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A Hero for Earth
Season 1, Episode 01
The Planeteers are all given their rings and are summoned to Hope Island.
Air date September 15, 1990
Written by Billy Ruebin
Nicholas Boxer
Episode guide
Rain of Terror

A Hero for Earth is the first episode in the first season of Captain Planet and the Planeteers. It deals with Hoggish Greedly illegally and clumsily drilling for oil, causing an eco-disaster on a once-pristine coastline.

It was written by Billy Ruebin, with a story by Nicholas Boxer.


Plot synopsis[]

Gaia, the Spirit of Earth, is sleeping in her chamber on Hope Island when she is disturbed by a rumbling. Upon waking, she learns that the Earth is in serious danger due to over-population and pollution. She decides to summon five "special young people" from across the globe to fight for Earth.

Kwame, Wheeler, Linka, Gi, and Ma-Ti are all summoned to Hope Island and given five rings. Their powers are Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, and Heart respectively.

Given little time to get used to their new surroundings and responsibilities, the Planeteers are sent on their first mission: Hoggish Greedly is illegally drilling for oil in the ocean, flooding the coastline with pollution.

The Planeteers are forced to bond and test their new powers while fighting Greedly's operation. They also learn what happens when their powers combine: Captain Planet is summoned.

Episode summary[]

The opening shot is of a small white rabbit playing in a peaceful, green forest. Suddenly, noises of machinery and destruction are heard. Birds fly about in panic, and trees are torn down and crushed by a giant, four-legged machine. The white rabbit flees in fear. At the controls of the machine sits a fat pig-like man named Hoggish Greedly and his sidekick, Rigger. Greedly laughs and claims that with his new machine, he can drill for oil anywhere. Rigger laughs too, and adds that they can even drill inside wildlife sanctuaries. Greedly agrees, claiming the job to be done, and they'll be gone before anyone even knows they're there. Steering the machine into the ocean, Greedly starts the drill, which continues down through the ocean floor.

Gaia, the Spirit of Earth, is sleeping in her chamber on Hope Island when she is disturbed by a rumbling. Drops of water begin to fall on her face. She uses magic to repair the new hole in the ceiling, but when another rumble occurs, she becomes more concerned. She uses Planet Vision to figure out what's going on. She spots Greedly's illegal drilling, oil seeping out into the ocean, creating a huge slick. "It's those poor silly humans again. They're going to destroy my planet if they keep going on like this." Commenting that perhaps she's been asleep for a little too long, she declares that it's time to summon the "five special young people" from across the globe. She summons a special crystal from across the room that holds five magic rings. Gaia says that the time has come to use them, and she needs those people to help her save the Earth. The rings are swept into the air, and Gaia narrates their journey.

Kwame is the first Planeteer to discover his ring. He is shown as a young African man, leaning on a staff in the desert under a hot setting sun. He wipes sweat from his brow and uses the end of the staff to pierce the dirt before slipping a plant into the newly-created pocket. On the second attempt, his ring emerges from the Earth, caught on the end of the staff, glowing. He reaches for it curiously.

Gi is the second Planeteer to discover her ring. She is from Asia and is swimming with a dolphin in the ocean. She returns to the shore and throws a hoop out towards the dolphin before pulling her jacket on, indicating that the game could be over. However, the dolphin returns and tosses Gi's ring towards her. She catches it and looks at it sitting in her palm.

Wheeler is the third Planeteer to discover his ring. In an alleyway in New York City in Northern America, a street thug is preparing to beat a young man with a chain. Wheeler appears, kicking the thug and forcing him to drop his weapon. The thug runs off after seeing the newcomer about to fight. There is a fire in a nearby garbage can, and it flares suddenly, sending Wheeler's ring high into the sky. He catches it.

Linka is the fourth Planeteer to discover her ring. She is standing on a cliff above a forest somewhere in Russia with the wind in her hair, playing a keyboard. Birds are attracted to the sound, and one arrives with Linka's ring in its beak, and she takes it curiously.

Ma-Ti is the fifth and final Planeteer to discover his ring. In South America, a small monkey named Suchi is shown, trying to fight his way out of tangled vines before he is eaten by a jaguar. Ma-Ti sweeps in on a vine, frightening the big cat away before calmly releasing the monkey, who then hands him the ring.

Each of the Planeteers is shown trying on their rings, and are instantly transported to Hope Island, where Gaia is ready to greet them. Wheeler instantly speaks up, demanding an explanation. The Planeteers soon learn that Gaia is the Spirit of Earth, and they have been given special power rings in order to help save the planet from environmental destruction. Linka tries her ring first, after being prompted by Gaia, but she is unsure of how to control it. She creates a small whirlwind, which causes her to rise into the air and then fall. She grumbles to herself, seemingly unimpressed. Kwame tries his ring next. He apparently has great control over it from the beginning and can see the benefits it will bring him. So eager to test out his power, Wheeler accidentally starts ablaze on the floor of The Crystal Chamber. Gaia calls on Gi to put it out using her ring. She does so, but she causes a wave that is far too large and soaks everyone. Wheeler complains, grumbling, "Nice job, toots. I'm all wet!" Linka reminds him that the fire is out, and he quiets down again. Ma-Ti already knows what his power is, and says, "Mine is Heart. I can sense you all. Hear your thoughts. Feel your feelings." Gaia explains that Ma-Ti's power guides and links the others, and is, therefore, the most important. She then labels them a team, now and forever: The Planeteers.

Kwame says that before starting, they must practice (mainly prompted by Wheeler burning his own palm in his enthusiasm), but there is no time. Gaia initiates the Planet Vision, showing the Planeteers what Greedly is doing with his oil drilling. Dismayed by the destruction they see before them, the Planeteers leave immediately. As the tank fills with oil, Rigger dances around excitedly before asking about the oil hurting the animals. Greedly makes it simple that he doesn't care and is the only thing that's worth caring about.

Gi steers the Geo-Cruiser over the ocean. Wheeler briefly complains about not being able to fly it, and we learn that Gi has a driver's license, but he does not. He states that it's been a weird day. Linka worries about being on their own, and wishes for Gaia to be with them. Ma-Ti instantly states that she is with them, using his ring to call her, and she appears as a hologram in front of the Geo-Cruiser. She claims that although she needs to stay on Hope Island, she will be with the Planeteers in spirit. Wheeler accidentally sparks ablaze when he uses the word 'fire'. Gi quickly extinguishes it, but it's another reminder that they all need to be careful with their new powers. Gaia explains to them that they all need to have faith in themselves. After Kwame asks what they should do if they find themselves in a situation they don't think they can handle, Gaia tells them to put their powers together, then disappears out of sight.

The Planeteers look down on the coastline that, thanks to Greedly, is coated in oil. Linka expresses dismay, saying that the whole coastline is being destroyed. Gi attempts to land the Geo-Cruiser on Greedly's machine, but Greedly and Rigger realize that their arrival is going to mean trouble for them. Greedly jets them with oil before they can attempt a landing. The controls jam and the Geo-Cruiser starts to spin out of control, with Gi exclaiming, "We're going down!" Greedly laughs in delight as he watches the Geo-Cruiser nose-dive towards the ocean.

Kwame, the only Planeteer not showing visible panic, reminds Linka of her Windpower. She orders Wheeler to burn the door away before she leans out of the Cruiser and attempts to keep it in the air using her new powers. She manages to stabilize the cruiser but despairs because it is too draining for her to get them to land. Kwame helps by raising an island from the ocean floor, and they land safely.

Rigger and Greedly have been watching on in amazement. Rigger appears to be nervous, but Greedly dismisses the Planeteers as "just kids" and that he can take care of them easily.

Wheeler threatens him through a megaphone, stating that they are there to stop him from drilling more oil. Greedly retaliates by threatening to douse the animals on the shore in crude oil if the Planeteers come any closer. Wheeler says that this is going to be a problem. The Planeteers watch in dismay as more oil continues to seep out into the ocean. Kwame realizes that the situation is now out of their control. He suggests combining their powers, and Wheeler agrees. The Planeteers combine their powers for the first time, summoning Captain Planet. Greedly and Rigger immediately recognize trouble, and try to make their escape, causing more oil to flood into the ocean.

Captain Planet explains to the Planeteers that while he's around, their rings are useless, but he's their powers combined and magnified. He urges them to look after the oil-soaked animals while he chases Greedly and clears up the spill. Captain Planet clears up the oil spill by creating a whirlpool which sucks the oil back under the ocean's floor. He then seals the leak with a large rock before chasing after Greedly. Greedly and Rigger attempt to hurt Captain Planet by snatching him in the claws of their machine and stabbing him with a drill mechanism, but it just continues to bounce off his chest. Captain Planet laughs and complains that it tickles. He captures Rigger easily and 'disposes' of him by dumping him into a trash can.

He then goes after Greedly, busting through the floor of the control room. Greedly though, was prepared and uses a hose to spray him with toxic waste. The sludge hits Captain Planet's broad chest full on, splattering and dripping all over his body, causing him to lose all of his strength and his powers. His composure broken, he flails about in a helpless panic and stumbles backwards, falling through the hole he made on entry. The Planeteers look on in horror as their champion's limp form falls several hundred feet through the air and slams to the ground. They hurry to his side, and he manages to tell them that the toxic waste is draining his strength. Kwame attempts to move him away from Greedly, but Captain Planet is too heavy. His efforts do remove some of the sludge from Captain Planet's chest, however, and the Planeteer emblem is exposed to the sun, which causes it to glow. Linka and Gi hurry to carry some water across in order to wash the sludge away from Captain Planet.

Meanwhile, Greedly attempts to crush Planet under the legs of his machine. Wheeler, Kwame and Ma-Ti manage to roll a rock towards Captain Planet, which holds strong enough to keep the leg of Greedly's machine away. Linka and Gi arrive, carrying a load of water between them in Linka's jacket. They throw it onto Captain Planet, and he is seen to recharge, the symbol on his chest glowing brightly now that it is free of toxic waste. Wheeler exclaims that the sun is powering him back up. Captain Planet weakly recharges, reinstating: "By your powers combined!" He thanks the Planeteers for their help, before chasing after Greedly, who is busy basking in his own glory after thinking he has destroyed Captain Planet. Captain Planet destroys Greedly's machine, but during the chaos, Greedly goes missing. He manages to escape, muttering to himself and threatening that he'll be back.

The Planeteers sit around Captain Planet in a semi-circle on the beach. He tells them that the next time they see Greedly, they should call him. He then disappears, returning their powers to them.

The Planeteers clean up the beach and the animals left devastated by Greedly. Wheeler heats water, and Gi hoses the animals down. Ma-Ti calms them, Kwame clears the oil residue from the beach, and Linka dries the animals off and sweeps oil away from them. Wheeler complains that they didn't make the mess, but they have to clean it up - and they're not making any money from it, either. Linka claims that some rewards are greater than money, and Wheeler reluctantly agrees. The walrus that Wheeler's cleaning off then licks his face affectionately and Wheeler smiles and hugs the walrus back seeing Linka's point. The other Planeteers chuckle at the sight.

Individual Ring Use[]

Earth Ring[]

  • A small fissure is created in the ground on Hope Island. (Very first use).
  • Immediately, following the fissure, Kwame uses the ring again to restore the hole by closing the fissure.
  • An island is created from the ocean as an emergency landing spot for the Geo Cruiser.
  • Cleanses the sand and water's edge of being polluted with oil.

Fire Ring[]

  • Small flames are inadvertently created on the wooden floor of the Crystal Chamber. (Very first use).
  • It burns Wheeler when he punches his hand.
  • Another flame is mistakenly created on the Geo Cruiser when Wheeler says, "Fire Fight."
  • Used to blast out a Geo Cruiser door after the latter is doused in oil causing it to down spiral out of control.
  • Instantly heats water in a bucket used to clean the animals caught in the oil spill.

Wind Ring[]

  • A small whirlwind is created that uncontrollably lifts Linka briefly before dropping her to the floor roughly. (Very first use).
  • A moderate-sized tornado is created that engulfs the Geo Cruiser and prevents it from crashing.
  • A stream of wind is used to blow oil off of the animals.

Water Ring[]

  • A moderate-sized wave is created from the pool of the Crystal Chamber that douses out the mini flames created by Wheeler as well as badly drenching everyone but Gaia. (Very first use).
  • Water from the tap on the Geo Cruiser is used to quickly extinguish the small fire on the Geo Cruiser.
  • Creates a stream of water from the ocean to rinse the animals that were victim to the oil spill.

Heart Ring[]

  • A mental link between the ring and Ma-Ti allows him to know what his ring is before Gaia tells him. (Very first use).
  • It's used to calm Suchi, who was upset with Wheeler for starting the mini fire, (Suchi hugs Wheeler thereafter).
  • Empathy is demonstrated when Ma-Ti tells the Planeteers telepathically that he can hear their thoughts and feel their feelings.
  • Allows Gaia to reassure the Planeteers that she will be with them in spirit while they're in the Geo Cruiser.
  • Calms the animals at the oil spill site, which allows the Planeteers to clean them.

Planeteer Alerts[]


Captain Planet: I want you to join me and the Planeteers in saving our planet!
Planeteers: Go, Planet!
Captain Planet: You can fight oil spills and air pollution by encouraging your family not to waste gasoline and other fuels.
Gi: Turn off the lights in your house when you don't need them.
Linka: If you can carpool, do it!
Ma-Ti: Better yet, if you're only going a short distance, walk, or ride a bike!
Captain Planet: It's healthier for you, and our planet! So don't be a Greedly! The power is yours!

Significant Moments and Facts[]

  • This is the very first episode of Captain Planet and the Planeteers.
  • The first appearance of Gaia, Hoggish Greedly, Rigger, Kwame, Wheeler, Linka, Gi, Ma-Ti, Suchi, and Captain Planet. It's also the first episode in which Planet Vision is used, and where the Geo-Cruiser first appears.
  • Gaia observes that she's been sleeping for a century and that this may not be enough time to do any proper damage, but is proved wrong at the start of the episode.
  • The order in which the Planeteers discover their rings is not the order in which they arrange themselves later, when calling Captain Planet. Gaia sends the rings out in the order: Kwame, Gi, Wheeler, Linka, Ma-Ti. Later in the episode, and in subsequent episodes, whenever they call Captain Planet, the order is always: Kwame, Wheeler, Linka, Gi, Ma-Ti. The order in which they first try out their powers, in the Crystal Chamber on Hope Island, also deviates from the "usual" order. The order is Linka, Kwame, Wheeler, Gi and Ma-Ti.
  • Gaia claims that this group are the "first Planeteers", but in Hog Tide, she tells the Planeteers a story of an earlier generation having served the Earth in the same way, with the same powers.
  • Each Planeteer has a very thick accent at the beginning of the episode, designed to reinforce which countries they are from.
  • Wheeler's first reaction is to flirt with Linka. Her first reaction is to reject him.
  • The opening titles imply that Linka is from the Soviet Union. She also claims her accent to be "Soviet" when Wheeler asks if she's Russian. In later episodes, she is said to be from "Eastern Europe" during the opening credits.
  • Linka says "damn it" in Russian when she sweeps herself off her feet after using her ring for the first time.
  • In this episode, Wheeler calls Linka "babe" and Gi "toots".
  • This is also the first episode in which Linka exclaims "Bozhe moy!" It means "(Oh) My God" in Russian.
  • Gaia states that Ma-Ti's power is the most important of the five.
  • Gi has a driver's license, while Wheeler does not. We learn this as they are in the Geo-Cruiser for the first time.
  • Wheeler shows that he is from Brooklyn in this episode. None of the other Planeteers are as specific about where they came from.
  • The first person to call Wheeler "Yankee" is actually Gi, not Linka, who often uses this as a nickname for him in later episodes.
  • Although never officially elected as a leader, Kwame is unofficially made the leader of the Planeteers. He has the most confidence and control with his ring (with the possible exception of Ma-Ti) and keeps everyone calm during their first crisis.
  • The Geo-Cruiser apparently has a boat stored within it. Linka and Kwame can be seen setting it up on the small island while Wheeler is speaking to Greedly through the megaphone.
  • Captain Planet is summoned through the five powers meeting in the sky - he does not emerge from the Earth. He is also missing his red boots in this episode, but he appears with his usual catchphrase.
  • We learn in this episode that the Planeteer rings are useless after Captain Planet is summoned. He explains to the Planeteers that he's their powers combined and magnified.
  • It's evident in this episode that Captain Planet can breathe, move and talk easily underwater. His super-strength is also made evident when he picks up a giant rock to seal the oil leak.
  • Captain Planet's weakness is revealed in this episode: Toxic waste causes him to lose his powers until the Planeteers can hose it off with clean water and the sun can recharge him.
  • Captain Planet states "By your powers combined, I am Captain Planet!" twice in this episode, despite only being officially summoned once.
  • Greedly is never caught at the end of the episode - he escapes, threatening that he'll be back.
  • The other eco-villains in subsequent episodes have prior knowledge of Captain Planet's existence and his weaknesses, presumably revealed to them by Greedly
  • Linka calls Wheeler a "sweet imperialist dog" at the end of the episode when he complains about having to clean up the mess without being paid for it.
  • When Gi is shown putting her ring on with the other Planeteers, her jacket disappears. It reappears when she is teleported to Hope Island.
  • In the un-aired pilot version of this episode, Captain Planet, Gaia, Hoggish Greedly, and Rigger have different voices but the Planeteer's voices remain the same all throughout the seasons.


The first issue of the Captain Planet and the Planeteers comic was a direct adaptation of this episode and was titled the same. It was adapted by the comic's writers Barry Dutter and Jim Salicrup.

Some differences include:

  • The comic opens with Greedly laughing at his destruction rather than the destruction of the forest.
  • Gaia's comment about sleeping too long and being surprised at the short amount of time of the environmental damage is omitted.
  • Kwame stating how he can use his ring to help the environment and Gaia's response is omitted.
  • When Gi is told that her power is water, she responds by saying "Water?" in the comic, whereas the episode has her responding "Ok, here it goes. Water."
  • After Wheeler's fire is extinguished, the comic adds in a response by Kwame "Ho Ho! You should see the look on your face!", though Linka stating that the fire is out is omitted.
  • The comic adds another piece of dialogue with Wheeler asking for a towel, as well as Suchi being calmed when Ma-Ti uses his ring, with Kwame and Linka crediting him for it.
  • The comic shortens the Planeteer's view of Greedly's actions.
  • In the comic, Linka is the one who suggests combining their powers rather than Kwame.
  • Captain Planet has his boots in the comic book version of the story.
  • The Planeteer Alert switches the dialogue of some of the characters recommendations including:
    • Linka being the one to suggest turning off the lights when you're not using them rather than Gi doing so.
    • Wheeler being the one to suggest walking if you are traveling a short distance rather than Ma-Ti doing so.
    • Gi being the one to suggest carpooling rather than Linka doing so.

Animation errors[]

  • When Kwame asks Ma-Ti what he thinks his power is, his ring is missing.
  • When Captain Planet is summoned his red boots are missing throughout the rest of the episode


  • Gaia: It's those poor, silly humans again. They're gonna destroy my planet if they keep going on like this. What's a mother to do?
    The Planet Vision shows some pipes dumping sewage into a river.
    Gaia: I guess I napped too long. But how much damage could they do in a century?
    The Planet Vision shows further images of a polluted world.
    Gaia: It's worse than I thought. Earth is dying! The time has come for the rings. I need young people to help now. Starting with five very special kids from five corners of the globe. From Africa: Kwame. From Asia: Gi. From North America: Wheeler. From the Soviet Union: Linka. And, from South America: Ma-Ti. These, then, are my first Planeteers. The world's greatest hope.
  • Wheeler: Yo, say lady, you wanna explain what's goin' on here?
    • His first words spoken to Gaia.
  • Wheeler: Hey, let me get this straight. Your name is Gaia, and you're the Spirit of the Earth?
    Gi: And you brought us here to help you save Earth from being ruined?
    Gaia: Yes. That's about the size of it.
    Linka: Saving our planet is yes, a good thing. However, we are but youths. How can vee help?
    Wheeler: Hey, love your accent, babe. You Russian?
    Linka: Soviet. (she shoves him) Please, go away!
    Wheeler: Love it.
  • Gaia: Through your power rings, each of you can control one power of nature. To a limited degree.
  • Gi uses her ring for the first time and soaks everyone.
    Wheeler: Nice job, toots! I'm all wet!
    Gi: You certainly are!
    Linka: At least the fire is out.
    Wheeler: Oh... Yeah.
    Kwame: What do you think your power is, Ma-Ti?
    Ma-Ti: I already know. (telepathically) Mine is Heart. I can sense you all. Hear your thoughts. Feel your feelings.
    Linka: Bozhe moy! I can hear him! In my head!
    Gaia: That's right. Ma-Ti, yours is the greatest power of all; because without a Heart to guide them, the other powers are useless. Through you, the others will always be linked, no matter where they are. On the side of good, you are a team. Now and forever, the Planeteers!
  • Wheeler: Hey, how come you get to drive this thing?
    Gi: Do you have a driver's license?
    Wheeler: Well, no.
    Gi: That's why.
  • Wheeler: This has been a very weird day. One minute I'm a kid from Brooklyn, the next I'm some sort of comrade super-hero, flying off to battle some pig-faced polluter.
  • Gaia: You must have faith in yourselves, Planeteers, because you're fighting for the good of the whole world.
    Kwame: And if we encounter a situation which we cannot handle?
    Gaia: Well, just put your powers together. Then you'll really be surprised!
    Wheeler: Yo, wait a minute! What's that supposed to mean?
    Gi: Sit down, Yankee!
    Linka: And fasten the seat belt, for your safety!
    Wheeler: Hey, I didn't know you cared!
  • Rigger points to the geo-cruiser:
    Rigger: Mr. Greedly, look! Is it the coastguard?
    Greedly: No... No, I think we're in deeper slop than that! But no big deal - Hoggish Greedly will be too slick for them!
  • After spraying the geo-cruiser with oil and causing it to spin out of control:
    Greedly: That'll teach you to interfere with the polluted plans of Hoggish Greedly!
  • After watching the Planeteers use their powers to land the geo-cruiser safely:
    Rigger: Did you see that? Huh? Huh? It's impossible!
    Greedly: They could still fry our chops... But they're just kids. I can handle them. (speaking through a megaphone) Greetings, strange ship! Who are you, anyway?
    Wheeler: (through a megaphone) We're the Planeteers, you greedy, pollution-causing creep! And as soon as we get our boat set up, we're gonna sail over there and kick your curly pig-tail!
  • Kwame: The situation is more than we can handle, Planeteers. We need help.
    Linka: You mean...?
    Kwame: Exactly. We must do as Gaia advised. We must combine our powers.
    Wheeler: Let's do it!
    Kwame: Let our powers combine. Earth.
    Wheeler: Fire.
    Linka: Wind.
    Gi: Water.
    Ma-Ti: Heart.
    Captain Planet: By your powers combined, I am Captain Planet!
    Planeteers: Go, Planet!
  • Upon seeing Captain Planet for the first time:
    Rigger: Holy smokes! What the heck is that? Huh? Huh?
    Greedly: Trouble.Get on deck and man the arms! We're gonna be getting out of here.
  • Ma-Ti: What do you want us to do, Captain Planet?
    Captain Planet: Your rings are temporarily useless while I'm here, but I am your powers combined and magnified. For now, I'll handle Greedly and the spill. You can help those animals!
    Ma-Ti: Right!
    Planeteers: Go Planet!
  • Captain Planet: Enough fun. There's trash to take out! And I know just the place for garbage like you.
    He dumps Rigger into a trash can.
  • Greedly: Puh, I don't think so, hero. If I can't drill ya, I'll waste ya -- with some toxic waste!
  • Captain Planet: (after recharging) I feel like a brand-new hero!
    Wheeler: You are!
    Captain Planet: Yeah. And you're brand-new heroes too, Planeteers. Thanks for your help!
  • Greedly: (making his escape) No one gets in the way of Hoggish Greedly! I will be back, Captain Planet.
  • Kwame: It is good that Greedly was stopped.
    Captain Planet: Yeah. But I've got a feeling you'll see him again. And when you do, call me.
    Kwame: We will.
    Wheeler: All right! What now, Captain Planet?
    Captain Planet: My work here is done. But yours is just beginning, Planeteers. Remember - the power is yours.
  • Wheeler: It doesn't seem fair! We didn't make the mess, so why do we have to clean it up? We're not getting paid any money.
    Linka: Because we care, my sweet imperialist dog. Besides, some rewards are greater than money.