ROBOTECH REWATCH 43: “Debriefing” the Dreamboat

dana zorHold your position. Robotech transmissions will now resume.

43. A New Recruit

Ahem, so we’re caught up now to the point where I skipped a disc. Sorry about that! All the episodes should now be rewatched in the right order 😀

Dana is doing exhaustive sit ups when she hears her name called over the PA. She is called to Emerson’s office where she finds their prisoner of war standing all pretty in a uniform, his purple hair freshly curled. As established, his memory is completely gone, which is inconvenient for everyone hoping to drag useful intelligence out of him. Despite the fact that Dana broke into a hospital and beat him up recently, she’s now being asked to take charge of him.

Zor is in fact presented to Dana as a recruit, on the grounds that making him part of a secure military unit might help jog his memory and allow Dana to debrief him properly.

From this point on every time someone says “debrief,” it’s important to imagine inverted commas around the words, and Bow-chicka-bow-wow music going in the background. Because everyone is shipping Zor/Dana already, including the top brass.

Dana’s Zentraedi heritage is mentioned as one of the reasons why she has been given this particular job. Like – her perspective of having alien blood will help her understand this amnesiac who everyone’s going to hate and resent? Okay, then. I guess it was someone else being xenophobic at him last week.

The 15th are all pretty pissed at having an enemy pilot in their midst, except Louis who is already making heart-eyes about the possibility of little Dana-Zor alien babies. And finding out more about Robotech Masters tech, of course.

Zor beats the simulator with his amazing gun skills, and is subjected to extensive bullying by Eddie, a member of the 15th previously never really mentioned. I guess they didn’t want any of our regular guys to be a jerk about this, even though they all have a pretty good reason to resent Zor?

Sean and Dana, both dressed up for dates, bump into each other. He has an armful of flowers, and when Dana presses to find out which girl he’s after this time, it turns out that Marie Crystal is due out of hospital today and he wants to impress her.

Dana is amused, because Marie isn’t his usual type at all, and isn’t going to be “as easy as shooting skylarks” (?? Is this a metaphor for his usual brand of sexual harassment?)

Sean isn’t bothered on the grounds that he’s good at shooting (is that a metaphor? Everyone put your hormones away!) and changes the subject to point out that Dana is wearing a pretty dress. Does she have a hot date too?

She tells him she is “debriefing” Zor, giggles in an “it’s totally a date” way and runs off.

I stand by my inverted commas.

SEAN: A genuine space cadet.

I’d call him out for sexism in the workplace, but he’s not wrong. Dana, you make Minmei look deep.

In her pretty pink dress, Dana takes Zor to an amusement park, calls him a dreamboat, and falls in love with him in soft focus. Yep, “debriefing” officially means hot date.

Zor actually says: “You sure this is what the general meant by debriefing?” at one point. Poor boy.

Later, he gets overwhelmed by a repeated visual pattern on the roller coaster and receives vivid, traumatic war flashbacks. Dana, concerned about him, takes her seatbelt off (WTF!) and falls out of the roller coaster. As he lunges to rescue her, Zor remembers another woman, falling. It’s Musica.

Dana’s fine, no thanks to herself. You’d think a woman who knows how to drive a hovertank would get the basics of seatbelt technology.

Back at the base, Bowie is jealous of Zor, because Louis and Dana won’t shut up about him, and he’s not allowed to date his alien dreamboat because she’s an alien clone who lives inside an enemy military vessel.

Dana goes looking for Zor, not realising that she’s not the only lady who has been “debriefing” him.

Nova Satori, whose duties as the Fun Police Military Police continue to be varied and interesting as ever, helps Zor run through a bunch of VHS tapes of battle footage. Something snaps inside him and he ends up in bed, raving about Earth being the source of protoculture.

Nova puts the doctor under strict security protocols and quarantines Zor as he continue to blurt out sensitive information while screaming, shirtless, in a bed.

I’m pretty sure the Geneva convention says prisoners of war should be allowed to have a whole pair of pyjamas.

The Robotech Masters tune into a reality show called ‘what’s happening in Zor’s brain’ including lots of battles, internal yelling, and a montage from Dana and Zor’s date. One of the Masters refers to Dana as a juvenile female which is not innaccurate.

The Robotech Masters fret that Zor might give the humans too much information if his memory comes back, and they are grossed out by the waves of emotion coming off him, so it’s time to go in and take control of him. CREEPY.

Zor starts being weird and harsh to Dana, fed up with her attempts to debrief him and also to “debrief” him. Sean should probably give him a sexual harassment pamphlet right about now. I feel that it’s the sort of task that would be assigned to him, to teach him a lesson. Zor is attacked again by shouty Eddie, who it turns out is super aggressive because his brother was killed in action against Zor’s bioroid.

Overwhelmed with guilt and confusion, Zor angsts about killing his own people and decides he doesn’t want his memories if they have that sort of thing in them. He yells at Dana to leave him alone. She gets angry and kicks a screen that shatters, sending Zor into yet another whirl of hallucinations.

He has a memory of a beautiful green-haired girl – Musica – and the two of them being shot at. He used her as a human shield and got her killed. When he wakes up, he’s lying on top of Dana on the floor.

So Bowie’s alien Theramin playing doomed love is dead? Man, Bowie can never catch a break.

Devastated by realising what a monster he is, Zor reveals he is a manufactured clone, and that the Robotech Masters controlled him completely. When he goes to Emerson’s office to beg for more information, he overhears that the humans wanted Zor as leverage against the Robotech Masters. But the information they have got out of his head makes it ever more likely that war is their only option.

Sucks to be Zor.

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This weekly rewatch of classic animated space opera Robotech is brought to you as bonus content for the Musketeer Space project.

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