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Phase 8: A Place to Cling to

 

Review by Scott Richardson

May 24, 2006

 

Summary

 

Back from the Moon, Tanabe and Hachi are put right back to work. They chat about their trip for a while before two other workers float by and greet Hachi. They compliment Hachi on Toy Box's stuffed cargo bay, but say that it's not so surprising considering that Toy Box is Fee's ship. Apparently, Fee is rather well-known and respected around Seven. Meanwhile, in an executive cafeteria, Fee makes small talk with Division Manager Dolf--telling him that she saw Chad on the Moon and shows him and old picture Chad gave her of Fee, Dolf, Chad and some others. It seems that Dolf wasn't always the hard-faced stoic he is now. Maintaining his composure, Dolf tells Fee that there's something he needs to discuss with her. On the other side of the room Lavie is meeting with some other Technora executives, when he spies Dolf and Fee. Leaping straight to the wrong conclusion, Lavie goes back to Debris Section and tells everyone that Fee and Dolf must be dating--despite the fact that Fee is married and has a son. Tanabe takes exception to the idea that Fee would have an affair, but Hachi chimes in that husbands and kids wouldn't matter much if she's in love. An irate Tanabe decides she'll prove Fee's innocence herself--by asking the division manager directly. Tanabe heads for Control Section with Hachi in tow trying to dissuade her from her suicidal course of action. At the door they run into Claire who tells them that they should get back down to Half Section. Ignoring this, Tanabe tells her they've got something to ask the manager but Claire snootily responds that she shouldn't stick her nose into other's private lives. Elsewhere, Fee reads a letter from her son, who tells her to keep working hard. Apparently, Dolf offered her a promotion to Control Section. She rebuffed him by saying she belongs out in the field, but Dolf argues that he needs someone who knows what it's like out there. There's a limit to what you can do in the field, and according to Dolf that's the reason they are in Technora now. Fee sighs that she can't even remember that reason anymore. Just then Tanabe sneaks up behind her and says that she needs to ask her a question... Fee's roundhouse sends Lavie flying into a wall, even as he apologizes profusely. As Fee begins to calm down a bit, Yuri asks her what she and the division manager actually were talking about. She explains that they used to work together in their old company--Traum Space Development; a small, close-knit venture--which was founded by Dolf and eventually bought out by Technora. Meanwhile, Debris Section has been assigned a very unique piece of debris--codenamed Ghost. This debris was part of an INTO military experiment and does not show up on radar. Even worse, when exposed to the sun, it becomes an unstable ball of goo. Debris Section will have to catch it on the night side with no radar for exact positioning. Ghost has foiled many other attempts at collection, and Fee sarcastically remarks that capturing it would be a good excuse for a promotion. Down in Debris Section, Lavie has learned about Fee's promotion from another executive who was none too please about it. He immediately tells everyone about it and wonders why she didn't tell them. Hachi gives it some thought and decides that Fee's probably just worried that they can't handle the job without her. Touched by her concern, he announces that they're going out on this next mission on their own, to prove to Fee that she doesn't have to worry about them and can take her new promotion with a clear conscious. 

 

As Fee is wrapping up the mission briefing for Ghost, she notes her surprise at seeing Lavie and Myers attending. They make up excuses while Edel fakes a phone call from Control Section and tells Fee that they've pushed the mission back six hours. The group insists that Fee should use the time to get some sleep, as this mission will require quite a bit of concentration. With Fee safely out of the way, Toy Box heads out with Yuri as the pilot, Lavie working the robot arm, Hachi and Tanabe on EVA and Myers managing. After spending a while staring into space, they finally manage to locate Ghost and Hachi and Tanabe head out in a Fishbone. They plant a beacon on its hardened surface only to learn that the predicted orbit was off and they have only 15 minutes to secure it before they reach day side. Though it takes a few attempts, Lavie eventually manages to grab hold of Ghost with the robot arm. Unfortunately, their celebration is interrupted by the sun creeping over the horizon. Becoming unstable, Ghost bloats up and liquefies, enveloping half the Fishbone, as well as Hachi and Tanabe. Lavie futilely tries to get a grip on the goo while Yuri decides to go out, leaving Myers in charge of Toy Box. Their plans are interrupted by Fee, who has discovered their ploy and angrily made her way up to Control Section to monitor them with Claire. She orders Yuri to orient Toy Box so that it is between the sun and Ghost. Claire doubts Fee's plan will work, but Fee scolds her for not having any faith in her teammates. Fortunately, the plan goes off without a hitch and Ghost winds up safely in Toy Box's cargo bay, with Tanabe and Hachi still mostly enveloped. Later, as Ghost is unloaded at Seven, Dolf is forced to hire somebody else for the position he offered Fee due to company politics. He goes to tell Fee, but she already knew. Dolf asks her why she turned it down and Fee explains that she just likes working in the field. Dolf laments that humanity now relies on space to support their way of life, and because of this space development is such large-scale work that it seems to require the bureaucracy--with all its funding and political clout. Without it, he suggests, you'll just get swallowed up by something bigger--like their company did. That's why Dolf changed to adapt to the realities of their situation--but Fee remarks that his changes are only superficial. She still considers him and her to be on the same team--he just needs to find a way he can be himself again. 

 

Commentary

 

After three episodes away from Seven, the Debris Section office workers, and any sort of space debris, it's nice to get back in to Planetes' main premise. We got a good bit of character development in both Fee and Dolf--who's not nearly as one-sided as we've been lead to believe. And we got a fairly interesting science fiction side plot with the ball of expanding goo Toy Box had to capture. I never cease to be impressed with the attention to detail in this series.

 

Overall Rating

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3.5 out of 5 stars
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Planetes Episode 8 Planetes Episode 8

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