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83) Web of Danger ( Gatch #84 Smog Fiber, Spiderweb Iron Beast) by Candi Gomez
83) Web of Danger ( Gatch #84 Smog Fiber, Spiderweb Iron Beast) by Candi Gomez
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Story Notes:

Unknown names are phonetically spelled.

G-Force: Guardians of Space tends to mix real and fake place names, depending on the episode.

The show opens to a scene of a ruined city, with a ragged and starving populace. With the sight of an empty well and the sound of dark forlorn music, Dr. Brighthead, as narrator, begins:

“In the country of Velornica, at the base of the rugged Saramac Mountains, there was a terrible shortage of food and drinking water. Thousands of lives had been lost, and thousands more would perish if the drought and the famine were to continue. The once bustling cities of Velornica had been almost totally by the desperate inhabitants, who were roaming the countryside in search of food. That pleased Galactor.” As he says this, the camera pans over a dry and barren landscape, with crows roosting in skeletal trees.

I can see how a starving, desperate citizenry would be an easy target for the ‘comforts’ and ‘relief’ an organization like Galactor would offer, in spite of what would be demanded in exchange. This part always upsets me; so much pain and suffering.

‘Busy’ music, so you know something’s going to happen. There a shot of an octagon building.

Brighthead: “As a result of this emergency, we at the Institute of Science (IS) arranged for food, water, and medical supplies to be flown into the poor country in special transports, in all-out effort to save the starving population.” Trucks are loading supplies onto huge transport planes

Galactor’s not going to like that.

The cargo planes take off. The captain on the lead plane sees a ‘strange’ cloud formation ahead, but in the interests of time, decides to go through instead of around it. His co-pilot reports ‘maintaining course’. I’m wondering if these guys slept through the part of the briefing concerning potential Galactor involvement, or if such involvement was even part of the briefing.

A weird black round mech with four legs and a tail appears floating in the strange black clouds.

The co-pilot announces this, and that the thing’s coming their way. The captain wonders what it could be. (It’s episode #83 in the GoS lineup. Surely he should have a clue?!)

The big black round mech launches lots of little yellow sub-mechs as the clouds clear and we get a good look at it.

Deep, ominous music plays.

Yellow rays shoot out from the mechs and link up to form a web.

One thing I never got: Why would the lines making up the round part of the web be curved? Linking up with the straight ones would bring on the webbing look anyway. How does an energy beam curve as its being fired? Methinks the artists might have been having fun.

Skipping the details, we end with some blown up and crashed planes and very dead human pilots. No robot pilots or Zarking here!

I think that’s part of the reason I liked Guardians of Space so much. There’s much less ‘talking down’ to the audience then on others shows at the same time. It showed that when there’s war on, people do die. Even civilians. And the good guys do make mistakes, and the bad guys do sometimes get the upper hand. Lessons that can be learned from any study of history.

Back to the show.

On the mech, there is a black-haired, black-garbed man, with an eye patch. He’s cackling like a loon. “They ran right into my trap!” he gloats.

The PDOS, aka Galactor, appears on a telescreen. Eye-patched loon asks him what he thinks of the “Smog Spider”, asking if it was all the Purple Villain anticipated. Galactor says it is, and addresses Mr. Eye-patch by name.

His name has a distinct space between the two syllables. It’s pronounced … wait for it… Dr. Say Ten.

Oh boy.

When I first watched this, I thought it was just another corny name on the lines of Goodheart, Brighthead, Daring, etc., chosen as an ‘opposite’ name to Brighthead’s. But after reading that in Gatch he was Dr. De-mon…

Galactor gets uncharacteristically gushy, going on about how he will add the weapon to his arsenal and pay Dr. Evil… Say Ten handsomely for his work. (Question: who funded the work in the first place?) Purple-pointy-ears than goes on to mention how Dr. Devel can now take revenge on Dr. Brighthead for what he did to Dr. Satin.

This results in a shocked gasp from Dr. Say Ten (I guess he hadn’t told PDOS about that) and we see an image of Dr. Brighthead. Dr. Demon snaps, “That none of your business!” And have I mentioned how whiny his voice is?

Dr. Beelzebub says that Dr. Brighthead has nothing to do with his device. Galactor tells him he’s wrong. Purple Villain says he will only buy the Smog Spider if Dr. Darkness lures Dr. Brighthead to a meeting, ostensibly to tell him how it works. Galactor is counting on the fact that the G-Force “brats” will come with Dr. Brighthead, and Dr. Wicked will be able to take pictures of them. Now, why would the team be out of uniform? Well, this is after The Sinister STAR-ONE (Gatch #31 Plan to Assassinate Dr. Nambu), and Galactor may have figured that the young man who accompanied Dr. Brighthead at that time may have been a G-Force member, and is hoping for something similar here.

After Galactor signs off, we get an internal monologue of why Dr. Say Ten is annoyed with Dr. Brighthead. Dr. Creep and Dr. B were both considered for an unspecified position by the IS Council, and Dr. Evil felt he was more qualified –but Dr. Brighthead got the job. The scene shows Brighthead standing in a spotlight while next to him a younger Dr. Say Ten’s in shadow. Dr. Say Ten’s a little peeved with how things worked out, feels humiliated in the ‘eyes of all the scientific community’, and has somehow reasoned that that gives him the right to work with Galactor (who he apparently despises) and all that implies. He’s got the “I’ll show you!” attitude down pat.

Dr. Say Ten takes off his eye patch (and we get to see that his eyelids seem to be sealed shut) and puts a little camera in the space. Putting it back, he checks that it works. (How often do bad guys do that!?) He puts it on, and we see a little gleam.

Commercial break!

Under da sea base and the aptly-named ‘fish parade’. (I didn’t come up with that.)

You know, it occurs to me that this base seems to have a lot  of big, mostly empty rooms. With underwater construction being as difficult as it is, and having to import supplies from the surface (although they could process oxygen from the sea water), you’d think they’d maximize usage of space.

Back to business.

Inside, Brighthead holds up a high-tech audio tape, saying, “This is a tape recording of a telephone conversation I had with Dr. Say Ten earlier today. It was monitored by Institute Security.” He inserts the tape into a high-tech cassette player.

Interesting implications here. Are all calls to and from the Institute monitored? If not, why not? And are all calls recorded? Or is there a protocol for which would be recorded?

Aak! Cardboard box backbeat.

Playing the tape:

Dr. Brighthead: “Brighthead here.”

Dr. Say Ten (very snotty): “It’s been a long time, Doc-tor B. How are you?”

Dr. Brighthead turns his back to the player and the team.

B: “Dr. B? Only one person every called me that –Say Ten, is that you?!” Well, only called him that to his face, I bet.

S: “That’s right, Doc-tor. I’ve got to see you immediately. I have information concerning the crash of those emergency transports. I’ll meet you at 10:00 at the North Bay Airstrip. You must promise to come alone!”

Since the sun is setting when Dr. Brighthead leaves, I’m assuming Dr. Lucifer means 10:00 pm, it’s summer (May or June?) where the underwater base and North Bay Airstrip are.

It’s interesting to note that Dr. Say Ten specified that Dr. Brighthead was to come alone. Was this so he could say, “I didn’t see anyone and couldn’t take a picture?” A possible motive for the ‘come alone’ specification is given near the end of this episode.

Back to the tape:

Brighthead (sounding depressed): “Very well. You have my word.” As this plays, the camera pans the doctor’s face. He looks as though he’s upset and holding it in.

As the tape clicks off, Brighthead speaks to the team. “I wanted all of you to hear this conversation so you’d understand why I’ve got to go by myself.” He turns and walks away.

Ace raises a hand as though to stop him. “It’s a trap, Dr. It must be!”

Dr. Brighthead reaches the door. “Dr. Say Ten and I were friends once. I have no reason not to trust him.”

Ace: “But you haven’t seen him in a long time!”

I’m with Ace on this one. Especially since this is well after the Van Allen plan, when Ace got conned by his old friend Sandy (Sabu in Gatch) into looking for his dad just as Galactor was getting ready to launch the big nasty missile.

Brighthead: “Dr. Say Ten wants to help us, Ace. Besides, I’ve given my word.” He leaves the room.

Seeing the honorable leader about to get splatted by the dishonorable bad guy is always painful.

Dirk and Ace turn to each other. The look they exchange is of the we-both-think-he’s-being-an-idiot variety. With a little let’s-protect-him-from-himself thrown in.

Cut to a shot of Dr. B’s legs walking down a hall. He approaches a little submermissile; someone left the trunk open.

Still with the cardboard boxes. I think it’s supposed to encourage dramatic tension, but it’s just annoying.

The Dr. heads out. I hit the slow button here a few times to get the full effect. As Brighthead leaves the itty-bitty dock, five bird-people silhouettes leap into the trunk. Then Brighthead remembers to close it. Fortunately, before he leaves the underwater base.

The trip isn’t that long. The doctor gets to see a beautiful sunset.

The submermissile opens, and a cute little blue car comes out. Dr. Brighthead is driving.

Hootie is clinging to the roof.

Ace and Dirk are clinging to the back of the car’s trunk. Dirk has one hand supporting Ace’s left shoulder. Ace has his left hand holding onto the base of the car’s bumper, inches from the ground.

Pewee and Aggie are in the trunk. And not looking too happy about the quality of the shocks.

There’s patchy cloud cover as the car arrives at the airfield. (Much bigger than Ace’s.) The sunlight is fading and the main source of light is the car’s headlights. Dr. Brighthead gets out, then looks back and forth.

Would they quit with the cardboard boxes already!

Overhead shot: Hootie is still on top of the car, starting to slide off to the side opposite the Doc. Ace and Dirk are behind the car. If the doctor had looked behind him, he’d have seen them. Methinks someone’s been spending way too much time behind a desk.

Dr. Brighthead walks slowly forward. He stops and looks back and forth again. (Not behind him, though.) Suddenly he hears Dr. Say Ten.

“Welcome, Dr. Brighthead!” Dr. Satin is hidden in the shadows to the side. He continues sarcastically. “How nice to see an old friend after all these years. The only reason I’m giving you this information is because of our old friendship, Doctor. Those planes were brought down by a new weapon. It creates a huge web of electronic current in midair.”

Cautiously, Brighthead asks, “What’s the name of this new weapon?”

Dr. Evil replies smugly, “I call it the Smog Spider.” He approaches to stand almost nose-to-nose with Brighthead. “That’s right, Dr. Brighthead, it was my invention that caused those planes to crash!”

Brighthead looks both startled and concerned, but manages to speak calmly. “I can’t believe my ears. The Say Ten I knew would never have done such a thing.

“Yes, but I wasn’t working for Galactor as I am now.”

Poor Brighthead looks like a bomb just hit him; he can barely speak. “What?” he whispers.

I believe it is obligatory that when a former good guy is working for a bad guy, they cuss out the bad guy in private, but act all proud of the fact when talking to other good guys. That’s certainly what Dr. Spider is doing as he says, “Galactor is the only one who has shown proper appreciation of my work.”

Brighthead steps forward to put his hands on Dr. Devel’s shoulders. He is earnestly trying to persuade Dr. Diablo he’s wrong: “You’re a genius, I’ve always known that! But putting that brilliance to work for a fiend like Galactor is wrong. Surely you must know that!”

Dr. Say Ten isn’t having any of it. He knocks Brighthead’s hands away and gives the obligatory Evil Cackle. “If you believe that, you’re more of a fool than I thought, Brighthead!  You’ve chosen your side and I’ve chosen mine. There is no right or wrong!” More bad guy justification. And Ace just ran by in the background. Dr. Shaitan like a cigarette. “All that really matters is who wins.”

“You’ve changed more than I thought.” The neutral tone of voice Brighthead uses here fits.

Dr. Asmodeus noticed Ace dashing by. In that poor light, with one eye. Anyway… He thinks: So he’s brought those young fools along after all. His eye patch gleams.

Dr. Brighthead is looking severely disappointed, but he snaps out of it when Dr. Say Ten barks: “You’re a hypocrite, Brighthead!”

Brighthead (unsurprisingly) is astonished. “Why?” he growls.

“I thought I could trust you, but you lied to me.” Dr. Beast tosses his cigarette in the air. It explodes and lights up the area. A flare in disguise. Sneaky.

The team –in civvies- are standing in a loose line behind Dr. Brighthead, thoroughly exposed in the light. They all gasp in shock.

What a pretty portrait this will make, thinks Say Ten as he twists his eyepatch.

Dr. Brighthead realizes the danger. He turns to the team: “Watch out! He’s about to take your picture. He’s got a camera hidden under his eye patch!” Brighthead stretches out his arms in a futile blocking effort.

The team leaps and backflips out of the way. But Dr. Belial gets in one shot. “You’re too late. I’ve already taken your picture.” He throws a small bomb.

“Dr., watch out!” Ace shoves Brighthead out of the way just as it explodes.

Ace, shocked, is supporting Dr. Brighthead. There is thick smoke all around.

Aggie: “Are you two all right?”

Ace: “Yeah, we’re okay.”

Hootie: “His smoke screen worked. He’s gotten away.”

Pewee: “What’re we going to do? Once he develops that film, he’ll know who we are. He’ll know our real identities!”

Ace realizes something (that I think he should have suspected from the first). “It was a trap. But it wasn’t set for you; it was to trap us!”

Brighthead (sternly): “You shouldn’t have followed me, but you saved my life.” He looks to the distance. “Say Ten’s working for Galactor. Now we must try to find a way to beat him and that Smog Spider of his. The people of Velornica are starving. We’ve got to try to help them.”

Cut to a Galactor control room, with the PDOS standing behind a couple goons.

Galactor (impatiently): “Say Ten should have transmitted that picture by now. What is taking him so long?”

Goon: “It’s being transmitted now, sir. We’ll have it in a minute or two.”

Galactor: “Dr. Say Ten is an excellent agent, and he has not disappointed me yet. Now we shall see what they look like.”

So Dr. Say Ten is a Galactor agent? But he was going to sell the Smog Spider to Galactor. Maybe the Acrid Arachnid was a side project?

The picture comes out of the high tech fax. Galactor picks it up: “WHAAAAAAAAT!?! These are the members of G-Force!?” I think Dr. Moloch’s picture taking skills may be lacking. (Evil grin.)

Finally the cardboard boxes stop.

Cut to Ace. Everybody’s in a big metal room, (probably in the underwater base) looking depressed.

Ryu, trying to sound optimistic, mentions that they can’t be certain the photograph was any good. “Maybe there’s nothing to worry about.”

Ace is punching his fist into his left hand. “I knew it was a trap; we went anyway. It’s my fault.”

Brighthead joins in. “I’m to blame as you are, Ace. I trusted him.” And it looks like he’s giving Ace an awkward one-armed hug here.

Aggie points out that if they hadn’t been there, there’s no telling what would have happened to Dr. Brighthead.

Galactor cuts in with a transmission. I’m of the theory that while he can send video and audio, he can’t receive video unless there’s a camera in the room he can control. That would explain why he doesn’t know what the team looks like already. Lack of control over audio would explain why sometimes the team can make sarcastic comments to Galactor’s performances that the PDOS obviously doesn’t hear.

Galactor: “Welcome to this special edition of The Galactor Show, ladies and gentlemen. And a special welcome to our viewing audience at the Institute of Science, Dr. Brighthead and the members of that well-known group of bunglers known as G-Force. It gives me great pleasure to announce the winning entry in our photo contest! G-Force has won a trip to eternity!” He fades out.

Dirk grimly observes: “So Galactor does know what we look like.”

“Which means that he can find us any time he wants to.” Hootie is depressed. Aggie’s not happy either.

Sad music.

“In that case, we’ll have attack first.” Brighthead sounds grimly determined.

I should note here that, throughout the Guardians of Space series, Dr. Brighthead often acts as much as a parent to the team as a superior. Though Ace is the only one who is canonically raised by him (since the age of four), the interactions between the team members (especially Ace and Dirk) and between the team and the doctor suggest long familiarity and friendship. In other words, Dr. Say Ten threatened Brighthead’s kids, and as Ghost Owl noted in her review of “Spectra Space Spider”, threatening a predator’s young is… not a good idea.

Back to the show…

Ace says they can’t do anything until they defeat the Smog Spider. (Which none of them have even seen at this point.) Brighthead has an idea.

Commercial break!

Brighthead voice over: “When I learned that Dr. Say Ten’s Smog Spider used electronic energy as a destructive force, I coated each G-Force vehicle of electronic film that would protect it from an electrical charge as high as 60000 volts.” While he’s saying this, we see Dr. Brighthead spraying the G-4 buggy, then zapped with electricity, presumably as a test of the ‘electronic film’. And the gauge for the test does read 60000. (No dodgy science to try to explain how it works. Which I appreciate.)

As Dr. Brighthead is finishing the buggy, the hi tech phone on the wall rings. “Brighthead here.” Ah, consistency, even in something as small as answering the phone. ;p

Voice on phone: “This is Anderson. The Council has decided that in spite of the recent attacks, the emergency airlift to Verlornica will continued as scheduled.” There is a quick shift to Anderson’s office. “We expect G-Force to do everything in its power to blast Galactor’s new weapon out of the sky as soon as we resume transporting the supplies. Let us know when G-Force is ready to proceed. They’ll lead the convoy to Velornica.”

Brighthead: “Very well, sir.” Something about this scene gives me the distinct feeling that Dr. Brighthead has not told Anderson about G-Force’s last photo opportunity. I can’t think of a reason why. (sarcasm)

Brighthead’s office. He’s addressing the team, who are in birdstyle. “Mr. Anderson says the council has decided to go ahead with the emergency airlift.” Everyone but Aggie looks surprised. “G-Force will lead the convoy and destroy the Smog Spider if Say Ten attacks. Your vehicles will withstand a charge of  60000 volts, but the Smog Spider may produce more than that, so you’ll have to work quickly.

“As you know, thousands of lives are at stake, so get moving and good luck!”

“Roger!”

Jet fighters and convoy planes taking off. The Air Traffic Controller tells them to follow the Phoenix.

Stock shot of Phoenix flying.

Aack! The cardboard box back beat is back!

Galactor is yelling at Dr. Say Ten on the telescreen, yelling about how he wants those planes and G-Force destroyed and what is Say Ten waiting for?

Say Ten assures Galactor that they don’t stand a chance against the Smog Spider. “You’re the one who’s let G-Force get away so many times, not me.”

Galactor (predictably) throws a hissy fit. He calls Say Ten a ‘fool’ and says that if the dr. doesn’t finish G-Force, he’s finished.

Say Ten fades out from the telescreen without replying, which really ticks off Galactor. “Perhaps I should finish him anyway.”

Happy trumpets!

Ace asks Aggie how the convoy’s doing. She replies there’s no trouble so far. Hootie points out that there’s some fairly heavy cloud cover coming up. We’ve seen those clouds before.

Ace: “What’s the altitude of those clouds, Dirk?”

Dirk (cheerfully): “No problem. They’re up at 30,000 feet.”

Ace: “There’s no point in risking the convoy. Take us down, Hootie, we’ll go underneath them.”

“Right, Ace.” Hootie grins and descends.

The jets are descending.

The transports are descending.

‘Mecha is about to appear’ music is playing.

The team get their first view of the Smog Spider as it emerges from the clouds.

Aggie speaks up, saying they need to warn the convoy.

Wasn’t G-1 the commanding officer for the trip? Without instructions, the jets peel off and attack the Smog Spider.

Ace turns on the radio: “This is G-Force Agent number 1 with a message for all convoy transports. Break formation and head for Velornica. Say Ten will be too busy with us to be worried about chasing you.” Valid assumption, given Galactor’s obsession with destroying the G-Force team. And I’m sure the team is going to make sure that Say Ten’s too busy to mess with the convoy! “Get moving, you guys, and good luck. G-Force out!”

Radio reply: “Thanks, G-Force, and the same to you!”

Ace orders Hootie to ram the Smog Spider. Hootie asks if he means it. Yes, Ace does. Hootie grins. “Hold on, gang!”

Meanwhile, the jets are getting slaughtered. And the web’s not even up yet!

On board the Smog Spider, a goon reports the Phoenix attacking. Dr. Devel smugly mentions how he’d love to see Brighthead’s face when he learns that it’s been destroyed. Dr., ever hear the saying about counting chickens?

On the Phoenix, Aggie reads the range-to-target as 100 meters. Ace tells Hootie how to do his job.

Say Ten launches the little yellow mechs, calling them ‘spinners’.

Hootie: “Won’t be long now.”

Ace: “Stay at full power, Hootie!”

The electric web forms.

Ace: “Pull up Hootie. Now!”

Hootie (with effort): “Right, Ace!”

The Phoenix gets entangled in the web and starts to crack.

Ace: “Those fibers are supercharged, all right, but the Phoenix can take it!” Sure, that’s what all those cracks and smoking consoles mean? “Pewee, go get your shuttlecraft ready! Hootie, follow as close as you can!”

Hootie: “Roger, Ace! Good luck, you guys!"

“Hold on, everybody, here we go!”

Commercial break!

My vote! “Shuttlecraft’ beats “Space Buggy” as a name for G-4’s vehicle.

Pewee’s shuttlecraft leaves the Phoenix. Using its sawblade, (which must have been treated) it cuts through the electric fibers. The Phoenix, hot on its tail, punches a hole in the Spider. And for this scene to work, the G-4 vehicle must have sawed through right ahead of the Phoenix.

The look on Say Ten’s face is priceless.

Pewee squishes a couple of goons as he lands. The dome on the Phoenix opens, and out comes trouble!

Say Ten somehow made it from the control room to the bay where the Phoenix is hanging out. Ace gives the obligatory “You’re finished now” speech.

Say Ten: “I don’t know how you managed to get through my electronic web, but you’ll never leave here alive!” Um, maybe they got through because you told Brighthead how it works? And a LOT of Galactor captains have said that last line.

Ace: “I hope you don’t mind if I disagree!”

Dirk: “He does!”

Yes, I know it’s silly, but it’s funny too. J

Gatchaman music and fight scene!

Ace clobbers goons.

Aggie clobbers goons.

Dirk smashes goons.

Pewee mows down goons by the dozens! I bet that use of the G-4 didn’t make it into BotP!

Aggie is grabbed from behind by one goon as another attacks from the front. She kicks the approaching goon, than flips over the head of the goon that’s holding her and clobbers him, too! You go girl!

Is it just me, or does G-2 come up behind goons a lot during a fight? You’d think they’d be more careful. >:)

Ace thrashes some more goons, including tossing one like a bowling ball into a rank of other green guys.

Hootie: “As usual, I’m the one who has to stay behind and guard the ship while everyone else has all the fun.” Considering that the current location of the ship is very high off the ground and stuck in an enemy mecha, having someone on board is a Very Good Idea. Hootie notices something. “Hey!” He calls Ace, telling him he noticed Say Ten headed for the control room. Not that they know exactly where that is yet, but it’s a safe bet considering.

Ace thanks Hootie and takes out a few more goons. He then calls to the others, telling them Say Ten’s in the control room: “Let’s get him!”

G-2, G-3 and G-4 in his shuttlecraft follow him. G-4 smashes right through the door and the wall.

Say Ten is shocked. G-1, 2, and 3 jump down to his level. Say Ten pulls a gun.

Ace tosses his boomerang with a “Bird Fly!” It hits the gun, but Say Ten was already pulling the trigger. The bullet hits Aggie’s communicator.

Quick question: The bullet hit the bracelet on the side with the yellow panel, not the catch. So how’d it knock the bracelet off?

Aggie detransforms. The guys are shocked.

Say Ten: “I believe it’s time to take another picture.”

Ace and Dirk move in and spread their wings, hiding Aggie.

I wonder, could the reason Aggie didn’t dodge or otherwise move be the shock of energy from the unexpected detransformation?

Pewee apparently doesn’t like Say Ten’s effrontery, knocking him upside the head and on the wrist with his blue-and-white bolos.

Dirk and Ace give Aggie a boost up to the catwalk so she can duck into the G-4.

Pewee: “Dirk, the transpower band!”

Dirk: “Got it!” He flies up.

Ace confronts Say Ten. “All right, Say Ten, it’s all over. Now show me where the self-destruct button is!”

Say Ten: “Sorry, but I’m not that stupid.” So many words, so little time…

Ace: “You were a good man once, Say Ten. I don’t know what happened to change you, but now I’m giving you a chance to make up for what you’ve done by destroying the Smog Spider yourself, understand?”

A calm, contemplative look is on Say Ten’s face. “Dr. Brighthead’s lucky to lead a group of kids like you. If things had been different I would have been your leader, not him. But fate dealt him the winning hand.” He closes his eye.

SAY WHAT!?! G-Force’s leader…! Excuse me for a moment while I scrape my jaw off the floor…

We don’t get to see Ace’s reaction to this news.

An image of Brighthead appears in Say Ten’s mind. And finally, Say Ten appears to give up and let go. He reaches into his suit jacket.

“This is for you. It’s a copy of the photograph I took the other night at the airstrip.”

Ace looks at the photo, and his jaw drops.

“In one minute, the Smog Spider will self-destruct.” Satin pushes a dial on the wall. “Go on, son, get out of here.” The timer is ticking down. Sad music plays.

Ace’s voice is thick with emotion as he orders his team, “Abandon this doomed ship!” But he doesn’t move.

Dirk calls urgently, “Let’s go! C’mon!”

Dr. Say Ten lowers himself into a chair at the control center. “Say good-bye to Dr. Brighthead for me.”

Dirk: “Ace, get outta there!”

Ace finally flies after the others.

Say Ten whispers, “You win after all, Brighthead.”

Scene switch to the underwater base, Brighthead’s office. Dr. Brighthead is looking out the window. A picture on the doctor’s desk falls.

The noise attracts Brighthead’s attention. He turns, startled, and we see the fallen picture is of him and Say Ten shaking hand, evidently taken in better times. A crack runs down the center between the men.

Back at the Smog Spider, the Phoenix yanks its way free and zips off, moments before the self-destruct explodes. Say Ten’s last cry can barely be heard over the explosions as the Smog Spider falls from the sky.

A staticky screen with colored bands tells Galactor Say Ten has failed and G-Force wins again. Grabbing his head, he grumbles, “There must be an easier way than this to conquer the planet Earth.”

Scene switch to the Phoenix parked on the ground, with the team outside watching the last of the Smog Spider’s explosion –and Aggie is still in her street clothes. While the guys are in uniform. Way to protect your secret identities, guys.

Aggie replaces her wristband. “There, now I feel like a member of G-Force again!” Thankfully, her tone indicates she’s joking.

Pewee is leaning against Ace, commenting that any picture Say Ten might have taken of Aggie must be long gone by now. “But he did take that other photograph. What about that?”

Ace moves away, making Pewee wobble off-balance, then smacks the copy of the photo Say Ten gave him on Pewee’s visor. “Here, take a look for yourself, Pewee.”

The team crowds around Pewee to see the photo. They start laughing. The photo is of their legs and feet. They jumped out the way too fast for the camera!

Pewee shreds the photo and tosses it to the wind. “There!”

Dr. Brighthead as narrator: “The airlifts of food and supplies to the poor country of Velornica continued. People were saved. And for Galactor, the space alien who would have loved to see the planet Earth with no people at all, this was a sad day indeed, thanks to G-Force!”

Say Ten’s statement that he might have been the leader of G-Force instead of Brighthead raises an interesting point. Just because Brighthead raised Ace, and probably the rest of the team, did not mean that, by default, he would be their official leader as well as their guardian. He had to earn that position. And Say Ten seems to have been the runner-up, and have had a hissy fit and turned traitor because he didn’t get that position.

The rest of the team’s reaction to Say Ten’s reappearance after ‘a long time’ are too nebulous to analyze, but it’s worthy of note that Ace, at least, needs no explanation of who Say Ten is, and to have some idea of what he’d done in the past before joining Galactor.

The team is very considerate of Brighthead’s pain in dealing with Say Ten. This rather is to be expected, since by now they’ve dealt with Lindsey (G-2’s friend who turned out to be a cyborg), Sandy (Sabu in Gatch, G-1’s backstabbing little friend), and G-3’s motorcycling boyfriend who turned out to be a Black Hawk captain. (I don’t know his name off-hand.) The three elder members know what the doctor’s going through.

There’s also the part about Galactor wanting no people (presumably Terrans) on earth at all. There are so many possibilities opened by that statement.

I remember wondering why a planet wanting to conquer Earth would want so much ‘local’ help. I was just getting into science fiction at the time, and after a while I realized that, logistically, it made more sense to send a select group of invaders and a LOT of scientific/technical/military data, and work with what they had when they got there. I wonder how much the Turner writers were thinking of Battle of the Planets. And if this is how Galactor’s home planet handles colonizing, they have major issues.

The thing I liked best about this episode is the development of the doctor’s character. He is no statue on the pedestal, but a human being, just like those he commands, and as such can make mistakes.

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