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Thursday, April 02, 2009

Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, Recap 21: Games

Now that I'm almost a third of the way through these recaps, it's starting to occur to me that eventually I will run out, and maybe I should think of something else to recap afterward.

I'm thinking maybe Exosquad. Make it an American animation extravaganza. If I can find my old tapes and they're still in vaguely working order at least. And I can make fun of the horrible hair and plugs in the back of their heads. Or go more nostalgic and make fun of He-Man and She-Ra. So many possibilities!

Today's episode is called "Games" which is a little weird since it was last episode that had the sadistic gameshow premise, but well, they didn't ask me to name the episodes. Which is probably a good idea since I think I was two at the time. Anyway, on with the cartoon!

Because Dinosaur-Polo-Dodgeball Just Looks Awesome

This episode starts on a floating space-station, where Doc is stuck with a whiny computer program. I guess since Buzzwang became tolerable now that he's channelling a space hippie, someone had to pick up the slack. Anyway, apparently the computer does not like being stuck in the middle of nowhere, because space stations are apparently all the rage in the big cities, and also dislikes the lack of respect.

Doc is also less happy about being out there, but he is good at reassuring the computer that he respects him. "A Doctor always respects his patients." Which is sweet. Untrue. But sweet.

The program believes that someone's been tampering with it, even though it knows it's the only one on the station. Doc is comforting and points out that just because it's paranoid doesn't mean there's no one there. That's not very comforting, Doc. He does some tweaking with a weird pen like device.

The program seems to enjoy that a little too much actually. Ew. But it does feel better afterward. Right before alarms go off and it zaps Doc with a nice red beam. Ouch!

Lazarus Slade (!!!) shows up, followed by two gigantic monstrous folk, and pronounces that this Galaxy Ranger should make a perfect soldier for "the General." Hmm, I guess this isn't the episode I thought it was going to be. Oh well, you can't go wrong with Lazarus Slade. Unless Buzzwang is involved. But as there's no Buzzwang, we're fine with the cyber-monocled cowboy Doctor Strange.

Doc does not appear to be entirely unconscious, as his eyes are open, but he doesn't struggle when the monster-alien henchman remove him. Slade drops a card on the computer console.

Poor Doc is now captured on a ship. That can't be fun!

Back on BETA, Walsh's mustache is briefing the other three. He explains that when the unmanned station began sending strange messages, they thought the computer was on the fritz and sent Doc. If Doc couldn't fix it, no one could.

Zach, who I'm delighted to see for the second episode in a row, is all steely eyed and determined in the way that he excels at. Walsh's mustache further explains that Doc is not the only person missing, apparently a computer check revealed the sector had an unusual level of disappearances. Um, Commander, you couldn't check that BEFORE sending your best programmer in alone?

Zach asks about clues and Walsh's mustache brings up the image of the calling card. Niko points out only one guy tends to leave those lying around when he commits crimes, Walsh confirms that it's Slade's calling card.

Walsh warns them that Slade is brilliant and must not be underestimated. But can he punch a gopher? Anyway Walsh and his mustache have a plan, and Goose, he intones, will be a decoy.

Oddly, in the shot I'm paused on, Zach actually looks taller than Goose. I'm presuming it's either camera angles or Zach standing on a box.

In the power up chamber, which I'm sure actually has a name but I've never caught it, Goose rides an elevator up to the platforms. He's wearing a Zanguil costume and muttering something about not being able to pilot his own ship. Q-Ball, safely behind glass, tells him that he'll make a more likely decoy in the "old crate" they've procured for him. Q-Ball consoles him with the "fine extras" he's whipped up for the costume.

These extras involve a metal thingy that shoots out of the wrist as a sort of whip/garotte thing, apparently. Goose likes new things to kill people with, and now mollified, he compliments Q-Ball for making them in such short notice. Or "whipping them up." I groan.

I'm glad to see more signs of Shane Gooseman having a sense of humor, but I'm disturbed that lately it seems to have evolved to puns.

Anyway, apparently he's also wearing exploding buttons. Which is an awesome thought. He is slightly uneasy about the idea of them exploding while he wears them. Which is understandable, but I bet he's more upset at the idea of wasting a good explosive.

The badge is "disguised" as a belt buckle. I'm not sure why that's a disguise, since Niko wears hers there all the time, but okay.

Q-Ball activates the charging sequence, the platform lights up, and we segue to Shane driving some ship which honestly the descriptor "old crate" might be a tad too generous. Goose contacts Q-Ball through the communicators, and Q-Ball quips that through the scramblers, Goose sounds like a duck. Goose quips "a sitting duck" and keeps flying.

Back on Earth, Ranger One takes off too. And in a musical transition worthy of Earth Girls are Easy, it warps to wherever it's supposed to be going. There appears to be a very dark grey "cloud" (nebula?) which is covered with sparkly orange lights.

Back to Goose, he starts a mayday signal, setting himself up as bait. The strange energy cloud is indeed moving in his direction. Ranger One has him on its scopes. Apparently the cloud is a strong energy source with "high-intensity flux readings." I don't know what that means, but it sounds ominous. As Goose's ship is enveloped by the clouds, Zack and Niko's equipment loses the signal. I guess that's what that meant.

Anyway, according to Zach, something in the cloud must be jamming transmissions, and Goose has completely vanished. Zach doesn't sound too upset by this, though. He's probably waiting to follow explosions.

Goose wakes up on a bed in very small cell. It doesn't look terribly comfortable, but it doesn't seem as though he minds. He appears well rested at least, and stretches. He mutters a quip about a mix-up and reserving a room with a view. Oh dear, poor Shane, you've been hanging about with Doc for too long. He tries his communicator and gets no response. He's on his own.

Soon the door opens, and one of the henchmen who grabbed Doc earlier comes in, brandishing a gun. He says "Game time" and orders Goose on his feet. Goose could totally take him, but chooses to cooperate for now instead. He asks "What game is that?" Which is not a question I'd ask in a cell that small, but I suppose those jokes are immature even for me.

A small, slight, vaguely bird like alien with three arms, each holding guns, tells him "You'll see. If you're lucky, you'll survive." He's led into a line of various aliens who are all being marched out of cells and into a room.

The one in front of him is not in there long before the door swings open with a "next." The alien who has Goose under guard is gripping his elbow, as though that would actually stop him. Goose merely tells him to keep in touch, before going in.

The room is kind of interesting. Very big, with a ring of what looks like audience boxes toward the top. An alien appears on a screen on a floating device and announces Round 3. ("Brought to you by Crunchies, the snack food with a bite.")

In the stadium? Arena? A giant, yet oddly cute sort-of-pterodactyl suddenly lands beside Goose, while a strange woman in a striped body-suit acknowledges him as humanoid. He returns that she doesn't look too bad herself. She tells him to enjoy the view, it may be his last. How cliche. Besides, she isn't THAT hot.

She tells him to mount his "Draco", and when he asks about the score, aims her gun at him. He grumbles and asks about rules. The only rule is "Don't lose."

Other sort-of-pterodactyls take to the "sky" (It's a VERY large room), while the blimp thing announces the start of round four.

Apparently weapons are provided too. As Shane and company now have a weird wand like device. The blimp drops a weird bouncy pink ball which bounces a while and then splits into more bouncy pink balls. The weird wand is apparently like a double lightsaber or something, judging by the way it pops out light at both ends.

On the scale of bizarre futuristic games going from Blernsball to Triad, this one is interesting. It appears to be a cross between polo on dinosaur back and dodgeball as each use their lightsabers to whack the balls back at other riders. One fellow is hit by a ball, glows pink, and falls off his dinosaur, plummeting down a very long way. Eek.

Shane lands his dinosaur next to the woman, who aims her gun at him and tells him the only way he'll survive is to play. I think you vastly underestimate our Gooseman's survivability, lady. He asks if she's the referee. She shoots at him.

Apparently Shane finds being shot at a turn-on. Oh dear.

Anyway he rejoins the game. And gets whacked by a pink ball. Which apparently hurts like a bitch. He has his trusty badge though and taps it, enabling him to glow gold and shrug off the stupid pink things, as his opponents get whacked by them, and fall off.

In an added dose of sadism, the floor declines downward into a gap. I wonder if they live. If not...that's pretty twisted.

The audience seems impressed. As does an odd, giant one-eyed blue guy in a military uniform complete with those shoulder things that look like brushes. He points to Goose saying "That one. The metamorph." And calls him a splendid specimen. Oh REALLY now.

Anyway, the General seems to think Slade provided him with this one. Slade is not inclined to lessen that assumption. Slade is more interested in the staff of the girl he took from Tarkon. Apparently, it stunned a lot of his men and he wants to know how it works. Admittedly, if the staff he's talking about is the one he's holding, then it matches Slade's color scheme a lot more than it does the chick in the arena's. The General says he might consider giving it to Slade when he's through studying it.

Slade looks up at the General and gravely intones that he WILL have it. The General doesn't take that as the warning it undoubtedly is and tells him that this is his world and he calls the shots. Ooo, I smell trouble.

And where the hell is Doc?

Oh! There he is! In the arena. It looks like a new round, with a few new opponents. And Doc, while a genius hacker, is not the most skilled at dinosaur-polo-dodgeball and falls from his dinosaur thing. Fortunately, Goose is there to catch him.

The cute dinosaur things are very well trained, as Doc's comes in close enough for Goose to drop a very happy Doc back onto him. Goose tells him to stick close, the game is over.

The General isn't very smart, I suspect. If I were making skilled combatants fight potentially deadly battles in front of me, I probably wouldn't arm them with awesome flying dinosaurs. It might be entertaining, but it seems like trouble waiting to happen.

Doc asks if he knows what he's doing. And Goose responds with a doesn't he always? Which granted, if there's a virtuoso of destruction and mayhem in this group, it would be Shane Gooseman.

Or maybe Zozo, but he's not on this mission.

Doc points out that that's what he's afraid of, but he follows his teammate.

Indeed, our Gooseman does know how to disrupt a game, as the first thing he does is blow up the goddamn blimp thing. The General is now alarmed and worries that the "Metamorph" will ruin him. Well, that's what you get for kidnapping and providing awesome dinosaurs dude.

Slade chimes in that he's not a metamorph, he's a Galaxy Ranger. (He can't be both?) The General orders Slade to the command center and to seal all exits. Hmm, this might be a good time to promise him the staff, dude. 'Sall I'm sayin'. The General says that HE will deal with the metamorph.

Kind of single-minded, ain't he?

Anyway, in the arena, a loudspeaker announces that there are Galaxy Rangers in the games and orders them seized at once.

Wait a second. Granted, Shane's in disguise, but Doc's in UNIFORM. They KNEW he was a Ranger and set a trap for him. Moreover, who's supposed to catch them? The other prisoners? Yeesh, this is a bad set-up.

Shane and Doc land on the platform, and Shane tells him that they don't have time for his "lady friends." But Doc doesn't let his partner's irritable attitude get in the way of expressing his gratitude to his dinosaur. Which really is adorable. Anyway, he gets it to scoot (it is reluctant) and they start running. Doc says he hopes Goose brought the cavalry. Goose answers that he's all the cavalry Doc gets. Doc was afraid of that.

On the other hand, the metal wrist whip thingy works nice when it comes to disarming door guards and stealing their weapons. Goose then shoots down the door and they run. With a "Galaxy Rangers, Ho." from Doc. I love you, Doc, but is that necessary when there's two of you?

They run into the hallway of cells, where the lady from earlier waits for them. Goose isn't displeased to see her, but asks dryly if she's not on the wrong side. She answers that she's not what she seems. And Doc asks if that means she's ugly.


Anyway, she introduces herself as Maya, princess of the planet Tarkon. She has feathers in her hair I'm only now noticing. She's fairly badass looking for a princess, I must admit. But then this series is good with the badass ladies. Anyway, her story is that she was taken prisoner when she came after her people. Shane doesn't have patience for long backstories though and suggests they move. They run.

Maya asks if they're warriors. Shane says that she could say that. I think she did, my friend. Doc points out that the planet must be surrounded by a forcefield, and if he can find the system, he can shut it down and bring in backup. Maya says she'll lead them there. Doc asks why they should trust her.

Three-eyed bird man interrupts them, shooting, but Maya fells him with one shot. This doesn't necessarily prove she's on their side, but, as she tosses Doc the alien's gun, she points out that she's their only chance. Doc acknowledges that he's never heard a better reason. Doc gets in on the shooting of minions, and turns around to see Maya aiming her weapon at him.

Of course it's the standard shoot the enemy behind the hero trick. She tells him to move it or lose it. I kind of like Maya.

Goose warns them back, and they all flatten to the wall as a nice set of marching troops go by the intersection in front of them. They're wearing heavy space suits and breathing devices, which Maya explains are for guard duty outside. Apparently the atmosphere out there is poisonous. It might just be the Zanguil face covering collar, but Goose seems to look speculative.

Maya takes them to the control room door. Goose tries blowing it up with one of his explosive thingies. He looks kind of disappointed when it fails, but Doc'll show him a professional at work. He taps a button, just as guards come running. Goose and Maya make short work, and he compliments her shooting just as Doc gets the door open.

The computer room is vast. Maya thinks it's incredible despite the fact that she'd led them there and had presumably been there before. Then again, maybe she was just outside. Goose wonders which way.

Then more shots of course, one grazes Doc's ear. Fortunately, he's able to get the door closed before the others come running. Just before it shuts, Goose tosses an explosive underneath. Heh.

While looking for the computer, they stumble across Slade who's still trying to find the secret of the Power Staff. Doc snarks at Goose, "Any bright ideas, Mr. Universe." That seems a tad mean-spirited toward the guy who saved your ass from going splat, Doc.

Goose decides that this calls for the direct approach, because apparently he'd been too subtle up until then? They run in, and Shane tells Slade he's under-arrest for "Space-napping."

Slade recognizes them as "the Galaxy Ranger, Brave Maya, and Shane Gooseman" which is a weird way to list them as if he knows Shane's name, he ought to know he's a Galaxy Ranger too. But okay.

Slade is more evidence that the League of Planets' jails apparently suck, I think. Or their justice system does.

Anyway, Slade recognized Goose as soon as he changed. Goose responds that he "ain't seen nothing yet." Oh, sweetie. Genetically engineered supertroopers shouldn't use the word "ain't." Proper English!

Slade asks if they're here for the fifty-cent tour of the facility or if they have something stupider in mind. I kind of love Slade. Maya recognizes her staff...which recognizes her back and criticizes her for taking her time getting there. It's got a very maternal voice, but that's no excuse for ingratitude. She could just leave you here, talking staff.

Slade is intrigued by the talking and picks up the staff. Maya wants it back. Slade tells her that he's sure he can persuade her to part with its secrets, and that he's sure he'd enjoy that.

Hmm. That's more innuendo than I was expecting on this show. Shane disapproves of innuendo and wrist-whips the staff out of Slade's hands, depositing it in Maya's.

He really ought to keep that thing. It's nifty.

Slade tries zapping them with the monocle a few times. The first is deflected by Maya's staff, the next is met by a blast from the staff which pushes through to short out his monocle. The staff tells Slade, "You are merely deactivated for the moment, sir." I love that staff.

Doc sends Tripwire in to deactivate. Slade tells him that his "super-programs" won't help him, while the General shoots the staff from Maya's hand. Ahh, I was wondering where he went off to. He welcomes them to his game-planet. Doc shoots a wisecrack, but is ordered to keep working. Heh.

The General is really obsessed by the whole metamorph thing. It's kind of creepy. Goose agrees with me and snaps that he's NOT a metamorph. The General orders them away from the computer.

Goose throws an explosive at the General which doesn't hurt him but does provide enough smoke to let him get in close. Meanwhile, Slade grabs Doc. Maya tries to pull him off, gets knocked down but bounces back up. As Maya fights Slade, Doc and Tripwire work. Maya moseses a "Let my people go."

More guards come, but she seems to be handling them okay.

Meanwhile Goose and the General fight. Weird hand weapon against wrist-whip. Goose really does seem to be enjoying that thing. The General has quite the size advantage, but Goose is Goose. The General catches the wrist-whip and yanks it free and tries to use it against Goose. Goose jumps down to one of the fallen soldiers and grabs his weapon, because he's adaptable. For her part, Maya tosses a soldier down a shaft Vader and the Emperor.

Slade decides this is a good time to make a graceful exit, wishes the General luck, and leaves. Heh.

Doc gets through the machine and quips about now he can get competent assistance. When Goose doesn't respond to the bait, Doc gets concerned. Goose is busy chasing the General, who hops into a miniship (without a roof) and launches outside. Goose hops into the other, while Maya and Doc run after him. Maya insists that the air is deadly, not realizing that Shane Gooseman does not need anyone's air.

Goose is nonchalant. He chases the General out into the desert landscape, while Doc and Maya kick more soldiers' asses. Yeesh, there are a lot of them. Goose does his badge tap thingy, probably not disproving the whole "metamorph" thing in the General's eyes. Apparently bio-defenses let you grow your own facemask.

Sometimes they don't even try to make the bio-defenses look actually BIOLOGICAL do they?

A few nifty flying ships (followed by dinosaurs) come out and start shooting at Goose. Until they themselves are shot by Ranger One. Hi, Niko and Zach! Sorry you weren't much in this episode! But it's still good to see you!

Shane's ship thingy catches up to the General's, which means of course he leaps off and tackles the General to the ground. They briefly have more fisticuffs, but Shane gets the better of him soon enough and handcuffs him.

Shane comes back, to where Doc and Maya are waiting. A quip about good fighting, for a princess, gets Maya, smirking, aiming her staff at Doc, but Shane asks her if she minds pointing it elsewhere. They have a partner moment, much to Maya's apparent amusement. Shane regrets losing Slade, but Maya points out that his time will come.

Zach and Niko eventually rejoin the others. Doc, of course, claims he had everything under control until Goose showed up and got in the way. Niko blandly says that's what they figured. Heh. Doc does acknowledge they make a good team though, much to Shane's amusement. Goose, for his part, introduces Maya to Zach and Niko.

Goose promises Maya transportation for her people and the other prisoners. Maya asks what of the General's nifty machines, and points out that her people need technology like this. Zach doesn't play that way though and snaps that the League of Planets will decide what to do with it.

Doc suggests that the League of Planets might not miss a few ships though. And Goose adds that if someone were to fly a few ships and weapons out fast, before reports get filed... Niko doesn't think BETA will like that, but Zach supposes what BETA doesn't know won't hurt it.

Doc's incredibly affectionate Dinosaur flies in and is affectionate, much to everyone's amusement and the episode ends.

It was a fun episode. Not remarkably thought provoking, but fun. Doc and Goose are always a fun team-up. And it's always good to see Goose exhibiting his sense of humor.

Though he's a bit over-fond of puns for my taste.

The flirting with Maya is a new thing. Granted, he had a rapport with Annie, though there wasn't much flirtation since this was very early on in the series when he was still very tense and uptight. We did see him dance with Norma in Scarecrow, but that was more in media res, so to speak. We didn't really see how that came about or them interact much beyond him stepping aside for Johnny. Here though, he was cautiously playful and seemed to be having fun with it.

And he totally seems to find getting shot at by attractive women a turn on. Heh.

This was a good Doc episode too. And I thought it was particularly notable, after last episode, that Doc didn't use Pathfinder or one of the other programs to open the door for him, as he usually did in previous episodes. Instead, he did it himself and only used his pets for the big stuff later. For that matter, when he was repairing the station at the beginning, he was doing that himself too.

It would make sense that, after having to do so much without them last episode, Doc is trying to do a bit more of the tech work himself rather than through the super-programs. He seems to have a lot more confidence in his own ability now. And deservedly so.

Niko and Zach didn't get to do much in the episode, though I was intrigued that Zach was so willing to give in on a few ships/weapons. He's so by-the-book normally that seeing him willing to help outright defy BETA was startling. Then again, considering his own experiences with Captain Kidd and the Queen, he's probably got a lot of sympathy for the underdog, so it does make sense somewhat.

This episode brought back Slade, who is always awesome, and introduced Maya of Tarkon and the General. I like Maya, though she could probably do with more development. This episode establishes her as a strong leader, able to press for more advantages for her people. I'm kind of puzzled as to why she ended up a guard of all things in the place and why she didn't try to escape sooner, but perhaps she was biding her time.

The General is a fairly awesome villain, even if he does seem to have the flaw of not hearing whatever doesn't fit his world view.

I wonder if "Metamorph" means something special in the Galaxy Ranger universe. Goose certainly seemed annoyed at being called one, and both the General and Slade seemed to indicate being a metamorph was somehow incompatible with being a Galaxy Ranger. It's interesting.

So yeah, not much to say about this one. It was fun though. And a game that's a cross between polo and dodgeball on dinosaur-back? Is an AWESOME idea. Awesome. :-)


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