We open this outing with the Orbit Jet, returning to Earth Headquarters (you know the one). Rocky Jones phones in to the boss, Secretary of Space Drake, for landing clearance but, alarmingly, gets no response. Meanwhile, at Earth Headquarters (you know the one), Drake, Vena and Bobby also note their lack of radio transmissions and ponder this latest in a "series of accidents". Vena suggests that it's sabotage but Bobby wonders how anyone could get into HQ to pull it off. Don't worry, we'll get the explanation soon, and boy is it a doosey.
Rocky's voice comes over the radio (so only the transmitter is out, not the receiver; how oddly specific — and convenient) and says 'Damn the radio silence, I'm coming in.' Or words to that effect. And so everyone piles outside to watch; and Bobby approaches another boy, Kip (who, thanks to the show's over-reliance on Economy Casting
, we can assume is the saboteur) and gushes that Rocky will make the unassisted landing easily: "There's nothing Rocky Jones can't do!" Kip's sneer at this pronouncement pretty much confirms our suspicions about him.
Not to shock the carp out of y'all, but they actually don't kill the series' Hero four minutes into the episode; Orbit Jet makes the landing without incident. But, whoops, now the landing platform/gantry is malfunctioning. We espy Kip again, looking decidedly pleased with himself. Yeah, we get it already.
At long last, though, Rocky and Winky meet with Drake, who fills them in on the sabotage, some of which "could almost be described as mischievous!" Such as having the air let out of his tires. Despite this being a major clue, Drake is clueless; and so he moves on to other matters. Specifically, an upcoming election on the poor moon Apollo Minor, whose leader Pinto Vortanto is believed to be corrupt. So then, is the United Worlds planning to move in and depose him? Well, when you don't have that pesky Alien Noninterference Clause
to worry about... Rocky sends Bobby to fetch some additional reports from Vena's car; and thus it is Bobby who tumbles upon the saboteur, engaging in more 'sabotage — or, I suppose we should call it what it is, 'petty vandalism', as Kip is currently letting the air out of Vena's tires. The two get into a brief scuffle before the adults happen out and break it up; Kip dares Bobby to "be a snitch" (which sounds like a confession all by itself), but Bobby defers, preferring that Kip confess directly. Yeah, that's likely. Despite Kip's mum-ness, Rocky easily does the math; and so Kip gets hisself a good talking to. It's revealed that Kip has been given free run of Space HQ and WHAT? What is this, a Japanese sci-fi movie
all of a sudden? Is there no security at all? (This point, ridiculous in its own right, only serves to make the adults look all the more dense for not fingering Kip sooner.) Kip reveals his motives: The Space Rangers have jailed his father, and Kip is doing all this just to get thrown in a cell next-door to his Pop.
Boy, and what a prize that Pop turns out to be; in fact, his first words, when Rocky takes Kip to visit him in jail, are "Aw go away, I'm trying to sleep!" Rocky, for his part, wants Pop to set Kip straight (yeah, that's likely); and, when that fails, Rocky resists Kip's insistence on being jailed, instead taking the boy in, an act which surprises Kip quite nearly to repentance.
Well, not quite nearly. That night, while Rocky and Winky sleep (in the same room, in matching beds like a Fifties married couple
, Kip whips out a device that turns out to be a Zeerust
version of a ghetto blaster and starts playing dog and cat noises on it, just to disrupt Rocky's and Winky's sleepy time. Yeah, whoa, what a total Bad Butt
BTW, lest anyone miss the subtleties, that boom box has Chekhov's Gun
written all over us.
The next morning, Drake reveals his plans concerning Apollo Minor: The United Worlds is willing to offer loans to the poor people, on the stipulation that Pinto Vortanto not be elected ruler. So they're going to rig
the election, then? Well, when you don't have those pesky Alien Noninterference Clauses to worry about... Rocky asks to add Kip to his crew, for fear of losing the 'progress' he's made with the boy (i.e. Zero), and is granted permission because Rocky Jones Is Always Right.
Meantime, Kip makes another visit to his Prized Pop in jail. Learning of their trip to Apollo Minor, Pop notes that he has an 'in' with Pinto Vortanto, and convinces Kip to get Rocky kidnapped by the scoundrel in order to set up a "prisoner exchange" (Pop for Rocky? Yeah, that's likely). "Then it'll be just the two of us!"
On the way up to Apollo Minor, Kip shows he's actually no slouch in the brains department by sitting in on Bobby's astro-geography lessons. In the end, though, he just can't resist being a heck raiser
, and so he slips into the ship's cockpit (in full view of everyone, but I guess they do have their backs turned
) and 'secretes' his big ol' boom box onto the control console where it starts emitting war noises and similar sound effects. Rocky is, to say the least, displeased that his 'soft love' tactics have failed to make a dent in Kip's facade, and tells the boy tersely to stop wasting his talents and intellect on 'pranks' which could result in someone getting hurt. Kip, naturally, remains fully unfazed.
Arriving now at Apollo Minor, where the natives dress like Mongols and talk like Mexicans. It's a Fantasy Counterpart Culture
two-fer! The crew is immediately brought into the presence of the villainous (and lecherous) Pinto Vortanto who, annoyingly, proves to be a Third-Person Person
— and not just as an occasional affect, but constantly and entirely (except when the actor and/or writer forgets). Rocky mentions the United Worlds' offer of loans, but Pinto Vortanto is not a buyer's market. Now Kip takes Pinto Vortanto aside (in another bothersome affect, everyone refers to Pinto Vortanto by his full name, including Pinto Vortanto himself) in order to enact his Prized Pop's pernicious plan; while they're gone, Pinto Vortanto's guards express interest in the United Worlds' offer, foreshadowing that all is indeed not well on that front. But Pinto Vortanto returns and has Rocky and Winky arrested, apparently on Kip's word that they are "invaders"; however, he gives Vena and the boys an arbitrary stay, essentially giving them freedom to come and go as they please. Er, why? "Ssso beautiful," he leches at Vena.
Oh, this is why: So that Vena can return to Orbit Jet and broadcast a (ultimately useless) distress signal, reporting that Rocky and Winky are in danger but leaving a self-evident omission of how precisely they fell down that particular well. Kip takes exception to this omission and demands to know why Vena isn't fingering him as the one who "stuck a knife in Rocky Jones' back!" Bobby, though, has had enough of this runt, and actually gets himself an Awesome Moment by advising Kip to "sit in a corner and shut up!" As it turns out, though, this isn't Kip just being a glory hound and seeking bragging rights for his deeds. Indeed, although they don't come right out and say it in this scene (a rare moment of subtlety), and even though he denies it, this moment actually represents Kip's abrupt, not to mention completely unforshadowed, 180-degree change of attitude toward the Space Rangers in general and Rocky Jones in particular.
Meanwhile, Rocky and Winky realize they can't wait for Vena to be of any help (hey, it is The Fifties
, after all), and so they bust down the cell door (what an effective prison) and head back to Pinto Vortanto's throne room, where the union-mandated brawl is to be held. But, just as Pinto Vortanto and his henchmen are getting the upper hand, the place is assailed with war noises and similar sound effects. Rocky, along with the audience, quickly catches wise and plays along; but Pinto Vortanto, thinking he's surrounded and being bombed, quickly shows his true cowardly colors and surrenders... to Bobby and Kip, as he learns to his embarrassment (although one of his henchmen thinks it's Actually Pretty Funny
And so everything works out as the show's tone
says it all should. The elections are held, and Pinto Vortanto is deposed — and, if Winky's parting jape is any indicator, remains defiantly a Third Person Person right to the bitter end. Apollo Minor will indeed get the promised loans. And Kip makes his Heel-Face Turn
official and complete, by hoping that his newly developed sense of good behavior will rub off on his Prized Pop. And with that, Winky delivers the exit line: "Ssso beautiful," he leches at Vena, triggering the Everybody Laughs Uncomfortably Ending