Finalewatch: 'Flash Gordon'
My fine friends, this be the end. The first season finale of Flash Gordon. One last opportunity for a disfiguring accident to happen to Ming the Mild...
We pick up where we last left Flash - in a secret component of Rankol's lab with Zarkov and Baylin watching his newly freed father convulsing after being unhooked from a machine that was wired into his head. Panicked, Flash asks Zarkov what to do and he suggests an electrical current might help. It's the only plan they've got so Zarkov pulls a giant cord out of the wall and hands it to Flash. When Baylin asks if he's sure this won't kill Papa G, Flash tests the level of the shock on himself and survives so he places the exposed wires on Dad's temples long enough to give him a good healthy dose. Dr. Gordon stops shaking and, after a moment of uncertainty, is okay. They get him up and begin their escape from the city.
In the throne room, Ming the Mundane addresses some higher ranking Cobra Troopers. He says that the deviate insurgents are spreading rumors and, as a safeguard, orders them to shoot all Deviates and sympathizers on sight. The eye-patch wearing head of military walks in with a few guards and a man who Eyepatch identifies as a Deviate envoy delivering a holodisk message. In it, Terek tells Ming the Bland that his reign is at an end and calls for his surrender. Ming considers his answer as Eyepatch tells him of Terek's massive army that is now gathering outside the gates of Nascent City. Back at the camp, Terek is antsy and Rankol notes that surely he can wait a little longer if it means avoiding bloodshed. Which of course was never going to happen as Ming the Lover of Executions replies with a holodisk of his own showing him slicing the throat of Terek's messenger leaving him no choice but to order the attack.
Elsewhere, Dale and Mama G make their way towards the city. Seeing the explosions in the distant, Dale tells Mama G that Flash is almost certainly in the middle of what's going on. And he is, though he doesn't mean to be. Flash, Papa G, Baylin and Zarkov make their way through the marketplace, past fleeing denizens and avoiding rubble. They get into the water tunnels and let Papa G rest. Flash tells Baylin that he's dehydrated so Baylin says she will take Zarkov to get supplies and then stay in the city to open the gate for Terek's troops. Flash doesn't like the idea of her running around alone but she says she must help.
At the Deviate camp, Aura asks what Terek thinks he's doing and tries to make him promise not to kill Ming the Terrible Father. He can't because he and the rest of his forces are determined to do whatever it takes to bring Ming the Mild to justice. Aura tries to get Rankol on her side but Rankol agrees with Terek as they need to strike before the Cobra Troopers are recalled from their ice battle in Frigia. They argue about loyalty until Terek tells them to stow it. She pleas one more time for Ming the Mercilessly Dull's life, saying that he's their father to which Terek replies, "he may be your father, but he's not mine."
Speaking of Ming the Terribly Boring, in his throne room he sends a squad of Cobra Troopers to find Aura. Azura shows up and offers her tribe's assistance in exchange for ruling along his side as his Queen. To her surprise, he agrees and she gives him a pendent for protection. He says he doesn't need her magic, that he'll determine his own fate but takes the necklace anyway.
Zarkov and Baylin go to the nearly deserted Teahouse (the guy who helped them lure Lenu the Science Chick out into the open is there getting high) and get what they need. Zarkov makes one last attempt to talk her out of going off on her own but she she says she must. Someone has to take out perimeter defenses so Terek's troops can get into the city.
Flash and Dr. G make it to hideout and catch up some. When he asks about Mrs. G, Flash reassures him that she's not with anyone. He also mentions that he's going to go back and take out the rift generator. Dr. G tells him that if they take the zerillium core offline, they can destroy the generator without poisoning everyone and everything. There's a self-destruct mechanism hardwired into the thing which they can activate but catch is they need a key to get to the core...and Ming the Mild wears it as an insignia on his jacket. Before Flash can head back to the palace to retrieve the key, Dale arrives to his surprise. But there's plenty of surprise to go around as Dale sees Dr. G and vice versa and then everyone but dale is surprised when Mrs. G walks in. Dr. and the Mrs. embrace as Zarkov shows up with the supplies.
Upset by the recent turn of events, Aura left the deviate camp and walks through the woods. She is caught by Cobra Troopers who inform her that they've been ordered to bring her to the palace. She says good because that's where she's headed and pulls a gun on one of them, demanding they drop their weapons. Aura ties them up and steals the uniform from one of them that seems to be physically bigger than her in a way to make fitting into his togs preposterous. Funny how, out of everything, this is the only thing I find preposterous.
Dale fills Flash and Zarkov in on how she aired the news piece about Mongo and had to run from the government agents sent after her. Zarkov is worried about the spooks going through his lab and his RV but Dale tells him he won't have to worry about the RV. Another explosion hits and more rubble falls prompting Flash to say it's time to get the elder Gordons to safety.
In the city, Baylin creeps around and is spotted by a Trooper. She tries to fire at him but her laser gun jams as another pops up behind her. She, of course, takes them out steals their weapons.
Ming the Impatient barges in on the Celetroph Monks and demands a prophecy by gunpoint. When the prophecy is given, the Dolan translates it as "The father falls, the son rises, a world is reborn." Ming asks when that's supposed to happen and when the Dolan says now, Ming the Nonbeliever of Simple Answers refuses to accept it and demands another reading. The Dolan says that it's not possible but Ming grabs the scorpion out of the basket and stings another monk who gives the same prophecy, much to Ming the Hardheaded's chagrin. He goes through every monk but the Dolan, killing them without getting a different answer. Super ticked, Ming storms out as the Dolan calls after him, "Your fate cannot come soon enough!."
Working their way through the tunnels, Flash tells Zarkov and Dale to find a rift access point and get his parents to safety. Dr. G insists on seeing this destruction plan through while Mrs. G refuses to leave Dr. G's side so a perturbed Flash alters the plan - Zarkov and Dale will lead his parents to the generator where he'll meet them after gathering supplies. Dale asks exactly where he's going and he tells her that he's going after Ming the Unreasonable. He asks that she take care of his parents should happen to him and, before he leaves, lays a big old smooch on her.
Flash sneaks into the palace for the 37th time in a single day and heads to an armory where a lone Cobra Trooper inspects his equipment. Instead of stunning him with the gun he's carrying, Flash stealthes up behind the Trooper and karate chops him in the trachea, knocking him out. Awesome. Concurrently, Ming the Denier of Reality stalks into his throne room and tells his cyclopean army general that he doesn't need monks, that he makes his own fate and orders his battle gear be brought to him. He suits up with Eyepatch's help and tucks Azura's pendent under his shirt stating that he took this planet with his bare hands and he'll protect it the same way. Meanwhile, Flash is also suiting up in Trooper armor and, after he's finished, stalks his way through the halls, taking out inept guards and creepy blue men two at a time.
As Ming the Stubborn goes through battle plans with Eypatch, a Cobra Trooper shows up and shoots Patchy McCyclops who falls to the ground unconscious. It's Aura and, when Ming asks where she's been, she shows incredibly bad judgment by telling dear old dad that she's on Terek's side. He flips out as she tries to get him to surrender, which he naturally refuses to do. When she calls him "Father" he denounces her which offends Aura as stills loves him after all the awful things he's done to her and everyone else. When Ming asks why she betrayed him, she responds "because you have become something dark and terrible" and tries to get him to surrender again. He places his hand on her cheek and I'm sure this isn't going to end well.
As the Elder Gordons, Zarkov and Dale make their way to the generator, a blue dude pops up with a gun. They all gasp and Mrs. G punches him in the face, knocking him out. You know, Azura was bragging how they're some of the most feared warriors on Mongo and I'm not really seeing that. I've seen toddlers with better fighting skills. Zarkov wishes Baylin were there and when he tells Dale what she's up to, she goes after her. Dale makes her way through the city with a big old zap gun and finds Baylin who has an idea. Dale pretends to have captured Baylin and, when they get close enough, the two ladies take out the guards at the city gate. Dale's aim has improved. Once they open the gate, the combined might of Mongo's cantons comes storming with Terek and Rankol walking in with them. Terek thanks Dale and Baylin and says they'll have groups secure the streets after he goes and takes care of dear old dad.
So remember how I said that whole hand on the cheek thing wasn't going to end well? I was right because Ming the Unnecessarily Violent has Aura on the ground and is tenderly choking her to death when Flash shows up and knocks him off her. They exchange blows and Flash eventually gains the upper hand, giving Ming a taste of his own throat-squeezing medicine. But Flash says he won't kill him, unfortunately, and this pause gives Ming enough time to pull out a knife and takes a couple slashes at him. They exchange words (Flash basically tells Ming that karma's come to bite him in the hindquarters) as Ming the Choker of Women tries to cut him. Flash eventually elbows him in the nose and grabs the insignia off Ming's Trooper armor. Ming battles back and somehow gets Flash backed into the corner with his knife to his throat screaming, "This is Sparta!"...er, I mean "I rule Mongo!" "Not anymore," responds Aura, who's got her breath back and a gun to daddy dearest's head.
Flash and Aura take a shackled Ming the Defeated to a holding cell. Aura apologizes and Ming says to spare him her pity. Vestra calls to Aura from a nearby cell - she tells Pops that she didn't think she could hate him more than she already does. When Flash and Aura release her, Vestra reveals that she's been force-fed gray water and Aura explains to Flash why (so people would think she was the deviate, not Ming). Aura says she doesn't expect Vestra to break the blood oath (and kill her) by admitting it, but she's proud to call her mother nonetheless. Flash asks if she'll be okay, and Aura says she will be with some fresh source water. He tells Aura that he has to get his parents back home and when she asks if she'll see him again he responds, "Don't take this the wrong way, but I hope not." They hug and he heads off to the rift generator.
Once in Rankol's lab, Flash gives the insignia to Zarkov and they unlock the power core. Dr. G puts the Imex in the machine and Zarkov starts pushing buttons as Baylin and Dale arrive. They deactivate the core and Zarkov activates a rift. Flash sends the Elder Gordons through first with the Imex and Dr. G reminds him that they only have 30 seconds before the thing implodes after activating the self-destruct. After they're through, the self-destruct sequence is activated and Team Flash begin to argue about Baylin wanting to stay behind. Suddenly, two blue men pop up and open fire. Since Baylin's gun isn't working, Flash "surrenders" to draw the blue men in and so they can beat them up as he yells to Zarkov and Dale to go through the rift. They don't, of course, and go to intervene when the blue men have their friends up against the walls. Dale knocks Flash's attacker on the back of the head with a gun while Zarkov pushes away Baylin's blue adversary. A ripple from the machine pulses through the room and closes the rift. Everyone hits the deck as the room shakes and the generator explodes. Everyone but the blue men survive, of course.
In the throne room, Terek and Aura speak about the fate of their father. Terek tells her that killing him is the only way - he can't be controlled as she suggests. His satisfaction at being there coupled with a familiar, "reassuring" kiss on the forehead leaves Aura looking suspicious. Later, Ming the Defeated walks down a long corridor lined with denizens of Mongo before coming to a stop in front of the twins, their mother, and Rankol. He asks Aura if this is what she wants. When Terek says yes, Ming the Instigator asks if "the deviate speaks for you now." She states that she speaks for herself and says a tearful goodbye. He says that she's finally a daughter he could be proud of before being lead into the execution chamber. Worst. Father. Ever. The executioner pulls the lever and smoke fills the chamber as Ming the Haughty proudly stands and looks Aura in the eye, breathing in the toxin without flinching. However, when the smoke clears, he's disappeared leaving Azura's amulet floating in the air and everyone looking a perplexed.
Back in the generator room, Team Flash say their goodbyes to Baylin...prematurely. See, the implosion ended up caulking the wobbly grout between the two worlds which means they'll be stuck on Mongo while the Elder Gordons are on Earth. Flash looks beyond the camera and says, "I guess the adventure isn't quite over." Indeed.
Other Highlights & Tidbits:
- Oh, please let Ming's spirit be transferred into another body. Please, please, please! What would be really interesting is if his spirit is trapped in that amulet and Terek puts it on and gets taken over. Because Terek would make a much better villain and that would make a good arc for next season - the slow realization that Terek has been possessed and trying to figure out how to reverse it. And, even if that doesn't happen, Ming the Mundane can have a little work done to look different so no one could recognize him as he plots to retake his throne. Really, I'm just saying recast. No offense, John Ralston.
- Seriously, seeing Flash karate chop that one Cobra Trooper made me laugh out loud. It made watching this season totally worth it.
- I still think there's something more to the prophecies that we've already heard. I almost feel like they're about two different people and have been mixed together...
Quote of the Night:
"Ok, if we get out of this, this'll be a little awkward." - Flash to Dale after kissing her
Alright, what did you guys think? Did the season end on a high note after starting on such a low one? What would you like to see happen next season? Who would you want to play Ming?