Robotech Rewatch 53: Rook Vs. The Red Snakes

hard timesKeep your scanner tuned to this station. Robotech is back!

I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m not going to finish this rewatch exactly at the point I finish Musketeer Space. That’s okay – I’m in this for the long haul! Cheers to everyone who has told me that the Mospeada/Dirt Bikes Special era of Robotech is their favourite. I like it more this time around, if that makes you feel better.

Episode 66 – Hard Times

While Rand lectures city girl Annie on the best way to lay a campfire, Lancer further challenges gender norms by setting up a woodland shower. As we all know, it’s normally girl characters who have slow meaningful showers in anime! Of course, Lancer is sometimes a girl character, so…

Rook, meanwhile, is having an emotional meltdown based largely on flashbacks to her former life as a gang member with an unsatisfactory boyfriend. She expresses this by being angry at a gross meat soft serve cone that Annie is trying to pretend is some kind of edible food.

I would be angry at people pretending badly drawn meat ice creams are real food too, Rook.

Scott, which his unerring ability to make it all about him, can tell just by looking at her that Rook is in love with someone just like he was with Marlene. Oh, Marlene.

(As it happens, he’s right, but I refuse to believe it was anything other than a good guess.)

Rook returns to the city where she used to live and is devastated to discover that her ex Romy has not been keeping up the good fight against the Red Snake gang because he’s too busy shagging her sister.

ROOK DISAPPROVING FACE.

We know that Romy is not a good guy because he is voiced by the same actor who played Zor Prime. And, you know, the whole shagging the sister thing. It took me ages to check the voice actor thing because Romy is not considered an overly important character in the grand scheme of things. I take great satisfaction in that.

The gang members are all acting like something out of Grease or possibly Grease II and no, I’m not going to inflict further film clips on you (but if I did it would totally be Who’s That Guy?).

Lily, Rook’s very conservatively dressed sister, tries to explain that Romy is holding back from tackling the gangs to keep the peace, not for any other reason like cowardice or having something better to do. It all sounds like the same collaborator talk we’ve been hearing about the Invid generally, but whatever.

Rand has what might be his first cool moment of the show, rolling up just after Rook has stormed off to get her own revenge on the Red Snakes, and telling Romy to close his mouth and hop on the back of his bike.

Aww, Rand.

Rook goes into a full blown challenge against the massive “Snake Eyes,” daring him to play bike chicken on a thin beam over a giant drop.

Rand uses his gun to make sure everyone plays fair – it’s clear that he has complete faith in Rook’s riding abilities, unlike Romy who tries to get her to quit.

Sadly in the face of her ex, Rook goes all mopy and ‘I’m not as bad a rider as I used to be before you taught me stuff, you big strong man, you.’ Woman up, Rook. I expect better of you.

To everyone’s shock except Rand, she does just fine at the challenge but as soon as the Invid turns up (Scott has been playing his own game of chicken with the aliens because he doesn’t have much else to do in this episode) she transforms and goes off to fight instead of worrying about her ego.
Miraculously it turns out that whatever Rook did solved the gang problem like magic (Sons of Anarchy this isn’t) and the only thing left to do is to convince Lily not to feel sorry for Rook by pretending she has a cool boyfriend. Sadly for Rook, the only immediately available candidate for Fake Boyfriend is Rand. To her shock (but let’s face it, no one else’s) he interprets her hissed command to kiss her on the cheek to lay a massive smacker all over her face.

The family weirdness doesn’t end there. As they ride off into the sunset, Rand confesses that while Rook has been playing around with the gangs, he totally met her mother and has been having chats with her about stuff. Rook doesn’t believe him but then their bike route leads them directly to a sad looking woman who is in fact, her mother.

Rook is horrified and rides off rather than have a conversation with her mum. Rand, sensitive soul that he is, yells ‘get a job’ to the mother and rides after her.

I have no idea what just happened, but it’s amazing. It looked like it was a set up because Rand really wanted Rook and her mother to talk through their issues, but no it was a thinly disguised crank call.

As she rides away, Rook decides for herself that it’s perfectly fine to leave her family because she has a new family now, and Annie basically needs her to be the big sister she failed to be to Lily.

Oh come on, like Annie wouldn’t steal your boyfriend in a hot second. You’re kidding yourself, Rook!

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

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