Season One, Episode 13: Dark Designs
Reviewed by Blackjack
While the plot device is another rip-off of a G1 'Weapon of the Week', the episode is so wonderfully done. It's very hilarious, and the scripting is amazing. Primal even shows some Rodimus-esque cold-bloodedness by allowing his teammate to get brainwashed in order to rough up the Predacons some. It's a nice spotlight for Rhinox, who so far hadn't done much other than to be the stereotypical scientist or old mentor.
The situation in the Beast Wars actually gives more credence to the Predacons' 'Weapon of the Week'. Why didn't the Predacons rebuild the Transmuter and reprogram, say, Optimus Primal? Because Waspinator blew the device up and there's not enough resources to scavenge in order to rebuild it again. Also, the comedy parts of this episode, like Primal and Rhinox quoting Megatron’s “Yessss”, or Waspinator’s mad ramblings, are wonderful gags. All in all, a hilarious episode, and one of the better ones in Season One
The concept of Rhinox being reprogrammed into evil, only to have Rhinox being a better villain than Megatron, would be one of the major plot points in Beast Machines. Also, Rhinox gets a little repainted when he turns evil. Namely, all the brown fleshy bits turn purplish-brown, while all the gold parts turn silver.
Cheetor’s line ‘Better dead than Pred’ seems to be a reference to the anti-communist slogan ‘Better dead than red’ from the 1950s.
When Waspinator is driven bonkers by Rhinox, he references thinks that he is Shrapnel, the Insecticon from G1 continuity. He also repeats every last syllable in his sentences several times, a reference to how Shrapnel always repeats the last word in his sentences in the G1 cartoon, cartoon. He also sings the ‘More than Meets the Eye’ catchphrase. Waspinator also references Wonko the Sane, a fictional character created by Douglas Adams. Wonko the Sane is also a tribute to transformers fan Ben Yee, whose online username was Wonko the Sane at that time.
Optimus Primal and Rhinox say “Yesssss”, a joke on Megatron’s catchphrase when the Predacon leader is plotting.
The scene where Optimus Primal brandishes his swords, before Megatron lazily shoots him down, might be a reference to the fight between Indiana Jones and a Cairo swordsman in Raiders of the Lost Ark
. Dinobot forcing Scorponok’s face onto his spinning blade weapon might also be a reference to the death of the German engineer in that same movie.
The time it took for Tarantulas to lug the unconscious Rhinox back to the Predacon base must’ve been some time. Even if the other Preds helped him, it would’ve taken some time; and the other Maximals should’ve noticed it.
When the Maximals are eavesdropping near the Predacon base, Dinobot is standing (seemingly floating) above a lava stream.
Evil Rhinox blasts Megatron’s kneecaps during their battle, preventing the Predacon leader from moving too much. However, when the rest of the Maximals burst in, he has no trouble running around and battling with them.
The length of Dinobot’s spinning sword weapon is inconsistent during the final battle.