There's a good side and a bad side to this episode. On the one hand, it comes close to a perfect version of this show's premise and strengths. It's dark, intelligent, and frightening--but funny. On the other hand, it makes all the other episodes look a bit pale. You can tell right from the opening scene that this episode was held to a higher standard of quality. The storyboarding opens on a grand scale, first with an insect crawling across a dark surface--then the camera pulls aback to reveal a whole landscape of burned out wreckage, under a dark and polluted-looking sky. In the distance is a glowing green dome, ringed by tall towers that resemble futuristic windmills. Inside are apparently the last people alive on earth. Inside, the people live happy cloistered lives; everything is fine. Until a dome-citizen character gets a message from outside the dome. An unseen man with a deep, drawling voice announces that he has a new power that can smash their protective bubble. (You get the idea that he's tried before, and failed, and that he's also responsible for the destruction outside the enclave.) The dome is smashed, all hell breaks loose; terrified citizens run screaming into bomb shelters. When the character who made the threat shows up--cracking the ground and filling the air with green fire--he turns to the camera, and you see he's wearing Danny Phantom's old costume. Hoo boy. If you have time to watch only one episode of DP, watch this one. It's worth it to see a charred, post-apocalyptic future world (with a handful of plucky survivors) and a soulless future version of Danny--and whether Danny turns to good or evil depends on a very small event taking place in his normal teenage life. It's very good.
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