(with snarkism from Gidget and Cody)

From Here to Machinery

4-1/2 out of 5 Krakatoa Specials



Louie's place:  

The pilots are knocking back a few cold ones (fruit juice), (Bearcat: Yeah…Apricot Stinger; Banana Daiquiri; Apple Brandy...) having an aviation version of the 'mine's bigger than yours' argument.  Khan's Klones boast that their boss hires only the best, therefore 'we're the best'.  
Gidget (does Oprah 'sistah' head wag): Nuh-huh... it's us, girlfriend!  ;-)

A refined canine stranger in a trench coat and fedora asks, "Pardon me, but which are the best? The freelancers or Khan's pilots?"
: “The best of the best of the best” – with apologies to Will Smith.
Cody: You forgot to say 'sir'.  Drop and give me a hundred! ;)

The approaching hum of the Sea Duck's engine is Louie's cue to point out Baloo's grinning photo pinned to the Pilots Hall of Fame bulletin board.  "Wanna meet him?"
Yeah… he charges $20 shaboozies for an autograph, because Rebecca’s so cheap.
: I heard that!

Baloo swaggers into the bar. "Hey Louie! Trimmed your hedges for ya on the way in."
Or is that 'staggers'?
Cody: Or rolls?

"Thanks, cousin."

One of Khan's pilot smirks.  "Maybe he should get a job as a gardener."

Louie ushers the big bear inside saying, "Let me introduce another fan to my main man!"

But the stranger is gone.

The next morning, Kit is rudely awakened by the roar of the Sea Duck's engines.  "The Sea Duck!"  The utterance of his baby's name is enough to make Baloo leap out of bed, out for blood.
  Aw... they just look so darned cute  in their nightshirts and caps!
: Aw…does that mean they’re the daily “nightcap”? Bwahahahaha!
Cody: *bashes Bearcat with a dead trout*

Baloo screams out the window, "Plane-nappers!  Becky!  Call the cops!"

Rebecca looks up from her paperwork.  "Uh-oh."

Gidget: I'm guessing that it's Saturday morning, not a work day, if the boys are sleeping and Becky's leaving them alone.
Cody: Or maybe she just didn't want Baloo to know she was rentin' out his baby?
Gidget: You are talking about his plane, right?

Baloo grabs a rope and manages to lasso the Duck to the dock so that it's prevented from taking off; it swings in a semi-circle and hits the dock.  The pilot forces his way into the plane and bursts into the cockpit.  "Joyride's over, ya dirty...!"

To his shock, a robot is in the pilot's seat.  The stranger we met in Louie's bar turns in the navigator's seat to glare at Baloo.  "What do you want?"

"What do I want?  Who do you think you--!"
: I know what he wants; Twenty burgers, twelve fries and five pies.
Gidget:  Just a small snack before breakfast.
Cody: (as Baloo)  Hey, it took a whole lotta energy getting down those stairs and I didn't have anything to eat the whole night! 

Before he can complete his sentence, a dainty pair of fingers seize his earlobe and tugs him into the cargo hold.  It's Rebecca.  "Um... can we talk?"  It's not a request.

Tersely, she explains to the fuming Baloo that the guy is Professor Martin Torque, and that she rented the Sea Duck to him for a large amount of money to test out his mechanical pilot.

Baloo is outraged. "That overgrown blender is gonna fly my airplane?"

"No, that overgrown blender is gonna fly my airplane.  Now get back in there and apologize.  And try to be nice!"  She leaves, banging the door shut.

"Nice is my middle name."

: Gee, I don't think he's going to do anything, do you?

The big guy tries to 'make nice' until he gets electrocuted by the robot.

Torque boasts, "Unlike ordinary pilots, it never deviates from its course --- it is the ul
timate pilot!"

The robot parrots everything its maker says: "Ultimate pilot!"

"It's efficient."




Baloo adds, "Stupid!"


"Hey, I'm startin' to like this boy!"  The bear touches the robot and gets electrocuted.

Torque says smugly, "The Auto Aviator is designed to repulse interference.  It must have sensed hostile intent."

The bear bunches his fists. "Oooh, I'll show him 'hostile intent'!"

Test flight goes forward, and the Sea Duck comes back in one piece, much to Baloo's relief.  As the plane docks, reporters, called in by Torque, interview the professor, and Baloo. Only Baloo's being set up to look like a jerk, by Torque.  The moment is captured on the front page of the paper, which is exactly what Torque had in mind. 

With a flourish, Torque disembarks and calls Baloo up to the podium, introducing him as 'the Ace of the Skies'. "Take a good look, boys. Before you is the best pilot that ever was."

Baloo preens as the reporters snap his picture. "Well now, since ya put it that way!"  He's still rubbing his eyes from the flashbulbs when Torque continues.

"Yes! There they are, together for the last time ---the pilot of the past with the pilot of the future!"

"Now, wait a minute! That overgrown waffle-iron's no pilot! A real pilot can handle storms an' air pirates an' stuff like that!"

"My pilot can fly day and night.  It never eats, never sleeps, never deviates from its flight pattern. It is the ultimate aviator!"
Gidget: Foreshadowing, anyone? (passes plate around)
Cody: It's a bit bland. Got any ketchup? 

"You and your kind are like the dinosaurs," Torque taunts, "decaying, defective, and defunct!"
Baloo rises to the bait . "Oh yeah?  Well, 'defunct' this!"  POW!!  Baloo hauls off and punches Torque in the eye.

:  I love that scene.  Let him have it, Iron Paws!

Convinced that his new robot works, Torque visits Khan to propose a business deal.  Meanwhile, in Khan's office, the tycoon is reading about it. "Ahhh... such a crude individual."

Torque is nursing a black eye with an icepack. "A mindless menial, Mr. Khan.  The tests are complete. Shall I put you down for a dozen or so?

"Maybe Baloo is right.  Maybe your mechanical men can't do everything."

"Are you going to believe that... barnstormer!"

"Calm yourself, Professor.  You know, I may be persuaded to buy, say... a thousand of your mechanical men?"

 But Khan's not yet convinced, and proposes a race as further proof of machine's superiority to pilots.  If the robot wins, Khan promises to buys a thousand of Torque's mechanical men. It also turns out to be Torque's revenge.

Rebecca later tears a strip off him. "Great, Baloo. Your little outburst played right into Torque's plan."

"Ya mean he wanted a black eye?"

"He wanted to get on the front page and you got him there! You can't let every little insult upset you.  You should be calm, cool, (Bearcat: Anal-Retentive…) and composed... like me!"

"So why are you running around like a chicken with its feathers in a knot?"

"Because I'm expecting a very important client!"

"Short guy, glasses, bad toupee?"


Baloo glances at the window. "Somebody beat you to him." 

"What!" She rushes out the door and thrusts herself between Torque and a turkey in a business suit. "Stop touching my client!"

The professor says patronizingly, "He's my client now." 

"That's impossible!" She turns to the turkey client. "Isn't it?"

"Well, actually, Professor Torque convinced me that I need an Auto Aviator. It's cheaper than your old-fashioned cargo service."

Rebecca pounces on him. "But we had phone calls!  Meetings!  Lunches!  I've listened to your frozen okras stories for a solid week!"
Gidget: For years, I always thought she said, "I've listened to your frozen Oprah stories for a solid week!"  

Like a mother cat, Baloo catches her by the collar and places her away from her victim. "Easy, Miz Calm-and-Composed!"  He snarls at Torque, "As for you, I'm tired of hearin' about that doohickey!"
Cody:  Actually, mother cats bite their kittens by the scruff of the neck.  So what exactly are you implying, Bearcat? ;)

Torque asks slyly, "Are you... challenging my Auto Aviator?"

Caught off-guard, Baloo answers before thinking. "Well... yeah!"

"Ah!  A contest!  A competition between a pilot of the past and the pilot of the future!"
Yeah. Let's EAT! Baloo will win this battle of the bulge.
"Do metal robots bulge?"
"Only if tin cans like this spoil on the inside."

Baloo's pride is on the line, as well as the livelihoods of everyone else in the aviation industry.  If he loses this one, Khan's pilots,  freelancers are out of jobs.  And H4H will be closed down.
Gidget (sniffles):
  Poor Klones...

The race begins, with Kit offering emotional support. 
Gidget:  Translation:  Left on the dock to wring his little paws like a movie-wifey to call out, "Be careful!"
hy do I have this image of a Shirley Temple movie?
Cody *warningly raises dead trout*: Y'all better not be insulting Kit!
Gidget: Hasn't that poor trout suffered enough?

Baloo reaches the first checkpoint, Tundra City to pick up his cargo from a frozen guy pointing at it.  The robot follows suit as he leaves.  Time passes, and Baloo struggles to stay awake, but loses the battle.  He has a nightmare about being consumed by a giant robot until he becomes one.  It's pretty freaky.  

Unfortunately, he misses a refuelling stop and runs out of gas, crashing into the water.  But Baloo is flesh and blood, not a machine. He can't keep up, and the robot wins.
Gidget (Rebecca)
*wistful sigh*: That robot will never fit in my drawer.

In disgrace, he passes his friends to go home and pack his bags.  

Now, since the Auto Aviator is so cheap and efficient, Khan's the only person with the right to build the robot, so everyone buys from Khan. Other pilots now lose their jobs, and the takeover by Torque's robots is complete.  Khan now owns the skies, so to speak.  They are left without a wing or a prayer.
Gidget (Rebecca): WAHHHH!!!

The next day, as Baloo and Kit get ready to leave, Rebecca is busy fending off bill collectors.

Molly bursts into the office. "Mommy, Wildcat's telling fibs.  He says we're gonna close! He says Baloo's going away!"

Baloo says gently, "Wildcat's not fibbin', doll."

"No! You can't go! I won't let you!" Molly starts to cry and pounds her little fists on his stomach. "I won't let you!"
: That just tears at my heart; one of the few TS scenes that does.
Gidget (pauses, then puts surgical instruments away):  Good to know.
Cody: Funny, it always makes me want to puke.
Methinks your heart is two sizes too small. ;)

Rebecca tells her, "Molly, try to understand.  I can't compete with Khan's robots."

Sniffling, the child asks, "Are-are we gonna be poor?"
Bearcat: Nice parallel to the real depression era of the 1930’s.

"No, a broker's coming here to help us.  He's... " Self-consciously, she glances at Baloo, who winces. "...going to buy the Sea Duck."

Kit yells, “WHAT!?"

Baloo says quietly, “Let it go Little Britches. Let it go.” He sadly trudges outside, battered suitcase in hand.  There is nothing more to say.
: Here you can really see the final defeat in ol' Papa Bear.

Kit rounds on Rebecca. "You could have warned him!  Given him a chance to say good-bye!"

"I wanted to... it's just..."  She sinks onto the stairs, saying bitterly. "Oh, I wish I'd never rented the Sea Duck to that lousy inventor!"  She hears the sounds of approaching engines. "Oh great.  The broker!" She wavers, then, making up her mind, tosses keys to him. "Kit! Catch!"

"The keys to the Sea Duck?  What are these for?"

She waves him away distractedly. "For Baloo. Tell him to take the plane for a spin --- tell him to go fishing --- just tell him to hurry!"

Meanwhile, on Pirate Island, Don Karnage is busy reading the about Khan's robots in The Tribune.  "Amazing!  I love this doo-dad --- a mechanical pilot!  It flies here, it flies there and always in a straight line.  They call it a modern-day miracle.  Well, I call it the sitting duck!  Ha-ha!"

On a leisurely flight, Khan and Torque are drinking something orange, toasting the Auto-Aviator, "... the greatest invention in history!"

Gidget (screams):
  Don't drink the Kool-Aid!"
Bearcat (as Khan (doing a Bing Crosby impression): Ah, nothing beats a frosty glass of Minute Maid Orange Juice.

Just then, they hear Karnage on the radio, announcing his pillaging plans. "'Allo, Robot Person.  It is I, the spectaculous Don Karnage.  My bloodthirsty hord and I will set course with you.  We will be shooting you and looting you in precisely... (checks watch)... ten minutes!  Felicitations!"  To himself, he says, "Boy, I am one scary guy!"

On the KhanPlane, Khan remains unruffled. He tells Torque to make the robot change course and evade the pirates.  But when he goes into the cockpit and try to program new coordinates, the robot rebels.

"Deviation from flight plan is unacceptable."

: Warning. Warning.

"This is your inventor speaking!"
“Danger, Will Robinson. Danger!”   

The robot repeatedly zaps Torque until he lies helplessly at Khan's feet.

Bearcat (as Khan)
: You may kiss them, Professor. Groveling is required as well.  

"Problems, Professor

ell, actually... I wasn't expecting to deal with pirates."
Oooh, I just hate it when I have to deal with pirates, don't you?
Cody: Tell me about it! It really puts me behind schedule!

"A perfect pilot must handle any situation." Khan leans forward threateningly. "You told me your tin men were perfect."

"W-what do you want me to do?" stammers Torque.

Menacingly, Khan unsheaths his claws.  "I suggest you call for help."

Bearcat: I would not want to be on the receiving end of those claws at this point.
Gidget:  Unless it's a nice back scratch.  Imagine Khan as a masseuse.
Cody: Only masseuse in town who'd leave his signature across his clients' backs --- literally.
Gidget (as Khan): Myesss... It's a new marketing tactic called 'branding'.

Baloo mopes as he fishes from the Duck's wing, saying to Kit and Wildcat, "Why do you guys even hang out with a loser like me?"

Kit smiles. "Aw, come on, we like being with ya. You're our buddy.  You're the greatest!"

Wildcat chimes in, "Yeah!  Besides, we've got nothing else to do."
Cody: Now that's my favorite line!

Kit glares at him, but before he can chew him out, they hear a distress call on the radio from Shere Khan's plane.

"Mayday! Mayday! Help!"

"Oh sit down." Khan shoves him away and takes the mike.  "Whoever's listening, your assistance will be handsomely rewarded. In a few moments, we'll be attacked by pirates near Mount Musika."
Gidget: All this while the robot continues to zap Torque in the background.  Khan just ignores him. Did I say that I love Khan?  'Cause I do.  :D

Self-pitying Baloo doesn't budge until Kit guilt-trips him into boarding the Duck and going to the rescue. Wildcat pilots the Sea Duck and Kit navigates until they locate the imperiled plane.  Baloo manages to board the wing and knocks on the door.

"Hiya, boys!"

"Ah, Baloo.  We appear to have hit a snag with the professor's contraption.  Any suggestions?" 

While Khan and Baloo are talking, Khan calmly pours himself a glass of orange pop, only to have it shatter in his hand from gunfire.  He simply brushes the glass off his suit and continues talking.  Offscreen, there are sounds of Torque continuing to control his robot and getting repeatedly electrocuted.  Nobody notices.

Baloo grins. "Got a bottle of soda pop?"

He sneaks into the cockpit behind the Auto Aviator and cheerfully pours soda into its circuitry.  Of course, Torque sees this and freaks out and pounces on the big bear, screaming, "Barbarian!"
: Absolutely barbaric, especially if it’s warm soda pop.
Cody: He should be greased. And spooned.
Gidget (as Rebecca):
*checks night table drawer* Oh, shoot... I'm out of grease, Butterball.

"Quiet, Professor.  Let a real pilot handle this." Khan lifts Torque off Baloo and gives him the ol' heave-ho into the back.  Then he straightens his tie and watches Baloo work his pilot-y magic.

The cat knows quality.
Gidget (Baloo, preening): Hear that, Becky?  I'm quality!
Quantity is more like it.

A dogfight ensues, and Baloo successfully drives the pirates away.

Shere Khan congratulates, er, thanks Baloo for saving his life:
Khan:  That was more than adequate.
Baloo:  Thanks, Khanny.  You oughtta see me when I'm really adequate!
Khan: Mmmyes, I can imagine.
Gidget (Rebecca):  Stop touching my pilot!
Bearcat: See! See! What did I tell you, Baloo --- she is jealous.

The tender moment over, Khan says to Baloo: "If you'll excuse me..." and enters the passenger lounge where Torque is cowering.

"You've disappointed me, Professor.  Worse, you have deceived me.  But I have a solution."

The professor brightens.  "You do?"

"You give me back all my money and I'll give you back all your cretinous contraptions."

Khan then opens the door and holds Torque outside to drop him.  He shouts into the wind: "Tell me the truth, now... how does that sound?"

Poor Torque screams, "Sounds fair!  Sounds fair!"
Gidget:  Khan is Batman!

Khan orders all the robots junked (Gidget: Except for his robots, --- the Klones ;), All the pilots get their jobs back, and everyone, but Torque (and Karnage - with a few lumps on his head) are happy.
Gidget:  Best of all, Baloo gets to pin his grinnin' mug back onto the Wall of Fame bulletin board!
Cody: Like that fat bear needs his head swelled any more!

A shivering Torque ends up going door-to-door in Thembria, begging all the porcine housewives to buy his 'new Mechano-Mate' (The Auto Aviator in a maid's apron and cap).
"Step right up... please?"

Quibbles and Bits

How come all the reporters come to Higher for Hire in one car?  Don't reporters come from different newspapers, trying to scoop each other?
Bearcat: Maybe they were going for the Guinness World Record?

Gidget: Not that it really bothers me, but how come Kit didn't navigate during the contest?  At least he would have stayed awake kept the plane going while Baloo was out cold.
: Well, maybe because the Auto-Aviator was a lone pilot, so Baloo likely had to be alone as well.
Keep in mind, too that Kit wasn't challenged, so he doesn't need to fly) 
Gidget:  Don't you mean mentally challenged...  :D
Cody: You're exactly right. Baloo is mentally challenged. :D

Gidget:  How can Baloo fall asleep face-first on a snow-covered crate?

Bearcat: I would if I flew for about forty hours straight.

Gidget: In the radio coverage of Khan and Torque closing the deal onstage with a signature and handshake before a live audience is a weird contrast.  The audience is in color while Khan and Torque onstage remains 'black and white' (or sepia). And just before the scene ends, there's a quick reaction shot of Torque staring eagerly at a tabletop full of money.  Why doesn't Khan write a cheque instead?

Bearcat: Oh...that was a nice scene, because it was representing the "Newsree
l" a classic way people got video-type news before the advent of TV. Paramount Studios (and other studio's) did this during the late 30's and into WWII.

Gidget (sighs):  Yet again, Rebecca risks the Sea Duck by putting it in the hands of shady characters (also in A Touch of Glass). And how did a copy of the Tribune get delivered to Pirate Island?
Cody (as Karnage): It pays to keep up with the news, yes-no? How else will I know what to steal?

Neat Little Details

-The title is a pun for 'From Here to Eternity'

- The white-haired Flunkey Monkey from the original Jungle Book makes a cameo in the first scene at Louie's (also A Touch of Glass, and A Jolly Molly Christmas).

- Kit wears earmuffs to bed to drown out the sonic boom of Baloo's snores.
Bearcat: LOL! I forgot about that.

- The patch on Kit's nightshirt is exactly in the same spot as on his regular green sweater (on the right elbow)
Gidget: He's sure hard on clothes, even in his sleep.
Cody: Or he's just hard on his right elbow. Makes me wonder what he does.
Gidget (sings opera-style): Oh, sweet mystery of life, at last I've found you... 

- Baloo's hat hangs on the wall in the cockpit instead of in his bedroom, where a normal person would hang it.

- The turkey client that Rebecca berates is the same accountant we meet on the disastrous sets of Starrywood in A Star is Torn.  (Billed as 'Accountant' in Groups and Pairs of Characters page)

- Torque's car  looks like a cross between a Pre-War Bentley and something out of The Jetsons.  Maybe he invented it?
Bearcat: I think the design of Torque's car is real! I've seen something similar at car shows, but it would take time to track down the make and year.
Gidget: Make haste! To the Delorian!
Bearcat:  But there isn't enough road.
Gidget: Road
s?  Where we're going, we don't need roads.

- With his trench-coat and fedora, the canine referee bears a slight resemblance to Detective Thursday of Vowel Play.  This guy also makes a cameo in I Only Have Ice for You (as the official who takes away Baloo's pilot's license for a week). For lack of a better name, he's billed as 'Air Official' in the One-Shot Characters page.
Bearcat: I liked the idea of Baloo and Kit sleeping in the classic *nightshirt*.  It's classic 30's.
Gidget: And oh-so-sexy!

- Baloo's unorthodox methods of staying awake during the contest --- buttons on the dashboard marked 'Plan A' (several microphones came out from all sides to blast trumpet music at him) and 'Plan B' (two buffers (like the kind they use in carwashes) to slap him awake)

- Baloo's nightmare sequence has a creepy 'Elephants on Parade' feel to it.  When he desperately shouts that it isn't real, a frighteningly distorted Torque looms over him, taunting, "Oh, we're real.  You're the one who's been living in a dream!" 
The bear gets thrown onto a conveyor belt and narrowly misses getting pounded by giant mallets.  The conveyor sucks him into the mouth of the Auto Aviator.  Screaming, Baloo is encased in fitted metal until he 'becomes' a robot.
Gidget:  That's the first time I've even seen him skinny.   Oh yeah, there was that time he checked himself out in that funhouse mirror in Gruel and Unusual Punishment...

- "The World of aviation is in a talespin..." - announcer during the broadcast deal between Khan and Torque.

- As Baloo walks by the line of unemployed pilots, one of them gives him a look, almost a glare (the tall dog in the striped shirt)

- On the Wall of Fame board at Louie's, the ape takes down Baloo's picture to replace it with a photo of the Auto Aviator, the new champion flyer.

Bearcat: Note the  historical parallels – During the early years of test pilot flights at what’s now known as Edwards AFB, the late Poncho Barnes had a similar wall of fame. Regretfully, you had to die to be on that wall.   

Funny Stuff
-Baloo tricking the robot with blue button good, red button bad, causing the pilot seat to knock Torque over, smacking him several times.

Gidget: Torque touches Rebecca's client.  ;)



-"Yeah, why doncha start stitchin' my name on the winner sash?  That's "Baloo" -- with two "oo's"!

-"Don't blow this one, Baloo, or all of Khan's pilots'll be out of jobs!"
"Don't blow
this one, Baloo, or all us freelance pilot'll be out of jobs!"
Rebecca:  "Lose this one, Baloo, and Higher for Hire will be out of business!"
Gidget: Talk about peer pressure...
Cody (as Rebecca): Me? Peers with him? *sniffs indignantly*

Bearcat: Another Baloo quote I like is when he’s at Tundra City and falls asleep in the snow.  When he hears the other plane approach, he wakes up with a start and storms back to the Sea Duck.:
“No. NO! No robot’s gonna beat this bear. One side! Outta my way!”

-When he reaches the first checkpoint (Tundra City): "Oh man. This race is gettin' to be a drag."

-After crashing into the water near the end of the race, Baloo summarizes the Duck's damage:
"Not bad... one bent pontoon strut, a dent in the fuselage..." sees the Auto Aviator's plane soar overhead toward the finish line, "...and one busted career."
Gidget:  What the heck's a fuselage?

Don Karnage

- "Boy, I am one scary guy!"
Gidget: Ever notice that Baloo, Rebecca and Karnage are the only people on earth who challenge Khan?

- "This is like taking candy from a sitting baby duck off a log!"

- During the final dogfight:
"Ewwww... that ugly pilot machine looks like Baloo!"
Mad Dog: "That's funny, it also flies like Baloo!"
Gidget:  As he says this, most of the pirates' planes explode and go down in flames.  And no parachutes to show impressionable viewers that the mean old pirates lived!  Somebody dropped the ball. Tsk-tsk...

- DK’s getting smacked on the head by debris. 
"No, no, no! Shoot the bear!  Not your own disgusting selves!"

- "My wonderfully brilliant mind tells me it may be time for a strategic withdrawal."
Mad Dog is confused. "Say what?"
Karnage screams, "RUN AWAY!"


"Stop touching my client!"
Gidget: My favorite line. :)
Everyone else:  We know!


Bearcat: I give this episode 4-1/2 Krackatoa Specials. Basically, the entire episode is based on the "Man verses Machine" worries that come up time, and again, in our modern world.  It’s also an interesting view into some basic worries seen in the Great Depression of the 1930’s, specifically the issue of sudden poverty. The scene involving Baloo, Molly, Rebecca and Kit as Rebecca announced the sail of the Sea Duck to a broker really drives this idea home.

Most touching scene -- of which I have a cel foris the one where Rebecca has told Baloo the Duck’s been sold and has to confront her daughter.  

Gidget:  I love that scene too.  It really shows what these diverse characters mean to one another.  Jolly Molly Christmas is another episode in which the stakes are this emotional.   
And Baloo's utter lack of spirit as he leaves Higher for Hire.  

You know, I sense a deep resentment of Baloo's colleagues ---judging by the way they make snotty remarks about him, his loud glory-hogging, grandstanding really gets on people's nerves.  Their loyalty can turn on a dime (eg: The Sound and the Furry). He's really not as popular as he thinks.  His only real friends are Louie and the H4H gang. Kinda sad, isn't it? 

Baloo's fear of being replaced by technology is memorably shown in the nightmare sequence.  Since his self-definition, his identity is a 'great pilot', it is unthinkable that his world could go through such a radical change.  I remember when people were afraid of computers taking over people's jobs, until the 80's but computers actually created jobs.  Computers operate the monorail and subway systems, so could the aircraft industry far behind?

Bearcat: Already there in robot (computer) control of aircraft. The Space Shuttle, as an example, is under total computer control for it's landings; most modern commercial aircraft have autopilots that could do nearly everything after take-off. The idea of Khan's Klones ("Send in the Klones... There have to be Klones..." - followed by Khan's deep voice, "Don't bother.. they're here!") is clearly a threat to Baloo's (and every other pilot's) identity. Perhaps it's a sign that the "Fly by the seat-of-your-pants" (Rebecca: "If he wore any!")  is coming to an end. I remember when computers were still considered a job threat too and it's amazing how many jobs (and more paper) have been generated by computer technology.

Cody: I would give this episode two Krackotoas. Or maybe three. It just didn't appeal to me that much.

Me, I'd give it a three.  I would have given it a four, but there's one crucial element that's missing.  It's really low on laughs.  Sure, there's the odd funny bit, but not enough to balance it out. This is one of the more 'mature' episodes, where the characters are forced to face the real possibility of never seeing each other again. They sometimes take each other for granted, but keep getting somber reminders of what they mean to each other.  Besides the usual death threats (engine trouble, pirates, and angry bosses).

It's addressed in a lighter fashion in The Balooest of Bluebloods, and again in Save the Tiger, where Baloo quits H4H to pursue the good life, only to lose his fortune.  Baloo just isn't good with money, which is why he needs Rebecca to keep him stable -- whether as an employer or something more --- it's hard to say. They definitely need each other. Money seems to upset the balance of the Spiniverse --- if H4H goes out of business or if either of them gets rich and tries to pursue the 'good life', everything goes to hell. eg: The post office (Your Baloo's in the Mail, kidnapping (Save the Tiger), murder attempts (The Balooest of Bluebloods), and here, where every pilot is unemployed.  They're allowed to have just enough money to survive, but heaven forbid that they attain the same financial status as Khan! Heresy!

Anyway, this is one of the more multi-layered episodes that addresses the times in which our bears live, their relationships, and introduces one of the more realistic villains. I really like Professor Martin Torque --- he and Khan are somewhat alike.  He's smart, but arrogant, with condescending tolerance for those he deems inferior.  He couldn't care less about other people and he only respects science (the way Khan respects money).

Unlike Khan, however, his emotions blind him, and cause him to make serious mistakes in judgment. Being a cold-hearted academic and because he considers machines superior to people, he doesn't know what to do when his robot breaks down.  I suspect that he's a lot like Buzz in that he probably has gadgets for every function, including brushing his teeth. If the power goes out, he probably stares around him stupidly going, "What do I doooooo?"

I think he's one of the more complex one-shot characters... it's a shame that he only makes one appearance.

Cody: Yeah, and I liked his character design. So sleek and elegant.

Gidget: Like a Ferarri. ;)    

October  2005

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