Post #3: Droids – Escape Into Terror

Welcome back, we are still in the first arc of the Star Wars cartoon “Droids”. Please read the previous post so you know you are caught up on the plot thus far. While I don’t think the plots of these episodes are complicated enough to require people to understand the arcs, the writers went to the trouble of writing these as a set, so watch them as a set. I’m definitely doing that. This episode originally aired September 14th, 1985 on ABC.

As a child of the 80s, sometimes the plots of cartoons would affect the plot of a future cartoon but as I remember, there was not a lot of effort or focus on “continuity”…this series is definitely doing that. We are back on Kea Moll’s ship (that they escaped on in the “White Witch”) with Thall, Jord, and of course the droids R2-D2 and C-3PO. This is pretty brave again for a Saturday Morning cartoon. Personally, I love continuity and I’m legitimately excited to follow these tiny arcs.

PLOT SUMMARY

So the episode opens up in space looking at Kea Moll’s ship. R2-D2 and C-3PO are doing some repairs on the outside in the cold harsh vacuum of space. They are mostly complaining to each other about having to do work. In the course of the work, the hyperdrive unit (which is on the outside in this ship) is detached and “floats” away. The team decides to visit Kea’s mother on the planet Annoo to get a new hyperdrive.

Sise Fromm (pictured above) is Tigg Fromm’s father and the head of this gang / cartel building the Trigon-One. It is revealed that Sise Fromm is 900 years old, or at least that’s what Tigg says to him. During their conversation, they explain that they need this satellite (Trigon-One is a satellite) in order to intimidate the other gangs.

Both the human and the droid characters find themselves waiting in line at immigration I guess. Makes for exciting TV. R2-D2 insults a droid that cuts in line so the droid sprays some soot on C-3PO.

Slapstick aside, some goons show up to harass our heroes so they create a distraction and flee.

Next we see the whole gang at a homestead, Kea’s mother’s house we are led to believe. The humans all go to sleep and the droids are put to work vacuuming sand sloths. C-3PO states that he’d rather be cleaning Tauntuans on Hoth….reminder that this is set years before the events of Episode V: Empire Strikes Back. While attempting to clean the sand sloths, C-3PO find a hidden door that leads to a weapons cache.

The droids surmise that their host is part of the rebel alliance. Just then, Thall is attacked in his sleep by some sort of droid.

Thall is gassed and is in bad shape after the attack. Kea deactivates the droid with some sort of pulse. Kea’s mother explains that they have been searching for the Trigon-1 weapon and only Thall and Jord know the location of the gang’s secret base, that’s why everyone is after them. Thall is put to bed to get some rest after his ordeal. C-3PO takes this opportunity to practice a type of martial art. Parroting Kea’s mother when she said “freedom is everybody’s fight.” The name of the martial art is Gravik-nez, in case you were wondering.

The next morning Jord and Kea leave early to sneak aboard Tigg Fromm’s ship back to their secret base, but they are immediately captures. C-3PO, R2-D2 and Thall come to the rescue. In order to get back to the gang’s secret base with a chance of stopping the weapon, Kea and Thall hide inside a shipping container while C-3PO and R2-D2 pretend to be droids working on the crew. The container is loaded onto the ship, which will return to the secret base. There is a meteor storm on the way and all the containers get mixed up. C-3PO is confident he has located the right container.

When the ship arrives at the secret base, home of the Trigon-1, C-3PO shuttles the container off of the ship and informs a gang member that it has to be delivered to the hanger, parts for the satellite. Another droid accidentally drops a heavy machine part on the container and the box is crushed. C-3PO knocks the gang member out of the way. C-3PO also quickly realizes that the crushed container was not the container Thall and Kea were hiding in. In his gratitude, the gang member allows C-3PO to complete the delivery with the other container.

On the way to the hanger, C-3PO realizes that he was given a thermal detonator by Kea before they left. Some slap stick happens and they proceed on their way. Then there is a large battle that begins with the heroes getting out of the container and ends with them stealing the Trigon-One.

Once the Trigon-One is in orbit, some “droid fighters” pursue them but are quickly destroyed by the satellite. Kea immediately suggests that they use this weapon of mass destruction against “the other gangs” but Thall vetoes the idea saying that it is too dangerous.

More slap stick and a laugh to camera, the end.

DOES IT LOOK LIKE STAR WARS? DOES IT FEEL LIKE STAR WARS?

First shot of this episode felt so much like Star Wars I was grinning ear to ear. A ship in space, what a ship design! Ridley Scott’s “Alien” franchise and Star Wars have the best ship designs in my opinion. They are functional and practical without a lot of thought going into aesthetic design. Don’t get me wrong, I also love Star Trek but I don’t think that’s what space ships will look like. Also the fact that they are out there repairing the ship…definitely gives the galaxy that used feel that everyone is always pointing out. They have to fix it to make it work. Everything breaks down, it needs constant repair.

Other design elements that feel very Star Wars, the Trigon One weapon, it looks like one section of a shield generator but upside down. It’s familiar design, and that’s comforting.

This is the debut in a Star Wars cartoon of the “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” and it is spoken by C-3PO. What could be more Star Wars than that?

This episode also introduces the concept of the Rebel Alliance. I alluded to this in my previous post, but Kea Moll is a rebel spy…from a family of rebel agents as her mother’s house is a secret weapons cache or something. Still, this episode isn’t about Rebels versus Empire. This is more “vacuum of power” stuff where the rebels in this sector are still fighting with Fromm’s criminal cartel, specifically trying to prevent them from getting a large advantage in weaponry.

Again, the design of the prototypical rebel is definitely here.

HOW DOES THIS AFFECT THE GREATER UNIVERSE?

So we are still in the non-canon cartoons so there isn’t a whole lot here to talk about. It is, again, cool that this is a continuation of the previous episode “The White Witch” and I have to assume that we are all headed to the Boonta Classic races at the end of this little arc. We learn more about the universe at this time, it is before “A New Hope” but the Rebel Alliance is already a thing. C-3PO said he’d rather “be feeding tauntauns on Hoth” than vacuuming sand sloths.

It is random, throw away comment but it is fun, even though this is all occurring theoretically years before C-3PO ever goes to Echo Base on Hoth…I’ll allow it. The design, again, of the sand sloths is also cool. Star Wars universally does animals well.

FINAL THOUGHTS

We are only two episodes in and this show has done a ton of universe building. Maybe I just enjoy continuity too much but right now I feel like this plot deserves a lot of attention. The pacing issues I complained about in the last episode aren’t as bad here, the transitions are better, it is all better honestly.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Episode 3 of “Droids” and the third episode in the Trigon arc entitled, “The Trigon Unleashed”…so it appears we aren’t quite done with Thall and the gang just yet. Soon we will have a short post specifically about the design of Tigg Fromm, I find that character pretty interesting.

I have some more free time lately so I’m hoping to update this blog more regularly. At least I’m having fun watching and writing no matter the pace. What did you like or dislike about this episode, arc, or series? Leave a comment below. Thanks.

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