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Recap / Mystery Science Theater 3000 S10 E13: Diabolik

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This movie looks kind of familiar, doesn't it?

Mike: (laughs) It doesn't really seem like he comes out ahead.
Crow: Mwa ha ha ha ha ha ha— Hey! Who turned out the lights??
Servo: ('Fine' appears onscreen) This has been the official biopic of Larry Fine.
— The last lines in the theater

Film watched: Danger: Diabolik aka Diabolik

The Segments:

  • Mike finds the Satellite of Love Employee Handbook. He gives it a read to see what rights he's entitled to, which to no surprise is none.

Segment 1

  • Pearl decides to show off her new remote-control joystick for the SOL and jerks Mike and the 'Bots around... until she jerks too hard and breaks it, putting the SOL into re-entry protocol. All that now stands between Mike and potential freedom is one last movie.

Segment 2

  • Mike and Crow pack their bags in anticipation of their return to Earth, and Servo deals with all the clones of himself he's built over the years.

Segment 3

  • Everybody's preparing to move on with their lives. Pearl's got plans to rule over Qatar, Bobo anticipates moving into the zoo, and Brain Guy is not thrilled at the new job he has lined up. As to Mike, his question regarding severance pay is met with a big fat NO.

Segment 4

  • Crow is nervous about what life will be like on Earth, so Mike tries to calm him down with a song about the beauty of his planet. It works on Crow, but it backfires when Servo starts panicking.

Segment 5

  • Despite a catastrophic landing, Mike and the 'Bots all manage to walk away just fine. They settle down in Milwaukee after turning down a lucrative offer from Gypsy's successful start-up company, and now enjoy a simple life of eating rice and riffing bad movies on local television. Some things never change.


The MST3K treatment provides examples of:

  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: Due to the time-editing of the film, a couple minor plot points are obscured:
    • Eva's injured shoulder (the reason she has to go see Dr. Vernier, from where she is kidnapped by Valmont); she sprained it whilst helping Diabolik remove something heavy from their car right after stealing the emerald necklace.
    • When preparing Operation Gold Van (the 20-ton gold ingot), Ginko notes that the government needs to sell the gold because "everyone stopped paying taxes!" What he's referring to is a lengthy deleted sequence of Diabolik bombing tax offices and destroying tax records — which the Minister of Finance stupidly confesses on national television, urging citizens to pay their taxes on the Honor System. No points for guessing how that works out.
  • Ambiguous Clone Ending: Servo attempts to deal with all his clones by using a self-destruct mechanism built into them. Several clones ended up blowing themselves up when they activate it thinking they're the original Servo, leaving it a bit vague if the remaining Servo is the original or not. Of course, that implies that Servo installed a self-destruct mechanism in himself for some reason...
  • And the Adventure Continues: Mike and the Bots will apparently continue to watch bad movies together forever, even when they aren't being forced to do so by mad scientists.
    • Word of God said that Mike and the Bots were just the sort of bros who'd chill out on some Sunday afternoon and mock a low-budget movie on a local network television station.
  • Anger Montage: A downplayed example- While Pearl does start overturning furniture and even punching Bobo after the self destruct sequence fails, it’s all done in a single shot.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: At the end, the Mads are huddled together singing "It's a Long Way to Tipperary" (see Shout-Out, below).
  • Bait-and-Switch: As Mike peruses the SOL employee handbook:
    Crow: Does it say anything about our dental coverage?
    Mike: Uhhhh... Shut up. You have no right to ask.
    Crow: Sorry, Mike. I didn't think you'd take it so personally!
    Mike: No, no... that's what it says in the handbook.
  • Big "NO!":
    • Pearl gets off a good one before her violent tantrum.
    • Also what is written in the SOL employee handbook's chapter on severance pay.
  • Black Comedy: During the scene at the morgue, the riffers pretend the characters are at some sort of weird diner. Also, the burning of human bodies is treated as though it's as everyday as a dentist appointment (Mike even does a riff where the old lady waiting in the lobby of the morgue mentions having one such appointment).
  • Bookends: Mike and the Bots end the episode watching The Crawling Eye on TV in their apartment.
    Servo: "The Crawling Eye". The Marty Feldman Story.
    Mike: Oh, Forrest Tucker. He's the guy who makes sure all the trees' shirttails are in.
    Crow: (Beat) This movie looks kind of familiar, doesn't it?
    Servo: Hmmm.
  • Bowdlerise: During the opening scenes of the film, while Inspector Ginco is signing a form, Crow moves his mouth, but only the movie audio can be heard. The rough cut reveals that Crow was saying, "It says, 'I'm a jerkface.'"
  • Brick Joke: When preparing for returning to Earth, the only thing Mike packs is rice. He asks if anybody wants some in the last scene.
  • Buffy Speak: As a Shout-Out to Star Trek: The Next Generation's slow-witted Pakleds from the episode "The Samaritan Snare":
    Observer: Apparently, you initiated re-entry protocol for the satellite.
    Pearl: Well, make it... not... protocol the re-entry. Make it better!
  • Call-Back: As the Grand Finale, the episode is full of them.
  • Character Check: Crow huddling under the desk, crying, and basically acting like a little kid is a return to the show's early years. "To Earth" in general has the naive sweetness of a Joel-era song, with Mike acting as more of a Team Dad to the 'bots than he generally ever did.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Contrived Coincidence: The reason Observer didn't restore the satellite's orbit was because Pearl had poured soda on his brain that morning, weakening him just enough to keep him from restoring the status quo.
  • Crapsack World: Crow fears Earth will be like this. The others sing "To Earth" to calm him down—which manages to reassure Crow while simultaneously scaring Servo.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: "To Eeaaarth... the very birthplace of my biiirrrth!"
  • Destroy the Evidence: During the third host segment, Pearl is shown shredding documents, having Brain Guy toss out virus samples, and mentions all the other materials she needs to dispose of before abandoning Castle Forrester.
  • Ear Worm: The movie's theme song "Deep Deep Down". Mike and the 'bots are not immune.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After being trapped on the Satellite of Love for so many years and forced to watch the worst movies imaginable, Mike and the bots finally make it to Earth, where they can now live normal lives...still watching the worst movies imaginable. The only difference — and it's a pretty damn big one — is that now they're free to choose to watch, and can theoretically walk away any time they like.
  • Expendable Clone: Servo helps prepare for the return to Earth by destroying his many, many clones. Although this does, of course, bring up the issue of just what makes one of them the "real" Servo. It seem to be decided by attrition.
    Mike: So, Tom, what're you gonna do with all the spare you's you've collected over the years?
    Servo: Well, I just did a headcount and, boy, I've made quite a few of me! 517 at the last count.
    Crow: Wow, yeah, that's far too much you. You should be limited to one, or less.
  • Fade to White: As the SOL crashes.
  • Fridge Logic: Deliberately built into a joke.invoked At the end of the episode when Servo describes their apartment, he says it has "one half-bath"; the issue is that a half-bath contains only a sink and a toilet, meaning there's no way for Mike to bathe. Presumably this was wholly intentional.
    • If the apartment complex has a pool, it might have a shower room.
  • Glad I Thought of It: When Bobo helpfully suggests that Pearl initiate the SOL's self-destruct mechanism, she declares "Bobo, I'm a genius!"
  • Grand Finale: At least until 2017.
  • Here We Go Again!: The series ends with Mike, Crow, and Servo watching The Crawling Eye, the very first movie MST3K nationally riffed, on TV. And riffing on it. Crow experiences some mild deja vu but they all dismiss it as nothing.
    • Of course, back then it was three entirely different guys doing the riffing...
  • Hint Dropping:
    Eva: There must be something I haven't got...
    [news story about a famous emerald necklace]
    Eva: Those emeralds!
    Servo: (as Eva) Typical guy, doesn't pick up the hint!
  • Hourglass Plot: The "To Earth" sketch starts with Crow having "wedged himself under the desk" from fear of Earth being a Crapsack World. The others sing a song to calm him down, but as he expresses his fears in more detail, he manages to pique the same fears in Servo. By the end, Crow feels better about going to Earth, while Servo is now the one wedged under the desk.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: Pearl has an enormous, hammy breakdown when she realizes she soon won't have any captives to torture. Crow and Servo appear dumbstruck, but it turns out they're just quietly soaking her tantrum in, so that they can better appreciate how they'll never have to hear another one like it again.
  • Irony: Pearl's efforts to keep Mike and the bots captive have made her far crazier than the movies ever made them.
    Pearl: I give you: Diabolik. If it gives you half the hell I have had to endure keeping you captive it will have all been worth it.
  • Lonely Piano Piece: After the SOL crashes, a lonely piano version of "Who Will I Kill?" plays.
  • Mondegreen Gag: Invoked. During the theme song.
    Mike: "Keep my potty down"? Women and their toilet seat issues...
    • Also:
      Servo: (singing) Deep, deep bra...
      Crow: Deep, deep tongue...
  • Money Fetish:
    Tom: They got pretty badly injured when they tried this with gold bars.
    Mike: If they make love in British pound notes, the sex is 50% better.
    Crow: (later) You know, if he'd stolen just a little less I could see her ass right now!
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
    • Bobo is proud he's going to be "working" at a zoo. He states he felt the need to "lightly" maul one of his co-workers so they could tranquilize him as they put him in his cell. Inverted with Brain Guy, who moans he's forced to take a job as an omniscient intelligence for some quadrant of space. Pearl and Bobo think he's a loser.
    • Servo thinks living in a tiny basement studio apartment in Milwaukee is "sweet".note 
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Pearl accidentally sends the Satellite of Love to Earth while shaking it around with a joystick For the Evulz.
  • Non Sequitur, *Thud*: A variation: just before the episode started, Pearl apparently poured Mountain Dew into Brain Guy's brainpan, which conveniently keeps him from preventing the guys' escape and shorts out his speech center, causing him to say things like "Chili squint!" in place of "Take That!!" and "Raging clip-art" when Pearl goes berserk.
  • No One Should Survive That: Somehow Mike and the 'Bots were able to walk away unscathed from the SOL crashing into Earth.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: While Eva is taking off her dress in the foreground, Mike points to some "dangerously steep" stairs in the background. Servo and Crow can only shake their heads.
    Servo: You're watching the stairs??
    Crow: Oh, Mike...
  • One-Scene Wonder: Invoked, intentionally or not; the editing of the episode removes all but one of Terry-Thomas' scenes, reducing him to this.
  • Parenthetical Swearing: Kudos to Mary Jo Pehl for making "final movie" sound a lot like "fucking movie."
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shown Their Work: WTMJ is a real TV station in the Milwaukee area (it is the local NBC affiliate).
  • Snub by Omission: When Mike and the 'Bots think the SOL is about to self-destruct:
    Mike: This is it! I love you Crow, I love you Servo, I love you Gypsy!
    Gypsy: I love you Mike, I love you Servo, I love you Crow!
    Crow: I love you Gypsy, I love you Mike, I love you Servo!
    Servo: I love you Gypsy, I love you Mike! Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...
    (the self-destruct fails, merely causing a very small explosion)
    Crow: Um...Servo, you wanna add—?
    Servo: I was gonna say it! I just couldn't think of your name!
    Crow: Yeah, right.
    • Nobody loves Cambot. Or Magic Voice.
  • Song Parody: When Diabolik kisses Eva towards the beginning, Crow parodies the "Deep, Deep, Down" song by singing, "Deep, deep tongue..."
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Servo gets rid of all the extra hims that have built up over the years.
  • Sorry, I'm Gay: Uttered by the guys when Eva tries to Femme Fatale a car-jacking victim. Made better when the driver turns out to have a gravelly voice, and they claim he borrowed it from Smoky Voiced, flamboyantly camp comedian Harvey Fierstein.
  • Take That!: When Diabolik makes everybody at a press conference laugh hysterically:
    Tom: Dan Quayle announces his candidacy.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Pearl learns that she has accidentally started the SOL's re-entry sequence. She does not take the news well. At all.
    Bobo: This can't be good for us!
    Bobo: (as he collapses) See?
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Magic Voice is the only SOL member unaccounted-for in the end.note 
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Gypsy has founded a successful startup: ConGypsCo. Mike and the 'Bots, meanwhile, are alive and well and living in Milwaukee.
    Tom: Sweet garden-level living! One bedroom, one half bath, and on the bus line!
  • With Lyrics: Crow keeps coming up with words for Diabolik's repetitive surf-guitar theme:
    • "Driving off to the store / Gonna pick up some bread / Maybe stop by the post office / Meet Dolores for lunch / Hope they're serving that ham, oh yeah..."
    • "Let me play you my lick! / Does this bug you at all? / Gotta practice my lick! / Only one hour more!"
  • The World Is Just Awesome: The point of Mike's song "To Earth". It convinces Crow, but ends up changing Servo's mind.
  • Word-Salad Humor: Pearl poured Mountain Dew on Observer's brain, making him both incapable of returning the Satellite to orbit and making about a quarter of his dialog gibberish.
  • Your Makeup Is Running: Pearl is quite a sight after crying over her failure to destroy the SOL.

Pearl: "Look, Nelson. Move on. I am."