The Life and Times of Juniper Lee

Season 1 Episode 13

Monster Con

0
Aired Sunday 7:30 PM Aug 21, 2005 on Cartoon Network
9.2
out of 10
User Rating
14 votes
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Episode Summary

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Monster Con
AIRED:
The three-day magic convention called "The Convergence" has opened in town and June attends it. All monsters go there to hear her speak. When a secret government agency named H.A.M. invades to capture the monsters, Ah-Mah is forced out of retirement to save the day.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • After half a season of gag villains and self-parody, The Life and Times of Juniper Lee gets dark and serious... well, sort of.

    8.0
    Rather than the usual gag monster, "Monster Con" has Juniper Lee facing off against a serious, non-ironic villain and a team of grim and capable warriors. The result is the darkest, most menacing foe in the series, although it's still firmly on a lighter level than the darkest episodes of Teen Titans or Justice League.



    Much of the episode, unfortuately, is fluff, and it's not particularly entertaining fluff. Juniper has to attend a magical convergence (or "con," in a midlly clever pun as the convergence plays out like a supernatural convention), and prove herself to a magical world that idolizes Ah-mah, but barely knows Juniper. This seems inconsistent with previous episodes, with every demon and villain gunning for Juniper based on her reputation, but perhaps many of these monsters don't actually live in the mortal world or haven't been there in a long time. At any rate, it's ignored easily enough.



    But there's not much else to that storyline: June fails to impress the monsters and Ah-mah eventually flees the onslaught of admirers, leaving June, Monroe and Rae-Rae to deal with the convention. Actual jokes are surprisingly sparse, and if this was all there was to the story, it'd be a flop.



    But than the military team known as H.A.M. (Humans Against Magic) crashes the con, and things start to get interesting.



    For the first time, a Juniper Lee villain doesn't seem ironically self-aware or slapstick: he's a bitter operative seeking revenge for, among other things, a lifetime of battles against the world of magic that seems to have left him more robotic than human. He and his strike team are a refreshing change from the sarcastic, smarmy villains of Junipers past: their dialogue is sparse and very realistic, exactly what you'd imagine from a military group dealing with the world of Juniper Lee.



    Once these soldiers launch their attach, the episode turns very dark, very fast. Rather than the silly humor of a green goblin moaning "I don't wanna go to Fresno," we get such gallows humor as this:



    Soldier: "You and the other abominations will be contained in a secure facility where you can't infect the world with magic."



    Rae Rae: "How long will we be there?"



    Soldier: "Don't know. How long do you plan on living?"



    Of course, the other big feature of this episode is to see Ah-mah in action, and her battle scenes are suitably impressive (and more than a little reminscent of Robin's fighting style in Teen Titans). There are hints of a history between Ah-mah, Monroe and the anti-magic group, and June and Ah-mah kick butt Titans-style in a massive battle royale with the military squad.



    The group's leader, never given a name in this episode, comes across as a kind of religious zealot, accusing Juniper of betraying humanity by fighting for monsters, and referring to the magical world as a nightmarish abomination that he's determined to destroy, for the sake of all normal humans.



    It's a story we've seen before, notably in the X Men comics and movies, but to see such issues being raised in what, up until now, has been a very light-hearted series is a surprise, and a pleasant one. If Juniper Lee's had any weakness (apart from the flat, two-dimensional artwork), it's a lack of narrative focus, and hopefully this represents a lasting development in the series mythology.



    This hope's bolstered by the lack of closure at the end: the villains may have lost their memories of the con, but they're still out there, and there seems to be far more to their story, as well as Monroe and Ah-mah's implied history with them, for this to be a filler episode.



    Overall, this is easily one of Juniper's better episodes. The humor that pervades the rest of the series wasn't nearly as prevalent in this one, and what humor there was seemed flat compared to the mile-a-minute puns and pop-culture references of other episodes... but once the plot kicks in, it does so in a big way.



    Parents don't need to start worrying about letting their kids watch Juniper Lee just yet, but older viewers are beginning to get some meat behind the show's witty flavormoreless
Amy Hill

Amy Hill

Check-In Monster / Geek Monster #3

Guest Star

Clancy Brown

Clancy Brown

Lex Luthor / Tux Monster / Geek Monster #4

Guest Star

Daran Norris

Daran Norris

Announcer / Artie / Greg

Guest Star

Lara Jill Miller

Lara Jill Miller

Farm Boy Monster / Multi-Armed Monster

Recurring Role

Kath Soucie

Kath Soucie

Geek Monster #2 / Greeter

Recurring Role

Carlos Alazraqui

Carlos Alazraqui

Agent #1 / Vendor

Recurring Role

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