Synopsis: The cool kids, that is, Flash, Baylin, and Zarkov (okay, Zarkov's not really one of the cool kids, but he gets to tag along) run off to Mongo leaving Dale to drown her sorrows in donuts.
Review: Flash Gordon is like a fairy tale set in outer space. In "Alliances," the protagonists make a journey to meet a forest people in order to gain information about a missing person they are seeking. In order to gain this information, they must complete a task for the forest people and survive a battle with creatures that lurk in the night. Flash Gordon is enjoyable to watch in the same way your parents reading a chapter of the Chronicles of Narnia before bed was as a child.
Like all good fairy tales, Flash Gordon is about more than it appears to be on the surface. I'm reading about imperialism in the Middle East for my Middle East: Culture and Politics class right now, and it is striking how many of Ming's policies closely mirror the policies so-called civilized nations imposed on the Middle East in the nineteenth and early twentieth century.
The love triangle involving Dale, her fiance, and Flash made more progress in an episode where Dale and Flash never make contact than it has in the previous six episodes. The donut scene with Flash's mom was endearing. It was surprising to see a man be the one to turn down sex in a television episode. I really hope the nervous machinist or "tender" becomes a reoccurring character.
With its aspirations to fairy tale like stories, Flash Gordon has a lot of potential, but it still has not reached that potential. "Alliances" was above average television fare but nothing spectacular at a 6 out of 10. The show occasionally slips from fairy tale into romantic comedy and hasn't found a consistent tone yet. Zarkov finally gave an albeit shady explanation why everyone on Mongo speaks English coughing it up to such a slight dimensional shift. Wait a minute! Is Mongo a different dimension or a different planet? Now I'm more confused.
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Reviewed by: Matthew Miller)