Princess Ardala (Pamela Hensley) is back in Ardala Returns. Written by Chris Bunch, this episode first debuted on 24 January, 1980.
Ardala and Kane (Yay Michael Ansara!) are having issues with the new Draconian Ratchet fighters, since Kane updated them, none of the pilots are good enough to handle them. So a plan is concocted, if they can get their hands on the best pilot they know, Buck Rogers (Gil Gerard), they can create robotic clones, they call zygots, to fly them, and lead the attack on Earth.
When one of the zygots infiltrates Earth, Wilma (Erin Gray) and Huer (Tim O’Connor) may be in danger, as they are also designed to be nuclear explosives! Wilma figures it out just in time, and is able to launch a rescue mission to recover their lost friend, and Twiki (Felix Silla, voiced by Mel Blanc).
Buck figures a way to interrupt the computer intelligence of the zygots with a little help from the droid, and works on foils the Draconian plans from the heart of their starship.
And while Ardala looks as sensual and beguiling as ever, there’s also some nice character beats for her when she realizes that the zygots still don’t compare to the real thing, and no matter what she feels for him, whether it be real affection and attraction or just temporary lust, she’s a little sad and lonely.
But we don’t get a lot of time to think about that, as the story races along, embracing its campier elements, and letting Gerard mug wonderfully, while Hensley wanders around sets reminding me of the huge crush I had on her as a child.
Twiki is Missing is a simplistic tale that was written by Jaron Summers and first aired on 31 January, 1980.
There’s an interesting idea about using space bergs (frozen asteroids of oxygen) to replenish the atmosphere, but I don’t think that’s how science works, and the way it is explained in the episode seems to ignore the fact that if this asteroid struck the planet it would be an extinction level event – but apparently, they have a way to guide it right to one of the poles, and transmute it from its frozen form to a breathable gas.
And Wilma is overseeing the whole thing, leaving Buck and Twiki to get themselves into trouble again.
It seems Kurt Belzack (John P. Ryan) is less than impressed with his planet’s labor force, they constantly disappoint him. But when one of his lackeys points out that there is a drone that could do the job, and has enough personality and individuality to make informed decisions, more so than most mechanical life, Belzack orders its capture.
The subject, Buck’s drone, Twiki. Belzack sends three psychokinetically empowered women, led by Stella (Anne-Marie Martin) to meet with Buck and buy Twiki from him so that they can replicate him, and institute him and his copies as a slave work force.
Buck sets off to rescue his friend, gets captured, Twiki sets out to rescue his friend, gets captured, they escape together, grab some explosives, and find a way to stop the space-berg from crashing into Earth.
It’s fast-paced, simplistic, and if it wasn’t obvious before (and it was) all the special effects shots at this point are all reused. It’s sad that the series wanted to be more camp than smart science fiction adventure, but everything in this season is much stronger than what waits for us in a few short episodes when we hit the disastrous season two.