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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, Recap 26: The Magnificent Kiwi

So much to my irritation, my computer ate my last attempt at a recap. So here goes nothing at trying it again!

Also: Happy Easter to everyone who celebrates it and Happy Normal-Sunday-of-April to everyone who doesn't!

So today's episode is "The Magnificent Kiwi," is it wrong that I'm hoping there's fire?

Queens, Kilbanes and Gherkins, Oh My!

As I watch the themesong (yet again) it occurs to me that I really enjoy how each of the three main races of the League of Planets brings something unique to the table:

Andorians - technology
Kiwi - Food
Humans - Ass-Kicking.

It makes me secure in my place in the universe.

This episode starts on Kirwin (I'd been using Kirowan for the planet, but the booklet says Kirwin, and as that's not a completely stupid spelling, I'm willing to run with it. However, I claim veto power for these recaps, so you will not see "Aliza" or "Zachery" damnit.) We get a nice zoom in on the shield, gee, I hope no one breaks it.

Down on the planet, we get to see a cute village where a band of Kiwi and Gherkin are playing to a happy crowd.

Will you think badly of me if I admit that Gherkin freak me the fuck out? I mean, I'm glad they're not all genocided, but well, they're all kind of blobby and pink and I have this fear of earthworms, and well...

Toward the back of the crowd, Niko is standing beside Zozo and another Kiwi, this one with brown hair and a Jeff Foxworthy-esque broom mustache. She calls him Doctor Roho and says he did a remarkable job with the Gherkin. Roho says that all they needed was time and some Kiwi "vegetable nutrients" which I like to imagine is code for "mind-altering substances."

Mostly because it entertains me to imagine the Kiwi as drug pushers of the universe. Niko's just happy the Gherkins have a home.

On stage, a darker complected Gherkin comes up and gives a pretty speech about persecution and being happy with the kiwi, and children laughing (we see Gherkin kids in the background playing with Kiwi, they're cute) and it's all very nice.

Though the slaver lord standing on a hill opposite doesn't seem to think so. Son of a Bitch, Kiwi. I get that you're tolerant, but you know, that doesn't mean that you have to let evil zombie-robots on your damn planet! The Slaver Lord chortles in the Queen's voice that there's no mistake, the Gherkins are here, and have managed to start reproducing again.

Damn, those little fuckers grow fast, don't they? I wonder how they actually reproduce. I mean, we haven't seen female Gherkins, or rather, we haven't seen signs of sexual dimorphism to indicate more than one sex, so who knows? Maybe you cut them in two?

Anyway, back on the Psychocrypt, we see the Queen watching a screen that's displaying what exactly her slaver lord is seeing. She monologues about knowing that they were hidden somewhere but didn't suspect that they'd be breeding again. Behind her, a fairly awesome looking robot that we've probably seen before but isn't ringing a bell for me is staring at her. There's no expression on its face, but I like to imagine it's thinking "Oh for fuck's sake, is she STILL talking?"

Suddenly the slaver lord disappears, and on the Psychocrypt, the Queen's screen fizzles out. The robot reports that the slaver lord is out of power. The Queen is unconcerned. She knows what she has to know. They exit the throne room, still talking. She wants a fleet of transport ships. Robot-guy asks about Fighter cover, and she snaps "Of course!" back at him.

You know, considering how rare competent underlings are, I'd be a bit nicer to mine. It's why I've always liked Xanatos from Gargoyles. There was a man who knew how to appreciate his employees.

The Queen wants this raid on Kirwin to go down in Galactic history. I think she might want to be more specific, since Custer's Last Stand is also in the history books too. As are Waterloo, Genghis Khan's attempt to cross into Japan, and the Germans trying to invade Russia. "Famous Blunders" and all that. The robot asks about the Kirwin Defense Shield, but the Queen just sneers that by the time she's finished, Kirwin will be helpless.

In a saloon on Tortuna, we see Ryker Kilbane, of all people, knocking back a beverage! Aww, I missed you, you psychotic, poorly dressed knock-off of Ricardo Montalban. A Slaver-Lord, flanked by two robots/armored humanoid, enters and makes its way over. They push some poor bar patron aside while they do so, because they are dicks.

Kilbane's apparently still got some hard feelings from Mind-Net, because when he sees them, he straightens up and reaches for his gun. He's all "What do you want, you walking corpse?" And I swoon a bit, because sure Kilbane's an utter idiot, but you can't fault his balls. The Queen has a proposition for him, but he asks why he should talk to a "creeping zombie." The Slaver Lord responds that he's Kilbane, the Supertrooper, the man who'll do anything if the price is right.

More evidence for my supertrooper as gigolo theory. Earth scientist guys clearly have bizarre tastes though.

Kilbane sets down his gun, listening, and the Queen asks what his price would be to knock out the Kirwin defense shield. Kilbane says that it's not possible, but he's smirking, intrigued. The Queen tells him it can be done...with his bio-defenses. Kilbane tells her that IF it can be done, then his price is two million crowns. Wow. That's a hefty price indeed. The Queen agrees to two million if he destroys the shield, and another THREE if her plan succeeds. Well now! That's an amount fixing to make up for all the Mind-Net hard feelings, I'd reckon. Kilbane seems to agree, and tells her, she's found her man.

Kinky.

Anyway, we now see the fleet of pretty red QueenShips. From her own view screen, the Queen orders the "Crown Captain" to move the fleet out and bring her her source of psychocrystals. The Crown Captain is the nifty robot that had been accompanying her, and obediently gives the order to "pull ahead."

I hope there are more shirtless supertrooper fights in this one. Half-naked fisticuffs always make my day.

At BETA Mountain, Waldo and Zozo both appear on big screens. Waldo tells them that it's confirmed, the Queen's fleet is in hyperspace. Q-Ball tells them that the fleet could come out at any part of the galaxy and they wouldn't know until it's too late.

Okay, but how do you confirm that the fleet is in hyperspace anyway? I mean...it didn't look like a lot of folk were around to see them go in... I'm probably thinking too hard about this.

Zozo points out that Kirwin's not likely to be a target, as with the shield in place, it's impregnable. Uh. Zozo, sweetie? The Queen invaded Kirwin in the FIRST EPISODE. I'm just sayin'. Waldo agrees and suggests diverting forces elsewhere. Waldo and Zozo have been hit with the stupid stick in this episode.

In his fighter, Kilbane gets a message from the Queen, who says that now that he's approaching Kirwin, she'll give him the details of the plan, which amounts to him going splat against the shield, and falling through via bio-defenses and then blowing it the fuck up. Kilbane proves his mental acuity by not calling it a stupid plan and just telling her to bring his crowns.

I'm thinking that Kilbane was the sort of youngster that ran headfirst into walls a lot.

We get a nice look at how high that shield is, before seeing the inside of the generator, where Zozo is greeting some tech guy named "Beaner." Apparently Waldo did a good job with the system. Neat. An alarm goes off on one of the monitors, and the tech notes a small energy source closing in. Beaner notes that "it's no Crown Armada." Is it a small moon then?

Nope. It's Kilbane. They look at it via space scope and note that if the ship flies into the shield it'll get blown to atoms. Zozo notes that the auto warnings are operational. I find this oddly fitting. The Kiwi will blow your ass to atoms, but they'll warn you first.

I love the Kiwi.

Indeed, Kilbane receives the warning which is remarkably unexplanatory ("You have reached a lethal energy field, turn away immediately.") Kilbane laughs and starts glowing and then becomes all metal, just before his ship hits the shield and explodes. He plummets to the ground.

The techs watch on the monitors with some horror and one gasps "He just blew himself apart! It's insane!"

Nope, it's KILBANE! Thank you, I'll be here all weak.

So Kilbane, now un-metalled and with a parachute (how the hell did the parachute not blow up? But then it's probably the same after effect of the bio-defenses that lets Shane Gooseman "heal" his uniform) descends into the forests surrounding the generator. He grabs one of the poor Kiwi guards by the shoulder, knocks it out, and crouches by the generator building's wall. He pulls a few disk type objects and attackes them, then runs for cover and blows shit up.

The shield is down. You'd think they'd make it in a way that would withstand ONE generator blowing up. Well, maybe next time.

I hate to compliment the dillweed, but Kilbane's effective when he wants to be.

Inside the wrecked generator, Zozo's helping Beaner up. Fortunately everyone's okay. Zozo notes that the Shield is gone and realizes what that means even as the Armada suddenly pops out of hyperspace.

Back on BETA, they get messages from Niko and Zozo reporting the situation. Well, Niko's reporting the situation. Zozo's freaking out. Q-Ball realizes that the Queen is after the Gherkins. Hey, where the hell is Walsh? I don't want to see Q-Ball's annoying head when this sort of trouble's going down! I want Walsh's awesome mustache.

Hmph.

Anyway, the Queen's ships are setting down outside the Kiwi village, where the Kiwi and Gherkin are understandably panicked. (In the middle of the chaos, a Kiwi lady in what looks like a nurse's costume crouches down with a little Kiwi and Gherkin. Aw.) Niko takes control of the situation and orders the young ones under cover and everyone else to form a perimeter. She orders them to use anything that'll give them some sort of cover. Like most folks, they seem to be calming down when given instructions, and they're all hard at work.

The barricade of barrels doesn't look like it'll do much, but well, sometimes the spirit's what counts.

A third crown ship touches down, and opens, emitting a large group of robot horses. Oh, this won't be pretty. But Niko is briefing the troops, warning them that the enemy will come in fast and hard (heh), and to fire on her command. She might want to duck, seeing as how she's a good two feet taller than the others, and the barricade.

The horses, which have robot tusks and horns, charge, and Niko commands "Fire." And, well, the villagers are actually making a decent showing and manage to drop a few of the horses. Of course, one gets close enough that when it drops, it actually throws its rider PAST the barricade. Which is a disadvantage to a barricade only three feet high. We get to see some Kiwi kick a rider in the face, while others lead one on a merry chase to get ambushed by oranges. It's chaotic, but fun.

I love any chance we get to see the unexpected badassery of the Kiwi.

The dark Gherkin who'd made the speech steps up to Niko and says that they'd let others do their fighting for too long and they want to help. Aw. Niko snaps back at him to get back inside and that's an order. I feel bad for the Gherkin, but really, she's right. He's a target after all, and neither innately badass nor trained for this.

Outside the town, the Captain and Kilbane watch the chaos. Kilbane suggests that the Captain call back the troops since the Queen wouldn't like it if they overrun the village and "waste" the Gherkins. Lovely thought, Kilbane. True though. The Captain appreciates the wisdom as well, calling the troops back to regroup.

I never thought I'd actually use the word "wisdom" to refer to Kilbane. But then, the man was trained for tactics. And there's no Gooseman around for his obsession to distract him.

The Kiwi cheer, but Niko warns that they'll be back. She recognizes that they only stopped because they didn't want to destroy the Gherkins. They'll take time and wear them down. One of the Kiwi, a rotund fellow with a mole, asks about reinforcements but Beaner notes that the communications are out and hopes BETA got the message. The Kiwi are taken aback by this, but Niko is encouraging and tells them they must be brave.

Back at the ships, the Captain says it's only a matter of time, while Kilbane points out that he wouldn't underestimate the Kiwi. They're tough. Damn, an intelligent Kilbane, I don't honestly know what to make of this. Perhaps his first appearance was a fluke after all.

The Captain starts talking about a weapon that could crush them, but Kilbane's attention is diverted by something else. Three BETA Interceptors fly across the sky. Heh. Cavalry! The Captain dismisses them, but Kilbane knows better. He recognizes them as the Galaxy Rangers.

Indeed! On Zach's order, they fly at the parked ships and shoot. The Captain commands them to "Destroy those ships!" and Doc jauntily points out that they've been noticed. Crown fighters chase after the three Interceptors. Goose (and Alma! Yay!) shoots one down, but another nicks his ship sending him careening toward the planet.

Goose is very calm about this and quips a "Hello Kiwi," as he goes down. Then again, this is his second crash in three episodes, so he's an old hat by now. The Interceptor skids and then hits a rock, which it awkwardly goes over and stops. It kind of looks like...well...

Okay, I don't know if they're still popular now, but when I was a kid, we had these things called "Slip and Slides" which were like long plastic mats stretched out on the lawn. You use the hose on them, then you run up, fall on your stomach, and slide down, whereupon you hit a bump and go careening awkwardly into a tiny pool of water at the end. That's what Goose's landing looks like. He's the master of Slip and Slide landings.

Anyway, Goose hops out of the Interceptor and drawls something about them calling for help. Niko laughs, pointing out that she's seen better landings. Goose is all "Meh, at least I'm not turning into a troll this time."

Well, no. But he points out they're all out of fuel anyway. Which does not actually serve as a defense, but okay. Anyway, apparently they'd used it up in the dash from Earth. Niko wants to know about the space navy. Their task force is assembling, but it'll be a few days. They'll have to do in the mean time.

Doc and Zach touch down in more graceful landings. Zach does not mention the awkward near vertical parking job, and instead "suggests" they start unloading supplies.

It's now dusk, and the Rangers are sitting on crates in the village square. Shane dislikes the quiet, because he's a lunatic that probably requires audio tapes of explosions to sleep at night. Niko agrees though, she thinks the Queen's forces are planning something. Zach suggests that a few of them take a look around and invites Goose to join him. Zach is wise, something tells me that there's nothing more annoying than an antsy supertrooper.

A little long haired, pink-shirted but surprisingly deep voiced Kiwi runs up and asks to come along. Goose is skeptical, but the first known case of Kiwi transvestism makes a good point: he grew up in these parts and knows the terrain. Zach negates: It's too dangerous.

The Kiwi snarks that it's very safe in the village, and Shane grins and tells Zach that the Kiwi has a point. I suspect he might be happy to not be the most effeminately dressed person in the scouting party.

Sorry Shane, but your neckerchief is still girlier.

Hee, Shane called Zach "Chief." This delights me for some unknown reason. I haven't noticed him doing that before. Zach considers and then okays it.

The cute Kiwi transvestite has indeed gone to the Kiwi school of distraction, as we see when he calls the guard's attention long enough for Shane to knock him out. Goose compliments the kid, who snarks that the creeps haven't seen anything.

They soon catch sight of a weird device eminating odd pink rays and go to check it out. Actually, by device, apparently I meant, four slaver lords, whose crystals are sending pink rays at some weird thing in the middle. Okay then. The Captain and Kilbane approach, and Goose is surprised/pissed to see him.

He also looks really young in that shot. Every so often in these episodes, there are shots where Goose actually does look all of nineteen, this is one of them. Nothing like your big brother to bring out the kid in you, I guess. Goose clenches a fist and decides that this is starting to get personal. Ooo, that means violence!

The pink energy hits the device and slowly forms into a very large humanoid figure. Zach identifies it as "psychocrystal projection." He'd know. Goose points out that they'd never seen one that size. Before he can contemplate the idea of smashing it to bits, the cute transvestite points out that they should get back to warn the others. He's right, and off they go.

Back at the Kiwi village, Zach says that there's no way they can hold the thing off once it gets going. Zozo notes that a projection that size would use up a lot of slaver lords. Doc points out that it's not an issue if she gets more Gherkins. Niko thinks that there must be a way to disrupt the power field.

The darker Gherkin says that there might be a way, which causes Doc to say "Speak, o pickled one!" That seems mean. Not inaccurate though. The Gherkin points out that they could produce a force field and block the slaver lords' energies with their minds. Doc points out that they'd need a psychocrystal to focus like that, and they don't have anything like that.

The Gherkins do, however. Apparently they have something called a "star stone." Which is presumably not the same as the little materials that show up sporadically in various episodes. It's carried in an ark and is the most ancient and sacred of Gherkin relics, handed down from prehistory. Somehow, despite being hunted down, they'd managed to keep it with them.

The Gherkins present the stone and it is definitely not any of the ones we'd seen before. It's quite a bit bigger, flat and glows green. The dark Gherkin asks Doc if he can help them channel their life force into the stone. Doc needs to think about the problem first. Zach points out that the effort could kill them and end their species. The dark Gherkin points out that it could be the end of their species regardless and Patrick Henry's "Without freedom, life is nothing."

The giant projection begins making its way to the village.

Doc has a plan, he can possibly amplify the life force with a defense shield pylon. Zach thought it was destroyed, and Doc points out that the Queen does too.

In the wreckage of the generator, Doc's hooking something up and tells them to get the Gherkin ready as his tweakers dart around him. He stands and confides in Zach that he doesn't like it, but it's ready. Zach uses his wrist thingy to tell the others to wait for his signal. In the village, Shane and Niko watch the Gherkins meditate. Niko gets the signal (and calls Zach, "Captain" in the process!) and the Gherkin link hands and blast their energy up through the antenna on top of the hut and into the generator, where Doc is waiting.

Meanwhile Kiwi try to shoot the giant thing, to no avail, and wisely run for it.

Doc activates the machine, which sends yellow light at the projection, which roars and writhes. The Gherkins push harder and eventually the projection goes boom, scattering a bunch of crown troops in the process.

On the Psychocrypt, the Queen is pissed off.

Anyway, the Kiwi start shooting in earnest and driving the Queen's forces off. Kilbane runs for it as well, but Goose is ready, and snaps off that metal wrist thingy that Q-Ball had made for his disguise in Games. Awesome! I thought he should keep that thing! And he did! Shane Gooseman doesn't get rid of useful weapons.

It catches on Kilbane's wrist, and Kilbane whirls around and breaks it. He then starts glowing and takes an odd, form that consists of a horned green ogre like person in a spiked red exo-skeleton of sorts. He calls Goose a runt again, and charges him. There are some punches exchanged, before Kilbane manages to tackle him and get his hands around his throat. Goose kicks him off though. Kilbane blasts him, and Goose badge-taps and becomes all metalic. It's a slightly different form of metalligoose than last time, as he actually gets to keep most of the details of his costume/features, though now he's got the same sort of exo-skeleton ribbing as Kilbane's form.

Anyway, Metallo-Goose punches Kilbane into a tree, and Kilbane picks up a large chunk of metal debris and charges at him screaming "Your weakness makes me sick!" Goose catches the end of it and ends up sending Kilbane flying. Kilbane reverts to standard Khan Singh-esque form while Goose stands over him, still brandishing the big metal thing.

In a call back to their last fight, Kilbane snarls at him to "Go ahead, *Galaxy Ranger*" and demands to know why he won't finish it. Goose sets the metal aside, reverts, and tells him he's under arrest.

Honestly, I'd have hit him. It's not like it'd kill him after all. But I am possibly evil. Unfortunately, Goose's attention's diverted by Kiwi voices calling "Come quick" and Kilbane uses the diversion to pull a whip out of SOMEWHERE (more evidence!) and yanks Shane's feet out from under him. He races to the Crown fighter, pulling the Crown Captain bodily out of the cockpit, and taking his place before blasting off. Goose mutters that they'll have to settle this another time.

Back in the hut, the Gherkin are all unconscious. Goose runs over in concern. Niko's not sure if they'll be all right as they've lost a lot of life force, but the dark Gherkin stirs and points out that Gherkin are tougher than they think. Which is true, after all, until humans, they were the best choice to make Slaver Lords because of their strong life forces. That ought to say something. Outside, the Kiwi cheer.

Sadly, now that the Queen knows they're there, the Gherkin can't stay. They'll have to become wanderers again. Aw. They should come to Earth. Earth people are crazy.

Hmm, on the downside, Earth people are crazy.

Anyway, it's the end of the episode.

--

I've seen a few online episode guides that place this episode a lot sooner, but I think the DVD guide has the right of it. Mind-Net pretty clearly indicates that they hadn't encountered Kilbane before, or he likely wouldn't have been able to impersonate Goose as he did. Kilbane immediately recognizes the Rangers and their threat in this one (where he'd been dismissive in Mind-Net) and his dialogue with Goose during the fight is a clear call back as well. Goose had told him to tell the others that he wasn't a supertrooper anymore, he was a Galaxy Ranger. And in this episode, Kilbane tried to throw that back in his face.

And there's also the use of the wrist thingy that had been specifically invented in Games, anyway. I love that wrist thingy.

This was a fairly standard fun episode. I don't think it revealed too much about the main characters, though it was nice to see Niko in more of a command role. She does a good job too. I even liked seeing her be snappish toward the poor Gherkin. Sometimes Niko can be a bit too inhumanly patient for my tastes, so I enjoy the rare points where she loses her temper.

There's a stronger sense of camaraderie between Shane and Zach in this episode, which would seem to indicate that the growth Zach showed after Psychocrypt, during the Black Hole episode, wasn't a one-shot deal. He's more approachable somehow and while not any less driven or determined, he's not as distant or aloof.

And Shane called him "Chief" which just strikes me as cute. Aw!

I think that this was really Kilbane's episode though, oddly enough. And it was a good idea. Despite the initial successful heist in Mind-Net, Kilbane tended to come off rather buffoonish in that episode. Here though, he was observant, clever, and competent. He efficiently demolished the generator, showed an aptitude for battle tactics, and learned from his previous mistakes. It was only once he started losing the fight with Shane that he started backsliding, and even then, he did manage an escape.

Kilbane was a much more formidable adversary in this episode and I enjoyed it a lot.

This is another episode that wasn't completely a win. They did manage to save the Gherkin, but the Gherkin have lost their sanctuary and home. Kilbane and the Queen are still out there to make trouble every day, and at least for now, the Kiwi shield is destroyed. Still, at least the Gherkin had some respite and are ALIVE to wander. Gotta take what you can get.

But what about that armada in space?! I somehow anticipate that that's going to come up again soon. Heh.

4 Comments:

  • At April 12, 2009 10:00 AM, Blogger SallyP said…

    There's just something about Goose that seems to drive Ricardo...oops...Ryker into a frenzy. Otherwise, as you say,he's actually pretty competent. I wonder if he actually got paid?

     
  • At April 12, 2009 4:23 PM, Blogger Elizabeth said…

    This one was cool in that it advanced several bits of the show's mythology: the Supertroopers, the slaver lords, and the Gherkinds.

    BTW, I haven't been able to find the post where you talk about how you got into GR. (A blog search returns only one page of results that doesn't even cover all of your reaps.) You were two when it first came out. How did you discover it?

    Also, I've wandered through and commented on several older recaps, answering questions you've posed where I know the answers. Sometimes being a huge geek pays off. ;)

     
  • At April 12, 2009 4:36 PM, Blogger Elizabeth said…

    Uh, that would be GHERKINS. *facepalm*

     
  • At April 12, 2009 6:22 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Actually, according to wikipedia, I was three. :-) Oh well. Off by a year.

    Not really much of a story really, I've always liked 80s cartoons and my ex-roommate, who's a few years older than me, actually remembered the show and Netflixed some of the named sets, so I got to see various scattered episodes. I thought it was both annoying that the episodes were out of order and kind of nifty that we could TELL they were out of order and wanted to see more.

    Eventually we got a hold of the full series, but I never really had the time/inclination to sit down and watch them all in order. So hence the recap project. :-)

    Thanks for the answers by the way, it's really neat to know the background information!

     

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