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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers: Recap 07: Wildfire

I am now officially on my seventh episode for this recapping thing. I feel accomplished! Only...58 or so to go.

Yeek.

On the other hand, it's nice to actually have blog topics in advance. :-)

Today's episode is episode 07, Wildfire. Fortunately, there are no teenaged girls around and all horses are robotic. I hope.

Wherein Zach Spends Most of the Episode In Perpetual Annoyance

Anyway, this episode starts with a wide, kind f round-disk looking ship going through an oddly high tech looking asteroid field. (All the asteroids have shiny neon lights attached, which seems fairly odd to me. On the other hand, it might make steering through them easier?)

Anyway, soon we get something of an explanation by way of Zach reporting to BETA (which reminds me a bit of Captain's Logs in Star Trek. I suspect Zach's would be more fun though. Captain's Log: Today we blew shit up. We expect to do that again tomorrow. Heh.)

Apparently this weird asteroid field is actually a mining facility that's 14.3 hours from Reno Colony 6. Okay! Apparently they have a shipment of "Lithium 25 isotopes" which is in stasis. I have no idea what any of this actually means, but I imagine we'll find out soon enough.

The outside of the ship is fairly rundown-looking, but the inside is swanky. Lots of space and consoles and a good sized table which Goose and Niko stare at with surprising intensity.

We get to see a computer monitor showing what looks like line graphics of a three-dimensional chess game, but is probably meant to actually mean something.

It does, actually, mean something. As we find out in Zach's report, which he finishes with "Oh, and Commander Walsh? Your king is in check."

Apparently it means: chess game.

That's actually pretty funny. Hee. Zach mentions that he's anxiously awaiting his boss's next move, assuming he has one. Aw, now, Zach, no need to rub it in. Besides, Walsh has a MUSTACHE. You must respect the mustache.

Zach solicits a report from Doc. Apparently the Lithium isotopes are explosives, which Doc's program keeps in stasis. Doc asserts that if they can stay out of trouble for a little while, they should be fine.

Oh yeah, that'll happen. I sense explosive related hijinx!

At the table of sensory goodness, Niko picks up a ship approaching. She thinks, by the trajectory and speed, it's in trouble. OMG. A psychic who actually uses scanning equipment instead of vague pronouncements? Surely you gest!

Doc wryly indicates his skepticism about the staying out of trouble thing with a timely wisecrack. When asked what he makes of it, Goose says that it looks like a "Type 9x Rockhopper shuttlecraft." Because if he can fly it, crash it, or blow it up, he knows about it.

Niko suddenly reports a "priority 3 distress signal." Zach orders the audio cranked up, and we get a cheap graphic of what looks like an elementary school text book diagram of soundwaves. A very twangy voices requests emergency assistance. He ends the transmission with "Wildfire."

This last bit apparently has significance. We know this because it's the episode title. We also notice this because the men suddenly repeat the word "Wildfire" in unison with disbelief.

Niko shares my confusion and asks who the heck Wildfire is. Shane obliges with an actual grin, identifying "Wildfire Carson" as the "Wildest, wooliest desperado in the known universe." Aw. Hero-worship. Niko, now enlightened, points out that Wildfire's in danger of "having his flame put out for good" as he's being chased by three Imperial death droids.

Deathdroids, by the way, appear to be tiny round eyeball robots. They're shooting at a small, shiny gold looking one-man space craft with a weird giant cylindrical part on top. The pilot is a grey-beard cowboy type who calls 'em "pesky varmints." Hee.

"Wildfire" mutters that he needs just one "right good rock" which he finds and then sharply banks up. One of the eyeballs-of-death dutifully crashes into it. That's still two to go however.

Wildfire reckons he doesn't mind the Rangers enjoying the show but asks if they might not want to give him a hand.

Zach wants Doc to get an update on the fellow, and provides us with a first name, "Cody". He wants to know if he's still wanted by every authority in the galaxy. That's all well and good, but shouldn't you actually save the guy before you arrest him, Zach? Goose agrees with me and points out that wanted or not, the man needs their help. Zach apologizes but points out that if the droids are attracted to the transport, it could set off the explosives. Which is a fair point, too.

It's a nice mini-conflict set-up really. Goose wants to save the guy, be damned with potential risk. Zach has a wider view. Neither character is wrong, and neither character is acting like a caricature either. (*cough*CyclopsandWolverine*cough*)

Wildfire seems to be making the decision for them, however, and is coming right at the ship. Goose agrees and starts running to assist. Zach barks his name and shouts "This is an order" and he stops in his tracks. Zach then finishes with "Be careful." Aw. Zach's a good leader.

Goose hops aboard an Interceptor. And Yay! Alma's been re-programmed! He blows up an eyebot, much to Wildfire's appreciation, and together, they take out the last one.

Zach in the meantime is background checking their new, bad influence. Apparently our Wildfire has quite the criminal record. Niko wants to know who would send Imperial Death Droids after him.

My guess is the Empire?

Meanwhile Goose brings Carson in. Apparently Wildfire and Zach are quite well acquainted with each other. Though the last time Wildfire saw Zach, he was still an academy stooge. Niko and Doc look mildly interested at this. Apparently Wildfire's "heard tell" of Zach's bionic modifications, too. He's surprisingly up-to-date for a fugitive. He asks how often Zach, who is looking somewhat stiff-jawed and displeased, has to "change his oil."

That sounds kind of kinky.

Niko on the other hand is intrigued that Zach and Carson know each other. Zach snaps that it was never worth mentioning. He also declares Carson to be under arrest. To be fair, considering the unpleasantness associated with the bionics (i.e. wife getting fridged) I don't think we can really blame Zach for getting snippy. Carson's neat though, he's like Buck Wargo would be in fifteen years.

(Full disclosure: I totally imagine Beau Smith like Wildfire Carson.)

Wildfire recommends Zach first listen to what he has to say...and also veer the ship to the starboard. (Zach looks unexpectedly young in the shot I just paused to type this. I kind of like that.)

Zach wants to know since when do outlaws tell Rangers where to steer the ship, but even as he snaps, he exchanges a quick glance with Niko. Wildfire answers since Zach entered the mine field. His snarky use of Zach's title is punctuated by a crash as tiny spiky mine type things start gently colliding with the side of the ship and exploding.

Niko's status report: some hull weakening, but the big issue is the fore-navigational gyro-pods. I don't know what that means, but it sounds nifty. Niko translates: they're beached.

Zach orders Goose to strip Wildfire of "his hardware" and brig him. He's very annoyed at the misplaced mines. Zach wants a report about the isotopes, and Doc needs a few minutes. Shane points out they may not have the minutes as a Queen ship is in the area. Eek!

Actually, we see quickly, it's not a Queen ship. It's actually piloted by a lazy-eyed black hatted cowboy identifying himself as "Virgil Garrett." He claims to own this patch of space. He calls them trespassers.

Zach wants to know if Virgil's responsible for mining the area (I'm guessin' yes, Zach.) Virgil for his part wants to know if they have Cody Carson, and wants him turned over.

Zach doesn't take kindly to that suggestion and says that the only thing he'll hand over is a warrant for his arrest.

This makes me wonder how the hell the justice system WORKS in this universe. I mean, obviously, they can't go to the nearest courthouse and have a judge sign a warrant very easily. So how then DO they get warrants? I mean Zach probably has probable cause for an arrest, but he specifically says he wants to hand over a warrant and...

I'm clearly thinking too hard about this. Moving on.

Virgil points out that they're beached and recommends Zach move along like a good little boyscout. Oh yeah, this is going to go well. After Virgil hangs up, Zach orders Carson brought back to the bridge. Meanwhile Doc's monitor's giving off a bad noise. The stasis program is rapidly decaying. Doc's going to have to go inside and divert the circuitry, or it's going to explode within an hour.

It ought to be noted that Zach doesn't much stand on rank. Both Niko and Doc refer to Zach as "Zachary" frequently. Goose uses "Captain" or "Zach." Zach only really tends to pull rank with people like Carson. It's not a very significant observation, but I felt like adding it here.

Goose reports that Carson's escaped the brig. He's a wily sort of fellow apparently. He's trying to track him. Meanwhile, Niko reports they lost the gyro-pods completely, the slightest shift could send them into the minefield. Poor Zach. It never rains but it pours.

At least life-support and offensive weaponry are ok. Doc pops in with a correction. If he's going to keep the isotopes from exploding, he'll need to divert power from weapons and communications. One of his swirly things is moving around about his head. I can't tell which one though. Zach orders Doc to do what he has to.

Goose found Carson at least, "doing a waltz with Alma." Carson, for his part, is in Goose's fighter restrained by electrical energy. Alma pronounces "You, sir, are a boob."

Does Alma count as an awesome Galaxy Ranger chick? Because if not, she ought to. I love Alma.

Goose escorts Carson to the bridge, where Zach is pleased to see him. He points out the big red ship of doom and that it would have blasted Wildfire to quartz if he'd left the ship.

Wildfire complaints that he'd have gotten the buggy hotwired if it weren't for that "talking female eyeball." Hee. Zach points out that it wouldn't have done him much good. Garrett opens communications with Zach, and he and Wildfire exchange insults. Garrett then asks Zach what it's going to be. Doesn't he know that it's a bad idea to issue heroes ultimatums?

Zach stalls, and Garrett agrees to give him fifteen minutes, but if Wildfire isn't "trussed up like a Christmas goose" by then... Idiot. NEVER give the heroes more time! Have you never watched a tv show? Read a book? Go watch Wrath of Khan six times and then write a report about all you learned from Ricardo Montalban's mistakes.

What DO they teach in villain school these days?

This brings me tangentially to the thought that as pseudo Western dialogue goes, Galaxy Rangers is much better than Firefly. Joss Whedon's good with the witty banter, but none of his phrases quite have the zing of "trussed up like a Christmas goose" in my opinion.

Shane points out mildly that Carson's causing them "a heap of trouble" while Zach, more explosively, wants to know what this is all about. Apparently Wildfire's got a map spelling out the richest piles of minerals anyone's ever heard of. At this point, Wildfire's got an arm around Zach's shoulder and Zach's just closing his eyes wearily. Prospectors.

Anyway Garrett found out Wildfire was filing a claim, and by now Zach just walks off in disgust. Aw. Wildfire, uncowed, continues to explain accompanied dutifully by a flashback of his ship getting waylaid, dragged aboard the giant red ship. Anyway, he escaped and here he is.

Wildfire boasts that Garrett thought he could stop him with mines and a couple droids, but he reckons he showed them. Zach looks incredibly annoyed. He might also be annoyed by the fact that it looks, in this scene, like Wildfire's totally eyeing Niko's ass. Zach just points out that it sure put a stop to them and that Wildfire's making his decision easier all the time. Oh, Zach! Don't give in! You're the hero!

Doc gravely reports that the stasis is fine, but they're going to be short radio and weapons until they get to Reno 6. Zach turns accusatorily to Wildfire, wanting to know if, since he got them into this mess, he could get them out.

Well, to be fair Zach, he did recommend you veer right.

But Carson does actually have a notion. He wrote down the access code to Garrett's ship as he escaped.

Apparently CARSON studied Wrath of Khan, even if Garrett didn't. Heh. If Zach can get them near the ship, Carson can get them inside. Ooo. Guerilla warfare!

Zach asks if, when Goose searched Wildfire, he found paper. Goose, looking a tad annoyed himself (apparently the hero-crush from earlier is over) reveals that all he found was enough weapons to stock a militia. Wildfire smirks and pulls a tiny piece out of his breast pocket, declaring he kept it close to his heart.

Goose! You didn't search his POCKET? For shame! Goose grabs for it, but Wildfire sidesteps and swallows the code... I hope he's got it memorized, otherwise, it'll be a while before they're able to use it. Fortunately, he does, and Goose reluctantly agrees that it's probably the best option. Doc coincidently shows up on the bridge just in time for Zach to declare that he's staying behind to stall, while they three board the ship.

Doc, being sensible, wants to know why them THREE, but Zach points out that they need to turn off the mines and Doc might be able to lend a hand taking out the robot defenses. Doc groans but agrees.

As they are ready to board, Doc's in a spacesuit for some bizarre reason. Shane's in standard uniform, and I'm only just now noticing that his boots are heeled. You're not tall ENOUGH, Shane? Wildfire tries to convince Goose to give him his weapons back, but Goose is having none of it and points out standard Ranger gear should be fine. Wildfire knows how to talk to a fellow weaponsman though, and states that he doesn't go anywhere without "Betsy" his rifle, and his "six-poppers." Goose understands a man's love of weapons, smirks, and agrees to get them.

Doc takes the time to ask about Garrett's robot guards. Apparently they're "standard Artusian hi-flex linebackers" "not more than a dozen or two.". There are also apparently a half dozen "series four, mad dog skullcrushers."

Robots in this series have the best names. Really. Heh. Anyway, Wildfire's not worried about those sorts. There is ONE that has him nervous. Doc groans, but Goose, having returned with Carson's toys, is politely interested. Probably because he wants to kill it.

Did I say probably? I mean definitely. Anyway, Garrett's got himself a "giant, chrome-plated, hydraulic Blitzkrieg Mangler, with a terrible temper." Awesome. I don't know what that is, but it sounds awesome. Goose comforts Doc with a grin, saying if it gets too mean, they'll just feed it Cody as indigestion will probably kill it. Yep. Man-crush is officially gone. Wildfire doesn't see the humor.

Cody's now suiting up too. I wonder how they had a suit his size. Maybe they're one size fits all.

As they leave, Zach orders Goose to take care of Cody. He wants him back there in one piece. They're apparently literally JUMPING across from one ship to the other. Okay! (Goose compares it to jumping from a log, Doc says he has logs in his head.)

How the hell does Zach keep getting transmissions from Garrett with his communications down? The show doesn't tell me. Garrett's impatient. Zach decides to point out, before Garrett shoots them into dust, that they're carrying something very very explosive in a weakened stasis chamber, and that if he actually blows them up, he'll be blowing himself and most of the area up as well. Garrett excuses him of bluffing, but Zach insists that he never bluffs.

I'm pretty sure that's not entirely true, and my suspicion is confirmed when Zach adds that he transmitted coordinates to BETA with a transcript of Garrett's threats. If Garrett does survive destroying them, he'll be the most wanted man in the galaxy.

Zach's kind of hot when he's using proper procedure to threaten people.

Garrett doesn't understand why Zach's sticking his neck out for Wildfire, but Zach insists that Wildfire's under their protective custody. Zach insists he'd do the same for anyone under his protection, "even you." Sometimes I really do love Zach. <3

Garrett's unimpressed and insists if he doesn't get Carson in "five minutes", those words will be his epitaph. I just love the word epitaph. I love it more that they use the word epitaph in a children's cartoon. Zach is unconcerned, probably because he's got a fairly good idea of how much destruction Shane Gooseman can wreak in five minutes.

Meanwhile, the jumpers make it to the ship. And Cody confesses that he never did have the access code. But he intends to get in the same way he got out. With Betsy's help. It works.

A giant robot shows up soon enough. It is designed in the time honored fashion of science fiction robots of old: out of household items painted weird colors. It has a TOASTER for a hand. Seriously.

This is particularly odd because this is a cartoon and can presumably draw something better. On the other hand, there is inherent awesomeness in a toaster-handed robot.

Goose shoots it down, but more soon follow. Carson offers to cover them and lead these robots off, but Goose is having none of that. There is more blowing up of robots, this time with added gymnastics.

It must be noted that for all his griping, Doc does make a good show for himself in battle. Unfortunately, Cody does manage to slip off during the fight and find his old ship, which he calls "Bucky." He's VERY happy to see it. He's accosted by some robots, but shoots them down without much trouble. Though his hat becomes a bit of a casualty. Poor hat.

Garrett's on the line again with Zach. Zach tries to convince him again of the lithium, but Garrett's not believing him and goes to his weapon's console. It occurs to me that he's got a big ass ship considering there's only one of him. That's greed for you. Makes it awful easy for space cops to sneak aboard. Though there does seem to be at least one other person there. So maybe the ship's less deserted than it looks.

Cody's in his ship, where he's suddenly accosted by a metallic tentacle. He catches it, revealing it to be coming out of the front of a giggling robot. ...Okay! I really really don't want to know any more about Cody "Wildfire" Carson's personal life with a giggling, tentacled robot sidekick.

Seriously, that just looks wrong. Anyway, Wildfire blasts out of the hanger. Garrett watches and is about to press the button, when he's interrupted by Doc and Shane. Garrett has no notion of surrendering though and instead calls up his giant black robot of doom. And it's a doozy.

Blaster fire doesn't seem to have an effect, but Goose has a plan. He taps his badge, and then lets himself get bitchslapped. (It's things like this that show why Doc has the better power. Sure, you can do a lot with bio-defenses, but they invariably involve getting shot or bitchslapped by giant robots to activate. I'm not fond of pain.)

Alarmed, Doc yells out "My Gooseman." Aw.

Goose isn't out for the count though, though he appears to be ON FIRE as he stands up and quickly becomes metallic. He's now a flaming, gold, metallic Goosebot. I'm kind of impressed. He punches through the floor, pulls out a bunch of wires and zaps the crap out of the doombot from hell, treating us to a nice ass-shot in the process. You know, I really ought to recommend this series to Ragnell.

The doombot tries to hug him to death, but explodes instead. Well done, my homicidal fictional friend! Doc agrees with me, via his customary wisecrack. Zach suddenly pops up on the monitor, congratulates the team, and orders Doc to send BETA a message. How the hell did Zach know what they were doing?

Actually, I kind of like the thought that Zach as soon as Garrett started walking to the weapon button, just started counting backward from one-hundred or something like that, figuring that'd be about how long it'd take Goose to destroy a giant robot and arrest Garrett's ass.

Garrett is aghast that Zach lied about his communications. Zach shrugs and points out that the isotopes were real. So it's a victory, though Carson's gone. He does send one last message to Zach though, thanking them for getting him back his ship, promising that if he can ever do them a favor, they should "yodel" for old Wildfire.

--

As the second Zach-centered episode in a row, I thought this one was quite a lot better than Mistwalker. Probably because, in the end, Zach's strengths work best as team leader. And also, Wildfire's a lot more fun than Audra Miles.

I thought this episode really used the age difference between Zach and the other Rangers well. To Doc and Goose, Wildfire's a roguish legend to be admired. But Zach actually knew the man, albeit he was in the academy at the time, rather than the legend. It's a nice emphasis that Zach, having a decade or more on the others (if not closer to two, in Shane's case) would have a substantial personal and professional history long before the others came on the scene.

I wonder if there wasn't actually a sort of mentor-student relationship between the two back then, if only because Zach bristles in Cody Carson's presence in a way that seems a step more personal than just a straight-laced, by-the-book fellow faced with a charming rogue.

Moreover, Wildfire himself acts very familiar with Zach. The arm-around-the-shoulder behavior, and the mocking use of Zach's title after the latter pulls rank seem to support this. It's the kind of behavior you pull on someone whose gotten "a little big for his britches" if you know what I mean. Moreover, Zach's expression when Cody starts going on about the mineral map is very long-suffering. As though he already knew where this was going.

Not to mention that, for a wanted fugitive, Carson apparently kept close enough tabs to know about the bionics.

It might explain a lot of Zach's uptightness, if his mentor had gone rogue during the early years of his Ranger-hood. In the end, however, as his out-bluffing/stalling of Garrett shows, Zach's not so hidebound that he can't do what's necessary to get the job done.

Shane Gooseman's subplot was fairly interesting too. If only because, well, it's pretty easy to see why a young genetically engineered soldier would be attracted to the notion of a good natured anarchist rogue character. The appeal fairly quickly dies the more he actually gets to know the man, however. The idea of a charming rogue is fun, but the actuality is a bit much. This is somewhat illustrated by the way he addresses/refers to him. In the beginning of the episode, he calls him "Wildfire." And in fact, we don't know Wildfire's real first name until Zach decides to check his record. By the end though, it's "Cody" or "Carson" as the man loses his mystique.

In an earlier post of mine, SOMEONE might have compared Shane Gooseman to Wolverine. :-) I don't actually think the comparison works. And not just because I LIKE Shane, and do not so much like Wolverine. Though that might be a part of it. :-)

Shane has moments of angsty loner-dom, but he's much more naturally a team player. He sees the value in and respects the chain of command, (even when clashing with Zach, he clearly respects him and had even stopped in his tracks before Zach let him go save Carson). When he does go off on his own, both in the MaCross episode and in later episodes I am not supposed to have seen yet, it's most often part of a mission. Even if, in one particular episode that I'm not supposed to know, it's a mission he deliberately chooses not to complete in the end.

Despite his destructive tendencies, Shane's pretty much characterized with an affinity for order and control rather than chaos. Though that's a conclusion that I'm not able to support without over-stepping my recap pace. :-)

Doc and Niko didn't have quite as much to do in this episode, but they did get to be very competent at least. Hopefully they'll get to do more soon.

What did we learn this episode: Zach's old. Shane's prone to man-crushes. Old cowboys can't be trusted. And seriously, stop sending people who can't go drop off messages without getting somehow embroiled in alien land wars to deliver high explosives. Jesus.

5 Comments:

  • At March 05, 2009 2:59 PM, Blogger LurkerWithout said…

    Are you sure they said "beached" and not "breached". Because the latter would actually, you know, make sense. Since they didn't crash their ship onto a beach and were then unable to float away...

    Also Wolverine so isn't a loner really. I mean is there any team he ISN'T on at this point? I'm pretty sure he's a Reserve Member for Power Pack even...

     
  • At March 05, 2009 4:39 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    I heard "beached". Apparently they couldn't go anywhere.

    And yeah, but Wolverine enjoys PRETENDING to be a loner more than Goose does. :-)

     
  • At March 06, 2009 10:13 AM, Blogger SallyP said…

    Oh yes, this particular episode was indeed a goodie. You have to admit that the dialogue is pretty fabulous, plus the whole concept of Cowboys in Spaaaaaaace just appeals to me.

    There are some similarities between Goose and Wolverine, but there are also a whole lot of differences. But yeah, a lot of good Zach characterization in this one.

     
  • At March 07, 2009 9:14 AM, Anonymous plok said…

    ...Aaaand I guess I should've read all the way through before leaving comments, not that the X-Men thing is so obscure, but...

    Yeah, I like Goose better than Wolverine -- less bullshit! -- and Zach better than Cyclops, so.

    Again I laughed, this time at Goose not checking Wildfire's POCKET. Hah! Yes.

    More soon?

     
  • At March 07, 2009 9:37 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Nah, no need to read 'em all first. I'm certainly not watching every episode before I do the recaps after all. :-)

    Comment whenever you like! It's fun!

     

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