The Big Buck Rogers Rewatch: Planet of the Amazon Women!

“Planet of the Amazon Women”

Directed by Philip Leacock
Written by D.C. Fontana (billed as Michael Richards) and Richard Fontana (billed as Clayton Richards), (characters created by) Robert C. Dille
Season 1, Episode 10 (Episode 8 in original run)
Original Air Date: November 8, 1979

Sizzle Reel

A girl on a horse says that a world without men would be invaded immediately.

Buck has his shirt torn off by Dr. Shrinker in the middle of what might be a Chippendales audition or a slave auction.  He is informed that his next stop is to meet his new “mate” and not the English drinking buddy kind.

Dr. Shrinker tells a nice lady that her slave has been delivered to her quarters.

Buck fights two women in disco attire as Dr. Shrinker warns them not to damage the merchandise.

Leather-clad Buck and the horse-riding lady escape explosions by jumping into a starfighter.

Wilma warns Buck she is going to shoot him if he doesn’t “deviate from this vector.”  Buck warns her not to try and stop him so she orders someone off screen to open fire.  They do and Buck and Horse-riding Lady suffer a near miss!

Oh noes!

Assemble All Pilots on the Flight Deck

This week’s stellar guests:

Ariela Dyne:  Ann Dusenberry
Cassius Thorne:  Jay Robinson
Prime Minister:  Anne Jeffreys

Go for Launch!

Buck is on patrol, headed back to Earth for a hot date with Wilma.  He’s checking in with her to say the Ruathans are honoring a truce and letting ships through a narrowly-defined blockade allowing Madrea to get much-needed supplies, or their monthly supply of soft drinks and apple sauce. I don’t know and don’t judge.  Captain Bunk Cheesesteak mentions that they (the Madreans, I assume) aren’t exporting much Barbarite.  Instantly, the 5-12 year old target audience is alert and engaged. A TRADE WAR?  With barricades and unequal materials exchange?  How exciting! 

There’s obviously a conflict happening off-camera and Wilma is tired.  We see her in Dr. Huer’s office leaning over the desk and talking into a toaster.  Buck (whose starfighter camera seems to be fixed to the exterior of the craft) allows them to Zoom in real time despite the vast distance between them. 

Buck comments that Wilma looks like shit.  Wilma accepts this opinion instead of telling Buck to fuck all the way off.  Negotiations between Ruatha and Earth are not going well and Wilma hints that one more rage-quit from the Ruathans will lead to war.  Buck reminds her that Dr. Theopolis is leading negotiations and that what better than a genocidal dinner plate to put Earth’s fate in? 

Buck presents Wilma with a pewter necklace of a sun or sunflower that looks like it was bought off the rack at a Renaissance Fair.  He offers it to Wilma as a bribe to join him for dinner.  Wilma thinks it is “beautiful” and tells Buck that she owes HIM for all he’s done for these negotiations…or something.  Anyway, he’ll be home for dinner and looks forward to laying out some new 20th century cuisine to sicken and disgust her.

Before this sizzling romantic moment can boil over, Buck’s DISTRESS light comes on and begins buzzing, signaling that HE is not in distress but someone else is.  He cuts the call to Wilma short to go save the day the Buck Rogers way!

The space yacht Aurora has lost all power and is in a critical orbit over the planet Zantia.  Buck offers to help but notes that Terrans are not allowed on the planet so he can’t really tow them to safety.  He offers to come aboard and hammer whatever’s not working into working again, but the pilots of the Aurora decline, saying a tow is “all they need.”

These are the sisters Nyree and Linea who immediately seem suspicious.  They won’t chat with Bulk Flightsuit until he shares his profile pic with them, so Buck establishes visual communication.  The ladies are impressed and push for Buck to tow them to the ground.  Buck, who is not allowed near the surface, is the one to negotiate permission to land saying he could just let them burn to death in the atmosphere if that’s the play.   Permission is granted and Buck tows the carboard cutout ship (It probably looked better in standard def back in the day) to the spaceport.

In the spaceport, which looks a LOT like the one used by Earth’s Defense Directorate, Buck says Fuck All Yer Rules by getting out of the cockpit and chatting up the young ladies he saved.  They give their names, but it doesn’t matter because they are interchangeable and could be named Babs and Wanda for all we care.  With them is their Uncle Doctor Shrinker and he is as crazy as you’ll ever find. 

I know Jay Robinson has a long and respectable career as a character actor, but the scary bastard will ALWAYS be Dr. Shrinker to me and the thief of my restful sleep for many years as a child.

Uncle Dr. Shrinker is upset with himself because he didn’t install the Flux Capacitor or whatever into the Aurora as promised leading to his nieces nearly burning to death in the upper atmosphere.  But it’s okay, just a minor oversight, they decide, especially as they were able to get Captain Chuck Rodknocker to save them.

Buck is mindful of not being allowed on this PLANET FORBIDDEN but the sexy young ladies in hot pants trigger his amygdala and convince him to stick around for dinner and probably a  thank-you treesome.  Buck immediately breaks his date with Wilma to go trespassing with one of the ladies as the other tells Uncle Dr. Shrinker that they deserve a bigger cut of this operation because Buck is such prime meathead.  I don’t know if they plan to kill, fuck, or eat him at this point or if there’s a sequence to doing all three but Uncle Dr. Shrinker thinks Buck is so awesomesauce that the “PRIME MINISTER” of the entire fucking planet needs to see him.

Did I note that this was co-written by the Fontanas, including Dorothy who wrote some of the best episodes of Star Trek?  There’s a reason their names were changed in the credits. See the debrief below.

Hot Trade Negotiation Action!

Back on Earth, The Ruathan delegate, another sentient pie plate called Mr. Devronin, is throwing down salty smack on Dr. Theopolis on a table in Dr. Huer’s office.  They are surrounded by bored-looking extras, including a meaty dude whose job is to keep both hands on Devronin at all times.  Dr. Huer and Wilma are also there.

Madrea, Devronin says, was colonized by Ruathan and, therefore, belongs to Ruatha.  Fuck you all, we’re out.

Before Theopolis can drop his “There’s no need for trash talk, you thrift store Corningware…”  Huer steps in.

Surely the Madreans should have a say who rules them, implying Earth is a better master for their backwards culture.

“Oh bullshit, Huer,” Devronin says, “This is about your need for Barbarite, which Earth needs to remain a space-faring planet.  Without it, you’re all a bunch of loud, angry monkeys.”

Earth, which apparently controls the Madrean sector and not just the planet, will not give up control.  And that’s final, nyahhh. 

Devronin says they are done with the bullshit and he’ll wait 12 hours for Earth to give in.  With that, he peaces out to his starcruiser with his posse.

On the way, Devronin’s ambuquad or whatever the fuck he is, goes to lash the Honorable Zigfried Pieplate to his chest when he accidentally hip-checks Twiki.  Twiki sexually assaults the big mean bucket before warning him that he and Theopolis have buried corpses for lesser infractions across the galactic quadrant. 

Huer admits to Wilma that they have very little leverage to win these negotiations without handing out freedom fires all over Ruatha.  Wilma reports what Buck said about the shipping lanes being open and, oh, he’s making her dinner.  Huer, realizing he hasn’t had a date in years, has to throw shade on Buck’s cooking and wish Wilma well with her explosive diarrhea.

A Hunka-Hunka Blurbling Buck

Back on Zantia, Buck has changed into his finest disco attire, complete with a glorious view of his man-rug.  He’s alone and looks bored wandering through someone’s apartment where Romulan Ale and Play-Doh snacks have been set out.

The Interchangeable Sisters, Red and Blonde, arrive!  They apologize for keeping Buck waiting (though I thought he was already headed out with one of them for a tour) and the red one offers a round of drinks.  While pouring, Red Sister spikes one of the glasses with a roofie.  Buck decides to hand out the drinks at the sofa and it is unclear who got the spiked blue juice right away.

Indicating this is a kinky-ass disco planet, Uncle Dr. Shrinker looks on through a two-way mirror from the next room.  He is joined by the Prime Minister.  Yeah, this is human trafficking as there is talk of “processing” Buck like all the others but the PM wants Hunk Bruteneck for herself, it seems.  The PM notes that Buck is aware “something” is going on which makes him that much more appealing to her.


Suddenly, the PM is out on horseback in a field (a LOCATION shoot!) to meet her daughter Ariela.  They need to talk and Ariela is quick to admit that she is part of a seditionist movement against the PM, but it isn’t PERSONAL. It’s about the PM’s POLICIES, not her personality or hairstyle.  Enslaving men is bad, mkay? 

But there’s good news!  The PM is Ariela’s MOM and mom is excited to announce that she has found a man for her daughter.  I have to assume it’s Buck and not Uncle Dr. Shrinker because we’ve yet to see any other male slaves.  But Ariella is not down with matchmaking and, despite it being the law, she rides off in protest, leaving her mother scowling in disappointment.

Are We Gonna Buck or What?

Buck is done fucking around with Sisters Red and Blonde.  They try to get him to suck on another spiked fruit box, but he refuses.  He also isn’t hungry.  He’s done eating, drinking and smelling things and wants to know what the whole “shuck and jive” is.  As the sisters lose control of the situation, Uncle Dr. Shrinker pulls out a gun and wanders off camera looking like he’s about to give someone a good ole pinch on the bottom.

He enters the apartment, gun raised and tells Buck he is wanted “for local consumption” which does NOTHING to clear up the whole “kill, fuck, and eat” question from earlier. 

Robinson is not just eating the scenery but he’s licking the lead paint. 

It’s time for a bit of BUCK-FU, as Buck knocks the blaster out of Shrinker’s hand and the sisters try to subdue him with feeble kicks one Sister at a time.  Finally, they use an energy lasso to subdue Buck who goes down hard.  Shrinker is pissed because Buck fell on a comfy Ottoman and lightly brushed his face, I guess.  But he manages a maniacal erection claiming Buck will still bring them ten thousand credits.  Ten THOUSAND!!! 

Very Confused Men in Prison

After the break Buck awakens in a prison cell with six other men all of whom fell for the sister’s dumb ass plot.  After some introductions and a review of the energy field keeping them in their cell, Shrinker comes by to menace them a little more, imparting nothing but sneering and even insulting one poor, old archeologist who doesn’t meet the Men’s Health cover model standards.

Buck decides that seven dudes against two chicks is easy math to a victorious escape so he shares a plan in a man-huddle where some bros will be considered expendable if necessary to get out of the cell.  After that? Who has a map of the place?  You Mr. Green Leisure Suit?  No?  Fuck us all. 

A Missing Dinner Date

Back on Earth, Wilma has been stood-up, but realizes that this might not be Buck’s fault.  She shares some intel with Dr. Huer that several ships have gone missing in the same “sector” where Buck was last detected.  Huer agrees that Wilma should go find Buck as she is totally useless in the treaty negotiations. 

A Cunning Escape Attempt Goes As You’d Expect

I don’t get what is up with Uncle Dr. Shrinker’s costume.  It looks vaguely military but the man seems more like a common trader than an official.  The other officials, guards and whatnot, are in mustard-colored jumpsuits.  Maybe it’s his fetish gear and he just likes wearing it to work?

Anyway, Shrinker says it is time for the men to come with him and he turns off the energy field.  A bit of community theater ensues as the ugly old prisoner fakes a heart attack.  Buck kicks Shrinker’s stunt double but is buffaloed by one of the three lady guards.  The guards quickly subdue all seven dudes and the game is up.  Shrinker slips electric cuffs on the prisoners.  Buck asks about them and Shrinker activates them with a button on his belt.  Buck’s skin sizzles like bacon.

The Pause That Exposits

Ariela and some lady are throwing plot at each other on a walk through a field.  There’s a shortage of men and the Prime Minister/Mom’s choice to do nothing, aside abduct random dudes for auction.  The Ruathans have most Zantian men and if someone off-world realizes that the planet is occupied by frail, idiot WOMEN, there will be an invasion faster than penny beer night at the Dodge City brothels.

Ariela read ahead in the script and realized that the mate her mother has for her is none other than Captain Spam Steelbutt. He’s a fighter pilot but, more importantly, he brought a fully functional starfighter with him that could be used to kidnap and ransom an important Ruathan. That would motivate the Ruathans to give back all the men they stole from Zantia. 

Meanwhile, At the Campy Male Slave Auction

ALL the fashionable ladies of Zantia wear the finest Mylar dresses this year!  They’ve gathered to bid on the men and Captain Rube Beefchest causes some moistness among the crowd of bidders.  Yes, Buck is being auctioned off with Uncle Dr. Shrinker as the auctioneer. 

Dr. Shrinker rips open Buck’s shirt to reveal just how lush and expansive his peck carpet is and this wows the ladies, who writhe in their seats as voiceover actors provide the oohing and ahs.  Buck, who never met a spandex-clad hottie he didn’t want to bang, is completely over this objectification.

All the ladies are given cutaways to express just how much this manly man of beef and cheese makes them excited and horny.  Bidding starts at 400 somethings, a unit of measurement that I can’t convert to dollars.  Maybe it’s $400 or maybe it’s the price of a stromboli and beer, I don’t know.  After Dr. Shrinker explains all of Buck’s…dubious, non-beef-related traits (high IQ, sensitivity, ethical righteousness…young?) the bidding quickly jumps into the thousands with TWENTY THOUSAND SOMETHINGS as the winning bid from an unseen bidder (yeah, we know it’s the Prime Minister).

Everyone is elated by the results except one really pissed spinster, a losing bidder who makes a “you’ll rue the day” face during her cutaway so we know she’ll be back.

How Them Thar Negotiations Comin’, Huer?

Back from break, Twiki brings some Soylet Green treats to Dr. Huer’s office for some pointless discussion of 20th century colloquialisms that have been stuck in Twiki’s brain.  Apparently the negotiations with Ambassador Pie Plate are still not going well and Theopolis needs Huer to look the other way as he programs part of the administrative offices into a kill zone should everything fall apart.  Huer, thinking this is just more jibber-jabber infecting the robots, assumes this is a farewell party for the delegation and gives Theopolis full reign to deal with the planning and catering of the event.  

Wilma to the Rescue?

Meanwhile, Wilma Deering has arrived at Zantia and immediately runs across the Trapship Aurora again in “distress”.  Realizing that Wilma does not likely have a penis, Nyree and Linea quickly tell her everything’s copasetic and end transmissions.  

Wilma decides to fake a stabilizer failure and send a distress call to Zantia’s landing facility.  She is answered by the same footage of the landing officer that Buck saw but Wilma’s not having any of that shit.  She tells the stock footage man to jam it up his ass because she’s coming in hot and Zantia can fuck around and find out what happens when a disabled Directorate ship is shot down. 

Buck Rogers Wardrobe Provided By The Triple-Six Ranch And Gimp Leather Emporium

Buck arrives at his new “mate”’s apartment now decked out in a new disco-leatherman ensemble (but still open across the chest for MAXIMUM masculinity.  Ariela enters and they discuss how much they both hate this episode…or situation. I’m not sure which based on the dialogue.  In the middle of this meta critique on how not to rewrite the teleplay of accomplished science fiction writers, a buzzer goes off and it appears that either Ariela’s chicken pot pie is done or the plot needs to move to a new location.  Buck isn’t interested in following Ariela, so she uses the one word Buck cannot resist: 


No, actually, it is “please”.  But he would have gone with her had she said it.

The Plot is Explained and Overheard!

Wow, another location shot!  Ariela and Buck are riding horses!  And the music amps up the synthesized equestrian score, sounding a lot like the music to Sid Meiers’ Civilization II.  They are riding because Ariela’s apartment was bugged, probably by her mother or someone who knows she’s a resistance leader.  Why mother hasn’t arrested or somehow detained her escapes me.  Somehow “I’ll buy her a hairy-chested stud and she’ll come around” was mom’s plan. 

How she remains in any leadership role also escapes me.

Ariela shares the backstory about how Zantia’s men were either killed or enslaved by the Ruathans in a war that left only untrained and unskilled woman with a handful of men they enslaved or who were just parked in a chair to tell visitors ALL THESE WORLDS ARE YOURS EXCEPT ZANTIA! ATTEMPT NO LANDINGS THERE! 

They park their horses and take a shady squat near a tree.  It’s like Colorado in the springtime, Buck says as if it meant anything to Ariela of a planet 100 light years away.

Because convenience moves the story, the losing bidder from the auction scene is also on horseback, completely in the view of our heroes, and wearing a Miracle Ear that allows her to listen in JUST AS Ariela spins her treasonous plan to use Buck’s starfighter to go to earth and kidnap a sentient Ruathan pie plate. 

Buck likes the plan, but thinks it is stupid, so he counters with the “let me do all the heroic stuff” alternative that has him fling the ship.  He agrees to help because Ariela has “chutzpah” which she thinks is a disease.  Oh the fun we have with anachronistic language, Buck. 

Also, Buck picks up a shiny rock because of course he was distracted by it.  He asks Ariela what it is and she doesn’t know, so of COURSE Buck immediately answers his own question by saying it looks like Barbarite – the mineral of the major plot point!  It’s just lying around on the grass!

Oh no!  Spinster lady’s horse makes a noise, revealing them at last to Ariela!  She takes off with Buck, Ariela, and the equestrian music guy in pursuit!  Lots of exclamation points!  The chase ends when Spinster rides past an electric fence and escapes.  This leaves our heroes no choice but to execute their plan immediately, so they ride back to town and the spaceport.

Wilma Hides Against Walls

Wilma has landed and relieved a guard of her mustard colored uniforms (which is a perfect, flattering fit, BTW).  No one is on the lookout for a missing Directorate pilot who made an emergency landing, I guess, so she has time to hide in the shadows and radio Dr. Huer and Theopolis back on Earth.  She doesn’t know where Buck is and the spaceport is like an armed camp.  Well no shit, Colonel Mustard! 

Suddenly Dr. Shrinker enters the background of the shot and HE IS WEARING WILMA’S NECKLACE!  That basic bitch!  Oh, it is on, Dr. Shrinker. 

Yawn, Oh…right. The Negotiations

Dr. Huer invites Theopolis to pay a call on his rival pie plate to “keep communications open” which is something they’ve been doing this entire episode and the very definition of a negotiation.  Of course, the real reason is to distract the entire negotiation team distracted until preparations for their “party” are complete.  Twiki has already chained some Old Chicago mutants in a Thunderdome style tank and has programmed the memory synthesizer so that Mr. Devronin can be plugged into a digital hellscape of nightmares and pain that he can never escape.  Dr. huer feels that this will be a delightful surprise for all involved, but warns Twiki that Devronin’s bodyguard, Karsh, has filed a sexual harassment claim against him and so is not allowed within 20 feet of the man.  Twiki responds that he will be happy to watch Karsh’s skin flayed from his meat from a distance.  Of course, Huer thinks this is another of Buck’s jovial witticisms and laughs politely as the murder plot continues to unfold.

All I Want is Buck Beefcake and Cheese!

Spinster has not only reached the Prime Minister, but shared all she knows about the treason plot against her by her daughter.  She is SHOCKED.  The Prime Minister knew her daughter “opposed” her, but did not expect an actual act of treason! 

What a fucking dipshit. Bee-de-bee-de-beep.

But wait!  The PM is P-eeved – suspicious WHY someone would be spying on her (allegedly treacherous) daughter.  The spinster does not want to answer.  The PM asks what the spinster wants to get out of providing this information.  She says she wants Captain Beefsteak Charlie handed over to her as a reward, seeing as the obvious treason plot will see Ariela hanged by the neck on horseback.

Wait, did the Prime Minister sew her emblem on upside down?  Because it sure looks like the shield on her space pajamas is upside down. Looks like all the folks in uniform have the same weird logo.

The PM agrees to her terms and dismisses her.  The PM then tells the two security extras to cordon off the spaceport around the starfighter in anticipation of Ariela’s cunning, well-thought, and hastily executed scheme.

Wait, again.  “The” starfighter? Is the PM unaware that a second starfighter made an emergency landing against the authorization of the spaceport?  And that the pilot is missing?  Surely there’s a security perimeter already raised, right?  Right?

Wilma Takes On the Shrinker

Back on the auction set, Dr. Shrinker is looking quite smug as he returns to the scene of his biggest slave commission, yet.  Wilma appears to think that walls provide camouflage as she hugs every available one into the room, despite being clearly visible to anyone with working peripheral vision.

In an effects shot I would have rejected as Line Producer, Shrinker throws something into the air for no reason and Wilma blasts it to reveal her presence.  She demands that Dr. Shrinker take her to Buck’s location at Ariela’s apartment.  Shrinker offered to draw her a map and Wilma engages in what is a legitimately funny exchange about grilled cheese.

Finally! Some Action! It’s Stupid Action,
But I’ll Take It!

In the spaceport, Captain Humpleg deKrakenpenis almost gets himself and Ariela caught in the spaceport by running into the supposedly secured area.  Deciding that the Hail Mary approach is best, Buck leap-frogs two security guards from an elevated platform and Ariela subdues them with a…Vulcan neck pinch??  Seriously, she just neck-rubs both ladies and they fall to the ground.  A third security guard shows up but Buck has a blaster now and tells all her molecules to fuck right off.

Several other guards show up and Buck eliminates them by shooting the computers behind them.  I have to assume the computers that just exploded have absolutely no value to the safety or operations of the spaceport.  They just put a few guards into sleepytime mode somehow.

Even MORE guards arrive, but as Buck and Ariela get to the starfighter, most of them RUN IN THE WRONG DIRECTION OUT OF SHOT, never even aiming at the escaping duo as they board and launch their ship.

What’s This? A Trap?

Having decided that hiding in plain site is less productive, Wilma blasts the shit out of Ariela’s front door and pushes Dr. Shrinker inside.  Ariela’s gal pal in the resistance shows up long enough to tell Wilma “Yer TOO LATE” about Buck and then runs off as three guards arrive, outgunning her.  Dr. Shrinker gets in another dull quip. 

What’s the Plan, Space Man?

In the starfighter, Buck and Ariela engage in some bullshit tactical planning that makes no sense but we go with it.  Ariela thanks him for going along with this thing they call a plan. 

With So Few Script Pages Left, We Fumble to the Finish

Wilma is brought before the Prime Minister.  It takes some doing and some crayon diagrams and puppets, but Wilma is able to convince the PM that whatever Ariela and Buck are doing will fuck up Zantia’s future and must be stopped.  In fact, the PM is all like “If you need to blow up the little bitch, I’m fine with it.”  Wilma, faced with the reality of maybe possibly having to blow up Buck, makes her sad pouty face and rushes off to her ship.

“But it’s mid-afternoon on Earth.”

More bullshit plotting in Buck’s starfighter.  Buck actually claims that it is midafternoon across the entire planet, just in time to meet the Ruathan’s en route back to their cruiser.  What fucking luck, kids!  They enter the stargate to some music that implies this is more impressive than it actually is.  They use this effect constantly, so amping up the strings doesn’t enhance the stock footage.

Buck approaches the cruiser shuttle and its escorts just as Wilma catches up in her starfighter.  Buck chats up a Major Norris and lays out his bullshit plan to dock and board the Ruathan shuttle.  Ambassador Pie Plate tells Buck to eat fried skunk dicks but Buck says he’s coming aboard if he has to peel open the hull and hurl the pilot into space.

Wilma arrives and tells the Earth escorts the obvious – this is a stupid plan and not to let Buck execute it.  Just because he has a cute blonde with him, this is not a way to get into her jodhpurs.  Buck tells Wilma to back off and let him Hero but Wilma tells the escorts to open fire.

Buck warns the escorts that he is Buck Fucking Rogers and will kill every last one of them if he has to in order to carry out his plan.  Never mind that Wilma makes a good case that his plan is bullshit and will cost thousands of lives in a war that could cripple the Earth, Buck’s got his mad-on for blasters and alien poon.  He’s gonna get that pie plate and jerk off on him, too.

But despite his bravado, Major Norris lands a solid hit on Rogers’ starfighter.  He goes in for an easy kill and even gets a couple shots off before Wilma calls him off. 

Ambassador Pie Plate wants Buck executed for even trying such a stupid thing, but – wait – Wilma tells him to prepare for boarding.  Wait, hold my brains a second.  Didn’t Wilma order Buck and Ariela to be atomized to AVOID this?   Whatever, we only have five minutes left to wrap this nonsense up, so two starfighters board the shuttle.

Back on Earth…Again.

Dr. Theopolis and Twiki enter Huer’s office to tell him to get off Space Grinder and pick up the god-damned phone.  Theopolis claims that Buck was threatening to destroy the Ruathan shuttle, not just board it like the script said, but NOW, they are merely boarding it.  Both options cause Huer to pee a little as he tunes into Frequency L-5 to catch up on things. 

Theopolis quietly signals Twiki to cancel the Kill Zone “party” and laments he has lost a chance at any bloodletting this week.

And, Back in Space…Again.

Our heroes take a bench inside the shuttle and Mr. Pie Plate demands an explanation prior to executions.  Dr. Huer phones in just as Buck is about to wrap up the plot.  A few ridiculous button-pushes later, Huer is on the 2-way yelling at Buck for fucking up the negotiations.

Buck offers new terms for the peace treaty – they’ll give up that shitty little planet that only mattered because it had Barbarite on it in exchange for all the Zantian slaves they’ve kept.  Because our Rip Van Dinkleberry found a rock on the ground he assumed was Barbarite and somehow knows that it is more abundant on Zantia, so fuck that other world, right? 

And, in the End, The Dump You Take…

Ruatha is convinced they won the negotiations and Zantian men start arriving by the shuttleload. Ariela has been removed from office for “legalizing kidnapping” and will be tried by the new government, whoever that is. 

No, Ariela. The thing your mommy did was “legalize slavery” which is a damn sight more horrible.  This is the second time in my reviews that I’ve pointed out how casually this show whitewashes the issue of slavery. 

Dr. Shrinker is imprisoned and will be shrunk to the size of an action figure and hunted for sport.  His nieces” will be sentenced to life cleaning the stables and there will be no explanation how Terran horses got there.

With husbands and boyfriends reuniting with the women of Zantia (no longer Planet of the Amazons, I guess) our heroes plan to depart.  No word on that Renaissance Fair necklace, though. 

Mission Debrief

This was a case of a script originally written by legendary script writer Dorothy Fontana and her brother Richard.  According to a letter written by Fontana to James Hise in January of 1980, the final shooting script minimized their contributions to it and so asked for their names to be removed.  Fontana also noted that it was “a matter of professional pride” to do so. 

The script has no “Amazon women” – just a planet run by women who declare themselves incapable of running shit without men there to lead them.  The slaver plot was as contrived and unamusing as Ariel’s dim-witted plot.  Everyone in this show acts like they eat crafting glue at each meal.  They are dim and short-sighted, sometimes literally, as we hop from scene to scene hoping for some action to take place (it starts at the 36 minute mark out of 48) to end the dumbness. 

The final act is just Buck being stupid.  He gives no sign of making the boarding of the Ruathan shuttle a opportunity for negotiations.  He simply goes in prepared to kill every last starpilot to get there.  And when the shooting is over, Wilma goes along with Buck’s plan anyway.  Ariela isn’t in on the alternate plan, either.  She’s still ready to steal a pie plate and leverage it for hostages.  She, too, was cool with the idea of blasting the entire escort squadron to bits.

This episode wasted a LONG time getting to the action and a stupid path it took.  We spent more time looking at Buck’s chest hair than the story., more time with Dr. Shrinker’s sinister ‘wit’, and more time on horseback than we needed.  The last 10 minutes were crunched into dumb decisions just to bring us a climax.

And the final message is that a planet can only be as powerful as the MEN who run it.  I don’t miss the 1970s.

Cookin’ with Buck!

Buck offers to make Wilma dinner the night he is abducted.  When Wilma mentions this to Dr. Huer, he offers his condolences. 

When the story ends, Buck reminds Wilma of their dinner dates and proposes “Sweet Breads” and when Wilma begs the question “What is it made out of?” we freeze on Buck’s dumb grin before he can answer.

Hip-Hugger Report

We’ve got the Purple 2-piece for Wilma’s participation in the negotiations.

We’ve got the light blue 2-piece when Wilma reports that Buck is missing.

We’ve got the starfighter uniform on route to Zantia and at the story’s coda.

We’ve also got the most perfectly-tailored stolen security uniform Wilma uses to evade detection from the high-security zone of Zantia’s spaceport.

Play Back That Last Communication, Please?

Wilma:  Have you ever heard of a grilled cheese sandwich?
Thorne: Uh, no.
Wilma: A friend of mine told me about them once.  Let’s say you’re the bread. Hold it over a fire for two, three minutes…
Thorne: I’m going. I’m going.

Next Time on…

Oh for fuck sake, we’re at THIS episode.  1970s and 80s television darling and star of 2010’s “In Memoriam” slideshows, Gary Coleman guest stars as a sassy super genius who is abducted by someone who doesn’t like the fact that an 850 year old child star is President of his planet.  Buck must rescue the fast-talking money machine before his mouth is shut for good.


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