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Old 2011-03-03, 03:14 PM   #21
Blackjack
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Home Soil
Airdate: 15 March 2000
Written By: Meg McLaughlin
Japanese Title: The Plants' Rebellion

SYNOPSIS
High above Cybertron, a spaceship make planetfall alongside several asteroids. The automated orbital cannons open fire, amaging the ship and sending it plummeting towards the planet. Silverbolt observes this and reports back to base. Underground, Optimus Primal and Cheetor are trying to figure out why the techno-organic trees are wilting. However, news of the ship's crash forces the Maximals to mobilise. Megatron has also found out about this as well, and sends Thrust with the Vehicon drones, with orders to destroy everything. Maximal and Vehicon race towards the shuttle, and Thrust sends several to stall the Maximals. The Maximals dispatch the Vehicons and split up. Optimus and Cheetor go on the surface, Rattrap and Blackarachnia go underground while Silverbolt and Nightscream takes the skies.

Nightscream is openly hostile and rude towards Silverbolt, even though the latter compliments him on destroying several Jet Drones. The two then assist Optimus and Cheetor in battling their own foes. Underground, Blackarachnia laments to Rattrap about Silverbolt's angsting and lack of affection despite all her efforts. Their conversation is cut short by two Mole Drones. They dispatch the Drones and rush again towards the crash site. The Maximals arrive at the ship to cover it overgrown with plant matter. As they inspect the ship, a tentacled beast-like plant attacks them. After a battle, the plant flees and heads underground. Fearing that the alien plant might contaminate the techno-organic orchard. They pursue the plant, and Optimus uses the powers of the Oracle to reformat the plant monster. Cheetor protests, telling Optimus that only Cybertronians can be reformatted. However the plant is revealed to be one as she is reformatted into a techno-organic version of herself.

She introduces herself as Botanica, and that she was part of an exploration crew similar to that of the Axalon. They reached a planet inhabited by sentient, mobile plants and her crew took their forms as alternate modes. Botanica further explains that the attack by the cannons have shorted out her ship and her higher mental functions, leading her to attack anyone who came near. Thrust leads an entire army of Tank Drones which begins to ravage the orchard. Botanica transforms, and uses her powers to destroy the drones. Thrust turns tail. Botanica examines the wilting plants, and uses some kind of device onto the lighting, causing the techno-organic plants to flourish. She then introduces her name. Aboveground, Megatron hovers above Botanica's crashed spaceship, transforms into his spaceship mode and obliterates the ship and the plants around it.

Transformers Featured: Silverbolt, Optimus Primal, Cheetor, Rattrap, Nightscream, Blackarachnia, Thrust, Megatron, Cycle Drones, Jet Drones, Mole Drone, Tank Drones, Botanica

REVIEW
Many people give Botanica grief, but I am not among them. Her accent grates like that of G1's Marissa Fairborne, but otherwise she's an okay (if underdeveloped and somewhat lacking in personality) character. I have to tell you that being familiar with the BM toyline before watching the show, I was surprised by Botanica's inclusion a transforming talking plant! Even though the triffid mode looks ugly to think that a non-toy character could merit a CG model when 70% of the line didn't even get so much as an appearance. Botanica's inclusion is viable, since, hey, Optimus Primal's crew can't be the only ones out there who survived Megatron's purge. Speaking of Megatron, that scene at the end with the Grand Mal transforming into that jet mode is probably the most spectacular pre-2007 CG Transformer action sequence I have ever seen. The same with the callousness with which Megatron napalms Botanica's ship.

However the episode itself fails utterly in pacing. Events feel jagged, and some characters feel wrong. Blackarachnia, in particular, goes from a strong female who does what she thinks would benefit her most into a whiny ex-girlfriend. That sucks. Silverbolt, at least, is trying to settle into a balance between BW and BM. Nightscream, however, is still a dick, although here it's in-character with the events of last episode. Optimus Primal has gone all Yoda because the plot demands it.

Pacing is absolutely horrible, with the chase sequence being overlong, and action sequences uninteresting and repetitive bar the dogfight scene between Nightscream and Silverbolt with the Jet Drones. The tension while first discovering Botanica is extended too long and feels boring. Botanica, in particular, is overpowered in the final fight. Her- what was that- frenzy plant attack- looks so narmtastic and leads one to wonder if Botanica is so powerful why didn't they end the war immediately then and there. Yes, she's going to be nerfed next episode. Not the best origin episode. Pity, the quality is starting to take a steep dive.

(Five out of Ten)

NOTES
First appearance of Botanica, obviously. Botanica's speacial powers include reviving the techno-organic plants and doing some sort of funky glowing green lightning thing that blows up the tank drones. As an alien plant, she has a face, a lower body made entirely of vines and four 'arms'.

This episode marks the only time that Grand Mal Megatron transforms into its alternate mode a kickass-looking spaceship of sorts. I want a toy of a giant transforming Megatron head now.

The Mainframe animators reused the background of Planet Jungle of their other cartoon Shadow Raiders/War Planets. Whether this is an intentional shout-out or just a random reusing for budget constraints is unclear.

Botanica's crew is part of the same exploratory mission that included Optimus Primal's crew. What happened to her crew is unclear.

Since Botanica is able to immediately transform after reformatting and do not need to do all the funky yoga stuff, it could be assumed that it was because, like Nightscream, she was reformatted by Optimus Primal instead of the Oracle.

In the flashback where Botanica gets a new body by scanning a plant, she doesn't need a CR chamber/stasis pod/what-have-you. Presumably this is the internal DNA scanner Nightscream mentioned before.

Nightscream mentions that Botanica might spread a virus while glaring at Silverbolt, lampshading the events of last episode. He also calls Silverbolt 'Typhoid Mary' at one point, a reference to the real-life carrier of the typhoid disease.

Nightscream and Silverbolt's line 'Do not pass Go! Do not collect 200 dollars!' Is a reference to the board game Monopoly.

GOOFS
Optimus Primal spends two episodes out of action after reformatting Nightscream, but that doesn't happen now.

The relative size of Botanica's ship varies with scenes. When the Maximals try to enter the door was massive, but when Botanica exits the door was only slightly larger than her.

On topic of the ship, it looks closer to the ancient pre-G1 Autobot shuttle instead of the streamlined, modern Beast-era ships like the Axalon or the Darksyde.

Optimus Primal forgot he could fly with his jet boosters to reach the shuttle.

Cheetor forgot that he is a cheetah, and thus doesn't have to keep up pace with an oversized rat and a giant spider.

An inconsistency instead of a goof normally Rattrap has to transform into robot mode to access computers, but this episode he transforms into beast mode to do so.
 

Last edited by Blackjack; 2011-03-11 at 08:26 AM.
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