Friday, September 13, 2013

Ep 112 Escape from Wedded Bliss, November 29, 1979

Director: David Moessinger
Writer(s): Cory Applebaum & Michael Bryant
Guest Star(s):
Princess Ardala .... Pamela Hensley
Kane .... Michael Ansara
Tigerman .... Dan Stansauk A.K.A. Hard Boild Haggerty
Garedon .... Alfred Ryder
Disco Skater 1 .... Elaine Nista
Disco Skater 2 .... Tracy Miller
Disco Skater 3 .... Nancy Morris
Disco Skater 4 .... Gary Stang
Full List of Cast and Crew

Some strange pyramid probe is flying through space until it positions itself directly above New Chicago, in Earth's orbit. Dr. Huer and/or Wilma Deering believe that it may be an ancient probe from Buck's time that re-entered orbit, similar to what happened to Buck. Buck disproves that theory  Dr. Huer orders that Buck and Wilma destroy the probe immediately, fearing it to be a weapon. Unfortunately the Starfighters pulsar's have no effect on the shields protecting the probe. The probe fires a single warning shot just outside the city. The P.A. announces a direct hit to Level 10, Sectors "H" through "L" causing a fire. Huer is in a panic and orders the Omega Defense Program to be activated immediately. Does this defense program have anything to do with the Omega Complex, where all Earth's leaders and important people will go to survive when New Chicago is destroyed? (See Return of the Fighting 69th).

Princess Ardala and Tigerman (Didn't Buck blow Tigerman to bits?) are back in Draconia II ('Cause the first one was destroyed in the second Episode, remember?). Kane, however is a different actor. Where they not able to get Henry Silva back to play Kane? Or perhaps Kane is a Draconian military position, and not the name of the character. Interesting thought. Emperor Draco ordered Ardala to annihilate all the Earth's cities with their new found weapon. During one of their two-year expeditions to the Galactic Center, the Draconian's discovered the pyramid. It was originally used for mining. The Draconian's felt it had better potential as a weapon. Instead of destroying Earth's cities Ardala has another plan. She sends out a subspace transmission to the Earth's Directorate to negotiate. She requests an audience with the Earth Federation Council, all major leaders and Buck Rogers. Ardala cannot help but flirt with Buck and vice-versa. "You're looking fit" hee hee hee.

Dr. Huer requests Theopolis to help him locate all the leaders. Wilma is to arrange the Honor guards. Whoever hired the disco skaters to be the center attraction for Ardala's presence should be fired. This whole dance sequence with the skaters really dates this episode. The choreography is just horrendous (Thank you Jerry Nista!). But you got to admit, watching it now is what gives this show it's charm and puts a smile on your face. All that aside, it seems rather strange that Earth would throw such a welcoming party in Princess Ardala's honor since she is threatening to destroy the Earth's inhabitants if they don't meet her demands. That's politics for you. UPDATE: this is Phase I in the Draconian ritual of Formal Union with Royalty. She is going to succeed her father for the throne of Draconia pretty soon. By Draconian Law, she must wed the most physically and genetically sound human male available in one years time, or loose her throne to a successor. Why would a Draconian be required to marry a Human? Would this unite their worlds?Why is Ardala dressed like Princess Leia? Is that why they have Kane, 'causes he's human? She wants to marry Buck, or she will destroy all of Earth's cities one by one.

Instead of taking two trips, Buck carries in a hand full of camping equipment into his apartment that he got from Dr. Junius in the Archives. A maintenance droid let Wilma Deering into his room. Something that has been done on other occasions with different women apparently. Got to add that "Buck is a player" vibe for the audience. Buck appears to be packing because he intends to hide from Ardala. Does Buck have commitment issues? Wilma, however, gives Buck a guilt trip about not being the kind of man who runs from his problems. But are her heart felt words enough to tug at Buck's heat? Ardala enters council chamber, where she is told that Buck declines her offer of marriage but two young men have eagerly volunteered to take his place. Yeah I bet they have. Who would not volunteer to marry a Princess, who will be come ruler of 3/4ths of the entire galaxy, not to mention that she is a very attractive woman? Princess Ardala gives Earth one hour to either produce Buck Rogers, or suffer the consequences. 

Twiki helped Buck overhaul an old army motorcycle w/sidecar that Buck uses to 'get-away' from all cities before they are destroyed by Ardala. Out in the wilderness, Buck beings to get low on fuel and drops what looks like a painted 24-sided die into the gas tank. "If only OPEC could see me now". Ardala takes a few pop shots within the city at the unoccupied levels of the Directorate building to show how serious she is. Good thing it doesn't do any actual structural damage. The chamber that she is in controlling the pyramid appears to be the same one that Varek was in trying to stop the terminal reaction in A Plot to Kill a City Part 2. Buck's plan isn't to run away, but to find Garedon so he could provide Buck with the layout of the Draconian Flag Ship. I guess he figured that this would take days. I mean, why else would he bring all this camping gear? But just before he can get anything out of Garedon, they are attacked by Draconina ground troops driving the same Land Rover that the Directorate used to rescue Buck in the Awakening Part 1. The Directorate shows up just in time to rescue Buck, Twiki and Garedon, traveling in a vehicle that was used in Unchained Woman. They hid a tracer on Twiki allowing them to track Buck's location. That's how both the Draconian's and Huer where able to find Buck. What would they have done if Buck didn't take Twiki like he originally planned not to? Dr. Huer takes Garedon back to the Directorate building and straps on a mind probe to obtain the complete plans of the Draconia.

After Buck arrives on Ardala's ship, Ardala instructs Kane to inform the Royal Council and witnesses that Phase I has begun. According to Draconia contractual requirements for Formal Union of Royalty, it consists of three parts. Part one includes drinks (Antaraen Brandy), talking, dancing, and to get to know each other much much better (is that implying sex on the first date?). Phase II, the male has to prove his worthiness for her by competing in the arena with her bodyguard. In this case, Tigerman. The Third Phase is the Great Event itself, the wedding ceremony, which is to take place at noon. As a wedding gift Buck will receive a collar around his neck that can never be removed. The collar will shrink around Buck's neck to half its original diameter in one tenth of a second if he does anything to displease Ardala. 

Deja vu...Buck knocks out Princess Ardala while in the middle of making out and escapes her chambers. The only thing that is missing is Buck also knocking out her guards and putting Tigerman in Ardala's bed. Activating his subcutaneous (Latin, meaning "beneath the skin") transmitter, he contacts Dr. Huer. Somehow, Buck was able to smuggle the transmitter, the hypo injector, and a black light bomb concealed in his ring. Buck must make his way to the control room on Level 5, Sector 12 to get control of the mining probe. He makes it to Level 5 when he is apprehended by Kane. He didn't get very far or do when he set out to do this time, but there is always next time right? Undeterred by Buck's stubbornness, Ardala continues the procedure of marriage. Buck fights Tigerman to the death. Well, not really to the death, he lets Tigerman live. Buck's mercy has been seen throughout his fight with Tigerman. When Tigerman discards his shield, so does Buck. When Tigerman drops his weapon, Buck get's rid of his. It's like Buck is trying to maintain a fair advantage with Tigerman at all times. His leather pants he is wearing for this arena fight sure do look familiar. Could they be the same costume for Rafael Argus? Ardala is all too pleased with Buck winning the fight. The Wedding Ceremony continues as planned. Kane preforms the ceremony and just before he puts on the wedding collar, Buck uses the Black Light bomb in his ring and escapes. The P.A. announces that Buck is in Sector G (now they are using letters?). All security personal in turbolifts 6, 7, and 9 are to intercept Buck. Security Team 7 is to lock all access portals.

After all that, Buck still manages to make his way to Level 5 Sector 12 to the main control room. Theo instructs Buck to give the pyramid a full charge but with no place to release that engergy. This should cause it to overload and explode. Kane and his Draconian soldiers blast down the main control room's door, only to find Buck safe behind the door shield of the pyramid controls. Once Buck overloads the control panel, he has to escape before it to explodes. Ardala orders Tigerman to pick up Buck Rogers and take him to her chamber.  However, Tigerman wishes to save Buck's life like Buck saved his and wraps his arms around Ardala's head to either choke her out, or snap her neck. Either way, he is threatening her life. Kane seems rather calm about the whole thing, almost as if he welcomes Tigerman to kill Ardala. I guess you can only take a spoiled girl's attitude for so long before you fantasize about killing them yourself. Ardala then releases Buck from the Royal Union and to return home. Buck offers to take Tigerman with him, since he is likely to be killed for his treachery, but Tigerman stays behind due to his loyalty to the Princess. After all his grunting and growling, Tigerman speaks! Wow! Who knew? It's a good think that the Draconian people are so forgiving. I mean, I would think if anyone threatened the life of a princess, they would be put to death. I guess Princess Ardala is too fond of Tigerman or perhaps in desperate need of his services. 

Safe, and back in his apartment, Twiki is listening to a tape of Meatloaf, while Buck serves Split Pea Soup for Wilma and Huer. Well, not really peas, just a soybean derivative. Neither are too keen on the idea of trying it. Either Buck is a terrible cook, Huer and Wilma don't know what good food tastes like, or the substitutions Buck as to make in the ingredients make too much of a difference for the food to be any good. Well, at least he has a passion for cooking and hospitality.

Character Facts learned in this episode
Dr. Elias Huer: Spokesman for the Earth's Federation Council.
Garedon: Cheif Engineer on the Draconia. Tired of the fighting and Draconian slaughter. Came to Buck for help who hid him in the woods and told no one where he was. Buck found him supplies and shelter.
Kane: Was Draco's right hand man for years. Had hopes of marring Ardala someday so that he could rule the Galaxy when Draco passed on. Currently minister of Draco's extraplanetary affairs.
Twiki: Cannot digest food, but is capable of taste when it comes to "eating" food.

References to the 20th Century that the 25th does't getSplit Pea Soup
My Favorite Lines: "Your're going to need all your strength tonight" -Princess Ardala
Number of Ardala's Costume Changes: 7
Deaths: 0
Miniatures: (1) Starfighter, (1) Thunder Fighter (1) Sled (1) The Draconia Flag Ship (1) Mining Probe


  1. Why would a Draconian be required to marry a Human?

    This question confused me. The Draconians are all humans.

  2. Draconian's are Humanoid, but not from Earth. They are an Alien race from deep space Draconia.