“Sacrifices are often necessary during a war, and she was a good fighter. She never let us down, even at the end.”
WHAT HAPPENS: Dana plays a tune on the barracks piano as the rest of the 15th Squadron sleeps, images of Zor Prime and his Red Bioroid floating through her mind. Meanwhile, Nova Satori discovers a wounded Zor Prime wandering through the wreckage at the site of the previous day’s battle. He is quickly brought to Dr. Cochrane’s laboratory, where General Emerson oversees their examination. He orders an information blackout regarding Zor Prime. Not even the Supreme Commander is to know of him until they’ve found out all they can. As the Masters gloat that the humans have played right into their hands, Recon-1, a Tokugawa-class vessel from the SDF-3 Pioneer Mission, defolds from hyperspace. Morning comes, and Sean wakes Dana up; she nodded off at the piano. He tells her she needs to learn to relax a bit, and points out what a hopeless case Bowie’s become since coming back from the alien ship. Bowie’s carrying a torch for the alien Musica. When Angelo reminds Bowie that there’s a war on and she’s the enemy, Bowie runs away. Commander Leonard lets Emerson know that he knows all about the newly captured Bioroid pilot, and is none too pleased about Emerson’s attempts to keep it a secret. He tells Emerson he’s taking over, but given what happened to the last Bioroid pilot, Emerson puts up a fight — and wins. Zor Prime will remain in Dr. Cochrane’s care. In space, Major John Carpenter orders Recon-1’s pilots to their fighters and all hands to battle stations. Fighter wings launch and form attack formations. As Bowie dreams of Musica, the Robotech Masters shrug off the Expeditionary Force fighters and attack Recon-1. A transmission from Recon-1 reaches Earth and Emerson orders reinforcements. Two of the Masters’ ships box Recon-1 in and take out its primary starboard thrusters. With Recon-1’s shields down and the Masters’ ships continuing their laser barrage, Carpenter orders all hands to abandon ship. Recon-1 is locked on a collision course with one of the Masters’ flagships. Carpenter and his first officer escape just in the nick of time; Recon-1 tears into the ship and explodes. On Earth, the 15th Squadron serves recovery detail. Dana is on hand to greet Carpenter. She and Sean take him to command headquarters, where Carpenter informs Leonard that they can expect no further assistance from the SDF-3 mission at this time. Emerson fears all their hopes now rest with what they can learn from their new prisoner …
THOUGHTS: Dana’s had a weird fixation on the Red Bioroid since “False Start,” and the explanation of it as some sort of weird racial memory-slash-psychic resonance caused by her halfbreed-Zentraedi nature makes about as much sense to me as anything else, especially in light of the way the second generation ends. I think it’s a clever way to explain this fixation from the original Japanese show in light of the changes made to build the Robotech story.
I hadn’t noticed in some time that the sequence of Dana telling Bowie to cheer up that was used in “Dana’s Story” actually doesn’t appear in the Robotech cut of this episode.
Carpenter’s first officer mentions that they’ve been with Recon-1 for fifteen years. Clearly the writing staff were expecting the SDF-3 to launch not long after the destruction of the SDF-1 & SDF-2. The decision to set things eight years on from that mucks this up on first glance. However, the Pioneer Mission might have launched back in 2014 in order to find the way to Tirol in advance of the SDF-3, serving its named goal as a reconnaissance vessel in the absence of a flagship. It would certainly help explain the difference in uniforms between these guys and the REF personnel we see in Sentinels. They all seem to be wearing dentist’s smock-style uniforms left over from Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
It is curious based on what we later hear — and what we know from Sentinels — that General Reinhardt is currently leader of the Pioneer Mission. In the absence of Sentinels one could assume that other members of the brass are running the show and during the course of whatever campaign they’re engaged in Rick rises through the ranks to become the “legendary” Admiral Hunter. However, in Sentinels he’s the military commander of the mission. I suppose he could be indisposed, leaving Reinhardt in charge — maybe Edwards is in the middle of some power grab, cutting him out of the chain of command, or he’s busy leading a revolution on one of the Sentinels’ worlds. Who knows?
I’ve always liked this one because of how it presents a glimpse of the wider Robotech universe. This isn’t the only front that mankind is engaged in right now. The Expeditionary Force is occupied with other business, and could only send back this token force. Earth isn’t the only battlefield in the Robotech Wars. The space battle is also dynamically animated, and the fighters look like cool space shooter ships. And with our newfound glimpses into the Masters’ ship during the battles, it doesn’t even hurt things too much that our heroes aren’t engaged in the battle; at least one set of familiar faces appear, even if they’re the enemy. It also helps that we get so much drama on the side: Bowie moping over Musica, Sean half-heartedly trying to visit Marie, Dana fretting over the Red Bioroid, and Leonard and Emerson’s war of wills. Lots of meat to chew on, even if our heroes don’t man their Hovertanks.
FIRSTS OF NOTE: First appearance of the Tokugawa-class vessel and REF Vulture space fighters, first and only appearance of John Carpenter in the Robotech TV series, and first mention of General Reinhardt, who later appears in the last two episodes of Robotech and The Shadow Chronicles.
DANA’S BRATTINESS/INSUBORDINATION LEVEL: Zero. In fact, Sean worries that she’s taking things a bit too seriously at the moment. No worries, though. The next episode will fix all that.
DOES BOWIE SULK? He’s in the deepest of deep funks since the departure of the alien ship, and with it his hopes of being reunited with Musica.