Robotech, In Brief: Reckless

“I figured something like that was going on. I guess I’m not surprised, or even upset. My job now is to defend the SDF-1, and nothing else.”

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

WHAT HAPPENS: Rick Hunter’s Skull One storms through the streets of Macross City, tearing through Zentraedi invaders. Meanwhile, Khyron encounters a pack of Battlepods and questions their pilots. They are seeking out Minmei. Their talk of music and the joys of the micronian lifestyle enrages Khyron and he slaughters them. Rick arrives at the concert hall just in time to see Kyle grab Minmei and kiss her. It’s the last straw; Rick radios Lisa for a rescue crew and resumes fighting, having now given up on Minmei. He isn’t there to see Minmei push Kyle away and tell him never to do that again. Aboard the Zentraedi flagship, Exedore tells Breetai of the defection. Breetai orders his men to withdraw and capture some deserters for interrogation. With the fighting over, Rick is called into a meeting; Rico, Konda, and Bron are requesting asylum, and as Rick has had close contact with the Zentraedi, Captain Gloval wants his opinion. The ex-spies explain to Rick that having lived the micronian lifestyle, they’ve fallen in love with music, living with females, and the possibility of a life without war. Rick and Lisa both suggest taking them at their word, while the other ranking officers scoff at the idea. The meeting is interrupted by the arrival of a report from the lab; human and Zentraedi genetic structure are nearly identical. Gloval decides that in light of this revelation this is to be treated as any other political asylum case; their request is accepted. Rick and Lisa go into Macross City and run into Minmei’s aunt and uncle; Rick tells them Kyle and Minmei are at the hospital, and offers to look after the restaurant for them. He and Lisa straighten up, and Lisa gets some tea. Rick asks Lisa if she wants to go to the hospital, but she admits she doesn’t have a chance with Kyle; he hates the military and moreover doesn’t even know she exists. She does, however, tell Rick to let Minmei know how he still feels, or else all he’ll have is regrets. A battle alert sounds, snapping Rick from his melancholy; he rushes to the Prometheus while Lisa locks up the restaurant. It’s a quick skirmish; a few losses on both sides, and the Zentraedi retreat. Afterwards, Lisa requests to go back to Earth to try and line up support for Gloval’s decision and any chance for peace at headquarters. Gloval accepts the request; she’ll prepare her report tonight, and leave in the morning — perhaps never to come back.

THOUGHTS: And as suddenly as it began last episode, it ends; sometimes in Robotech, and Macross specifically, it feels like the characters are pushing and pulling against themselves. Gloval makes a reckless move in “Space Fold,” then laments his own stupidity in “The Long Wait.” Lisa has an especially bad case of this in this episode; at the beginning she emotionally picks up from “Battle Hymn,” making a big show about wanting to know how Kyle is, but by the end she’s practical about her feelings; she knows he doesn’t even know she exists, and rather than moon over him any longer, she tells Rick to try for happiness with Minmei — not knowing that in the back of his mind he’s thinking maybe, just maybe, Lisa is the one for him instead. The cute exchange he and Lisa share during the final skirmish always makes me smile; it’s a shame we don’t get more scenes like that, since Lisa’s on her way out for the moment. On top of our leads’ emotional forward motion, we have the first solid steps towards peace thanks to the Zentraedi ex-spies’ courageous actions and Gloval’s equally courageous/borderline naive decision to take their appeal at face value. As naive as it might seem, in the face of the fact that the Zentraedi forces are so vast and so much more powerful than Earth’s forces, is it any wonder that the crew of the SDF-1 are looking for any opportunity for peace? And seeing how the brass didn’t even believe the original report Rick, Max, and Lisa submitted regarding the strength of the Zentraedi, is it any wonder that they’re still eager to fight? Despite all the talk of peace and understanding, the battle sequences in this episode are pretty sharp; the animation and art overall are decent at worst and good at best, and the opening minutes of Rick taking down Zentraedi in Skull One are well staged and executed. On the other end of the spectrum, the final sequence of Rick and Lisa walking and thinking about tomorrow is dramatically handled, with an interesting directorial sweep. It’s a good episode overall; not one I think of as a favorite, but leaps and bounds above its predecessor and counterpart.

FIRSTS OF NOTE: Ladies and gentlemen, we have our first Zentraedi citizens of Macross City.

RICK’S STATE OF MIND: He’s finally gone and done it; he’s decided to move on from Minmei. Not only that, as Lisa prepares to leave the ship, he’s thinking about asking her out to dinner. One must wonder what might have happened from here on out if she hadn’t decided to take this drastic, dramatic step.

DOES MINMEI SING? Nope, not a peep out of her after she shoves Kyle away. One must wonder what the conversation was like at the hospital before his folks arrived.