“You forget, I am the one who has power here. I am the one who says stay or go!” – Princess Invidia
The eighth week of broadcast for STAR BLAZERS wrapped up with this episode, the second half of the tank battle on Telezart. It also included a memorable confrontation between the Gamilon Leader Desslok and Princess Invidia of the Comet Empire. For no particular reason, this was the last episode of STAR BLAZERS that I saw, and it was elusive. For months, every time it would come around in the rotation, something would take me away from the television set. It wasn’t until my household got its first Betamax video cassette recorder that I was able to experience this episode in full. It’s also one of the most severely-edited episodes in the run.
The episode opens with the space marines still under siege by General Scourge and his battalion of “robot tanks.” Wildstar, Sandor and IQ-9 arrive with heavy ordinance, but they need five minutes to set it up. In order to buy them this time, Knox orders his men to charge the enemy tanks. “We’ll keep them away from this position, you get the missile launcher ready! We’ll keep them real busy!” There are a ton of small edits in here where marines are getting blown to bits by the attacking tanks.
Knox and his marines come storming over the hill brandishing grenades. Their favorite tactic, it seems, is to leap onto an approaching tank, force the hatch open, throw in a live grenade and then leap away before the whole thing explodes. This is all done pretty bloodlessly in STAR BLAZERS, far less so in the YAMATO 2 source material–this whole sequence is swiss cheese and it’s remarkable that it flows as well as it does with all of the tiny cuts that are being made. At one point, Knox leaps atop another tank, this one whose commander is standing in the hatch. Kicking him off the tank, Knox proceeds down into it, throwing two more men out of it and commandeering it. “Okay, you robots!” Knox cries as he hurls the men out of the vehicle to make sure that the American audience doesn’t think that he’s hurting any real flesh-and-blood people (He is.) “Boy, can they fight!” whistles Wildstar as he and Sandor put the finishing touches on their missile weapon.
As the fighting continues, and the casualties (and cuts) mount up, Wildstar radios back to the Argo for the Medical Unit to be dispatched to the front in order to evacuate the Star Force’s wounded. Doctor Sane and Nova race to the medical Shuttle in response, with Nova telling the Doctor that Wildstar left so suddenly that she didn’t have the chance to give him her flowers for Trelaina.
Down on the ground, the enemy is regrouping as Trelaina watches the conflict from the safety of her hidden citadel. “Once again, Telezart has become a battlefield.” she anguishes, sinking to her knees in seeming prayer. By this point, Sandor and IQ-9 have the Multi-Head Missile Launcher set up, and giving Knox a minute to retreat in his stolen tank, they fire it at the enemy forces, wiping them out. We even see a tank crewman struggle to the hatch before his tank explodes underneath him–which is perhaps why IQ-9 is given the line, “Hey, robots, that’ll reprogram you!” Only the lead tank, manned by General Scourge, remains, and Knox pursues it as it retreats into the distance. The Medical Shuttle arrives, and Nova is able to pass her flowers over to Wildstar before he, Sandor and IQ-9 head out in search of the cave where Trelaina said she was located in her last message. And that’s where STAR BLAZERS goes to a commercial break.
But not so the YAMATO 2 source material. Here, STAR BLAZERS makes its single largest cut in this second series, excising an entire two-minute sequence. This is the reason why this episode’s trailer for the next episode (after which these entries are names) is so long–enough footage was removed from this episode that it would have run short.
As Wildstar, Sandor and IQ-9 take off, their shit is fired upon by Scourge in his tank. But Knox is upon him, and plays a game of cat-and-mouse until he can get close enough to jump the Comet Empire commander, causing them both to tumble from the tank. Scourge pulls out his sidearm and almost shoots Knox in the head, but the marine’s survival instincts kick in and he knocks the gun from the enemy’s hands. The pair engage in a brutal and desperate struggle to regain the firearm until Knox gets the upper hand, pressing the weapon to Scourge’s chest and blowing a huge hole through his body. There wasn’t any way to disguise any of the violence here with talk of “robots” so it all had to go.
Back at the Comet Empire, General Gorce reports Scourge’s destruction to prince Zordar. He tells Zordar that, without Desslok to provide air cover, Scourge was left to his fate and wiped out. meanwhile, Princess Invidia and General Dire have gone to meet with Desslok, whom they surreptitiously recalled to the Comet Empire because they feared he might provoke Trelaina into action. They try to maintain the fiction that it was Prince Zordar who recalled Desslok, but the Gamilon leader sees through the ruse once they begin to talk about Trelaina–Zordar doesn’t fear her, so they must have acted without the Prince’s knowledge.
But when Desslok turns to depart, Invidia signals her men to have him arrested. He’s too great a threat, both to the Empire and to her own position within it. Meekly, Desslok accepts the situation. “You don’t need your guns. I won’t run away. I’m not going to be shot escaping.” He tells his aide Talan that he is in charge of the Gamilon fleet now, and that their time will come, before he is escorted to solitary confinement. Later, Invidia spins a web of lies for Prince Zordar (and being a bit creepily erotic towards him to, being his daughter–in YAMATO 2, she’s his consort, which makes the body language make a bit more sense.) She tells Zordar that Desslok broke down at the very mention of Trelaina’s name.
Back at the Argo, the Star Force receives another message from Trelaina, giving them further information about her location. She seems especially eager to meet Mark Venture, a fact that causes Homer to give Venture a bit of a hard time. There’s another sequence here that’s trimmed in STAR BLAZERS, where the intercom notifies the rest of the crew that the landing party is expected to locate Trelaina shortly. In the medical bay, working on the wounded, Doctor Sane would really like a drink, but Nova keeps him on task. Bits of this scene are in STAR BLAZERS, but the intent is all different. Homer relays the information down to Wildstar and the ground team, who make their way into a series of underground passageways. But the caves are guarded by Comet Empire soldiers. (Or, as Wildstar says unconvincingly, “They’re robots!” )
Again, lots of little cuts are made here as Wildstar, Sandor and IQ-9 get into a gun battle with the Comet Empire troops. Knox is bringing up the rear–this is because he was off killing General Scourge, but that’s all lost in STAR BLAZERS. He almost gets crushed when a grenade that Wildstar throws to take out the opposition causes stalactites to fall from the roof of the cave, almost on top of Knox.
There’s a final vault door blocking the Star Force team’s path, but Sandor is able to operate the controls and get it to open. In the chamber within, they find a strange structure floating in the sky above an expansive lake. This is the home of Trelaina, and she appears at the window, telling them that they are the only ones to come in response to the thought transmission she sent out into the universe asking for help.
Wildstar offers Trelaina the flowers that Nova gave him, but they’ve become wilted since then. “She’ll think it’s a joke, Wildstar!” remarks Knox. But Trelaina tells them instead that they bring back memories of when flowers were able to thrive on Telezart. In order that they may speak in person, Trelaina makes a gesture and the lake parts, creating a pathway towards her citadel. With only a hint of trepidation, the Star Force team steps down onto the makeshift pathway, their long-awaited chance to learn the secrets of Trelaina about to happen. But not until Monday.