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Recap / South Park S 9 E 13 Free Willzyx

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Original airdate: 11/30/2005

The boys are enjoying a day at Denver Sea Park, especially the performance of Jambu the orca. Kyle lingers behind after the show ends and is amazed to hear Jambu talk to him, unaware that it's simply Brian and Mike, the announcers for Jambu's show, playing a prank. He fetches Stan, Cartman and Kenny, and the announcers decide to go one better by having "Jambu" say that he is really Willzy-x, a zypod from the Moon, whose greatest wish is to return home to his wife and three children.

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The boys become determined to get "Willzy-x" back to his home, and they recruit the aid of the other boys in their class to steal the whale from his tank under cover of night, planning to hide him in Clyde's family's above ground pool until they can secure a contract for his return voyage with the Russian space programme. However, they balk at the hefty price tag (and succeed in convincing Vladimir Putin that they are prank callers), and run into similar problems with the German, Japanese and Chinese space programmes. Fortunately, Stan and Craig are quoted a price of just $200 by the Mexican space programme, and they report back to Kyle.

Meanwhile, Brian and Mike, not willing to admit their prank to their superiors for fear of losing their jobs, decide to track down the stolen whale themselves. The boys' exploits have also attracted the vocal support of the ALF (Animal Liberation Front). Brian and Mike catch up with the truck carrying the whale, only for two motorcycle cops to catch up with them, followed by the ALF. A gunfight ensues that leaves the motorcycle cops and Mike dead, the truck driver fleeing for his life, and the truck now being driven by the ALF leader. They ram a roadblock at the border, and arrive in Tijuana just as the final preparations are being made for launch. Kyle bids a tearful farewell to "Willzy-x" before he and the other boys release him into the sea just as the police and Denver Sea Park administrators arrive. The ALF leader, unaware of the boys' true intentions, delivers a speech about the importance of returning sea mammals to their natural habitat... only to be shocked into silence as the rocket blasts off, carrying the whale in a net.

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Upon returning to South Park, the boys look at the Moon in wonder, secure in the knowledge that even if they never see "Willzy-x" again, he is back where he belongs. The episode ends with a shot of Jambu on the lunar surface... dead from asphyxiation.


This work contains examples of:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: At the end, as he stands over the body of his dead friend and watches as the whale is rocketed into space, Brian can't help but laugh at the sheer absurdity of the whole thing.
  • Aluminium Christmas Trees: Not only is ALF a real organization, but their portrayal, attacking innocent civilians and terrorism for the sake of animal rights, is very close to what the organization has done in real life.
  • Animal Wrongs Group: Animal activists shoot down a group of police officers, border patrol officers, and an innocent bystander to get a whale to Mexico. Worse yet, the reason, which the animal liberation group is unaware of, is that the whale is being transported to Mexico not to get it to the ocean, but to the moon. It is only after witnessing the whale being rocketed to the moon that they realise they may have made a mistake.
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  • Bait-and-Switch: The ending looks like it's setting up a Real After All gag where Jambu really does end up with a civilization on the moon, only for reality to set in when it cuts to the whale's lifeless body.
  • Because It Amused Me: The whole reason Brian and Mike don't turn themselves in is because Brian insists to Mike that their prank is still funny, even when it's clear that several people will and do die as a result. Though the possibility of being fired also contributed.
  • Comically Small Demand: The Mexican space program only asks for $200 to fly somebody to the moon on a rocket.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The rest of the fourth grade boys are skeptical that the whale at the sea park talked to them, until Craig reveals he had the same experience.
  • Downer Ending: The boys think it's a Bittersweet Ending, Willzyx (Jambu) is gone, but with his own kind. In reality, several died including the whale after it landed on the moon.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: Mike keeps telling Brian this, about their prank on the boys having gone too far. It ends up being Mike's last words, with Brian admitting it went too far this time.
  • From Bad to Worse:
    • A whale would die on the moon.
    • A space trip to the moon would be astronomically expensive.
    • Invoked by Brian and Mike. They know that if anyone learns of their accountability in Jambu's kidnapping, they'll be fired. This leads them to try to get the whale back themselves without anyone knowing.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: One of Mike and Brian's pranks behind the PA System for voicing the whale is saying that some kids' dads are going to sneak into their bedrooms one night and beat them up. Even Craig himself fell for it when he went to try to see Jambu by tapping on the glass three times like Kyle did earlier.
    Craig: Hey, that whale talked to me too. After everyone left the show I walked up to the glass and he started talking.
    Kyle: Well, why didn't you tell anybody?
    Craig: I thought I was crazy. He said my dad was gonna sneak into my room naked one night and beat me up.
    Kyle: Well, you're not crazy. The whale talked to all of us. And he needs our help getting him home.
    Craig: ...So it's true.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Mike's (ironically the more responsible of the two) prank gets him killed by ALF at the end.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Several whale-based puns are made during the report of the missing whale, ending with a Lame Pun Reaction when the anchor tries making a pun on "bear".
  • Is This Thing Still On?: Defied by Brian and Mike, they make sure to cover the microphone when they make inappropriate comments during their commentary.
  • Japanese Ranguage: The Chinese told Jimmy, Timmy and Tweek to "fruck" themselves after learning they can't afford to take it to space.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Brian gets off scot-free for his role in the whale's kidnapping and death, except for losing Mike and possibly his job.
    • ALF gets off for killing multiple people and two highway cops. Unless you consider having the whale they were trying to save being sent to the moon karma enough.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: The news reporter tries to keep up with the puns by calling the situation un-bear-able. Since a bear has nothing to do with the situation, nobody laughs.
  • Mistaken for Prank Call: Kyle's call to Putin, though Kyle was carrying misinformation caused by a prank.
  • Noodle Incident: After Vladimir Putin gets a call from Kyle requesting a trip to the moon, Putin is told it's to get a space whale back to his family on the moon. Putin responds it's a prank call again and thinks George Bush is on the other end.
  • No Peripheral Vision: A security guard somehow didn't notice the boys stealing Jambu, his advisor understandably calls him out on it.
    Advisor: How could you not have seen anything? It's a whale, for Christ's sake!
    Security Guard: It must have been taken while I was going to the bathroom.
    Advisor: Were you in there for 3 hours?!
    Security Guard: Don't yell at me!
  • Obliviously Evil: The kids all think they're freeing an imprisoned alien and taking him home to his family. In truth, their efforts only endanger and ultimately kill an endangered animal.
  • Pet the Dog: Cartman of all people is completely on board with bringing Willzy-x back to his home planet, and at the end even says he feels good having completed the operation successfully. Sadly, his good intentions are wasted because all his efforts to save the orca only end up getting it (and other people) killed.
  • Police Are Useless: The security guard couldn't even stop the boys from abducting the whale out of the sea park, and then those two highway cops when they intervene on the boys transporting the whale get outnumbered and slaughtered in cold blood by Animal Liberation Front.
  • Precision F-Strike: "Save the whales, motherfucker!"
  • Shout-Out:
    • Kyle's parents take Ike to the new Harry Potter movie.
    • When Clyde's mother looks at the photorealistic sketch of Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny, she says, "The fat one in the middle kind of looks like Dakota Fanning."
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Brian and Mike's attempts to fix the mess they made and keep their jobs end with Mike getting killed and Brian left all alone.
  • Space Whale Aesop: Literally! Take what you hear with a grain of salt and don't be afraid to question things, or else people die and you'll send an endangered whale to the moon to die of asphyxiation.
  • Stylistic Suck: Inverted. Because of the show's already crude, simplistic style, the forensics sketch of the boys is drawn in as overly-detailed a way as possible.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Brian and Mike's little prank on Kyle sets the whole plot of the episode into motion, leading to the theft and eventual death of Jambu.
  • Whole Plot Reference: The episode is a take on Free Willy.
  • You No Take Candle: Putin's English is broken to say the least, such as when he says "Goddammnit, it is PRANK CALL AGAIN!"
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