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Episode 101: Pilot

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Flash Gordon (Sci Fi Channel)
Air Date August 10, 2007
Written by Peter Hume
Director Rick Rosenthal
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Next episode Episode 102: Pride

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(first) Episode 102: Pride


High school sweethearts Flash Gordon and Dale Arden meet up again, but there's a few problems -- Dale's engaged, Flash is being stalked, and a killer robot appears at the Xcalibur Lanes bowling alley.

Also: Dr. Zarkov picks up a hitchhiker, Rankol gets under Flash's skin, Ming chooses a new concubine, Princess Aura has a wardrobe malfunction, and Baylin loses her ride home.


Act 1

The episode opens with Flash Gordon running a marathon and winning. His mother and his best friend Nick congratulate him.

Meanwhile, on Mongo, Ming and Rankol open a rift to Earth and send in a probe. A rift is shown opening on Earth and the probe exits from it and flies away.

Back to the marathon, Flash is named the first three-time winner of the tristate running marathon and is given a medal. Afterwards, Nick informs Flash that Dale Arden is there, covering the marathon for the news. Then, Flash and Dale have a private conversation. Dale reveals that she has her own apartment and Flash reveals that he still lives at home with his mom. Nick and Flash have a shop near his mom's house and his mom usually travels for work, so Flash says that it all works out pretty well. Then they decide to do Flash's interview.

After the interview, Flash and Nick are walking away, discussing how pathetic his live is compared to Dale's. Nick assures him that he's a good son to be still living with his mother, but Flash feels that by now he should have his own apartment. Then they decide to go find a cafe, but first Flash goes to visit his father's grave at the cemetery. He puts his marathon medal by the grave and has a flashback to when he was younger, showing him running up to his house and his father saying that from then on his name would be Flash instead of Steven, because he's a fast runner.

That night, a Spanish-speaking man who's driving his truck notices a strange flying object (the probe from Mongo) outside his window. He stops his truck and gets out to look at it. The probe scans him. But before it flies away, the man shoots it down with his rifle.

Flash and Nick try to get into a nightclub free, but Nick ends up paying. As they're waiting outside, Flash notices a peculiar man in an RV watching him. When he approaches, the man drives his RV away, requiring Flash to run after it. When he catches up, he climbs up the ladder at the back of the RV and walks on the roof while the vehicle is still in motion. Flash drops down in front of the windshield and tells the driver to stop. He does and tries to escape, but Flash catches him before he has a chance. Flash asks who he is, but he evades the question by saying that he's no one. Then Flash asks him again and this time the man says that he used to work for Flash's father as his assistant. Flash knew that his father was a physics professor, but he didn't know about his work on the Portage Initiative. Flash asks him what that is, but he doesn't say. Instead he tells Flash that if he ever sees his father to tell him to trust no one. Flash grabs the man and tells him that his father is dead. Then the man says "Yes, of course", then gets back in his RV. He tells Flash that he won't bother him again, right before driving away.

The next morning, Flash and his mom are in the kitchen. He says that he met a man the previous night who said that he worked with his father on something called the Portage Initiative. When Flash says that, his mother becomes nervous. Flash asks her if she had ever heard of the Portage Initiative and she says that she never did, that Flash's father never talked about work. Flash knows that his mother wasn't telling the truth and he pushes her further. She says that he did some work outside of the university. But she doesn't know what kind of research it was and unknown men took away all of his papers. She tells Flash to not go poking around in it. He tells her that this is about his dad and asks her if she wants to know what happened to him. She tells Flash that she does know what happened to him. He was killed in a fire, but there was no body found. His mom tells him to let it go. The project cost her a husband, she doesn't want it to cost her a son too.

Flash has another flashback from when he was younger. In this one, he notices a bright light emanating from beneath one of the doors in his home. He knocks on the door and the light disappears. He father opens the door and say the light that Flash saw was from the TV, but he tells his dad that it wasn't TV light. His father then tells him to go to bed.

After the flashback, Flash leaves the kitchen with determination.

At Dale's news station, the Spanish-speaking truck driver shows up, telling the reporters that he witnessed a floating object that looked like a big bee that came from a hole in the sky and shot rays of light from its eyes. He didn't like it so he shot it. Dale asks him if what he shot was in the bag he was holding and he says yes. But he says that he wants $100 to look at it and $500 to touch it. Dale says that they don't pay for stories, so the man asks if he could trade it for a lottery ticket. Dale agrees and she looks in the bag. Inside is a plastic bag containing greenish material.

At the Xcalibur Lanes bowling alley, people's balls go missing, right in front of their eyes, disappearing into small rifts. In the room behind the pins, a larger rift opens and a robot appears from it.

Act 2

The RV, that belongs to the man Flash met the previous night, is shown parked outside a warehouse, in which there is a lab inside. An electronic display shows the words Rift alert and alarms begin to go off. The man runs to the display and zooms in on coordinates that belong to the Xcalibur Lanes bowling alley.

Back at the Xcalibur Lanes bowling alley, the robot shoots a bowling ball with an energy weapon, causing the people to run and scream.

Meanwhile, Flash is at his auto shop, using his computer to find out what the Portage Initiative is. His friend Nick arrives and asks Flash where he was the previous night.

At the news station, reports are coming in that people at the Xcalibur Lanes bowling alley were attacked by an alien. Dale thinks it's just a hoax, but decides to go cover the story anyway.

Back at the auto shop, Flash tells Nick about the Portage Initiative. Flash says that the word portage is French and says it means "to cross over land in between two lakes". Flash says it has something to do with sub-atomic, dimensional, transference. As they're fixing a car, they hear Dale Arden from the TV. She's interviewing the Xcalibur Lanes bowling alley customers. In the background, Flash notices the RV man and wonders if it's all connected. After Nick tells him he's reaching, Flash finds out that Dale is engaged.

Later, Flash shows up at the news station. Dale confesses to him that she's engaged to Joe Wylee. Flash asks about the Xcalibur Lanes bowling alley, but Dale assures him that it was just a hoax. But then she gets a call that says that the "alien" apparently liquefied someone at a mini-mart.

Flash and Dale drive out to the mini-mart, which is cordoned off by police tape. One of the cops tells Arden that no press is allowed and tells her to follow him behind the coroner van. Then Dale gets kissed by the cop, who turns out to be her fiance Joe. He tells her that a guy in the mini-mart looked like he boiled from the inside out. Joe figures that it was caused by some sort of new military microwave gun. Dale introduces Joe to Flash. Then Flash points out a pair of footprints in the grass, indicating that the man must have weighed at least 400 pounds. Joe tells Flash to leave the investigation to the experts, before he and Dale leave the crime scene.

The RV man is shown holding a strange-looking gun, before the scene changes to Dale and Flash checking the internet for information on the RV man, using his face as a starting point. They find the man's address and drive there. Getting of the car, Flash notices the man's RV. He knocks on the door, but no one's inside. Flash asks Dale how long she had been with Joe. She says six months. As they talk to each other, the door leading into the warehouse blows off its hinges and smoke billows out from within. They walk inside and the RV man aims his strange-looking gun at them, asking them how they found him.

Act 3

The RV man says that he'll answer Flash's questions, but not with Dale. He doesn't trust reporters. Flash tells the man to tell him about his father. The man puts down his gun and tells him. He says that the Portage Initiative was a secret project, funded by NASA (or so he was told), thirteen years before. They were studying gravitations in dark matter using multiple cyclotrons, basic stuff, but they were using data that they had never seen before. Something went wrong that caused a fire in the lab. But Flash's father didn't die in the fire. They had created a rift. And when Flash's father walked up to it, to study it, the rift sucked him in. There were never any more rifts until three weeks ago. The RV man said that he hoped that it was Flash's father that had discovered a way to create rifts and come back to Earth. But instead, things started to come through, like the probe and the robot. He tells Flash and Dale that no one should know about any of this. He says the more people who know about it, the more dangerous it could be for them.

Flash's mom is shown leaving her car and entering her house, in the foreground is the robot, watching her.

Back at the lab, the RV man explains the rifts to Flash and Dale. He tells them that they can't tell anyone about the rifts because that will cause someone to build a rift machine of their own, which would further destroy the barrier separating dimensions. He talks about a phase change, saying that it's what happened during the big bang. Pure energy converted to matter created the universe. In ten one-hundredths of a second everything that was ... wasn't. And that's what will happen again if people keep on poking holes through dimensions.

The RV man suggests that they deal with the rifts and whatever comes out of them on their own. Dale asks how they exactly do that and he mentions that he's been working on things, like his proton gun, which only has enough charge for one shot, but may not even work.

Back at the house, Flash's mom encounters the robot, in her front hallway.

Flash and Dale surmise that the "alien" might be looking for Flash's father. Right at that moment, Flash gets an odd call from his mom. She asks him where the Imex is, but Flash doesn't know what she's talking about. He thinks that there might be something wrong, because she calls him Flash instead of Steven, which she normally does. It's shown that the robot is manipulating his mom's body and that's why she's talking strange.

Later, Flash arrives home, finding that the front door is open. His mom offers him some pie, again acting weird. And as Flash gets a better view of his mom, he sees the robot standing behind her. Dale attacks the robot with a golf club and it lets go of Flash's mom. A fight ensues, but it's hopeless for Flash and Dale. The robot is too powerful. The RV man uses his proton gun, but it doesn't work right. Eventually, Dale jabs a live wire into the robot, short circuiting it. The robot then disintegrates into small slimy pieces, much like what happened to the probe.

Afterwards, Flash's mom wakes up on the sofa, not remembering what happened.

Dale and the RV man (Dr. Zarkov) are in the kitchen, cleaning up the mess left by the robot. In the pile of goo, they find a small metal machine which they think is a tracking device. Flash also finds his father's drivers license in the robot's remains. They use the "tracking device" and drive out into a field. Flash presses a button on the device and a glowing shock wave flies out from it, revealing a rift. Flash decides to go through to find his father, but Dale tells him not to. He reaches out and touches the rift and Dale tries to pull him back, but they both get sucked into it. Then they arrive on the other side. On an alien planet. In the sky are three moons and in the distance they can see a great city. A flying craft flies towards them and "beams" them up.

Act 4

Flash and Dale are brought to the capitol of Nascent City, as prisoners. They're taken to the lower level and thrown into a cell, with a disfigured man.

The scene changes to Ming's governing hall, where a woman is pleading for clean water. Rankol enters the room and informs Ming of Flash's arrival. Ming orders that the room be cleared and that the prisoners be brought before him.

Back in the cell, Flash and Dale try to deal with their inmate, offering him some chewing gum. Soon, the guards come to retrieve Flash and Dale.

Ming is shown being very angry at Rankol, because the robot was unable to find the Imex. Flash and Dale introduce themselves to Ming and say that they're from Earth. Dale is surprised that they know about Earth, but Rankol says that there are few corners of the galaxy that they don't know about. Ming introduces Rankol, his chief scientist. Flash tells them about how the robot came to Earth looking for something called the Imex, which apparently belonged to his father, Dr. Lawrence Gordon. Ming and Rankol say that they don't know who that is, except that there were stories about a man from the stars, but it was a long time ago. Ming tells the Flash that he has come in vein. The areas of Mongo outside of Nascent City are very dangerous and Flash's father may not have survived. After Rankol asks about the Imex, Flash figures that Ming was the one that sent the robot to Earth. Guards are called into the room and they take away Flash and Dale. Ming tells Rankol to do whatever it takes to find the Imex. Rankol asks what to do about the girl and Ming says to have her cleaned and taken to his chambers.

Some time later, Flash is stripped off his clothes and is restrained to a medical chair. Rankol enters the room, picks up a medical device and says "Now, let's begin. Shall we?"

Act 5

Rankol asks Flash where the Imex is. He tells him that he doesn't know where it is or what it is. Then Rankol begins to torture him by melting his eyes.

Dale is made ready to entertain Ming. Dale refuses, but the women helping her get ready say that it's a great privilege to be in her position.

After the torture session, Rankol comes to the conclusion that Flash doesn't know where the Imex is or even what it is. Rankol prepares to make an image scan of Flash's brain, but before he can do anything, Ming's daughter Aura barges in and shoots Rankol. She deceives Flash by telling him that she's a slave girl, then frees him and asks him if he can take her back with him to Earth. He agrees and they both leave the room. Rankol lays on the floor. Aura tells a shirtless Flash that a little torture looks good on him.

Flash wants to find Dale, but Aura says she's fine and that their top priority is to get back to Earth. But Flash is too determined to find Dale, so they search for her. On their way, they meet up with Dale, who was able to get away herself.

The three of them walk to the basement. On the way, Aura tells them about how most of the water on Mongo is Grey water and that the only clean Source water comes from a well beneath Nascent City.

With his guards, Ming walks to the torture room, only to find that Flash is missing and Rankol is laying on the floor. He tells Ming that Flash escaped with Aura.

Aura tells Flash and Dale that Ming used the fresh water as wealth to build Nascent City. Even so, he saved Mongo by giving fresh water to its people, for a price, of course. Eventually, the three of them escape Nascent City back to where the rift was. Flash uses the rift device to reveal the rift, then he, Dale and Aura disappear into it.

Act 6

A rift opens up in the middle of a busy street and Flash, Dale, and Aura emerge from it, nearly getting hit by a car. They see that Zarkov's RV is there and enter it. Flash asks Zarkov if he knows what the Imex is, but he says he doesn't know. Flash says that they need to find it and get rid of it. Dale takes Aura back to her apartment for a fashion change, while Flash goes home. On the TV, Dale sees that the Spanish-speaking man that traded the probe remains for her lottery ticket has ironically won the lottery.

While taking suitcases to the taxi, Flash's mom tells Flash about a weird dream she had where a monster was asking her where the Imex was. Flash asks her what an Imex is, but she doesn't know. He tells her that he spent the previous night with Dale and she becomes excited. But then he tells her that she's engaged and she becomes disappointed. Flash tells her that he spent the night with Dale to follow up a lead on his father. She asks Flash if there's anything she can do stop him and he says no. He asks if there's anything left of his father's things in the house and she says that there's a few boxes under the stairs, but there's nothing of importance there, as she has looked through it many times. She's made her peace with what had happened to her husband. She tells Flash that he can do what he wants, but not to take that away from her. Flash watches as the taxi drives away.

A rift opens in the middle of a deserted street and a woman appears from it. A truck stops nearby and the woman walks to the driver's side. It's the Spanish-speaking man that had won the lottery.

Back at Dale's apartment, Aura is making a mess. There's clothing thrown all around Dale's bedroom. Aura hates her clothing options. Dale figures out that Aura is actually Ming's daughter, instead of a slave girl, and confronts her. Aura shoots Dale with the gun she brought back from Mongo and Dale collapses her bed.

Zarkov calls Flash and tells him that he has detected a rift near Rock Creek Park. Flash tells him to drive out there and see what he can find, while Flash tries to find the Imex. Flash dumps a box of his father's things onto a desk and looks through it. He picks up one if his father's Timex wristwatches and discovers that if one of the hands is covering the "T" on the face of the clock, then it would say IMEX. He opens the back of the watch and blue holographic symbols get projected outward, filling up the room. He immediately closes the back of the watch and the symbols disappear.

Act 7

Sometime later, Dale wakes up to her cellphone ringing. It's Flash. He tells her that he found the Imex in the back of his father's Timex watch. He says it's some sort of alien chip. Dale warns Flash that Aura is on her way to his house, to steal the Imex. But it's too late. After he hangs up the phone and turns to leave, Aura is there aiming her gun at him. She takes the watch from him. Flash asks her what it is and she says that it apparently holds all the knowledge of the universe. She turns to leave Flash's house, but suddenly the front door flies open and Aura drops the watch. The woman that had come through the most recent rift walks in and throws two glowing balls towards Flash. She tells him to remain still and he will receive no pain. But he walks forward anyway and gets an electric shock. The woman tells Aura that she has orders from Rankol and Ming to take her back to Mongo. Aura submits, but picks up the watch first and takes it with her. They both leave, leaving Flash still trapped.

After a few tries, Flash is able to push past the electrical field trapping him and drives his car in pursuit of the two women. Dr. Zarkov is already near the rift and tells Flash that the two women are driving towards it.

Flash runs towards them, as they open the dormant rift. Flash runs up to them and jumps them. He tries to get the Imex back from Aura, but she bites him. Then the other woman grabs him, but he manages to get free. Flash then grabs the watch from Aura, before the bounty hunter woman aims her gun at his back, telling him to drop it. Zarkov aims his proton gun at the bounty hunter. She knocks the gun out of his hand and Flash knocks her gun out of her hand. Then Flash picks up her gun and she picks up Zarkov's gun, not realizing that it doesn't quite work right. Aura makes a deal that if Flash gives her the Imex, then she'd try to find his father for him. He agrees, but instead of giving her the watch, he throws it on the ground and shoots at it, destroying it. Aura leaves through the rift, empty-handed, and the bounty hunter tries to leave too. But the rift closes before she can enter it and she falls to the ground.

Seeing no other option, she walks back to the truck she stole and drives away. Flash explains to Zarkov that he didn't destroy the watch with the Imex in it, but instead destroyed one of the other watches, which he had with him, thinking that Aura wouldn't know the difference.

Back on Mongo, Ming is furious with Aura, telling her that the Imex is something that could never be replaced. He orders the guards to lock her in her chambers, as punishment.

On Earth, Flash visits his father's grave, saying that he will find his father. Dale says that she told her fiance Joe that she's working on a story with Flash. She asks Flash if she can ever tell Joe the truth and Flash says not until he finds his father.

Back on Mongo, Flash's father is shown in a medical laboratory, strapped down to a table with a strange contraption on his head.


A DVD release of the pilot, Flash Gordon: The Premiere Episode, was sold as an exclusive at Best Buy, released on August 14, 2007. The DVD includes the 65-minute episode, as well as deleted scenes, storyboards and sketches.


The pilot earned a 1.5 household rating from Nielsen Media Research, representing approximately 2.1 million viewers. This rating beat other recent Sci Fi Channel premieres, Painkiller Jane (1.3) and The Dresden Files (1.4).

First words

  • Flash Gordon: "Thanks for being here with me today, guys. It's a perfect day!"
  • Dale Arden: "Hey, Flash."
  • Baylin: "Remain still, and you will receive no pain."
  • Dr. Hans Zarkov: "Please don't touch me. I don't like being touched."
  • Ming: "It's glorious, Rankol. The gateway to a new world."
  • Rankol: "Ready the probe."
  • Aura: "My name is Chianza, I'm one of Ming's abbotts. They're talking about you; is it true you're from another world?"
  • Joe Wylee: "This is a closed crime scene, no press."
  • Joely Lavant: "WIAD-4 news. Can we get a few words with you?"
  • Nick Gilmore: "That's my boy!"
  • Norah Gordon: "Oh, your father would have been so proud."
  • Lawrence Gordon: "Well, I'd say we made a mistake calling you Stephen. From now on, I'm calling you Flash."



Guest starring



External links

Flash Gordon Pulls In Decent Premiere Ratings



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