Robotech Rewatch 64: Chill City

Keep your scanner tuned to this station. Robotech is back!

This review is best consumed while humming your favourite musical number from Frozen.

frostbiteEPISODE 79: Frostbite

After Rand and Lancer have made their moves, it’s finally Scott’s turn to get romantic with Marlene. (Lunk doesn’t count, because large men in Robotech are generally only allowed to have love affairs with beef steaks)

It’s a snowstorm (yes, we’re back in snow, after last week’s desert antics), so our crew are all wrapped in slankets, and attempting to slowly move their mecha via a complicated sledding arrangement. Instead of, you know, being inside the nice cozy metal suits Not surprising that the episode title is Frostbite with this kind of ridiculous cold weather behaviour. Stay inside, chaps! It’s chilly.

Rand spots a city preserved beneath the ice, and suggests they get down somehow to raid it for supplies despite Scott’s disinterest in setting up shop as an archaeologist.

The ice makes the decision for them, cracking under the weight of the Alpha and sending them all down without any injuries whatsoever.

The city, which does include massive skyscraper buildings (always the architectural style of choice underground) is running on a generator plugged into the earth’s core or something, so is warm and snuggly, plus full of delicious food and other marvels, like fully stocked bridal stores and shoe shops.

Apparently it used to be called Denver, and was evacuated shortly before the Invid invasion. (After miraculously surviving the First Robotech War, which as you might remember, included the complete irradication of all man-made cities)

Rand and the girls have a party in a convenience store, enjoying the flavour of delicious canned Vienna sausages. Mmm, gourmet.

Scott, as ever, want to make absolutely certain that no one has any fun. After the others blow him off, he gazes mournfully at a wedding dress display and remembers that his Marlene also thought he was a very boring person (she uses the term fussbudget).

Softened by the memory of his fiancee, Scott turns his romantic attentions to the alien redhead that he named after her (not creepy at all, Scott). He takes her to a department store where she spins around delightedly in heels, and he can’t tell the difference between her and his memory Marlene despite the fact that they LOOK COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. Different faces, hair colour and height. Scott, you’re an idiot.

Scott taking a romantic interest in a lady is actually worse than when he is being the fun police. It involves fake accents and a lot of blushing. Ugh, make it stop.

Squeee, I forgive everything, we now have a Minmei soundtrack!

Stage lights, flashing, the feeling’s smashing…

Rand and Rook, meanwhile, are having a way less fun date, in which he gets angry at vintage arcade games, and she yawns a lot.

Annie finds a bridal store, dresses up like a kid in her mother’s clothing, and literally throws herself at Lunk. Lancer thinks this is hilarious and photo-worthy, and not further evidence that someone needs to have a firm chat with that girl about appropriate romantic behaviour and consent issues.

Marlene and Scott continue to have awkward weird flirting interactions, and then he decides to kiss her and she starts screaming about the Invid coming which is, frankly, something of a relief.

But bad news for Denver.

Prince Corg leads the Invid attack force to make sure that no one gets to enjoy department stores ever again. There’s a whole bunch of fighting which comes to a head when Corg faces down Marlene, and her very presence appears to make his space armour go fzzt and boom. That’s a useful defensive skill you’ve got there, Marlene!

Later on, as they fly off in a vague sort of triumph – because apparently it’s okay to fly now and not to try to walk in the snow carrying their equipment on sleds – Scott finally puts together that maybe, just maybe, it’s a bit suspicious that Corg didn’t kill Marlene.

EPISODE 80: Birthday Blues

It’s Annie’s birthday. Does that mean we finally get to find out how old she is?

No, it does not.

Also we’re back to desert terrain with no snow in sight. The scenery is giving me whiplash. After a bunch of fighting and sneaking through the forest, the crew hole up in an abandoned town where Lunk starts playing with a new project: Roman candles! They can’t use any of their mecha without the Invid spotting them, so have to go low-tech for a while. They’re also hoping to set off a fake protoculture signal to distract the Invid at some point.

Annie is miserable at her lack of a birthday party, reminiscing about her old life. It looks like her family had a very wealthy household, but the only family member we meet is her mother who was distant and often left her alone on her birthday.

The crew are kind of horrid, setting up an elaborate plot to surprise Annie with a party, but making her feel abandoned and miserable leading up to it which is the thing that is terrible about surprise parties always.

When they pull out the cake, Annie freaks out and runs out in tears, which is a perfectly reasonable response to being psychologically tormented by the only people in the world that you care about. But it turns out that’s just so she can wish on a star to celebrate her happiness.

I feel this sends mixed messages about surprise parties.

Annie has a wonderful party, showing off a tiny pink chiffon dress made for her by Rook (why, Rook, never knew you were so domestic). Rand insists on her kissing all the men at one point. Don’t be creepy, Rand. That’s Annie’s job.

After Annie crashes out of exhaustion and happiness, the menfolk meet outside to gossip about Marlene and whether or not she’s going to murder them all in their sleep. They think not, which seems to be grossly underestimating her.

Rand then “accidentally” spies on the girls during their communal sauna. Apparently it’s his turn to be the creepiest person in team for this entire episode?

Marlene laments that she doesn’t know her purpose in life, because of her amnesia. Annie declares that her purpose is to find a man, obviously. Like Rook has. Rook is unsettled by the idea that anything to do with Rand would be her purpose in life.

The boys set off Lunk’s Roman candles and write Annie’s happy birthday message in the sky, while simultaneously freaking out the Invid and sending them packing, for now at least.
Woo, fireworks!

The episode finishes up with Lancer singing a song about how this is the final battle. Because, I don’t know. I guess we’re getting close to wrapping up this sucker?

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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2 replies on “Robotech Rewatch 64: Chill City”

  1. Mortificator says:

    There was a weird one-shot comic published in the ’90s and set after the Denver episode, where Corg crawls back to the surface and is taken in by… the Voltron Force. They’re changed a little, but it’s not hard to figure out who such characters as “Midge” and “Chunk” are supposed to be. Anyway, they nurse Corg back to health, then he guns them all down, except Allura, and leaves. The end.

    Corg kills the Voltron Force, I don’t know what they were thinking.

    Also, per your comment on archaeology, I’m reminded how the novels gave Rand the additional character trait of wanting to save literature and other arts from being lost forever in the destruction caused by all the alien invasions. I guess his familiarity with The Three Musketeers some episodes ago could tie into that too.

    • tansyrr says:

      Wow that’s really cool, I didn’t know that about Rand – I have the novelisations of these episodes but I don’t think I read them all the way through, as I was so much less invested in these characters – which, conversely, may be why I’m less invested in them now, as I don’t have that extra layer of characterisation to scoot me through.

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