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Friday, March 20, 2009

Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, Recap 15, Queen's Lair

This recap is number 15 of 65. I sort of feel that's a milestone of some kind, even if it's not one of the niftier fractions. I honestly never thought I'd get this far. Never underestimate the lure of not having to think of a blog post.

Today's episode is called "Queen's Lair" which seems promising. Queen-related episodes tend to be good.

Freedom Fighters, Flying Squirrels and Phallic Imagery

We start out with a nice pseudo-metal riff at BETA mountain., where the Rangers plus what looks like the entirety of BETA personel are watching a screen that resembles when I used to try to watch Stargate on Showtime in high school through the channel scrambler. (The sound actually came in perfectly well though, until Sci-fi started re-running it, there was an entire season or two that I knew by soundtrack alone.)

Anyway, apparently this cable scrambler-esque picture is due to communication being jammed, though something is coming through on the "Andorian Space Link." It is in fact, everyone's favorite runaway Disney villainess! Hi, Queenie!

She announces "Greetings, Earthlings." Which I admit, I've always wanted to say. And "I am the power." Which I haven't really. Zach glares at her with all the loathing his animated Jerry Orbach-ness can muster and intones "The Queen of the Crown." The Queen is issuing them an invitation to a demonstration of her new gun. That's nice of her. She announces that with this weapon, she will reach through the barriers of space and time to crush her enemies.

Wouldn't it be better just to DO that then, rather than warning them? I'm just sayin'. I'm starting to suspect her show-offness is the sign of some mental disorder. I bet those folks on Criminal Minds have a name for it.

The viewscreen changes and, with the Queen's narration focuses on "the primary star of Walcab." She's placed a neutron star in orbit around that. That...seems like a bad idea. Apparently it's purpose is to draw off the bigger star's energy and feed it to her gun.

We see an image of the energy being diverted to a phallic obelisk-style tower. (A bit thicker than your average obelisk, I suspect, but I'm hardly an expert at these things.) I am starting to think all this gun talk is penis envy though. She sends the energy through hyperspace (I have no idea if that would be possible or not) and blows a good sized chunk out of Earth's Moon.

Now that's just petty. Why not blow up EARTH? It doesn't look like it'd take out the whole planet, and even if it does, there are lots of colonies without military protection to harvest.

This is why I can't be a supervillain.

I wonder if this would not piss off Icarus and Winter? That HAS to affect the tides somehow. Anyway, the Queen wants them to agree to her terms. Walsh's mustache, with Senator Wheiner and his emo-hair standing behind him, demands to know what the Queen wants.

She wants 5000 humans sent to Tortuna via Andorian ships. This causes gasping. Walsh's mustache is aghast and he accuses her of being mad. She agrees that she's mad enough to destroy their planet piece by piece. I admit, I'd be rather annoyed if she succeeded. It's the same reason I got really pissed off at Andromeda in its last season. I mean, granted, the show had been crap for years since Kevin Sorbo decided to stick his hand in the creative aspects of the show, but Earth has sentimental value damnit. It's EARTH. You do NOT blow up my damn home planet!

*cough* Sorry.

Anyway, Walsh's mustache briefs the Rangers. Walcab's apparently the perfect place for the Queen's gun (in my head, I really am substituting the word gun with the word "penis", because I am twelve. However, I am at least mature enough to not actually type that throughout the recap. You're welcome.) because it is in striking distance of the entire League of Planets.

They've also pinpointed the location of the gun, a large crater in the Northern Hemisphere. Walsh's mustache's plan is an aerial assault, hoping the fighter screen can be penetrated. Waldo has arranged for them to meet up with Walcabian freedom fighters.

Whoa, Waldo is useful in a diplomatic fashion in this episode. I'm amazed. I'm even more amazed that there are two remarkably attractive blond humanoid women flanking him. I'm starting to think this is like that Crusade episode and all about sex. We'll know for sure if a hyperspace monster decides to start humping the ship.

I'm glad I didn't think this sooner though, since it did at least spare you all a bukkake joke. You're welcome.

Wheiner wants to know how they can do that. Waldo tells them that the assault team will have to gain control of it once, to fire it at the neutron star. It should knock it out of the star system, much like a giant billiard game.

I'm...not sure the physics behind that are sound, but, well, I'm all for a game of space billiards. Wheiner, the tool, wants to know if there's anyway to negotiate. Yeah, asshole, maybe you can talk her down to five HUNDRED humans to power her evil zombie robots!

To be fair, Wheiner is a politician and it's his job to float alternatives to military assaults. But well, his emo hair annoys me, so I'm not inclined to go for it. Fuck your emo-hair, Whiny.

Walsh is more polite than I am, and merely reminds Wheiner of how the Gherkins were reduced to handfuls of refugees because of the Queen's greed for psychocrystals. Zach, by the way, notably does not punch Wheiner. Though I suspect he is well within his rights, and in a crowd of people who would all claim to have been conveniently looking at their feet for a minute or two. Naturally, Walsh and his glorious mustache are sending in the Series Five Galaxy Rangers.

It involves blowing shit up. Of course he is.

So Ranger One, no Interceptor this time. Too bad. Niko notes that patrol ships are moving in. Zach, who is wearing the most bizarre metal helmet I've seen yet, issues orders to lock in coordinates for the drop window. And tells Goose to "Get ready."

Okay, this should be good.

Aw. The four of them get into those nifty pods we see from Traash. We also glimpse Niko putting on a similar whacky helmet as she gets in hers. I'm wondering who's flying the damn ship. But maybe that'd be the cute ambassadors again or JV. I don't remember the whacky helmets from Traash, but then they had space suits then, I think.

Goose notes the position of an approaching Crown Destroyer. Zach puts the kibosh on his destruction plans though and says "Not yet." I love the destroyer pilots' helmets, by the way. They're kind of weirdly Samurai-esque. They remind me of the King-Tut helmets from old school BSG.

New school BSG would be much better with pharaonic helmets.

Now that Doc's noted MULTIPLE destroyers closing in, Zach's ready to launch. The destroyers fire at Ranger One and the cute pods plummet toward Walcab. WHOEVER is piloting Ranger One is doing a damn good job of dodging. Slippery bastard.

Meanwhile Zach announces they're going in hard. Which does not help my conclusion that this entire episode is some kind of sexual metaphor. Stop feeding me jokes, Cyborg-Orbach. I can do that myself.

Aw. Ranger One is gone boom. I'm assuming then that it was just JV piloting, since he's reprogrammable and unlike Zozo and Waldo are not in the opening credits.

The cute pods suddenly sprout wings as they approach the planet, and Doc catches site of some smoking debris noting that there goes their ride home. He's not otherwise concerned though, and since Doc's not a sociopath, I guess that proves it's okay.

The forests of Walcab look kind of sucky and dead. And Zach orders the team to release their chutes. The pods sprout parachutes now and come in for a landing.

Those pods are swanky.

Goose seems to have enjoyed the ride though. He's even happier when Niko wants to get the jet-cycles flying.

The pods open to reveal said jet cycles. Okay, those pods are beyond swanky. They're...swanktastic! And jet-cycles! Because kids (and parents) can't get enough toy vehicles!

They rendezvous with the "freedom fighters," a rag tag group of cute vaguely canid-faced alien people. Many of the women are holding babies. While I don't doubt a mother's ferociousness, I have to agree with Doc that they don't LOOK very imposing. Unless you're afraid of children, as I am. Niko notes that the people have suffered, and their world was stolen. THANK you, Deanna Troi. I'd never have guessed.

Zach orders Goose to keep watch and Doc to check for enemy signals. An older, short gent demands to know who they are, and then says that "the underground radio whispers their names on a thousand worlds."

You've got a zippy way with words, friend. He introduces himself as Berba. He was once the mayor of this world. He welcomes them.

In a fairly nice briefing room, littered with nifty satellite-looking maps, Zach announces that they're here to rendezvous with the freedom fighters. One of the Walcabians protests they'll bring the wrath of the Queen down upon them. A legitimate point. Zach announces that the gun is the cause of the trouble, without it, the Queen will leave them alone.

That seems an over-simplification, but Zach does need their help. The mayor agrees to lead them to the underground. Though a younger, taller Walcabian with one of those turn of the century newspaper boy hats insists there's no underground there and they've been exterminated. The mayor fixes him with a steely eyed glare and insists that many still live.

Goose breaks in with the calm but slightly irritated tone that he's good at, and says they're going in with or without the freedom fighters.

On the jet-cycles, with some Walcabians at their backs (though thankfully none are so clingy as the Basooti), they realize they're being followed. Once off the fighters, a bearded Walcabian with a bandage over one eye leads them to the tunnels. Doc by the way is holding a big ass gun. I approve.

When bandaged-guy runs across, the armored fighters fire at him. Zach orders Doc to take them out. An odd choice, but Doc deserves the chance to fuck shit up once in a while. He does so, telling Goose to "Watch this shot."

It gets the bots' vehicle in the side and sends it crashing. Well done, Doc. The mayor mildly comments that he sees now why the Galaxy Rangers has "such a reputation." Notice he doesn't elaborate on what KIND of reputation.

From where he's standing behind Zach, Goose has the most amusing looking half-smile on his face. HE knows what kind of reputation they have. He also looks about eleven in that helmet. It's kind of creepy.

More hovercrafts piloted by armored guys come, and the Rangers run for the cycles.

Once on the cycles, Goose (who still looks creepily eleven. Stop that!) points out a flying metal thing called a "spy-fly." Doc announces that he'll "bust it up." His plans are interrupted by the emergence of "the Queen's planet crusher."

It's interesting that we've seen the planet crusher before, in the pirate MaCross's hands on Mistwalker. Come to think of it, Virgil in Wildfire had what looks like a Crown Destroyer. I'm amused that the pirate characters actually have recognizable crafts from other villains/cultures. Because of course they'd have stolen it.

Anyway, the Rangers are trying not to get blown up. All except Shane Gooseman, who's apparently taken Doc's whole blowing up the hover-vehicle as a challenge to his position. He flies at the Planet Crusher, pulling a giant gun out of what seems like nowhere. He notes that his "five-oh-fives" are just bouncing off that monster. The Planet Crusher strikes back, blowing up Goose's cycle from under him, and sending him plummeting downward, where he bounces off what looks like a wall, and breaks it. That may not have been a good idea, Planet-Crusher.

A shot from the spy-fly sends Niko's ship crashing, though she leaps free in time. She is nearly runover by the Crusher. But then a fully metallic Shane Gooseman punches his way through a cavern wall. Hi, Goose. He runs at the Crusher, shooting directly at the "head" of the machine, which glows briefly blue and then explodes. Metallo-Shane and Niko run for it even as the thing comes to a stop.

The other two, and the Mayor, meet up with them outside an abandoned looking building. Shane thinks he's Lion-O and shouts Galaxy Rangers, Ho! Before running in.

Oh, sweetie. You're much better than Lion-O. Believe me. Lion-O doesn't blow up half the shit you do.

They enter the building which opens into one of those theater/lecture hall type places where the stairs descend to a center stage. When asked how they find the freedom fighters, the Mayor says, "They'll find us."

They descend the stairs. Shane's heels never cease to amuse me. You're like seven feet tall, Goose! You don't need heels! They examine one of the side doors, even as we see a figure watching them.

Back to the ominously glowing gun, which fires, sending parts of the theater grumbling and debris falling. They run for an exit up ahead. The tunnel exits into an open circular field of rock, surrounded by rock. They continue down the walk way, straight to the phallic shaped gun. Doc is amused at the "royal architecture."

That's one way to put it, Doc. He wonders who she's firing at. Niko points out that the Queen has a LOT of enemies, not just Earth. Which is a fair point that a lot of cartoons and adventure shows miss out on. Defeating the heroes can be the villain's primary motivation, but it ought not be the ONLY motivation, except in a few cases.

Suddenly they're set upon by the freedom fighters, who declare "Klaatu Nikto Barada." In that order. The resistance leader has a twisted sense of humor, I approve.

Niko quickly shouts "Goose!" to stop her colleague from killing them. I suspect that happens a lot. The mayor, appreciating now Goose's ability for homicide, quickly adds that these are the freedom fighters. Goose puts down the weapon. Zach politely suggests that the leader of the freedom fighters be more careful when saying hello. They shake hands.

The resistance leader, who I will now call Klaatu unless they give us a name, apologies and says there's little time and that this isn't a safe place to talk. Goose archly asks where there IS a safe place on this planet. The resistance fighters lead them to a tunnel.

Back at the gun, Doc affects a falsetto, claiming to be the Queen and asking for her pizza with anchovies. Mmm, anchovies. This distracts the confused guard long enough for Zach to hit him. Doc stays behind to "operate" while the other three race for the elevator.

Doc's team goes to work. Pathfinder finds the codes, Tripwire covers him and deals with security. In a weird way, they seem to mirror the team itself. Pathfinder=Doc, Tripwire=Goose, and probably Lifeline=Niko. But I'll stop there, since that'll likely end up with Pixel as Buzzwang, and that's just too cruel. Pathfinder thinks the computer looks pretty scary, but Doc's confident in their abilities.

The other three make it to a nifty power core type thing. Zach points upward and says they need to place the blast charges there. It's a long way up.

Our man Goose is unthwarted however, as he pulls his giant ass gun from his back, loads a grappler...where the fuck was he storing that grappler?!...and fires.

They ascend the rope, and even higher, by way of magnetic wall climbers that kind of resemble the plastic things on the end of those stupid Garfield dolls you could stick to your car window.

In the throne room, the Queen congratulates Mayor Berba. Damnit. You're a traitor?! I feel so betrayed! He asks about his family. The Queen says, "We'll see." And Berba gets upset. See, this is why you DON'T TRUST VILLAINS. Idiot.

On the other hand, I've always thought it bad form not to keep to agreements as an evil overlord, as long as they don't inconvenience me too much. I mean, soon you'll get a reputation as a reneger, and NO one will betray their colleagues to you, otherwise. And not to mention, disgruntled traitors tend to turn around and stab YOU in the back too.

The Queen does not care. She tells an awesome vaguely ninja-y robot next to her that she wants them brought to her. The Rangers reach the top of the gun and place the explosives, which'll go off when the gun's fired. Shane points out that Doc'd better hit the neutron star with the first shot.

But their contemplation is interrupted by fighters. Ooo, yeah. Zach goes first and thunderbolt's 'em. The next batch though gets a shot at Niko, while two more bodily pin Zach. Another runs at Shane, who pulls his giant ass gun...which doesn't fire. It tackles him at the edge of the pit downward, and Goose aikido-throws him over. Nice!

Unfortunately, he's promptly kicked down himself from behind. Turnabout's fair play, I guess. Goose taps his badge and...sprouts flying squirrel wings.

Okay. That's simultaneously stupid looking and awesome. That's stupid-awesome. You win this episode, Shane.

Anyway, he lands and meets up with Doc and Klaatu and tells them the crown agents have Doc and Niko. They're cuffed before the Queen. Zach has harsh words for Berba indeed. Berba apologizes, the Queen has his family in her dungeon. Aw. Poor Berba, still, why did you think she would keep her bargain? She's EVIL.

The Queen silences them and tells them that before she sends them to the psychocrypt, she'll show them how she'll punish the Earth for their defiance. Her throne moves about and extends a keyboard across her lap. Swanky, but possibly impractical when your enemies are around. She targets BETA Mountain with the gun, and Zach's eyes get suspiciously wavery. Aw.

She declares that the League will crawl before her, even as we see, above one of the walls, two folk crawling into position. Hah. One is Klaatu, the resistance leader. On zoom-in there are more of them, including Doc and his big ass gun. Shane's got his normal pistol. One shot from Doc has a lot of guards flying. The Queen orders her men to get them, and runs for it.

It's Doc's turn to channel Lion-O, as they, and Klaatu, jump from the wall. Zach uses the distraction to trap a guy in his cuffs and swing him to take out the other guards, while Niko ducks with good timing.

It might sound like I'm being dismissive, but I mean it. It's hard to time a duck just right to not get hit but not warn the victim. On Zach's order, Goose shoots the cuffs. Niko remembers her manners with a slightly saucy "Thank you, Shane." Hm.

Zach tells Doc that the Queen set the gun for BETA, and orders him to reset the coordinates. Doc takes a seat in the throne,

The Queen exits in one of her fighters. She laughs, saying they're too late. Meanwhile Doc calls for Pathfinder, but it and Tripwire are being chased by scary looking security programs. Klaatu and his men suggest leaving through the tunnels, but Zach points out that the explosives'll probably fuck that shit up. Not in those words, of course. One of the other fighters, who I'm tempted to call Gort, but I'll refrain, suggests the hanger bay.

Niko tries to get Doc to leave, the gun fires in two minutes. But Doc isn't leaving his programs behind. AW. Finally the security program is smashed, and Tripwire and Pathfinder are free. Pathfinder reorients the gun.

The others race for a ship. The resistance fighters take off in one, while the Rangers wait in the other. Doc quickly runs up, followed by his programs and they take off.

The gun fires, trips the explosive, knocks the neutron star away. Doc is celebratory on the ship, until Shane notes that the gun didn't blow. In fact, it's now out of control and fires at THEM. Fortunately, THIS time, it's enough to blow up the damn thing, and while it does knock the ship a little off kilter, everyone's okay.

Doc is all "Can I breathe now?" While Shane is all "Yeah...for about five minutes." Because that's how much air they have left. Niko places her hand on Goose's, which gets an eyebrow raise out of me, while Zach starts speechifying that if they don't make it, he wants them to know he's never been prouder of being a galaxy ranger. Aw.

Suddenly they're hailed! By Mustache-Nat of the Space Navy ship Comanche! Howdy neighbor! Niko laughs that Zach can save the speech (too late. :-P) Doc's jubilance seems to startle Zach and Goose, who actually seem to jump a little, but everyone is happy that they won't suffocate. Yay.

--

This episode was fun. Nearly everyone got to do fun stuff. Well, poor Niko didn't get to do much besides be generally competent, but general competence is never bad.

I think this is the first time the Comanche's been officially declared to be a Naval Ship, which makes me wonder about the military structure in this universe. I'd always thought it was the standard Star Trekian - one-military-fits-all deal. But this does seem more realistic.

Actually, the way Zach kept calling Mustache Man "Nat" was probably an indication that they weren't in the same chain of command. They acted like equals, but without much cross-purpose. I wonder if it's simply that the Navy are the ones that are permanently stationed on combat ships, with the Rangers being more of a cross between cops and special forces.

I'll have to pay more attention to this as the series goes on.

There were a lot of instances of destructive awesomeness (Doc's unexpected violent streak, Shane vs. Planet Crusher, handcuffed Zach vs. guards) and even a patented Shane Goosemen WTF moment of awesome with the flying squirrel thing.

There wasn't as much character insight in this one. We got to see how much Doc cares for his programs when he wouldn't leave them behind. But we kind of knew that already. Between this and Smuggler's Gambit, we've seen a couple of occasions where Doc refuses to leave his little guys behind.

Bringing up Smuggler's Gambit actually reminds me of something I loved in both episodes. In both cases, Doc stays behind to retrieve the tweakers. The rest of the team calls for him, but when he doesn't come, they run for it and wait outside. I like that a lot more than the usual cartoon "Oh, no, we'll go out TOGETHER."

I mean, it sounds callous, but these guys are some kind of military after all. They've got a mission to accomplish, and moreover, they're essentially prototypes thanks to those implants in their heads. They can't just stay behind under those circumstances. Doubtless, of course, they'd come BACK for Doc, but they can't just stay behind for him. Nor should they.

There were a lot of silly references jokes in this one, even discounting my twelve year old's innuendo fixation. I was especially amused by Klaatu Nikto Barada as a code phrase. Heheh.

I've always liked how Galaxy Rangers portrays their oppressed peoples and this episode was no different. The Freedom Fighters are heroic, if exhausted looking. The rest of the people are run-down and frightened. The Mayor is a collaborator, for fear of his family. You can feel for all of them, and hope that this really did work out to help them.

In this series though, one can't be too sure.

And yay for recurring characters. I love randomly recurring characters. Wheiner and the Comanche are always great. It makes the universe seem all fleshed out and nifty.

So anyway, what did we learn today? Politicians are jerks, Doc loves his tweakers, and Shane Gooseman quite possibly contains flying squirrel DNA. Awesome.

2 Comments:

  • At March 21, 2009 11:45 AM, Blogger SallyP said…

    This WAS a good episode. I always like it when lots and lots of stuff gets blowed up.

    Blowed up GOOD!

    Swanktastic indeed.

     
  • At April 11, 2009 10:14 PM, Blogger Elizabeth said…

    I wonder if it's simply that the Navy are the ones that are permanently stationed on combat ships, with the Rangers being more of a cross between cops and special forces.

    Yes, it's supposed to be something like that. The writers had the Texas Rangers in mind, actually, but I recall hearing or reading something about special forces at some point.

     

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