msannomalley Reviews The Awesome Ray Force by msannomalley
Summary: Spectra develops a new weapon that can undo G-Force's ability to transmute. What could possibly go wrong? 
Categories: Battle of the Planets Characters: 7-Zark-7/1-Rover-1/Susan, Chief Anderson, Colonel Cronus, Goon, Great Spirit, Jason, Keyop, Mark, Phoenix/God Phoenix, Princess, Tiny Harper, Zoltar
Genre: Episode Review
Story Warnings: Mild Language, Nose-Cola Warning
Timeframe: Mid-Series
Universe: Mostly Canon
Challenges: None
Series: Ms. Ann OMalley Reviews Gatchaman and Battle of the Planets.
Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes Word count: 2385 Read: 1845 Published: 02/20/2015 Updated: 02/20/2015
Awesome Ray Force by msannomalley
Author's Notes:

Episode reviewed was streamed on Hulu. There are ads. The ads in this review are the ones that I saw when I streamed this on my computer.  I have not read any of the other episode reviews, and any similarities between my reviews and the others are purely coincidence. 

This review assumes that you're familiar with Gatchaman and the corresponding episode "The Bracelets Exposed". If not, you can stream that episode on Hulu, as well.  

Our episode starts with a "stay tuned" bumper.  The voice over guy pronounces "evil" as "E-ville".  I've never been to E-Ville. I've been to Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis, Omaha, Dallas and Houston. I've "dug" Wall Drug, driven past the giant pheasant statue in Huron, South Dakota and been to the Omaha Zoo. I've even been to Wahoo, Nebraska. But I can't say I've ever been to E-ville.

I am streaming this episode on Hulu. Hulu means ads.

Ad 1 is for Nissan and their current sale. There are a lot of red cars in this ad. One of them nearly does a donut into the scruffy spokesman.

Ad 2: Emerites Airlines. Let's be stuck on an international flight with people doing annoying shit, but somehow, the plane has magic powers that give the appearance that you have more elbow and leg room than you do, unlimited TV and everyone on the flight is decidedly not crabby. I flew from Denver, CO to Detroit, MI in the summer of 2014 (and from Detroit to Denver on the return trip), and this is just not so. However, one of the flight attendants did get testy over the intercom when the douchebag standing up and ignoring the "fasten seatbelt" light wouldn't sit down. When people were boarding and taking their sweet time, the same flight attendant actually came over the intercom with a terse reminder to hurry up because some of us had connections to make in Denver and their slow asses were not worth someone else missing their connecting flight over. I liked that flight attendant. I liked her a lot.

Hulu asks if these ads are relevant to me.  I'm a Chevy girl, not in the market for a new car & I have no plans on flying internationally in the near future. That would be a no.

And now, back to our episode.

7-Zark-7, who still annoys me as much, if not more, 37 years after I first saw the tin can, is in his "ready room" reminds us of his "purpose" (which is not to annoy us, serve as a deus ex machina, and act as an excellent example of what untreated mental illness looks like), and says that all work and no play makes for a rusty robot. Yep. 10 Second. Oil Break.  Zark has a nice "domestic peanut oil".  Am I a bad person because I secretly hope that Zark has peanut allergies?

1-Rover-1 wants to play.  Zark can't because he's got his eye on Spectra and some dude by the name of Dr. Glock who invented a ray gun based off of some previous thing where Spectra made a clone of Princess, even though they're only showing a boot & in Gatchaman it was a flashback to when Galactor discovered the secret of the Birdstyles, but nobody on the Science Ninja Team was actually cloned.

Got all that? Moving on...

Dr. Glock, for the record, looks like poet Walt Whitman. It's a nice and refreshing change to have the Commander of The Week look like a 19th Century American Poet than say, a Sea Monkey, a Shakespearean ant, or a creature that can be best described as the melding of Witchie-Poo and a bat who wears a merkin so large, it gives that CoTW the appearance that he/she is in dire need of a bikini wax (See: Fierce Flowers/Jigokillers episode).

Dr. Whitman, I mean, Glock and Zoltar talk to Oh Luminous One about this Force Ray (even though the Title of the episode is Awesome Ray Force) and what it can do and Oh Luminous One is as giddy as a four year old girl who was just given a pony.  You can hear it in his voice.

Now we are at the race track. Jason is in a race, although Zark makes no mention of this because he's too busy talking about Mark. Jason is only wearing a helmet and not a racing suit. I'm not sure why, because if someone spins out and causes a fiery chain reaction, that helmet won't prevent third degree burns.  Forgive me. I'm now old enough to be Jason's mother. Mothers tend to worry (although I trusted that my son was wearing clean underwear when he left the house, rather than obsess over it.).

Team gets the call to report to Center Neptune, but Jason wants to finish the race. Mark is being a poopy-head about obeying orders, even though he is right. On the other hand if Jason obeyed orders, we wouldn't have the Inciting Incident of this episode and without the Inciting Incident, there is no story. So everyone  should all be thanking Jason for providing the reason for this episode even existing, instead of putting him down.

Jason wins the race, leaves the track and then he transmutes. Goons pick up a "strange signal".  It might be a member of G-Force!

Gee, ya think?

The Zoltar cackles us into the next commercial break.

Ad 1: Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups, which are supposedly better because they are square and they can play electric guitar like Eddie Van Halen, unlike those round, uncool PB cups that play boring old acoustic guitar and don't vaccinate their children.

Ad 2: The same Nissan ad in the first ad break.

I'm not a fan of Butterfingers and I have not changed my mind on the car in the last 9 minutes, so no, neither ad is relevant to me.

We now return to BoTP...

Spectra is chasing Jason who is in his kick-ass car. The chase goes pretty much the same as in Gatch, but with 75% less violence and death. Spectra shoots at the G2, the car (because I refuse to call it the Spacemobile, which is a stupid name for that car. It has a Gatling gun, for crying out loud!). The car changes back to its civilian form. Then Jason taunts the Spectrans from on top of some rocks, and they shoot him with the ray of forceful awesomeness. He flashes out of Birdstyle after he falls down the other side.

Meanwhile, at Center Neptune...

Chief Anderson is briefing the rest of G-Force. He makes sure to tell us, the audience, that people were evacuated from some place called Lulo, which was attacked by Spectra. Then there is a debate on Jason's punctuality and his not following the rules that is couched in the type of painfully awkward language one uses when they want to give the appearance they're not talking shit about someone else, when in reality, it's painfully obvious they're talking shit about someone else.

G-Force leaves.

Not long after, Jason shows up.  Chief A is pissed off, begins to read Jason the riot act about rules and stuff, even though Jason has something important that the Chief must know.  Jason is not happy about getting yelled at or not being believed. He gets a dig in about how it's pointless to tell what happened because the Chief has already judged Jason as being irresponsible.


But the Chief then accuses Jason of lying.

Of course. Because he's the "independent, hot-headed, trifle-eager" one. Don't be like Jason, kids!

(This annoys me more as a middle-aged adult than it ever did as a little kid and it seriously annoyed the living crap out of me as a little kid.)

Also, shouldn't you be more concerned with the fact that your enemy has developed a weapon that can reverse the transmutation process, which could not only compromise the identities of G-Force, but also lead them to bodily harm and/or death than with your chief gunner's punctuality issues?

In that regard, Nambu handles this situation much, much better than Anderson does.

Shots of the team investigating Lulo. Zark has a voiceover where he says that J may be right about this awesome ray force/force ray/awesome thingamabob but "only time will tell."

I find this suspicion of anything Jason says disturbing. Where is the teamwork in that? How do you trust your teammates and superiors with your life when they are always questioning everything you say or do and talking about you behind your back? How do you live in an environment like that and just accept this?  IMHO, this is a more harmful message to send to kids than showing people fighting and dying. It says that it's okay to let people disrespect you or for you to disrespect others, and the person being disrespected is supposed to shut up and accept it.

Zark has his usual case of nerves. I got some pretty pink pills that can help with that, you know.

And now as he voices over more shots of the team investigating, Zark admits that Jason is right. Actually, Zark's sensors admit that Jason is right.

Mark comes upon something that catches his attention. He kicks down the door a little louder than necessary, thanks to Mr or Ms Foley Artist for BoTP and he sees a woman trying to send a distress call.  The woman is a bit "unhinged", sobs, and then runs off with her "baby", which is actually a doll. Mark goes running after her and when he catches up with her and offers to help  he's in for a surprise.

Pop Quiz Time:

What is Mark's Big Surprise?

A) The Doll Lady with the Carol Brady Shag Haircut can throw her voice.

B) The radiation/asbestos/debris floating around Lulo has changed this woman's voice in a way much like that of a woman with a 3 pack a day/fifty year cigarette habit.

C) The woman is someone in disguise.

The correct answer is C.

The woman is actually Zoltar, who asks Mark in the snarkiest way possible, "Would you like to play with my baby?"

Is that what the kids are calling it these days? Little forward there, aren't you, Z?

Then Mark is suddenly surrounded by goons. The Goons shoot Mark with Walt Whitman's Awesome Singing Body Electric De-Transmutation Forceful Ray and....

Bird gone!

Wait. Wrong series. My bad.

While I recover from my gaffe, let's have a word from our sponsors!

Ad 1: An old dude and a young hottie tangoing and then milk appears to gush out of the guy's arm and it is flying over the place.

Ad 2: The Dodge Bros.

I'm still not in the market for a new car and I'm lactose intolerant. I'm not sure I'd want to drink milk that spewed forth from an older man's arm anyway. Nor do I know how to tango. Neither ad is relevant to me.

When we return from commercial, the rest of the team, minus Jason, get captured by Goons, who do not shoot them with Walt Whitman's Awesome Singing Body Electric De-Transmutation Forceful Ray, but shackle them up instead.

Then we find that Mark was rescued by Colonel Cronus, except the guy who saved him is a bit more stout than Cronus and lacks Cronus' pencil thin douche-stache.

Come to think of it, isn't Cronus supposed to be dead?

Or maybe Cronus really didn't die after shooting himself into the Van Allen Belt and is actually in the witness protection program after putting on the pounds, going through extensive plastic surgery and shaving off the douche-stache? But then why would he tell Mark who he was?

Or did I just walk into a weird-ass bizarro version of the Monty Python Bring Out Your Dead sketch?

I'm confused.

Moving on then...

The Red Rangers/Red Impulse (or whatever they're called on this show) people tell Mark that Walt Whitman's Body Electric Detransmutation Ray isn't as awesome as the title of this episode would have us believe. It has a weakness--it overheats easily. Armed with that info, Mark heads back to join his teammates.

Meanwhile, Jason shows up, saves the others and then tells them about Walt Whitman's Ray Gun. Then Mark shows up, except he's in disguise and then he rips away the disguise to reveal who he is.

Mark orders the team to give Zoltar, Dr. Whitman and that ray gun "the full treatment".

If you're expecting bombs, bullets, a blizzard of feather shuriken or a flame-thrower, don't hold your breath. The full treatment is basically a bunch of randomness with a disco soundtrack.

Dr. "Walt Whitman" Glock begs Zoltar to use caution with this ray, but does Z listen?

Of course not.

The ray blows up, Zoltar escapes, of course, and upon seeing this, Jason says "hooray" in the most sarcastic way possible, which makes me laugh.

And it wouldn't be an episode of Battle of the Planets without a Zark ending including excessive worrying, pointing out Jason's "faults" and reminding the kids watching that Jason is probably going to get grounded for a month for breaking the rules. Then Hanna-Barbera Mark & Princess show up and all three of them talk about Jason and what his punishment should be. Zark is to determine J's punishment.

Jason gets to represent Center Neptune in an auto race.

It doesn't sound like much of a punishment, but then again, this is 7-Zark-7 and this race may not involve actual cars. For all we know, this could be an "outhouse" race, a race that involves riding three-toed tree sloths, or a milk-carton regatta.

Or something worse. Much, much worse.

Zark comes up with this punishment because his "multiplex discontinuity filter says x=y".

In case you were wondering, the above statement comes from the branch of mathematics known as ‘alge-babble'.  It's like algebra, except wasn't developed by some ancient and wise mathematician, but rather extracted from the metallic posterior of a neurotic, narcissistic AI.

I'd be more impressed if Zark's alge-babble filter said something like " If f of (x)=2(5x squared plus 1) over the opposite of 4 and x is 56", then graph the result AND find both the domain and range of the function.

Then I realize that's too much to ask of the tin can.

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