118 - Spider's Game
In orbit, we see many stasis pods in a row. One of them shoots off from the group and streaks towards the planet below.
In his lair, Tarantulas' instruments detect the pod, and he cackles with glee. He activates a device that sends both bases dark, causing them to lose power completely. Megatron recalls his troop, assuming it is the preface to a Maximal attack. Optimus heads out to warn his troops in the field.
With both bases and their scanners offline, Tarantulas is free to detect where the pod will touch down... But Blackarachnia is in his lair, surprising him. She says they need to talk, but he attempts to bluff that he is engaged in research for Megatron, but she doesn't buy it, saying it looks more like he wants to steal the protoform for himself. Tarantulas tells her that's right, but it seems clear he's lying. She offers to help.
Tigatron walks through the jungle (No doubt thinking to himself how unpeaceful it is. Needs more death trap. Okay, I'll stop!) and spots the crashing pod. He can't reach the base on his comm, so he heads there himself. The pod makes a smooth, perfect landing next to a fire ant mound. The computer inside, perfectly functional, begins its procedure without outside assistance, scanning for lifeforms. It finishes scanning just as the Spiders arrive. He opens the pod and as he works, Blackarachnia hits on him. The pod announces it's beginning to activate the DNA sequencers to make a beast mode, but Tarantulas removes the Maximal programming chip, pausing the activation process. He then puts in a Predacon chip instead. He prepares to give the pod a spider in a cage to scan, but the pod says it already found one, and begins replication.
Tigatron runs to the pod, and is spotted by Waspinator. Waspinator transforms to attack him. He blasts Tigatron, knocking him out a bit, and prepares to finish him when he's blasted by Airazor. She shoots his wings off and he's left head first in the ground, a mouse biting at his antenna. Airazor goes to Tigatron, and he tells her to go to the pod, since she is faster.
What big teeth you have Inferno. It is to better chew the scenery.
The pod shakes a glows as a _giant_ fire ant comes out (way larger than the pod!). Tarantulas introduces himself as his creator, but the ant sees the spider and assumes they will take over "the colony". He transforms (calling himself Inferno) and shoots the spiders with his BFG. He then begins patrolling around the stasis pod. The spiders return to beast mode. Tarantulas notes Inferno's beast mode is dominating his logic circuits: He thinks he's an ant, and sees the pod as his colony. Blackarachnia intends to use her venom on Inferno, but Tarantulas stops her, she risks damaging the pod. And he doesn't want to risk it. She asks why he wants the pod, and he declines to answer. Airazor spots Inferno and lands to introduce herself. Inferno sees her coming and thinks she's an invader. He takes off to fly to her and attacks as she greets him.
Blackarachnia sees an opportunity and approaches, attacking Airazor and claiming to a friend of the colony to Inferno, saying the Maximals are enemies of the colony. Tarantulas begins hauling the pod away while Inferno is distracted, monologuing how he now has the means to leave the planet.
Inferno begins to feel the effects of Energon surges, and is confused, but Blackarachnia instructs him to return to beast mode. But they see Tarantulas leaving with the pod, and Blackarachnia realizes the pod is all Tarantulas ever wanted.
Tigatron meets the wounded Airazor, and she explains what happened. Tigatron intends to follow them to retrieve the pod at least. He tells her to find Optimus. We get a small line showing Blackarachnia's feelings for Tigatron.
At the Predacon base, Scorponok on one of the perimeter towers sees Tarantulas hauling the stasis pod. Megatron meanwhile is not capable of rebooting his computer without his (competent) tech expert. He asks where is Tarantulas. Scorponok reports, and we see he's too dumb to recognize what a stasis pod is, or that Tarantulas is hauling it. He thinks it's chasing him! Megatron says the spider must be up to his old tricks (like what?) Tarantulas hides the pod behind a boulder and sees Inferno following him, and he prepares to ambush the new Predacon. The Darksyde detects Inferno, and he realizes they have a new Predacon.
Inferno finds the pod, but Tarantulas ensnares him in web. Scorponok arrives, telling Tarantulas that Megatron wants the stasis pod brought to him at once. Tarantulas looks enraged, but he's got no time be angry, a gunshot causes the pod to explode, and we see Tigatron destroyed the Maximal property rather than let it land in Predacon hands. Blackarachnia sneaks up behind him and knocks him down. Tarantulas opens fire on him. Can this day get worst? Oh look, Megatron arrived! Tarantulas and Blackarachnia run away, while Megatron intends to finish the Maximal. Inferno comes out, and realizing the pod's destruction, is enraged, breaking out of the web and transforming. Megatron rather likes Inferno lunatic screaming as he looks for the destroyer of the colony, and Megatron points to Tigatron. Megatron and Inferno blast at Tigatron, and Inferno lands on top of him, intending to finish him off. But a missile hits him, blowing him to pieces in one single shot (good shot!) Optimus and Airazor fly towards Megatron, the Maximal Commander firing at him, blowing a hole in Megatron's chest. They recover Tigatron and pull out. Megatron is rather displeased, but surveys his new Predacon (Some assembly required) and says he wants the Spiders found.
Back at the Axalon (it's snowing!) Tigatron comes out of the CR chamber. Optimus tries to talk Tigatron into staying for a bit, but he declines. Airazor tells him he should visit sometimes, and he agrees, before departing, Airazor looks on, disappointed.
At Tarantulas' lair, Blackarachnia laments her decision to help Tarantulas. Megatron may scrap them both. Tarantulas points out that Megatron is a minor issue: this planet is doomed. Tarantulas wanted the pod to build an escape ship. Tarantulas kicks her out. Secretly we see she doesn't trust him anymore than he does.
A pretty good episode overall. It sets up a lot of questions for the end of the season. And, Inferno is a hoot in all his insane, hammy glory.
- Tarantulas moves firmly into his final characterization: No longer just the deviant Predacon, he's the schemer and untrustworthy one with his own plans.
- We never find out WHY Inferno is brain damaged. His pod is the first (and only) successful landing we've ever seen, appears undamaged and even activates on its own. Yet he comes out of there more brain damaged than Airazor or Tigatron did (both of whom had damaged, crash-landed pods). One might assume the reprogramming did that, but Blackarachnia is fine. Maybe the chips were swapped too late and that left him broken?
- This is the only episode of the entire series in which Scott McNeil voices just one character (in this case, Waspinator). The other fifty-one episodes saw him voicing two to four characters.
- While each Transformers' firepower varies all the time for narrative convenience (Sometimes it even feels the guns are pointless and don't seem to actually damage anyone), this episode has some sort of record as Optimus' shoulder missile took out Inferno in one shot (And Inferno, as we will see, is the toughest Predacon of season 1 outside of Megatron himself). And not just that, but it blew him to pieces. Inferno was pretty much undamaged prior to this. A follow up shot on Megatron blew a hole in him. Optimus, I don't know why you changed brand of missiles, but keep these ones! They work!
- Inferno will always refer to Tigatron as "Destroyer of the Colony" after this.