'Flash Gordon' vs the ides of Mongo
In this week's penultimate episode of Flash Gordon, the cantons of Mongo prepare for revolution, we find out yet another surprise about Ming the Mundane, and Flash gets what he came for in the first place...sort of.
Flash arrives at the Deviate encampment and sees them stockpiling weapons. Terek is preparing for a hostile takeover and has invited emissaries from some of the other major cantons to join but he needs Flash to speak on his behalf - the others still have trust issues with the Deviates. When Terek suggests helping him in this fashion is the reason he's come to Mongo, Flash says he's only there to find his father but agrees nonetheless. They shake on it and the crowd cheers, save for one man wearing a mask and cloak.
In the palace, Ming the Irritable remarks to Rankol that the people are restless and angry and that they're short of water. Rankol mentions that if he hadn't poisoned the water they stole, people wouldn't be so cheesed. But Ming the Unreasonable needs water so he orders that the Frigian ice fields be taken by force despite Rankol's concerns about stretching their Cobra Troopers thin and the strength of Queen Fria's small but steadfast army.
Afterward, Aura visits Rankol and warns him that Ming is questioning his loyalties. After a veiled exchange, Rankol states that he stands behind the ruler of Mongo, whomever that may be. Satisfied, Aura leaves.
Ming the Confused consults the Dolan about the prophecy because he's trying to make sense of everything while Rankol hovers in the background. Originally believing Baron to be the Prophetic One, he banished him to some far off place but now all of a sudden the prophecy points to the Deviate son he believed to be dead. When the Dolan refuses to comment on Ming's ruminations using the excuse of not being into politics as he a man of faith, Ming gets super-pissy and says that no one must hear about any of this before shoving the sacred prophecy pages off the table and exiting in a huff.
Back at the camp, Flash addresses the canton leaders including Bulgar of the Turin (aka the Sabretooth Squad), Vultan of the Hawkmen and Vestra who tempers their suspicions by saying Flash is a friend to them all and they should hear him out. Flash says that it's time for Ming the Mild to be taken down and introduces Terek as the only man he can trust to do this. As Terek speaks, the masked man picks his way through the crowd, eyes locked on Terek. Flash notices as Prophecy Boy addresses everyone with words that hit home. As he preaches about a free Mongo, a Mongo for the people, Flash sees the masked man pull out a gun. Flash knocks Terek out of the way just in time. In order to escape, Masked Man takes a hostage, throws a flash bomb and flees the scene with Flash and Vultan hot on his heels.
They track him through the woods and Vultan notices the assassin met up with a group of people, Flash adding that he split off from the group again (he's picked up some tracking skills apparently). Vultan continues to follow the trail while Flash goes in another direction. Searching alone, Vultan passes a tree which the assassin drops out of. He holds a gun to the Hawkman's head...until Flash pops up behind him and punches him, snatching the gun out of his hand and pushing him into the tree. They unmask him and discovered that he is a Zurin spy (remember the angry, murderous blue people?). Azura, their Go'auld-like leader, directed him to spy on the Deviates. He's told others so the news is on its way back to her and after that... Ming. Vultan commends him on confessing, thereby ensuring an honorable death. Yes, he slit the Zurin's throat. Flash didn't appreciate it and asks why. Vultan answers, "Because this is war."
After receiving news that his troops aren't fairing well in Frigia, Ming burst into the Celetroph Order's prep ceremony demanding a reading now but the Dolan tells him that the monk's are not prepared. Ming sees Rankol there in robes and is surprised - Dolan tries to cover by saying that he's just trying to learn the language to better serve but Ming the Lover of Executions ain't buying it. Rankol says he's always been loyal but Ming calls BS and says that he'll never fall for the false prophecies or Rankol's false loyalties again.
Meanwhile, Aura shows up at the Deviate camp because she wants to help with the revolution. Terek tells her she should've stayed away like he said but she's insists that she's more than capable of taking care of herself and wants to fight. Terek agrees and sends Aura on an important mission - to raid the weapons facility in Nascent City. She's taken aback but Terek adds that depleted forces in the city means a quicker surrender and less fatalities and sends her off with a strike team. Before she leaves, Aura runs into Vestra and stops to speak with her. She just happens to have her birth rock with her and it glows. When pressed to admit she is her mother, Vestra denies it repeatedly and walks away, stating she hopes a tearful Aura can be with her mother one day.
While all of this has been going on, Baylin and Zarkov are on a mission to find then steal back the Imex and if possible destroy the rift generator. Zarkov also mentions the possibility that Papa Gordon is still alive and she says that they shouldn't tell Flash in case it isn't true. They easily make it back to Rankol's lab as all the guard have been pulled either for crowd control or to fight in Frigia. The only problem is Rankol has installed a blood lock - they'll need Rankol's blood to get in. Baylin and Zarkov go to the Dolan to find Rankol and are told that he's been taken away to be executed. Finding him in a detainment cell, Rankol freely gives up some plasma and asks that they set him free. Baylin doesn't really trust him but Zarkov wants to let him out, especially after he states that he kept Papa Gordon close to him to ensure his safety. Baylin stuns Rankol unconscious after Zarkov unlocks the cell. Better safe than sorry.
When Vultan and Flash return to the camp and tell Terek what happened and what they learned, Terek says that his hand has been forced and they must make their move tonight before Ming is warned. So Flash better haul ass and get anyone he wants to be safe out of Nascent City.
Aura walks through the halls with her strike force disguised in robes and runs into Ming the Panicked who's followed by guards. When asked where she's been, she says that she was organizing a civic protection force. Blowing them off, he demands Aura come with him. She signals for the team to wait as she speaks with Daddy Dearest in private. He reveals that Rankol betrayed him and laments how no one is loyal to him despite how much he's done for the city. Aura echos Rankol's earlier statement that maybe they'd be loyal if he wasn't such a damn liar. She then drops the bomb that she knows Vesta is her mother. Ming asks who told her and she says that it doesn't matter because he should have told her. But she's figured out why Ming the Irrational hates Terek and Deviates so much - it's because Vestra is a "pure blood" and Ming is the deviate. He denies it but she says it explains everything. Ming the Bender of Truths claims her mother was a under-cover Deviate courtesan, says Terek will never be his son and states if Vestra claimed Aura it's because she wants to elevate her status. Aura tells him that he's lying and shows him the birth stone, saying it doesn't lie. Completely thrown, he calls for the guards to take her to her chambers until she comes to her senses.
Flash pops up in the hallway Aura is being lead away through and takes out the two Cobra Troopers escorting her. She tells Flash of her mission and, initially, he's concerned for her safety. When she once again asserts that she can take care of herself, Flash smiles and agrees, giving her a somewhat awkward hug before continuing on his way. He finds Baylin and Zarkov in Rankol's lab (they dabbed some blood on some cloth and pressed it against the sensor) and they find the Imex. When Zarkov removes it from it's pedestal (it's hooked directly into the rift generator) an alarm sounds and they take off.
After Aura and the strike team successfully loots the weapons facility, they bring the guns back to camp to cheers. She finds Rankol there (he'd arrived earlier and pledged his support to Terek) and they speak, recognizing that they're on the same side for the same reason for a change. Aura then speaks with Terek, telling him she found out that Vestra is their mother. When he tells her he knew, she's less than pleased. He explains that he couldn't tell her because of the blood oath Vesta took that would kill Aura, but Aura insists that he has no right to decide what she should or shouldn't know. He agrees and tells her that they're attacking tonight. She's surprised and concerned but Terek tells her it's now or never. Later, Terek addresses the troops to prepare them for battle. He tells them that this will be difficult but, no matter whether they live or die, they will still win. They all cheer, united.
Speaking of Vestra, Ming the Predictable had some Cobra Troopers capture her. Upset that she didn't guard their little birthing secret better, he has the guards take her away. Only he doesn't kill her. When he visits her, strapped down in a chair in a cell, Vestra pleads that he not hurt Terek and Aura. He may let Aura live but Terek has to die for the very same reason she's being punished the way she's about to be. They bring in Gray Water and force feed it to her. See, when the people find out that Terek is a Deviate and Ming the Cowardly's son, they'll try to determine which parent has the deviation. Since the Gray Water is directly responsible for mutation, everyone will think it's her and he'll be able to continue to hide his true nature.
Elsewhere in the palace, Flash, Baylin and Zarkov travel through the air ducts to escape from Rankol's lab undetected. They find a hidden room and Zarkov wonders if this is what Rankol was talking about earlier - keeping Papa Gordon close. They enter the room and see a giant computer hub. Zarkov studies it while Flash walks around to the other side and finds...his dad. Laying in a chair with lighted tubes attached to his head. Baylin and Flash are momentarily speechless and when Zarkov asks what they found as he walks to join them, he too is speechless while Flash quietly answers, "My father." Zarkov takes a look at the wires and bits hooked up to Papa G's head and is the first thing the good doctor sees when he opens his eyes. When he sees Flash he's happy but confused. Dr. Gordon insists that it's safe to unhook him so they can escape...only it's not because shortly after Flash removes a big old wire from the back of his head, Papa begins convulsing and Flash panics.
To be continued.
Other Highlight & Tidbits:
- Dale shows the Mongo piece she filmed to her boss, Mr. Mitchell (who people will recognize as General Hammond from Stargate SG-1), who likes her moxy but doesn't believe her and won't air it. Dale sneaks the piece on air anyway and I'm doubly sure Joe's stupidity has infected her. Later two men in black suits and sunglasses appear at her apartment. They ask about the Portage Initiative and the location of Zarkov. She stalls by saying she has to get changed and escapes out her bathroom window as they break in with their guns drawn. She speeds to meet Mama Gordon at a diner and tells her she aired the story and what happened. The Suits show up shortly after and Nora and Dale escape out back. They go to Zarkov's lab and grab the extra keys to his RV and the rift blaster. They travel to a remote location where Dale finds an active rift. Upon opening it, the suits appear and are speeding towards them in a giant black car. Dale and Mama Gordon get back into the RV and Dale punches it towards the rift, making it through just in time with the rift closing behind them and arriving on Mongo in one piece.
- Terek continues to be enjoyable despite his limited screen time. I commend him and almost all the other actors for growing so much in a single season.
- Ming the Mild actually had a few decent moments today. I thought the confrontation scene with Aura went well. Like I've been saying, it's not that John Ralston is a bad actor, they just didn't go big enough with the character. You can tell the writers had been really trying to give him something to work with but, while improved, it's still not there yet.
- The Cobra Troopers siege on the Frigian land will never work because they suck so hard. It's a wonder anyone is kept in line at all. I wonder if they're so bad because Ming keeps executing them as a pick me up when he has a bad day. Because Ming loves him some executions.
- On a random girly note, I really dug what Aura was wearing this episode - it had a modified 40's glam movie double agent feel.