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Phase 21: Tandem Mirror

 

Review by Scott Richardson

June 20, 2006

 

Summary

 

Tanabe, Yuri, Fee, Lavie and Myers make a failed attempt to carry Fee's smoker's seat out of the office. Lavie suggests that it's more trouble than it's worth. An annoyed Fee reminds him that they're going to be on the Moon for half a month or more, and nobody wants a repeat of what happened the last time she couldn't get a smoke on the Moon. Just then, the spoiled son of an INTO chairman, Colin Clifford, walks up behind them and suggests that not smoking isn't a bad idea. He informs them that he'll be tagging along during their stint on the Moon helping clear debris from the tandem mirror engine meltdown. It seems he's now working for the INTO Development Inspector's Office, due to some string-pulling from his father. Meanwhile, Hachi and Hakim have made it to the third round of the Von Braun crew selection test, which is taking place on the Von Braun itself. For the next six months, they'll be working and living aboard the ship, learning her inside and out. Locksmith himself gives the remaining applicants a tour of the ship that will eventually fly to Jupiter. Back on Seven, Schwimmer sucks up to Colin, assigning him a few flight attendants (including Lucie) for his trip to the Moon with Debris Section. Privately, Yuri passes a com number to Tanabe, telling her it's the number for Von Braun applicants, normally only given to family members. Later, Hachi struggles to get to sleep, but is haunted by the reappearance of his inner demon, who suggests that Hachi is having second thoughts now that he's finally made it aboard the Von Braun. Hachi's demon wonders if Tanabe would be able to help him out, but Hachi reminds him that his future is on the Von Braun. Onboard Toy Box 2, Colin seems to have a fixation on Tanabe, in spite of (or because of) that time she punched him. He's called away by one of the flight attendants, which gives Lucie a chance to inform Tanabe that she will be going after Colin--for no reason other than his money and status. Back on the Von Braun, while performing maintenance on the tandem mirror engine, Hachi tells Hakim that he's realized that what he wanted wasn't his own ship, but to be on board the fastest and most powerful ship ever. Hakim seems less enthusiastic than usual, telling Hachi that not everyone is behind the Jupiter Project. Opposition movements have sprung up, mostly because only a handful of first-world nations will reap the benefits if they succeed. Hakim asks Hachi if he's ever had second thoughts. Hachi flatly informs him that he hasn't and tells Hakim that space will never be developed by people afraid to put their own dreams first. Their remaining conversation is interrupted by a fight between two other applicants. Hachi decides to ignore it until one of them grabs a cutting tool, at which point Hachi immediately launches himself at them, knocking them away and claiming the cutting tool. He yells at them for using something that could potentially damage 'his' ship. 

 

Toy Box 2 has arrived in lunar orbit, and Tanabe places a call to Hachi, who is rather surprised to see her. Tanabe explains that they were called to the Moon to help clean up the mess from the tandem mirror engine meltdown, especially as INTO is preparing to have a Supreme Council meeting on the Moon. Hachi cuts her off, coldly explaining that he has training this afternoon. Tanabe asks him not to hang up, saying that there so much she wants to talk to him about. She's felt out of the loop since he quit the company, but Hachi simply tells her that it was his decision and they each have their own separate lives. A bewildered Tanabe attempts to object, but is cut off by a sudden debris retrieval order. The crew expresses dissatisfaction with being deployed before they even land, but Colin takes the opportunity to order Fee to send out the cameras so he can perform his safety inspection. Claire looks over the orders and notes that there seems to be something odd about them. Fee chalks it up the useless Control Section workers, and mentions that there weren't many people up there nearly as good as Claire was at that job. Tanabe and Yuri exit the ship to examine the debris, and are surprised to discover that it is the mirror coil of the destroyed tandem mirror engine. They are even more surprised to discover what seems to be evidence that the destruction of the engine was intentional. The story quickly spreads that the meltdown was deliberately caused by the Space Defense Front. Watching the news report, Hakim thinks that it's strange that the Space Defense Front wouldn't claim responsibility for it. While on the Moon, Claire tells Colin that everything seems to have gone according to plan. Colin tells her that being too clever can be a problem, especially when you see things you aren't supposed to. They are interrupted by Lucie, who all but asks Colin out to dinner. Colin agrees, noting that it looks like they're done showing videos of Tanabe on the news. Tanabe doesn't like the attention, but Colin suggests a little media is a good thing, as it must be boring picking up garbage all the time. Tanabe goes off explaining how debris retrieval is necessary for space development, which should one day solve the world's energy problems and prevent wars, but is cut off suddenly by Claire who asks if Tanabe really believes all that. According to Claire, space development is doing nothing but widening the gap between the rich and poor nations of Earth. Tanabe attempts to argue back, but they're broken up by Fee. As Claire stalks out, she tells Tanabe that in the end, she's just one of the fortunate few. Elsewhere, Locksmith compliments Goro's work stabilizing the Von Braun's engine. Goro changes the subject by bringing up the Space Defense Front and asks Locksmith if the recent news is merely a lie. Locksmith looks surprised and tells Goro that he was told not to discuss the matter. Neither Goro nor Locksmith seems overly concerned and are merely amused by the whole thing. Meanwhile, artificial night has fallen on the Von Braun and Hakim leaves his room with two suitcases heading for the engine room. After disabling the security cameras, he begins to plant a bomb in the engine core, but is suddenly interrupted by Hachi, who has a wire anchor launcher aimed at the back of Hakim's head. Hakim asks him how long he's known. Hachi explains that it was during the fight earlier, Hakim didn't lift a finger, even though they were putting the Von Braun in danger. He also notes that ever since arriving on the Von Braun, Hakim has no longer had the cold edge he displayed during the earlier tests. Hachi angrily tells Hakim that he thought they were the same. Hakim asks Hachi if he's ever heard of a country called Mananga--Hakim's homeland. Crops won't grow there, but they had always gotten by thanks to the oil reserves there. As his story continues, Hakim begins floating towards Hachi, who warns him to keep back. Since most of humanity has now moved away from oil as their primary energy source, Mananga sank into poverty, which sparked a civil war. And now all the first world countries will only sell them anti-personnel mines and small arms. Hachi yells at Hakim to keep back, and his finger hesitates over the trigger. Hakim tells him that, as with the Moon, the resources of Jupiter will merely go to the few countries at the head of the pack in space development. Hakim asks Hachi if he remembers what happened to Temara and his spacesuit and suggests that he must have seen others that have been left behind as a result of space development. Hakim berates Hachi for seeing the world through rose-colored glasses and a panicking Hachi warns him that he'll shoot. Hakim merely says that Hachi's eyes aren't the eyes of a man who's capable of killing. And with that, Hakim floats past Hachi, telling him that, in the end, Hachi is just one of the fortunate few and that he shouldn't take about determination if he can't back it up with action. An enraged Hachi turns to shoot Hakim, but is thrown forward when Hakim detonates the bomb. Grabbing onto a rail and holding on as the explosion causes depressurization, all Hachi can think about his how Hakim has betrayed him. 

 

Commentary

 

The plot thickens. The guy Hachi looked up to and considered a comrade turns out to have a very different goal in mind. And for all Hachi's talk about doing whatever it takes to make it to Jupiter, when it came down to it, he was unable to kill the one threatening to destroy the Von Braun. It seems Hachi hasn't changed as much as he thought he had. It's also interesting to watch the growing parallels between Tanabe and Claire's relationship and Hachi and Hakim's. Both Claire and Hakim refer to Tanabe and Hachi as 'one of the fortunate few' after lecturing them about the poverty gap on Earth.

 

Overall Rating

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4 out of 5 stars
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Planetes Episode 21 Planetes Episode 21

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