Raid on Twoson (Johnsonverse)
"Raid on Twoson" is the first episode of the first season of EarthBound: The Series, based on the movie of the same name which in turn is based on the video game franchise of the same name created by Shigesato Itoi, developed by Ape Inc. and HAL Laboratory, and published by Nintendo. Written by Jennifer Tennville and directed by series developer Timothy Hill, it aired on WBC on September 1, 1997, and was the series premiere.
Filming took place throughout the fall of 1996. The episode was critically acclaimed for its acting, writing, and effects work. It has ended up on several "best episode" lists, often near the top, and in the 2015 end-of-series poll, it was ranked eighth on the list. It also
In the dead of night, just outside the Port of Twoson, Washington, a container ship is inbound. All of a sudden, though, an explosion rocks the ship, sinking it. The ship sinks so fast, no one survives. The next morning, at Twoson Police HQ, Police Chief Bill Stagman is informed of the sinking, which is the tenth such sinking in two weeks. Bill decides to get to the bottom of the whole ordeal, and calls in a "specialist". It turns out, though, that this specialist is Paula Polestar, the town hero who was one of the four teens that repelled the then-recent Dalek invasion.
Arriving at the station, Paula and Bill launch a formal investigation, forming the Port of Twoson Sinkings Investigation Commission. Several residents along the waterfront that are being interviewed state that before each sinking, a loud bang is heard. This brings to life new evidence that the sinkings are not coincidental mechanical failures, but a coordinated attack against shipping. Before the investigation can continue, though, Paula states that there are two other specialists she must call in. Paula doesn't even have to walk 10 miles to get to the location of the first specialist. In Onett, Washington, Ness is sitting in front of the TV, watching Wolf Blitzer's coverage of the sinkings in Twoson. As he is thinking whether Paula is doing anything about it, the doorbell rings. Ness is overjoyed to see his girlfriend. Back in Twoson, Ness is briefed on the situation. Ness, Paula, and Bill decide to go out on the waterfront that night to see what happens. At the harbor, they hear the loud boom. Using PK Scan to out what it is, Paula finds out that it is a torpedo, fired from a submarine. Quickly, she pulls it from the water with PK Grip, and crushes it in mid-air, destroying it. A Coast Guard ship comes and finds the submarine, and drops depth charges. The sub beaches, and policemen move in to arrest the occupants.
The next morning, the submarine captain, a Middle Eastern man in his 40s, is interrogated at the police station. The man states he is working for a terrorist group that wants to plunder Twoson for every last cent, kill the men, rape the women, and eat the children. A clearly distressed Paula begins to cry, as Ness comforts and consoles her. Bill orders the man be handed over to the military. Later, General William Landon comes with a few of his men to take the man to the detention center at Guantanamo Bay. Afterward, Paula asserts that they need Jeff Andonuts' help. On the phone, Jeff states that he and his father are working on "Project X", the last solution in planetary defense, mainly Daleks. Jeff is initially reluctant to go to Twoson, but the mention of terrorists changes that. He goes to the Skyrunner-2 and heads to the Twoson, leaving the klutzy Apple Kid in his position. Arriving in Twoson, Jeff brings out his SONAR Machine, and begins scanning the bay for any other submarines. The scan reveals that there are 4 more submarines in the bay. Gen. Landon orders scout planes be launched, to scan for any other enemy vessels. That night, Bill decides to stage a stake-out. After eating at the Steak-Out restaurant (in one of the many visual gags and puns the series would become famous for), they board the largest ship owned by the Twoson Garrison of the Coast Guard, and head out on the bay. The submarines form a wolf pack to strike at a group of cargo ships. But they are picked up by an American Destroyer, which depth charges the subs. Cover blown, the full raid begins. A battleship enters the bay and starts firing on the shore, while several small motorboats with AK-47 wielding men head towards the civilian ships. Then, several Apache helicopters and F-15s fly overhead, and start dropping their payloads. A frantic Bill orders everyone to return fire. After saving Paula's life again (from a missile), Ness shoots down one of the F15s with PK Rockin. Then, he and Paula grip two other F-15s and, deciding to toy with them before bringing them down, make the hapless jets dance like ballerinas. After a bit, they release their grip on the fighters, and they drop into the bay and explode.
Meanwhile, several patrol boats full of Marines move in on the terrorist motorboats, and engage them in a firefight. With casualties mounting both sides, the Marines retreat, and the terrorists cheer...only to be blasted by one of Jeff's weapons. In Twoson, civil defense measures are activated, and the president is notified of the situation. Gen. Landon sends out the F-22s to engage the fighters and choppers. The enemy aircraft are pinpointed as taking off from a trio of stolen aircraft carriers, and a squadron heads off to destroy them. Eventually, the Port of Twoson is in chaos. The dockyard is a sea of flames, panicked civilians fill the street, and the air raid sirens are wailing. Soon, the sun begins to rise, and one of the container ships has been commandeered by the terrorists, and are turning it out to sea. But the Coast Guard flagship crashes alongside, and Ness and Paula rush aboard. Killing every terrorist in their way, they finally reach the bridge, where they find the leader of the operation. He attempts to move in Paula, possibly to rape her, but Ness decks him and strangles him to near death. Then, he throws the man overboard, who lands in the water and never resurfaces. The rest of the terrorists are killed, and the day is won. But now comes recovery. The entire dockyard collapsed into the bay, many buildings in town were destroyed or set aflame by the battleship bombardment, and many are dead. In addition, nearly being raped has psychologically scarred Paula, but the psychologist says she will recover in a week, possibly faster with Ness around. Later in the day, it is discovered that the terrorists were hired by North Korea to alleviate their poor economy. North Korea threatens a larger, more devastating attack, this time by the nation itself.
In the epilogue, Ness states that the United States responded with a crushing invasion, reunifying Korea for the first time since 1910. Surprisingly, Russia and China did not intervene on North Korea's behalf; they stated that "using terrorists to do your dirty work is a coward's tactic". He also states that just two days after the raid, Paula had recovered and she and Ness went out on a date...at the local McDonald's, since the only fancy restaurant in town was destroyed during the raid. Nevertheless, it's a good date, and they're both happy.
- Gary Nelson as Ness
- Kate Locklain as Paula
- Jeffrey Paul as Jeff
- William Shatner as General William Landon
- Leonard Nimoy as Bill Stagman
- Liam Neeson as Dr. Andonuts
- Robin Williams as Apple Kid
- Wolf Blitzer as himself
The terrorists were played by uncredited extras.
- Johnson Studios has a penchant for predicting the future. In this episode, they predicted that terrorism would be a huge problem, there would be a detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Apple would come out with its own cell phone. The iPhone-like phone was referred to as the MacPhone in this episode, but the design was dead-on. This has created several conspiracy theories that Johnson Industries has time-travel capabilities.
- This episode confirms that the entire EarthBound series takes place in a timeline where Mao Zedong won the Chinese Civil War, and the Korean War was either dragged out to an armistice or never happened.
- The McDonald's used in the ending scene was the ninth location in Des Plaines, Illinois, which opened in 1955 and was the first location outside of the West Coast, as well as the first location opened by franchisee Ray Kroc, who expanded the chain until both it and his company, McDonald's Corporation, were acquired by Johnson in 1961. In 2008, due to continued flooding, the building and sign were moved to the Volo Auto Museum in Chicago, where they still stand today. This location was chosen because Timothy Hill thought of it as "the quintessential 1950s McDonald's".
- At several points during the raid, wires can be seen just above the jets. They were digitally removed in the DVD release.
- A crew member can be seen reflected in a window in Twoson during the raid. The face was digitally wiped in the DVD release.
- Several explosions are not synced up with the sound effects. This was fixed in the DVD release.
- The nozzle of the flamethrower used for Paula's PK Fire can just be seen when Paula is burning several terrorists. Kate Locklain can be seen trying to correct her arm position to no avail. In the DVD release, the nozzle was digitally removed, and Locklain's arm was replaced by a steadier arm provided by her replacement, Vanessa Parsons' arm.
The episode was