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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, Recap 32: Murder on the Andorian Express

Oh my god, you have no idea how good it feels to get back to doing these things. Finals totally SUCK.

So today's episode is "Murder on the Andorian Express." Sounds interesting! And it doesn't mention Buzzwang! Double win!

Where's Poirot When You Need Him?

Themesong! God, I missed this. Zozo and Waldo! Zach's arm! Niko's Jazz hands! Doc's programs! Goose and his instruments of violence! Yay!

Our episode starts at BETA mountain, Ranger One is fueled and the Galaxy Ranger theme-song is continuing in the background. Usually a good sign.

Niko and Doc are in the cockpit. Hi!!! Missed you guys so much! Apparently they almost gave the mission to Goose, according to Doc.

Damn. I like Doc and Niko, but honestly, after the weeks I've had, I could really go for some supertrooper-borne destruction.

BETA station also seems to function as a space airport judging by the boarding call for the S.S. Christie bound for Andor.

Heh. The S.S. Melville in the Moby Dick episode, and the S.S. Christie in this one. I wonder if there's a trend. A fellow with a suspiciously European ancestor announces that they are traveling in the most luxurious space liner ever built. We see Doc and Niko pass some pink haired lady in black, while a bigger fellow in a cape and a blond lady follow close behind.

A pendulant brings up the rear tugging a cart of baggage as big as he is. Yeesh, that's classism for you. And Niko and Doc are going along with it! For shame! You'd think a psychic could tow her own bags. Anyway, according to that poor Pendulant, once they're on Andor, they'll be taken immediately to tour a defense facility.

Hey, wasn't that guy a robot a few episodes ago? Also the blond woman next to him is totally wearing a white fur coat and a blue sweat band. God, I'm glad I'm too young to remember most of the '80s.

Anyway, he declares that if the defense shield is all it's trumped up to be, he'll see that it's installed on Earth at once.

Um, really, even if it's not, considering how often Earth gets attacked, it might be a good idea to get one. I'm just saying.

Suspiciously European Accented Guy who's name I can't be bothered to remember announces that there'll be no need for Galaxy Rangers.

Right. Because the shield never breaks or anything. And the Galaxy Rangers don't have off-planet missions. I hate you Accent Guy. You're a flipping moron. I think I'd rather have Wheiner. His girlfriend has a very high-pitched voice too.

Premier Dutch! That's his name! Thank you Doc. Doc is, by the way, understandably annoyed that Dutch wants to put them out of a job. Niko is calmer and points out that the defense shield is vital for protecting Earth.

Hey, Niko. Lay off the sedatives. I like you lots, but sometimes it's perfectly okay to be annoyed.

As they make their way on a moving walkway, the tiny monkey thing that usually belongs with Kidd suddenly leaps through and onto Doc's head and off again, racing ahead of them. Niko and Doc recognize it too, just before Kidd comes racing behind them.

Kidd pushes past Dutch and the trophy girl to exchange pleasantries with Doc and Niko. Apparently, he's on vacation. Hmm, somehow I suspect he's up to something.

And now, Nimrod. Okay, how the hell is Nimrod not in jail or something? Granted, for all of Kidd's schemes, he's pretty much the Harry Mudd of the GR universe, but Nimrod actually had televised death games!

The League of Planets' court system obviously sucks ass. And that's my official proto-lawyerly opinion.

He babbles something about danger lurking and death waiting within. Dutch's trophy girlfriend heliums "What was that?!" Dutch shrugs it off with an "I'm sure he's traveling coach." Dude, your trophy girlfriend is smarter than you.

Even with the sweatband.

Also, way to be classist, dickwad.

Niko and Doc are smart enough to be concerned, but are still pretty tolerant considering this is the guy who tried to death-game them all. Yeesh.

The Christie takes off with pretty rich-people type music. Actually, it's one of those waltz-ish songs that I know I've heard before but can't immediately recognize. This irritates me.

Dutch doesn't seem to understand the point of protective escorts, and tells them that he's got important work in his study and they'll be sumoned if he needs them. Doc is fine with that though.

I suspect I understand why Goose was not given this job. He probably would have shot Dutch by now.

Dutch does show a hint of a sense of humor though, snorting a laugh at Doc's response. Niko repeats the "And to think, they almost gave this mission to Goose."

Damnit. Stop teasing me. I want explosions.

Doc points out a strange bow-wrapped package in front of Niko's room. She picks it up as Doc suggests that it might be Dutch's way of saying 'Thanks.' Niko doubts that.

Doc follows her in, suggesting it's fruit, as behind the corner, Nimrod watches with glee and chants "Pretty paper, ribbon and twine; beware of gifts that might be thine."


Inside the room, which has twin beds, so I have no idea why Doc assumed the package was for Niko, Doc's urging her to open the package. Niko on the other hand thinks that it doesn't feel right. Doc doesn't listen to the psychic and opens the present. A robotic thing pops out and blasts the two in red energy, there's a close up on one of the badges, and then the thing explodes, sending Doc careening into a table and Niko onto one of the beds.

Doc wants to know if she can get a fix on who sent it, and she snaps back with some irritation that that's what she was doing. Heh, irritated Niko. She taps her badge and gasps. Her power charge is gone. Uh-oh!

Doc tries his charge which is working, but the tweakers themselves sound stoned. Doc is disconcerted and grumbles a "What if someone needs our help?"

Promptly, someone yells for help! I'm utterly shocked!

They run down the hall, Doc overshooting a little and backtracking comedically. I totally do that too. They run to the door, where Dutch is calling for help. Niko yells in to him but the door is open. They enter. It's a dark room but quite swanky. Niko finds the light switch and they find Dutch sprawled over his desk! Eek! There's a pen by his hand, and he's lying on papers.

In the doorway, Kidd's monkey thing babbles something that sounds like "No shoes for you!" Fuck if I know. I hate that thing. It darts off running, Doc and Niko in hot pursuit.

Um, shouldn't one of you examine Dutch and be sure he's not dead? And/or secure the crime scene? You're crappy cops.

The monkey thing promptly finds and scales Kidd. Naturally, Doc and Niko command him to freeze. Niko demands to know where he was when Premier Dutch was murdered.

Um, are you sure he was murdered? I'm just sayin'.

Anyway, Kidd either pretends or genuinely doesn't know what they're talking about. Niko wonders if Kidd isn't a bit overdressed for bed time.

Honestly, they're kind of leaping to conclusions here. Granted, Kidd's a scoundrel, but so far, he hasn't shown an inclination to murder. Besides, the only evidence they have is monkey taunting.

Kidd turns the question back on them. Doc points out that they didn't kill him. Kidd points out that all they've got on him is wild guesswork.

You know, if only there was a body to examine and determine cause of death from! Kidd wisely exits into his room, but as the Rangers leave, peeks out and laughs evilly.

We get a brief shot of the ship moving through hyperspace, then Doc and Niko consoling poor trophy girlfriend who is actually, apparently, trophy wife. Doc expresses his sympathy, while Niko offers water. Trophy wife thanks her, but gets it herself from the room service transporter, which can beam up anything she wants from the kitchen. Ooo! Clue?

Doc is envious as they don't have the nifty transports in coach. Mrs. Dutch still can't believe anyone would want to harm her "Dutchy-Poo." Niko drawls that it's hard to believe, but then asks if anyone could have gotten in the study. Mrs. Dutch can't see how.

Did he have a room service transporter in there?

Apparently they needed keycards to get in and only Gooble and Snivel had cards. Doc finds "Snivel" significant for some reason. Mrs. Dutch is all "I said that?" Doc cheerfully thanks her for her help.

Doc heads to another room and orders "Open up, Snivel." He does not seem to be home. Doc snarks about Snivel getting a first class cabin. Niko suggests taking a look inside before he gets back. So 4th Amendment then? Duly noted.

Doc yoinks out his canteen o'tweaker. He tries to coax them out to pick the lock. They're not responding. Niko pushes the door open as it's not locked. Doc has an amusing "If you want to open it THAT way," response and they go in.

Niko opens a drawer and finds a keycard. Doc can top that though, as he finds a gun under a pillow that's been fired recently.

Snivel is indeed the pendulant, we discover, as he walks into the room humming to himself. Doc tells him to halt in the name of the law and he flees for it. Doc and Niko chase. Snivel climbs a ladder.

When Doc and Niko reach the ladder, Doc instinctively asks Niko where they went. Niko, amusingly, snaps back "What am I, psychic?" They split up, her running down the hall and him climbing the ladder. He promptly runs into Nimrod, who really is one scary mofo in the dark.

Nimrod gives him a cryptic, rhyming warning about a fiend in disguise that I have no intention of transcribing here. Apparently the murderer will strike more than once though. Doc's "Don't give me that alien jive" is pretty entertaining.

Snivel runs down a hall and into a room. Niko sees it, and I'm trying to figure out how exactly the interior of the Christie works. Doc comes from the other direction. He urges Snivel to give himself up. Snivel doesn't want to be sent back.

In a strange room, a cloaked person listens to Doc demanding to know who killed Premier Dutch. I'm calling that to be Dutch. Or Goose. Because they did mention him twice this episode. The word Danger flashes across a monitor.

Then airlock doors open promptly pulling Snivel across the room. Damn. Doc races for the control tower telling Snivel to hold on. I would be very impressed if they yoinked Snivel out into space. Snivel needlessly shouts that there's a dangerous killer loose. I think they can tell. Also, would you really be able to shout when hanging out into vacuum?

Niko tells Doc to hurry, and Doc notes that he's trying but running on manual, remember? Then he presses a button and the doors close.

Um, Doc, there's a such thing as relying too much on your powers. One button.

Niko notes that Snivel's probably not the killer since someone tried to prevent him from talking to them. Gasp. Logic! Doc thinks it's ridiculous, but the spinny blade that just misses him and slams into a window changes his mind. Actually, now that it's in the wall it looks like a plastic chakram.

The cloaked fellow runs off. I'm guessing then it's not Goose. And it's too short/thin to be Kidd. So I'm calling it as Dutch. Or the wife. That would be AWESOME.

Doc notes that he's been wrong before.

In his bedroom, Kidd is asleep with the little monkey thing at the foot of his bed. Niko bursts in, turning on the light, announcing that this is his wake-up call. She holds up the spiked chakram thing and asks if he's lost any of them lately.

Kidd's sleeping cap is adorable, by the way. Kidd demands to know where Niko got it. Niko snaps that she got it from a wall, two centimeters from her head. (Metric count! So far, that's Goose and Niko using metrics, Zach using customary, and I haven't noticed what Doc uses yet. Awesome.)

Kidd asks if she saw who threw it. She snaps that she supposes he didn't, with all due skepticism. Kidd retorts that it's not his style. Which is true. It's really not, and they ought to know that, which means something else is going on. Niko just snaps that they've got their eyes on him.

Kidd pulls a radio out as soon as she leaves and calls "Chicken Little to Hen House." Apparently everything is proceeding as planned. He's being paid a lot of money for this plan.

Doc is trying to question Nimrod in coach. Nimrod is playing an electric stringed instrument and making him cringe. Doc loses it much later than I would. And demands answers. Nimrod recites off Yes, no, he doesn't know, and so on. Doc demands that he wait for a question and wants to know what he knows about the murder.

In Nimrod's only actually funny line through this whole episode, he responds: "It was successful." He sings about a "clue that isn't a clue." And something about finding it with care, or it'll make its presence known by not being there. Okaaay.

Doc and Niko enter the room. Niko protests that they searched there already and indeed the evidence is bagged on the desk. So I suppose they did finally go back and do their jobs after chasing Kidd's idiot monkey. Good.

Niko asks what they're looking for. Doc says they'll know when they don't find it. Niko quips that that makes sense.

Doc finds a panel, pops it open on his head. Niko expresses doubts about Doc going on the word of Nimrod. But Doc believes ("Man's Intuition" awesome.) that Nimrod knows something they don't. Doc then squirts ink into his face. Niko is unphased though and contemplates the whole "isn't here" thing as she looks across the room. She wants to know how they'll find it. He says that they're Galaxy Rangers and always get their man.

Then he tips back in the chair. Doc's slapstick is starting to irk me. Niko points out that the killer could still be anyone. Doc remembers what Squeegie said: "No Shields for you."

OH. Okay. That's what he said.

Doc points out that whoever killed Dutch wanted to keep Earth from getting the defense shield. Niko wants to know who did it. Doc's getting to that.

You know, all this getting into each other's faces is kind of hot. Heh. Doc points out that someone wanted them to think it was Snivel. She points out that he was the only one with the keycard. And Doc glances down and then tells her that they have to assemble everyone together.

I'll be honest, I have no idea who it is at this point. Okay, show, I'm intrigued.

Now in Doc's cabin, all the passengers are there, and Doc channels Monsieur Poirot by calling their attention. He announces that they know who killed the Premier, and it's someone in the room. Niko adds that the key piece of evidence is in the study and will remain there on Andor. Nimrod thinks it's a bluff, and Mrs. Dutch doubts they've solved anything. Kidd thinks it's always exciting with the Rangers around, and goes to leave to play shuffleboard, apparently.

Mrs. Dutch inserts a key card and enters the study, flipping on the lights. She is shocked to see the Rangers there. Proving she's an idiot, because really, where else would they be. They're shocked to see her too. Kidd suddenly appears at the door as well, with another Mrs. Dutch!

It's very "Janet!" "Dr. Scott!" "Janet!" "Brad!" "Rocky!" at this moment.

Apparently Mrs. Dutch's name is Madonna. Unless Niko's making a reference I don't recognize. Either way, Kidd found the real Mrs. Dutch in a supply closet. She'd been in there all night!

Niko notices the amulet around the fake Mrs. Dutch's throat. A Slaver Amulet!

Seriously, where the hell is the Queen getting all these treacherous humans and why the hell doesn't she just Slaver Lord THEM?! I mean, Kilbane, okay. We don't know if she CAN Slaver Lord a Supertrooper, and he might break her machine if she tried. But Lazarus? This chick? HONESTLY.

And why couldn't Niko have noticed the amulet before? Mrs. Dutch was wearing it in earlier scenes!

Faux Mrs. Dutch demands in an echoing Queen voice that Niko get away from her. Niko rips off the necklace and it becomes a slaver lord.

Oh okay. Not a human, just a disguise. It's the Reaper. The Queen's top assassin, according to Kidd. Cloak guy! I was wrong in both guesses! Dude crossdresses well. Anyway, Doc announces that he's under arrest. But the Reaper punches him and Kid and runs out. They chase after of course.

The poor bellhop is loading luggage, while the Reaper steals the cart! To make things worse, he's about to get another cart, but Doc steals that one! Poor fellow! Niko leaps on the back.

Kidd comes running and asks the bellhop which way they went. The bellhop points, and Kidd is off.

The chase is indeed merry, with luggage thrown as obstacles. Nimrod jumps out in front of the Reaper with a crossbow.

Okay, show. I'm officially confused.

Nimrod is knocked down and the chase proceeds. Niko monologues for the slow people in the audience that the Queen had Dutch killed because he was pushing for a defense system. Doc speaks for the rest of us by saying "I knew that." Heh.

They make it to what, I'd guess, is the power room. The Reaper leaps off just as the cart crashes and falls into the pit of fire or whatever it is that looks hot and deadly. Doc manages to stop it just in time. Then the chase commences on foot, to Galaxy Ranger theme music. Yay!

The Reaper's on a catwalk above them, and Niko notes, surprisingly chillingly that they should try to take the guy alive. They shoot the cables, causing him to dangle perilously above the fire pit of doom. (Or Matter-Antimatter grid. Whatever.)

Doc tries to get the Reaper to take his hand, but the Reaper is all "Earth will never win!!" He falls and is obliterated.

Finally, we see the ship exit hyperdrive. Mrs. Dutch explains that Snivel had run away because he didn't have Earth citizenship papers. Dude. Rich politicians hiring illegal aliens. Heh.

Mrs. Dutch explains that there's one thing she doesn't understand. One thing? You're better than me, sweetheart. She still doesn't know how the Reaper got in the study.

Doc explains that Fake Madonna transferred it from the study to her room and back. I'm still not sure that makes sense, but I won't think about it that much.

As they leave the ship, Kidd is happy. Apparently his clients had wanted the Reaper dealt with. Niko says Kidd's lucky they don't arrest him. Kidd asks for what? My guess, obstruction? She asks why Nimrod was on the cruise. He likes the thrill of the hunt! And he enjoyed the clues.

Okay. How did Nimrod and Kidd KNOW the clues?

Anyway, Mrs. Dutch thanks them. They try to say nice things about her husband, and stumble. Heh. But then...the premier comes out of the crowd!


He scoffs at the idea of using a commercial space liner for this mission. They were traveling with his android decoy. ...

Okay, whatever, honestly, I'm tired enough to accept it. Bastard thing to do to your wife though.

She's glad he's alive though, as she looks dreadful in black. He asks the Rangers if they're coming, and Niko wryly repeats that "To think, they almost gave this mission to Goose."

That would have been a much better episode, I think.


Darnit. I was all set to praise them for actually killing off Dutch, when they brought him back. Oh well.

This episode was mostly missed opportunity for me. There were the seeds of a clever mystery, but far too much contrivance and reliance upon the main characters being idiots. You're telling me they couldn't tell a dead ROBOT from a dead human?

Kidd and Nimrod as red herrings were fine, but it vastly outstripped plausibility. How DID they know all the clues?

I liked that we got to see more downsides of over-reliance on their abilities. Niko and Doc are both highly intelligent people, with gifts that enhance their perceptive abilities. And they've gotten lazy and complacent about using them. It's a weakness that neither Zach nor Shane really have, because of their powers.

Without the Thunderbolt, Zach's just out a big gun. And without his powers, Shane can't take as much damage. But that's pretty much it. Neither's power lets them take any shortcuts in the thinking department.

I like it as a character touch though. Niko and Doc are scary-smart, but too used to taking shortcuts. Hopefully, they've learned from this.

I liked seeing murder as subject matter. It's a bit more mature than most of the cartoons at the same time. I still feel cheated with Dutch alive.

Finally, I really liked Niko's "Try to take him alive." I like the acknowledgement that as Rangers, deadly force is an issue that would come up, even if we don't see it. And I liked that the assassin died without us ever knowing anything more about him.

It still would have been a better episode with Goose. More explosions. Less "mystery." And he'd have figured out Dutch was an android the first time he shot him. Heh.


  • At May 16, 2009 10:34 AM, Anonymous Rich said…

    "Hey, Niko. Lay off the sedatives. I like you lots, but sometimes it's perfectly okay to be annoyed."

    I actually prefer inhumanly-powerful psychics to be as relaxed as possible, even if it requires chemical assistance. Remember Scanners?

  • At May 16, 2009 12:21 PM, Blogger SallyP said…

    As an Agatha Christie fan, I rather enjoyed this one. You're right of course, Niko and Doc...especially Doc do seem to rely on their powers more than is necessarily healthy. I did get a chuckle out of Niko's "What am I, psychic?" line though.

    I have to admit that a Space luxury liner is a cool concept.

  • At May 16, 2009 4:19 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    Good recap.
    What I couldn't make a 100 (or even 50) percent sense of is why they couldn't use their powers at all. Okay, I get Doc's tweakers being deactivated/disturbed or that he can't activate them without charge, but Niko has been shown to have her psi abilities although to a lesser extent in "Games".
    Maybe subconscious dislike for Dutch hampered their effectiveness.
    (I also don't get why they haven't learned from "Games" to not rely on their implants too much -- or get a backup charge or whatever.)
    Bonus points: the reaper is a scary villain. I don't think he was a slaver lord, only that the psychocrystal transferred the Queen's power of illusion.
    Side question: how long does hyperdrive travel take? When a cruise to Andor takes several days, how long is it to Tortuna or Tarkon? Or does it depend on the ship -- is the luxury liner actually slower than ranger ships? How much time do the rangers spend just traveling in space (and how do they stand days canned in a mere interceptor)?

  • At May 16, 2009 4:43 PM, Blogger Elizabeth B said…

    This isn't one of my favorites, though it's fun enough. I agree that there are too many contrivances and leaps of logic. Whatever, it's goofy and lighthearted.

    I've thought of writing an extremely short fanfic: "And to Think, They Almost Gave This Mission to Niko and Doc." See, my version of Goose has enhanced senses. Including smell. (I leave the conclusions as an exercise for the reader.)

  • At May 16, 2009 5:29 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Delora: Well, to be fair, I think it does make sense a bit. Games was more of a physical challenge, and neither Doc or Niko rely on their powers as much there as they do in a more intellectual setting. (Whereas Goose did, so he got zapped.) It makes sense to me that they'd slip here, since this is the sort of thing they WOULD use their powers for.

    I just wish one of them were smart enough to check the damn body.

  • At May 17, 2009 2:09 AM, Blogger Unknown said…

    "And to think they almost gave this mission to [characters who weren't in the original episode]" is a good way to rewrite any episode (and good creative exercise).
    I still think half of Doc/Niko's reactions were simply being annoyed at having been deprived of their powers and having to solve this stupid mystery.
    Anyway, I liked the snapping between them.

  • At May 17, 2009 6:50 AM, Blogger LurkerWithout said…

    Sounds like the episode needed more Buzzwang. And Goose. Yep, the titanic team-up of Buzzwang and Goose, the Ranger's top operatives...

    Really Buzzwang should get all the body-guarding of annoying politician jobs...

  • At May 22, 2009 2:27 AM, Blogger Elizabeth B said…

    Heh, Lurker, Ann-Kathrin Kniggendorf wrote a short-short story about what she thinks Goose would have done with Buzzwang...


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