The story is by Nick Boxer, Sean Catherine Derek and Laren Bright.
Following on from A Mine is a Terrible Thing to Waste Part I, the Planeteers are still trapped underground in the salt mine. Kwame, Gi, Wheeler and Linka all share stories from their lives before they became Planeteers.
When we see Captain Planet again, he is struggling against the current in the river Captain Pollution contaminated with weed killer. When the current eventually carries him into fresh water, the emblem on his chest starts to glow, indicating that he is powering up again. Suddenly refreshed, Captain Planet flies off to deal with his nemesis.
Back at the salt mine, the geo-cruiser is seen lying abandoned. The rough tracks from the crash-landing are still evident. Ooze and Dave Flusher III are carrying more barrels of toxic waste into the mouth of the mine, tossing them inside carelessly. Looten Plunder and his sidekick Argos Bleak, as well as Sly Sludge, are watching on, ordering the job to be done quickly. Sludge is obviously anxious for payment - Plunder tells him to remain patient, as their client will soon be along to reward them for their "ecological" efforts.
Ooze returns from the mine, telling them that the waste has all been dumped.
Sludge immediately fires Ooze again, ordering him to leave the site. They are surrounded by desert and Ooze asks how he is meant to survive. Dave Flusher III offers him his car - which has just collapsed under the weight of several vultures. They begin to circle over Ooze as he trudges out into the wilderness.
Inside the mine, the Planeteers are still trapped and looking for a way out. Fumes are leaking into the air and there is not much time. Panicked, Linka says they need a rope, and Kwame quickly provides some straps which have been holding the barrels together.
Working quickly, the Planeteers realise they can use the straps to reach the vent if Suchi carries one end of the rope up the steep rocks and secures it. Ma-Ti sends Suchi ahead and the monkey secures the make-shift tether to a rock.
The Planeteers quickly scramble up towards the ledge, but Linka slips and causes a rock to fall. The rock hits Kwame's hand, causing him to drop the lantern he is holding. The lantern shatters on the ground below, and the toxic waste which has been leaking out immediately ignites.
The group hurries into the new mineshaft they have reached, anxious to excape the toxic blaze.
Ma-Ti mentions that he cannot see where he is going, indicating that it is pitch-black inside the tunnel. Gi produces a flashlight and takes the lead.
Kwame tries to use his Earth power, but then realises it isn't going to work, as Captain Planet has not returned yet.
Gi discovers another chamber and enters, followed by Wheeler, Linka, Ma-Ti, Suchi and Kwame. She then mentions that the batteries in her flashlight are dying, and they need to discover materials to use as a torch. Wheeler responds to her suggestion with sarcasm, but Kwame says if there is any wood around, he will find it.
Like Ma-Ti in the episode beforehand, Kwame recites a story about his childhood. He tells the Planeteers that in his village in Africa, trees became so scarce they were as rare and as precious as gold. One day, on a hunt for firewood while his mother was ill, Kwame spotted some elephants, who led him to a small patch of forest. However, before the elephants could take shelter, poachers shot them. Kwame realised how precious trees were to both humans and animals, and tells the Planeteers that this is why he believes so strongly in planting trees now.
Kwame discovers he has been sitting near a length of wood, which he uncovers and dusts off. Wheeler uses a cigarette lighter to light the new torch, just as Ma-Ti realises that smoke is drifting into the end of the tunnel. The Planeteers hurry to make their escape.
Meanwhile, Captain Pollution is singing and bathing in a tank of toxic sludge. He is obviously in good spirits, and as he surrounds himself by more pollution, he grows in size and strength. When Captain Planet arrives, Captain Pollution successfully blasts him with electricity. Captain Planet is obviously struggling in the toxic fumes and smoke.
Captain Pollution says his next stop is Alaska. He dives into the earth and disappears.
The Planeteers are trying to outrun the smoke that is still following them along the tunnel. Kwame asks Wheeler if they are clear. Looking back over his shoulder to check, Wheeler stumbles on the uneven ground and twists his ankle.
He says to the others he can't walk on it, and that they should leave him behind. When Gi pulls him up and supports him, helping him to walk, Wheeler reacts angrily, telling them that they have no choice and to leave him alone. Smoke is seen drifting over their heads.
Gi tells Wheeler not to argue, and then tells the others her story - when she was a young girl, she was forced to leave behind a playmate. Kisa was a dolphin, and during Gi's flashback, we see Gi as a young girl, swimming and frolicking with the dolphin in the sea below her parents' laboratory. Her parents were marine biologists, but their funding was cut thanks to "Sternkill Industries" buying up the land along the coast to build a smelter.
Gi is forced to leave. She returns a year later to find Kisa covered in sores and obviously dying due to the now-polluted waters. Gi says it was then she swore to devote her life to the sea and its creatures. She tells Wheeler she has already had to abandon one friend, and she won't leave another behind.
Kwame comforts Gi, telling her she will not lose another friend. He hands the torch over to Linka and helps Gi to support Wheeler along. Wheeler then apologises for losing his temper before, and tells the others it's been a long time since he had to lean on anyone.
Wheeler recites his own story - as a child/pre-teenager, his father asked him to fetch him a bottle of alcohol. Wheeler responded that he tried, but his father cut him off and said he was sick of Wheeler's excuses. He told Wheeler not to come back, and Wheeler responded by saying: "Who'd want to come back to this dump?"
Wheeler wandered the streets for hours, until he was set upon by a group of three teenagers, brandishing lead pipes and lengths of chain. Just as they were about to attack him, Wheeler was saved by two other teenagers, who told him they live in the trees in the park. When Wheeler said he didn't have anywhere to go, they invited him to stay with them.
As Wheeler is being helped through the mineshaft by Gi and Kwame, he says that was the moment his life turned around: "Finding people who believed I was worth something."
Linka is leading the group with the torch in her hand. Kwame and Gi are helping Wheeler along, and Ma-Ti and Suchi are bringing up the rear. Ma-Ti points out that the smoke is growing thicker, and the Planeteers begin to run, with Kwame and Gi still carrying Wheeler. The tunnel is sloping downwards now, as though they are running deeper underground.
Captain Pollution emerges into a pristine environment and sets his mind to destroying it, heading towards an oil tanker with the desire to cause a huge spill. However, just before he hits the ship, A large iceberg emerges abruptly from the water, and he slams into it and is trapped in the middle of the ice. Captain Planet emerges, carrying the iceberg (and Captain Pollution with it) away from the ship.
However, Captain Pollution is so strong he is able to melt his way free of the ice. He is weakened, but he still manages to force Captain Planet down to the deck of the ship by blasting him with more lightning bolts. Captain Planet falls heavily and Captain Pollution makes his escape. Captain Planet flies after him wearily.
Meanwhile, the Planeteers are still trying to find their way out. The mine is a deep catacombe, and they are suddenly met with a wide choice of tunnels. Wheeler suggests one tunnel which leads up, but Linka recoils, telling them it is a dead end. When she is challenged by Wheeler, she begins to tell her story.
She grew up in a mining town - Linka's father was a foreman at the mine. Panicked workers are fleeing the mine, with Linta's father following, holding a cage containing a dead canary. He returns home with the dead bird. Linka has been helping her grandmother feed the canaries at home. She cries at the sight of the dead bird, and her grandmother tells her that he did not die in vain - because of their sensitivity to gas, the canaries save many human lives down in the mine.
Linka finishes her story in tears, telling the other Planeteers that she still considers human beings to owe a great debt to animals. She says it still causes her pain to see birds suffer.
Kwame shows understanding for Linka's side of the story, mentioning that disasters can often bring people closer together. Their earlier argument definitely seems to be over.
However, smoke is still chasing them. Wheeler asks Linka which tunnel they need to take, and she leads them through the same tunnel the smoke is following, telling Wheeler that air must be escaping at the end. The torch burns out and they are plunged into darkness again - but Linka has led them the correct way. Light shows at the end of the tunnel. Cheering, the Planeteers make their way to the end of the tunnel, which emerges onto a hillside. Wheeler starts to make his way to the surface, but Linka pulls him back, worried that Plunder's men will still be nearby.
Plunder's client arrives in his private jet, with two bodyguards. Sludge, eager to be paid, snatches the briefcase full of payment from him, but the Planeteers emerge. Wheeler calls out to Plunder, saying they've finished dumping the barrels, but some of them busted open, seeing as how they're "kind of flimsy."
The client is outraged and snatches his money back, telling Plunder he was paid to dispose of the chemicals safely. The client cannot afford bad press. He leaves, with Plunder following him and trying to persuade him that something can be arranged.
Captain Pollution and Captain Planet are wrestling in mid-air over the island where Pollution was revived. He is twice the size of Captain Planet, who is struggling against his "toxic twin" and the pollution surrounding them.
Thrown to the ground and very weak, Captain Planet attempts to contact the Planeteers. Ma-Ti hears his message and the Planeteers hurry towards the geo-cruiser, with Kwame and Gi still supporting Wheeler due to his sore ankle.
Plunder is still trying to convince his client that there has been a mistake, when Ooze arrives. He is obviously suffering heat exhaustion, but he says he will happily testify against his ex-bosses. Plunder curses the Planeteers as Ooze is dragged onto the client's private jet.
In the geo-cruiser, Ma-Ti is stroking Suchi and sitting beside Kwame, who is piloting. Gi is sitting behind Wheeler, who has his leg stretched across the aisle and his ankle resting in Linka's lap. She is attempting to bandage his ankle, and berates him for "squirming." When he responds with "That feels pretty good, babe," she tells him it was easier to treat the birds, as they never gave her any "lip."
Ma-Ti directs Kwame to Commander Clash's island, telling him to hurry. Captain Planet can't even stand now - Captain Pollution has swollen to four times his size, thanks to the nuclear waste contaminating the island.
Kwame asks Wheeler to take the controls, stating that they are only going to have one chance to save Captain Planet. Gi warns Wheeler "no grandstanding", to which he replies "trust me."
Captain Pollution has kicked Captain Planet into the toxic sludge, and he is struggling and sinking under, as though he is drowning.
The Planeteers quickly put their plan into action. Holding the geo-cruisr at a safe distance, Wheeler hovers and allows Gi and Linka time to spray Captain Pollution with fresh water from a hose. Kwame then swoops down in a harness and grasps Captain Planet's hand just before he sinks completely. Wheeler then jets the cruiser into the sky. The force of the wind causes the sludge to drip off of Captain Planet, and he awakes to discover the Planeteers. He looks up and thanks them.
Linka and Gi spray Pollution with water again as he follows them. Kwame calls up to Ma-Ti to pull him up.
Gi produces a solar device, which recharges Captain Planet's energy. Recharged, he challenges Captain Pollution, who grabs hold of him and dives into the earth with him.
However, he has dived straight into a natural lava vat, which strengthens Captain Planet, but weakens Captain Pollution. Captain Planet throws Captain Pollution into the lava, and he sinks, appearing to melt. His final words are "You'll never overcome pollution."
Captain Planet tells the Planeteers they did a great job, before finally returning his powers to them. As they fly off, Kwame wonders what they should do next. Wheeler responds: "Whatever the team wants."
First Planeteer Alert:
Gi: (Indecipherable) and developers have destroyed much of the Louisiana Black Bear's home, and only a few are left.
Kwame: But in some countries, bear organs and parts are still in great demand.
Gaia: We should pass laws to make trading in bear parts illegal.
Captain Planet: We should protect all animals whose habitats are threatened. Kids, write your government representatives. Your letters can save teddy bears and endangered animals around the world. The power is yours!
Second Planeteer Alert:
Gi: The best thing you can do to help our environment is get involved.
Kwame: Join an environmental group, or join up with friends to start your own projects.
Linka: Clean up a park or a beach. Organise a recycling program at school, or in your neighbourhood. And plant trees and remember to take care of them.
Gi: It's all part of making our planet healthy again.
Ma-Ti: We must all work together to protect the animals, trees, oceans and air.
Captain Planet: The power is yours!
Did You Notice?
- The geo-cruiser remains in the spot where it crash-landed in the episode A Mine is a Terrible Thing to Waste Part I.
- Sludge fires Ooze again immediately after the job has been completed. As Ooze trudges out into the desert, Plunder remarks: "This is turning out to be even more profitable than I had dreamed."
- Kwame has a lantern, which is knocked out of his hand after Linka's shoe slips and sends a small rock down. The lantern ignites the toxic waste leaking onto the ground, which starts the blaze.
- Wheeler is obviously tense, though it may just be from their previous argument. He responds to Gi with sarcasm, but Kwame quickly calms him down, and we learn some of the Earth Planeteer's backstory.
- Kwame mentions his mother had fallen ill, and it was then his job to collect firewood. He does not mention his father, or whether or not his mother recovered.
- After Kwame's story on why he thinks trees are so important, Linka and Gi are shown nodding sympathetically, indicating that the previous argument has been put to rest once and for all.
- Captain Pollution grows in size as he basks in more and more toxic surroundings. His hair also grows more and more out of control.
- Captain Pollution sings to the tune of Home on the Range: Oh give me a home, where the waste-water foams, and the slime and the scum both decay. Where never is heard, the chirp of a bird, and you can't see the sky for days.
- Gi's dolphin friend is named Kisa.
- Gi's parents were/are marine biologists. They were researching in a laboratory overlooking the sea until their grants were revoked.
- The company which shut down Gi's parents' project and polluted the coastline was called "Sternkill Industries".
- In his flashback, Wheeler's father is shown as young, strong and muscular-looking. This is in direct contrast to the image later shown in Talkin' Trash, which is set many years later.
- The blonde girl who saves Wheeler from the street thugs is voiced by Kath Soucie, who provides the voice for Linka.
- Grime, dirt and oil appears to drip and fall from Captain Pollution whenever he moves.
- Linka's father was a foreman in a mine.
- Linka's village looks bleak and cold, with little there except for the mine.
- Linka's father is blond, with green eyes - during this season and later seasons, Linka's eyes are also green.
- It was Linka's grandmother who sparked her love for birds, teaching her everything she knows. Linka says her greatest joy came from the birdsong, and she learned to mimic birds and incorporate their sounds into her music.
- Linka's brother, Mishka, does not appear in Linka's flashback in this episode. Linka's mother is never mentioned.
- Linka is the one to bandage Wheeler's ankle on the way to Commander Clash's island.
- The teamwork the Planeteers show in their efforts to rescue Captain Planet is a direct contrast to how they appeared at the beginning of the episode, A Mine is a Terrible Thing to Waste Part I.
- Captain Planet destroys Captain Pollution by using a natural lava vat.
- Captain Pollution's final words are "You'll never overcome pollution."
- After Captain Pollution is destroyed, there is a shot of the geo-cruiser in which Gi is displayed using Linka's voice to say: "Amazing what people can do when they work together."
Sludge: So when do we get paid for this stuff?
Plunder: Patience, Mr. Sludge. The client will be here soon to reward us for our ecological efforts.
Ooze: That was a real back-breaker - but we've dumped it all!
Sludge: Good. Then you're fired again! Get going!
Gi: We'd better find a piece of wood or something, to use as a torch.
Wheeler: Oh yeah, right, Gi. See any trees down here?
Kwame: Easy, Wheeler. If there is any wood around, I will find it...
Kwame recites a story of his childhood:
Kwame: When I was young, my mother fell ill, and searching for firewood became my job. Over the years, the trees around my village began to disappear. Piece by piece, they were stripped away. Wood became as precious as gold, and no one thought to plant new trees. Each day, I was forced to travel farther and farther to find firewood. One afternoon, I spotted a small herd of elephants. I knew they would eventually lead me to trees. I followed the magnificent beasts for hours, until finally - trees! But before the elephants could take cover in that tiny patch of forest, poachers opened fire. That awful sight burned itself into my mind. I realised that people are not the only ones who need trees to survive. Animals need them for food, and protection too. That is why I believe so strongly in planting trees.
Kwame uncovers a length of wood:
Wheeler: All right! You can still find firewood!
Kwame: I have not lost my touch.
Wheeler uses a cigarette lighter to light the end of the torch:
Wheeler: Fire! Heh. Neither have I.
Ma-Ti: Look! Smoke!
Wheeler: Hit it!
The Planeteers hurry along the tunnel, away from the smoke.
Kwame: Let us hope this is the way out.
Wheeler: If not, we're shafted!
Captain Pollution: Oh give me a home, where the waste-water foams, and the slime and the scum both decay. Where never is heard, the chirp of a bird, and you can't see the sky for days.
Captain Pollution is taking a toxic bath:
Captain Pollution: Come on in, Planet! The toxicity is just right!
Captain Planet: Ah, no thanks, my acidic amigo.
Captain Pollution: Hey, greeny-weeny! I'm taking a shortcut. You're welcome to follow. If you dare!
Captain Planet: No thanks, Pollution. I'll make my own travel arrangements.
Wheeler has twisted his ankle and insists that the others leave him behind:
Gi: We're not leaving you!
Wheeler: You have no choice! Leave me alone!
Gi: Listen, don't argue with me on this one. Please. Let me tell you a story...
Gi begins her childhood story:
Young Gi: (Giggling) Come on, Kisa.
As Gi and the dolphin play, Gi's parents are in their laboratory on the cliff above:
Man: You'll have to leave immediately. Your grants have been revoked.
Gi's father: What?
Man: Sternkill Industries has bought up the coast. They're putting in a smelter here.
Gi's mother: But our research...
Man: There's nothing I can do.
Gi's mother is then seen down on the coast, trying ton convince Gi to leave. Kisa is in the water, obviously agitated by Gi's distress:
Young Gi: No! I can't leave her! Please!
Gi's mother: I'm sorry, Gi. We have no choice.
Young Gi: Kisa! I'll be back! I promise!
Gi: All I thought about was getting back to her. I saved every penny of my allowance, and never stopped planning. It took me nearly a year, but I finally made it. There was something eerie about the beach.
Young Gi is shown walking along a beach, dark and cloudy and obviously polluted.
Young Gi: Kisa! Kisa!
Gi: Then I saw her...
Kisa washes up onto the shore, weak and covered with sores and red growths.
Young Gi: No! No! What have they done to you?
Gi: As I held her, I knew I would devote myself to protecting the seas and all their precious life. I had to abandon one friend. It's not going to happen again.
Wheeler: Sorry I lost it before. It's really been a long time since I had to lean on anyone. I remember when I was a kid back in Brooklyn, I was pretty much on my own...
Wheeler's flashback begins. He is shown in an argument with another child:
Young Wheeler: Hey, come on, tough guy! Pay up! You owe me!
A voice from a window above calls out:
Wheeler's father: What are you doin' down there?
Distracted, Wheeler is punched in the stomach by the boy he was arguing with. The other boy runs off.
Boy: Later, loser!
Wheeler's father: I thought I told you to get me a bottle.
Young Wheeler: I tried, Dad, but -
Wheeler's father: I'm tired of your excuses! Try harder or don't come back, you no-good loser!
Young Wheeler: Who wants to come back to this dump?
He kicks a tin can away and walks off.
Wheeler: I wandered the streets for hours, until I didn't know where I was.
Wheeler is confronted by a group of three teenagers, brandishing lead pipes and lengths of chain.
Teenager: Hey, punk. Don't you know it's dangerous in the park at night?
Young Wheeler: Hey, what are you doing?
They position themselves to attack him, but Wheeler is saved by two older teenagers dropping from the trees above.
Girl: Hey, you okay, kid?
Young Wheeler: Yeah. Thanks. Man, that was incredible! Right out of Robin Hood or something. Where'd you guys come from?
Boy: We live in the park.
Young Wheeler: Where?
Girl: Right up there, in the tree!
Young Wheeler: Get outta here!
Boy: Seriously! We build our homes in the trees.
Girl: Yeah! And we do it without hammering a single nail into the trunks.
Boy: So uh, what are you doin' out here all alone?
Young Wheeler: I don't have anywhere else to go.
Girl: Then stay with us, kid. If you're not afraid of heights, that is.
Wheeler: It turned my whole life around - finding people who believed I was worth something.
Captain Pollution: Oh, urgh! Yuck! This place looks so revoltingly clean. I think I'm gonna ralph.
Captain Planet has just trapped Captain Pollution inside an iceberg:
Captain Planet: Pollution on the rocks!
Captain Planet: So much pollution, so little time! Now to catch up with my toxic twin...
The Planeteers are trying to find their way out of the mine:
Kwame: Most of these tunnels probably lead deeper into the mine.
Wheeler: Let's go that way! It angles up!
Linka: No! That is a dead end!
Wheeler: Since when did you become the mine expert?
Linka: I grew up in a mining town, Yankee!
Wheeler: Yeah? Well I grew up in New York, but that doesn't make me a stockbroker!
Linka begins to tell her story:
Linka: My family worked in the mines. It shaped my whole life. My father was foreman.
Panicked workers are fleeing the mine in Linka's village. Her father follows, holding a cage containing a dead canary.
Linka's father: This will break Linka's heart.
At Linka's family home, she is shown as a young girl, helping her grandmother feed caged birds.
Linka: I helped my grandmother raise canaries. My father used them in the mines to detect gas. I loved birds, and my grandmother taught me all about them. My greatest joy came from the bird songs. I learned to mimic their sounds and use them in my music.
Linka's father returns home with the dead canary.
Linka's father: Linka, I'm sorry.
Young Linka: No! It is not fair!
She starts to cry, and her father hugs her and soothes her.
Grandmother: The birds are not dying in vain, Linka. Because of their sensitivity to gas, they are able to save many human lives.
Young Linka: But why must it be this way?
The flashback ends, but Linka is crying.
Linka: It still hurts me when birds suffer. And now it is so much graver than in the mines. Birds around the world are dying and showing us how polluted our environment has become! That is why I feel so strongly that we owe animals a great debt.
Kwame: Strange how disasters can bring people closer together.
Ma-Ti: People will always have differences, but in our hearts, we are all the same.
Wheeler: Great. Looks like our luck's taken a nose-dive!
Linka: Not yet! As you Yankees say, there is a light at the end of the tunnel!
Plunder: Keep your yapper shut. I'll do the talking.
Plunder's client emerges from his private jet:
Sludge: So, did you bring the money?
Client: Who is this, Plunder?
Plunder: Temporary help.
Sludge: Yeah, and it's payday! (He snatches the briefcase of money from the client.)
The Planeteers emerge from the mine and call out below:
Wheeler: Hey, Mr. Plunger! We finished hiding the barrels for you! Couple of 'em busted open - they're kind of flimsy.
Client: Now look - I pay you top dollar to ensure safe disposal! I cannot afford bad press! (He snatches the briefcase back from Sludge).
Sludge: Hey! You can't do that!
Client: Watch me!
Plunder: Er, don't be hasty! I'm sure something can be arranged...
Wheeler: (Whispering to Kwame) Yeah, like a padded cell...
Client: The feds will hear about this.
Plunder: Oh-ho-ho. No one will take the word of those eco-geeks over a tycoon like me.
Ooze arrives, obviously suffering the effects of the desert sun:
Ooze: I'm no eco-geek. But I'd be happy to testify against my ex-bosses. Water! (He collapses).
Client: Bring the witness!
Plunder: Curse those meddling planet pests!
Linka is bandaging Wheeler's ankle:
Linka: Stop squirming!
Wheeler: Hey, that feels pretty good, babe.
Linka: It is much easier treating a bird. No lip!
The Planeteers have spotted Captain Pollution for the first time during this episode:
Ma-Ti: Oh no, it is Captain Pollution!
Linka: He is huge!
Kwame: It looks like we will have only one shot at saving Captain Planet...
Captain Pollution: Oh, how touching. The eco-freaks to the rescue. But who's gonna rescue them?
Captain Pollution: You'll never overcome pollution!
The current mission has been completed:
Kwame: Well, my friends. Where to now?
Wheeler: I know exactly what we should do!
Wheeler: Whatever the team wants!