Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Monday, June 08, 2009

Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, Recap 35: Natural Balance

It's the end of the weekend, and thus, I have another recap! Yay!

Today's episode is "Natural Balance" which is another episode that in all honesty I know nothing about. I hope the Rangers show up in this one, preferably all of them, or I'm going to start feeling a bit cheated.

Unsubtle Environmentalism Meets Exploding Pinecones, I'm not displeased...

Hmm, comedic music as the title screen comes up. That's rarely a good sign. We begin with a zoom in on a dark planet, with one decent sized satellite. On closer look, weird pterodactyl type things are flying in the sky. That's a positive sign!

On the ground, an unbearably cute dog-like thing is walking toward a suspiciously twitching bush.

Actually, the dog appears distracted by a weird white insect, bird thing and lunges at it. Aw, the vicious circle of life.

The dog's murderous impulses are curtailed however, when the bushes start sprouting pink lights. The insect-bird lands on the dog's tail, and all the other plants also start sporting pink lights too. That can't be good.

And indeed, it isn't, for as the cute dog thing laps at the river (a bad idea when bushes start sprouting weird lights), it is promptly ambushed by two giant bugs which zap it.

Meanwhile, Ranger One is flying through the pterodactils. And...damnit. It's piloted by Doc and Niko. Fuck. I like Doc and Niko, but, as I'm sure I've mentioned before, their solo episodes can be a little dull.

At least if Shane's there, something will blow the fuck up. :-)

Doc asks Niko how they're going to find Mistwalker, and Niko says that she's going to find them.

Crap. I like the Mistwalker as a character, but her episode wasn't the most interesting. Also, it had the Worst. Anthropologist. Ever. in it.

If Audra Miles shows up, I'm out of here.

Oh fuck. This episode doesn't have Zach or Goose. It does however have Buzzwang, the Kiwi Kids, and Little Zach and Jessica.

Can't I skip this episode? Please? Episodes like this make me forget that this actually IS my favorite animated cartoon ever. Oh well, I'll suck it up.

Shouldn't Zach OR Zizaw have issues with their kids constantly accompanying Rangers on missions that inevitably become dangerous? Granted, Zizaw's a Kiwi and thus insanely badass, but surely Zach should have a problem?!

I do think Buzzwang's "Sir-Ma'am!" flub is pretty funny while talking to Niko, but one would hope in the future that female military officers are common enough that there wouldn't be confusion on how to refer to them. But I guess since this WAS made in the 80s, I'll led it go. :-)

Meanwhile, Sweetie hugs Buzzwang, and Zozo compliments him on being a natural with the kids. Buzzwang takes the compliment literally and protests that he's made from rare synthetic alloys or something like that. Whatever, man. In my book, you're made of obnoxiousness.

Jessica picks up Misty-Fenokee on her terminal and points it out as "the home of the Mistwalker!" The Kiwi kids all rush over wanting to see. As mentioned last episode, Bud's indeed gotten big! Also, the new little kiwi gets a name as well. He's "Little Jo."

Zozo gives the lecture, claiming that Misty-Fenokee is a system in perfect natural balance. They might benefit from citronelle, in my opinion. Buzzwang thinks it sounds like a nightmare, since the plants eat metal.

Hmm. Please?

Though much as I like the idea, why are they bringing Buzzwang again?

Ranger One lands, and the Kiwi kids unbuckle themselves innocently, as though they weren't racing about the ship like lunatics. Little Zach thinks the planet is perfect for their school science credit.

Okay, does that seem unfair to anyone else? I mean surely not all the kids at their school have parents with connections enough to have an AMBASSADOR take their kids to a nature planet for a field trip. Hmph.

Zozo notes that the samples he's going to gather will make Kiwi history. Yay, an actual legitimate reason to be there!

Niko and Doc meet the group at the door. And Doc says "Last one out is a Mutant Plago!" I love you, Doc.

They all get on speeders. Zozo, Niko and Doc all get their own. Privilege of rank, I'd reckon. Little Zach and Jessica share a cycle, while Buzzwang is stuck with the kids.

You know, while I approve of bad things happening to Buzzwang, I'm kind of skeptical about the rationale behind using him as a babysitter. As in, I wouldn't trust him with a house plant. Maybe Zozo secretly hates his niece/nephews?

Meanwhile, Ranger One is enveloped in some kind of weird shield, courtesy of Q-Ball, which block it from insects. That's useful! I like that the characters did indeed learn from the last time they were here! Niko is still bemused by the idea of machine-eating insects, while Buzzwang cringes in the background, as he's circled by the things.

Niko reminds the idiotic robot that his electronics attract them and tells him to mute his frequency. Which works, but still. Why bring him at all? It just seems mean! And I say that as someone who wants him dead!

Buzzwang agrees with me and suggests he wait with the ship, but Zozo kiboshes it, claiming he needs Buzzwang's databanks. I think Zozo is just a sadist. Buzzwang narrowly escapes being grabbed by vines, and I hate to say it, but I really do think he's being the least assholish member of this expedition right now. Niko tosses him a "spare parts pack" that Q-Ball made for him. That's not very reassuring.

Zozo pulls out a map and notes that they're heading due north into the "most spectacular forest you've ever seen!" His eyes look crazy.

They move out. Doc enjoys some fancy hover-cycle riding. They stop just outside the forest, where they catch sight of a trail ahead, and proceed on foot. (Little Jo is riding on Doc's shoulders. It's pretty freakin' cute. Heh.)

Doc is smarter than Buzzwang (shocking, I know), for when Niko expresses concern, he mentions that he muted the speeders' frequencies. Meanwhile, Sweetie and Bud get Zozo to tell them about Mistwalker. Zozo explains that she's the guardian of the forest. He gives the usual spiel about future harmony, and says that like the Kiwi, Mistwalker uses knowledge of nature (and a few magic tricks of her own).

She does not, however, KICK PEOPLE INTO FIRE.


The kids are excited. Doc sounds slightly skeptical and asks where the "fabled Mistwalker" is, but they're interrupted by the discovery of "Mangle trees." That...doesn't sound good. Zozo wants to get a pod. The kids are already in the tree when they declare that they'll help. Little Zach, channeling his father, tells them to look out.

Zozo, being unafraid by the possibility of his kin plummeting to their deaths, merely points out that mangle fruit apparently possesses magic powers. The kids want him to make magic, but instead, we get the sound of a woodwind instrument. It's the Mistwalker!

Zozo meanwhile is demuring that it doesn't work for him, but the Mistwalker, who being high in a nearby tree is out of sight, causes a few seeds to drop around him, which then sprout vines and tangle him up.

Yeesh, everyone's an asshole in this episode. It is funny though. :-) Zozo notices the Mistwalker first, and she hops down next to an awed Buzzwang. She's happy to see Zozo and Niko.

I'm not sure when she would have met Niko, but I'll chock that off to Niko's badass archeology skills. Chick has connections. :-)

Zozo thanks the Mistwalker on behalf of the Kiwi vegetable labs, while the kids, including Little Zach and Jessica, come to meet her. She gives Jessica a weird flute thing. Which is nice, on one hand, but on the other, kind of sucks for Little Zach or the Kiwi kids. Hmph.

Don't you know not to give presents to only one kid, Mistwalker?

Jessica's apparently a better flute player than her father, since a flock of green birds flutter over and land on the kiwi kids' delighted heads. Zozo continues with his Ambassadorial spiel, and we get more repetition of Misty-Fenokee's "perfect natural balance."

Hmm, I can't tell if they're trying to make a point or not.

Mistwalker tells Zozo that the balance is changing. Zozo is horrified and asks how. Mistwalker tells him that her people are worried since well, imbalance kinda equals death. Okay, but that doesn't answer Zozo's question.

Zozo is less single-minded than me though and simply asks how they can help. Mistwalker tells them just to be careful and take only what the forest gives and stay close to the path.

A bird lands on Mistwalker's shoulder and she tells them that she must leave now. And indeed she does, vanishing in a flock of birds. The kids are awed, but Zozo is more interested in taking samples. Doc and Niko are worried though.

They venture forward through trees that seem to be moving slightly that and look like they have faces. And just as I type that, one of them opens their eyes. Creepy!

Niko whispers that she thinks they're being watched, even as an open-eyed tree appears to be moving behind Bud. He notices, and it winks at him. Aw. Bud, however, goes running, terrified, to his sister.

An understandable reaction, all things considered. The tree looks a little hurt though. Zozo points out one of the trees (with its eyes closed and covered by hand-like branches) and calls it a "Meeping Mania Tree." Or something like that.

Doc thinks that the trees "aren't at all well." And pulls out his little tweaker case. Sweetie wants to know why the tree they're looking at is "hiding." Zozo jumps up and grabs the branch-arm, wanting to know what's wrong and says he's a member of the "Kiwi garden league."

Um, no offense Zozo, but I don't really think that's the way to go about consoling a scared tree.

Once more, however, Zozo proves he knows more than me, as the tree suddenly bursts out crying. It grabs Zozo's ears and lifts him up wailing that the forest is falling apart. Zozo calls for Niko, as the trees weep, and eventually manages to knock his way free. The tree mopes at them to leave it alone, and Zozo obliges, running for it.

The others follow, but Zozo's far ahead, and when he stops he's startled to find himself alone. He fiddles with the communicator while the bushes start glowing pink in front of him.

A tiny insect appears, having chewed the heck out of his communicator, and he tosses the darn thing in disgust. Then the insects advance on him, all blasting out pink rays. Zozo screams as he gets blasted.

The others walk more sedately through the forest, calling Zozo's name, when Niko notes a follower. It's one of the trees, who she calls "Willow." Willow isn't feeling like himself. Niko uses her implant to scan and then turns to Doc, telling him there's a strong sense of evil around. Doc notes they should find Zozo.

As they reconvene, Little Zach, a buzzkill like his father, points out that they're very far from the path and reminds them of what Mistwalker said. And in fact, some more ill-tempered trees appear, wanting to know why they're there. Buzzwang tells them that they'd just lost their path, but the tree dismisses that as "the old Hansel and Gretel lie." Heh.

Niko urges them to let them pass. But they declare this part off-limits. Buzzwang tries to insult them, but is grabbed by the tree. He tries to identify himself as a Galaxy Ranger, while the Kiwi kids kick at the tree's "foot."

Niko apparently has a WWSGD (What Would Shane Gooseman Do?) moment and pulls out her big gun, demanding they drop the robot. Well, no, I'm sorry, if it were a WWSGD moment, she'd have shot and THEN demanded they let him go. Too bad. The trees knock her gun from her hands.

A flaming arrow interrupts the tree as it's about to eat Buzzwang. It drops him as all the trees panic. It's the Mistwalker!

Buzzwang is okay, but his frequency muting is broken. Meanwhile, Niko realizes from her scanner that the trees have all mutated.

As have Zozo and the dog, who is not looking nearly so cute. Also, their eyes are glowing bright pink. The Kiwi Kids are delighted and leap on their uncle.

Niko, noticing the weird robotic way Zozo is talking, wants to run a trace. As she says this, she's already tapped her badge and is glowing. Zozo recoils, insisting he's fine. Doc says that they'll keep an eye on him, but suggests going back to the speeders. Meanwhile, Buzzwang's spare parts pack has been left behind. That can't be good.

The speeders have been rapped up in vines. Doc doesn't notice the eerie pink glow and says "So much for Q-Ball's magic." He starts pulling vines free, while Little Zach says that they have to repair the cycles.

Thank you, Little Zach. You state the obvious so superbly.

Meanwhile the Mistwalker approaches, wanting to talk to Niko. She tells her that they are very near great danger and that the balance is broken. Doc tells her to go ahead, as they'll get the cycles clear. Mistwalker and Niko leave, while Doc has pathfinder check the circuits.

Buzzwang is also fairly miserable as he is now wrapped in vines and being gnawed on by bugs. He Nightwings that he's done for and they should go on without him. Little Zach says that's nonsense, but when he asks about the spare parts pod, they all realize that it's lost.

Zozo and the dog creep slowly toward Doc. They are of course accompanied by an army of bugs which blast him.

I have to admit, glowy-eyed Zozo leading an army of bugs is a fairly badass image. Heh.

The army then starts advancing on the kids. Little Zach shouts at the others to run saying he'll hold them off, and in the single most improbably awesome moment of the episode picks up a MUSHROOM.

Little Zach squeezes the mushroom which makes a flatulent sound then emits pink gas which causes Zozo to sneeze. Zozo sneezes just like my cat. Heh.

The kids run off telling Buzzwang that they'll be back for him.

Meanwhile, Mistwalker tells Niko that she's found the trouble. One of the evil giant insects emerges from the grass to Niko's dismay. Mistwalker goes to some weird plant and dumps a white liquid from it onto the ground. This causes the insects (more of them followed the first) to stick into place. Mistwalker grabs Niko's arm and they run.

Niko gasps out a "What's happening here?!" and Mistwalker leads her to a weird electronic device being run by Lazarus Slade! That explains it.

Sadly, there's no awesome music with him. I feel cheated.

The kids run toward the Mistwalker's cute bird friends which are apparently smarter than they seem, as they drop Buzzwang's spare part pack at Little Zach and Jessica's feet. Little Zach doesn't hesitate, he just grabs it and they run off.

With his parts, Buzzwang is looking better, and Little Zach holds up a tuning fork which will keep the bugs away. Now they have to find Doc and the others!

Meanwhile, Mistwalker and Niko have been herded before Lazarus Slade. He seems satisfied and mad scientists, "More bio-genetic material."

Which really doesn't seem a terribly in character way for Slade to react to seeing a Galaxy Ranger. And no music? Hm.

Actually, no, THERE's the music. Heh. He refers to their genetic material as "the rare Galaxy Ranger variety and the much overrated Mistwalker variety." Hmph. Well, fuck you too, Slade.

Niko snaps that he's destroying her planet, but he announces that it's for a good cause since he's launching an invasion of Earth.

Niko's definition of "good cause" is vastly different from Slade's and she wants to know what he'd done. He says that with his new "Batch 22" his invader virus is unstoppable.

I thought Slade was a TECH genius, not a biochemist! Oh well, a polymath is a polymath, I suppose.

He shows them how the giant ants drink the batch and then spray the forest. He then dramatically introduces his "new test subject" which is Zozo, carrying small containers. Uh oh. Zozo announces that soon Earth will be an "automatic colony." While Niko tries to reason with Zozo, Slade announces that he's taken raw nature and improved it.

His glorious mutations will control the world!

Except, if the way the music changes is any indication, I think he might be speaking too soon. Indeed, the cute green bird flock is coming toward them, while Mistwalker raises her hands in the air and emits a fluting noise. The birds dive into the trees and emerge carrying some weird pinecone type thing, which they then drop onto the ground and explode! Hardcore!

The kids see that and decide to help, climbing one of the trees that grow said pinecones and start divebombing the bugs.

Slade orders his brainwashees to get them, but even as he speaks a tiny insect emerges from his electronic monocle. The warfare continues.

The bugs surround the Mistwalker en masse, but the Mistwalker is prepared. She pulls out some sort of whistle thing, which causes the bugs to hesitate. Then she begins some weird dance which causes the bugs to turn on each other.

As Buzzwang, tuning fork in hand, tells the Kiwi Kids to come down this instant, the giant bugs start advancing on Slade, who runs into his ship.

Doc and Zozo emerge, eyes still glowing. Zozo has Niko's big gun in his hand. Of course, the kids come running. Niko is faster though, as she kicks the gun from Zozo's hand and then punches Doc. Then she makes an amusing "Ow" noise as she rubs her hand afterwards. The kids then tackle Zozo and urge him to wake up while Niko and Buzz run into the ship.

Slade is starting to take off, muttering about how he'll instead work on some nice safe space technology. But unfortunately for him, he doesn't have Q-Ball's gadget, and the vines burst through the panels and wrap around him. Niko and Buzzwang enter and announce that he's under arrest.

Outside, Doc and Zozo are snapping out of it. Doc in particular looks like he's not feeling good. Niko's got a good right hook. Niko suggests "Doctor Slade" give them the antidote or become ant food (the bugs actually look a bit more cricket like to me, but I'm really bad with insects.) That's a nasty threat, Niko! I approve!

Slade eventually believes her and provides the antidote, which they will feed to the ants and have them spray the forest.

Back at Ranger One, they wave goodbye to Mistwalker. The dog is at her feet, once more obscenely cute and none the worse for wear. They blast off.

On Ranger One, Doc and Niko exchange words about bringing Slade in, and Niko gives a shout out to me, even though I was perhaps two or three at the time, by saying "Let's hope they hold him for a while." Heh, fat chance.

Apparently Mistwalker gave Zozo a lot of samples, though Buzzwang suggests that next time he should have Mistwalker mail them. I hate to agree with Buzzwang, but...yeah.

Jessica is cheered about the possibility of A-plus work, which still smacks of unfairness to me. Hmph.


This episode wasn't as much fun as Mothmoose for me (no gratuitous Kiwi badassery) but did have actual Rangers in it, so that's a definite plus.

As Doc and Niko episodes go, this one wasn't as slow as most. Especially after Zozo got mutated.

And I enjoy seeing Niko be badass, so that's always a plus. And even Buzzwang wasn't that annoying to me this time. Because really, it was kind of mean to bring a ROBOT to a planet that eats technology.

It's like bringing Shane Gooseman to a pacifist rally. It's just cruel!

Finally, I wish Zach would stop abusing his position and using his co-workers as a free baby-sitting service. I like Little Zach and Jessica, but really now.

Same with Zizaw too.

I suppose that explains why Goose isn't there. No one in their right mind would trust their kids with him, heh.

The preachiness of the episode was a bit much, and the storytelling wasn't particularly subtle, but it had exploding pinecones, so I can't be too upset.

Also, no Audra Miller. That's the best part of all!


  • At June 08, 2009 3:42 AM, Blogger LurkerWithout said…

    Yay Buzzwang! There should be more episodes about the brave robot who freed himself from a life of sex slaving to become one of elite Galaxy Rangers. He's an inspiration to sex droids everywhere...

  • At June 08, 2009 5:40 AM, Blogger Delora said…

    Niko could have been part of the team that established first contact with Beasty-Fenokee. Her telepathic powers could have been useful for communication.
    I'm beginning to suspect that "magic" is the Kiwi word for "great thing we don't understand" or "I'm too tired to explain it to you" or "you're too young to know".
    Slade, mutated ants, bio-technology -- I'm beginning to wonder what the Queen did with the formula for Supertrooper juice she purchased in "Birds of a Feather".

  • At June 08, 2009 7:36 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Delora: My guess is that's where "Batch-22" came from.

    And really, that's why I like the Kiwi. They don't bother making up fancy technobabble for things that can't be easily explained. If they want to call it "magic" I'll go with that. :-)

  • At June 08, 2009 2:15 PM, Blogger Delora said…

    So the Queen used a stolen Supertrooper formula to create Virus 22 that was tested on Beasty-Fenokee, harvested by Kiwis, improved by scientists at Longshot and almost released on Earth later.
    The mind boggles.

  • At June 08, 2009 3:42 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    About par for the course for the show, I think. :-)

  • At June 08, 2009 4:43 PM, Blogger SallyP said…

    Really, not nearly enough explosions. And since we all secretly (or NOT so secretly) want to kill Buzzwang, I suppose we can't be surprised that Q-Ball ALSO harbors a secret desire to off him. That's why he was sent along.


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