Flash Gordon briefly interrupted its slide towards oblivion with the appearance of an actual plot in this episode. Ming actually planned to do something, and did it. Baby steps and all, but Painkiller Jane, a much better show, didn’t last out the season, so leaping and bounding is more the order of the day if the creators want to keep their franchise going.
In this ep, Ming sends a shapeshifting assassin whom I dub Darth Vader Lite for reasons that will be obvious to anyone who watches the show, to Earth – in the shape of Flash’s father! Good choice, because you just KNOW that at some critical moment Flash will get the drop on the guy and he’ll turn into dear old Dad and Flash will drop the ball big time. I mean, that’s what you’d expect from completely forumulaic scriptwriters.
Darth Vader Lite’s misson:
Gain a monopoly on the Rift technology developed by Flash’s father by killing off everyone associated with it by draining their memories into a data recorder – which amounts to two red-shirt scientists and Flash’s friend Dr. Jerkov … er, Zarkov.
This episode did contain some imaginative stuff, which was duly fumbled in its application. For example, Baylin eats a bomb – which is just a setup for an enormous burp as humor. Ooh, we’re so sophisticated in the 21st Century.
Well, if you read the spoiler you’re probably aware which of the assassin’s targets gets missed, ultimately causing the death of Darth Vader lite and leading to a messy cleanup problem involving his corpse and a data recorder which necessitated the appearance of the Interstellar Roomba, which looks and acts just like Earth Roombas except they fly and can vaccuum up corpses which is a real handy feature as anyone who has ever had to clean up a house filled with corpses left over from a busy Saturday night would know. Especially Ming the Merciless.
At the beginning of the episode Ming was being given a massage by a couple of pleasure slaves, then one left and we had just the one pleasure slave working on Ming’s calf with her elbow. Guess the erogenous zones are VERY different on Mongo. Ming starts babbling some stuff about pain and pleasure when his chief flunky Rancor rolls in for a chat, which I thought might lead somewhere interesting, but it didn’t, not in this episode, and frankly, if they do the BDSM as badly as they do everything else on Flash, I don’t wanna see it. I’m real sensitive that way.
Also, I note that the pleasure slave working over Ming’s calf with her elbow was a black woman. That’s the second black person in the show. Now BOTH black actors in Vancouver have work. And let’s see … football star … pleasure slave … I predict that the next black character we see will be a … drug dealer! I hope I win a valuable prize in the Stereotypical Lotto!
Baylin and Dale both had some nice character development in this episode. This wold make a pretty good soap opera if they’d just drop all that distracting business about aliens from Mongo invading Earth.