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Old 2011-02-20, 12:01 AM   #17
Blackjack
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Savage Noble
Airdate: 16 February 2000
Written By: Len Wein
Japanese Title: The Monster's Anguish

SYNOPSIS
The Maximals stare up at the giant floating Megatron head, anticipating an attack... but it doesn't happen. A recon attempt by Nightscream is repelled by a force field. Optimus Primal suspects that even if Megatron survived, he couldn't do anything in the Grand Mal. Nevertheless if Megatron survived or not, Optimus Primal tries to contact Megatron's spark. The other Maximals try to find the Vehicons. They arrive in an area with a waterfall. There are battle marks, and the Vehicons appear, accusing the Maximals of ambushing them earlier. They have a face off, and Blackarachnia attempts to reach Silverbolt, but an eerie howling distracts the group. The Vehicons are convinced the Maximals didn't attack them earlier. As Cheetor leads all of them in a retreat, they are soon confronted by a two-legged, spiky dragon, which begans to spew fireballs at them. Meanwhile, Optimus Primal enters the spiritual plane and tries to contact Megatron. However, he is surrounded by multiple Megatron heads, laughing and tormenting him. This jars Optimus Primal back into reality, and suspects that whatever he contacted wasn't a sentient mind.

The dragon manages to knock out the Vehicons and buries the Maximals under rubble before slinking away. The Maximals track the dragon, but instead find a bipedal wolf hiding in the shadows. Nightscream suspects the wolf, who introduces himself as Noble, to be another survivor of Megatron's purge like him. The Maximals offer friendship, and Noble tells him his story, which is nigh identical to Nightscream's. But they are interrupted by Jetstorm and Thrust, who are hunting for the dragon (whom they dubbed Savage). While the Maximals and Vehicons are talking Noble disappears. The group tries to hunt down Noble, but is attacked by Savage. Nightscream is convinced Savage must've abducted Noble. After fending against some attacks Savage flies off. Optimus Primal arrives and orders the group to split up and hunt the creatures down.

Savage corners Rattrap, but doesn't kill him. Later on, the Maximals manage to trap Savage in a bridge. Optimus tries to calm Savage down by offering friendship, but the Vehicons arrive, intent on killing the creature. Savage retaliates and knocks away both Vehicons away above the horizon. Nightscream approaches Savage, who transforms into Noble, revealing that they are both the same being. Optimus Primal and Nightscream offers to help Noble, even though he tells them that he can't control his other side.

Featured Transformers: Megatron's Body, Blackarachnia, Optimus Primal, Cheetor, Rattrap, Nightscream, Jetstorm, Thrust, Savage Noble, Tank Drones (flashback), Jet Drones (flashback)

[B]REVIEW/B]
A filler episode and a new character episode. It doesn't really stand up to the high standards the Beast era episodes set, and plot isn't really moved forwards here. The Noble Savage mystery, as well as the supposedly dramatic reveal that they are one and the same, falls flat. As is the supposed tense when they try to hunt Savage. It is repeated so many times along the episode that I was left wondering why can't they just kill the ugly dragon already. Noble is also uninteresting and a fairly generic character. Nightscream, too, isn't doing himself any favours, though at least this time he doesn't insult the Beast Wars again.

The dialogue in this episode is simplistic, and the plot is rather childish, something you'd expect from a G1 or Robots in Disguise episode. None of the excellent characterisation we saw for Optimus and Cheetor are seen here. The more interesting plot of whatever the deal is with Megatron's giant head floating around Cybertron is shelved aside. Poor Thrust and Jetstorm, too, suffer from a mixture of villain decay and New Toy Syndrome, being basically reduced to the stupid goons who get blown away by everything instead of the threat they are supposed to be. Like when Nightscream was first introduced, Savage is so horrendously overpowered that everything thrown at him short of the power of friendship™ is blown away. The whole mystery-thriller thing they're probably trying to achieve fails, and as a result the episode has a particularly terrible pacing, with repetitive action sequences. A filler episode which is twice as long as it has any right to be.

(Five out of Ten)

NOTES
The first appearance of Savage Noble, the beast-to-beast Transformer. While described as a 'fully organic' transformer here, it apparently only pertains to the fact that he has two beast modes and no robot mode. His toy was named 'Beast Changer' due to trademark reasons, and the concept would spawn a 'Mutants' subline, although it would be released under the Beast Wars banner.

The concept of Noble's characterization, and the Maximals discovering that the two are one and the same, is obviously inspired by the classic man-monster split personality story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. There's also a werewolf vibe to it, although the irony is that Noble the werewolf is the sane one.

Savage Noble's transformation is the first evident mass shifting transformation in the Beast Wars era.

While Noble is evidently based on a werewolf (albeit with chicken legs and massive claws) Savage is based on an obscure Asian dragon with only two legs, two tails, a large gaping maw and bat wings.

When trying to access the Grand Mal, Optimus Primal is tormented by multiple Megatron heads of the three designs that Megatron used during Beast Wars (original, Transmetal and Transmetal 2).

The episode title 'savage noble' is a play on the outdated term 'noble savage', which means that the so-called 'savages' that lived out in the wild beyond civilisation is untainted by things like technology and politics, so therefore they are more noble than the civilised people.

GOOFS
Why would the Vehicons mistake the Maximals as being the ones who ambushed them? Granted, they were the only ones left on Cybertron but since when do Maximals lob fireballs?

Why doesn't Savage attack Rattrap?

The way the Vehicons were tail-swiped above the horizon, Team Rocket style, defies the laws of Physics.
 
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