“Observe the power of Protoculture, the power of love!“
WHAT HAPPENS: A shuttle ferrying Lisa Hayes, Claudia Grant, and Exedore blasts off for space, accompanied by a Veritech Fighter wing led by Rick Hunter and Max and Miriya Sterling, to rendezvous with Breetai’s flagship. Once they’re on-board it’s revealed that Max and Miriya aren’t the only Sterlings along for the ride: Admiral Gloval requested that they bring along little Dana as well! The ship is headed to the Zentraedi Factory Satellite; Breetai needs to convince its crew that he possesses the Protoculture they need. As Breetai’s ship enters hyperspace, the Robotech Masters, their flagship having set down on a far-away world, attempt to create a clone of the scientist Zor, who took with him to his death the secrets of Protoculture. They fail, having pulled the clone before it had fully matured. Back aboard Breetai’s ship, Lisa invites Rick into her quarters for a chat, but is interrupted by orders to go to the bridge. The ship has encountered the ruins of a late model Zentraedi recon vessel; Lisa wants to investigate, but Breetai and Exedore believe it’s a trap. The ship executes another fold, bringing it to its destination. Fighters are placed at the ready, but Rick is summoned to the bridge. Breetai tells Lisa he needs her and Rick to kiss as a diversionary tactic. As Lisa blushes and stammers, a transmission comes in from Commander Reno, head of the Factory Satellite. Breetai demands his surrender. Reno laughs it off, but when Rick arrives and the camera zooms in on him and Lisa, Reno is shocked. Exedore begins playback of Minmei singing, but Rick refuses to kiss Lisa. She goes in for it while he’s distracted by Reno’s reaction. Just as Reno turns off his monitor, Max and Miriya blast into the satellite’s command deck. They’re surrounded, and Miriya reveals her identity. She then shows them baby Dana. The child blows the Zentraedi’s minds; they drop their weapons and run screaming away. With the distraction complete, the attack begins: Veritechs, Battlepods, and Powered Armors launch and tear through Reno’s terrified legions. The battle is short, the enemy so scared of contamination that they will not fight. The flagship enters the Factory Satellite unopposed, and Breetai welcomes all survivors to join his forces. Days of preparation pass, and it soon folds for Earthspace, right beyond the moon.
THOUGHTS: A lot more fun and a lot less painful than I remember it, mostly because I’ve finally figured out how the word Protoculture is bandied about throughout the second act of this episode. Recall that the Zentraedi don’t completely understand Protoculture; Breetai and Exedore have a better understanding than most Zentraedi, but Rico, Konda, and Bron didn’t have a clue in “First Contact.” All the average Zentraedi understands is that Protoculture is something they need, something special that the SDF-1 has that they need to get. In a way, the use of the word towards Reno and his men is like, “You want your Protoculture? HERE’S your Protoculture!” Of course, your average Zentraedi doesn’t know the difference. Breetai and Miriya are telling them that THIS is that power, and I can’t help but think that this adds to the terror they feel.
I do wish the Robotech cut included the scene where Miriya tosses baby Dana like a sack of potatoes, but I guess the Robotech staff needed to cut something in order to fit in the footage of the Masters from “Stardust” to begin to explain the character of Zor Prime. Couldn’t they, instead, have excised the scene of Lisa being called away to stare up at the image of a recon ship that doesn’t even figure into the plot? That scene’s always baffled me; one of these days I need to watch my uncut Macross DVDs and see if it makes any more sense there.
I was a little shocked to see some of the “good guy” Zentraedi manning their Battlepods wearing RDF kites on their armor, and charmed by the sight of baby Dana in Miriya’s lap as she tore through enemy craft.
All in all, a good final romp in space, largely well-drawn and animated if sometimes a bit interestingly, misshapenly off model, and a great last hurrah for Breetai. Very cool seeing him and his flagship get the heroic Robotech fanfare at the end, just as Gloval and the SDF-1 did when facing his forces. This is probably colored by this being one of the few Macross Saga episodes I haven’t seen in years, but it’s the most fun I’ve had during this march through the series so far.
FIRSTS OF NOTE: This is the first and only time we see those big Veritech orbital boosters; funny, I don’t remember Roy Fokker needing one of those back in “Space Fold.” The first appearance of the Factory Satellite, which goes on to appear (redesigned) in The Sentinels. First and last appearance of Commander Reno. Also, Dana Sterling’s first — and far from her last — journey into space. One important last, too: the final appearance of Breetai in the Robotech television series.
RICK’S STATE OF MIND: Methinks his concern for Minmei’s bad situation has overridden his once-growing feelings for Lisa; they’re good friends and seem to enjoy each other’s company, but whenever she starts to talk about things maybe developing into something more, he gets this look on his face like he just doesn’t get it. On the other hand, once Lisa goes in for the kiss, he sure doesn’t appear to mind it.
DOES MINMEI SING? A recording of her first hit “My Time To Be A Star” drives the entire Factory Satellite crew mad.