Robotech Rewatch 60: A Couple of Vines and a Coconut

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EPISODE 74 – Annie’s Wedding

The rebel bikie flyboy bikie gang are running low on protoculture, which is bad news, so they decide to transport their gear to Reflex Point via raft.

Annie is totally into this plan, and Rook put her enthusiasm down by pointing out that this isn’t some silly jungle movie where all you need is a couple of vines and a coconut. I don’t know, Rook. We’ve covered just about every other genre lately. A little Tarzan action would liven things up!

Lancer volunteers himself as lookout on the grounds that he’s a freaking pop star and doesn’t know how to build boats. (I restrained myself from making a joke about him not wanting to break a nail, but then Lunk did it for me, so oh well).

While everyone else is working hard, Lancer then fulfils his civic duty of taking his shirt off and having a swim. It’s kind of nice that the show is offering half-naked men instead of just putting the girls in shower scenes (or nude bathing scenes) but on the other hand, come on, it’s a cartoon, does it really need sex appeal?

Later, while sunbathing, Lancer is attacked by a stranger, and some awkward editing makes it look like a tree fell on him, but actually that was Rand’s tree, elsewhere along the river.

A bunch of strange, angry bearded people attack the campsite and manage to herd all the rest of the space bikie gang into a single net trap, which is quite impressive.

Turns out their abductors are a sect of river-worshippers who somehow reverted to the spear-wielding dark ages in the single generation since the Invid invaded.

That’s some commitment to a superstition-and-spear society. Maybe they’re historical re-enactors who let it all get out of hand.

As the bikies fix the dam (AKA the river god) and appease their captors, chirpy ten year old McGruder turns up, delighted that he has caught himself a wife in the spirit of his cultural tradition of just recently. To everyone’s merriment and delight, the wife in question is Lancer. In a sack.

Oh Lancer, the gender-queering never ends when you’re around. If only it wasn’t used for cheap jokes most of the time.

LANCER: It was an honest mistake, young man. Now hurry up and let me out of this bag!

Everyone laughs at the ten year old, which is kind of mean, since he’s obviously upset. Even Annie laughs, which is a bit rich given her own outlandish romantic disasters, but she at least notices that McGruder is sad before everyone else does, and she feels a bit bad about it.

Being Annie, she decides to solve the problem in the creepiest way possible by dressing up in her best frock and beads, and seducing the kid.

Look, we’ve talked about this before. I don’t know how old Annie is supposed to be. I’ve seen her referenced as a ‘teenager’ in Robotech meta, but the way she is drawn and her general babyish behaviour pretty much always comes across as a 7-12 year old who thinks she’s in the body of Marilyn Monroe. Now at least she’s found herself a lad of approximately the same height and romance-obsession, which is slightly better than watching her crack on to adult men, but STILL CREEPY.

I mean, she talks like a 40 year old divorcee, which is to say any given character in Gossip Girl, but she looks like something out of Peanuts.

It’s so awful that the appearance of the Invid can only be a relief.

McGruder decides to prove his manhood (ugh) by attacking the Invid, which does involve swinging on a vine or two. Notably, he is rescued at one point by Lancer, who has got the hang of the whole vine-swinging thing pretty easily.

At the height of the battle, Annie steals Rand’s Cyclone, straps on some goggles and lets McGruder ride pillion, and races into battle.

ANNIE: McGruder, we’re going to make a man out of you even if it kills us both!”

It’s a slightly awesome moment, even if it ends in disaster, with the two kids crashing the bike and collapsing in the jungle while the grown ups lure the Invid towards the “river god” and crush them by exploding the dam in their general direction.

The story winds up with a really super disturbing ceremony in which the grateful tribespeople stage a WEDDING for the two kids, and bikie crew sail off into the sunset on a tribal flotilla. Having left Annie behind. Because, you know, married. In a random tribe.

What is this, a Doctor Who companion leaving story?

“With her gone, us big kids can get on with the serious business of freedom fighting.” Rand tries to convince everyone he’s not going to miss the child they left behind with complete strangers.

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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