“There’s something about people happily in love that just makes me want to scream sometimes.“
The appointment of Chief of Staff Rolf Emerson to lead the second assault wave makes waves throughout the Army of the Southern Cross. As Supreme Commander Leonard’s staff commend him on getting Emerson out of the way, TASC pilot Dennis Brown barges in on Emerson to insist that Leonard is sending him on a suicide mission. Emerson curtly insists that no mission under his command is going to be a suicide mission. Dana Sterling tries to comfort Bowie Grant, Emerson’s godson, but Bowie insists he’s fine. Meanwhile, the Global Military Police comb through personnel files searching for the leak that led to the near-massacre of Air Cavalry One. As Nova Satori sifts through records, Zor Prime approaches GMP Headquarters. Angelo Dante stops him and finds him in possession of a document on the ALuCE base. Dana arrives and dresses Angelo down, leaving Zor to march into GMP Headquarters. As Dana calls out to him, someone grabs her by the arm. It’s Captain Komodo — the officer who fired the first shot against the Robotech Masters. Apparently he has a crush on Nova and, as he’s joining the second assault wave, he wants her to know. Dana is eager to help. That night, Nova finds a bouquet of roses at her door. When she sets them alongside the ALuCE file she lent to Zor, she thinks back to the “thank you” note Zor left and assumes he sent the flowers. The next day, Zor tries to approach Nova in the mess hall, but she brushes him off. Zor’s persistence plus the appearance of the bouquet distracts Nova so much that she accidentally flags Brown as a security risk, causing him to be removed from the mission. Nova apologizes to Brown, but he thanks her, pointing out that those assigned to the second assault wave were those who most consistently criticized the Supreme Commander’s decisions. That evening, as Dana buys another bouquet to try and win Nova over, Marie Crystal wears a new evening gown to meet Sean Phillips for dinner. Nova finds the flowers in her locker at GMP Headquarters along with a note giving a place and time to meet. At the restaurant, Sean decides he’s let Marie wait long enough, but as he goes to meet her he’s waylaid by a persistent ex, Jill, who he left hanging two years ago. When Jill catches sight of Marie, she grabs Sean and plants a kiss on him. Marie barges through the two, then doubles back to give Sean a long kiss followed by a slap to the face. Meanwhile, Nova waits for her mystery admirer. Dana tells Captain Komodo to go for it. As he turns towards Nova, she slaps him right across the face. In the dark of night she still thinks it’s Zor, and she tells him to keep out of her business. When Nova realizes her mistake, Komodo jumps to his feet and flees, crying. Nova then notices Dana skulking in the corner. Before she can chew Dana out, a report comes in regarding an out of control jeep tearing through the city streets. Nova takes off on her hovercycle and Dana spots a jeep standing by with Lt. Brown at the wheel; she leaps into the back and tells him to follow her. The out of control jeep is driven by a heartbroken Marie. She nearly drives off a cliff, but Lt. Brown puts his jeep between hers and the cliff’s edge. With sirens wailing in the distance, Lt. Brown pulls Marie out of the jeep and takes her place; unlike Marie, he has nowhere to be in the morning. In space, the Clonemasters demonstrate the Triumviroid, a self-contained battle unit that will reduce the Masters’ dependence on the Bioroid clones. The next morning, the second assault wave is cleared to launch. Dana flags Captain Komodo down to apologize. He thanks her for her efforts. They are interrupted by Nova, who tells Komodo to come back safely. He smiles and turns for his ship with a spring in his step. Marie races past with Sean in pursuit and Angelo on his heels, trying to hold Sean back. Marie ignores him and, as the doors close in front of her, Sean drops to his knees, defeated. The ships blast off as those left behind look skyward.
There’s something very tidy and complete about this episode that I’ve always liked. All the threads dovetail neatly into one another. The bouquet and Zor’s persistence cause Nova to flag Dennis Brown, knocking him off the mission. Sean’s womanizing ways cause Marie to break down. Marie goes on a tear in a jeep, but has to be in space in the morning. Lt. Brown doesn’t have to be in space in the morning, so he takes her place in the jeep and winds up in the brig in her stead. I also like how the hopeless case gets to go into space with a smile, while the cocksure Casanova watches his lady slip through his fingers and leave him for the stars without even a word. It’s a cute reversal of fortunes that adds some extra tension to the already tense liftoff.
The material that Nova lent to Zor doesn’t make any sense in the context of ROBOTECH; in the original SOUTHERN CROSS anime, Seifriet — the character who was adapted into Zor Prime — was originally stationed at ALuCE before the Zor got a hold of him and brainwashed him, so it makes sense to give him material on that base to jog his memory. But unless she’d had a few too many to drink again, why would Nova give a former enemy soldier classified material regarding the base the Southern Cross forces are currently stationed at on the moon? How would that jog his memory? And better still, since they’re searching for a leak, why does it seem like everyone’s under suspicion except for the guy who actually used to work for the Robotech Masters? I can only assume he’s beyond suspicion (by everyone but Angelo, who’s being treated like the bumbling Zenigata to Zor Prime’s charming Lupin) because people are actually watching him 24/7 and he’s not visibly providing the Masters with data thanks to his neurosensor. However, you’ve got to think when she put those flowers on top of that book that the first thing that crossed Nova’s mind is, “Oh no, Zor’s the leak and I’m his accomplice! That’s why he’s being so nice to me!” She never says it outright; the remarks she makes are all very vague. When it hits her, she asks, “What have I done?” Then the next day she shuns him. That night, when she thinks Komodo is Zor, she tells him to “stay out of my business.” The only reason I have to think this I’m wrong on this is that she never really acts on it aside from slapping poor Komodo across the face. Then again, I suppose when she found out it was Komodo (with Dana as proxy) leaving her notes she threw out the baby with the bath water and figured Zor wasn’t trying to play her despite the requests for troop movements and classified information.
I must admit, I always feel sorry for Sean when I watch this episode. It’s clear he’s decided to try and change for Marie. It’s not his fault that his past literally caught up with him and started macking on him. I’ve also always been disappointed with the art in this episode. It’s alright for the most part, but I’ve always thought Marie and her dress never quite come off as the total knockout combination they’re intended to be. I’d also say the Cinderella bit, leaving her shoes behind, is a bit much, especially given the Cinderella reference Marie actually makes while waiting on Sean.
Speaking of things that are a bit much: Seward calling Emerson and those who disagree with the policies set forth by Supreme Commander Leonard “traitors” is positively infuriating. General Emerson and his supporters would all give their lives for the benefit of mankind. Given that we cut straight to Dennis Brown getting all bent out of shape, I’m curious what Supreme Commander Leonard’s response to Rudolph and Seward’s congratulations was. High fives all around, or did he chide them for suggesting that Emerson’s loyalties lie elsewhere? Somehow I doubt the latter, but he’s also generally a bit too composed for the former.
FIRSTS OF NOTE:
First appearance of Dennis Brown, the ROBOTECH character everyone forgets, and the Triumviroid, the Robotech Masters’ non-starter of a new weapons system.
DANA’S BRATTINESS/INSUBORDINATION LEVEL:
A playful three; she merely indulges in some silly teen comedy-level matchmaking shenanigans.
DOES BOWIE SULK?
Oh yes. After he insists to Dana that he’s fine, Bowie only appears twice more: first, playing the piano at the 15th’s barracks while everyone else is caught up in their evening soap opera plots, and then the morning of the launch, playing the piano again as his godfather blasts off. It’s his way of coping with being abandoned again, by the only parental figure he has left.