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EPISODE REVIEW

Episode #25: Opening Night
Original Airdate: November 18th, 2009

To test security at the Vault, Spider-Man volunteers to try to escape. But the Green Goblin has other ideas, trapping Spidey inside Ryker's amid a sea of felons he put away.

Credits
Written By Greg Weisman
Directed By Mike Gougen
Music by Lolita Ritmanis, Kristopher Carter, Michael McCuistion
Animation By Dongwoo animation

Voices
Josh Keaton as Spider-Man/Peter Parker
James Arnold Taylor as Harry Osborn
Eric Lopez as Mark Allan
Vanessa Marshall as Mary Jane Watson
Steve Blum as The Green Goblin / Homunculi / Matthew Besnick
Jeff Bennett as Montana / Bernard Houseman / St. John Devereaux
Eric Lopez as Mark Allan / Molten Man
Alan Rachins as Norman Osborn
Clancy Brown as George Stacy / Alex O'Hirn / Rhino
Lacey Chabert as Gwen Stacy
Grey DeLisle as Sally Avril / OsCorp Voice
Charles Duckworth as Hobie Brown / Puck
Miguel Ferrer as Silvio Manfredi / Silvermane
Tricia Helfer as Felicia Hardy / Black Cat
Kelly Hu as Sha Shan Nguyen / Titania
Andrew Kishino as Kenny 'King' Kong / Oberon
Phil LaMarr as Fancy Dan / Homunculi
Joshua LeBar as Flash Thompson / Nick Bottom
Daran Norris as J. Jonah Jameson
James Remar as Walter Hardy / The Cat Burglar
Cree Summer as Glory Grant / Cobweb / Homunculi
Alanna Ubach as Liz Allan / Helena

Review: Arsenal - Greg Weisman-helmed shows do many things well.

They mix humor, drama and romance. They give their supporting characters depth, not just the leads. They insert twists and turns that even savvy audience members will not expect. .

But the one characteristic his shows have had since “Gargoyles” is they plot longitudinally. A scene, a line or even a single look will mean so much more when it is revisited a few weeks later. .

Weisman and Co. have never been afraid to leave an iron in the fire for later, because they always have the bigger plan in mind. .

Even a smaller detail, like the school play, takes on a larger meaning with this crew. Weisman first had cast members audition in “Growing Pains.” In that episode, writer Nicole Dubuc sprinkled Shakespeare quotes to comment on the action. . (Sally Avril had the best cheer-dition with her take on Hamlet. “Villain! Villain! One may smile and smile and be a villain!”) .

The writers have used vignettes to break up the action often this second season. For example, the recorded birthday congrats in “First Steps” or the interviews in “Identity Crisis” both qualify. .

Weisman uses the same tactic in “Opening Night,” specifically using quotes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. (That’s right, the big man penned this one himself.) .

Weisman uses it for characterization. Liz, for example, loses herself in Helena. (“Call you me fair? That fair again unsay.”) .

He uses it for atmosphere. (“Ill met by moonlight” says Kong.)

It increases suspense and hints that Harry is once again the Green Goblin. (The rhyming scheme, in general, and specifically the Puck quotes like “Lord what fools these mortals be” and “Up and down. Up and down.)

Weisman even uses the performance to further Flash’s romantic subplot. All of this must have been decided toward the beginning of the season, because the school play was mentioned in the fifth episode. That is thinking ahead.

Sure, Weisman alters or edits quotes when it suits the episode. (Loved Flash’s “shivering jocks.”) But “Opening Night” is still easily the cleverest use of Shakespeare in superhero animation. It’s every bit as clever as Neil Gaiman’s use of the same play.

And the Shakespeare stuff is all window dressing, a subplot, at most. The “A” plot involves Spider-Man and Black Cat stopping a prison break at the newly christened Vault.

Spidey’s there out of altruism and Black Cat is trying to spring her father, who’s in jail for the murder of Ben Parker. (Lord forbid anything be uncomplicated.)

Meanwhile, the unseen goblin is pulling the strings. He releases the Enforcers, Rhino, Mysterio and Molten Man from their cells to make life harder for Spidey.

Naturally, Spidey is missing Liz’s performance to quell the chaos. Weisman works in a couple of decent Jonah quips, an homage to his breakout show and continues to use Spidey’s rogues gallery well. However, what is most impressive, is that he manages to fit so much content into 21 minutes.

Weisman concludes all the competing plotlines without cheating any of the two dozen or so speaking characters.

Oh, and for the first time, that two dozen includes Hobie.

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