Before this episode began, I'm asked to pick an ad. I picked the Women's Rogaine Ad, which promises to revive your va-va-voom. I thought it was supposed to regrow hair. Even though I chose this ad, I was still asked if it was relevant to me. No, it wasn't. I still have my hair and my va-va-voom.
After the opening credits, we have another commercial break.
Ad 1: Honda. Yay. More cars I'm not in the market for.
Ad 2: Varilux progressive lenses. Progressive lenses are PC for "your old-ass eyes need bifocals".
Since I am not in the market for a new car and my old-ass eyes already have bifocals, neither ad is relevant to me.
In case you missed the first 52 episodes of BoTP, Zark is nice enough to provide a recap of what you missed. G-Force, cerebonics, super powers they don't really have, Jason's helmet is the wrong color and Zark has delusions of grandeur. He mumbles something about being on top and then says something about he's really "bottom's up".
Please not let this ever be a thing.
Cut to the next scene. G-force doing some un-G-force things, like being shot at and harmed and whatnot, except it's the titular decoys of this episode and not the actual human members of G-Force.
Zark has a cow because he thinks that "their own people" are trying to destroy G-Force.
Then Chief Anderson introduces the old G-Force to the new G-Force. Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.
The team isn't exactly thrilled. Keyop says that he doesn't need a new "him". I, on the other hand, am open to a new Keyop, provided the new model doesn't stutter, because it seriously gets on my nerves. Tiny agrees, saying "We do okay." Jason points out that they're humanoids.
Speaking of things who think they're human, but they're not, we cut to Zark, who is relieved. Zark is also an idiot. If he's all knowing, then how come he didn't know about this? He says that the Chief nearly gave him an electrode failure.
Darn. Try harder next time, Chief.
Spectra is establishing a base on Earth, according to Anderson. They are planning to attack, unless the Federation can lure Spectra out with Faux G-Force.
Mark hates to think that a machine can do a job better than he can. Princess thinks it's creepy to look at herself and says so. Then Mark says that he likes to look at Princess. He says this in a creeptacularly oily and flirty way that one might see in the "don't" segment of a sexual harassment training video.
I begin to wonder if a machine can do a better job at being creepy than Mark.
The Chief continues the briefing, making sure to point out that Faux G-Force is going to take the place of Real G-Force at the coliseum the following day. Spectra doesn't fool easily Mark points out. But G-Force is willing to go along with this, unlike Ken, in Gatchaman who thought this idea was stupid and sucked and that Galactor would never fall for it.
Meanwhile, on Spectra, Oh Luminous One can't believe that G-Force are allowing themselves to be sitting ducks and he warns Zoltar that this could be a trap. Does Z care?
Nope. He's got this.
We're treated to some stock footage of space and some music. This Zark-free interlude is brief, as he tells us the obvious: Spectra is headed towards Earth. "I must alert all defenses," Zark proclaims.
Earth's defense force is confetti?? The amount of confetti reminds me of that episode of "The Big Bang Theory" where Sheldon was in the ball pit and he'd pop up and say "Bazinga" and Leonard would try to catch him. Does this mean that Spectra must try and catch each member of G-Force as they pop up from the five foot drifts of confetti and calmly utter Sheldon Cooper's most famous catch phrase?
Oh, wait. It's the celebration in G-Force's honor. The parade is kind of lame. It's all drum majors and no band and a wooden Faux G-Force.
The real G-Force are in their civvies, watching this confetti explosion from a safe place. They begin ruminating about their doubles. Jason wants to have a chat with is double about acting like a big hero. Mark doesn't like this. He says that he feels silly watching himself and then he leaves.
Then Keyop says, after much chirping, "To the shower."
I know that there are times when Jinpei can be obnoxious, but at least I can understand him and he makes sense, even when he employs kid logic. Good grief!!
As Mark is leaving, Zark pipes up to inform us that he warned Mark about Spectra's plan to snatch G-Force (the fakes in the parade, that is). But Zark is a bit miffed because Mark didn't clear it with him first. It really disturbs his programming.
Mark goes down to where the Faux G-Force is and he switches places with Faux-Mark. If you've seen the Gatchaman episode, you know that Ken went off on his own and told the others he was going for a walk. Apparently, in BoTP-land, it's only Jason that runs off without permission. I wonder what Zark would do if he ever met Ken Washio, who has been known to run off on his own without permission from time to time?
Besides obsessing about rules and stuff to the point his circuits overheat and he pops a capacitor or two. If there was only some way to have Ken cross over into BoTP-land.
Faux Mark replies, in the flattest voice ever, "I read you. I am programmed to obey."
So Faux Mark not much different from Real Mark in that regard.
Zark is now worried because he just can't understand why Mark would do something as dangerous as switch places with Faux Mark and risk getting kidnapped.
Uh, you did warn him that Spectra was going to attack. Did you think he was going to sit around and knit tea cozies while waiting for your permission? Or maybe he's possessed by the spirit of his predecessor, Ken Washio, and thinks this decoy plan is stupid and will never work so he decides to go off to save the Federation from the utter humiliation they're about to face because Chief Anderson's plan fails so miserably.
Maybe he's experiencing a moment of clarity and realizes the futility in putting the security of the galaxy in the hands of a robot with both a severe anxiety disorder and a predilection for micromanaging the hell out of everything.
Then this black cloud appears in the sky and along with it, a weird gargoyle mech comes in and shoots at everyone with it's Halitosis Freeze Ray. Okay, it's not really called that. I just made that up. Chief Anderson is seen talking into one of those old Merlin games (which was kind of like a Simon game, but looked like one of those old-school, clunky cell phones).
Keyop starts making these really obnoxious noises that sound a lot like your car's engine trying to turn over when it's cold outside. Meanwhile, Faux Mark goes up to where the Real G-Force is and when he comes back, Princess is all flirty with him, even though this Giant Gargoyle Mech is causing havoc and destruction and the Real Mark is about to be kidnapped. Um, now is not the time for that, Prin.
G-Force is all "happy you finally showed up, let's go and take care of this." Princess notices something wrong and says to Faux Mark, "You look like you just lost your best friend."
Faux Mark replies, "I. Have. No.Friend."
Princess gasps in an overdramatic fashion when she realizes that she's dealing with Faux Mark and not Real Mark.
The Birdstyle and the lines around his mouth didn't give it away? Not very observant, there are we?
Zark is still upset about Mark going off with the fakes. Let it go, Zark.
Finally, we see the CoTW. He looks like a Sea Monkey. He chortles with glee because Earth is now theirs to plunder. Then one of the goons points out that G-Force has strange powers. Commander Brine Shrimp is all shocked and he looks towards the monitor to see a display of this "strange power".
G-Force is in a car that is driving away.
Whatever floats your boat, Spectra Goon, but I always considered escaping danger a survival mechanism and not a "strange power".
Weird Gargoyle Mech chases the car until it breathes on it and freezes it.
Cut to Chief A, who is standing over the shoulder of some tech and is watching the aforementioned gargoyle-car chase. Chief exclaims (well, for him, it's exclaiming), "That's what I've been waiting for! Track it!"
Tech person presses some buttons and a yellow, squiggly line appears on a display. Then Princess contacts the chief to let him know that Mark went off with the fakes.
"I know," Chief A replies, not sounding at all upset. Mark threw him for a curve, but I guess now it's okay because Mark's sending a signal.
Because Mark went off on his own, Jason is in charge. Princess argues that they still have Faux Mark. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Princess.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Chief Anderson's squiggly line turns red and he muses that Mark, the gargoyle and Spectra are in the Arctic Circle.
Time for a commercial break
Ad 1: Simply Orange orange juice.
Ad 2: Constant Contact. Not to be confused with Constant Comment. Constant Contact is an email subscription thingy for businesses. Constant Comment is a type of tea. Coincidentally, it has orange flavor in it.
Neither ad is relevant to me. If the second ad was for tea and not for an email subscription thingy for my non-existant business, then that ad would be relevant to me.
Zark is worried as we can see by his pacing back and forth. He also says that Mark's running off was a "brave thing" (as opposed to "impulsive" when Jason is concerned), insinuates that Faux G-Force is "dumb" because they're only programmed to defend themselves and not "use their heads" like him.
Those who live in glass houses...
Zark adds that now that Mark is in Spectra's base, he can send signals from there.
Hey Zark? Have you ever heard of the phrase spoiler alert? Seriously. Why do you have to tell us that Mark can send signals to the other members of G-Force? Why can't we, the viewing audience, be left to figure this out on our own?
I'm beginning to think that Zark invented the concept of helicopter parenting. Hovering, neurotic, telling us what to do and think and not allowing us to figure this out for ourselves.
Yep, I'm going to blame helicopter parenting on Zark.
Meanwhile, Commander Sea Monkey is overseeing the thawing out of Faux G-Force. Mark begins to bang his wrist communicator on the car's steering wheel.
Gee, couldn't have predicted that coming.
The real G-Force is sitting around and waiting and then suddenly there is a Bird Scramble from Mark. Okay, they don't actually call it a Bird Scramble in BoTP, but since I watch Gatchaman more, it's a Bird Scramble. Bird Scramble is much better than what BoTP tries to explain this as...
Sometimes, Mark likes to send Princess very personal messages.
What the actual eff?
Considering how Mark ran off with the decoys and is in imminent danger of being spit-roasted by Commander Sea Monkey, I would think the last thing he would be doing would be sending private messages to the sole female member of his team. I would think he'd be sending something like, oh...a DISTRESS SIGNAL or an SOS.
Someone needs to pull these two aside and explain to them why it's conduct unbecoming of a professional officer to be sexting each other through official channels.
Oh, but wait! There's more!
Keyop points at "Faux Mark" and says, "Not him."
Then Princess asks Faux Mark if he would ever send her personal messages.
"I am programmed to obey," Faux Mark says.
STAHP!! JUST STAAAHP!! People have been court-martialed for lesser things. Like treason.
Jason slams his fist on the console and demands, "What good is a machine?"
"I know," Princess replies. "He makes me feel like we still have our leader with us."
Thanks for the vote of confidence, Princess.
"Yeah," Tiny says. "But can he tell me where to head this ship?"
Then Keyop points out, in not so many words, or chirps, that basically, Mark is sending a distress call and that it might be a good idea if she stopped talking about sexting over official channels and actually tracked where Mark might be, you know, before he gets KILLED or something.
She removes her bracelet and attaches it to some thing that is supposed to track where the signal is coming from. Part of me hopes that someone else messed with it so it will translate those "very personal messages", then everyone knows and then puts a stop to this.
Meanwhile, back inside the Spectra base, there is a fight. Commander Sea Monkey throws a switch and the decoys literally turn into dust. Or glitter. It would be poetic justice if Faux G-Force were made from glitter. Glitter is the herpes of arts and crafts.
The Gargoyle Mech with Frozen Bad Breath is shown in Spectra's base, chillaxin'. Then I notice something.
As many times as I've watched the Gatchaman version of this episode, I did not catch, until now, that the entrance to this Gargoyle Mech appears to be located in its groin.
Seriously. There's a stairway that leads up to it and everything. It looks really phallic.
Commander Sea Monkey orders the vaccum thingy to suck up the glittery remains of Faux G-Force. Mark uses the distraction to sneak on board the Gargoyle Mech. Then he rigs an explosive with his boomerang, which he then tosses and it lands on some equipment in the base.
Meanwhile, back on the Phoenix, Jason is supposed to be in charge, but Miss Bossy Boots, I mean, Princess, takes time in between sexting with Mark over official channels to issue orders and undermine Jason's authority. And somehow this is okay. But yet when Jason does it, he gets in trouble.
Not once, in the Gatchaman version, does Jun ever try to undermine Joe's authority or try to take command from him in Ken's absence. She did keep from the others, for a bit, the fact that Ken ran off and switched places with is decoy, because she didn't want the others to run off and do the same thing. This is because of a concept that seems foreign to G-Force: teamwork, confidence, cooperation and mutual respect.
In the Teamwork portion of the competition, it's Science Ninja Team, 1, G-Force, 0.
There's an explosion and Chief Anderson, I mean, Tiny says "he did it!".
Its fairly obvious, unless you're hard of hearing, that the same voice actor does both the voices of Chief Anderson and Tiny. However, when he was doing Tiny, he kind of forgot his Jersey accent.
On the other hand, this is BoTP and given the lack of continuity, for all we know, Chief Anderson briefly materialized in the Phoenix to offer his comment and then disappeared.
The Phoenix meets with the Gargoyle and they duke it out.
The Princess issues the order to "transmute to Fiery Phoenix" just as part of the ship cracks.
I'm not so sure that's a good idea. Jason doesn't think so, either, because he says no. But does he get credit for it? No. I think it causes physical pain in this universe to say anything nice about Jason.
Then Princess asks Faux Mark for help. He's programmed to obey, but nobody tells us what she told him. Or maybe she sexted him over official channels. Faux Mark gets up and leaves.
Then Princess says, "I know he's only a machine, but I hate to do this to him."
What is the deal with this hate towards machines on this show? I mean, the only machine on this show who deserves a Hater-ade bath is Zark, but then he insists that we all love him, adore him, kiss his FOSDIC and stroke his ego.
What I wouldn't give for a rogue Roomba to show up right about now.
Jason informs the others that there is "no time for sentiment" and that they have a job to do. Somewhere, Condor Joe is beaming like a proud uncle.
Faux Mark distracts Spectra from chasing the Phoenix. Then he gets turned into a Mark-cicle by the Halitosis Freeze Ray and NOW G-Force can transmute to the Fiery Phoenix.
Commander Sea Monkey grovels to Zoltar, who is not happy at all that G-Force is still around.
Spectra, even full of more excuses, swears that they've never "seen anything like" this "strange transumation". Sure you have. Stop making excuses.
Mark finds the "power plant" and decides he should sabotage it.
Commander Sea Monkey and the Chief Goon discuss what to do next and their conversation is peppered with all kinds of electro-babble like "turbines" and "warp" and "power".
Then Mark empties the vacuum thingy into the generator, which then spins backwards for some unexplained reason.
Commander Sea Monkey orders, "Full warp Turbine!"
It's more like "full warp fail".
Commander Sea Monkey is "surrounded by fools." Pot, meet Kettle.
Then Mark and Commander Sea Monkey face off and then something must have happened or there was a hiccup in the animation because I think we're supposed to see something that we didn't actually see, so none of this action sequence makes sense.
The Gargoyle Mech has a smoke coming out of its ass and crashes.
Time for a commercial.
Ad 1: Honda CRV
Ad 2: a breakdancing guy who sprays milk from his body. I'm seriously considering never consuming dairy products again after that.
G-Force rescues Mark, who is hiding behind the wings of the fake G-Force, who had previously turned to dust, so I don't know how this actually is possible.
When Mark enters the cockpit, he actually has the nerve to ask if he did something wrong. Princess is upset as she is beating her fists on Mark. Just wait until Mark finds out that she let their little personal message cat out of the bag.
Many people will argue that as G-3 goes, Princess is the stronger character. I don't necessarily disagree with that argument, either. But...
This episode seems to go out of its way to undermine this argument. I wish Jun would cross the ether from Utoland into BoTP world and set Princess straight on a few things, especially this sexting while on duty and through official channels nonsense. Then she should go to Center Neptune and take out Zark with her yo-yo bomb.
Back to Zark. Alls well that ends well but he's not sure how much longer his grids can hold up under the strain. Then he talks about a vacation. This upsets him so much, he thinks he has some kind of defect.
Hyperbolic Voice Over Guy tells us to tune in again and then starts pimping out Zark as this "fantastic guardian robot". Then he talks about how G-Force faces "untold danger every moment of their lives."
Oh really? I'm not so sure about that. I mean, being caught in the bathroom without toilet paper is not ideal, but I'd hardly refer to it as dangerous. Gross? Yeah. Uncomfortable? Yep. Dangerous? No.
After several BoTP viewings (for the purposes of writing this review), I had to watch the Gatchaman episode. In Japanese. It was the only way to make the hurting stop.