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Old 2010-03-22, 10:39 AM   #24
Blackjack
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The Probe
Airdate: 15 October 1996
Written By: Craig Miller & Marv Wolfman
Japanese Title: "New Weapon of Terror"

SYNOPSIS
The Maximal command on Cybertron launch lots of temporal probes through space-time to search for Optimus Primal's crew. One floats through the residual transwarp rift, and approaches the planet where the Beast Warriors are fighting.

Rhinox detects the probe in space, but it moves out of range before communications can be established. The Maximals calculate that the probe would pass the planet, and they could attract the probe's attention by duplicating the Axalon's transwarp signal. Dinobot is less than pleased with this newest development. The next day, the Maximals begin construction of the signal array they'll use to contact the temporal probe. Since they're in Predacon territory, Tigatron acts as their eyes and ears. The tiger shoots down a passing Waspinator, but this enables Tarantulas to sneak up on him and blast him with the 'transformation lock lens', a new invention made by the mad scientist. It traps Tigatron in beast mode, weaponless. The Maximal is quickly taken down by Tarantulas. Cheetor arrives to help out, but he, too, is defeated by Tarantulas.

The other Maximals are unaware of the attack, and Dinobot admits that he's afraid that he'll be persecuted due to his past as a Predacon. Primal assures Dinobot that it wouldn't happen. Scorponok, meanwhile, reports to Megatron on the construction of the array. The scorpion then attacks, but the Maximals take him out before he could do too much damage. Rhinox heads out to deliver a transwarp component from the Axalon.

Cheetor and Tigatron are caged inside the Predacon base, while Megatron reviews Scorponok's report on the signal array. Cheetor accidentally blurts out that the array is being made to contact a probe from Cybertron. The Predacons leave the base for a full-scale assault. Tigatron and Cheetor escape from the cages, heading to the Predacons' CR pool to escape the transformation lock.

Terrorsaur distracts Primal, Rattrap and Dinobot long enough for the other Predacons to get close. While Terrorsaur is defeated, Tarantulas uses his transformation lock rifle on Dinobot. Dinobot is defeated by Blackarachnia, who in turn is defeated by Rattrap. Tarantulas locks all the remaining Maximals into beast modes, and Megatron takes out all the Maximals bar Primal. The timely arrival of Rhinox turns the tide of battle in the Maximals' favour, sending the Predacons packing. Rhinox is in the process of entering the code that will allow the array to transmit the Axalon's transwarp signal, when Tarantulas fires at the Maximal with his gun, locking Rhinox into beast mode. Primal, the only one who has fingers in beast mode, rushes to input the code but Megatron destroys the array from afar.

Megatron nearly finishes off the Maximals, but Cheetor and Tigatron arrive, destroying Tarantulas' gun and driving the Predacons away. Megatron gloats that the war will still continue until he wins, and the Maximals cannot hope for help from Cybertron to come.

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

REVIEW
(Eight out of ten)
Another wonderful instalment from Season One. While most of the previous episodes are just simply generic stand-alone episodes (barring the one which introduces the Vok), this one moves the plot along. The Maximal bigwigs on Cybertron know that Primal and Megatron are lost in time, so of course they send probes to search for them. Dinobot being afraid of returning to Cybertron is very believable, as is fitting with a deserter. Compared with, say, Skyfire from the original cartoon, changing sides comes with repercussions.

Of course, you never believe for a second that the Maximals would contact Cybertron successfully, since we're hardly halfway through season one. Tarantulas' new invention is also a ripoff of G1's Transfixation weapon but since Beast Wars don't go 'Weapon of the Week™' as much as the original cartoon did, I'm willing to let it slide. Besides, it fulfils its role adequately. All in all, another good instalment.

NOTES
The first time we've seen Cybertron in the Beast Wars series. It's slightly different than the model used in the G1 cartoon. Noticeably, it's no longer golden, so the events in 'the Rebirth' must've been cancelled out in one way or another.

As mentioned before, the transformation lock rifle is a ripoff of the Transfixation from G1, which appeared in the episode 'The Autobot Run'. The difference is that the Transfixation is a giant battle platform thing, while Tarantulas' invention is hand-held. It's not impossible for the Predacon to look up on Decepticon super-weapons and improve them, so he might've done that to create his weapon.

Although Dinobot has warmed up to the Axalon crew, he's not fully set in joining the larger Maximal cause for real, a concept that would be revisited in subsequent episodes.

Tigatron references the Matrix when he said, "by the Matrix, what's happening?" This is the first reference to the Matrix in the Beast Wars series.

Cheetor and Tigatron are imprisoned in the same 'hanging cage over lava pool' contraption which was first used by Terrorsaur in 'Double Jeopardy' to imprison Megatron and Rattrap.

The Kid Rhino DVD puts this episode after 'Double Jeopardy', which is an error — noticeably because Sentinel is already present before its introduction episode. Other releases corrected this.

GOOFS
The probe only tracks transwarp frequency, making it grossly inefficient to search for the missing Axalon. Can't they just track where it's last sighted and work out that there's a rift there? Of course, if the operation is managed by bureaucrats, then...

Megatron already knew that at least Rattrap was able to break out of the prison. Why is he still using it?

Cheetor's eyes change from their normal green into white at one point.

I've just realised that in beast mode, Rhinox's teeth are dull and few, but when he transforms into robot mode the jaw on his chest is lined with a row of sharp teeth.

Quote, Unquote
Rattrap: -scans for the probe- "Come on, baby, come on, give it up for the rat…."

Rattrap: "What's biting your sensors, Dinoboob?"

Optimus Primal: "You're a Maximal now, and we'll see that you're treated as one."
Dinobot: "And what makes you think that I want to be?"
 

Last edited by Blackjack; 2010-03-23 at 10:52 AM.
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