Ms Ann Reviews BoTP/Gatchaman Episode Five by msannomalley
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Author's Chapter Notes:
This review was originally written in 2002 and has been tweeked for grammar and to bring some things up to date. 

The episode opens up for once with something other than 7-Zark-7.  Instead, we see a ship sailing and it is foggy out.  One of the crew, a dude named Fuller, is telling his captain in effect that the fog is creeping him out.  The captain, who sounds just like the guy who does the voice-over during the opening credits, tells Fuller, in effect, that he's a pansy.  Not in those exact words, but his tone suggested that Fuller was being a pansy.  Everything seems to be okay, radar shows zilch, when suddenly a ghost ship appears.

Cut to Zark (which means something bad happened that got edited out of this.).  Zark is babbling about Center Neptune being a prototype of other bases or something like that which are going to be built in other places.  Then he starts bragging about how his designs are incorporated into these.  Yeah, whatever.  Then he goes on to say that one of the Intergalactic Federations biggest projects is nearing completion.  The project just so happens to be on Planet Mir (pronounced "mer", like the stuff that one of the wise men gave to Baby Jesus, not the space station that was plagued with so many problems) in Cygnus A (or 8). Then Zark "flies" over to his perpetually dirty monitors.  Cygnus A (or 8) is the first radio galaxy and Zark also says that they just got video there.  I think he means that they can contact the galaxy by radio or video and not that they didn't have radio or video there.  Okay.  Zark complains that he can't get a clear picture on his upper monitor today.  So up go the legs and he starts wiping the monitor without benefit of glass cleaner.  Then he babbles something about wishing that they could find a janitor with longer legs.  Hey, Zark?  Maybe your picture's so bad from your constantly wiping the screens and smearing them.  You do make a lot of noise when you wipe them, you know.

Anyway, video feed is restored (read:  the stuff we had to edit out in order not to offend the censors is now over).  "Video" is showing the ocean on Mir and Zark is nattering on about how Mir is the last place he would have picked to build this facility or whatever it is that is being built.  Then there's some babbling about robots not being superstitious and this area is also known as "The Graveyard of Ships".  Three supply ships went down there in the past week and one just today.

The scene changes to this facility that Zark was talking about before, a new energy and food center.  In the background, what I can only describe as "Tinkly Fish Music" is playing in the background.  There are a lot of tinkly noises behind flutes playing and this music always is playing when fish are swimming by (like in Episode Two.)  This facility will have a fish breeding farm (the food) and some oil stuff (the energy) and it won't pollute the ocean.  Zark continues on, saying that this facility would have been completed if it weren't for those supply ships that went down.

Then, we see Security Chief Anderson (how do those glasses stay up without the stems anyway?  He is Dr. Nambu in Gatchaman.) and President Kane (who is called Chief Anderson in Gatchaman.) in a meeting regarding the sunken ships.  The Prez doesn't like this situation and says something needs to be done.  Anderson says that somebody doesn't want the new center built on Mir (I thought they were on Mir in the first place.)  The Prez says, "Your Master Robot, 7 Zark 7, reported sighting a space ship in that area."  Master?  Master??  'Scuse me, I'm going to giggle now

Okay, I'm back.  Chief Anderson replies that Zoltar pops up everywhere when they're trying to establish new supply bases.  Kane suspects Brock, the deposed leader of Planet Mir (not the guy from Pokemon), as the one behind this.  Kane believes that Brock has joined forces with Zoltar in order to get his leadership position back.  Then they decide that help must be sent to Mir to stop that "greedy, unscrupulous pair".  Which means, G-Force.

Back to the Ship's Graveyard.  A sub is rising above the ruins of a ship and starts traveling.  Cut to the inside and His Purpleness, Zoltar appears on a screen to talk to Brock.  I know the dude in the chair is Brock because Zoltar calls him that. Zoltar tells Brock that the new food and energy facility has to be destroyed and natters on about it like all bad guys do.  Finally, they show Brock's face.  Brock.  Is he supposed to be an insect or a plant?  Or maybe the Fifth Bugaloo?   He's basically dressed in green and red.  He's got two bug antennae on his head, "lips" for eyes in his mask (it was pointed out on the commentary track for the ADV dub of the Gatchaman version of either this episode or episode six, since the same villain appears in both, that those lips look like the Rolling Stones lips without the tongue), and what can only be described as either flower petals or blades of grass for his collar.  I think Brock's choice of wardrobe is probably the reason why he got overthrown.

Moving on, next we cut to a pair of legs on water skis.  Finally.  Almost eight minutes into the episode, and we get to see G-Force.  Mark is driving a boat, towing Princess and Keyop behind.  They are the water skiers.  Keyop is hot-dogging on the skis and Princess is wearing a not so attractive red bikini that makes her look kind of fat.  Mark yells out to them to "Watch out for the jump!" There are a pair of water ski ramps up ahead.   Princess and Keyop take the jump.  Princess handles it perfectly.  Keyop falls down.

Back to the beach, and we see Tiny standing there, complaining to Jason (who we don't see yet) about when it's their turn to go into the water.  Jason, (who we now see, sitting in a beach chair and wearing sunglasses) sounding extremely unenthusiastic, informs Tiny that it's their turn to stand watch.  Jason says it's a big drag, but the second they drop their guard, something bad happens.  As he is saying this, we are seeing the beach from Jason's point of view and it looks like we're not looking through his sunglasses, but rather his eye.  And I think he's looking at the girl that's standing near Tiny, too. 

Cut to Mark in his plane.  Chief Anderson radios him, telling him that he has to cut his vacation short.  Mark replies, "Hey Chief!  I'm just gettin' loose!"  You gotta love that 70's slang.

But if they were on vacation, why did Jason and Tiny have to keep watch?  Was this a Mark-Princess-Keyop only vacation and Tiny and Jason couldn't have any fun?  What's up with that?

Back to the episode.  Chief gives Mark his orders and then Mark is "off and winging."  Then we get the whole Transmute! sequence and Mark docking with the Phoenix stock footage stuff.  Mark is finally in the Phoenix, in the commander's seat, and he gives the order to Tiny to head for outer space.  Tiny replies, "Big Ten".  Gotta love that 70's CB slang, don't you?  When he's saying that, he looks like he's kind of stoned, so maybe he got to have his vacation after all.  But shouldn't they have someone else fly the ship?

Anyway....Now we get the Sandy Frank Stock Footage of Space Travel Where All Routes Have to Go Past Saturn. Then, floating in the sky is Planet Mir, which looks suspiciously like Zarkadia, from Ep. 3, which also looks suspiciously like chocolate covered peanuts or something else that is brown and clustery.  Mark announces that they've arrived at Mir and then gives Tiny orders, in one of the most patronizing voices I've ever heard, to head straight for the ocean and find that sub.

The Phoenix travels underwater near what looks like a lot of junk.  Jason remarks that it's a "sad scene out there."  There is no sign of the sub.  Mark orders Jason to try using the Infra Scanner to find the sub.  Jason does and his jumps into his seat, something I thought was kind of amusing.  The sub shows up and Mark tells Tiny, again in a very patronizing manner, to go after it.  Tiny replies, "Big Ten" and starts heading after the sub.  Tiny must have the patience of a saint or something, because I don't think I would ever talk to a guy as big as him in that patronizing, loud voice that some people use when they are talking to small children, mentally challenged people, or the elderly.  Not if I wanted to live.  If I were in his shoes, I'd want to deck Mark for talking to me in such a tone of voice.

Moving on again...

We're now in the cockpit of the sub, and Brock informs Zoltar that everything is going according to plan and that they've lured G-Force.  Zoltar praises the plant/bug man but warns him that G-Force is very resourceful, but that it can also be a disadvantage for them.

Back on the Phoenix, the sub disappears from their scanners.  Jason informs Mark of this development, and Mark, in that same patronizing tone, replies that the sub cut its engines.  I have to say that Mark is damn lucky that Jason and Condor Joe (Jason's Gatchaman counterpart) have not switched places and ended up on each other's shows because Joe would have kicked Mark's ass into next month for using that tone of voice.  I'm sure if Jason hadn't been censored by Winnifred Whateverherlastnameis (the standards and practices person listed in the end credits), he would have kicked Mark's ass into next month for using that tone of voice.

So now the Phoenix goes off after that "sitting duck" the sub, and we get more Zark ramblings.  Zark is babbling about how remarkable the Phoenix is because it can travel both in outer space and underwater.  Um, Zark?  We already know that!  Episode Two, remember?  The Phoenix was underwater in that one, too.  Then he natters on about how worried he gets about G-Force when they're on missions.  Zark, might I suggest some Paxil or another anti-depressant type drug that people take for anxiety?  Then he radios G-Force and tells them that they might be headed into a trap and that they should get out of there.  Mark agrees with Zark, the walking Metal Garbage Can, and orders Tiny to go up.  Tiny replies, "It's my pleasure," but hedoesn't look too happy.

The Phoenix goes up into a very thick fog.  Mark orders Tiny to turn on the fog lights.  These lights emanate from the wing pods where Princess's and Keyop's vehicles are stored.  Mark says, "That's not fog!" and then he points.  The fog is swirling.  He says it's Man Made and that Zark was right about this whole thing being a set up.  Then one of the Ghost Ships they saw on the bottom of the ocean appears.  Suddenly, it's guns start firing at the Phoenix.  The Phoenix dodges the bullets and gets out of the way.  Everyone sighs with relief, except for Jason, who says "Why all those big sighs of relief, team?  We're not out of this yet."  Then Mark orders Tiny to use the infra red probe to see what else is out there.  The infra red shows the fog machine.  Then Mark asks Jason if he thinks that the fog machine is one of Mir's defense weapons.  Jason says no and wants to blow it up.  He runs up to the Big Red Button and is about to push it, when Mark stops him.  "No Jason!"  he says in that patronizing voice and grabs Jason's hand to keep him from pushing the Big Red Button.  If I were Jason, I'd be thinking about declaring a mutiny or something.  Mark says that they might be firing on their Allies and that he has to check with Chief Anderson first.  He calls the Chief and explains to them that they want to knock out the fog machine, but he doesn't know if it's one of Mir's defenses.  Does the Chief know?  The Chief says no he doesn't know, but to knock it out anyway.  He says this without a moment's hesitation, unlike Nambu Hakase (his Gatchaman counterpart) who had to think about it first.

They get the order to go ahead.  The panel covering the button opens.  The missile launcher comes into view.  Then a shot of Jason looking very determined, the missiles, the fog machine, Jason, the fog machine, and then Jason's finger over the Big Red Button.  He fires seven missiles into the fog machine, even though the first one he fired blew it up.  I guess when you're the frustrated second and chief gunner and you get permission to fire the missiles, you're really going to fire the missiles to make up for all those times that they wouldn't let you fire the missiles.

The fog machine now destroyed, the sun comes out.  Down below, the ships that had made up the Graveyard of the Sea are now floating on the surface of the ocean.  Mark points this out to Jason, and Jason replies, "Let's put 'em back there."  Mark is not sure.  Jason replies, "They're robots, remote controlled.  I can pick 'em off easy."  Then he fires some more missiles.  Lots more missiles.  Somehow I get the feeling that Jason is having a lot fun pushing that Big Red Button, because he is really going to town here.  He keeps pushing that button and blowing up the ghost ships.

Then one of the ghost ships that didn't get hit starts to sink and self destruct.  Then a bunch of flying saucers come out of the ocean.  The saucers take to the air and start firing at the Phoenix.  Jason, now having a new target to shoot at, starts launching off missiles again.  He shoots down a lot of these saucers, when HE RUNS OUT OF MISSILES. He looks at the button in surprise and the screen goes red, except for the part that isn't covering Jason's eyes.

Jason keeps pushing the button, as if pushing it will re-stock them.  Mark says, "Jason, it's empty!"  To which Jason replies, "It can't be!  Just a little more and I can..."

Now that G-Force is up the proverbial creek named after a type of human waste product, and without a paddle, I might add, the Phoenix valiantly tries to avoid the shots coming from the saucers.  But they can't seem to shake them.  To everyone else's credit, nobody yells at Jason for wasting seven missiles on the fog machine.

Just when we think that their goose is cooked (I know, gro-o-o-o-o-an!), three red airplanes come flying out of nowhere and start picking off the saucers. They are fighters from Mir, whom I guess are friendly or something.  I think Mark should redefine his meaning of "friendly" because these guys come awfully close to shooting down the Phoenix a couple of times, not to mention the near strafing they do, too.  Despite this, Mark thanks them and compliments them on their "good flying".  I think Mark needs to redefine his definition of "good flying".

With that all done, we are now back with President Kane and Chief Anderson.  President Kane, talking with a cigar in his mouth, mumbles something about how everything is saved because of G-Force.  He wants to give them a reward, but Chief Anderson says no, G-Force doesn't expect any rewards for doing their job.  Chief Anderson lights the President's cigar for him.  Then he says, that if the President insists, they'd probably like to finish their vacation.  Then we see G-Force scuba diving and playing with a large turtle.  Princess and Mark smile at each other and then we cut back to Zark.

Zark is nattering on about G-Force sending him a postcard saying "Glad You're Not Here".  He explains it's because they know that Zark would rust in the water and that the sun isn't good for his circuits.  Judging from the personalities on the show, my theory is that Jason really sent that postcard and just signed it from everyone, because I agree with the Popular Fan Fic Notion that Jason doesn't like Zark very much.  I wouldn't either if I were referred to as "a bit hot-headed and just a trifle eager sometimes" and saying it as if it were a bad thing.  (So Sayeth Ms. Ann, here.)

Then Zark goes up to his "ready room" and Susan "That'll be $3.99 For the First Minute" from Planet Pluto calls.  Zark is all excited, as evidenced by his antennae popping up ("Schwing!") Susan, in her phone sex operator's voice, says she hates to disturb Zark.  Zark replies that he likes the way she disturbs him (uh, ick!).  Susan thinks Zark is going to take his vacation and goes on about Zark "flipping his fosdic over a slot machine" and how they are only gold diggers.  Zark tells her he's canceling his vacation.  Apparently Zark is "whipped". 

A Few Thoughts From Ms. Ann:

 Ms. Ann likes this episode because there is a lot of Jason in it and he gets to do something other than say he wants to blow something up.  He actually gets to blow something up.  He gets to say more than "Let's fire a missile at it" for once, too.  This one rates High on the G-2 Visibility Scale.

One thing I liked:  For the first time, we get to see the entire team out of their uniforms and in civilian mode.

As mentioned before, if G-Force is on vacation, why do Tiny and Jason have to stand watch?  Isn't that Zark's job?  Or was Zark too busy flirting with Susan from Planet Pluto to do his job?  Or maybe he was "paying special attention" to Princess to keep watch?

Casey Kasem's voicing of Mark in this episode seriously bothered the crap out of me.  He made Mark sound so much like a patronizing know it all in this one, I wanted to reach through the screen and hit him.  Somebody needs to take Mark aside and explain to him that a good commander does not patronize his crew if he wants his crew to have respect for him and then send him on a mission with only Joe the Condor from Gatchaman.  I am pretty sure that Mark will come back with the attitude adjustment he so desperately needs.

I don't know if I have a favorite line in this, but one of my favorite moments is when Jason is firing missiles at the ghost ships and he does it with such gusto, pushing that button like there's no tomorrow.  I got permission to fire the damn missiles, so I'm going to fire the damn missiles, thinks he.

One funny anecdote:   My wonderful husband, Mr. Ann O'Malley misheard Susan's little tirade the first time we watched the DVD.  He thought she said "slip your fosdic" instead of "flip your fosdic". And he went into a bout of hysterical laughter over this.  I mention it because it's cute.

Chapter End Notes:
At the time I originally wrote this, I was going to put something in called the "G-2 Visibility Scale".  The idea was to rate each episode on how high G-2's screen time was.  I still reference it in the reviews, but the idea kind of died as I went about writing more reviews. 
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