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Old 2010-04-16, 12:06 PM   #38
Blackjack
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Other Voices, Part 1
Airdate 31 March 1997
Written By: Larry DiTillio & Bob Forward
Japanese Title: "The King of Terror Arrives"

SYNOPSIS
A wormhole opens above the planet, and an energy surge emerges from it. The Aliens have arrived. Rhinox detects the arrival and alerts Optimus, who hopes that the truce is still holding. Primal flies off to meet up Airazor and Rattrap, who are the closest to the landing site of the energy surge. Meanwhile, Tarantulas is programming his stolen Transwarp cell, when Blackarachnia arrives again, telling him that she could help him could steal a stasis pod from the Maximal base. Apparently, Tarantulas is planning to make an escape pod to get away from the planet. Megatron monitors the Spiders' scheming, and sends Waspinator off towards where the Aliens are supposed to land.

The Aliens' landing site is has been turned a large circular plain, pulsing with energy and containing stable energon crystals. Rattrap and Airazor arrives. Airazor transforms and tries to scan the energon crystals, but she is zapped, and a metallic dome-like structure appears, trapping Airazor inside and Rattrap outside it. Airazor wakes up inside the Alien structure, where a garbled voice speaks in an alien language. She tries to assure the Aliens that she means no harm and they zap her with lightning until she transforms into beast mode. The Aliens leave the nearly-unconscious Maximal on the ground, saying 'Cybertron' cryptically.

Meanwhile, as Waspinator arrives on the area, Rattrap brutalizes the Predacon and drives him off. Optimus Primal arrives, but the two Maximals are unable to breach the dome structure. Megatron, Terrorsaur and Scorponok arrives, and the Predacon leader mocks the Maximals for thinking that simple laser weapons could cut through the dome. Megatron remarks that the Aliens can create Energon, and simple weaponry just won't work. Scorponok fires some sort of acidic sting which eats through the wall of the dome, letting the Maximals in. Rattrap drags Airazor out, while Primal tries to reason with the Aliens. Suddenly, metal tentacles shoot out and binds Primal, lifting him up to a scanning grid of sorts.

Meanwhile, the Spiders make their way to the Axalon. Blackarachnia activates a device that creates a hole in the Sentinel forcefield, and the two move in. Inferno, who is trailing the treacherous Predacons, burrows through the ground and follows them in. Back in the dome structure, Rattrap pulls Airazor out of the dome just before the opening seals, and finds himself facing the Predacons, who declare that the truce is over.

The Aliens begin to talk to Optimus Primal. Since they had no form that Primal could comprehend, they take the form of Unicron's head. The Aliens tell Primal that the Transformers have contaminated their experiment, and the planet will be sterilized. Primal tries to negotiate, but the Aliens don't really care about his concerns, citing greater dangers that they couldn't possibly understand. The Aliens activate a 'Termination Sequence'. The Alien Dome begins to glow, distracting the Predacons for Rattrap and Airazor to overpower the Predacons. Optimus Primal breaks free of his bonds, and breaks through the dome with force. The Maximal retreats, even as the dome bursts open and sends a blast of energy into the sky.

The energy activates hidden systems on the surface of the second moon, burning away the rocky surface and revealling metal underneath it. The 'moon' begins to glow from the inside, and endless rows of weapon emplacements power up. The energy surge cause the stasis pods in orbit to crash land to the planet. Rhinox observes this all through the monitors on the base, getting increasingly worries even as sensors begin to blow up. So engaged at the display that he didn't notice the Spiders sneaking him up. Blackarachnia and Tarantulas take out Rhinox and Dinobot with ease, but Tarantulas sees the display and remarks that it is 'the beginning of the end'.

To be continued...

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

REVIEW
(Seven out of Ten)
Not as good as it should've been, honestly. The Aliens are a little too cryptical for my taste, although I suppose as higher beings they have a requirement to do that. The dome-shaped structure is seems to be done to pad out time, and the scene where Optimus Primal in gorilla mode gets attacked by tentacles are... unsettling. The episode's pacing is rather slow, with the Aliens' introdump and Airazor/Rattrap mucking around the site taking too much time.

Megatron shows more promise with his future plotting, while Rattrap get a lot of good lines in. Tarantulas and Blackarachnia are suitably running their own agenda, with Tarantulas seemingly knowing much more than he lets on. This two-parter is planned for the finale, when the show writers have no idea that there will be a Season Two, so this might be their last hurrah. For something that should've been more dramatic, this episode is a little let-down. Mostly, it's getting the characters to their places for the final showdown.

NOTES
The mysterious aliens are finally revealed to be the Vok, a mysterious race who seeded the planet with energon as part of an experiment. They regard life as small, being more than ready to sterilize the entire planet just because the Beast Warriors intruded. Tarantulas is shown to have known about the Vok for a long time, which explains many of his suspicious actions in the previous episodes. The Vok claims to have a form that we simpler beings couldn't understand (namely, ethereal floating skulls) and that 'there is more danger than you know' if the Beast Warriors are not terminated. It's possible that they are referring to Megatron's master plan seen at the end of season two- never mind. I'm getting ahead of myself.

The second moon is not really a moon. It has a Death-Star-esque look to it, with weapon emplacements all over it.

All the Stasis Pods are on the planet as of this episode, but although there are a lot of those stasis pods, only five show up later in the show (Rampage, Quickstrike, Silverbolt, an unnamed Protoform who's killed by Quickstrike, and a blank Protoform used as basis for Dinobot II). This means that people writing BW fiction have something to work on, and indeed this is what 3H and IDW writers have done.

This is the first of the three two-parters with the title 'Other V', the others being 'Other Visits' and 'Other Victories'. All the 'Other V' two-parters deal with the Vok, and most usually some great weapon of doom that they send. 'The Trigger' was the only Vok-related two-parter without the title 'Other V'.

Rattrap kicks Waspinator in the privates, before beating him up hard. Waspinator's voice is also as if his balls have really been kicked. Other than being hilarious, this does raise some... interesting questions.

The Vok uses Unicron only as a visual reference, as something that Primal could relate to. They do not have any direct ties with Unicron, although that never did stop fanfic writers, yes?

The Vok's line, "That which does not become part of the one shall become void" might be a reference to Unicron's motto from the Transformers Univere profile books. Namely, "That which does not become a part of me shall become one with the great void".

GOOFS
Why the hell does the Aliens seed the planet with energon in the first place? And what was the function of the floating island with traps in 'The Trigger'?

It seems rather odd for the Aliens to land, waiting for Airazor to scan those crystals and set off the events of this episode, instead of, you know, immediately activating the Death Star Moon. Why warn Optimus Primal and everybody?

Where does Blackarachnia get his forcefield-disabling gizmo from?

Sentinel seems to be... redundant if Inferno could simply burrow a tunnel under it.

Quote, Unquote
Waspinator: "Not fair! Waspinator always gets slag assignments."
Megatron: "May I remind Waspinator that the current ceasefire applies only in reference to Maximals?"
Waspinator: "-gulp- Waspinator go."

Megatron: (Optimus Primal screams in the distance)"Aah, would I could have that sound to lull me to sleep each night."

The Vok: "It is too late. You and your enemies have already contaminated the project. The harm has been done. That which does not become part of the one—shall become void."
Optimus Primal: "No, wait! We can fix whatever damage was done."
The Vok: "We are not interested. The experiment will be sterilized."

Tarantulas: "It is the beginning... of the end."
 
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