FinaleWatch: 'Meerkat Manor: The Next Generation'
For reasons passing understanding, Animal Planet has taken the final three episodes of Meerkat Manor: The Next Generation and combined them into on massive 90-minute finale. To those who have asked me, I have absolutely no idea if the Whiskers, Commandos and Aztecs will be coming back for a fifth season, but if not, they went out with quite a bang.
Please to enjoy the final glimpses of life on the Kalahari for this year.
Fasten your seat belts tight, these Spoilers will take you on the wildest ride of your life!
PART THE FIRST
Well look who decided to return to the Commandos. It's none other than the roving Wilson, who would otherwise have an easy return to the family if not for the ferocious Zorro. Locked out of the burrow, he instead joins up with Philippe to find a new clan.
Rocket Dog's about to bust out yet another set of young ones. She's managed to rid the Whiskers of all the other pregnant ladies, save two: Rita and Wily Cat. Sophie's hanging around the perimeter looking for a way back in. Unlucky for her, a lone eagle lurks overhead. All the Whiskers can do is watch and retreat if the eagle becomes a threat, but Sophie is on her own and unaware of the threat that looms. The eagle bypasses her, but she might not be so lucky next time.
Wilson begins the process of joining the Whiskers, but young Mitch has already proved himself valuable to the family and doesn't want to see someone else come in and take over. Together with Philippe, Wilson makes a move. Mitch and his lieutenants hold steady and the rovers retreat to find an easier target.
Enter Sophie. Evicted from the Whiskers herself, she actually pursues Wilson for a little Afternoon Delight. Tired of being the third wheel, Philippe dashes off. By running off, he actually creates some major alone time for the two lovers, who quickly disappear underground.
At sunset, Sophie attempts to return to the Whisker burrow after everyone's asleep. Even after having done this every day since Rocket Dog evicted her, she still treads lightly. Wily Cat, who's pregnant and already on thin ice with Rocket Dog, makes a move to both rid herself of Sophie and ensure her place within the Whiskers clan.
While Wily Cat is successful at scaring Sophie away, she's ultimately evicted from the Whiskers the next morning. Wily Cat then consumes a big helping of humble pie and accepts help from the sister she scared away the night before. She then goes underground to deliver her pups, but they are ultimately stillborn. Poor Wily Cat, I just want to give her a big ol' hug and tell her everything will work out for the best.
Having struck out with the Whiskers, Wilson and Philippe move down the batting order and catch up with Maybelline and the Aztecs. Old Zaphod is getting up there in years, and a change at the top might just be Wilson's in with the Aztecs. All Zaphod has to do is merely stare at Philippe and he folds like a cheap suit. Wilson, on the other hand, goes directly after Maybelline, but he's lost his charm.
Now 0 for 2 in taking over clans, Wilson once again reunites with Sophie. Together with Philippe and Wily Cat, this might just be the formation of a new family. Only time will tell.
PART THE SECOND
It was either her kids or her sisters, and Rocket Dog chose her unborn pups. By keeping them safe, she's reduced the ranks of the Whiskers to a measly nine. Rita is the only Whisker female allowed to remain, and her pups are nearly here.
Rocket Dog goes first in delivering her pups. The four newest members of the Whiskers are safely tucked away underground. Drained from the labor, Rocket Dog wanders away for a meal, leaving only Rita to baby-sit. If you think about it, this is a rather risky move on Rocket Dog's part. Rita easily could kill the new pups in favor of her own.
After the food hunt, Rocket Dog and family return home. True to form, Rita has quite gruesomely dispatched of the new Whisker pups. There is such a thing as being too nice, and because of it, Rocket Dog a paid a terrible price. Rita later gives birth to her litter... a mere one pup with the scrappy name of Juno. However, very little attention is paid to him by either mama Rita or the rest of the Whiskers.
Apparently, Rita isn't aware of Spock's famous quote: The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Trading the lives of four pups for only one seems quite unfair.
The new group of four outcasts, led by Sophie and Wilson, notice a strange smell from outside their temporary bolt-hole. Wilson investigates and happens upon a genet, a variant cat that poses no serious threat to our outcasts, but the group doesn't know that. This traps the group underground.
The next morning, the ladies emerge to find the boys out and far away from the bolt-hole. Sensing a new opportunity to rejoin the Whiskers, Sophie makes her move on the burrow.
We flash forward to three weeks later to find Sophie babysitting the precocious Juno in his first hours outside the burrow. By returning to the Whiskers and giving birth to Flashman, Pickle and Chips, Sophie, the outcast many times over, might have just become the savior of the family. Rita's still seemingly suffering from post-partum depression, as she has no interest whatsoever in nursing or even mothering Juno.
What started as a wayward vulture circling overhead quickly turns into a flock, and this development startles the Whiskers. The family should have moved on by now, but newborn pups have made that move next to impossible. The vultures make a move away from the family, and this provides ample time to make the dangerous move. In their haste to exit the burrow, they leave poor Juno behind.
This sounds familiar...
When a lonely hawk lingers overhead, Rita heeds her son's cry for help and goes back to fetch him. Somehow the pair elude the hawk and successfully rejoin the clan.
With the new burrow found and properly prepared, Rocket Dog reunites the entire clan under one roof. She's lead the Whiskers through up and down, and with Sophie's help, she's managed to keep the family name alive. However, dark skies may be on the horizon.
PART THE THIRD
I watch this show with the captions on just to make sure I don't misunderstand any of the narration. For this, I was treated to a gem of a typo in the text. As Stockard Channing was saying "An eerie silence falls over the desert at night," the caption instead reads "over the dessert at night." The only time I can ever think silence would befall a tasty treat is if my bowl of chocolate ice cream came sprinkled with salt and pepper.
But I digress.
The Whiskers may be fast asleep now, but they wake up to find a puff adder has invaded their space. As a result, the kids are safe, but Rocket Dog looks much worse for the wear. Her face is grotesquely swollen and harmed, and there's word she might not last the day. It's best for her to stay still, but with the newborn pups aboveground, she has to move the family to a new burrow once again.
With Rocket Dog valiantly charging ahead to find a new home, only Sophie at first seems to know how to safely move the pups. Axel comes to her aid, having been saved as a pup himself. Another group is spotted in the distance, so the Whiskers make a sidetrack to a bolt-hole for temporary safety.
Due to the romp across the Kalahari, the venom has made its way through Rocket Dog and she's now unfit to carry out her duties as the dominant female. Enter Sophie, who picks up the leadership as if she was always in charge. As luck would have it, a mole snake lurks in the brush, ready to attack. Axel takes charge to distract the snake so Sophie can successfully move the pups.
It doesn't look good for Rocket Dog. If you remember, this is almost the same manner in which Flower lost her life. She's fading fast, and it will take the miracle of all miracles to see her pull this one out.
Across the Manor, things aren't going all that much better for Nikita and the Commandos. Once cast out by the dictatorial Zorro, Miles is back and looking for blood. But Zorro is nowhere to be found. Miles tries to make his move, but he his blocked by his blood brother Baker, who's also had his eye on the Commando top prize. This leads to quite the epic struggle for power.
The Grim Reaper of the Kalahari strikes once again, as Zorro is stricken from the ranks. All that remains of the fierce leader is his radio collar up a tree. The end of the season has not been kind, indeed.
The battle to succeed Zorro continues at Camp Commando. Even though Baker and Miles are the main attraction, the other males join in the hustle and bustle of the frenzy. Feisty Nikita even joins in the fight, setting her sights on Baker. Between the mighty grips of Nikita and Miles, Baker seemingly doesn't stand a chance.
Baker breaks free, but at the end of the day, the battle remains a ongoing draw.
Back with the Whiskers, Sophie finds a suitable dwelling for the family as Rocket Dog slowly rejoins them. The clan is only too eager to welcome her back with open arms. Three days later, Flashman, Pickle and Chips actually see the Manor for the first time. Rocket Dog emerges from the burrow as well, looking much better from her escape with death. It won't be an easy road for Rocket Dog, what with a possible dominance challenge from Sophie and just merely surviving the snake attack in general.
But where Flower failed, Rocket Dog has succeeded, which might make the road somewhat easier to travel. Whatever the future may hold for Rocket Dog, the future for the Whiskers family is bright and brimming with hope.
I sincerely hope you enjoyed reading these recaps of Meerkat Manor as much as I've enjoyed writing them. If you get the chance, let Animal Planet know you're ready and waiting for season five. Let's keep the wildly successful Meerkat franchise alive!
Did the airing of the last three episodes in back-to-back fashion make the finale experience better for you? After watching the entire season, did all you Stockard Channing haters finally warm up to her narrating style? Care to give odds on a fifth season being greenlit by Discovery and Animal Planet?