Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Star Blazers, Episode #26

The first season of Star Blazers (1979) comes to an end with episode 26.  The Argo makes its return trip to Earth as Captain Avatar succumbs to “space radiation sickness.”  

At the same time, Desslok makes a last-ditch attempt to destroy the Star Force, this time using a special cannon.  

The Argo escapes destruction, but Nova nearly gives her life to activate the Cosmo DNA after the ship is contaminated with Desslok’s “radioactive sleeping gas.”

Finally, the Argo sees Earth again…and prepares to come to its rescue.

The final chapter of Star Blazers sees the long-expected demise of my favorite character, gruff but brilliant Captain Avatar.  The series has been building-up towards the character’s death for some time, and the moment doesn’t disappoint now.  In fact, the moment is highly emotional.  Avatar sees Earth for the final time, gazes at a photograph of his wife and son, and then…passes away.  I love how in his last moments he focuses on the things he loved in life, and that were meaningful to him as a human being.  It's a touching moment and one that focuses on humanity, rather than space opera tropes.

With Avatar’s death, Derek Wildstar’s heroic journey is also, essentially, complete.  He is in command of the Argo, he defeats Desslok, and he has learned all the lessons he needed to learn from Avatar.  Still, this episode nearly deals him a major setback: Nova almost dies to save the ship.  In fact, this segment forecasts The Wrath of Khan (1982) to some extent: with a character sacrificing his or her life for the safety of the ship, braving a toxic environment to do so.

The only disappointment here, really, is yet another return engagement by Desslok.  

Once more, the Gamilons get their asses handed to them by the Star Force.  They can’t eke out even a minor victory against a single Earth ship, which makes them -- with their vast resources – a kind of lame villain.  The worst aspects of Star Blazers as a series involve the repetitive plot of Gamilons devising a secret weapon (ultra-menace missiles, reflex guns, Desslok mines, and so on…) and still failing to stop a single Earth ship.  They really do transmit as rather pathetic.  They have a vast Empire and they can muster nothing in terms of credible defense/offense.

The strength of Star Blazers is the emotional impact of the long journey to Iscandar.  It's a journey of loneliness, desperation, and for Wildstar emotional maturity and growth.  

I'm glad I watched the series from star to finish, though in honesty, the same story could have been told far more effectively and judiciously in perhaps eighteen installments.  There are so many stand-out shows in the Star Blazers canon, but also so many time-wasters with new Gamilon weapons being used to endlessly attack the Argo.

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