Community TF cartoon rewatch thread v1.0: The Transformers (G1)

Discussion in 'Transformers Cyberverse and Cartoon Discussion' started by Liege Nemesis, May 31, 2019.

  1. RagaBM

    RagaBM Sqweeks, the Last Knight

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    FOREVER IS A LONG TIME COMING

    After the excellent Dark Awakening, we have a relatively less exciting one: It’s another one of those failed Quintesson experiments to wipe out our heroes, lead by the same Quint scientist from Killing Jar?? What a poor track record so far from him.

    Favorite tidbits:
    • Lots of action in this one. And a lot of Superion!

    • It’s nice to see some of the Aerialbots get some talking role again, if only just a few lines here and there. Especially Silverbolt and I would’ve liked to have seen more dynamic between Rodimus and him, considering that as seen in the few episodes earlier (and also later on) the Aerialbots are kind of an integral part of Rodimus’ military force it seems.

    • This episode is one of those time travel time again! This time, we got some very nice insights from very early in the Autobots history. Probably the oldest time period the series ever showcased.

    • Rewind was pretty awesome in this. It’s the only episode where he said anything and its a shame because being an archivist opens up a whole lot of story possibility. Oh yeah, Ramhorn talks for some reason. And he’s aggressive!

    The not-so-good:
    • The premise of the plot was simple, and then it branched into two subplots. There’s a lot of things going on but ultimately I feel one of the subplot (i.e. the team that was stuck in past) does not amount to any impactful consequence. Which is a shame because they could’ve done so much more.

    • Coming from that, A3 doesn’t really do a whole lot in this episode. Would’ve like some more interaction from him with the other characters.

    Conclusion:
    As you may tell, it doesn’t have as much good stuff as “Dark Awakening”. Some missed opportunities. The setup is there but they didn’t capitalize on it and as a result, the climax does not feel satisfying enough. 7/10 stuff, overall.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2019
  2. Liege Nemesis

    Liege Nemesis Snarks about old cartoons

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    I think that Optimus doesn't revert because he was rebuilt by Alpha Trion from Orion to Optimus after the injuries he suffered in War Dawn. Given that The Return of Optimus Prime also establishes that Elita-1 was rebuilt off of similar schematics it also negates the potential that being "rebuilt" was just a cover for him getting the Matrix because then there wouldn't be a way to explain Ariel's transformation to Elita and her compatibility with Optimus.



    I'm gonna have my full thoughts on Dark Awakening up in a bit and then the last episode of the week up some time tonight (I haven't finished watching it yet)
     
  3. Liege Nemesis

    Liege Nemesis Snarks about old cartoons

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    DARK AWAKENING

    THE SHORT VERSION
    Remember when I said the movie would shatter your childhood? This episode is here to make sure the job is finished.

    REVIEW
    Wow, does this episode stand out from the rest of the pack so far. While the series has never had much issue going for dramatic moments and serious plots that don't rely on some of the silly comedy that has croppd up from time to time, I don't think there's another episode in G1 that gets as grim and dark and, for lack of a better word, scary as this one.

    We're introduced to the giant space-faring tomb of all the Autobots who died in the great war, specifically reference, by name, a bunch of the deaths from The Movie in a way that the series never otherwise does (sure, they make no bones about mentioning Rodimus succeeding Optimus, but rarely do they actively talk about how all of the Movie casualties are dead or were killed in the war. Usually they just dance around the issue while adhering to the old kids show standby of 'never say "die"' where it's OK to talk about the characters not being there anymore or having fallen in battle or been replaced so long as you never use the word "die" or "death".

    And then we get to Zombie Optimus. It's the iconic piece of this episode to have Rodimus (or eventually Hot Rod) and a suddenly alive(ish) Optimus brought into conflict with one another and reveal the nature of Optimus' return and ultimately remind everyone of why Optimus Prime is the hero of legend that he's always treated as. As much as his sacrifice in the movie is meaningful and moving, this one is almost more impactful because of how he chooses to rebel against the Quintessons' machinations and makes a sacrifice not to achieve a great victory, but simply because it is the right thing to do. This also plays well into helping Rodimus deal with his insecurities about being Optimus' successor and resolves him to continue to try and live up to Optimus' example (even if it would also probably make his anxieties worse since he's now seen the legend he's replacing die twice in the most noble fashion possible, becoming an even more messianic figure for the Autobots. Poor Rodimus is never getting out of that shadow. :lol )

    I won't even complain about the silly Dinobot comedy that's part of the episode since it actually is pulled off pretty well and it gives Snarl not just a rare appearance, but actual lines to speak! It's a miracle!

    The visuals in the tomb are, for the most part, pretty good and Zombie Optimus is suitably disheveled and damaged and only gets worse as the episode progresses and he starts getting more beaten up, including losing an arm and half his face (maybe that's why he wants other bots' faces so much in the Bayverse movies? He just wants to get one back after losing his in this episode? :lol ). It's a lot more than I expected them to be able to get away with in an 80s cartoon, even if it is robot damage instead of a wounded person. But perhaps the only thing that saves it from looking even worse is that it's an AKOM episode and suffers from AKOM's simplistic, lazy, "efficient" art style. I can only imagine the horror that Toei could've wrought if they were at the helm here.

    It's not a perfect episode, by any means though. I don't like how the Decepticons drop out of sight after initiating the plot. It would've been interesting to have Galvatron deal more significantly with Optimus returning and see what sort of effect that had on him. I also didn't like how dumb this required all the Autobots to act to not see some of the very obvious red flags in Optimus' behavoir or the logic of his plan upon returning, especially when this isn't the first time we've done an "evil Optimus tries to lead the Autobots into a trap" plot (season 2's "A Prime Problem"). And while I can chalk it up to AKOM being AKOM (aka lazy), the whole "Autobot fleet" that looks suspiciously like a bunch of identifiable characters in their alt modes getting blown up would be a traumatic and grisly end to multiple characters who don't see much use anymore (and the Aerialbots, who do) if it wasn't invalidated by the fact that many of the bots who apparently get destroyed in the ambush don't pop up alive and well throughout the rest of the season. And not necessarily in a "they needed more Decepticons to flesh out the background, so we through in Shrapnel and Kickback and... whadya mean they're dead?" sort of way) I also would've docked this a couple points if I were watching some of the versions that are out there that choose to use the alternate ending that features a Victor Caroli narration about the late-season episode "The Return of Optimus Prime" which is a gigantic spoiler for anyone unfamiliar with the series and wouldn't make sense given that this episode is properly placed early in the season.

    THOUGHTS AND MUSINGS
    -Episode writer Antoni Zalewski previously popped up as the writer of Auto Berserk (aka that episode where Red Alert goes nuts). He sure has a thing for bots going nuts. I also want to know if perhaps he knew of fellow writer Bryce Malek's desire to get into Child Psychology and figured he'd help drum up some business for his friend. :lol 

    -This is the first appearance of the Autobot shuttle used in The Movie in this season. It's a bit odd that they're using a shuttle instead of Sky Lynx or another Autobot with a flight mode, but I guess they needed a ride that could get shot up to motivate the rest of the plot.

    -Galvatron also has the ship that Unicron gave him upon his reformatting. The same ship that Unicron also destroyed before the movie was over. According to the Wiki its name (cribbed from model sheets published in The Ark sourcebook) was "The Revenge" That's pretty cool.

    -Crazy Galvatron blasts his own ship's viewscreen just so he can aggresively hang up on the Quinessons. I love Crazy Galvatron so much. I think I almost need to start calling him Crazy Galvatron™

    -Galvatron and company fall for the shuttle escaping the exploding ship decoy trick just the same as they did in The Movie You'd think they would have learned from their mistake.

    -After the scene transition we join up with the pursuing Decepticons consisting of The Revenge, a couple of Sweeps (unless one of them is Scourge), Thrust, Dirge, and... what looks for all the world like one of the non-Conehead Seekers (aka the ones that are all dead), except colored like Dirge. I already said Hasbro should make a mint off the Onslaught-colored seeker from Five Faces of Darkness, so why not pair him up with this Dirge colored one. In fact, now we just need to find one more alternate-colored seeker this season to be able to release a Rainmakers-esque 3-pack of them!

    -Ok, hold on a sec. Rodimus had no idea what the mausoleum was before they were right on top of it. But it was built for all the Autobots who died in the Great War, which means it's a year old or less. How do you lose something the size of Manhattan within a year? It's not like misplacing your keys or losing the TV remote down the couch cushions.

    -"Nothing in there can hurt us, Daniel." Man, Rodimus is gonna look mighty stupid over the next 20 minutes or so. :lol 

    -Other side gripe about the mausoleum. Rodimus said he hoped to never see it again. So it's like the point wasn't to be an attended memorial, just a tomb that they would seal the corpses in and never visit again. So why build "the veil of remembrance?" What's the purpose of a memorial installation that is meant to have no visitors? It's a bit like crafting a tombstone, then leaving it in a shed never to be seen again.

    -That said, the veil is kinda cool.

    -Slightly janky models and walk cycles aside, this isn't the worst work AKOM has ever done.

    -Daniel lists off the names on the tombs he passes. In order: Ironhide, Ratchet, Prowl, and... Huffer? The first 3 obviously died in the shuttle attack at the start of The Movie, but Huffer? Why not use Windcharger or Wheeljack? They at least got visible deaths in The Movie. And Wheeljack was by far more important as a character than Huffer. Unless this is just to be able to inform us that Huffer is in fact dead, which while good to know also seems somewhat cruel.

    -Oh Daniel, you wreck everything you touch. Turning off a memorial light because you can't resist pushing a button that you probably should leave alone? Your parents sure don't do a good job- OHGODOHJESUSAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!! ZOMBIE OPTIMUS!!!!!

    -This episode is honestly almost more scary/scarring than The Movie was

    -It also makes me wonder how much worse decaying Optimus would've looked with competent Toei animation work instead of AKOM.

    -But on the other hand, ragged, damaged Optimus is a nice way to cover up for AKOM's sloppy line work. They aren't mistakes! they're damage lines! :lol 

    -Excellent choice by the Autobots to have their crypts open up at the push of a button that's at the hight of a small human child, and to open while making an eerie howl noise too.

    -Actually, now that I think about it, was the mausoleum actually an elaborate plan by the Autobots to terrify Daniel as revenge for all the trouble he causes them? :lol 

    -And while I'm at it, who the heck is that in the crypt that Daniel opens? He lamost looks like a bootleg Chinese knockoff of Brawn that you'd find for sale at a dollar store with a box that has stolen copyrighted comics graphics and a name like "ROBOT SOLDIER X" stamped on the size in Arial typeface.

    -Daniel almost gets crushed by off-brand Brawn. Damn. So close.

    -"I saw him. Optimus. Optimus Prime!" I love the clarification. As if Daniel might've been talking about another bot named "Optimus ____"

    -Rodimus sees only one logical way to answer the panicked claims of a small child: exhume the body of the most respected Autobot in Cybertronian history! Seems reasonable. The ease with which he makes the suggestion is great. It reminds me of that Simpsons line: "Can't we have one meeting that doesn't end with us digging up a corpse?"

    -The Matrix would've told Rodimus that Optimus was still alive? The Matrix isn't Alexa. It's a mystical artifact of ancient power, not an onboard assistant AI.

    -Everyone stares at the empty tomb and then out of nowhere Rodimus says "the Decepticons!" and looks over his shoulder. Makes me think there are some missing sound effects meant to clue in the viewer that something is going on.

    -Ultra Magnus exclaims "There are too many of them!" There are exactly 4 Decepticons in this scene (Galvatron, Cyclonus, Scourge, and a Sweep). And there are 4 Autobots (Rodimus, Ultra Magnus, Kup, and Arcee) plus Spike. But somehow Ultra Magnus isn't up for a fair fight.

    -I sure looks like Scourge and the Sweep (or I suppose possibly just 2 sweeps) get blown up and killed by Autobot fire. But that wouldn't be the first time AKOM has animated exploding/apparently dying Decepticons where nothing so gruesome actually happens.

    -And either those two shot up Sweeps (or possibly Scourge) are miraculously fine, or Magnus' assertion that there's too many Decepticons was because there were these other two Sweeps (or Scourge and Sweep) just off-screen.

    -Arcee is crippled and removed from the battle because of a light blow to the knee. Lame.

    -And now there's Scourge and two Sweeps behind Galvatron and Cyclonus.

    -Damn it's good to hear Peter Cullen's voice again.

    -Suddenly Arcee can run on her crippled knee.

    -And Optimus doesn't look nearly as damaged as he did before.

    -Rodimus being willing to relinquish the Matrix at the drop of a hat is a very Rodimus/Hot Rod thing to do.

    -But cheating that his chest opens up with a glow and a fade is lame. I want mechanical doors like Optimus has on his chest.

    -Rodimus says that the other bots would be shook up like Optimus if they'd "been dead for years". The Movie explicitly takes place in 2005, and Five Faces of Darkness also verbally identifies the year as 2005. Optimus has been dead for one year at most. Maybe Rodimus just feels like it's been longer because he's been in charge.

    -Can I ask the uncomfortable questions of where Optimus got all the parts to build his escape ship from? The mausoleum doesn't seem like it has anything more than the most rudimentary tech. I don't want to automatically accuse him of grave-robbing for spare parts, but I also wouldn't be surprised if his escape ship had a control knob that looked suspiciously like Prowl's forehead crest.

    -Everyone is awfully resistant to noticing the very obvious signs that something is wrong with Optimus. His mentions of the plan, his resistance to take the Matrix from Rodimus, his difficulty in reinstalling the Matrix. There are multiple red flags that things aren't copacetic, but nobody seems to care.

    -Making sure to transition Rodimus back to Hot Rod is good. I wouldn't have been surprised if they had just plain forgot to do that.

    -Also interesting that Hot Rod regains the pinker coloring that he had in the movie

    -It sure looks like Optimus took a shot at murdering Spike after he turns on everyone. Maybe that wasn't part of the plan and he's just acting out his subconscious impulse to get revenge.

    -Oh AKOM. You made it through half the episode without resorting to the off-model "mohawk" design Optimus with the gray helmet crest that you used to do so often in season 2. Nice try but you can't escape your sins.

    -When did all that stuff collapse on Daniel? And how isn't he dead?

    -What the hell is wrong with Hot Rod? Seriously? He's going to accept that Optimus nearly murdering everyone and abandoning them is acceptable as being part of some kind of plan? I love Rodimus through season 3, but this is a low point of stupidity for him.

    -What a weird assortment of Autobots to greet Optimus on Cybertron. Springer, Perceptor, Grimlock (continuing to mostly get around in dinosaur mode) and... Skydive (I had to look that one up), who's like the 4th most relevant Aerialbot at best?

    -Springer makes very overt reference to being attracted to Arcee. Obviously a boys cartoon wasn't going to care about actual romance subplots, but it's kind of disappointing how they alternately teased Hot Rod and Springer having things for Arcee and never really did anything with the triangle. Not even a rivalry episode.

    -Well, if all those characters who died in the movie weren't dead enough already, and maybe you were hoping they'd get a Quintesson-fuelled revival like Optmius did, nerp. They're all hurtling into a sun just to hammer it home that they're dead dead.

    -But never mind that. How did the Autobots manage to build themselves a whole other shuttle in the few minutes between recognizing that they're hurtling into a sun and when they actually launched.

    -Snarl! I should be mad about the fact that this scene means that Snarl is once again left out of the rest of the Autobots' assault mission, but I'm mostly just happy that he's getting an appearance in season 3.

    -And lines!

    -The Aerialbots look gigantic next to the Autobot shuttle.

    -Seriously, how stupid is everyone not to pick up on how Optimus is behaving erratically?

    -It sure looks like all the flying Autobots get killed. Most of the Aerialbots, Powerglide, and Skyfire are all apparently flying in the fleet in vehicle mode an visibly blow up. But with the exception of Skyfire, everyone shows up alive and well in later episodes (or even just later in this episode) so it seems like perhaps it can't be concluded that any of the destroyed ships are actually Autobots and are instead perhaps just shuttles that confusingly look just like an Autobot's alt mode.

    -I just realized that we've been like 10-12 minutes since the Decepticons showed up. And they're not really relevant to the plot at all. In spite of being necessary to kick off the plot by forcing the Autobots onto the Mausoleum, this might be the least Decepticon-focused episode of the series.

    -See? There's Skydive looking very much alive even though the Skydive-looking ship got blown up a minute ago.

    -Blast doors imply that they're meant to withstand, you know, blasts. But then Hot Rod just punches straight through them. Like it was nothing.

    -Everyone keeps referring to Hot Rod as Rodimus even though without the Matrix he's reverted back to his prior body.

    -How did Optimus cause that wound on Hot Rod's chest? It's almost like he punched through his back and out his chest, they just had to tone it down for being too gory.

    -Mind-controlled zombie Optimus is still somehow less brutal and bloodthirsty than Bayverse Optimus.

    -Hot Rod gets the Matrix back and doesn't automatically revert to being Rodimus again. It's not until after the scene switch when Optimus pilots the ship into the bomb and the other Autobots escape that he's suddenly Rodimus again. I guess that effect is too expensive.

    -Yeah, this last shot of Optimus as he gets increasingly damaged by the Quintesson fire is absolutely horrific. With his whole left side blown off and his face mangled and him wearily saying "until all are one." That's nightmare fuel right there.

    -That final superimposed visual of Optimus over the starfield is really cool and poignant.

    -At least the Shout version of this episode doesn't end with the hilarious spoilerific Vic Caroli narration that asks "is Optimus Prime really dead? Find out in the next episode: The Return of Optimus Prime!"

    FAVORITE LINES
    "Without communications it could be months until we're found."
    "Oh swell. What will Daniel and I do when the air runs out?"
    "Well, basically you'll have two choices: Suffocate or smother."

    -After Ultra Magnus notes the downside of their daring escape from the Decepticons, Spike worries about what it means for him and his son, and Rodimus Prime displays some A+ leadership qualities. You know darn well Optimus wouldn't have been so straight about his companions' potential impending doom.


    Final Grade: A
     
  4. Distant1

    Distant1 Well-Known Member

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    Really good episode but really brave to make in the 1980s (playing with kid's emotions so much).

    I do find Rodimus a more interesting leader than Optimus and I really like Rodimus' dark sense of humor (suffocate or smother).

    The show really explored Rodimus' vulnerability, maybe if the show gave more detail of how Optimus lost Cybertron before 2005, and how that affected Optimus, which could have made Optimus a more interesting character (I think Optimus is a great leader though, and Motormaster agrees that Optimus is a great leader).

    For me, I say this is when Skyfire bit the dust.

    Maybe a whole lot of background Autobots from the Intergalactic Olympics in Five Faces of Darkness could have died in the scene with the vessel who looked a lot like Skyfire (or if it was actually Skyfire).

    I thought they could have stated other Autobots death like Wheeljack and Windcharger, it makes me wonder if they were thinking of bringing back the likes of Hound and Sunstreaker later in the series.
     
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  5. TheUltimateBum

    TheUltimateBum Nautica Lover

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    Dark Awakening is a great showcase of Dick Gautier's acting. His Hot Rod and Rodimus both sound slightly different (with Hot Rod sounding a bit higher and more youthful), but not to the point of sounding like a completely different person. I also enjoy the amount of emotion he brings during the battle against Optimus (I like how reluctant Roddy sounds during most of the battle).

    Also, AKOM's animation here is one of their better efforts. I mean, it does look cheap as hell, but it does look better than FFOD or Carnage in C-Minor.

    Also, forgot to mention this, but I love the voices for the Quintessons. They just have these unsettling sounding voices that really made them sound like credible threats despite having to use goons like the Sharkticons to carry out their plans.
     
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  6. Distant1

    Distant1 Well-Known Member

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    Really like their 'Anticipated Snigger' remark. If they were human, I could imagine them smoking a lot of fat cigars and drinking a lot of port.
     
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  7. Liege Nemesis

    Liege Nemesis Snarks about old cartoons

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    and twirling their villainous handlebar mustaches?
     
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  8. Liege Nemesis

    Liege Nemesis Snarks about old cartoons

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    FOREVER IS A LONG TIME COMING

    THE SHORT VERSION
    The Aerialbots get involved in time-travel shenanigans so much that their alt mode might as well be a DeLorean.

    REVIEW
    I'm a sucker for examinations of the history of Cybertron and the war and for time travel stories (I don't have nearly the issue with temporal mechanics as my snarky comments below will insinuate :lol ) so this episode is right up my alley. It's got everything you could want: classic incarnations of familiar characters, intriguing history, time-space craziness, altered-timeline risks, and a playful sense of the real damage you can do if you just let time unravel like a cheap ball of dollar-store yarn.

    The look at the origins of the Transformer rebellion are kind of cool, although it in this case makes it seem like the Autobots are the only ones fighting the Quintessons, whereas previous backstories made it sound as if both factions (or rather what would eventually evolve into both factions) banded together to free themselves from Quintesson control and then imploded into a civil war after the fact. Still, it's a fun look back, and it's one that has intrigue in the present as Rodimus proves a relatively able commander (until he gets shot once and goes down like a sack of space potatoes) and indulgs in the usual "present characters stuck in the past and paranoid about the butterfly effect" b-story

    Also this is a super unique episode in that it features no Decepticon involvement. At all. There are literally zero Decepticons making an appearance in this episode unless you want to count the Sharkticons who are usually treated from a toyline faction persepctive as being Decepticons in technical origin. I know this isn't the only episode that can claim such a distinction, but it's one where it's somehow both very noticeable when you're processing your thoughts about the story and yet never really rears its head during the story to make you think "gee, I wonder what the Decepticons are doing right now?" Though now I'm imagining Galvatron and Cyclonus playing backgammon until Galvatron finds him losing, at which point he hurls the board off the table and blasts it into atoms. :lol 

    I do have to take some small marks off for the fact that the story underneath this episode is rather thin and feels somewhat stretched out by how they choose to play out events through the various perspectives. Like taking a 5 minute plot and inflating it to fill 20 minutes by showing it to you from 3 or 4 different points of view (hey, given the nature of the plot, that almost seems like a really meta concept!) and the past plot holes featuring the lack of Decepticon pre-cursor invovlemnt and the somewhat compressed historical timeframe take away a bit of my enjoyment. But it's still a really fun and very sci-fi episode that does classic time travel tropes proud.

    THOUGHTS AND MUSINGS
    -Fun writer trivia alert: Co-writer of this episode Gerry Conway is a former staff writer at Marvel. Most famously, it was he who penned issue #121 of The Amazing Spider-Man, better known by its title (and central event) - "The Night Gwen Stacy Died". We'll be hearing from Conway again (along with his writing partner at this time, then-wife Carla Conway) later in the season when we get to "Money is Everything."

    -Gonna keep the trivia train rolling by also noting that this is the first speaking episode for Blaster's cassette bots. Of particular interest is Rewind, voiced by Townsend Coleman (the original 1980s voice of Michaelangelo from TMNT, The Tick, and later in a return to the Transformers universe as Sentinel Prime in Transformers Animated)

    -Some serious 1970s Hanna-Barbera vibes coming from the animation at the top of this episode as we get exceedingly simplistic animation with only a moving background and a pair of shots that are repeated twice over in the span of the first minute. It's AKOM's vaunted cost-efficiency in action, folks!

    -He's not identified as the speaker at the time of his first lines, but the concept of Ramhorn speaking feels really weird to me. He's the only animalisic cassette in either faction that ever gets to literally speak his mind (there was that one time in early season 1 where Ravage in cassette mode played back some surveillance observations in a voice that clearly didn't belong to anyone else, but that was parroting gathered information and not asking a question or voicing an opinion like Ramhorn does here.) Since I seem to be hung up on trivia about people involved in the production of this episode, I might as well point out that voicing Ramhorn was the only G1 role for actor John Hostetter.

    -Ok, if the concept of Ramhorn speaking was weird, actually seeing him speak with cartoony mouth flaps is even weirder.

    -Rewind clearly shot that Sharkticon in half. There's a lot of hardcore (apparent) character death in this season.

    -We see that the Quintessons have created a "time window" which they set for "11 million years ago". My contention with this choice of timeframe is that War Dawn's journey into the past explicitly happened about 9 million years ago, and the events of the pilot episode of the series show that about 4 million years passed between the initial scenes on Cybertron and the eventual awakening of both factions on Earth in the present day. This creates some oddities in the passage of time as it strongly implies that the Quintesson occupation of Cybertron and rebellion of the Transformers against them only happened about 2 million years prior to War Dawn's past scenes. Compared to the other significant time frames crossed in the series and the accepted extreme lengths of Cybertronian lifespans, the fact that seemingly a vast majority of Cybertron would forget all about the Quintessons in half the amount of time that passes while Shockwave twiddles his thumbs (thumb?) on Cybertron while keeping Megatron's seat warm for him seems dodgy. I know there was a production bible for the series, but these little nagging bits are the kind of thing that serve as a strong advertisement for creating just a simple sort of continuity guide that doesn't need to be excrutiatingly detailed, just in depth enough to stop someone from completely mucking up the timeline with arbitrary historical decisions. And now I've spent far more time than I had intended railing at a minor nit that doesn't really bother me nearly as much as this paragraph would have you believe. Maybe the insanity of talking Ramhorn is getting to me. On with the show!

    -Oh god, what happened to Blurr's head/neck? It's like someone went to the Pat Lee school of perspective and proportions! (and in fitting with the time travel theme of this episode, did so decades before Lee would grace the Transformers universe with his presence)
    [​IMG]

    -I always feel sad that Superion gets the bulk of the early season 3 work for an Autobot combiner. He had his run in the back half of season 2. Where's the justice for Defensor?

    -I don't know why it took me so long to realize that the entire episode up until now flying in robot mode like they aren't supposed to be able to do.

    -20 years later and the Aerialbots are still ripping Silverbolt because he's not an adrenaline-junkie, act-first-think-never, self-absorbed twerp like the rest of them. I guess it's not crazy though: for a species tha lives for millions of years without any appreciable change (sometimes), 20 years would be the equivalent of a few seconds of last week Thursday for us.

    -"What in the name of Alpha Trion?!?!?" Ha ha! Foreshadowing!
    [​IMG]

    -The fact that nobody immediately picks up on A3's appearance relative to Alpha Trion is surprising, but we've seen at least 2 or 3 bots from the past that look suspiciously like Hot Rod/Rodimus Prime, so maybe they just think the Alpha Trion look is a bit of timeless Cybertronian fashion. Like jeans.

    -I just want Rewind to shout "SPOOOOOOOOON!" now for no good reason.

    -Season 3 is like a gold mine of unused toy concepts. Surely there's a segment of the fanbase that would fork over all their money for a blue "Guardian Robot" repaint of an Omega Supreme figure.

    -The reading of Blaster's line "A3's your main man?" makes it sound like he's heard the name before, but presumably thre was no interaction between this group that got chucked into the past and A3 who got pulled into the future.

    -Shut up, Blurr. Don't point out time travel logic, it only makes peoples' heads hurt!

    -The ladybot that the group encounters in the past, who acts much like A3's second in command, is named "Beta". Get it? Alpha Trion? Beta? Is there a Gamma out there somewhere? Very clever, Conways. :lol 

    -Beta is voiced by Susan Blu. She's got kind of a lady Frank Welker going on. Arlene Banas probably had to watch her back or get replaced as Carly too.

    -The demonstrations over the Quintesson scientist's explanation of what damage the opened time window could do to the time stream in the present starts with showing how some events could simply loop endlessly. The example? Wheelie winning a race against numerous other Autobots including Jazz and Bumblebee. So basically it would create a living hell?

    -That nameless EDC trooper that assists Marissa on the target range and discovers her de-aged self crying in the middle of her uniform sounds an awful lot like a normal-speed speaking John Moschitta. TFWiki doesn't provide any crediting for confirmation though.

    -Being willing to use a piece of tech with a high likelihood of anihillating the universe just to get back at the Transformers. The Quintessons sure aren't playing around.

    -For those playing along at home, A3 is voiced by Tony Pope, making for our 3rd different voice actor to play the role of Alpha Trion in the series. Just to hammer things home, John Stephenson does briefly reprise the voice of the older Alpha Trion in the middle of the episode.

    -Rodimus goes down to one shot by a Sharkticon. Considering how much damage Optimus took from Megatron or the Quintessons in his revived zombie form, they're doing a good job of making Rodimus look like an insufficient comparable to his predecessor.

    -Superion saves A3, who becomes Alpha Trion and then, with the help of the Aerialbots will save Orion Pax by making him into Optimus Prime, who later with the help of Alpha Trion again finds a bunch of shuttle ships that they rebuild into the Aerialbots before Alpha Trion sacrifices himself to jump-start Vector Sigma and imbue the Aerialbots with personalities such that they would be around a couple decades later to form Superion and save A3. But if they don't save A3 then there's no Alpha Trion to make Optimus Prime and no Optimus Prime to make the Aerialbots and it'll change the present to prevent things from happening the way they are now which would change the Quintessons' interference in the past that would prevent A3 from coming forward to the present and would mean that he doesn't need to be saved by Superion, in which case history would unfold as normal which would mean that Superion would have to be there to save A3 and if he didn't it would alter the past and oh no, I've gone cross-eyed. :lol 

    -Another episode, another Alicon that speaks relatively normally instead of sounding like a braindead mook.

    -Where the hell did Pipes come from? And more importantly: Why Pipes?

    -They obviously won't have done it for fear of over-complications, but I would've laughed so hard if Blurr/Blaster/Wreck-Gar somehow inadvertently changed the past and return to the present to find things mildly different but acceptable. Like they get back and all of a sudden Prowl is standing next to Rodimus like he's been Rodimus' trusted lieutenant this whole time. A sort of "ehh, close enough" ending like that time travel episode of the Simpsons halloween special.

    -Wait... the time window has a corresponding big green glowy triangle door in the past too? And a) none of the present Autobots notice it in their discussion of how to get back to their own time and b) none of the other past bots or Quintessons go "what the hell is that?" as it just appears in teh sky over part of Cybertron.

    -Don't tell them about the future, Blaster! That'll screw up the timeline! :lol 

    -Oh my god, Rewind.... welcome to 15-20 minutes ago. You bunch of dopes.

    -What a strange ending. The "you gotta be kidding!" line from Air Raid, and then a constellation image of A3 with a weird pulsing whirr in the background and then cut to commercial bumper. It's like they mistimed a music cue or something.

    FAVORITE LINES
    "How come they made you Aerialbot leader, Silverbolt? You've got no sense of adventure."
    "Exactly."

    -20 years later and Air Raid is still kind of a dick to Silverbolt no matter how capable he proves himself. But that's OK, because Silverbolt can still shut him down with one word.


    Final Grade: B
     
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  9. RagaBM

    RagaBM Sqweeks, the Last Knight

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    Rodimus' deadpan/ dry humour is going to be at full force in a few episodes later haha. It's a point of contention to some people but I personally enjoyed it a lot. It's something different, especially coming from supposed leader character.
     
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  10. Liege Nemesis

    Liege Nemesis Snarks about old cartoons

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    This week's slate (without the header at the moment. I'll need to get home and fix it up first):

    1) Starscream's Ghost
    2) Thief in the Night
    3) Surprise Party
    4) Madman's Paradise


    As always, the watch period for this set will be 7 days, lasting until 11:59:59pm PDT on Sunday, October 27
     
  11. RKStrikerJK5

    RKStrikerJK5 Well-Known Member

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    It really messed with the third-party companies and their versions of Predaking. I think each one had their own different face. :p 
     
  12. Liege Nemesis

    Liege Nemesis Snarks about old cartoons

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    For the longest time, I didn't even understand what Predaking's face was supposed to look like. Because the eye-slit in his helmet/head lacked glowing optics or a visor like most other Transformers, it never felt clear to me what the structure was. There was a time where I wondered if the head was like a type of decoy or secondary element and he actually saw out of the eyes of Razorclaw's lion head on his chest.

    Between this and waffling on Devastator's face having distinct eyes or a sunglasses-style visor, AKOM had some sort of big mental block with combiner heads. It seems like a minor miracle that Bruticus didn't end up with a Shockwave-like cyclops eye or something.
     
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  13. RKStrikerJK5

    RKStrikerJK5 Well-Known Member

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    Same, here. It just looked like an indistinct mess of lines to me. Between his face, Devastator's as you've noted, other coloring errors and scale problems, I always laugh whenever someone brings up, 'cartoon accuracy!' like it's some sort of Holy Grail. :p  :D 
     
  14. Distant1

    Distant1 Well-Known Member

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    I just watched the episode, was good, I would have liked if they had made it a 2 parter to get the Military Hardware side of the story.

    I guess Ramhorn speaking is no different from the Dinobots speaking (I assume that Autobots learned how to build more intelligent robots after the Dinobots which they probably needed to (if they did not have access to Vector Sigma) after the Aerialbots were created.
     
  15. RKStrikerJK5

    RKStrikerJK5 Well-Known Member

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    There's a number of G1 episodes that could've benefited from being two-parters. This one, Only Human, Fire in the Sky...
     
  16. RagaBM

    RagaBM Sqweeks, the Last Knight

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    This. There's so much stuff that could've been tackled in some of the episodes if it was a two-parter. Or at least setup as an arc for future episodes.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2019
  17. Scoff

    Scoff Well-Known Member

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    So, I just finished watching Madman's Paradise and I legitimately don't know what to make of this episode. I spend the last five minutes or so of the episode trying to figure out how I felt about it and this was the best (and only) rating I could come up with: It's there.

    I'm not sure I want to call it decent or good or bad and I keep cycling back to the same thing: it's there. It happened. I'm really curious to see what everyone else thinks about it.

    By the way, sorry I haven't been replying to posts here in a while.
     
  18. Liege Nemesis

    Liege Nemesis Snarks about old cartoons

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    No worries, man. The only person I expect to always contribute consistently is myself, and even I've struggled with that (I swear I should have an episode or two up tonight).

    I can't wait to get to Madman's Paradise to see what I think, because I recall thinking it was a weird one. And it'll mean I've made it past Surprise Party too.
     
  19. Liege Nemesis

    Liege Nemesis Snarks about old cartoons

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    STARSCREAM'S GHOST

    THE SHORT VERSION
    The episode that's exactly what it says on the tin. Half of it is, at least.

    REVIEW
    I wanted to give this episode a higher grade, but I can't get over the big stumbling block that is the fact that Starscream's ghost doesn't appear in an episode entitled "Starscream's Ghost" until after the 11 minute mark. We wade through half a show before the whole point of the plot makes an appearance. And while I don't dislike the Octane/Sandstorm stuff, it could've done with a bit of shortening so that we'd reach the meat of the plot a little sooner.

    beyond that, it also suffers a bit from the fact that the janky airing order and production order put this episode before a pair of other episodes that serve as background and introductions, and because of this we're dumped into the middle of a story we know little about, starring characters we've barely ever seen before (if at all) and talking about stuff that we should've seen happen already but haven't because we won't for a few days and a couple weeks respectively.

    But setting that aside, this is still an iconic episode of the series, bringing back one of its breakout characters for another ride as a central figure, and getting in some really great Starscream-y moments that remind us why the sniveling, conniving Air Commander was one of the best parts of the first two seasons. It's just a shame that he only gets half an episode to work with and that it makes some of the included scenes (the double-cross with Rodimus and Galvatron's return to Chaar and rage at Starscream's appearance and engineered betrayal) have to motor past us at top speed to fit in the time remaining. It doesn't make this a bad episode, but it does make it feel like it's less than it could've been. An iconic episode on concept and a bit of execution instead of being one of the very best episodes in the series' entire run.

    THOUGHTS AND MUSINGS
    -This is episode writer Megeen McLaughlin's only contribution to G1. Good on her for getting in via a pretty iconic episode. She would later return to the franchise by writing an episode of Beast Machines. The one that introduced Botanica. That's just a litle bit less iconic than this one.

    -That first Junkion sounded an awful lot like Rob Paulson.

    -Ah yes. Galvatron talking about "That traitor, Octane." Because we all remember when Octane betrayed the Decepticons in "Thief in the Night", right? Coincidentally, check back after this episode when I'll be reviewing the next one: "Thief in the Night." .... You know, something doesn't seem quite right about that. :lol 

    -As has been discussed before, if Octane's betrayal and status as a Decepticon outsider seems to have come out of nowhere (And I mean more than just the fact that its storyline predecessor airs after this, as do other episodes that inform this one's plot) it's becuase originally the traitor was supposed to have been Blitzwing. That's why he got those bits of story layered into Five Faces of Darkness. But then the Hasbro execs realized 'why give a prominent storyline to a toy that's been on the shelf for over a year now when we can give it to a new toy! Who cares if it won't make any sense and nobody knows anything about Octane! New toy! Gotta sell 'em all!"

    -Fair warning: I'm a bit tired as I watch and review this episode, so if my comments start getting a little loopy and random, that's probably why.

    -But back to the show, where Octane is dialing in a signal on a monitor in his ship so that he can look at robot porn. Robot porn that looks suspiciously like Arcee. No, this isn't a joke or a comedic exaggeration.

    -Galvatron hired an assassin dumb enough to think that destroying Octane's ship would kill him even though he's a robot who doesn't need to breathe and can easily survive in space. I suspect that Galvatron being Galvatron probably meant he wasn't out there looking for high intelligence in his choice of operative.

    -Gotta give some credit to the character designers in this episode for making a bunch of trippy alien designs that make the most of the infinite creativity afforded by animation.

    -Octane's nose twitches as hs smells what's cooking. I'm unsure if we should chalk this up to simply animators humanizing the Transformers or if this is some bizarre bit of unexplored Cybertronian biology.

    -After promising a comment about it a couple episodes ago, here it is, my second favorite bit of random Transformers cast trivia behind Brad Garrett as Trypticon: Sandstorm (who we all totally remember being a character and aren't confused at all by the fact that it's going to be another 10 episodes before his actual debut is shown) is voiced by longtime character actor and voice artist Jerry Houser. His likely most notable role in film was as Dave "Killer" Carlson in the cult classic Paul Newman hockey comedy Slap Shot. He has also been the grown-up voice of Bamm-Bamm Rubble in the Flintstones and a Keelber Elf. So you know he's got versatility. TFWiki also indicates that he played one of the Junkions that appeared at the outset of this episode as well.

    -You can tell this isn't a Toei episode by some of the wonky animation errors that occur, such as Sandstorm and Octane's walk flip-flopping from day to night like you'd expect out of an AKOM episode. But according to the wiki this wasn't AKOM's work. Instead it was one of the handful of episodes that belong to an uncredited studio who apparently has never been properly identified.

    -I had forgotten that Sandstorm was such a patornizing, insufferable twerp. :lol 

    -Yes, Onslaught. Don't expose yourself in the bushes. That's how people get arrested.

    -Is there a reason that Sandstorm flies with a giant plume of smoke gushing out of the rear of his helicoptor.

    -For an obvious glorified toy-selling sequence meant to advertise the triple changers, the little "race" between Octane and Snadstorm does a good job of not feeling too obvious about this fact.

    -The background of the Combaticons attack is quite possibly the best rendition of Autobot City outside of the movie. Really, it is very well done.

    -Octane driving/flying Sandstorm is kind of hilarious.

    -The idea of the Transformers eating food is weird and I don't think it's ever addressed again outside of those times the Insecticons gorged on stuff in order to produce energy.

    -But hten the waiter arrives at the table and explicitly says she's delivering energon. Energon that looks like orange wedges crossed with sprockets. And some of them are on toothpicks. Iiiiiinnnnnteresting.

    -Which Octane eats with a super cartoony "gulp" sound.

    -I'm also just now noticing Octane's incredibly pouty lips.

    -Geez Octane, didn't anyone ever tell you not to play with your food?

    -The commercial bumper jingle is slightly different in this episode. Not as different as that time it used the GI Joe theme, but the start of the tune is just a touch altered from its normal version.

    -That alien eats the Skuxxoid's gun. Comedy! He also sounds like he's stealing a line that hte Insecticons said at one point in time, commenting on the 'food' being heavy on the protons. Though the Insecticon line may have bene about electrons instead. I can't remember.

    -Thank you Octane for explaining everything about your banishment in that short "as you know" infodump. It's useful considering we haven't seen any of those events yet. For what it's worth, I checked TFWiki to see if our watch order (production order) botches this in a way that original broadcast order didn't. Nope. This episode first aired on Oct 2, 1986. Thief in the Night aired Oct 6, and Fight or Flee aired Oct 15. So really production order isn't that far off. This is just some really screwed up airdate setting (I suppose because they aren't explicit multi-part episodes and this isn't a series with a history of connected canon or serialization?)

    -I'll admit, the "I wonder what he's gonna try next" line followed up by the Skuxxoid just charging Octane and wailing on him got a laugh out of me.

    -They're sure getting a lot of mileage out of Octane tripping on stuff.

    -What a weird cut and detail change. From afar it looks as if Octane is running towards some sort of bars or grating covering a tunnel entrance. But then the Deceitpcons tailing him shoot at it and it's portrayed as a flat door with columnar detailing on it.

    -Even if its kinda covered by the very anime-esque motion blur action background, it's a cool effect to have Octane stopping his descent through the tunnel by using his hands and feet as brakes, complete with sparks and as metal squealing sound.

    -It's also a nice callback to the fact that the Decepticons weren't always on Chaar to have them have an underground memorial hall to the cons that died during the movie. Though one has to wonder when they had the time considering they all seem to have fled Cybertron in the wake of Unicron's destruction at the end of the movie.

    -As Octane walks up to the indistinguishable grave marker across from Thundercracker's (seriously, it doesn't look like anyone) he says "Death comes to anyone who hides behind my marker", which is a clear reference to Dirge's line from FFOD of "Death comes to he who crosses me." Except we know Dirge didn't die in The Movie since we saw him in FFOD, and we suspect he hasn't died since then since we're going to see him in a pair of future episodes which are both connected to this one. So either Dirge dies and comes back to life like Optimus Prime, or he's a dirty, dirty plagairist.

    -I just noticed that we're at the halfway point of the episode and there hasn't been an appearance by the very thing the episode is named for (namely the ghost of Starscream.) How weird is that?

    -Starscream's tomb marker is just a pair of legs. That's hilarious and absolutely ice cold at the same time. :lol 

    -The visual of Octane being so terrified of the creepy tomb that he transforms and gets stuck in between all his modes is great. For the most part it was almost disappointing that the series didn't choose to do more with interrupting or subverting the transformation process throughout its run. Though this does beg an important question: was it possible to make the original G1 Octane toy end up in this mish-mash mode as it was depicted on screen (mostly in truck mode with the wings sticking out and his head popping out the top of the truck cab)?

    -There's some great animation of terrified Octane, but it's offset by the fact that as Starscream delivers the spectacularly over-the-top line "it's your old buddy: Starscream! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!" he has almost no animation to him at all aside from the mouth flaps. We have Starscream delivering a line so hammy that you could slap some cheese on it and serve it for lunch, and yet he stands there statue-still like he's just reciting a newspaper headline. For shame, unknown animation studio...

    -Starscream's flash dissolve and reappearance is a very cool effect. As is the immediate after-look from behind where his legs vanish halfway down like a ghost trail. t's a very well designed and shaded look for him and totally at odds with the lackluster animation he was just given.

    -Cyclonus and the Sweps have really bizarre, faces on their character modles, with wide cheeks and big frog mouths.

    -Cyclonus' voice sems like it's starting to wander a bit in the back half of the episode. Like Roger Carmel just plain forgot what Scourge is supposed to sound like halfway through the recording session.

    -He also now looks like he's some serious eye shadow to go along with his soulpatch.

    -The look at Cyclonus' skeleton or innards is kinda cool. Limited compared to the cross-section we got in the movie, but I'll take what I can get on the series' budget.

    -"Only my metal polisher knows for sure..." Did Starscream just make a joke based on a set of 80s hair coloring ads I can barely remember? That might take the cake for being the most random pop culture reference the series managed to do. That's actually kind of impressive.

    -The fact that Scourge and the Sweeps know what Starscream's voice sounded like in spite of the fact that they would've personally heard all of about 1 line from him before Galvatron blew him to pieces raises some awkward questions about the nature of what the rebuilt-by-unicron bots remember about their former lives (and plays somewhat against the idea that they are essentially entirely new beings made from recycled parts instead of being rebuilt and reprogrammed versions of their prior lives.)

    -Sandstorm apears to have his tail blown clean off.

    -There are a lot of unique laser sound effects in this episode. Ones that don't sound like the traditional effects that the series has used up until now.

    -For the places that I've bagged on this episode for its animation oddities, the shots of the Aerialbots transforming look really cool.

    -There's a lot of facial expressiveness in this episode. Galvatron smirks too.

    -The fake torture scene is worht a laugh or two.

    -Galvatron demands an honorable fight and... actually complies? that's amazing.

    -Made less amazing by the fact that he turns into cannon mode and floats in the air to aim at Rodimus instad of adjusting his aim while sitting on his treads.

    -Starscream and Octane flip-flop their lines in the throne room.

    -Actual battle damage on Galvatron as he returns to discover Starscream's duplicity.

    -and then taking a shot from Galvatron's cannon actually tears a gigantic hole in Cyclonus' torso. That's crazy.

    -And now we end on the revelation that Starscream has taken over Scourge. Which he does in Ghost in the Machine, albeit in a completely different way because if this episode has taught us anything, it's that continuity is for suckers.

    FAVORITE LINES
    "He must be hiding in the crypt."
    "Good. Then we won't have to take him anywhere when we're done."

    -Cyclonus and Scourge discover where Octane ran off to, and Scourge is supremely ice cold about it.


    Final Grade: B+
     
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  20. Liege Nemesis

    Liege Nemesis Snarks about old cartoons

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    THIEF IN THE NIGHT

    THE SHORT VERSION
    And now, All the stuff you were supposed to know about for the last episode, only a couple days too late! Also it's the episode Casey Kasem quit over. So there's that too.

    REVIEW
    Underneath the insanity of this episode, its questionable storytelling decisions, and its inconsistent pace, there's a really interesting story begging to be told. It's just too bad we never actually get it in a way that does the concept justice.

    The idea of the Decepticons finding a haven on Earth that's willing to work with them, only for their greed to get the better of them and the humans to be put off by how easily the Decepticons intend to push them around is a great concept. And in a better story it would've probably been an excellent episode. But this one just never manages to get to that height for a few reasons.

    First, the whole nation of "Carbombya" and its leader Abdul Fakkadi bring with them the baggage of Casey Kasem's decision to quit the show over their usage and the trite way they parody/stereotype the region. Granted most kids cartoons are build on stereotypes (good or bad), but this one just felt extra lazy.

    Second, this is an episode that is at times guilty of just letting things happen "for some reason". concepts and rationales are pulled out of thin air to justify the characters making decisions necessary to move the plot forward and a lot of progress never really feels properly earned. The battles between the sides also just sort of happen in a few scattershot bits and don't feel nearly climactic enough for my tastes either.

    Finally the pace of the episode is all over the place. It's almost stop-start in some instances, going from ponderous crawl to blowing through its action in mere minutes before reverting to slower exposition and unfolding. The result is that it's an episode you can never really settle into a groove with and its climax and conclusion hit you and wrap up in a shockingly brief time, almost feeling like we're leaving the episode before it's entirely over.

    THOUGHTS AND MUSINGS
    -*bad lip sync* Oh no! It's Godzilla! Everybody Run!!!

    -We're watching the Trypticon/Metroplex fight presumably from FFOD. Except that it's really not. It's entirely new animation that is more or less true to the spirit of the fight, but with a bunch of different details. For a series as notoriously cheap as G1 was at times (Especially since this is an AKOM episode like FFOD), it's funny that they chose to make like 30 seconds of new fight footage instead of re-using hte old stuff. Of course, re-using the old footage would've meant blending the incredibly shoddy FFOD work with this improved-but-still-AKOM material.

    -Oh, hey. It's Teletraan-II. Our replacement for Teletraan-I after it got smashed with the rest of the Ark in FFOD.

    -Also it's the debut of Broadside! (for realsies this time. Not counting that holographic confusion in The Killing Jar)

    -"And off on the starboard bow we have the African nation of Carbombya. A desert kingdom ruled by the controversial military commander Abdul Fakkadi." Setting aside the insensitivity of naming your fictional Arabian country just to play up the "dur hur hur terrorists" angle (which is odd considering they're never depicted as terrorists, but rather poor souls under the despotic rule of an I-can't-believe-it's-not-Ghadaffi dictator expy), the other big injustice here is that the cruise director meant "port side", not starboard, given that the ship's left side appears to be the one facing the Carbombian coastline. If all those tourists went to look out off the Starboard bow they'd get a nice big view of the vast and endless ocean.

    -This cruise director/captain is an idiot. International law isn't going to stop missile fire.

    -Trypticon says that before coming to Carbombya he stayed on Dinobot Island. What a random bit of continuity to invoke. Also wouldn't Trypticon being on Dinobot Island and (presumably) extracting energy from it cause time destabilizations like what happened in the eponymous episode?

    -I didn't intend to make a big thing about Casey Kasem's decision to quit based on this episode, but it's worth noting some info that I think often gets overlooked when his departure is brought up: Allegedly he chose to leave not simply because this episode introduced Abdul Fakkadi, generic tinpot Arab dictator. He chose to leave because its only depiction of Arab characters was as Fakkadi and his loyalists. All he apparently wanted was some demonstration/concession to show that not all Arabs were evil and that there were people who would be opposed to or suffer under the rule of someone like Fakkadi. Granted the Transformers wasn't looking to make a political statement. It was a show to sell robot toys after all. But it doesn't seem like it would've been that difficult to include some amount of relatively positive Arabians within this melange given that they already did have some amount of non-evil characters in their previous foreign excursions (like Hassan/Prince Jumal in Aerial Assault, or the various Turkish characters seen in Trans-Europe Express). I suppose at the same itme it might've helped to not have silly things like the Carbombya City marker playing up that the population count includes camels or Fakkadi's swearing on various livestock of his family members as a serious oath. Or, y'know, the actual name of the country too. In the end the show isn't hurt by the departure of Kasem, since his characters were mostly retired by this point. But it at least would've meant a less controversial end for his tenure. That's all I want to say on the matter and I hope that this doesn't turn into a launching point for any sort of broader political or cultural sensitivity debate. Because honestly those rarely end well.
    [​IMG]


    -Fakkadi says that 1,000 barrels of oil makes 1 cube of energon. That's odd considering how easy it's been to get a single cube of energon out of much smaller sources of energy in the past. Also considering that Trypticon apparently consumes 50 cubes in an hour. It makes me wonder just how reasonable his energy efficiency is compared to the practical output of oil in that or any other oil-rich middle eastern country.

    -There's a recurring crack or hair or something that keeps appearing at the top of the screen in some scenes. It appeared during the Metroplex/Trypticon fight and now it appears again as Fakkadi and his crew ride up to confront Octane.
    [​IMG]

    -Fakkadi's threat to execute Octane in the town square after the Autobots are called in is kinda empty considering the Autobots aren't likely to want to execute anyone.

    -So it takes a hobbled Trypticon presumably upwards of 1 million barrels of oil a day (depending on if he has some sort of offline/sleep cycle that conserves power for part of the day) to sustain himself just when he's sitting around in the desert and taking potshots at cruise ships. And yet Fakkadi wants him to just jaunt on over across the Atlantic to Fort Knocks and swipe all their gold? Seems like that would be so energon-intensive as to defeat the benefit of getting the gold in return.

    -Also there's the obvious thing that the guards at Fort Knox likely don't patrol in the vault room where the gold is kept (and it's certainly not kept behind velvet VIP ropes.)

    -Fort Knox is also not situated next to a mountain range as depicted in this episode. But now I'm just getting pedantic.

    -Ok, I was wrong. Those velvet VIP ropes were apparently chains.

    -What happened to all the guards in Fort Knox that were in the building when Trypticon scooped it up?

    -Trypticon is on a ration of 1 cube of energon per day? Fakkadi's plan seems to be self-defeating considering he'll be of zero use to anyone if he's forced to subside on 1/50th of his hourly energy needs for an entire day.

    -Hey, look. It's Sandstorm still here before he's supposed to debut in a week or two from when this episode aired.

    -Dinosaur Transform static? that's gotta rank right up there on the silly plot convenience nonsense leaderboard. It's not quite as dumb as Meteorini Chipparoni (and hooray for that stupidity being back in my head 2 seasons later. Godammit Spike), but come on now... Especially since it's Grimlock that "senses" it instead of having Perceptor or someone find it during the course of their investigation.

    -Metroplex chiming in to suggest the Autobots not rule out the Dinobots as being responsible is about the most personality he's gotten so far. And that personality seems to be "kinda dickish"

    -Fakkadi is pretty awful at enforcing his energon cube rationing if nobody's watching Trypticon continue to guzzle down energon cubes.

    -The Taj Mahal is pretty sturdy to be able to just withstand being torn out of the ground and manhandled by a giant robot dinosaur.

    -Besides that, how is he transporting these monuments back to Carbombya? He can't exactly float through the ocean.

    -Oddly the energon cubes lose their purple glow and become inert brown cubes after someone drinks the energy from it. That's a new one.

    -So there's something unique and special about the kind of energon that Carbombian oil makes? Interesting. But it also means that holy hell would Trypticon's diet be even more crazy if he was feasting on inferior sources?

    -Oh wow, it's Six-Gun! That's something I never thought I'd see in the series.

    -And Scamper too!

    -Sky-Lynx's angry assertions that he's not a Dinobot is fun.

    -And now there's Slammer just sitting in the background.

    -This episode establishes that the Autobots and Decepticons use different formulas to produce energon cubes.

    -Trypticon is the only Decepticon big enough to have carried off all the missing buildings. But somehow Six-Gun was willing to suspect the much smaller Dinobots (and Sky-Lynx, who, lest we forget, is most definitely not a Dinobot :lol ) were capable of it? Master detective right there.

    -Broadside calls out that Trypticon is off his starboard bow. I get the feeling that Paul Davids just likes the term "starboard bow", because Trypticon was actually dead ahead of Broadside, not off to one side.

    -There seems to be a recurring graphical error in this episode for me, with bright, lines of "bleeding" light appearing in the middle of several scenes. It's like someone shone a lamp down across the cels and the resulting glow was recorded. Especially when there's other backlit effects like laser fire or glowing optics.

    -The Aerialbots are rightly shown as being totally outmatched by Trypticon. It's nice to have the big titan bots be portrayed as massively powerful compared to the smaller other bots.

    -What sounds liek Slingshot gets shot down by Trypticon and gives us a nicely hammy and overdone "I'm a goner! Goodbye cruel world!" sign of as the most abrupt act break the show has done in a while. Also he ends up being just fine. Also also he's shown as being mostly black when he gets shot down, which is part of why I had trouble identifying him.

    -It occurs to me now: why are the Decepticons even afraid of Abdul Fakkadi's threats? Surely a decently sized force of 'cons should be able to hold off the Autobots on their own if they have the Carbombian oil energon to power them. They just did a decent enough job taking out the Aerialbots, after all. And that was just with Trypticon, Galvatron, Octane, and a couple of coneheads.

    -Grimlock clapping and dancing like an idiot with the Russian folk dancer is a groaner.

    -But hey, he not only transforms to fight Trypticon in robot mode, but he pulls out his almost-never-used gun to do it!

    -Fakkadi underestimated how easily he'd be discovered trying to signal the Autobots. You'd figure he would've come up with a more subtle way to get what he wants.

    -and look. I was right, Galvatron took over rather easily. Of course then I was wrong because he and the other Decepticons screw it up and are taken out by a fairly small assault group of Autobots including freaking Wheelie

    -Metroplex impales Trypticon with an oil derrick. Hardcore.

    -He also gets to repeat the FFOD battle end by chucking Trypticon into the ocean. Maybe this time Rodimus will learn not to jump to the conclusion that he's gone for good?

    -The scene of Metroplex returning the various landmark buildings would've made for a better ending if it wasn't so brief and layered underneath Fakkadi's continued silly oath on a bunch of farm animals.

    -Octane double-crossed Galvatron in this episode. His infodump conversation with Sandstorm in Starscream's Ghost seems to suggest that this is why he was exiled during the previous episode. But at the end of this one he was fighting along side Galvatron against the Autobots and he fled with the rest of the Decepticons with no real resistance from anyone else in the faction. It's not out of the ream of Crazy Galvatron's mental state for him to have spontaneously decided afterwards to kick Octane out of the army and force him to seek shelter with the Autobots, but from an outside perspective it sure doesn't line up correctly.



    FAVORITE LINES
    "Whoever it was just made off with Fort Knox like a thief in the night."
    -Points to Rodimus Prime for the title drop. But negative points for the fact that Trypticon stole Fort Knox in the daytime.


    Final Grade: C+
     
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