austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Is it forever or will it all end?

Buck Rogers Chapter 10, ``Broken Barriers'', opens with the discovery that Buddy is not dead.

OK, all these cliffhanger recoveries involve cheats to one extent or another, but this is the worst of the serial so far. At the end of chapter nine we saw Kane's guards shooting Buddy squarely in the back. Those ray guns are of variable effect and usefulness, but still, they hit him solidly. This time around, he isn't even nearly shot and instead leaps out the window. It's an utter gyp, particularly since him leaping out the window would seem like a decent enough cliffhanger if the audience had forgotten he's wearing an antigravity belt which lets him lower to the ground as though he's on a stage flight harness.

Deering talks her prison guard into coming over by the cell bars to gloat, and she grabs his ray gun and shoots him, which works because security guards in serials are even dumber than security guards on Star Trek if such a thing is possible. The escaping Deering and the escaping Buddy manage to run into each other while they evade all the guards, and they figure to get to the dynamo room and rescue Rogers from his amnesia/hypnotic helmet thing.

They sneak into the dynamo room, past various mind-controlled robots, but as they find Rogers, Kane comes on the intercom to gloat --- always bad form --- that the so-called robot slaves just passed weren't robots at all but guards. And here I have to credit Kane with some imagination; this isn't a bad way to pick off Rogers's rescuers. But he should've not gloated and should've called in backup sooner, since Buddy knocks the hypnosis helmet off Rogers's head, and the three of them pop some kind of gas bomb they just had somehow, and they escape to one of Kane's rockets and take off for the Hidden City.

Now, if you'd stolen one of the enemy's ships and were flying it back to your rebel base, is there anything you'd do as a safety measure? Like, would you check the other room in it to make sure none of the enemy's soldiers was stowed away? Yeah. Well, Kane's guy waits until Rogers has for a change landed safely and knocks out the Hidden City guard sent to watch over it, then takes his uniform in which he fits perfectly and sneaks into the Hidden City control center. This makes sense since the Hidden City has been shown to have nearly ten guys in it, so they wouldn't all recognize each other on site. Kane's guy calls Leader Kane who's again puttering around in the middle of the night wearing his robes, and reveals the city's location to be in the valley 100 and that he's left the doors open. Kane orders a squadron to attack immediately.

Rogers and Huer find Kane's guy, and Rogers, being dumb again, admits he should have searched the ship. Scuffling and fighting breaks out and as Kane's air/spaceship squadron approaches the Hidden City, Kane's guy ray-gun shoots Rogers in the stomach, which I'm sure will really count for this cliffhanger.

Trivia: Donald Duck's voice preceded his creation as a character: Disney heard Clarence Nash reciting ``Mary Had A Little Lamb'' as a flustered duck on the radio, and sought a character design to fit the voice. Source: Of Mice And Magic: A History Of American Animated Cartoons, Leonard Maltin. (And I bet you thought that only happened to Phil Harris.)

Currently Reading: Ever Since Darwin: Reflections On Natural History, Stephen Jay Gould.

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