After a massive IndieGoGo and a year long wait, Rocket Jump's VGHS is finally back and it feels like we never left. No really, this episode picks up right in the middle of last season's conflicts.
Yup, if you aren't already onboard with the Internet's best video game themed web series then this is not the place to jump in. The show, focusing on a special school where the students spend all day honing their skills as pro-gamers is in its climactic final season. Kicking off with the traditional re-upping of the ante with special effects, character twists, and oh so many celebrity cameos, the premiere episode is a head-spinning dash even for the initiated. Still, with the first two Seasons on Netflix, DVD, and YouTube you aren't given much of an excuse not to catch up quick.
So where were we? In the end of last season, Brian D. got a girlfriend, but lost a best friend, the big cliffhanger being Ted moving out without a word. The Law, 'redeemed' by crawling out of his burrito stained hole of self pity didn't make the anticipated conversion to the side of good and instead immediately went to work for the bad guys, Napalm Energy Drink High School. Ki Swan announced her candidacy for School President, opposing the shameless RTS douche Shane Pizza. And that's pretty much where we start, right in the thick of it.
As you can see, that's a lot of plotlines to juggle, and like last season the premier episode does take a bit to get warmed up. I can't say it's a particularly funny episode, more clever than featuring a lot of great laugh out loud moments, but not all of it is supposed to be either, featuring some surprising twists that certainly confounded my expectations and went dark fast. There's also a noticeable Law shaped hole for most of the episode, popping in to say hi but largely left to wait in the wings for what is to come. This was probably necessary, as the episode is extremely dense, but they did admirably find time for seemingly less than integral subplot for Jenny Matrix involving a TV interview from hell. While not moving the plot forward much, Johanna Braddy reenforces Jenny as one of the most relatable and human characters of the series and gives the episode most of its funnier moments. All in all, this episode was about laying groundwork for a big end for VGHS, which for this installment means beefing up bigger and tougher conflicts to overcome.
Now, as frequently reminded during my YouTube viewing, the entire third season is available for download right now from Rocket Jump's website. This was a choice I found a little disappointing. Not an opposition to kicking these guys some well deserved cash for this professional product, especially when the price was extremely reasonable, but rather because this new trend of providing new content to binge watchers like on Netflix and Amazon seems to lessen the specialness of the prolonged event of a series season. Because of this, I'll be reviewing 'VGHS: Season Three' as it's released on YouTube out of personal preference, but if you'd prefer to take it all in at once or knock it out over the weekend, $14.99 is very fair for this quality of content.
This season looks to raise Rocket Jump's already high ambitions even higher, and I'm looking forward to the trip. It'll be sad to see VGHS go, but I'm sure they'll make it one hell of a farewell.