115 - The Spark
The episode opens in orbit, where a stasis pod is struck by meteors and begins crashing. The onboard computer reveals the hatch seas and the pod's internals have been damaged by the impact, and begins to attempt emergency procedure.
At the Darksyde, Tarantulas detects the falling statis pod and prepares to head out for it, but Megatron countermands him, ordering him to stay and sending Blackarachnia and Scorponok, who are closer.
Rhinox sees the falling stasis pod. He's already close to the impact site, but area he's in, filled with Energon geysers, blocks communications. He transforms and begins a mad dash to the pod.
Cheetor, further away, sees the pod too. He radios Tigatron, asking him to radio back to base for backup, and then join him, before running to the pod too. A Peregrine Falcon observes from a nearby branch.
Scorponok and Blackarachnia see the pod, with Blackarachnia mocking Scorponok for his blind loyalty to Megatron.
The pods finally crashes near Rhinox, who almost immediately arrives. It does not look good: The pod shows signs of damage. Its door is ajar. Inside, the Potoform (Unactivated Transformer without a alt-mode) has reverted to a pile of Grey Goo
with a spark in the middle, pulsing. Too make matters worst, Rhinox is already beginning to feel the onsets of Energon surges, but he can't return to beast mode now. The pod is also damaged, unable to scan for life forms or activate the protoform. The pod require repairs, or the Transformer inside will die in roughly 16 minutes. So Rhinox gets to it, extracting a burned out computer chip from the pod, when Cheetor arrives. Rhinox fills him on the situation, but admits he's not sure how he can repair the stasis pod. The chip he extracted was the Locking Chip, the chip that allows a transformer to go into stasis lock (read: a healing/protective coma when damage or Energon build-up is too high). Without the chip or an alt mode, the protoform is suffering damage from the Energon fields and is fading fast.
Tigatron is racing to rejoin the other Maximals. He hears Scorponok and transforms, before freezing the Predacon solid. However, he's attacked by Blackarachnia and injected with Cybervenom. She promises to be back for him - after getting the new Protoform.
Cheetor volunteers his own locking chip to be used to repair the pod. Since Rhinox' is needed so he can remain in robot mode. With an alt mode, he's in no danger. So he transforms and goes offline so Rhinox can take the chip, and has a dream where Rhinox appears and talks to him.
Rhinox: What's new, Pussycat?
Cheetor: Rhinox... What's going on?
(Rhinox creates a spark that hovers in his hands)
Cheetor: A spark...
Rhinox: Yup. The very thing which makes us what we are. Every Cybertron, Maximal or Predacon, has one. And each is different. When a spark goes online, there is great joy. When one is extinguished... the universe weeps.
Awww, a baby transformer! With its spark glowing!
Cheetor re-awakens as Rhinox puts his chip in the Stasis pod. Immediate the pod implement stasis lock, and the grey goo reforms into the protoform's super structure. But Rhinox tells him they only bought themselves a bit of time. Not enough to haul the Protoform back to base to use the CR chamber. He'll need to reprogram the pod, and hope to Primus there's some lifeform around here for the stasis pod to scan. To make matters worst, the pod's sensor have detected a Predacon approaching.
Cheetor goes off to fight Blackarachnia. A fairly extensive battle follows, fun and impressive. Rhinox hears the battle, but he can't do much: the pod just refused his attempts at a new program. Cheetor eventually manages to catch Blackarachnia's cybervenom projectile (fired at him almost point blank) and tosses it back to her, in her face, taking her out. But there's no time to rest: Waspinator and Terrorsaur are arriving, and he's beginning to suffer Energon build-up. Without his locking chip, he returns to beast mode after taking a few pot shots at the fliers, and begins running to lead them away from the pod.
Rhinox has resorted to uploading his own programming into the pod, though the pod warns him it could damage his system. He has no choice, and it works, but not without damaging Rhinox by blasting him against a rock, he is forced to return to beast mode and enter stasis lock. The pod's DNA scanner comes online, searching for a life form. But time is running out, as the protoform reverts to grey goo again.
Cheetor manages to make Waspinator fly into an Energon geyser, crippling him, but he's shot by Terrorsaur, who returns to the pod, landing to find Rhinox coming to, stuck in beast mode, and the pod. Calling it his lucky day. As Rhinox points out, Terrorsaur's luck runs out when hears the cry of a falcon, and the pod immediately scans the Peregrine Falcon flying overhead. The pod fills with light and the new Maximal shoots out of it like a flying star, returning in beast mode to grasp Terrorsaur by the shoulders with its talons, hauling him away from Rhinox and smashing him into some rocks.
The two begin an aerial fight, with the new Maximal in beast form evading Terrorsaur's gunfire, till it goes into a dive, where Terrorsaur looses it (unsurprisingly as Peregrine Falcons are the fastest animal ever clocked). The new Maximal, Airazor, returns, transforming and she attacks Terrorsaur, first wrestling with him, and eventually blowing him to pieces with a hail of wrist mounted missiles.
Airazor lands an instinctively recognizes Rhinox. Back at base, the Maximals offer their new comrade, who seems to have memory problems like Tigatron did. Optimus offers her a tour of the base, and Rhinox repeats some of the words of Cheetor's dream to the later's amazement: When a Spark comes online, there is great joy.
This episode is very good. A highlight of the first season for sure. There's good tension throughout the episode as the situation just keeps getting worst for the Maximals. We also learn information about their functioning and cycle for life. On top of that it has some really good action scenes, so there's little one could ask for to improve the episode.
- This episode explains what sparks are, which would play a big part in later seasons, and be central to Beast Machines.
- Tarantulas' eagerness to get his hands on a stasis pod marks the beginning of a character ark that will lead to the season 1 final and a shift in his characterization beyond being simply the "Predacon with sick tastes who also works on science".
- Megatron calls Tarantulas a treacherous arachnid despite Tarantulas never really doing anything (yet) to earn the title. Future episode will show why.
- This is the first time we see Tigatron's gun freeze things.
- This is the second episode to feature Cheetor having a prophetic dream.
- Airazor is a dude in the Japanese dub. Hasbro in fact had never planned on her being female. It's the showrunners who decided to make her one to add some diversity to the cast. Hasbro then changed the character's tech specs accordingly.