LAP 50
Black Shadow

After witnessing Haruka's kidnapping, Ryu has not yet returned to Platoon HQ. The group are worried about him - all except Tanaka, who's amused that the great Ryu Suzaku is so concerned over one of Dark Million's pawns. Lucy and Jody shout him down; wasn't it Ryu who said "how can one man save the galaxy if he can't save one person"? They receive a call from Ryu telling them of his wherabouts...

While the Excellent Queen helps repair the Fire Needle, Ryu is deep inside Samurai Goroh's cavern lair learning the ways of his inner strength as he sits beneath the pressure of a waterfall. Goroh's injuries have yet to heal from his last scrap with Zoda, but he's more than willing to teach his friend the merits of boundless determination.

For instance, channeling one's ki to slice right through a waterfall! It may have been an ordinary sword he was carrying in his hands, but being really angry about something can carry you far.

Lisa Brilliant escorts Clank and Lucy into the cave to cheer on Ryu. He apologises for abandoning them, but felt he needed to attend to his weaknesses before he could carry on his duties. They parrot his prophetic phrase back to him, and it gives him the gusto to go out and rescue his dear girlfriend. Goroh is pleased with his student's progress.

Meanwhile, the grand space station of Dark Million docks upon a barren red planet, and Black Shadow steps out to admire the surroundings; leaving the frozen body of Haruka in his throne room.

The Death Anchor pulls up and Zoda gloats about having found his master's secret base. It's more than that, Black Shadow replies - this is where his glorious dream will come to fruition, and it would not be possible without the Dark Matter Reactor.

He courteously explains it purpose to Zoda: the universe was created with the Big Bang, and is forever expanding because of it. The Dark Matter Reactor is a high-energy furnace with enough dark power to halt its expansion. This will create a new Big Bang, one that will result in a universe governed by evil!

Zoda likes the idea so much he wants to take it for himself, though Black Shadow's not giving it up without a fight; or more accurately, a race! Whoever reaches the reactor first has the privilege will possess control of it. Zoda's game, and the two zoom towards it in their machines, driving up the track to the reactor's interior...

The two machines do battle, but the Death Anchor is too weak to even graze the Black Bull; its pilot taunts Zoda that he lacks the power to defeat him. He'll show Black Shadow who's boss! Zoda initiates his Death Fire technique to ram the Black Bull, and as he does so the reactor's core begins to glow.

The Death Anchor takes the lead, leaving Zoda confident in his success, but he quickly acknowledges that it shouldn't be this way: after all, Black Shadow's machine has two Reactor Mights in it. It should have trumped him in an instant! Zoda's Reactor Might begins to glow, stripping him of control of his machine as Black Shadow laughs. He has finally nurtured his Reactor Might to its peak potential...

... and he no longer needs the body connected to it! The Black Bull rams Zoda right off the track, causing his machine to spin helplessly through the air as it is sucked towards the Dark Matter Reactor's core, sealing him inside!

The reactor's cogs slowly chug into life as the machine has gained another Reactor Might to power it. Zoda's lifeless body is encased within, and Black Shadow muses that once all six Reactor Mights are installed he will be unstoppable. All he needs to do is defeat Ryu Suzaku and Captain Falcon!

Ryu returns to Platoon HQ to find the whole gang were working hard on fixing up his Dragon Bird, and present him with a surprise: it now has two Reactor Mights installed in its engine! Captain Falcon retrieved the second one from Blood Falcon, and has given Ryu his blessing to use it. It's an honour not many receive, though they warn him to be careful; it's also not every day you have two Reactor Mights encased in a single machine.

He hops in and switches her on, revving the engine and seeing just how much power this beauty can muster. Shockwaves rumble through the room and it bursts towards the practise track like nothing they've seen before...

... but on the track it's a different story. The machine wobbles and scrapes along, its power sources causing it to be unstable. The Dragon Bird can no longer be tamed by mere electronics; it's now on Ryu's shoulders to control these vessels of power himself. As they watch him practise, multiple rainbows form in the sky.

But this isn't a sign of good fortune - this is universe-endangering peril! Warp gates begin to malfunction; aurorae form in the sky; savage storms wreck the coastlines; and attacks from unknown enemies assault all known space defences...

Even planets are colliding into one another! The Platoon are gathered in the police station when a message from Black Shadow appears, gleefully taking responsibility for the chaos and having an extra special image for Ryu: an image of Haruka's frozen body. He teases him with another usage of his famous phrase: if he can't even save his girl, how is he fit to save the universe?

After the message concludes Clank discovers the source of these galaxy-spanning incidents: the universe is shrinking! At the moment it's only little by little, but if the energy output is increased they'll be doomed a lot faster. Ryu believes the source of this energy is the planet where Black Shadow and Don Genie had trapped him, and he wants to investigate. Tanaka is quick to remind him of all the possible dangers, though he retorts that they're accomplishing nothing by sitting here all day.

The entire Platoon (and Tanaka!) set out there in the Galaxy Runner, having to brave the planet's defences as they fly closer and closer to its surface. Black Shadow and Don Genie appear on the communicator, eagerly awaiting their arrival.

While the Galaxy Runner takes the brunt of the assault, Ryu and the gang disembark in their F-Zero machines to find the source of the energy. A wave of Red Bulls block their way, one of which is piloted by none other than Don Genie, who's itching for the chance to scrap with Ryu personally... until he decides to turn tail and run, forcing the Dragon Bird to give chase. The Red Bulls are too much for the rest of the team and they are quickly overwhelmed.

Don Genie tries to hold off Ryu with some rear-mounted machine guns, but they're no match for the Dragon Bird. An overload of Reactor Might energy causes his machine to wobble out of control, accidentally ramming the Red Bull and making it burst into flames. It disappears through a door, though the Dragon Bird is just able to sneak in before the shutter closes.

Outside, waves of Dark Soldiers are keeping the Platoon busy, preventing them from entering. Good fortune is on their side as the Blue Falcon flies over them, slipping past the defences and into the facility.
The Don is nowhere to be found in the inner chamber, only a lone cloaked figure...

... Deathborn! Ryu gets out and raises his gun at him, but the mysterious figure finally reveals his identity: he's a secret agent from the Galaxy Police tasked with investigating Don Genie's activity, and the evil entrepeneur is escaping in the space ship just over there. Go get 'em! Ryu rushes back to his machine...

... only for Captain Falcon to arrive and tell him to wise up. This is the biggest trap they've ever seen; he's going to have his Reactor Mights stolen if he enters. As if to prove his point, the ship explodes and Deathborn cackles at what could've been. Ryu demands to know who this joker really is, but the Captain tells him the answer lies in his shadow...

It's Don Genie?! No, actually; Don Genie and Deathborn were merely disguises used by Black Shadow - or his "shadows", if you will. The lord of evil offers Captain Falcon and Ryu one last chance to join his side, or else the universe will fall into darkness. He hops into his Black Bull and disappears through a portal, chortling all the way.

Jack and Lucy appear to check on Ryu, but Falcon tells them there's no time for pleasantries - this place is going to blow! The two board the Galaxy Runner just before the entire planet combusts... but Ryu and the Dragon Bird aren't on board their ship.

Not to worry, he calls to tell them he's aboard the Falcon Flyer; he and the Captain are bound for the Dark Star, the heart of Black Shadow's evil plan. The Platoon beg to come along with them, but they have greater worries: an incoming fleet of Dark Million battle stations! The crew of the Galaxy Runner buckle down and open fire upon them, blasting them with everything they've got to cover the Falcon Flyer's escape.

Falcon and Ryu evade the enemy forces and make their way to Black Shadow's lair, pondering what lies in wait for them. Captain Falcon tells Ryu that it is only destiny for humble creatures to blossom into beings of great strength and wisdom; it's because of that that he felt Ryu was worthy of the second Reactor Might. Their bond reinforced, they look forward and await their final challenge.

Burt's F-Zero Classroom: Captain Falcon makes an appearance during the next episode preview to deliver the news: it's the final classroom segment! To mark this momentous occasion, Burt finally answers the question people have been asking since the start: Why does he have a scar on his face? Jack interrupts before he can answer, scoring himself a Sensei smackdown from Mr. Lemming, who bids farewell to the viewers.

I'd consider it a stretch, but other folks included it as trivia so why not: I suppose Ryu wearing a white gi is a homage to Street Fighter's Ryu? Ryu Suzaki is voiced by Toshiyuki Morikawa, who was the official voice of the hadouken-throwing bloke for about seven years.