Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ep 211 The Hand of Goral, March 26, 1981

Director: David G. Phinney
Writer(s): Francis Moss
Guest Star(s):
Hand of Goral .... John Fujioka
Chief Petty Officer Cowan .... William Bryant
Reardon .... Peter Kastner
Lieutenant Parsons .... Dennis Haysbert
Yeoman James .... Michael Horsley
Complete list of Cast and Crew:

Using Infrascan on her Starfighter, Wilma scans the forested planet Vor-Deeth, the planet that time forgot. Just as a structure appears visually on screen, Wilma detects an energy reading on her photon sensor, an indication of a fusion powered ship. The full sized prop of the crashed sled is the same one used on the episode Olympiad, during the first Season. The crashed ship is an E.D.S.-104. "By Gideon's Trumpet a human voice!" cries Reardon caring a bundle of sticks and walking with a cane. He crashed on the planet 3 weeks ago. Wilma agrees to take Reardon in her Starfighter back to the Searcher. After Reardon left, Buck and Hawk returned to Reardon's camp, and everything disappeared. The ship, camp fire, the hut, all gone. With nothing to look at anymore, the two head to the ancient ruins that they saw from the air. Buck spots an obelisk in the middle of a courtyard with hieroglyphics on it. Using a Holographer, Buck scans the stone for Dr. Goodfellow to study. I'm not sure why Buck says that the symbols remind him of Egyptian hieroglyphics, as they look nothing like Egyptian symbols to me.

Hawk wonders off to investigate a temple a little ways off from the obelisk. Buck watches as Hawk appears to vanish from the temples doorway. However, from Hawks point of view, Buck is the one who vanishes. Hawk runs back to Buck and they both reappear to each other. This is enough to scare to two off and they head back to the Searcher for more information about the planet. Back on board, Admiral Asimov called a all staff gathering to announce that he has discovered that some officers have engaged in treasonous activity, planning a mutiny. Asimov admits to just smiling and nodding in the past when his officers came to him with ideas or comments that he disagreed with. But now, no more mister nice guy. Asimov calls out Petty Officer Cowan, who had the comm at 0800 hours. Asimov accuses Cowan of befriending the Admiral only to get in his good graces before he betrayed trying to gain control of the ship. The ship deviated from its course by one degree for one minute, that caused by a malfunction in the plasma gyros. Asimov believes that the deviation was deliberate. He throws Cowan in the brig. Lt. Parsons is all too pleased to escort him there. Asimov continues his rant to Mr. Miller, who he suspects tampered with the fusion drive of the ship. Forget a formal hearing, Asimov will have Miller executed.

After an encounter with Crichton and Twiki, Buck, Hawk and Wilma are starting to see that the crews personalities have pulled a 180 degrees. If they were nice, they are now rude and mean. Similarly, if they were mean, they are supper sweet and courteous. They head to the medical bay to get some answers from Reardon. Reardon shed some light on the subject. He had experienced seeing ghosts, or visions. The sun would even rise from different directions from the day before. There is some supernatural (paranormal), magnetic force coming from the planet that is affecting the people on the Searcher as well as people on the planet itself. Buck, Wilma and Hawk make plans to return to the surface to figure things out. However, Asimov has stationed an armed guard, Yeoman James, at the door to the hanger. Does that stop Buck Rogers? No! With a slight distraction and a karate chop to the back, the guard is down for the count. If only it were that easy in real life. But as quickly as he is down, he is back up when Asimov turns the corner and confronts them. Hawk is disarmed. Asimov suspects that Buck, Hawk and Wilma have all been affected by the mutinous bug and orders that they be disarmed (again). But at least instead of the brig, they are escorted to Captain Roger's room. Hope he cleaned up.

Once in his room, Buck notices that the window port is just a little off center then it usually is. In addition, the view outside has completely changed. Buck is convinced that the ship and the people on board the ship are all clever fakes. But forget about that, they need to figure out how to get out of their fake room that is guarded by fake people. Hmm...Wilma screams and gets the guard's attention. He ignores her as she slips past him, and with the ol' karate chop to the shoulder, he is down for the count. Shortly after their escape, Fake Asimov orders the entire ship to be on alert for the escapees. I guess the guard regained consciousness pretty quick and sounded the alarm. Buck meets and confronts Lt. Parsons in the hall. Buck demands to know who he is and what he is doing. Fake Parsons catches fire and burns to a pile of ash. Wilma is emotionally disturbed by the site. She is acting a little too suspicious for Buck's taste. Is she Fake Wilma? Hawk scouts the area and comes back to say the coast is clear (is this the real Hawk?). Wait, it's a trap! They are surrounded now in the Engine room. Wilma throws suspicion on Hawk. Does she do this to divert attention from herself?

The fake crew use a fake photon cannon to blow up the fake engine room door. The explosion traps both Hawk and Wilma under some debris. An electrical cable sparks and instills a fear in Wilma, causing her to be unable to move. For some reason, once the door is now open, the fake crew don't come in the engine room and apprehend the prisoners immediately. Instead they don't bother with them at all. Fake Wilma bursts into flames and burns to an ash pile while Buck helps Hawk from under the fallen debris. It's a good think that after that 100lbs plus beam landed on Hawks legs that he is still able to walk away from it, otherwise they may be in trouble. On the real Searcher, Parsons tries every voice frequency they have to try to reach Hawk and Buck, but to no avail. The real Asimov and Wilma are deeply concerned. Least Buck and Hawk know that they can trust each other. They head for the fusion reactor room in hope that it is deceptively mislabel. Fake Goodfellow and Fake Asimov try to convince Buck and Hawk that they are normal again with a inoculation created by Goodfellow. Buck isn't so easily fooled. They board their shuttle and escape the fake Searcher, only for it to disappear once they are off the ship.

A snare beam, with a magnetic force of 10, shoots from the planet and holds the real Searcher in place, sending their photon readings off the scope. The snare beam changes location from shot to shot. It first hits the Searcher up near the front of the ship, however, in the next shot, the beam is holding the Searcher near the center. Wilma finds Reardon coming out of room A1, the Engine room. What was he doing there? So, it would seem that Reardon did make it to the Searcher with Wilma after all. Is he part of the planets visions? Asimov requests that Buck not return to the Searcher, but to the planet to find out why they are being held by the snare beam. Insert same FX shot of the Shuttle flying over the forest that was shown in the beginning of the episode, which is also the same FX shot used in The Satyr, only the negative has been flipped, so the shuttle is flying to the left instead of the right. Hawk and Buck track the beams origin to the temple that they didn't go in on their first visit. This time, they go in. In doing so, they find an old bearded man, called The Hand of Goral. He has been putting Hawk and Buck through a series of tests that they have successfully passed. So far they are the first ones to survive the tests this long. I am not sure when their lives were really in danger, so it doesn't speak very much for past applicants. They only have one test left. If they succeed, they will be set free with all the riches they could ever hope to want.

The Hand of Goral indicates that he is testing Buck and Hawk to see if they are worthy masters of himself and the planet. If they pass, they will be allowed to remain on the planet and he will provide Buck and Hawk with palaces, riches, concubines, anything that they need or desire. It will be a paradise for them. The last test is that they have to discover a bomb that was brought on board the Searcher by one of their own people. Gee, I wonder what he is talking about? Could it be Wilma bringing Reardon to the Searcher, and Reardon is the bomb? YES! Buck is pretty quick on his toes too. The Hand of Goral practically gave him the answer, but he is still impressed on Buck's intuition. Buck, looses his cool and tries to intimidate the Hand of Goral into providing him with the information on how Reardon is going to destroy the Searcher. I think getting Reardon in custody first would be step one. Then figure out if Reardon himself is the explosive. The Hand of Goral catches fire, and burns to ash.

Back to the Searcher! Room D2, Reactor Room. Buck and Hawk head there like a shot. It is the most vulnerable part of the whole ship. Wait, What is this? Parsons is planting a devise on the backside of reactor tube No. 4. Could this be the real Parsons, or Reardon disguising himself as Parsons? Wilma leaves room D4, which could be the medical bay, or laboratory. She meets up with Buck and Hawk who walk down the hall to the fusion reactor room. The Green light is on above the door, indicating someone is inside. Armed to the teeth, the three go in. Parsons pops out from behind the reactors, and says he used a magnetometer to scan the reactors for planted devises. Ah shucks. Looks like they were wrong. Buck, Wilma and Hawk leave the reactor room and encounter the real Parons in the hall who announces he just searched the Supply Room. What are the odds that the real Parsons would be right there at that exact moment to reveal that the Parsons in the Fusion Reactor Room is a fake? Nuts! This time Reardon was smart enough to lock the door. Nothing that the ol' blaster lock-pick cannot fix.

Where is he? The reactor room isn't very large, and you cannot hide from three people searching the room all at once. Did he turn into something else? Yup! He turned into Hawk. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. Buck grabs the fake Hawk and demands to know where the detonator is. Then he releases Hawk like he senses him doing something...Uh, was he heating up? melting? What was it that made Buck let go and step back to watch the metamorphosis of fake Hawk to the Hand of Goral? The Hand of Goral says that he is sad that they want to leave, because he is quite lonely. Wait, wasn't this all part of the Goral's test? Wheren't the supposed to discover the one who was brought on board the ship to plant an explosive devise? Buck saved the Searcher as the Goral said.... I'm confused. The Hand of Goral bursts into flames again. Hawk finds the devise and turns it off. Of all the fake things the Hand of Goral made, how is the bomb real? How do they know this is the only detonator? I mean, Reardon has gone on several 'walks' around the ship, and was seen near the engine room. He could have been planting these devices all over the ship. I guess they figure he was just scouting the ship to find the best place to plant a bomb?

Relaxing from their near deaths, Buck retells the story of his and Hawks adventure on the fake Searcher and encountering all the fake people. Goodfellow cracks a joke that when the fake Wilma burned up that Buck lost the Goral (girl) of his dreams. Ha ha. End the show on a light note.

Character Facts learned in this episode:
Reardon: Fly's interplanetary, Quadrant 8.
Chief Petty Officer Cowan: Always had Asimov's respect.
Buck Rogers: His room on the Searcher is B3.
The Hand of Goral: The protector/servant of the Goral and their planet. Was left behind 10,000 years ago to protect the planet from intruders, until they return. A simulacrum. Puts intruders through a series of tests to determine their eligibility to remain on the planet.
References to the 20th Century that the 25th does't get
Favorite quotes
Easter Eggs:
Deaths: 0
Searcher's Mission: To find the lost tribes of Earth
Miniatures: (1) Searcher (1) Thunderfighter (1) Starfighter (1) Shuttle (1) Launch Bay


  1. After Goodfellow punned that Buck had “lost the Goral of [his] dreams”, Buck, Hawk and Wilma all began to throw pillows at the doctor as the episode ended. But it’s true, Wilma was never more loving to Buck than as a Goral...

  2. After Goodfellow punned that Buck had “lost the Goral of [his] dreams”, Buck, Hawk and Wilma all began to throw pillows at the doctor as the episode ended. But it’s true, Wilma was never more loving to Buck than as a Goral...