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Old 2010-06-12, 05:04 PM   #45
Blackjack
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Other Visits, Part 1
Airdate: 8 February 1998
Written By: Larry DiTillio
Japanese Title: Huh? The Flower?

SYNOPSIS
Rhinox scans all the known alien sites (the stone formation, the floating island and all that) while Dinobot observes. Both of them notice a pattern, and according to the pattern the next location is on course with Tigatron and Airazor, who are out on patrol. They try to alert the duo, but the Predacons' jamming tower prevents them from doing so. Dinobot and Rattrap heads off to destroy the tower, while Optimus, Silverbolt and Cheetor flies off to warn Tigatron and Airazor. Meanwhile, Tarantulas is repairing his lair, muttering that the rest of the Predacons are too busy helping Megatron. His computer alerts him to alien presence. Tarantulas transforms into bike mode and races off.

In the Predacon base, Blackarachnia is dozing off while watching a monitor, complaining that being loyal to Megatron is boring, not knowing that the Predacon leader is standing behind her. But before he could reprimand her, Blackarachnia detects Tarantulas on the scanners, moving in a rush across grid Vaxon. Blackarachnia suggests to Megatron that they follow Tarantulas to find out what he's up to, but Predacon leader is a little reluctant. Just then, Inferno reports that Waspinator and Quickstrike, on the jamming tower, are under attack. Inferno suggests that he help out at the jamming tower, but Megatron tells Blackarachnia and Inferno that with only Rhinox on the Axalon it would be an opportunity to steal the Golden Disk.

Tigatron and Airazor, meanwhile, see a clearing full of plant life, untouched by the Planet Buster's attack. Airazor and Tigatron transform to scan the unique plants, and share a moment. However, plant vines suddenly sneak up on them and bind them. As the vines raise them into the sky, they say that their sparks will find each other. Then, the two are abducted in flashes off light, just as Cheetor arrives.

While Cheetor laments his friends' fate, Tarantulas knocks Cheetor out. However before the spider has a chance to analyse the Vok site, Optimus Primal and Silverbolt arrives, forcing the spider to lay low. Cheetor comes to and tells Optimus and Silverbolt what happened. Rattrap calls them, saying that he and Dinobot had taken care of the jamming tower. At mention of Tigatron and Airazor's disappearances, though, all the Maximals head back to their base.

Rhinox is shocked by the news, but he keeps on his work, analysing the beam that abducted Tigatron and Airazor. However the base alerts him to Megatron attacking outside. An irate Rhinox opens fire on Megatron, not noticing as Blackarachnia and Inferno sneaking into the base and shutting off the defense systems. Rhinox tries to radio Optimus and the others, but Inferno interrupts him, and the two fight each other. Blackarachnia grabs the Golden Disk as Inferno and Rhinox punch each other's chins. Rhinox knocks Inferno out, and was about to blast Blackarachnia, but Megatron arrives. Megatron disarms Rhinox (literally), knock him out and take the Golden Disk, before retreating.

The rest of the Maximals arrive back at base, and Rhinox is repaired. Although Cheetor insist that they rescue Tigatron and Airazor, Dinobot and Optimus decide to stop Megatron before the aliens strike. The Maximals head off to the alien site. Meanwhile, Tarantulas contacts Megatron. Tarantulas claims that while he is no longer a proper Predacon, he is Megatron's only chance of surviving the imminent attack, and the two form an alliance.

Tarantulas orders the Predacon goons to ram posts onto the ground in the alien site. Megatron questions why Tarantulas would help, and Blackarachnia (since they shared minds previously) tells Megatron that Tarantulas hates the aliens. Megatron is pleased with this answer, since hatred is an emotion he could trust. After a quick monologue Megatron and Tarantulas then has a little 'evil laugh' contest, but this is interrupted by the Maximals. The two factions are ready to face off, but the aliens' beam comes down, interrupting the battle, and a giant silver spaceship-thing materialises. The top of the domelike ship opens, releasing and energy surge which knocks everybody out...

To be continued...

Featured Transformers: Dinobot, Rhinox, Tarantulas, Blackarachnia, Megatron, Inferno, Tigatron (abducted by Vok), Airazor (abducted by Vok), Silverbolt, Optimus Primal, Cheetor, Waspinator, Quickstrike, Rattrap

REVIEW
(Seven out of Ten)
A nice build-up to one of the more decent two-parters of the Beast Wars series. The plot again centers on the Vok/aliens. While I don't particularly like the Vok, the intrigue and suspense is there. There is also a genuine display of continuity, which is basically out of the window with modern fiction. Stuff like Airazor mentioning the Quantum Surge's destruction of organic life, or Primal being pissed off at Megatron dealing with the Vok, or Blackarachnia mentioning her mind-link with Tarantulas, or Rhinox doubting Dinobot's intentions... you don't see those in the original cartoon, do you? And anyway, Megatron, Tarantulas and Rhinox all shine in this episode. Megatron's strategies actually make sense and is a little sneaky, and he gets a badass moment when he rips off Rhinox's arm, while we get more development (and mystery) for Tarantulas and the aliens. The duo's evil-cackle-contest is a cute little thing, too. Rhinox's 'cool under pressure' shtick works well, and the scene where he and Inferno takes turns to bonk each other's chins is hilarious.

That aside, Tigatron and Airazor's abduction is rather pointless, other than the fact that they needed to clear the cast to make room for new toys characters, and Mainframe's engines can't animate that many characters at the same time. However, the two that are removed don't really have characterization. Scratch that—Tigatron has got some (Airazor's just a stereotype heroic tomboy girl) but it's eclipsed by the development of the others, which goes to show how well Beast Wars treats their characters. Ther cheesy romance moment is poorly-written. Anyway, this would be the last time that Tigatron and Airazor would appear as proper characters in the series, and while this isn't a pretty exit, it's serviceable.

NOTES
Tigatron and Airazor exit, stage left. While they would be mentioned next episode, they won't be seen again until season three, and even then they would be rebuild into a new character. It's a better exit that falling into lava, though.

Rhinox still distrusts Dinobot since the events of 'Maximal, No More'.

Airazor and Tigatron had hints of romance in 'The Trigger' two-parter, but otherwise it's not developed like BA and Silverbolt would have in subsequent episodes. Of course, in Japan Airazor is a guy, so it leads to some... awkward moments with the dubbing. The show's producers in Japan tries to worm their way out of this by making Airazor into Tigatron's samurai apprentice (sort of an adoptive little brother) but the moment when they snuggle up against each other doesn't stop some people complaining that they are gay.

Tarantulas has made his split from the Predacon chain-of-command official since 'Tangled Web'.

The fight between Rhinox and Inferno references Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Robots, a video game.

Waspinator says that he's pinned like an 'iron butterfly', referencing the 60s rock band of the same name.

Optimus is not amused at Megatron 'dealing with the aliens', considering that the last time Megatron dealt with them Optimus Primal blew up real good.

GOOFS
Near the beginning of the episode, Optimus Primal's thruster (when he surfs/flies) is pointed down, but the engine flame is still animated as if the thruster is up.

Cheetor's arm clip into the cat head kibble during the discussion.

Quote, Unquote
Tigatron: "Wherever we go, my Spark will find yours!"
Airazor: "And mine, yours."

Inferno: "Say the word, and he will burn, my queen."
Megatron: "Not yet... and for the last time, stop calling me that!"
Inferno: "As you command, my-" [Megatron throttles Inferno] "-ack."

Megatron: [all of the Maximal base's big guns point at him] "I... uh.. come in peace?"
Rhinox: "You're about to leave in pieces."

Blackarachnia: "Ready to rock and roll, insect?"
Inferno: "I don't rock and roll. I buuuuuuurn."

Rattrap: "It's like I always say. We're all gonna die." [Everyone glares at Rattrap]"I know, I know. 'Shut up, Rattrap'."
 
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