Saturday, February 27, 2016

Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: Flash Gordon: "Into the Water World" (October 27, 1979)

Chapter Six of our Filmation Flash Gordon serial from the early 1980s, "Into the Water World" by Ted Pederson, finds a magnetic ray pulling Flash's rocket-ship deep into Mongo's turbulent oceans. "Will we ever get off this horrible planet?" Dale Arden wonders.

Shortly, Flash, Zarkov and Dale are captured under the sea by the minions of sexy Queen Undina. 

She's the ruler of Coralia, an underwater domed metropolis. Like all her gray-green-skinned people, she's a water-breather. 

Worse, Undina has used her laboratory to convert the Earthlings into water breathers too. According to her, they shall never walk on the surface of the planet again.

Zarkov and Dale attempt to reverse the process,while Flash distracts Undina on a swim to salvage their damaged rocket ship. Unfortunately, Dale and Zarkov are caught and made prisoners. They're taken to a dungeon, and Dale remarks "This planet seems to be filled with dungeons..."Clever observation, Dale. Very post-modern.

Meanwhile, Flash learns from Queen Undina that she too hates Ming the Merciless, and that the despot would like nothing better than to rule Coralia as he does the rest of Mongo. "As long as Ming rules, there will be no peace on this planet," the Earthlings are told.

Before long, Ming sends his Gill-Men and an armada of submarines to attack Coralia. When Coralia's magneto-ray is destroyed by Ming's forces, all looks lost. 

However, Zarkov and Flash come up with a plan to super-heat the water around Coralia. They boil the water and destroy the Gill-Men, earning Flash and his friends the gratitude of Queen Undina.

Now, Flash Gordon has united another kingdom of Mongo behind his cause. 

Queen Undina agrees to convert the Earthlings back to being air-breathers and all's well that ends well. 

Thematically, as you might be able to tell, "Into the Water World" is a bit of a retread of earlier Flash Gordon stories. Flash visits a bizarre kingdom of Mongo; sees it attacked by Ming; defends it, and gains a new ally. 

It's all overly familiar, and one has to wonder at the stupidity of Ming that he keeps letting his kingdoms slip through his fingers, whether it be Arboria, Vultan's city, or Undina's underwater domain. 

What distinguishes this story most, perhaps, is the nature of the featured kingdom. Coralia is a beautiful, underwater domed city, and its denizens are water-breathers.  And, of course, Queen Undina falls in love with Flash.  This fact makes him three-for-three with the women in the series. Dale, Aura and Undina all lust after him.

Finally, I was sad to see Flash's cool rocket-ship get destroyed in a battle with a sea monster this week. I love that retro rocket design; and have an inflatable toy of it here in my office. Still, the stock footage has to be re-used at least once right?  This is one spaceship that has the distinction of getting destroyed six weeks.

Next week: "Adventure in Arboria."

1 comment:

  1. Filmation's FLASH GORDON episodes were always entertaining.