111 - The Probe
Ugh, I am not looking forward to this...
Our episode begins not on the planet, but on Cybertron. A voice speaks as the camera zoom from the surface of Cybertron to an orbiting space station, which launches some probes who enter transwarp.
Voice 1: Transwarp ship Axalon has not been found in normal space. We believe their pursuit of the Predacons who stole the golden disk may have taken them into another time zone.
Voice 2: Temporal Probes Launched.
Voice 1: If Optimus and his crew are anywhere out there, we will find them, and bring them home.
One of the Transwarp Probe come out in orbit of the planet. We get some padding where the Maximals return to base and Optimus tells Rattrap and Cheetor to always be on their guard outside the base. Please. In this episode, everyone has tunnel vision.
In the Axalon, Rhinox is detecting the probe, but can't get a clear reading. The rest of the Maximals get to their stations and try to help, and Rhinox can finally get a read that it's a temporal probe. He tries to signal it, while Dinobot looks less than pleased, but the Energon interference prevents that, and the probe moves out of communication range. However, he realizes the probe will make another pass, and
remember that laser they used in Fallen Comrades that they bounced off the frikkin moon and back to earth to communicate with a Stasis Pod, and decides to use that to signal the probe on its return, secure behind Sentinel's shield where the Predacons can't interfere with their communication effort
decides they could build something to mimic their engine's signature which the probe is programmed to look for. Dinobot looks surly at this idea.
The Maximals begin building their transmitter. Dinobot points out that they are in Predacon territory. Optimus
realizes this plan is doomed to failure due to being extremely stupid and instead decides to opt for that laser beam that served them so well in the past
says it's the best place to build their transmitter and make sure the signal reaches the probe. Tigatron has been posted to look out for Predacons. He finds Waspinator and shoots him. However Waspinator was a bait for Tarantulas and his new invention, the Transformation Locker Lens. Said machine dodges Tigatron's fire. The Maximals hear it, and
realizes the jig is up and goes back to the laser plan
sends Cheetor. Dinobot is grumpy, explaining when prompted that he doesn't want to go back to Cybertron. As a Predacon, all that awaits him there is a trial as a criminal - as his betrayal ensures he can't return to the Predacons. Optimus assures him they won't let that happen, that he will be welcomed as a Maximal, but Dinobot, ever grumpy points out he doesn't want that either.
The lens shoots Tigatron and turns him into beast mode, unable to transform. Tarantulas traps him in a web. Cheetor arrives. Fails to notice the lens behind Tarantulas, so when the spiderbot moves out the way, Cheetor gets shot, mode locked, and webbed.
Back at the Axalon, Rhinox is tinkering with the computer
programming the laser which he realized is an even better plan
programming the engines frequency on a disk. He then leaves the base.
Optimus realizes Cheetor and Tigatron aren't responding anymore. Scorponok has snuck there with Terrorsaur and is filming the Maximal's building effort. He then
uses a cyberbee to carry the recording to Megatron, ensuring that he's got Terrorsaur as backup
sends Terrorsaur to deliver the recording to Megatron, staying alone.
On the Darksyde, the Predacons examine the recording. Tarantulas recognizes it as a transmitter array. They wonder why the Maximals built it in their perimeter. Asking their prisoners, Cheetor refuses to answer. But the Darksyde soon picks up the returning probe, and
the prisoners keep their mouth shut about what it is
Cheetor exclaims the "The Probe!" Megatron readies his troop to hit the array,
but leaves Tarantulas behind to guard the prisoners
leaving no one to guard the cats.
... Goddammit Megatron. You and the Maximals deserve each other.
So Tigatron begins swinging his cage, intending to smash it against Cheetor's to break it and free themselves.
The Transmitter is ready. All it needs is Rhinox' disk. Scorponok attacks, but fails to damage the array, is disarmed (literally) and blown off the cliff.
The cats break out, and go to the Predacons' CR chambers to repair their transformation lock.
Dinobot points out Scorponok's attack likely means Megatron is coming en force. On cue, Terrorsaur attacks. They shoot at him, but he retreat. His attack being a diversion, which Megatron spoils by blabbering before shooting. Tarantulas has again a hole blown in his chest by Optimus (two episodes in a row!) Blackarachnia attacks Dinobot right after he's mode locked by the lens, taking him down, but Rattrap takes offense at someone shooting his comrades and blasts her off the cliff. In an admittedly nice bit of animation, you can see Scorponok's body, still missing a claw, at the bottom off the cliff.
Rattrap then shoots Megatron, who was clearly standing not 5 feet from where Dinobot fell
rushes to Dinobot's side, ignoring the fact Megatron is standing right there. He gets shot by the lens, and mode locked (And the camera even turns to show us Megatron didn't move!) Megatron shoots them. Optimus is mode locked after dispatching Tarantulas. Megatron steps on Optimus' back, injuring him. He prepares to kill him, but Rhinox
shoots him with the chainguns of doom
sneaks up to him and punches him. Rhinox prepares to insert the disk, but Optimus tries to warn him about the lens. Rhinox
turns around and shoots it
tells him to wait, gets mode locked, and tries to get the injured Optimus to put in the disk since he's got no hands and Optimus does. Megatron shoots the array, blowing it up. Tigatron and Cheetor arrive, blow up the lens, pelt him with fire.
Megatron calls Terrorsaur and the strangely missing Waspinator to take out the cats and win the Beast Wars
retreats, vowing that the Beast Wars will continue until he's the victor.
In the coda, Optimus vows they'll return to Cybertron someday, as the probe leaves in Transwarp.
Megatron is happy with the lens' success, and orders Tarantulas to make a dozen of them
If the summary seems rushed, it's because I _HATE_ this episode. In a series of overall good episode. This is one of handful I despise. To quote Chuck Sonnenberg of SF Debris
, talking of Star Trek: Voyager
"That means that Voyager is stuck and trying to get home... it's the premise of the series. This explains why the "Will Voyager make it home" plot features in so many episodes... because nothing sets up quality television like knowing ahead of time that the heroes are doomed not only to have their hopes and dreams smashed like a glass menagerie under the feet of an angry elephant, but also a chance to witness them wallowing in the stench of their own personal failure. Again, too good for 'em, I say!"
Same thing here. If they leave the planet, show's over. So we know they'll fail. They HAVE to fail. I hate this kind of plot. And to make it worst, EVERYONE behaves like an idiot. And I am not nitpicky. I'll forgive characters not doing the smartest thing for the sake of the plot once in a while, I mean, people are fallible. But here it's like watching an avalanche of stupid decisions. Failure Is the Only Option
meets Idiot Plot
does not make for one of the show's strongest episode.
- The Transformation Mode Lock Lens is never seen again. Coz you know, something that worked perfectly well should never be made again. That'd be cheap or something...
- The voice over at the beginning confirms the idea raised by Rhinox in the pilot: They've traveled in time.
- Dinobot's turmoil that a Maximal victory may not be preferable for him begins here, and plays deeply in his character in the future.
Ugh. Only thing worst could be if next episode also relied on Failure Is the Only Option
... Oh Shi...