When I first started watching Rimba Racer, it wasn’t until halfway through the season, when King made his offer to Tag, that I truly fell in love with it. The races were fun and I always looked forward to them, but it was the conspiracies and the drama that got me hooked. This episode, then, is a true return to form. The first two episodes of the season hinted at it here-and-there, but this is the episode where Pike and the new rookies begin to make their move and carry out their orders for the Ringmasters – and I couldn’t be happier about that.
There are a lot of interesting dynamics in play for this episode, as King and those who were once loyal to him are at odds with Pike, who was placed in charge of the organization by the Ringmasters. King has been in an odd position this season, as he’s used to calling the shots and now has Pike constantly pressing his buttons. I’m looking forward to seeing King finally start to push back, as I doubt the schadenfreude he’s been feeling in regards to Pike’s missteps will be enough to keep him content. The episode also brings the black box from season one back into play, with Tamira and Meelo working in secret to try to decipher its contents. I’m eager to find out where the plot goes from here.
What I didn’t like about the episode was the continued drama between Miles and Tag. It feels like it’s overstaying its welcome, since Miles hasn’t simply tried to explain his side of the story despite being given opportunities to do so. After spending the past two episodes bickering, they called a truce at the end of the last episode, but it was all for nought. When characters refuse to communicate in stories, it irks me, since it could very well solve all of their problems. At least Tag was swiftly punished for his actions, and having him get eliminated from the race very early on was a welcome surprise. I hope that if they continue this plotline going forward, that it gets resolved within the next three episodes. This shouldn’t be lingering over the entire season.
The race itself was fun. I enjoyed the time-based twist that was introduced and the characters used their vehicles’ special abilities in creative ways. Vyxx using her tires’ spikes in the tunnel to drive on the ceiling. Xeno turning Krom’s car into a makeshift missile to try to take Meelo out of the race. But I liked what most was Axle. I still hate Axle. To me, he was just as complicit as King in the first season and I don’t view him as a real champion, since so many of his wins were fed to him by King in staged races. But having him defy Pike, using his speed boost to grind against the rail and barely make it to the finish line in one piece? That was pretty damn cool. I’m not sure if there’s anything Axle can do to make me change my opinion about him, but at least he’s proven that the years of playing pretend racer hasn’t robbed him of the real skill he once had.
As always, this episode can be watched on the official Rimba Racer YouTube channel, which is uploading episodes every Saturday morning. If you’re interested in supporting the show, the studio is planning to start a crowdfunding campaign at the end of the month and are asking fans to sign up for their newsletter.