Mortal Marathon Part 7: Undying Dream

April 20th, 2011 by |

Guest article series by Gabriel “TheJoker138″ Coleman.

Let’s get right into it again, because this is a short, boring episode where almost nothing of import happens. First off, there’s totally an on-screen title card again, that is once again in a totally different style than all of them before it, in a different spot than previous ones (they were all at the beginning, this is after the opening teaser) and is wrong:

I showed you the last one cause I thought it was weird. I’m showing you this one because it’s the most interesting thing in the whole episode.

Anyway, we start off with Taja in the marketplace, buying some stuff when she sees a man that she believes to be her father. She follows him into an alley and they embrace, but a portal to Outworld opens behind him and he drags her through. On the other side, her father vanishes and Not Jade is there waiting for them. Shang enters just as Taja and Not Jade are about to get into a scuffle and stops it from happening. His plan is to use Taja as bait to lure Kung Lao in and then… well, you know what he wants to do after that.

Taja, always the skeptic, still doesn’t even believe Outworld exists, which at this point is more stupid and stubborn than anything with all they’ve seen and faced. She’ll believe in guys made of oil, but not alternate dimensions that one of her best friends says he’s been to. She also doesn’t believe that it was really her father, just some trick that Shang was playing. In a twist, it appears it wasn’t just him morphing and that her father really is in the mines as a prisoner. Taja escapes from Not Jade’s grasp and runs off to try and find him. Shang tells another prisoner who is working for him to go get her and as long as he doesn’t kill her, he can do whatever he likes when he catches up.

The next morning at the training post, Kung Lao wakes up and joins Siro in the kitchen. As they’re bickering with one another about tea, they hear a strange sound outside and go to investigate. It’s a vision of Taja speaking in Shang Tsung’s voice, telling them that she’s being held prisoner and giving them a location that a portal will open that night. They’re told if they want to see her alive again, it would be wise of Kung to go through said portal.

Kung doesn’t seem to believe that Taja is really captured, while Siro is ready to run off right now. They decide that they have until the evening to make sure that Shang’s claims are real and to see if they can find her around the city before then. The problem is, they have no idea what she really does on a day-to-day basis.

In the mines, the prisoner catches up with Taja and there’s a fight. The prisoner no-sells everything that Taja throws at him. This would have been the perfect place for one of the WCW wrestler cameos this show has later on. They could have gotten Goldberg to do it, as it’s what he was already doing every night an hour later. By the way, I find it amusing that Taja is completely useless even in an episode based around her. This is a huge episode for the character, with about 75% of the focus being on her and she still can’t win a single goddamn fight. At least she lasts more than a few seconds in it before being knocked out.

She does get knocked to the ground fairly quickly though and the only thing that saves her from being raped is Not Jade coming in and hitting the prisoner on the head with a shovel. It’s like some twisted Three Stooges bit. The two of them talk and Not Jade tells Taja about how much she really hates Shang and feels like his slave, only doing his bidding due to coercion and threats. She hides Taja with the intent of using her to get out of the mines and screw Shang over in the process. Taja agrees, but only because she doesn’t know where she’s going anyway.

Back in the marketplace, they’ve finally started to track down Taja’s day-to-day schedule, having found a weird ball thing in her room and gone to the only vendor in the market who sells them. The vendor is of course a woman wearing nothing but a bra:

Yeah, they’re still doing stuff like this, in case you were wondering.

They learn from her the ball is used in some made up game and they go to the alley where it’s played. One of the players lets them know that Taja hasn’t been around for a couple of days, but that there’s a silk merchant who might know where she is. Kung goes to ask food vendors if they have any idea, while Siro goes to talk to the silk merchant.

Meanwhile, Shang is lounging around, eating fried lizards when Not Jade comes in and asks what exactly his plan is. He says that he’s going to turn both Taja and Kung, when he comes, over to Shao Kahn in exchange for his freedom. Kung will most likely be killed and Taja will become a concubine. Not Jade asks if he’ll take her with him and he says it all depends on his mood. She doesn’t seem thrilled by this.

Siro has had no luck with the silk merchant, but Kung has found the vendor that Taja had been buying things from right before she ran off with her father. The alley that she ran down is the same one that Shang told them to be at that evening. Kung tells Siro to stay behind while he goes to save Taja. After Kung leaves, Siro runs off as well.

Taja is trying to sneak out from where she’s been hidden away, but Not Jade walks in just as she’s doing so. Taja says she’s going to take her chances on her own, but Not Jade tells her that she has no chances. She tries to convince Taja that they’re not so different and that if it came down to her survival depending on it, Taja would have doing all the same things that she’s been doing. Taja doesn’t like hearing this and storms off, but Not Jade follows her. She asks about her father and Not Jade tells her again that he really is down here, this time confirming her story with information that only a member of Taja’s family would know.

Taja became orphaned when she was about 12. She had wandered off from their camp to play and when she came back, they were all gone, with no trace left that they had even been there. Since then she’s wondered whether or not something happened to them, or if she was just abandoned. According to Not Jade a group of slavers abducted them and her father somehow ended up down in the mines. Taja and Not Jade agree to help one another, but as they begin their search for Taja’s father, Shang appears and Not Jade goes back into pretending to be loyal to him. He lets them know that Kung is on his way.

Speaking of which, Kung is actually at the house of another woman who’s wearing nothing but her underwear. He lets her know that he’s looking for a box that he left there and she invites him in.

“I’m the box inspector. I’m here to take a look at your box.” Bow chicka wow chicka chicka chicak bow

Inside the box are a bunch of gems and the crystal from way back in episode 3. You remember, the one that allows it’s holder to open portals to anywhere they think of. Kung grabs it and heads to the alley, where he finds Siro waiting for him. Before they have a chance to argue about Siro coming along, the portal opens and Siro jumps through it. Kung follows suit.

They appear in front of Shang and his henchmen toss Taja over to them. Kung points out the major flaw in Shang’s strategy is that Shang can’t actually fight him, because he would be in violation of the rules of Mortal Kombat if he did. Shang says that there are plenty of other prisoners that are working for him that can kill him though, as they aren’t bound by those rules. But first he’s going to make Siro fight one of them, while Kung watches. If Kung tries to help, he’ll kill Taja.

This fight has the same problems as all of these fights against nameless henchmen that I’ve already been over. It looks like it might get a little interesting when the prisoner whips out a couple of swords, but Siro quickly disarms him with a kick and then knocks the guy out. At least we’re down to maybe only 2 of these every episode.

Shang is bragging that the fight is only a taste of what he has in store for them, but Kung grabs the crystal out of his pocket and gets ready to open a portal back to Earthrealm. Before he can do so, Taja runs off to find her father and Shang’s henchmen grab Siro and Kung and take the crystal. Shang thanks them for being so stupid as to bring the crystal right to him and sends Not Jade off to find Taja.

While searching for her father, Taja finds a wall covered in still living skeletons, who are crying and reaching out in pain and anguish. This isn’t really important, I just thought it was kind of cool:

Everyone loves skeletons

She then heads to a chamber full of purple smoke, where people are chained from the ceiling, all either dying or already dead. Not Jade shows up and tell her that it’s one of the many death chambers down in the dungeons and that the people here are lucky as at least they’ll soon be free of the prison. Not Jade also tells her that even if they can’t help her escape, they still might be able to help her kill Shang Tsung and they go off to search for Taja’s father.

Shang is back with Kung and Siro, taunting Kung about how even though he can’t do anything to Kung, he’s going to steal the souls of his friends. He then uses his powers to call down a prison cell made of rock pillars to hold the two of them and leaves. The two discuss why Taja left and then start thinking of ways out.

Taja finally realizes that she pretty much gave a death sentence to Kung and Siro by being selfish and running off to find her father and stops her hunt for her father to go back and help them. Not Jade gives her directions and Taja can’t decide whether she’s trying to be helpful, or just setting her up. After she runs off, Shang shows up and gives Not Jade instructions to go to Shao Kahn and let him know that Shang Tsung summons him. She leaves, but says to herself that she’s not going to go now, but will do so when she’s ready for her own reasons.

Taja shows up at the cell and using mining tools the three of them start to chip away at the bars. Just as they begin, Not Jade shows up too. She and Taja explain the situation to Kung and Siro. When they let Not Jade know they have no way out without the crystal, she turns on them, grabbing Taja and calling for Shang. Kung fights two of the prisoners while Shang force-chokes Siro.

The fight is pretty quick, with Kung once again just kind of destroying his opposition. Taja breaks free of Not Jade for long enough to run over and hit Shang, which distracts him long enough to release Siro. The three of them regroup and run, while Not Jade tells Shang that they’ll take a different route and cut them off.

The trio find an air shaft to the surface and Siro and Kung are prepared to try to climb out, but Taja stops them. When she hit Shang earlier she was able to pick his pocket and grab the crystal. She wants to stay to find her father, but they grab her and they all disappear back to Earthrealm just as Shang and Not Jade show up. Not Jade says she has to go to stop Shao Kahn from coming, although she never actually did go get him and says that she’ll take all the blame for the situation. Shang agrees, thinking it’s the only way to save his ass from Kahn’s wrath and Not Jade runs off.

Back at the training post, Taja and Siro talk about how they really don’t know each other that well and try to fix that. Taja is dressed in a polo shirt by the way and kind of looks like a golfer:

Or maybe a tennis player?

They have a talk about Taja’s family and afterward Siro gives Taja a ring that a messenger delivered while she was taking a bath. The ring is her father’s wedding ring.

Nothing at all happened this week. The only thing even somewhat important was the bit of character development on Taja and Not Jade and we’ve already known that Not Jade is out for herself since her little meeting with Kahn a few episodes back. Everything we learned about Taja here also could have just been done in a single scene of another episode. None of the fights were good, there were no new characters from the games introduced and it didn’t further anything storywise. This episode was bad.

Up Next: Episode 9- Quan Chi… featuring Quan Chi. I don’t like Quan Chi, but at least it’s something.

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2 comments to “Mortal Marathon Part 7: Undying Dream”

  1. Thought you had given up on these, glad to see that’s not the case. I remember thinking that this was around the point when the episodes started to get better.

  2. @Howie: I’ve just been busy lately, I plan on getting them up at a more steady pace from now on. Gavok already has the next one, and I have the first draft of the one after it written, and plan on finishing it and at least one more over the weekend. I’ve also gotten ahead a bit, and have written the reviews of the two movies on blu ray. So fear not, the marathon shall continue.