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Ace From Outer Space by Grumpy Ghost Owl
Ace From Outer Space by Grumpy Ghost Owl
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Battle of the Planets remains the property of Sandy Frank Productions and Tatsunoko Productions. This work is a review of an actual episode. All views and opinions expressed are those of the reviewer. The recipe is genuine and has been tried and tested by the writer.


EPISODE REVIEW: ACE FROM OUTER SPACE


Before we begin...

This was a very silly episode. I mean, they all are, I know that, but this one was extremely, excessively silly. Now, if you're the sort of person who gets upset or angry at huge, gaping plot holes the size of a medium family sedan and inconsistencies like cheap instant porridge, then I would strongly advise you to go and surf into the Filk Jokes page instead or go visit Carolyn Kaufmann's site or Veronika's Fanfic Archive because you're really going to hate this.


YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.


Zark introduces this episode in the manner we have come to know and detest. He claims to be "burning the midnight oil... to design and supervise construction of our new starship!" He burbles on aout how wonderful it is to "let your imagination soar!" And at this point I make the very cynical observation to myself that, excuse me, Zark, but aren't you a glorified pocket calculator and wouldn't you be a lot more useful making my coffee?

My pleasant reverie (the thought of Zark being converted to a coffee machine) is interrupted by Susan and I think that sometimes anthropomorphism really can go too far. The two glorified pocket calculators flirt for a moment efore Suz cuts to the chase to say she's seen a strange starship heading towards them from the hostile -- take note, people: hostile -- planet of Urgos (which sounds like a fungal infection) and it looks like, "an old-fashioned biplane."

Obviously, aerodynamics have come a lot further since my day.

In a leap of heretofore unparalleled lateral thinking, Zark in his wisdom immediately concludes that this starship, whose point of origin has just been given as the "hostile" planet of Urgos is probably on its way to the big air show. Remind me never to ask a robot to pick my Lotto numers. HELLO?!

Zark continues to burble about how interesting it's going to be to have this old fashioned biplane mixing it with the new stuff, and Susan warns him to keep an eye on it. She thinks something doesn't seem "quite right."

I think that Zark should buy a copy of the Oxford Dictionary to go with the Encyclopaedia Brittanica I recommended when I reviewed "The Space Serpent," so he can look up the meaning of the word, "hostile." I really think that would help.

We cut to "The Big Air Show" in question and Zark, in voice over, dribbles on about how of ALL the pilots in the Intergalactic Federation, MARK (in uppercase) has been selected to test the new Space Patrol Scout, designation XF-97, a faster than light fighter, and I think the Federation's Quality Control Department is a bit slack if they can't test the bloody thing prior to showcasing it at a flipping air show!

We see Chief Anderson and Mark, the latter all kitted out in a flight suit and what looks like an old fashioned motorbike helmet.

"It's all up to you, now, Mark," says the Chief, emphasising to the audience that Mark is the Hero of the Piece.

Mark takes off, and trusting to the beta version of the aircraft performance manual, given that this is a test flight, raises the landing gear way too soon for safety (if I were his instructor I'd send him back to the club house at this point to re-sit his Flight Safety exam) and tootles along.

Enter the "strange starship" and from the music we can tell that Suz was right and Zark was wrong, wrong, wrong, and whoever the dude is, standing on top of this souped up biplane (and it's an ugly biplane, might I add, without a hint of the elegance of some of DeHavilland's designs from the 1940s...) he is the Evil Dude du jour and he isn't here to buy souvenir T-shirts. He probably doesn't need any souvenir T-shirts, come to think of it, since he already has some pretty lairy gear on, including a flour bag over his head that someone has scribbled a face on with magic marker.

Mark mustn't be able to hear the background music through his second hand motorcycle helmet because he continues to tootle along on a collision course with this thing, utterly baffled and totally ignoring the airmen's convention of veering to the right (and the seamen's convention of steam giving way to sail) as he holds his course. He makes absolutely no attempt at taking evasive action, and I think to myself that whatever Chicken Boy is on, I wonder could I get some because it's obviously taking care of any requirement he has for stress relief, here.

The Evil Dude du jour (hereinafter referred to as EDdj) utters an EDdj line and, hey, everyody, it's Keye Luke! Anyway, these tentacle/whippy thingies come out of the ugly biplane's wings and they like whip around and still Mark doesn't think to take evasive action, and the tentacle/whippy thingies chop the wings clean off Chicken Boy's new toy.

Great flying, Mark. Of ALL the pilots in the Intergalactic Federation, YOU were selected to test the XF-97, and you couldn't even manage a balanced turn to get out of the way of the EDdj. You idiot.

Now we cut to a shot of Princess and Keyop clenching their fists in profound irritation. As you do when your friend / colleague / potential significant other / big brother figure etc is knocked out of the sky in an untested aircraft y an EDdj with an ugly biplane that has tentacle/whippy thingies coming out of its wings. No, really, that's what it looks like: irritation. I guess some people have trouble expressing their feelings, although Princess does wail, "Mark!" in a manner incongruous to her body language.

So, while the audience wonders what has happened to Chicken Boy, the EDdj trashes the rest of the aircraft at the air show, managing to get all sorts of otherwise non-flammale materials to blow up very conveniently. (The fuel tanks are in the WINGS, Mister Evil Dude... aim for the WINGS.)

After several seconds, we cut to Mark, who has bailed and is parachuting in to the drink. Oh, well, Chicken Boy, now you can join the Goldfish Club*.

Mark's communicator chirrups and it's Anderson asking if he's okay (that's all right, Chiefy, you take your time, sunshine) and Mark makes the stunning inference that we have a new enemy to deal with. Damn. And here I thought it was Avon calling.

The Chief at this point allows himself a dramatic pause before announcing (dramatically), "It's Captain Doo-oooom!"

Intriguingly, Jason picks up on this and knows who Captain Doo-oooom is! (He's a space pirate -- cringe! -- from Planet Urgos... yes, Urgos. The "hostile" planet Urgos.) Now, if Jason knew who Captain Doo-oooom is, and Mark didn't know who Captain Doo-oooom is, then may we surmise that -

(a) the gunner has been doing his homework;
(b) the skipper hasn't been reading his operational bulletins (bad Chicken Boy! No cookie!); or
(c) both of the above?

but back to our story: Tiny opines that Captain Doo-oooom looks "weird." I agree. He does. He looks very weird indeed.

Four out of five G-Force members are dispatched aboard the Phoenix to see off Captain Doo-oooom, aka EDdj. With Mark treading water, Jason is able to press the big Red Button without being manhandled by his commanding officer (about whom I worry, sometimes, just between you, me and the gate post!)

The missiles, however, to Jason's chagrin, are ineffective. Our weird, flour-bag-over-the-head-wearing EDdj with his weird, largely unattractive biplane fail to explode, fall down, go boom, or otherwise combust in any way, shape or form. The tentacle/whippy thingies emerge once more and wreak havoc with the Phoenix, slicing off the rudder, which, if you've studied Bernoulli's theorem, basic physics or any kind of fluid dynamics at all, shouldn't make a lot of difference in the scheme of things because that rudder is so small there's no way it could be an effective primary control surface for a machine the size of the Phoenix, but this is beside the point.

Our heroes observe that Captain Doo-oooom has "a force field." Captain Doo-oooom/EDdj gloats in true EDdj fashion and the biplane transforms into an equally unattractive and inelegant jet. Nice trick if you can manage it. Tiny calculates that the jet must be doing Mach 8 and I sit up straight in my chair because Tiny pronounces "Mach" correctly, which, I have to admit, surprises me. (For those who aren't as anal as I am, Mach was this Swiss guy who first calculated the speed of sound and velocity units equal to multiples of the speed of sound are named after him. His name is not pronounced "Mack" because he was not Scottish, but "Mah-ckh" because he was Swiss, and Tiny said it just right.) Mach 8 is very, very fast. Way faster than could be considered safe, especially in a built up area. In fact, if that jet were doing Mach 8, it would have been out of sight so fast we wouldn't have had time to see it go. Really.

Anyway, back to our story: Mark watches the alien jet allegedly doing Mach 8 (yeah, right) and says, "You'll see us again, Doo-oooom!" to which Princess adds, "Only if Tiny can land the Phoenix without a rudder!"

Sensible girl.

Now we find ourselves looking at a circle with little coloured granular things.

That's novel, I think to myself, then we see that what we are looking at is what Chief Anderson is seeing through his snazzy ride-on microscope! And I think, sheesh, the poor guy, he's got no time for a lawn, which means he can't have a ride-on mower, so isn't it nice he's got a ride-on microscope to compensate?

"This is fantastic," he says (and I think, yep, he's definitely over-compensating for the lack of a ride-on mower.)

From the Chief's enthusiasm, Mark deduces, "Then the scientists were able to get a sample out of the smashed rudder," which explains very neatly what those little coloured granular things were that we were looking at, earlier. Chief Anderson goes on to explain how it's some kind of metal, and it appears to be INDESTRUCTIBLE.

rincess asks how they can fight against an indestructible metal and I think that's a really good question. I also think that maye Dei could help us out here because if that metal is indestructible then how come fragments came off of it when it chewed through the rudder? And what do you use to work an indestructible metal to turn it into a really unattractive inelegant biplane and/or those tentacle/whippy thingies we saw earlier?

Tiny surmises that someone has to know where it comes from. Chief Anderson says he thinks it comes from an asteroid that wandered into our solar system from another galaxy (and here I gag on my tea) and was captured by the Planet Urgos (this is the Hostile Planet Urgos, you will recall) so only Urgos knows... Mark suggests An Heroic Mission (good for you, Mark!) Tiny points out that it will be hard to find one itty bitty asteroid, but Chief Anderson chips in with the information that Zark has pinpointed an unidentified oject, two hundred million miles beyond Venus.

Now, people, just keep that in mind for the next couple of scenes, okay?

The Chief hesitates to send G-Force because it will be an impossile task, and they'll be defenceless against the most deadly weapon they've ever seen (and at this point I find myself thinking of that other Chief, portrayed by the late Edward Platt, who told Maxwell Smart that he'd be in constant danger, to which Max invariably replied, "And... LOVING IT!") when there's so little chance of survival.

Tiny says, "You don't haveta ask: we volunteah. And we'll suhvive!" Tiny, dear, all the MSG from those spaceburgers is going to your head. (Either that or he's been watching too many Bugs Bunny cartoons with Keyop.)

"If you feel that way," says the Chief, "all of you, I won't try to stop you, and you have my blessing." (Gee, that's big of ya, Chiefy.) "I just wish I could give you something more than words."

At this point, it's a shame nobody retains the presence of mind to ask for a raise.

Cut to a close up of the Phoenix's exhaust. Zark rattles on about setting the dooverlackies to thingyo and the hoozamafoozles with the wacoo or some such nonsense. He tells us that the Phoenix is clearing the solar system and going to time warp. Now Zark says that trying to find an asteroid in the vast reaches of space is harder than trying to find a needle in a haystack, so he blithely suggests G-Force goes to Urgos as, and I quote, "they might have it right there!"

Now, remember what I asked you to keep in mind, earlier? That part about how Zark -- the selfsame Zark -- had PINPOINTED an oject some two hundred million miles out from Venus?

All right, now those of you experiencing frustration, anger and rising blood pressure were warned earlier that this might happen, so you only have yourselves to blame. Go and make a cup of tea, take a deep breath, then decide whether you want to continue or not.



INTERMISSION:

The next time you are entertaining on a winter's evening, try this easy and delicious dessert -

Apricot and Peach Crumble with Curacao Cream

Take a 400g can of pie apricots and a 180g can of sliced peaches with no added sugar.

Place in a baking dish and stir through half a cup of raw sugar and some curacao or other orange-flavoured liqueur (you can use liqueur or essence -- any alcohol will evaporate during the baking process)

In a mixing bowl, rub 125g of shortening into a cup of wholemeal self raising flour, then add half a cup of rolled oats and half a cup of long thread desiccated coconut. Mix well. When mixture reaches a crumbly consistency, spread over the fruit mixture and bake in a moderate oven for 20 minutes or until topping is golden brown.

Begin to whip 300 ml of fresh chilled whipping cream. As the cream starts to thicken, gradually add four tablespoons of curacao or other orange-flavoured liqueur one spoonful at a time and continue to whip the mixture until soft peaks form.

Serve the crumble hot, topped with chilled curacao cream. This quantity will give you ten to twelve serves, just right for that special dinner party with friends. For family meals, halve the quantities and serve with vanilla ice cream instead of curacao cream for the children.




WE NOW RETURN YOU TO YOUR SCHEDULED PROGRAMME:


Ignoring all prior information, G-Force descends over what is purported to be Planet Urgos. From this high altitude, it looks suspiciously like Florida to me. The thought that The Hostile Planet Urgos could resemble Florida horrifies Tiny, Jason and Princess, who get brief close ups so we can see how horrified they are at the idea. Maybe their retirement plans involve a villa in Miami? Quite possibly, because Keyop finds the concept so disturbing he sputters and gurgles and pumps his arms so hard, his helmet falls forward over his eyes.

I'm glad none of the Hostile Planets in this show resemle Perth, because then I might get even more upset than I did over that whole Serpent/Earwig debacle from Episode 3.

Zark provides actual relief from everyone looking horrified by directing G-Force to turn on their infrascanners, and then, mercifully, signs off by wishing them good luck.

We see what looks like a cross etween a gas bottle regulator and the dials on my oven going daft, and Mark says that if their laser printout is correct, then their scanners have spotted something. He points to a large "X" on a contour map. He exhorts his team to check it out, and his lips continue to move as Tiny's voice says, "Goin' dahn."

The Phoenix descends over a large, craggy mountain, and a hole opens up in a crater.

Now, you know and I know from experience, that when holes open up in craters in mountains, it can't be good.

"Jackpot," says Mark. At least someody's happy.

Inside the hole in the crater in the mountain is a missile battery, and interestingly, it fires the same missile at the Phoenix twice. Another nice trick, if you can manage it. It would be a lot easier to stay within budget if you could just keep re-using the same missile like that, don't you think?

Tiny takes evasive action -- are you paying attention, Mark? This is what evasive action looks like, laddie. A near miss has Tiny turning on black smoke and descending in a steep arc, presumably to fly below the Urgosian radar or whatever the equivalent is supposed to be.

As the Phoenix nears the ground and levels out, Mark, Princess, Jason and Keyop hurtle out of the belly hatch and glide down to the mountainside.

This ploy appears to fool the locals, as an Urgos goon, who bears a striking resemlance to any numer of Spectran goons, tells the EDdj that the enemy ship has been destroyed.

The EDdj is chuffed at this, and declares, "Now we're going to be the conquerors of Earth, instead of Planet Spectra!"

I find the fact that he says this in Zoltar's voice vaguely disturbing.

After the ad break (and the great thing about paying extra for commercial videos is that you don't have ad breaks, albeit you can see where they are meant to go) Zark grizzles about wanting to be off "battling alongside" G-Force. I can see how that would work... not. He then spouts some drivel about how some people say that robots don't have emotions, but when his linear transducer gets worked up, it's "a real feeling." And don't you wish he wouldn't? I don't know if you can tell, but I don't much care for these Zark interludes.

We cut to Urgos/Hostile Florida and we see G-Force sprinting up the mountain to get to the rapidly closing hole. Mark urges them on, and they leap inside with less than a second to spare.

The music director cues the menacing music at this point as we are given a look down some scary old mine shafts. Clearly, Urgosian architecture is in one of those "retro" phases.

It's interesting that we are shown the mine shafts from an entrance in the side of the mountain... an entrance which would not have required the dramatic race into the disguised crater... but there you go.

Now we are inside the crater looking up where five shadowy figures hang, not unlike bats, from the roof. They drop down into the deserted missile silo.

At this point, Mark, in a fit of assertiveness, wonders what to do now.

Keyop helpfully suggests they "Sock it to them," to which Jason says, "Down, boy." He then does a rather unbecoming thing and suggests they send Princess and Keyop back to the Phoenix, as "this is dangerous."

Now... five minutes ago, this might have been a viable suggestion, but in case you haven't noticed, Jason, the door has closed behind you... or above you, if you want to get picky.

Princess deals with Jason's chivalric idea by coyly suggesting they send him back, instead.

By now, Mark has come up with a plan (he's not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he's cute, so we'll forgive him.) Mark and Princess go one way; Jason and Keyop the other.

Mark and Princess sneak down a corridor, and we see the back end of a goon. Mark declares that they will "put him out for an hour," and rushes forward. We don't get to witness the actual strike, but we (and the censors) are assured that the by now rather limp goon will regain consciousness about the same time that the Channel Nine News comes on so not to worry.

Mark and Princess peer over the guard rail into some kind of shaft that has Christmas Tree lights at the bottom. Mark decides he wants to get a closer look and directs Princess to cover him. He manages four whole rungs of the ladder and declares, "So far, so good."

Gee, someone is really starved for approval, wouldn't you say?

Mark descends further down the shaft, managing not to congratulate himself every few rungs now that he's got that first bit out of his system.

As Princess watches from above, looking winsomely anxious, several wicked-looking gun muzzles protrude from the walls of the shaft. Princess cries out, "Mark! Behind you! MOVE!"

With lightning fast reflexes, Mark gawps over his shoulder with a "Duh," expression on his face (proof that he lacks listening skills -- are you paying attention, Princess? because a man who doesn't listen is not going to make you happy, sweetie.) Mark then swings upside down from the ladder and lets fly his sonic boomerang, which shears through the muzzles of the guns as he leaps to the bottom of the shaft. He lands and throws up one hand, catching the returning boomerang in a pretty flashy move, without looking up (show off!) Mark then straightens up, checks to make sure Princess was watching and tosses off a jaunty salute. His demeanour changes to one of near hostility as he mantles over his communicator and barks into it, "Jason! Check in and give me a run down!"

Fortunately, Jason is unperturbed by Mark's mood swing. He replies, "We've got some kind of generator," and we cut to a shot of Jason and Keyop standing looking at a weird but very large and impressive gizmo. "Whatever it is," he continues, "it won't be here much longer. We're about to put it out of business. Stand by. You'll hear the noise!"

"Watch this!" Keyop adds.

They assume their, "about to spring into action," poses, but before the aforementioned spring can be sprung, we hear Captain Doo-oooom (aka EDdj) say, "Earthling fools! Did you think you could invade the planet of Urgos without being observed by our forces?"

Now, I think that's a valid question and one worth the asking. Legally speaking, G-Force's presence on Urgos could well be interpreted as an act of war... a not entirely unjustified act of war, given that EDdj did in fact start it by giving Mark a ducking and sending the aviation industry into a flap from which it may well take years to recover seeing as virtually all insurance policies exclude "acts of war."

"Your presence," continues EDdj without waiting for Jason or Keyop to answer his question, "was detected the moment you arrived! And now, fools, you shall pay for your invasion! Throw down your weapons!"

In response to EDdj's demand, Jason and Keyop acquiesce with surprising ease, but then Jason mutters to Keyop, "be ready to move. Fast."

Keyop pulls his cape close around himself and folds his arms across his chest. "All... packed!" he says.

We cut back to Mark and Princess, who are standing in the middle of a large, deserted room which looks like a cross between a set from "The Time Tunnel" (hands up who's old enough to remember that show?) and the "Famous Faces" board from "Sale of the Century." It's basically empty save for an entire wall made up of flashing coloured rectangles. So I have to ask, why build an entire room for this equipment when a perfectly good mech duct would have done?

Anyway, Mark surmises, "This looks like an important unit," and he asks Princess to figure out what it does. Princess says she can try. She goes up to the panel and jiggles her head, just like a peregrine falcon when it locks its focus onto some poor luckless pigeon that doesn't have a clue it's about to die.

Mark obviously has very high expectations of Princess, because after the first head-jiggle, he's saying, "I hate to push, Princess, but --" and by the way he trails off just before he glances over his shoulder and says, "Uh-oh," we know that Something is about To Happen!

The music kicks in with a rise in pitch and tempo, confirming beyond dout that Something is indeed about To Happen.

When the Something Happens, we see that it is the arrival of no less than three rather nasty preying mantis mecha. Mark gallantly stands between the mecha and Princess, then he does some flashy leaping about before he and Princess do the Whirlwind Pyramid thing and make good their escape.

The preying mantis mecha are obviously running on Windows 3.11 because they continue their attack and smash and do in the big panel with the flashing coloured rectangles, which fall down and go, "boom!"

Back up the ladder in the shaft go Mark and Princess (Mark going first since Princess is wearing a skirt and everyone knows the Rule is that if you're wearing a skirt you're first down and last up any ladder.) Halfway up, Mark has another Gallantry Attack and offers Princess his hand, which she takes. And she wonders why Jason suggested she go back to the Phoenix...

Right... now, those of you who don't like the incomprehensible, the inexplicable, the inconsistent and the silly should probably go read some fanfic at this point or make a cup of tea, because you're not going to like the next few minutes... look, why don't you go and try out the recipe? It's really quite good.

I say again: YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Mark and Princess continue their ascent of the ladder and suddenly Princess' focus shifts eyond Mark (okay, I take it back, she does have some functioning brain cells this episode) and she exclaims, "Captain Doom!"

Now, the last time we saw Captain Doo-oooom, he was telling Jason and Keyop how they were going to pay for their invasion. Now, he's here... What, does this guy have like a really short little attention span or something?

Anyway, Doo-oooom stands menacingly (of course, he's the Evil Dude du jour!) at the top of the ladder, his long scarf fluttering in the breeze -- WHAT? Oh, GAWD, we're trapped in a Bee Gees music clip! AAAAAAAAAAAAGH!!!!!
Okay, okay... it's not a Bee Gees music clip (hands up who here is old enough to remember the Bee Gees?) We're indoors, and this guy has a scarf that's fluttering in a nonexistent breeze. Right. Okay. obviously, on Urgos they build kick ass air conditioning systems... so let's just get past that...

"Now I've got you!" cries Captain Doo-oooom. "And for the damage you have caused, you shall pay dearly! Prepare yourselves!"

I wonder if he'd accept Visa?

No?

Oh, well... The music goes mad with menace and tension as Captain Doo-oooom plies his whip to cut one of the ladder supports, then one of the rungs, leaving Mark swinging precariously by one hand from the shattered remains of the ladder, and Princess swinging precariously from Mark's other hand.

"I am bored with this game!" Captain Doo-oooom declares. "It is time to end it! Farewell, Earthlings!"

Mark glares up at Captain Doo-oooom and tells Princess they need her "pitching arm." Princess casts her yo-yo upward and it wraps itself around a section of the guard rail at the top even as Captain Doo-oooom's whip cuts through the remaining portion of the ladder, sending it tumbling to the floor below as Mark and Princess swing upward to safety.

Captain Doo-oooom's stance expresses surprise at the unexpected arrival of his intended victims and he raises his whip to attack again!

Cut to Jason and Keyop, who we last saw surrendering to Captain Doo-oooom and preparing to move fast. We've clearly missed something bloody because they have mysteriously come by some very nasty looking guns. They fire the guns into the generator gizmo we saw earlier. It blows up. Of course.

This sets off an alarm, which shouldn't surprise anyone.

Back at the ranch, Captain Doo-oooom stops in the act of cracking the whip and informs us that, "The main electron generator is about to blow!"

Mark uses the moment of distraction to spring into attack and knock the deadly whip from Captain Doo-oooom's hand. He seizes Captain Doo-oooom's lapels, only to find himself clutching at an empty jacket. He starts to run towards a tunnel entrance in pursuit, and I wonder, if our EDdj vanished into thin air, as Mark oserved earlier, then how does Mark know which way he went?

Sensibly, Princess calls Mark back, pointing out that the place is about to blow up. Mark comes to his senses and places a call to Jason and Keyop, giving the order to, "Rendezvous! Rendezvous! And move it!" He grabs Doo-oooom's whip and brings it with him as they head back towards the missile launcher, presumably so that Chiefy can amuse himself by looking at it through his snazzy ride-on microscope.

Jason and Keyop race into the still-deserted missile silo and Jason pulls the lever that opens the hatch in the mountain top to reveal the Phoenix ready, waiting and un-fired-at by the missiles beneath which Jason and Keyop are standing... and I'm not going to try and rationalise this, sorry, I'm all out of explanations... and there's worse to come, so if you've stuck with "Ace From Outer Space" thus far and you think you're just about at your limit, well... it's your call, but I'd suggest you go get some chocolate to fortify yourself at this point. (I found it to be very helpful.)

Jason and Keyop leap to the top of the missile launching mechanism, and thence to the belly hatch of the Phoenix. Tiny asks where Mark and Princess are, and Jason assures Tiny that the others are on their way.

ANY RESIDUAL LAWS OF PHYSICS ARE HEREBY SUSPENDED FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS EPISODE.

Have some of that chocolate now.

Mark and Princess run into the chamber and as they arrive at the base of the missile launcher, a giant crucible of some kind of molten metal hanging from the ceiling tips up and pours its contents all over the floor.

Yes, a giant crucible of molten metal... that noody noticed before... hanging from the ceiling of a missile silo that has active missiles in it.

There's no other metalworking or forging equipment present... no work benches, no processing machines, nothing... just the missiles... and a giant crucible of molten metal hanging from the ceiling.

If that's Doo-oooom's idea of an Urgosian burglar alarm, then
(a) it doesn't work very well; and
(b) can I have one, because it looks like fun?

The metal, which covers the floor and rises to a level totally out of proportion to the size of the crucible, splashes up against the side of the missile launcher, nearly frying Princess, who clutches at Mark's hand and wails that she's slipping.

I'm not going to go into the properties of metal, here. I'm not going to point out that when you tip molten metal onto a cold surface, it solidifies pretty darn quickly... I could, but I'm not.

Mark drags Princess to the top of the missile launcher, where she collapses for a moment, presumably overcome by the intense heat. Heroically (of course) Mark wields Doo-oooom's whip, which wraps itself around a convenient tie point in the Phoenix, and he and Princess are drawn up to safety.

Mark issues an order to Tiny to depart but the Phoenix refuses to start. Tiny speculates that the heat has jammed the lift system.

This on a command ship that goes to Fiery Phoenix in every other episode.

Mark resolves the problem by telling Tiny that, "It's now or never, Tiny!" and that makes everything all right because the engines light up and the Phoenix lifts off with less than a second to spare as an incongruous amount of molten metal proceeds to oil up through the hatch. That crucible must have been about the same size as the blimmin' mountain!

Cue Captain Doo-oooom, riding atop his unattractive biplane, back in classic Evil Dude du jour mode as he declares he'll be back, and that G-Force will yet feel the "lash" of his vengeance.

Which is a really, really, really bad pun.

Bring on the happy relief music as the Phoenix cruises at about fifty feet above an unidentified ocean at night, the full moon glimmering on her wings.

Zark, in voice over, dribbles crap about how dangerous this mission was and how he thinks he knows now how human mothers feel -- yeah, right, Zark, you wanna change some smelly diapers? Mark stands on the bridge, seemingly oblivious to Zark's drivel, staring at the coiled whip in his hand, then he tosses it out the belly hatch where it disappears into the water below.

?????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Let's just think back to all that stuff Chief Anderson was saying about not knowing what this metal was or where it came from, and Mark has just ditched the one and only decent sized sample they have of this stuff!

The fumes from the molten metal must have affected Chicken Boy's brain.

The Phoenix flies off into the Moonrise, which is very picturesque.

We cut to Zark and Rover. The former is rejoicing over the rescheduling of the air show and lamenting the loss of his "starship." Enter Princess, appallingly drawn, who tells Zark how "they" want him to rebuild his starship. She tells Zark he's a genius -- gag! -- and drops a kiss on top of his nasty little domed metal head -- aaaack! --

Genius? Don't get out much, do we, Prin?

Zark actually makes me glad that it's the end of this episode now by saying he's gone all tingly inside.

Aaargh!

Thank heaven, it's the closing credits...

Tea... gasp! I need tea...

THE END






* The Goldfish Club - those air crew who have bailed out under fire, parachuted into the sea, and survived. I believe it has its origins in the days of WWII among RAF and RAAF servicemen.



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