Robotech, In Brief: The Messenger

“It appears … we’ve made a great mistake. But you cannot possibly deny the power of the female’s song!

“I wouldn’t dream of it.”

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

WHAT HAPPENS: Breetai’s flagship approaches the SDF-1. Captain Gloval orders the main gun readied, but the Zentraedi radio the fortress to assure them that they come in peace. Khyron sends a wave of fighters ahead, but Breetai wipes them out; this diplomatic mission was ordered by Dolza, and he will tolerate none of Khyron’s foolishness. A Scout Pod containing the Zentraedi emissary is launched, and Rick’s squadron escorts it to the battle fortress. The emissary is a micronized Exedore; Colonel Maistroff is on hand to greet him and ferry him to a meeting with Captain Gloval. In attendance are Rick and Max, former captives aboard Breetai’s ship, as well as the Zentraedi defectors Miriya, Rico, Konda, and Bron. Gloval asks to begin, but Exedore tells him there are two people missing: a fighter with great power and a female who leads SDF-1’s psychological assault. Maistroff realizes that the Zentraedi saw Kyle’s kung-fu movie, but until Exedore provides a demonstration only Rico, Konda, and Bron realize that he also wants Minmei. The two are brought in, and Exedore asks Kyle about his super powers. Gloval explains that he has no powers, that what they saw was merely entertainment. Exedore then asks about the destruction wave and Gloval likewise explains that it was a result of their defense barrier and ordinary explosives. However, Exedore insists that he cannot explain away the power Minmei holds. Exedore explains that long ago the Zentraedi were exposed to another open society and it caused many among them to refuse to fight, nearly destroying their race. Dolza will not have this happen again, and when Exedore returns with his findings the main fleet will probably come to destroy the Earth, once the Protoculture Factory is secured. Breetai learns, though, that Azonia has jumped the gun, issued her own report, and the main fleet is already on its way. There will be no taking of the SDF-1’s Protoculture; even if the Zentraedi win, they are doomed. Exedore receives this information and explains that they must leave the star system immediately. Gloval tells him it’s out of the question; they are sworn to defend the Earth. Exedore understands, and tells him they will soon be fighting a common foe: four million, eight hundred thousand Zentraedi ships are on their way. On Earth, Lisa finds out from Admiral Hayes that SDF-1 will be used to draw the fire of the main fleet. She requests to return to the ship, but he will not allow it. Meanwhile, Breetai confers with Azonia and Khyron. While Azonia will stand and fight the main fleet, Khyron won’t fight if he can’t win; he flees. Back aboard the battle fortress, Exedore explains that the simplest road to victory will be to destroy the main flagship; this will throw the rest of the main fleet into disarray. He then tells Minmei that without her none of this would have been possible and asks her to sing for them, to give them the strength to fight on. As she sings, the main fleet folds in, swarming like a cloud surrounding the Earth. “Well,” Exedore says as Zentraedi ships continue to appear, “I’m afraid this is it …”

THOUGHTS: The penultimate pre-Reconstruction Macross Saga episode starts with a bang and never lets up; as he’s wanted to for some time, Exedore visits the micronians to get answers to his questions, and when he discovers the truth of Lynn Kyle’s powers and the barrier overload in Ontario he is worried to find that the Zentraedi have less to fear than they thought. Those fears laid to rest, Dolza will wipe out all trace of Earth culture, including those Zentraedi who have been exposed to it. This and the previous episode both burn through plot like wildfire, but while the previous one didn’t work due to a failure to ring true emotionally, this is all about military tactics and survival; it drops revelations like clockwork and builds tension minute by minute on a road leading to armageddon. It is a little sad that a talky episode like this wound up with great art and animation while the previous episode wound up so shoddy-looking, but on the other hand I’m happy we got sharp-looking renderings of Exedore’s amusing expressions as he asks about a scantily-clad woman on a billboard, startles Miriya and then Rico, Konda, and Bron with his presence, and then breaks out in a funny dance while trying to emulate Minmei and explain himself. I really like how it’s the xenophobic Colonel Maistroff who meets Exedore on the flight deck; his demeanor suggests he’s finally being open-minded about the possibility of peace between their people. Exedore’s humility probably helps matters. Interesting how the Robotech staff tried to cover themselves on Dolza’s decision to annihilate everything by making Breetai worry that the supreme commander’s decision will doom them all; there’s been a lot of talk of the Protoculture Generator/Protoculture Factory in the past several episodes, and here they lay in the fact that Dolza will risk destroying it in order to preserve the Zentraedi way of life. A solid episode overall, but way overshadowed by the two flanking it, unless you’re like me and prefer Exedore’s amusing dance moves to Max and Miriya’s sloppy-looking knife fight.

FIRSTS OF NOTE: Exedore makes his first appearance micronized; he never returns to full size in any Robotech animation or spin-off material.

RICK’S STATE OF MIND: Slightly bewildered and downbeat; he can’t believe how far things have come, but seeing Max and Miriya happy together in the face of potential annihilation has him wishing he had someone.

DOES MINMEI SING? Yes, at Exedore’s request she performs “To Be In Love,” but more importantly, Exedore performs “My Time To Be A Star” for a captive audience of military personnel.


One thought on “Robotech, In Brief: The Messenger

  1. I love this episode: it pretty much encapsulates the reasons I enjoy both SDFM and the Macross Saga, since I find the Zentraedi to be the most compelling part.

    After being so frustrated with Azonia’s characterization, I’m tempted to think she only does what the plot demands of her, or just isn’t very good at sticking to a conviction.

    –Exedore is adorable. There, I said it.

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