Episode Review: 'Panic of the Peacock' by UnpublishedWriter
[Reviews - 0] - Table of Contents - [Report This]

- Text Size +
Panic of the Peacock
Battle of the Planets, Episode Nine
Gatchaman Episode #80, Come Back! Boomerang
DVD and Veoh episode #68

Review/Summary: Establishing shot of Center Neptune, and Zark in voice-over, telling us again about keeping watch over the entire Milky Way galaxy. [That is some fantastic technology.]

And now we have Zark and crappy-headshot Mark. Zark introduces him, and G-Force, and tells us again that he’s never met the team personally. [What about that parade after defeating the Thing With 1000 Eyes? If you aren’t going to worry about viewing order, why put in things that can ‘date’ an episode?] He hopes to, one day. When they give him the new recycling and upgrading they promised. [Hm. Wasn’t ‘recycling’ supposed to be a euphemism for being dismantled? That sounded like it in Giant From Planet Zyr.] “They just don’t like us to become too close and emotionally involved.” But he is, anyway, no matter how they program him. He thinks of G-Force as his family. [Who is ‘they’?]

Time to check his scanners and see what sort of villainy Zoltar is up to. [Damn, but does this sound like foe yay to anyone? Zark is obsessed with Zoltar (besides his interest in G-Force).]

Zoltar is getting his ass chewed by the Luminous One. The Almighty Butane is displeased with Zoltar’s failures. Perhaps Zoltar should be replaced with a younger and more zealous leader. [A glimpse into Spectra’s leadership succession. Interesting.] Zoltar has had powerful weapons, and still hasn’t conquered Earth. [Why the obsession with Earth?]

Zoltar protests that he has used every trick in the book, but G-Force confounds their efforts.

G-Force is always Zoltar’s excuse, the Luminous One points out.

If only they had a superior weapon, Zoltar says.

Which the Luminous One promptly demonstrates on him. LO’s eyes turn red, and beams come from its pupils. Zoltar is driven to his knees, and grovels more than usual while clutching his head. The Luminous One relents, and Zoltar grovels some more.

The Luminous One tells him to stop sniveling. This was a mild demonstration of the weapon he just asked for. [Punishment and demonstration at the same time?]

Zoltar agrees that no creature will be able to withstand it. LO tells him to take it to Earth and use it in some country there. G-Force will come, and Zoltar will destroy them.

And we have that add-on rocket-launch animation that’s obviously not lifted from any Gatch episode. Followed by the rather better space travel animation. [Which includes passing by other galaxies, even though the Crab Nebula is in the Milky Way.]

Zark voice-over calling an alert. “An alien invader has entered our galaxy.” [See above.] Then it enters ‘our universe’ and is clearing Saturn. [Educational opportunity blown again. As in every episode that involves space travel.] Loads of technobabble. Oh, and did I mention that they haven’t identified the intruder or its origins? Once again, Zark’s sensors fail him. [No fog this time, and we haven’t gotten to the ‘dirt on the screen’ schtick of later episodes. Zark’s sensors work only as the plot requires.] But he himself says the intruder must be from Spectra. He estimates touchdown somewhere in southern Asia.

Cut to the Taj Mahal. Camera pans over tourists and peacocks as Zark, in voice-over, announces that the invaders have set down in India, near the Taj Mahal. He must notify G-Force at once. There’s no defense base near Agra. [Serious oversight.] There’s nothing Spectra could want in this area. [Not even to set up a call center?]

Now to a bratty kid who gets angry when a peacock snubs him. He steps on its tail, and his mother pulls him off and scolds him. The peacock turns around, eyes glowing, and then we see a line of glow-eyed peacocks with their tails spread. Beams shoot from their eyes and strike the people nearby.

As the now-maddened tourists rush off, Zoltar gloats. They’ll attack the governor’s palace and bring G-Force running.

[Scenes of chaos edited out. Guns and violence in the original. Can’t upset the kiddies, even if they do watch Westerns and cop shows later on.]

Now to Anderson and G-Force. He tells them of the attack on the palace. The governor was meeting with his staff when the mob broke in. The team members wonder what could have made the tourists behave that way.

Anderson tells them that Zark had picked up a launch from Spectra, and despite the Space Patrol’s efforts, Zoltar slipped through again. [Realistically, no security is 100%, but this is ridiculous. Spectrans keep getting past the perimeter.] G-Force should go there and investigate what happened.

Jason suggests they should drift in like regular tourists. Anderson agrees, and tells them to split up.

Launch the Phoenix. Not exactly a way to ‘drift in.’

Night, presumably in Agra. Mark and Keyop, in full Birdstyle, by a fountain with a giant peacock sculpture. Not exactly covert, unless Birdstyle has become the new fashion. [Scriptwriters not thinking, again.]

They haven’t had much success. Just rumors about a mysterious force blowing people’s minds. [Sounds like a result to me.]

A peacock calls. Keyop calls them big chickens. Mark tells him the peacock is the country’s national bird, and allowed to roam freely. [An actual fact: the peacock is the national bird of the Republic of India.]

Keyop runs over and pulls a feather from one of the peacocks. He stares at it suspiciously, while Mark teasingly asks if he’s going to make a hat. Keyop broops that the feather isn’t real and hands it to Mark, who agrees.

The peacocks surround them. Mark says they look hungry, and have selected him and Keyop for the main course.

Draw back to reveal that this scene is on a monitor. Zoltar orders the brain warp activated.

The peacocks broadcast their beam, and Mark feels the effects. [For whatever reason, Casey Kasem does not sound as distressed as the situation requires. Perhaps a ‘don’t scare the kiddies’ directive?] He shoves Keyop out of range and collapses. The boy falls through a manhole.

The beams fade, and Mark risks looking up. His eyes focus on the peacock statue on the fountain. Which crumbles to reveal a peacock mecha.

Zoltar comments that they have the leader of G-Force on their first strike.

Mark staggers to his feet and dodges the peacocks as they physically attack him. He runs over to a concrete mixer truck and ducks into the cab. Fortunately, the keys are in the ignition, and he drives off. Zoltar orders his men to follow, and the peacock mecha takes flight.

Keyop climbs out of the manhole. He runs after Mark.

Inside the peacock mecha, a Spectra goon takes aim and fires. The truck, damaged, crashes into a building, knocking Mark out.

Demonstrating the usual violations of scale that occur throughout Gatchaman (and hence in Battle of the Planets), the peacock mecha swoops down and picks up the concrete mixer in its talons. The original statue did not look nowhere near large enough for that.

Keyop arrives in time to find a few bits of wreckage and Mark’s sonic boomerang.

Now back to base, with the boomerang on a table, Keyop crying, and pensive background music. Jason tells him to stop whimpering: crying won’t help Mark. Keyop says it helps him. Tiny asks if he saw what really happened to Mark. Burbles and then “Crash! Boom!” from Keyop. Princess puts a comforting hand on his shoulder. Everyone is saddened by this turn of events.

Zoltar picks that moment to call and gloat. Their commander is still alive, but that condition is only temporary. He shows them Mark, still in the truck, then starts bashing it with a wrecking ball and pulling off pieces with some other machine. G-Force and Anderson can only watch helplessly.

Cut to the scene itself. All that abuse splits the truck, and Mark falls through the crack to the floor. He awakens and crawls to cover. In the cab of the wrecker, Zoltar bids Mark farewell.

For those who might have missed Mark escaping, Zark in voice-over informs us that he saw it happen.

Commercial break.

And Zark again. Pacing. Worried, even though G-Force have cerebonic implants and blah blah blah. Basically, Mark is safe, and lying low, waiting for his chance to escape. Zark just doesn’t know where. The peacock ship has vanished, and his most sensitive probes can’t find it. [Fog? We know fog defeats his sensors.]

Now to the team. Totally bummed. As far as they know, they just saw their leader and friend pulverized. Zark (in VO) wishes he could find the Spectra ship – wait, he just found it! He must contact Security at once.

The phone beeps, and Anderson answers. He listens, then tells the team that the Spectra ship has reappeared in the Balkans. When the team members don’t immediately leap up, he tells them they can’t let Zoltar get away with what he’s done. Keyop’s ready to go by himself, but Jason grabs him by the shirt and says there’s still four of them, and they can take Zoltar.

As the team rushes out, Anderson calls to Princess and tosses Mark’s boomerang to her. He tells her to take good care of it.

Stock footage launch of the Phoenix.

The peacock is wreaking havoc in some place that mixes onion domes and Western-looking stone architecture. Fighters arrive, and aren’t successful.

When G-Force arrives, Zoltar orders the use of the mind-warp.

Jason orders the shielding screen raised.

Whatever’s in that beam, it starts taking the Phoenix apart. Zoltar realizes that one hit from their proton laser will destroy it, and gives the order to fire.

Nothing happens. Ranting that he’s surrounded by fools and idiots, Zoltar asks who assigned this mook to the laser.

And now for the first appearance of Mark’s ‘freak out Zoltar’ whistling. He and several soldiers run into the room where they’d destroyed the concrete mixer and look around.

A giant drill-bit descends from an opening above. Mark is just visible behind it. He comes into view, the fake peacock feather clutched in his teeth.

Zoltar is amazed that the mind-warping ray didn’t get him. Mark delivers a little homily about warped minds inventing such things, then spits out the feather and demands that Zoltar’s men lay down their weapons.

Which doesn’t happen, so he takes flight and throws that feather like a weapon. It disarms several goons. Then the fight is edited into stupidness.

Next thing we know, Zoltar is using the wrecking ball again, and dashes it against the drill bit. This punches a hole in the side of the mecha, and Mark is dangling from it. He loses his grip, and lands on one of the peacock’s metal claws.

He calls the team, all of whom are glad to hear his voice. They’ll do anything to help him. He asks them to hold their fire. Jason says they’ll try to restrain themselves. Tiny wants details. Mark tells them to use the proton missile. Put a timer on it so he has time get clear before it explodes.

Princess goes down and uses a timer from her yo-yo bomb to modify the missile.

Tiny tells everyone to buckle up, then drops the shield covering the windshield. HOLY CRAP THERE’S A CLIFF! He yanks the lever, and just misses crashing. [Pay attention to the instruments, people!]

Jason pushes his favorite button.

The missile hits the mecha. When it doesn’t explode, Zoltar declares it defective. And that he’s going to the emergency control room. [Never said he was stupid.]

Yep. Zoltar bugs out.

The mecha crashes. Mark jumps off and hauls ass. Just as he reaches cover, it explodes.

Zoltar is upset. His mecha and weapon are gone. How will he face the Supreme Spirit?

Mark’s peeved that Zoltar got away again.

The team look for Mark, and find him. Princess runs to Mark, halts a short distance away. She holds out his boomerang and says, “Welcome back, Commander,” before flipping it to him.

And Zark. To tell us what we already know: G-Force succeeded, and Zoltar got away. And that G-Force will get twenty-four hours of rest and recreation. He wonders what that is like. Maybe one day he’ll find out. [How about just watching the team as you usually do?] He’s asked for his own ready room, where he can have a five-second oil break. He’s not sure what he’ll do with that much time off. Maybe read two or three good books. But Zoltar won’t let him while away idle seconds.

Fic Alert: The leadership in Spectra is apparently not hereditary. At any rate, the Luminous One can change the monarch at any time. Interesting prospect for fics.

Science question: How can brains be scrambled by a broadcast beam?

Bizarreness alert: I didn’t spot anything too weird.

Gatchaman plot: The plot of this episode follows the original plot fairly closely. They cut out a lot of the violence of the rioting mob. When Jinpei sees the wreckage of the truck, he’s certain that Ken has died. And no Zark.
~ Table of Contents ~
[Report This]
You must login (register) to review.