This is the first actual use of Morty’s (and Noah’s) transformation ray since the final chapter of Phase One. I kept it away from the students in Phase Two because it’s kind of a miraculous device. It healed Jen’s mortal wounds after transforming her into a were-poodle and back again, and with the kind of dangers the kids face every chapter, it would have become the dreaded deus ex machina of this series. At that point I started coming up with the germ of the story that’s unfolding here, where the ray is at the crux of villain Ken’s ambitions, and created the subplot that ran through Phase Two where Jen had confiscated the ray to prevent this kind of misuse.
All of Katsuko’s bears are designed to protect children, so I figured it would make sense if some of them were capable of acting as baby monitors.
The page title comes from the sixth season cliffhanger of Star Trek: The Next Generation. An earlier page was titled “Redemption”, and after a bit I realized that “Redemption” was coincidentally the title of STTNG’s fourth season cliffhanger. I thought “Cool! I can foreshadow the upcoming cliffhanger by naming all of the rest of the pages with Star Trek cliffhanger titles.” But when I looked through my options, there weren’t many that could be used that matched the context of what was going on in the pages. The only one that fit was “Descent”, so that’s all that ended up being used.
The orange “telephone receivers” are cellular destabilizers. They were first seen in “Day of the Dork”, where Gareth (the guy holding Cass) used them against were-poodle Keris. I added them into the establishing shot of the advanced equipment room on a whim, presuming that Jen would have a problem with a teenager creating a portable device that could literally break apart living tissue. (It also helps explain why Gareth is working with Ken in the first place.) On this page, Ken originally subdued Cass with a taser he kept in his pocket. I thought that idea was too “normal”, and when I realized that the destabilizers were right there on the shelf, I drew the page to show Ken moving into the room, where he could reach for them quickly.