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Episode 9: Lost in Space

 

Review by Dustin Corallo

April 26, 2006

 

Summary

As a result of jettisoning the port cargo container from the Ender, the enemy Raptor ends up hitting the port engine as it falls, unbalancing the ship. Noel heads from the bridge to make emergency repairs to the engine while James and Leon remain to keep the ship from dropping out, with James determined to make it to Mars with his family. Later on, James makes a log entry about the various obstacles he and his children had come across, claiming that they were heading to Mars in “perfect unity.” After he ends the entry, he pulls out his family photo and thinks about how Rachel is the only one left. An alarm rings, signaling that its dinner time, so James pulls out his How to be a Daddy book and reads that a family should have dinner together as much as possible. He then sets out to get his children to join him, but neither Leon nor Noel want anything to do with James now. This confuses James as he thought they were in perfect unity after Zalgas, to which Leon explains they were only doing this so they could stay alive longer. A news report then comes up on a monitor, explaining the Links family’s escape from Zalgas and that they were supposedly involved with Red Harvest’s smuggling activity. An outraged James exclaims that was Ron’s activity, not theirs, but Leon breaks down and claims all the bad things are being associated to them. He then tells James he doesn’t want to see his face again. In the Ender’s cargo bay, Dolores is running through camera footage of her battle with a Raptor, wondering why she turns into Isis whenever in the presence of another orbital frame. She then looks toward the doorway and sees that nobody was coming to see her today. Using one of her wires, she links into the Ender’s camera system and watches over the three Links family members, coming across James drinking beer while reading his ‘Daddy’ book on the bridge. She asks James for advice, but he’s too drunk and busy reading his book to offer anything. Seeing James’ obsession with his book, Dolores wonders if it was really that much fun when Pete walks in. She asks Pete if he can get a book for her to read, showing James’ book from her cockpit monitor as an example. The kitten seemingly understands and runs back to Noel’s room to get her book on “Cinderella”. When he returns, Dolores immediately flips through the story book, marveling at the story and the pictures provided. After finishing the book, she becomes entranced and imagines herself as Cinderella at the ball with James being the Prince. Further entranced at the thought of James, she decides to try her hand at dancing, first making a dress out of the tarmacs in the cargo bay. As she moves around the bay, she continues to imagine herself dancing with Prince James, and not paying attention to what she is doing, ends up making a large dent in the bay wall with her cockpit. When she scans the hole to see if it would be a problem for the Ender’s flight, she comes across another problem: the port side fuel transmission is heating up and that already more than half the fuel in that section has been consumed. After checking remaining cruise distance and the fuel consumption, she realizes that if something isn’t done, the Ender won't make it to Mars.

 

Dolores alerts the Links family to her discovery, and Leon uses his computer to find a lot of micron level damage had been done to the port engine due to the Raptor careening with it before falling out of dimensional space. As a result, the port engine had been overdrove to reach the correct acceleration rate and that it consumed more fuel than it should have. He and Noel end up getting into an argument over it, as Leon blames Noel for not noticing the damage while she was doing repairs and vice versa. Watching this, Dolores compares the two to Cinderella’s step sisters fighting. The two decide to just blame James for the problem and Leon continues to explain the problem: if the fuel continues to be consumed at the current rate, they would run out of fuel and decelerate, eventually overshooting past Mars and if they decelerate now, Mars will end up passing by their flight course before they reach it. However, if they stay along the line of Mars’ orbital path, they would be found at some point, to which Noel reminds Leon that the only people looking for them is the Space Force. Apparently knowing of this firsthand, James enters the room with three cans of beer and claims he has found a way to save them. He explains to them about Kudoshu, an asteroid basin that had been used by the military for research and development. Although it had been abandoned fifty years ago, James thinks that there is some fuel and spacecraft repair areas on the asteroid. With the fuel the Ender has now, they would just be able to make it. Later on though, as Dolores re-reads Cinderella, Leon is having problems trying to find Kudoshu. Leon then realizes that since it’s a secret military facility, then it had to be shielded against conventional spaceship sensors via stealth technology, but James tells him to keep looking for it. This causes yet another argument between the Links family members, so James leaves the bridge and goes to Dolores’ cargo bay. Dolores tries to James about her book upon arrival, but James asks her to sing Rachel’s song instead. As Dolores sings, James remorse’s about how far he and his family had come up to now, feeling that he had somehow dragged everyone into this. Dolores breaks his thoughts and tells James if it were only him, she could take him all the way to Mars from their current position. This causes James to come up with another idea. Later, after some preparation, he calls Leon and Noel to the cargo bay and orders them to put on space suits. He explains that he had decided Dolores would take them to Mars while he remains on the Ender, since only two people can fit into Dolores cockpit. Both Leon and Noel immediately protest against the very idea, with Leon exclaiming that if they leave James here, he’ll be lost in space and die alone. James yells at Leon and asks him if he’d rather die before his parents, which is the worst thing he could do to either James or Rachel. With no choice in the matter, Leon and Noel do as James tells them, and soon after, Dolores sets off to Mars with the two in tow. James tells them to give Rachel his best when they find her while watching them leave from the bridge. In Dolores’ cockpit, Leon and Noel are both depressed about having to leave James behind while Dolores herself cries about it, just as Pete pulls out the Cinderella book. Noel takes the book from Pete and remembers how James gave it to her the picture book when she was fifteen years old, to which Leon sighs and says their father can only think of things in his own system of values. Dolores then enters and asks a question about the book: why didn’t Cinderella’s glass slipper turn back to normal when the magic had run out like everything else? Both siblings ponder the question, and Noel explains that it remained probably from the Prince’s feelings toward Cinderella turning into magic and his hope toward seeing her again. Leon laughs a little at how Noel is thinking romantically, to which Noel reminds him she was fifteen at the time. Dolores starts to cry again, wishing that she could use her feelings could turn into magic so that she could save James. As she wills this, her Metatron lines begin to glow and she unintentionally sends off a pulse of energy that runs through space. Back on the Ender, James continues to look over his book, reading that it is important to take a step back once in a while to show the parent’s magnanimity. He sighs, thinking that he should’ve done that during his fight with Rachel. Just as he’s about to nod off, the Ender suddenly picks up a guidance laser, and Dolores calls in to tell James she had found Kudoshu. Taking this information in, James starts to laugh triumphantly, wondering why his life never goes as planned as the Ender changes course toward Kudoshu.

 

Commentary

 

After the intense action seen at Zalgas, the story takes a break from Baan, the Yans and all the fighting. The main conflict here is the Ender running out of fuel and the Links family’s race against time to find a solution, all having to do this while dealing with their inter-family fights. Even after going through the battles at Zalgas and the Orbital Elevator, it seems neither Leon nor (much to my surprise) Noel have warmed up to James yet, doing things from refusing to eat dinner with him to outright thinking he’s an idiot when running the Ender. This really puts James into a massive depression which leads him to his decision of sending Dolores, Leon, Noel and Pete to Mars without him, which in turn would have left him to a fate of dying alone in space. I don’t know about anyone else, but compared to all the usual gory and brutal deaths that have all become an anime norm, dying alone in the darkness of space is the worst way anyone can go in my opinion, as it’s a slow and remorseful death. It’s a little surprising to see the usually highly determined James put down to this state, but fortunately he was saved near the end. As for Dolores’ part of the episode, I really don’t know what to think about it. This was the first time I’ve seen a mecha in a dress that wasn’t part of the armor set, and even weirder is James dressed up in Prince garb, but it all goes to show how much Dolores wants to be human, and the Cinderella story fits perfectly for that. Coincidentally, Noel’s explanation at the end about the Prince’s feelings for Cinderella turning into magic is not far off base from how Metatron functions, as Metatron itself seems to run off people’s emotions and wills, to which Dolores demonstrates by sending that energy pulse. Almost reminds one of how Idolo reacted to Radium Lavans’ will, doesn’t it? All in all, this episode was ‘alright’; not the best episode of the series, but it was better handled than most filler you see out there.

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Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

3 out of 5 stars
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