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Recap / Amphibia S1-E03 "Cane Crazy"

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The result of horseplay with heirlooms.
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Anne is in the basement, showing Sprig her personal items from back home. Sprig, of course, has never seen any such items before, and goes wild with speculating on their uses. He is particularly interested in a pen, if only for its clicking. The two are interrupted by Hop Pop, who has prepared them lunch.

Anne, Spring, and Polly are soon seated around the kitchen table, while Pop begins the process of serving everyone their food. While Anne initially joins Sprig and Polly in cheering as he gets it ready, her excitement dissipates immediately upon seeing the green, invertebrate-infested slop served in a bowl before her. She pushes it away, and sheepishly tells Pop that she's not hungry. This clearly hits a nerve with the old man, who asks if his cooking simply isn't up to her standards. Anne fires back with a series of witty comebacks, while Pop struggles to think of any retorts. Eventually, he retreats back to his study in a huff, but not before accusing Anne of being ungrateful and threatening to throw her out if she doesn’t change her tune.

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Anne isn’t particularly fazed, as her reaction is to do a mocking impression of Hop Pop, much to the amusement of Sprig and Polly. Encouraged by their laughter, Anne decides to take the impression to the next level by stealing one of Hop Pop’s canes and affecting the look of a hunched-over old geezer. She proceeds to get carried away with her performance, and in trying to punctuate her impression by slamming the cane on the table, winds up snapping it in half.

Sprig and Polly are left slack-jawed, while Anne tries to shrug the whole thing off. She argues that there’s no sense in getting up in the air over a cane. Sprig argues that what she just broke wasn’t just any old cane, but in fact Hop Pop’s favorite cane, a family heirloom passed down through generations of ancestors. Anne suddenly begins to take Pop’s words seriously, and worries that he really will throw her out if he finds out about this. Sprig volunteers to help her in any way he can. Polly is mostly apathetic about the whole thing, but changes her tune when Anne offers her candy from her own world.

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The trio initially tries to fix the cane themselves, using the sludge Hop Pop served them for lunch as glue and a ribbon to tie it together. It fails miserably. Anne concludes that the three of them don’t have what it takes to fix it themselves, and suggests taking it to an expert. Sprig singles out local woodsmith Leopold Loggle as their best bet. They seek out his shop, but he is unable to help them. He explains that the cane is made from the wood of the Doom Tree, which he describes as extremely dangerous. Anne and the others are less than impressed with his flowery descriptions of the tree’s nature, and cut him off midway through reading the tree’s entry in one of his tomes. He turns the page to a map showing the location of the tree, but says it will cost them. Anne responds by simply taking a picture with her phone. The three then hurry out of the shop, hoping to find the tree and get the cane replaced before Hop Pop wakes up.

The journey is an arduous one, taking the kids through both forest and lake, but they eventually arrive at their destination, and it does not disappoint. The tree is a sight to behold: hideous, bare, and with branches twisting and contorting in all directions. The presence of the skeletal remains of previous amphibian travelers does little to lighten the mood. Being the only ones with limbs of any significant length, Anne and Sprig climb the tree while Polly stays on the ground. They two grip the first branch they are in reach of, and, following one last scoff from Anne about the tree supposedly being cursed, they break it off. They immediately regret this decision when the tree lets out an ungodly shriek and starts swaying from side to side. Anne and Sprig are sent flying back to the ground with Polly, and look up to see an enormous insect wearing a makeshift wooden exoskeleton.

The three immediately make a run for it and the insect chases after them. After a few close calls they make it to Leopold’s shop just as he’s closing up for the day. They pull him inside and slam the door shut, while an utterly bewildered Leopold demands to know what is going on. There’s no time to answer, as the insect suddenly rips the door and a good chunk of the wall right off Everyone promptly scatters, with Leopold seeking refuge in a wooden chest. Anne runs to a shelf right next to the chest and begins throwing everything on it at the insect. It accomplishes little, but she is soon joined by Polly and Sprig, who help her in fighting the insect using whatever wooden or wood-carving items Leopold has on hand. The tide finally turns when Anne finds a jar full of termites (when asked about it, Leopold can only respond with “I’m a complicated man!”). She chucks the jar at the insect, and within seconds, its wooden armor is gone, leaving a comically unimposing green bug in its place. The insect meekly retreats back into the wilderness, leaving Anne, Sprig, and Polly to bask in their victory.

Just as they’re about to leave to replace Hop Pop’s cane with identical one they removed from the insect’s exoskeleton, Leopold jumps out of his chest and snatches it out of their hands. He proceeds to chew them out over the damage they’ve done to his store, and insists on not only taking the cane as payment, but demands they give him something more substantial as well. Reluctantly, Sprig offers him the pen from earlier. Leopold is initially perplexed and skeptical, but upon seeing its clicking function, he declares himself to be satisfied and says they can go.

Back at the house, Hop Pop wakes up from his nap, his mood having greatly improves. He turns sour once again though, when he sees Anne, Sprig, and Polly’s disheveled appearances, and correctly surmises that they got into some sort of trouble while he was sleeping. Anne confesses to having broken his cane while messing around, an admission Pop reacts to with shock. Anne glumly tells him that she’ll see herself out, but she is stopped by Sprig and Polly just before she can reach the door. They shower with love and pity, and all three begin sobbing. Hop Pop watches this with confusion on his face, and asks what’s going on. Now it’s Anne’s turn to be confused, as she tells him she thought he was going to throw her out. Pop then admits that he was never really going to throw her out; he was merely acting tough to make her respect him. He even goes so far as to say that she reminds him of himself when he was her age. Anne asks if this means he’s not angry about the cane, to which he calmly responds that he’s furious, and yells that she has dish duty for the next month.

Now that all of that is settled and it’s clear that Anne isn’t going anywhere just yet, Hop Pop pulls out a paper and says that he wrote a list of comebacks to get her back for that morning. They’re… not good. After several moments of awkward silence, Pop concludes that the moment has passed.


Tropes:

  • Alien Lunch: At the beginning of the episode, Hop Pop serves Anne and his grandchildren some kind of soup full of living and dead insects.
  • All for Nothing: After all the trouble Anne, Sprig and Polly went through to get a new cane, Leopold takes it as payment for the damage they caused in his shop.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The pen that Sprig got from Anne is later used to pay for the damage to Leopold's store.
  • Cutting the Knot: Anne avoids the trouble of negotiating the map from Leopold by just taking a picture if it when he shows it to them.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: Leopold does it when the gang asks for his help. He blames it on a throat injury.
    Anne: Can you fix it?
    Leopold: As a matter of fact, I CANnnnnnnnnnnnn not.
    Sprig: Huh. Can you make a new one?
    Leopold: ABSOLULTELYyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy no way.
    Polly: Do you have one we could buy?
    Leopold: OF COURSE I DOoooooooooooooon't.
  • Mundane Object Amazement: Sprig is mesmerized by Anne's click pen. As is Leopold when Sprig gives it to him.
  • Pet the Dog: As opposed to the beginning of the episode where she mocked and sassed him, the episode ends with Anne respectfully agreeing with Hop Pop that she will take on dish duty as punishment for breaking his favorite cane.
  • Planimal: The stick insect monster seems to be legitimately part-tree, or at least has a shell of wood protecting a more vulnerable underbody. After the termites chew off its wooden carapace, a soft, green underbody is revealed.
  • Popculture Pun Episode Title: The title plays on Mickey Mouse's debut Plane Crazy.
  • Stealth Pun: A giant walking stick just happens to be the monster in an episode about a cane.
  • That's No Moon!: The Doom Tree turns out not to be a tree at all, but a giant walking stick bug.
  • Tranquil Fury: When Anne asks Hop Pop if he's not mad about the cane, a pleasantly-smiling Hop Pop tells her that he's furious about the cane... right before angrily yelling at her that she's on dish duty for a month.
  • Was Too Hard on Him: While not played for drama, Hop Pop feels that threatening to kick Anne out may have been too harsh.
  • When Trees Attack: Or rather, when giant walking sticks attack.

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