Our reprieve from a Zark opening is short lived, as this episode opens with Zark and more his nattering. Today, he's going on about how "we", the television audience, think he's lucky that he is stuck in Center Neptune all the time, wearing his "smart G-Force uniform" (he's got his own Birdstyle. Who authorized this? And do the taxpayers of Earth know how their money is being spent?!). And he goes on to mention that we, the television audience, think Zark is lucky because he's surrounded by all the "latest" technology. 7-Zark-7 apparently lives under the delusion that we actually want to be like him and he tells us we shouldn't think like that. We don't think like that. At least I don't think like that. Anyway, he's on this whole appearances are deceiving thing and then goes on about how much worry he has. Paxil, Zark. Paxil. Anyway, this rambling leads to Zark telling us that Spectra is about to rob a bank.
Next we see a bank. Only it's not a bank, according to Zark. It looks like a bank, but that's part of its security. This bank, which is not really a bank, houses all this gold that is the basis of the galaxy's economy. Next thing we see is a big, drill like mech type thingy popping up through the floor next to the vault. A door opens up and these little bitty robots come out. With a 1970's Barry White-esque mellow funk sounding music as the soundtrack, the robots break into the vault and steal the gold.
Apparently, the Barry White sound is also excellent music to rob banks to. I only thought it was good for one thing.
Next we see Mark, at his airstrip, reading a book. Zark contacts Mark, who replies, "Ears on, Zark. I read." (More of that CB lingo from the 70's.) Zark tells Mark that this is an emergency and he should report to the Phoenix. Mark runs out, gets into his plane, and takes off. Then we get the whole Transmute! sequence. Mark docks with the Phoenix, and then we see the others have docked with the Phoenix, but they're just getting out of their vehicles. We don't get to see them transmute, though. Bummer.
Once on the Phoenix, they are briefed on the situation by Chief Anderson (Dr. Nambu in Gatchaman, not the cigar smoking guy, who is named Chief Anderson in Gatchaman.). He thinks that the break-in was the result of an underwater ramming device mounted on a submarine. The bank is on an island and was built back far enough from the shore, but erosion has moved the shoreline closer to the bank. Whose idea was it to build a bank, which is not really a bank, that houses the galaxy's gold, on an island? And what were they on when they decided this? Wouldn't it be safer to build this bank, which is not really a bank, somewhere other than an island? But I digress...
Mark asks the Chief if there are any leads. Chief says that there were reports of an unidentified sub heading for the islands of the Piya Archipelago and there were reports of Spectran movement since the big heist. G-Force's assignment: To find the base and the gold, but more importantly, find the gold.
Princess remarks, "He makes it sound easy, but I bet he doesn't know that the Archipelago has over fifty islands in it." Jason says that it is easy. "Just look for recently disturbed trees." And then Tiny chimes in, "And grass skirts!" Then he goes on about the last time he was in the South Seas. "There was this native girl," he says. "Who did a hula underneath the palms in the moonlight. Just for me. Wow! Did she come on! Man, did she come on! "
At this precise moment, something crawled up Mark's backside and died. Commander Cranky Pants tells Tiny to "close his scrapbook and get us headed for Piya." I suspect that Mark is a little jealous because Tiny got some and Mark didn't.
The Phoenix goes flying along and Princess asks if anyone has seen any recently disturbed trees. Tiny replies, "Not even a recently disturbed hula skirt."
Note to Zark and Susan: What Tiny just said is how you do innuendo properly. It should not gross out your audience and make them cringe.
Next we get a bunch of shots of islands and water and after that, we're in the jungle.
Mark, Princess, and Keyop, dressed in their civilian clothes are walking around. Actually, they're doing that exaggerated tip toe through the jungle, which is not unlike the exaggerated tip toe that Shaggy and Company do on the Scooby-Doo show, which is even more funny, considering Casey Kasem, who does Mark's voice on this show, does Shaggy's voice, too. They go on about how many islands they've covered and all that stuff, implying that they've been at this for awhile. The Green Guys from Spectra pop up. They want to know what the three visitors are doing there. Princess tells them that they're looking for a home in the country. The Goons round up the three, who don't put up much of a fight, and take them to base.
Meanwhile, back on the Phoenix, Jason is watching a video feed of the other's capture. (How do they get video feed from a base they haven't found yet?) He contacts Chief Anderson and tells him that everything is going according to plan. Chief runs through the plan again to let us, the audience, in on it. Mark and the others are to stall the Spectrans while Jason and Tiny recover the gold. Chief asks if everyone is in sync. Jason replies, "In Sync." which makes me think of that dreadful boy band for a moment. Then Jason points out to Chief Anderson that the base doesn't look like a temporary installation. Jason asks if maybe they shouldn't surprise the Spectrans and knock out the base. Party Pooper Chief Anderson says no. He doesn't want to risk losing the gold or any members of G-Force. Jason argues that there is almost no risk if G-Force surprises their enemy. Chief still says no. Actually he yells at Jason for this. Maybe he's a bit ticked off at Jason for running out of missiles in the last episode?
Back at the Spectran Base, Mark, Princess, and Keyop are brought before the base commander, who is Bug Man/Brock from the previous episode. Only nobody calls him Brock and his voice has changed and he sounds kind of like Mark now. Bug Man wants to know how the three got to this base. Mark says that they told him the truth and Princess asks, "You want us to lie?" So they're going to be ethical and not lie while at the same time they give away their plans? Not a smart, move. Keyop has no problem bending the truth, because he tells Bug Man that they got here because of their hang glider club. Bug Man tells Keyop that he should show respect to the Base Commander (Bug Man). Bug Man orders a Green Guy to use the cameras and see if there are any more "of them" hanging around. Green Guy does. One of the cameras finds the Phoenix in its resting place underwater.
Then we cut away to Jason, who is trying to sneak into the base. A sound catches his attention and he looks up to see a panel of rock moving away and a missile coming out. He exclaims, "A missile!" and then he turns around and looks out over the water.
Then we're back inside the base and the three members of G-Force are having trouble hiding their emotions as this missile is fired. Way to betray your friends, guys. The missile is fired and it goes into the water. We don't know if Tiny got away or if anyone contacted Tiny to tell him that a missile was getting fired at it or if Tiny saw the missile coming and got away. We don't know that because they cut out a part from the original that would have explained this. An important story element got chopped away, for what? More Zark?
Bug Man is all sorts of happy now and tells the three that they're not going anywhere. Then a door opens and the itty bitty robots who stole the gold come out. Bug Man goes into this spiel about not letting the robot's size fool G-Force. Then he orders the robots to take the three to the isolation room.
Next thing, we're back underwater. The Phoenix did get away and it's now cruising along. Then back to the outside of the base. Jason is up against the rocks near the entrance, a big wide cave opening. A Green Guy is patrolling. Jason waits for the Green Guy to go away, and then sneaks into the base. And yes, there was stuff edited from this, too.
And then, more Zark. He rambles on some more about us wanting to be like him, which leads to more rambling about how worried he is about G-Force, particularly Tiny and Jason. Um, Zark, I think they can take care of themselves. Zark pleads to someone to please answer him. I think they're ignoring Zark on purpose.
Next, we see His Purpleness, Zoltar, in the audience chamber with Oh Luminous One (aka The Almighty Butane, aka The Giant Blue Chicken.) Zoltar tells His Chickeness that the gold is safe on Piya. The Almighty Blue Chicken says no, it's not safe until its back on Spectra in the Luminous One's private vault. His Chickeness warns Zoltar that if any of the gold is missing, the responsible officer must activate their "self-destruct button", as per Sandy Frank Rule #1, people don't die on Battle of the Planets. Those you see meeting their horrible and painful demise are only robots.
Back at the base and the three captives are being led to the isolation room. They Transmute! and fight the robots. We actually get to see this because of the above rule pertaining to Painful Demises. Bug Man and a couple of Green Guys come in and want to know what's going on and asks the three, "Who are you?". The three announce that they are G-Force. This is rather odd. Bug Man is a base commander for Spectra. Spectra is being stopped by G-Force. If you have as high a rank as base commander, shouldn't you know who the enemy is?
Then there's a big fight with the Green Guys which we don't really get to see. The three G-Force members run off. Then some Green Guys panic and run after G-Force. These Green Guys are the ones who are guarding the vault with the gold in it. They run past an entrance way and when they are gone, Jason sneaks by. He finds the vault. Then he gets out his cable gun, puts on the drill attachment, drills a big hole in the door, and finds the gold. The gold, I should mention, is special gold because it makes "shiny noises". Jason goes over to one of the cases, opens it, and says, "Yeah! All right you pretty babies! Daddy's gonna take you home!" Then he closes the case.
The Phoenix comes into the base and it is floating on the water by a docking area. Next we see Jason running towards it. He jumps up and then goes inside. The nose cone of the Phoenix retracts and out comes Jason in the G-2, his car. He drives back to the vault to get the real gold and put fake gold in the vaults.
Mark contacts Jason, who tells Mark that he went to Zoltar's bank and made a big withdrawal. Mark says "Good Man!" and tells the others that it's time to go. Bug Man has other ideas, and sends out more robots. The three make quick work of them and do a three person Whirlwind Pyramid. Right before they do that, Mark asks, "Should we give them a taste of the wind?" and Princess replies, "Yeah!" Now tell me you don't read that or hear that (if you watched this episode) and you thought something along the lines of "Insert Your Fart Joke of Choice Here." They whirl around, making Green Guys and Robots fly around the room. Then the threesome escapes. Bug Man yells at the Green Guys to go after them.
Then Zoltar, majority stockholder in MAC Lipstick, chews out the Bug Man. "At first you didn't recognize them, and now you let them escape!" he says. So why did Zoltar let this idiot be in charge in the first place? Was he the son of a friend of an acquaintance or something? Bug Man says he knows he's stupid. Oops! My Bad! Zoltar tells Bug Man that G-Force is after the gold and that Bug Man had better not lose one ounce. Um, you're a little late, Zoltar.
Cut to the Phoenix, cruising along in the ocean. Inside, G-Force are laughing about getting the gold back and what they imagine the reaction will be when Bug Man and Company find out that the gold they now have is all fake. Keyop remarks that G-Force outsmarted the bad guys, which wasn't too difficult to do, considering the same Underling of the Week from the previous episode had no clue as to who they were. Then Tiny says that he sees a sub. It's the same sub that grabbed the gold, so I assume that Bug Man is taking his fake gold back to Zoltar. Jason thinks to himself, "He wouldn't let me hit the base, but he couldn't object to one enemy submarine." Yes, Jason wants to fire the missiles. So Jason heads toward the Big Red Button, but Mark, of course, stops Jason. Mark says, "No, Jason. If you miss, you'll give away our position." To which Jason replies, "I won't miss. They won't know about it for weeks. I'll sink it so deep, they'll never find it. Just one shot, Mark." Mark still says no. But Jason doesn't care and pushes the button anyway (and I say, "Good on ya!"). And what happens? Jason misses. But he hits some rocks and the impact shakes up the sub. I bet if Mark hadn't stopped Jason the first time, Jason would have hit the sub. I just bet. ;-)
Bug Man, in the sub, orders the robot piloting the sub to head for the surface and prepare to depth bomb. The sub starts heading up, but water pressure is putting stress on these rods or clamps or whatever that is holding the cases of fake gold in place. The poles snap and the gold comes spilling out, breaking as the bars hit the sub's floor. Bug Man picks up one of the bars and finds out that they're not real gold. Then his eyes, which look like cartoon lips, start twitching, making the cartoon lips move. It's really weird. Anyway, he realizes that G-Force has the gold. And with impeccable timing, Zoltar appears on the monitor and chews Bug Man a new one. He reminds Bug Man that Oh Luminous One said that the responsible party who lost the gold would have to initiate their self-destruct. Zoltar reminds Bug Man that he is the responsible party. Bug Man tries to pin the blame on one of the robots. The robot doesn't take too kindly to this. His eyes light up in what can only be described as a "Hey, wait a minute!" look. Bug Man says to wait for him to bail out, but the Robot doesn't care and pushes the self-destruct button anyway.
On the Phoenix, everyone watches the sub blow up (even though we don't see it) with shocked looks on their faces, all except for Tiny (who is not drawn very well in this shot) who has this weird grin on his face. The Phoenix surfaces from the ocean, and Mark gives the order to head for home. Our heroes fly off into the sunset. Zark, in a voice over, says that the bank is going to be moved further inland so that nothing like this happens again.
Back to Center Neptune, and Zark asks, "Now do you wish you were like me?" And I reply with a big, resounding, "NO!" He babbles on about how hard his job is getting G-Force there and back (you take too much credit for stuff, Zark) and all the worries he has. Zark needs medication. Anyway, Zark is going to take a ten second oil break, but he has to shut everything down. Then, out of his belt, he produces A BIRDRANG! Oh, dear God, he has a weapon! Why? Why defile the birdrang? Zark tosses it around and it goes around hitting buttons and stuff and it sounds like the Jetson's spaceship when it's traveling. But Zark's birdrang somehow hits a switch on Zark and the robot disappears, although we can still hear him. He says, "Oops! Wrong switch! I wiped myself out. But I can turn myself on again, and it's a nice way to get away from it all." Congratulations, Zark! You somehow managed to defile the Birdrang AND gross the audience out at the same time.
Excuse me while I go give myself a Brain Brillo. [shudders]
A Few Thoughts From Ms. Ann:
This one rates pretty high on the G-2 Visibility Scale.
I do like this episode. I like pretty much all of them. Jason probably has some of the best lines in this one.
Tiny's reminiscing about the last time he was in the South Seas was pretty funny, especially when Mark gets all crabby about it.
Two things that bothered me:
First, we had the same Underling of the Week from the previous epsiode. In this one, he has a new voice, but it's the same guy. We know it's the same guy and the voice change is fooling nobody. Even so, if he's such a ranking officer within the Spectran forces, shouldn't he know who G-Force is? Shouldn't he even know what the Phoenix looks like since he was following it around in the Graveyard of the Sea?
The other thing that bothered me is this business of giving 7-Zark-7 his own weapon. Why? And why does it have to be a Birdrang? Why couldn't it be something that is generally thought of as kind of bad, like Ryu's Green Goo/Booger weapon in Gatchaman II or a rubber band or one of those paper Frisbees/ninja throwing stars they have us make in Lean Training? And if Ken Washio ever found out that the Walking Metal Trash Can defiled the Birdrang, what would his reaction be?
There is another thing that bothered me, but I won't get into that until I do the Gatchaman Episode Six review.