I don’t even need to rewatch the episode to know that “Whelk Attack” is underrated as all get-out. No one ever talks about it, and that’s enough for me to make such a judgement.
The beginning jellyfishing shenanigans of this episode are miles better than the ones “Trenchbillies” had to offer, so the episode is for sure getting off to a good start with this little bit here. And it’s funny because SpongeBob and Patrick crash into each other just like that episode, except this time there’s no obnoxious slo-mo to annoy me, so yay for small victories. One thing I don’t like is how when the whelks show up, SpongeBob and Patrick don’t know what they are, and then all tension and pacing is kinda lost for a moment, as the episode spends too much time with SpongeBob and Patrick not freaking out, and just de-sliming themselves. Maybe it’s because one of those Conversation tracks is in the background, but I just don’t like how the momentum of the episode just kind of stops here.
The tension does come back though, as SpongeBob and Patrick do proceed to freak out. Well, mostly SpongeBob, but yeah. And then unlike “Wormy”, these new creatures actually do properly attack the city lol. We learn that these are dangerous forms of sea snails known as whelks, and I admit that even though this is yet another example of tension not being properly undermined, I did enjoy Patrick being all like “I’m not afraid of these whelks” and then promptly almost getting his s*** wrecked. Well, I kind of enjoyed it, because it went on too long for me. Like I get why it went on so long, but that kind of comedy very rarely works for me. I did like how SpongeBob’s like “how’d it go” when Patrick is clearly running for his life though, that was hilarious.
Of course, for some reason a lot of episodes endeavor to involve the Krusty Krab when it’s not needed, so SpongeBob and Patrick run to the Krusty Krab. I’m not actually bothered by this trend, but I do have to admit that the Krusty Krab makes a lot of appearances in episodes it has no real business being in, it’s just a fact. I loved the sequence of SpongeBob explaining to Mr. Krabs what was going on, that perspective was super interesting, and I don’t think we’ve seen anything like that in this show before, other than maybe a quick shot or two, nothing as long as this. This episode has a lot of sequences like that, actually. There’s a few of them in Sandy’s treedome as well. Very interesting.
And then we get the reveal that yeah, these whelks we’ve been dealing with? Oh they ain’t s*** compared to what’s coming, which is a giant mama whelk that ends up eating Mr. Krabs faster than Jean Jacket was sucking up fools in Nope. Somehow, SpongeBob and Patrick make it out of this alive, and they manage to get to Sandy’s place, which as you can expect is a huge win for me. This is definitely Sandy’s best appearance in a while, considering that it combines both her love of thrills and of science. I loved the bit a little later when SpongeBob and Patrick are debating sacrificing themselves for the group, it’s a great exhibit of their friendship. Of course, this point ends up being moot, as SpongeBob, Patrick, and Sandy all end up being eaten anyway.
SpongeBob then saves the day with 2 great call-backs in 1: to the beginning of the episode, with him being a sponge, and to “Suds”, which was a very surprising thing to reference, but I love it! And of course, I just love an Everybody Laughs ending, so this ending was great for me!
“Whelk Attack” is an episode that enjoy very much, and like I said before, I consider it to be very, very underrated. And I get why. It’s a great episode, but I don’t think there’s much here that other people think is special. I think it’s a great Sandy appearance, and one of the few episodes that really does well at having multiple sets of characters be in it, though we don’t get much crossover interaction. But I get why other people tend to overlook this one, I suppose.
Episode Tier: Amazing
Episode Score: 9/10