A lighthouse on a rock. A stormy night. And a giant turtle mecha with stegosaur plates, emerging from the ocean. I’m presuming that this is the “Robot Stegosaur”. It is picked up on radar, and the guy on the receiving end of the alert doesn’t sound like he quite believes –until he sees it.
GoS background music, aka cardboard boxes...
The mecha attacks what looks like a research facility. In the middle of the city. A good indication that the guys running it don’t care about ‘collateral damage.’ Scientists (all apparently male) run away yelling. The commander of the conventional forces realizes that it is headed toward the uranium storage, but his forces are unable to stop the Stegosaur. The monster breaks into a vault and sends out a little tank with arms that grabs the uranium. There’s no indication of people on board the tank, but given that Galactor doesn’t turn out to be much of a one for robot vehicles.
The conventional vehicles are unable to prevent the Stegosaur from leaving, but the mecha fires lasers and blasts everything not already destroyed –another indication of the kind of people the good guys have to deal with now.
Next scene shows still shots of Stegosaur as we hear a voice-over a guy giving a report on what happened the night before. Interestingly, he specifies that the uranium was in a lead case, even though the room is dark at the time and his report is still a voice-over. Then he proceeds explain that this over-sized critter and its theft of the uranium is why this meeting of “The World’s Greatest Powers” has been called. Which would make sense, since the countries with the highest economic and military production and capabilities would be the logical targets of this unknown entity. And, as Ayako has repeatedly noted in her production diaries, all the leaders are male, same as the scientists earlier. Which wouldn’t be that annoying, except that even in 1972 there were a fair number of women in both politics and the sciences. And that the male dominance is carried throughout the series.
Back to the show…
The speaker introduces the representative from Scandinavia, who is the gentlemen later known as –wait for it- President Anderson. He calls the mecha a “Robot Stegosaur” and says that, like all robots, it must be controlled by human beings. Which kind of goes without saying, but these guys are probably nervous. Anderson goes on to say that they don’t know who the Stegosaur humans are or what they want. The robot may come back, and international terrorists may be the ones responsible. (Guardians of Space being translated in 1985, this was an eminently reasonable conclusion.)
One of the other delegates addresses Anderson (first time we hear his name) and asks who the terrorists might be. (Presumably he means their group affiliation.) Anderson replies that they don’t, and not even Interpol knows. This sets up a murmur around the table that, “Interpol doesn’t know?” Considering that Interpol acts as an international criminal clearing house (among its many, many other services), this surprise is understandable. Also considering that information exchange between Interpol and non-member countries can be problematic, the lack of information regarding Galactor is also understandable.
Anderson, in reply to various queries, admits that the best they can do is wait for the Stegosaur to attack again, as they are completely in the dark about the matter. Than another voice speaks up.
“This is not the work of terrorists.” The man standing has brown hair, a moustache, rimless glasses, and lousy fashion sense. We all know who he is. And he looks pretty darn young in this shot.
Anderson asks, “Dr. Brighthead, what do you know of this?” He sounds worried, but there is no doubt in his voice that Brighthead may definitely know something.
Dr. Brighthead: “It’s the work of Galactor.”
Murmurs of: “Galactor? Who’s that?” etc., etc., travel around the table.
Brighthead clarifies. “Galactor is not a human being. He’s an alien from space who has come to conquer the earth.”
Anderson, instead of calling the funny farm, asks: “Where has this Galactor established his base?”
Brighthead doesn’t have that information. And, whether because of ignorance or, more likely, not to cause panic, he doesn’t suggest that there might be more than one base. (Although anyone with half a brain would know to build more than one. And their opponent would figure out that they did so.)
A representative points out that the base could be anywhere on the planet. Brighthead’s reply? “G-Force will find it.”
Anderson asks, “What is this G-Force?”
Brighthead: “Secret organization.” (Make the team sound bigger than it is, why don’t you?) “Five young agents. They’re all smart, with good backgrounds in science. They’re tough, and they all can fly.”
End scene. Considering that no one’s called for a straitjacket yet, Brighthead must have quite the reputation. It can also be pointed out that “young” is a very loose definition, and Brighthead didn’t clear up the specifics of the team’s ages, instead moving on to their qualifications. And just because Anderson asked what G-Force was doesn’t mean he didn’t already know; he could have been asking for the other attendees’ benefit.
Scene opens with a familiar wristband and two blue-gloved hands pulling at a lever. The scene widens to a shot of a very familiar blue, red, and white plane flying.
Okay, what’s the ceiling on the G-1’s civvie mode? It’s flying above some hills, and there’s wisps of clouds below. Some of the hills look more like mountains, and they’ve got white stuff on top.
Back to the show…
Ace, in civilian mode (and who looks so darn young in this shot) answers his communicator: “This is agent G-1. I read you, Dr.”
“Good morning, G-1. If you’re ready for a little action, the radar has picked up an unidentified flying object headed due north.”
The scene cuts to the interior of some kind of communications station, with vid screens. Ace is on one of the screens. (Um, where’s the camera? Is there one in his plane?)
Ace makes a little ‘huh’ noise. “Do you think it’s the Stegosaur robot?” At this point, I hoping that this is an indicator that Brighthead briefed the team on the Stegosaur before it showed up again.
Brighthead says he’s certain it’s the robot. How? Either he has great intel or he’s psychic. He continues: “Time to transform, Ace, and get G-Force aboard the Phoenix!” Umm, aren’t there rules about using real names over covert radio lines or something?
Ace: “Roger!” For some reason, he then dives the plane down to almost water-level before pulling up again. It does look dramatic, but I’m pretty sure the resident pilots on the BotP mailing list would think such a move pretty stupid. Plus it’s unnecessary.
Hello. light show! Honestly, though, the transformation sequences are one of my favorite things about this show. They are just so cool!
“This is G-1. Transformation complete!”
Brighthead: “Good, G-1. Now, calling Agatha June, agent G-3-“ aren’t there rules about names and war radios “-on the coast highway.”
Brighthead: “Aggie, you rendezvous with Hoot Owl.“ Names! “He’s on his way up to the surface and should be breaking water any second.”
G-3: “Yes, he’s here now!”
It’s the Phoenix, currently minus its nose and one of its tailfins. G-5 has his extend-a-seat up, and is flying from the bubble dome on top. (I’ve never figured out where the controls are when he does that.)
Brighthead: “G-5, Hoot Owl!” (Names…!) “Rendezvous with G-3. She’s abeam of you!” Let’s see: definition of ‘abeam’ courtesy of an online dictionary: “at right angles to the length and directly opposite the centre of a vessel or aircraft.” There’s no indication of how close G-3 was to the center of the Phoenix, but G-5 did turn the Phoenix 270° before picking her up, so I guess they used the word properly. Points for them.
G-5: “Roger.” Steering the Phoenix into position: “Here I come, Aggie, ready or not!”
As the docking procedure begins, there’s a shot of G-3’s face from below. I swear, she looks like a twelve-year-old girl headed for Halloween, not a 16-year-old science expert soon to be kicking Galactor tail.
G-5: “Hold on tight, Aggie, I’m going down to get Pewee!”
G-3 (sliding down the tube): “Okay!”
G-4 is picked up. I sometimes wonder if he’s the easiest, both because the G-4 can fly itself and because the clamp can get a good solid grip. But since I never took advanced physics, I wouldn’t know.
G-4: “Okay! Pewee, G-4, is here! Where’s the action!?” Flips himself down the tube.
G-5: “If you mean the heavy action, Pewee, it starts now. We’re picking up G-2, Dirk Daring.”
The pickup. This can’t be easy. And who thought up this pickup method, anyway? Sheesh. Anyway, Dirk climbs up his tube.
Dirk looks rather young here, as well. The whole team has the look of people who’ve trained like crazy but haven’t hit the field yet. Here’s their chance. They’re probably not nearly as worried as the older –and more experienced- Brighthead must be.
Pause for a minute. About Brighthead talking them, more or less, through the hookup –which, to do it that well, they’ve obviously practiced many times before: On the one side, he looks like a worrywart, on the other, this is the first time the team’s done this to go into battle, and Brighthead’s probably more worried than he lets on. Since he doesn’t continue to do it, I’ll give the benefit of the doubt.
Ace sees the Phoenix. Apparently he’s been listening in, since he knows the others are already aboard. He maneuvers in and docks. Then G-5 descends into the cockpit, his chair moving down and forward, and takes his place at the main flight controls. We don’t get to see how G-1 gets to the cockpit, this time.
Hootie: “That does it. All present and accounted for!” Why couldn’t Eagle Riders do the crew check so well?
There’s a nice pan-over of the team here. Aggie’s and Pewee are standing slightly back and Hootie, of course, is at the controls. But Ace and Dirk are the most interesting in terms of positions showing personalities. Ace is standing at attention, while Dirk has his left hand on his hip, the cape on that side pushed back, he’s leaning a little so that most of his weight’s on his left leg, and he’s got our favorite ‘cranky Condor’ expression on his face.
Brighthead welcomes the team back aboard the Phoenix –makes sense, since they would have been training- and gets down to business. The Stegosaur has disappeared from radar, so they’ll have to find it on their own. That’s not as crazy as it might sound. Presumably, calculating the mecha’s last known position, direction, and rate of speed would give them at least a ballpark idea of where to look. You know, all the stuff Zark never seems to be able to do?
Brighthead: “Your mission is not to fight. It’s to find Galactor.” Anyone taking bets on how long before fulfilling order B will mean disobeying order A?
The other GoS theme: triumphant tenor trumpets.
Aggie and Ace discuss whether the mecha will show up. Aggie says, “Ace, you want to find that giant robot so you can engage it combat, don’t you?”
“Sure. I’d like to crush it to pieces!” Then, realizing what he’s said, “Uh, no! I take that back!”
Aggie gets the giggles.
Hootie: “Hey? What’s that down there?” There’s a really weird and big disturbance in the water.
Pewee’s clacking his bolas (the red-and-yellow ones). “Hmm. The sea and a monster. That’s weird-” He’s interrupted by Ace.
Ace: “Hootie. Submerge.” It’s to be noted that when giving orders, Ace tries to make his voice deeper. Fortunately for the viewers, he gives it up fairly early in the series.
They dive. After a few minutes, they enter a tunnel through an underwater cliff.
Hootie: “I think this is an underwater passageway leading to one of Earth’s secret defense bases.” Put this down to Brighthead making sure the team was well-informed. I just hope the base on the other end of the tunnel is well-informed as to whose side the Phoenix is on!
So there’s the giant Robot Stegosaur tearing everything up. It knocks over some 1972-style rockets (or are they missiles?) and a voice says, “There goes our shuttlecraft!” Give them points for trying to sound 1985-modern. And anyone want to explain why something with lasers is smashing things apart with its legs? The smashing could cause damage to the hitter as well as the target.
So the team emerges and sees the base… And who got there first.
Pewee: “Look! We found the Stegosaur robot!”
Dirk (his first lines of the series): “Yes, and he’s smashing the Earth base to smithereens!”
More explosions, more destruction…
Dirk: “I can’t watch this anymore. Let’s get down there and help out!” What were the good Dr.’s orders?
Ace : “Hold it! Dirk, you can’t disobey orders!” Hello, this is G-2 we’re talking about!
(Honestly, Ace must have figured out that Dirk can and will disobey orders he doesn’t agree with within about two minutes of them starting to train together.)
Dirk: “It’s an emergency, Ace. We’ve got to get into that steel reptile and blow the thing all apart immediately!”
Ace: “Our orders are not to engage in combat but to locate Galactor’s headquarters. As you may remember. Hootie, you get us out of here before we’re spotted and blown apart!”
Dirk: “I hope you’re making the right decision, Ace!”
Ace (worriedly): “I hope so too, Dirk.” Making sure the orders you’re following make sense is always a good thing. G-2s tend to be good at that even when ignoring said orders.
Aggie: “Ace, the Stegosaur Robot, headed right for the city!”
Pewee’s watching the smaller screen on the control panel in the center of the bridge. “That poor city! It’ll be totally destroyed!”
Aggie (firmly): “Ace, you and I have to get inside that monster robot.”
A shot of just how close Steggie is to the city.
Aaagghhh! Cardboard boxes…
Hootie: “Why risk your life, Aggie? I’ll go with Ace.” He generally rubs his face that way when he’s feeling emotional.
Pewee (looking downcast): “You’re needed here. I’d better go.”
Aggie (even more firmly): “That ship is carrying uranium and I’m in charge of dangerous substances.”
Dirk: “Look, why don’t we blast that flying reptile from the sky with our Bird Missile!?!” Raise your hand if you’re surprised. Frankly, I’m surprised it took him this long to bring it up.
Ace grabs Dirk’s wrist. “Hold it!” There a small and short struggle.
Dirk: “What are we waiting for?!”
Ace: “Hootie, get as close as you can to it.”
Dirk (smiles): “The two of us will fly there!”
Ace: “No, Dirk. Aggie and I. She’s right about dangerous substances.”
Hootie sneaks up right beside the neck. Since all of Steggie’s detection equipment stupidly seems to be in the head and facing forward, this is probably as good as anything.
Ace: “G-Force!” (I file this under first-mission nerves.)
Aggie: “Fly!” (See above.)
So Ace and Aggie take a flying leap. And who designed the Swan gear, anyway? Sheesh.
Ace: “Into that ventilator shaft.” Is this just stating the obvious, or just making sure they’re headed for the same landing zone?
The Phoenix gets its shiny -and highly obvious- tail outta there.
That vent shaft was WIDE open, no grill or no-thing. Shoddy construction, anyone? Talk about asking the birds to come in and set up housekeeping. Wait. Forget I said that.
Congratulations, you two are the first Galactor soldiers to meet G-Force. Your prizes are a fist and a yo-yo.
The second soldier almost gets the drop on Ace, but Aggie nails the green goon. (I think they would have covered ‘watching your back’ in Battle 101…)
Aggie’s standing there humming as her yo-yo goes up and down.
Ace: “Nice work, Aggie! You may have saved my life with that yo-yo.”
Aggie: “You owe me one.” Is she flirting? She might be flirting…
Ace: “Sure do.”
Aggie sheathes the yo-yo. Flying – almost straight up, from a standing start- she says, “Ace, I’ll look for the uranium up here.”
Ace: “I’ll look for it down here.” That is quite the downward leap.
After a few TV-minutes of poking around, Aggie lifts a hatch and finds herself in Steggie’s (very big) laser room. “Wow, that’s some laser! It’s aimed through the monster’s eyes… That’s how they navigate!” Considering we can’t see her talking –the shots are from above and/or behind- they weren’t matching mouth movements. So why couldn’t they have her say that the lasers are aimed through the navigation system in a slightly more understandable way. And as for routing the main weapon –aka high attack receiver- through the navigation system… I’m not going there.
Ace seems to be in some sort of storage room. If the uranium isn’t here… where is it?
Aggie starts playing with the laser’s wiring system…
The Phoenix is still flying around. It flies within range of the viewscreen on the Stegosaur
On the bridge of the Stegosaur:
Evil Galactor Captain with the Silly Outfit: “That must be part of Earth’s Defense Forces.” (You have no idea.) “I’ll teach them not to interfere with the attack force of Galactor!”
We see one of the laser-outlets aiming.
EGCwtSO: “Heh. I’ll blast those Earth defenders from the sky with Galactor’s Invincible Ruby Red Beam.” Some things just declare themselves capitalized.
Over to Aggie: “I’ll just switch these wires around a bit…”
Steggie’s bridge: The Phoenix is in the crosshairs.
Back to Aggie: She closes up the panel on the laser and hightails it.
Back to the Steggie’s bridge: The EGCwtSO pushes his red button. Three guesses as to what happens to the laser.
EGCwtSO: “Hey, there’s something wrong with the Invincible Ruby Red Beam!” (Thanks goodness for copy and paste.)
Switch to Ace opening the –is hanger the right word?- the big spiral door in the floor. Apparently the Phoenix has been called, since it seems to be on an approach course.
Pewee: “They’ve done it!” Don’t jump to conclusions, kid.
Hootie: “Great! Fasten your seat belt. We’re going in!” And he takes the Phoenix right in. And lands in the bay.
Do I even have to get into the idiocy of landing in unsecured enemy territory?
G-2, G-4, and G-5 leave the Phoenix –IN ENEMY TERRITORY!!- and manage to look really cool as they land.
Ace: “We’ve check out the ship thoroughly. No uranium.” Since he’s not chewing them out, I’d say he the idiot who called for them. At the very least, not chewing them out shows tacit approval for the current moronic situation.
Hootie: “So we went through all this just to spin our wheels.”
Ace: “No! Aggie did a great job of disabling them! Now let’s clear out of her before we get ourselves into trouble.”
Pewee: “Gee, I think we’re turning back at the half-way point-“
Maniacal laughter echoes through the bay. The EGCwtSO has figured out that he has intruders. Considering this is not that long after the laser blew up, this gives him an 8 on the Galactor IQ scale. (Most goons get a 1. Maybe a 2, if they run away as soon as the team shows up after this. And yes, Katze’s a 10.)
Cue the big, dramatic music.
There are lots of green goons pointing guns down at our heroes. The camera pans over to the EGCwtSO.
Ace: “Galactor’s men.” I’m guessing the uniforms gave it away. “Those guys are human!” Probably cheaper to recruit locally than ship in from out of town. Or the solar system.
Pewee: “Good! That makes our job easier, doesn’t it?” It depends. But with Galactor, usually, yes.
Dirk is taking in the situation.
Ace: “The alien has humans helping him.”
Dirk: “Ace, we now have no choice but to disobey orders!”
Ace (cheerfully): “You’re right, this time.” Um, yeah, you ‘have’ to disobey orders because you got yourselves into that freaking situation by disobeying orders! At the very least, the Phoenix and G-2, 4, and 5, should never have come aboard in the first place! And if there were a Zark, I’d bet he’d be getting on G-2’s case for ‘recklessness’, never mind that G-1’s in charge and hadn’t opposed the ‘recklessness’ that led to this.
EGCwtSO: “You kids took some chance. You took some chance invading Galactor’s mighty robot. Who are you brats and why are you dressed in those strange bird-like costumes?”
Ace (deeply and dramatically): “There are five of us, but at times we fly as one.”
The team gets into Tornado Formation. I can forgive the Galactor for not stopping them; this is the first time encountering the team and a people pyramid is not a normal battle formation.
Ace continues: “We guard space and defend the earth from attackers from space!”
Pewee: “We fight for justice throughout the Milky Way!” Considering he’s ten and trying to make an impression, I think I can forgive him the hyperbole.
EGCwtSO: “Your name?”
Ace (still deeply and dramatically): “”What’s our name? Our name is G-Force.”
EGCwtSO: “So you’re G-Force.” This implies that Galactor has at least an at least reasonably adequate intelligence service at this stage. Enough to find out about something originally super-secret that was announced at a international council less than two days ago.
Pewee: “G-Force! We’re a tornado!” Wings spread, in a suitably dramatic for the first time fashion, they begin to spin.
I expect the Galactor soldiers to look confused. First time seeing this maneuver, after all.
EGCwtSO: “Hey, cut off that wind-!” Wrong thing to say. G-Force’s formation flies apart and they start kicking Galactor tail. I wonder why pink circles of light come appear when the Swan lands on a soldier? Special effects?
Never could figure out why G-2 impacts his target (on the chest) with his knees here… But Pewee uses the same move, so there’s something behind it- FORGET I SAID THAT!
After Hootie slams two soldiers into the wall, the whole team flies up to the next level –a really cool shot that’s used in the Guardians of Space opening sequence. It’s accompanied by the Gatch theme!
Ace knocks two soldiers down. They fall to the lowest level, then out the open door in the floor.
Pewee and Aggie take out some soldiers.
Dirk pins a soldier to a wall with two feather shuriken near the collarbones, and punches the goon 1, 2… five times. We see a close-up of his face through his helmet; he’s really –if somewhat grimly- enjoying this.
Hootie picks up a soldier and tosses him at two others. Not only does it take them out, but it continues to slide and takes out two more.
Ace is punching green goons down left and right. Two goons start firing at him, and they’re a little too high to just clobber. Out comes the boomerang; the throw takes out four of the goons. And, thanks to the magic of the zoom button, it’s pretty clear the boomerang did directly contact their throats.
EGCwtSO split the scene long before. He’s groveling before a viewscreen with a pointy-eared purple-clad figure on it. We know who that is, by any name.
EGCwtSO: “I beg your forgiveness, Great Galactor. “
Galactor: “And so you have failed.” Um, how? You got the flipping uranium. Was there an order to defeat all forces sent against Steggie?
EGCwtSO: “Yes sir. How shall we deal with these kids called G-Force?”
Galactor: “Ah. I shall consult Computor.” From the looks of it, Galactor is currently at his headquarters, since he is able to go directly to Computor’s ‘audience room’.
When I was first watching this series years ago, I remember wondering if Galactor was as ‘in charge’ as he thought he was, and if Computor was as subservient as he made out. Maybe Computor simply tried a different ‘control’ tactic from what Sosai and the Luminous One employed. I also remember wondering if Galactor was really an alien, or just thought he was. (Computor was a given.)
Galactor (bowing): “Computor, our humans have not been able to defend the Stegosaur against G-Force.”
Computor (in a suitably synthesized-sounding voice): “This I predict: G-Force will be the greatest obstacle our planet faces in the conquest of Earth.”
Galactor: “More than Earth’s armies?”
Computor: “More. G-Force agents are young but their power is great. Enough to ruin our plan.” No one has told Computor the agents are young, but he knows this. This indicates that Computor can receive telemetry from the Stegosaur -and presumably other mechs and, by extension, bases. The ‘power’ comment makes one wonder if he recognizes something about the uniforms and/or the tech G-Force is using.
Galactor: “I shall destroy the ship the Stegosaur. She’ll go down to a watery grave, and take G-Force with her!” UH-oh…
Now we see a view of Miss Steggie flying above the clouds. The head launches.
Ace sees this and orders the team aboard the Phoenix to pursue.
EGCwtSO (In Miss Steggie’s head): “Huh. Alright, G-Force, you fly like birds, let’s see you fly out of this. I set the timer back there in the main section of the Stegosaur. In just a few seconds it’ll set off an explosion. Goodbye, G-Force!” Cue maniacal laugh.
Considering that we see the legs of the team running in front of the bomb’s tiny alcove as this monologue is going on, he must have set it by remote control –except it doesn’t look like a remote-control bomb. I suppose he could have set it once he saw his side was losing, in anticipation of Galactor’s orders –which says lots of interesting things about Galactor’s organization.
Hootie’s smart; he doesn’t even bother to sit down before initiating the sequence to get the Phoenix going.
Apparently the EGCwtSO didn’t just start the time bomb; he also seems to have set the engines to shut down on a delayed cycle and the irising floor door to start closing at the same time the engines went out. Unless those were delayed actions activated by the removal of the Stegosaur’s head from its body.
The Phoenix slides across the bay floor and collides with the wall.
Ace: “We didn’t clear! We’re trapped in the Stegosaur and going down!” No duh. You wouldn’t have this problem if you’d had the Phoenix wait outside in the first place.
Hootie doesn’t bother talking. He starts pushing buttons to move the ship so they can get out.
And the port nacelle gets stuck in the closing door.
Ace: “We’re stuck! Hootie, convert the ship to Firebird Mode!”
Shocked looks all around.
Dirk: “Ace, you know what can happen if we do that!”
Ace: “I know, Dirk. The ship can blow itself apart under the great pressure that builds while she’s transforming. But what option do we have?”
They’d have a bunch more 'options' if he’d used some common sense earlier. And for something so dangerous, they sure wind up using it a lot.
Shot of the port nacelle.
Ace: “The ship’s caught. To remain here… means we sentence ourselves and the Phoenix to certain destruction. We must convert to Firebird Mode.” Why are you arguing with them? You’re in charge; order the change. Mark didn’t have any problem ordering the transmute to Fiery Phoenix.
A shot of the Stegosaur tumbling to the sea. This would mean the ship and the un-seat-belted team would tumble to. No sign of that when the shot switches back.
Dirk: “Firebird Mode.” He pushes a lever all the way up.
Hootie: “Firebird.” He pushes another lever.
Ace tells Hootie to push the lever to the red zone.
The gauge for the Firebird levers hit maximum at the same moment the time bomb runs out.
Next we see pieces of Steggie hitting the ocean.
EGCwtSO laughs gloatingly. Suddenly he’s like, “What in thunder’s going on over there?”
It’s the Firebird, giving out its call.
We hear Ace’s voice: “We did it, gang! Firebird Mode!” As the Firebird circles, than hovers, Ace continues: “Galactor, watch out! G-Force is alive and well and on your trail!”
Close with a shot of the Firebird against the sunset.