One if by Land, Goo if by Sea! is the twenty-sixth and final episode of the second season of Crash Bandicoot: N-Ventures!, though it was the twenty-fourth episode to be produced. A modified flashback episode of sorts, it features Crash and company travelling ten years into the past to prevent Cortex from ascending to the Presidency of Cortex Power in the midst of a horrific oil spill. During production, it was variously known as How to Oil Water and Oil Vey!.
One fine day, Crashie is watching the medical-themed mystery programme, Diagnosis: Larceny, on Wumpavision. It's been a long time since Cortex has had an evil scheme, he thought, and he's been enjoying the peace and quiet and relaxation. Just as they're about to reveal the culprit, however, the programme is interrupted for a Special Wumport! A generic news anchor (John Ratzenberger) explains that, at this very moment, it is the tenth anniversary of the Cortexxon-Valbrio oil spill. The Ratzenanchor goes on to remind us that it was this incident was a turning point for the company - due to his pathetic handling of the crisis, the previous President of Cortex Power stepped down and was replaced by a relative unknown named Dr. Neo Cortex, who brought the spill to a quick and conclusive end. Crash comments that the solution to Diagnosis: Larceny was unusually unexpected this week, and he never would've considered Cortex as a suspect, mostly because he hadn't appeared in the episode prior. Coco sighs, and explains that the stuff about Cortex Power was an unrelated Special Wumport. Crash is furious. They should have a bigger, louder graphic to announce impending news, he screams! Aku Aku pops up to smugly tell Crash that he shouldn't ignore Special Wumports - this one told them where Cortex got his start. And now that they know that, they can prevent his reign of villainy from ever beginning. Crash is unconvinced. Pura points out that most of these Special Wumports are Cortex-related - if Crash prevents him from taking over, then he'll never miss the end of Diagnosis: Larceny again. This convinces him! Crash vows to pay Cortex back for all the news he's ever caused! He takes out the shaker full of Time Pepper that he bought from Tropy last week and sprinkles it on Aku Aku, causing the mask to violently sneeze up a Mucus Time Portal! Crash, Coco, Aku, and Pura dive in. Back in 1989, in another one of those attempted dark and mysterious midnight scenes, we see the great oil tanker, the S.S. Buoyancy, cruising through the waters off the shore of Cortex Island. We briefly catch a glimpse of a mysterious shadow person up on deck; he disappears below deck, and suddenly, the side of the S.S. Buoyancy bursts open, showering oil everywhere! The camera pans out to showcase the full badly animated horror. The next morning, Team Bandicoot warps in, falling onto the beach right by the oily carnage. Coco, Pura, and Aku Aku are horrified, but Crash is more optimistic. "Oil fight," he cries! He dips his hand into the oil, and throws an oilball at Aku Aku! This covers Aku in oil, and sends his feathers flying high into the sky! They slowly float back down, and stick to Aku Aku's rapidly congealing oil coating. "Now I've been tarred and feathered," he awkwardly quipped. Before the children at home are able to realise that this actually makes no sense whatsoever, the writers redirect our attention to Coco, who whines that Crash shouldn't take the oil problem too lightly. Fossil fuels are threatening our worldwide globosystem, she says. Crash, obviously, does not understand this. Coco, with awkward seriousness, tells him to look across the beach. The camera pans over to reveal a sickly seal, covered in obscene amounts of oil; he smoothly introduces himself as the world-famous Swimmington Seele (Special Guest Star Peter Scolari). Swimmington says he has a sad story to tell; joined by Coco on the saxophone, he belts out the sorrowful tune, "Oil's Black and I've Got the Blues". Crash says that he understands perfectly now, and the five of them agree that they must depart, to find the "man in charge" of Cortex Power. Meanwhile, we see Brio in a big office with a nameplate on his desk that reads "Dr. Presidentrus Valbrio, President of Cortex Power", in a rather anti-climactic reveal. His phone is ringing off the hook. The press really wants to know what he plans to do about the oil crisis, but he just doesn't know! He uses his clunky 80s-style yellowular bananaphone to call in Dr. C. E. O. Gin. Gin says he has the perfect invention to save Valbrio's company: the "Everyone Gather Around, to Clean the Oil Running Aground, and Turning the Sea Black or at Least Brown, and Making the Public Frown, and Want to Remove Your Businessey Presidential Crown, but Soon They Will Have Found, that Their Efforts Are World-Renowned, Because the Beach Is Now Restored to Its Former Astound....ingly Good Condit-i-ound"! Presidentrus incredulously asks C. E. O. Gin if he honestly expects Valbrio to win the public's favour by forcing them to clean up the mess for him. Gin thinks for a second, and decides that he supposes he doesn't. Valbrio takes this opportunity to drink a potion. This one turns him into a trap door, positioned directly below Gin. He suddenly opens, and Gin falls down. Valbrio turns back to normal, and starts mumbling about how he can't get any good employees anymore. Suddenly, Crash, Coco, Pura, the still-oily-and-feathery Aku Aku, and a cleaned-up Swimmington Seele burst into his office. Crash directly orders the Valbrio not to choose Neo Cortex as his replacement when he steps down. Presidentrus shouts that he wasn't planning on stepping down at all! And choosing Cortex would've never even crossed his mind. This Cortex fellow, explains Valbrio, is just some dweeby loser who spends all his time guzzling chocolate malts and creating napkin origami figurines down at the neighbourhood sock hop. A cutaway shows the Cortex of the era doing exactly that - he's obviously completely harmless! Swimmington Seele dashingly asks what caused the S.S. Buoyancy to spring a leak. Valbrio, quite frankly, doesn't even know - it was constructed out of a space-age neo-polymer that should've been immune to rocks and icebergs and whatnot - by all means, it should've taken a massive explosion to bust it open! Crash just shrugs. The quintet takes their leave, and heads back out onto the beach. Crash repeats what Dr. Presidentrus Valbrio said - Cortex wasn't even in the running for the promotion, so they have no reason to even be in this time era. "Oil fight," he cries! He starts repeatedly pelting Aku Aku with oilballs until he's just an immobile ball of oily goo. Pura is simply disgusted by his actions. Coco, too. Swimmington Seele, too. Swimmington Seele gets down on his knees to beg Crashie to help with the oil spill problem. Crash pauses to think this over. He can't possibly trust Swimmington, he concludes, because seals aren't true mammals - they swim! Coco also gets down on her knees to join in the begging. She gives a long, empassioned speech about cleaning up the natural ecosystem environment, and finding justice for all the victims of the Cortexxon-Valbrio spill, and she ends it with the cliché question, "Don't you have a heart, Crashie?" Crash realises that the only way to shut her up is to say yes. To the tune of another original song, the awkward gospel-hip-hop-mashup-thing "The True Cleaning of Life", Crash springs into action, clearing the oil out of the water by repeatedly using his Super Belly Flop technique, as Coco, Pura, and Swimmington help out much less by scooping it out by hand. Crash even decides to clean Aku Aku off with a Super Belly Flop, which de-oilifies him, though it also splits him into three different pieces, which Crash reluctantly staples back together. Finally, they've finished their cleanup, with all the oil back in a giant bucket that they can return to Presidentrus Valbrio. Crash is very proud of his work, and gives himself a big pat on the back. Suddenly, Swimmington Seele notices something floating in the water - it's part of a TNT Crate, with the N underlined. Coco says she only knows of one person who would be egotistical enough to emphasize the N like that, and that this all amounts to what she vaguely dubs as a "shocking discovery". Several hours later, the quintet has gathered at the neighbourhood sock hop, where they have asked Presidentrus Valbrio and C. E. O. Gin to meet them. Swimmington cries that they've finally discovered that the oil spill that almost "sent (him) to the Lost Dimension" was no accident. Valbrio is confused. Who would spill oil on purpose? Swimmington smoothly declares, "That man," and points to Neo Cortex, pathetically sitting in the corner and pathetically sipping on his chocolate malt and pathetically playing with his origami goose. Cortex is stunned. He's so innocent, and also, pathetic! How could anyone possibly accuse him of this? At this moment, Coco pulls out the panel from the TNT Crate to show to Valbrio and C. E. O. Gin. They gasp in shock, as does Crashie, as he'd apparently not made the connection between the N and his eternal archrival, Dr. Neo Cortex. Coco explains that Cortex was always more than met the eye - an evil genius hiding out until he had his opportunity to ascend to a position of greatness and power. She theorises that Cortex caused the explosion himself, to cause a disaster that would ultimately cause Valbrio to step down, and allow Cortex himself to weasel his way into the Cortex Power Corporation. Of course, his downfall was that he was too egotistical, leaving his N mark on all the TNT Crates. Cortex just smugly says that it's a "cute" theory, but where would a commoner like him obtain the forbidden TNT Crates in the first place. Suddenly, everyone is stumped. They hadn't even considered that fact! Everyone is depressed, and they prepare to leave. Valbrio yells at Crash for wasting everyone's time. But suddenly, Crashie has a flashie of genius. He draws everyone's attention to the kitchen, where he sneaks up on the chef, and yanks his mask off. It was Ripper Roo in disguise all along! Ripper Roo - the Master of TNT-Fu! They were totally in cahoots! Cortex is now enraged. He bellows that he's not going down, not like this, and challenges Valbrio to a battle. Pura is excited about the prospect of this, saying it'd be the "fight of the century - a Cortex-on-Valbrio battle"! To everyone's surprise, Valbrio declines, and says Cortex can have the company regardless. Valbrio says that Cortex's plan showed a lot of dedication - "more dedication than I've ever had to this company" - and that he's been itching to embark on a "freelance spiritual quest" for years now anyway. Valbrio pulls out a beaker, and drinks it. This one turns him into a majestic bald eagle, and he flies off into the sunset. Swimmington just shrugs, and joins Coco for a reprise of their earlier duet, now more upbeat and entitled "Black Oil's Gone and So Are My Blue Blues!". Despite having been the one to uncover him, Crash whines about how nobody would've ever suspected Ripper Roo, because he hadn't been in the episode prior. He bellows, "This is the worst Diagnosis: Larceny ever!" Coco just sighs. Meanwhile, in the present, Cortex and Uka Uka are enjoying dinner in a fancy Italian bistro. Their waiter, Frenchie Waiter, asks what the special occasion is. Uka Uka passive-aggressively mentions that it's the tenth anniversary of Cortex's one and only successful scheme ever, before tearing into Cortex for failing at the "succeeding at more than 1% of your schemes" scheme. Cortex is willing to just accept the borderline compliment Uka started out with, however. "A toast to my continued success," shouts Cortex! Frenchie Waiter replies, "Will a baguette do?" Everybody just laughs and laughs and laughs! Then, Frenchie Waiter muses that, while the fossil fuel kind of oil is bad, olive oil is one of the healthiest things you could ever eat. Tell your wealthy parents to buy some today!