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Recap / Mystery Science Theater 3000 S 05 E 11 Gunslinger
aka: Mystery Science Theater 3000 S 05 E 11 The Gunslinger

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Film watched: Gunslinger

The episode is available on Shout! Factory TV here.

The Segments:

  • Joel, Crow, and Gypsy are playing Kaboom, with Tom Servo's head as the balloon.

Segment 1

  • For the Invention Exchange, Joel takes the concept of Whiffle Ball and expands it into a fine line of Whiffle products. Dr. Forrester tries to make Frank's head explode with his Scanner Planner, but it backfires and Frank gets angry.

Segment 2

  • Joel and the 'Bots take a rest in caskets and discuss the topic of what they would want their funerals to be like.

Segment 3

  • Introducing the Gypsy Express, the Satellite of Love's first courier service. For its first assignment, Crow and Gypsy have to deliver Servo's lunch request to Joel.

Segment 4

  • Servo explains how John Ireland is able to bend time and space at will to mount his horse from anywhere.

Segment 5

  • Seeing as only Roger Corman could make the 1870s seem so dismal, Joel and the 'Bots discuss how the 1970s were even worse. Joel then reads some deep-fried letters, and Dr. Forrester finally succeeds in blowing Frank's head up.


The MST3K presentation contains examples of:

  • Anachronism Stew: Unclear and probably unintentional in the movie itself, but routinely lampshaded by the crew:
    Servo: (looking at an old farming device) What is that thing?
    Crow: Whatever it was, it wasn't invented yet.
  • Bar Slide: Joel is disappointed that the big Bar Brawl scene doesn't include one. Servo "explains" that it hadn't been invented yet.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Towards the Mayor when telling yet another war story that made him look better than he really was.
  • Brick Joke: Dr. Forrester manages to blow up Frank's head offscreen in the very last segment. He's pleasantly surprised.
  • Call-Back: One is made to Viking Women And The Sea Serpent, which Jonathan Haze (Jake) also appeared in. Ironically, Haze played Ottar in that film, while it was Senya who spoke the line in the film.
    Crow: (as Jonathan Haze's character) I'm a Grimald warrior!
  • Advertisement:
  • Call-Forward: The sound effect Dr. Forrester uses to "scan" Frank is the same one eventually used when Observer invokes his reality-warping powers.
  • Casual Kink: Servo mentions offhand that he really appreciates Corman for the wrestling match between Rose and Erika.
  • Complexity Addiction: Tom using the Pony Express to tell Joel, who's standing right next to him, what he wants for lunch. Which he tells Joel verbally while they're waiting. Then Joel can't read his handwriting and sends a message back asking him to write more clearly.
  • Deep-Fried Whatever: The 'bots deep-fry the fan mail.
  • The Dog Bites Back: When Dr. Forrester attempts to scan TV's Frank's brain (and accidentally blows up a lightbulb in the lamp), Frank gets really cheesed off when he realizes it.
    TV's Frank: You were scanning me, weren't you? You were trying to make my head explode, you freaked-out maniac! [smashes Forrester's head with a large lollipop.]
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: The crew decides by the end of the film that everyone in town has been murdered in the crossfire between the two leads.
  • Foreshadowing: In Segment Two, Servo asks Joel why doesn't he just not die, as if death is a decision people make. Considering what the next episode is...note 
  • The "Fun" in "Funeral": During one of the host segments, Joel and the bots get to experience death... or at least what it feels like to be in a casket. After a moment contemplating what death would be like, they start describing how they want their funerals to be like — Crow's and Tom's are really fun. Servo finally decides he wants a circus, and Crow "modestly" demands to be mummified and buried next to Stalin. Joel humors the latter.
  • It Runs on Nonsensoleum: In Segment Four, Tom bends the laws of time and space through his knowledge of higher mathematics ("It's physics, Joel.") allowing him to zip off one side of the screen and immediately appear on the other and eventually to restart the segment by concentrating really hard, much to Joel's slowly dawning confusion. On the plus side:
    Crow: Hey, my sandwich is whole again! Cool!
  • Kill 'Em All: Thanks to the fact that most of the extras playing townspeople just up and disappear for the last third of the movie, Crow and Tom run with the idea that the entire town is dead.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Tom Servo explains that the examples of this trope in the film are examples of applied "quantum linear superposition". He thoroughly demonstrates it for Joel and Crow.
    Crow: He does this to me at night. Scares the hell out of me!
  • Psychic Powers: Making people's heads explode like in Scanners. Dr. Forrester caps off the episode by scanning the button.
  • Riddle for the Ages: In the opening segment, Servo's head (now a large balloon) has expanded so much he knows almost everything in the universe. Save one thing:
    Servo: Why did they cancel Manimal? Why?!
  • Running Gag:
    • Dr. Forrester spends the episode trying to read Frank's mind and make his head explode with his newfound Psychic Powers.
    • Fridge Logicinvoked from a Special Effect Failure (the door to Cane's room at the saloon opens out instead of in) leads to the conclusion that Cane's staying in the hallway. Hilarity Ensues.
    • "Oh look, a sale at Hurrah."
    • "That hasn't been invented yet."
  • Scream Discretion Shot: One from Sam Bass as he enters the town at the end of the movie, where the crew has decided, everyone else has been killed during the shooting:
    Servo: (as Sam Bass) Hey, lady, you forgot to tell me where the — oh my God! AAAAAGGHHH!!!
  • Shout-Out:
  • Something Completely Different: The crew considered this the real first western featured on the show, with Last of the Wild Horses as the only other western movie screened during its original run.note  This excludes previous episode The Painted Hills, set in Gold Rush-era California — probably seen as more of a family adventure/drama, given the star of the film is a dog.
  • Take That!:
    Crow: This is like Silverado, only better.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: Dr. Forrester succeeds in blowing Frank's head up with his newfound scanning powers. Much to his surprise.
  • Watsonian versus Doylist: Crow's response to Servo insisting they utilize quantum linear superpositioning to move about so quickly (as he demonstrates) is that the town, as a movie set, is just a bunch of false fronts, and that Tom is just a bunch of false fronts, too. Joel sides with Crow in spite of Tom teleporting around the set.
  • Your Head Asplode: Head explosions are a minor theme this week:
    • Tom's dome has been temporarily replaced with a balloon for the SOL crew's game of Kaboom. It ends, as the game often does, with everyone losing patience with the actual game and just pumping up Tom's head until it pops.
    • Dr. Forrester invents "The Scanner Planner", a study guide that teaches you how to hone your psychic powers so you can scan people and make their heads explode, like in the movie. It works... eventually.

Alternative Title(s): Mystery Science Theater 3000 S 05 E 11 The Gunslinger


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