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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, Recap 17: Shaky

Well, I took yesterday off recapping so now I'm back at it. Lucky you. :-) On the plus side, today's episode is called Shaky. Yay.

Mining on a Geologically Unstable Planet Seems Like a Bad Idea
This episode starts out zooming in on a pretty blue planet, which on zoom in still looks pretty barren and dusty. There's some pretty impressive rumbling going on, and soon we get to witness a tank like vehicle striking at rubble.

Oh hey! It's Roy and Burro! I'm used to returning guest stars, but I wasn't expecting them to show up again this soon. Burro, by the way, is sitting in the co-pilot's chair of the tank like thing, tapping at a screen with a robot hoof.

That's such an inconvenient design. Poor Burro. Anyway, they blast their way into open tunnels and Roy starts ranting. Apparently, he'd sunk his savings in the "high falootin' digging machine" but all he's finding with it is empty tunnels.

Well, maybe if you didn't smash straight through support walls, you'd have better luck finding a good claim site, man. At least one that's not rumbling on top of you.

A large fission opens before the crushing machine, but much to my sorrow, it doesn't fall in. It's a close call though. I don't dislike Roy, but if it fell in? That'd be cool. Burro's excited braying interrupts Roy's ranting, and he looks up to see a nice pile of red stone ore. Sadly the rumbling soon buries it.

See, that's what happens when you dig through support walls, man. Too bad you don't have a DIGGING machine to unearth them.

Back in what looks like a repair shop, a strikingly familiar patched villain has his legs on the desk and asks his henchmen if they'd had any luck with the miner. They've managed to tap into Roy's call to BETA apparently. His equally eyepatched orc-like henchmen is reporting. I wonder if patch has issue with two-eyed beings? That'd be inconvenient. Though I suppose one of them could belong to the Pete Wisdom school of "I'm only wearing this eyepatch because it looks good."

He patches the audio through, so Patch and company are hearing that Roy found a batch of special Star Stones. You know, I get that they're useful, but it seems like there are more logical choices than BETA to report that to. Then again, I'm not one-hundred percent certain how big BETA is. Extra-Terrestrial-Affairs can cover a lot. Roy points out, on the recording, that there are a lot of shady characters about and he would be glad to show the crystals to Sweet Niko and Old Wally.

Heh, continuity. Even if it's mildly annoying continuity. Poor Doc. The transmission ends, much to Patch's dismay, but the one-patched orc's got a trace on the transmission. The other, vaguely trollish henchmen with both eyes, whines that Roy didn't give a location. But Patch wants them to find out anyway they have to.

Back on Earth, BETA mountain looms prettily. Walsh's mustache is briefing Niko, Doc, and Goose. No sign of Zach, sadly, but at least this ups the expected quota of insane destructive shenanigans. I love Niko and Doc, but I suspect they're too sane for me to really be interested in too much adventure by themselves.

Goose appears very amused by the entire thing and especially to Doc's explosive reaction to being called Wally.

Yeah, Doc, you know I sympathize. I do. I spent a good portion of my childhood as Missy, after all. (Try it and die. For the record.) But you are talking to a man who goes by the name of female waterfowl. Who probably knows sixteen ways to kill you without actually moving.

Fortunately, Shane is more amused than anything, and he throws up his hands mocking "I'm frightened, cowborg!"

As a teasing insult goes, that doesn't really make a lot of sense, but I suspect Goose is new at playing at a little brother role that doesn't actually involve half-naked fisticuffs with a psychotic Ricardo Montalban.

While this is going on, Niko just sighs and says that it figures Roy would get himself into trouble. The AI, which is neither Alma nor JV, is spheroid, male, nasally and snarky, and pipes in that it's even worse than she thinks, due to the instability of planet Shaky. That's actually the name of the place. Which doesn't bode well for mining prospects or Roy's intelligence.

Q-Ball, who by the way, appears to have a fairly phenomenal manicure, contradicts my take by pointing out that a lot of valuable minerals are being uncovered in the process. Fair enough, science-guy. You'd know better than me.

Walsh's mustache looks pensive as he points out the Star Stone aspect. The Rangers are now both behaving and listening. Walsh's mustache orders the three to Shaky to help secure the claim and to take Buzzwang with them.


So Ranger One blasts off, my rage in tow.

On Shaky, Roy attempts to swear Burro to secrecy as the weird sci-fi western version of Clementine plays in the background. He says that until Niko and Wally get there, it's their secret. Burro points out a mass of diamonds right in front of them, which they nearly roll over. They are promptly blasted.

Roy quickly realizes that this is no quake, they're under attack. Their machine is fairly well armed, but it doesn't look like a match for the giant scary digging tank of Patch's henchmen. They blast a nice hole in the side of the machine, the resulting electrical charge zapping Roy and sending him flying from his chair. Aw. Poor Roy. Roy tries pushing his idiot robot out the door, but like the donkey he's based on, Burro is apparently a moron. Seriously, can't you program a brain into that thing?

He's forced to shove it out, and the resulting force causes them to bypass the ladder altogether and drop quite a distance to the ground. They quickly race into the caverns for cover. Which seems like a bad idea, but granted, so does staying put and being captured.

The bad guys catch Roy in a tractor beam, but not Burro, and Roy quickly orders Burro to escape and get help. The henchmen are stupider than Roy OR Burro, and let the creature go. Idiot. It's fairly clear robots are sentient in this universe, so why the fuck are you letting it leave?


The Galaxy Rangers have arrived. Well-timed to see a volcanic eruption on robot-horseback. Niko wants to know what's happening here. While Doc (Who's riding double with Buzzwang, poor Doc) quips that it's no Baked Alaska. (The perils of being the most even-tempered member. You get stuck with the robot your colleagues would totally smash.)

Apparently with Zach/JV not here, Alma is the AI of Ranger One, and on Goose's order lifts into space to wait and monitor.

I've always kind of wondered if this isn't supposed to indicate rank somehow. There's not really a clear indication of who's in charge when Zach's not present. Possibly no one, since they all seem fairly egalitarian. Or if they are, Doc and Niko might be outside of a standard military command because of their specialties.

I'll have to pay attention to this. It'd be interesting to know why Doc and Niko don't tend to use regular AIs though.

Anyway, Niko shouts that they should head to Klondike, while Shane channels his inner Lion-O again. Seriously, what's up with that? Anyway, they make their way to the town, where Doc and Shane banter about how the town sure as heck isn't Monte Carlo. Goose suggests Tombstone. And Doc volunteers himself as Doc Holliday. Which isn't terribly ill-fitting, except for the lack of communicable diseases I'd reckon. Buzzwang corrects him by saying that he is Walter Hartford, sir.

Okay, granted, that's kind of funny, but it's not like over-literal humor can't come from a robot horse instead of the Nightwing of all Galaxy Rangers. Or Robots, for that matter. Doc cheerfully thanks Buzz for the clarification, while Niko (on Voyager, I must point out. It really does seem like Doc riding it in New Frontier was just bug-maintenance) testily snaps that now that they know who Doc is now, "Could we go find Roy?"

Hmm, touchy, touchy Niko. Granted, she is fondest of Roy, but that's still surprisingly pissy of her.

Klondike's a classy place. We can tell by the banner out front which says "Entering Klondike, No Exposed Weapons, Please." I want a sign like that.

Niko pulls Voyager up short when she spies teeny little stupid but cute Burro at a fueling station/trough. Burro comes racing over, yelling Niko and Wally. Doc pats its nose and tells it not to call him Wally, while Niko asks after Roy.

We cut away to the ogrish guy demanding the stones' location from a tied up Roy. Roy makes a passably good attempt at claiming he's just here for the gold and diamonds, but Ogre-Man isn't buying it. Ogre-Man points out that they heard him talk once, he'll talk again.

Burro, for his part, is leading the Rangers through the caverns. Niko is trying not to sound skeptical as she asks if it's sure it can lead them to Roy. The others just look a bit nervous as the cavern rumbles overhead. Goose points out that the tremors are getting worse.

Burro leads them to a mass of rubble, and Niko does her psychic mojo for info. In a possible indicator of the actual Zach-less chain of command, Niko does tell Goose what she plans to do, and he waves her ahead.

She gets a vision of Roy captured, she identifies the captors as the Black Hole Gang. I wonder if this means that MaCross and Patch have reconciled. Or if they have two separate divisions, split down the middle like china patterns after a divorce. Goose asks if she can pick up the trail, and she does better than that, and points out tread marks.

I'd mock Goose for that, but I suppose that there are probably a LOT of treadmarks in a cave. Nah. Hah, Goose can't see what's in front of his faaace!

Goose tells Doc to take Burro (oddly Goose pronounces it more burrow. With an emphasis on the second syllable) and Buzzwang (poor Doc) to find the stones, while he and Niko go save Roy's ass.

Shane doesn't seem inclined to order like that does, but this seems pretty concrete evidence of the chain of command. I'm glad to know! We'd never had an episode with just Zach missing before, so I'd wondered.

Burro nuzzles Doc and they start riding. Doc reminisces dryly of his horse, Nell, in the "I thought that was uncomfortable" vein of complaint. Buzzwang points out that Nell's fine above ground. Doc agrees that he'd be fine there too. Burro lowers his head and hikes his ass, sending Doc and Buzzwang sprawling. They're here, and of course, Burro continues with the Wally stuff.

Burro's annoying, but granted, not as annoying as Buzzwang. Doc doesn't see any stones, but Burro explains that the Earthquake buried them. Burro's voice by the way sounds like Ned's from South Park. Why not get him a less painful sounding voice box?

Doc is skeptical, but about to order Buzz to get to work. Though a tremor suddenly opens hole in the series, and a deluge of water strikes poor Buzzwang's head.

Hah, the universe hates you too, Buzzwang. It trickles to a stop soon. And Doc warns him not to rust. Buzz is guaranteed rust proof though. Buzz asks for orders, Doc wants him to stand and keep an eye out. After the usual over-literalness, Doc tells him to keep an eye out. But then, they get buried. Though the rubble falls in that peculiar not-crushing the people beneath way, fortunately.

The bad guys don't like the tremors either. They DO like Roy's knack for finding stuff. The Ogre spots the Rangers walking up, and start firing out the window. Niko (with shotgun) and Goose (with pistols) fire back.

See. THIS is what was missing last episode. Gratuitous fight scenes. I missed you, Shane. Anyway, Niko, who's behind a rock, covers Goose, who's going in. Or that's the plan before the ground gapes open in front of them. Aw, Goose, are you going to let THAT get in your way? The lava at the bottom might be an impediment granted.

As Niko's rock drops into the lava, it steams up (somehow) and the bad guy takes advantage of this to fire. Goose sees it first, tackles her out of the way, but overshoots the distance himself and lands face first in lava. Ouch. Niko is dismayed. And pissed. She rolls to the ground and starts firing back with Determination.

Granted, neither character is reacting any different than they would if any other team member took a swan dive into lava or was about to get shot. But a part of me recalls an inexplicable hand-to-hand contact moment two episodes ago, and wonders.

I don't have time to wonder long, as Goose pulls himself out of the crevasse looking, well, much like Sand did during his resurrection arc when he was a mindless magma monster. Goose though is not trapped in a dream world, and thus does not need his ass beat down by Power Girl. Sadly, this also means the likelihood of resulting nudity is limited too.

Oh well.

Anyway, the Ogre is freaked by Magma-monster Goose. The orc points out that it's "that mutant Ranger" and says to keep shooting. Magma Goose is gigantic, and slow moving, but unaffected by the blasts and merely walks over to the wall and destroys himself a good hole in it. It growls, picks the henchmen up by their collars and slams them together. Goose likes that move, I think. Niko sheathes her weapon and enters, running to Roy when he weakly says her name. She unties him.

Goose asks if he's okay, and Niko scans him even as Roy complains of a headache. Apparently he's been hypno-scanned. Roy is starting to come back to his senses and mentions that he must have told them a thing or two. He blearily eyes Shane and comments that "either that scan has a kick worse than red eye, or that fellow's made of stone." Niko laughs sheepishly and makes introduction, confirming that he IS Stone. For the moment. Goose takes this time to become his usual jovial self.

Niko wants to know what happened to Roy. Roy jumps up, telling them that the hench minions had radioed the location he gave them to their boss. They try to contact Doc. They get through to Buzzwang who explains that Doc is buried. No one seems very concerned, but I suppose if Doc were injured it'd be reported. On the otherhand, Buzzwang IS an idiot... Niko warns of the gang, while Goose gets a geological update from Alma (currently stable, tremors temporarily subsiding) and then suggests they move out.

Doc meanwhile is indeed under rubble. It's dark, but he has some space and isn't squashed. He wisecracks about a nightlight and then taps his badge. Ooo, nice. He contacts Buzzwang via the implant. I didn't know he could do that, but clever! Buzzwang indeed hears him, and promises to get him out. Burro is concerned, but Buzzwang goes to help. And then locks up. Apparently the water short-circuited something. Great.

You're useless, Buzzwang. Doc has an idea, he wants to input Firefly into Buzzwang to clear out the kinks, I'd guess and mutters "rust proof, my eye." Heh. Anyway, Firefly's dispatched. Suddenly, Buzzwang starts dancing and acting odd. Tweakers. Heh.

The planet is rumbling again, as the Black Hole gang drives its way toward the location. Niko and Shane aren't far behind on Voyager and Triton. (Roy's riding with Goose.) They make a nice impossible leap over a lava crevasse.

Anyway, Niko is all "Look at that!" Roy's all "A whole other mountain!" And Niko's all "Not that, idiot." That last bit might be mine. She points out the gang members. As they drive in, Shane notes that they'll want to hurry before the tracks disappear.

When Patch sees Buzzwang excavating, he says "What IS that?" When told it's a robot, he snaps back "I've got eyes!"

I'm a horrible ablist person for this, and I'm sorry, but that made me laugh pretty hard. Patch is wearing an eye patch after all.

Anyway, Patch and company shoot at Buzzwang. Doc is concerned and upon hearing "I think someone is shooting at me" responds "stop clowning around." Heh. One of the henchmen gets a good shot, and Buzzwang (and Firefly) are down for the count.

They charge to dig out the Star Stones. Burro gets in the way and kicks one, but before he gets his robot donkey ass (redundancy!) beat, Goose's blaster fire interrupts them. Yay!

Hmm, Niko does a nice roll and shoot maneuver, and Shane compliments it. You know. I might just be jumping to conclusions, but Goose really isn't the sort to actually compliment good shooting. I wonder...

Oh, wow. Doc's implant powers are apparently quite a bit awesomer than we've been led to believe. He closes his eyes, and WILLS Buzzwang awake. That's...pretty fucking awesome right there. Doc's been holding back on us.

Even moreso, as Buzzwang shakily walks to a bad guy, he asks Doc what to do. Doc says "I'd give him this!" and punches in demonstration. Buzzwang, without quite meaning to, then punches the bad guy.

You really HAVE been holding back, Doc! Soon, the henchmen are captured. Patch decides to quietly make his way out aboard his car thing. Goose isn't having that and on Niko's alert, shoots and sends it careening. NICELY done.

Patch tries running for it. But Roy steps in and trips him. Goose comes running, compliments Roy's work, and Burro races up and headbutts Roy with joy. Heh, stupid donkey.

Niko asks about Doc, and Buzz sheepishly admits he forgot. (I really hope there's enough AIR in there...idiot robot.) Goose is very concerned and wants to see the spot. They start moving rocks away, (Roy comments that it's not searching for buried treasure. Shut up, Roy. Jerk.) and Goose moves one to see Doc's eye peeking out, as he snarks that he hopes they've been enjoying themselves. Goose banters back that they couldn't enjoy themselves without HIM. Then they move the rocks away, finding a nice mess of Star Stones in the process.

Doc apparently hasn't just been sitting around in there though. He corrects them and points out that they're "Fool's Stones" and not real.

Anyway, they blast off, Roy and Burro aboard. Goose quips that Doc never ceases to amaze them, and calls him Wally, much to Doc's dismay. Roy is sad about the Fool's Stones, and says he'll have to start again and get himself a new digging machine. Doc points out that his reward for capturing the Black Hole Gang ought to take care of that. Roy says that "Wally" is okay, and Doc snaps...but is interrupted by cutely stupid Donkey licking.

I don't know why it has a tongue, but I'll go with it. Everyone, including Doc, laughs and the episode ends.


This episode was more like it. Really, as much as I really like Doc and Niko, I like gratuitous violence more, and that really requires the presence of Shane Gooseman. Doc and Niko are just too sane. I was surprised to see Roy again, but it worked pretty well. Roy's the sort to always have something interesting going on, after all.

I definitely miss Zach though, and trading Zach for Buzzwang just isn't fair. Granted, Zach probably can't be hacked awesomely in the way that Doc managed with Buzzwang... MAYBE. He does have bionics after all. I wonder how much Doc could do.

It was an interesting thought that unlike the other characters, who use their abilities directly, we only tend to see Doc using his programs. But that's definitely not all he can do. Even if we explain away his jumpstarting Buzz with his mind as having to do with his control over Firefly, that's pretty fucking impressive and a new dimension to his powers.

While I missed Zach, his absence did clue us into the apparent rank dynamics of the other Rangers. When Zach is there, Doc, Shane and Niko all interact as equal subordinates. And when they're off in pairs, they always tend toward egalitarianism. But with three or more, you really need to have a designated leader ahead of time, and I really wondered how that worked.

This episode seems to establish Shane Gooseman as Zachary Foxx's second-in-command. Which seems odd on one hand, since he seems to be the youngest of the group. But it does seem to make sense, especially if he'd gone to the military right after the Supertrooper project went belly-up. (It makes sense, given the general expertise he's always shown with his abilities, to conclude that he was the first of them in the Series Five program at least.) Doc's mentioned college, and Niko seems to have had a whole civilian academic career, so it makes sense that they're relatively new to the job.

There's also the possibility that given their roles on the team, they aren't actually part of the chain of command. They're both tech/academic types and neither particularly show anything resembling a military demeanor. Both are apt to refer to Zach as "Zachary" rather than by rank or preferred nickname. I suppose I won't know until/unless the show explains it for me. And I doubt they will, just because the characters already know that. :-)

Goose's leadership style is a bit different than Zach's. He doesn't seem to give orders so much as give suggestions or instructions. Possibly this is because he'll be back to being on the same level as them when Zach comes back. But really, regardless of the reason, it's an interesting contrast. Especially once we start seeing more of the Supertroopers.

Of all the characters, I think Goose has shown the most obvious character growth so far. Which makes sense, I think, given that the others seem to be coming from a place of greater confidence and security in their identities. Zach's been a Ranger for decades. Niko's got a very well-established career that she draws back on whenever she needs. And Doc has his programs and clear technical expertise. Goose has confidence in his ability, but if you think about it, all of his abilities are wrapped up in an identity for which he still demonstrates a lot of conflicting emotions. He doesn't seem to have had time to develop any real outside interests, like art, and I'm just guessing that he's not a college man either.

Really, I think the reason Goose shows the most character growth is because we always see more growth in adolescents than we do in adults. And physical growth aside, I think on some level Shane Gooseman's more the former than the latter.

This is why the "Galaxy Ranger, Ho!" bits amuse me so. Essentially, he reminds me a lot of Lion-O in Thundercats, in the sense that there is a mismatch between the characters' emotional maturity level and their physical bodies. I wouldn't be surprised to find out Supertroopers mature physically much faster/earlier than normal humans, and even if not, we can probably extrapolate that it was not a good environment for developing young people.

Which makes me happy to see him bantering so easily with Doc. It's a far cry from the irritable silence of the first few episodes, or the tentative attempts after the Po Mutant Doll incident. Now he banters naturally and comfortably. And in this episode, even gets to tease our Doc like any obnoxious little brother.

And let's face it, if any character on this show could really benefit from the chance to play annoying little sibling to someone who isn't a psychotic Ricardo Montalban, it's Goose.

I still don't know what a "cowborg" is though.

So what have we learned today? Robot donkeys are STILL idiotic, don't join Roy in mining ventures, and never trust men with eye-patches.

Unless they're Nick Fury.


  • At March 26, 2009 1:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Cowboy + Cyborg = Cowborg.

  • At March 26, 2009 8:58 AM, Blogger SallyP said…

    Gosh, but Buzzwang is an idiot. For some reason, and I blame Star Wars, Sci-Fi shows always felt they had to have a "cute" robot around.

    It is a bit more fun to have Shane around, blowing things up. But I DO miss Zach and his incredible eye-brows.

  • At March 26, 2009 10:16 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Anonymous: That's just it though. Doc's not a cyborg. It'd make SENSE if it were Zach. But Doc's all human!

    SallyP: Yeah, probably. But most everything else cute in Galaxy Rangers is also functional!

    And Zach's Jerry-Orbach eyebrows are wonderful. <3

  • At November 23, 2011 10:08 PM, Anonymous Lucas said…

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