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Old 2010-06-21, 01:22 PM   #47
Blackjack
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Bad Spark
Airdate: 22 February 1998
Written By: Greg Johnson
Japanese Title: N/A (was released as part of the pilot movie for the Beast Wars Metals)

SYNOPSIS
Cheetor spots a giant stasis pod marked with a big yellow X crashed in a patch of unstable enrgon deep inside a swamp. Optimus Primal tells Cheetor not to open the pod until he arrives. Optimus and Rhinox leave, and Rhinox seems pretty spooked. Megatron sends Waspinator and Blackarachnia to retrieve the pod, and subtly places a listening device on Blackarachnia. Megatron taps his armrest, seemingly aware that Tarantulas has bugged it with a listening device of his own.

Optimus, Silverbolt and Cheetor land near the pod, and Optimus finds, to his relief, that Protoform X seems to be dead. Cheetor and Silverbolt question Prmal about this. He tells them that the pod holds ‘the dark secret of Axalon’s journey’, Protoform X. It was created in experiments attempting to replicate the immortal spark of Starscream. However, X grew insane and sadistic, so after it was captured Primal was ordered to dump X somewhere barren during their journey. The Predacons choose this moment to strike. Silverbolt refuses to strike Blackarachnia because his code of honour wouldn’t allow him to hit a female.

Tarantulas arrives and threatens Blackarachnia, and Silverbolt attacks Tarantulas. In the process, he accidentally ignites the energon beneath X’s stasis pod, which explodes and scatters the combatants for miles. Blackarachnia and Silverbolt land next to each other. Silverbolt’s wing is broken, and the two grudgingly agree to team up. Tarantulas lands near the pod, and finds that it is empty. Something looms over him, and he screams.

Optimus and Cheetor are too damaged to search for Silverbolt and return to their base for the time being. Blackarachnia and Silverbolt journey on foot, and begin to trust each other. The two find one of Tarantulas’ limbs hanging on a tree. Meanwhile, Megatron and Inferno eavesdrops on their quasi-romantic alliance. Megatron notes that Blackarachnia no longer needs Silverbolt to protect him with Tarantulas out of the way.

This turns out true as Blackarachnia is ready to shoot Silverbolt at one point. However, a saber-toothed tiger attacks Blackarachnia. Silverbolt defeats the animal, but is left dangling precariously on a cliff. Blackarachnia saves Silverbolt, awkwardly saying that it was in case of more tigers. As the two walk on, Silverbolt tries to appeal to Blackarachnia’s inner Maximal nature, but the Predacon fires at him. The two then finds the rest of Tarantulas’ body, torn apart violently. Silverbolt then tells Blackarachnia (and by extension Megatron) about Protoform X. Megatron prepares an energon blade.

Blackarachnia and Silverbolt suddenly find themselves with Protoform X. none of their attacks damage the monster, and it tries to crush Silverbolt in his powerful claw. Optimus Primal and Cheetor arrive, and together with Blackarachnia fire at Protoform X, freeing Silverbolt. During the attack, X is finally knocked down a cliff, but Blackarachnia fell down the other side in process. Silverbolt jumps after the Predacon despite his damaged wing, but he succeeds in saving the Predacon. The Maximals let her go. Blackarachnia watches them go, before departing herself.

Meanwhile, Protoform X, barely active in a pile of energon, sees Megatron loom above him with an energon blade. X wakes up in the Predacon base, finding that Megatron had carved out a piece of his spark and placed it in a tiny cage, that, when squeezed, is able to cause X pain. Megatron renames X ‘Rampage’, and is pleased that the monster is now under his command.

Featured Transformers: Cheetor, Optimus Primal, Rhinox, Silverbolt, Protoform X/Rampage, Megatron, Blackarachnia, Waspinator, Tarantulas, Inferno, Quickstrike, Dinobot

REVIEW
(Nine out of Ten)
I like this episode. Rampage has been one of the more unique characters of Beast Wars. He’s a sadistic, unkillable, insane monster, yet is held in thrall by Megatron’s torture devices. Kind of like Galvatron from G1, but Rampage looks more imposing. And I was pretty surprised when he transforms into, of all things, a crab. The action scenes are executed nicely. Blackarachnia and Silverbolt is probably the only romance that worked in transformers lore. Sure, it’s cheesy, but at least they don’t fall head-over-heels with each other instantly.

The whole concept of the Maximal command trying to replicate Starscream’s immortal spark is also well-developed. The episode had this horror movie feel to it, with Tarantulas’ mutilation being well done. Rampage feels threatening and you could feel the suspense. Megatron is also defined nicely, with him being aware about Tarantulas’ bug but not doing anything, whilst spying on his own troops. His jokes as he eavesdrops on Blackarachnia are well done. All in all, a solid episode.

NOTES
The debut of Rampage, obviously. As well as Silverbolt and Blackarachnia's love-hate relationship.

Rhinox invokes Primus, the creator-God from Furman’s Marvel work. This is the first time it had been used out of Marvel continuity. According to Bob Forward, they poached it from an alt.toys.transformers post without realizing its significance.

Again, Starscream’s indestructible spark is referenced, this time as background information for Protoform X’s creation. It also tells us why the records for Starscream were sealed in ‘Possession’. Apparently they don’t want someone else making another Protoform X.

Cheetor’s transmetal body soaks up energon, but instead of seizing up like his non-transmetal body, he releases it in a burst of gas. This is the first time a transformer would ‘fart’.

Like Rhinox before him, Optimus Primal doubts Dinobot’s loyalty after the events of ‘Maximal, No More’.

Blackarachnia did not use his grapple line to scale up the cliff when X shoots him down, despite using the same grapple line less than a minute later. Not an error, since she seems to want Silverbolt to catch her. Ah, women.

GOOFS
As Optimus departs the bridge, the panels that make up his surfing board are missing.

Waspinator disappears after the energon field blew up.

The scorch-marks on Blackarachnia and Silverbolt sometimes disappears for a scene or two.

Quote, Unquote
Rhinox: “Primus help us all if that thing survived.”

Megatron: “Spiders spin their webs, yeees. But I spin them larger.”

Blackarachnia: “You! What are you doing here?”
Tarantulas: “You’ve got information I want.”
Megatron: [eavesdropping] “Yeeeees, let’s hear it.”
Blackarachnia: “Fine, Tarantulas. Here’s the scoop. Megatron is a slag-sucking saurian. Got it?”
Megatron: [eavesdropping] “Grrr. She’ll pay for that.”

Dinobot: “Forget the rescue plan, Optimus, and start devising an attack plan! Megatron has lost two, but we have only lost one.”
Optimus Primal: “I’ll remember that… next time you’re out missing in an energon storm.”

Rampage: “My spark, it feeds on terror. Let it grow! Let it consume your circuity! Feel it… yes, feel it! Feel the fear!”

Rampage: “I rise again!”
Silverbolt: “In that case, let us give you further to fall.”

Silverbolt: “You are much more than a Predacon, my lady. Someday, you will come to realise that.”
 
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