Things only adults notice in Captain Planet

Towards the end of the first season, Dr. Blight reveals her newest invention: the nebulously defined “Molecular Duplicator,” which can create the “evil opposite” of any object placed within it. Teaming up with four other recurring evil-doers, Blight steals the Planeteers’ five magic rings and uses her Duplicator to create five evil ones. Instead of having the powers of Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, and Heart, the evil rings have the powers of Deforestation, Super Radiation (whatever that is), Smog, Toxins, and Hate. Additionally, just like the Planeteer’s have the ability to summon Captain Planet, Blight’s team can summon the ostensibly terrifying Captain Pollution.

In practice, Captain Pollution is a complete joke, due to a potentially unforeseen flaw in his conception. You see, Captain Planet’s powers are derived from the natural world, so sunlight and clean water can heal him, whereas pollutants incapacitate him. Captain Pollution, being Captain Planet’s opposite, gets his powers from bathing in pollutants and is harmed by direct contact with nature. This all sounds well and good, until you realize that dirt, air, water, and sunlight are (thankfully) WAY more plentiful than uranium, smog, and oil spills.

Although the series continually tries to sell him as a genuine threat, Captain Pollution always requires a great deal of plot contrivance in order to actually threaten anyone. For instance, in his first battle against the Planeteers, our heroes swiftly defeat him by spraying him with a hose.

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