Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Season 5 Episode 13

The Tale of Badge

Aired Saturday 8:00 PM Apr 20, 1996 on Nickelodeon
out of 10
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Episode Summary

The Tale of Badge
Gwen is constantly being upstaged by her brother- even on her birthday. Her grandmother Willy gives her a special necklace and a magical flute that holds the key to a family secret. When her brother accidentally releases an evil creature named Badge, it's up to Gwen to use her musical gift to save her family and herself.moreless

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    So this is the final episode of AYAOTD before the series was canceled. One could hope it would have ended on a higher note, but we'll have to settle for a giant anthromorphic rat instead.

    No, seriously.

    Young Gwen, like Catherine of "The Tale of the Vacant Lot" which I reviewed last, is hopelessly average and is always being upstaged by her genius little brother. However, unlike Catherine -- who's a complete moron -- Gwen is actually decently intelligent. The chaos that unfolds, for what seems like the first time in AYAOTD history, isn't the heroine's fault (it's her impish brother's), she shows basic common sense (She doesn't open the front door to a stranger who insists he's in trouble but suggests he get help at a nearby gas station), and generally thinks through her problems instead of screaming in horror at them. The highlight of this ep is the fact that the protagonist isn't a dolt.

    The lowlight is the antagonist, which is in fact a giant anthromorphic rat.

    And not just any rat, but one that talks like Yoda and hisses "...SETTERWIND!" no less than 20 times. You can probably guess how Gwen defeats Ratman early on, and she gains some supernatural powers in the process. We only get to see one of these powers (and it's of course one that requires no special effects), but I like to think the others are just effing awesome.


    [after the ratman bursts through the door]

    "This just got really dumb really fast."

    "I can't understand what the rat man is saying."

    "90% of what he says is 'SETTERWIND.'"

    "I wonder what kind of magic the Setterwind is supposed to have."

    "Nothing. She just keeps the rat in the box."moreless
  • Gwen has always seemed "average" compared to her scholarly younger brother. However, when she turns 16, her grandmother gives her a special gift that makes her realize she is far from ordinary.moreless

    This episode has my favorite set and villian. Badge is quite well done, as is his rotting garden. They are some of the best props and costumes the show has ever used. The storyline is another Irish folklore-ish one, comparable to "The Tale of Jake and the Leprechaun". But, this one is far more interesting...a dark world lies just beyond Gwen's front door and she must learn her true worth before it's too late for her brother and grandmother.moreless

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