Hello and WELCOME to Let’s Watch The Show, an episode by episode fan analysis of the cartoon network show O.K. KO, Let’s Be Heroes, and also a niche arcade rhythm game with a surprising amount of lore and a deeply unwieldy controller! I’m your host, a man who definitely still has a copy of Elite Beat Agents AND a Donky Konga somewhere, Friendly Troll!
It’s time to meet DENDY! Dendy is a somewhat enigmatic kid who knows K.O. (at a distance) from school, and says she needs his help! Her hacking and programming capable technological backpack- or hackpack!- has gone on the fritz, and needs his help finding the parts to repair it. This takes them to Mr. Logic’s salon, and the arcade- and along the way, they start to get to know each other a little bit, even winding up having a carefree game of tag on their way to the last stop, the alleyway full of broken robot parts!
Anyhow, it’s unfortunately here where our fetch quest takes a rough turn for K.O., and he winds up being snapped up by a deadly anglerfish robot! Which leads us to realize that Dendy… might be up to something. Or have realized that about at the top of the episode. But it’s now that she settles in and reveals she has some kind of observational file on our kiddo, which she updates instead of helping him.
But when it turns out they share something in common- POW cards- Dendy has a change of heart. Not only does she release K.O. from his fishy prison, but she reveals that she had. Ulterior motives. She wanted to learn more about K.O., and her Hackpack was never broken at all. But even though her reason for spending time with him was a ruse, the friendship they’ve forged together isn’t!
This episode marks an INCREDIBLY important milestone in the show, folks! That’ right, with the addition of Dendy to the cast K.O. officially has… A FRIEND HIS OWN AGE!! And what a perfect friend for our littlest bean of a buddy, too! Though it might not seem that way at first- after all, Dendy and K.O. are pretty much total opposites. Dendy’s low key to K.O.’s upbeat, technology focused to his physical base, observant to his impulsive! Not to mention somewhat Chaotic Neutral to his Lawful Sweetiepie.
But that’s why they work! Dendy provides a delightful balance to K.O., and opens up story opportunities that wouldn’t be possible without someone who shares his age and interest in POW cards, but approaches things from a completely different direction then he does! ...sometimes a very, very different direction. You get the feeling it’s a good thing Dendy has K.O. as an influence…
Dendy is honestly a total delight to me. I love that she’s a smart kid without feeling like a bundle of stereotypes and outdated references- she still feels like a KID! And a kid that I can honestly relate to the same way I relate to K.O. She’s a little bit separate from her peers. When it comes to things she’s interested in she knows EVERYTHING about it; but things OUTSIDE of that…. well. Just don’t come naturally. But the bottom line is that while we might have just met her, she’s an excellent bean.
Plus, when she smiles it looks like a (-)v(-) emoji, and I think we can all agree that this is extremely good.
This is really one of those episodes where we get to see K.O. at his best! And I think one of the first early episodes where he’s really finding his own strengths. Up till now we’ve seen a lot of him trying to figure out where he fits in at the Plaza, or dealing with his quest to be a hero. But I think when he meets Dendy, we actually get to see him BE the exact kind of hero he is! And I don’t just mean the fetch quest Dendy gives him- but I do enjoy seeing him throw himself into helping someone new, and how this episode shows off how well he’s gotten to know the Plaza.
But where K.O. really shines is how he interacts with Dendy. I am incredibly fond of how K.O. handles Dendy’s misunderstandings and lack of social polish. He just… kind of rolls with it! He corrects her when she risks hurting someone, but otherwise he just. Doesn’t make a big deal about it, and even tells her he admires the way she does things. I especially adore the way he reacts when she misunderstands a turn of phrase he uses- he doesn’t laugh, or make a big deal about it. He just rephrases what he says!
Plus, it really feels like the same sweet instinct that’s lead him to try and fail to reach out to the boxmore bots so many times finally gets to pay off here- and make him a real friend! And gosh darnit, he deserves it.
Villain of the Episode
Well! On one hand the Junkfish (Evil Robotic Anglerfish? BotFish? ... Dominusarcarum mechalophius ? ) in the alleyway is probably the closest thing I can think of to an antagonist this episode… but I don’t know how comfortable I am pinning any blame on Junkfish. Junkfish was just doing all Junkfish knows how to do!
No, the true villain this episode, once again, is Shenanigans . Now I try to never blame the victim; I understand that when social engagement is tough, it can be very tempting to undergo a convoluted scheme instead of having to ask someone you haven’t talked to before if they’d like to hang out! But that’s why it’s important to teach kids when they’re young that Shenanigans are never a good idea, no matter what you see on television.
Once again it’s time to prepare for the classical robot charm and smooth sweet background tunes of Lakewood Plaza Turbo’s premier hairstylist, Mr. Logic ! We actually get to learn a little bit more about Mr. Logic! ...most of which almost but not quite directly contradicts what we learn about him later! Eh, it happens. More on that later in We Got the Plot, though.
But Mr. Logic remains one of my favorite characters- I’d say I wish we saw more of him, but he honestly gets a lot of love over the course of the show! And he deserves all of it.
...Y’ reckon him and Beardo from the Food Truck ever hang out? I hope so.
I think by far the highlight to me this episode is K.O. and Dendy’s game of tag. It’s just so… goofy and sweet and sincere. From K.O. doubling back to make sure Dendy knows he’s inviting her to play tag with him, to their uncontrollable gigglefit after K.O. hits the wall it’s just. Such a good moment! It’s the kind of adorable friendship starting moment you can just imagine them reminiscing about years later and UGH I’M GETTING EMOTIONAL.
I just love these kids so much.
That Was SO Cool!
This isn’t really much of an action episode, I’m afraid! So instead I’m going to count Mr. Logic’s haircut as this week's Cool Highlight. I mean, it’s a haircut so good it changed the animation style! That has to count for something.
Dendy’s killer takedown of the Anglerbot also definitely deserves a mention- I like how it included kind of a plausible variation on “super hacker powers”, too! Probably for the best she left it set to ‘don’t eat a child’, having that sucker in the alleyway kinda feels like a tragedy waiting to happen.
...Reckon they have those safety edutainment films they make you watch in class in OK KO…?
I Just Think It’s Neat
I really love K.O.’s little song at the top of the episode- I might be reading into it a little, but I wonder if it’s not a reference to one of the original names for the series! “Lakewood Plaza Turbo”!
Good Messages For Da Kidz:
As KO puts it: “If you wanted to hang out, you coulda just asked!”. It might seem hard if you’re awkward or shy, but you still gotta just talk to someone you’re interested in getting to know someone. No elaborate ruses! ...I mean a 6-11 year old can just say ‘hey wanna be friends?’ while an adult kinda can’t, but still! A lotta stuffs harder when you’re an adult.
We Got The Plot?
This episode is a proper pick-n-mix of plot details that are going to come up again later! Most of them are pretty small, but one… well. One of them is practically one of the reasons I started this series! It’s one of those things in this show that’s set up as an element SO subtly and SO well it actually took me a long time to realize just what a good job they’d done threading it into the series…
I literally can’t believe how often this show has made me Intensely Seriously discuss something called a ‘Glorb’. I’ve had lore breakdowns, Pepe Silvia Rambles, and some extremely solid theorizing that is, in the end, about a plot element with a name that’s literally the words ‘Glow Orbs’ smooshed together. I love it. It’s literally the most unpretentious possible direction they coulda gone with this. There’s no attempt to make it sound cool, or special, or even remotely important.
Which is appropriate, because right NOW they’re not. But they will be. Oh, they will be. But for right now, we just know about what Dendy’s told K.O., and by extension, us! Glorbs are something that function like a battery, and are apparently standard to power robots! So some kind of compact, efficient energy source. Pretty cut and dry! And… funnily enough, this really is the core info about glorbs . That never really changes. It’s more… well. I suppose context…?
But that’s not all! We have more Plot. While in context these are all kind of minor details, I can honestly DELIGHTED by the fact that every single one of these details is going to wind up being not just brought back later, but pretty majorly so in some cases! Like-
The Robotic Lurefish - alright this one is actually pretty minor, but come to think of it, why IS there a giant robot fish in the ‘busted robots’ alleyway? It’s definitely not a modern Boxmore design, that’s for sure.
The ‘M*Elodie’ Machine in the Arcade! Okay. Okay. This. May possibly be my MOST ‘Blink and You’ll Miss It’ catch SO FAR in this series. BUT if you pause on the establishing shot when K.O. and Dendy are in the arcade, you should be able to see a pink standup arcade with a character we’re doing to get to see more of… relatively soon, come to think of it!
We get a return of POW cards , which turn out to be a big part of sealing Dendy and K.O.’s friendship! It’s genuinely wholesome seeing them bond over their collections, and this shared, special interest between them is something that’ll be a part of their relationship through. Well, pretty much the whole series! And when we get a peek into Dendy’s collection we get our first look in the series proper at…
Professor Venomous. Whoever that is. Some jerk.
Mr. Logic’s Mysterious Past
Delightfully, I can absolutely confirm that later down the line, we really WILL get to find out more about Mr. Logic! Just… uh. Not exactly about the clippers, let’s say. Lemme explain. What he says about ‘giving up all that robot stuff’ does kind of work with what we find out later, but the bit about getting his hair clippers from his grandfather ... doesn’t. I mean listen, I can make it work, and I will when we get there, but.
And to be clear, this isn’t really a big deal! I think at this point they just hadn’t really settled on what Mr. Logics backstory was yet, and when they decided to focus on his past later they didn’t feel beholden to a goofy throwaway joke from episode 8. And honestly I’m all for that. I would always rather a story go somewhere interesting then feel beholden to Never Conflicting With Cannon . I might be a Lore Doofus, but even I think yelling about ‘plot holes’ over minor stuff is just. No? Dull. Stop it. Flexibility, yo! It’s all about flexibility in storytelling, just like how I don’t think maintaining strict ‘on model’ art really matters either.
But I thought it was interesting to highlight once it caught my attention! Especially since as far as I remember, this is really the only time something like this happens in the whole show. (As in a full out ‘offhand cannon detail is contradicted. Not ‘Cannon being a LITTLE wobbly’. We’ll… we’ll get to plenty of those, and they’re all delightful.)
Final Overall Thoughts
Man, this is another one of those really Big episodes! Not in terms of action, or even really in terms of Big Revelations, but to my eye it’s absolutely dense with information- and in many ways, to me, marks the end of the very early “set up” episodes! In fact, I think with Dendy we’re officially locked in for our main heroic cast! ...for a certain given value of Heroic, at least in this episode. Which actually is a perfect lead in to something I wanna talk about with this episode.
See, I can actually remember the first time I saw this episode! I remember my delight at meeting Dendy, and how much I loved seeing her and K.O. becoming friends… and. Well.
I can definitely, definitely remember being tensed up pretty much the whole episode, waiting for the reveal that Dendy was going to turn out to secretly be a robot. Or working for Boxmore. Or just generally Secretly Evil! I really, genuinely thought that was where the episode might have been going. Heck, I figured at the VERY least when K.O. realized she’d been up to something Shady we’d have some kind of big And KO Is SUPER UPSET and HURT kind of point. But… it just. Never came! And I was so, so, so happy
But… why did that take me so off guard? ...weeellll.
Put simply: I’m not used to seeing characters who are so overtly coded as Autistic, or otherwise ‘On the Spectrum’ as Dendy is get to be. Good Guys. Or not be total jokes. Or really awful flat stereotypes. And… also… it’s so common for autistic personality traits to be used for “nonhuman” characters I guess I just. Was braced for the worst!
And honestly? It still makes me giddy that Dendy is part of this show, and a GOOD GUY, and… a girl!! A GIRL gets to be autistic!! Not just ‘haha a girl nerd, as in we threw a bow on this collection of stereotypes that hasn’t been updated since 1965! Isn’t that WACKY!’. She’s a real character! And Important! And good!!!
It’s another example of OK K.O. doing it’s audience Right in ways that just. Mean an awful lot to me. And it makes me happy that it’s not like… the One Weird Kid in the cast of Normal Relatable Kidz. K.O. has his own thing going! And him and Dendy wind up moving forward together in ways that feel really meaningful to me- not to get too ahead of the plot, mind.
But just like with Raymond, Dendy makes me feel like I get to see a part of myself in a show, for once, in a way that’s positive! There’s a lot of the cast I feel that way about; like how K.O. is being raised by a single mom, for instance. It’s just… nice! It’s really lovely, and knowing kids this could make a world of difference for might be able to grow up with this show brings me a lot of joy.
And on a plot detail this episode REALLY does a lot, huh? I figure since they knew they were cleared for a proper season they did NOT waste ANY time laying out the tracks for later. And honestly I love it. I just… love the way this show handles expanding its worldbuilding.
I try not to get ahead of myself, or over hype things in this series. But. There’s just something so elegant about how OK K.O. sets things up. It never feels awkward or like an intrusion, or like someone had to figure out how to crowbar an idea in after the fact. Everything this episode sets up that’s going to be important later winds up just… feeling like it was always there. Like these elements have been part of this story all along , and it’s always been informing the writing! It’s.
It’s like. I really feel like this is a series with a story that unfolds . There’s layers here; and they were a part of the story from the very beginning.
And I can’t wait to get to show you more! So-
Let’s Watch the Show!