I should begin by mentioning that I have been putting off writing this review, because this is not one of my favorite episodes. My son used to watch it to death, however. He watched this version, the Gatchaman version, and even the crappy 1980's Ted Turner G-Force version. He watched any and all of them in an infinite loop, until he even got bored with it and pops in the Big Robot Gold Grab, Episode Six or Shrek. I have seen this one so many times, more than I care to count. But in the name of continuity and Internet entertainment, I will soldier on and write a review of this episode.
As usual, the episode opens with Zark. He gives his usual "I monitor the heavens for evil baddies" speech, but then adds that every now and then something "wonderfully new and exciting happens." Last week, according to Zark, while doing his usual monitoring, he discovered a new and previously unknown planet that was hiding behind Venus. And because Zark found it, they named this new planet after him. So I guess now we have ten planets in the solar system, the newest one called Zarkadia. So does this mean that Earth is no longer the third rock from the sun?
Anyway, Zark is thrilled, evident by his giggling. Zark is one being, machine or whatever you want to call him that should never, ever giggle because it's just kind of creepy when he does it. Zark flies over to his monitor and he tells us that even though he should be monitoring for evil baddies, he just can't resist taking a look at Zarkadia. So is this his rationale when he decides that he has to "pay special attention to Princess" but he really doesn't know why? He tells us to look at it, and a bunch of stars appear on the screen, but I don't see anything other than that. Then he says it's really "mindblowing" because Zarkadia has an atmosphere like Earth's and also has humans like Earth does, too. Gee, that's nice. While peeping in on this planet, Zark has discovered some mysterious plane crashes going on and Galaxy Security is sending G-Force and Chief Anderson to Zarkadia to investigate.
Now we get a sequence of Zark talking the team through their take off and stock footage of the Phoenix flying and of the team and stuff. Zark wishes them good luck and tells them to take care of "my world."
Oh God. A planet ruled by a giant walking metal suppository with legs. It must be the end time or something.
The team approaches Zarkadia. I've never seen a planet that looks like this one before. But I'm sure I'll see more of them in the future. It's not round, like every other planet. Rather, it resembles a giant Goo-goo Cluster, or a "Genuine Wisconsin Cow Pie" (which is not a real "cow pie", but chocolate covered peanuts that they sell to tourists here. They taste pretty good.), or dare I say it, a rather firm piece of poo. I know, I'm a sick puppy. Anyway, Zark is all worried, and a crudely drawn version of Mark appears on Zark's monitor and tells him to stop biting his rivets, things will be fine. Zark babbles to us, the television audience some more.
Next we cut to Chief Anderson, who unrolls a map of Zarkadia. There are X's on the map and the Chief says that there have been four plane crashes in as many weeks and it can't be a coincidence. Mark points out that they all seemed to have happened around the same area. Mark says, "I've heard lot's about CAT, but this is ridiculous." The Chief goes, "CAT? Oh, you mean Clear Air Turbulence." No, Chief, he was talking about drugs or something. Of course, he was talking about Clear Air Turbulence! The Chief goes on. "It's never been known to occur up here. But none of the pilots' tapes mentioned clouds. Only something white."
Mark gets up and starts leaving the room. Chief Anderson asks him, "Where are you going? I'm not finished." Mark turns around and replies, "C'mon Chief. We've known each other a long time. You want me to go out and nose around, right?" Then Mark walks out the door. The camera zooms in on Chief Anderson, who says, "When you get back, you'll tell me Spectra's here."
Now we're at an airport. Mark is standing around, looking at I don't know what, when some button or spinner or top or pin or something comes rolling by and stops at his feet. Mark picks it up and looks at it. Then a whiny little voice goes, "That's mine!" A hand comes out and grabs the thing from Mark. Yep, it's the World's Brattiest Child. The little brat says, "Papa gave that to me before he went away." It is interesting to note, that in the Gatchaman version, this kid has a whiny voice even more grating than the kid in this version. It's even more interesting to note, that in the crappy 80's G-Force version, the kid talks like he's a pimp or something. He's got this fakey "from the 'hood" accent. It's hilarious.
Okay. So Mark replies to the kid, "That's nice. Why don't you take better care of it?" Yeah, why don't you, kid? Then this guy turns around and comes up to Mark and the kid. The guy looks like Colonel Sanders if the Colonel were a hip 70's swinger. Hmm, kind of makes you wonder what was in those 11 Secret Herbs and Spices, now, does it? "Excuse me," he says. "Has this young man done something wrong?" Mark rubs his hair and replies, "Uh no, nothing. Forget it." The man says, "This is my nephew. I'm taking care of him while his father is, uh, away."
DUN, DUN DUUUUUUN......Plot Point!
A plane is seen landing and the demon child runs toward the railing to watch it land. "Papa!" he says. Back to Mark and the child's uncle. "Is his father coming home from a trip?" Mark asks. The kid's uncle says, "Not likely. His father was the pilot of one of the missing flights." Mark says he's sorry, in that tone of voice that someone uses when they kind of, but not really put their foot in their mouth. "Buddy won't accept it," the uncle says. "He insists his father is still alive and will be coming home at any time." The uncle goes on to say that Buddy comes down to the airport every day, to welcome his father when he returns. Then Buddy's uncle remembers his manners and introduces himself as Dr. Sweet. Mark introduces himself as Mark, a visitor from Earth. No last name, though. Unless his last name is really A Visitor from Earth. But I doubt it. Mark turns his head, and now we get to hear his thoughts. "I don't know which is worse," he thinks. "Making the boy face reality or letting him keep his hope." Now we see Buddy at the railing and I guess this is supposed to tug at our heartstrings or something like that. It might tug at my heartstrings if Buddy were more likeable. Buddy is staring out at the tarmac with the most dazed expression on his face. Maybe his uncle gave him some hash brownies for a snack before coming to the airport or something or maybe the Ritalin kicked in. Some Really Sad Music is playing in the background and the sun starts to set and Buddy is still watching those planes land. Mark finishes his thought. "Who knows? No bodies were recovered. Maybe he's right? I hope."
But enough of that! Let's get down and shake our groove thangs while Mark flies around in his plane! He thinks out loud some more about the plane crashes and in one shot, showing him in profile, he looks like he might be related to a friend of mine from high school who used to have a really, really long, almost unpronounceable, and impossible to spell last name (before she got married. Her married name consists of only four letters.).
While Mark is flying, a flare shoots up and some black clouds appear. Mark thinks he's made a lucky find. The clouds spread and Mark flies around some more. The clouds from the flare cause all sorts of nasty thunder and lightening and wind and stuff like that, but Mark still keeps flying his plane. Then a big hand wrapped in bandages makes a grab for Mark's plane. You guessed it, it's the Mummy of this episode's title. It's a giant mummy that has an jet exhaust at the small of its back. Thank God someone had some taste and didn't make it coming out of its ass, although, it might be funnier if it did. Anyway, the Mummy swats at Mark's plane a few times and Mark is in Danger!, but he manages to get away and heaves a huge sigh of relief. He made it out of the storm. And he says that Zoltar has to be behind this.
Now Mark and the Chief are out to dinner at a restaurant by the sea. The Chief says that he's found traces of Plutonium X on Mark's plane, and he says this in an accusing tone of voice as if to suggest that maybe Mark was out raving with the plane again. Mark replies, "Every planet in the galaxy stopped making that because it's too radioactive." The Chief replies, "Every planet except Spectra. It must be what they're using to propel that giant mummy." He also says that he's glad that Mark was protected in his plane. Mark wants to know if there is a neutralizer of some kind. The Chief says there is and it's called Anti-Pluton. This stuff was invented by a Dr. Sweet, the same guy who is the uncle of Buddy the Demon Child. Mark tells the Chief he met Dr. Sweet today. And the Chief says that's probably why Spectra's here and that they're after Dr. Sweet. Then, we can see outside that it's raining. And Mark remembers that Dr. Sweet's brother was piloting Flight 5.
Okay, wait a minute. Dr. Sweet and Buddy's father are brothers. So that means Buddy, the World's Brattiest Child's last name is Sweet. Oh, the irony!
At this moment, Ms. Ann would also like to point out that there has been only two seconds of actual Condor footage, and that was only stock footage used during the flight to Zarkadia.
Back at the airport, it's raining. Buddy and Dr. Sweet are the only ones standing at the railing, watching the planes land. Buddy is still wearing that "I've been drugged" expression on his face. Mark appears, calling out to Dr. Sweet, then goes running over to the two. Mark goes, "Hey Buddy, aren't you worried about catching cold?" Dr. Sweet replies, "Luckily we're immune. He still insists on coming out, rain or shine." Then Buddy says, "Last night, I had a dream ( I had an awesome dream. Sorry for quoting Lionel Ritchie.) and in the dream Papa said he'd come back on a rainy day. So I gotta be here when it rains, don't I?" Mark says nothing, as Really Sad Music plays in the background. He only puts his hand on the boy's head. Then the rain stops and another plane appears. Buddy turns around and gets all happy and stuff. "Hey! I'll bet that's him!" Buddy takes off, yelling, "Papa!" Dr. Sweet tells Mark that he's just about given up his work by indulging in Buddy's denial, but the doctor can't bear to hurt his feelings. He goes over to Buddy and they watch the plane land. And Buddy's still stoned. The passengers get off the plane, and Buddy's still stoned, but then he gets all happy when he sees his father get off the plane. Buddy goes running out to the tarmac to greet his father. Dr. Sweet can't believe it and Mark is standing behind the doctor, in the rain, not immune to catching a cold, and getting wet, although his hair is still as fluffy as it is when it's not raining.
Now we're inside the airport. Mark is standing behind a pillar, hiding, and watching a news conference. Dr. Sweet and his brother are being interviewed by the press and Buddy is asleep on his father's lap. As Buddy's dad is answering questions, Dr. Sweet notices the ring on his brother's finger. Well, you can't help but notice it because it's big and kind of ugly.
Now it's nighttime, and a motorcycle pulls up to a house that is dark. It's Mark. He notices a beam of light inside the house. The light is coming from a flashlight. Inside, Buddy's Dad is rummaging around a cleverly disguised safe in the house's library. Then a door opens and Dr. Sweet comes in. "What are you doing in my safe?" he asks as he flips on the lights. "Who are you anyway? You're not my brother!" Fake Brother laughs evilly and asks, "How can you be sure?" Dr. Sweet replies, "My brother never wore rings." Fake Brother goes, "Spectra research should have known." Dr. Sweet goes, "So you are from Spectra?" Fake Brother replies, "I am Spectra! You may have heard of me. Zoltar!" Then Zoltar/Fake Brother chucks the flashlight at Dr. Sweet and escapes out the window. The breaking glass gets Mark's attention. He goes into another window and Dr. Sweet watches. Dr. Sweet runs to another room and looks surprised at what he sees.
Time for a commercial break.
Now we're back at Center Neptune and with Zark. He babbles about steaming up his monitors and "his world" (like he really owns the damn planet) and wipes his monitors and babbles some more and wants to remind G-Force to keep in touch with him about this because, again, it's "his world" and blah, blah, blah, blah.
Back to the story. Dr. Sweet walks in to find Zoltar/Fake Brother sitting next to Buddy's bed while Buddy is asleep. Zoltar is holding a gun. Zoltar says he's the soul of fairness, and that Dr. Sweet should give him the Anti-Pluton. If Sweet does this, Zoltar will spare the boy. Sweet goes, "Anti-Pluton?" Zoltar says, "No games, please. With your new formula, Spectra can dominate the universe. I want it!"
"You won't get it," says Mark, who comes in through the window. Zoltar is all "G-Force!" and then he and Mark get into a fist fight. Mark goes, fist balled up, back to the window, wind blowing in and blowing his hair around, "This is your lowest trick of all, Zoltar." They fight some more, and who should wake up but Buddy. The boy breaks up the fight, telling Mark to leave his daddy alone. Zoltar escapes out the window. Mark stands there while Buddy punches him in the solar plexus and tells Mark that he hates him. Dr. Sweet comes to comfort the boy. Mark apologizes. Dr. Sweet goes, "You said you were from Earth." Mark replies, "I'm with G-Force. We were sent to keep Spectra from getting your Anti-Pluton." Way to blow your cover, Mark. Dr. Sweet says that he's only extracted a tiny bit of the stuff and he hid it in the last place anyone would try and look for it. Buddy's pin/spinner/toy thing. Dr. Sweet is going to give it to Mark, but Buddy is all that's mine and you can't have it because my daddy gave it to me and you hurt my daddy. Dr. Sweet tells Buddy that that man isn't his daddy; he only looks like his daddy. Then Mark tells Buddy that the man is a bad man named Zoltar who can change his looks to confuse little boys like Buddy (and in Gatchaman, he changes his looks to confuse everyone! *snicker*). Mark says this in a tone of voice one would use when explaining to a child what "bad touch" is. Buddy, however, is still in denial.
Back at the airport, the Space Mummy lands and starts trashing the place. Chief Anderson contacts Mark and tells him about the situation at the airport. Mark transmutes, and heads out there. At the airport, fighter planes come to take care of the mummy, but they're not real fighter planes, as Zark points out. They're a fleet of robot fighter planes. Of course, since they are not the heroes of this show, they get decimated. Some of the mummy's bandages come off, and the mummy looks like a demented gargoyle who might belong to the World Wrestling Federation who also wears a diaper.
Back at Buddy's house, his uncle comes into his room to show him the flames from the airport. But Buddy is gone. Yep, Buddy went to the airport.
Back at the airport, as a fanfare version of the "Defeat Galactor" song (aka the Shupa, Shupa, Shupa, Shupa Song) plays, the Phoenix arrives. Mark is on board. Tiny goes, "Man, that airport is one big bonfire!" Outside, the mummy is swatting at planes. He tries for the Phoenix, but misses. On board, Jason...
Yay! Ms. Ann finally gets to see the Condor! Seventeen and a half minutes into the episode and Ms. Ann gets to see the Condor. Stock footage doesn't count.
Jason goes, "What are we doing? Saving our missiles for July Fourth?" Mark says the mummy is just brushing missiles off. He goes on to say that they have to use Anti-Pluton, but they have to place the shot just right, as there is only enough of the stuff for one shot. Princess wants to know where the critical spot is. Mark tells Tiny to get real close so he can figure out where to aim. The Phoenix gets closer to the mummy. The mummy swats at it some more. Tiny goes, "Call me chicken, that's as close as we go." Mark goes, "There's got to be a direct hit, right where the plutonium is stored."
Up by the railing, Zoltar crows about how it's a splendid day and the usual we're going to win and take over the universe speech. The Phoenix flies around the mummy some more, then the mummy takes off. Mark finds the critical spot, on the mummy's back where the exhaust is. Then Princess goes, "There's a little boy running across the airport!" Mark is all, "What?" and sure enough on the monitors, Buddy appears, running and crying and stuff. Zoltar tells Buddy to stay put where he'll be safe. Dr. Sweet tries to get to Buddy, but the soldiers on the ground won't let him. Buddy is looking around, surrounded by fire, as Zoltar tells him again that he'll be safe. In the background, the mummy is landing.
On the Phoenix, Keyop goes, "Boy is fool." Mark, now full of righteous anger, gets on the little platform that goes up into the top bubble on the ship. He goes out and while standing on the platform, he opens the pointy bit on his boomerang, crumbles Buddy's pin and puts the crumbs into his weapon. Then he jumps out and throws his sonic boomerang at the mummy's back. Meanwhile, the mummy is coming closer and closer to Buddy, who is staying put. Dr. Sweet breaks away from the soldiers and runs to Buddy, getting the boy on the ground and covering the boy with his body to protect him. The Anti-Pluton works at the last possible moment, right before Buddy and Dr. Sweet are to get squished. The mummy turns to stone, and the stone bits fall to the ground. On the Phoenix, Keyop says something and Jason goes, "Don't worry Keyop, Mark always knows what he's doing." Then the Phoenix flies off. Zoltar runs up to the mummy as a ramp lowers. Inside the mummy is Zoltar's escape ship and Zoltar gets away. Buddy, sadly, is still in denial, in spite of what has happened, and bids his "father" good bye and thanks him for "saving" him.
Mark has transmuted back into his civvies and he observes Zoltar's escape. Buddy finds him and is royally pissed off at Mark. Buddy is still in denial. Dr. Sweet really should get that boy in to see a therapist. Dr. Sweet tells Mark that someday Buddy will understand. Mark thinks maybe but tells the doctor in effect to let Buddy use Mark as his emotional punching bag. Mark walks off into the sunset and we're taken back to Center Neptune and Zark.
Zark sums up the episode and brags some more about "his world". One Rover One is jealous because Zark gets a new planet named after him. Zark tells him not to be jealous, as they named the brightest star in the galaxy after him. The Dog Star.
GROAN! I didn't find that joke funny at the age of eight, either.
Okay. I got that over with. Now for some observations.
What is up with this business of Zark discovering and getting a planet named after him? First of all, naming a planet after this tin can is the last thing he needs. His ego is big enough as it is, but this just made it worse, as evident by all the references to "my world". Gee, we don't have a swelled head now, do we? That's all we need, a Zarkito Mussolini, dictator of a planet that didn't ask to be named after a giant walking metal suppository. I should mention that this episode is light on Zark time, but all his bragging about "his world", more than made up for the lack of airtime.
Another point on this is that, obviously this planet existed (of course, we in the fandom know that this is really Earth because in Gatchaman, it was Earth.) before Quanto Tobor labs made Zark. So wouldn't you think it would already have a name? It's a planet that already had people and airports and technology and stuff, and to come around and declare that the people who live there are now Zarkadians is wrong. I mean, shouldn't they have asked them first what the name of their planet is?
And if this planet was hiding behind Venus, then why did G-Force have to go past Saturn? Were they taking the scenic route? Actually, they had to because Sandy Frank declared that all routes of space travel must pass Saturn .
The child in this episode was a brat. No wonder his uncle had to subdue him or drug him.
When Mark pulls up to the house on the motorcycle, I always have in my mind the conversation that took place when Mark was trying to acquire his mode of transportation to the house.
Mark: Hey, Jason, can I borrow your car?
Mark: I promise I won't put a scratch on it.
Mark: I'll even fill up the gas tank.
Mark: Why not?
Jason: Nobody drives my car but me. And I've got a hot date tonight.
Mark: Can I borrow your motorcycle?
Princess: Jason wouldn't let you use his car again, didn't he?
Princess: Okay, you can borrow my bike, but you'd better promise not to put even a single scratch on it...
Mark: I promise.
Princess: And the gas gauge better be where it was when you took it out.
Mark: I promise.
Princess: If you don't, then you know what happens, right?
Mark: No sugar for Marky. I know.
With a bratty child, a glaring lack of Condor airtime, and Zark's ego going through the roof, you can see why this isn't one of my favorite episodes. But I survived writing this review. Now I have to watch the Gatchaman version and write a review on that one. I'm not looking forward to that, as the kid in that version is even worse than Buddy was in this version. But I soldiered on through this one, and I will soldier on through that one, too. At least there is no 7 Zark 7 in that version.