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Monday, July 27, 2009

Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, Recap 40: Bronto Bear

Well, I skipped last week's recap, but gosh darnit, this week's will get done.

Since Shootout was a return to what I really love about the show I've got high hopes for today's episode too. Today's episode is called "Bronto Bear"...fuck.

What Do You Get When You Cross a Bear and Godzilla? Awesome. That's What You Get.

Today's episode starts off with some nice, ominous background music and a winter landscape. I suspect from the theme that the guys we're about to see are evil.

It seems I'm right, for in the flying vehicle, we have MaCross! Yay! Accompanying him are two henchmen who look familiar enough to probably have been in earlier episode and one nasal skinny and pedantic alien sitting beside him.

Pedantic guy calls them "gentlemen" and points out that they're looking at one of the largest land animals in the known galaxy.

MaCross really must be cold in that getup, it occurs to me.

They're soon flying over a large fuzzy landmass. Meanwhile, henchman #1 idiots that it doesn't look so big to him. Pedantic broccoli haired tour-guide says that's only his head.

Whoa. That's a fucking big bear. Tell me Gooseman gets to punch it. Or make friends with it. Goose + animals = funny.

Apparently it's in heavy hibernation. MaCross says that he heard they're real mean. Broccoli guy says only if they wake it up.

Um. Broccoli guy, don't give MaCross ideas. MaCross for his part laughs. He tells his henchmen "You heard the man" and Henchman #2 pulls out a large cylinder. Actually, on zoom out, we see he has two. Both glowing. Oh dear. They drop the explosives onto the bear's head. And it wakes up. Pissed.

It starts chasing MaCross's vehicle, while MaCross is all "He'll do perfectly."

Oh, hey, according to Broccoli, they're on Prairie. No wolves in sight though. Anyway Broccoli thinks MaCross is crazy, and says the bear will follow them to the ends of Prairie. MaCross says he only has to come to a town 500 miles from there. (Hey, MaCross uses customary too!)

Tour Guide is aghast at the amount of damage it could do, MaCross is gleeful. Tour Guide FINALLY figures out that MaCross isn't from the Tri-D. Wow. He's not that bright.

(Tri-D is like future television, I believe.)

Anyway, Tour Guide defends himself against their (and my) mocking by pointing out that they LOOK like film types. Which...is a good point. Kudos to MaCross for a good disguise!

Anyway, MaCross heard there was oil in Texarcota Valley and after the Bronto gets through, there won't be anyone to stop them from staking claim.

(Valley name provided by Elizabeth B. :-))

I think that is a plan likely to backfire.

The Broccoli-headed tour guide is aghast, but as MaCross has a gun to his head, is otherwise ineffectual.

The Bear continues to follow, stamping down trees, and reaches the town. The townsfolk are aghast, but seriously, who the fuck is stupid enough to live near a Godzilla-sized sleeping bear? They panic, he steps, houses get smashed.

On Beta, our rangers (ALL FOUR!!!) Zozo, Waldo, Q-Ball and Walsh are watching the Bear stomp on their giant screen while a bemused looking man in a cowboy hat calling himself Sheriff Cole is making his report.

Q-Ball's plan is to put the creature asleep with strong knock-out gas then use a special transport to carry it back to the arctic. That's so simple it might even be effective! Good show, old man.

So anyway, we get the Ranger Hyperlight Transport launching. It's the very large sciency-looking ship that we've seen them use once or twice before. In the Wildfire episode, for example.

The take off sequence is very long, but we get to see Zach buckle his seatbelt. Since my little hill adventure I appreciate this example all the more. Buckle up, kids!

Niko, as the science member of the team, explains that according to BETA surveys, Bronto Bears never venture past the snow line and they don't attack people. Doc, wisely, thinks it sounds fishy. Niko comments earnestly that they eat a lot of shellfish.

Hm, weird, Niko usually gets jokes pretty well. But it really seemed less like she ignored the idiom and more like she genuinely didn't get it.

Zozo suggests the bear is lost. Doc points out that it should be "crashed out" for the next three months.

I like this scene. It's nice seeing Doc, Niko, Waldo and Zozo toss out information, theories and facts to debunk them back and forth.

Waldo points out the bear's temper though and hopes they get there in time.

Huh, for the first time ever, I actually heard "GV" when Zach talked to the computer. Either he's enunciating more clearly, or I'm finally getting used to Jerry Orbach's dialect. Well, that settles it. You were right and I was wrong. :-) GV it is.

GV notes that they're ready for hyper-2, and they take off.

Texarcota Valley appears to be a lot less snow covered, and a lot more big city like than the parts of Prairie we've seen so far. There's also a lot of smoke bellowing up, as the Bronto Bear is wreaking havoc. It's pretty impressive.

People are running, and hey, there's a department store with a sign in alien letters. Neat!

The Bronto Bear continues to Godzilla up the city while hapless law-enforcement types try shooting him up. It works about as well as you'd expect. The havoc is fairly glorious.

Actually what IS cleverly effective is what looks like the futuristic equivalent of a firetruck shooting a stream of water at the bear's face. It is at least taking it off guard. The law types are figuring out that their guns are having no effect, and order a cease fire.

Ah. Intelligent people. After the multitude of stupid people that seemed to fill the episodes just before Shootout, I'm so happy.

The bear continues his havoc, and we see him notice the Ranger's transport vessel and chase it just outside the city limits.

The thing lands and the Rangers all crouch with the gas guns. And...I swear to god, at the moment I'm paused at, Shane's totally stroking his gun like... Well, like a barely socialized nineteen year old who really really needs a girlfriend, yeesh.

They all ready gas masks and take aim. Hee Zozo and Waldo too. They all fire, and green gas envelopes the bear. It's not falling, as Goose notes mildly to Waldo, saying that he'd thought he said the gas was strong. Waldo notes that the bear weighs 300 tons. Yeesh.

And indeed, it starts to stagger, nearly squishing poor Zozo in the process. Hee, and just as I was about to sarcastically type "timber!" into this notepad, Waldo yells it out.

I love this show.

The bear is now asleep, and Zozo notes that he's cute while sleeping. They send out a whole mass of wheeled robot lifting things to carry the bear into the ship. Jeeze. It's about as big as the ship. Zach tells Cole they're going to bring the bear home. It looks like there's a news camera there too. Anyway, Cole says it's a pity that some professor guy couldn't be there as he's the expert on the bears.

Niko wonders where he is as they've been ordered to speak to him. I'm just realizing that Cole might have said Professor BROCCOLI.

DAMNIT show, stop coopting my speciest nicknames!

And I guess Tour Guide has a reason to be pedantic.

Meanwhile, it seems that Henchman #1 has somehow snuck his way inside and is carrying one of those canisters. This can't be good. It contains "acceleration gas" and will wake it up in about ten minutes.

Henchman #1 leaves. Waldo and Zozo are staying behind to find the professor while the others drop the bear off.

Inside a fancy hover car, MaCross is gloating. Professor Broccoli isn't with them, but Henchmen 1 and 2 are there. Henchman 2 has a very nice lavender hat. MaCross wishes he could see the look on the Rangers' faces. And now he intends to buy up some land.

Back on the transport, Zach's sitting, while the three younger members are all standing around a console that looks like a roulette wheel. Doc notes that this is his first venture in animal hauling...except for Goose. Goose growls of course, which amuses Niko.

Zach notes that the passenger is straining their lift limit, while Doc notes that it's a good thing he's out cold.

They have reached the snow area and pass over mountains, and that's when the bear wakes and stands. Holy hell, that's a gigantic ship!

Anyway, GV pops on the screen all nervous and C3POs at Zach that the bear is shifting and endangering their stability. Goose volunteers to take a look. Probably because after proving that he's basically the best gunslinger in the galaxy, he needs a new challenge and that includes punching giant bears.

Or maybe I'm just hoping.

Doc tells him to be careful, and Zach orders him to go with Goose, and warns them to put more gas in the hold if they need. They grab for guns and masks.

Huh, a sign of the character development Doc's had over forty episodes, he doesn't whine about it.

There's a bit more banter, and then they run in only to find the bear wide awake. And pissed. It slams a fist down sending Goose and Doc flying.

Shane's powers are improving, I think as he actually taps his badge AS the bear's hand (it's got talony hands instead of paws) slams toward him, and he's already metal when it connects. Apparently he doesn't need to take damage first anymore. Nice.

He's promptly embedded in the wall, though Doc yanks him out by the legs. They land with Goose de-metallizing while sitting atop Doc. Heh. Poor Doc.

Whoa. We get an exterior shot where the bear PUNCHES THROUGH the entire wall. Eek. Zach orders Gv to secure the bulkhead. While the bear keeps punching. They're crashing!

Zach and Niko stay seated fairly comfortably in the cockpit, but in the hold, Doc and Goose are having more trouble.

The bear, now realizing they've stopped, tears through the wall and heads away.

Meanwhile, in the still smoking wreckage of the city, Waldo and Zozo are on the hunt. Actually, they're dressed like janitors, complete with cart.

Hee. I love the Ambassadors' improbable disguises.

Waldo has no ass by the way.

Anyway, they find the Professor's office. And the Professor's name is actually "Buckley." Perhaps he's not the tour guide after all. They stop outside, hearing voices, which Zozo recognizes as MaCross and his gang. Waldo suspects foul play.

Then Zozo hears something else, but Waldo didn't say anything. They realize the noise came from a closet behind them. They open it to find our Broccoli headed friend. Who is indeed Buckley! That's...silly. And appropriate.

Hey, Waldo has a last name! Did we know that? Buckley calls him Waldo Zeptic. And old friend. And fills them in on the situation. Zozo reassures him that the Galaxy Rangers are on the job.

Hee, Zozo's name tag says "Bob." Waldo's says "David."

The Professor also overheard them talking about the wakeup gas in the hold trick and tells his rescuers. Waldo decides to contact them. A bit late, friend.

Back at the smoking wreckage, Doc and Goose report that the Bronto has gotten away and is heading back south. They get on the jet-cycles, (the hovercycles' actual name, apparently) and take off after it. I love the jet cycles.

They aim to head him off at the pass and turn him around at the power line.

Meanwhile, MaCross catches Waldo, Zozo, and Buckley trying to escape. He calls Waldo "Ambassador Zeptic." Fortunately, MaCross has underestimated Kiwi lunatic badassery, as Zozo shifts his grip on the janitor's cart and charges THROUGH them.

God damn, I love your batshit awesomeness, Zozo. They get pretty far before they get stunned. Buckley's useless.

MaCross is dumb. Instead of killing them, he'll have the Bronto finish them off. That's not a good plan.

Back at the power line, Doc's hooked something up to give the bear a good jolt. The Rangers lead him into the wires, whereupon ZAPPPAGE.

The Rangers watch as he yanks down the power lines. Oops. Bad plan.

However, the bear ends up stepping on a chunk of tower and getting it caught. He sits down and bellows. Poor thing. Niko has the usual feminine response all "Poor baby!" Doc protests that the baby is 300 tons. Yeah, but it's cute and in pain. Shut up, Doc.

Niko notes that the bear was a baby once. All bronto bears started as cubs. Um, Niko. I think ALL species started as young. Your logic is flawed. MaCross would then be a "Poor Baby" too, ya know.

But it is cute. Niko wants to help it. Zach protests that it's been trying to destroy everything.

Shane immediately volunteers to go with her, which makes me smile. Of course, he'd sympathize with the giant misunderstood creature. And also, well, he's a giant moody teenager and she's a hot girl.

Zach tries to protest, but as the creature bellows, he gives in. Father instinct, I'd guess. Doc doesn't want to get eaten.

They all come over. Niko empaths with him, Deanna Troi-ing that the bear is in agony. Gee, really? I wouldn't have guessed from the crying. Zach tells her to reassure the bear, which is a much better use of powers. Goose starts trying to pull out the beam.

Shane and Doc struggle with the beam, then Zach shows us why he's all of our daddy, and tells them to let him try. He bionics up his arm, and all three guys pull it lose.

The bear stops crying and looks pretty puzzled. It's a funny expression. Kind of like: o_O in bear form. Then Niko sprays it with "medifoam." The bear is happy and tries to pick them up. They jump free, except Doc, who gets licked for his trouble. Heee. Niko commends his alien diplomacy.

Meanwhile, MaCross, with Buckley, Zozo and Waldo tied in back, comes flying and looking for the wreckage. I didn't noice, but Henchman 2 is NOT the same henchman as the one in the lavender hat. They're not even remotely the same species. I fail at observation. Anyway, all three are with MaCross.

The bear is now happily walking back north, with the Rangers riding on his head. Suddenly, Niko points out MaCross's "chopper", which flies at them. The bear swipes at it, which is not as fun for those on top. The Rangers realize from the bear's reactions that the chopper is connected with the whole mess.

Finally, the bear connects a giant fist with the chopper, sending them careening. They land and run for it. Zozo, Waldo, and Buckley are still tied, and freaked. But fortunately, the bear is friendly now.

Doc wants to know how to get down, and Niko shows him, by sliding down its back. That looks like fun!

The bear has a vaguely lizardy tail. Anyway, Niko uses her boot knife to cut them free, while he bear decides to go chasing the Black Hole Gang. The Rangers don't mind, as he's heading north. They call out goodbyes and the episode ends.

Hmm. That's rather callous disregard for life, isn't it? The Black Hole gang could get stepped on. But then again, they tried to mass murder a city via bear, so I can't be too upset.

--

Okay, I figured this would be a lame episode, but it wasn't! I really enjoyed it.

Also, it was a very good Niko episode. Which reminds me that while I'm often bored with Niko's solo episodes, or episodes that are just her and Doc, I do think she shines in a group context. This episode was a good showcase of Niko's scientific knowledge, empathy, and powers.

Also, I think we got our first real hint about Niko's origin, when she took Doc's "this is fishy" statement literally. Idioms are usually absorbed from environment, culture and upbringing. This is a hint that Niko may be from a different culture altogether.

This was good for the other characters too, I think. We got glimpses of character growth for Doc, a gruffly warm moment for Zach, and we got to see an apparent advancement in power for Goose! His bio-defenses don't seem to be only reactionary anymore!

And the 'shipper in me liked Goose instantly volunteering to go with Niko to help the bear, while the other two protested. Though really, I think that was less a 'ship thing and more because Goose has a lot of empathy toward animals in general.

Still, I was amused. A very good episode!

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