Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

I'm back! And reading! And maybe even blogging! No promises!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers: Recap 08: Ghost Station

Another day, another recap. :-) Fortunately, it gives me an excuse to watch cartoons instead of think too hard about things. Always a plus. :-)

This episode (Episode 8, for anyone actually keeping track) is called "Ghost Station." Which, like all titles including the word "ghost" promises to either be interesting or horrifyingly, entertainingly bad.

Either way, it's a win-win for me.
A Haunted House Story in SPAAAAACE

This episode starts with an odd spacestation circling around an Earth-like planet. It's kind of shaped like two disks connected by a thin middle piece. A bit of Babylon 5 meets the orbiting cemetary from Futurama, I guess.

A brown haired man with a very unfortunate hairstyle that's a cross between a pompadour and a cowlick is staring at a monitor. He reports a large object 75 sectors outside of the solar system. If they're actually using "solar system" correctly, this should be Earth that they're orbiting. But almost no one actually does, so god knows.

The object has no heat, radio or anything like that! GASP! It's too big to be a battle cruiser! Could it be a ghost station?!

I should stop making fun of kids cartoons. Especially when I'm totally watching them religiously.

Anyway, it's drifting straight for...Earth.

Oh my god. They actually ARE using "solar system" correctly. I love this show.

A girl with long blondish hair at another monitor chimes in that the object contains "anti-matter pods." And a detonator. The unfortunately coiffed fellow immediately reports this to Commander Walsh.

Back at Beta, Walsh, the Rangers, and Waldo and Zozo are lined up, receiving the report. Apparently the object is 10 miles in diameter, and is wired to explode. Eek. Walsh comments that it's the size of a small moon.

Niko wonders if it's a "gift" from the Wicked Queen, while Zach points out that a bomb like that could blow up the planet. Walsh orders the Galaxy Rangers out there immediately. Meanwhile, Zozo and Waldo want to study the damn thing. Yes. That sounds like a wonderful idea. Study the BOMB as it EXPLODES.

Walsh doesn't see it my way and sends them to join the Rangers. He does emphasize that "that intruder is not to reach Earth!"

Because the gang are taking off from Earth, we get the slightly gratuitous "boarding the ships" scene, as Ranger One prepares to take off, and Goose hops into the Interceptor. Alma's there too of course. <3 I love that little pink eyeball.

When they finally get into visual range with the thing, it doesn't quite look like the Death Star, but it is big, round and metal. Everyone is quite freaked out by the size. Though ten miles in diameter doesn't seem THAT big to me. Niko reminds them to keep track of what they're dealing with. Goose answers with: "The largest bomb ever built."

He sounds a bit disgruntled. I suspect because he actually wants to blow shit up with it.

Doc tries to signal it. There's no reply. It's "silent as a tomb." Thank you, Doc. I don't think the dumber children in the audience quite got the point yet. Yeesh. Niko reiterates the lack of lifeforms thing. Goose decides to go in for a closer look.

Suddenly the station looks a lot less lifeless, as it starts shooting at the Interceptor. Goose does have that effect on people. Goose actually appears pleased by this. Then again, it means he gets to blow something up, theoretically. So it makes sense.

A landing bay opens in the side of the robot moon. Zach orders him to "proceed with caution" (THAT'll happen) and both ships fly in. Ranger One looks very cumbersome when it lands, I notice.

Doc figures out that the station is pre-programmed, and that the power surges should lead to the master computer. Niko notes that Life Support is still functioning. Always a plus.

Isn't it convenient how derelict ships and stations wired to explode always have life support running?

When they leave the ship, Zach asks Niko to use her power on the station. She does and monologues that the station is "thousands of years old," and the original planet it had been orbiting was destroyed. Just as she confirms that there's no one left, a creepy voice bids everyone welcome!

On a monitor, a guy who looks like Count Dracula's anemic cousin introduces himself as Speck and greets the Rangers as "Enolans." He bids them welcome and gestures at a door, which opens creepily.

Izzit a trap? Ooo, I hope it is! Heh.

Actually, apparently it isn't. And the doors open into a saloon looking room filled with laughing and chatting people. Personally, I kind of dig the jukebox in the corner of the room. It's a nifty anachronism.

Everyone is understandably nonplussed, and Niko reveals from her scanner that the people aren't real life forms. Zozo suggests ghosts, but Waldo tuts that notion. Goose suggests that there's only one way to find out. (Because killing ghosts would be a fun new experience.) Doc tells him to step aside, and saunters up to two ladies: a blond in a green cowboy hat and matching frilly dress, and a bald woman with what looks like antennae. The girls titter, but when Doc tries to touch them, his hand passes right through.

Niko scans and confirms: holograms.

In the corner, a strange pink alien in chaps and leather is riding a mechanical bull. It's not as kinky as it sounds, but I've always been a bit skeptical of mechanical bulls. Zozo thinks it looks like fun, which is more than I ever wanted to know about Zozo. Waldo, of course, thinks it's a foolish waste of time. Thank you, Buzz Killington. Now tell us about etchings.

But then Waldo considers, rubbing his chin, and calls it an interesting example of a unique alien custom. Ew. Waldo's a voyeur. He thinks it's a product of a uniquely advanced culture.

Yeah. Okay. Whatever, man. They really need to take him out drinking sometime. Zozo tries to leap onto the bull, but falls through, because, hello, holograms.

Okay, question, if the station is thousands of years old, why do all the holograms look wild westian? With added jukebox? Are cowboys really THAT universal?

Wait, dumb question. In this universe, they totally are.

Zach and Niko go to talk to the bartender and it's Count Dracula's anemic cousin Speck! Hi, Speck! He is glad to see they've finally returned from Enola.

Zach stupidly declares that he's not from Enola, and Count Dracula's anemic cousin Speck recoils, declaring them to be enemies. Why the hell is Zach leader again? Oh, right. Cyborged Jerry Orbach.

Zach tries to calm him down with a hand on the shoulder, but again. Hologram. God, Zach's having a dimwit day today. Yeesh. Niko nobly does not mock him. I would not be so kind. Suddenly all the hologram people disappear in a puff of smoke, and Speck's voice creepily announces that he must complete his function. Great. Zach just brought about Armageddon. When Eliza wakes up, she's going to be so pissed at you.

Zozo freaks out, and when Waldo insists there are no such things as ghosts, the chandelier's lights start blinking on and off. Seriously guys: holograms controlled by crazy computer. It's not a hard concept. Just watch a couple billion episodes of Star Trek the Next Generation. You'll get the hang of it.

Okay, apparently the chandelier ISN'T a hologram, as the rope suddenly frays and it comes crashing down, the Rangers and mascot Ambassadors scattering just in time. That...was mildly impressive. Everyone runs, two by two out different saloon doors. Zach and Niko. Goose and Doc. And Waldo and Zozo.

Zozo and Waldo are last to escape, and Zozo continues to insist that the place is haunted. Waldo is losing patience. Waldo starts boasting about how on Andor, even the smallest child knows there's no such thing as ghosts, but Zozo isn't listening. I can't blame him. Waldo's being a pompous jerk. Zozo in the mean time is trying to flee from disembodied chuckling. Honey, unless you flee into OUTER SPACE, I don't think you're going to escape.

Waldo shouts to wait for him and begins running after. Heh. The skeptics ALWAYS do that.

Meanwhile Goose and Doc are in another corridor. Goose tries to get Niko or Zach on the communicator just as a barracade nearly collides with his head from above. He and Doc begin racing down the corridor, as the barracades keep falling successively behind them. Once past that point, they slow to a walk and Doc complains that fighting ghosts isn't in his job description. Shane is less concerned about the matter. Anyway, they pass through a door, and suddenly holodeck hijinx hit, and they're in a graveyard. Eerie!

Either this station is from a culture eerily similar to Earth, or it's getting the images from their minds somehow. I wonder if they'll bother explaining it.

Anyway, the two are beset quickly by a giant feathered owl with a tentacled-tail. Doc remarks that he'd never seen such "complex holography" (say that fast, I dare you), while Goose insists that they have to find the others. Doc points out that they have to get themselves out first. Goose probably has to yield that point, but we don't know for sure as we suddenly get to Doc and Niko.

Suddenly, THEY are in a hedge maze. Zach asks Niko to get any impressions, and tells her to stay close. Unfortunately, they're soon separated. Niko encounters danger first, as the maze suddenly exits into a rocky hill with very hungry looking alien wolves sitting atop. They charge her, but she merely taps something in her scanner. Zach catchs up to her, gun drawn, but there's no need. The holograms dissipate before they reach them.

Niko is smarter than Zach. :-)

Suddenly, an armored knight on horseback charges them. Niko confirms that the armor is real but hollow. There's nothing inside of it. Zach tries shooting the knight with his gun, to no avail. But actually, he doesn't need it, and taps his badge. Then he bitchslaps the knight off of the horse quite handily. Well done!

The armor crashes to the floor and the horse vanishes. How was the armor staying up?

Back to Waldo and Zozo, who have tired from their running and now lean against a wall. That's probably not a good idea. Waldo keeps insisting on a logical explanation, to be fair, he's probably right. He's still being annoying about it though. Zozo thinks that ghosts are a perfectly logical explanation. To be fair, in certain situations, they can be.

Just as Waldo finishes insisting that ghosts are nonsense, the wall they're leaning on disappears and the two fall into what looks like a library.

Waldo pulls a book off the shelf, it's helpfully labeled in English as "The history of the planet Enola." It's definitely not English inside, though Waldo conveniently can read it. For his part, Zozo wanders off, conveniently in front of a painting which suddenly moves its eyes to look at him. Tres Scooby Doo.

Zozo freaks and backs into a book case, which suddenly spins and traps him in a nook/passage behind it. He calls Waldo for help. Waldo places the book back and wonders where his annoying little friend is.

He ends up making it to the bookcase where they have decidedly predictable spinny bookcase, each one ending up in the passageway nonsense. Can we go back to the others yet? Fortunately, the sequence is fairly brief, and the two are once more free, Waldo finds another passage and wishes for light. He is obliged by a candle floating by his head. He thanks Zozo, apparently for all his intellect, completely incapable of remembering that his friend and partner only stands about waist-high. Zozo for his part is too scared to manage words to enlighten him.

Can we PLEASE go back to the other characters?

Eventually Zozo leaps onto Waldo's head, covering his eyes in idiot panic. Zozo! Did the writers accidently mistake him for Snarf again? Jesus. Zozo is usually a fairly intelligent guy, damnit. Eventually Waldo manages to stop and pull Zozo off of his head, while the background gets all swirly behind them and a tube suddenly encloses them and lifts them in the air.

Meanwhile, Goose and Doc are still in the cemetary looking for a way out. A bat charges at Doc's head, much to his dismay. Goose gets annoyed and tries to shoot them. But because they're holograms, it doesn't work. Still, they do eventually dissipate.

Just as Doc exclaims that the holograms can't get worse, they're besieged by massive wind. Doc immediately throws himself to the ground like a sane person. Goose stays upright, and is pissed off. He declares that he's had enough of this. He taps his badge and challenges the lightning to hit him. Of course, it does. And tears open his shirt in the process.

I love the Shane Gooseman method of problem solving: get struck by lightning, tear open your shirt, and turn into something glowy.

Anyway, his image flickers in and out with that of an entirely metal Goose. Amusingly, while metal!Goose's uniform is no where to be seen, his fetchingly effeminate neck scarf remains. Eventually, he's back to his normal appearance albeit partially surrounded by pink energy apparently drained from the holograms. A staircase opens in the plot of one of the tombstones. Goose leads the way down, while Doc moans and wisecracks. :-)

Now back to Zach and Niko. who finally get out of the maze and to an abandoned shack. Zach asks if they're close to the detonation device, but there's too much interference on Niko's scanner. They go inside where they're accosted by skeleton versions of themselves. The Niko-skeleton even has her shiny shiny hair.

She recoils, but quickly realizes they're an X-Ray projection of themselves. I'm not sure what this means Niko's hair is made of. Especially since the Zach-skeleton is bald. Anyway, Zach and Niko make their way up the rickety looking staircase, as chuckling moaning noises annoy the heck out of them. Zach is getting annoyed and demands that whatever it is show itself.

Sure enough, a giant green skull thing appears right in front of them. Zach, having had quite enough, taps his badge and shoots through it. He insists they're through playing and wants to get to their friends. Suddenly the staircase balcony drops, carrying them away.

Once more to Goose and Doc, who are walking along a dark misty area. Doc mutters about getting his hands on the mainframe, while Goose finds a tiny scrap of cloth and picks it up. Goose, by the way, continues to have half of his shirt ripped away. Anyway, he recognizes the scrap as being from Waldo's tunic. Doc calls Goose a "super-human bloodhound" as a tube starts aiming itself at them.

This time, Goose sees it first and pushes Doc out of the way, getting captured in it himself.

Doc is upset and declares "My Gooseman! What will he do without me?"

...sometimes I wonder if there is slash fanfic out there about these two. Then I figure, it's the internet, so yes. And some day I will find it.

Doc finds himself in a corridor and starts calling for everyone. He's got a wonderfully annoying way of calling Zachary. I love Doc. Anyway, he eventually makes his way to a solid wall. He ends up stumbling across the same spinning wall that Waldo and Zozo found previously, and appears in the library.

Doc also notes the moving eyes in the picture, but unlike Zozo, actually has the brains to take it OFF the wall, revealing a nice computer console with gratuitously placed eyeballs underneath. Now he's in business. He presses a few buttons, and the eyes flip about to reveal a monitor adorned with Dracula's anemic cousin, Speck. I'm beginning to hate that guy.

Doc asks Speck for the story and actually gets it. Speck is the supreme creation of the Enolans. He has to finish his last function: to protect Enola as a doomsday weapon. And he has to destroy Earth.

Doc demands to know why, as Earth isn't an enemy. Speck doesn't answer. He merely says that only Enolans can alter his programming. Hmm. We'll see about that!

A clock appears on the screen, apparently counting down seven minutes. Doc tries to convince Speck that there aren't Enolans, or their enemies, left. Speck is regretful, and reveals he tried to frighten them away so they'd leave and not get hurt when he blew up Earth. Aw.

Doc taps his badge and sends Tripwire in to molest Speck, who shakes his head sadly, and says Doc can't stop him even with his magic.

Doc is confident, but Tripwire does not have good news. He can slow it down, but he can't stop it.

Speck is now speaking very slowly, but seems appreciative. He lifts a wall, and Zach, Niko, Waldo, Zozo, and the still only partially clothed Gooseman are standing there. Speck tells them how to get to the landing bay and asks that they hurry.

Doc asks what Speck will do. Speck declares that he will complete his program. Then his image flickers out. Doc stares at it, looking fairly devasted, but the others drag him off. Doc keeps looking back.

Zach and Goose quickly confer. There's not enough time to get clear, so Goose suggests they "jump-synch the hypershunts." As usual, I have no idea what that means, but hopefully it will look neat. They board the ships and take off.

There is suspense though, Ranger One doesn't have enough "flux charge!" The charts and graphs are moving around very excitingly, and Zach certainly seems to find this alarming.

They just manage to get away, before Speck exploded.

The Rangers realize that Speck must have triggered his explosion early so as not to hurt anyone else. Everyone is moved, and Doc in particular is upset. Poor Doc. Zach declares that everyone in the galaxy will see the explosion "like a newborn star, with a message of peace." Aw. I have to admit, it's not the ending I was expecting this episode to have.

--

So anyway, like I was saying, I wasn't actually figuring the episode to go in the direction it did. Speck's turnaround was probably a bit too sudden, but then if we consider he was probably watching them throughout their adventures, he probably had enough time to grow attached by all the saving of each other that they'd been doing. That sort of thing tends to endear the characters to people.

This is another episode where an apparently adversarial is actually not as bad as he seems. He wasn't trying to torment the Rangers, instead he was trying to scare them away so they wouldn't get hurt.

I still don't understand why it kept using very Earth-centric imagery. Maybe through Niko's bonding? Or maybe accessing the computers of the ships? It'd be nice if they had some explanation. The show's usually a bit better about that kind of thing. Still, no one's perfect.

The pairing off of the characters, in general, was a good way to showcase the characters through relationships. I liked seeing Zach be very protective (understandable given what happened to Eliza) while at the same time, Niko was the one to figure out most of what was happening while it happened. She tolerated Zach's chivalry, without letting it get in the way of her competence.

Zach and Zozo were not at their brightest in this episode, though, and that was more than a little disappointing. Well, to be fair, Zach was mostly tripped up by his own straightforward nature than anything else. He's an honest guy who reacts to things by gut as much as by his head. It's not surprising that he's not as effective with this kind of illusion. There was no reason for Zozo's buffoonery though. Yeesh.

Doc and Goose got to play out the soldier/scientist dichotomy a.la Stargate quite a bit. With the scientist's intellectual curiosity contrasted with the soldier's desire to get everyone together and out in one piece. It works pretty well. :-)

We got to see another hint of Goose's nature as he could both see a tiny scrap of white fabric in a fairly dark corridor, but also tell that it specifically came from Waldo's tunic instead of anyone else's clothes.

By the end, really, it was Doc's show. Poor Doc. It was neat to see him bond with Speck, and considering how laid back and unaffected he tends to seem normally, it was pretty striking to see him that upset at Speck's fate. I hope he finds comfort in much female companionship back on Earth.

So what did we learn today? Haunted space stations may actually be sentient doomsday devices that you may be able to accidently convince to blow itself up early. But it's kind of sad when it does so.

4 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home