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Recap / Darkwing Duck S 1 E 35 Heavy Mental

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Launchpad gets a swelled head. Literally.

Dr. Sara Bellum's lab comes up with the Norma-Ray, a new invention capable of giving people Psychic Powers. The first test occurs on Launchpad, but soon other less scrupulous individuals get their hands on the machine.

This episode includes examples of the following tropes:

  • Accidental Misnaming: J. Gander calls Launchpad first "Lawnchair" and then "Stamp Pad."
  • Anything but That!: Hotshot and Flygirl will do anything, including allowing someone to zap them with a ray that could potentially blow their heads up, rather than end up with latrine duty.
  • Big Guy Rodeo: Dr. Bellum grabs Major Synapse around the neck as she tries to stop him from getting his hands on the Norma Ray and using it on F.O.W.L. subjects. She achieves absolutely nothing.
  • Blowing a Raspberry: Darkwing razzes F.O.W.L. High Command when Synapse shows off that he's captured him.
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  • Brick Joke: In the opening, Darkwing rants at Launchpad for volunteering to deliver a package for S.H.U.S.H. When Launchpad protests that it was on the way, Darkwing points out they're in Switzerland. At the end of the episode, Darkwing proposes getting Launchpad a replacement pilot's cap on the way home. Launchpad objects that the pilot's store is not on their way home. Darkwing answers that it is for him.
  • Deadpan Snarker: A F.O.W.L. commander refers to Darkwing blowing a raspberry at them as a typical witticism.
  • Disability Immunity: The Norma-Ray can give people Psychic Powers, but it will blow up your head if you think at all while being zapped with it. This means that the only ones who can safely use it are ditzes like Hotshot, Flygirl and Launchpad. Major Synapse barely squeaks under the wire due to his short-sighted megalomania, and even he goes ka-pop when Darkwing turns the ray on him again and everyone starts asking him annoying questions.
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  • Failed a Spot Check: Dr. Bellum, J. Gander, and Darkwing are so busy watching Launchpad try to perform the psychic tests (pick up a balloon and light a match with his mind) that they completely fail to notice the trees outside first being yanked out of the ground and levitated and then being lit on fire.
  • Freakiness Shame: Launchpad gets embarrassed when his head begins growing due to his psychic powers, and it's one of the reasons he wants to return to being normal.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Launchpad has difficulty controlling his abilities; sometimes the power gets misdirected, something happens that he didn't want based on a thought, or his powers overdo what he's telling them. However, he seems to have fairly good control over them when he's not straining and his mind isn't wandering.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Darkwing is thrilled when he realizes that the Norma Ray did in fact give Launchpad superpowers, planning to use them to curb stomp his opponents. He becomes irritated and wants to get rid of them again after Launchpad's awkward early uses of them. By the end, he's interested in keeping them again, but Launchpad now wants them gone, and he gets his wish when they apparently wear off after the final battle.
  • Insult of Endearment: Darkwing fondly calls Launchpad "knucklehead" in the last line of the episode.
  • It's All My Fault: Launchpad blames himself when Major Synapse and F.O.W.L.'s psychic division kidnap Darkwing.
  • Killed Off for Real: Major Synapse's head explodes when he actually thinks during his fight with Darkwing and the others and he has not appeared again after the episode.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Dr. Sarah Bellum has no problem with the Norma-Ray being used on Launchpad, despite knowing that it could kill him (in front of Darkwing, no less) if anything goes wrong. Then she jokes about cutting his head open to see what the ray did. Later, she accidentally almost calls Hotshot and Flygirl (who she doesn't realize are with F.O.W.L.) "victims" rather than "volunteers."
  • My Brain Is Big: Towards the end of the episode Major Synapse overloads himself with psychic abilities and turns into a giant floating head with a bulging brain.
  • New-Age Retro Hippie: Before being exposed to the Norma Ray, Hotshot and Flygirl were just two hippies.
  • Pre-emptive Declaration:
    • The first sign Launchpad notices that the Norma Ray worked occurs when he picks up a lamp and tells Darkwing it's to prevent it from getting broken. A few seconds later, Gosalyn launches herself into her father and bowls him over. Darkwing tumbles onto the very table where the lamp had been sitting.
    • When Darkwing decides to take him back to Switzerland to have the powers removed, Launchpad says they'd better hurry because someone will swipe the Norma Ray shortly.
  • Psychic Powers: The point of the episode. Hotshot can control fire and ice, Flygirl gets Mind over Matter and Flight. Both have precognition. Launchpad wins the Superpower Lottery and gets all of their powers combined, but he can't control them as smoothly as Hotshot and Flygirl can.
  • Pun-Based Title: The title is a pun based on the heavy metal genre.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Major Synapse hates being in charge of the Psychic division. Apparently, he got the post because of some incident in which he ordered F.O.W.L. troops to secure a volcano.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: When Gosalyn finds that Launchpad accidentally brought Major Synapse's wallet home with him, Launchpad decides to try to use his powers on the wallet to find Synapse. Gosalyn points out that the wallet has Synapse's driver's license and they could just check the address on it.
  • Super Powers for a Day: The episode gives Launchpad superpowers, but by the ending, they're gone again.
  • The Worf Effect: After Major Synapse blasts himself with the Norma Ray and turns into pure mental energy, he throws Launchpad, who had previously been the strongest psychic in the episode.
  • Thought-Aversion Failure: The Norma-Ray gives normal people assorted Psychic Powers. However, the targeted person isn't supposed to be thinking at all while the invention is used on them, or else their head will explode. Guess how the Villain of the Week is defeated.
  • The Triple: Dr. Bellum has to remind Launchpad thrice that he's supposed to perform the tests with his mind.
  • Your Head Asplode: Major Synapse, after Darkwing and company overload him with questions while he's being zapped with the ray.


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