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Old 2010-02-15, 04:18 AM   #15
Blackjack
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Chain of Command
Airdate: 24 September 1996
Written by: Jesse Winfield
Japanese title: Convoy Disappeared

SYNOPSIS
The Maximals are investigating energon readings under the Standing Stones, an unnatural formation of stones. Rattrap thinks it is bait, while Rhinox comments that the energon on the planet isn't natural. The Predacons attack, but in the battle, the energon crystals was hit by a laser beam, destabilising them. Megatron and Optimus both order their troops to retreat in fear of an explosion. However, instead of exploding, the crystals sent a beam into space., before running out of juice. The Maximals return to base.

Soon, an alien probe comes out of a transwarp portal and streaks towards the planet. Both sides arrive on the Standing Stones again to claim the probe. The Predacons mistake it as a stasis pod, while Rhinox recognises that this is something else. Both sides head to intercept it at the Standing Stones. However, as they face off the probe emits a beam of light which causes Optimus Primal to vanish into thin air.

Soon afterwards, Dinobot awakens in the Axalon's CR chamber. Rhinox and the others inform him that the probe has somehow dumped Dinobot, Megatron and Waspinator (those closest to the probe at that time) near their respective bases. Dinobot seizes the opportunity by saying he should take command. Rattrap, naturally, disagrees. Rhinox insists that they each take a vote. However, the vote results in a stalemate, and Dinobot tries to break the tie by force. However, before the fight could begin, they are contacted by Optimus Primal.

Apparently, Primal's body has been shunted elsewhere, but his consciousness remains active within the probe. To the dismay of Dinobot, Primal puts Rattrap in charge.

Megatron, also thinking that Optimus Primal is dead, divides his force into two Scorponok and Waspinator head to the Standing Stones to investigate, while Tarantulas, Terrorsaur and himself head to the Maximal Base. Dinobot battles Megatron one-on-one, ignoring Rattrap's order to reset the Axalon's damaged shield circuitry. Rattrap heads out on his own and is able to restore the shields at the last moment. Dinobot manages to beat Megatron, and the Predacons retreat. Dinobot apologises to Rattrap for not following the rodent's orders, claiming that he has 'dishonoured'.

Rhinox manages to invent a device which should, in theory, extract Optimus Primal from the alien probe. The Predacons have been waiting in an ambush and attack. Rhinox's device fails, and the normally mild-mannered scientist unleashes his anger on Waspinator with his chaingun, blasting him apart. Waspinator shorts out and comes in contact with one of the stones in the formation, causing the all of the Standing Stones to glow. The alien probe opens, and Optimus Primal materialises. The battle turns in the Maximal's favour, but before the Maximals could do anything about the alien probe it disappears.

Optimus Primal praises Rattrap on his temporary performance as commander, but Rattrap is more than happy to hand the title back to Primal. The Maximals wonder what the probe's purpose was, and Rhinox ominously says that the aliens have learned their ability to reason... as well as their destructive capabilities.

Featured Transformers: Dinobot, Rattrap, Rhinox, Optimus Primal, Cheetor, Megatron, Waspinator, Terrorsaur, Tarantulas, Scorponok

REVIEW
(Eight out of ten)
Well, there's very little to find fault with in this episode. It nicely introduces the Aliens, but it's self-contained in itself, what with the bickering between Rattrap and Dinobot being the main plot after Primal's disappearance. The friction between Dinobot and Rattrap, and the former's deference later after discovering his errors, are just nice character moments. Even second-stringers like Rhinox and Scorponok get their own little moments: Rhinox expresses his pent-up frustration of having to invent the device and acting as the peacemaker by unleashing his 'Chaingun of Doom' on Waspinator, while Scorponok loses his cool near Tarantulas and Terrorsaur.

Well, the heroic leader disappearing and the troops having to manage on their own is probably reused cartoon plot #25298, but it is delivered well anyway. The fight scenes are well done, even if some stock animation is reused. Little moments like Primal reading something and Dinobot mistaking the CR chamber for a torture chamber is precious. One of the better episodes of the season.

NOTES
This is the first hint given to the Aliens, and their name would later be given in the series as the Vok. The Beast Wars is partly due to their... ah, well. Nevermind. We'll come into this later. Well, just notice that the episode which debuts the aliens has the second moon in the opening shot. Foreshadowing, perhaps?

The Standing Stones has previously been glimpsed in 'Beast Wars (Part 2)'. The Standing Stones might have been inspired by real-life rock formations like the Stonehenge, which, according to some people, were built by aliens.

This episode also features the debut of Rhinox's 'Chaingun of Doom'.

This episode is also the first time Waspinator gets blown up. This would be a running gag throughout the series after this point, with Waspinator litterally being blown up at nearly every episode afterwards.

Rhinox voted for Rattrap, while Cheetor voted for Dinobot. This could be seen when Rhinox gave Cheetor a glare when he reads a second vote for Dinobot. This voting might seem odd, since Rattrap helped Cheetor in the previous episode ('Equal Measures') while Dinobot got him into trouble. Perhaps Cheetor just wants to go into battle that much?

Rattrap references 'B Movies'.

GOOFS
Terrorsaur's upper body is distorted during the initial fight when Waspinator and him swoop to attack Optimus.

Scorponok wears a Maximal insignia on several scenes.

Dinobot's foot cuts through Megatron's head when the former delivers his flying kick thing.

Quote, Unquote

Rattrap: -to Dinobot- "Maximals don't have torture chambers! Though, you know, I could get behind that idea."

Scorponok: -panics when Megatron's under repairs- "Megatron back! Megatron back! Scorponok alone with Tarantulas and Terrorsaur. Very bad!"

Dinobot: "Haha, great system, your democracy. No mechanism to break a tie!"

Rhinox: "Make a device to extract physical molecular structure from an alien probe? Man, I've gotta be a miracle worker!"

Dinobot: "You were selfless in putting that shield back online. I ought to have followed your command I... am dishonoured."
Rattrap: -uncomfortable- "Eeeh.... next time."
 

Last edited by Blackjack; 2010-02-27 at 01:13 PM.
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