Season One, Episode 8: Double Jeopardy
Reviewed by Blackjack
Yet another ho-hum generic episode. Season one of Beast Wars is basically like this — you could skip any episode bar the beginning and the end of the season and still get the story. While it's good in aspects of being a cartoon, it does get monotonous after a while. Not that G1 was any better, mind. It appears I was mistaken on my review of 'Power Surge' that Terrorsaur only betrays Megatron once or twice throughout the series. Here's another example, and it's very Starscream-y. However, the little moment where Megatron lets Terrorsaur take charge to show how incompetent he is a rather nice moment.
Aside from that, the episode has no impact whatsoever. We never believe Rattrap had betrayed the Maximals, since there was no reason for us to believe to — it is like Cliffjumper suddenly waking up to hate Mirage back in G1. Considering the fact that he's not even willing to cover fire for his buddies in the first episode, it's a rather big leap for the character to suddenly go into dangerous territories for a chip that might or might not exist. Saving his fellow Maximals (like in 'the Web', for instance) is one thing, risking his neck for a probability... I just can't see Rattrap agreeing to it. Blackarachnia's debut also leaves no impact to the audience. Unlike just about everyone else in the series, Blackarachnia appears for the scene where Tarantulas activates her, does some karate kicks in the background, beats Cheetor up, and goes missing, unexplained. I mean, really. Megatron even tells Terrorsaur that Blackarachnia's gone. That's not even taking into consideration the numerous plot holes in the episode (see goofs). One of the poorer offers Season One has to give.
This episode is the debut of Blackarachnia. She has the distinction of being the first female to appear in the Beast Wars, as well as being the first female Decepticon/Predacon. Also, this episode is the first time we've seen the Predacons reprogram a Maximal protoform with a shell program. Come to think of it, the reprogramming is much more sinister than any of the schemes the Predacons have cooked up, yet it's left in the backburner most of the times. Hmmm...
Blackarachnia's protoform uses the character model for the Cybertronian mode of Megatron seen in 'Beast Wars (Part 1)', albeit with a modified head, instead of the more fluid character model seen for the other characters later on. Since we didn't get a good look at Tigatron's protoform in his debut episode, we can assume that it's not an error but merely an early design. After all, it's not that much of a difference.
In real life, Blackarachnia's toy is a straight repaint of Tarantulas. Unlike Tigatron, whose CGI model is basically a touched-up Cheetor (of whom Tiggy is repainted from), Blackarachnia receives an all-new character model and even a new alternate mode. Tarantulas is a tarantula spider, or at least something similar, while Blackarachnia is a black widow. Some records (TFWiki? I can't remember) say that the designers visit a strip club to get inspiration for Blackarachnia's CG model. Um.... yeah. Okay.
While sneaking through the Predacons' ventilation duct, Rattrap encounters a small real-life white rat. This gives an approximation of Rattrap's scale — he's one massive rodent.
The Maximal chip has letters on it in Cybertronix, an invented font used in production of the series. They usually are scattered randomly around machinery and monitors, but some, like this, actually translate into words. In this case, 'Caution very hot'. I can't be bothered to note every single use of Cybertronix, so I'll just leave it here.
Why didn't Primal notify his other troops of Rattrap's charade? The rodent could really gotten himself hurt under the hands of, say, Dinobot.
Why keep the charade during the battle anyway? Rattrap could simply scurry away without shooting Primal and endangering his teammates (not to mention himself). He's gotten the chip already, so why still fight?
For the matter, why blame Rattrap? Dinobot, being a former Pred and everything, should raise more suspicion.
Why and how Blackarachnia disappears is never touched upon.