'Flash Gordon' vs the prophecies
This week's episode picks up where last week's episode left off - with Baylin, Dale and Flash Gordon making their way to the Verden village to see why no one came to the Caves of Sorrow. I really don't think Baylin's going to like the answer to that quandary...
When they get to the village, they see black smoke rising from the grounds. Meanwhile, at Ming the Mild's palace, he and Rankol once again visit the clairvoyant scorpion cult who tell them that "A broken people will get aid from afar." Apparently dead, the chosen speaker pops back up and adds, "The Warrior-Child will take the place of the father." Ming, in all his self-centered ineptitude, continues to assume it's Prince Barin the prophecy speaks of but we all know better, don't we? Also, irritated by the vagueness of the prophecies, Ming the Flavorless says he should just learn the language of the monks. When Rankol says it takes a lifetime for someone to become a novice, Ming says that Rankol should learn it then since he says he so smart.
Back at the village, Flash and crew go around trying to aid any survivors laying around. They find a Verden man stuck in a Mongo bear-trap and try to free him as he tells them what happened - to punish them for Barin's attempt on his life, Ming the Flavorless demanded they all register to be "laborers." Those who refused stayed in the village, which was set upon by soldiers and rounded up. Suddenly, bounty hunters carrying guns interrupt them but they are quickly dispatched of (not so much Baylin since she's still suffering from the arrow wound inflicted last week but Dale manages to take out one of the dudes - huzzah for not being helpless!). Baylin wants to kill the downed hunters, but Flash and Dale talk her out if it. My guess is momentarily. The Man in the Trap tell them that others have been captured and sent of to be sold as slaves, which can't be fun so the Gordon Bunch set off to rescue them.
But first, Baylin takes them to a bar where there's a doctor - a doctor addicted to tea (which is some sort of liquid opiate), but a doctor nonetheless. He agrees to patch up the wounded Verden man in exchange for tea. While getting it, Baylin talks to the bar's owner and finds out there's a Terran man who quickly buys all the Verden that are placed on the market. Dale stays to look after the guy as Flash and Baylin head to the market.
Once there, they talk to one of the slave-traders and discover they just missed their window of opportunity - the Terran has beaten them to it and is quickly leaving the marketplace. Baylin and Flash give chase and catch up to him. Flash tackles him and tells the others to run and escape. Before they can pummel him, they remove his hood and discover it's Barin. He's been saving all the Verden he can and sending to the safety of a northern camp. To pay for them, he catches the scorpions (who are actually called celetroph - though I can't promise you I spelled it right) the cults use and sells them. Diluted, the celetroph venom acts as a hallucinogenic drug. Flash blames himself for putting Barin in this position, but Barin says the Ming's always been after him because of the prophecy that tells of a warrior that will bring about his downfall.
At the palace, Aura confronts Ming the Mundane about sending their best cook (and half his courtesans) to work in the mines just because their Verdans. He blames it on them not being trustworthy and when she asks if he's afraid of the prophesy, which she dismisses as being a rumor, he says no. But his back is turned so Aura doesn't see the fear in his eyes.
Flash and Baylin return to the bar to find that Dale and the wounded dude have been recaptured by the same bounty hunters who took them to the marketplace (they threatened the owner and barged their way into the back room). In order to save them, they'll need money and to get money, Flash says they're going to hunt for celetrophs. When they arrive at the hunting site, they see a bunch of the Cult's monks performing a ceremony and carrying off a dead guy. Baylin tells Flash that they're laying the guy to rest - he'd just been killed doing the same thing Flash is about to do. Once the monks are clear, they go over to a stump with a hole in it and Baylin explains the process to a very nervous Flash. He sticks his hand in the hole and gets one...that stings him. He freaks out until Baylin tells him that it was a male that stung him (males don't carry venom). Flash shakes it off and sticks his hand in again, this time catching a female. They put it in the basket and Flash is relieved, until Baylin tells him they'll have to catch six more in order to buy back Dale.
They arrive at the marketplace and buy back the wounded dude but find out they're too late to get Dale, who'd been bought by Ming the Mundane's courtesan catcher. Cut to the palace where Dale is trying to get the other girls to mount an escape. No one is paying attention and when the doors of the room open to reveal Ming, everyone bows except Dale. When Ming asks who'd dare, she turns around and he recognizers her. She sort of bows and he dismisses everyone else, leaving them alone. Dale engages him in conversation, somewhat playfully so as to hide her nervousness and disgust.
In the hallways of the palace, two guards stop Aura from passing. Suddenly they grab her, cover her mouth and drag her to a corner. She's freaked out until one of the soldiers removes his helmet to reveal Flash. He asks where Dale is but, as Aura doesn't like her, she has no intention of helping...until Barin removes his helmet and tells Aura he has information about her mother. Aura is interested, especially when Barin says that she's still alive but will only talk if she helps.
As Flash and Barin mount their rescue attempt, Baylin returns to the tea house and finds one of the bounty hunters there, whom she kills swiftly in bad-ass fashion.
Back at the courtesan room, Ming asks Dale what brings her there. When she says she's there to help out a Verden friend, it sets off a light bulb. He leaves shortly after and tells Dale to make herself comfortable because he might be a while. Also, when he returns they won't be talking anymore. Ick. Once gone, Dale looks around and finds a heavy metal bar attached to a mirror. She removes it and uses it to knock out the two guards outside the room. She takes off down the hallway and runs into two more guards, whom she begins to hit on the head with the bar. They tell her to please stop and take off their helmets - it's Flash and Barin. Reunited, they begin to make their way out of the palace. Dale tells them that she and Ming the Humdrum only talked, mostly about Barin and prophecies. She could tell that he was worried about them. Before they can make it out, they see and holo-announcement from Ming stating he will kill 10 Verden at sunrise and 10 more at sundown and so on until Barin turns himself in.
Regrouping at Barin's hideout, Flash, Dale and Baylin try to talk him out of turning himself in. Baylin says there are many that would gladly give their life for him but Barin refuses to let anyone die for him. She walks near him and says that she stands by him and Barin moves closer. In the background Dale and Flash look around and at each other and walk away as Barin kisses Baylin. He gives her his necklace and tells her to keep it safe for him, exiting to turn himself in. Barin arrives at the palace just in time to save the 10 Verden Ming the Flavorless was preparing to execute.
Setting the Verden free, Wounded Dude and some others arrive at Barin's hideout and find out what happened. Angered, WD says he and others are prepared to fight but Baylin says they should honor his memory by leaving the city and rebuilding their homes. But Flash has an idea. If Ming is so afraid of a prophecy, what if they change what it says?
Aura goes to see Barin in his cell and asks about her mother. He tells her to get a pendent made of memory stone from the Chamber of Archives and then return, but she already has it (she took it way back in episode #3 or so when Flash retrieved that sacred urn for the Omadrians). Barin tells her the stone carries her birth imprint and that it will glow whenever she's near someone related to her. When Aura asks where should start looking for her, he tells her to ask him tomorrow - if she wants to know more, she'll have to try and keep him alive.
Meanwhile, Flash, Barin, Dale and Wounded Dude gather to coordinate a fake prophecy ceremony. They've captured a celetroph that they're pretty sure is male and they also need two more to join the circle, WD says he knows many Verden who will gladly help. When Baylin says the prophecy speaker must look authentic, meaning bald and painted, Flash is about to say he'll do it until WD (who is already bald) volunteers. Flash is relieved and thankful.
At the ceremony chamber, Flash and Baylin surprise the lone monk there and knock him out, taking his torch and lighting the smoke beacon that signals that the Order of Celetroph is ready. Ming the Mild and Rankol show up and hear the adjusted "prophecy" - "In failure he triumphs, in death he rises." Ming figures out on his own that if he kills Barin now, he'll create a martyr so he decides to imprison him for life. Before the dolan (the translator) can leave, Rankol talks to him in their language. The dolan, who is Flash in disguise, says nothing back. Rankol leaves, thanking him for a most enlightening ceremony.
Aura brings Ming the Mundane some soup to comfort him. Really, she just testing to see if the glowing amulet works. It does. She then asks Ming to spare Barin's life out of respect for her. He agrees to let him live and Aura is happy, not knowing Ming's decision is all about self-preservation.
Back at the ceremony chamber, the real Dolan angrily confronts Rankol about the fake ceremony. Rankol says that Ming must never know about it or he may question the prophecy all together. He also believes this was meant to happen, that it was part of a long standing prophecy known as "The Day of False Truth." Turns out Rankol's the one who asked the monks to rescue Flash and return him to Earth a few episodes back. The Dolan wonders if Flash is the one they've been waiting for. Rankol doesn't know for sure, but they do know that he's passed the first test. Whatever that means.
Other Highlights & Tidbits
- I've really been impressed with the show the last two episode. Last week seemed to be a real breakthrough and tonight's episode was enjoyable all around. Let's hope the writers can keep it up.
- Ming's still not doing it for me, but he has improved. He's not nearly as intolerably boring as I found him at the beginning of the season. Or that could just be my cold medicine talking.
- There were a lot of great moments tonight but the funniest scene by far was when Flash was trying to catch the celetrophs. Eric Johnson really did an excellent job at being freaked out and scared.
- We're finally getting clued in on Rankol's secret machinations and I'm digging where this is going. The only thing I wonder is who's side is he really one? Obviously he's manipulating the prophecy info from the inside, but for whom? And how long has he known the monk's language?
Next Week: Dale's body gets taken over by some other entity. See what happens when you have to owe strange magical people favors?