RIDER INCISOR & VOLCANCER

Previously on Dragon Knight. Spidey returned with a spiffy new makeover, and the dynamic duo of Kit and Len had to save a technician on the roof from getting captured. Len is getting his ass kicked, until Kit decides to make a contract with the dragon (whatever that means) and turns into the red guy, thus making the lead hero of the show. Meanwhile, a new enemy in the form of Kamen Rider Incisor is ready to take both our heroes down.

Oh me, oh my, I do believe those are some of the longest “previously on” segments I’ve watched since the days of Dragon Ball Z. Complete with long pauses of dead silence. The least they could do is add more stuff from several episodes to pad the thing out, if they HAVE TO show a certain amount of past footage.

After 17 hours of previously-aired footage of Incisor’s introduction, we’re returned to the battle, where Dragon Knight realizes there’s no way for him to get out of this fight alive, facing both Incisor and his monster pal, Volcancer. Especially since Len, who uses the power of slow-mo to reveal to us his Power Crotch, has decided not to intervene in the fight. Instead, Len watches with interest as Kit gets his ass handed to him. They’ve obviously got a lot of work to do if Kit wants to be as cool and socially dysfunctional as he is. Kit exits through a mirror and the battle’s over… for now.

Kit heads over to Grace’s Books and is quickly introduced to the whole Scooby Gang- Trent, Lacey, and of course he already knows Maya… and the way these two kids are making moon-eyes at each other, it’s clear they’d like to know each other better… like, in the biblical sense. Trent tries to join them, but Lacey’s stomps his heart out by telling him not to interfere with their shipping session. Trent responds with his best line so far. “… I hate everything.”

As Kit and Maya share some buddy time, Kit realizes that his father, whom he apparently thought “just needed some time away,” might have been kidnapped by the pokemon squad…. Seriously, how much “time away” could the guy have taken? Frank Taylor would have been a serious douchebag of a father if that was the real reason for his disappearance.

Also, Maya had gotten an e-mail from the mysterious investigator called JTC, who has some nice, super-blurry photos of something that kinda sorta maybe looks slightly like monsters and stuff. Although one pic definitely looks like the upcoming Kamen Rider Sting. I like this. I like this a lot.

Meanwhile, Kamen Rider Incisor has demorphed into civilian form.

…. By the way, I really have to ask. Am I the only person that saw the name “Incisor” and thought it was pronounced a completely different way from how they do it in the show? I always thought it was meant to sound like “in scissor.” I mean, I assumed it came from the word “incision.” Which basically is a cut. Unless there’s some animal reference I’m not aware of….

Anywho, we’re treated to a flashback in which an extremely wealthy kid named Richie (get it? CUZ HE’S RICH!) drives up in his truck with friends, waiting to get into his fly crib, but a man calling himself Conners is standing in his way. Conners informs Richie that his daddy has cut him off, and all the money and wealth he thought he had is now gone. And the only way to get any of it back will be to accept Conners’ offer. The Advent Deck of Kamen Rider Incisor.

So, basically, I love both these two characters. Richie may not be played by an Oscar-winner, but his personality brought a lot of life to what otherwise might have been a pretty stale couple of episodes. Conners, on the other hand, is played by a really awesome actor who just oozes cool with every line delivery. He’s also very matter-of-factive and real with everything he does and says. Just great. 

 INCISOR

XAVIAX

With a million bucks in mind, Richie goes after Kit for Round 2. The Riders enter the mirrors and face each other. Kit wants to know why they’re fighting, and Richie reveals his plan for world domina…. Oh, no, that’s not his plan. His plan is to get rich again. And every one of those punks he takes down means another million in his wallet.

But Len decides that Richie is too crabby for his own good, and he rushes in to fight side-by-side with Kit. The two Knights get ready for an awesome fight… and then Richie freaks out about the fight being unfair, and runs away. I guess he forgot about his monster buddy, Mister Crab.

Without much explanation, Len decides he’s going to start training Kit…. by beating the ever-loving shit out of him. Len even uses his Trick Vent card and splits into a whole team of Wing Knights, who all come at the poor rookie in red at once. He brings Kit to his knees and looks like he’s about to just lop the guy’s freaking head off. But then he suddenly says “That’s enough for today.”

Seriously? THAT’S IT? I mean, if you’re gonna do a training sequence, at least cut out some of the more harsh moves from the fight footage. And those “instructions” he gave him along the way, like “the fight won’t always be one-on-one” really didn’t need to be demonstrated with such brutality. And that final line really bugged me as well. You could at least have said “We’ve got a lot of work to do.” That would have implied that the training session wasn’t over and they would continue with stuff we wouldn’t have to sit through, to at least give them SOME kind of illusion that Kit actually learned something real.

The next episode begins just as Kit and Len step out of the other dimension, with Kit gripping his shoulder in pain. Looks like he agrees with me about the faux training session. But there’s no time to relax, because the two heroes get the buzz. There’s a random monster on the loose, on his own, not doing anything at all!

The Knights transform and rush into battle with the creature, each one summoning their beast buddies.

DRAGON KNIGHT WITH DRAGREDDER

I’ve noticed that they haven’t bothered to name the monsters in the show yet. Of course, I know their names, but since they don’t ever use them, it’s fun to find names that suit them in some way. I like to call Kit’s monster Puff the Magic Dragon. Or Puffy. Or P. Diddy. Or Mr. Combs.

In any case, Puffy and Bats work their mojo on the Riders and they perform their Final Vent attacks on the monster simultaneously. The monster goes boom and a glowing orbs floats up from the ashes during a sweet color effect that makes it look all sunset-ish. Diddy flies up to absorb the glowy ball. Don’t ask why.

Kit remarks that he thinks he’s getting better at the whole “fighting monsters just because” thing.

At the book store, Maya is once again on the computer. This website thing can’t be her job, can it? She must help out at the store when the camera’s not looking. But today, she’s in full research mode. And she’s got herself some kind of internship-type deal, under her nemesis Michelle Walsh. Lacey, who looks like she just got back from her trip to Planet X, says that she knows Maya’s just gonna end up getting Walsh some coffee again.

Maya says “I do not get coffee.”

Maya then gets Michelle Walsh coffee.

And surprise! The technician-guy that got attacked a couple weeks ago is back, telling Michelle his story! I love this so hard. You never expect to see characters like this ever again. Typically, their usefulness has worn out by the time the good guys shout “Stay here,” and run off to fight the monster, but not this guy.

This guy gets to convince Walsh that he’s been drinking some crazy juice, by explaining that he was attacked by a spider-guy, and rescued by a dude in a bat-suit. Wow, I just nicknamed the monster “Spidey” because I didn’t know what else to call him. I had no idea the show was going to make its own Spider-Man reference. GO, SHOW!

As Maya is apparently supposed to be taking notes, she gets the buzz and notices Len from down the street transform and jump into the mirror to fight Spidey’s second cousin. Venom, maybe?

Anyway, nothing much comes of this scene, except to establish that Walsh is ignorant to what’s going on, but is still way more important in the investigative world than Maya. I get the feeling we haven’t seen the last of this reporter chick. Egh…

Elsewhere in the city, Richie gets an upgrade in toolery as he is now wearing an amazing popped collar. At least he’s not wearing canary yellow to match his Rider suit, eh? His bike gets towed for some reason, and he’s freaking out over not having a ride. I guess the truck was taken away too?

As Len exits a mirror, Kit shows up late to the party. He wants some answers. It’s not until this episode that Len’s name is actually revealed. Which I personally love. There was no other scene where the name would naturally come out, so why not just wait until they can make a point out of it. Plus, I had a lot of fun calling him Keanu Schwarzenegger the past several weeks. Len also reveals that the world beyond the mirrors is called Ventara, and that the Baddy Riders are after Kit because they think he’s working with Len.

Ya know, I think I would care a little more if we knew by now a little incling as to what exactly Len is doing and what happened to him. We keep getting scenes where you think that’s gonna happen (the training scenes, the quiet moments with just him) but it never happens. Even a super-brief flash of memories would be helpful. It makes me wonder just how accurate it was for me to call him a Terminator in the first place. Must. fix.

STEPHEN LUNSFORD (KIT) & MATT MULLINS (LEN)
Anyway, the dynamic duo look over and find Richie, not riding, but walking down the street. Len pushes Kit into a wall and huddles up beside him… There is so much unintended homoeroticism in this show it’s insane. Len tells Kit that Richie is Incisor. “How can you tell?” Kit asks. Len takes an unnaturally long pause as he gazes back at Kit, and finally says “…. I can sense it.”

Get this man an Emmy.

Richie’s walking through a super-cool location with a wall of mirrors, and is confronted by a slightly sheepish-looking Kit. Richie’s ready to get paid, but Len suddenly appears from the other side, trapping him. “I see you brought your BFF,” Richie says. This makes me love him ten times harder. Kit’s ready for action, but Len tells him to slow his roll, and that this is a one-on-one Rider Challenge, just like the title of the episode says.

Len and Richie coolishly call their belts and transform together, jumping through the mirror and onto planet KO-35 from Power Rangers.

A fierce battle is waged, as Kit cheerleads on the sidelines.

That’s all right,
That’s okay,
You’re gonna pump our gas someday!

“Nice suit,” Incisor says. “Ya look like a million bucks.” This guy really loves his money.

But the battle gets more intense as they call their monster pals and Final Vent each other.

KABLOOEY! They drop out of a big explosion in the sky, but are still ready to tear each other apart. The battle rages on and… suddenly, Volcancer starts to vaporize. And Incisor begins to do the same. Apparently (but not OBVIOUSLY), Incisor has exhausted too much energy in his fight. And that means he’s thoroughly screwed.

Kit watches in shock as Richie and his monster both completely dissolve. The battle has been won. I guess.

Later, Kit asks what happened. Len explains that once a Rider is defeated, he’s vented into a dark void between dimensions. A place from which he can never return. Awesome way to kill a guy without actually killing him. And obviously a very disturbing one for Kit, because he’s not happy about this at all.

Kit goes back to his place for a good emo session. He tosses his deck into a drawer and walks away, clearly flustered. It seems he wants no more of this fight.

And that’s when he gets the buzz. Somewhere out there, a monster’s making mischief. The Advent Deck begins to glow from inside the drawer, as if to call out to its user. Kit reluctantly grabs the deck and heads out.

That’s probably one of my favorite scenes in the entire first four episodes. I could really feel the impact of the situation on Kit’s heart as he realizes the stakes, and the cost of losing a Rider battle. And the irresistible lure of the deck as it calls him to action once again. Excellent.

STEPHEN LUNSFORD AS KIT TAYLOR
As Kit rushes off for another fight, a guy on a red motorcyle follows him there. Red! That must mean he’s a Red Rider, right?

WRONG. The mystery man whips out a green Advent Deck with the bull insignia. We cut to black just as the deck begins to glow, and we hear the words “Kamen Rider.”


TO BE CONTINUED…

I have to say, Episode 4 is easily my favorite so far. I loved Richie as a character and was sad to see him go so soon. Conners/Xaviax kicked ass as usual, and the drama of the whole event of losing Incisor was more palpable and interesting than anything else for me. Plus, there was just a refreshing lack of tomfoolery like useless training sessions or style-tastic Power Crotch shots.

Episode 3 gets a B-. Episode 4 gets an A. I pray that we get more episodes in quality up to or better than “A Rider’s Challenge” in the future.

-Dr. Tristan

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