Saturday, 3 November 2012

12 Our Mortal Enemy Is Captain Carter

"You are now our enemy, an enemy that must die!"

Episode 12: Our Mortal Enemy Is Captain Carter
UK Video:
US Video: Volume 4: The Search for the Skull
DVD: Star Fleet - The Complete Series - Disc 2

Lamia sits with Kirara on X-Bomber's bridge wondering where they came from. Shiro, Hercules & Lee are now convinced that it was Captain Carter who was commanding the Alliance forces recently. Alliance fighter aproach X-Bomber pursuing one of their own, a Termoid deserter. The pilots rescue him in the Dai-X fighters and bring him aboard X-Bomber. The Alliance identify the soldier as crewman 0171 from the carrier. Captain Orion blames Captain Carter but Carter tells him he is emulating the wooden horse of Troy by having someone working from the inside. He is taken to the sickbay for treatment but awakens and captures Lamia taking her to the engine room as a hostage and planting charges to destroy the ship. The pilots begin to cut their way in. As the Termoid prepares to detonate the bombs he is jumped by Kirara giving the pilots enough time to gain access. The Termoid is scanned in sickbay and a bomb is found embedded in him so he is ejected from the ship in a capsule before it explodes. The pilots become convinced Captain Carter briefed the Termoid and Shiro challenges Captain Cartern to a dual. Shiro flies Brain Com to attack Captain Carter flying an Imperial Alliance astrofighter. Shiro finds himself unable to fire on his former tutor, but overcomes his reservations and shoots Captain Carter's Fighter down onto an asteroid. Shiro lands Brain Com and ventures out onto the surface in a spacesuit where he finds the injured Carter lying on the rocks. The Alliance lobster control devices falls off him and Captain Carter regains control of himself. Seeing his bionic arm he smashes it infrustration at what the Alliance have done to him and made him do. He commands Shiro to kill him for what he has done and when Shuiro refuses he counts to 3 forcing Shiro to open fire on him, killing him. With his dying words he congratulates Shiro on his good shooting.

A game of two halves: we open with the Imperial Deserter coming aboard X-Bomber and holding Lamia hostage. We finally get to see a Termoid up close but as this plot ppoint is over in half an episode it doesn't get any time to develop. Maybe having the traitor on board for a few episodes skulking in the background before revealing itself may have given this thread a bit more substance. The second half of the episode is taken up with the Shiro/Carter dual. Carter's been around as an enemy officer for 3 episodes but he was hardly in the second one and just a brief appearance during the first part of this one. All over in three episodes.... I wonder if it might have been worth extending the storyline for longer, six episodes say, giving the mystery of who the Alliance's new captain is more time to play out. And so the saga of Captain Carter comes to an end as pre-empted twice previously in the series in episodes 5 & 11 with flashbacks and dream sequences of the two shooting at each other.

Hardware: after looking at the same Imperial Alliance fighter designs for eleven episodes we get to see not one but two variants in this episode: The Deserter is flying a fighter with an extra set of tubes on the outside of it's laser guns while Carter's fighter has a different canopy and a longer nose. We never see what happened to the Deserter's fighter: it could well be on X-Bomber still. Carter's menawhile gets wrecked on the Asteroid.... Carter seems to be breathing the Asteroid's armosphere ok after the crash but Shiro puts his spacesuit on: have the Alliance augmented his body in other ways other than the arm which he destorys here? On the other hand there is some confusaion later in the series as to who can breate what when. Shiro's spacesuit is a little different to when we last saw it: he's wearing a plain silver helmet which is now missing the red coloured flashes it had when we last saw it in episode 5.

I am wondering if there's a little Star Trek referrence in the deserter's given identity number 0171, a numerical anagram of 1701, The Enterprise's registry number....

On it's Japanese broadcast this was the last episode to use the original X-Bomber opening credits, which you can see here at the start of video and the original closing credits, which can be seen from 2:22.

I saw this episode on it's first transmission and I'm pretty sure I remember seeing the LWT repeat in 1984 the Sunday after I got back from my camping trip in Wales (see episode 9 for the camping trip's other impact) when I was too shattered to go to church that day. It's Japanese name is Our Mortal Enemy Is Captain Custer, using Carter's Japanese name. None of this episode appears on a UK video tape but it appears on US video Volume 4: The Search for the Skull.

This is the last episode of Star Fleet to include new music, in particular the death theme over Captain Carter's final moments. The incidental music, as well as the opening and closing titles was provided by keyboard player Paul Bliss, who has played with numeroud bands over the years including The Moody Blues. For many years fans wanted a Star Fleet music album and finally in 2009 a CD was released which is available at www.starfleetsoundtrack.com. You can hear Paul Bliss interviewed on Star Fleet - The Complete Series DVD Disc 3

At this point we are halfway through the UK run of Star Fleet.

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