Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Buck Rogers 2.12: “Testimony of a Traitor”

Airdate: 4/9/81

While in earth’s orbit, the Searcher is boarded by an intergalactic consulate, hell-bent on arresting and tying for treason – none other than Buck! Apparently, they have a 500-year old videotape unearthed from an ancient air force base showing Buck scheming, in 1987, a preemptive nuclear attack on U.S. enemies – most likely leading to the nuclear holocaust that occurred later that year. Yes, the tape is pretty damining, but Goodfellow suggests Buck undergo a mind probe to prove his innocence. It winds up doing more harm than good as the memory scan seems to reveal Buck’s further compliance in the plot, and everyone prepares for the worst; in this case – execution, the mandatory penalty for treason. But Buck keeps getting strong memory flashes of Mt. Rushmore, so Hawk and Wilma fly him to earth to actually see the monument in hopes of jogging his memory. It works; one final courtroom brainscan reveals the president, at his secret base in Rushmore, had made Buck the inside man to investigate renegade activities within the air force. (They had to hypnotize him for such a top secret job so he could never remember what he was part of.)

Another great job by Buck’s writers – it cobbles together parts of The Wrong Man and The Manchurian Candidate to fashion one hell of a potboiler. Of course, even if Buck is guilty, there must be some kind of statute of limitations to keep him from getting charged with something that happened 500 years earlier, but we’re not to ask such questions. (Never mind that that tape is in pretty good condition for its age – I have tapes less than 20 years old that are unplayable!) Not bad for Buck’s penultimate adventure. On to the finale!

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