One of the MCU’s most beloved characters, Groot, has returned to the small screen once again as the second season of the animated short series I am Groot has been released on Disney+. If a series were centered on any other B-tier character of any other existing MCU IP (read Agatha), I would have gone on a rant about the MCU overexploiting its characters, but Groot is special, even among the ragtag ensemble known as The Guardians of the Galaxy. In fact, unsurprisingly, the only two good ventures the MCU has released this year are based on characters from Guardians of the Galaxy, the first being the final, third installment of the movie series, and the second being this compilation of shorts we are going to discuss.
I am Groot is the fourth release of the ongoing fifth phase of the MCU’s storytelling, but chronologically, it falls right after the events of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, when Groot was still a fledgling sapling. In his own childish, naughty ways, Groot explores the cosmos and his surroundings, which leads to an otherwise light-hearted spectacle but, in true Guardians fashion, hides serious issues underneath.
Are You My Groot?
The first episode opens in the wilderness of planet Terma, where baby Groot is seen frolicking around. The name of the planet might seem familiar to keen-eyed fans, as it was mentioned during the events of The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 while Rocket Raccoon was scouring galactic navigation in search of Peter Quill’s father, Ego’s planet. Coming back to the present discussion, Groot notices a strange egg lying in front of him, from which a tiny bird hatches. Little Groot watches in wonder as the hatchling starts chirping and gives it candy to satiate its hunger. Soon, Groot grows fond of the chick and almost starts considering it his own child.
Groot tries to teach the chick his singular catchphrase, to no avail. The chick turns out to be even more mischievous than Groot himself, as it keeps him on his toes through its antics and constant pooping—to the point where Groot almost gives up in his efforts to keep it quiet. At last, he puts the chick inside his bag, hoping that it’ll finally shut up, but suddenly, a horde of similar hatchlings starts running towards them. Groot’s ‘kid’ joins them as well, and Groot trips and falls over while running from the horde—and that’s when he comes across the ginormous mother bird standing in front of him. Groot’s ‘kid,’ along with its other siblings, latch on to the mother bird, who gradually flies away, leaving him despondent. Groot tearfully bids the chick farewell, who, as a gesture of love, spits the candy out, which Groot consumes. While turning to the other side, Groot steps on the chick’s poop—not that he minds at all.
Through the connection between the chick and Groot, the episode acknowledges the relationship between baby Groot and Rocket Raccoon, who, despite belonging to a different species, considered Groot to be his child and took care of him.
Groot Noses Around
The second episode follows Groot inside the Guardians’ spaceship, Quadrant, where he is busy bashing joysticks while playing a retro fighting game that looks pretty similar to Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, with the only difference being that there are in-universe alien species, like Skrull, as playable characters. The joystick loses power due to its batteries getting low, which prompts Groot to leave his couch and search for a couple of new batteries.
While rummaging through scraps, Groot finds a battery and unwittingly affixes himself with a synthetic nose that is capable of smelling, too. Using his newfound sensory organ, Groot relishes a myriad of olfactory sensations and eventually finds another battery as well. As he returns to his couch, Groot is hit with a horrendous stench, which is coming out of his nerd den—a putrid concoction of smell emanating from snacks smeared on the couch, from rotten foods, and from dirty laundry. Horrified, he looks at the object that can salvage the situation in no time—a cleaner. Taking it in his hand, he does the most sensible thing to get rid of the foul odor: he plucks out his synthetic nose and throws it in the bin, and he gets into slurping beverages, munching snacks, and bashing joysticks right after.
The hilarious ending, on the one hand, slyly pokes fun at the prevalent basement-dwelling, virtual world-fixated nerd culture, where the term ‘touch grass’ is often used to denote how far removed from reality the persons associated can be. On the other hand, the scrap box filled with various robotic limb parts reminds viewers of Nebula and Rocket, both of whom were viciously experimented upon, having mechanisms and whatnot grafted to them.
Groot’s Snow Day
The third one once again opens in the Milano spaceship of the Guardians, as we see Groot has made a cup of coffee, which, not surprisingly, he confirms tastes horrible. The ship lands on the ice planet Falligar, and wearing his warm clothes, baby Groot is ready to enjoy his day in this snowscape. After having some fun with skating and snow trees, Groot makes a snowman, and to add some character to it, he brings tons of junk from the spaceship.
Using various scraps and parts collected from the ship, Groot modifies the snowman and watches in amazement as it glows up with fairy light. However, Groot has unwittingly assembled very specific robotic parts, which have created a villainous robotic mechanism that is hell-bent on hurting Groot. The snowman robot sets its sights on the spaceship and proceeds to wreck it, but a precisely thrown snowball by Groot makes it burst like a firecracker high up in the sky. With the day fading to dusk, Groot returns to the spaceship, and it is hinted that parts of the robot that are scattered in the snow are still active. Inside the ship, Groot once again tastes the coffee he made, notices no improvement, and tosses the cup aside, which only ends up hitting Rocket off-screen, triggering an annoying ‘dude’ from him.
The ice planet of Falligar might seem like a paradise-like setting, but given the proper context, it starts feeling less dreamy as part of one of the nine realms in Norse mythology in the MCU—the planet aligned for the Great Convergence during the events of Thor 2, which almost resulted in the rise of Malekith. Falligar the Behemoth was killed on this planet by Gorr, the god butcher, and Lady Sif was grievously injured by him as well.
Groot’s Sweet Treat
In the fourth episode, Groot gets captivated by an ice-cream vending space shuttle and gets busy desperately finding himself a coin to purchase an ice cream stick of his choice, which peculiarly looks like the front visage of the Celestial Eson. Groot tries to get coins out of his piggy bank and loses them promptly. He tries to vacuum them out and gets himself sucked inside instead. At last, he breaks inside a claw-crane game to find a single coin, but even there, he is unable to get one. Furious, Groot wrecks the machine and finally gets his hands on a stash of coins.
However, the ice cream shuttle has already crossed the quadrant and gone forward, leaving Groot’s wish unfulfilled. It’s not really a concerning matter, though, as Groot maneuvers the spaceship directly toward the shuttle, crashes it into Smithereens, and gets his favorite ice cream. As the episode ends, Groot and the Guardians’ spaceship Milano are surrounded by the patrol shuttles of the galactic peacekeeping force, NOVA Corps.
Groot And The Great Prophecy
The last episode opens with the 5th-dimensional cosmic overseer, Watcher, narrating a grand prophecy concerning the fate of the universe. Inside a trap-filled ancient temple, the last seed of Drez-Lar exists, and only the worthiest of champions might secure it from the location, which will lead the universe to usher in a new age. Baby Groot arrives at the location in an absolutely carefree and relaxed demeanor and activates all traps at once, yet proceeds unharmed, much to the watcher’s astonishment. The Watcher keeps on directing him to take the right pathway to reach the seed, but Groot doesn’t pay heed to his words.
Eventually, bypassing every kind of obstacle, Groot reaches for the seed, but he is not at all concerned with the object as he is preoccupied with retrieving his playing ball. The seed gets destroyed, leading to the collapse of the temple, and fearing Groot’s fate inside of it, even the all-seeing Watcher closes his eyes.
However, the Watcher realizes that, just as the prophecy foretold, a sapling grew out of the seed of mighty potential, which in this context turned out to be Groot emerging from the rubble. The Watcher sends his best wishes while reinstating his faith in baby Groot, who, on board Milano, moves away from the planet. As the episode ends, the viewer wonders how Groot is able to see a fifth-dimensional being like him. The last two episodes truly nail the essence of the Guardians modus operandi: irrespective of their callous, nitwit approach to things, like Groot, they harbor immense potential. Hopefully, baby Groot and his teeny-sized cosmic adventures continue through more seasons, as it makes the MCU world exploration way less tiresome than crossover events do.