harsens_rob (harsens_rob) wrote,

Review: Planet of the Slave Girls, Part II of III

Beware: I have spoilers. And slashiness.

Scene 31: Danton and Buck find their energy leached, and crash.

Scene 32: Back in Vistula's capital, Saroyan finds himself put out by the fact that there isn't any guests to be seen in the dining hall. His son, looking much better than when he arrived, comes to talk to him.

His son points out a fact that they've argued over many times before. That they are at risk because of his father's willful ignorance and poor treatment of the desert nomads. He complains stridently (whereas this scene would have played better if he'd not shouted and had much more of a bitter tone) that his father will listen to Kaleel loyalist Julio (the Chief of Staff), but not his own flesh and blood.

Scene 33: Back in the desert, Buck and Danton have survived their crash but now find themselves stuck in a harsh desert with few supplies. They're also being watched by Sand People knock-offs.

Scene 34: In the Cult Cave, Wilma and Ryma are being marched to meet with Kaleel. The guards are unnecessarily rough and this allows Wilma to put into practice some of those judo throws she'd been practicing with Buck at the beginning. Ryma is easily captured again, but Wilma is able to elude her pursuer for the moment.

Scene 35: In the desert, Buck and Danton have traded in their white flight uniforms for gold lamé. With full body coverage and hoods.

Commentary: Let's take a moment to think about the logic of dressing in a metallic fiber under a harsh desert sun.... Uh-huh. And, it looks awful on top of it. I really don't admire Gil and David having to run around in the sand in these get ups. I'm dying of dehydration and heat stroke as I watch.

Scene 36: Back on Earth, Twiki is soldering CARL, under the direction of Dr. Theopolous.

He's brought online just in time for Doctor Mallory to start on the analysis of the packaging sample brought back by Fields.

Scene 37: Back in the sweltering survival gear of poor design, Buck and Danton are headed across the terrain toward Wilma's signal. {Well, thanks for that scene.}

Scene 38: Ryma is brought before Kaleel, finally. His immediate question is asking her why she killed her brother. She immediately sees why none of the other workers would listen to her when she tried to point out they were being used. Kaleel goes on to point out how disturbed she always was and she can see the writing on the wall when it comes to how her own 'disappearance' will be explained away.

Kaleel starts with the glowing hands, but Ryma tells him that she was never under his spell and she wants him to remember that: He never got to her, not ever.

Commentary: And, here is where we need to speak more about Kaleel's touch of death. It is very poorly explained as to what exactly his deal is. It is mentioned briefly by Ryma that he is some sort of mutant (which will actually tie in nicely with a group of mutants we'll meet later in "Plot to Kill a City"). But his powers are... wonky. Apparently they can only work if you believe that they will work, which makes the whole thing seem for like a psionic power - but then there is the glow-hands, a definite physical manifestation.

I'm not sure why this was needed for the story, at all, so I'm of two minds about the way the exact power is ill-defined. I like the thought that his victims are more killing themselves with their utter belief he can kill them, but not with this extra and unnecessary glow-hands effect if that it what is happening.

Anyway, Kaleel quickly realizes he isn't going to be able to touch her to death. She's ordered to the furnace room, instead, under the pretext that the 'touch of God' would only sanctify her and she's just too damned evil for that.

Stella looks a little pissy about not seeing Ryma killed in front of her. She reports that Wilma hasn't been found yet.

Kaleel asks her if the guards at the exits have been doubled, but she reports no, because it isn't necessary. She confidently proclaims she knows how the Directorate people think and Deering won't try to leave just yet {Wouldn't that be Kaleel's or Galen's call? Is Kaleel used to being questioned in this way? I'm seeing some glow hands of doom for you, Chickie.}

Scene 39: Stella is correct. Wilma has traded in her uniform-catsuit for a 'Paradise Island' getup. Somehow. You'll note that she's still sporting the cuffs with the binding cable between them, so think about the mechanics of getting her suit off around it for a second. Considering her outfit, I can only assume she spun out of it.

Wilma has managed to find a branch for use as a club as well and she spots another bare & hairy chested man looking for her.

Commentary: In fact, all of the guards are bare-chested, excepting their leather get up.... Something you'd like to share, Kaleel? Galen, maybe? Hey, not that I would complain, I'm completely on board with no one wearing shirts. I'm just thinking that with the heat, the leather rubbing on skin all day might start getting uncomfortable. Plus, you know, it just makes it that much more difficult to get my mind out of the gutter.

Wilma manages to knock out the guard looking for her.

I'm going to assume that she's going after that thingie around his neck that he fiddled with so very obviously. I'll further assume it will be Ryma's cell key. Otherwise it wasn't very smart of her to make the guard disappear when he was already walking away from where she had hidden.

Scene 40: So Ryma is escorted to her alternate punishment since the hands-o-doom couldn't be used on her.

She's placed into a small room built around a mud pit. Heat from an underground spring keeps things nice and roasty. Ryma is left to be smothered/sweat-lodged to death.

Scene 41: In the desert, Gil and David try to pretend that their 'survival suit' isn't trying to give them heat stroke.

Buck has managed to catch some form of desert critter and enough wood for a small fire. He digs into his fire roasted meal. Danton, of course, has extreme revulsion to anything that doesn't come from a processed food disc.

Duke tells Buck that all of the times he called him a barbarian were justified....

Their dinner, or lack thereof, is interrupted by the Sandpeople-knockoffs finally deciding to attack. The smell of fresh roasted desert rat being too much to resist.

The attack is pretty short lived as Danton and Buck fend them off - especially Buck, with his penchant for karate {a term I'm using loosely, in that way that everything we did as kids when roughhousing was called 'karate'} kicking. The bandits run off.

Duke tells Buck how terrific he is [*rolls eyes*] and my gay-porn thoughts return with a vengeance. Oh, c'mon -- this is a perfectly legitimate slash-fic set up scene!

Buck reminds Duke that Wilma is waiting for rescue and they pack up and head out. One of our scavengers just happened to also leave behind a grenade, which will no doubt come in handy just at the exact right time.

Scene 42: In the mountain-of-cultism, Wilma has managed to slip through the corridors to Kaleel's control room. It is currently entirely empty, as nerve centers for evil plots tend to be.

This turns out however, to be a trap. In a back room, Stella and Kaleel have been waiting for her to make her way to a transmittor to contact Earth and now Wilma finds herself re-captured.

Scene 43: Under the desert sun, Buck and Danton are still hiking toward the base-of-badness (Oh, C'mon, Already!).

As they spot Kaleel's fortress-of-sadism, they also spot a fleet of fighter ships parked outside. Buck realizes the second part of Kaleel's master plan and understands that Earth's defenses couldn't stand up to such a force with all of the pilots incapacitated.

Commentary: Uhm. Except for that planet-covering forcefield that can incinerate any ships not following the pre-set path through it.

Danton and Buck realize they're going to have to split up. Duke will take off in a stolen fighter to warn Earth, assemble a strike team and return to take out the ships before they can launch. Buck will continue with the mission to locate and rescue Deering.

They seperate with a handshake (inadequate!), grins and good-lucks, Buck watching Duke's ass in his gold lamé and hoping to see him again (seriously, I have no idea where this mood creeped in from, but now that I've got Duke/Buck slash on the brain, I am unable to let it go -- I'm so sorry about that).

Scene 44: In the control room, an extremely loud proximity alert goes off. It indicates that a ship is being launched nearby and Kaleel fumes and rages, while Galen fails to stop it. In the meantime, Wilma is under guard... in the control room... just standing around there.

Commentary: Now, to be fair, considering how easily she evaded custody before, I can see how Kaleel would be more cautious this time. It doesn't explain why he didn't just have Stella shoot her, though. Even within the context of the story (where obviously Wilma isn't going to be killed), we already know the blasters have a stun setting and even Wilma was shot earlier with it, so why she shouldn't be done so again is clumsy scripting.

Stella is in extra-bitchy mode now. She sees Wilma fiddling with her cuffs and notices the bulge under her (you want me to say skirt, don't you?) wrist-wrapping. She quickly finds Wilma's tracking device, now that she's looking for it. Stella quickly takes the transmitter and attaches it around her own wrist in order to capture whoever is coming for her rescue.

Commentary: I love Stella. Sure, she's snotty and serving a fanatic, but at least she's smart and capable. I'd almost call her the power behind Kaleel's throne, if he hadn't already had that whole cult-of-personality thing going. She'd be a villain I would have liked to see return in a more personal plot of vengeance against Buck and Wilma in another episode. Karen Carlson embraced the role and had fun with it, once she was allowed to stop playing the random assistant in the background.

Scene 45: Meanwhile, Buck is checking for Wilma's beacon's location as he has FINALLY made it to the cave entrance.

Scene 46: In deep space, Duke is arguing with Huer....

Scene 47: While on Earth, Huer is extremely reluctant to send their fighters through the Star Gate and leaving Earth with even less fighters than they're already dealing with.

After disconnecting with Danton, Dr. Theopolous informs Huer that they don't have any better options so there isn't much to discuss. Huer reminds Theo that Danton has no idea how few fighter pilots they actually have who are healthy enough for the cockpit, but agrees that sending them is their only chance.

Twiki says something in his incomprehensible language (And really? What was the idea of creating a whole audio language for the ambuquad - from outside the series, I get the cutesy idea from the producer standpoint - that no one but other computers could make the least bit of sense of?). Whatever he said, Dr. Theo thinks it is a brilliant idea and they leave Huer to his doom & gloom.

Scene 48: In the mountain-of-miserable-sweat, Buck is sneaking along passages. He briefly stops at the door leading to Ryma's cell because of the mysterious amount of heat coming through the metallic door, but wisely doesn't open it and therefore doesn't know that she's there.

Scene 49: We cut to Ryma looking wrung out, but still struggling to hold onto consciousness.

Commentary: I'm really digging the swanky jazz tune, too. I feel like I should be watching this with a martini (Except I don't like gin, there has to be an alternative -- a highball, maybe? What else did they drink in the funkidelic jazzy 60's? 'Cause that is what this sound track reminds me of in an admittedly jazz-lite way).

Anyway, Buck continues wandering....

Scene 49: Alas, Stella is wearing the device now, so Buck wanders right into her trap. Stella is awfully pleased with herself, but seems almost mad about his utter predictability.

Of course, this is Buck, so he doesn't just stand there the way that Wilma did in the control room. More kicking (Buck loves using his feet) and he runs off. But the passageway has been equipped with force field bars, which knock him to the floor, stunned.

Scene 50: On Earth, Danton is chomping at the bit to fuel up and head out. Huer has the unfortunate task of informing him that the pilots he sees milling about are all he's getting.

There are only 6 left capable of actually dogfighting. Well... seven... Twiki's idea that Dr. Theo found brilliant? Put Twiki in the cockpit, with Theopolous. As Theo tells Danton, he is intimately familiar with the Star Fighters, since he assisted in their design.

Danton relents. Twiki jumps for joy.

One of the pilots is also a retired instructor of Danton's for pulsar cannon studies.

Commentary: Our Brigadier Gordon is played by Buster Crabbe, guest starring. Now Buster was also known as Flash Gordon back in the 30's & 40's, in space adventures very much like Gil is having now. But, even more importantly to the inside joke a bit later, Buster already had Gil's role. He was Buck Rogers in a serial from 1939. So, I have much more affection for that tiny scene coming up than I should, which I'll freely admit here. I'm just gonna say at this point, that it was a very nice guest spot to have 'original Buck' interact with 'modern Buck' for even such a small joke.

So, anyway, our pilots are ordered to ready for launch even though they're going in outnumbered.

Scene 51: Back in the Fortress-of-Messiah-Complexes, Buck is escorted into the command center where Wilma has been standing for who knows how long.

Commentary: And somehow, Erin's fending off of Jack Palance's wish to consume her along with any scenery left has not effected her flawless make up and hair. She's stunning.

Buck, assuring himself that Wilma isn't harmed, asks after Ryma who Kaleel reports has been put to death (the claim is a bit premature, of course).

Commentary: Here they come again ... gay porn thought:

It's okay, Buck. Leather Studs won't hurt you, just remember your safe-word.

Kaleel and Buck have a verbal confrontation over K's ultimate goals. Stella is infuriated at the show of disrespect shown toward Great Leader. Kaleel calms her by informing her that Buck and Wilma will meet the same fate as Ryma in due time. First he asks after what Danton will do next. Buck tells him that Earth will scramble its forces and give him a reception when he gets there, but Kaleel forcefully tells him he's lying. He already knows that Earth will send their remaining fleet to try to take out his fighters on the ground.

Kaleel reveals he has 100 ships on his side (well, 99 now, I suppose). Wilma tells him that their forces are experienced, while his can't think for themselves.

Commentary: This is actually pretty funny, even though Erin delivers the lines quite well. But, one of the reasons that Buck rankles and outfights everyone else in space combat is because the 25th century pilots don't think for themselves! They're completely dependent on the computer's tactical controls. It's been a sticking point between Wilma and Buck in the past already. It's ridiculous for her to now claim that pilots from Earth know how to think for themselves, while his followers are mindless and unable to adjust to changing conditions during combat. Even Danton himself has had a lack of interest in learning new tactics earlier in the episode. And what makes it so amusing is that Deering seems to actually believe what she's peddling - there is no indication that she isn't being sincere. I SO wanted a quick cut to Buck rolling his eyes, or staring at her askance.

Kaleel tells her that they don't need self-thinkers, only good leaders and introduces her to someone she already knows: rogue military man, Galen. He informs Wilma that Galen will be behind the line, telling every fighter exactly what they should do (Wait! You mean like a quarterback that needs sacking?! Oh, you clever script, you).

Commentary: Unfortunately, they gave Galen more lines, instead of just having him smirk, but what's done has been done.

Scene 52: Earth launches their seven fighters to take out Kaleel's forces before they can get into space, not knowing that he's already expecting them.

Commentary: Humorously, Danton orders a course of coordinates that includes an 'X'... but the course enterer pad doesn't have any letters! Also, irritatingly, we keep using a repeated shot of the fighters launching that puts them in space already, instead of launching from a hanger on the ground. This is part of that laziness/cheapness that makes Buck simultaneously looking great, and yet so cheesy.

Back on Vistula, Kaleel's name is being chanted adoringly, while Wilma and Buck are being escorted to the Mudbaths-of-Death by the shirtless wonders. They find Ryma out of it, but alive.

Commentary: Looking at Gil in the jacket is even worse now than it was in the desert. I feel myself dying of exposure just seeing him because he refuses to take it off, or at least unzip the damned thing.

Scene 53: In the main hall, Kaleel gives an inspirational speech to his fodder. In the meantime, Danton is leading his team to the Star Gate.

Scene 54: In the Sweat Lodge-of-Stickiness, Buck searches for a way to escape from the small ledge their standing on without swimming in the scalding mud.

Buck comes up with a brilliant plan to blow his own feet off... oh, wait... that's just what should have happened. You see, he and Wilma have noted water pipes above their heads which pass by warm air vents leading from what amounts to a natural boiler room. He decides to place that explosive grenade he picked up from the desert nomad attackers under an old helmet from some previous occupant and stand on it, so that he'll be blown up into the air where he can grab the piping.

Of course, Ryma and Deering will be peppered with sharp stone and plastic shrapnel... no wait... that's just what should happen.

Thankfully, with the help of Buck changing into an obvious stunt double, his ridiculous plan works. He tells Wilma, "See ya, Beeyotch", and gives her a Nelson-laugh. Nah, I kid. He vanishes with a lame joke about her not going anywhere and disappears into the ductwork.

Scene 55: Outside the Lair-of-Terror, pilots start to jog for the fighters. For some reason, they're all shirtless men rather than all of those robe-clad followers (including some pretty middle aged women) who should actually be piloting if the followers are supposed to be carrying out Kaleel's insanity.

In the control room, Chief of Staff checks in. He reports on the Governor's ignorant pissiness over his guests vanishing without a trace the night before.

Scene 56: Beyond the Star Gate, Danton's team approaches. He orders radio silence and that they follow his plans just as discussed.

Scene 57: Back in the sweatlodge, Buck has returned from his exploration of the shaft ... wait... the AIR SHAFT, you perverts. He's come out over the ledge where Wilma and Ryma wait. Using a rope and sling, he pulls them up to safety.

Scene 58: Outside, we get a shot of three of the invasion force ships gliding over the planet, even though that means that these three vessels are way, way behind their fellows.

On a screen, Kaleel and Stella watch the two opposing forces converging with anticipation and glee.

Commentary: *SIGH* Okay, forget about the Atari level graphics. That's a sign of the times and I dismiss any complaint about that. But, things which fly in the face of the script to bug me. In this case, Danton's team still has not entered the Star Gate (as will be clear in next scene). Galen already reported that Kaleel could monitor them until their side passed through the Star Gate, at which time they'd only be on voice transmission. SO - OBVIOUSLY KALEEL & STELLA CANNOT BE SEEING BOTH HIS FORCES AND EARTH'S AT THIS POINT.

It is right there in the damned script!
Pay Attention!

Scene 59: Danton again reports that they're approaching the Star Gate, which does nothing except make sure the episode's running time is long enough which could have been much better spent on the actual space battle.

Commentary: Oh, man, this episode was making me pretty happy, but now I'm feeling like it is starting to fall apart as we reach the ending through the editor's laziness. C'mon, episode, hold it together for just a little longer. Oh, and Danton makes me giggle by again ordering a coordinate with a 'K', even though there isn't a letter pad.

Scene 60: Quick cut back to Wilma's rescue.

Scene 61: Return to invasion fleet leaving Vistula....

Scene 62: Danton monitors on his scope that he's too late - the enemy fleet has already launched, leaving a look of "we're screwed" on his face. Dr. Theo and Twiki share his general assessment.

Scene 63: Meanwhile, Buck, Wilma and Ryma make their escape. More launching is taking place from the ground ships... so apparently their taking their sweet ass time to get out of orbit.

Naturally there are two fighters left parked.

Buck and Wilma make a dash for these, while Ryma will try to organize the resistance and the weaponry they've managed to squirrel away to help them from the ground.

Commentary: I love the chemistry between Erin and Gil and it shows up here really well when they're discussing taking out the pilots in order to grab the ships. Erin is especially charming and Gil is adorable, despite the sweat and the grime.

TBC in Review, Part III

Or you can go back to Part I
Tags: buck rogers s1 reviews, gay

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