121 - Possession
Our episode opens in space, a spark flies towards the planet.
At the Axalon, a storm in brewing, lightning causing a tremor that makes Cheetor fall. The Energon storm is bad, managing to damage the shields and shut Sentinel offline. The Optimus orders spare weapons and ammo to be moved under the armored floors.
The Spark hovers over the Darksyde, before plunging into an antenna. Waspinator is at a radar console when it shocks him. Megatron asks Waspinator for a damage report, and he replies that it hurts but he's fine. Only Megatron was inquiring about the console. No one cares about Waspinator. Megatron is called by Scorponok, the storm is also making a number on their base, and they have a fire on the lower deck (where all the magma is? You'd think they'd have run out of things that can catch fire there fast!)
The Maximals store their ammo, and Rattrap reports that there's bad news and worst news. Waspinator returns at the computer, but it is frozen. He doesn't understand why... and the computer taunts him before it shocks him again the Spark flies into him. Terrorsaur observes.
Rattrap informs Rhinox and Optimus that the storm caused a large breech in the ship: they might as well roll out a carpet for the Predacons to wipe their feet off on their way in. And the worst news is, they also lost sensor coverage in that area, meaning the gaping hole is also a blind spot. Optimus hopes the Predacons have their own problems with the storm and can't capitalize on this.
You look different Waspinator... Did you get your hair done?
Indeed, the Darksyde's lower decks are filled with smoke. Waspinator arrives, and a crack of lightning briefly makes him take a familiar appearance. He speaks in the same voice as the computer.
Scorponok: So there you are!
"Waspinator": Yes! Here I am. At very long last!
Megatron: What happened to your voice?
Starscream: Allow me to present myself: Air Commander Starscream of the Decepticon Battle Fleet!
The Predacons convene and Terrorsaur confirms he saw "the entity" come out of the computer and possessing Waspinator. Blackarachnia says Starscream should be ancient history, she explains the Decepticons were the ancestor of the Predacons, and the Autobots that of the Maximals. She says the chronicles of Cybertron says Starscream should be dead. But he says he did die, defending Galvatron from the Planet-sized Transformer Unicron. His body was vaporized and his spark left adrift in space, beyond the reach of time. Megatron seems suspicious and wonders what does the Air Commander want. Starscream offers his allegiance (as Megatron's lieutenant), and to back up his offer to an incredulous Megatron, mentions the damage to the Maximal base, he's seen them as he was flying over the planet.
Scorponok's cyberbee rapidly confirm Starscream's intel, though Cheetor is guarding the sensors' blind side and shoots at the bee. The hole in the core leads to Sentinel's core, and Rhinox mentions it will take time to fix. Megatron points out to Starscream that the Maximals will expect an attack there, which would be suicide to follow suit, but Starscream proposed to capitalize on this by attacking the Axalon's undamaged side, left unguarded. And the plan works, the Maximals are caught off-guard.
The Predacons breach the ship, and the Maximals transform and fight, but with the disadvantage of being caught unprepared and Starscream's excellent flying skills (who introduces himself to them) the Maximals have no choice but to retreat and abandon their base as Dinobot takes serious damage, after recognizing the name.
Airazor sees the retreat and opts to find Tigatron. Megatron celebrates his victory. Megatron sends half his forces with him to the Darksyde, leaving Blackarachnia & Scorponok to secure the Axalon, under the command of Starscream (to Terrorsaur's jealousy). Starscream mentions he was just happy to help, but Blackarachnia seems dubious. Megatron orders Scorponok to keep an eye on Starscream.
It seems Dinobot will recover, though he feels they should not have retreated in his account. Optimus ponders the whole Starscream thing, but he knows little: The Maximal Elders classified his files. But the Predacons have no such issue, and Dinobot tells them: Starscream was one of history's most notorious of all traitor, ever deceitful and scheming. Optimus sees an opportunity. Airazor finds Tigatron, filling him up on the Axalon being taken over by Predacons, seemingly led by Waspinator.
Starscream confronts Blackarachnia, and she tells him she knows he did not die by Unicron's hand, but by that of his own commander Galvatron, after he betrayed him. Starscream goes into a rage, yelling that Galvatron was a fool and he deserved to lead. He calms down, and asks what does Blackarachnia plan to do with that knowledge, since she didn't tell Megatron. She says he could make her a better offer, and he approves. Scorponok reveals the Maximals are approaching. Pretending Dinobot is too damaged to recover, the Maximals surrender, but to Starscream himself. Starscream is at first distrust full, but Optimus promises to serve Starscream. He accepts, and takes Dinobot to the CR Chamber. Starscream has Optimus disarmed and restrained. With Dinobot and Optimus as collateral, he has the Maximals, as his army, attack the Darksyde. Blackarachnia disposes of Scorponok before he can take out Starscream.
Optimus reveals he planned for Starscream to double-cross him and take him prisoner. And he breaks his restraints (guess he knew Starscream would go for the cheap ones!). He transforms and opens the cache of weapons they stored under the floor during the storm
. The Maximals hit the Darksyde as Optimus storms the control room of the Axalon, freeing Dinobot to turn this into a 2 on 2 fight. Starscream, ever the coward, immediately GTFOs, leaving a surly and abandoned Blackarachnia to find her own way out. Interference prevents Optimus from contacting Rhinox.
Cheetor and Dinobot are creeping onto the Darksyde but are spotted and the autoguns turn on. Rhinox covers them as they flee, ordering a retreat, when Starscream arrives ordering them to fight, till Optimus arrives. Optimus intends to trash Starscream himself. Megatron sees the traitor and is displeased to say the least.
Why didn't my Optimus figure not come with the cool Terminator
Starscream is blasted down, and realizes he's landed on an exposed Energon vein. He begs Optimus, offering to serve him instead, but Blackarachnia shoots a missile at him, still surly over the whole betrayal and abandonment thing. Optimus looks at Starscream as the latter's body siezes due to the Energon surge, and says:
"Hasta la vista, Starscream"
As sunshades appear over his eyes and he flies off, Waspinator's body explodes with the Energon, blasting Starscream's spark into space.
At the Darksyde, Waspinator is being rebuilt. Blackarachnia explain she had to play along with Starscream to figure his intentions, and Megatron is rather incredulous, calling her smooth, too smooth, it does not inspire confidence. Waspinator's head is reattached and he complains:
"Oooh, Waspinator has a headache in his whole body"
At the base, the Maximals clean the control room and repair the damage, while Cheetor sits on the roof, looking at the star, muttering "Twinkle Twinkle little Starscream". In space, Starscream's spark still floats helplessly.
"I'll be back! Even if it takes a thousand years, I'LL BE REVENGED ON YOU ALL!"
This episode, though filler, is great. And while I must admit bias because of my familiarity with Starscream, I think that even without that baggage, it holds up very
well. Starscream is explained well enough for new viewers to understand, and his smoothness and ego make him way more interesting that Terrorsaur. His interactions with Blackarachnia as he gives her his "lessons" are fun. Plus it has great scenes and doesn't waste time or feel padded out.
- Starscream is voiced by Doug Parker, Terrorsaur's voice actor. Since Terrorsaur was already an Expy of Starscream and was voiced in a way resembling Chris Latta's performance, the two have almost identical voices (Starscream is basically Terrorsaur's with a metallic distortion effect). This is why Terrorsaur is barely in the episode (He has like 2 lines) and it's Blackarachnia who teams up with Starscream despite Terrorsaur being the resident traitor.
- Good thing Starscream didn't possess Terrorsaur, we might never have noticed!
- Waspinator has two slight changes to his appearance while possessed: His Predacon insignias turn to Decepticon ones, and the upper point of his mandibles have a yellow stripe along their edges, like the rest of his mouth does.
- This episode establishes for the first time that each faction of Beast Wars is a direct descendant of each factions of the Great Wars (AKA Generation 1). We also get confirmation that the Decepticons lost the Great Wars. This will become a major plot point later.
- Unicron is mentioned for the first time.
- The events of this episode directly reference Transformers: The Movie and Starscream's ability to possess people after death featured in the Generation 1 episodes Starscream's Ghost and Ghost in the Machine. The episode does feature a bit of a continuity error: the later episode ended with Starscream gaining a new body (Courtesy of Unicron) and being blasted into space, tumbling uncontrollably in his new form. This episode opens with Starscream not having a body.
- This episode is the first to Hand Wave Starscream's post death activities has his having an immortal Spark (as Beast Wars introduced sparks). Generation 1 treated Starscream as a legitimate ghost, and he was in full control of his "ghost" self.
- Starscream having some sort of immortality (rather than Ghost-ness) would become a recurring thing in some his future incarnations.
- Starscream's rank of "Air Commander" comes from his toy's tech specs. It's not a rank he officially held in the cartoon.
- Starscream's color scheme when in his G1 body is from the Marvel Transformers comics.
- Starscream mentions travelling "beyond the reaches of time", to handwave his appearing millions of years before his death.
- While Waspinator is possessed, the camera tends to use a mix of Hitler Cam and closeups when focusing on him.
- Bob Forward has mentioned the original idea for the script was for an Autobot to possess one of the Maximals, they decided to use Starscream has they had already made a CGI model of him (Seen in vehicule mode in "The Web").
- A future episode would shed some light on why Starscream's records are sealed on the Maximal side.
- As the Maximal records on Starscream are sealed, Blackarachnia must've studied his history using the Predacon records on the Darksyde. Strange that no one else thought of doing that to figure what Starscream is about.
- Megatron is in all future instances shown to be very knowledgeable about Cybertronian history, yet he does not seem to know Starscream's treacherous history, only showing the same distrust one would show a total stranger. One might argue he was playing along, but his reaction at the end shows he did not expect Starscream to betray him. Nor does he call Starscream out on his lie regarding his "death".
- The script originally called for Optimus to escape by elaborately picking his lock. The animators decided to go the easy route, and just make him break his restraints.
- Future episodes would show something happens when a Maximal/Predacon body takes the spark of an Autobot or Decepticon into itself along with its own. This doesn't happen here to Waspinator. Megatron later mentions that the power of the Autobot or Decepticon may influence things, and there's some baggage to that, but event then, Starscream was a fairly prestigious Decepticon, and his spark is immortal, you'd think he'd count.
- Though not seen on the show, Waspinator's transmetal form (Seen in toy and Alternate Universe comic continuities) features a jet mode reminiscent of an F-15 Eagle. Perhaps Starscream left some more long lasting effects on him?Note