Lieutenant Commander Steel

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Lieutenant Commander Steel

Post by Kooshmeister » Sat Jul 18, 2020 7:35 am

Since it wound up nearly derailing another, unrelated topic:

In hindsight, to this day I don't quite understand why Feral never got rid of Steel. Or at least demoted him. He did both to Chance and Jake on a whim in the span of about a minute, if that, first implying that they'd be demoted or at least removed from active duty in the air division for disobeying him, and then outright firing them because Chance got in his face and was insubordinate in public. But Steel? Steel betrayed him. At best, it can be said Steel planned to humiliate Feral by getting him captured so he could come to his rescue and be the hero of the day; at worst, he was actively trying to get Feral killed (flicking the nameplate off the desk is ambiguous, after all, and he did show up at the volcano). And regardless of his intentions, even if he didn't want Feral dead, there was a very real possibility Dark Kat would've killed him. And yet Feral not only didn't fire him, he didn't demote him. He's still the Lieutenant Commander as of Enter the Madkat.

I've tried and tried and tried to think of why Feral never gave his borderline useless behind the boot after he first betrayed him and then chickened out in the middle of an aerial combat situation and refused a direct order to return fire, then nearly vomited. Even if Feral couldn't prove 100% beyond a shadow of a doubt that Steel intentionally betrayed him, and Steel was somehow able to convince him that the slow response time really was due to "trouble getting organized," that plus his refusal to return fire while in the jet later would've been ironclad proof that he's unfit for a command position and he should've been busted down several ranks if nothing else.

Even before then, it's obvious Feral hates him. He has no respect for him, calling him "green," "ambitious" and "an idiot" in front of several people, including Callie, who we know Feral also dislikes. Meaning Feral has more respect for her than his own lieutenant commander! And Steel exhibits no skills that we see indicating that he earned his position through any kind of merit (combat prowess, political maneuvering, etc.). Just who is he and how did he get to become Lieutenant Commander of the Enforcers and why did Feral not only put up with him, however grudgingly, despite disliking him, and then never get rid of him once it became obvious be was duplicitous at worst and incompetent at best, despite having the authority to do so? He's, as far as we know, the second most powerful civil official in Megakat City. Even Callie, the Deputy Mayor, can't make him do anything.

I used to hate the idea, but the more I ponder it, the old fan theory that Steel is connected to someone important and earned his rank that way and Feral has to put up with him and can't simply get rid of him or demote him, or reassign him, is starting to make sense. But who? As noted, considering that the one and only person we ever see that can make Feral do anything he doesn't want to do is Manx, does this mean Steel is related to Manx? Or perhaps a city official friend of Manx's? Perhaps someone above Manx like the governor? I originally rejected this "Steel has some connections which make his position secure" idea because if it were the case, you'd think it would've come up, even in awkward, blatant exposition like how Feral bemoans that he can't simply get rid of Felina because of his brother. But again, it's getting harder to ignore as one of two possible explanations.

The second is that Steel has something on Feral. Again, this is purely fan theory, because it's never even suggested in either episode he appears in, and yet aside from the right family or political connections it's all I can think of. But what, I wonder? Whatever it is, it isn't bad enough for Steel to use it as leverage to force Feral into early retirement, but it is bad enough for him to wave it around whenever the topic of him getting fired comes up. SteeleIcon
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Re: Lieutenant Commander Steel

Post by Mikazo » Sat Jul 18, 2020 2:47 pm

Steel is probably well-connected and well-liked, and was given his position as a favor. He is likely also well-positioned to fail upwards, as due to his incompetence, they will keep promoting him in order to get rid of him.

At some point he will migrate to the private sector where his incompetence will irk management so much that they will do the same thing. They will continue to promote him and give him raises just to replace him with someone more capable. He will eventually become the company CEO, putting up a facade of leadership consisting of vaguely inspirational aphorisms. When the company tanks on his watch, he will find a nice golden parachute waiting for him while all the investors are left to scramble for whatever crumbs are left after the fallout!

Then he will become a top economic advisor to the mayor. (Well, would that be going too far for Manx? Maybe so.)
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Re: Lieutenant Commander Steel

Post by Kooshmeister » Sat Jul 18, 2020 4:05 pm

Mikazo wrote:
Sat Jul 18, 2020 2:47 pm
Steel is probably well-connected and well-liked, and was given his position as a favor.
Yes, but to who? Certainly someone above Feral, or someone who can compel Feral to keep him on and who Feral for whatever reason can't simply tell where to get off, and, as noted, Manx is the only person that we've seen who can do that. So it's either Manx, a friend of Manx's, or someone above Manx on the political food chain.
Mikazo wrote:
Sat Jul 18, 2020 2:47 pm
Then he will become a top economic advisor to the mayor. (Well, would that be going too far for Manx? Maybe so.)
Considering what an idiot Manx is, he'd definitely take advice from Steel. Interestingly, I always had a head canon that Steel was Manx's unseen opponent in the 1993 election in The Ghost Pilot. I even drew Steel as a political candidate.

Image

I know this is fan art, mods, but it is on topic. SteeleSweatDropIcon

I had this notion that he ran on a platform that was basically "my opponent is an idiot." And voters tired of Manx's stupidity, cowardice and penchant for erecting huge monuments to himself and his family, to say nothing of solving every money problem by raising taxes and pouring tons of money into white elephant construction projects like the Megakat Tower and Megakat Marina, would've likely seen anyone as a good enough replacement for Manx. Even Steel. SteeleIcon

And Steel might've won, considering how obvious it was that Manx was dying with the average people on the street during the hot dog scene. I imagine that if the Red Lynx hadn't come back and basically handed Manx an easy political win that he could ride on for many elections to come, he would've lost to whoever it was he was running against quite miserably. I admit we only saw him interacting with a few citizens, but the guy with the bowtie whose hand he shakes gives him the stink-eye when leaving and then there's the husband he sticks with the pin, which sounded really painful, so if this handful of random passersby outside City Hall was intended to represent the average John Q. Public's reaction to Manx, he wasn't doing so hot.

Though this brings up why Callie doesn't just run against Manx herself. What does she see in him, exactly? Hmm. I think I found my next topic! ManxScared
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Re: Lieutenant Commander Steel

Post by MoDaD » Sat Jul 18, 2020 7:14 pm

Kooshmeister wrote:
Sat Jul 18, 2020 7:35 am
In hindsight, to this day I don't quite understand why Feral never got rid of Steel. Or at least demoted him. He did both to Chance and Jake on a whim in the span of about a minute, if that, first implying that they'd be demoted or at least removed from active duty in the air division for disobeying him, and then outright firing them because Chance got in his face and was insubordinate in public.
Comparing Feral's treatment of Chance and Jake to his treatment of Steel is an interesting contrast that's been brought up on several occasions, and its explanation has almost become a fanon constant in various fan fic works: that of Steel being the recipient of some kind of nepotistic benefit that Feral has little to no control over.

My suggested explanation to this is that the events of The Wrath of Dark Kat are shown from the SWAT Kats' perspective, specifically Chance's, as he's the one who is portrayed as having the flashback. It is possible the recollection is biased, and unreliable narration is in effect. The exact manner of their sortie against Dark Kat, Feral's orders, the destruction of Enforcer Headquarters, and Chance and Jake's dismissal, if it were shown from Feral's perspective, might actually be different.

A second item to consider, after Feral gained more years of experience as an Enforcer Commander, he may have modified his leadership style to be more lenient, whether due to some kind of internal realization, or because he was forced to for other reasons. He does appear to soften his tone throughout the course of the show, at least in practice if not in boisterousness, in regards to the SWAT Kats, going so far as to no longer pursue their arrest or to passively accept their help. His niece and his leniency with her might have something to do with that.
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Re: Lieutenant Commander Steel

Post by stancymckatt » Sun Jul 19, 2020 8:17 pm

Maybe he is somehow just barely useful enough to Feral for him to keep? There may be ways to prevent further promotion without actually firing someone.

Steel is useless in the field, but he might be good somewhere else. I see him possibly being good at paperwork. Perhaps even politics of some kind. Maybe things that Feral thinks are hogwash, and hates... (I don't see Commander Feral liking politics after dealing with Manx for so many years.) A keep your friends close, but your enemies closer sort of thing?

Maybe he got cross promoted to head of the robbery department? Being a department head might be enough busy work to keep him out of the way.

Or he got demoted to a regular Lt instead of a Lt. Commander. SteeleSweatDropIcon

Wild theory ahead:

The Lt. Steel he refers the storekeeper to could be another one... Is there any proof, other than the name, that he's the same Lt Steel?
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Re: Lieutenant Commander Steel

Post by Kooshmeister » Sun Jul 19, 2020 10:49 pm

stancymckatt wrote:
Sun Jul 19, 2020 8:17 pm
Or he got demoted to a regular Lt instead of a Lt. Commander. SteeleSweatDropIcon
His nameplate (misspelled name and all) still says "Lt. Commander" on it), and if he got demoted, then he would've been replaced, and the current lieutenant commander, not him, would've taken charge. Instead, he immediately takes charge in Feral's absence and no one finds this unusual. And even if he wasn't replaced but still demoted, we know there's at least one rank between lieutenant commander and lieutenant in the Enforcers, captain, so a captain would've taken command if Steel had been demoted but not replaced.

And he was still referred to as just "Lieutenant Steel" or "Lieutenant" as an incorrect shortening of his rank back in The Wrath of Dark Kat, when we know he was Lieutenant Commander. And his uniform and insignia never change, either. We know based on Felina what a regular lieutenant wears in and out of combat (there's a model sheet of her "standard uniform" that she is actually never seen in). Then again, the sergeant seen in Enter the Madkat and Katastrophe has a completely different uniform from Talon and his clone army (and even from himself in either episode!), so sometimes Enforcer uniforms differ from individual to individual even among officers of the same rank.
stancymckatt wrote:
Sun Jul 19, 2020 8:17 pm
The Lt. Steel he refers the storekeeper to could be another one... Is there any proof, other than the name, that he's the same Lt Steel?
Possible, but unlikely. Even if there was someone else named Steel in the Enforcers (which is likely), the Lieutenant Steel Feral tells Katzmer (the shopkeeper) to see is confirmed to be the same one we're familiar with when that sergeant who dresses differently from all the other sergeants for no reason comes in and asks him when he's going to see the guy who's been waiting to talk to him. "Lieutenant, when are you going to see that kat who got robbed? He's been waiting all day." If there were a lower (regular) lieutenant named Steel I doubt he'd kick Katzmer upstairs to see the acting Commander who has better things to do (even if he doesn't do them).

Unless Katzmer insisted on seeing the highest ranking possible person available in which case he'd insist on pestering the Lieutenant Commander/acting Commander. Which he might, given the gravity of the situation. But, no, I'm pretty sure the Lieutenant Steel Feral tells Katzmer to go see is the same one who takes over later on and he's been ignoring the guy all day like the sergeant said.
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Re: Lieutenant Commander Steel

Post by marklungo » Sun Jul 19, 2020 11:51 pm

stancymckatt wrote:
Sun Jul 19, 2020 8:17 pm
Is there any proof, other than the name, that he's the same Lt Steel?
Well, besides the facts that Koosh already pointed out: the Lt. Steel we see in "Enter the Madkat" has the same appearance and personality as the one in "The Wrath of Dark Kat". What are the odds that there are two identical Lt. Steels in the Enforcers? And if there are, why does no one mention it? Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. did something similar with the Koenig brothers (a group of siblings all played by Patton Oswalt), but they used it as a running gag.
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Re: Lieutenant Commander Steel

Post by stancymckatt » Mon Jul 20, 2020 10:26 am

Kooshmeister wrote:
Sun Jul 19, 2020 10:49 pm
His nameplate (misspelled name and all) still says "Lt. Commander" on it), and if he got demoted, then he would've been replaced, and the current lieutenant commander, not him, would've taken charge. Instead, he immediately takes charge in Feral's absence and no one finds this unusual. And even if he wasn't replaced but still demoted, we know there's at least one rank between lieutenant commander and lieutenant in the Enforcers, captain, so a captain would've taken command if Steel had been demoted but not replaced.
I must be messing up my episode order... BlushJakeIcon (Thanks for helping me figure that out.) Although IA's investigation is bound to take time as high ranking as he is... Especially if he's careful to not leave a paper trail at all (He's probably smart enough to do that). And then the time added because he would fight it. (Deliberately dragging your feet is probably super hard to prove.) So if the two incidents happened within a few months of each other, He could still be Lt. Commander. Even if Ferals trying to get rid of him.

Proving that he was negligent by not doing something or other during a crisis would probably be hard to prove. He's probably smart enough to keep things subtle. Commander Feral has to work with him enough to read between the lines, but may not be able to actually prove anything.
Kooshmeister wrote:
Sun Jul 19, 2020 10:49 pm
And he was still referred to as just "Lieutenant Steel" or "Lieutenant" as an incorrect shortening of his rank back in The Wrath of Dark Kat, when we know he was Lieutenant Commander.
I've always wondered if that isn't a very subtle dig at how useless he is as a Commander. SteeleSweatDropIcon Something normal Kats wouldn't pick up?
Kooshmeister wrote:
Sun Jul 19, 2020 10:49 pm
And his uniform and insignia never change, either. We know based on Felina what a regular lieutenant wears in and out of combat (there's a model sheet of her "standard uniform" that she is actually never seen in). Then again, the sergeant seen in Enter the Madkat and Katastrophe has a completely different uniform from Talon and his clone army (and even from himself in either episode!), so sometimes Enforcer uniforms differ from individual to individual even among officers of the same rank.
My only idea on that is maybe some of the uniforms are an older style that's being phased out because of the increasing danger? Or they're for a different division. Mostly we see the commandos, not the 'cops' of the enforcers anyway.

Kooshmeister wrote:
Sun Jul 19, 2020 10:49 pm
Possible, but unlikely. Even if there was someone else named Steel in the Enforcers (which is likely), the Lieutenant Steel Feral tells Katzmer (the shopkeeper) to see is confirmed to be the same one we're familiar with when that sergeant who dresses differently from all the other sergeants for no reason comes in and asks him when he's going to see the guy who's been waiting to talk to him. "Lieutenant, when are you going to see that kat who got robbed? He's been waiting all day." If there were a lower (regular) lieutenant named Steel I doubt he'd kick Katzmer upstairs to see the acting Commander who has better things to do (even if he doesn't do them).
I forgot about that entire scene, whoops! RazSad

marklungo wrote:
Sun Jul 19, 2020 11:51 pm
Well, besides the facts that Koosh already pointed out: the Lt. Steel we see in "Enter the Madkat" has the same appearance and personality as the one in "The Wrath of Dark Kat". What are the odds that there are two identical Lt. Steels in the Enforcers? And if there are, why does no one mention it? Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. did something similar with the Koenig brothers (a group of siblings all played by Patton Oswalt), but they used it as a running gag.
I was getting the episodes out of order in my head. Thank you for being patent with me and helping me figure that out. RazorHappyCait It'd be awful for everyone if there were two steels with the same attitude!
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Re: Lieutenant Commander Steel

Post by Kooshmeister » Mon Jul 20, 2020 11:24 am

marklungo wrote:
Sun Jul 19, 2020 11:51 pm
Well, besides the facts that Koosh already pointed out: the Lt. Steel we see in "Enter the Madkat" has the same appearance and personality as the one in "The Wrath of Dark Kat".
I don't think Stancy was suggesting that the Steel in The Wrath of Dark Kat and the one we see in Enter the Madkat were different characters, only that the Steel Katzmer is told to see in the latter episode might've been a different Steel from the Lieutenant Commander.
marklungo wrote:
Sun Jul 19, 2020 11:51 pm
What are the odds that there are two identical Lt. Steels in the Enforcers?
Not identical, no, or even necessarily the same rank (as mentioned, I think what Stancy was suggesting was that there was a Lieutenant Steel in the robbery division and a Lieutenant Commander Steel who is second in command of the whole force). But in an organization the size of the Enforcers, there's bound to be a few people with the same last name, and not necessarily related, either. After all, there are two Talons (though one isn't an Enforcer) and they're confirmed not to be related, and there were going to be two Taylors (although again, one wasn't an Enforcer). As much as the writers tried to adhere to the "One Steve Limit" sometimes that's unavoidable.

After all, they changed the elderly guard's name in The Origin of Dr. Viper from Smitty to Emil because there'd already been an Enforcer sergeant named Smitty - unless the guard's full name is Emil Smitty and the change is just that Zyme referred to him by first rather than last name. ZymeIcon

And one of the grave robbers in The Pastmaster Always Rings Twice was originally named Mac, not Jack, though this may be because Mac's first name was originally going to be Mace at the time of The Metallikats' writing.

I love behind the scenes stuff like this. RazorHappyCait
stancymckatt wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 10:26 am
I've always wondered if that isn't a very subtle dig at how useless he is as a Commander. SteeleSweatDropIcon Something normal Kats wouldn't pick up?
It's possible. Aside from his nameplate, the only time he's referred to by his full rank is by himself when introducing himself to Callie and Ann. Everyone else calls him just "Lieutenant." Even Feral. And that is a pretty good in-story reason I'd never considered. Even when he's acting Commander in Enter the Madkat, both Felina and the sergeant who comes in still refer to him as "Lieutenant" and not "Commander."

As noted elsewhere on here, the proper shortened address for a lieutenant commander is commander. The out-of-story reason is likely that the writers didn't want any confusion between who was the superior officer between him and Feral despite them both being a type of commander, though it's also possible, given that they seem to think deputy mayors are just glorified secretaries, that they just didn't know the proper shortened form of the rank. I kinda wish they'd just made him a regular lieutenant after all like they did with Felina. Or perhaps a captain (even though IRL I think captains outrank commanders in most militaries and police forces). It would've made things simpler.

Speaking of Felina, here is what the model sheet designates as her standard uniform, which means, theoretically, this is the basic outfit for an Enforcer lieutenant outside of combat.

Image

Though it seems I made a boo-boo:
Kooshmeister wrote:
Sun Jul 19, 2020 10:49 pm
(there's a model sheet of her "standard uniform" that she is actually never seen in).
As it turns out, though:

Image

Image

Oops...! BlushJakeIcon

She also has something similar to it while trudging along the drained ocean floor in When Strikes Mutilor:

Image

Image

Though it appears as if this is just what the model sheets call her "chopper pilot outfit" (specifically a lieutenant's, I imagine, since it's different from a standard pilot's) with the vest taken off, especially since, the very time we see her, when she finds the downed Marauder:

Image

Image

I imagine that her helmet and vest along with other survival gear are in that backpack. It's interesting to see what sorts of survival gear Enforcer pilots are given for survival situations when they're shot down... which includes a bazooka/rocket launcher. Though generally when we see them eject they have none of those things. Are they stored in the seat?
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Re: Lieutenant Commander Steel

Post by stancymckatt » Thu Jul 23, 2020 5:25 pm

marklungo wrote:
Sun Jul 19, 2020 11:51 pm
Well, besides the facts that Koosh already pointed out: the Lt. Steel we see in "Enter the Madkat" has the same appearance and personality as the one in "The Wrath of Dark Kat".
Kooshmeister wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 11:24 am
I don't think Stancy was suggesting that the Steel in The Wrath of Dark Kat and the one we see in Enter the Madkat were different characters, only that the Steel Katzmer is told to see in the latter episode might've been a different Steel from the Lieutenant Commander.
My apologies for the poor wording. Kooshmister is correct .
marklungo wrote:
Sun Jul 19, 2020 11:51 pm
What are the odds that there are two identical Lt. Steels in the Enforcers?
Kooshmeister wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 11:24 am

Not identical, no, or even necessarily the same rank (as mentioned, I think what Stancy was suggesting was that there was a Lieutenant Steel in the robbery division and a Lieutenant Commander Steel who is second in command of the whole force). But in an organization the size of the Enforcers, there's bound to be a few people with the same last name, and not necessarily related, either. After all, there are two Talons (though one isn't an Enforcer) and they're confirmed not to be related, and there were going to be two Taylors (although again, one wasn't an Enforcer).
What was thinking is that it doesn't make sense to me for Feral to refer Katzmer to the Lt. Commander right off. After all Katzmer only gets to say it's a robbery before Commander Feral takes off.
stancymckatt wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 10:26 am
I've always wondered if that isn't a very subtle dig at how useless he is as a Commander. SteeleSweatDropIcon Something normal Kats wouldn't pick up?
Kooshmeister wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 11:24 am
It's possible. Aside from his nameplate, the only time he's referred to by his full rank is by himself when introducing himself to Callie and Ann.
Um.... I just see him referred to as Lt in that scene where he's trying to get Callie and Ann to get back (Wrath of the Dark Kat). And it's Feral that said it... At least according to the transcript.
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