“Unfortunately what I feared has come to pass. The aliens among us are reverting to their former ways.”
“I put down the rebels, sir!”
“Not really. You just put down a symptom, Commander.”
Read my 365 Days of Robotech write-up on “Reconstruction Blues” from last summer here.
WHAT HAPPENS: Two years have passed. As Rick Hunter patrols the wastelands of North America, he spots a field of sunflowers in the shadow of a ruined Veritech Fighter. He’s so surprised that he touches down for a closer look. His wingmen fear the worst, as he’s not answering his radio. In New Macross City, the metropolis surrounding the crater where the SDF-1 touched down two years ago, Lisa Hayes is cleaning Rick’s home and makes the mistake of flipping through his photo album, which is filled with pictures of Minmei. Returning to his patrol, Rick hears a concert on the radio out of Granite City. Minmei and Kyle are on their “People Helping People” tour, stopping by cities on the mend to support their efforts. Rick’s wingman radios him and chides him for not bringing his transceiver when he left his plane. After assuring the squadron he’ll keep in contact Rick heads for Granite, where he catches the tail end of Minmei’s concert from afar. As Twilight sets on Granite, Kyle drinks and moans about being paid in food and supplies. Minmei is sick of listening to Kyle blame the military for the state of civilization, and reminds him that this was supposed to be a benefit, not an opportunity for a big payout. Rick is watching the drama from behind a pile of rubble when Vanessa radios him to head to New Portland; they’re under attack from Zentraedi renegades. The city is in flames when Rick’s squadron arrives, menaced by rampaging Battlepods. Rick is still en route; Lisa accuses him of dereliction of duty, as she’s got a fair idea where he was and isn’t happy about it. He touches down and quickly handles the situation, cutting down two Battlepods while a third retreats. When he returns to Macross City, Lisa’s asks how things were with Minmei; Rick assures her he didn’t get to see her. He’s ordered to see Admiral Gloval, and Lisa hands him an envelope of photos — pictures of Lisa for his album. Gloval tells Rick that things are passing as he feared; the aliens are reverting to their former ways. Consequently, he is assigning the aliens to work situations where the military can keep an eye on them. Gloval has Rick’s full support.
THOUGHTS: A low-key first chapter to the final stretch of The Macross Saga, “Reconstruction Blues” redefines relationships and implies that the past two years of rebuilding have passed mostly without incident. Rick is busy with patrols, while Lisa pines away for him without saying a word to catch his attention. The world is operating under a military government, and consequently anti-military Lynn Kyle is drinking himself stupid and lashing out at the only structure the Earth has, much to Minmei’s frustration. It’s sad to see Minmei like this, following around an angry drunk and singing on stages that look like something out of a small county fair. For that matter it’s sad to see Lisa so fixated on Rick but so hesitant about taking any action to reel him in. I guess the Japanese creators had to keep the love triangle going in some way after the show was picked up for another handful of episodes, but Rick dropping in on Minmei and watching her from afar like a stalker and Lisa keeping Rick at arm’s length while deep inside wanting to grab and hold him doesn’t look good for either of them. I do like the new setting, what little we see of it — pockets of normal broken up by long stretches of crater-marked desolation. It’s a relatable post-armageddon setting, allowing our heroes to continue with their normal soap operatics, but when they get down to business there’s a sense that the world’s more desperate than it seems from the cozy confines of Macross City. My biggest problem with the episode is that while Gloval’s decision at the end makes sense when dealing with forty-foot giants bred for war, what he’s saying is that his military government is going to clamp down on the freedoms of certain citizens based on their genetic makeup due to the actions of a handful of renegades. Yes, they were the aggressors in the war. Yes, their size makes them capable of great destruction. But many of them died for peace as well, and several even risked their lives to join in this society before the ceasefire. And now Gloval is telling them where they can and cannot live, what jobs they can and cannot have? Perhaps treating them like any other citizens isn’t practical, but true freedom never really is. That final scene leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
FIRSTS OF NOTE: The tail end of The Macross Saga is full of firsts: there’s a new, more sprawling Macross City; Max and Miriya have a new baby, Dana; and our heroes are serving a new role, civil defense, so Battlepods are being disabled rather than destroyed. After all, the renegades piloting them aren’t enemy soldiers: they’re criminals,. Minmei has a couple of new songs, too, “The Right Move” (the only existing snippet of which we hear in this episode) and “It’s You” (later covered by piano bar singer George Sullivan).
RICK’S STATE OF MIND: Rick is again wondering what he’s doing with his life; certainly a world on the mend still has need for protectors, as we see, but wandering the wastelands watching the grass grow is getting old. He’s still thinking about Minmei, but that seems to be the extent of it; he’s not with Lisa, but that seems to be more her problem than his.
DOES MINMEI SING? Rick catches her singing “The Man in My Life” out of Granite City. She then goes into the aforementioned “The Right Move” and “It’s You.” In Macross City, “My Time To Be A Star” is the noise pollution that drives Lisa away.