Man, after a few days of intense screenwriting (a bit more than I originally expected) I’m jumping back into Off the Beaten Path with the review for episode 5 of Danger 5, Fresh Meat for Hitler’s Sex Kitchen. This is one of the other episodes of season 1 that I would rewatch along with Lizard Soldiers of the Third Reich, and for good reason; it has all the wackiness and laughs of the first 2 episodes. So after the subdued humor of the last two episodes. Fresh Meat for Hitler’s Sex Kitchen is quite the breath of fresh air, and I’ll explain why.
The episode starts off with a group of Nazis, led by Heinrich Himmler, taking over “The Palomino”, Switzerland’s best brothel, and replacing all the in house prostitutes with German bombshells. Danger 5 are then given their mission for the week: connect with British Field Marshall Jenkins, find out why allied soldiers all over are spontaneously going Kraut (including Jenkin’s entire battalion), and of course, kill Hitler. The gang then connects with Jenkins, who’s riding on a train from Switzerland. On the train, the group splits up; Jackson and Ilsa go to get some drinks while the other three stay behind with Jenkins. Unbeknownst to them, Himmler is also on the train, transporting some of the former Palomino workers. Per usual, things start going wrong once the group splits up; Jenkins turns into a Nazi and is killed by Pierre before they can find out what happened exactly happened (all they learn is that he’s coming from the Palomino), while Jackson and Ilsa are taken hostage by Himmler. The trio (accompanied by Gwendolyn, one of Himmler’s hostages) go undercover at the Palomino to figure out what’s going on, while Jackson and Ilsa are taken to a facility to be tortured and turned into Nazis under the direction of Hitler. Around this time both groups figure out what the scheme is: Hitler is performing a Pagan ritual, turning willing volunteers into carriers of an STI that turns those that sleep with them into Nazis, based in the Palomino. After many more shenanigans involving Ilsa turning into a Nazi, a turf war between the Nazis and a gang of Swiss pimps, the two groups converge on Hitler’s ritual area, and end the scheme while once again failing to kill Hitler.
So like I said in the intro, Fresh Meat for Hitler’s Sex Kitchen was one of my favorite episodes of Danger 5 after I first watched the show back in college. The reasons for this a simple; the goofy humor, the fun characteristics, and the beautiful women. For the purposes of this review, I will focus on the humor and the characterization (the beautiful women fit into this more). So what, exactly, makes this episode so humorous? Well for one, Fresh Meat for Hitler’s Sex Kitchen is packed with more humor than both Kill-Men of the Rising Sun and Hitler’s Golden Murder Palace. For some non-character based humor (I’ll talk about that with the characters themselves), it helps the episode has a premise that isn’t as divisive as the former episode (what with the yellowface), and more out there than the latter episode (I mean, what sounds more out there, Nazi hooker sex magic or casino infiltration?). For an example, the transformation of every Allied soldier (and later Ilsa) into a Nazi is played like a werewolf-esque transformation, filled with groaning and moaning, ending with the men (and Ilsa) speaking German, having blonde hair, a swastika armband, and a cartoonishly monstrous disposition. In other words, the transformation is played for all the glorious hamminess it’s worth. One other thing I want to mention, we also get a return of the miniatures. I mean, we get miniatures in the last two episodes (planes and tanks mostly), but in this episode, we get the hilarious ex-filtration of Himmler from the train, in which a model helicopter swoops down and literally picks up the toy train car. It’s a dumb visual, but one I always laugh at.
So while there are lots of smaller jokes peppered throughout Fresh Meat for Hitler’s Sex Kithen, most of the humor for me comes from the characters themselves. Everyone, even some of the episode only side characters like Gwendolyn, gets some very humorous things to do or get stuck in very humorous situations (except for maybe Claire, but she makes up for it by once again by being in the one actually getting shit done). Like with Jackson and Ilsa, how they respond to the Nazi hookers in their cells not only provides humor but also tells you about their characters. I mean, how can you not laugh about how Jackson ends up fighting for his life against his hooker while Ilsa immediately hops on her hooker (and her reaction to seeing Jackson in the doorway)? It’s comedy gold that highlights how they react to the world around them. For a smaller comedic moment with Ilsa, I love how they pepper in German with her Russian. Really goes to show how they utilize multiple languages in this show (something I admit I haven’t brought up a ton so far) and create humor from it.
Out of all the characters in this episode though, the real star is Pierre. Working with Gwendolyn (they both fall in love with each other at first sight), they infiltrate the Palomino as the blonde Nazi hookers and connect with each other. On the surface, it’s very amusing to see Pierre in a corset and wig without even shaving his mustache. Below that though is probably the most heartfelt character story of the first season, one filled with palpable chemistry. When Gwendolyn is shot in the end and ends the scheme with her blood made of money (it makes sense in context), you actually feel for both characters. It also creates probably the most heartfelt of the “perfect cocktails” we’ve gotten so far, especially after the tepid ones we got in the last two episodes.
I should also give a mention to the villains of the episode. Himmler is definitely there, but honestly he doesn’t do all that much other than run the Palomino. I mean, he does capture Ilsa and Jackson without much difficulty, but it feels like a rehash of better villains we’ve seen so far (namely Mengele). Also, I can see people having issues with the show portraying Himmler as gay, since it can easily be interpreted as the show making him evil because he’s gay. Hitler, on the other hand, is in strong form this episode. Like in Hitler’s Golden Murder Palace, while he doesn’t exactly run the particulars of the scheme, he does play a larger role in facilitating it. In this case, running the ritual that turns people into carriers for the Nazi STI. There’s also some solid laughs based on him; for example, giving Ilsa a vial of orange drink claiming it was the antidote always gets a laugh out of me. In all, while Himmler is probably the weak link of the episode, it’s a solid episode for the Fuhrer.
So to recap, Fresh Meat for Hitler’s Sex Kitchen combines the humor of I Danced for Hitler! with the strong character work of Hitler’s Golden Murder Palace to create one of the strongest episodes so far. Despite a middling villain with some problematic aspects, this is an episode that revels in smaller, character based stakes and ridiculousness, and is all the better for it. So before I watch the final episode of season one, I’m going to relax with the perfect “Swiss Kiss”, and I hope you do to.
Final Rating: B+