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Monday, June 29, 2009

Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, Recap 37: In Sheep's Clothing

I skipped my recap last week, but I figured this week that I should get back in the swing of things.

Also it's distracting me from my "Oh my god, my HAIR!" freakout that's only registering now. Don't get me wrong, I'm very glad to be alive and with minimal damage, but looking in the mirror is a bit traumatic right now.

Today's episode is "In Sheep's Clothing." And since I already saw the first ten minutes or so before my computer ate my post last week, I also know that it features the most irritating anthropologist in the Galaxy Rangers universe, and my personal fictional nemesis, Audra Miles.

But for the purpose of the recap, I'll pretend I don't know that.
I Hate You Audra Miles

There's something about the themesong that just brightens my day whenever I hear it. It might be the sheer unrepentant 80s-ness of it. Which is understandible as it WAS the 80s. :-)

This episode starts off with a beautiful snow covered landscape. There are two moons, and adorable wolf like creatures lounging about.

My eternal nemesis is sitting with two of them, playing some odd flute type thing. One of the wolves howls along with the music, I'd like to think it's in protest, but I'm probably projecting. To be fair, the flute playing does sound pretty.

Audra monologues that Prairie is a lovely planet, and there are places on Earth like this. I wonder who the hell she's talking to, as the wolves, if sentient, do not seem interested.

She continues by musing that only one moon lights her night sky, and they have two. Um. I'm guessing they know that.

The wolf nearest Audra draws two lines in the snow, which I guess to be "No Kill I" or "Please shut up." Anyway, Audra will be sorry to leave, but she has a great report for BETA on the progress of the Lycans. (Wolf thing.)

Meanwhile, elsewhere on the planet, a small ship lands before what look like a group of cowboys and oxen. Or cow. I have no clue which. I'm a bored suburbanite, and my last and most substantial clash with anything rural left me trying to dig tiny chunks of my car window out of my elbow. Heh.

Anyway, two guys emerge from the ship. One's short and in red, one's bigger and in brown. I get a very Rocky and Muggsy vibe from these two. Anyway, apparently Rocky and Muggsy sold the cowboys Bovo-6 cattle, which are dying. (And in fact we see one ox-cow-thing laying on the ground behind them.)

Anyway, the cattle have to get driven to market, and if word gets out they won't get a "red cent." Which sends my brain on a tangent wondering about the type of currency they have in the Galaxy Ranger universe.

Rocky drawls that this is a new breed which is bound to have a few weak links. Muggsy leans over one grizzled cowboy, wrapping an arm around his shoulders and poking at him with a metal hand, and says how they don't want a panic over this. Rocky jovially says they'll have tests done at the Bovo facility. Somehow I think these two are shady. I can't imagine why I think that though...

The cowboys look forlorn at the dead ox as the gangters fly off.

Bovo's facility is pretty swanky, and inside, there's the prerequsite open circle table of eevil bureaucrats. One is even bald, with a fluffy cat on his lap, and a cigar. No cliche spared!

He asks "Number Five" for a report. The bureaucrats are actually scientists I think, all are wearing blue and white uniforms. Number five has big blocky glasses, he tells cliched evil villain that they've ran tests and the preliminary findings are confirmed. The Bovo-6 is a failure.

Bald evil guy's voice is very Mantenna from He-Man/She-Ra and he nasals an annoyed complaint about how much money they spent in research for a failing result. Um, yeah, bald guy. That's why it's RESEARCH. You're not guaranteed a good result. Apparently the problem is something in Prairie's grassland.

Of course cliched villain wants to change the grassland of the planet. Because that would somehow cost LESS than revamping the research and making a Bovo-7? Or relocating?

I like Galaxy Rangers, but this is approaching Captain Planet villain level of impractical anti-environmentalism.

Anyway, one of the scientists points out it's worse. The entire stock has been contaminated. The cattle are going to die and the meat's been contaminated and there could be an epidemic.

Cliched bad guy wants the test information to disappear, and the part of me that just got through Business Enterprises is rubbing my hands at the impending lawsuit from THAT.

Anyway, Cliched badguy announces that that will be all to Number Five, who stammers and then screams as a trap door opens under him. Seriously, trap doors at a conference table?! Who actually DOES that?! AWESOME!

Cliched badguy tells everyone who isn't plummeting to their deaths that they have to keep the ranchers in the dark until they make their final payment. Cliched badguy also has a plan.

Back at the ranch, the ranchers watch Muggsy and Rocky's ship land. They're accompanied by a third fellow, who's masked, and bodily yanks a rancher toward him. Yeah, that wouldn't make me suspicious. Rocky makes a show of examining the ox-cow and declares that the ox-cow was killed by lycans.

...Lycans are basically wolves. How the hell does that equate to poison deaths? If these ranchers buy that, they're stupider than Audra Miles.

The rancher tussling with the masked guy also thinks it's crazy. His reasoning is that lycans don't attack cattle. Rocky doesn't care. He just tells him to make sure the other ranchers know it's lycans that cause it. Or else. (Muggsy is standing ominously behind the rancher's kid, by the way.)

The Rancher's kid is smart and points out how there were no marks on the ox-cows.

Okay, I like the set-up here. I've always hated blame-the-scapegoat plots when experienced people should damn well understand their environment better. Here though it' clear that Ricardo (the rancher) and Carlos (his son) understand full well that the Lycans didn't do this, but are being threatened. I can buy that. Now I just hope that the others are as intelligent.

Later Carlos, Ricardo and a woman who I'd imagine to be Ricardo's wife are in a cabin watching a news report reporting how in Paynesville, herds of cattle are being decimated by Lycans. Of course Bovo is offering a reward for captured Lycans, dead or alive. Because they're idiots.

Ricardo notes that now they're finding dead cattle with teeth and claw marks and he suspects Bovo is dropping them in during the night.

Okay, I take it back. They're getting cleverer.

Carlos demands that they do something, Ricardo nods.

We cut away to Audra talking to Niko, which granted, is a pretty good idea. She's uncovered enough evidence of what she believes is a scandal. And her friends are in danger.

In Walsh's office, Niko is explaining the situation. Doc is there too, but no Zach or Goose, which means the likely explosion content has drastically reduced. Damnit. Anyway, Niko explains how the Lycans are efficient predators of small game. Doc chimes in that Lycans are intelligent with a complex social structure.

Okay, wait a second. I'm all for protecting the cute woodland creature. But THIS gets Galaxy Ranger protection when something that potentially threatened the entire food source of the galaxy in Mothmoose didn't?!

Was the Mothmoose just not cute enough? Okay, okay, I'll let it go.

Anyway, Bovo's managed to overturn the ecological statutes protecting the lycans. I, for my part, am really impressed by the efficiency of the legislature and judiciary on Prairie, that they're able to do anything that quickly.

Doc points out that bounty hunters are having a field day and the Lycans don't have a chance. Walsh agrees that it's worth looking into. Walsh tells Niko to tell Audra to be careful and to wait for "you two."

Damnit. That's confirmed. No Goose or Zach. You know, I've heard people complain that this show eventually becomes the Gooseman show. Honestly, that couldn't happen soon enough for me. They haven't blown up enough shit in the past few episodes for my taste. At least if Goose is the lead, something will get punched or blown up.

Back on Prairie, someone clad in black appears to be sneaking into the Bovo facility. It's female. Because Audra is an idiot. Lady, you're an ANTHROPOLOGIST. Leave the secret agent stuff to the pros, okay? I mean, what will you help if you get caught? I'll give you a hint, the lycans aren't the ones that would benefit from clawing up your corpse and leaving it for the media to find and drum up MORE anti-lycan sentiment.

Anyway, Audra continue to break into the facility. Jesus Christ, is she wearing a head lamp?!

Bovo has the worst security ever!

Anyway, Audra pulls up something on the computer, helpfully labeled top secret and displaying an image of a double helix. She's all "I knew it!" Then the screen flashes a "security alert."

Seriously, this woman ought to be fired. Anyway, she runs for it. With her HEADLAMP ON. Guards with flashlights notice the insane woman wearing the headlamp and are all "Halt! Identify yourself!" Audra runs. And they follow the light from HER HEAD into a container of leaves.

Actually, I'll give Audra credit, she was clever enough to hide her headlamp there, and close the container, trapping them inside. Doesn't change the idiocy of wearing it to begin with.

Outside, the ranchers gripe about being forced to bring the Bovo cattle to market. From above, Audra is watching them with a camera. She notes that the Ranchers are surrounded by Bovo thugs. Of course, idiot that she is, she's not under any sort of cover. This becomes painfully obvious when Rocky and Muggsy's ship flies over her head close enough that she has to duck. I hope they weren't looking down!

God, I hate you, Audra.

They fly over the ranchers and announce that lycans were spotted in the hills. (To add insult to idiocy, lycans were crouched beside Audra while she eavesdropped.)

The bounty hunters start charging up the hill of course. Audra tells the lycans to run and hide. She runs too, but throws a smoke grenade at them first. Okay, that wasn't bad.

They chase Audra. Because somehow being authorized to hunt Lycans extends to humans? Perhaps she is a bald lycan? Who knows. They do lasso her idiot ass though, and I'm almost cheering for them. God I hate you, Audra.

Anyway, the bounty hunters recognize her as "the pesky trouble-maker from BETA." Of course, she pulls out a "You'll never get away with this." They decide to put her in jail and get a message to "Mr. Rancid." I'm assuming that's cliched evil guy, because he ought to have a cliched evil name as well. Heh.

Back at Bovo, Rocky suggests that Audra's the same person poking around in the facility at night. Cliched villain decides to pay her a visit. Because that's what cliched villains do.

In her jail cell, Audra listens to the Lycans howl. They run up to the door and scratch at it. Inside, the guard gets annoyed at the noise and goes to see what's going on. The Lycans leap onto him and steal his keys.

Okay, Lycans are kind of badass. Anyway, they let Audra out, and she's all "What kept you?" Then she hugs the closest one. She must grow on a being like fungus, because I sure as hell would have left her there.

Outside, Ranger One is landing. FINALLY. Paynesville Tower can't read their signal. They've picked up an escort, which demands they identify themselves.

When will evil companies learn it doesn't pay to harass law enforcement?

Anyway, Niko does so. But the baddies laugh and shoot. Doc and Niko have some banter about the meaning and context of the word "evasive" while they avoid getting shot down.

Seriously, what the hell? How does Bovo expect to get away with this? It's one thing to cover up the cattle plague with blaming Lycans and hide the evidence. But shooting down cops? That's not something you can play innocent away! If you're going to be that blatant, then just sneer at the cowboys and say "fuck off" and shoot any who try to expose you.

Badguys always complicate things.

Anyway, Doc and Niko start to crash. Which seems rude, as I thought Gooseman had the claim on crashing. But they land in snow. Doc comedically tumbles out of the doorway, and wisecracks.

At night, they shiver beside the ship, unable to see anything in the storm. Um, guys? You knew you were going to a winter planet, right? I mean, from what we've seen this isn't unusual weather. WHY did you not pack snow gear?

Oh right, so the lycans can come help them. And indeed, they do. They circle Niko and Doc ominously, but fortunately(?) Audra's arrival breaks the tense moment. She's carrying jackets. How did she know two people were coming? Never mind.

Anyway, she gives them the coats and has the lycans bring sleds. Audra tells them she'll fill them in back at camp.

Camp is actually a fairly nice igloo shaped tent. Inside, the rangers and Audra drink tea, while the lycans lounge about. Audra briefs them about the lycans-as-scapegoat thing, while Doc has some fun hijinx with an affectionate lycan.

Niko notes that the idea of having Lycans as coats have made people forget about cattle, and I would be okay with that notion except that we're eleven minutes into a twenty minute episode and this is the first anyone's mentioned a COAT. Seriously writers, I love you, but you really got to introduce these threads earlier! We knew bounty hunters wanted to kill lycans, but that's not the same. Niko's comment is out of nowhere!

Audra notes that the ranchers know SOMETHING's going on but she's interrupted by howling outside. Audra's all "They're trying to tell us something." Thank you, Ms. Lockhart, shall we fetch Timmy now?

But of course, this is just set up for Niko to do her badge-tap. She does and mind melds with Misty-the-wolf, who shows her patrol units. Audra's been expecting them, so she scatters.

Um, shouldn't the lycans have had a better way of signalling her then? One that didn't require a mind-meld?

Never mind. I hate you, Audra.

Anyway, they run, just as the bounty hunters appear on snow mobiles and blow up the tent. Audra leads them to a large yellow craft and is all "Ever pilot one?" Doc's all "I've never seen one?" I'm all "Um, how the hell would that not be seen by an overhead flyer?!"

Niko identifies it as an ice-sailer, which can go over 200 mph if the winds are right. Hmm. Hey, Niko uses customary measurements too! I remember I was watching for that.

So right now the set up is: Zach and Niko: customary, Shane: metric, and I haven't noticed Doc using measurements yet.

I really like this detail, and I don't 100% know why. :-)

Anyway, Doc and Niko push the sailer to start it, and then climb aboard. It easily skims over ice. The bounty hunters try to follow of course, but the ice breaks under their heavy snow mobiles.

Not all have sunk though, and a few manage to skim along the ice after them and shoot.

Rocky and Muggsy fly above and suggest use of the thermal rockets to turn the ice back into water. Which seems like bad luck for the bounty hunters, but also for them. Doc yells, and Audra notes that the ice is breaking up. Doc is all "That's what I said!"

Fortunately, the ice sailer can float, and heads into a larger body of water. For some reason Rocky and Muggsy declare them to be finished. Soon we see why, when Audra tells them they're heading for Bovo Falls. She didn't tell them earlier because she didn't want to ruin their day. I hate you and your jovial flippancy, Audra. Doc looks ill. And they go over.

Rocky and Muggsy are satisfied. But they're also dumb, because the falls are part of the factory. And of course Doc, Audra and Niko were able to jump free and catch onto some convenient scaffolding.

They're in a drainage conduit, which they can follow into the heart of the facility. Doc is displeased, and Audra snaps "At least we're alive." Doc doesn't have that, and retorts that he's not celebrating. I love Doc and his understandable irritation. Next Audra episode, I vote she gets paired with Goose. Maybe he'll blow her up.

Anyway, they soon hear an ominous chittering. Rats! They stampede past. Everyone is disgusted, and Audra calls them Bovo Water Slime, which strikes me as very judgmental for an anthropologist. Niko wonders what they're running from, Doc thinks they know something that "we" don't.

Finally Doc finds a pipe leading up. A ventilator shaft tied to the climate control systems. They climb up and find one of those grates convenient for eavesdropping. I'd complain, but it's a genre staple. Anyway, they overhear Rocky and Muggsy report about the heroes going over the falls. Rancid is pleased, because the abrupt disappearance of law enforcement never leads to more law enforcement or anything. But tomorrow they'll get the Ranchers' final payment for the plague-cows. And he'll be able to pay off the conglomerate. Muggsy of course uses the dreaded "C-word" while talking about the cattle.

Rancid announces that the Ranchers failed, not the cattle. They laugh and leave. Doc, Niko and Audra jump down. Audra tells them that the Ranchers mustn't bring the cattle to market. Doc and Niko will remain behind to access the computers, while Audra will find a way out. She's confident that she can do it again, even without a stupid headlamp, and runs off.

Doc uses his tweakers to find Bovo-6 info and transfers it to the CDU. Then they run for it. Why Niko had to be along for this, I don't know, but okay. Unfortunately, as they leave, they're stopped by Rancid and his men who promptly disarm them. He recognizes Doc's CDU and takes it. Then he orders them taken to the cryogenics lab and frozen.

see, this is why you should have brought Goose. Mostly for my personal amusement.

Rancid's cryo chamber appears to be a platform above a pool. Rancid monologues that it's filled with Liquid Borium, and their end isn't auspicious, but it'll be quick. Doc and Niko are dragged to the edge.

Niko shouts that the stockyards will discover the truth and that it's Bovo's doing. Rancid tells her the stockyards will discover the Ranchers were feeding them untested grain. Um. How exactly do you think you'll prove that when this series shows the capacity to scan DNA?

I don't think Rancid is very smart.

Anyway, Doc and Niko are about to be frozen when an alarm goes off and one of the mercenaries announces that something's up.

And in fact there is! It's a Bovo-6 stampede! Led by Audra and the Ranchers! They storm the main gate. Niko uses the distraction of her guards to break free, as does Doc, and even knocks two of the guards INTO the melted borium. Ouch. Doc grabs a fallen guard's gun, while Rancid runs for it.

Rancid gets met by his goons in the hall. Rocky and Muggsy report cows in the corridor. Rancid yells at them to shut up and get his ship ready.

Meanwhile, Niko and Doc crouch on the platform as the guards below shoot up at them. Then they return fire, with banter, but little success.

Fortunately, and I say that with no question mark this time, Audra and the Ranchers burst in. Doc and Niko take the opportunity to chase Rancid, who is about to board his ship...only to be ambushed by the Lycans. They growl menacingly while Niko extorts a confession out of him.

Um, Niko honey, I don't think the confession'll hold up in court. Fortunately, you should have enough physical evidence, but still...

Anyway, she arrests him.

Later, everyone's happy. The Lycans are helping the Ranchers herd cattle, and Audra is irritatingly smug about it. I hate you, Audra.


Okay, this was another episode in a row that I thought was fun, but really needed an editor's hand.

I like the show for not needing to explain everything all the time, which they did well in this episode. But at the same time, you can't just bring plot/motivation threads halfway through and not follow them up! Niko's dialogue shouldn't be the first time we hear about Lycan coats, if that's such a big distraction. There should have been some throwaway comment before then setting it up, or something. Maybe the news report could have dropped a line about the valuable pelts. SOMETHING.

And Rancid really was pretty much an amalgamation of bad guy cliches. Granted, few Rangers villains are SUBTLE, but they tend to have more style.

I dug the trapdoor though.

Rancid's motivation and logic didn't really make sense either. Usually I can make some sense of the villain's rationale, but Rancid was an idiot.

Audra was much more tolerable in this episode. She even had moments of competence! Too bad she also had moments of utter idiocy (the factory, spying on an enemy that she knows has aerial capabilities without cover) but she lacked most of the smugness she had in Mistwalker. Probably because she actually respects Niko as a fellow scholar/scientist. I've known a few academics like that.

So, yeah, decent episode. I want Zach and Shane back soon though.


  • At June 29, 2009 12:57 PM, Blogger Melissa said…

    I have always been a cowboy book fan, and am always trying to find some of the more entertaining cowboy books like, The Shopkeeper by James D. Best. After reading your very thorough recap I think I will also check out the sci-fi cowboy genre. Thanks!

  • At June 29, 2009 5:27 PM, Blogger SallyP said…

    Not one of my favorite episodes, frankly, we need more of Zachary, who'se hardly been in ANY lately. And Goose. And blowing things up.

    Niko is ok, and I love Doc, but you're right of course, Audra IS an idiot.

    I can't believe that there isn't some sort of regulatory body that overlooks the production of cattle and...and stuff.

  • At July 02, 2009 5:13 PM, Blogger Lady Niko said…

    Oh, this is so true! Audra should not have been the one sneaking into Bovo. As for Niko being along on this - back up. Would you send Doc out by himself? *laugh*

    He finds trouble almost as fast as Goose does at times!

    Keep it up and convert more GR followers! We need more of us. :)

  • At July 03, 2009 3:26 PM, Blogger Delora said…

    I actually like Audra. Sure, she has a problem with civilization and is headstrong, but many GR characters are. I don't think her faults are worse than what we have seen even from the rangers from time to time.
    Besides that, I adore Lycans.


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