123 - Law of the Jungle
I hesitated at first to make this liveblog. One of the reasons was that I would have to watch this episode again. Law of the Jungle is my least favorite episode of Beast Wars. And that's why this episode too gets its review before the recap.
It's annoying and boring for various reasons. The plot is a cliché. Character X suffers a personal loss and decides to quit fighting. Character Y and Z decide to try and convince him he needs to keep fighting, only for X to realize in the end that evil must be opposed and he can't avoid fighting, even if there's collateral damage, because the alternative is worst.
Really, do I need to recap the episode? You've seen it a million times before. And with the archetypes of character the show has, you can even guess who decides to stop fighting because it's harming innocents. Who gives him a speech about his being a warrior first, and how his enemies will not accept him simply "opting out". Who tells him that as a maximal he has a duty to explore and protect this world, but ultimately respects his decision. You know exactly who does what. Really, I could leave it there, move on to the next episode. There's no twist to the old formula. It's the standard, straight old by the book Stock Aesop
you've seen so many times before.
Remember how annoying Tigatron was in The Trigger
? Well someone decided making a whole episode out of that would be fun. This episode, along with "The Trigger" are why I came to dislike Tigatron. He gets few enough episodes as it is, but then he spends them being a preachy imbecile.
We open with the standard shots where animals eat one another to showcase the title's meaning. In this case Bung<Frog<Snake<Eagle. Dinobot and Cheetor are hunting alien sites, when Inferno jumps them. In the ensuing battle (where Inferno carries a MIRV warhead) they get blasted off the mountain where they fought. Turns out the Predacons have made a pile of missiles and bombs on the mountain, and Terrorsaur is leading Inferno and Waspinator in an assault on the Maximals. He's showing piss poor leadership of course since Inferno just attacked on his own, and Waspinator refuses to attack even when given the order, preferring to wait for a "signal".
Get used to this, ALL the Predacons this episode cackle and laugh like hyperactive idiots. It almost feels like Megatron slipped them drugs or something. For Inferno, it's in character. For the others, it's annoying. Also, for some reason, Waspinator acts WAY more stupid that usual. Like, he's never been bright, but here he's barely got the intellect of a toddler, refusing an order because he's still waiting for a signal, even though the person giving the order and the person who should give the signal are BOTH Terrorsaur. Waspinator sounds so stupid one wonders why he's trusted with a gun, let alone a cache of huge bombs. And you know what? This completely brain-damaged version of Waspinator... is the best part of the episode. Seriously. That's what we are in for people. Not that Terrorsaur is much better, he fires a cluster bomb and ends up hitting both Dinobot AND Inferno.
BTW, You can tell Tigatron will join the fight, because Cheetor is using his butt gun.
The fighting gets rough and eventually Waspinator decides to join the fight, but being so completely dumb this episode, he picks a bomb as big as his head, so heavy he can't lift it, and proceeds to almost crash. He spots Tigatron, but turns out he's being fooled, it's Tigatron's tiger friend, and Tigatron himself pounces him, riding the wasp till he crashes, before firing a few shots at Inferno. His last shot however misses, and hits the cash of missiles, causing a rock slide that buries and kills his tiger friend, Snowstalker. I am sorry, and I know the death of an innocent animal is sad and all... But how am I supposed to be invested in a character who didn't have a name before dying? Heck, we've seen Snowstalker ONCE. In Tigatron's original episode. She's never been seen with him since. And in fact, many times he's mentioned how he "hunts alone", not with a tigress BFF. It's a character I know nothing about. And Tigatron's grief over his deceased friend is sad and all, but it's undermined by the fact we never knew her.
Oh BTW, during the fight, both Cheetor and Dinobot suffered from Energon surges. Inferno, who has been in robot mode longer (since he attacked them in the first place), is unaffected. In fact, Inferno spends most of the episode in robot mode without a side effect. Consistency? What is that?
To paraphrase SF Debris
: "Nice work. That'll take 3 or 5 seconds for the coyotes to shove aside and get at her remains".
Tigatron buries Snowstalker under a pile of rock. Tigatron then tells he's no longer part of the Beast Wars, their fighting has caused so much destruction to nature. He then leaves, bidding Cheetor farewell. Cheetor, who has been heavily damaged, is told by Dinobot to return to base. Dinobot intends to convince Tigatron to return. Cheetor sees Optimus arriving (He had been called when they were attacked), but Optimus will first get Cheetor closer to the base so he can get to the CR Chambers.
Terrorsaur wants to go to base, but Inferno points out he'll get to explain to Megatron their failure. They decide to attack Tigatron, and this time to use the signal (to Waspinator's glee).
Meanwhile, night falls in the jungle, and Dinobot has picked up Tigatron's trail, who reveals himself to him. Dinobot tries to appeal to Tigatron's warrior's pride to make him return, but that doesn't work. He next tries to draw parallels to the law of the jungle, the strong hunt the weak (pointing to an Antelope being attacked by an orange tiger. This antelope seemed unphased of the two loudly talking predators a few meters from it), but Tigatron counters animals only hunt to survive. Dinobot explains it is no different for the Maximals, recapping the stakes of the show, with an overlay of images of a Predacon attack on Cybertron, with Megatron laughing. This is the only other good thing in this episode: A nice recap of the stakes of the show (which has not been mentioned really until now). Why they are fighting: To stop Megatron from gaining the Energon he'd need to launch a Predacon war of conquest of Cybertron and the galaxy. And the visuals make it more striking that the summation we got at the end of the opening 2 parter.
Tigatron, of course, counters that peace can only come if someone decides not to fight. And really, Megatron seems totally the kind who'd buy into that. Dinobot points out that's moronic, and Tigatron says the Predacons just won't find him, but Dinobot retorts he
did. Then this devolves into "with us or against us" situation till Dinobot transforms and moves to attack Tigatron... Only to reveal it was a feint, to show that Predacons would not stop. But Tigatron is unfettered and Dinobot get's ready to kill him, but Optimus arrives and tells him to stop. Dinobot leaves to return to base, as Optimus gives Tigatron is condolences. Optimus tells Tigatron it's his choice, that he too hates the war (which Tigatron tells him he could just stop it, idiot) but that as Maximals, they have a duty to explore and protect this world.
Meanwhile the Predacons have found Dinobot, and decided his destruction would please Megatron even more. They attack, entering full on "constantly laugh and giggle" mode. Optimus hears the blasts and goes to help, but Tigatron decides to pout instead. Quick Dinobot! Try telling them you quit the Beast Wars!
Optimus joins the fight, but he too gets shot down, to childish chants from Terrorsaur. Seriously, I am thinking someone spiked their Energon. This is not normal behavior for them! Well... it is for Inferno, but Terrorsaur and Waspinator are either high or brain damaged, with the laughing and the...spinning? Optimus finally shoots them both down, but Inferno grounds him. They both begin feeling the effects of Energon surge and must return to beast mode. Inferno? Nah, he's fine. In this episode he's apparently immune to Energon surges. He corners them, but Tigatron shows up, blasts him when Inferno sets a plant on fire, then puts out the fire Inferno started, saying it is his duty to defend this world from the Predacons, and he rejoins the Maximals. The End.
- For some reason, when Tigatron tells Inferno he'll kill no more beasts today, both Dinobot and Optimus are shaking their fingers at Inferno in the background.
- Inferno refers to Megatron as "The Royalty" for the first time. Terrorsaur also does it by mistakes.
- Rhinox asking the Maximals to record and find all the Alien sites as they could be dangerous foreshadows the next three episodes.
- Inferno calls Tigatron "Destroyer of my colony", referencing Spider's Game.
- We learn Snowstalker was female. Which means that Tigatron has a female beast mode (something he shares with Waspinator and Inferno, whose species and form of their alt modes means they are females). Consider that Airazor (who has a crush on him) is a man in Japan, and a certain development in season 3, and we see Tigatron's life is a long, gender confused life.
- Because I didn't mention it during Fallen Comrades, Tigatron was originally supposed to be a Wolf, based of the toy Wolfang◊. As making a whole new model would've been rather expensive, they went for Tigatron whose toy was a repaint of Cheetor's, and to whom they could do the same (with slight retools) in CGI to obtain Tigatron. Still, one has to wonder if Wolfang would've been less annoying.
I get the feeling Waspinator was only acting stupid just to piss off Terrorsaur.