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Monday, March 23, 2009

Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, Recap 16: The Ax

Today's episode of Galaxy Rangers is called "the Ax". Considering all the possible explanations of "Ax" this seems like it'd be fun.

Well, there's a giant robot at least...

We start this episode off outside a nice spheroid rock in space that looks like it's had chunks blown out of it. There are smaller rocks surrounding it.

Then we either zoom in or cut away to a desert looking surface, where a fellow singing Clementine (but replacing "Clementine" with "X29" of course) is walking. Clementine as rewritten for a robot is pretty amusing. The fellow himself is a stocky gent with a nice beard and a robot donkey singing counterpoint. Anyway, our singers make their way to a boarded off mine entrance. Bearded guy starts ripping boards away and proclaims that he told him this shaft was here.

Once open, he pulls what looks like a metal detector from the robot donkey's back, and taps the donkey's head once, causing its eyes to light up. Convenient! Whatever he's detecting, it's big. Our Grizzly Adams feels it in his bones and his bones "never lie" He blasts a hole in the rock and enters what looks like a metal corridor. The donkey goes to investigate further, over the miner's protests. That's awfully inconvenient, having a disobedient robot donkey. But heck, at least you don't have to clean up after it.

Apparently, they've found what looks like a giant metal humanoid with demonic horns and fangs and...well, it doesn't look pretty. It does have a red dot on its head that seems to shine under Burro (the donkey)'s light. The miner runs for the door, calling for the donkey, which growls at it like a dog.

A disobedient donkey that thinks it's a dog. Great.

Now we see Ranger One, in a fleet surrounded by ships. Niko and Doc are at the helm, when Walsh's mustache comes up with a message for Ranger Niko from a prospector named Roy MacIntyre (presumably our bearded fellow) and the weird thing he's found. Niko recognizes Roy's name as someone she met a while back on an archeological dig. Anyway, Roy's on the asteroid Bardo and is worried about claim jumpers. Niko's ordered to stop "Ranger Maneuvers" (presumably what all the ships are doing there) and go out there to meet with him.

I like seeing glimpses of the alternate duties of Rangers when they're not blowing shit up. :-)

Doc asks about himself, and Walsh says that Doc's accompanying Niko on this one. No mention of Zach or Goose, which saddens me. Mostly because this severely lessens the opportunity to blow shit up.

At Bardo, they hail Roy, who's very happy to hear from them and gives them landing directions. It's kind of weird that gravity doesn't seem different despite the tininess of the asteroid, but I don't really know how this stuff works.

Doc andd Niko are now in some kind of shanty-town. They call to see if anyone's around, and Doc is promptly headbutted by the robot donkey-that-thinks-its-a-dog. Niko recognizes it as "Burro 5000" Roy himself greets them, where Niko tells him it was hard to resist coming. Doc quips "Less so for me." Leading Niko to introduce him as her partner.

Roy calls him Wally, much to Doc's aghastment, especially when the Donkey chimes in. Doc's slightly skittish reaction to Burro is pretty funny, if odd, considering robots are kind of what Doc DOES. Roy starts to annoy me by continuing with "Wally."

Seriously, I was one of those kids who got saddled with nicknames by nearly everyone I knew. So I completely sympathize with the irritation of someone insisting on calling you some new diminuitive. Shut up, Roy. His name is "Walter" or "Doc." Show some fucking respect for the people here to help your ass.

Roy leads them to the mind, telling them as soon as he found the thing he'd known it was important and should tell them right away, seeing as how Niko is an expert in alien archeology. Apparently, the bedrock is "at least" 15 million years old. Doc quips that it doesn't look a day over ten million. Roy lights up Burro's eyes and leads them into the metal corridor where the demon robot thing is gone. Uh oh.

The rangers are skeptical, which makes them idiots, because it's pretty obvious they're now in a METAL corridor. Niko asks if this isn't one of his "monkey-shines", (Doc chimes in "or one of your moonshines" which is a surprisingly risque joke for a kid's show, at least the ones I remember where fellows drinking wine miraculously became fellows drinking "lemonade".)

Niko uses her power to check it out and determines, yes, there was a scary robot there. She glimpses an alien putting a red stone on the robot and starts intoning a cryptic passage about all those who enter never leave and beware "the Ax." I think that's mildly inaccurate. After all, Roy's left already. Niko nearly collapses, but tells them that Roy isn't wrong. Something was here, guarding the "King's tomb and the treasures within." Roy is excited, understandably so. Doc thinks it's all well and good, but wants to know where Ax is now. Coming at his head, by the look of it.

Doc nimbly dodges and starts shooting at the robot. It's immune it seems, though. Too bad your two combat-expert fellows aren't around, huh, team? Because if a Thunderbolt didn't take this out, I'm pretty sure Shane Gooseman could. But it's interesting to see the others having to deal with this without backup.

Right now, they're dealing with it by running away. Doc wisecracks that it can't scare him, but amends, after a well timed explosion, that he's been wrong before. Niko identifies that the robot has "polarized ion beams" and Doc's response has a distinct tone of "Well, la-di-dah." They duck down some kind of shoot, too small for the robot to follow. They emerge in a long orange, metal hallway. Roy notes that they're not in a mineshaft anymore and Niko confirms it's a temple. Burro looks adorable by the way. I just feel like saying that.

Roy wants to know where the treasure is, while Doc, more pragmatic, wants to know if they can get out. Niko does her sensing thing and witnesses an odd snake monster finding a secret door. Doc enthusiastically enters. Niko's vision continues, showing the alien tripping a trap door. She attempts to call Doc back, but it's too late. He falls, but manages to keep a grip on the edge. Roy calls him Wally, which STILL annoys Doc. Heh. Roy starts pulling him up, while Doc reveals he has issues with people saying "hang on" and the robot has found them too.

Niko conjures a shield, blocking the robot's explody beams while Roy yanks Doc out of the trap door. They run away again. When they turn the corner, Doc has Roy hand him a rock, and hopes the years on his college baseball team haven't been for nothing. Hee, Doc-fact!

Anyway, as the robot steps forward, Doc tosses the rock into the red beam of trap-door tripping and the robot goes down. Well done, Doc! Roy compliments his pitch, and calls him partner. Doc seems to like that more than Wally, and asks Niko if she can get them out.

She's not getting anything from the wall. Doc puts his hand over hers and wants her to try harder. Maybe he's going to do that Ranger sharing energy thing they did before. We won't know though because Burro runs up and headbutts them, sending them through the suddenly open wall.

That donkey is cute but fucking annoying. Niko and Doc plummet through a chute, and land in a net, suspended in a large room. Niko points out a peculiar, lizard carving. Which suddenly comes alive. Doc aims his gun, but the thing's saliva dissolves it. Niko's not without recourse though. SHe pulls out a disk which releases a discharge at the monster, causing it to crumble.

Well done!

Doc notes a platform that they can try to swing over to, on account of the seemingly bottomless drop beneath their feet. Doc starts them swinging, while Niko pulls a knife from her boot. I'm mildly impressed she has that thing. Anyway, she cuts the net, while Doc starts them swinging.

Between the knife and explosive, it seems like Niko's practically carrying an armory. I approve.

They drop onto the platform, where Doc notes "sonic meld plates." He steps on "middle C" and causes the door to open. Niko protests, but he points out they do have to go up. She agrees, and they start racing up the stairs as partitions slam shut behind them. They enter into a room with nifty walls where the slam into Roy and his detector thing. Apparently he was hunting down their badges. Clever, Roy!

Roy wants to know what the monster wants, Niko tells them it wants them OUT, and Doc's more than willing to oblige. Niko points out the only other obvious tunnel and leads the way as though it's not the only other obvious tunnel. The door opens at the other end to reveal the robot.

Doc chides that Niko "knows better than to monitor strange wavelengths" heh, and Roy decides that though it's blocking the entrance, he knows how to handle it. He pulls out a giant bazooka-looking thing. Well, if you had that, man, why not use it before?!

Doc, aghast, asks what is that "antique" and Roy calls it his grandpappy's photon bazooka. The light actually bounces off the robot, against the wall, and then off of the jewel which causes a laser show.

Roy thinks it's purdy, and Doc snaps not to call him Purdy. Heh. Doc has some issues. Apparently though, the lasers are a message, which Niko finds fascinating. It's an entire language in light waves. Doc points out that they should hurry while the thing is inactive. They do so.

The door is closing however. Niko's through, but when Doc tries to get Roy through, Roy insists he has to wait for Burro. They get through in time, though the door catches Burro's tail. Aw. It cries in pain, until Roy pops its tail off.

Why give robots pain receptors? That just seems mean.

They find a fork in the corridor ahead, and Niko does her human scanner thing to figure out which way. She can't get anything though, having drained her charge. Roy spits in his hand twice, then slams it with his fist and points to one saying "That-away." Doc and Niko gape but follow, for lack of a better option.

They run, but stop when Niko hears humming. She goes to the wall. Doc wonders why there'd be humming down here, and Roy suggests they don't know the words. Which is funny. But probably wrong. Heh. Niko finds a catch and the door opens to reveal a room full of computers.

Ah, so THAT's why Doc is here. Anyway, the computers, not a curse, are what's causing the mayhem. Doc is cheery, "Finally something I can relate to." You know, Doc's been a bit twitchy this venture, but I can sympathize. You're either into archeology (or being chased by giant robots) or you aren't. And if you're not, like Doc, there's nothing that will really make it enjoyable for you.

Until you find the hidden stash of alien computers anyway. :-) Doc sends in Pathfinder, but Niko needs to hold it off until he breaks the code. Pathfinder chimes in to fire at the jewel. Now that Pathfinder found the control routines, Tripwire's sent to clean it up.

Niko's blaster's giving out, but fortunately, the damn donkey's there to kick the robot's leg. The robot is about to lower it's axe on the poor terrified robo-donkey's head but Doc stops it just in time. Which is good, because as annoying as the donkey is, it's a bit TOO good in simulating live-animal emotion.

Anyway, the robot stops andd the jewel falls to the ground and rolls to Doc's feet.

Oh, ouch. Apparently Doc didn't stop it in time. Burro's in pieces. Meanwhile the computer activates, babbling on about the king, and declaring his libraries, inventions and treasures are theirs now because they passed the test. Dicks. I hate powerful alien races who make stupid and deadly tests. What the fuck are you testing? Either seal off the damn tomb if you don't want anyone using the shit, or let it go.


Roy doesn't seem too broken up about Burro once he sees the treasure area, which looks vast and weird. He asks if it might be valuable, and Niko says that it's priceless. She says that he'll probably end up with a museum named after him. That makes Roy happy.

Anyway, there's lots of oohs and ahs before Roy finally asks what the heck it is. Niko says it's a Galactic chart made of precious stones showing planets they'd visited millions of years ago. The glowing jewel apparently represents Earth.

Why would people, millions of years ago, make Earth so shiny and neat? Hmm, unless Niko was pointing it out more as a "Look, there's us!" thing. Like I try to do when in an airplane. Heh.

Back aboard Ranger One, Niko explains that she's contacted BETA, and a scientific team is being dispatched. Niko teases Doc that even Goose would have been impressed to see him in action today.

Somehow I doubt Goose and Roy would have gotten along. But then he already HAS a ridiculous nickname, so there isn't much worse that Roy could call him. Doc thanks her and looks down at the jewel he's holding, from the robot. He's thinking of making it a ring...I think you may need to cut it down a bit, Doc, it's the size of your head.

So, um, what about the donkey? It did try to save your asses. Oh, there we are. Roy comes up behind them, with a rebuilt Burro in tow. Aw.

Doc thanks them especially for how they helped, and says if there's anything they need... Roy's glad to hear it. Apparently Burro's still got a few kinks in his belfry. Doc'll be glad to fix it on one condition: no calling him Wally!

They shake. Roy pronounces that "It's a deal, Wally!" Everyone laughs. Episode ends. Heh.


It wasn't a bad episode, but it was a little dull for my tastes. I mean, being chased about by a robot for a half an hour's never BAD, but it can be a bit tedious. Especially without anyone entertainingly efficient at blowing things up with them.

Granted, I suspect neither Zach nor Goose would have much patience with Roy.

Roy was pretty likeable, except for the calling Doc "Wally" thing. That was annoying. And disrespectful. Maybe Doc has damn good reason for not liking the name. Maybe he just doesn't like the name. Either way, it ought to be his damn call.

This was an okay episode character-wise. We got a few new tidbits. Niko's not just an archeologist, but an EXPERT archeologist, and apparently has some reknown for that. It's fairly interesting that she has so many connections across the galaxy, but so far, it's lent itself to some comparatively dull (if enjoyable) episodes.

We got some good stuff on Doc though. Some of it's not a surprise: he's obviously been college educated and all. Baseball's a good sport for him too, I think. It's a thinking man's game, I'm told. His issues with being called "purdy" though is new. He does tend to have something of a city-slicker vibe. Possibly he's sensitive about that.

I've always liked how the show uses Doc. He's pragmatic, sensible, and tends to avoid danger if he can. If he can't avoid it, he complains. But he's not a coward. When he needs to, he doesn't hesitate in acting. It's just that he doesn't like needing to. I can respect that.

It was interesting to see the two more academic, thinker characters teaming up. Especially since they don't tend to get as much attention, I think, as Zach or Goose. It's probably understandable though. Zach's the central character and has the personal tragedy/quest going on. Goose is the one with the most interesting backstory and ongoing conflict. But it's nice seeing the others get focus as well.

This episode did a good job in utilizing their strengths and weaknesses, though I thought they relied on Niko's powers a bit too often. It makes a labyrinth plot less fun when you rely on the psychic to point out the way all the time.

It was funny how she pretty much kept pointing them back to the robot though. Oops.

So yeah, decent episode. Not great, but watchable. I still get irked at the nickname thing though. :-)


  • At March 23, 2009 11:37 AM, Blogger SallyP said…

    Since my father's name is Walter, as is my brother's, the whole "Wally" thing just used to drive them insane. So I completely understand your annoyance, and share it.

    Roy's not a bad character though. And while I'm sure that Zach and Goose would have made short shrift of the robot, it IS nice to let Doc and Niko shine a bit.

    I like Doc. He's the smartest, the most pragmatic,and has the weirdest sense of humor.

  • At March 23, 2009 12:04 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    In general I do like Roy, the nickname thing is annoying though.

    Doc's probably tied for favorite character for me, for exactly those reasons. Also, his powers are the best. The other one is probably Goose, because, well, I admire the capability to cause mass destruction. :-P


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