Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

I'm back! And reading! And maybe even blogging! No promises!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers Recap Series: Episode 4: Chained.

You know, it's awfully nice to actually have something to blog about, even if only a few people are interested. :-)

This may be my last one of these for a few days. They're more time-consuming than they look, and school still takes priority.

They are really fun though. :-) And they take my mind off things like the scans_daily thing (I have mixed feelings about that and may blog them later.) and the rumors that Anton Yelchin might play Green Lantern. (Don't get me wrong, I like the kid and think he's a fairly phenomenal actor, but last I heard the Lantern's supposed to be Hal. Hal Jordan is not supposed to look like a twelve year old. Now if it's Kyle, then that actually works fairly well. Really though my objection is shallow. Hal Jordan, as an Air Force Captain, is one of those characters who, even at his origin, is pretty much guaranteed to be older than me. I'd prefer that to stay, thank you. Hmph.)

Okay, tangent over. I have an episode to recap. Episode 4, according to my handy little guide o' guides is called "Chained." I don't know what it's about, but I have a reasonable guess about what it's not about, so there ya go. :-)


It's a Goose-Stravaganza!

Monologue and catchy theme, check! I'd yawn, but it's still pretty effective in explaining the concept to new viewers.

And it's certainly catchy. :-)

We start with a view of a high tech round thing that looks like a cross between Unicron and the Death Star. I think I may have an idea for a sequel to my planet porn. Heh.

Apparently it's a prison structure, as we see Shane Gooseman well-coiffed hair being lead by two masked stormtroopers guards, who are briefing him about a prisoner, a member of the "Black Hole Gang" named "MaCross" (heh, intentional? If so, very amusing, show.) He raided some star system recently for "Star Stones."

As expositional briefings go, it's a bit easier to follow than Tortuna's. Which is a plus. Bad guy. Gang member. Stealing something presumably valuable. Okay!

One guard warns that "he's a mean one," and asks Shane if he's sure he can handle the transfer. Our man Goose does not bring up this lifesized game of whack-a-mole from last episode, though that's certainly not stopping ME. Goose merely states that he doesn't want to attract attention.

The guard gives us more hints about the episode plot: rumor has it MaCross buried star stones, and his gang is waiting. Gee, I wonder if an escape will be involved?

I kid because I love. If I really resented predictable plots, I wouldn't watch twenty-year-old kids cartoons. Or read comic books for that matter. Heh.

The cell lock is actually pretty nifty. It's a cylinder that extends from the wall to encase the guard's hand. I suppose it's still no defense against a bad guy cutting off someone's arm or using his unconscious carcass to open the lock, but it's still pretty swanky.

MaCross is kind of nifty looking. Humanoid, but with eyes that are all orange, and what look like spikes coming out of his jawline. He's got a very deep, old school western type voice, and tells them in proper outlaw style, that it doesn't matter what hole he's thrown in, he'll find a way out.

When we first see him, he's kind of huddled under a blanket. Now he throws it off to reveal a fairly massive physique. He's kind of half wearing what looks like a green karate gi, with one shoulder beared to reveal a claw or pincer like tattoo. Goose is unimpressed though, because he's blown up worse than that in his sleep. He informs MaCross, and us, that he's taking the outlaw to Earth for a trial. MaCross just hmphs and quips that he's "Coming forth to carry me home."

I think he might have missed the point of that song. But then he's a bad guy. It's his job.

On closer examination, the spikes are actually webbed. So this guy has fins off his face. He also has a fairly spectacular manicure as we see when he is promptly handcuffed to Goose. Heh. It's one of THOSE plots.

Well, it IS a cop show. Sort of. You need a cop-and-convict-running-about-handcuffed plot. It's compulsory. They get into the transport ship, which is neither Ranger One nor the Interceptor. Alma the AI, however, is indeed managing the bugger, and she activates security locks which amount to the chair itself locking MaCross in place. MaCross tries to tap one of the buttons, and is promptly zapped by Alma.

I like Alma. As creepy eye-graphics representing AIs go, she's all right. Goose uses this cue to grab MaCross by the karate gi and warn him that if he moves the wrong way, he's dead.

As they fly off, we see a bunch of little blue and brown craft hiding behind an asteroid. I'm not sure how exactly that's supposed to work in SPACE, but I'll give it the 80s sci-fi shrug and nod. Maybe the rocks have something that disrupt scanners.

I'm more curious as to how they know that MaCross is being transferred, or that THIS ship is the one carrying him. If I were Goose, later on, I'd be looking for an inside man.

There's always an inside man.

Anyway, we zoom in on one craft, which has a creepy depiction of that earwig thing from Wrath of Khan that Ricardo Montalban shoved in Chekov's head. His silhouette makes him look like a big guy, but I've never been good with shadow interpretation. They take off in pursuit.

Alma notifies Goose about the pursuers, but she can't tell how many because they have "sonic jammers". Okay. That almost makes the asteroid make sense. How far can the human eye see if you're looking through a window into space? Because I'd think they could just SIT there undetected instead of bothering with the asteroid.

MaCross laughs and says that he'd like to see what the ship can do. He ought not to have said that, as Goose slams what looks like some kind of throttle and sends them backward INTO the swarm of badguys. MaCross is thrown forward and does not appear to enjoy it much.

The bad guy fighters are kind of incompetent, and some fancy flying gets them to shoot one another. Oops. They "hyperdrive" away.

I'm not sure how different "hyperdrive" is from "warp" mentioned in previous episodes. But it appears effective. MaCross is certainly impressed, but warns "Ranger Boy" that he (Shane) doesn't really know what's happening. He flexes his fingers in his restraints while expositioning eloquently on how Star Stones are supposed to have "all kinds of powers." Zooming in, we see that MaCross's nifty manicure has a purpose: there's a tiny laser underneath.

This is why if I'm ever escorting a prisoner, I'm pulling out my goddamn nail clippers. Cruel and unusual punishment, my ass. It's pretty clever though. MaCross gets a hand free and smashes the console before Goose can stop him. He also gets a few good hits in, though Goose does the badge-tap thing even as Alma warns of technical difficulty. MaCross gets a bitchslap for his trouble. Goose is forced to disengage the hyperdrive though.

As Alma rattles off information about their status (everything is malfunctioning), Goose absently yanks MaCross off the console. He is quite vexed to learn that they are in "the Empty Zone."

MaCross, for his part, recognizes Goose as "one of those Series Five Rangers." (Series Five refers to the implant.) Goose is annoyed but doesn't rise to the bait, and instead gets a fuel update. They can reach the frontier planet "Ozark" (hee, THAT bodes well.)

But apparently, MaCross's henchmen were able to follow them. Yay! I smell gratuitous violence on the horizon. And also rednecks. They ARE going to Ozark.

(No offense intended to anyone from the Ozarks.)

Honestly, MaCross's use of the nickname "Ranger Boy" is starting to creep me out. It might be the deep voice and accent, but I keep anticipating his next words to be "You sure got a pretty mouth." And somehow I really don't think Shane would take too kindly to that.

Anyway, one of the pirate gang pops on the screen and demands that Goose set down at certain coordinates or be blasted. Since they have no shields left and he apparently is not inclined to test out his implant in a vacuum, he agrees.

Too bad. Maybe he'll get to do that later. :-)

Our Gooseman's capacity for mass destruction isn't completely neutralized though. He expels the now defunct hyperdrive, which is shot toward a couple of bad guy ships, and then, at the push of a button, explodes. Nicely done, my homicidal and yet fictional friend.

Ozark is a pretty planet. Goose and MaCross get to enjoy it more as they eject. Alma apologizes and wishes them luck, until she gets reprogrammed. An odd box gets ejected as well. Could it be? I hope it is!

Goose reclaims MaCross (who is no longer tied to him), punches him unconscious, and goes to the box which has a robot horse inside! YAY! Triton is very glad to see Goose. Their maybe-human and robot-equine friendship warms my heart. Goose fills his horse in, sounding genuinely regretful about Alma's temporary fate, as more bad guy ships approach the ground. He throws MaCross's carcass onto Triton's back and they're off!

There's a lovely chase scene, with the ships trying to catch the robot horse, with a few getting shot down in the process. I want a robot horse!

Then again I'm afraid of regular horses. (Not Earthworm level phobia, they just make me nervous.) Of course there's a leap over an impossible distance from cliff to cliff. That's what makes chase scenes fun! By the time Shane, Triton, and MaCross's unconscious carcass get to the forest cover, there's only two ships left.

By now Shane's walking beside the horse, which doesn't make sense, considering that it probably ought not tire like a real horse, but it's a nice image anyway.

MaCross IS kind of badass. He wakes up when Goose gets the cuff around one wrist, knocks Goose into a tree. Triton doesn't like this, and bucks him off. Unfortunately, by cuffing one of MaCross's wrists, Goose gave him a weapon. MaCross uses it first as a bolo to knock the gun from Goose's hand, and then as a garrotte.

He's distracted however by a gunshot, and Goose overpowers him. Still, I'm mildly impressed. Good show, MaCross. Anyway, the owner of the gun is an attractive brunette woman. Much to my amazement, she's not actually built like a stick figure. Her legs, for example, actually look like she has meat on her bones!

I don't begrudge Niko her slimness, but it's nice to see more body types represented. MaCross tries to claim that Goose attacked him first, but the attractive lady with the gun isn't having it and demands an explanation. The attractive lady is skeptical at Goose's claim to be a galaxy ranger, though she doesn't seem to like MaCross much. She backs toward a placidly waiting Triton. She is quite taken with the robot horse, as we would be, and asks if it belongs to Goose. MaCross tries to claim that Goose stole it from him.

I really don't know why you'd try to claim a TALKING robot horse. I'm pretty sure it'd be inclined to tell the truth. Well, unless it doesn't LIKE its owner. To be fair, the robots in this series don't seem to have any issues with emotion, so I suppose that could happen.

Gun-toting lady is fairly sharp, and she calls MaCross on his bluff by telling him to ride Triton as "Horses don't lie." Unfortunately, she gets close enough while making the demand to let MaCross grab her gun. Aw. You were doing so well! Shane punches him out, but as he falls, we see a strange electronic device attached to the heel of one shoe. Goose identifies it as how the bad guys found them.

Huh, that actually answers both my question about how they knew when/what ship MaCross was leaving on AND how they tracked them through an emergency exit from hyperspace! I wasn't expecting that! Well-played, show.

Now explain me the hiding behind the asteroid thing.

Goose and the hot gun-toting girl trade names. She's Annie. Apparently strangers don't get to Ozark very often. I can't imagine why ANYONE would avoid a place called Ozark. De-de-dee-de-de-de-de-de-deee. (For the record, that was me singing part of the duelling banjos. Though I don't actually remember where Deliverance took place. Oh well.)

Anyway, he explains the need to get to Earth and warns her that since MaCross had a tracer (which is now in pieces on the other end of Shane's boot) her people could be in danger. She indignantly protests that they have blasters. He points out that the gang has a few bigger blasters. It kind of reminds me of when Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam run for mayor, and Bugs quotes Roosevelt's speak softly and carry a big stick line, and Sam shouts back that he speaks LOOOOUDLY and carries a BIGGGGER stick.

Somehow I doubt the Black Hole Gang likes babies though.

Annie convinces him though, by telling him that her folk have a transmitter. She also introduces him to her horse, which is one of those obsolete LIVING models.

As they ride, Shane gives her the "Join the Federation League of Planets" sales pitch, by explaining how they can bring technology and medicines. There's no Prime Directive in this universe, which makes me glad. It always seemed vaguely hypocritical since humans got warp from the Vulcans anyway. Annie noncommitally acknowledges that those things are pretty good, then says she likes it when he smiles. Aw.

Interestingly, with the pitch not rejected out of hand, he warns her that technology can be a double edged sword. I'd probably wait to close the deal before warning that, myself. Or at least get a bit more enthusiasm first. But, we learn, there's actually a good reason for Goose's unease. He was created by technology, he tells her. That explains so much!

She insists that he wouldn't destroy anything. She hasn't seen the last episode. Or the one before that, I'd reckon. Or earlier in this episode. Her naivety is cute. Anyway, she actually seems more interested in the League now, as he tells her that the League could teach and help them. She's always interested in new friends.

...I think she wants to explore a little genetic engineering herself, if you know what I mean. Heh. MaCross by the way is somewhat awake by now and has a few entertaining peanut gallery comments as noise is heard in the background. Annie and Goose race off (and Triton does that bucking thing that Zach's horse is so fond of. Aw. I like Goose, but I do miss the rest of the team.)

The Black Hole Gang ships (increased now to four) are currently having fun attacking Annie's people. She runs to find an elder, and he tosses MaCross from the horse to chase her. Heh. It's good to see the boy has priorities. (Even if leaving the criminal tied up in plain view of his own gang is a pretty dumb idea, Shane.)

They rush into a burning saloon where he's knocked off horseback by a burning piece of debris. Fortunately he has a nifty badge and is now a glowing figure of fire-immune ass kickery, as he whistles for Triton to break the wall and drags both Annie and some old guy out of the saloon. The old guy is over his shoulder, and he's kind of got Annie by the scruff of her neck. She doesn't seem to mind though.

The townsfolk do however, and Shane is promptly lassoed. Triton runs off, by the way, while the townsfolk hold both Goose and MaCross (who's awake again, but probably somewhat brain damaged by all the blows to the head by now. Tsk) at gun point. They're not much for outworlders, it seems.

One of the jerkoffs is Annie's father, who is not inclined to listen to Annie's assertions that only MaCross is the criminal, Goose is her friend. Who she wants to bang. So it's probably no wonder her dad's unimpressed. Her father's a bit of a dick though and tells her to hush up and that she doesn't know what she's saying. Dick. One of the other townsfolk whacks Goose on the back and sends him sprawling toward some one-eyed geezer's feet.

Gee, I wonder why no one wants to visit the Ozarks. :-P This patched geezer, redundantly named Patch, knows MaCross and comments on the merry chase that he and the Galaxy Ranger took them on. More henchmen surround and free MaCross.

Annie points out that Goose saved the saloon guy and calls her people cowards. MaCross, meanwhile, handcuffs Goose and yanks off his badge to boot. They're about to take Goose off, but Annie takes umbrage to them coming in and taking what they want. This is her town! Her planet! And goddamnit, if anyone's going to put the hot cop in bondage, it's going to be her!

I might have added the last bit.

Anyway, under the guise of telling her to back down, he passes her something small and electronic looking which MaCross doesn't notice as he knocks her down.

Goose shouts, or rather, speaks at a normal volume at a slightly more harried tone, something incomprehensible about chance, choice and destiny, as he's dragged off.

Anyway, the bad guys tie Goose to a dead tree in the desert, as they stare at a map. This raises some question though. Presuming that they're, as I expect, looking for MaCross's buried stones how on Earth did MaCross know to damage the console and force them out of hyperspace when he did?

Oh well, if I couldn't allow for narrative contrivance, I'd be a fairly crappy comic fan. Heh.

The gang dig with lasers, which seems like a bad idea, but so far has found nothing. Patch is getting antsy. MaCross swears the stones are here. Goose for his part looks blithely unconcerned for a man who's spent a good portion of this episode in bondage. Also, at some point in the crash landing, he lost a sleeve. It's been like this most of the episode, but I only thought to comment on it now. It's kind of hot really. Like seeing a Victorian lady's ankle.

Meanwhile one of the gang members actually finds the damn thing. They yank out the box, while Shane comments that they'll be mighty disappointed. I wonder what he knows that we do not. Patch wonders too, and demands an explanation, while Goose drawls that MaCross should "fess up".

MaCross is defensive, but Goose thinks aloud that they probably won't find anything worth anything in that chest. Goose suggests that if the stones aren't here, the boys should let him go. They blast open the chest. Sure enough, the star stones are there.

MaCross gloats, but Shane comments mysteriously that he does his homework, while the stones start glowing very bright. Apparently star stones evaporate when exposed to direct sunlight...like in a desert. Very well played.

I like it as a resolution, but I can't help think it would be better if they mentioned this property earlier in the episode. Right now it comes across as kind of tacked on last minute. Like in a child's play pretend game. "Oh yeah, well, I tie you up!" "Well, I have a secret knife!" "*I* have a secret gun!" "Well, my vest is bulletproof!"

If they'd dropped that bit earlier, then we'd better appreciate Goose's scheme. Patch is very unhappy with MaCross. Which doesn't seem fair as PATCH opened the chest. MaCross draws a gun, but is taken down by Triton! YAY! Robot horses rock!

Moreover, Annie's apparently convinced her folk to not be quite as much xenophobic assholes, and they're racing in to the rescue. Go scary rednecks!

The Black Hole Gang flee. MaCross tries to go with them, but Patch is having none of that and yanks him off the horse. I still don't think that's fair. MaCross DID deliver on everything he promised. Patch was the one who insisted on opening it in sunlight. Annie slips the badge into Goose's hands, and he glows a bit and breaks the restraints.

I'm not sure why she couldn't just remove the cuffs herself, but maybe she just wanted to see him do it. I can't really blame her. If I met a superhuman person, I'd totally ask them to do some neat tricks.

I'm like that.

Anyway, we find out that the thingy he passed her was Triton's control chip and he led them to Goose. Meanwhile Triton seems to be enjoying attention from Annie's horse. I wonder if robot horses contain working parts...if ya know what I mean.

Annie's dick of a dad interrupts their moment by saying that she's right and they need contact with the outside to protect their future. Bout time, dickwad. Shane just says that the league of planets will welcome them.

Shane and Annie have a cute goodbye moment as a ship comes to pick him up, and she kisses him on the cheek. Aw.

--

This episode is kind of like Phoenix, in the sense that it revolves solely around one ranger. Doc, Niko, and Zach are Sirs Not Appearing in this Episode. This is a bit disappointing on one hand, because I like them, but on the other hand, as a character showcase for Goose it works fairly well. I kind of like that this show is willing to have entire episodes featuring one or two members at the most. It allows for deeper exploration into the characters than tends to happen otherwise.

Also, it establishes that the Galaxy Rangers don't JUST do the big exciting missions that most of the episodes focus on. Clearly they also have other duties, such as escorting prisoners, that can be performed individually. That's good to know. They're not just sitting around waiting for the big crises. It probably doesn't hurt that I've a not-so-secret fondness for the cop-escorts-fugitive type storylines.

It was probably a good idea to do an episode for Goose this early, thinking about it. The second and third episodes had given some interesting hints about the character, and I like that they followed up on them pretty well here.

This episode showcases Shane Gooseman's general competence and even diplomatic ability, which is a little surprising given the character's general temperament. However, from what we see, he's frank, honest and respectful of Annie and by extension the people of Ozark.

We also find out in this episode that Goose is genetically engineered and a "product of technology". This makes quite a bit of sense with what we've seen thus far. Certainly it would explain why the youngest member of the group is the most combat capable and also the most experienced with his powers as well. It probably also explains the general disregard for personal safety. If you're raised as a commodity, you don't tend to acknowledge your own self-worth much.

There are certainly hints in this episode that Shane is not completely at ease with his existence. It's not a coincidence, I think, that he reveals his own origin right after warning Annie about the dangers of technology. I think his slightly incomprehensible shout about destiny being a choice, not a matter of chance is probably telling as well.

After all, you don't engineer something without a specific purpose in mind. I "suspect" (read: I know, but I'm pretending not to for the sake of this recap) that we're going to be revisiting this purpose later.

It's interesting that so far, Goose seems to have the closest relationship with the AI/robots, except for maybe Doc, as its his profession. For example, Goose seems a bit closer to Alma than Zach is to JV. He sounded genuinely regretful when telling Triton what happened to her. There is more of a playful nearly-flirtatious element in Goose and Alma's interaction, while Zach interacts with JV more like one might interact with an admittedly trusted and valuable family butler.

He also seems to be much closer to Triton than the other rangers are to their horses. Heck, Niko and Doc trade horses back and forth! And Zach's doesn't even have a name yet!

Ultimately, he seems more at ease with Alma and Triton than he does with the other Rangers, at least so far, possibly because of having origin in common.

This episode does raise questions for me in terms of timeline, I have to admit. So far, I'd been assuming that this series probably didn't take place THAT long after Waldo and Zozo gave Earth its hyperdrive. Earth certainly seems fairly new to the galaxy. The Queen had never captured a human before Eliza, and no one on Tortuna appeared to be familiar with the species either.

At the same time however, the people of Ozark clearly appear human, and the culture still bears reference to Earth. Their colony clearly existed long enough to become isolated and a bit weird.

So either this takes place a lot later than I'd thought, or Ozark is closer to Earth than it appeared. To be fair, Goose had been heading to Earth at the time he dropped out, so possibly it IS close enough to get to without a hyperdrive. I wish they'd been a little more specific.

As side characters go, I really liked both MaCross and Annie. It's easy to make one-shot villains of series like this goofy or incompetent, or make the hero into an idiot in order to give the villain a temporary advantage. MaCross, however, really is kind of badass. His scheme was fairly clever to start with (even though I still don't know how he timed it so that they'd definitely have to crash on Ozark) and he was clever in choosing when to wait or seize opportunities. Not all of his gambits worked, but they were fairly reasonable attempts. And in the end, despite Patch's blame, MaCross really didn't do anything wrong. He DID lead them to the stones. The stones WERE real. It was PATCH who insisted on opening the chest.

Both MaCross and Shane made good showings and it was pretty fun seeing them go back and forth.

Annie was also fun. I like girls with big guns, heh. And she was a nice mix of pragmatism and common sense. She didn't believe Shane right away, sure, but she didn't believe MaCross either, and seized upon a chance to test him. She also didn't fall into a common sci-fi and Trek-type trap of getting overly defensive when Shane brings up the League of Planets. I've never liked that.

"We can give you medicine and technology!" "We're JUST FINE THE WAY WE ARE! *froths at mouth*."

Being proud of your people doesn't mean you have to be an idiot about it. I think they do a good job with Annie. She's not sure that membership in the League would be the best thing for her people, while still acknowledging that yes, tech and medicine are good things and Shane's not trying to insult her by offering her the chance. She clearly THINKS about it, which is very satisfying to see regardless of what choice she makes.

I was also amused by her flirting with Goose, since it didn't seem like he quite realized what she was doing. Given his backstory, it makes sense that he's a bit socially inept. It's still pretty funny. :-) And pretty elegantly done too, since at no point does she look desperate or stupid for pursuing someone clearly uninterested/oblivious.

The rest of her people are fairly stereotypical and less satisfying, and I wish we'd seen more of how Annie brought them around to her thinking. Their turn-around seemed awfully abrupt, and some time could have been shaved from the jungle chase or the digging up of treasure, I'd reckon.

Oh well, missed opportunities. :-)

8 Comments:

  • At March 01, 2009 11:50 AM, Blogger SallyP said…

    Gosh, I'm just enjoying the heck out of these reviews. I really should dig out the old VCR and watch the episodes.

    Shane is a bit like Kyle, in that he gets his clothes ripped off and gets tied up a lot.

    Most of the women on the show were portrayed pretty well too. Not a screamer or a fainter in the bunch.

     
  • At March 01, 2009 6:57 PM, Blogger LurkerWithout said…

    Yes everyone loves Loga..Goose best. Angsty loner who doesn't quite get how hot he is...

    :P

     
  • At March 01, 2009 6:59 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Goose doesn't pick fights with leaders or tutor annoying teenagers though.

    And as far as I know, never had a thing for Zach's wife. :-P

     
  • At March 02, 2009 2:18 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Oh and I totally agree with you about the women, SallyP, especially after episode 5. :-)

     
  • At March 07, 2009 8:52 AM, Blogger Ununnilium said…

    "At the same time however, the people of Ozark clearly appear human, and the culture still bears reference to Earth. Their colony clearly existed long enough to become isolated and a bit weird."

    Possibly, the hyperdrive is new, but they sent out planet-colonizing generation-ships or somesuch?

     
  • At March 07, 2009 12:50 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    That's indeed a fair point! :-)

     
  • At April 11, 2009 8:29 PM, Blogger Elizabeth said…

    We do indeed find out much later in the series that Earth sent out sleeper/generation ships to colonize the galaxy. Several years are supposed to elapse between 2086 and the beginning of the series. I don't think they ever said exactly how many years, though.

     
  • At April 23, 2009 9:07 PM, Anonymous w00t said…

    I'm enjoying these reviews. Please keep them up. Can't wait until you get to Stargate.

    :-)

    MaCross - well thought out villain. He's rough, self-centered and resourceful. Annie - tough settler type destined to become the next town mayor. I enjoy seeing these two characters in other episodes. Gives them depth.

     

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home