A Hero For Earth is the first episode in the first series of Captain Planet and the Planeteers. It deals with Hoggish Greedly illegally and clumsily drilling for oil, causing an eco-disaster on a once-pristine coastline.
It was written by Billy Ruebin, with story by Nicholas Boxer.
After waking up to discover Earth in peril due to rising pollution, Gaia, the spirit of Earth, sends five magic rings to five special young people. They are summoned as Planeteers and are sent on their first mission - to stop Hoggish Greedly and Rigger drilling for oil and destroying a coastline.
The opening shot is of a small white rabbit playing in a peaceful, green forest. Suddenly, noises of machinery and destruction are heard. Birds fly about in panic, and trees are torn down and crushed by a giant, four-legged machine. The white rabbit flees in fear.
At the controls of the machine sits Hoggish Greedly and his sidekick, Rigger. Greedly laughs and claims that with his new machine, he can drill for oil anywhere. Rigger laughs too, and adds that they can even drill inside wildlife sanctuaries. Greedly agrees, claiming the job will be done and they'll be gone before anyone even knows they're there.
Steering the machine into the ocean, Greedly starts the drill, which continues down through the ocean floor.
Gaia, the Spirit of Earth, is sleeping in her chamber on Hope Island when she is disturbed by a rumbling. Drops of water begin to fall on her face. She uses magic to repair the new hole in the ceiling, but when another rumble occurs, she becomes more concerned. She uses Planet Vision to figure out what's going on.
She spots Greedly's illegal drilling, oil seeping out into the ocean, creating a huge slick. "It's those poor silly humans again. They're going to destroy my planet if they keep going on like this."
Commenting that perhaps she's been asleep for a little too long, she decides that it's time to summon the "five special young people" from across the globe. She summons a special crystal from across the room. It holds five rings. Gaia claims the time has come to use them, and she needs young people to help her save the Earth. The rings are swept into the air, and Gaia narrates their journey.
Kwame is the first Planeteer to discover his ring. He is shown as a young African man, leaning on a staff in the desert under a hot setting sun. He wipes sweat from his brow and uses the end of the staff to pierce the dirt before slipping a plant into the newly-created pocket. On the second attempt, his ring emerges from the earth, caught on the end of the staff, glowing. He reaches for it curiously.
Gi is the second Planeteer to discover her ring. She is from Asia, and is swimming with a dolphin in the ocean. She returns to the shore and throws a hoop out towards the dolphin before pulling her jacket on, indicating that the game is perhaps over. However, the dolphin returns, and tosses a ring towards Gi. She catches it and looks at it sitting in her palm.
Wheeler is the third Planeteer to discover his ring. In an unidentified city in Northern America, a street thug is preparing to beat a young man with a chain. Wheeler appears, kicking the thug and forcing him to drop his weapon. The thug runs off after seeing the newcomer is preparing to fight. There is a fire in a nearby garbage can, and it flares suddenly, sending Wheeler's ring high into the sky. He catches it.
Linka is the fourth Planeteer to discover her ring. She is standing on a cliff above a forest with the wind in her hair, playing a keyboard. Birds are attracted to the sound, and one arrives with Linka's ring in its beak. She takes the ring curiously.
Ma-Ti is the fifth and final Planeteer to discover his ring. In South America, a small monkey is shown, trying to fight his way out of tangled vines before he is eaten by a predator. Ma-Ti sweeps in on a vine, frightening the big cat away before calmly releasing the monkey. The monkey then hands him the ring.
Each of the Planeteers is shown trying on their rings. They are instantly transported to Hope Island, where Gaia is ready to greet them. Wheeler instantly speaks up, demanding an explanation.
The Planeteers soon learn that Gaia is the Spirit of Earth, and that they have been given special power rings in order to help save the planet from environmental destruction.
Linka tries her ring first, after being prompted by Gaia, but she is unsure of how to control it. She creates a small whirlwind, which causes her to rise into the air and then fall. She grumbles to herself, seemingly unimpressed.
Kwame tries his ring next. He apparently has great control over it from the beginning, and can see the benefits it will bring him.
So eager to test out his power, Wheeler accidentally starts a blaze on the floor of The Crystal Chamber.
Gaia calls on Gi to put it out using her ring. She does so, but she causes a wave that is far too large, and soaks everyone. Wheeler complains, grumbling: "Nice job, toots. I'm all wet!" Linka reminds him that the fire is out, and he quietens down again.
Ma-Ti says he already knows what his power is. He says, "Mine is Heart. I can sense you all. Hear your thoughts. Feel your feelings."
Gaia explains that Ma-Ti's power guides and links the others, and is therefore the most important. She then labels them a team, now and forever: The Planeteers.
Kwame says before they get started, they will need to practice (mainly prompted by Wheeler burning his own palm in his enthusiasm), but Gaia says there is no time. She initiates the Planet Vision, showing the Planeteers what Greedly is doing with his oil drilling. Dismayed by the destruction they see before them, the Planeteers leave immediately.
Gi steers the geo-cruiser over the ocean. Wheeler briefly complains about not being able to fly it, and we learn that Gi has a driver's license, but he does not. He states what a strange day it's been.
Linka worries about being on their own, and wishes Gaia could be with them.
Ma-Ti instantly states that she is with them. He uses his ring to call her, and Gaia appears as a hologram in front of the geo-cruiser. She claims that though she needs to stay on Hope Island, she will be with the Planeteers in spirit.
Wheeler accidentally sparks a blaze when he uses the word 'fire'. Gi quickly extinguishes it, but it's another reminder that they all need to be careful with their new powers. Gaia explains to them that they all need to have faith in themselves. Kwame asks what they should do if they find themselves in a situation they don't think they can handle. Gaia tells them to put their powers together, before she disappears from sight.
The Planeteers look down on the coastline, which, thanks to Greedly, is coated in oil. Linka expresses dismay, saying that the whole coastline is being destroyed. Gi attempts to land the geo-cruiser on Greedly's machine, but Greedly and Rigger realize that their arrival is going to mean trouble for them. Greedly jets them with oil before they can attempt a landing.
The controls jam, and the geo-cruiser starts to spin out of control, with Gi exclaiming: "We're going down!"
Greedly laughs in delight as he watches the geo-cruiser nose-dive towards the ocean.
Kwame, the only Planeteer not showing visible panic, reminds Linka of her Wind power. She orders Wheeler to burn the door away before she leans out of the cruiser and attempts to keep it in the air using her new powers. She manages to stabilize the cruiser, but despairs because it is too draining for her to get them to land. Kwame helps by raising an island from the ocean floor, and they land safely.
Rigger and Greedly have been watching on in amazement. Rigger appears to be nervous, but Greedly dismisses the Planteers as "just kids" and decides he can take care of them easily.
Wheeler threatens him through a megaphone, declaring they are there to stop him drilling more oil. Greedly retaliates by threatening to douse the animals on the shore in crude oil if the Planeteers come any closer.
Wheeler admits this is going to be a problem. The Planeteers watch in dismay as more oil continues to seep out into the ocean. Kwame realizes that the situation is now out of their control. He suggestions combining their powers.
The Planeteers combine their powers for the first time, summoning Captain Planet. Greedly and Rigger immediately recognize trouble, and try to make their escape, causing more oil to flood into the ocean.
Captain Planet explains to the Planeteers that while he's around, their rings are useless, but he's their powers combined and magnified. He urges them to look after the oil-soaked animals while he chases Greedly and clears up the spill.
Captain Planet clears up the oil spill by creating a whirlpool which sucks the oil back under the ocean's floor. He then seals the leak with a large rock before chasing after Greedly.
Greedly and Rigger attempt to hurt Captain Planet by snatching him in the claws of their machine and stabbing him with a drill mechanism, but it just continues to bounce off his chest. Captain Planet laughs and complains that it tickles. He captures Rigger easily and 'disposes' of him by dumping him into a trash can. He then goes after Greedly, but Greedly sprays him with toxic waste.
This causes Captain Planet to lose his strength and his powers. He falls to the ground, and the Planeteers hurry to his side. Captain Planet manages to tell them that the toxic waste is draining his strength. Kwame attempts to move him away from Greedly, but Captain Planet is too heavy. His efforts do remove some of the sludge from Captain Planet's chest, however, and the Planeteer emblem is exposed to the sun, which causes it to glow.
Linka and Gi hurry to carry some water across in order to wash the sludge away from Captain Planet.
Meanwhile, Greedly attempts to crush Planet under the legs of his machine. Wheeler, Kwame and Ma-Ti manage to roll a rock towards Captain Planet, which holds strong enough to keep the leg of Greedly's machine away. Linka and Gi arrive, carrying a load of water between them in Linka's jacket. They throw the water onto Captain Planet, and he is seen to recharge, the symbol on his chest glowing brightly now that it is free of toxic waste. Wheeler exclaims that the sun is powering him back up.
Captain Planet weakly recharges, reinstating: "By your powers combined, I am Captain Planet!" He thanks the Planeteers for their help, before chasing after Greedly, who is busy basking in his own glory after thinking he has destroyed Captain Planet.
Captain Planet destroys Greedly's machine, but during the chaos, Greedly goes missing. He manages to escape, muttering to himself and threatening that he'll be back.
The Planeteers sit around Captain Planet in a semi-circle on the beach. He tells them that next time they see Greedly, to call him. He disappears, returning their powers to them.
The Planeteers clean up the beach and the animals left devastated by Greedly. Wheeler heats water, Gi hoses the animals down. Ma-Ti calms them. Kwame clears the oil residue from the beach, and Linka dries the animals off and sweeps oil away from them.
Wheeler complains that they aren't the ones who made the mess, but they're the ones who have to clean it up - and they're not making any money from it, either. Linka claims that some rewards are greater than money, and Wheeler reluctantly agrees.
Captain Planet: I want you to join me and the Planeteers in saving our planet!
Planeteers: Go, Planet!
Captain Planet: You can fight oil spills and air pollution by encouraging your family not to waste gasoline and other fuels.
Gi: Turn off the lights in your house when you don't need them.
Linka: If you can carpool, do it!
Ma-Ti: Better yet, if you're only going a short distance, walk, or ride a bike!
Captain Planet: It's healthier for you, and our planet! So don't be a Greedly! The power is yours!
Did You Notice?
- This is the very first episode of Captain Planet and the Planeteers.
- The first appearance of Gaia, Hoggish Greedly, Rigger, Kwame, Wheeler, Linka, Gi, Ma-Ti, Suchi, and Captain Planet. It's also the first episode in which Planet Vision is used, and where the geo-cruiser first appears.
- Gaia claims she's been sleeping for a century. She assumes this is not enough time to do any proper damage, but she is proved wrong at the start of the episode.
- The order in which the Planeteers discover their rings is not the order in which they arrange themselves later, when calling Captain Planet. Gaia sends the rings out in the order: Kwame, Gi, Wheeler, Linka, Ma-Ti. Later in the episode, and in subsequent episodes, whenever they call Captain Planet, the order is always: Kwame, Wheeler, Linka, Gi, Ma-Ti. The order in which they first try out their powers, in The Crystal Chamber on Hope Island, also deviates from the 'usual' order.
- Gaia claims that this group are the "first Planeteers", but in later episodes, such as Hog Tide, she tells the Planeteers stories of earlier generations having served the Earth in the same way, with the same powers.
- Each Planeteer has a very thick accent at the beginning of the episode, designed to reinforce which countries they are from.
- Wheeler's first reaction is to flirt with Linka. Her first reaction is to reject him.
- The opening titles state Linka is from the Soviet Union. She also claims her accent to be "Soviet" when Wheeler asks if she's Russian. In later series, she is said to be from "Eastern Europe" during the opening credits.
- Linka says "damn it' in Russian when she sweeps herself off her feet after using her ring for the first time.
- In this episode, Wheeler calls Linka 'babe' and Gi 'toots'.
- This is also the first episode in which Linka exclaims "Bozhe moy!" for the first time. It means "(Oh) My God" in Russian.
- Gaia states that Ma-Ti's power is the most important of the five.
- Rigger asks Greedly if the oil leaking out is going to cause a problem for the coast. Greedly reacts angrily to his concern, claiming he's the only thing in the world worth caring about.
- Gi has a driver's license. Wheeler does not. We learn this as they are in the geo-cruiser for the first time.
- Wheeler reveals he is from Brooklyn in this episode. None of other Planeteers are as specific about where they come from.
- Gi is actually the first person to call Wheeler 'Yankee' - it's not Linka, though she often uses this as a nickname for him in later episodes.
- Although never officially elected as a leader, Kwame is unofficially made the leader of the Planeteers. He has the most confidence and control with his ring (with the possible exception of Ma-Ti) and he keeps everyone calm during their first crisis.
- The geo-cruiser apparently has a boat stored within it. Linka and Kwame can be seen setting it up on the small island while Wheeler is speaking to Greedly through the megaphone.
- Captain Planet is summoned through the five powers meeting in the sky - he does not emerge from the Earth. He is also missing his red boots in this episode, but he appears with his usual catchphrase.
- We learn in this episode that the Planeteer rings are useless after Captain Planet is summoned. He explains to the Planeteers that he's their powers combined and magnified.
- It's evident in this episode that Captain Planet can breathe, move and talk easily underwater. His super-strength is also made evident when he picks up a giant rock to seal the oil leak.
- Captain Planet's weakness is revealed in this episode: Toxic waste causes him to lose his powers until the Planeteers can hose it off with clean water and the sun can recharge him.
- Captain Planet states "By your powers combined, I am Captain Planet!" twice in this episode, despite only being officially summoned once.
- Greedly is never caught at the end of the episode - he escapes, threatening that he'll be back.
- Linka calls Wheeler a "sweet imperialist dog" at the end of the episode, when he complains about having to clean up the mess without being paid for it.
Gaia: It's those poor, silly humans again. They're going to destroy my planet if they keep going on like this. What's a mother to do?
Gaia: I guess I napped too long.
Gaia: It's worse than I thought. Earth is dying! The time has come for the rings. I need young people to help now. Starting with five very special kids from five corners of the globe. From Africa: Kwame. From Asia: Gi. From North America: Wheeler. From the Soviet Union: Linka. And, from South America: Ma-Ti. These then, are my first Planeteers. The world's greatest hope.
Wheeler: Yo, say lady, you wanna explain what's goin' on here?
Wheeler's first words, spoken to Gaia.
Wheeler: All right, so let me get this straight. Your name is Gaia, and you're the Spirit of the Earth?
Gi: And you brought us here to help us save Earth from being ruined?
Gaia: Yes. That's about the size of it.
Linka: Saving our planet is yes, a good thing. However, we are what use? How can we help?
Wheeler: Hey, love your accent, babe. You Russian?
Linka: Soviet! (She shoves him.) Please, go away!
Wheeler: Love it.
Gaia: Through your power rings, each of you can control one power of nature. To a limited degree.
Wheeler complains to Gi after she uses her ring for the first time and soaks everyone:
Wheeler: Nice job, toots! I'm all wet!
Gi: You certainly are!
Linka: At least the fire is out.
Wheeler: Oh... Yeah.
Kwame: What do you think your power is, Ma-Ti?
Ma-Ti: I already know. Mine is Heart. I can sense you all. Hear your thoughts. Feel your feelings
Linka: Bozhe moy! I can hear him! In my head!
Gaia: That's right. Ma-Ti, yours is the greatest power of all, because without a heart to guide them, the other powers are useless. Through you, the others will always be linked, no matter where they are. On the side of good, you are a team. Now and forever, the Planeteers!
Wheeler: Hey, how come you get to drive this thing?
Gi: Do you have a driver's license?
Wheeler: Well, no.
Gi: That's why.
Wheeler: This has been a very weird day. One minute I'm a kid from Brooklyn, the next I'm some sort of comrade super-hero, flying off to battle some pig-faced polluter.
Gaia: You must have faith in yourselves, Planeteers, because you're fighting for the good of the whole world.
Kwame: And if we encounter a situation which we cannot handle?
Gaia: Well, just put your powers together. Then you'll really be surprised!
Wheeler: Yo, wait a minute! What's that supposed to mean?
Gi: Sit down, Yankee!
Linka: And fasten the seatbelt, for your safety!
Wheeler: Hey, I didn't know you cared!
Rigger points to the geo-cruiser:
Rigger: Mr. Greedly, look! Is it the coastguard?
Greedly: No... No, I think we're in deeper slop than that! But no big deal - Hoggish Greedly will be too slick for them!
After spraying the geo-cruiser with oil and causing it to spin out of control:
Greedly: That'll teach you to interfere with the polluted plans of Hoggish Greedly!
After watching the Planeteers use their powers to land the geo-cruiser safely:
Rigger: Did you see that? Huh? Huh? It's impossible!
Greedly: They could still fry our chops... But they're just kids. I can handle them. (He speaks through a megaphone) Greetings, strange ship! Who are you, anyway?
Wheeler: (Through a megaphone) We're the Planeteers, you greedy, pollution-causing creep! And as soon as we get our boat set up, we're gonna sail over there and kick your curly pig-tail!
Kwame: The situation is more than we can handle, Planeteers. We need help.
Linka: You mean...?
Kwame: Exactly. We must do as Gaia advised. We must combine our powers.
Wheeler: Let's do it!
Kwame: Let our powers combine. Earth.
Captain Planet: By your powers combined, I am Captain Planet!
Planeteers: Go, Planet!
Upon seeing Captain Planet for the first time:
Rigger: Holy smokes! What the heck is that? Huh? Huh?
Greedly: Trouble.Get on deck and man the arms! We're gonna be getting out of here.
Ma-Ti: What do you want us to do, Captain Planet?
Captain Planet: Your rings are temporarily useless while I'm here, but I am your powers combined and magnifed. For now, I'll handle Greedly and the spill. You can help those animals!
Planeteers: Go Planet!
Captain Planet: Enough fun. There's trash to take out! And I know just the place for garbage like you.
He dumps Rigger into a trash can.
Captain Planet: (After recharging) I feel like a brand-new hero!
Wheeler: You are!
Captain Planet: Yeah. And you're brand-new heroes too, Planeteers. Thanks for your help!
Greedly, making his escape:
Greedly: No one gets in the way of Hoggish Greedly! I will be back, Captain Planet.
Kwame: It is good that Greedly was stopped.
Captain Planet: Yeah. But I've got a feeling you'll see him again. And when you do, call me.
Kwame: We will.
Wheeler: All right! What now, Captain Planet?
Captain Planet: My work here is done. But yours is just beginning, Planeteers. Remember - the power is yours.
Wheeler: It doesn't seem fair! We didn't make the mess, so why do we have to clean it up? We're not getting paid any money.
Linka: Because we care, my sweet imperialist dog. Besides, some rewards are greater than money.