Saturday, November 01, 2014

Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: BraveStarr: "Hail, Hail, The Gang's All Here."

In “Hail, Hail, The Gang’s All Here,” evil space pirates come to New Texas, and look up their old cohort, Handle-Bar. They want him to open the gates to Fort Kerium, allowing them to sweep in and take over the town with Tex-Hex. 

Handle-Bar, fearing that BraveStarr will think less of him because of his criminal past, contemplates their plan, but comes down on the side of right, despite threats of blackmail...

In this episode of BraveStarr (1987) we learn more about the background of Handle Bar, saloon owner in Fort Kerium. 

He was a space pirate along with “Rat Face” and other goons before going to prison and paying his debt to society.  As BraveStarr and the judge note, “a man can start fresh” on New Texas, and it looks like that was Handle Bar’s plan. He is clearly embarrassed and ashamed of his former life, and attempts to hide the space pirate tattoo he still has on one arm.

The notion of Handle Bar grappling with his past is coupled, in “Hail, Hail, The Gang’s All Here,” with a prologue in which BraveStarr searches for the missing pieces of his own past.  The Shaman tells him it is more important who he is now, than where he came from.  That message, of course, can be applied to Handle-Bar and his crisis as well.

At the end of the episode, the message is put in more direct terms, as the Filmation approach prefers. “Judge people by what they are, not what they were. Friends forgive friends.”

In terms of the BraveStarr canon, this episode isn’t one of the more adult, or interesting ones. Once again Tex-Hex is fixin’ to make trouble, and once again he’s stopped. Once again, BraveStarr is wise about who he chooses to be his friend.

Also, I found the visual design of the space pirates to be underwhelming. They look like refugees from a late 1970s Disney movie.  By that I mean they are of a more fanciful nature than seems right for the downright gritty world of BraveStarr. 

Rat-face (of Aldebaron II) is literally a humanoid rat, and his cohort is an elephant man, replete with elephant trunk.  So there are aliens out there who are humanoid version of Earth animals?  

It just seems weird, and spectacularly lacking in creativity to feature such obvious and childish-looking aliens.  But that fact established, the pirates have an awesome spaceship.

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