Sunday, August 25, 2013
Star Blazers episode #23
This week on Star Blazers (1979), the Argo nears its destination -- the distant planet Iscandar of the Magellanic Cloud -- but soon finds itself mired in a metallic cloud that causes navigational instruments to go haywire.
While Captain Avatar is confined to bed for his worsening illness, Derek Wildstar faces his first test of command: Should he trust Starsha, Queen of Iscandar, or worry that she is somehow allied with the Gamilons?
What’s the right course of action?
Surprises and reversals come at the viewer `fast and furious in this Star Blazers installment, one of the very
best episodes of the series thus far.
Part of the reason for that success is that we learn a tremendous amount about the Gamilons this week. For instance, Gamilon is a doomed planet, just like Earth. The people there need a new home world because volcanoes are systematically destroying theirs. That’s the reason Desslok so desperately wants Earth. This motivation helps to humanize the Gamilons, who often come off as simply “black hat” bad guy characters.
Secondly, we learn the shocking fact this week that Gamilon and Iscandar are twin planets, ones sharing a close orbit around their sun. Therefore, the whole time that the Argo has been heading for Iscandar it has also been heading directly for Desslok and Gamilon!
This is a pretty mind-blowing revelation, and I must confess, I had forgotten this plot detail (if I ever knew it to begin with…).
We get to see more of the enigmatic Starsha this week as well. She shares an orbit with Gamilon, but not that planet’s value system. Instead, she is doing everything she can to save Earth, and even notes that Desslok’s solutions to their mutual crisis “are all evil.” Starsha also reveals to the Argo that the “twin planets are very different from each other” in terms of governing philosophy.
Desslok is also a powerful presence in this episode, noting that “the only battle that counts is the last one,” and then, literally, releasing the hounds on the Argo.
This episode reveals Desslok launching a gaggle of missiles and using a “climate de-stabilizer” to plunge the Argo into Gamilon’s turbulent oceans, which are made of “pure sulfuric acid.”
And it is there -- in that swirling sea of acid -- that the Argo remains as the episode closes (with a cliff-hanger), facing a missile barrage and the threat of being totally dissolved…
Only 164 days left to save Earth!