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Old 2010-03-12, 05:07 PM   #21
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Double Jeopardy
Airdate: 7 October 1996
Written by: Jesse Winfield
Japanese Title: "Kick of the Spider Woman"

Optimus Primal and Dinobot arrive near a fallen stasis pod which had crashed on the cliff. However, the Predacons apparently had arrived there first. Waspinator manages to successfully lug the stasis pod away while the other Predacons overwhelm Primal and Dinobot. At the Maximal base, Optimus is pissed on the fact that the Maximals' frequency might be tapped, which led to their ambush. He calls Rattrap into a private meeting, telling the rat that he suspects him of feeding information to the Predacons. As a test of loyalty, Rattrap is sent on a solo mission into one of the most dangerous sectors.

At the Predacon base, Tarantulas reprograms the protoform into a new Predacon, namely Blackarachnia. Afterwards, they eavesdrop on Rattrap's radio messages, finding out that he is alone. Megatron dispatches Terrorsaur to eliminate the rodent. The aerial Predacon attacks Rattrap and the two battle. Terrorsaur gains the upper hand, and Rattrap offers his loyalty to the Predacons, even as the other Maximals listen to the conversation from their base.

As they arrive at the Predacon base, Terrorsaur introduces his new underling. The two overthrow Megatron and place him in a cage hanging above a lava pool. Terrorsaur proceeds to dump Rattrap in an adjacent cell because he doesn't trust the Maximal. However, Megatron has anticipated betrayal, and breaks free just by giving a command to the computer. Once Megatron is away, Rattrap picks the lock and escape as well.

As he sneaks through the Predacon base, Rattrap discovers a Predacon computer console with a Maximal chip in it, explaining how the Predacons were able to hack into the Maxies' frequency and anticipate their moves. Rattrap dutifully removes the chip. As he makes his way out of the base, he had to break free from both a booby trap as well as face Tarantulas. However, Rattrap manages to soundly defeat the spider.

The Maximals assault the Predacon base to retrieve Rattrap. The Predacon troops look up to Terrorsaur for leadership, causing the de facto leader to panic. His condition is worsened when Megatron pops out beside him, even deigning to follow Terrorsaur's leadership to see how well he could lead a counter-attack. Rattrap, having returned into his cage as if nothing had happened, is freed by an unsuspecting Terrorsaur to booster their troops. The rodent even scores a hit on Optimus Primal. During the battle Megatron tells Rattrap to finish off Dinobot. The rodent announces his loyalty for all by shooting Terrorsaur. The distraction allows Dinobot to slam onto Megatron, giving the Maximals the break they need to retreat. Megatron then re-assumes his position as leader, admonishing Terrorsaur's incompetence (Blackarachnia is missing, the troops are in shambles and Rattrap's broken stuff in their base). Back in the Axalon, Primal explains to the other Maximals that the betrayal was a charade to get Rattrap into the Predacon base.

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

(Three cubes out of ten)
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.

Quote, Unquote
Tarantulas: -sees Blackarachnia coming online- "Oh, be still my spinnerets."

Dinobot: "Will you still defend your friend, or will you see him for what he is? A traitor!"
Rhinox: "You're a fine one to talk."

Megatron: "A wise tyrant always designs his prisons for his own personal escape."

Tarantulas: "So, the juicy rat has been running his maze."

Last edited by Blackjack; 2010-03-17 at 11:08 AM.
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