Monday, March 3, 2014

Buck Rogers 2.8: “The Crystals”

Airdate: 3/5/81

Buck, Hawk and Wilma go exploring on a weird, earth-like planet with the intention of harvesting valuable red crystals that can be used as a power supply for the Searcher. Problem: an ostensibly inanimate mummy-like creature starts messing around with their shuttle – and later stealing their crystals. And then there’s a beautiful, white toga-wearing girl with no name or memory, but having a particular fondness for Buck. He and Wilma try to tap into her memory for more information, but they discover, along with Chrichton and his research, that the girl is part of species on an evolutionary track to transform into those beastly mummies. When she finds out, she’s horrified, but it turns out Chrichton was looking at his info backwards. That mummy is now a human – and the girl (whom Buck named Laura) is happy with her newfound companion.

Genuinely strange episode has a loopy plot and some pretty cheap-looking production values, starting with the “mummy monster,” which looks more like Swamp Thing than anything else. And who came up with the “reverse-evolution” idea that seems to threaten our maiden in distress? Silly, goofy stuff, barely redeemed by a early performance by Amanda Wyss as the girl. It’s sort of a throwback to the first season’s cavalcade of beauties. 

First episode to (finally) bring back Mel Blanc as the voice of Twikki. Evidently, there was a hue and a cry when Season 2 began without him. Unfortunately, they waited too long, and any Twikki fans by now had jumped ship.

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