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Saturday, April 04, 2009

Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, Recap 22: Showtime

Back to recapping, after my unintended (for once) break this morning. For anyone keeping track, I'm on my 22nd recap, which is...kind of astonishing actually. I'm officially more than one third of the way through the series.

Anyway, this episode is called "Showtime."

Don't Fuck with the Kiwi, Man


Fitting the title, we start with some slightly off-kilter sounding circus music which fades into the standard "opening scene background music" as we see one of those nice big League ships. It is piloted by an Andorian and a Kiwi, but not OUR Andorian and Kiwi. This Andorian fellow has shorter hair and is dressed almost in a uniform. The Kiwi has a dark brown Beatles-esque shag haircut. He speaks rather robotically too as he announces that Kirowan is just ahead. Or Kirwin. The planet with the food from the first episode. I'll stick with Kirowan for now. :-)

The Andorian says their ETA is three hours. And we zoom in to a passanger area on the ship, where Waldo and Zozo are waiting with two other Andorians (A tawny-haired female in a pale lavender throw type dress and a male in a light blue robe) and a cute lady Kiwi holding a tiny little baby Kiwi. Aw.

Zozo is complaining a bit about spending the weekend discussing mathematical principles at a Federation conference. Well, it's not kicking someone into FIRE, but it seems like an okay way to spend the time.

Waldo points out that math is "often the first pure science to be discovered by any primitive people." Zozo points out that he's a farmer, not a calculator. The lady Andorian, who by the way is creepy looking and has purple pupilless eyes, adds that there's a very deep link between mathematics and civilization.

Apparently on Andor the triangle is considered sacred. That's kind of neat to know. But my first instinct is to snap "Too bad you're all squares." Because I'm apparently twelve.

Another male Kiwi appears from fucking nowhere! AHH! And says on Kirowan, the only math they pay attention to is "one potato, two potato." I doubt that if they're spending time growing genetically engineered vegetables. But I like the thought that the Kiwis play simple just to make the Andorians feel better about their square selves. Suddenly the computer picks up circus music complete with the standard "come one, come all" ringmaster type dialogue. And we see a space station decorated in a way that if circuses were commonly held in space stations, they'd totally be decorated.

It's apparently a Circus and Rodeo show. I bet Goose has to ride an alien bull. I've never seen this episode (honestly) so I don't know for sure. But that's my bet. The mass of suddenly multiplying Kiwi and four Andor are kind of intrigued. The Kiwi want to go, though the Andorian pilot points out soporifically that they're scheduled for a briefing on Kirowan. The formerly robotic talking co-pilot seems to have grown a Brooklyn accent and snaps that Andorians don't know how to enjoy themselves. Zozo thinks they have plenty of time. Andor says they're split four-to-four, but the Kiwi are better counters after all and point out that the kids make them six and in they go.

The circus looks neat. Big dome, stands, and cool looking aliens doing stuff. Zozo and the co-pilot are purched on the edge of the railing which seems awfully dangerous. There's what looks like a Gherkin behind the Andorian pilot. Aw, well, even survivors of attempted genocide should have a little escapist fun.

A weird nature-show note. Kiwi apparently clap with their feet. Even the Andorians look like they're having a good time. The lady Andorian comments that there should be no problem as long as the Kiwi can juggle their schedule. The Kiwi co-pilot turns around and winks.

You know, for such a "simple" folk, the Kiwi do a lot of complex organization. Then again, it makes sense. Farming's freaking hard.

A strange bearded blond man walks by and notes "Jugglers?" Even as everyone cheers and Waldo calls for an encore. The Kiwi pilot teases the Andorians a bit but everyone's having fun. Hoo boy, this is going to go bad quickly, I bet.

The blond guy comes over to them, he kind of looks like a multicolored Colonel Sanders. (Has it ever struck you as weird that "Colonel" is not pronounced anything like it's spelled?) His name is Wild Bill Crab, or something like that, and he claims to recognize them but doesn't elaborate on who he recognizes them as. He gives them all some weird black and red "emblems" to wear. Everyone fastens them around their necks. One of the Kiwis point out rule one of protocol. "Never turn down a gift."

I think the Kiwi and Andorians have never gotten a giant horse from Greek folk. Wild Bill tells them congratulations "jugglers and clowns" (the kiwi pilot had teased the Andorians, calling them "clowns") and welcomes them to the "Orion Flying Circus and Rodeo Show."

Yeah, that's not too bright. Tents are flammable man. When the Ambassadors protest, Bill taps a button on his collar, causing pain to the poor victims. Jackass. This is a stupid way to do business. After all, wouldn't it be best to ask what they actually do and if people would, I dunno, be coming after them?

Like crazy people with bionics, psychic powers, sentient superprograms, or Shane fucking Gooseman? Just sayin'.

Anyway, Wild Bill leads them into a cell and tells them it's hard to get quality entertainers these days. Well. Maybe if you forewent the collars, you asshole. Zozo tries to tell the guy they're Ambassadors, not clowns or jugglers. Wild Bill is an idiot and says even if that's true, that's no reason to let them go.

Let's think about this for a moment. Granted, we don't know much about Kiwi or Andorian weapons or military capability, and part of the deal with Earth was for military protection. But Andorians do make nifty spaceships, and Kiwi feed much of the fucking galaxy. Which means, if nothing else, they can probably convince Commander Walsh's mustache and all his pretty GUNS to send folk to save their asses and mess up your circus in the process.

Yeesh, Ambassadors are the one folk you KNOW have powerful or influential people at their back. A sensible fellow would apologize and let them go.

Of course if this show only had sensible people...there wouldn't be a show.

Interestng. Apparently Andorians have a very very bad aversion to cages. The pilot is about to explain when Wild Bill goes all ZAP. They go...for now. Wild Bill introduces two new folk, Ernie, a robot, and Gelatinous...who's pretty much as his name implies. Zozo asks if they're supposed to clap. Ernie is a "super talented android robot" and juggles in demonstration. Gelatinous can take different shapes (while retaining the same consistency) and if they go out of line, they get clobbered.

Apparently Wild Bill is "transdimensional", himself, and with a tap of ANOTHER button seems to teleport. He tells them their training will begin in the morning and leaves.

The blue clad Andorian, who is visibly younger than Waldo or the co-Pilot and has temple hair as well, is worried. He calls Waldo uncle and starts talking about a "regression." Ooo, ultra civilized people regressing? Should be interesting. Waldo tells "Nordis" that they'll get out in time.

A green lizardy fellow laughs as his clowny compatriot plays a harmonica and quips in old school deep westerneer style "Ain't no one gets out of here, stranger." He's been trying a long time. Waldo looks speculative and asks how long he'd been there. Eighteen years is his answer. Ouch. Poor guy.

In the morning, the robot Ernie comes to teach the Kiwi to juggle. Zozo quips that it's too early and he should come back at 7:30 with pancakes. Ernie doesn't like this, calls him an insolent cur, and zaps him.

Ernie's kind of an asshole. Yeesh.

Zozo does appear to be really good at juggling and suggests the kiwi will put Ernie out of the job soon. He calls him Motorhead, and Ernie violently throws the last baton at him...which Zozo promptly adds to his juggling. Ernie threatens to make him juggle till he drops. Zozo would rather drop him though, and does so, throwing ALL the batons up, causing them to land on Ernie's head, knocking him down.

I love you, Badass!Zozo. On urging of the girl Andorian, Zozo grabs for the keys. He unlocks the cell, and looks over at the green guy saying they'll be back with help. The green guy merely says "I know you'll be back."

Now I want to play a halfling in D&D. They're almost Kiwi!

Gelatinous, who oddly enough appears to have breasts, stands in their way, looking all scary and blob like. It leaps on them and immobilizes all but one Kiwi, the father of the two kids. Zozo calls him Ziza and orders him to run to the ship. The little girl kiwi calls for daddy, and Ziza looks back, but remains sensible and runs for it. Good man. Gelatinous gurgles that he won't get far.

Ziza makes it to the ship and escapes, even as Wild Bill chases him in a red fighter. He announces that he'll pay for this. Really? For what? Stealing his own ship back?

Ziza dodges the firing and asteroids too, and starts calling a mayday. A blast clips his ship and sends it careening. But fortunately, Ranger One is nearby to get the message. On the screen Walsh's mustache gives them the source location of the coordinates. And since Zach, Niko and Shane (No Doc today) are in the sector, they're being sent to find the missing ambassadors.

I'm sad about the no Doc but excited that the two most destructive Rangers are going. There's going to be boomage tonight!

Zach acknowledges, Shane wishes the Ambassadors would use escorts (more opportunities to cause property damage!) and Niko gets to scanning.

Back in the cell, Waldo's clad as a clown complete with nose and is not doing well. He's shaking like a leaf. Zozo looks concerned and asks what's going on. Hopefully not pon farr. Waldo suddenly turns around and he has fangs and claws and shouts "Like WHAT?!" Jeesus. That genuinely startled me.

The rangers have found Ziza's ship and soon have the fellow on a medical bed. He tells them that he was the only one to escape. We also find out he is Zozo's brother. Wonder why Zozo doesn't have a brooklyn-esque accent. To add insult to injury, Zach pronounces Ziza "Zizaw." But that might just be Orbach's dialect sliding in.

Goose is scanning but pronounces that the circus must have moved on. Ziza warns that something's up with the Andorians. Niko realizes it's the Andorian Regression. Zach's as confused as we, but Niko explains that it's a psychic defense mechanism. Andorians find being caged so inherently abhorrent that they revert to animals.

Indeed, back in the cage, none of them are doing well. Roaring and rending their costumes, much to the Kiwis bewilderment.

Zozo and the other male kiwi try to keep them away from Ziza's wife and kids while trying to reason with the Andorians. Zozo suggests appealing to their higher reasoning. Give 'em a math problem?

Hah, the other Kiwi starts quoting that awful "I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree" tripe. Doesn't quite work. Zozo elaborates by asking if a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, did it really fall?

Wild Bill comes forward and notes that they're wild animals, not clowns, and quickly partitions them off from the Kiwi. He's excited about this new development. Dick. Zozo looks worriedly across the bars at Waldo's snarling face. Aw.

Wild Bill starts a new show with "Ladies and Humanoids" which seems to overlap a bit. And leaves out folk like Gelatinous, who has a whip and is forcing the Andorians to jump through fire. How awful!

There's a pendulent in the audience this time. I like when I can recognize species. Ernie sends the Kiwi up the ladder, and the not-Zozo male asks if they get a cut of the profits. Which might be a far less risky way to recruit performers, Bill. Just a thought. Ernie just insists they go up the ladder and pushes the button. Ernie's a bitch. Zozo hopes Ernie magnetizes, which is an awesome curse. I love you, Zozo. The baby Kiwi agrees.

So they climb, Zozo in the lead. They're ordered to cross the tightrope. Eek. Zozo's reaction is like mine would be and he indignantly asks if Ernie's "flipped his chips" and points out they're not trained for tightropes. Ernie gleefully points out that he knows.

That's one fucked up robot. This time Wild Bill intros with "Ladies and Humanoids, Mutants and Gentlemen." More overlap, but seems to overlook non-human non-genetic oddities still, he points out the "Amazing Kiwi jugglers" on the tightrope. Peggy, the lady Kiwi, is holding two orbs and getting dizzy, she drops an orb, but Zozo manages to grab her arm before she goes off completely. Ernie, that bastard, decides to tap the button, causing Zozo to grab his collar and lose his grip on her brother's wife. They both fall, but Zozo manages to catch the rope in one hand and Peggy's foot in the other.

Zozo does not get enough credit for his badassery. The other male kiwi is about to help, but Ernie decides against it and presses the button. Jesus, you asshole. What's your DAMAGE?

Nameless Kiwi falls, but fortunately Peggy grabs HIS ankle. The crowd, not realizing it's not an act, is delighted. Finally the kids, Sweetie and Bud, fall too. The male kiwi grabs their arms.

Unfortunately, while Kiwis have awesome dexterity, their strength rolls weren't too high. Zozo starts to lose his grip on the rope. Ernie laughs and announces that he gets the last laugh. This gets Zozo MOTIVATED.

Ernie comes out and starts bouncing on the rope. This has the beneficial effect of causing the male kiwi and the kids to bounce high enough to grab the rope themselves and climb back on just as Zozo loses his grip and falls... straight onto Gelatinous. Yay!

Gelatinous is a dick though and decides to leave Zozo alone with the Andorians, oozing through the bars which seem wide enough to accomodate Zozo too, but okay.

Meanwhile the kids have leapt onto Ernie to punish him. The girl is gnawing at his leg, while the baby is on his shoulder pounding at his head. Even Kiwi KIDS are badass.

Zozo tries to reason with Waldo, but it doesn't work. He tries to run but Waldo grabs the scruff of his neck and lifts him up. Zozo discovers the key to Waldo's higher senses when mumbling that the Andorians were right and they should have gone straight home. Waldo seems to still and Zozo, delighted, takes advantage by making a triangle with his fingers. CLEVER. Waldo sets him down.

Zozo adds a geometry problem, asking what the sum of the squares of the short legs of a right triangle is. Waldo slowly becomes his old self as he considers and answers that it's the square of the hypotenuse. Yay! Zozo is happy and tells the befuddled Waldo not to eat him. Zozo then points out the other, still freaking, Andorians. Zozo suggests getting out of the cage, Waldo agrees "wholeheartedly."

Up above, the rope eventually breaks beneath Ernie, and the kids leap over to grab the parents as they swing on the bisected rope end to the ladder and grab on. Being less dextrous, Ernie, on the other end, ends up smashing into the pole. Hah! Serves you right, asshole. The Kiwi climb down.

Gelatinous brandishes whip and gun and announces that escape isn't possible. He calls Waldo an Andorian, proving that HE at least knows what he is, even if Wild Bill doesn't seem to. But Green Guy comes up and grabs the gun out of his hands. Go Green Guy! Gelatinous tries to engulf him, but Green Guy, who's trick is fireblowing, blows fire out of his head, burning a hole in it. Ouch, but awesome. He burns the lock off the cage, freeing Zozo and Waldo.

The crazed Andorians race into the audience. Wild Bill tries to rouse the very dazed looking Ernie. Waldo gets a loudspeaker and tells the audience they have nothing to fear from the Andorians and tells them that they're peaceful and intelligent and it's the three men who run the circus they should be aware of. Zozo has another speaker and announces that all the performers are captives and asks for their help.

The audience seems to think it's audience participation, but that doesn't stop the two-headed orange fellow who suggests it from leaping onto the robot. Yay!

Wild Bill decides to take his "emergency exit" and teleports away, while Gelatinous seeps into a crack in the floor. They run to Bill's ship, which in usual Galaxy Ranger human criminal fashion looks like it was stolen from an alien race. Which does explain how they got this far, I guess.

The doors open and Ranger One is waiting and Zach's not-so-dulcet tones announce that they're under arrest for kidnapping. Toldja "Ambassador" is a good reason to let someone go. Wild Bill gets out and he and Gelatinous run for it. The Rangers give chase, with robot horses. NICE.

The Andorians look over the orange two-headed guy who converses to himself, doubting the intelligent and peaceful parts. Fortunately, they revert to normal. The girl Andorian celebrates and calls the pilot "Tycho." Orange guy/s claps and wants Tycho to kiss the girl, obligingly, he pecks her on the temple. Which for the Andorians is pretty showy. The orange guy/s does not appear disappointed. Waldo, figuring that "Ladies and Gentleman" pretty much covers any bi-gendered folk, introduces the Galaxy Rangers. They ride through, (Niko's on Voyager this time, I feel like pointing out), and orange guy/s points to where Wild Bill ran.

Ernie declares they'll never catch him, as he's the "greatest acrobat in the universe" He climbs to the platform and grabs the trapeeze. Zach thinks that's nice, quips about getting a cell with monkey bars, and chases. I do love how Zach works the cowboy hat. Ernie swings by and knocks it off of his head. Oh, it is ON. Zach taps his badge, and via bionic-enhanced strength, leaps after him.

I...did not know he could do that. Everything he'd done so far was arm based. Even strength was just in that arm. Awesome. He punches Ernie, knocks him off the trapeeze and grabs it himself. Well done, Zach! Ernie lands in the net and is captured. The audience loves it.

Shane, on Triton and with lasso for some reason (Seriously, Shane, why the hell did you decide to bring a lasso? Not that I mind, but HONESTLY? Did you just hear "circus" and think "Ooo, a chance to use my spanking new lasso?") He lassos Gelatinous, who oozes free and leaps on him, knocking him off Triton and trying to engulf him.

It's not an alien bull, but close enough! It engulfs Goose, who taps his badge, and his biodefenses apparently let him pop a hole in Gelatinous, breathe, and then kick him against the cage. Triton congratulates him, and Goose decides he'll never eat gelatin again.

I support your decision my friend. Gelatin is weird and creepy.

Niko gets to face down with Wild Bill himself. That's why I like this show. Even though you do often get the lineup of three/four badguys each fought by a single Ranger, it's not automatically guaranteed that the Zach as lead Ranger, or Shane as best combatant, ends up fighting the lead badguy. This time it's Niko's turn.

Wild Bill teleports, announcing that she can't catch him, and races into what looks like a giant image of his face. Niko says she'll see about that and gives chase. It is of course a funhouse, with mirrored walls showing Bill's face. Niko doesn't roll like that, and taps her badge, and then goes all Dark Phoenixy on his ass, telekinetically blasting the mirrors until one of them reveals him behind it.

Wild Bill bows courtly-wise and aims to scamper off, but she grabs him by the collar and punches him one. Nice!

Now that Bill's tied up, Zozo comes round and finds the right button, and presses it, causing everyone's collars to drop off. Zozo checks on Ziza, who's hugging his family. Everyone bows and the audience cheers. Ernie and Gelatinous are caged and whining about it. (Not sure why Gelatinous can't escape, but maybe Goose did something when he bit through him.) Zach'll let them out on condition that they return everyone they've captured. Bill protests that that'll take years. Waldo happily confirms: 28.7 years actually.

Green Guy announces that since it'll take that long, they'll spend the time doing what they do best: running the circus, now that they're not prisoners anymore they don't mind putting on a show. It's a cute end.

--

It was a neat episode, for all that the Galaxy Rangers were in it for only the last five minutes and there were no explosions. This was really Zozo and the Kiwi's show and they really shined!

I love the way the show counters expectations. In any other show, and indeed in the Ghost Station episode here, Zozo would be the Snarf-esque comic relief. Galaxy Rangers pretty much establish Kiwi to be the most badass folk in the damn universe.

Seriously, they'll fuck your shit up.

This episode had a lot of neat info on both the Kiwi and the Andorian. The "Regression" is an interesting touch, even if it does bear some similarity to Pon Farr in my mind. Not the way it works, of course, but its function of reducing the most civilized and dignified member of the cast to a beastial, undignified nature is pretty much the same. It's interesting to see how they deal with that.

This is the first episode, I think, where we got a genuinely evil robot as opposed to one misguided or just serving humans mindlessly. Ernie might work for Wild Bill, but his twisted sadism is all his own. I also liked that Waldo, in explaining to the audience, called him, Wild Bill and Gelatinous "Men." It's a label that transcends humanity I think.

I think I missed a part where the collars' damage function was deactivated. But then again, maybe I didn't, since Zozo could still get them off at the end. It fits bully psychology I'd reckon. When they're caged or otherwise imperiled, Wild Bill doesn't hesitate to zap them, but once they start fighting back, Wild Bill runs instead. Bullies are cowards after all.

This episode adds more support for the recentness of the first contact with humanity. Wild Bill didn't seem to recognize Kiwi or Andorians, and decided the Andorians, of all people, made good clowns because of overhearing Ziza's comment. That's pretty stupid and indeed, Andorians make rotten clowns. Gelatinous in contrast at least recognizes the race, since he refers to Waldo as one.

The stolen ship is as good a reason as any as to how Bill got out that far.

So yeah, awesome episode. What did we learn: Don't fuck with Kiwi, man.

2 Comments:

  • At April 04, 2009 10:55 AM, Blogger SallyP said…

    There is a lot of thought put into this show, which is one of the reasons that it's held up so well over the years. The Kiwis may be cute, but they aren't comic relief...that's what Buzzwang is for.

    It's also nice that Zozo and Waldo basically managed to help themselves and their families, the Rangers weren't actually needed, although it WAS nice of them to show up. But they merely delivered the coup de grace, it was the captives themselves who did the hard work of exposing the bad guys.

     
  • At December 05, 2011 1:44 PM, Anonymous Isiah said…

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