We go from an average episode to an awesome one. I did say we'd get to see why falling stasis pods are a big deal no?
In orbit around the planet, a stasis pod, surrounded by debris from the battle, loses orbit and crashes on the planet. It crashes in the artic circle. Both Maximals and Predacons detect it. A white tiger witnesses the crash.
In the Predacon base, Terrorsaur notes the coordinates, and asks to go, but Megatron has a different plan: The Maximals are sure to send their only flyer, Optimus, first and alone. He orders Terrorsaur and Waspinator to go to the Maximal base and take out Optimus while he's vulnerable.
Megatron's prediction is accurate, as Optimus prepares to leave, despite his troop questioning the wisdom of dividing their forces (and when Cheetor sees the holes in your plans, you know you need to rethink things). Optimus insists Megatron will race to the pod, but Dinobot points out that Megatron does not always act as can be predicted. He asks to leave first, and Optimus relents. Dinobot lowers the lift, and scans the surroundings. He finds no one, but thinks something is amiss, and wants to take a patrol around before Optimus leaves. Optimus gets impatient, as one of his comrades is out there in the pod, vulnerable. Optimus looses his cool, shoving himself and Dinobot down the lift, intending to leave as he pulls rank. As he takes flight outside, he's shot by Waspinator, and again by Terrorsaur, getting badly damaged. Dinobot shots a giant rock that crushes Waspinator. The rock is like 5x Waspinator's size, yet when Terrorsaur blasts the rock, Waspinator is fine ???!?? Seriously. Waspinator is perfectly fine for the rest of the episode, wtf? The Predacon flyers retreat, their mission complete. Cheetor comes out, rushing to Optimus, who is badly damaged. We get a funny exchange.
Dinobot: Fear not, Optimus! I shall ensure your funeral is a glorious one, as befits a warrior who died in battle!
Optimus: 'Fraid I'll have to miss it, Dinobot; I'm not scrap yet!
Dinobot: Hmm, are you certain? It would be a triumphant passage.
Optimus is brought for repair inside the CR Chamber (We find out Dinobot can lift Optimus with one hand).
At the Predacon Base, Megatron chews Waspinator (who is, again, perfectly undamaged after a giant boulder crushed him) and Terrorsaur for not finishing Optimus off. They counter the Pod is alone and theirs for the taking, as the Maximals have no fliers. Megatron sends them both after the pod, before taking Scorponok and Tarantulas to attack the Maximal base, correct guessing there would only be the damage Optimus and at most one other Maximal in it.
We see that indeed, Cheetor, Rattrap and Rhinox are running to the pod. Dinobot staying behind at the base while Optimus recovers. The trio notes that they need to reach the pod soon, because the transformer inside is vulnerable to the planet Energon field if his pod was damaged in the crash. We see the pod indeed crack open, the Transformer's arm stretching out... before shorting and falling back in the pod.
The Maximal trio nears a narrow bridge of ice across a canyon when they meet the Predacon fliers. Both sides trade gunfire, but Waspinator and Terrorsaur take out the bridge before the Maximals can cross it. Rattrap reports to base there's no way they can beat the Predacons to the pod. Him and Dinobot argue, and Dinobot gets the idea to have the computer bring Optimus' mind online from inside the CR Chamber through the computer, to brainstorm. Optimus suggests sending a signal to the pod, to activate its systems. But Dinobot counters the Energon interference would make this nearly impossible. Optimus suggest a laser beam to carry the signal, but they'd need line of sight. Optimus wonders if they can bounce it off something like clouds or a mountain... Dinobot gets an idea.
The Predacons arrive to the Maximal base as Dinobot is finishing installing the laser emitter. Megatron orders his troop to sneak behind Dinobot. He approaches Dinobot and pretends to negotiate, saying he's willing to forgive and take him back as second in command if he was to turn over the base now. Dinobot responds by shooting him, only to get blasted by Tarantulas and Scorponok, how have climbed behind him. Grievously injured, he makes his way back to the lift. The following scene is hilarious, so here it is.
The autoguns then turn on Megatron and begin spraying him with gunfire. He orders a retreat, saying the pod is can still be won. Inside the base, Optimus, still in the computer, sees Dinobot return, he says he's done his part, and Optimus orders the computer to begin transmitting instructions to the pod. A laser beam shoots out from the base, bouncing off the smallest, nearest moon and landing atop the Stasis Pod. The pod, observed by a white tiger, begins to activate, a radar-like arm extending from it and pulsing.
The Maximals see the beam shoot past and hit the moon, wondering what that is, but it's too late, the Predacons have reached the pod, under the eyes of two white tigers, roaring at the moon. Megatron is seen, alone, running at full speed to reach the pod, muttering he can't trust the fliers to secure the pod alone.
Optimus is repaired. He puts Dinobot in the CR Chamber, and prepares to fly out, leaving the Autoguns online to defend the base. The Predacon Flyers begin working to open the pod. The Maximals arrive, holding them at gun point, but Megatron arrives almost immediately (How the hell did he get there so fast?) and points out that he knows their weakness: He points his guns to the two tigers, ordering the Maximals stand down, or he'll paint the snow with some innocents. The Maximals, reluctantly stand out. Megatron relents and approaches the pod, ordering his men to open it so he can reprogram the Maximal inside as a Predacon. The Maximals pelt him with gun fire the moment he stops aiming at his hostages and win the day. Do nothing and watch. The pod opens and... is empty.
Megatron: It is ...empty. Where is the Maximal?!?
???:(offscreen) Right here.
Available in stores now*
"Now" being like 16 years ago
One of the tiger transforms, and begins firing at Megatron. The Maximals follow. Optimus, arriving, also begins pelting the Predacons with missiles. Megatron orders a retreat, and the new Maximal fires one last missile at him, which hits Megatron. The new Maximal and Optimus trade greetings. Newguy is called Tigatron. Explains his identity circuit were damaged in the crash, he did not know who he was... Until he saw the Maximals willing to sacrifice themselves for him and his friend. Optimus invites him to rejoin them at the base, but Tigatron refuses, he still feels more tiger than robot, and wishes to remain here with his friend, but promises he'll always be there to help, till his identity circuit can repair themselves. Optimus points out the CR Chamber could fix those circuit in 10 minutes. The Maximals guess it's better than nothing, and Rattrap guesses they could use a scout here, ya know, in case Megatron tries to steal the world's snow or something. The Maximals depart, and Tigatron looks at his leaving comrades, whispering:
"Let the trails lead where they may—I will follow."
Despite my joking, this episode is _really_ strong. The best we've had so far. And this is coming from someone who doesn't even really like Tigatron. (My reasons being he's kind of an idiot, and his tendency to be a Granola Boy often flies at the face of simple logic. But I'll get there in due time. In this episode, he's cool.) While it's easy to see this episode as "The one where Tigatron arrives", it's closer to being Megatron's episode here. So far, he's not blown us away as a villain, but here, we get to see glimpses of why he'll become one of the Transformer fandom's most revered Chessmaster. Twice he perfectly predicts the Maximal's actions, and moves to capitalize on their mistakes. Unlike last episode where there's very little in terms of stake, this episode keeps the tension high. First because we do see the Maximals want to rescue their comrade. We may not know the guy, but we see that they care (see Optimus' passionate impatience towards Dinobot's caution) and this makes it important. Second because we do see Megatron seeing the errors they make, and prepare to capitalize on them. Add the race to the stasis pod element, and you get an episode full of action and tension. This episode also introduces Statis Pods to us, showing us how each side can hope to find reinforcements.
Tigatron will not be the only transformer to emerge from a stasis pod with busted identity circuits. This will happen several times more.
Tigatron's toy is a repaint of Cheetor's, much like how his model is a clear re-texture and slight retool. The reason he doesn't use Toy!Cheetor's alternate face, like Blackarachnia vs Tarantulas, is that Cheetor's mutant face is a bug face. No idea why.
One of the issue the creators ran when making the show is that making new characters in CGI is VERY expensive. Unlike the more traditionally animated shows, like the G1 cartoon, where new characters (read: toys) could be shown easily. Hasbro still wanted Mainframe to show more characters. So my theory is that to get more bang out of their bucks, it was decided that the first few new characters used would be based of toys that were repaints of existing characters. Just like repainting a toy is cheaper than designing a new one, making a few tweaks to an existing model and giving it a new texture to call it a new character is cheaper than making a new one from scratch.
Cheetor's toy comes with two guns, one made out of his gut, the other off his butt and tail. Till now he's exclusively used the gut gun. Tigatron now makes almost exclusive use of the gut gun, and Cheetor will be seen using his butt gun more and more, especially when the two are present. The butt gun's first appearance, in fact, is in the scene around Tigatron's pod. This is to further differentiate the characters.
The Predacons are kinda dumb. Tigatron's pod (and all stasis pods) have a window on the door. They should've clearly seen the pod was empty.
8th Feb '12 7:54:37 AM flag for mods
And of course, Tigatron is voiced by Blu Mankuma, who is better known to kids these days for a certain cool jazz musical number.
"She's an evil enchantress, and she does evil dances..."
2nd Feb 12
That would be the case, except Blu Mankuma is uncredited for that role (as well as that of the Red Dragon), so I doubt he is "known" all that much :-P
2nd Feb 12
I feel like I should point this out; this episode is one of a few where Scorponok's eye changes from red to yellow.