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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, Recap 31: Heart of Tarkon

Well, what do you know? I managed a recap after all. :-) Don't get used to it though.

Today's episode is "Heart of Tarkon" which, since it does not involve the name "Buzzwang," makes me cautiously optimistic. Also, I liked Maya at least.

Technophobes have good parties!

We start off with the image of a pretty planet with oceans and land and such. It has four moons, which is kind of neat too.

There's a fairly swanky looking palace structure amongst all the pretty green. And a weird thing that might be a robot or a weather balloon zips toward it.

Inside we see a bunch of dudes wearing headdresses that look like sabertoothed tigers with mohawks are blowing into horns. This announces the entrance of King Spartos, Lord of all Tarkon. Maya's in the audience. Yay.

A few folks in the crowd cheer his name. Everyone looks reasonably pleased. He greets the citizens and raises his hand in a vaguely Hitlerian salute and announces that he is humbled by their loyalty. There's a weird cloaked person standing near him.

Okay, that whole bit about protecting the "purity" of the world is making me a tad nervous. Anyway, Tarkon wants to be neutral to avoid being crushed between the Crown and the League of Planets. That's nice after Maya brought you those toys from the other episode, courtesy of Zach looking the other way, guy.

Hmph. That's gratitude for you.

Anyway, with the help of "Baron Atark" who judging from character design and music is EEEvil, he's drafted a treaty to ensure this. Maya is aghast, because she is actually sane and intelligent.

Baron McEvil gestures to the walkway above him where a slaver lord waits, flanked by two crown soldiers, and announces that he has the Queen's guarantee that they'll be kept in peace. Bullshit. I'm calling that now. To show good faith, they'll be sending observers.

This is giving me "To Serve Man" flashbacks.

Maya insists that they should join the League and learn the useful sciency stuff. She thinks that it's their only hope of survival. Her father, being a douche, silences her and announces that the treaty will be signed at the festival of liberty. Maya announces that she's free to invite whomever she chooses and storms off.

Baron McEvil subtly motions to the big purple guards, and they, and two other armed guards, leave. That can't be good.

An old guy with a staff, so you know he must be wise, calls this outrageous and says that he must see the king. The Baron orders him thrown out. He protest s but is thus thrown.

It's now night, and to the beat of catchy 80s music, Maya leaves the palace and ducks into a house, narrowly avoiding the guards. A cleft-jawed fellow in green and a short old fellow greet her saying that they'd heard the news. Maya has also seen the Twilight Zone and announces that any Tarkonian who goes there will become slave to the psychocrystals.

Maya believes Atark (Baron McEvil) blinded her father and declares she must make him see the truth. She reveals a hidden button and pushes it. A panel breaks away to reveal a League radio! Clever girl! She sends her message just before the guards interrupt and place her under arrest.

Jeeze, Tarkon sucks. Still, Maya and her friends aren't going quietly.

Mr. Lantern-Jaw is apparently an archer and makes quite the effective showing. Short old guy has a club and apparently badass judo moves. Nicely done! And Maya of course is doing well, though her staff prissily declares that lethal force is not required. Still even without zappage, Maya knocks her opponent into what looks like a wine barrel quite handily. The guards run for it.

Lantern-jaw sonoriously intones that they're not safe here, while old guy remarks that it'll be quite a party. Maya has faith that the League will help.

And indeed, in bright daylight, we see Ranger One touching down. Doc and Niko, both dressed quite swankily in navy blue tunics, silver sashes and white pants come up. Niko's got some kind of bag with her. I guess these would be Ranger dress uniforms? Maya asks after Goose, as most women would. Sadly Goose and Zach are on other missions. Probably they didn't have a dress uniform that fit. Doc makes a sweeping bow and points out that diplomacy is his specialty.

Maya introduces them to her father. Niko still has no last name. The guards raise weapons, but Spartos welcomes them as friends of his daughter, he does warn them not to use alien science here.

Off a distance away, the Queen makes her displeasure known to Atark via Slaver Lord. Apparently Atark was told to do something, he's done it. That can't be good.

Niko steps up, holding her bag thing which actually looks more like a drape-covered bird cage. She suggests that perhaps Spartos will find that they're not such bad people. Doc adds that the League sends a "beacon of friendship" and indicates the thing Niko's holding. It's odd, metal and glowing. She says that she hopes they'll put it near their sacred monument to show mutual goodwill.

Spartos agrees, and his cloaked advisor takes it and sets it beneath. Atark eyes it and ominously steps closer, but before we can see what he'll do, the old guy from earlier runs up and casts himself on the ground by Spartos's feet declaring that he must speak. Spartos permits it.

The man begs forgiveness, he's come from the haunted lands. Atark snaps that they're taboo, and Spartos acknowledges this. Niko surreptitiously taps her badge, while the old man continues, declaring that he went only in his service to find the "all-seeing eye."

Spartos protests that this is a myth, but the old man, who's a shaman by the way, insists that it does exists. Atark declares his actions sacrilege and kicks the old man away. He aims to follow for more kickage, but Doc carefully slides his foot out and trips him. I love you, Doc. In all fairness, Spartos doesn't approve of Atark's actions. Doc can't resist punning at Atark, who accuses him of doing it deliberately. Doc plays ignorant and Spartos, losing patience, simply declares the festival's beginning.

Suddenly an explosion strikes near the sacred monument. Eek. Atark accuses the Rangers. Niko insists it's not what it looks like, but Atark is all "You lie! This is sacrilege." It might help if you offer proof, guy. Sadly Spartos is an idiot. The guards ominously advance on Doc and Niko. Spartos declares that until the treaty is signed, the Rangers are confined to quarters.

Maya protests, but Spartos is an idiot. Niko and Doc cooperate.

Doc and Niko are situated in a nice room up in one of the towers. Doc wonders why the Queen doesn't just invade, while Niko suspects she's afraid of something. She sensed something about the shaman and wants to know what the deal is with the "all seeing eye." Meanwhile Doc's getting readings of a tech system. Doc plans to look around while Niko wants to talk to the shaman.

Niko pulls on an awesome cape and heads toward the balcony, on account of them not being able to go out the front door. Two fighters are whacking at each other while riding weird lizard things of an ilk that I think Goose has either punched in the face or otherwise menaced. The crowd is distracted, and Niko uses her powers to cause a rope to descend from the top of the tower. Niko uses her belt to slide down while Doc intends to stay behind for his snoopage.

Now landed safely on the roof, Niko sees guards below and takes a nice leap into the nearest tree. Above, Doc compliments her smooth technique and investigates another rope. This one apparently part of the carnival decorations. Doc is glad for his education in acrobatics at Miss Abercrombie's charm school. Hey! I think that's the first mention!

He swings into a window via tarzan yell and slams into some furnishings. When he gets up, his head is covered in a mask which startles him initially, but he seems willing to go for it. He grabs a cape and decides to take an unguided tour. The mask comes in handy as a maidservant assumes he's looking for the costume ball.

Doc ducks into a curtained area, removes his mask and taps his badge. He sends pathfinder out to find the advanced system.

Meanwhile, outside, two of the big purple guards are accosting the poor shaman. They pick him up by the collar. Niko is having none of that, and she's riding Mel too! I wish I had a robot horse! And an awesome cloak like that! She charges the group, knocking the guards aside and pulling the shaman on behind her. The guards chase.

In the costume ball, Doc is peering around, while Maya looks despondant in the corner. Thanks to a couple of irritating gossips, we know that people are snubbing her.

Huh, didn't she like save a good chunk of her people when she helped the Rangers against the General? That's gratitude for you. Maya, you're too good for your fucking moron planet. Doc agrees and pushes through, asking Maya to dance. Aw.

The Baron and Spartos interrupt. They are thankfully idiots who don't recognize that this tall African-American fellow is wearing the same dress uniform that Doc was wearing earlier. Idiots. Maya smoothly introduces him as "Lord Walter" because she's not an idiot.

The Baron might know actually, going by how he demands to know where Doc's sword is. Doc quips something about the bigger kids taking it away. Unfortunately, Pathfinder chooses this moment to show up and dive into Doc's pocket. The Baron shouts "Imposter!" and removes the mask. Spartos sounds aghast, because he's an idiot. While Doc runs for it. Atark of course shouts "Seize him!" Because he's that sort of guy.

Doc is tackled, and Spartos orders his arrest. Maya is aghast.

Back on Mel, Niko questions the Shaman about the All-Seeing Eye. Apparently it's the "eye of truth", enlightening, and is the property of the king. It lies in the haunted land. Mel notes that he's detecting an immence power source and Niko orders him to track it. Hunting down old relics is much easier with a robot-horse.

Niko and the shaman now stand in front of aglowing obelisk. The Shaman warns that they must beware the spirts, but Niko is all "We'll see." And shoots it. She's clearly been hanging out with Shane for too long. Then again, I suspect Shane would have shot the lot of them by now so it's probably a good thing he's not here.

Or a bad thing, if, like me, you find the Tarkonians annoying.

Anyway, the thing glows green and and then the glow fades. The shaman makes to step forward but she pulls him back and uses her powers instead. The obelisk apparently is singing. Then it gets bored of singing and greets them as "Seekers of Truth." Niko realizes it's a holographic projection. As indeed, there is a translucent giant fellow in front of it. I'm not sure how I didn't notice before. Huh. Oh well. It looks down and bathes Niko and the shaman in glowing light from its eyes.

The hologram notes that the Eye awaits those who "are true" and bids them enter the "Heart of Tarkon" whose doors conveniently open on the side of the mountain. They do.

Back in the city, Doc is addressing a letter to Miss Etiquette from his jail cell lamenting his lack of execution attire. His letter writing is interrupted by a guard announcing that Baron Atark wants to see him.

Inside the Heart of Tarkon, a giant head greets them. Niko asks the relevant question of what IS the heart of tarkon. The head obediently provides exposition. Apparently there was a war, hey! There's the Scarecrow! Neat!

Anyway, ancient enemies tried to destroy Tarkon and the survivors built a great computer to guard them with hidden moon fortresses. Ooo. Neat. I want moon fortresses! The Shaman asks why it never spoke before. Apparently, it's weak, but knows that Tarkon is in danger. Hence the summoning. A thing opens up in the wall, revealing a nifty green gem thing.

Hey, you try being precise during this time of year.

Anyway, the head declares that the King must have the Eye. Wow. That was easy. Usually artifacts don't WANT to be collected. It's a powerful sensor that will let the King see into the hearts of men. Neat.

Back in the palace, Atark's got a blade to Doc's neck and is demanding that he tell them what they want to hear. Through the Slaver Lord, the Queen wants to know "Where is Niko?" The utterly useless king steps in the room and orders this stopped at once.

Hm. Okay, maybe you're not completely useless.

The Queen orders Atark to dispatch of the occasionally useful king, and I can't help but wonder what Atark gets out of this? Is he just deluded? Does he want more power? What?

The guards run to attack the king but Niko shouts at them to stop, while the shaman presents the all-seeing eye. It looks like a coronet of sorts. I think. Or a tiara. I'm not completely sure of the difference. A head-thingy. It glows, and the King breaks through the guards and takes it. Nice break actually. I wonder if he's played football. He puts it on and scans Atark's heart.

Atark glows oddly and the King recoils. Atark is...controlled by the Queen. How utterly shocking. They advance on the King, and Atark draws his glowing blade, demanding that the King serve the Queen as he does. The blade however is shot out of his hands as Maya, flanked by her cohorts, appears on the balcony shouting "King Spartos serves no one!"

...I love you, Maya. That's a nice entrance. The archer takes down the queen's men, while Maya leaps down herself to take on Atark's cronies. One tries advancing on the shaman, but Niko's got that handled via swinging rope. I love you, Niko. His weapon is knocked free where Atark picks it up and holds it on the Shaman.

Dick.

Doc...looks pissed, and as Atark pulls the shaman out the door. Doc picks up the sword and declares that Atark's his. Whoa.

There's running down of staircases, Doc holding his sword in his teeth as he grabs a rope and swings down to kick the Baron in the head. There's a lot of rope swinging in this episode. Then there's sword fighting and quipping.

Doc is left handed, or at least sword fights that way. Interesting! The Baron slashes his uniform, which annoys Doc as it's his best one, then demands to know where he learned to handle a sword. Of course it's Miss Abercrombie's Charm School. He knocks Atark over and out. While Maya takes out the crown soldier sneaking behind him. Yay! You two should totally date!

Meanwhile Atark's getting to his feet, but Maya warns him in time to send him flying. He grabs a rope and lands on the catwalk, but Doc still wins. As the others come up, he gets filled in on the All-Seeing Eye.

Apparently the staff is also a link to the computer. Maya asks them to keep the computer a secret as it would shame her father to know the truth. As opposed to continuing to arrest people using forbidden sciences I guess. They agree, and Doc promises that when they're ready, he'll help them wake the computer.

Now the King addresses the group, declaring that the Shaman and the "magic" of their ancestors had saved them. They'll remain independent and free of advanced technology. But at least the Galaxy Rangers will be welcome friends. The King leads Niko in a dance, while Doc escorts Maya out too. They exchange winks and the episode ends.

--

It was infinitely better than Buzzwang's Folly, thank god. Though the Tarkons are really fucking annoying. I'm still also shaky about why Atark was siding with the Queen to begin with. Granted, Slade and Killbane also work with her, but their motives are much clearer. Slade is a demented meglomaniac who wants to be her consort. Killbane's a mercenary. Atark? God knows.

I did like the focus on Niko and Doc. And hey, Doc got the girl this time! Go Doc! I missed Shane and Zach, but let's be honest, even ignoring the fact that Zach's half technology himself, and Shane's the product of it, neither would have any patience for this kind of thing.

Granted I wouldn't mind seeing Tarkon blow up, but Maya would probably mind. I like Maya.

I definitely like the concept behind the Heart of Tarkon. And the Scarecrow's presence was interesting! I'm assuming it gets revisited later on.

But yeah, fun episode. Some weak points, but still pretty solid. Good characters. And definitely much much better than the last one. :-) I'm satisfied.

6 Comments:

  • At April 30, 2009 4:40 PM, Blogger SallyP said…

    Maya is a good character, she packs a mean punch,and she actually has a brain, which is always nice.

    I've always loved it whenever Doc mentions Miss Abercrombie's School. He learned some VERY interesting things there.

    And any episode is good, that is also Buzzwang-free.

     
  • At May 01, 2009 4:01 AM, Blogger LurkerWithout said…

    I wonder if there is a .net GURPS supplement for Galaxy Rangers out there. I bet there is. Or maybe using the MegaTraveller system...

     
  • At May 01, 2009 12:36 PM, Blogger Delora said…

    I liked that Niko got to use her archeology, and I find Tarkon cool. You got everything form computers to giant lizards.

    I like Doc and Maya, but I can never envision a future for them.
    With all the evil influence King Spartos has faced in his advisers (Queen, later Scarecrow), I wonder why no one has started the rumor mill about Niko being a telepath yet.

     
  • At May 01, 2009 1:35 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Delora: That'd require competence though.

    They'd more likely accuse Goose of being the telepath and her of being a giant robot.

     
  • At May 01, 2009 1:53 PM, Blogger Delora said…

    @Kalinara: Depending on how you view "Changeling", Goose actually is telepathic. And if the Shaman can become a giant robot/heart in "Heartbeat", why can't Niko?

    Apart from that, I think Goose would like the rumors enough to throw his own Tarkonian party for the rumor mongers.

     
  • At May 01, 2009 4:25 PM, Blogger Elizabeth B said…

    I dig this episode. We get to see more of Maya, it sets up the whole Tarkon story arc, Niko gets to show off her Swashbuckle Fu, and Doc gets to bust a charm school move or three. Awesome.

    @LurkerWithout, if you run a Google search on
    "galaxy rangers" -lost +gurps
    you'll find a few hits that are relevant. Doesn't look like anyone's actually uploaded a supplement per se, though.

    @Delora: yeah, "Changeling" really threw a spanner in the works WRT Goose's powers. Whoa. :) And it's funny, I was just thinking yesterday that I just can't see Doc and Maya ever settling down.

     

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