Robotech Rewatch 63: Rick Hunter’s Sure Spunky

Warning, Rick Hunter does not appear in these episodes. Or at all. Ever. When the excitable narrator implied otherwise in the ‘next week on Robotech’ at the end of The Midnight Sun, Ms10 (who was on Minecraft and firmly Not Interested in Robotech) perked her ears up.

HER – Is that?
ME – No.
HER – But he said Rick Hunter.
ME – He lied. It’s there to make you think he’s going to be in it.
HER – He’s not in it?
ME – Didn’t I tell you that Rick Hunter never ever comes back?
HER – But maybe?
ME – No.

See? See? Even the modern generation of kids who have access to Wikipedia still get their hearts broken by this damned show pretending that it’s going to follow up on the adventures of the original Robotech crew and then not doing it.

This is a particularly dire example of that.

1653897-sera_02EPISODE 77: The Midnight Sun

More cold weather and mountain passes to be travailed. The geography of this place is insane. Weren’t we just at tropical water level five minutes ago?

Princess Sera, meanwhile, is having an emotional meltdown about being into that pretty human boy.

The freedom fighting crew enjoy a mountainside dinner. Lunk really likes steak. This fact cannot be emphasised enough.

Marlene has another of those head-attacks of hers and everyone is smart enough to actually get their weapons out immediately, because she’s totally a belweather for Invid violence. Turns out this is just a panic attack, not a sign of imminent doom. At least, that’s what the crew think, because the Invid squad, led by Sera, are being super sneaky.

Sera struggles emotionally with how hot Lancer is, and fumbles the first sortie, inadvertently warning them as to the Invid presence. (Well, second warning, since Marlene totally warned them already) The pitched battle continues to be punctuated with Sera’s inconvenient emotions.

Also, I really think Lancer should wear some sort of coat, as his off the shoulder number seems inappropriate in the snow.

Marlene, freaked out by the gunfire, starts wondering about the meaning of life. The meaning of life, Marlene, is that if a bunch of giant battle droids shoot each other up on a snowy mountainside, they’re probably going to cause an avalanche.

WHOOSH.

There’s a lot more shooting and a lot more snow. At one point, Lunk actually causes a second avalanche because it wasn’t snowing enough.

Sera faces off against Lancer and Marlene, and is caught in an emotionally fraught staring-and-emoting contest with Marlene. No one wins.

The others come to the rescue, and end up knocking Sera and the other Invid into a frozen ravine.
Rand asks the all-important question of why the Invid didn’t shoot Marlene and Lancer. Scott promptly mansplains a good explanation, which means no one actually suspects her at all. Good covering for your non-girlfriend totally by accident, Scott!

Well, Lancer suspects her, but he’s too busy being nice to Marlene to let it bother him.

Sera watches the gang leave, wondering why she spared them, and why anything.

I’m starting to suspect that the Regis’ problems with effective military intelligence stem from the fact that no one knows anything about anything. This also covers her parenting problems.

Cannot emphasise enough how much this character is not Rick Hunter.

Cannot emphasise enough how much this character is not Rick Hunter.

EPISODE 78: Ghost Town

Annie and Rand are cheerful while riding through the arid ‘wild west’ section of the ravaged Earth. The terrain is… awfully flat and dry considering they were only just in the snow last week, though the previous episode did telegraph that they were finally out of the snow and looking forward to travelling on the flat.

Scott wants to make sure that no one gets any genre-specific pleasure at all from the fact that humans have built cowboy themed towns in bomb craters. No fringed cosplay for you, Annie! No fun for anyone, ever. No fun.

Marlene’s role as worst spy ever continues to torment her, as does the extreme ringing in her ears that she gets whenever the Invid are near.

Oops, looks like Rand and Scott are going to get to play cowboy after all – they are arrested by the local sheriff on the grounds that he doesn’t like them, and they’re downright shifty looking.
Also, I’m not sure if I even need to mention this, but every character in this talks like Yosemite Sam.

Lancer, driving Marlene around in the jeep in the hopes that her migraine can provide vital clues as to the whereabouts of the Invid, is stopped by a bunch of cowboy-talkin’ varmints and promptly decides to a) pretend he and Marlene are honeymooners and b) mimic their accent.

Tourists, never mimic the accent of the locals. Never. It’s embarrassing for everyone.

The varmints, who are possibly crazy as loons, given their tendency to laugh broadly at just about everything, lead Lancer and Marlene to a crashed battle fortress. An SDF-what now?

The fortress has the words Mars Force written on it (um, okay) and when Lancer tries to discover if it’s the SDF3 and if it has anything to do with Admiral Rick Hunter, they all play dumb at him.

Scott is furious at being arrested by the cowboys of cowboy town, especially when his and Rand’s abandoned Cyclones are promptly ‘rustled’ by local kids.

Lancer’s varmints turn out to be veteran soldiers who were part of Admiral Hunter’s original SDF3 expedition, then returned after the second Robotech war only to drop out of society and get into weapons profiteering.

Lancer is horrified by the traitorous happiness of these deserters, and learns that they have been receiving messages from Admiral Hunter, which they have been ignoring. What, you mean we might (no) actually get to hear a message from our baby Rick (no), are we talking actual proper inter-Robotech continuity here? (no)

To prove that Marlene isn’t the only terrible spy, Lancer inadvertently gives away that her head is full of Invid signals, which makes the horde of varmints suspect (half correctly) that they are Invid spies.

Lancer snogs Marlene to prove that they’re not aliens, which… okay, I’m pretty sure that only proves they’re not Zentraedi, surely not all aliens are kiss-adverse? Anyway, it’s a thinly veiled excuse to ship Lancer and Marlene for one episode – wow, the boys are all lining up for her, aren’t they? Scott has been too slow with his agonised stalker routine, and she’s practically going steady with both Rand and Lancer now.

The floppy haired dude on the screen (who looks enough like Rick Hunter that you think – maybe for a moment – but NO) tells the base that Rick Hunter is planning to attack the Earth and is calling on all survivors to destroy military targets. Oh, it’s like Rick’s personal assistant. Well, that’s nice.

One of the varmints replies cheerfully “Rick Hunter, he just won’t give up,” and another agrees, “He’s sure spunky like that.” This is the best bit of the episode.

I like the detail that these boys were in the SDF forces so long ago that they don’t even think of Rick as an Admiral and have no proper military respect for him. Because, remember when he was just that 16 year old kid who liked planes and was drafted and kept getting promoted a lot? Good times. (also why do we never hear any shout outs to his wife Admiral Hayes-Hunter, who was totally promoted before him and should be further along the military track?)

Gabby, one of the veterans (so named because he’s silent, haw haw) takes his battle armour and goes to attack the Invid, promptly getting himself killed after a whole episode of brooding and trying to fix the communications array. It turns out that his son is Rick Hunter’s personal assistant, AKA the dude sending them messages from Admiral Hunter’s fleet. Because apparently it’s always been the same kid doing that job, and it was Gabby’s only way to see his son even though he could never talk back to him.

It’s all a bit tragic, and enough to inspire the varmints to get their act together and get their old battle fortress (really a WHOLE BATTLE FORTRESS?) up and running again.

Those crazy old coots have got the junkheap off the ground! Also, Rand is both ‘sonny’ and a young whipper-snapper. I feel this should earn him some cowboy points of some kind. If he gets called whipper-snapper three times, he gets to be sheriff, right?

A bunch of stuff gets blown to kingdom come, cowboy style.

I choose to believe that the cranky codgers are Konda, Rico and Bron. Except for the one who is obviously Nobby from the Discworld novels.

They all get themselves killed, of course.

Man, this end of the show is kinda bleak.

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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