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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers: Recap 10: Traash

I really considered taking a nap instead of writing this recap. Lucky you. :-)

Anyway, today's episode is number 10: "Traash." I'm not sure what's up with the extra "a" either. But it seems interesting.

Sadly, a Mustache Doesn't Always Make Someone Cool


We start the episode looking at a vaguely familiar bird-shaped orange spaceship that looks like it might be skirting the edge of violating a Roddenberry copyright.

Hey, it's Captain Kidd! I missed you, you weird antlered bird guy. I also missed your adorable umbrella conjuring pilot! How are ya?

Anyway, apparently our favorite monkey toting Captain is "fishing" in the "hypertrench" via a tractor beam. And boy did they reel in a doozy! They got themselves their own alien space craft!

As Kidd commands that they check the space directory to identify it, his monkey thing calls out "shake your booty!" This disturbs me. You are a creepy monkey thing, monkey thing. I do not approve. Apparently, the fact that the little space ship is a "Traash fighter" is big news, as upon hearing this Kidd moans and buries his beak in his hands. He immediately orders his crew to get rid of it. But it's too late, and the ship is already firing at them. Aggressive bunch, aren't they?

Frantically, Kidd orders that they get out of there while there's still only one ship. The monkey is chiming in. I still don't approve of you, monkey.

Anyway, very soon, there are a whole mass of ships: little beaky ships like the one that Kidd "salvaged" and larger, oddly turtle-like ships. Kidd identifies this as an "invasion fleet." Eek.

Kidd demands that they initiate hypershunt, and he doesn't care where to. The ships keep firing, but fortunately they seem to have gone to the Stormtrooper school of target practice. Kidd isn't taking any chances, so he wants to drop a cluster bomb. And those spiky little mines certainly look unpleasant. Eww.

Kidd's ship flees, but the coordinate thingy is broken. They don't know where they're going, though the cute green pilot thinks it's human space. Kidd is pleased and orders the pilot to raise "League colors."

They emerge from hyperspace and end up colliding with one of BETA's slightly dingy looking ships. The other ship doesn't look very damaged, but Kidd's ship now has a dented beak. Aw.

Aww, the monkey thing went flying, but Kidd caught it and cradled it. I don't approve of the monkey thing, but I approve of warm and fuzzy behavior on the part of previously antagonistic types.

The commander of the vessel, who has a mustache possibly even more awesome than Commander Walsh, is less than pleased about being rammed. The cute girl with a very twangy accent at one of the stations identifies Kidd's ship as "the Iron Falcon." Which is a fairly fitting name all things considered. She reports that they're seeking assistance.

Awesome mustasched man's mustache actually goes straight into his sideburns. I am full of awe indeed. He recognizes the ship as belonging to Kidd and "his band of outlaws." I want a band of outlaws! That'd be fun! Anyway, he demands to know what they're doing in human space.

He's about to be answered, as Kidd (monkey thing cringing on his shoulder) appears on the screen. The mustached man starts ranting, calling Kidd a "crazed bird-headed bandit" which isn't entirely inaccurate...or at all inaccurate, and demands to know what they're doing.

Kidd is offended however, even as mustached man insists that he's under arrest. He wants to know for what. Mustached man says "for whatever I can dig out of the computer!" You give a bad name to space cops everywhere, mustached man.

Kidd, addressing mustached man as "human", keeps insisting that the Traash are coming. Mustached man is unfamiliar with the Traash, as are we at home, so he demands that they get the "mutated chicken" up there.

Mustached man is a jerk, and I no longer am impressed by his mustache. On the bridge, Mustached man tells Kidd to "start squawking." You know, these comments are starting to border on bigotry! Also on the screen, he's got a zoomed in image of the Iron Falcon's beak buried into his ship's side. Fixated much? Jeez.

Kidd explains that not much is known about the Traash, except that they tolerate no other lifeforms in their space. Mustached man wants to know how they got here, and Kidd tells the truth: it got caught in his hyper-thingy, and he used anti-matter bombs to cloud his escape. Mustached man laughs in disbelief. Shut up, Mustached Man. Your mustache sucks.

Kidd is not provoked and explains that even the Wicked Queen fears the Traash and her fleet has never engaged them. Mustached man leans into Kidd's personal space and wants to know what the Traash wants. How should he know? Stop being a dick, and maybe I can appreciate your fetching mustache again.

Kidd doesn't know. He describes them as an insect species, which swarm and exterminate all life. Mustached man lets out a "WHAT?!" but seriously, Kidd's mentioned the genocidal tendancies before. Pay attention Mustached Man. Kidd elaborates that there is NO other life in Traash space.

I hate to say it, but Kidd's lecture is really making them sound genuinely creepy. I'm impressed.

Mustached man accuses Kidd (who is much bigger physically, it must be noted) of bringing them there. Well, it wasn't on purpose, Mustached Man. Lay off. He didn't HAVE to stick around and warn us.

I hate mustached man.

The conversation is interrupted by weapons fire. The Traash caught up. Mustached man wants BETA mountain on the "threeway" and I'm avoiding a really awful dirty joke by the skin of my teeth. You're welcome.

Mustached man declares "You're in big trouble, bird!" just before he shouts "Battlestations." I hope you blow up, mustached man! Well, after Kidd escapes. I like Kidd.

Whoa, the Traash fleet is made up of a thousand ships. That's a fairly good sized number. Mustached man's ship has better aim than the Traash and actually destroys a few.

Fortunately for Mustached Man, a bunch of Interceptors are flying their way towards him. "Galaxy Ranger Gooseman" identifies himself via radio. Hi, Goose! Good to see you! Can you please blow up Mustached Man?

Anyway, it doesn't look like the team's with him. He appears to be leading a group of interceptor pilots, and if they were the team, they'd have had speaking lines by now. It's kind of neat to see our Goose in a command position.

Ooo, we get our first zoomed in look at a Traash in a ship cockpit. Creepy looking mother! Ew.

The Interceptors are making a good show for themselves and we see Goose and Alma blow up a trash fighter GOOD. Aw, thanks! It's not quite as good as blowing up Mustached Man, but it's not bad either.

Meanwhile, the others in Ranger One are ordered to rendezvous with the Comanche (presumably Mustached Man's ship). Comanche is a dreadnought apparently (I've always liked that word) and the Interceptor Squadron has it covered. Because Goose is awesome of course.

Niko comments on the size of the Traash fleet, but Doc appears fairly confident that they'll be able to help. On the monitor, Walsh who's mustache may not be as impressive as Mustached Man, but is attached to a man I like much better, explains that it's a stalemate and that it's crazy for the Traash to attack like this. Walsh wants them to find a way to communicate before both forces annihilate each other.

Niko suggests using something called a "mind-net device" to make mental contact with the Traash high command. Doc enthusiastically adds that they'll MAKE them talk to the Rangers, even if they don't want to.

Walsh explains that the Andorians believe the Traash have never communicated with another life form. Doc is bemused by the idea of being the aliens' first.

...

Yet another dirty joke that I'm manfully avoiding as this is a kid's show. I'm sure you can supply your own if you try.

Anyway, Doc says they'll either make history, or Niko chimes in easily, they'll never come back. Doc comments that he should be getting used to impossible missions by now. Which is very true. Poor Doc.

It's odd that Zach hasn't spoken yet. He IS on the ship though.

Ranger One jumps and lands amidst the Traash fleet and Jerry Orbach gets his first line of the episode by insisting that they have to outrun them. Thank you, Mr. Orbach. Ranger One does some fancy flying until Goose and the other Interceptors can swoop in and save their asses. Goose seems happy to see them.

Or maybe he's just happy because he's blowing things up. Either way. He blows himself up a few more Traash, and Doc compliments his shooting. Goose tosses back that it's all in a day's work.

The Comanche opens a space dock for the Rangers, and they come aboard. All four Rangers, (Goose apparently shed his Interceptor to join them) meet up with Mustached Man on the Bridge.

Niko explains their mission is to make contact. Mustached Man snaps that he just got the orders over the link. Shut up, Mustached Man. Your mustache sucks.

Zach explains that BETA believes if they can break through and make contact, they can stop the fighting. Mustached man tells him that they've targetted the Traash high command somewhere near Spica. The flagship is apparently nine miles wide.

Eek. The ghost station they met Speck at was only ten miles wide! That's one big ass ship!

Mustached Man explains the tactic: they'll do a diversionary attack and drop the Rangers off on top of the flag ship. Suddenly Kidd bursts his way onto the bridge. Zach greets him with a surprising amount of amusement all things considered. Mustached man orders Kidd's arrest, but Kidd tosses some small device to Doc first. It's a data disk of some kind, displaying what the Traash warriors actually look like.

I love you Kidd.

Doc, naturally, makes a calling the exterminator joke while Niko, naturally, points out that that's exactly the problem. They're such alien species that "the first thing [they] think of is extermination." Which is a fair point.

Kidd mutters that he tried communicating with them once. Zach is skeptical. Kidd explains that it was only the warriors, and then wants to know why they're all staring. Doc says what they're all thinking: "YOU escaped from the Traash?" Hey, Kidd's not incompetent, just eccentric and greedy! Be nice!

Since Kidd is the only person they know of to have actually talked to the Traash, albeit a long time ago, Zach insists he come with them. Kidd protests, while his monkey thing chimes in "Never, never, never." Shut up, Monkey. I still disapprove of you.

Niko diplomatically points out that he's the only one to have seen a Traash warrior. For his part, Mustached Man resorts to threats of impounding his ship and arresting his crew.

Shut UP, Mustached Man! Zach also seems to look disapproving as he glances over at him. Kidd protests that the Traash warriors are demons in battle, which gets Niko curious as to how DID Kidd escape.

Kidd explains that the high command used a pattern of whistles to control the warriors and demonstrates. Kidd imitated the command whistles and escaped. That's...pretty clever, Kidd. Doc makes a wisecrack, while Zack just says "Let's go." Kidd shakes his fist but ends up going along.

In a hanger bay, we see a weird new type of ship, which Mustached Man explains is a battlepod, and it'll get them onto the ship. Each Ranger is in their spacesuits inside. Once they're on the ship, Mustached Man reminds them, they're on their own. Zach thanks him, and it sounds like he calls him Nat, so I guess I will too.

The pods close, though apparently Kidd's monkey-thing (named Squigee) is staying behind with Nat-of-the-Mustache. Heh.

Mustached Nat is very enthusiastic about this decoy attack.

The high command ship is fascinating because it doesn't look like any spaceship I've seen anywhere! It actually looks more like a hive in space. And not a nice beehive, but one of those long, blotchy, shapeless messes that usually house wasps and other scarier insects.

Wasp shaped metal insects exit out of the hiveship, and then the tinier fighters exit out of THEM. It's like a weird insectoid nesting doll set. They fire, and the Comanche does its own brand of fancy fighting before ejecting the pods onto the ship. The defense systems shoot at them, but fortunately, the hive shoots as poorly as the individual warrior ships do, and they make it through. Once landed, the Rangers and Kidd exit the pods, and head inside.

Kidd gripes "what if they go into hyperspace now?" type thing, and Niko answers cheerfully that they'll be blasted into sub-atomic particles. I like Niko, she has a morbid sense of humor.

Shane notes that they're at a part of the ship with no life support, so there shouldn't be any alarms when they cut inside. Apparently they got the info from the Andorians, who are surprisingly knowledgeable for a species that have never seen the Traash. But then knowing things is what the Andorians do.

Goose cuts through the barracade with his blaster and is the first down a long rope inside. The others follow quickly. Kidd, who is much thicker than any of the rangers, has the hardest time getting through. And explains that he would exercise but his wife always has too many things for him to do at home.

Hee, I would like to see Mrs. Kidd someday.

Doc hacks his way into a nearby door via Pathfinder, and they soon enter into musty but breathable air. Doc critiques the interior design, but Niko suspects it's not on their list of priorities.

Niko is holding a strange cylindrical object topped with some odd sphere. The sphere glows, and Niko warns that there are life forms ahead.

The Traash warriors are definitely creepy. But the Rangers take cover in time. Doc expresses doubts about the whole whistling part of the plan.

Another type of Traash, which have wings and walk upright pass by. Kidd identifies them as Walkers and Goose asks why they don't attack. Apparently they're not programmed to and hadn't sensed their presence at all.

I wonder if each form is part of the Traash's development. Like larvae and young adult or something.

SOMETHING definitely appears to be watching the Rangers though.

Finally they reach the high command. There are lots of little Traash skittering about on the floor. They're actually kind of cute, but I wouldn't want to touch one. I'm kind of bigoted against insects.

The high command, or one of them at least, looks an awful lot like Jabba the Hutt from a distance. Kidd tries his paralyzing whistle, which instead causes the warriors to attack, oops!

One leaps in front of Goose and tosses him into the wall, then starts gnawing on his leg. Goose does the badge-tapping-of-shapeshifty goodness, and ends up in a form very similar to the Warriors, and throws it back.

Goose seems to enjoy punching Warriors, while Niko politely suggests that Kidd try his whistle again, possibly in a lower key, since there are more warriors coming from the other direction. Kidd tries again, while Goose keeps punching, and the high command just looks annoyed, in as much as an insect can.

Zach snaps at him to hurry before they're bug food. Niko suggests a higher key this time but they have no luck. Kidd explains that it's hard to concentrate.

Doc points out that the bugs are in for a surprise when they eat Zachary. Heh.

Kidd tries another whistle, which does seem to have some effect, and Niko gets him to do it again, higher, and it actually works. The bugs are paralyzed in place.

Doc is sent to hack the doors closed via Pathfinder and Tripwire, while Goose is relieved to un-insectify himself. Doc is much in agreement with that sentiment, and points out that if Goose were to become one of those permanently. Goose interrupts, grinning "Don't bug me, Doc." A pun! Heheh!

Niko for her part lassos the high command insect. It's very impressive. While Kidd brings over a weird helmet with handlebar contraption, and the cylinder thing is placed inside. Zach confesses that this is one delicate job he's glad to leave to her.

Shane, on guard, warns that they have to hurry, because he hears something coming. Meanwhile, Niko starts to glow inside the Mind-Net. A beam shoots out and engulfs the high command creature.

While Niko and the High Command creature appear to communicate, a larger, scarier Traash enters. It might be artificial, from the look of it. On Shane's suggestion, Zach Thunderbolts it into pieces.

They get back to Niko who explains that the Traash are afraid of all other life. Especially "the two-leg things" which are terrible and will attack them. Which is fairly understandable at the moment. Heh.

Doc reports that his gizmos have hacked the Traash databank, and that their computers are pretty damn old. Doc sends his "Tweakers" to isolate the room and buy Niko more time.

Niko explains to the Traash that humans are peaceful and don't want to hurt them. And that there are many systems in the universe, and the Traash have no need for theirs. The Traash command/commander appears to be listening. The Traash commander points out that the two-legged things attack. Niko retorts that they are strong and will destroy the Traash if they have to.

That doesn't seem very comforting to me, but the Traash commander acknowledges that they've lost many ships and warriors. It accepts Niko's offer of a mindlink. The Traash explains that they want peace but always get attacked first. Niko responds that if the Traash decide to be peaceful, then the other species will leave them alone. Well. Probably. Except the assholes. But Niko doesn't mention them.

Finally the Traash agrees and whistles at the warriors, who all chorus whistles back. Kidd and the Rangers all start whistling too. It's weird, but heck, it works. Go Niko!

Back aboard ship, the Rangers say goodbye to Kidd, who seems to be fairly cheerful about the adventure and even comments that he's lost weight! Squigee corrects him and says he's still tubby. I still disapprove of that thing.

Mustached Man suggests recruiting Kidd for the Galaxy Rangers. You're still not forgiven, Mustache Man. That would be kind of awesome actually, but it doesn't look like Kidd's sort of thing. Too bad.

--

The last two episodes have been pretty Niko-heavy, which is good, because up until this point she had been somewhat underdeveloped. This episode really highlighted her skills in a first contact type scenario: her experience with other cultures, her open-mindedness, and her diplomatic ability.

It really shows what she brings to the group. Zach and Goose are soldiers first and foremost. Doc's fairly socially adept, but in a different way than Niko. He's the charmer. Niko's the diplomat of the group.

I think this episode, especially in conjunction with the last episode, really give the impression that Niko's got some background in a social science. Maybe anthropology. It would explain why Audra Miles preferred her over Zach. And her openmindedness is very academic in nature, if that makes sense. She's thinking and analyzing, and very conscious of the risk of making judgments ahead of time.

Kidd had a pretty good show in this episode. Unlike Niko, this was not a situation for which he was remotely suited. He blundered a bit, but stuck it out. I do think it's a bit odd that Zach is so tolerant around him, considering his role in Eliza's capture. Zach is a better man than I am.

The Traash are fascinating because they really are a completely alien race. Most of the races in Galaxy Rangers are aliens of the sort that you'd see in Star Trek or Star Wars. Granted a bit more detailed/complex, thanks to it being an animated show. Most of the aliens are vaguely humanoid and have some behaviors or actions at least somewhat relatable to that of humans.

The Traash on the other hand aren't relatable or familiar at ALL. They are ALIEN. And the first glimpse of their flagship is something special, because it's the first time, I think, that it really sinks in exactly how different these guys are. That ship didn't even look like it was made of METAL until they got real close to it!

As a continuity note, it does seem like the encounter with the sensation doll last episode really did have subtle but visible lasting effects on Shane Gooseman. He seems more relaxed somehow, especially when bantering with Doc. In earlier episodes, while he did tolerate the jokes and occasionally quipped something back, it was a very dry retort. But in this episode, his rejoinders are lighter and more easygoing. He seems to be smiling more often. And even made an awful pun!

Multi-episode character growth! It'll be interesting to see if it continues to last. :-)

So what did we learn today: don't step on bugs, they might step back, Niko got lasso lessons from Wonder Woman, and Captain Kidd's whistle can kill small children.

Also, much as I am pained to admit it...having a mustache does NOT make you automatically cool.

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