The Tick Recap: “Pilot”


Debuting last summer, “Pilot,” was a strong enough premiere for The Tick for Amazon to order a full season.

While die-hard fans of Ben Edlund’s comic book series will be disappointed by the show’s darker tones, Edlund (who created and wrote this adaptation) has combined the best part of his written work with realism. No need to worry though, “The Tick,” is still incredibly self-aware and pokes a lot of fun at certain genre cliches, most notably the origin story of a hero.

While the series may be called, The Tick, Griffin Newman’s Arthur is the clear protagonist of the show. A bit mentally unstable since witnessing the death of his father, Arthur is plagued by nightmares, anxiety, and an obsessive desire to hunt down the villain who turned his life upside down. Unlike typical superheroes who are usually motivated by the death of their parents to don a cape, Arthur reacts in a more relatable way through constant meltdowns. It doesn’t help that one of the most infamous covers of Time Magazine features the most traumatic moment of his childhood and constantly haunts him throughout his life. “Pilot,” sets up his life well by showing the wall covered in conspiracy theories as well as his reliance on his sister, Dot, to keep him in check.

His new partnership forms by accident when “The Tick,” ends up meeting him during the stake out of a factory. Peter Serafinowicz easily slips into the blue costume as the boisterous and confident superhero ready to save the day. While his attitude is definitely optimistic, he comes off as a little bit insane and dimwitted through his ridiculous monologues about destiny. Nonetheless, he’s the perfect foil to the high-strung Arthur and the two strike up an undesirable partnership.

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However, “Pilot,” introduces a different dilemma for the two characters other than a warehouse full of villains: whether “The Tick” is real or just a figment or Arthur’s imagination. It wouldn’t be the first time in television history for a weaker character to give into more violent impulses by personifying a whole new person (i.e. Fight Club) and considering the voice young Arthur heard as a child was “The Tick’s” makes it likely that the hero isn’t real.

With a friend or not, Arthur’s main goal in life is hunting down “The Terror,” who has been long considered dead. His passion has led to many arrests and psychological evaluations as well as his sister’s exasperation. However, “Pilot,” makes it clear that the evidence that the villain is dead is weak enough that Arthur’s conspiracy theories could actually be right. “The Tick,” believes so as well, so he shows up to his new friend’s apartment with a suit case containing a super suit.

Unfortunately, the blue hero accidentally blew up the warehouse but managed to escape with their secret cargo. Donning the new moth costume, Arthur finally takes one step towards embracing his journey as a hero alongside “The Tick,” while the blue superhero stands atop a rooftop giving a lengthy speech for the audience about fighting crime just before gun-toting thugs bust into the latter’s apartment.

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“Pilot,” definitely makes a strong case for watching this season of The Tick with an incredibly entertaining debut episode. With strong performances from the entire cast and Edlund helming the series, this season will undoubtedly be great. No, it doesn’t have the consistent humor and silliness that Patrick Warburton’s show had, but Amazon’s rendition manages to balance all of the fun while making a statement on the world today.