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AATAFOVS: Citadel Of Evil
Season 1, Episode 13 (Finale). Preceded by Stock Footage, followed by London Falling.

The Vamp Benders break into the Dark Council's Citadel of Evil to rescue Fluffykins, recently kidnapped by the pirate queen, Admiral Black, as detailed in the previous episodes A Pirates Life For Me and A Slice Of The Limelight. The first clear look at the Citadel, this episode is really one long Unguided Lab Tour, but done with style.

The Benders jump out of a Story Gate onto a cliff overlooking the Sea of Blood. The Mountain of Terror looms over them, a perpetual thunderstorm playing over the Citadel of evil perched picturesquely on its peak. Nerdly exposits that a plotium field makes it difficult for them to open Story Gates inside the castle, but he has planted a homing beacon on Admiral Black.

The group teleports into Admiral Black's lab, where they find a minion-o-matic churning out ninja pirate clones. Sue smashes this up with her dumbbell, but Cleo gets her dress caught in the machinery. Nerdly lends her his T-shirt, which is almost long enough to qualify as dress on Cleo. This leaves Nerdly topless, revealing him to be surprisingly muscular, though none of the cast notice. Avatar uses a bent paperclip to convert some of the wrecked machinery into five supersonic hoverboards.

Second stop: the enormous throne room. Admiral Black, apparently swollen to gigantic size, is sitting on a ship while minions scurry around her feet like ants. Avatar and Nerdly argue about whether she's using an embiggening ray or a Humongous Mecha.

Third stop: The corridors. A labyrinthine tangle of insane (and probably non-Euclidean) architecture built on a Brobdingnagian scale. At one point the benders hide while the Doomstar, the mile wide flagship of the warlord of Z'lt'n, zooms past overhead.

The Benders fly down corridors, and yet more corridors, none of them seemingly leading anywhere. One five-mile-wide corridor dead ends in a wall with a door only 2 inches high. Another leads onto a bridge over a bottomless abyss, which terminates in mid-air. A third is almost completely blocked by a gargantuan ebony skull, leaving barely enough room to squeeze past.

They zoom down corridors where blood flows down the walls and screaming faces are embedded in the floor, down corridors decorated with scenes of such vile depravity that there are demon tourists taking admiring notes, down corridors where reality itself grows thin, and the nameless terrors without can be seen pressing against the walls. Spectres of horror they are, in whose shadow the normal human mind would melt into gibbering insanity faster than a snowflake in a supernova.

The benders sail through all these corridors bantering wittily with only Nerdly showing the faintest traces of fear, but when they reach the corridor decorated with cute pictures of fluffy kittens, they turn back. The benders may be brave, but they are not suicidal, nor are they insane enough to challenge Joe in his lair.

Fourth Stop: the Council Chambers. Overhead, the partially assembled Crystal of Ultimate Power floats, but the boys are more interested in the Mudpit of Doom, directly underneath the crystal. There, the ninja nymphettes of Mistress Malicia are wrestling with Asmodeus's elite squadron of succubi.

Final stop: the Dungeons. Solo drinks the guard under the table, then Sue rips open the cage holding her pet. At this exact moment, 13 members of the Dark Council dramatically leap out of the shadows and order their minions to attack.

While Avatar struggles to override the plotium field, the other four Benders stand round him fighting off endless waves of robotic ninja clowns, alien vampire pirates, demonic ninja cheerleaders, and worse. Solo and Cleo both get their clothes shredded, but none of the benders lose any blood.

After 10 minutes of this epic battle, Avatar shouts 'Aha'. Cue Story Gate. As the benders leave, Fluffykin's eyes glow a sinister blood red.

Fan Talk: The corridor sequences, taking up nearly half the episode, are believed to be filler inserted after the original script was rejected for being too disturbing.

The preferred explanation for Nerdly's unexpected buffness is as another instance of Avatar's supposed aura of heroism nudging the people and events around him into a more epic mold. While this would explain much, the only evidence for it is a single rant from the Giggler, a man so insane he once tried to build a doomsday machine from his own toenail clippings. Admittedly, it did crack open the Moon like an egg, but can he really be considered a reliable source?

We still haven't learned what makes Joe so impressive that Alucardiff pales at the whisper of his name, and Z'lt'n screams in mortal terror. The benders' off-screen encounter with Joe was mentioned again, but no new details were given.


Stock FootageAATAFOVS/Episode GuideA Very Bendy Christmas

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