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Friday, March 27, 2009

Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, Recap 18: Space Moby!

Yet another recap! This episode is called "Space Moby." I'm not entirely sure yet what this refers to, but I automatically love anything with the word "Space" in the title. Maybe there'll be a space whale. I love space whales...

As a reminder, if anyone but the three of you who actually read these want to know what the heck I'm babbling about in these recaps, my Amazon search box is to your right. :-P

I'm not sure Melville would approve...

The intro music's kind of nifty for this one. Almost folksy as opposed to westerny. That probably made no sense to anyone but me, but there you go. It's catchy.

So we start the episode in an asteroid belt. If I were to make a drinking game of this series, asteroid belts and barren planets would so be on the list. As well as any time Shane Gooseman blows something the fuck up. You'd get alcohol poisoning pretty quickly, but I suspect it would still be fun.

Anyway, a tiny cute craft is flying through said asteroids, past some sort of weird tower thing. Another ship is pulling what looks like a banner, and people (or aliens?) in space suits are wandering about.

One space suited fellow aims what looks like a laser jackhammer at a crater, while a nearby robot reports that the "readings are still minimal." Apparently there are "slim pickings on this 'roid." I've always wanted to say that.

Anyway, the two guys in the suits start talking. They look pretty human. One asks the other if he sees anything. The other says, there's nothing there. You know, man, your eyes =/= space scanner.

Thankfully he turns out wrong when a huge mouth opens before them, with an odd robotic camera at its roof, and tries to gulp them whole. Awesome.


Anyway, the whale lunges for them (one of the ships briefly distracts it) and manages to chop away the asteroid beneath them. The robot is maydaying for help. Oh wow, there's a whole mass of space whales now. Egads.

Apparently our two human guys do manage to slip out and are in a bar drinking something orange. Who can blame them really. They exchange that they've never seen ANYTHING like that.

In the corner of the bar, a heavily mustached fellow with rather pronounced sideburns starts playing a 80s dance music variation on some sort of pseudo-celtic tune on his keyboard-guitar. Then intones creepily about monsters.

Dude, don't get me wrong, I appreciate the attempt at atmosphere. But it doesn't really work from a guy playing a keyboard-guitar like one of the chicks from Jem.

Anyway, the guy, who of COURSE has a pseudo Irish accent asks if they mean giant asteroid eaters. Once asked if he's heard of them, he swivels on his bar stool, one hand to his waist and announces that he's been hunting them hither and yarth, across the galaxy. He also calls them laddie.

This is an awesome episode.

Anyway, the guy, who has a metal yet electronic peg for a leg (and a really small foot on his existing leg) calls himself Everson Mylox. Captain of the S.S. Mildew.*

(*Below in the comments, Dan informs me that this is actually Emerson Mylox, Captain of the MELVILLE. Which does, admittedly, make a lot more sense.)

Okay, this is one of those "our writers are on drugs" episodes isn't it? Awesome. They ask if he can get rid of the space whales and he announces it's his sworn duty. Aw. Really, what did the space whales do to you? They ate your asteroid, sure, but you got out alive!

Mylox announces he must take his ship and be after the monster. He plays his creepy background exit music himself on his keyboard-guitar. Heh. That doesn't work, guy. They're about to ask his fee, but he clomps away.

Meanwhile, on Earth, folks from Tetragram Radium Mining, Inc (so named on their sign) are chewing out Walsh via teleconference. I wouldn't do that, guys. The thing about the mustache is that when you can see it, it can see you. I kind of admire the audacity of chewing out the head of BETA itself for not going and killing your space whale problem for you.

The spokesman, who's fetching in purple and exclaims "Leaping Lasers" rants about the lack of profits or help from BETA for this disaster. Walsh's mustache tells them BETA's people are still studying the deta.

Purple-coat is not having that, as they're eating away his profit margins. Walsh's mustache coolly verbally bitchslaps him by reminding him that BETA is in the business of PRESERVING life. Not destroying it.

Purple-coat pulls the "I have a lot of important friends" line suggesting that he make this his business. Walsh's mustache could eat you for breakfast, guy.

Still, at BETA, Walsh does inquire of Q-Ball what he's been able to learn about the "Tetragram request". Q-Ball says "Oh yes, the Space Whales." Niko and Buzzwang are peering over his shoulder and tell Walsh's mustache that that's their name for the things. Niko tells him that the whales are a silicon based life-form.

Buzzwang, who is hunched over and gaping idiotically, tells them that they propel themselves by expelling gas through their spouts. Walsh's mustache wants to know if they're intelligent. Niko can't tell from the data.

Okay, the S.S. Mildew is an awesome ship. It's actually shaped mostly like a sea ship, with turrets and metal sails and a bunch of things that I'm not sure how they work, but they look kind of awesome. Not remotely aerodynamic though. You can't float on the surface of space.

Mylox continues to play his theme music (which is really a bizarre quirk) while green, fin-eared men, pilot his ship. One picks up one of the whales, and Mylox announces "Thar she blows."

I don't know who said "Let's make a space Moby Dick," but I think they might be geniuses. But can we have the main characters show up soon?

He orders them to man the longboat, which is a longboat-shaped shuttle/fighter type of thing. It's tiny next to the ship. They do so, to proper Galaxy Ranger music instead of his playing. It's actually open on top. They're in space suits.

In a neat, if scientifically impossible, effect, we can hear whale song as it eats the rocks. The ship quickly shoots a net around the poor whale. Poor whale. It's totally not the size of a planet though, whatever those two mining idiots said before. They begin towing the distressed looking whale.

Back on Earth, protestors are gathered around the Tetragram building, while the Rangers (Well, Goose, Niko, Walsh, Buzzwang, and Q-Ball) watch it on the news. The reporter says that the group is led by "Zoot Martin", head of the ecological protection group "Space-Peace" Niko points out with some approval that Space-Peace is always on top of issues like this.

Walsh's mustache agrees and has Mr. Martin sent in. Zoot Martin looks like a fairly ordinary young guy in baggy beige clothing. He has something of a bowl cut though. Anyway, he walks calmly and coolly up to Walsh, and tells him that humanity has a nasty habit of destroying the environments it enters. Which is not really an unfair statement.

Space-Peace, according to Martin, will not let it muck up space too, "y'know?" This is a young fellow with good ideals, but he could probably benefit from elocution lessons. Shane breaks in, defensively, that they're JUST as dedicated to preserving life. Martin confronts them about Tetragram having some lunatic catching all the whales. Walsh's mustache replies that they're monitoring the situation. Zoot Martin calls that a cop-out. While Q-Ball resents the insinuation that BETA is lax in its duties.

Shut up, Q-Ball. Martin's a fanatic, but he has a point. Anyway, he says "If you aren't going to do anything, man, we will." You know, for a futuristic space hippie who talks in old school slang, Zoot Martin comes across as fairly formidable in this scene. He's forthright, blunt, unblinking and unfaltering even facing down the leader of BETA, himself. A far cry from the usual irrational stoner-hippie caricature.

Zoot Martin would eat that Futurama hippie for breakfast.

Walsh sends Niko and Goose out to the sector with Q-Ball's whale file. He wants data. Goddamn Buzzwang's still got the file in his memory, so he goes along too.

I hate you Buzzwang. Where the hell are Doc and Zach?!

Mylox nets himself another space whale. This one looking more like a Sperm Whale. (The other one was a Baleen whale of some sort.)

Ranger One appears, to its own damn rock-ish music that the characters DON'T have to provide for themselves. They appear next to the whale and gape for a moment.

Apparently the latin name for the space whale is silicon gigantis. Okay. Buzzwang is of course rattling off stats, which Shane cuts off with a dry "Thank you, Buzzwang." Buzzwang obediently quiets but points out that the "poor thing" is trapped.

Niko wants an ID on the vessel, which Buzzwang provides. They move along side of the ship, just as Space Peace sends their own kind of nifty insect shaped ship.

Mylox talks very old school pirate. "Avast" and "What ship doth this be?" Zoot Martin does not, though he does look strikingly like Guy or Rock Lee from Naruto. He introduces his group as Space-Peace and says they're "totally opposed" to this action. It shoots a laser at the net and cuts the whale free.

Well done, young Zoot. You are a fitting heir, or is it forefather? To the awesome line of Gai and Rock Lee. There will be much manly crying. Mylox is upset at the freeing of the monsters. Zoot shoots back a surprising "They're only babies!"

I...would like clarification on this matter.

Goose finally, verbally steps in, and I'll grant that he might be better as leading this mission than Zach, just for the way a slightly nasal, flat calm voice can cut through garbage. Zach's a bit excitable.

I still miss Zach though.

Anyway, Goose ALSO wants clarification on the "babies" thing. Mylox interrupts saying he KNOWS that. But these "offspring" are the link to the great one. Scanners are picking up an suitably JAWS-esque music too.

(It's kind of neat to see how Ranger One is flying BETWEEN Space-Peace and the Mildew. They can't shoot one another without hitting it.)

Niko says it's MUCH too big to be a ship. Mylox plays his music and JESUS. That thing is HUGE.

And pissed looking. The babies might not be planet sized, but this thing...might have a shot. The Rangers gape. Even Goose looks vexed enough that he may well not know a way to kill this. It opens wide and tries to swallow them whole.

Zoot's co-pilot is a blue chicken.

Anyway, the whale gets a blast off on Ranger One via the blowhole, while the Mildew readies to fire. Space-Peace slides in the way though. Mylox, living up to his inspiration, rants about destiny not being denied this way and orders them to fire. The pilot (at a Ship's wheel no less) protests. But Mylox says "Fire or sleep with the comets!" Yeek.

The pilot flips off part of the Steering Wheel and starts arming the weapons. Good new fangled lasery weapons. Zoot's ship however has a nice shield. I wonder who funds Space-Peace. Because that's nifty.

The whale "swims" off, a rocket system visible on its back. Mylox is pissed and orders a hard to port. They're now chasing Zoot and his ship. And they get a good shot in, sending Zoot's ship careening. "Now!" he says, "After the Space Moby!"

One of the aliens pronounces that the Space Moby is a swift one. But they are within striking distance. It maneuvers into the asteroid belt, where they can't follow without being smashed to bits. Mylox Ahabs that it's toying with him.

Dude, it's a whale. Not a cat.

Mylox will wait him out.

Meanwhile Zoot thinks this is a bummer, and requests a damage report. His space hippies have to shut down for repairs. Ranger One comes up alongside and tries to contact them. Zoot asks for a tow, and a growing list of repair tools that starts turning agreeable Goose into befuddled Goose. But well, Zoot's proved his merit by suicidal yet idealistic actions, so Goose is tolerant and friendly. Niko laughs and suggests she pods on over with the entire toolbox to speed things along. A sheepish Zoot agrees.

Zoot is also eating space yogurt. Just because.

So Niko and Buzzwang go out in the pod, telling "Shane" that they shouldn't be long. Hmm, I'm not sure when she started calling him by his actual name, but I think it's a relatively new development. Possibly the episode with the Queen's evil space gun. Interesting.

Goose meanwhile intends to pay Mylox, who's in stable orbit, a visit. (Can you orbit an asteroid belt?) Niko acknowledges cheerfully, then seems to remember exactly who she's talking to, and asks him with a sigh and another use of his actual name to be careful.

I don't think it's an artists' mistake that Shane looks slightly demented when he acknowledges. Heh.

So Shane introduces himself and requests permission to board. He doesn't go all out with the pirate stuff that Mylox (who's lost most of his Irish accent along the way, replacing it with "Pirate") does, but he does slip in an "Ahoy". Mylox remarks that Goose "sails under the colors of the League of Planets" and okays his boarding. Playing his music of course.

Back on Zoot's ship, he thanks them for the help, while Niko asks what they're doing out here. Zoot announces that they have to protect the whales. Niko's good with Zoot. She's very non-judgmental. Zoot presses a button and pops up with some nifty data that Tetragram never gave them. The whales travel in herds, slingshooting off stars, and harmlessly grazing on asteroids.

How does Zoot know this? They TOLD them. THAT gets Niko's attention. Apparently the whale song notes can be translated into actual speech. Okay, I'm officially impressed with the Martin kid. His computers have broken down the music into rough language data, and Niko asks if Buzzwang can copy it for BETA. Zoot, recognizing an opportunity when he sees it, okays them taking ALL of Space-Peace's data file. Buzzwang is happy and pops out some kind of extension plug. Niko meanwhile enjoys the whale song.

Shane's having less fun, as he demands to know why Mylox is after the Space Moby. He puts a hand to his not-leg and says his reasons are his own. Shane's not playing Ishmael though, and announces that he's through pussy-footing around. He says that Mylox is under arrest for "harpooning" civilian ships.

Would it be okay to harpoon military ships then? Just curious. :-)

Mylox snaps that "Those fools know not what they do! The Moby must be rousted!" He plays his music. God, I hope Shane breaks that thing over this guy's head. And I LIKE weirdly technoized celtic folk music.

Mylox's guitar is apparently a weapon, as it blasts Shane while the latter covers his ears in agony. Oh, THAT'll go well. Shane Gooseman LIKES when you resist arrest, man. Shane keels over. I'm mildly appeased that the crappy guitar thing is a weapon.

Niko and Buzzwang leave the ship, and apparently Buzzwang's taken on Zoot's...idiosynchratic manner of speech. Stop, Buzzwang, you have to be genuinely competent to play around like that. Anyway, he says that space is the whale's home, humans are visitors. Niko, for her part, tries contacting Goose. (She's back to using his nickname.) Buzzwang picks up a signal from the space whale, coming right toward them.

Buzzwang gives a "bummer man" as they're swallowed.

Mylox is back after the whale. In an amusing side-joke, Zoot calls him "Melville" when contacting him. Heh. Zoot tries to warn them off since the whale swallowed the galaxy ranger pod. Mylox just says to "ready 'poons."

Inside the ship, Niko and Buzzwang are a bit freaked by the noise of stomach acid eating pod walls. Niko forms a forcefield, but it drains pretty quick. Niko wishes they could tell the whale they're here. Buzzwang points out that they can, with Space-Peace's data. Niko points out that it won't hear him in here. But Buzzwang'll go outside.

Hmm. I may approve of you this episode, Buzzwang. A dose of hippie makes you tolerable. Buzzwang also was crafted from "the finest and most durable alloys" so he shouldn't get dissolved.

Finer than the SHIP? Just sayin'. But then I do like suicidal idealism. In a very pun-worthy bit of dialogue, Niko snaps "I know you've always wanted to prove what you're made of, but this isn't time to prove your mettle."

Heheh. Pun-tastic. Buzzwang announces "No sweat, cutie."

Why doesn't Buzzwang just stand on the ship?

Anyway, he falls off into the acid. Then stands and...doesn't mope. Instead, he starts communicating. Wow. Maybe a dose of Zoot would fix Nightwing as well!

Niko feeds him the usual "We come in peace and want to help you find your herd" dialogue. The whale is surprised to have eaten a talking asteroid but is okay with communicating. He wants to stop Mylox, who's been chasing them for years. The whalesong rattles the ship anyway, and now it's worse. Mylox is attacking!

I hope for his sake he's ejected Goose or else...

Nope. Goose is still on deck, out cold. Mylox watching. The music for this part of the showdown is legitimately awesome. Kind of poor-man's John Williams. I dig it.

They get a net around the Moby, which starts yanking them through the asteroids. This rouses Goose, who slowly rises with a growl. Captain Ahab versus Clint Eastwood. The aliens try to run, but Mylox pulls out a gun and threatens them into preparing the next shot.

Goose stands and orders Mylox to drop the gun and order his men to stop. Mylox aims the guitar, but Goose is ready with a badge tap which covers his ears in glowiness.

Trick to killing a supertrooper? Kill him the first damn time, otherwise he'll ADAPT.

Mylox runs for it, Shane's not quite fast enough but the crew informs him that the door leads to the longboat. Mylox is going after the whale himself. Idiot.

He's in a space suit, but still has the damn guitar. How do you play that in a space suit? But anyway, he presses a button and extends the harpoon. He's now being towed by the whale. He announces "I will grapple with thee to the death." Just as he collides with an asteroid and...kaboom.

Wow. I'm mildly impressed. The crewman notes that the Whale is safe in the cluster. Goose is worried about Niko and Buzz.

Meanwhile Buzz keeps conversing. His feet are dissolving a bit though and he runs to the ship. The whale's mouth opens and Goose starts to wander toward the ship to go in after them, and probably blow up the whale from inside. Fortunately Niko gets through and announces that they're out. Goose is quite pleased and asks how. Buzz, apparently, is a real rib-tickler. Buzz is clinging to the pod, actually, feet gone, but otherwise okay. They're off to save the whales!

Shane seems to have commandeered Mylox's ship, and they free all the cute whales.

Back at Tetragram, Zoot says that the whales will help by inorganically clearing away asteroids clearing the way for space travel. They've agreed to steer clear of certain mining sectors when possible and direct their grazing. In turn, the whales want the miners to raise a flag when working, so the whales know there are people on them and not to eat them. Buzzwang tips off the iceberg, the whale's waste is a gas that would rock for interplanetary commuting.

Purple-coat likes the sound of that, and says he'll have his lawyers call the whales' lawyers. Shane is boggled, but I think it's kind of nice that Purple-Coat is, in his own way, looking out for the whales' interests too. After all, if only one side has lawyers, then it's not hard to make the other side inadvertantly promise stuff against their interest. Considering what we learn about Supertroopers, maybe Shane himself could benefit from a lawyer.

Anyway, Zoot promises that Space-Peace will look out for the whales. Given their apparent level of financing, I've faith in their ability to get a damn lawyer. Buzzwang, to Zoot's dismay, says "Radically far out!" Everyone laughs, the end.


I'm actually surprised that Mylox was killed off at the end. Or at least that really looked like it. I think he's the first official death the show has. At the very least, he's the first dead villain. On a character note, I like that Goose didn't even blink at the death, but was instead focused on Niko and Buzz.

There were some good character beats: Goose's environmental kick popped up again, and his growing appreciation for Zoot. Niko's sense of humor. Hell, even Buzzwang was infinitely more tolerable with a hint of hippie to counterbalance his Nightwing style angst.

I hope they keep that. I actually liked Buzzwang this episode.

I have to say though, as much as I am annoyed by Buzzwang in general, I kind of like how he's used in the show. They could have shunted him aside totally, but instead, they use him sporadically in different episodes in ways that make sense given his capabilities. He's not in every episode, mind, but it usually makes sense when he's there. Except maybe Space Sorcerer, but possibly Doc just needed a break.

I love Zoot Martin. I think it's the first space hippie character I've seen who isn't some sort of neo-hippie liberal douchebag, to misquote South Park. He's a bit fanatic, but utterly rational. Even clever. And for all the outdated slang, he knows how to face down a BETA Commander. Also, he makes Buzzwang tolerable. Heh.

It's funny, but when I saw a lot of episodes before, I'd never really caught on to anything between Niko and Goose. I'd see fans commenting on websites about the two, and could NOT figure out where it came from. If anything, Doc and Niko made more sense as a couple because they actually FLIRT.

But I have to say, watching it in order, I really am starting to pick up SOMETHING. I wouldn't take the leap and say it's romance or anything, but watching it in order, there's definitely been some sort of subtle warming going on. Somewhere along the line, she's started using his first name more than his nickname, and he seems to be a bit less brusque with her. And there WAS that brief hand-holding thing in Queen's Lair... It'll be interesting to see if it lasts.

I'm slightly aghast that this is the third episode in a row without Zach. Does not Jerry Orbach deserve a paycheck? He's the main character! I wonder if this may not have to do with the fact that Psychocrypt is coming up in four episodes, and that's a big one.

So yeah, this episode was pretty entertaining. A space retelling of Moby Dick wouldn't have been my idea for an episode of a space opera type sci-fi cartoon, but it kind of worked for me. At the very least, it had space whales and space whales are awesome!


  • At March 28, 2009 4:16 AM, Blogger LurkerWithout said…

    I used to watch this show religiously as a kid and I'm shocked by how little I remember now. Stupid memory...

    Anyway, I think this episode shows the career-path you SHOULD have taken. Kalinara, Xeno-Lawyer. Attorney on record for Space Whales, Supertroopers and Annoying Robot Sidekicks...

  • At March 28, 2009 11:42 AM, Blogger SallyP said…

    Ooohh, this was one of my favorites. Although annoying, Buzzwang was at least competent in this one, and really, how can anyone NOT like the very concept of Space Whales?

    Doc flirts with everybody, I don't think that he can help himself. But Niko and Goose are definitely starting to warm up to each other.

  • At April 12, 2009 1:39 AM, Blogger Elizabeth said…

    I don't know who said "Let's make a space Moby Dick," but I think they might be geniuses.

    Blame the humor writer Dan Fiorella. He's since gone on to write for Cracked.

  • At April 15, 2009 4:36 PM, Anonymous Dan said…

    ...Everson Mylox. Captain of the S.S. Mildew.---------
    Oh, for heaven's sake, it's Emerson Mylox, captain of the S.S. Melville.


  • At April 15, 2009 4:49 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    I appreciate your contribution which certainly makes more sense than what I heard while watching the episode, Dan, but please consider that certain things such as "tone" do not come across the same way in text as they do in speech.

    Of course, I'm sure you didn't intend any offense at all. :-)

  • At April 16, 2009 2:35 AM, Blogger Elizabeth said…

    Er. That would be Dan. Dan Fiorella. Wearing his crankypants. Hi, Dan.

    As Doc once said, "Goose man, be polite." :)

  • At April 16, 2009 2:37 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Eh, I've had crankier comments. Made 'em too. :-)

  • At April 16, 2009 7:53 AM, Blogger LurkerWithout said…

    That is because you are the Queen of Mean. Even more than Ragnell. Who is merely an Archduchess or Baroness of Mean. I bet you've always been mean too. Even at the toy store. Being mean to little kids and making them cry and laughing as their sorrow made your cold, shriveled heart beat once more...


  • At April 17, 2009 1:34 AM, Blogger Elizabeth said…

    . . . Dude.

  • At April 17, 2009 1:38 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    That only happened once, man! Once!

  • At April 18, 2009 8:58 AM, Anonymous Dan said…

    Er. That would be Dan. Dan Fiorella. Wearing his crankypants.Actually, they're my exsperation pants. It's just the way they're cut.
    Hi, Dan.
    As Doc once said, "Goose man, be polite."
    Hey, my middle name is polite. Okay, actually it's my Confimation Name, Daniel Anthony Polite Fiorella. But, really, I take all the effort to rip off every possible whale plotline and kalinara thinks I name the ship the S.S. Mildew? Who am I, John Rawlins???

    Oh, here comes the nurse with my meds. Gotta go.

  • At April 18, 2009 10:14 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    No one's perfect, man. :-)

  • At April 24, 2009 4:05 AM, Blogger Elizabeth said…

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • At April 24, 2009 4:06 AM, Blogger Elizabeth said…

    But, really, I take all the effort to rip off every possible whale plotline and kalinara thinks I name the ship the S.S. Mildew? Who am I, John Rawlins???
    I'm telling him you said that.

    (Verification word: einsta. That's Einsteen.)

  • At November 27, 2011 11:24 PM, Anonymous Joel said…

    Quite helpful piece of writing, thanks so much for this post.
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