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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, Recap 19: The Scarecrow

Good morning/afternoon! This post is a bit later than usual, but heck, I was out late last night actually being sociable for once.

Today's episode is "Scarecrow."

Scarecrows are Fucking Creepy. And so are Kiwis.

We start out with a nifty set of triplet planets. Though possibly one counts as a moon, I'm not entirely sure how this sort of thing works. I kind of regret not studying any Astronomy in college, because it seems interesting. Oh well.

So anyway, Ranger One, piloted by Shane, Niko and Zozo, it looks like, comes to a landing on the planet. No Zach AGAIN? Yeesh. Maybe Jerry Orbach had a project or movie or something around this time.

Anyway, for once the Rangers aren't landing on a barren looking planet. Granna (or Grenna?) actually looks like it might have PLANTS. Or at least fields. I'll take what I can get.

Goose confirms, apparently Granna is covered by thousands of square miles of "Super-Wheat." Zozo chimes in that he hopes Kiwi vegetables take to the soil as well. Goose actually TEASES Zozo about a Kiwi strawberry the size of a basketball that tasted like it had been through the hoop a few times already. Zozo is unruffled and points out that the experiments have been refined since then. Goose laughs and says that he remembers planet Floko too.

Granna's not covered entirely in fields, it looks like. Ranger One comes in for a landing in a place with quite lovely grass and a few fairly fancy buildings. Even a paved landing strip. I'm not sure why you need a landing strip when Ranger One just sets down to land, but maybe the other vehicles actually have wheels.

I might be thinking too much about this. For all the fanciness of the airport, the general store looks a tad more old-school. It's made of wood, and kind of pretty. Inside, Goose half leans on a counter while the store fellow talks to Niko. The shop fellow is looking a tad janitorial, but he knows his material, and explains that all the tests have shown very little "Gene displacement" so far. The wheat clones are holding up very well.

Mm. Cloned wheat.

He reveals also that this is the first day of the harvest, and another fellow, this one in rather fetching overalls and wearing eyebrows that rival Zach's, says that it's a big party day for them.

Niko says she hasn't been to a party in "Yonks." I don't know what that means. But that's what I heard. Make of it what you will. Goose chimes in with "Yep, no Floko," sounding very amused. (Zozo by the way, appears to be eating something from a box of fruit. Heh.)

The store folk don't know about Floko, and Niko laughs that she's not sure she's relieved or not that the story didn't make it on this side of the frontier. Goose laughs and reveals that apparently on Floko, the Kiwi vegetables mutated into flying plants. He says it was "wild."

I bet he got to shoot the flying plants. Destruction makes Goose happy. It's odd to see him so light-hearted as he has been so far in this episode. But I guess Kiwi vegetable mishaps amuse him.

The shopkeepers laugh hard. Niko sulks comedically saying thanks a lot to "Shane", and saying she thought she could live that one down. The more janitorial looking fellow suddenly sobers, saying that's not funny, and asks what happened. Apparently since it was a bacterial mutation, they seeded clouds and caused a lot of rain.

Goose continues teasing Niko about the smell, which apparently was so bad, he stayed in the ship behind lots of airlocks. "If you know what I mean." Wimp. But still funny. The overall-ed gent laughs very hard and whacks him on the back. I'm a bit perplexed by the "if you know what I mean" bit since it seems pretty self-explanatory. But maybe by "stayed in the ship" he means "caused mass destruction."

Zozo points out that this is only a survey mission. Janitorial fellow, who seems much more inclined to take his job seriously, wants to see printouts for the vegetables, which Zozo insists have been completely redesigned.

The Rangers and Zozo go riding. Goose is on Triton of course. Niko is not on Voyager. This horse is tan. Nell, I guess. Weird that she doesn't just stick to one robot horse. Then again, Zozo is riding a real horse. Weird.

Goose admires the fields of wheat which do look pretty, especially with the big red planet on the horizon. Niko reveals the wheat is going to feed all the exploration groups this side of of the League of Planets. Zozo thinks the new plant will grow very well here.

It occurs to me that Galaxy Rangers is a very left-liberal show. What with the competent space hippies, the environmentalism, and collectivized farming. Granted, it still has corrupt politicians though.

Triton chimes in that "survey sector A2 has prime soil conditions." I like Triton, it makes me smile when he gets speaking lines. Goose asks Zozo if that's okay with him, and Zozo agrees. Zozo's horse is actually leading another horse, which in turn is pulling a wagon with a weird mechanical survey droid on top, so this clearly isn't a leisure ride.

Apparently, this "thumper" as Zozo calls it, will use echo studies to make an underground survey map and get essential soil data. Goose starts the thing up and it pounds at the ground for a bit before Niko notices the sun setting and cheerfully says "It's party time!" They ride off.

I'm not sure why people on robot horses need to yell, "Heeya!" or "Giddyup!" But okay. We briefly get a hint of ominous music as the sun sets behind them.

Anyway, the party's apparently in a barn with a nice old fashioned "harvest dance" sign outside. I love the bizarre incongruities of setting in this series. Space cowboys going to a barn dance, with robots parked outside.

Inside, musicians are playing an accordian and fiddle respectively, while Zozo dances with a cute girl in brown. Our Zozo's something of a ladies' man I reckon. Goose is dancing with a pretty dark haired girl in green, much to the vexation of a sandy-haired young man watching. Niko, for her part, dances with the janitorial looking guy who knows his job, and gets her foot stepped on. Poor thing. But saying ouch so obviously is not very diplomatically astute either. Tsk.

In the corner of the room, the sandy-haired young man is entertaining a group of kids with tales of "the Scarecrow." I'm interested, because, hey, title of the episode. Apparently on Harvest Night, under the full moon (and next to the pounding metal survey thing, according to the cutaway scene), the scarecrow starts twitching.

Actually, it's a fairly genuinely creepy shot with the scarecrow next to the pounding survey thing. Scarecrows are fucking creepy. Anyway, according to storyteller Johnny, it climbs down from its pole and wants the Graveyard, where it can see if there's anyone freshly buried. It will dig it up and bring it back to life.

Zombie-raising scarecrows? Okay, I'm mildly intrigued, show.

Anyway, a well-timed crash of thunder underscores the kids' disgust at the thought. One kid asks what if there isn't anyone freshly buried. A good question. In that case, it goes into the town to get someone still living. As for what it wants, well, Johnny growls and makes scary faces, sending kids fleeing into the haystack and then says "Nobody knows."

Janitorial guy comes over and tells Johnny enough with the scary stuff, though the kids in the haystack moan that they want to hear more! Kids.

The survey droid is still pounding away. But then, the ground quakes and a hand reaches up, pulling a leg off the survey droid and knocking it over. Then the owner of the hand emerges. This hideous fellow isn't a scarecrow, but it does have a red skull for a head. So apparently we see what Johann Schmidt'll be up to in about eighty years. He's struck by a bolt of something, and bursts into crimson flame. Then he grabs for the hanging scarecrow and disappears.

Okay, that was pretty fucking creepy, show.

Two cops in a police car that looks a lot like ones we have nowaday, wearing cowboy hats drive through the rain. One muses about the kind of fun Galaxy Rangers must get into. The other agrees. In front of them, creepy zombie guy waits, clad now in scarecrow regalia. Eek.

It darts out of the way, but not before the police realize someone's out there. They get out to check it out. Oh, no. Don't do that.

It grabs them and holds them in the air. One tries shooting. But there's no effect. And paused on the "Scarecrow's" face may just give me nightmares. Jesus. (I'm weak to scary movies.)

The camera zooms in on the car as we hear evil laughter. Eeek.

Back at the dance, Johnny finally cuts in on Goose and the girl. He's a bit of a dick about it, calling him "Superhero" and saying the fun's over. Goose, probably realizing he could kill the little pissant with two fingers, gracefully yields the way with a courtly bow. The girl tells Johnny not to be so jealous. She gives him a wistful wave, and he winks at her. Johnny decides to take the girl (whose name is Norma) out for a walk, even though it's raining.

Idiot. That's a guy who'll be single by tomorrow.

Outside, the horses are grazing. Well, Zozo's horse is. Nell and Triton are just standing there as they're ROBOTS. A creepy voice tells Triton "You're so pretty. Soon you'll be mine." and we see the reflection of the Scarecrow in Triton's face plate. Triton takes umbrage.

The scarecrow's less creepy when I realize he basically just looks like Mumm-ra in better clothes. Anyway Triton announces that "No one but Shane Gooseman shall ride me!" and rears up. The scarecrow likes a challenge and zaps the horse with magic red energy.

I'm very boggled by this entire sequence which seems dirty and wrong. Not in the least because he's apparently forcibly wooing a robot horse. I mean, robot horses are cool, but not the subject of this kind of forcible wooing very often.

Inside, Zozo dances on a barrel to the happiness of all. See, this is why Zozo is better than Waldo. Waldo would never do that.

Niko and Shane stand together, and Niko teasingly asks a perplexed Shane what his girlfriend's name is. Goose is indeed perplexed, and Niko teases that she's been watching them and the girl is very pretty. Goose tells her the girl already has a date. And so does he. He winks, and she smiles. Aw.

The cute moment is interrupted as Norma screams. She runs inside and tells them Johnny's been shot!

They run outside, to see the Scarecrow riding Triton whose faceplate is glowing red. He...brainwashed the robot horse. In a way that's generally reserved for damsel in distress types. I'm very very amused. Anyway, Goose is aghast.

Triton runs off, the Scarecrow on his back. The Rangers pursue. Niko on her horse, Zozo on his, while Goose takes the janitorial looking guy's (apparently named Kimbal) Jeep.

I totally want a hover jeep.

Poor Kimball's riding with Goose and understandably freaking out, though not over Goose's driving. He wants to know what that thing was. Goose just snaps for him to be quiet and asks Niko over wrist communicator if she sees anything. Answer: No. Visibility is zero.

Kimball's confused by the fog. Goose, for his part, is confused by how he's keeping Triton under control as Triton's programming only lets him ride him.

According to Kimball, he's heading into Misty Bog. Which seems like it really ought not matter, seeing as how the jeep hovers and they can't see anything anyway.

Oh, apparently Niko's horse is named Mel, not Nell. Sorry. Anyway, she gives it encouragement as the Scarecrow shoots back at her. Mel agrees. Triton is usually faster than Mel, but he's not running well tonight. Brainwashing will do that.

Unfortunately, the Scarecrow shoots a tree down in front of Niko and Mel, blocking their path. Zozo and Goose catch up, while Kimball moans that they'll never find him in the misty bog. Niko shushes him, she hears something.

Goose only cares about Triton and ignores Kimball's moaning that some of the bogs are ten feet deep. Niko shushes them again. Goose hears a mechanical horse and runs straight into a bog, drawing his weapon and calling for his robot friend. It's kind of cute that he's so irrational about the horse. Robot horses deserve love too. Zozo catches up, manages not to get shot even. While Niko finds the source of the noise.

Mel warns that the Scarecrow is coming, while Niko loads her shot gun. Suddenly Triton leaps from the bushes, and the Scarecrow gets a shot in first, knocking her off her horse, while her own shot goes wide.

Daylight finds the three Rangers in a pretty building, where Niko's resting in bed. Goose asks about Johnny, and she reports he'll pull through. Zozo says Niko looks pretty as ever, and she thanks him. Shane asks Niko if she remembered anything more. She reports that Triton was glowing, as though carrying an electric charge of some kind. Goose is perplexed.

Apparently folks had seen the chief of police riding the horse. And apparently today the chief and his assistant were found on the highway. I wonder if they were alive. Goose does not satisfy my curiousity. Zozo reports that the Thumper was destroyed as well.

Goose is still upset and concerned, as Triton wouldn't LET anyone ride him. Niko points out that THIS someone did indeed ride him, and they have to find him. Goose tells Niko that SHE's staying put to rest, and he'll take Mel. Not being an idiot, she tells him to be careful.

Apparently, the Chief of Police is not the Chief of Police, as in the kitchen of a nice place, he has a young fellow tied to a chair and reveals that after being in the ground for a "hundred million years" he gets the urge to talk. The tied up fellow is not an appreciative audience and he yells something, muffled by the gag. The Chief says that it's easy for him to say.

The lady operating the kitchen does not seem to take any notice of the tied up fellow. Apparently Granna's kinkier than I thought. She serves him coffee and breakfast. She is only vaguely puzzled by him asking about the coffee and food (eggs and hashbrowns with bacon and mushrooms, mmm) so, yeah, apparently a very odd place, this Granna is. He thinks it's missing somethting.

The kitchen lady goes to the tied up gent and whispers "Don't you think [he's] acting peculiar?" THe tied up gent, still gags, tries to say something like "YOU IDIOT, HE TIED ME UP AND GAGGED ME AT YOUR KITCHEN TABLE, LET ME THE FUCK OUT."

Or maybe I'm just projecting.

The chief wants to know what's in the cupboard. He pulls out a bottle of something that has the kitchen lady boggled and protesting that it's not "people food." He pours it on the food and makes it all green and bubbly. Ew. The kitchen lady is grossed out.

Goose and Zozo are out searching. Zozo asks what the plan is, and Goose tells Mel to see if he can pick up on Triton's "Beta Field." We get a Mel's eye view shot which is kind of cool actually. Goose says they'll look in one side of fields first. Zozo wants to know what they're looking for. Shane's not sure, but if he can make Triton carry him, Shane thinks, he must have some powerful weapons.

The sun's set again, and the Scarecrow hops onto Triton (calling him "my beauty") and has decided that they're riding in search of a spaceship.

In bed, Niko's having one heck of a dream. Flashing back to getting shot by the Scarecrow, then finding herself in a grave, then the Scarecrow trying to strangle her. She's understandably freaked when she wakes up. Anyway, she gets dressed and accesses her wrist thingy. (That looks useful, I'd want one, but I can't keep track of my watch.)

She tries to contact Goose. But is interrupted by the Scarecrow melting through her window. He's apparently decided that she has a spaceship, and he wants the command codes.

Despite her wrists being grabbed assholishly, Niko is uncowed and wants to know why he shot the boy and took the policeman. The Scarecrow tells her that after a hundred million years, his lifeforce grew weary and he needed theirs. Niko is quite shocked and asks what he is.

The Scarecrow is even more of a dick, and pushes her away. He says he is as beyond her, as she is an insect. Yeah, but you don't have lips, asswipe. Then he commands her to give him the codes and starts advancing on her, only to be interrupted by a ticked off supertrooper bursting through the door. Hi, Shane!!!

"Oh man," he says, "You are overdrawn on your account." ...I have no idea what that actually means in this context, but I suppose I should command Shane for actually trying to trash talk in an actually verbal manner. Zozo leaps through the broken window and knocks the gun out of the Scarecrow's hand. Shane uses that moment to pull him away from the gun. The Scarecrow then grabs HIS wrists and starts blasting him with red energy, and then tosses him against the wall. Ow.

The Scarecrow then picks up his revolver and aims it at Goose. Niko's not having THAT, and she yanks out her shotgun, shooting the revolver out of his hand and yelling "Eat light." That makes a lot more sense than Shane's earlier quip. But he's young. He'll learn. She shoots at him again, sending him running out the window. Helpfully Zozo points straight ahead, saying he went "thataway." Thank you, Zozo, I'd never have guessed from the way he's running in a STRAIGHT LINE.

Shane shakes off the blast, even as Niko collapses with exhaustion. He calls her "babe" and tells her to sleep. Aw. She'd probably whack you for that if she were more awake, dude.

Meanwhile the Scarecrow's back on poor Triton. But Goose is on Mel, and Zozo on his own horse and in pursuit. Mel reveals that Triton is being controlled by an alien power field. Goose is vindicated. He urges Mel to go faster. Mel says he'll try, but Triton is a "Model 6" racer.

They reach the house where the Sheriff had ate breakfast with his kinkily tied up friend the day before. Mel reports strange power fields, and Goose restrains his undoubtedly sarcastic retort to "You don't say." He climbs down and is met at the door by a fellow who creepily steers him toward the barn before morphing into an image of the Scarecrow. When Goose gets to the barn, Triton bursts out, the Scarecrow on its back. Poor Triton.

Apparently Scarecrow energy is no match for the love of a good supertrooper, and Triton suddenly breaks out of the control and greets Goose joyfully before bucking and tossing the Scarecrow from his back. Ouch and well done, you awesome robot horse, you.

Triton goes to Goose and there is brief comforting of the traumatized robot horse (his energy flux is overloaded), before the Scarecrow gets back to his feet. This of course leads to the who-can-grab-their-gun-first shootout. Awesome.

During the course of the pre-duel banter, the Scarecrow decides he likes being known as the Scarecrow (this is the first time he's been called it to his face), he'll keep it for his name in his new life.

They draw, Goose is better and gets off two blasts. Though the Scarecrow does manage to get him in the arm. But that's what badge taps are for. He becomes all glowing man (all over this time) and starts walking toward the Scarecrow, who shoots to no effect. He's starting to look freaked, and runs for it.

In the house, the kitchen woman was FINALLY untying the poor guy, but the Scarecrow bursts in and grabs the guy as a human shield. Yeesh, captured, tied up, and left in a kitchen with an idiot. It's not that guy's day. The Scarecrow has the gun against the poor guy's head, but fortunately doesn't notice the window open behind him. Hi, Zozo!

Zozo leaps on the Scarecrow's head, knocking the hostage free and causing him to fire wildly. One of his blasts hits a canister of fuel and sparks a fire.

Zozo pushes him INTO the fire, and the others run for it as the fire grows rapidly to fill the house.

Jesus! The cute mascot just SHOVED THE VILLAIN INTO THE FIRE!

This show is kind of hardcore!

The Scarecrow, now enveloped in flame, does manage to make it out the back as the house goes up. In front, the hostage guy says that that's the last they'll see of him at least. But Shane wouldn't bet on it. Zozo is looking very cute for someone who SHOVED SOMEONE INTO FIRE.

I'm not getting over that any time soon.

Apparently lingering doubts aren't going to keep the Rangers on that planet forever, so the next we see is Ranger One on the runway, getting fueled up and taking off. There's a weird close up on the guy who was fueling it, and I half-expect him to turn into the Scarecrow. He does not.

Goose, Niko (who's looking improved) and Zozo converse in the ship. Goose ponders the existance of a completely new kind of life form. (Which Zozo THREW INTO FIRE!) He wonders what kind of world it came from. Zozo asks if it's more powerful than mutated kiwi vegetables. I am not ready for jokes from people who THROW BAD GUYS INTO FIRE.

Back on the planet, the attendant indeed becomes the Scarecrow, and starts laughing.

--

Wow. That...wasn't a win. I mean, they lived. And they rescued Triton. And they didn't let the Scarecrow get the ship. But they pretty much just left him there with all those poor people. And it's at least implied that the police chief and assistant are dead.

It's not the ending I expected in a cartoon. That's for damn sure.

The Shane and Niko implications are still going. It's still kind of tentative though. A tiny bit of flirting in the gym. Not much else. I'd say the rest of the distress/concern in the episode was pretty standard. As in, not beyond that which they'd feel for any of the other team members. But the early flirting was pretty cute.

Shane's definitely more comfortable teasing now, and he gets good digs in on both Niko and Zozo without being mean or cruel.

I was a bit annoyed by all the Niko-in-distress moments, but I did appreciate that she got to shoot the Scarecrow a few times too. And the REALLY sexist horror cliche went to the robot horse.

That, by the way, was brilliant. Hah. Such an awesome mock-up of bad monster movies.

This episode was niftiest though for suddenly turning the cute, harmless, farming kiwis into utter badasses. I mean, granted, the Andorians have the hyperdrive and engineering technology. But the Kiwi have apparently some spectacular genetic engineering chops that belie their cute exteriors.

And that's not even getting into the way Zozo PUSHED the Scarecrow INTO FIRE. Jesus. That really is a lot more hardcore than I'd expect from a cartoon. I salute you, Zozo. From over here.

Really though, I'm still kind of boggled over the fact that they really didn't let the good guys win this one. I'd imagine that at least Shane would intend to come back, since he's not certain that it's dead. And the League'll have to step in since it's a major food source for them. But still. Eek. I'm kind of impressed.

And I'm going to stay away from wheat fields for a while.

12 Comments:

  • At March 29, 2009 3:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    For the curious: "yonks" is a term that means, roughly speaking, "a long, long time." It appeared without warning in 1960s Britain. No one is really sure where it came from. It's rarely, if ever, heard outside of the UK and Commonwealth countries (Australia, Canada, etc).

     
  • At March 29, 2009 3:45 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Interesting. I'm vaguely boggled about the context in an American cartoon show. But okay! Thanks! :-)

     
  • At March 30, 2009 9:05 AM, Blogger SallyP said…

    Oh yeah, this was astonishingly creepy for a kid's cartoon. Good stuff though.

    I love how Shane may flirt with Niko and Norma, but his TRUE love is his robot horse. And yes, Zozo is surprisingly baddass.

    Missing Zach though.

     
  • At March 30, 2009 9:07 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    I am recapping the next one as I type this. There is Zach. I am pleased. <3

     
  • At March 30, 2009 6:49 PM, Blogger Doug said…

    As someone who _did_ study Astronomy, I can say that...they'd look at it and pretty much just decide off the cuff whether to call it a triple planet or two planets and a moon, or what have you.

    After enough cases piled up, someone would realize they should probably have a rule to decide, and then there'd be a big hullabaloo because whatever rule they come up with would make some well-known example come out "wrong."

    Witness the Pluto controversy, and the fact that under the most sensible rule anyone's proposed so far, Earth-Luna is actually a double planet.

     
  • At March 31, 2009 2:02 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    That's really interesting!

    Would that also apply for some of the outer planet moons?

     
  • At April 08, 2009 6:22 AM, OpenID elbales said…

    Hullo! Coming in after the fact here, but it may clear things up if you know this episode was written by Christopher Rowley, a science fiction writer who was one of two story editors for GR. He went to school at Eton in England, so that's probably where "yonks" came in. :)

    I digs me some Scarecrow. Gah, he creepy. For reals.

     
  • At April 08, 2009 9:37 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Ah, that would explain it! Cool! :-)

     
  • At April 14, 2009 2:29 AM, Blogger Elizabeth said…

    This comment has been removed by the author.

     
  • At April 14, 2009 2:31 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Yep, later recaps get it right. :-) It seems dishonest to correct the older ones though. It's all "part of the journey" :-)

     
  • At April 14, 2009 2:41 AM, Blogger Elizabeth said…

    Yeah, I kept reading and found it IN THE SAME RECAP OMG READING COMPREHENSION FAIL. *ahem* Thus the deletion of the comment. Too slowly, sadly, for you caught me. Oh snap.

     
  • At April 14, 2009 2:44 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Eh, happens to all of us sometimes. :-)

    Besides, I totally call him "Nell" in earlier recaps, so the correction isn't unwarranted. :-)

     

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