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You can fight change. Or you can see it as an opportunity. Maybe you can find all new reasons to hate this place. But all new reasons to love it, too.

CJ


"Welcome Back, Campers!" is the 1st episode of the fifth season of Camp Camp, making it the season premiere, and 61st episode overall. It premiered March 1st 2024 on the the RT FIRST site, and March 8th 2024 on the Rooster Teeth site.

Official Synopsis[]

Welcome back to Camp Campbell! A year has passed since the campers all departed their home away from home, and it's the first week of summer all over again.

Episode Description

Plot[]

A new day has dawned at Camp Campbell. Max and David stand below the Camp Campbell sign, with David excited to be back for another summer, while Max states this is horrifying. In response to David asking if he's excited to see the other campers, he agrees that he is, as although the camp sucks, it's way easier to deal with than life and the world in general. Although Gwen is gone and Campbell and his schemes are no longer around, Max is confident that things will stay the same. CJ, the new camp counselor, agrees with the statement, and David voices his concern about the tank top CJ is wearing (which is just a cut-up t-shirt) as well as the need for increased sunscreen. CJ says he doesn't touch sunscreen nor climate change due to the chemicals, and tosses them each a suspicious bottle of supplements that will allegedly moisten their skin. He also notes it will stimulate libido and hair growth, which causes David to hastily cover his hairline in shame. Grinning, Max says this new dynamic between the two counselors will fun to exploit.

The camp bus pulls up, driven by Quartermaster. The first off the bus is Space Kid, who points at CJ and declares he is a new alien life form. Next up is Nurf, sporting a couple of lip hairs and pimples, who calmly thanks them for welcoming him into this safe space, leaving Max visibly confused. David compliments Ered on her new haircut, which now sits on her shoulders, and she unenthusiastically responds she has to grow up sometime. Nerris, somersaulting on the ground, happily informs everyone she has re-rolled her class, while producing a bow & arrow. Upon seeing Harrison, David proudly states he's been practising his magic, and pulls out a coin from behind CJ's ear. Harrison blandly responds that he doesn't do "street magic" anymore as he thinks it's tacky. Preston, now sporting a brand new outfit that includes a beret, sunglasses, and a pinstriped vest, merely sniffs and recoils in disgust when David greets him. Nikki runs up and hugs Max, who takes a second to simply tap her on the back in return. After fist-bumping Neil, Max expresses relief that his two friends are the same. Nikki happily reports she's still into rocks, dirt, little critters, and bones, while Neil proudly shows off a small stud earring in his left ear. Dolph enters last, sporting the same look given to him in "With Friends Like These", and is surprised anyone recognized him now that he's been "ravaged by puberty" and has a "deep, booming voice". CJ, who had been eyeing the coin David produced earlier, worries how long it has been behind his ear as the intro rolls.

Down at the stage, David initiates an ice-breaker game wherein the campers will introduce themselves to each other and (mainly) CJ, and share the most important thing that's happened to them since last summer. Ered asks if he could just look at their registration forms, and CJ explains he would rather hear from campers in their own words. He goes on to say that he deeply opposes collecting information from private citizens, as well as vaccines. Neil, appalled, reminds CJ that he is here to take part in Science Camp. David tries to divert from this by having CJ introduce himself first. He states he is a "free thinker" and "AMYMMA fighter", and while it may take a while for him to love the camp as much as their old counselor Gwen (which David interjects was something she was working on), he promises to always give the kids a heads up when he's going to exploit them for profit, which they all genuinely seem to appreciate. Quartermaster steps up to re-introduce himself as the camp's sacred guardian, and says that "one of you will not be here by summer's end" as thunder & lightning ring out in the background. David says they aren't playing "two truths and a lie", which puzzles QM, and the campers start their own introductions.

Since the supposed onset of puberty, Dolph shows the group a painting of a nude woman with pixels covering her genitals, which he gladly informs them took a lot of time. Having had 3 sessions of therapy this year, Nurf has learned "how to leverage people's emotional weaknesses against them." Harrison enters in a puff of smoke, and states that while he was just an illusionist before, he is now into social engineering and conceptual magic, which Max angrily demands to know what that even means. Beside him, Nikki rips off her face to reveal Harrison's face, but then rips off that face to reveal her own face, and the pair (along with Neil) scream in terror. Nerris concludes that her new Ranger Skills allow her to better survive the wilderness, and CJ seems to imply that the term "multi-classing" is a potential slur. Preston informs the camp that he starred in a local TV commercial. The fame apparently went to his head as he uses Space Kid as a foot rest and personal assistant, shouting at Space Kid not to talk despite asking for his "line". The reason for Ered's return this year is due to her accidentally burning the house down while babysitting her younger cousin, and realizes she needs to build some life skills, to which the counselors exchange concerned glaces. Nikki takes the stage while Max and Neil stand behind her, the former glaring daggers while the later watches carefully. She anxiously reveals that she is different due to burning her hair and making one of her pigtails shorter than the other, but that this shouldn't mean Max gets to be upset at her. Tears form at the corners of her eyes but she quickly brushes off David's concern for her, while CJ genuinely thinks she's fine. Neil's reveal of his new earring is cut short as Max demands to know why everyone is beaving so weirdly, and accusing them of thinking that the only important part about last year is how different they now are. CJ cheers him on for questioning everything, and David tries to goad Max into disclosing something about himself that's changed. Max says that his fun fact is that he's still the same, and sulks off. Quartermaster begins telling a fun fact about himself that took place in 1812 before the scene quickly changes.

After retiring to his cot for the night, Max is startled by Quartermaster pressed up against the wall of the tent, murmuring ominously that they can reset the timeline. Max shoos him off, annoyed that this (apparently) happens every night. However, the idea of feeling nostalgic starts turning the gears in Max's mind. At breakfast the next morning, Max announces to his friends that he's got "it" - which Nikki mistakes for a stomach bug that she wanted first. "It" turns out to be "what's missing", Neil reminds Max that he hated camp last year and wonders why he'd want to go back to that. Max acknowledges that he hated it, but that at least everyone was predictable, instead of the way they now pretend to be different. In the background, Quartermaster can be seen ingesting a bottle of supplements that CJ had offered earlier, and he bolts out of the Mess Hall. Max's plan is to ruin everything about today and remind everyone who they actually are, and Nikki asks if they could opt out. Offended, Max picks up his tray, and states that even they have changed.

The first camp activity of the summer, organized by CJ, is an enormous and genuinely well-built obstacle course. According to CJ, kids these days don't know what it's like to experience hardship and hunger, so the entire camp must complete the obstacle course in order to be allowed to eat dinner. If even one person fails, the entire group goes hungry. Ered, spurred by her desire to learn some life skills, thinks this would be cool if it gives them experience in taking on the world's obstacles. Nurf says exercise is good for mental health, and Nerris is excited that her dexterity bonus will come in handy. Max turns to Nikki (for some reason) to ask how they're getting out of this, but she excitedly bolts toward the course. He then turns to Neil, who is finishing up some calculations to use Nurf as a counterweight for a pully system to help complete the course, and ultimately decides to leave his earring in in case they take photos. Up on the obstacle course, Preston admires the dynamic angles, Dolph breathlessly says his newly-developed muscles will have no issue, and Space Kid gleefully swings around on a rope that's tangled around his ankle. From a high platform marked as the end of the course, Nikki calls out for Max to join, and Nurf has to stop himself from demanding that Max hurry up. Finally at his breaking point, Max shouts that he is sick of everyone acting like they've changed, that the word that they have isn't necessarily the truth, and wonders what they're all so desperate to prove. He accuses them of being just as lame as before, which is why they didn't have any friends back home to begin with, and is stunned to realize he's projected his own insecurities on the group. He turns and leaves, ignoring David's attempt to reach out.

Down at the docks as the sun is setting, Max notices CJ approach and groans about an incoming sales pitch for supplements - or worse, a heart-to-heart discussion. Instead, Max is caught off guard that CJ chuckles about him "beefing it" in front of everyone and knowing that it was Max's goal to mess things up for everyone so that things would go back to normal. Max seems to come around slightly, as this new counselor is more perceptive than he was given credit for, and CJ takes the comment literally, as he applies a few CBD-infused lizard sweat eyedrops. He relays to Max a story of a similar experience; after he sold his first tech startup that he stole from his father, the new owners initially promised nothing would change, but of course everything changed. He figured he could try to ruin the experience so the new owners would leave and things would go back to the way they were, but that didn't happen. While Max finds the story difficult to relate to, CJ goes on to explain that he took up the funds to purchase interest in the very same camp that his father lost, and Max is immediately stunned to realize that "CJ" is short for "Cameron Junior" - the son of the notorious Cameron Campbell - although in hindsight it was obvious to him. Max knows that CJ is here to change what Cameron built, and CJ returns the compliment that Max is also more perceptive than he was given credit for. CJ imparts the lesson that Max could fight change, or see it as an opportunity. Perhaps he could find new reasons to hate the camp, or all new reasons to love it, too. Max leaves, thoughtfully remarking that is the only rational thing CJ has said so far. David is quick to congratulate his new co-counselor, although it turns out that the CBD oil drops made CJ high and that he has no clue what he said.

Max returns to his fellow campers, who act a bit coldly. Max admits he isn't sure if he's changed since last year, that he was scared this meant that something was "broken" about him and that he wouldn't have a place at the camp. He apologizes for what he said, and about their missed dinner, to which Harrison says the apologies won't feed them. However, Max is seen warming up, and he quickly takes to the obstacle course, breezing through it (off-camera) in a matter of seconds, to everyone's shock and awe. David lets out a delighted squeal, and Max flatly explains that he's started taking gymnastics. David starts reminiscing about something, but Neil suddenly interjects that his earring is actually a clip-on. He falls to the ground sobbing, and Max comments perhaps things aren't so different after all. Right on cue, Gwen appears, saying "Guess who's back, you little shits" as the episode ends.

Features[]

Main Characters []

Supporting Characters []

Minor Characters[]

Music[]

Trivia[]

  • This is one of very few episodes in which the word "fuck" isn't said.
  • A post-credits scene is shown, potentially being a trend in this new season, showing some clips of the next episode, "Cloak & Hunt". They include: Max leaping onto a box to announce that shit just got real, Nikki excitedly panting like a dog, Nerris & Preston mobilizing with a crowbar and power drill respectively, a white Hummer ice cream truck speeding down a road in Sleepy Peak with an audio overlay of David sighing in relief that the children have access to explosives, a bird exploding into ash on the rooftop of the Mess Hall, Neil with a drawing board saying that science sometimes requires sacrifice, and Quartermaster wandering into the woods and falling off a ledge, losing his hat in the process.
  • This is the first time since "Space Camp Was a Hoax" that an episode was written by Kerry Shawcross.

Cultural References[]

Continuity[]

  • This episode kicks off the start of a new summer at Camp Campbell, as the previous summer started with "Escape from Camp Campbell" and concluded with "With Friends Like These".
  • The bird that failed to scoop up an armadillo in the opening scene of this episode is the exact same bird who successfully scooped up a rabbit in the debut episode "Escape from Camp Campbell". These near-identical scenes have been the opening shot for the two separate summers in the series to date.
  • The first lines of dialogue that David and Max exchange in both episodes are also very similar, with David expressing his excitement for the summer and Max replying that it is truly horrifying.

Errors[]

  • The pill bottle that CJ gives David is dropped at the end of the scene, but it has completely vanished in the very next scene when the bus pulls up.

Transcript[]

The transcript for "Welcome Back, Campers!" may be edited here.
No transcript here! Help out the Camp Camp Wiki by contributing to this episode's transcript. See Help:Creating transcripts for basic instructions.

Gallery[]

Main article: Welcome Back, Campers!/Gallery

References[]

TBA

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