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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

From Beyond Television: Ultraseven Episode #17


Episode Seventeen: UNDERGROUND: GO! GO! GO! (also listed as DOWN UNDER THE GROUND) ***

Dubbed title: CAVE-IN

A cave-in traps Jiro, a miner, 3,000 feet below the Earth's surface. The Ultra Guard is asked to help in learning of the cause of the disruption inside the cave. Referred to as the "Miracle Man", the Ultra Garrison learn that Jiro had previously survived a fall from a 700 foot cliff! Moroboshi senses something unusual while in the cave. Upon descending further, Dan learns just who Jiro is -- he's his other self; the human form Ultraseven rescued from the mountain fall before he copied his human form. Using a drilling attack vehicle called the Magma-lizer, the Ultra Guard dig through the rock to find Jiro before the confined area fills up with gas. Trapped beneath the Earth, the Ultra Guard discover an advanced civilization buried inside the rocks below.

This is the second robotic enemy, an entire city of them in fact. These robots are slow moving and make these curious turkey gobble sounds in what I assume is their form of communication. Moroboshi is captured for study and has his Ultra Eye briefly swiped from his person. He uses his telepathic abilities (Force Powers for you STAR WARS folk) to procure it to transform into Ultraseven and rescue Jiro before he dies from asphyxiation. 

There's no major monster battle, nor does Seven go Giant. The hero from another world is only onscreen for a minute or so, but the storyline is so good, brimming with grand themes, it's saddening when it's over. This would make a great full length feature.

It's a shame though, that the connection between Jiro and Moroboshi isn't elaborated on in greater detail. As it is, it's just simply glossed over; but then this episode already throws far too many ideas at the viewer that cannot sustain a 25 minute running time. However, we at least learn where the original form for U7 came from. As opposed to possessing the actual body, the friendly alien made a copy of it. In fact, there's lots of body copying going on in this series.

With this show taking place underground, images of RODAN may begin dancing in your head, but there's no giant man-eating insects found here. Instead, there's a fascinating, if brief introduction of a city beneath the Earth. 

This underground city is at the center of a questionable moment during the end when the Ultra Guard set bombs to destroy this bizarre robotic civilization. They never once make an attempt to communicate with the robotic denizens, and are only too quick to blow the place up. It's totally uncharacteristic of the Terrestrial Defense Force to do this. These aliens from inner Earth never present themselves as enemies, the TDF just treats them as such. This plot point (likely inserted to get the show over with) is the other thing that mars an otherwise nifty action-suspense programmer.

In addition, this episode introduces a new mech -- the Magmalizer, a tank-like vehicle with an enormous drill at the front capable of digging through solid rock. It also has a red-hued laser and comes equipped with bombs.

WEAPONS: Ultra Hawk #3, Magmalizer

To be continued in Episode Eighteen: ESCAPE SPACE X!!!

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