Hero Factory certainly had its highs and lows. Most people agree that Invasion from Belw is the worst the series had to offer, and I agree (Though I ironically enjoy the casual genocide of the jumpers). But usually, Breakout is touted as the best of the line. I used to agree, but after some thought, I've come around to Ordeal of Fire instead. And because it's past midnight and I have nothing better to do, I'm here to say why.
First off, the main villain. HF is known for its cliché villains: the dumb brute, the cackling maniac, etc. The Fire Villains certainly fall into this, with the exception of Fire Lord. He's probably the best villain HF got, with a different personality and sensible, interesting motivation and backstory.
Second, it was very dark, for HF. Literally, half the episode takes place at night. Okay, jokes aside, the whole tone was dark and serious, albeit with a fair bit of humor here and there. Heck, one of the villains loses a hand at one point!
Third, the story makes sense. The heroes show up to stop these new villains... and get their butts handed to them. So they get a risky new upgrade (creatively called "Upgrade"), spend a few minutes testing it -- nowhere near enough time to get used to it -- and go back into battle. And, predictably, they once again get their butts handed to them.
So they call for back-up, and get the only two heroes who already have the upgrade, Evo and Nex. Despite being rookies, Evo and Nex somehow manage to take down the villains even Alpha Team couldn't defeat, right? Nope! HF neatly dodges that trope. Evo and Nex don't defeat the villains, but help the heroes. Evo distracts/confuses the villains, while Nex frees Furno and Breez. Then, the heroes work together to defeat the villains, yet they still can't defeat Fire Lord. And then Surge (who sacrificed himself earlier to save the other heroes) returns and saves the day, and reveals what he's been up to during this time.
Now, I'll admit this episode had its faults. The Tanker Station workers have some really bad acting, Breez decides to be a cliché "look at me, I'm a girl" throughout the episode, and a few odd moments (like Drilldozer standing still for several seconds for no reason at one point). Typical stuff for HF. But it still manages to stand as the best HF had to offer.
I give this episode an 8/10. Any other thoughts?
This has been a random review by Willess. Tune in next time when I talk about something else. Maybe. I dunno.