- In India, Cobra kidnaps a famous scientist in an effort to build the Vulcan Machine - a device that can use the Earth's lava to terrorize cities worldwide!
Recondo, Duke, Scarlett and Rock 'n Roll are in a typical, unspecified Indian market town. Despite Scarlett's desire to go sight-seeing, they have to meet up with Dr. Shakur. The Joes meet Shakur under at a table under a red umbrella and exchange code-phrases. Shakur has invented the Vulcan Machine, which derives energy from molten lava, but is concerned by Cobra's interest in it. The Joes offer him sanctuary.
Unbeknownst to the Joes, they are being observed by a street snake charmer. The fake snake charmer is none other than Zartan. He informs Cobra Commander via video-screen-snake-robot that the he's found the Joes and Shakir. Cobra Commander orders an attack. The Joes are ambushed by a unit of Cobra troopers in the marketplace. Scarlett tries to get Shakur to cover, but instead pushes him straight into the hands of a Cobra trooper, who then knocks her out. With Shakur secure, the Cobras order a retreat. Duke wakes Scarlett, while Recondo spots the Cobras heading to the river. They go to follow, though Duke laments that they'll never make it in time. Zartan, still disguised as a snake charmer, directs them to an alley that is a shortcut. Instead, it's another ambush, as two H.I.S.S. tanks block off the exit, while Zartan reveals himself behind the Joes. The Dreadnoks appear and Zartan sets them upon the Joes. Buzzer is quickly disarmed by Snake-Eyes, who leaps from a near-by rooftop before helping Scarlett take out Torch and Ripper. Zartan orders the H.I.S.S. tanks to fire, so the Joes quickly duck under the laser fire. Scarlett shoots an incendiary arrow at the H.I.S.S.es, allowing the Joes the opportunity to escape the alley through a hole blasted in the side. The Joes emerge from another alley, but are too late to stop the Cobras absconding with Shakur in the Water Moccasin. Duke declares that the Cobras must have a base nearby and Recondo has an idea where it is.
In the back of the APC, Recondo tells the other four Joes that the locals have been talking of a snake cult that's taken over a local temple. The temple is deep within the jungle, so they'll have to go in by air. The team splits into two Dragonflies - Scarlett, Recondo and Snake-Eyes in one, Duke and Rock 'n Roll in the other, with Wild Bill and Ripcord following in another.
Meanwhile, Cobra Commander welcomes Shakur to the temple and introduces himself. Shakur is unwilling to cooperate, so Zartan places a mind-control device on his head. Cobra Commander's gloating is cut short when a Crimson Guardsman informs him that the three Dragonflies are approaching. He orders the Guardsman to "greet them." A squadron of F.A.N.G.s approach the Dragonflies and dogfight ensues. The Joes manage to shoot down most of the F.A.N.G.s, but are soon overwhelmed. Duke orders the Joes to split up and return to base, but his Dragonfly is shot down before he can make good on the order. Scarlett's Dragonfly is quickly also shot down.
Cobra Commander views the scene on a monitor and expresses his joy. Zartan enters and informs him that Shakur is ready to work on building the Vulcan Machine. Cobra Commander explains that he plans to blackmail the world with the machine, using it to set torrents of molten lava on any country that dares to refuse their demands. Shakur sheds a tear as he unwillingly sets to work on finishing the machine.
In the jungle, Duke and Rock 'n Roll recover from their crash. They quickly meet up with Snake-Eyes, Recondo and Scarlett. All have survived the crashes with no injuries. Recondo assures the others that he'll get them through the jungle with little trouble. Cobra Commander is once again able to survey this on his monitor and activates a series of traps to finish the Joes off. While Rock 'n Roll and Recondo debate the jungle is hellish or not, Scarlett sets off a trip-wire trap. Recondo manages to save her and when Rock 'n Roll tries to see if she's all right, he walks over a disguised pit. Snake-Eyes saves him, but before the team can rest, a rhino is released from a cage at them. Enraged, the rhino charges at the team. Duke reluctantly prepares to shoot the rhino, but Recondo runs over and whacks it on the rump with a stick. He guides it towards the edge of a hither-to unseen cliff and tricks it into running off. Fortunately, there's a river below and the rhino lands in that.
The Joes delve further into the jungle, deactivating and avoiding more traps as they go. Again, Cobra Commander is observing from his monitor in the temple and is dismayed that they're still alive. He personally activates another trap, setting striped hyenas on them. He and Zartan go to check on Dr. Shakur, who is making progress with the Vulcan Machine. The Joes notice the hyenas. While they're prepared to shoot them all, Recondo advises against it, saying that the hyenas will overwhelm them. Instead he suggests that they lose them by heading for the nearby river. On their way to it though, Duke activates a trap and ends up hanging from a tree branch by his ankles with the hyenas snarling below him.
Against orders, Snake-Eyes double backs and fights off the hyenas to save Duke. Duke reprimands him for disobeying an order, but thanks him anyway. Just as they're going to join the others across the river, the Water Moccasin arrives, piloted by Copperhead and four Cobra troopers. Snake-Eyes and Duke quickly raise their hands, acting as a easy diversion for a sneak attack by Recondo, Scarlett and Rock 'n Roll from behind. The Joes take out all the Cobra troopers and strip them of their uniforms, which Scarlett, Rock 'n Roll, Recondo and Duke put on. Pretending that Snake-Eyes is their prisoner, they force Copperhead to take them to the temple.
As they arrive, they knock Copperhead out and tell the Cobra Officer guarding temple that he's got sleeping sickness and that it's contagious. He hurries them inside to the infirmary. Shakur has finished the Vulcan Machine, but Zartan is dubious that it works. Cobra Commander declares that a demonstration will prove to the world how serious he is and deliberates on which city to destroy as an example. The Joes quietly reach the edge of the room, just in time to hear Cobra Commander pick Los Angeles, Rock 'n Roll's hometown. They charge the room. Zartan (loudly) decides to use Shakur as a human shield, so Scarlett blasts a whole in the ceiling, revealing sunlight that scares Zartan off. Amidst fire from Cobra troopers, Rock 'n Roll removes Shakur's mind control device. Cobra Commander gloats that rescuing Shakur grants them nothing, as he still has the Vulcan Machine and that he'll destroy the United States with it. Duke ignores the suggestion to surrender and shoots the machine, which goes haywire and, as Shakur explains, uses its remaining power to activate lava under the temple. The Cobras quickly retreat, as do the Joes, who narrowly manage to outrun a river of lava following them through the corridors.
Zartan has only just reached the exit of the temple himself and, moaning about the sunlight, escapes on his swamp-sledge. The Joes go out the way they came in and reach the Water Moccasin just as Copperhead regains consciousness. It's not his lucky day though, as Duke dumps him in the river and leaves. Cobra Commander and his troopers escape on another Water Moccasin. The Joes make it down river and meet Wild Bill, Ripcord and Cutter in the Whale. Rock 'n' Roll begins telling the Whale crew what happened to them. "I get the feeling this is gonna be one whopper of a story' laments Wild Bill as the crafts head into the sunset.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
Featured Vehicles & Equipment
"Surrender my grandmother!"
"You deliberately disobeyed a direct order! But... you don't say anything, then I won't either."
- --Duke acknowledging that Snake-Eyes saved his life despite his direct order to leave him behind and save himself.
"Just trying to get your attention, gorgeous!"
- --Recondo as he whacks a rhino on the rump with a stick.
Animation and technical errors
- Walking with Zartan as Dr. Shakur is presented to Cobra Commander is a miscolored Crimson Guardsman.
- When Duke's Dragonfly is shot down, Recondo exclaims "We're hit!" but it is Duke's mouth that moves with the dialogue.
- The number of hyenas varies wildly between shots, let alone scenes.
- Due to the episodes being shown out of production order, Snake-Eyes is wearing his midnight navy fatigues, even though in the Pyramid of Darkness miniseries and Red Rocket's Glare he wore his newer blue-gray uniform.
- In the early scenes, Zartan is standing in full daylight with no ill effects.
- That rhino still probably would have been injured from falling off the cliff, even if it fell into a river.
- Recondo says that the Joes will never be able to take out the entire pack of hyenas, even though they're not out-numbered by that much. Despite this, Snake-Eyes manages to single-handedly save Duke from them all.
- Although he doesn't know it's Zartan in disguise, Duke is still foolish for following the shortcut given to him by a random snake-charmer, who should have no idea where the Joes are headed.
- Scarlett passing for a typical Cobra trooper not only pushes but knocks over and stamps on the bounds of believability. The uniform is a very tight fit (ridiculous, given it's from a larger man) and her hair is left untied and visible from under her helmet. Every man in that temple would have noticed her.
- Scarlett is a terrible bodyguard - she pushes Shakur into cover during the ambush without bothering to look if it's clear. Sure enough, two Cobras instantly grab Shakur and knock her out.
- Rerouting lava from the Earth's core would most likely result in catastrophic damage to the planet, much less a city.
- Instead of the usual laser blaster, Scarlett pulls an M1911A1 pistol from her ankle holster. See also The Gamesmaster.
- The four disrobed Cobra troopers are all identical.
- Cobra's map of the world has Japan on the central longitude. This is almost certainly down to the animators just drawing a typical Japanese map, rather than an American (or even Indian) one.
- Duke introduces himself to Dr Shakur as "First Sergeant Hauser" and mentions that his friends call him Duke.
- Writer Paul Dini would go on to greater fame as one of the masterminds behind Batman: The Animated Series.