Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Ep 105 Vegas in Space, October 4, 1979

Director: Sigmund Neufeld, Jr.
Writer(s): Anne Collins
Guest Star(s):
Morgan Velosi .... Richard Lynch
Falina Reeding .... Ana Alicia
Major Marla Landers .... Juanin Clay
Tangi .... Pamela Shoop
Hood .... James Luisi
Rita .... Alice Frost
Man .... Ted Chapman
Special Guest Stars:
Amos Armat .... Cesar Romero
Carl Morphus .... Joseph Wiseman
Full list of cast and Crew

The title of Vegas in space gives the audience the imagery of Sin City. Gambling, sex, drugs, crime, all come to my mind when I think of Vegas. The show starts off with Wilma and Buck on a Training exercise, Twelve Star Fighters against 14 Hatchet fighters (same miniatures as the Pirate Ships). It would appear that the entire squadron was "destroyed" before they where able to fight back. Being the last one standing, Buck finally destroys one fighter. Unfortunately he takes a direct hit and is "destroyed" by a drone, ending the drill just after 2 min. 17 seconds of Battle. The Drill was using the targeting computers on the Star Fighters that are once again proving to be useless in battle. Buck is trying to convince Wilma that they need to learn how to shoot without the computer.

Falina enters her room where she opens two video messages. One from Rita (meaning "Pearl"), her old guardian, whom Falina sent flowers to for her Birthday. Apparently Blooming Flowers are rare. The second his from Mr. Armat, her employer whom she works for as a Digital Programmer, instructing her to go to the shuttle station at that very moment. There she would find her itinerary, already paid for. He says she is in great danger and urges that she needs to leave right away, but at the same time he said that it was better that she was not in when he called. How could he possibly know when she would get back in and see the message? Her shuttle could have left hours, if not days ago. How is it better that she was not in when he called? It clearly was a while since he left the message, 'cause in that time Velosi's Kidnapper was able to locate her, enter her room and wait for her to arrive. Clearly if she had gotten the message sooner, she would have been safer.

Major Landings meets Mr. Armat and lists his business practices to give the audience the information that this is a bad guy. I find it interesting that one of the things that Landings mentions is slave trafficking. Why does this stand out to me, you ask? Well in Planet of the Slave Girls Buck mentions slavery to Major Fields, who acts like she never heard of the word, or understands the concept. So now, we see that slavery is something that is known to at least some government officials. Or maybe it was just a writers error.

Even though Mr. Armat seems to have quite a reputation, and the kind of guy who could snap his fingers and
make something happen, he apparently has no jurisdiction in the city of Sinaloa. That's why he needs Dr. Huer's help and the help of his pilots. He proposes to turn himself in with all the evidence needed to make a conviction, in addition he will also provide information on the Draconian Hatchet Fighters, and why they are impervious the Star Fighters Computer Control Systems. So, I am confused, the Star Fighters Computer Control Systems is supposed to penetrate the Hatchet fighters and do something that would allow the Star Fighters to shoot them? If they didn't know how the Hatchet fighters are capable of doing this, how where they able to create replica fighters to practice on in the beginning of the show?

So Wilma convinces Buck to go with Major Lander's to Sinaloa to play 10 & 11, or what we refer to as Blackjack. I can only assume it's called ten and eleven, because they add up to twenty-one. Sinaloa resides in the Delta solar system, which consists of 12 orbiting man-made cities, one of those twelve is Sinaloa. Sinaloa consists mainly of Hotels, Casinos, Showrooms, and anything revolving around entertainment and gambling. Buck, after hearing Lander's description of Sinaloa, mentions the title of the show, "...A Las Vegas in Space" in the show!

Falina was placed under guard in Generator Sector 3 (take elevator F to the bottom level, through the door at the end), where Velosi goes to meet her. He walks in so slowly to be all that much more frightening to Falina. Like a monster movie as the creature slowly approaches the damsel. Now, his "V" belt buckle represents to the audience his ego, and perhaps even his power over the city. No villain is complete without is personalized belt buckle. Falina is overcome by his power and breaks down simply from his silent stare. Oh how Falina cracks over so little pressure. Best over acted scene ever.

Buck and Marla enter through the security check point with no problems. Sinaloa's overhead recording repeats "Please have your ID's ready at the entry portal. ID cards are required for entry and exit to Sinaloa. Thank you. You are now subject to the laws of Sinaloa. If you have any questions please go to the  pink vid-phone at the end of the concourse, and a paralegal will be happy to answer your questions." Buck sticks his invisible bloby things that I assume are explosives against a wall and a control panel. Marla just describes them as something to help them get in and one to help get them out. Included in their arsenal of gadgets include a detonating devise, that is effective from some distance that they don't mention, a ball for any goons that never gets used, and a devise that will deactivate the exit portals force shield for 10 seconds.

A blue woman from Klosef 3 catches Buck's eye. Marla suggests that the woman is actually a man, and wouldn't be Buck's type. Now, I cannot help but wonder if she was serious, or just teasing Buck. Do the men of Klosef 3 look like women of Earth, and visa-versa? Anyways, Buck changes into something more incognito, meets Tangi, and the two find them selves at the nearest 10&11 table. Marla, pretending to not know Buck, complains that Player 4 (aka Buck) has won 9 games, and only lost 4 since he sat down. She immediately accuses Buck of cheating and rushes off to make a formal complaint. Tangi asks Buck if he is from Klosef 3, so I guess that means Marla was telling the truth. The men look like women, and the women look like men. Velosi takes an interest in Marla, and sicks his goon to watch Buck. Buck is reminiscing about the end of his stint at Edwards. A friend of his, Toby Kaplan, and Buck drove to Las Vegas on Wednesday morning. They partied and gambled all night and drove home Thursday and arrived two minutes late for their 10 o'clock class (meaning they left Vegas between 6 & 7am). From there Buck went off to Huston, and Toby had aspirations to head up the Space and Aeronautics Board. The Edwards Buck is most likely referring to here is Edwards Air Force Base in California. The drive between the two would have taken Buck a little over 3 hours to make the trip. I did a quick search online for an Edwards College, and found St. Edwards University in Austin Texas. If Buck was referring to that Edwards, it would have taken him and Toby nearly 19 hours to drive to Vegas, one way. That isn't enough time to drive there and immediately turn around and get back by 10:02 am the following morning. Which would be a huge geography error for the writers. Buck lost in thought, doesn't hear the 10&11 computer announce his winnings of 400 credits.

Tangi, Tangi, Tangi. She spills out this sob story to Buck, about how she is practically a prisoner there on Sinaloa, and how her employer would never let her go, and how much of a monster he his (Blah, blah blah), all tugging at Bucks heart. Then she throws in the bait "But if, uh--If someone were to offer him enough money. Oh say as much as you've won here [REDFLAG! Altert, run away Buck!]. I bet he'd let me go." Then she tells Buck how grateful she would be with strong inferences that she might show her appreciation in physical ways. Talk about using her feminine charms to get what she wants. They literally just met, and she is asking for all his winnings (which equals 9,732 credits) to pay off her debts. She sounds like a con-artist to me. I have to assume that her desire to leave Sinaloa ties into the beginning of the episode, where Velosi was confronting Tangi about the five complaints he had received in the past four days about her. Perhaps she was intentionally trying to be a bad employee so Velosi would get rid of her. But he corrects her, telling her that there was only one way to leave his employment. His way (which is a bit under explained). With Tangi's proposal to Buck, perhaps "Velosi's Way" is paying him back his investment in Tangi.

Buck fights off Velosi's goon, who is subdued and drugged to give Buck Falina's location. To enter the room Falina is being held in, Buck will need one of 4 existing keys from either 0-7, the sanitation module, Thompson, Levine, or Velosi himself. Velosi's key opens everything in the city. Clearly the best choice out the the four. So, that's what Buck and Marla do. They ambush Velosi and his goon in Marla's quarters, and take his key. I love how blasting the electronic controls is the solution to either unlocking or locking a door. Why bother hacking the door, when you can just blast the controls and everything shuts down. Or if you fear of someone escaping a room, just blast the doors and lock them inside. Naturally I would assume that blasting the controls would do one or the other, not both. But I guess if your intent is clear before you pull the trigger, the controls will sense your brain waves and detect weather you want the door to be unlocked or locked by the blast. The science of convenience.

Buck gets cut off by Tangi who now is threatening that if Buck doesn't help her she will turn him in. Clearly a desperate woman, and weather she ment her threat or not, she is now a liability. Marla appears to realize this as she pulls her weapon on Tangi. Buck intervenes and agrees to help Tangi. Handing Tangi his weapon and something else, he dashes off to Section 3 to rescue Falina. Somehow, he was able to climb up the wall and onto a large utility pipe to sneak in closer to Morphus. I'am thinking that he is going to jump onto Morphus, knocking him out, or something. Instead he lands next to him, for what reason I can only speculate was for the safety of the actors. But Buck's landing does look like it hurt.

Buck takes Falina by the arm and escorts her out to the exit portal. The guards spot them and prepare to apprehend them. Buck with his fast thinking uses the detonator to blow up a control panel that he never went near before, send smoke throughout the room, blinding the guards to Buck and Falina's whereabouts. The same shot is used again of Buck pushing the detonator button (nice that they went in order using the same button) to set off the secondary charge. Off they run to the landing bay, and all four escape. Almost.

Four Blue Hatchet fighters appear and begin to attack the Thunder Fighter. Marla just hands Buck the Navigation controls like it was a loose component. But once the fighters begin to shoot, they no longer have time to switch over. Buck does some fancy flying causing the Hatchet Pilots to accidentally destroy themselves, leaving one left for Marla to shoot. The FX shot changes the from the 4-Seater Thunder Fighter to the 2-Seater Canopy Star Fighter. The Hatchet fighters also change from Blue to their standard Rust color. Here we learn that Mr. Armat is most likely the one who is supplying the Draconian's with the Hatchet fighters in the first place. It's a good thing Armat agreed to provide the Earths Directorate the info they needed to defend against them. Mr Armat confesses to Falina that she is his daughter. I cannot help but think of this same revelation in The Empire Strikes Back.
Falina: "My father died in a spice mine"
Armat: "No, I am your Father. You were hidden from the public, because if anyone where to find out that Amos Armat had a child, it would be disastrous for them"
So in the end, Mr. Armat goes home where he awaits authorities, Falina goes back to work but is in therapy for the rest of her life, Tangi is escorted to Bucks quarters to so she can show him how appreciative she is, and Buck is walking on cloud 9 being 9,732 credits richer.

Character Facts learned in this episode
Amos Armat: Moon Base Construction is his cover, but in the underground, he deals with extortion, smuggling illegal weaponry to warring colonies, and Slave trafficking.

Carl Morphus: Can pull memories out of someones subconscious. The chemicals used traumatizes brain tissue permanently.
References to the 20th Century that the 25th does't get: hit me (blackjack), party pooper, Look's like the fat's not out of the fire yet
Favorite Lines: "I'am to blackjack as a mongoose is to a cobra"  -Buck
Deaths: 4
Miniatures: (1) Starfighter (1) 4-Seater Thunder Fighter (1) Sinaloa, Casino in Space  (4) Blue Hatchet Fighters


  1. Edwards is an airforce base https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwards_Air_Force_Base

  2. Thank you for that info. That is a much closer location to Vegas. Ill add the info to the post.

  3. Why was Erin Gray not further involved in this episode? Normally her character Wilma Deering would take the part of Marla Landers in the episode.

    1. Actually, it is very interesting. After the Buck Rodgers Movie, Erin Gray said she did not want to play Wilma D. in the T.V. Series ($$$-???) and Juanin was going to portray Wilma. But Ms. Gray finally came to an agreement with the Studio, and did return as Wilma. Juanin did appear in this and one other episode, as a consolation prize. (Juanin
      was stunning in this episode, JMHO)