Wednesday, 31 October 2012

09 The Targeted Captain!

"Commander Makara, that's the entrance to the execution chamber"

Episode 9: The Targeted Captain!
UK Video: -
US Video: Volume 3: Space Lava of Death
DVD: Star Fleet - The Complete Series - Disc 2

Commander Makara & Captain Orion return to the Imperial Master's Fortress Base in the Thalian Zone. There they are put on trial for their failure to capture F-01 with execution their fate if found guilty. As Commander Makara tries to explain the Imperial Master appears before them and projects images of the battles they have fought in. He shows their attack on Pluto and interrogation of Captain Carter followed by their attack on Earth and shooting down of X-Bomber. But X-Bomber shoots down the carriers with it's laser blast. When the Imperial Cruiser goes to SF command and attacks X-Bomber launches and use X-Impulse to damage the battlecruiser. The Imperial Master blames Commander Makara for underestimating X-Bomber. He shows them the asteroid belt ambush, and praises Captain Orion's bold tactic of ambushing X-Bomber at the Methane Sea, but shows them how the base on Jupiter was destroyed by the Dai-X. Commander Makara blames defeat on the Dai-X and says that the Imperial Master's intelligence system should have warned them of it, which enrages the Imperial Master. Commander Makara tell him that she is convinced Lamia is the F-01 and that she has a new plan to capture her. The Imperial Master tells them that they have just six more months to find F-01.

Ladies and Gentlemen: the clip show. Or rather the first Clip Show. Clip shows can serve a function, beyond their cheapness. There's relatively little new footage here but what there is introduces us to the Imperial Master's base for the first time, a structure so huge that the Battlecruiser, which dwarfs X-Bomber, fits into a tiny little bit at the the bottom of the base, which really gives you some idea of the scale of the structure.... the only thing like it I can think of is seeing the Enterprise fly into the Star Base in Star Trek III. Inside the Master's base is a nightmare landscape of desert, bones and a Guillotine (an illusion, like the projected images?) which he appears towering over with the previous stories from episodes 1-4 retold in images in the sky. Here the images follow what happens in pretty much the correct order but now Captain Carter's interrogation now takes place en route from Pluto to Earth rather than after X-Bomber's crash. This is nothing compared to some of the liberties taken during the next clip show in Episode 13. Yes, two clip shows in five episodes!

What's interesting here is that a different dub script is being employed for the English speaking voice actors to that which was used in the original episodes 1-4 so you get some differences in lines being delivered. Similarly the same backing music isn't always used behind the scenes most notably as X-Bomber approaches the Imperial Base while flying over the Methane Sea.

As well as introducing the Imperial Master properly and his home planet this episode places a time limit on Commander Makara's mission adding some urgency to what they're doing. It also reminds us of the existence of Captain Carter and that he's an Alliance Prisoner, something that will become very important shortly. And by spending nearly half the episode concentrating on reviewing the Jupiter battle we get a good look at the Dai-X robot which we haven't seen since.

Like the previous episodes PPA's voice isn't right here and I'm at a loss to say for definite who's voicing it. Likewise Commander Makara's male voice, heard from the moulded face covering her left eye, when she addresses the Imperial Master, is identified in the cast list and I can't work out who it is. The Imperial Master, on his first lengthy appearance after two brief visits to the Battlecruiser Bridge as a hologram, is played by Jacob Witkin, another of the Star Fleet cast to be missing a Wikipedia entry. In a lengthy CV the only thing I've seen him in is The Professionals Season 3 episode Stop Over. Going to have to dig that out to watch now..... There's a few names I recognise in that: Morris Perry, W Morgan Sheppard and Alec Linstead, all with Doctor Who connections.

This is the first episode we've seen not to be included on any UK compilation video, for fairly obvious reasons. (although, obviously, footage from it shows up on other tapes) It can be found on the US video Volume 3: Space Lava of Death. I'm reasonably sure I saw this episode on it's 1984 repeat: I was due to go on a school trip to Wales in the summer and one Sunday morning they took us out on a practice hike through Richmond Park to break our brand new walking boots in. The walk was early and finished c11:30 so I missed church and managed to get home in time to see most of this episode. I'm pretty sure it was the first episode in the repeat run I saw.....

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