Henry Bonsu’s Lazor Wulf, an off-kilter animated series about a talking wolf armed with a laser gun, was one of Adult Swim’s most refreshing shows. It switched up the usual late-night cartoon bloc by spotlighting a bevy of Black talent and creativity. Though the show met its untimely end earlier this year after just two seasons, it’s still giving us some timely lessons.
As focused on its own world of talking animals and petulant oldhead gods as Lazor Wulf was, the series did often make pointed statements about the real world. We’ve known since the 18th century that there is a natural wobble in the moon’s orbit around the Earth and that it directly impacts the Earth’s tides. But the confluence of extreme sea level risings and the moon’s wobble is set to cause historic coastal flooding in the coming decades that will further emphasize how much of a threat global climate change is. In its way, Lazor Wulf actually spelled this all out quite clearly in “At the End of the Day,” the fourth episode of its first season. When Lazor (Vince Staples) and his brother Canon (Big E) catch sight of the full moon from behind, the wolves proceed to howl, flex, and show off in attempts to impress it. Though the two are meant to be helping their sister Blazor (Quinta Brunson) at their shop, they figure their energies are better spent trying to catcall the distant rock who, at first, is indifferent.
The idea of wolves howling at the moon is considered as natural as the moon’s gravitational pull affecting the ocean. But when Canon Wulf expresses that the fullness of the moon just makes him want to urinate all over it, the moon turns around and tells him to cut the shit. Though nearly everything in Lazor Wulf ends up talking at some point, both Lazor and Canon are astonished to learn that Luna (Giana Lawrence), the moon, is a sentient being. They pay her no mind as she explains that she’s just trying to mind her business at her job in space.
Watching “At the End of the Day” now, it’s easy to read Lazor and Canon not just as garden variety street harassers who shout things at women, but as stand-ins for the kind of people (typically wealthy men) who treat the exploration of space as vanity projects to celebrate their over-inflated egos. Both Canon and Lazor have plenty of responsibilities and things they should be doing on Earth—like helping to make sure that Jermajesty Jackson gets to Blazor’s store where he’s meant to make an appearance. Instead, though, they ignore Luna’s repeated requests for peace, and she warns them that if they don’t stop, she won’t hesitate to drown them.
Through a handful of Majora’s Mask jokes, the episode becomes a cautionary tale about people losing sight of the kinds of things they should be focusing on, like the fact that the louder people shout at Luna, the more she raises the ocean’s level. By the time Blazor goes to see what sort of nonsense her brothers have gotten them all into, there’s little she can really do to deal with the sizable crowd howling at Luna who was quite serious about what she said.
Because “At the End of the Day” has been out for years at this point, it feels fine to spoil that the episode ends with Luna following through and washing everyone away into the afterlife where they end up bugging God (Reginald VelJohnson). Whether anyone ends up really learning their lesson isn’t quite clear, but as Lazor Wulf goes on, the wolves don’t make this mistake twice.
One can only imagine what our moon might say if it could share its opinion on our handling of the Earth and journeys into its personal space. It might tell us to wash our hands, worry about our own mess, and leave it alone. Or it might just say nothing (even though it could) and pray for another meteor to swing by to liven the place up.
Both seasons of Lazor Wulf are currently streaming on HBO Max.
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