More death and food in this one.
19. Bursting Point
We haven’t forgotten the vital plot thread about how the SDF1 has been ordered into space along with its tantalising city full of peoplebait, to lure the Zentraedi away from the Earth.
Captain Gloval takes passive aggressiveness to the ultimate extreme, flying the SDF1 in a low crawl over cities and other populated areas. As the authorities protest his actions, he declares over an open channel that he will continue to keep intimidating them all with his massive Robotech ship until the Earth government lets him deport all his civilian passengers.
Oh, and he pretends that the low flying is due to a ‘fault’ in the ship which is endangering the residents of Macross City. Another reason to let them off already. Gloval is basically awesome, and he is too old for this shit.
Claudia and Lisa are pleased when the captain confides in them that he is doing all this deliberately, especially the declarations on open channels, on the off chance that someone in a position of power will do SOMETHING about this appalling situation. He’s not holding out much hope, but it’s all they’ve got right now.
Claudia is acting as sunny and Completely Fine despite her recent loss, and Lisa is worried about her. When they get off bridge duty, Lisa hesitates to approach her wistful, mourning friend at the cafe, and is conveniently distracted by the sight of an equally wistful, mourning Rick. Lisa decides to talk to Rick instead. Mostly they talk about ship defences – there’s a new defensive shield to replace the pinpoint barrier. This makes two conversations they’ve had without wanting to kill each other! I’m so proud of them both.
Rick confirms to Lisa (who asks the question Very Casually) that Minmei is his girlfriend, though really I’m not sure what his relationship criteria are since they’ve only seen each other twice in the last year. Minmei pretty much treats him as This Bloke I Used To Hang Out With. But the fact that Lisa asks at all is… interesting. What’s your agenda here, Lisa?
Captain Gloval’s strategic passive aggressiveness finally pays off when Ontario, Canada offers to take the civilians. It’s a win, and feels like something is finally going right. In the world of Robotech this is never a good sign.
Azonia squabbles with Khyron over his issues with authority, and his constant resentment at being told not to shoot people. Shock! I’m sure he’s not going to do anything silly like attack the Micronians against direct orders. Like all those other times.
Miriya, shocks Azonia when she requests a reassignment as a Micronican spy. Miriya is deeply rattled after her dogfight with Max and the horrible discovery that he might be a better pilot than her. Azonia feels it’s a waste of Miriya’s talents as a pilot, but does not refuse her.
Rick has inherited Roy’s old Skull One fighter and the position of Skull Leader. He acknowledges the irony of the situation – Roy was so proud he had never been shot down, and now he has died in combat and his ship has passed on to the pilot who is ALWAYS being shot down.
I kind of love how self aware Rick is about his terrible flight record. Though it is kind of interesting how shiny and well maintained Skull One is considering that it was so badly dinged up in the previous episode. Obviously the SDF1 mechanics are magic. The unsung heroes of this show.
Ben and Max take Rick out to dinner to celebrate his promotion, which feels a bit inappropriately cheery under the circumstances but I guess they have to get their chuckles where they can. Ben basically orders half a cow. Just as he is about to dig in with knife and fork, the red alert goes out and all pilots have to move out.
“Don’t move, I’ll be back real soon.”
Ben’s farewell to his beef. Theirs is a doomed love.
As the new Skull leader, Rick takes his men into combat. Amazingly, Khyron is attacking the Micronians without first being directly forbidden to do so by his leader. I’m a bit chuffed about this sign of personal growth.
The SDF1 stands by to engage their shiny new barrier system, even though Claudia has pointed out that this will render the ship’s weapons useless. It’s also going to suck a whole lot of power. But is bound to be more effective than that whole ping-pong based pinpoint barrier system and the poor operator who suffered whiplash and possible RSI for the rapid movement required to operate it. The energy barrier goes up shortly after Miriya has been inserted on to the ship – and Khyron is surprised when the barrier holds up against his attack.
The Zentraedi are all very impressed as they’ve never seen an energy barrier like this before. Nevertheless they keep pounding on it. Eventually, it overloads, causing a chain reaction and a horrific explosion that destroys a city below the SDF1. Ben Dixon is killed in the blast, with a horrific scream.
His steak will mourn him, so much. They could have had something beautiful together.
Ontario decide on balance that they have changed their mind about taking on the Macross civilians. What with the burning city and all.
While all this is going on, Minmei faints from overwork and is taken to hospital.
In the wake of the SDF1 disaster, Lynn Kyle is interviewed in a press conference about the state of Minmei’s health, making an odd but deliberate juxtaposition between this event and the more dramatic events happening outside the ship. Kyle tears into the reporters for caring about something so shallow as a beloved celebrity’s health when they are in the middle of a destructive space war, and people are dying.
He has a point, but rapidly loses ‘don’t be a dick’ points by taking the opportunity to slam the military for their participation in the war. Various servicemen and women watch his press conference in bewilderment, with the bridge crew noting that Kyle seems to be advocating a complete surrender to the attacking aliens.
Ah, Kyle. Committed to pacifism except when he gets a chance to show off his fighting feet, but not great at grasping complex political situations like ‘we’ve been running away from the aliens for two years and they keep attacking us.’
Poor old Minmei, who has not been keeping up with current events, calls Rick to assure him that she’s fine after her fainting spell. It’s an unfortunate case of bad timing, as he is in shock after the battle and losing his second friend in as many episodes, not to mention that with the death of Ben Dixon this is the first time he has lost someone under his own command.
More clearly than anything else, this scene – in which he drops the phone and walks away, unable to articulate to Minmei how much he doesn’t want to hear about her hard work on the film set – illustrates that they belong to different worlds now, with very different priorities.
This weekly rewatch of classic animated space opera Robotech is brought to you as bonus content for the Musketeer Space project. Thanks to everyone who has linked, commented, and especially to my paid patrons. You can support Musketeer Space at Patreon.