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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, Recap 29: Stargate

This is going up later than I planned. Oh well, the joys of oversleeping. :-)

Today's episode is called "Stargate" and I'm not expecting the presence of Richard Dean Anderson. But one never knows. He does seem to show up in weird places, after all.

No Richard Dean Anderson, but we DO get a badass Walcabian

This episode starts with Doc at a terminal, telling someone to "flex it." Despite all the potential of this scenario, it actually involves Zach trying out a peculiar looking metal glove near a wall that looks like a dressing screen under Shane, Niko and Q-Ball's watchful eyes. I'd make a comment about it being the best prospective fourway scenario yet, but Q-Ball's there and does nothing for me.

Anyway Niko asks about the toy the guys are playing with, and Doc explains that it's a "phasing glove" to allow Zach to pass his arm through solid matter. Interesting, but less useful if the rest of him can't follow. It would also be less useful unless they can make it battery powered.

They test it out and Zach is indeed able to ease his fist through the wall behind him, which ripples strangely. Suddenly the energy from the terminal starts sparking and Doc is alarmed, shouting "Flux overload!" Goose chimes in with "Phaser discharge!" No one chimes in with "Electric Boogaloo" but it almost seems appropriate.

Zach seems to have trouble pulling his fist free, and Q-Ball winces and shouts "Cover your eyes!" It's good timing since the entire room seems to flare up with incredibly bright light. As soon as the light fades, Niko's asking if Zach's all right. He is, but the glove, which is now smoking, and the wall, which has a giant hole in it, is not. He remarks dryly that that's one way to reach through. Goose laughs and says "Back to the old drawing board." Doc and Q-Ball groan.

Wow, I made it through that entire scene without making one "fisting" reference. I must be maturing!

Later, the Rangers and Walsh stand before a large screen. They've got some sort of space signal from Walcab. That seems promising, last time Walcab was involved, we had "Day the Earth Stood Still" references, giant guns, explosions, and Shane Gooseman going all flying squirrel.

As I recall, I spent the first part of that episode trying very hard not to make a bukkake reference.

Birba pops onto the screen, and oddly, Doc doesn't seem to be in the group behind Walsh. Anyway, Biro has some unpleasant news. The Queen is back, and her agents have been doing some sort of planetary search, focusing it on the oceans. Zach, naturally, asks what they're looking for. Birba reveals, "The Stargate."

At about this time, Doc steps up to join the group, still fiddling with the Phaser glove. Good, I was worried we'd end up with Buzzwang as a replacement for a moment. Anyway, Birba relates a legend about a parallel universe and that the stargate is a doorway. Zach asks where the stargate is, and I swear, you can totally see Niko closing her eyes in exasperation right beside him. I love you Zach, but if they KNEW where the Stargate is, wouldn't he have said so?

Apparently, the only man who claimed to know is "Captain Weej." I have no idea if that's the correct spelling or not. Shane comments that they could discover wonders in another galaxy. He's clenching his fist though, which makes me think he intends to punch such wonders. Walsh points out the potential for "uncontrollable danger."

It's interesting seeing Walsh as the doomsayer here given what we'll find out later about his involvement in a certain project. But we're not supposed to know about that yet.

Biro points out that the Stargate means immense power and that he needs their help. The transmission ends and the Rangers confer with the Commander. Naturally this means the Rangers get to field trip to Walcab. Walsh wants a full report.

In an oddly fast sequence, we suddenly get to Ranger One, in space. Inexplicably, Doc and Zach are both wearing cowboy hats. Goose is in a different area of the ship and announces that the flying sub and dolphin team is ready.

Seriously, I never get sick of the fact that the most explosively inclined character is also the dolphin liaison. Icarus and Winter seem to be having fun frolicking in the background. Zach asks if Shane's sure he wants the dolphins on this one, as it could be dangerous. One of the dolphins (One day I WILL tell them apart) chirps that Danger is its middle name.

They are much cooler than the talking dolphin on Sea Quest. Better with grammar too. From Ranger One, Doc argues "You haven't got a middle name." Doc, don't argue with the dolphins.

Zach announces a prepare to drop and the flying sub slips into the ocean as the other Rangers prepare for landing.

Walcab has very broken looking cities. Anyway, the Rangers look for Weej. Niko is concerned at the lack of him, but Doc, always the optimist, points out that at least there's no sign of Crown activity. Zach takes that moment to point out a bunch of approaching Crown Soldiers. But fortunately the Rangers were able to duck out of sight. Zach notes that they weren't looking for the Rangers, and Niko guesses that Weej was their actual target. She points out the nifty looking submarine that's suddenly appeared at the dock.

It pops open, revealing a Walcabian with the traditional sailor type beard. He's also wearing a blue beret, traditional sailor type coat, and smoking a pipe. He announces "I am what I am" in a usual sailor manner. Walcabians apparently have a thing for Popeye.

As Weej jumps out, Niko takes over the introductions. He's surprised to find out they're Rangers, but sobers quickly when Zach asks about the Stargate, which he calls "a graveyard for Queen, Crown and copper." He warns them that it isn't of this world. Weej tells them to go off and "flash [their] badges at someone else."

Zach is annoyed and snaps that they didn't come all this way to hear that. Weej wants them to leave before they stir up trouble. Worse than crown agents? Doc points out that it's a little late for that. (He also calls Zach "Captain" in the process.) The crown soldiers have found them.

Zach shouts to Weej to take cover, as Niko draws her shotgun-type blaster. I've always loved that Niko has the biggest gun. Weej does not take cover, instead saying that "Weej don't hide from men of flesh OR iron."

...lose the third person, and I might grow to like you, Weej.

Anyway, he marches to the soldiers, who tell him that the queen "requests" he come with them. He tries to refuse and gets his throat grabbed. Niko aims to shoot, since without Goose there someone has to have the knee jerk violent reaction, but Zach puts his hand on her gun. Weej agrees to talk to the queen just long enough for the soldier to let him go, then he floors him.

Okay, I like you anyway, Weej.

Zach shouts "Now" and the fire fight begins. Meanwhile Weej runs afoul of the big Queen robot, but manages to break a board on the deck with his heel and grab it for a makeshift weapon. Weej is kind of awesome. Anyway Niko shoots down a smaller flying robot, then all of them help Weej with the big one. Unfortunately, the rumbling of a planet crusher, as well as the fact that the wall above them is starting to crumble, signals that this probably won't go well for them.

Weej orders them into the ship. I'm not sure if he calls them "Meddling backflashers" or "Meddling backscratchers" or something equally nonsensical, but he tells them it's time they took a "trip with Weej." I'm pretty sure the war on drugs is against this.

Then again, I'm pretty sure it was against the entire Moby Dick episode anyway. They run for it. Zach, who's last in, points out that they're still tied to the dock. Weej is irreverently unconcerned. For good reason, as when the sub takes the dock with it, it causes the ground to destabilize, sending the wall and the Planet Crusher into the water.

Okay, Weej, you're starting to approach Shane Gooseman or Zozo level destructive badassery. Well done!

Inside the sub, Doc gripes and asks if this stuff does "anything besides sink." Yes actually, as one of the Queen's big robots shoves an appendage through the glass. Zach commands Weej not to submerge. Weej asks a valid jurisdictional question "Since when does a star-faring captain give orders to a sea going one on his own vessel." On the other hand, not submerging means not DROWNING, so there is that.

But Weej knows something we don't, pulls a lever, and panels suddenly slam shut over the windows, slicing the appendage off and sealing it up. Weej throws up his arms and announces "And now you star-loving flock-feet" or something like that, "prepare yourselves for a journey, the likes of which you've never seen!" The sub, still floating on the surface, enters a small tunnel in the rock, then sinks below.

Niko admires the view and Weej takes her arm and notes that it is beautiful, almost as beautiful as the "young galaxy ranger that brightens his boat." Well then.

Doc's expression is much the same as mine and he compliments the smoothness, and even Zach looks a teensy bit amused. Then he contacts Goose. Goose reports a fleet of Crown subs spread out over a 400 km radius. Back on Weej's sub, they ask where the gate is, and he shows them through the periscope. It's past a minefield.

Doc dryly says that he thought it would be dangerous. Goose also reports that "dolphin reconaissance" reveals a large minefield ahead. I want dolphins. Zach orders Goose to have his dolphins transmit minefield data and tells him to stay close behind. Unfortunately, as Alma warns, enemy vessels are closing.

Weej is unconcerned and says that his old Hotspur can take on anything the Queen puts in its path. Zach is all "You can't navigate through a mine field!" Weej disagrees. My money's on the oddly badass sub captain.

The dolphins lead the way through, calling instructions back to the two subs following. The mines aren't ordinary mines though, it looks like they're starting to follow the subs once they've passed. Eek.

Goose is not adverse to using this as an advantage though and manages to blow up some crown pursuers that way. Heh. If it can cause destruction, Goose can use it.

Weej also has a plan, and notes a "good" mine. Doc says that he doesn't think Weej wants to take one home, and Weej counters that it's not HIS home he's interested in. He tells Zach to "tell [his] dolphin cover to follow [Weej] closely." He leads them into a small tunnel in the rock. Zach asks where they are, and Weej tells them that it's a world where "no man save we have looked upon in a millenium."

Weej has a way with words, when he uses the proper tense. He continues the spiel a bit longer then tells Zach to tell his man in the "sardine can" to enter into a hole with his sardines and not touch anything. Goose complies, and we see why. There's a sleeping sea monster in there.

Back on Weej's ship, Zach asks his plan, as Weej follows Goose in. Weej says to wait and see. Doc "casually inquires" what Weej is doing. Weej calls him "Sawbones" which makes me laugh and annoys him less than "Wally." He tells him to keep his eyes peeled for he'll never see a sight like this in his life.

I dunno. The Rangers do a lot of weird stuff, after all.

Anyway, Weej takes a sharp turn, causing the mine following him to slam into a small stalactite, which falls on the sea monster's head and wakes it the fuck up. Eeek. Doc wants to see and does not particularly enjoy it. They slide past the sea monster who is up and ready to grab the crown subs, who shoot at it. There is pinching and stomping and all of it indicating much fewer crown subs. Well done!

Weej and Goose's subs surface, and Zach asks how since they're a "mile down". Huh, I never noticed before, but in this episode Goose uses metric measurements (kilometers) and Zach uses customary (miles). I'm gonna have to try to remember to watch and see if they do that in other episodes too. What nationality are Supertroopers anyway?

They're in a lagoon where they sink again and proceed. Goose doesn't like that there's something interfering with his readouts, but Zach orders him to hold position at the entrance. Goose agrees and has the dolphins fan out.

Niko is amazed at the nifty underwater city and wants to bring an archeological crew to explore. Weej, for his part, is unimpressed by civilization, but tells them they're here. Doc notes that something is interfering with his equipment.

Weej tells them it's there they'll find the Stargate, "for all the good it will do ya." I wonder what Weej knows that we don't. Zach wants him to get to the point, they don't have much time. Weej tells him that time IS the point. A long time ago, creatures "as evil as sin captured a point as small as an atom and as large as the universe." They captured a paradox and broke through to the other side of reality.

Doc hopes Weej won't be offended, but he thinks Weej is as loony as a March Hare. Weej is unoffended and tells him that calling him crazy doesn't change facts. This is true. He points to what looks like a depression in the city with stairs leading down. He says that's where the stargate is, "a source of doom for humans, Walcabians, robots, Queens, and Weej."

Niko's reading indicates incredible power surging. And Zach notes that this is what the Queen was looking for. They have to find out what it is. Zach asks Weej if he has underwater gear. He does, but if Zach and company aren't back in ten minutes, he's leaving them here.

I think Goose would shoot you if you tried, man. You might be badass, but Goose is as crazy as you. And he has dolphins.

Zach tells him to make it five. Which seems stupid to me, but okay. He tells Goose to standby, they're going to investigate. They suit up. Amazing that a Walcabian has gear that would suit humans, but okay. Doc's also got the phaser glove. Hopefully it's water proof. Niko had thought it was blown, and Doc confirms that some of the circuits were fused, but he thinks he's got it working. Zach tells him to bring it along. They head out. Weej wishes them luck.

Zach orders Niko to use the laser cutter on the door, but they don't need it. The doors open easily and collapse inward. They make their way to a small floating object with an unbelievable atomic density. It's almost as dense as a neutron star.

Would they be standing there if that were true, I wonder. But I don't know about this kind of thing, so I'll go with it. I read comics after all.

Zach asks how it can be floating, which is a good question. Doc notes a key hole, and Zach sends Niko to sense it. She badge taps, and invisions creatures within which mutter at her "Help us." and "Use the key." Then she keels over.

They rush to her and she tells them that the Stargate wasn't to keep them from getting in, it was to keep something from getting out. Something trapped and dying. The key is locked inside as well. Niko wants Zach to reach in and get it out. Fortunately, they have a glove! Doc protests, pointing out that that's not a sheet-rock wall, but Zach's willing to make it an order. Doc hands it over.

Niko is to guide Zach to the key, whereupon Zach will bring it out. He badge-taps and reaches in. The aliens, now muttering about life-forces, grab Zach's hand.

They probably should have asked Weej which side of the Stargate the evil discoverers WERE. Zach tries to pull free, but can't, and light flares up. Goose, from the sub, wants to know what's happening, but Zach's out cold and can't answer. The aliens try to "enter the flesh." Niko wants Goose to help them, and indeed, he comes afloating. Actually. It's not Goose at all! It's Weej! He yells at them to get out of the way and starts pulling at Zach.

And then comes Goose, transformed into his nifty underwater form. Doc fills Goose in on the pertinent facts: Zach is unconscious, they can't pull him out, and they need Goose to reverse the power source. Goose obligingly taps his badge as the others back away. He grabs Zach's arm and the light flares again. Goose himself starts to glow and looks all blue and vaguely flame-like. Niko yells something about a power backlash as the flame-like energy travels down the arm and knocks the aliens away. Zach is pulled free.

The box starts to glow brightly, and the building starts to crumble around it. Doc notes this and suggests they grab Zach and get out of here. Goose indeed grabs Zach and they swim for it. The box explodes.

Inside the sub, Weej denounces "cosmic coppers messing with forces they don't understand." Well, you should have been more precise about the evil aliens, man. Niko calls to see if Goose is okay, he is indeed, and back in the other sub. He asks after Zach. Doc confirms he'll be okay, but the phaser glove is "locked." He sends tweakers into the thing as the subs flee the lagoon...which also explodes after them.

Well, there goes the underwater city. I'm not terribly confident that the cave in is likely to keep the aliens restrained if they DID manage to get out, but okay.

On the sub, Zach is now conscious and rapped in a Walcabian sized robe as Weej chides him that he hopes their satisfied for opening the universe to "the horror." Zach notes that he didn't, actually, and opens his glove to reveal the key. They're locked out for good now!

...but the box exploded...I'm confused. Oh well. :-) Weej is happy. Doc asks if there are other Stargates, and Weej says not on this planet. Zach tells Goose to meet them at the rendezvous point while Niko asks Weej what the future holds for him. Weej says that he'll stay in the ocean and enjoy it, and wonder why star lovers would want to "float around like idiots in the frozen black you call home." Heh. Though he does suggest that he'd be willing to give up his solitude for a while longer if Niko would like to have a look around his world. She chuckles and tells him "Another time." Weej winks at us and the episode ends.


Heh, a pretty cute episode. I thought it was awfully coincidental that the glove came in handy the very episode that it was introduced, but that's the way tv works after all. I was spoiled by the Mind-Net being introduced the episode before it was the central McGuffin.

But then again, I'd expect we'll see the Phaser Glove again. Or at least I hope so. It's a nifty tool.

I liked the aliens' trap. The key wasn't important, getting Zach to stick his hand in so they could try to exit that way was. You'd think Niko might have sensed their intentions though. Or at least listened longer. But then they ARE from another universe.

I think Doc and Niko are calling Zach "Captain" a lot more than they used to. I wonder if that isn't another indicator of Zach's changed demeanor and the shift in team dynamics since Psychocrypt. He was awfully aloof before then, and perhaps the way they called him "Zachary" was a reflection of not really feeling like part of a team. Now that he's less distant, they're more comfortable with him as well.

I'm definitely going to have to start watching for units of measurement now. I'd never noticed what they used before, and when Goose said "kilometers" I just figured that Earth had gone entirely to metric. But then Zach said "Mile" so I'm not so sure. I never really considered what nationality the characters were before this point, but now it's a fairly interesting question.

Especially since BETA is apparently in Australia, according to that nifty DVD booklet that I can't seem to locate at this moment. (I don't recall if it said anything about the characters' nationalities, but I'm sure someone can correct me if it does. :-))

Right now, I'm figuring that Zach's American, mostly because he seems American, Jerry Orbach's dialect is distinctly regional, and we're one of the only groups still stubborn enough not to use the metric system.

As for the others, my current guess is that Walsh is American too, Doc is either American or Canadian, and that Niko and Gooseman probably don't have a nationality as such. But I might change my mind on that later. Especially if I can find my damn booklet. :-)


  • At April 21, 2009 2:25 PM, Blogger Elizabeth B said…

    I always thought it was "Weege," but I doubt it really matters. The mayor guy who calls for help initially is Birba (or possibly Weerwa); he played a role in "Queen's Lair," IIRC.

    As for the Weege quotes: he says "meddling badge flashers" and "starlovin' flatfeet."

    I asked my husband once about the neutron star and the "how can it be floating?" question, and he explained that if anything that dense were taken to a planet's gravity well, it's so dense that it would sink right through the ground--even rock wouldn't be able to support it. It would also be drawn toward the planet's center of gravity, because even an incredibly dense small object would still be attracted to the much greater mass of the planet. So it would fall down to the center of the planet, and through it, and then because it IS in the bottom of a gravity well, it would reverse direction back toward the center of gravity, and the whole thing would start over again. Essentially the object would never come to rest.

    That was my didn't-take-physics-(dammit) understanding of the issue, anyway.

    *ahem* So, uh, yeah, I watched this episode this past weekend because I knew it was coming up and wanted to be able to talk about it here. Huge geek, me. This episode has always been a favorite of mine.

    BTW, I think the wall collapsing under the planet crusher was just because of the thing's ginormous weight. I'd always thought it was the dock getting damaged, but it makes more sense if the wall was crumbling anwyay (which it was, if you'll recall the way the crusher appeared at the edge there). The dock wouldn't be supporting the structural integrity of the wall, right?

  • At April 21, 2009 2:39 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    I think you're right about Birba. I meant to go back and scrounge the name from that recap, but I forgot. :-)

    Your guess is as good as mine on the dock. Or the star for that matter. :-)

  • At April 22, 2009 1:19 PM, Blogger Nick said…

    Galaxy Rangers is being sold cheap on Amazon, FYI.

    I think it's like half way towards the bottom.

  • At April 22, 2009 3:49 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    Yeah, that was a good episode. It would have been nice if they had done more with the Stargate scenario, maybe in another episode. I'm surprised Scarecrow didn't show up, he has an awful tendency to be around power sources.
    About units of measuresments -- I have never paid close attention to the show, but for my fanfic I assume that the official measurement is metric, but other units are still used inofficially in everyday life (much like the German pound for half a kilogram).
    And why is there no epiosode where Niko gets to flirt with someone who could be a serious romantic interest for her?

  • At April 22, 2009 3:52 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Well, she gets to flirt with Doc every so often, and he could have been a serious interest if the series was inclined that way. Since he's in nearly every episode, I think that balances Shane's couple-episode flirtations with Daisy, Annie or Maya. :-)

  • At April 23, 2009 1:03 AM, Blogger Unknown said…

    In which episodes do you see Niko and Doc flirting?
    (I'm a closet Doc/Niko -- and Goose/Darkstar -- shipper, so I'm always looking for inspiration.)

  • At April 23, 2009 1:56 AM, Anonymous Ms T said…

    On behalf of my country, I gleefully claim Goose and the supertroopers as Australian! XD

    Considering all the deadly animals we have, and the way our occupants dress (we ARE the ones with the long-standing visual joke about generals dressed in boy-shorts and long socks), they'll fit right in.
    Plus the government is always bragging about our country being multi-culturist anyway. Oh, and we have nice oceans for the dolphins too.

  • At April 23, 2009 2:02 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Delora: Well, it's probably pretty subjective. Personally I thought I noticed it in the early episodes, prior to Queen's Lair. (That's really where I thought the "vibe" switched to Niko and Shane.) I'll have to think about particular episodes though, since I remember it more as a general impression.

  • At April 23, 2009 2:55 AM, Blogger Elizabeth B said…

    Ms. T: Heh. Well, BETA Mountain is in Australia, and Longshot is in the Grand Canyon, but Wolf Den is better known as Johnston Atoll, a coral atoll out near Oahu, HI. Me, I think of the STs as just from Earth. ;)

  • At April 23, 2009 4:41 PM, Blogger SallyP said…

    Something that I particularly liked about this episode,is the coloring that they used for the underwater's really rather gorgeous.

    And a good episode too.

  • At June 08, 2009 12:55 AM, Anonymous TT said…

    Its suddenly occurred to me; rather than wonder which country the supertroopers belong to, we should be wondering why the Kiwi haven't tried to claim them as citizens. They certainly have the badassary for it. XD


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