Robotech Rewatch Part 59: Cactus in my Pants

Rand in a Viking helmet. You're welcome.

Rand in a Viking helmet. You’re welcome.

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Episode 73: Sandstorm

Funnily enough, the Invid are pretty pissed off about that whole destroyed fortress business. The Regent has decided that it’s time to retrieve ‘the simulagent’ AKA Marlene before the humans discover their plans.

Our sweeties, meanwhile, are trapped in a cave after a three day sandstorm, and about five minutes away from killing each other. Annie is thirsty, Lunk feels guilty that it was his job to bring water and he didn’t bring nearly enough for them all (he was under fire at the time and his jeep is not great for keeping off the bullets), and Scott is furious at Lunk for screwing up his orders and basically angry at the universe that he has to deal with these amateurs instead of real soldiers. Rand yells at Scott for having unreasonable expectations of them all, and for constantly going on about Admiral Hunter all the time. Even Lancer objects to being ‘turned on and off like a music box’ when Rook suggests that he sings to take their mind off it.

Oh, and Marlene has a fever.

Rand gives her a sip of water from a piece of cactus he has been carrying around with him, which makes her feel much better, but the rest of the team blow up at him for hoarding secret cactus in his pants. Sick of being yelled at, he goes out into the storm to collect more cactus, and promptly falls in a ravine. Marlene has a vision of the danger he is in, and calls out to him – this is the first time we’ve seen her connect telepathically to someone other than the invade.

The ravine Rand has fallen into is full of spores of the Flower of Life, remember them? He promptly slides into a psychedelic dream in which he battles a dragon to rescue a screaming Marlene. Turns out his subconscious used to play a lot of D&D.

“I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m coming, Marlene!”

Rand rescues her, and carries Marlene along on the back of his bike. She suggests that he might be dreaming which he considers as a possibility without being unduly bothered. Is this really Marlene with him, or a Marlene-figment?

Rand gets to see a “glowing pile of gelatine” which must be what the Invid look like under their suits, and comes very close to guessing why Marlene is always so strongly affected by the proximity of the Invid. Luckily, she distracts him with her nudity. Phew!

The dream has turned into a clip show now, with shots of Rand and Marlene on the bike pursued by the dragon, intercut with shots from the Genesis Pit and other episodes. (it occurs to me, kind of belatedly, that the Genesis Pit might be more important to the story than I previously assumed given that there’s a ‘Genesis’ in the title of the original Japanese version of this series)

Marlene’s message to him is that he mustn’t fight with Scott. Rand tries to explain his problems with the big ole soldier, intercut with more clips from previous episodes.

In which Rand's subconscious is suddenly the most interesting character in the show...

In which Rand’s subconscious is suddenly the most interesting character in the show…

As the dream continues, Rand is faced with, well. Gandalf. I’m sorry, but it’s basically a big white wizard. He provides Rand with five warriors, stout and true, AKA his mates.

They all arrive looking like, well, “extras in a bad Viking movie,” according to Rand. D&D miniatures, basically.

Even Annie rides a Cyclone in this and manages to make it fly, as does Lunk with his jeep. Rand is starting to get irritated at the lack of logic in this dream. Scott looks hilarious in a helmet with horns.

Marlene is still the damsel in this scenario which, okay.

At one point Rand accuses Scott, Rook and Lancer of being the Three Musketeers, which made my family break out in laughter for fairly obvious reasons.

Fantasy Viking Marlene makes a short heroic speech, as does the wizard, and Rand starts putting together some serious thoughts about the Invid in his head. He even gets to overhear some of the Regent’s thoughts which have previously only been shown in the narrator’s introductions.

After the sandstorm (because none of them are dumb enough to leave the cave during, it’s good to know), Rook finds Rand in the pit and drags him home. He is raving about Invid stuff, speaking the words of the Regent.

And once he’s back to himself, he knows exactly why the Invid have come here. They crossed the cosmos to reach this planet and are trying to save themselves by plugging themselves into the Earth’s evolutionary process. It’s exciting though to be fair this is exactly the same insight that Rand already had during the dinosaur episode, it’s just that no one listened to him.

Scott, far from being grateful at Rand’s information, is angry at the idea Rand might (by figuring out what they’re up to) be sympathising with the Invid. He’s such a blockhead.

In the cave, Rand wakes Marlene up and gazes adoringly into her eyes, remembering the trip they went on even if she wasn’t technically along for the ride (or was she?). The show definitely seems to be setting up romantic tension between these two that I don’t think comes to anything later?

The important thing, however, is that psychedelic dream or no psychedelic dream, Rand is totally the brains of this outfit. God help them all.

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