Thursday, August 29, 2013

Ep 110 Planet of the Amazon Women, November 8, 1979

Director: Philip Leacock
Writer(s): Michael Richards & Clayton Richards
Guest Star(s):
Ariela Dyne .... Ann Dusenberry
Cassius Thorne .... Jay Robinson
Prime Minister Dyne .... Anne Jeffreys
Jayel .... Antoinette Stella
Renna .... Wendy Dates
Nyree .... Liberty Godshall
Dr. Macon .... Darrell Zwerling
Linea .... Teddi Siddall
Major Norris (Pilot) .... Wally K. Berns
Karsh .... James Fraracci
Captain Parker .... ?
Complete List of Cast and Crew

This episode better not be like Planet of the Slave Girls. Catchy title that imply's one thing but delivers something totally different. When I hear "Amazon Women" I imagine very tall and primitive women, living off the land, where men are not present or in very limited numbers. An Amazon Woman is very assertive and aggressive. A woman who takes charge and dominates over all men. I also imagine Raquel Welch in One Million Years B.C. Well, let's find out if the episode holds true to it's title this time.

Buck is out flying his Starfighter in Ruathan space. The Directorate made a truce with the Ruathan's that will allow ships through their blockade as long as they follow a designated corridor. Buck was checking to see if the Madrean people followed the designated corridors that they would get their supplies of barbarite out through the blockade. Wilma, along with Theo are still in negotiations with the Ruathan's regarding their blockade around Medrea. They fear that if the Ruathan's stop talking and reinstate a full blockade, the Directorate will have to declare war against the Ruathan's. To ease Wilma's stress a little, Buck asks Wilma to dinner, his place, at 1900 hours (7:00pm). Buck terminates the call as he picks up a distress call from the space yacht Aurora. Buck identifies himself as Earth Starfighter 1314 and approaches at 50 degrees.

The seemingly disabled ship (the space yacht Aurora) is floating in space with no power, and its orbit is decaying. With no repair equipment, the Aurora is stuck in space, drifting. Linea bets Nyree 10 credits that Buck is fat and has a nose like a subspace relay. Buck switches on his visual video to the relief of both women. I cannot help but notice the eggcrate foam glued to the back of their chairs as a headrest. The two women ask for a tow back to their Colony, Zantia. Zantia is closed to the Directorate, making Buck not authorized to enter Zantian space. The two sisters insist until Buck agrees. Buck contacts the Zantian Landing Control. Landing control permits Buck to land and instructs him to follow the yellow landing tracer to Docking Area 2. Any deviation would result in Buck's destruction. A routine Buck is all too familiar with when he approached Earth for the very first time. The spaceport for Zantia is the exact same matte painting that was used in The Plot to Kill a City.

Linea (red suite) and Nyree (yellow suite) talk to their "uncle", Cassius Thorne, regarding the condition of the Aurora. The three thank Buck for his help and insists that he stay so they can "thank him". Cassius, using is influence with the Spaceship Authority, allows Buck to stay for at least the night. Cassius instructs Linea to make the dinner arrangements, and Nyree to show Buck around. After Buck and Nyree walk off, we learn that there is a more sinister plot in bringing Buck to the Planet.

Mr. Devronin, the Ruathian leader, is in negotiations with Dr. Huer and Theo regarding the ownership of Madrea. Mr. Devronin and the Ruathian people want to be allowed to control Madrea, a planet they settled on first. The Madreain people, however do not want to Ruathian's on their planet. Earth has been trading with Madrea for its barbarite, a mineral that powers Earths generators, and the Ruathian blockade is preventing that. Theo calls for a recess, and Devronin heads back to his shuttle, docked in the Main Hanger, so they may resume in 12 hours. Karsh, Mr. Devronin's body guard, puts on Devronin's chain to carry him out, but not before being goosed (or "Tweaked") first by Twiki.

Back on Zantia, Buck is brought to the Prime Ministers quarters believing it was Linea and Nyree's room.
Linea serves her favorite drink, Centauran brandy and tries to slip a little something into Buck's glass. Cassius brought Buck to the Prime Minister's room so she could evaluate him for her daughter, Ariela. Her daughter, has other plans instead of being married to Buck, like leading the opposition against her mother's policies. The Opposition is against: The policies isolating Zantia from the outside worlds. Maintaining the illusion that the world is inhabited by men to avoid being invaded. The passing of Laws that allow the kidnapping of men and selling them at auction to be the husbands of the local women. Buck, being too smart to be drugged by the two flirty sisters, his held up at gunpoint by Cassius. With a slow roundhouse kick, that misses, Cassius's gun is
knocked (more like thrown) from is hand, and the next thing I know, the sisters are up on their feet ready to fight. Cassius suggests shooting Buck with their weapon. So Linea pulls out some stick out of her money changer located on her belt and fires some kind of lasso energy beam around Buck, causing him to black out. Cassius then scolds the women for having to shoot Buck that caused a wound. Wasn't that his idea to shoot Buck? Anyways, as long as Buck remains undamaged, Cassius is hoping to bring in at least 10,000 credits for selling him to the Prime Minister.

Buck wakes up in a holding cell, with five other men, Captain Parker, Dr. Macon (professor) and three other men whom we never learn their names. The force shield holding them in their cell is triggered by body heat. The closer one is to the door, the more solid the energy beams become.

Back at Earth, Wilma checks with Central Data to investigate Buck's disappearance. The last known coordinates for Buck's ship also coincides with the disappearances of the Morning Star, Clarion, and an Arcturan cargo freighter. Wilma suggests that Major Norris take her place in the negotiations so she may search for Buck. Dr. Huer agrees.

Buck and the rest of the men are escorted to be auctioned off. As they arrive, an auction is already in progress. The unseen man was sold for 400 credits. Parker is first up on the auction block. Parker sold for 800 credits. Buck is lead into the room to be auctioned after Parker. Around the room stands some numeric displays for the current bidding number. I cannot help but think that they have a striking similarity to Crighton, from Season 2. Buck is introduced as a first-class specimen, an obvious leader in great physical shape. Thorne rips his shirt to the pleasure of the women in the room. Bidding starts at 400 credits. The man who sold for 400
must have been pretty low quality of a man. Bidding begins on Buck. Starts low, and slowly gets higher and higher. Thorne assures Buck that he would not sell Buck for anything less than 5,000 credits (5,000 less than what he is hoping to get for Buck from the Prime Minister) and is ultimately won by bidder No. 4 for 20,000 credits. The highest bid ever for any man. The writers are still trying to force Buck on the audience as a gift from God when it comes to his sex appeal. Thorne pockets 15% (or 3000 credits) of the sale. Nice little pocket change since he had to do nothing for it personally. I am sure Nyree and Linea see some of that 3000, but probably not much.

Wilma reported in to Theo 20 minutes ago. She had just left Stargate 20 and entering the Tauran system. Wilma identifies herself as Earth Starfighter 4332 to the Aurora, who is up to its old tricks again. Linea and Nyree state they had a temporary flux in their starboard engine, and replaced their faulty discharge tube. They are quickly trying to get out of being helped because their "rescuer" was a woman. Taking a page out the Aurora's book, Wilma pulls out an electronic box, crippling her stabilizers. She requests an emergency landing permit on Zantia. All Earth ships are categorically denied clearance to land at the Zantia Spaceport so Landing Control denies her request. Ignoring Landing Control, Wilma lands her ship anyways.

Buck is led into Ariela's home, where he is wearing his black leathers, the same costume he wore as Rafael
Argus, but with a few modifications here and there as to not look exactly the same. Ariela asks Buck to follower her outside because her home is bugged with listening devises. Cue music after Ariela's "please" as if asking Buck politely means Ariela is different from everyone else. Ariela spells out her plan to Buck. The leader of the Ruathian's is on Earth for the negotiations. She wants Buck to fly her through the Stargate and to Earth, where she would kidnap the leader. From there she will let Buck go and she will negotiate the return of all Zantian men. Buck agrees to help with her plan. He then notices a small rock of barbarite. A woman from the auction over hears Ariela and Bucks conversation and runs off to tattle to the Prime Minister. Buck and Ariela peruse on horse back (do women not know how to drive on this planet, or do they not have the technological advancement to create automobiles?). Buck and Ariela are cut off by a laser fence that was triggered by the woman's passing. How convenient.

Wilma "borrowed" a uniform to get past the guards at the space port. She found Buck's ship, still docked. Wilma spots Cassius Thorne wearing the necklace that Buck was going to give her, and thinks that he may be able to lead her to Buck. The auction woman tells the Prime Minister all that she heard and wants Buck Rogers in exchange for her services. The Prime Minister agrees. I guess 20,000 credits is no big deal to the Prime Minister to just give Buck away. Buck enters Docking Area 2 where his ship
is... well... docked. He makes a great leap over the guards who where facing the wrong way, and takes their pistol. He gets off a few quick shots at nearby equipment and the ground to scare the women. This tactic seems to work extremely well as all the women just seam to fall the ground unconscious. I guess the rounds exploding near them was so terrifying that they all fainted. Buck and Ariela hop in his 4-Seater Thunder Fighter, only for it to change into the 2 seater Starfighter for the miniature FX shot. Yeah for inconsistency! Buck escapes just as Wilma and Cassius enter Ariela's home. Jayel pops out to tell Wilma she is too late, only to run away again once the Prime Ministers guards show up. Luckily Wilma has experience negotiating, as he negotiates with the Prime Minister for her own release so she can stop Buck from kidnapping Mr. Devronin.

Buck comes insight of the Ruathian Star cruiser . It is 570,000 kilometers (354,182.5 miles) away at 50
degrees starboard (The image displayed on the monitor is Princess Ardala's Private Shuttle). Mr. Devronin's shuttle (Same ship used in Battlestar Galactica for the Astral Queen) is 165 degrees port. The shot of Karsh in the cockpit is the exact same cockpit in Unchained Woman for the shuttle ILM-4. Major Norris is leading the escort of the Ruathian shuttle with two other Starfighters. Wilma shows up just before Buck is able to dock with the Ruathian shuttle, and informs the escort squad to open fire on Buck. Escort leader takes the first shot. His pulsar cannons change color from yellow to blue between the two FX miniature shots of the Starfighter shooting, and Buck's ship dodging. The film negative also gets flipped so it appears Major Norris is flying the other direction. Buck is hit, loosing is starboard defense shield. Wilma calls off the attack and changes her tune for some reason. She now instructs the Squad to board the Ruathian shuttle. I cannot tell if that was her plan all along, or if she decided to trust Buck instead of killing him. Mr. Devronin responds that he will have all seven of the Starfighter pilots executed for this attack on his ship. I am not sure where the number seven came from. I mean, there was the original three escorts, then Buck and Wilma. That makes 5 ships, not seven. Did Mr. Devronin psychically know that Buck had a passenger (making it 6 people)? Well Wilma and Buck board the shuttle to hash out a new negotiation.

Twiki enters Huers office and informs him to pick up subspace channel L-3. Huer joins in the meeting with Buck, Wilma, Ariela, Devronin, and Karsh via intercom. Buck proposes that the Ruathians relinquish all prisoners of war to Zantia, in exchange of complete control over Medrea (cutting off Earths barbarite supply). Devronin agrees, while Theo and Huer bite their tongues. Back on Zantia, Docking Tubes 5 through 10 are cleared for the Ruathian transport of the Madrean miners. The Zantian men are entering through Docking Area 2. The overhead P.A. system instructs to keep the docking area clear and to remain in the Main Concourse. Something that all the women seem to ignore because as the men enter Docking Area 2, they are swarmed by lonely women. Buck reminds Wilma about their dinner date and suggests that he will be making sweetbreads. Sounds good, but I think you need to look it up if you are not familiar with sweetbreads to understand Buck's joke.

Character Facts learned in this episode
Linea: Sister is Nyree. Lives in Tower 4. Favorite brand of brandy is Centauran.
Parker: Captain of the Morning Star. Was on an archaeological survey to Timbil.
Buck Rogers: Spent summers in Colorado.
References to the 20th Century that the 25th does't get: Stiff, Chutzpah, sweetbreads
My Favorite Lines: "[Buck]'s cooking dinner for me tonight" "Oh, I'm sorry. My, my, my" -Huer to Wilma
"There's a little man running around inside my head screaming in pain. It's me." - Buck
Deaths: 0
Miniatures: (5) Starfighter, (1) Thunder Fighter (1) Aurora (1) Zantian Launch Tube (1) Ruathian Shuttle

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Ep 109 Unchained Woman, November 1, 1979

Director: Dick Lowry
Writer(s): Bill Taylor
Guest Star(s):
Jen Burton .... Jamie Lee Curtis
Marlary Pantera .... Michael Delano
Sergio Sanwiler.... Bert Rosario
Majel .... Tara Buckman
Lt. Zimmerman .... Charles Walker
Ambassador Ted Warwick .... Robert Cornthwaite
No. 1 "Hugo" .... Walter Hunter
Shuttle Captain .... Jim B. Smith
Gymon .... Danny Ades
Complete List of Cast and Crew

Prison Shuttle ILM-4 approaches the Zeta Prison on Moon Three with Val-Zhan. It is suddenly attacked by two Directorate Starfighters, Buck, Wilma, and Lt. Zimmerman. They announce false charges of transportingILM-4. Buck's flawless plan is to infiltrate the prison, locate Jen Burton, break her out, and rendezvous with Wilma in four hours outside the prisons defense shield at Station Post 7. All without provoking an interstellar war. ILM-4 will arrive at Moon Three in 15 minutes.
illicit contraband and demand that the shuttle prepare for boarding. The robotic pilot informs Deering that he is in Zetan Territory, in a Zeta Government ship, and that the Directorate has no jurisdiction in this area (aka, no legal reason to do what Wilma is requesting). Wilma fires another warning shot that finally gets the robot to comply. Lt. Zimmerman disables the pilot and erases his memory of the Directorates interference in a prisoner transport. Wilma and Lt. Zimmerman take Val-Zhan back to Earth, while Buck takes his place on board

Ambassador Warwick has been trying to negotiate with the Zetan Government for Jen Burton's extradition. Unsuccessfully, I might add. Dr. Huer is desperate for Jen Burton's release because Malary Pantera's raids on their shipping lanes are crippling the outer colonies. Someone, inside the Directorate is leaking their shipping schedules to Pantera. Jen, who happens to be Pantera's ex-girlfriend, knows who the leak is. Dr. Huer hopes that if they get Jen released, she will provide the name they need to stop the leak.

The prison on Moon Three is 200 meters (about 656 feet or 1/8 of a mile) underground, carved out of solid bedrock, making it impregnable. On Zeta, they do it right. Buck is taken down to the prison where he is decontaminated, and processed. Believing he is Val-Zhan, the guards prepare Buck for life in prison. Meanwhile, Pantera and Majel (Pantera's new
girlfriend) meet up with Warwick in the hangar, pretty much out in the open. I mean, they didn't exactly pick a low security area to discuss their treachery. Warwick informs Pantera that an agent will break Jen out of prison and meet up with Wilma Deering at Station Post 7. Where did he get Wilma's name? Huer never mentioned it. Twiki let loose that the Agent was Buck, but otherwise, both Buck's and Wilma's names were kept from Warwick. I suppose he went to the directory and looked it up. Pantera and Majel leave for Moon Three to kill Jen, Buck and Wilma.

Prison Guard No. 1 (who Buck nicknames "Hugo") takes Bucks 'keepsake', a medallion with the Star Trek logo on it. The medallion is actually a bomb. A bomb so cleverly disguised that all the prison scans could not detect it being any kind of threat. The guard uses the ol' "Dramatic Necklace Removal" by yanking hard on it, breaking the chain off Buck's neck, and tosses it in the trash next to the elevator among some other contraband. Buck is escorted into the Dayroom, where a small group of men and women are lounging about. Buck is counting backwards, timing his plan of escape. Luckily, Jen Burton is also in the Dayroom and locating her took just as long as he planned. 30 seconds later, the bomb goes off, taking out the two guards at the door, the elevator itself, and by shear force and pressure, blows off the door to the Dayroom, providing everyone the chance to escape. Malfunctioning on the ground is one of the guards, repeating "Prisoners will report to the Dayroom. Escape is not possible." Buck, Jen, and a dozen or more prisoners all manage to escape. It's a good thing they are all stuck on a moon, otherwise they might get away...

Twiki and Theo begin to find Warwick's behavior to be suspicious and check out Central Data to review the
shipping schedules. Buck, dragging Jen by her arm, have only two and a half hours to meet up with Wilma at Station Post 7. That means Buck was able to get in and out in only an hour and a half. That's some fast work. Guard No. 1, still functioning, emerges from the wreckage of the prison. He scans the horizon in search of his missing prisoners. He spy's a hill that has six escapees, but he ignores them. He continues to search the landscape and spots another six prisoners running over the hills. He ignores them too. Then, he spots Buck and Jen. The real people he was looking for. Two prisoners. Ignores 12, and goes after two, one of which is known to be innocent of her sentenced crime...Did No. 1 know that Buck was responsible for the explosion and out of shear anger decides to track him down for revenge? The wrist band on both Buck and Jen allow him to locate them, but why track them specifically? Other than the fact they are the heroes of the show, to blatantly see 12 other prisoners and pass them by to go after two doesn't seem like a logical choice for a robot to make. Maybe I'm over thinking things.

Majel pays Gymon, I assume a bounty hunter, 400 credits as a down payment to kidnap Wilma from the docking port and to take her to the Service Area, where she is to be held there till further notice. Once he has completed his task, he will receive another 600 credits (1000 total credits). In the mean time, the malfunctioning robot, No. 1, is in hot pursuit of Buck and Jen. He kicks two rocks out of shear frustration, sending them high into the air. The rocks fly like Styrofoam blocks. I know they wanted it to look like the android had strength, but this little trick is a bit more comical than anything. It is so clear that the rocks are fake. Regardless, No. 1, with determination and fast walking, closes the gap between himself and Buck and Jen. Jen gets entangled with a Sand Squid. Buck, with his quick thinking, grabs a long stick and starts to stab at the squid until it releases Jen. But just when they thought it was safe, No. 1 is upon them and attacks. This time Jen and Buck work together and manage to knock No. 1 into the sand squids bed, where he is pulled under the sand to be digested. Jen looks away in horror as the thought of a android being eaten by a creature of the desert is too much for her senses. Never mind that she was dating a murder, this is too gruesome for her to watch.

Twiki and Theo, in the Central Data room review the Freighters that where attacked by Pantera. The first
five ships intercepted where headed to the Rigel system. The next three for Vega. Two other freighters where headed for Space Station L-20. All these systems are located in the Third Quadrant; the area Warwick has jurisdiction. Theo suggests that they need to tap Warwick's computer. Turns out, they don't need Jen Burton after all. With a little
research and investigating, they where able to prove that Ted was leak. The Central Data room appears to be the exact same as the Hospital Research Lab from Planet of the Slave Girls. I think the Data computer is the same computer prop used for Carl.

Buck and Jen arrive at Station Post 7, only to find that Wilma isn't there. They either arrived an hour late, or they waited for an hour for Wilma to arrive. Either way, they leave the post to check if Wilma's ship even landed on the planet. Walking around town, the two quickly realize they must change their attire to not be so noticeable. Jen suggests mugging a
couple and taking their cloths. Down town, in the Service Area, Wilma is being held by Gymon  He wonders if she is the smuggler that has been smuggling all the quadrillium. Playing along, Wilma states she is carrying 12 kilograms (26 lbs) of quadrillium. The foolish goon releases Wilma, hoping that she will show him where she has hidden her cargo. Wilma, however has other plans and without much effort turns the tables on the would-be kidnapper with her learned Judo moves. Notice the Colonial Shuttle parked there on the left?

Buck and Jen enter a bar, hoping to find Wilma. Instead they meet Sergio Sanwiler. Sergio notices Jen's prisoner wrist band and instantly assumes they are escapees. A natural conclusion since no one has ever escaped from that prison. One would assume that if Sergio recognized a prison band, he himself must
have been in prison at some point in his life. Coincidence Sergio just happens to have a tool on his person to remove the bands. For a charge of course. Jen pulls out credits that must have belonged to the couple they mugged. Currency, it would seem, is more valuable based on its condition. Course removing the wrist bands wasn't as helpful for them, so much as getting rid of them would have been. While they still carried the wrist bands, they could still be tracked by No. 1. Who we thought was destroyed by the Sand Squid, but appears to be quite resilient to bomb explosions and sand quids. Is there anything that can stop him? Just toss that sand squid tentacle on the ground. It tastes better with a little sand.

Sergio Sanwiler, eager to make more money, rings Pantera's door. He comes information he is sure Pantera would be interested in. Turns out that Sergio was aware that Pantera was looking for two escaped prisoners before he saw Buck and Jen come into the bar. Pantera must have put out feelers and a location on where he could be found if anyone heard anything. That would be the only logical explanation on how Sergio would know all this. Unless, he just happened to overhear Pantera talking about it, then followed Pantera to his apartment at the Boarding House. Sergio, asks for 40 credits for his information. Pantera gives Majel his stun ring and instructs her to give it to Jen.

One of Pantera's henchmen enters his apartment and gives him an update on his ships status. The coolant
units are empty and need to be recharged. Pantera demands that his ship be ready to leave in an hour. Pantera calls someone, who I assume must be Warwick, to provide a progress report. Wilma overhears that Buck is walking into a trap and Jen will be killed. Jen, now armed with the stun ring, activates it and points it at Buck. A high pitched noise is emitted and Buck falls to the ground, unconscious. No. 1, continues his pursuit, and in his anger pushes down a tree. Now we know this robot is strong and just plane mean.

Jen Burton enters Pantera's apartment (that she found some how) and makes a strange comment "I thought I would never see you again". Why did she say
that? She was sitting in prison for almost 10 months waiting for Pantera to break her out. She was so confident that Pantera would come for her and not leave her, that she refused to help the directorate. As she and Buck walked the desert, she would constantly tell Buck that she would not go with him and would seek out Pantera. At no point did I ever believe that she wasn't sure she would see Pantera again. Her whole motivation depended on it. I guess, deep down she knew that Buck was telling her the truth, but she was too blinded by love. Love that Pantera didn't share.

Sergio Sanwiler, trying to pick-up a woman, tells a tail of his mast wealth. That he asked his valet, Javin, to hyperthyroid. Sergio goes back to flirting with the woman at the bar.
give him a pair of cloths and a shuttle, so he could explore the galaxy as a peasant. Buck and Wilma enter the bar again looking for Pantera, but Buck decides he want's to shake down Sergio for information. Sergio gives up the information that is shuttle is being prepped for departure in Service Building 3. Sergio then insults Buck after he leaves, calling him a

Back in the Service Area, Buck and Wilma take Gymon and Pantera by surprise. With some sharp shooting, which should have destroyed their blasters, Buck and Jen knock the guns from the bad guys hands. But their
victory is short lived as Majel distracts Buck and Jen by sticking up Wilma, allowing Pantera to retake the upperhand. Buck's luck holds out, and at that moment, No. 1 crashes through the wall. All those with pistols take a shot at him, but he still doesn't go down. Well, that's nothing good old hand to hand combat cannot fix. Buck just discards his pistol like it was worthless. I mean, so what if he can smash through a solid wall unharmed, take four rounds of blaster fire, get blown by a bomb, and even attacked by a sand squid and keep on ticking. I'm sure Buck's Judo chop is what's needed to take this guy out.

Wait a second? Did I just see Buck still had on his prisoner's wrist band on? Didn't he get that removed by Sergio earlier in the episode? I am quite positive that he did. Oh man, the best part of this fight scene is how obvious the props being thrown around are empty painted cardboard boxes. The prop department didn't
both painting the bottom of the boxes. Wilma informs Buck that No. 1 is only going after him because of his bracelet, so he breaks it off on the side of the table and locks it onto Pantera's wrist. There are so many things wrong with this I don't know where to begin. First, the bracelet was already removed from Buck a while back, he should not have been still wearing it. Second, the bracelet would not
have so easily come off by banging on the side of a table, since that could have easily be done in prison, not to mention that Sergio need a special tool to cut them off. Third, if Buck broke the lock by smashing it on the
table, it could not have locked itself on Pantera's wrist. Majel, fearing for Pantera's life, enlists Buck to help rescue a criminal from being take to prison. I don't follow that logic, but we are meant to believe that this No. 1, or "Hugo" as Buck still calls him, is the bad guy here. Buck's new plan of attack is the old one. Everyone is to shoot No. 1 at his Control Center, all at the same time, on full power. Poor ol' No. 1. He was just doing his job. Those Zetan's, when they make their androids, they make them right.

Warwick stuns a hanger technician in hopes of making a quiet escape. Dr. Huer has been following him and catches him in the act. Warwick, just gives up an hands over his pistol to Huer. Wilma pilots Buck and Jen back through the Stargate and heads to Earth. Jen, keeping her prison bracelet as a souvenir. Buck, assures Jen that there was no way that android would be able to still track her with it. But we see that No. 1 is still not out of commission. Perhaps he very well could. So, after all that, they didn't end up needing Jen's help to capture the leak at the directorate. They were able to catch Pantera, which stopped the raids on their shipping all together, and they are harboring two criminals that they helped escape Zetan punishment. Not a bad days work for the Directorate.

Character Facts learned in this episode
Ambassador Ted Warwick: Federation Officer. He is the Directorates diplomatic liaison in the Third Quadrant. Long time friend of Dr. Huer's. When he was young, he was compassionate, brash and full of himself. His aspirations in life was to become a great leader. Is paid (1/5th of the profits) by Pantera to leak the Directorates shipping schedules to him.

Jen Burton: Confessed to a murder that Pentara committed and spent the last 10 months (9 1/2 really) in prison. Zetan Government knew she was innocent of the crime but incarcerated her anyways on principle. Jen believes that Pantera will come for her.
References to the 20th Century that the 25th does't get: Piece of Cake, bumper sticker, moroccan flavor,  to mug someone
Easter Eggs: ILM
Deaths: 0
Miniatures: (1) Starfighter, (1) 4-Seater Thunder Fighter (1) ILM-4 (Canaris Shuttle)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Ep 108 Return of the Fighting 69th, October 25, 1979

Director: Philip Leacock
Writer(s): David Bennett Carren
Guest Star(s):
Major Noah Cooper .... Peter Graves
Roxanne Trent .... Elizabeth Allen
Commander Corliss .... Robert Quarry
Sgt. "Big Red" MacMurthy .... Woody Strode
Corporal M.K. Schultz .... Eddie Firestone
Lt. Harriet Twain .... K.T. Stevens
Eli Twain (Harriet's Husband) .... Dan Sturkie
Cadet Westlake .... Robert Hardy
Cadet Clayton .... Duncan McKenzie
Alicia .... Katherine Wiberg
War Technician .... Clifford Turknett
Full list of Cast and Crew
Is it just me, or is the title of the show a bit crooked? The title calls the 69th the Fighting 69th, but they never did call themselves that, least not at any point in the show.
Wilma Deering, Buck, Clayton, and Westlake are perusing an old stolen freighter called Lisa's Dream. It is attempting to make its way to Necrosis IV, inside an asteroid belt. Lisa's Dream was scheduled to be flown into deep space and destroyed. Unfortunately, the security for the Directorate Hanger was designed to protect the contents of freighter, not the ship itself, allowing Corliss and three other solders to steal the ship. The Starfighter Squadron has almost over taken Lisa's Dream when four Scorpion fighters come out of the asteroids and attack. Two Scorpions are destroyed and Clayton and Westlake (two cadets) enter the asteroid belt to follow the freighter. Unfortunately they disobey Wilma's order to fall back and are killed by crashing into an asteroid. Wilma and Buck head back to Earth in defeat.

On Necrosis IV, Alicia is sitting in front of a vanity, looking into her Memory Globe, thinking about her parents. She was taken from Earth five years ago and has been a slave for Roxanne Trent since. Roxanne appears to find pleasure in torturing Alicia and just being mean. Roxanne shows her dislike for Alicia by stating that if the market for Terran servants wasn't so depressed, she would sell Alicia in an instant. Commander Corliss and his crew land Lisa's Dream and its stolen cargo on Necrosis IV where he is greeted by Roxanne. Eager for revenge, Roxanne inquires when they will be ready to attack Wilma Deering and all the people of Earth. Corliss assures her that in it will be as soon as the stolen missile containers are loaded with the nerve gas, which should take about three days. Now, the nerve gas already were in containers, so I am curious why they would have to be transferred to different missile containers? Lisa's Dream's cargo consisted of 20th century weapons found in an arsenal, in Washington D.C.

Three years ago, Wilma Deering attempted to arrest Roxanne Trent and Corliss for smuggling weapon's to hostile colonies. They resisted and Colonel Deering was forced to fire on their ship. Their Cargo exploded. In an attempt to seal off the cabin, Corliss fell into the cargo hold and became a human torch.  Roxanne pulled Corliss out, and tried to put him out with her hands. A decision that cost her right arm. Because of their injuries from the fire, they have been bent on taking revenge against Wilma, and all of Earth. The two had taken refuge on Necrosis IV and have been  gunrunners ever since. The Directorate is aware of their location and activities however, the asteroid belt surrounding their base is just too dangerous to enter.

Huer orders Wilma to recruit Noah Cooper to help the Starfighters navigate the Necrosis Asteroid belt. It would seem that Noah is an expert when it comes to this particular Asteroid Belt and his experience would be invaluable in flying through them safely. He must have flown it dozen's of times over otherwise how else would he know the belt so well? So, Buck and Wilma go to the local bar, where they expect to find the retired major. Wilma says hello to Plato, the Bartender(?). The bar set looks just like the one used in The Plot to Kill a City, when Buck confronted Argus for the first time. Wilma becomes worried that Buck when she is unable to locate Noah. She was expecting Noah to be at the bar by 1800 hours (6:00pm), as he spends a lot of time there. Sure enough, Mr. Mission Impossible himself (Jim Phelps), enters the scene and hugs Wilma like a daughter. The warm greeting between two old friends soon changes
as Noah's bitterness about being retired comes up. Red, a member of the 69th, comes out from a back room and propositions Noah to join him in a came of 10&11 (Blackjack). Noah agrees and leaves Wilma with another guilt trip. Wilma chases after Noah, and enters a dark room where Red and three other members of the 69th Earth Space Marine Squadron are hiding to surprise Noah for his Birthday. Among the Squadron, is their Mascot, Lucky the dog. The 69th was retired after they failed their physical exam. Their Silver Eagles where taken and Wilma was the unfortunate one who had to do it.

Noah wanting to prove to the Directorate that he is still useful agrees to to help Wilma. As long as the entire 69th Squadron helps and when it's all over, they will get their Silver Eagles back and be reinstated to active duty. Noah's plan is to convert Seymour Class Cargo Sleds into Star Belly bombers, the ship the Squadron used when they attacked the base years ago. They will need 12 hours to equip the sleds with tail gun turrets and another 12 to train, at which point they would be ready to attack in two days. This is the first time the Sled is referenced as a Seymour Class Cargo Sled. Noah picks up, what I can only assume is the actual FX model of the sled. Holding it in his hand, we get a nice close up of the miniature's detail and its size. Probably the best onscreen reference. Wilma reminds them that they are all almost at the Mandatory Retirement Age (85), and refuses Noah's terms and conditions. She feels that they are too old for such a mission. Buck makes the statement about ageism, and it looks like it may be an episode how the elderly are still useful and should not be discriminated against just because of their age. A task that only Buck Rogers can do.

Coincidentally, back on Necrosis IV, Corliss says that they should be ready to attack Earth in 48 hours (exactly two days). Roxanne states she has a spy in the Directorate who is trying to find out how much Dr. Huer knows about their plans. Corliss doesn't seem to care one way or the other about how much Dr. Huer know regarding their plans. He is confident that he is well protected by his pulsar batteries and the asteroids. A very similar situation we have seen before in The Plot to Kill a City. I would have thought that after catching Hartsteen, the Directorates security would have increased. But it would seem that they still have spy in their midst's. A female spy this time, who informs Corliss about the bomb raid Huer is planning in the next two days. Who this spy is, we never find out. She appears to disappear after the raid.

The Fighting 69th had nine training runs, and Big Red was unable to hit a single target. Noah didn't do much better. They seem to be a bit rusty after a year of retirement. Wilma complains that they are using outdated techniques. Cargo Sleds that are 20 years old, 30 year old bombs, and 85 year old pilots. Buck suggests that she is so afraid that Noah is going to get hurt, it's clouding her judgement that the 69th is more than capable to handle the job. I cannot see how failing their physical exam, and a 100% failure 9 times in a row is considered "clouded judgement". The writers seem to have changed tactics in this scene. They are no longer perusing the ageism angle, but that Wilma's personal feelings for loosing a family friend is the reason she is hesitant to give the 69th a chance.

Roxanne Trent is just a cruel woman. She just walks over to Alicia, who was getting something to drink for Corliss, and just takes her Memory Globe. Using her bionic hand, crushes the globe, forcing Alicia to watch. It was probably all Alicia had of her family and now it's gone. Alicia, who appears to be mute, looks away in pain. Roxanne just gloats over the fact she hurt Alicia's feelings. Alicia looks up towards the ceiling, as if she is longing for Buck to come and rescue her. A true Cinderella story.

Wilma and Buck join the 69th in only three sleds. Buck and Wilma in one, Noah, Eli and Harriet in another, and Red and M.K. in the other. Noah guides them through the asteroid field with ease. Corliss sends out three Scorpion Fighters to intercept their approach. Noah orders the Sleds into a tight "T" formation (how three ships form a "T"?). The first three Scorpions are quickly destroyed. Four more appear to join the battle. Wilma and Buck begin to loose control of their ship, and are overtaken by the new arrivals. The Scorpion Pilots instruct Buck and Wilma to proceed to Vector 9-4KV Coordinate "C". The radio is not on a secure channel and Noah and Red hear Buck and Wilma being captured. Fearing Buck and Wilma to be now lost,
Noah and the rest of the 69th proceed with the plans to bomb Necrosis IV. Or do they? Theo reminds Dr. Huer, that Earth's leaders must survive at all costs. While gas would have no affect on Earths computers there are men and women that need to be saved. Huer informs maintenance to ready the Omega Complex. A building that will protect a select group of people from death in such an event as this. Dr. Huer and Theo have the responsibility to choose who will be saved by being allowed into the Omega Complex.

Wilma and Buck are brought in to Roxanne and Corliss. Roxanne holds out her hand and for some strange reason Wilma accepts it. Why does she think that the gesture to shake hands was a sincere one? I mean, common. All Roxanne wants to do is crush Deerings hand with her Bionic arm. When Buck takes her hand, he endures any kind of crushing and kisses her hand as a sign of respect. Buck notices Alicia and some how is able to discern that she is a deaf mute and starts to "talk" to Alicia via American Sign Language. I don't know what they are saying, but it appears that Buck asked Alicia who she was. She spells A-L-I-C-I-A, then asks who Buck is. Buck then spells out B-U-C-K. Buck then asks where she is from. Alicia responds
"Earth. I was taken four [five?] years ago." Roxanne puts a stop to their talking, and sends Alicia away. Lighting a torch that Alicia gave to Roxanne, she threatens to burn both Buck and Wilma, so they would know what it was like to be burned. Wilma, who's hands where left unbound, goes in for the attack. Buck takes on the two guards while Roxanne and Wilma cat fight. At this very moment, Noah and the Fighting 69th are detected approaching the base. With only four Scorpion fighters left, Corliss commands that they sent to destroy the Sleds. Buck and Wilma are unable to escape this time.

Buck and Wilma are in a holding cell, their fate looking pretty bleak. I can feel a little tear swelling up as a piano starts to play the Buck Rogers Theme song in a slow, and intimate way. Buck tries to cheer  Wilma up encouraging her that they will get out of their situation. Then kicks that happy thought out from under her calling her gullible with a play on phrase "if you buy that, I've got a nice corner lot for you in Anarchia". Wilma asks Buck about his knowlege of American Sign Language (or Hand-Talking). She is curious how Buck learned it, as it is only taught to children who are born deaf (so, just to the children and not their parents too?). Then Wilma contradicts herself, saying that there is no reason for anyone to learn it since deafness is usually cured in with electronic surgery during childhood. Why this wasn't done for Alicia, we are not told. While they are chatting, Alicia walks into the prison and signs to Buck that she wants to help. "Hold correct Attention. Stand near doors". Buck understands and asks Wilma to distract the guards. Que the sexy music. Wilma walks seductively up to the guards and begins to flirt with
them. "You've got the most beautiful blue eyes" "When do you get off duty" "You three have a date tonight?". Buck helps pimp Wilma out "She likes you". This is really the only moment in the show where I feel a bit uncomfortable. The implication that this scene gives that women will use sex as a tool to get men to do what they want, and men will do just about anything (even let a prisoner out) if they believe there is a chance they might get some T&A. It would be nice if TV didn't portray men as dumb insects being attracted to a bug light. Zapp! Well, Alicia helps Buck and Wilma escape and they take the guards cloths to blend in better. Another sexual innuendo as Wilma commands that the guards strip. Were it the writers intention to give the audience the impression that Wilma, a woman, enjoyed the idea of seeing three nude men on a more personal level other than the fact they need their uniforms?

A Scorpion Pilot radio's in to the Necrosis base that the 69th has just killed Tryon and the two other pilots, leaving himself to defend the base. The Pilot sees Noah's ship has been damaged and heads for him. M.K. spots the incoming Scorpion at 155 degrees. Harriet her rear mounted turret and destroys the last Scorpion. Red makes the first run on the base. They are still unsure if their bombs are operational, and they have to avoid the pulsar batteries that protect the base by flying under them. Alicia, Wilma, and Buck try to sneak past Roxanne and Corliss, but Roxanne tries to enlist their help, thinking they where guards. Buck yells for them to run, but they are all quickly caught again. Luckily Red's bomb hits the base at this very moment, sending cinder-blocks down on top of our hero's and the bad guys. Corliss takes a direct hit of a huge ceiling block, but gets up apparently unharmed. Buck see's a machine gun just laying there (Corliss thinks that it is a signaling device) and
fires it into the ground, and at the back wall as a warning for them to stay back. The attack run outside has a striking resemblance to the attack run of the rebels did against the Death Star... I wonder if...Back to our heros, Buck Wilma and Alicia are able to escape on their captured sled just before Noah, Eli, and Harriet drop their bomb, for their second run, destroying the entire base, killing possibly hundreds of people. The explosion is described as like to a 50 megaton bomb. Everyone celebrates!

Oh no. The celebration of the destruction of Necrosis IV is cut short when  no one seems to have any radio contact with Noah, Harriet and Eli. Arriving back on Earth alive and the excitement of Dr. Huer of their success, doesn't seem to take the gloom out of the survivors. Twiki brings out a small case that contains the 69ths Silver Eagles that will reinstate them to full active duty. The P.A. interrupts with an announcement that a ship is coming in on 2101. A 69th squadron sled to be exact. Noah comes over the speakers and puts everyone's fears away. He is alive! Oh, Harriet and Eli are alive too. I mean, they were important people too, right? Buck decided to throw everyone a party in his room, while he went to the Directorate Registry and located Alicia's parents and to set up surgery for her so she can hear. Everyone is happy and Alicia is reunited with her parent. Who needs a Memory Globe now?

Character Facts learned in this episode
Noah Cooper: Major, and in charge of the Earth Space Marine Squadron. Flew with Deering's father. Flight instructor. "Failed" his annual physical fitness test last year, as a forced retirement. Had his Silver Eagles taken from him

Wilma Deering: First flight instructor was Noah Cooper. Father flew in the Earth Space Marine Squadron. Nickname "Dizzy Deering" or Dizzy "D" for short because as a child she ran around, getting into everything making Noah and her father "Dizzy".

Buck Rogers: A friend taught him sign language. She taught handicapped children, and Buck joined them sometimes on field-trips.
References to the 20th Century that the 25th does't get: Clam up
Deaths: 19 + countless number of men and women on Necrosis IV
Miniatures: (4) Scorpion, (3) Sled, (4) Starfighter, (1) Lisa's Dream Frieghter