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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, Recap 12, "Tune-Up"

And now, I'm back to my recaps. Which are, to be honest, a pain in the neck to do. But they're fun!

Today's episode is called "Tune-Up."

Oh My God, Kill Me Now. Heh.Hey! After two days' break from recapping, the opening theme has become catchy to me again! Yay! I really do miss 80s style cartoon themes.

This episode starts, with of all things, a strange instrumental version of "A Bicycle Built for Two" as we zoom in on BETA mountain. I'm not sure what exactly that implies about Commander Walsh, but I'm game. He's got a mustache after all.

A slightly odd looking transport with highly impractical looking landing gear is settling into one of the bays. Apparently the crew found some "lifeless alien artifacts" in "the empty zone."

I'm calling artifact-hijinx already, mind, but I am very amused by the concept of an "empty zone." I mean, it's outer fucking space. It's ALL empty.

They intend to take the pre-hijinx artifacts into Q-Ball's lab. Maybe we'll finally get to see this oft-mentioned and comedically named Q-Ball. I could go for that.

But first, we get to see Zach Jr. and Buzzwang playing chess, with JV watching over them making demented "ah-ah-ah" scolding noises as Buzzwang reaches for a piece until he picks the right one. You know, that would annoy the hell out of me whether I was Zach or Buzzwang. First off, if Zach wanted to play against that C-3PO wannabe eye-ball, I'd imagine he would. And also, how the hell is Buzzwang supposed to learn with a robot eyeball forcing him to move a certain way?

But then I hate chess anyway and have mastered the art of losing within two moves, so I shouldn't judge.

Buzzwang confides in "Little Zach" (And if there isn't a name less confidence shrinking than _____, Jr. It's Little ______. Heh) that "they" will never let him become a Galaxy Ranger because he's just a machine, a tool.

Oh crap, it's one of THESE episodes. On the plus side, I can start imagining crossovers in which G'Nort mistakes Buzzwang for a fire hydrant.

Little Zach points out that "[his] father, Zachary, is half machine" which...why the hell would you have to inject his first name in the conversation little Zach? I mean, granted, not everyone might know which Galaxy Ranger is your parent on sight, but your name IS "Zach, Jr." So odds are, they're probably EXPECTING his name to be Zach. Just saying.

And also, that doesn't really seem to be the most enlightened attitude. You need sensitivity training, Little Zach.

Buzzwang mopes like Nightwing and says that he supposes if he were half-human, he'd have half a chance. Looking close, he does still have the pharoah-esque beard I noticed from New Frontier, and thus I would be more sympathetic, if he weren't moping like a whiny girl. Or Dick Grayson.

Zach Jr. agrees with me, but more nicely and tells him to stop worrying. He makes a move and is complimented. I still say JV's "little sir" sounds like "loser." And is much funnier that way. "Nice move, loser." Heh.

Okay, so I'm twelve. Wanna make something of it?

Anyway, Buzzwang stands up as a thin, bald guy in a lab coat comes in. Okay, if this is "Q-Ball" then EVERYONE needs sensitivity training. Jeez.

Unless that's actually his name of course. Then his parents need sensitivity training.

Q-Ball is wearing some sort of weird metal visor, and pops up the lenses as Buzzwang asks whether he spoke with Commander Walsh. Q-Ball's all "I'm sorry, Buzz." And Buzzwang Nightwings "It's because I'm mechanical, isn't it?"

If I say yes, will you stop whining?

Anyway, Q-Ball platitudes that it's not enough to WANT to be a Ranger, you have to earn it. Which okay, I'm inclined not to side with Buzzwang on general principle, but that's a bit assholish, Q-Ball. Why not give the guy tips on how TO earn it?

But then that would require you not to be a dick, wouldn't it.

Q-Ball suggests that for now Buzzwang can help the Rangers by doing the inventory of the new alien artifacts. Interesting how "helping the Rangers" conveniently seems more like helping YOU, you dick.

Buzzwang is downcast, but Zach Jr. is enthusiastic at the thought and volunteers to help.

If this turns out to be an episode revolving solely around Zach Jr, and Buzzwang doing inventory, I may have to be ticked off at you, show.

God willing, something'll blow up though.

Q-Ball agrees to Little Zach (seriously, how much does it suck to be known as "little" when you're obviously like fifteen or so?) helping if it'll make Buzzwang feel better. Buzzwang Nightwings that he'll feel better "in a year or two."

Q-Ball doesn't have patience with the Nightwinging and decides to grab lunch, warning them not to monkey around with the machines. I sympathize with the lack of patience, but I find it awfully suspicious that he's going to lunch now after shirking his job to the robot. I bet he never asked Walsh at all, since then he'd have to do his own damn inventorying.

Little Zach does not let assholes or whiny robots ruin his enthusiasm, and runs into the cargo hold. He picks up a device saying "Wow, this one sure is weird." Buzzwang dutifully records "One weird alien device, function unknown."

That's got to be the most useless inventory list ever. But it might be fun to read it. The entry is amended to "two weird alien devices, function unknown" when Little Zach finds another.

Little Zach wonders what it's for, and Buzzwang suggests that it looks like a flying radiator. Little Zach wants to see if they can make it work, though Buzzwang protests.

I'll grant the show one thing, usually it's the comic relief wannabe character who gets in trouble of their own initiative, thus proving really why they SHOULDN'T get the recognition they want. (And yet they always do at the end of the episode anyway.) The fact that it's the kid who starts the monkeying about makes the plot a tad more palatable to me.

A tad. Heh.

Oh crap, I spoke too soon. As Zach Jr. carries off the radiator, Buzzwang catches sight of a long tube and decides it couldn't hurt to take a peek.

To be fair, it's not like the Galaxy Rangers themselves aren't violent, irrational lunatics, but still, the plot annoys me.

Buzzwang crawls in, declaring that it doesn't look too bad, just needs a tune-up (TITLE!) and decides to plug a "doo-dad" into a "whatchamacallit."

Oh, that's really comforting. I think I hate you, Buzzwang.

Anyway, the machine starts up, bright lights flash, and we see images of Buzzwang's face scroll in front of him like a photocopier.

It would be funny if the machine turned out to be a giant photocopier. Heh.

Anyway, Zach Jr. comes running up and sees the trouble. He tries to yank Buzzwang out but just manages to pull off his foot. Ouch.

Suddenly Zach Jr stares as the photocopied images of Buzzwang's face start becoming 3D and sprouting limbs. That's...kind of terrifying.

What's more terrifying is that it's four minutes into the episode and I've yet to see any of the characters I actually give a crap about. (Zach Jr. has potential, but as yet hasn't shown the drive to cause mass destruction.)

The photocopies all become bizarre childsized versions of Buzzwang. One is, for some unknown reason, fat. One of the little Buzzwangs, which I kind of want to call Tim, starts climbing the MRI-meets-photocopier.

He greets "Pop" and calls himself a "Baby Buzzwang."

Okay, initially I wasn't going to like this episode, but since it revolves around a robot idiotically photocopying itself some children, I guess I have to give in. Heh.

Zach Jr. tries to get them to help Buzzwang out, but they want to photocopy a thousand more of themselves. Egads. Most of his body's moveable, but his arms are caught in wires. The Baby Buzzwangs reveal that it's a direct link to his power cells.

I wonder if this isn't some metaphor about child-rearing.

Buzzwang does the vocal equivalent of raising an eyebrow, (which is actually fairly entertaining) and merely tells Zach to hand him a screwdriver. Zach Jr. does so. He calmly removes his limbs and Zach Jr. pulls him out.

Okay, that WAS pretty awesome. I may like you after all Buzzwang. The MRI/Photocopier actually flashes "Add Paper" much to my amusement.

The Baby Buzzwangs don't seem too crestfallen though and the start roaming around running amuck. One (the inexplicably overweight one) wonders if they should live there, while another, with an inexplicable Brooklyn accent, says that they have a job to do.

They start examining all the machines, until one points out that there's a whole mess more of machines OUTSIDE the lab! All brand new! The "Buzz-Babies" scamper off.

Dear lord. I'm pretty sure I've had nightmares about this kind of thing. Zach Jr. supports the now armless, and one footed for that matter, Buzzwang, as they chase after them.

One Buzzbaby is taken with the flying radiator "It looks like a flying radiator!" while another shoves a helmet like thing on Buzzwang's head, knocking him over when he tries to stop them.

That's a dickish thing to do to your father. So to speak.

Another wonders what another device does and falls over as it's placed on its head by yet ANOTHER baby who declares "Well, it's not a hat."

Two of them go to the chessboard which activates a surprised JV. JV comments that they're artificially intelligent...which seems an exaggeration as the two fight over the chessboard. I hate you, Buzzwing's evil offspring.

I suspect one of the writers has some issues regarding parenthood.

JV points out that they're acting like babies, and the demonic little robots start fighting over his monitor instead. Then they inadvertantly open the hanger door to reveal the hanger bay.

They race out to the Galaxy Ranger ship. God, these things are giving me a headache. Zach Jr. asks if that's the ship Doc was working on. Buzzwang confirms and tells him that the computer is "whacko."

The AI graphic for the ship is a giant pink nut, like the kind that goes on screws, with an eye in the center. It demands a password. The Baby Buzzwangs try to convince it to let them in. But it refuses. However, it ends up blurting out the password anyway, so the little robots repeat it and gain entry.

Zach Jr. and Buzzwang try to follow, but that leads the AI on a rant about passwords, where he complains about all the other ships having cooler passwords and recites them (Cobra and Mt. Olympus being two of them). God this is an irritating episode. The computer does NOT let them in.

Meanwhile the techs of BETA register an unauthorized entry into the ship. While Zach Jr. grits his teeth and tells the computer that they would like it to let them in. Of course, as soon as he yells "Open up." It starts talking about its "childhood."

Okay, that's pretty funny. But this is still an irritating episode.

Anyway, the baby Buzzwangs figure out how to blast the ship off.

The techs message the ship, trying to figure out what's going on. A baby Buzzwang answers. The tech thinks it's Buzzwang, with a distorted image. He wants Buzzwang to "please advise on the nature of your mission."

It does say something that the tech is so willing to believe that Buzzwang HAS a mission. It does seem as though, Nightwinging aside, Buzzwang is fairly respected. The tech is much more confused when two more Buzzwangs appear on the screen and declare they're going for pizza.

Meanwhile, Zach Jr. and Buzzwang have collected Buzzwang's limbs and now chase after the annoying demon spawn. They race to Ranger One. At least this time when the techs message the "unidentified pilot" they actually get an explanation even if it's just "I'm going after the critters who stole our spaceship." The confused Techs order him to shut down, but Buzzwang asserts that he doesn't have time to follow procedure. Neither does Little Zach, as it turns out, since he fastens Buzzwang's arms on backwards.

There's an object lesson there.

Anyway, aboard the ship, many of the irritating robots appear to be tossing a ball around, while the AI continues to rant about its traumatized childhood. Would it be that bad to just drop the ship into a sun? I know I would feel better.

Actually, the AI's rant about his parents (a garbage dump machine and a forklift) and the blind date with the X-Ray machine that could see right through him IS pretty funny.

The Baby Buzzwangs start singing their anthem to celebrate how much stuff they got for "the big guy." God willing, the big guy will actually be worth the aggravation of this episode. Their anthem is an offkey mockup of Home on the Range, which I'd approve of if I didn't want to shove the entire thing into a burning hunk of hydrogen.

I do kind of like the AI graphic swaying along though.

On Ranger One, Buzzwang and Zach Jr. are losing the trail. But JV connects tapping into the Exploration Ship's computer. Buzzwang is nervous, but Zach points out that it's the only way to follow them. He does so, and the Exploration AI pops on the screen talking about its engagement to a micro-computer which broke off because she had floppy disks.

Heh.

I tell you one thing though, it really makes you appreciate JV. He might be a bit too C-3PO, but he leaves the drama at home.

We cut away to Q-Ball STILL ordering lunch. Though the BETA cafeteria certainly looks quite swanky. Q-Ball's lunch: cornbeef and peanut butter on banana bread with a glass of seltzer sounds positively disgusting.

Still, how the fuck long does it take you to eat, man? Sheesh.

He peers at the sandwich and demands his pickle. Which 1) disgusting! 2) is rude! and 3) you didn't order a pickle, you jerk!

Q-Ball meets up with Niko, the first main character of this episode! She tells him that launch control is trying to contact him because Buzzwang took off in a Ranger ship. Q-Ball did not authorize that, and they run off.

On Ranger One, the crazy AI tells them they seem to be on a collision course with a large planet. Zach Jr. and Buzzwang try to disconnect, but the controls don't respond. Meanwhile, the ship containing the Buzzwang-Babies crashes and crashes hard. Sadly, none of them are killed.

Zach Jr. and Buzzwing get control of their own ship just in time to avoid crashing. Since I actually somewhat like them, I'm relieved. Mostly.

Meanwhile back on BETA, Q-Ball is ranting about having thought Buzzwang was finally learning responsibility. Well, maybe if you actually did your job and didn't skip out for disgusting sandwiches, GUY, he might learn from example. Niko points out that two ships are missing as both discover the carnage in Q-Ball's lab. Q-Ball looks for something to follow the ships with, but his particle tracer, which was in a neat little hidden compartment, is GONE!

The baby buzzwangs extract themselves from the wreckage and go to meet "the big guy." Though at least one actually asks "Who the heck is the big guy?" Which is a fair question.

A flying purple car approaches to some kickass music, and the door pops open to reveal a very stylish looking fellow all in black, with a red cape, metal eye monocle thingy, and white streak in his hair.

This guy is way too awesome looking to be in this episode. The Buzz-babies greet him with "All hail, Lazarus Slade." He's very happy to see a Ranger ship with an Andorian hyperdrive though, and talks like a Western villain.

Which, granted, they ALL do. Lazarus Slade declares that now the "World Federation" won't have a chance against him and shakes his metal fist. He is pretty awesome. Suddenly the episode is looking up.

Actually, he kind of looks like a Western cowboy villain version of Dr. Strange. And that's awesome.

Ranger One flies overhead. Buzzwang identifies Lazarus Slade as a brilliant scientist who is now a space criminal. Slade recognizes their ship too, and hops into his awesome purple car and readies the weapons. He fires.

Buzzwang orders JV to raise the shields, because they're too stupid to raise them as soon as they SEE THE SUPERVILLAIN, but sadly, they're not working. Another shot, and most everything else isn't working either. Zach Jr. suggests the harpoon, which makes me immediately love him.

They fly into range and harpoon Slade's car, lifting it into the air, while Slade, pissed, shoots a laser out of his metal monocle. I can't believe this is the same episode as before. As this is actually awesome. Hee.

Anyway, Slade's blast shoots out the engines, and Slade ejects from his car. His seat is apparently also a jet pack. I love you, Lazarus Slade.

Slade lands in the midst of the baby Buzzwangs. He's lost his awesome cape, but he's got black and purple chest armor on and that almost makes up for it. Somehow Slade KNOWS that the Buzzwang Babies are called "Buzzwang babies" but okay, whatever. He's awesome, and they're annoying, so I'll allow it. He orders them to "bring 'em back to me."

Back at Q-Ball's lab, Q-Ball announces that pretty much everything's been stolen and there's no way he can track down Buzz and Little Zach. Niko, possibly anticipating the carnage that will arise when Zach finds out about this, suggests using her psychic powers to look into the past for a vision. Q-Ball points out that her implant is completely drained, for reasons not associated with this episode and recommends she charge up first. She suggests he set up the interface...but it's in pieces! Niko will have to go to the main charging platform.

The tiny evil robots of doom start scaling the smoking wreckage of Ranger One. Buzzwang reports that they can probably fix everything in an hour or two, but is interrupted when he's besieged by the little bastard and a roll of duct tape. He and the equally besieged Zach Jr. are brought to Slade. (Even as a tiny Buzzbaby returns Slade's cape in the background, aw.) Slade slides it on, and does his happy villain monologue ("If it isn't...")

Slade apparently knows Zachary Foxx, Jr. on sight. Which is weird, but I guess Zach does tend to bring his family on dangerous missions, so I can buy that they've met before. Slade wonders what Zach Jr.'s dad will do when he realizes he's lost his son as well as his wife.

On a guess? I bet he blasts you. Zach's not exactly known for unpredictability.

Slade's also happy to see Buzzwang, "the most valuable of ALL Q-Ball's inventions." Hmm, I guess we can infer than that Slade worked for BETA. Or maybe Longshot. Interesting.

Buzzwang is not impressed and calls him a creep. Slade reveals that he did indeed arrange for BETA to find his "replicating machine" and enable these "charming creatures" to come to life. You're lucky that you're awesome, Slade, or I'd hate you for that. He reveals that he wanted Buzzwang all along because he's "the one robot who has access to ALL BETA's computers."

Zach Jr. protests and calls him "lizard-face." To be honest, Little Zach, I don't see it. Slade is about to bitchslap the brat, when the tiny robots tug on his cape. They don't want to see him hurt their "Pop or his friends."

I was just about to roll my eyes, when another chimes in "Only we can do that!" And okay, I find them irritating, but that's pretty funny. Slade doesn't believe he asked for opinions and kicks the cape-tugger aside. The inexplicably fat one goes to help.

Slade threatens Zach Jr's life in order to get Q-Ball's access codes from Buzzwang. It's a threat by way of metal hand to the throat, so it is actually fairly effective. Buzzwang calls him the most despicable person in the universe, which Slade takes as a compliment. He demands the codes again, while Zach Jr. protests. Fortunately though, Slade didn't notice the little Buzzwangs getting the robot free.

Buzzwang orders the robots to take Little Zach into the ship while he faces off against Slade. He taps a button on his belt and apparently explodes. Whoa.

It's a nice transition to Niko's eyeball. As she and Q-Ball stand outside the photocopier. Q-Ball is summoned to the launchbay, where Ranger One lands. Zach Jr.'s got Lazarus Slade in custody, and Q-Ball's inventions have returned too!

Meanwhile, the copier has apparently tried to grab Niko with its wires, which is pretty funny. Zach Jr. runs over and shoots it. Thank god. Because little Nikos would be pretty scary.

Q-Ball meanwhile gets to the cockpit where Buzzwang is in pieces. Aw. You really are the Nightwing of this group, aren't you? Zach Jr. explains that Buzzwang sacrificed himself to save him.

Then we see Q-Ball on stage announcing to many people that "at first, I thought there was no hope of putting Buzzwang back together. I was right." Instead of rebuilding him the same way, he made him better!

He also has a surprise for Buzzwang, as Commander Walsh's mustache steps forward (with the Commander attached of course) and shakes his hand. Because of his selfless and courageous actions leading to the capture of Slade, he's named a Galaxy Ranger. Aw.

God willing, we will never speak of this again. The celebration is cute though, with Zach and Shane lifting Buzz on their shoulders. Doc wants to know how Zach Jr. captured Slade after Buzz blew himself up. Zach confesses that he had help.

The exploration ship by the way, is still on the planet. Where the Baby Buzzwangs are glad to find out Buzzwang's okay, and start singing.

Thankfully, the episode ends.

--

Well, um. I can't really complain too much that the kid's show actually has an episode designed to appeal to kids. And there were some good points, amidst all the irritation.

I liked seeing Zach Jr. take center stage in an episode, and he did a fairly good job of being a voice of reason and sanity throughout the whole thing. And Slade, of course, was awesome. Even Buzzwang had his moments.

But I really do hate this kind of storyline. I mean, think about it for a second. Buzzwang causes this mess by playing around with the photocopying MRI machine, gets one ship damaged, the other ship lost, falls into a trap set by an arch criminal and blows himself up, which means there'll be even more money spent on repairing him.

Not to mention, they don't even bring the Exploration ship BACK! And he gets REWARDED for this?!

Meanwhile, poor Zach Jr. actually captured Lazarus, and presumably repaired Ranger One (considering that Buzzwang had gotten captured before the repairs started) and made the perfectly sane decision to leave the Baby Buzzwangs where they are and got jack shit for recognition.

Then again, he may well be too sane to be a Galaxy Ranger.

I mean, I do get the appeal of seeing a character finally earn the recognition they want, but I wish for once they'd get that recognition for doing something other than cleaning up the mess THEY caused. And Buzz didn't even do that. Sure, he's likeable, but he didn't really EARN anything.

Well, I guess, he was courageous and selfless in the blowing himself up part. But if being made a Galaxy Ranger is based on that as opposed to actually behaving in a sensible and intelligent manner appropriate to officers of the law...

...that explains a lot about the Galaxy Rangers actually.

It is an interesting set-up that this episode primarily involves offspring and children. Zach Jr. is the son of the main character. The Buzz-Babies are, in a sense Buzzwang's kids. Heck, the AI could even be considered Doc's offspring, in a sense.

And even Buzzwang himself is Q-Ball's creation and therefore his son.

Of course, if you look at it like that, it's a fairly cynical look at parenthood. Zach Jr. comes out okay, sure. But between the Buzz-Babies trying to cannibalize energy from their "Pop", the AI crashing them onto the planet, Buzzwang setting into motion all the events in the first place...

I think I'm glad I have no plans to reproduce. Heh.

Slade was awesome though.

So what did we learn from this episode: Cyborg cowboy villain Dr. Stranges are neat. And we should all never have kids. Heh.

4 Comments:

  • At March 15, 2009 12:50 PM, Blogger SallyP said…

    This WAS a pretty silly episode, but since it introduced Slade, I guess I can't complain TOO much.

     
  • At March 15, 2009 4:57 PM, Blogger James Ashelford said…

    At some point I'll stop giggling at the name "Buzzwang".

    At some point but not yet.

     
  • At March 16, 2009 5:29 AM, Anonymous plok said…

    Oh man, "Nightwing" as a verb. Of course!

     
  • At April 11, 2009 9:51 PM, Blogger Elizabeth said…

    Because little Nikos would be pretty scary.

    WHY YES I WROTE THAT FIC
    *ahem*
    *eyedart*

    @James: At some point I'll stop giggling at the name "Buzzwang."

    My husband cannot see or hear that name without remarking that it really is quite rude.

    Kalinara, IMO the only good thing about Slade is his Western melodrama piano theme. For a super genius, he's a fucking moron. And this episode is on the list of lamer GR eps ever made. (It still cannot stand up to the sheer lameitude of "Rusty and the Boys," though.)

     

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