Thursday, 1 November 2012

10 The Drifting Galaxy

"Put me in command and I guarantee the destruction of X-Bomber"

Episode 10: The Drifting Galaxy
UK Video:
US Video: Volume 4: The Search for the Skull
DVD: Star Fleet - The Complete Series - Disc 2

As X-Bomber travels through space Shiro wonders where the Skull is now. On the Alliance Battlecruiser Commander Makara berates Captain Orion again when a new officer arrives on the bridge: the brainwashed & cybernetically enhanced Captain Carter. He takes over the operational command of the Battlecruiser to Captain Orion's disgust as being sidelined. On X-Bomber Lee discovers he is no longer able to contact Star Fleet command because they are now too far away, but they do pick up a signal from The Skull summoning them to the planet Zeenith, a green forested world where the find the Skull floating on a sea of trees. The Skull instructs X-Bomber to land but when they do the Skull doesn't respond and vine tendrils reach up from the forest, attaching themselves to X-Bomber. The Skull summons Lamia but Doctor Ben is suspicious. The new Imperial Alliance Commander, his face obscured, appears on the monitor screen and berates X-Bomber. X-Bomber tries to launch but is trapped by the vines. The Skull fades in front of them and the Imperial Cruiser emerges from behind a waterfall. The new Commander demands Lamia is handed over to them and she agrees, but Doctor Ben stops Lamia from leaving in the airlock. The Imperial Cruiser attacks X-Bomber, but Doctor Benn realises that the attack is freeing them. X-Bomber tries to launch again but still is tangled in the vines. On the Alliance Battlecruiser Captain Carter orders the Delta Laser used, the Imperial Alliance's ultimate weapon, but before it can be fired the Imperial Battlecruiser is assaulted by the real Skull, diverting the Cruiser's attention. X-Bomber finally escapes as does the Skull which is unsuccessfully pursued by the Imperial Cruiser. Commander Makara is impressed with Captain Carter's tactics but the sidelined Captain Orion isn't. On X-Bomber Shiro wonders where Commander Makara was during the attack and is reminded of something by the new commander's voice...

This episode is the first of three where X-Bomber is pitted against Captain Carter, the former tutor of Shiro, Hercules & Lee. Captured by the Imperial Alliance in episode 1 and interrogated in episode 2 we've not seen him since, except in flashbacks in episodes 5 & 9. He's now brainwashed by the ultra solar rays and turned into a Cyborg with his left arm replaced by an Imperial Alliance claw, similar to Captain Orion's, and a Lobster like device covering the right side of his head and his right eye. Oddly his left eye is still covered by half of his sunglasses..... Cool maybe, but not exactly practical. All the Alliance officers seen so far appear to have cyborg parts and an eye device: Makara has a cyborg left arm & hand with a face, which speaks in a male voice, over her left eye while Orion has a cyborg right arm & hand, a cyborg left arm & claw and a Caterpillar like eye piece which goes back over his helmet. Captain Carter's theme music, last heard in episode 1 as the pilots decide to fly X-Bomber in his memory, returns as well being heard as X-Bomber struggles to escape from the sea of trees.

The Sea of Trees is some lovely model work again in the series as is the shot as the Imperial Cruiser emerges from under the Waterfall. But imagine how big that waterfall must be to conceal a ship that size! There are some amusing shots of X-Bomber shedding the last of the vines as it takes flight at the end of the episode.

The only weapons X-Bomber uses this episode are it's turret lasers (6th occurrence) but we're nearly treated to the Imperial Alliance's ultimate weapon: the Delta Laser that emerges from the launch bay of the Alliance Cruiser.

Yes, PPA's voice is still wrong here. And yes, there's those Yellow spacesuits again in the airlock that nobody's worn yet. Since we've last seen them it's become apparent yellow might be X-Bomber's colour: it's also used on Lee's headset (those at Star Fleet command are white) and PPA.... Actually PPA is Moonbase personnel which used yellow inn the design of the main building.... is the yellow equipment inherited from X-Bomber's home base?

I haven't passed any comment on the episode titles yet but "The Drifting Galaxy" ? What relevance has that to the episode? Surely something like "Trapped in the Sea of Trees" would be better. And again the title of the US Video "The Search for the Skull": there's not a lot of Skull searching going on here. In fact US Volume 4 contains all 3 of the Captain Carter episodes on one tape (what I wouldn't have given for that in the UK) so maybe something like "Attack of the Traitor Captain" would have been better? Sadly this episode appears on none of the UK compilation tapes.

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