122 - The Low Road
After the glorious G1-reference-filled episode of last update we come to this... Normally I keep the reviews at the end, but the next two episodes are difficult for me to review, for different reasons. So for this episode and the next I'll put it down first, as it might help explain the mindset I am in when writing this.
This episode is a comedic episode. And we've had some comedic episodes before (Dark Designs
for example), none to THIS degree. This episode abandons logic, continuity and reason for humor. And this humor (mostly slapstick
) culminates in one rather low brow joke. Even Dark Designs
approached its plot with some sense, only milking it for humor. But The Low Road
doesn't. The plot's an excuse to have joke and pratfalls and references. Now, if this isn't your cup of tea, you'll hate this episode with a burning passion, calling it the worst in the series. And you could make a good case for that opinion.
But, if you can get in the mind set that for this episode of what is first and foremost a Children's TV Show
, the writers decided to make people laugh, it can be quite enjoyable. Most of the bits of funny are good, and most are very well done some with nice, subtle details. What I am getting at is that your ability to enjoy this episode depends on your ability to enjoy an episode that is so out of tone with the rest of the series for the most part. So here we go:
Dinobot surveys his sausage harvest
Our episode begins with the fastest growing plants I've ever seen. They will be described as bean stalks, but the way the beans are rendered, they really
look like sausages. So the sausage plants are overgrowing the Axalon. Dinobot and Rattrap and cutting the Vines (who grow back almost as fast) to prevent Predacons from using them to ambush them as they leave their base. Rattrap decides to golf-club one of the sausages up Dinobot's butt
. Dinobot responds as per his calm, collected manner: By leaping at Rattrap and trying to murder him.
The maximal sensors pick three approaching Predacons, the three fliers. Rhinox asks Rattrap to retreat so they can activate sentinel, but Rattrap can't coz Dinobot will not let go of him. Rhinox goes outside and covers the two with chaingun fire. Rattrap wants to retreat, but Dinobot refuses to flee from a battle. Rhinox is knee deep in shell casings when Tarantulas pops out and fires a special missile at Dinobot, who dodges, and it hits Rhinox, forcefeeding him a liquid. Dinobot fires repeatedly on Tarantulas while the rest of the Predacons retreat.
Inside the base, the situation is dire: Rhinox has been given an energon discharge virus, which will cause him to sneeze, each sneeze shooting out a stream of Energon. Already he blows up one CR chamber, and pokes holes in the hull, one of the missiles continuing to hit Terrorsaur, who was spying outside the base. They move Rhinox to a less critical location, however the virus will kill Rhinox soon.
Dinobot and Rattrap are sent to find Tarantulas, whom cant have gone far after the shots he took from Dinobot. The two argue, and over the comm Cheetor listens to them like if it was a radio program. Optimus says they'll learn to cooperate or kill each other. And right now he doesn't care which.
Dinobot picks up Tarantulas' scent, and the Predacon flees, jumping down a ridge. The Maximals follow and land... to find nothing. Then the ground opens and fall down a slide, hitting a stalactite along the way that dislodges a boulder, which rolls down the slide. As they reach the bottom, Tarantulas jumps behind them, holding them at gunpoint, till the boulder rolls him over.
At the Axalon, Rhinox' been put in the hold, connected to the ship's own power supply so he does not run out of power (via booster cables to his feet). Optimus and Cheetor are behind large improvised barricades, monitoring the situation. Cheetor says he's no longer picking up Dinobot and Rattrap. Optimus decides to call in Airazor and Tigatron to take their complaints directly to Megatron himself.
Rhinox' sneezes are visible from the Darksyde, and Megatron is more than pleased with the results. He orders more of the virus made to infect the rest of the Maximals, but Tarantulas is missing, and his data is encrypted, neither Scorponok or Blackarachnia can crack it. Megatron orders them to find him, starting by searching his lab.
Rattrap and Dinobot drag an statis locked Tarantulas while bickering. As they bicker, Tarantulas wakes up, shouting "Die Maximals!" as he stands up and points his gun at them. They tell him to shut up and both punch him back into statis lock for interrupting their bickering.
Inside the lab, proximity sensors warn Blackarachnia of the approaching duo and their prisoner. She calls the rest of the Predacons to meet her in the lab.
Airazor approaches the base, seeing the effect or Rhinox's sneezes. And Optimus orders her, Tigatron, and Cheetor to join him in hitting the Darksyde. Rhinox wants to come, so his sneezes at least wreck a few Predacons. Optimus tells him to transform and eat food to keep his energy up. He agrees and begins eating some of the sausage plants.
The Predacons have gathered in the lab, and Blackarachnia finds the antidote. She's about to destroy it, when Megatron forbids it, wanting to use it as a bargaining chip. The proximity sensors go off again, and Terrorsaur, Waspinator, Scorponok and Inferno immediately open fire without waiting for a target, warning the Maximals of the ambush. Dinobot decides to use Tarantulas as a hostage while Rattrap covers his back. As he heads out, Rattrap sees a vent and gets an idea. We then get this exchange:
Dinobot: (Dinobot enters, holding Tarantulas) "Do not fire, Megatron! I have a HOSTAGE!"
Megatron: "Why, so you do..." (Megatron shoots Tarantulas and blows him to pieces.)
So... Airazor, what are you doing?
Rattrap jumps down the vent, disarming the Predacons and holding Megatron at gun point. Then the wall explodes and the Maximals (even Rhinox) are there, with Airazor doing a Leg Cling
on Optimus as the dust settles (She's pointing her weapons at the Predacons in subsequent shots). Rattrap says he and Dinobot got the situation in hand, and Dinobot agrees. But Megatron threatens to destroy the virus, unless the Maximals return to beast mode and surrender. They agree, even Dinobot, reluctantly. But as he turns to beast mode, Rhinox feels terrible, having trouble digesting the sausages (you need to cook them thoroughly first, you see). He turns his but towards Megatron, who is horrified, while his troops all take discreet sidesteps away from him.
Rhinox's Energon-powered fart is literally visible from space◊
, exploding Tarantulas' lab. The maximals reclaim the virus from the lab and retreat. Back at base, Rhinox is taking the cure (via something very similar to a beer hat). Though he still sneezes, he no longer fires Energon. Life is back to normal, and Rattrap and Dinobot go back to bickering.
Around a burnt out tree... Megatron and the rest of his damaged troop muses that this is the most embarrassing defeat of his career. He'll get no argument.
The branch holding Waspinator breaks.
- Episode writer Bob Forward commented on the fan reaction to the episode's end joke by signing a post with:
- Bob F
- Who, After 15 Years And A Couple Of Hundred Scripts, Will Be Remembered Forever For A Rhinocerous Fart
- Tarantulas' lab features a picture of Megatron, with darts in it.
- Tarantulas' data being encrypted shows he's got something to hide (beside his aforementioned desire to leave the planet). We'll know more during season 2.
- This episode is one of the rare times Cheetor and Tigatron both use their gut guns in the same shot.
Ahh, one of the most infamous episodes in the whole series. Even today I still get a chuckle out of Megatron's overblown scream as he's farted to near-death. It's like David Kaye was fully aware that this was a comedic episode from the first script read and just decided to make Megatron sound as outrageously hammy as he could.
I would go as far as saying this is the quintessential Beast Wars episode.
I'd disagree, no other episode really sacrifice their plot to this extent for the purpose of jokes.
Perhaps not quintessential, but it is among my all-time favorite episodes of Beast Wars.