Robotech, In Brief: The Big Escape

“We’ll just put you in this pocket by yourself so, uh, so you don’t interrupt the lovebirds, heh!”

Read my 365 Days of Robotech write-up on “The Big Escape” from last summer here.

WHAT HAPPENS: Rick comes up with a plan to escape the Zentraedi ship. If he and Lisa kiss, he believes it will shock their guard just as it did their interrogators. Lisa refuses; she claims Rick just wants to kiss her again. Dolza decides that if they are to discover the micronians’ knowledge of Protoculture, they’ll need to send spies into the SDF-1. Rico, Konda, and Bron volunteer. Lisa agrees to Rick’s plan for the sake of the mission, but when their cell door opens it’s Max in his disguised Veritech. He hides our heroes in the pockets of the Veritech’s uniform. Unfortunately, his cover is soon blown; Max flees, crashing through Breetai’s command center and escaping to an elevator. The Veritech overheats and Rick, Lisa, Ben, and Max continue on foot, pairing off. Rick and Lisa witness the micronization chambers reducing Rico, Konda, and Bron to human size. With the micronians still at large, Dolza relieves Breetai of command and places Azonia in charge of the spies. As Lisa ponders the possibility that humans and Zentraedi may be identical, she and Rick are discovered; the enemy scoops Lisa up and she drops her video camera, which has recorded their entire ordeal. Rick shoots the Zentraedi dead with a giant-sized rifle, but Lisa breaks down over the loss of the footage. He takes her hand and they keep running, only to stumble down a deep hole made by Zentraedi gunfire. Rick awakens in a run-down section of the ship, having been rescued from drowning in some sort of reservoir by Lisa. They consider how all the Zentraedi they’ve seen are soldiers, no maintenance crew or civilians — an entire society devoted solely to war. Lisa laments that she believe she’s no different, with only another mission ahead when she gets home. As Rick assures her that she’ll find somebody, the two continue their escape. They are reunited with Ben and Max at a loading dock and sneak onto a departing cruiser. On the command deck of that ship, Zentraedi ace Miriya scoffs at their mission to deliver the spies to the SDF-1. As Azonia’s fleet folds for its destination, our heroes commandeer a Battlepod to make their escape. They blast free of the cruiser, and Max tunes in Minmei on the radio — they’re nearly home! In the chaos of battle, Miriya delivers the spies onto the enemy fortress. As the fighting dies down, Lisa radios SDF-1 for a pick-up, and three Battloids retrieve the Battlepod, returning our wayward heroes safely home.

Lisa Hayes original production cel, from my personal animation art collection.

Lisa Hayes original production cel, stuck to original pencil sketch, from my personal animation art collection.

THOUGHTS: A finale-style climax and changing of the guard: Rick and Lisa start to understand each other, Breetai and Exedore are pushed aside to make way for Azonia and Miriya, and our three Zentraedi intel officers, who easily could have been throwaway characters, are put on course to make their grand journey of discovery. It’s a satisfying conclusion to this trilogy of episodes, full of exciting and intriguing resolutions and possibilities for the future. After her stubborn refusal to go along with Rick’s plan at the outset, Lisa starts to back down from her knee-jerk negative reactions to everything Rick says, and by the end they’re a functioning team; all it took was some time to break the ice, provided by an obvious parallel to Rick and Minmei’s days trapped in the hold beneath Macross City. Max’s playful banter after catching the two locking lips and his daring rescue cement his place as a favorite, while his lover-to-be impresses on the battlefield but not so much personality-wise with her dismissive attitude towards her mission and her new foes. Kind of a shame, we’ve already met the last fully multi-dimensional (Super Dimensional, perhaps?) characters The Macross Saga will have to offer; they’re the ones who’ll be exploring the ship and expanding their minds for the next several episodes.

FIRSTS OF NOTE: The narrator offers the first reference to the Protoculture Factory hidden aboard the SDF-1, we are witness to our first Zentraedi undergoing micronization, and we meet our first two female Zentraedi, Commander Azonia and renowned ace Miriya. We also get to see the fearsome Quadrono in action for the first time. Lots of new pieces being put in place for the next stage of The Macross Saga. Oh, and we see Lisa with her hair down for the first time. It’s an improvement, to the point that Rick finally takes notice of her as a woman and not an “old sourpuss.”

RICK’S STATE OF MIND: His eyes and mind are wide-open throughout; not only is he watching for means of survival and escape, but he’s also processing Lisa’s stream of theories regarding their captors’ history and society. Rick also keeps a positive attitude throughout the ordeal; he even freely offers Lisa a comforting smile to keep her going. Rick’s really got it together today.

DOES MINMEI SING? It’s all she does this episode; mark your tally for the second play-through of “My Time To Be A Star.”