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Old 2011-02-25, 11:49 AM   #20
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A Wolf in the Fold
Airdate: 8 March 2000
Written By: Brynne Chandler Reaves
Japanese Title: The Spiral of Hatred

SYNOPSIS
In the undergrounds, the Maximals are celebrating Silverbolt's return. However, Silverbolt isn't that pleased, since for him things aren't the same. Blackarachnia tells him that he'll adjust, but things begin to shake. Megatron unleashes several giant claw-ended tentacles, smashing their way into the planet's surface. They emit green pulses of energy, and when the Maximals make their way to the surface, a pulse activates a tiny spiderlike device that attaches itself to Silverbolt. It shoots out some red stuff, causing Silverbolt's eyes to glow red. Cheetor touches Silverbolt's shoulder to check on him, and promptly receives a dose of the red stuff as well. The red stuff is quickly passed along to Blackarachnia, Rattrap and Nightscream. The Maximals then begin to argue with each other, growling and snapping. Optimus tries to calm down the group. The Maximals turn on Optimus, forcing the Maximal leader to fly off alone.

Thrust leads a band of Cycle Drones and opens fire on the rabid Maximals, who battle back. One of the deflected laser blasts slams onto one of the tentacles, which knocks Optimus and allows another tentacle to scoop him up. Thrust leads his Drones underground. Cheetor has a moment of clarity and forces the other Maximals to pursue them before the Vehicon finds the Maximals' base. Inside the Grand Mal Megatron greets Optimus in the form of the disembodied head, and the two argue about their goals. While they want harmony, both Megatron and Optimus have different views on how to obtain it. They argue about free will, chaos, harmony and individuality. The Maximals, meanwhile, destroy the Cycle Drones, but quickly turns on each other. Silverbolt mutters that he shouldn't have returned and flies off. Thrust returns with more Drones, and battle begins anew. Cheetor has a moment of clarity and declares something is amiss, but sinks into rage again. Optimus sees the Maximals fight from the Grand Mal and flies off to help his teammates. Silverbolt approaches one of the tentacles, and then plucks off the spider thing from his back. Optimus Primal, meanwhile, arrives amongst the Maximals. He knocks out Thrust, but is attacked by the Maximals, and is infected. Optimus joins in battle, until Silverbolt comes and tells them that they have been infected with a virus.

Rattrap examines one of the tentacles, and finds out that it's sending an activation signal to activate a pre-planted virus on Silverbolt, which is a variation of the Hate Plague of old. Megatron sends a shockwave from the tentacles, cracking the ground apart. Optimus Primal tells the other Maximals that the Maximals need to work together to rebuild their neural pathways. To counteract the Hate Plague. The Maximals catch each other before falling, and they are cured somehow. Optimus lifts the group out of the crevice onto the surface. Silverbolt is upset that he was the first to cause the Hate Plague to spread, but the Maximals aren't holding any grudges. Megatron pulls the tentacles back, and laughs as Optimus realises that the Plague doesn't create the conflict, but rather magnifies them, and considers the possibly that Megatron is right that harmony cannot be achieved by individuality.

Featured Transformers: Blackarachnia, Silverbolt, Optimus Primal, Rattrap, Cheetor, Nightscream, Megatron, Thrust, Cycle Drones

REVIEW
One of the worse episodes in Beast Machines. Things just gets dragged on and on you never believe that any of the Maximals will kill each other because of the Hate Plague, and the scripting is abysmal in this issue. Also, it's hard to take the Hate Plague seriously when the Maximals can become sane at the critical moments. Why does Silverbolt suddenly realize that they has been tricked? Why do the Maximals listen to Silverbolt? Clearly this is something they pulled out to fill in the gaps between reintroducing Megatron and Silverbolt and the grand finale. That doesn't stop it from being slow-paced, though. Optimus Primal and Megatron's debate about ideology is superbly performed, and every scene with Megatron monologuing is golden. But otherwise there is little in way to interest in this episode.

The Hate Plague is an unnecessary calback to G1, and unlike the Key to Vector Sigma or the Plasma Energy Chamber isn't executed well. Silverbolt, after the hassle of getting him back... well, despite being a fan of his portrayals in Beast Wars and in the last episode, here Silverbolt is all angsty. As if we needed another Nightscream. And all the screaming and shouting are so narmy that it hurts. The Maximals shouting stupid jibes at each other is horribly stupid... and the resolution, with the Hate Plague somehow disappearing when they formed a human chain is a WTF moment. meh, basically it's a slow-prodding mess. There is little to catch your interest here. But considering that this episode is the least Beast Machines would come to, it speaks volumes about the overall quality of the show.

(Four out of Ten)

NOTES
The virus is identical to the Hate Plague, the title 'villain' in G1 Season Three's episode 'The Return of Optimus Prime'. It is even referred to as being similar to the Hate Plague of the Great War by Nightscream at one point. They don't unleash the Matrix on this Hate Plague, though. Also, only the eyes and face glow with a red hue instead of the entire body turning red. Also, the Maximals at times can regain control of their senses but maybe it's because of their techno-organic personas.

Rhinox is referenced during the first scene, so we remember that he's not all forgotten by the Maximals.

The effects of the Hate Plague is described by Rattrap as 'an adrenalin booster, a neocortex suppressor, and a shut-off on the self-diagnostic'.

The Grand Mal can sprout large tentacles from where the neck should be.

Ironically, while the title is 'A Wolf in the Fold', it does not feature Noble at all, and Silverbolt is no longer a winged wolf.

Cheetor references 'King Kong' as a jibe to Optimus Primal.

Along with 'Forbidden Fruit', this episode was touched up in MSTF fashion during one of the BotCons. Typical, all the bad episodes get the shining treatment.

GOOFS
Why did the freak energy thing only deposit the spider thing on Silverbolt and not the others?

When did Megatron had the chance to plant the spider thing on Silverbolt?

At one point Thrust is much larger than his Cycle Drones.

When Blackarachnia dangles Spider-Man style from Nightscream, her head clips ough the web strand at one point.

Rattrap said he has two words in response to stopping the Hate Plague, but he says 'impossible', which is one word.
 
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