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Episode 8: Graveyard of Honor

 

Review by Dustin Corallo

August 7, 2005

 

Summary

Thrown back by the explosion, Dolores barely manages to raise her energy shield before the Phantomas fire again. Dolores asks James if he’s alright, and James says he thought they were dead, but at the rate they’re going, death won’t be too far off. He tells Dolores to run for it, and Dolores flies away with the Phantoma squadron in pursuit. James then says they’ll just shake them off and run to Zalgas. Dolores makes it to the colony and flies around the outer ring while the Phantomas continue to fire at her. In the colony, everyone is still watching James’ battle with the Phantomas, and Basilisk compliments James’ stubbornness. Dolores maneuvers around the ring and eventually causes the last three pursuing Phantomas to crash into each other. James grins, but more LEVs soon show up. From their markings, he can tell they’re not UNSF, and he wonders if they’re WIRED. His question is answered when a WIRED shuttle comes up from behind the group. Baan complains about “John Carter’s upgraded stench” and his eye twitches as he swears to kill “John” once and for all. James sees that they’re surrounded and there are too many of them to stay and fight against, when Dolores complains about the area being filled with mass catchers. She then detects more incoming signals from the front and Dolores barely dodges an oncoming wave of supply carriers. Stray beam blasts destroy a few of the carriers, and gold bullion floats out of them. Dolores is in awe over the sight, but James remembers Ron Pao, and that he won’t let Leon and Noel leave the colony alive if he sees the gold floating around. He has Dolores turn around and return to Zalgas, leaving the Phantoma squadrons to get decimated by the incoming gold bars and supply carriers. Baan and Sameggi can only watch helplessly as one-sixth of the UNSF squadron and WIRED’s forces are destroyed by the flying shards. However, Baan refuses to give up and orders all remaining squadrons to gather and advance to Zalgas. In his bedroom, Ron Pao nearly has a heart attack from seeing his gold transaction get destroyed, and he vows to kill James’ family for this. In Ron Pao’s dining room, Noel, Leon, Basilisk and the rest are also watching the destruction of the gold bullion. Romero then moves away and has his men aim. He explains that if he doesn’t kill all of them, then Ron Pao will just kill him, and that they should blame James for this. He’s about to give his trademark Grandmother joke when Basilisk offers a proposition to Romero, and the two sit down at a table together. Noel whispers to Leon, but he’s to concentrated on the battle to hear her, so she places Pete on one of his bruises and puts him back in reality. She asks him what they’re going to do, and Leon says he doesn’t have an answer yet. Basilisk is critiquing how the gold transaction was carried out, and Romero just laughs and reminds him he’s the one in danger. Romero then claims to have nothing to do with it, and Basilisk tells him that if he does things that blatantly, all he’ll do is attract more attention. Romero wonders if WIRED will really get in the way, but Basilisk suggests he take advantage of that. He puts Romero on by asking if it’s alright to leave Red Harvest in the hands of a geezer that makes mistakes and needs people like Romero to do things for him. Basilisk even offers the aid of his own Family, and Romero agrees it’s too good to pass up. They toast to their new partnership, which shocks Leon, Noel and Melinda, and Romero explains it’s time for their escape. In Zalgas’s hangar, the WIRED shuttle comes in and lands. A thug tries to shutdown the hangar from the control room, but James knocks him out with a gold bar. Now walking down a hallway, Romero gives Leon a disk and explains it’s the anchorage key to the Ender, and that it will allow them to take off. Leon asks why Romero is generous again, and Romero just says he has something he needs to do. Basilisk clarifies: take care of problems caused by the elderly. Romero’s men set up for Ron Pao’s arrival as the group enters another corridor. Ron Pao himself has decided to check up on Romero’s execution of the Links family, only to run into Basilisk and Melinda. A firefight begins between Romero’s group and Ron Pao’s group, and Leon, Noel and Pete run off in the confusion. Melinda asks where they’re going, and Romero explains they’re heading toward the dock, but Basilisk remembers that WIRED is there too. Romero tells him it’s better than getting caught by Ron Pao, he and Basilisk continue shooting thugs while Ron Pao escapes. In the hangar, Leon and Noel (with Pete in tow) find the Ender, but a WIRED agent finds them too and tells them to surrender. Before he can arrest them, a stray gold bar hits him on the back of the head and causes him to fly past the siblings due to the low gravity. James can only grin as his children greet him happily. Out in space, however, a Mummyhead and two Raptors make their way through space, all three being piloted by a Yan. One of the Raptor runner Yans wonders if Isis is really worth so much effort, and the other Raptor Yans comments that its power must be extraordinary. The one in the Mummyhead, who just so happens to be the Yans that framed James and his family, just says talking like that will only get them killed, but if they let Isis roam freely, then it will effect the operation plan. The Raptor runners agree, and all continue to Zalgas.

 

"Sitting" on the side of Zalgas, Dolores is not happy about being left behind again. She just watches debris from the earlier battle float by when she starts to resonate. She floats out of her spot and sees three curious stars flying at her. In the colony, WIRED has arrested a number of Red Harvest members, but they still are unable to find Ron Pao Pao. Baan floats around with a handkerchief against his nose while Sameggi delivers a report. He explains that they almost caught Ron Pao Pao, but there seems to be an internal strife between him and another Red Harvest member. Baan tells Sameggi to let them take their time, and then reminds him they have another job to do. He snickers sinisterly and says he won’t let “John Carter” escape this time. On the Ender, James has Leon and Noel start the ship up and tells them to head to the catapult while he gets Dolores. Noel warns him to be careful, but James remarks that he has better luck and leaves the bridge. After a short pause, Leon tells Noel to start up now, because it’d be pathetic to get caught before James comes back, and Noel agrees. Meanwhile, Romero and Basilisk continue to kill more of Ron Pao’s men, and Basilisk reminds Romero that WIRED won’t leave if they don’t get the boss himself. James hides in an elevator shaft to avoid WIRED agents, wondering if he’ll be able to get to Dolores in time. When the agents leave, he moves down the corridor and barely manages to hide from Baan and Sameggi when they exit an elevator. Baan gripes about the smell of space dwellers and covers his nose with his handkerchief while Sameggi informs him that they found the Ender. Baan smiles at that bit of news and decides to go direct things himself. When they both turn around to reenter the elevator, James runs from his hiding spot and makes a double flying kick against both of their heads. Sameggi is immediately knocked out, but Baan shrugs the kick off and realizes “John” is right behind him. James compliments Baan for being so persistent, and he explains he never wanted to fight him, but now he has no choice. Baan on the other hand is more than willing to fight and he grabs James’ leg, only for James to jump and make a roundhouse kick against his head. In space, Dolores gets a visual lock on the Raptors and Mummyhead, and darts away in fear. The Mummyhead Yans orders the other to stay back if Isis starts her abnormal behavior, and the three attack Dolores, with the Raptors attacking with their beam swords while the Cyclops fires halbard blasts. Dolores calls out for James as she evades them. In Zalgas, James tackles Baan into another elevator, but Baan continues to pummel him. James yells at Baan to go down and headbutts him. While the two men continue to fight, the Raptors move back and pummel Dolores’ shield with their spinal cannons. Again, Dolores calls for help, but she gets no response. A halbard blast from the Mummyhead knocks down her shield and causes Dolores to go into a spin. She flies past the escaping Ender and enters Zalgas to find James, but the three BAHRAM frames still follow, and another shot blasts Dolores through a corridor. Now not too far away, James attempts to float away from Baan in an area with low gravity, but Baan grabs his leg and pulls out a knife. Baan’s right eye twitches, and he reminds “John” that he would be the one to kill him while swiping at “John’s” head. He rants on about James becoming an asset of the Earth for marrying a Martian, but before he can land a single slash, a couple shots from the Raptors blast through the ceiling. Baan ricochets off a wall and nearly floats into one of the blasts, but debris hits him in the head and knocks him both off course and unconscious. James grabs him as Dolores and one of the Raptors break into the room. James ditches Baan in changing room while he slips a spacesuit onto himself and floats back to Dolores. He calls for Dolores and Dolores pleas for James to save her as she resonates faster. She opens her cockpit and James berates himself for leaving her alone. Like last time, Dolores’ monitor become fuzzy, and Dolores cries that she doesn’t want to fight. James tries to get Dolores away from the Raptors, but he can’t escape. In another room, Ron Pao sends out a message to one of his associates asking for help. However, the man on the other end tells Ron Pao that he can’t give him anymore support, and the crime boss becomes angered. He reminds the guy that he paid him so much money, but the associate just says it’s best to drop their partnership. Before Ron Pao can say anything else, a gun is presented next to his head, and he turns to see Romero with the gun and Basilisk behind him with a cellular phone. As it turns out, Basilisk has negotiated with the associate and added him into he and Romero’s growing circle. The associate gives his regards to the new Don and signs off, and Romero clarifies he’s the new Don. Romero is about to give his Grandma message again, but he realizes that his Grandmother is Heaven and that’s not where Ron Pao is going, so he just shoots him without giving the message. As the Ender approaches the catapult, Noel asks Leon if it’s good idea to have a catapult on the light side of the Moon. Leon concurs because even if it’s easier to hide, the Moon’s gravity alters the course of the launch, and an error might occur. Noel wonders if there’s a chance they won’t make it to Mars, and Leon tells her they have to go where they have to go. Back at Zalgas, James and Dolores have now escaped from the colony, but they are still pursued. More and more, Dolores continues to fade despite James’ efforts, and she feels another presence within herself. Once again, a Raptor puts her in a choke hold, and Dolores transforms into Isis. Isis rips the Raptor away and tears off its arm, and the Mummyhead runner Yans orders everybody to retreat. At first, the one with the torn arm objects, but another WIRED Phantoma squadron is heading at them, so they all leave. Isis detects the Phantomas and without any hesitation destroys every single one with her homing lasers. James can only sit helplessly and watch them die while Isis transforms back into Dolores. When Dolores comes to, she starts to cry, afraid of what’s happening to her. She says there’s someone else inside of her, and James reassures her it’s okay, because she’s back now. He then contacts Leon and Noel to start the catapult while he and Dolores fly over to them. However, Dolores starts to resonate again, and she turns to see the damaged Raptor pursuing her. The Yans runner states he can’t let Isis escape when it’s right in front of him and fires his spinal cannons at Dolores. On the Ender, Leon and Noel finish the final flight checks and start the launch countdown, hoping that James make it on time. James has Dolores latch one of her power cables onto the Ender before it launches off into dimensional space. Dolores struggles against the current, but she manages to pull herself onto the Ender’s hull and relax. Before she can though, the Raptor appears again, latched onto the Ender’s port cargo container. Dolores screams and James tells her to open the cockpit so he can get rid of the Raptor. He moves to the side of the Ender and opens a control board. After James enters in the code, the Ender unlatches the port cargo container with the Raptor attached. The Yans cries out as he and his frame disintegrate against the wall of the space conduit. With no more pursuers, Leon helps James and Dolores into the Ender, and the two men enter the bridge wiped. Leon gripes about losing the container, but James says he doesn’t want to hear it, and the two collapse on their respective seats. Noel just smiles and comments to Pete that he’s the luckier one, and Dolores sings to comfort herself in the Ender’s cargo bay.

 

Commentary

 

And so the Zalgas two-parter ends on an explosive note. Romero and Basilisk assassinate Ron Pao and take over Red Harvest, Dolores transforms into Isis again and wipes out the entire WIRED LEV division in the process and the Ender finally launches for Mars. First to note, Baan and James have a confrontation, and I’m actually quite amazed at Baan’s physical prowess. At first glance, he looks like a shrimp compared to James or Sameggi, but his obsession with catching James seems to have kept him in great shape, enough that he managed to survive a low gravity jump kick on James’ part while Sameggi was knocked out. Now that James saved him, I wonder if he’ll lighten up on the guy a little bit, but that’s doubtful. This is probably the last time we’ll see Romero, Basilisk or Melinda, since Ron Pao is dead and Zalgas and all of its riches are in their hands. Too bad really, because they’ve been in more than one episode, and Basilisk and Melinda were fun to watch around James. And on mecha, another addition from the games shows up in Dolores, i’s growing OFV (Orbital Frame Variation): the Mummyhead, which is essentially a Raptor outfitted with a jar-shaped carapiece and two large cannon nacelles. In the games, it played long-range support for Raptor swarms, and it’s nice to see the anime doesn’t change that. Although it doesn’t make such a grand first impression as the Raptor did in episode 5, but it’s still deadly nonetheless. Along with the Cyclops, two more Yans appear, and it’s getting difficult to tell them apart. One of them dies the painful death of disintegrating between warped and real space, but there’s still much more where that came from. Just how far will the Links family get before they are overwhelmed?

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Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

4 out of 5 stars
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ZOE Dolores, i Episode 8 ZOE Dolores, i Episode 8

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