ROBOTECH REWATCH 16 – Don’t Make Dinner Plans

Robotech will be rewatched after these messages.

The death toll of major, minor and background characters is about to start going up… and there’s no going back! What, you thought this was going to be a fun time?

roy18. Farewell Big Brother

This has to be one of the spoileriest titles ever. Talk about doing what it says on the tin. But I have to say, the amount of glee with which Ms9 approached this episode was… disturbing. She’s been predicting the death of Roy Fokker since day one and she loves being right.

Rick is still in hospital and has managed to acquire a super snarky nurse who pranks him with the idea they’re going to do medical experiments on him to see if pilot’s heads really are made out of granite. I love her. She needs her own show. I hope she is actually Sami’s roommate and they hang out practicing appalling things to say in innocent voices while batting their eyelashes.

Lisa turns up to visit with Rick and apologises for her error in judgement. Rick is zen about the whole thing and surprisingly gracious to her about it, taking full responsibility. Maybe he should get shot out of the sky more often. This is the first time they have had a conversation without one or the other of them flying into a rage, or scoring bitchy points. It’s almost like they are friends now! (Or something more…?)

“What’s happened to that old command confidence? This isn’t like you at all.”

Rick Hunter actually notices something. About Lisa. Everyone try not to swoon, we might need the fainting couch for other things later.

Later on the bridge, Claudia teases Lisa about her romantic interest in Rick, comparing them to herself and Roy who are apparently the perfect couple.

Rick has his own visitors – Roy, Ben and Max. Now, I’m prepared to accept that maybe I look away from the screen too often to make notes, thus missing the moment when Max enters the scene, but it totally felt like he did that thing AGAIN where he wasn’t in the scene at all, but turned up halfway through pretending he had always been there. Those pilot reflexes of his are excellent, no wonder he’s such a match for Miriya. Oops, getting ahead of myself there.

“Big Brother” Roy is concerned about Rick’s depression, and meets with Claudia to get her advice about how to hook a friend of his up with Minmei. (Because a date with a pop star is cheaper than counselling or medication?) Claudia doesn’t twig that he’s talking about Rick (I like to think she’d have thrown Lisa at him if she had), so she tells Roy about how to find Minmei on her film set.

We’ve heard a few times about this film Minmei is making, but usually in casual asides. Are we about to learn more?

Roy makes Claudia promise to make him her famous pineapple salad later for dinner. I always thought that was a weird food request, but maybe it’s a cultural thing that I’m missing. Anyway, it’s worth it for Claudia’s sultry aside after Roy runs off to work again.

“Pineapple salad… and if we’re lucky, breakfast.”

Oh Claudia, you saucebox!

This has to be the first reference to sex in Robotech, unless we count the awkward and quite misleading birds and the bees talk that Ben attempts during the alien abduction.

As part of the ongoing theme of Minmei’s growing celebrity onboard the SDF1, we meet a shop full of Minmei dolls! They are cute, kind of creepy, and programmed with her songs. All two and a half of them. Konda, Rico and Bron the Zentraedi spies are fascinated with the little devices, and inadvertently cause half a riot when they steal one and run for it – they then run into Sami, Kim and Vanessa who promptly tease them about playing with dolls.

“What planet do you come from anyway, where men play with children’s toys?”

Vanessa has never heard of action figures.

It feels a bit like the Zentraedi spies have been sent among the Micronians purely to be confronted by weird, narrow conventions of gender essentialism, which can’t be overly helpful! If only they met some more open-minded representatives of the human species… and I was going to make a snarky comment about us not expecting much of the 1980’s, but let’s face it, if those dolls were made today they’d be a lot more pink because this stuff has got worse, not better, over the decades.

In the midst of their bumbling and panic, the three spies somehow end up with disco dates. They go along with it for the sake of the mission. The girls, however, are definitely in it for the snogging and grinding.

“I want the big handsome one!”

Vanessa walks on the wild side, and Bron gets lucky.

Khyron and Miriya engage in some platonic screen-to-screen sledging, and he comes up with the ultimate taunt, telling her that there is one pilot on the SDF1 who outstrips her own abilities. Miriya is intrigued at the idea of a Micronian ace. Khyron the matchmaker! He’ll be sending out anonymous valentines next.

Now I want to read Khyron’s romantic advice column. “My advice to you when meeting your girlfriend’s parents is to BLOW UP THEIR SPACESHIP.”

Roy runs into Minmei and chats her up, convincing her to take some time out of her busy schedule to cheer Rick up.

Weirdly, Kyle is on the set as well, and willing to glare down any boy who talks to his cousin – so he is also an actor? No hint of this before now! But he suits the black kimono. Makes him look good and villainous.

The SDF1 comes under attack, mostly so that Miriya can get her teeth into this supposed hot shot pilot she’s heard so much about. Because Khyron is always a trustworthy source of information? The Veritech attack squadron is led by Roy Fokker of Skull Squadron. He manages to get a cocky comment about pineapple salad over the radio before taking off to the battle, which makes Claudia giggle.

Miriya finds a blue Veritech who is totally the pilot she is after, and attacks him. Raeli was excited by this “yes, beaten by a girl!” but was then surprised to realise Miriya’s target wasn’t Roy at all, but Max Sterling.

Oh Max, always pulling the ladies.

It’s actually quite a cute bit of misdirection – having set up that this is totally the episode where Roy dies, you could certainly read all the ‘hotshot’ build up as being about Miriya killing Roy. But it’s another plot thread that is sneakily taking over the story with its awesomeness. This will characterise all future Max and Miriya storylines.

Minmei makes her visit to the hospital, exhausted with overwork, and Rick is pleased but surprised to see her. She ends up falling asleep on the end of his hospital bed and Rick feels content, knowing that she is safe and well. It’s almost like he’s learned something about talking to women and considering their needs as well as his own! Between this and his earlier chat with Lisa, I’m very impressed with Rick right now, and starting to realise why I liked the character so much – when I first watched this show, I came in halfway through. I missed a lot of the adolescent claptrap.

Max is ordered to retreat to get the ‘bandit’ off his tail, but Miriya is relentless in her pursuit of him, and the two of them end up taking their flirtatious dogfight all the way into the SDF1 itself. Sirens ring out, and Rick runs to his hospital window to witness the destruction wrought by the two Robotech fighters combating each other.

With hotness.

“You wish to do combat? You impudent fool!”

This is Miriya’s best chat up line.

The two fighters finally burst free of the SDF1 again and separate which might or might not be a metaphor for something. Their duel has been inconclusive… this time. Max is intrigued, but not overly bothered by the whole thing. The same can not be said for Miriya.

Minmei’s agent tracks her down in Rick’s room and grabs her away before Rick returns. He harangues her about her duty to the film and to the ship. There’s a lot of pressure on her slender shoulders.

Meanwhile, Roy’s Skull One is in a bad way after he makes it back after the battle – the mechanics are alarmed to see something in the cockpit (which later circumstances imply is a whopping great pool of blood).

Roy meanwhile is having that dinner with Claudia, strumming his guitar while she nags him about how worried and upset she feels when he is in combat. He may or may not be aware that he has been badly wounded.

“It has never been a game, Claudia. Maybe one day you’ll understand that.”

Roy Fokker’s last words. Bit passive aggressive there, buddy.

Still holding his guitar, Roy collapses from bloodloss, thanks to at least three holes in his back. He is taken to hospital where he passes quietly away. Claudia is devastated and later, a weeping Lisa goes to tell Rick the bad news.

Rick’s little toy airplane falls broken to the ground in a slow filmic moment as he – you guessed it – has to bid farewell to his Big Brother.

Sadness. Except from Ms9 who chuckled all through it and worked her way up to a cackle at the end there. Because she’s a bit evil like that.

Kudos to the episode for telling us up front that Roy is going to buy it, spending the whole episode teasing for that moment, and then making it look like everything’s basically fine right up to the end. And also for the elegant plane dropping scene at the end.

Robotech: often artier than you expect it to be.

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2 replies on “ROBOTECH REWATCH 16 – Don’t Make Dinner Plans”

  1. John Samuel says:

    “which later circumstances imply is a whopping great pool of blood”

    This is actually seen in the original, it’s one of the bits that got cut in the translation to Robotech.

  2. tansyrr says:

    Someday I will watch through the original. Have never got around to it!

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