``The Phantom Plane'', the fifth installment, opens with the stranded Buck Rogers, Buddy, and Prince Tallen not being dead.
They are being bombed, however, by ``Killer'' Kane's men. There's explosions and Buddy receives some kind of injury which he attributes to a rock. I'm not sure just where he's hit, but the three wander around the small rocky set that serves as every landing spot in the series. Fortunately after dropping a couple bombs Kane's men leave, ignoring the people running around on the ground. Wilma Deering and the Hidden City air squad finally notice Rogers didn't take off with them, indicating they don't know how to fly in groups in the future, but they turn around and pick up the bunch and chase off ``Killer'' Kane's squadron by getting their spacecraft's strings all tangled up.
One of ``Killer'' Kane's counsellors is angry that Kane didn't secure his alliance with Saturn when he had the advantage, so Kane --- upset about Rogers's survival --- orders the counsellor to go to Saturn and secure the treaty. He protests being sent on his pointless mission (?), so Kane has him sent to the ``robot'' mines, with a mind-controlling helmet put on him; Kane offers the nearest security guard the chance to head up the expedition to Saturn and maybe get a counsellor's seat.
Tallen, swiftly and pretty easily impressed with the Hidden City, promises to ally Saturn with Hidden City. But they can't make radio contact so, guess what, plan to send Buck Rogers out to see if he can not crash this time. As they get loading missiles in the ship one starts to smoke, threatening there to be an exploding rocket, although the actual explosion ends up being a little puff of smoke that Rogers cleverly defuses by turning the circuit off.
They go flying to Saturn --- rcoony mentioned he got the DVD of this and it seemed like all they did was fly back and forth to Saturn --- using Dr Huer's newly-invented invisibility cannon, which they call a ``dissolvo ray'' for some reason, to sneak through Kane's blockade. But there on Saturn, at the same landing-in-the-rock-field set they always use, is one of Kane's ships. Rogers, there to make sure Tallen tells the High Council that they're now allied with the Hidden City and at war with Kane's government, decides to take the chance to sabotage the Kane ship.
There's a recurring theme here: Buck Rogers is stupid. Going off on this unnecessary sabotage mission is dumb enough, but he and Deering and Tallen sneak into Kane's men's ship, and only after a few minutes in realize they need a wrench to sabotage anything. Me, I'd have brought some likely-looking tools. Somehow, there's not a lot they can sabotage just by looking at it sternly. But it's too late: Kane's men were waiting to trap them, seal them in the spaceship, and douse them with poison gas. And that's the cliffhanger.
Trivia: Aimee Semple McPherson was reported missing, possibly drowned, from 18 May 1926. She reappeared five weeks later in a small community on the Arizona-Mexico border, claiming she had been kidnapped and held for ransom. Source: 1927: High Tide of the 1920s, Gerald Leinwand.
Currently Reading: The Groucho Letters: Letters To And From Groucho Marx, Groucho Marx.