Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Battle Of The Planets Ep17: A Whale Joins G-Force

"Zark, whales don't attack refineries!"

Silly Zark, tricks are for kids.

Battle Of The Planets shifted its ecological focus to one of Earth's most treasured mammals, the whale, for Battle Of The Planets, Episode 17, A Whale Joins G-Force.

As far as the team dynamic, in a rare move, the focus here shifts its spotlight to Keyop. Kind of like a child's love of turtles and Gameras, so too goes their love of whales.

It's worth reminding that Keyop, with his blips and bleeps, is considered an artificial child in the stateside version of Tatsunoko's Science Ninja Team Gatchaman well known here as Battle Of The Planets. The character is actually alleged to be just a ten year old boy in the original version. Think about that for a minute if you have kids? He's a ten year old assassin. Keyop's Science Ninja Team Gatchaman Japanese counterpart was named Jinpei and was essentially a normal human child with a tendency to get into trouble, as he almost does here.

Keyop is fortunately also a dead shot with the bolas.

Bay City is attacked, you guessed it, by Spectra, Zoltar and a massive robot version of the whale.

Migrating whales are in trouble on their way north to their feeding ground.

Casey Kasem voices the ecological importance of whales to the kids here at home as they search for the "mad giant whale."

Zark tells us they aren't fish but mammals "capable of human feelings."

But the lesson ends when the robot whale kills all of the whales ultimately leaving a small, baby whale motherless. Tears well in Keyop's eyes. "G-Force help Nambu." Keyop always had a way with words as well as incomplete sentences, but what do you want from an artificial child.

Time to destroy the robot whale.

Still the baby whale is in jeopardy as a pack of killer whales approach en route to its location. This is a job for little Keyop with a big old heart.

The small whale is captured and named Nambu (a nice homage to the actual name of Chief Nambu not Chief Anderson in the Japanese original Science Ninja Team Gatchaman). Nambu is even fitted with a "beeper" in the hopes of leading G-Force to the secret Spectran base making the wee little whale asset an honorary sixth member of the team.

Personally, this writer has such fond memories of this episode. As a kid, I just loved that little whale and loved the relationship between it and Keyop. Sadly, the episode is much more meager than I remember it. Oh well, such are the joys of looking through the prisms of a child's eyes.

In the end, once again Spectra proves it is a severely twisted and warped bunch of characters interested in seizing the Earth's oceans. Yet, to do that, it must crush, kill and destroy every whale imaginable (except apparently Killer Whales). Oh you Spectra.

Science Ninja Team Gatchaman title: Revenge! The Whale Operation.
Up Next: Mad New Ruler Of Spectra.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

LOST S1 E4: Walkabout

"Don't ever tell me what I can't do, ever!
This is destiny...
This is my destiny."
-John Locke-

Lost, Season One, Episode 4, Walkabout. This is the episode that really sets the stage for John Locke as one of LOST's principals. He is a key player in the series and a critical component of the dramatically intriguing narrative thanks to both the writing and to the performance of Terry O'Quinn.

Already seemingly connected with the island, he is often seen pensive and reflective even getting his head around his island legs. He is appears at peace with acceptance as a potential island castaway. Locke is calm and connected to this place that may conceivably be his home for some time to come. This magical place, the island, is Locke's salvation from a world where he was at once frustrated and misunderstood.

With Walkabout we glean considerable information as to some of the why and who regarding John Locke.

We also see some of the underpinnings of John Locke the philosopher in these concepts of identity and individualism that guide LOST's own John Locke.

LOST, Season Two opener, Man Of Science, Man Of Faith would speak directly to the two sides of science and faith played in LOST through the characters of Jack Shephard and John Locke respectively.

It is here in Walkabout that we are presented with considerable information as to what might be informing Locke as a man guided by faith and individualism in his search for answers. He is the spiritual foil to Jack's grounded sense of science in approaching the island. As Locke suggested in Pilot (Part Two) there are "two sides." This dichotomy presents an ongoing duality in the series. Locke is the Fox Mulder to Shephard's Dana Scully in a sense.

Highlights: The reveal regarding John Locke's character in the final minutes of the episode is immaculately staged. It is a brilliant final reveal to an episode that explores a very strange but fascinating character in Locke. The episode's twist would make M. Night Shyamalan proud. And the revelation is made all the more stunning given no hint of it in the series prior. The episode's title offers a cleverly revealing double entendre.

Walkabout gives us an intriguing back story to one of LOST's major characters. The Locke character is essentially unlocked here, freed and reborn on the island following the crash and this episode offers us a glimpse into why the island is his savior. There is indeed a kind of mystical calm and acceptance to Locke's character as he explores his sense of self on the island.

But the juxtaposition of his present self against the backdrop of where he was is unsettling, riveting, offbeat and entirely sympathetic. As suggested by the blank slate idea of philosopher John Locke and the ideas of the previous episode Locke in effect is looking to recreate himself on the island and yet he remains an enigma.

Like any self-respecting and solid LOST episode there are questions surrounding how Locke came to this pass. More will be explored regarding Locke in Episode 19, Deus Ex Machina.

Another aspect of the episode that spoke directly to my inner geek, more in keeping with science fiction thrills, is when Locke sets his eyes up toward something mysterious. Is it the monster? It is never revealed, but once again the power of suggestion is nevertheless impressive in LOST based entirely upon Locke's reaction shot. The viewer is left entirely to plumb the imagination.

There is also Jack's own personal supernatural event on the island that sets things up for him in Episode 5, White Rabbit and later in Episode 11, All The Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues.

And recurring character Rose Nadler establishes things to come in Season Two when she talks of her missing husband and the people lost from the tail section of downed Oceanic Flight 815. "They're probably thinking the same thing about us," she professes refuting Jack's claim they are likely dead.

Walkabout illustrates and lends supporting evidence to the fact LOST, as a series, demonstrated significant potential quickly in alternating between character development and edge of your seat island mystery. These two variables speak to the major strengths of LOST following on from the already strong Episode 3, Tabula Rasa. Walkabout ranks among the very best of the season and in television. Writer David Fury and the flawless O'Quinn should have won awards.

Flashback: Locke.

Writer: David Fury (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Fringe).
Director: Jack Bender.