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Old 2010-04-16, 08:08 AM   #37
Blackjack
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Before the Storm
Airdate 21 February 1997
Written By: Larry DiTillio & Bob Forward
Japanese Title: "They Come"

SYNOPSIS
Tigatron watches as a strange energy pulse is emitted from a distant mountain. The Predacon base’s sensors detect this as well and inform a sleeping Megatron. The computer reveals that the energy matches those of the Alien artifacts. Suspecting this to be the start of something big, Megatron sends Inferno to investigate. Inferno arrives on the mountain, burrows in and discovers a golden disk inside the mountain. The simple-minded Predacon tear it out of the mountain and fly back to base, handing it over to Megatron, who was pleased at his obedience (but is less than pleased at being called ‘queen’).

Optimus Primal arrives shortly after, scouting for the energy pulse. A probe flies past him and Primal follows it. After a short chase, the probe shows a hologram of Megatron, who speaks and proposes a truce on neutral ground between the two faction leaders. Soon, Primal and Megatron meet on a plateau. Megatron insists that the truce is not an act, because Megatron has no time to fight the Maximals and needs time to think. Primal, bound by Maximal code, has no choice but to agree. When he returns to base most of the Maximals are unhappy. Rhinox deduces that this might be related to the alien energy, to which Primal agrees, stating that something must’ve scared Megatron badly. An unwilling Rattrap is dispatched to enter the Predacon base.

In the Predacon base, Tarantulas sneaks and steals one of the Transwarp cells of the Darksyde. Waspinator sees this and holds him at gunpoint, but Tarantulas easily outwits the poor bug and blasts him into smithereens. Megatron sees this from security feeds, but decides to let Tarantulas do his plans for now. However, he sends Blackarachnia to know more about Tarantulas’ schemes.

Meanwhile, Airazor carries Rattrap near the Predacon territory. Airazor drops Rattrap off quickly, before dodging the bullets from the Predacon autoguns. Airazor comms Megatron, who casually switches off the perimeter defences and asks politely for Airazor to leave. As the Maximal flier turns, Megatron stops her for a moment and orders her to bring Rattrap back as well. Although the two’s snooping mission seems to have failed, it’s apparently a distraction for the real infiltrator—Tigatron—to enter the Predacon base.

Blackarachnia confronts Tarantulas, full with her own schemes. But as the two plotters bicker, Megatron manages to hack into the Transwarp cell from his chamber and adds his own programming. Elsewhere in the Predacon base, Tigatron hacks into the databases through a virtual reality console, and discovers about the second Golden Disk. Terrorsaur and Scorponok see him, but since they can’t fire a weapon in a truce, the Predacon thugs chase after Tigatron in the base. Tigatron escapes the Predacon base, and a fight between the Maximals and Predacons ensues, but they need to fight with unorthodox methods due to the rules of the truce not letting them use their weapons. The Predacons are outwitted, and the Maximals retreat. Megatron seems to have let them get away intentionally.

On the Maximal base, Tigatron explains about the Golden Disk. It’s similar with the one Megatron stole from Cybertron, but it’s created by the Aliens who seeded energon on the planet. Apparently the disk itself was part of a signal that the aliens sent, which basically says that the Aliens are on their way to the planet, and they were not happy.

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

REVIEW
(Nine out of Ten)
This episode is meant to be nothing more than a prologue to the two-parter 'Other Voices that would end Season One. At this point, the main arc is not why Megatron has arrived on the planet (yet, because they haven't figured out this is Earth yet, remember) but rather, the mysterious Aliens. Although what should be a boring episode where characters get to where they're supposed to, it manages to be entertaining. Inferno's little comedy with Megatron is hilariously done, while Tigatron builds up character from his little moment last issue. Rattrap manages to get a few good lines in too. However, Tigatron playing a video game to hack into Predacon databases is a thinly-veiled attempt to pad out time. The battle where the Maximals take down the Predacons through wacky methods are awesome, though.

But ultimately, both Optimus Primal and Megatron get wonderful chances to show some actual personality rather than be blank stereotypes like their G1 cartoon preceedors. Say all you want, but the Beast Wars characters are much less bland than the G1 guys. There are some short hilarious scenes in here as well, like Megatron brushing his beast mode head. Primal's frustration at not being able to refuse a truce, as well as Megatron being a ham, are wonderfully performed. Tarantulas also gives a more interesting split among the Predacons, and Megatron letting him actually do his work as part of his strategy is nice. Although, it’s a safe bet that the Maximals and Predacons will have to team-up sometime down the next two episodes to combat the Greater Threat™. Still, it's a rather nice build-up to 'Other Voices'.

NOTES
Bob Forward claims that this episode was originally planned to be a part of a four-parter 'Other Voices' to end the season. However, anything more than a two-parter is too hard to schedule, so plans were scrapped and 'Before the Storm' is made into a stand-alone episode.

Megatron’s room has several trophies in his room, seen when he’s talking to Inferno. Items of interest are a bowling pin, a golden trophy, a bust of a G1 Seeker head with an expression of horror, and G1 Megatron’s fusion cannon.

Megatron’s Beast Mode head seems to have its own personality. Early in the episode, the Beast Mode head is looking around while Megatron himself is asleep. When Megatron observes Tarantulas’ break-in later, the head looks up at Megatron’s robot mode head, and he pats it with his other hand as if it’s a pet. Also, when Airazor calls the Predacon base, Megatron is actually brushing the Beast Mode’s head with a toothbrush. It’s probably just some humorous bits the CG animators put in.

Megatron’s code ‘ATT override’ which he uses to access Tarantulas’ transwarp cell is a reference to the Usenet newsgroup alt.toys.transformers.

Blackarachnia shares Tarantulas’ penchant for eating live animals. While Tarantulas eats deers and rats, Blackarachnia is seen briefly examining a red poison-dart frog in her web before Megatron communicates to her.

The virtual reality console that Tigatron uses to hack into the Predacon ship’s database seems to homage the 1990’s techno-films like Johny Mnemonic.

Megatron’s line, “A storm of such power, such magnitude, it is beyond imagination!” is a possible reference to the tagline of the original Transformers Movie (Beyond Good, Beyond Evil, Beyond your wildest Imaginations) as well as a fan website at that time.

Perhaps more so than any other Beast Wars episode, Looney Tunes-style slapstick gags are used in this episode. Scorponok’s facial features stretch in wild directions when he gapes before he slams onto Terrorsaur. The Spiders are squashed by a rock. Terrorsaur leaves a full-body impression on a sheet of metal. Inferno comes to a dead halt mid-air after Primal sabotages his jetpack, before realizing that gravity still exists. Also, when Inferno falls, there’s a Wile E Coyote-style dust poof.

GOOFS
When Optimus arrives at the neutral territory to talk with Megatron, his shoulder pads are missing. They show up later, though.

Megatron's shoulder armour pads are missing when he speaks to Airazor. Then again, considering that he’s brushing his hand’s teeth, he might’ve taken them off.

While Megatron is in his closing words of the episode, he is missing his beast mode "kibble", except the head of course.

When Blackarachnia pursues Tigatron at the escape scene, she wields her gun although the truce rules means that you cannot fire guns. However, she doesn’t actually shoot it, and it disappears in the next scene.

Quote, Unquote
Inferno: "By the great smelter, the Royalty was correct!"

Inferno: "Yes, my Queen."
Megatron: "I wish he wouldn't call me that."

Optimus Primal: "When Predacons talk truce, it just means they need time to reload their weapons."
Megatron: "Uh... Normally, yes."

Optimus Primal: "What could I do? He was right, I'm a Maximal. I have to give peace a chance, no matter how unlikely it seems."

Rattrap: "Aaaaaah we're gonna dieeeeeee!"
Airazor: "Isn't there a rule that heroes have to face destruction with dignity?"
Rattrap: "What's the use of dying if you can't enjoy it?"

Megatron: "There is a storm approaching. A storm of such magnitude, of such power... it is beyond imagination. And to think, I was once satisfied with mere energon. To think that my ambitions lofted no higher than the conquest of Cybertron. (laughs, breaks down coughing) Well, no longer. For I have been given a glimpse of power. Real power. And that power shall be mine!"

Tigatron: "You cannot shoot. We have a truce, remember?"
Terrorsaur: "Oh, I remember, but you know my trigger finger. It just might forget."
 
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