EPISODE IN DEPTH: Exploring...

As the title suggests, this episode is all to do with Starlight History rather than Starlight present. Its all tied up with the Benton family and the background of the Starlight Foundation as told through the diary of Emmet Benton. Considerably late in the series for a "how it all began" type episode, this is nevertheless the only time you see Aja and Shana as small children.

The most key thing about Emmet's diary in one way is the fact that he kept one at all, bearing in mind Kimber's love for her Diary, which is so well depicted in Scandal. It's well known that Emmet and Kimber were close and you wonder if this was just another think Kimber picked up from Daddy.
Emmet records many important events in his diary. You discover through his words that his wife Jacqui was a foster girl herself, that he promoted her as a singer - the entire reason for the creation of Starlight Music - and that after her death, when building Synergy, Emmet was still thinking of his long dead wife, because he programmed the computer with Jacqui's personality, vague appearance and musical files. It would not be wrong to suggest, therefore, that Emmet's apparent resignation to the fact he himself was dying was because he held onto a hope that at least this way he and his wife would be together again and at peace. He says himself that the children are his reasons for going on - but by the beginning of Truly Outrageous Jerrica, Kimber, Aja and Shana are no longer small children. We do not know how long Emmet was ill for, because his diary is not clear on the fact and it was not something he ever confided in the girls before it happened. It is possible that he kept himself going through failing health simply to make sure his girls did not wind up foster girls themselves. We will never know.
Jacqui and Emmet's relationship is indeed a strong one, however it is not the only relationship he refers to. Aja and Shana he includes in his writing as if they were blood family, rather than fostered, and though it is never said as much, there is almost a pseudo-adoption situation going on there. Somehow Aja and Shana are depicted differently from the other Starlight girls - as real members of the Benton family.

Jacqui Benton is an enigmatic character. A popular singer who toured yet died before she was able to cut an album (this seems a contradiction, but let's work with it anyway.) Her music was evidently highly important to her, however, because she goes on her tour despite the pleas of Jerrica for her to stay. I don't interpret this as bad motherhood but I do see it as a lack of understanding on Jacqui's part - maybe because of her own lack of maternal advice growing up. (She says herself that she was passed from pillar to post with no home to call her own.) With all the new foster girls, and Jerrica growing up, it is natural for her to want to spend some one to one time with her mother, and so resents Jacqui going away. Jerrica's relationship with Jacqui is as strong as Emmet's is with Kimber, and on occasion you see indications that Jerrica is not altogether happy with the new Starlight setup. There is a scene where Shana is new and Jerrica is in the kitchen with Jacqui, asking if she can help her mother. Jacqui sends her out to Shana, hoping that Jerrica will bring the girl into the fold, but again she is thinking as a foster girl (as if she were Shana) rather than as a blood child (as if she were Jerrica). I don't think Jacqui pushed her daughter away - Jerrica clearly adored her. But I do think Jacqui's own upbringing often made her put other things (the foster girl project, her musical career) before intuitive needs of her children.
This might also explain why Jerrica is so overly maternal towards Kimber on occasion - as if to make up for something both girls have long since lost. Kimber is very young when the plane crash happens, and, probably because she is always depicted as closer to Emmet, she is less upset at the idea of Jacqui going away on tour, though obviously she is as heartbroken as anyone over her death. It is Jerrica, however, who has to live with the guilt of their last tragic parting for the rest of her life. Though in this episode Jerrica says that she had forgotten how mean she was to Jacqui the last time they saw each other, I believe it is within her subconsciously all the time. This too is a reason for her overprotectiveness of Kimber. It is almost like she is repaying her mother a debt by looking out for Kimber in the way Jacqui was prevented from doing herself.

I'll start this paragraph by saying the thing which will horrify Jem fans to the core. I believe that at one point, deep in the distant past, there was some tiny spark between Eric and Jerrica. I don't think for one moment it was a serious relationship - at least, not for Jerrica. She used him to make Rio jealous - which worked - as Emmet records in an amused way in his diary. However, there is always a hatred between Jerrica and Eric throughout the series and I often wonder if a little part of that hatred is because of this small incident Emmet recalls when Jerrica is using Eric to make Rio jealous. Whether Eric ever had feelings for Jerrica is beyond anything more than speculation, but nevertheless I do think he thought himself onto a good thing when the boss's elder daughter showed some interest in him. Emmet (though in failing health) must have trusted Eric, because not only did he allow them to socialise, he also left them half of the record company each in his will. It leads me to wonder, therefore, whether Emmet doubted that Rio was the right man for Jerrica, and perhaps even envisaged that Eric would be the way Jerrica went in the future. Of course, it is equally easy to speculate that Emmet left Jerrica and Eric the company in the hope that Eric would teach Jerrica what she needed to know to run it, and then between them they would promote Kimber as the star of the company. It seems fairly clear after all that it was Kimber, and not Jerrica that Emmet groomed to be the starlet.
I think that Eric's resentment of Jerrica -whether love related or not - can be picked out clearly in this episode by one action which is entirely out of character for him. The burning of the master tapes. If we are to consider this a rational act performed by a character whose main interests in life are money and saving his skin, then we have to assume that somewhere inside of him burns a flame of pure hatred for Jerrica Benton. And in order for that flame to have been ignited, Eric must have some real reason to despise Jerrica that goes beyond the Battle of the Bands and Starlight Music. For him to burn something which he could easily have made money out of - who was to say that the rights were not his and that Emmet did not give them to him if he was questioned on the subject? - meant he really wanted to hurt Jerrica badly. This suggests to me that he *was* interested in Jerrica at one point. This would be further backed up by the hostile relationship between Rio and Eric and the fact that Jerrica did not see Eric's true colours till after Emmet's death.
I don't necessarily believe Eric was truly madly deeply for Jerrica, since it is not his style. But he is a businessman and I think he could see a partnership between himself and the heiress of Emmet Benton becoming infinitely profitable in the future, whether a business one or one on a more personal level. Evidently he believed that he had manipulated the father and could also manipulate the daughter, and did not appreciate being proven wrong.
Of course, in Eric's favour (and I do not dislike Eric, by the way), it is possible that he liked and/or respected Emmet and simply wanted to carry on the company in it's successful vein without the interference of what he would term "kids."
Would Eric have signed the Misfits if Emmet had not died? This is a question we will never know the answer to ;)

"I am Synergy - I am no more and no less. I am your father's gift of love."
Synergy in her own words, describing her role once the Holograms discover that Emmet based her on Jacqui. Though the girls have always adopted her as a mother figure, they have never made the connection between Jacqui and Synergy, and I think the reason for this is clear. As Synergy herself says, she is NOT Jacqui Benton. However, that is not to say that she is not capable of independant thought (She proves several times that she is), or that she does not love them like a mother figure would. She is the guardian hand-picked by Emmet for Jerrica and Kimber as they go into the world on their own. I have never been sure why it is Jerrica and not Kimber that Emmet leaves the earrings to, but my assumption is that, because Synergy's main function is holographic, he feels that the responsibility is better in Jerrica's hands rather than Kimber's rather airy fairy grip.
Though Synergy introduces herself in Truly Outrageous, this is the only time we get the real background of the computer's origin. Though she is Emmet's gift of love, she is also his labour of love - his tribute to his wife and his replacement as carers for his children.
Synergy's role in the Jem series must *never* be underestimated.

The saddest part of this episode is the plane crash, when the plane has come down and you realise that yes, this really is a part of the Benton girl;s past. Jerrica and Kimber would have grown up with a happy, normal upbringing if it wasn't for fate stealing their mother and ill health stealing their father. It explains so very much - Kimber rebels against her sister's mothering because Kimber has, essentially, never had a mother. It also explains why the girls turn so much to Synergy - Kimber especially for personal and secret advice - because she is the missing mother figure that sometimes they feel they need.
Unfortunately, the depth of this episode means that once more Raya is left on the outside. She is not a part of the remeniscences because she never knew Emmet or Jacqui and cannot share the memories that Jerrica and the others share with even the most minor of Starlight Girl characters.
My real gripe with this episode is the music. Starlight (Jacqui's song) is not so very bad, but "First Love" is just terrible...

Episode rating: 9/10,
if you happen to be a Hologram fan.