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Season Three, Part 1

| Five Faces of Darkness, Part 1 | Five Faces of Darkness, Part 2 | Five Faces of Darkness, Part 3 | Five Faces of Darkness, Part 4 | Five Faces of Darkness, Part 5 | The Killing Jar | Chaos | Dark Awakening | Starscream's Ghost | Thief in the Night | Forever is a Long Time Coming | Surprise Party | Madman's Paradise | Carnage in C-Minor | Fight or Flee | Webworld |

“Five Faces of Darkness, Part 1”

Japan Title: “A New Battle”
US Airdate: 9-15-86
Japan Airdate: 11-14-86
Animation: AKOM Studio
Credited Writer: Flint Dille

Synopsis: After a few clips from “Transformers the Movie” and a brief recap, we discover that all the Decepticons have been driven from Cybertron and forced to settle on the wasteland planet Chaar. Leaderless, they scrounge for energy and fight amongst themselves just to survive. Cyclonus, Scourge and the Sweeps arrive and settle the skirmish. On the planet Athenia, the Autobots are participating in the Galactic Olympics with their new leader, Rodimus Prime, overseeing the events. Elsewhere, Blurr is freaking out because he wants to be participating in the events but can’t because he has a stupid mission and everyone’s stupid but him. Perceptor assigns Blurr and Wheelie to deliver Metroplex’s transformation cog to Autobot City on Earth. The original was damaged during the recent battle with the Decepticons (which explains why Metroplex didn’t transform to robot mode in the movie) and without it the city is very vulnerable.

From their crazy spiral spaceship, the Quintessons activate their Skuxxoid mercenary who starts a huge explosion which thrusts the arena into smoke and panic. The Quintessons then release a horde of Sharkticons who kidnap Spike, Ultra Magnus and Kup. Rodimus assumes it to be a Decepticon plot and swears vengeance. Back at Cybertron, Cyclonus, Scourge and the Sweeps infiltrate Unicron’s severed head still orbiting Cybertron and hack into his memory banks to find the last appearance of Galvatron. After tracing Galvatron’s trajectory after Rodimus hurled him out into space, Cyclonus deduces that his remains lie on Thrull.

On Earth, Blaster and Outback track Decepticon activity to the Middle Eastern country of Carbombya, ruled by the fanatical dictator Abdul Fakkhadi. They find Ramjet and Dirge hiding in a hanger at the airport and force the coordinates of Chaar out of them. They report their findings back to Rodimus Prime who decides to go to Chaar with Grimlock to get some answers. Out in space, Springer and Arcee chase the Skuxxoid to an asteroid which turns out to be his mothership. The Skuxxoid lies and claims the Decepticons hired him to attack the Olympics and then leaves in an escape vehicle. On Chaar, Cyclonus coaxes the Decepticons to donate as much energon as they can spare to fund their expedition to rescue Galvatron. From a vantage point, Rodimus Prime and Grimlock watch the pathetic display. Cyclonus quickly spots them and the Decepticons attack in full force.

Notes: “The Five Faces of Darkness” miniseries featured an opening sequence different from the normal season 3 one, which contained newly animated sequences that depicted events within the episodes. In Japan, the third season of the Transformers was released as “Transformers 2010” and, as you can guess, takes place in the year 2010 instead of 2006. Although more visually impressive than the US one, the Japanese opening sequence was constructed using animation from the toy commercials and clips from “Transformers the Movie”. Though not named in the US version of the episode, the planet holding the Galactic Olympics is called Athenia and would later play a major role in the “Headmasters” series (where it looked completely different). Beginning with “Transformers 2010”, the Japanese shows begin the practice of including the names and functions of important characters when they first appear on the bottom of the screen.

Errors: The Insecticons are seen fighting for energon on Chaar when they’re supposed to be dead/reformatted (some claim the ones seen to be their clones, which is fine, save for the Japanese version, where the Insecticons speak, which is something their clones could not do). Jazz is clearly shown winning the race, yet the announcer claims that some weird alien with an incomprehensible name won the event. Onslaught has a completely different voice. Galvatron can be seen celebrating in crowd shots on Chaar when he’s supposed to still be stuck on Thrull. Rodimus Prime is unable to recognize the remains of a Sharkticon, despite having encountered them before on Quintessa in “Transformers the Movie”.

Transformers featured (in rough order of appearance): Astrotrain, Scavenger, Hook, Bonecrusher, Scrapper, Mixmaster, Devastator, Menasor, Kickback, Shrapnel, Cyclonus, Scourge, Sweeps, Ultra Magnus, Rodimus Prime, Warpath, Bumblebee, Jazz, Blurr, Perceptor, Wheelie, Springer, Arcee, Sharkticons, Kup, Unicron, Blaster, Outback (first appearance), Ramjet, Dirge, Grimlock, Rumble, Onslaught, Motormaster, Soundwave, Wildrider, Dead End, Drag Strip, Swindle, Breakdown.

Notable Others: Quintessons, Skuxxoid mercenary (first appearance), Spike, Carly, Daniel, Abdul Fakkhadi (first appearance).

Review: The third season of Transformers is my favorite, without a doubt. It had considerably darker writing, tighter continuity between episodes and a much more intelligent scope in storytelling. On the downside, the bulk of the episodes are animated by AKOM Studio and look pretty awful. Their work on the “Five Faces of Darkness” was actually some of their better stuff and looks kind of sort of good. This episode is a fantastic follow-up to the Movie, with a wonderfully sympathetic/pathetic look at the Decepticons. The entire opening where Astrotrain attempts to deliver energon cubes to his teammates, only to have them stolen from him while all the Decepticons fight amongst themselves, is great. The darker tone is also all-present, particularly during the Sharkticons’ attack on the Olympics, as you see various aliens getting shot repeatedly and possibly dying. A good start to a good season.


“Five Faces of Darkness, Part 2”

Japan Title: “The New Emperor of Destruction Revives”
US Airdate: 9-16-86
Japan Airdate: 11-21-86
Animation: AKOM Studio
Credited Writer: Flint Dille

Synopsis: The Decepticons are about the blast Rodimus Prime and Grimlock, but find their weapons are too low on energy. Taking a beating, Rodimus and Grimlock manage to escape when Arcee and Springer fly by on their commandeered Skuxxoid spaceship. Cyclonus decides to let them flee, as their mission to resurrect Galvatron is top priority.

Arcee and Springer try to nurse the injured Rodimus back to life but find his lifeforce fade away into the Matrix. Within the Matrix, Rodimus goes on a wacky acid trip with special guest appearance by Optimus Prime and some creepy robots. As Rodimus comes to, he declares that the Quintessons are responsible for the kidnapping of their comrades.

On the distant world of Thrull, Cyclonus, Scourge and the Sweeps rescue Galvatron from a pool of piping hot plasma. This turns out to be a very bad mistake, as Galvatron has gone completely off his nut thanks to his plasma bath and proceeds to beat them all senseless. After talking their raging leader down, Galvatron decides that regaining the Decepticon Empire is more important than punching Cyclonus’ face in and, after obliterating Thrull, the group heads back to Chaar.

On Quintessa, the Quintessons sentence Spike and the Autobots (and one of their own judges) to death by Sharkticon. When asked on what grounds, the Quintessons declare that they’re guilty of theft. Before they can mull over what the heck *that* was supposed to mean, the Autobots go for a swim. However, thanks to the power of perfect cartoon timing, Rodimus and crew arrive and rescue their pals from being eaten alive. Not ones to take defeat lightly, the Quintessons evacuate Quintessa and proceed to blow their homeworld up. Jerks.

Notes: The weird demony guy seen within Rodimus’ vision would show up later during Optimus Prime’s journey through the Matrix in “Return of Optimus Prime part 2”. Rodimus’ reference to his last trip to Quintessa happened, of course, in “Transformers the Movie”.

Errors: Rumble is shown to be the same height as Soundwave. Rodimus Prime goes back and forth between himself and Hot Rod at random. The Insecticons appear in group shots despite being dead/reformatted. When Cyclonus and the rest firs tarrive on Thrull (just after the scene where Spike and the rest fall into the Sharkticon pit), the sun overlooking planet is bizarrely liquid-like. It reminded me of the opening scene from Watership down, where a gooey sun turns all the animals into killing machines. Kind of makes sense, considering what happened to Galvatron.

Transformers featured (in rough order of appearance): Rodimus Prime, Grimlock, Cyclonus, Swindle, Dead End, Onslaught, Breakdown, Wildrider, Soundwave, Thrust, Motormaster, Rumble, Springer, Arcee, Scourge, Sweeps, Kickback, Kup, Ultra Magnus, Sharkticons, Optimus Prime, Galvatron, Silverbolt, Air Raid, Skydive, Fireflight, Slingshot.

Notable others: Quintessons, Spike, Allicons.

Review: Not the best installment in the “Five Faces of Darkness” miniseries, I must confess. Ultra Magnus, Kup and Spike getting dunked into the Sharkticon tank feels too much like a retread of a scene from the Movie. I know people get nostalgic for “Transformers the Movie”, but it only happened two episodes ago. A lot of people have expressed a loathing for crazy Galvatron, but I personally thought it was a great change of pace. Megatron, even on his best days, was a fairly mundane and generic villain. Making Galvatron a raving lunatic not only gave him an extra smidgen of personality, but it also made him entertaining (“Webworld” being the highpoint). In one of the episode’s darker moments, the Quintessons condemn one of their own judges to death, a decision the condemned judge gracefully accepts. A nice touch of dark storytelling, there.


“Five Faces of Darkness, Part 3”

Japan Title: “Trap on Planet Goo”
US Airdate: 9-17-86
Japan Airdate: 11-28-86
Animation: AKOM Studio
Credited Writer: Flint Dille

Synopsis: The Autobots manage to escape the destruction of Quintessa only to be sent hurtling uncontrollably through space in a damaged ship. Elsewhere, Cyclonus is relating recent events to Galvatron, including how the humans have begun constructing a defense platform near Earth. Enraged at the thought of creatures trying to defend themselves, Galvatron veers off toward Earth. Galvatron spots Blurr and Wheelie (still trying to get Metroplex’s transformation cog to Earth) and sends them fleeing toward Jupiter. Blaster relays a request for back-up to Mars, where Marissa Faireborn is stationed.

Meanwhile, the Quintessons discover the Autobots have survived the explosion and decide that they have no other choice but to forge an alliance with the Decepticons. On the sticky planet called Goo the Autobots crash and get pretty much stuck. Then a giant machine comes by and sucks Springer into its vents, dismembering him. That sucks. Rodimus manages to destroy the machine, causing the captured Quintesson judge (who fell into the Sharkticon pit with them last episode) to remark that the Autobots weren’t programmed for self-sacrifice. Whatever could he be talking about?

Back on Chaar, the Quintessons bribe the Decepticons into their service with mass quantities of energon. The Decepticons agree to join the Quintessons in an attack on the Autobots, though Blitzwing thinks better of the deal and chooses to stay behind. As they leave, the Quintessons remark that the Decepticons will soon belong to them again. Hn?

Returning to our solar system, Marissa traces Wheelie and Blurr to Jupiter’s moon, Io, where Galvatron had shot them down. On the surface, Wheelie and Blurr wake up only to be greeted by unpleasant native fauna. Over at Chaar, Galvatron returns only to hear Blitzwing report the Decepticon alliance with the Quintessons. None-too-pleased, Galvatron takes off after them. And now we’re over on Goo again, where the Quintessons and Decepticons have finally arrived and begun their attack on Rodimus and friends.

Notes: Warp Gates appear to be the new means of interplanetary travel, though they’re rarely seen again. Marissa Faireborn and the EDC would later feature prominently in the poorly conceived Japanese exclusive series, “Kiss Players”. Wheelie totally kills a Sweep by blowing his face off. Awesome.

Errors: Air Raid is shown amongst the Decepticons on Chaar. Once again, the Insecticons are buzzing around when they should no longer exist. Bruticus shows up standing right behind Onslaught and Brawl (grrrrr…). As the Decpeticons attack the Autobots, a character appears with Shockwave’s model and the Constructicons’ color scheme.

Transformers featured (in rough order of appearance): Rodimus Prime, Kup, Arcee Grimlock, Ultra Magnus, Air Raid, Silverbolt, Galvatron, Cyclonus, Scourge, Sweeps, Blurr, Wheelie, Blaster, Skydive, Fireflight, Slingshot, Motormaster, Astrotrain, Breakdown, Wildrider, Dead End, Bonecrusher, Hook, Scavenger, Scrapper, Shrapnel, Kickback, Soundwave, Onslaught, Bruticus (gah!), Swindle, Drag Strip, Brawl, Vortex, Ramjet, Blitzwing, Rumble, Thrust, Dirge, Mixmaster.

Notable others: Spike, Quintessons, Marissa Faireborn (first appearance).

Review: A better installment than the last episode, though I felt the highlight was Galvatron’s attack on Blurr and Wheelie. Most people hate Wheelie, but he manages to kill more Decepticons in this one episode than most Autobots do over the course of the entire season. Gotta love Galvatron’s dialogue as the faceless Sweep falls to his doom; “Please meet your end with dignity. I despise whiners”. One thing I liked about this episode was that Flint Dille remembered that certain characters have certain personality traits and not all of them are interchangeable. Case in point, as the Quintessons arrive on Chaar to bargain, Swindle gets asked for advice. May not seem like much, but given how devoid of individual personality traits most Combiner group members are (they’re typically used as nothing more than crowd filler), it means a lot. Also, I absolutely hate the way Marissa Faireborn talks.


“Five Faces of Darkness, Part 4”

Japan Title: “Secret of the Matrix”
US Airdate: 9-18-86
Japan Airdate: 12-5-86
Animation: AKOM Studio
Credited Writer: Flint Dille

Synopsis: On Goo the Decepticons have begun their attack only to be suddenly brought to a stop when a ticked off Galvatron arrives. Swearing their loyalty, the Decepticons explain that they had been bribed into service by the Quintessons. Elsewhere, Rodimus discovers that Goo is a garbage collection system run by the Junkions and radios Wreck-Gar for assistance.

Over on Io, Wheelie and Blurr are being beaten to a pulp by the native monsters called lipoles. Marissa Faireborn arrives on the scene and fights off the lipoles, though her ship is destroyed in the process.

Galvatron confronts the Quintessons with the intention of killing them, but they manage to swindle him into a further alliance by offering him the Decepticon Matrix of Leadership if he can destroy the Autobots. Galvatron leaves to complete the deed, only to have Rodimus and the rest rescued by the Junkions. Enraged, Galvatron destroys Goo (if this guy has the power to destroy so many planets, why does he always lose?).

Over on the Planet of Junk, Wreck-Gar rebuilds Springer good as new. Rodimus deduces that the answers he seeks exist only within the Matrix and promptly short-circuits himself. Within the Matrix, a series of ancient Autobots reveal the origin of the Transformers and Cybertron to him.

It would appear that long, long ago, Cybertron was actually a factory built by the Quintessons to produce two lines of robots: consumer models (Autobots) and warriors (Decepticons). However, after eons of cruel abuse, the robots developed free will and emotion, eventually rebelling against their creators. After a lengthy war, the Quintessons were driven from Cybertron. A brief period of peace followed until the Decepticons declared war on the Autobots. After another war, the Autobots gained the upper hand when they developed the art of transformation. The Golden Age of Cybertron came next, that is until the Decepticons copied the transformation process and created their new leader, Megatron. Megatron killed the then-current Matrix bearer, who bequeathed the leadership orb to Alpha Trion. However, instead of becoming leader, Alpha Trion chose to give it to someone else: good ole Optimus Prime. And so began the Third Great War.

Then Arcee and Springer wake Rodimus up. Elsewhere, Galvatron and the Quintessons plot their attack. Down on Earth, the Constructicons have completed altering a human city into their new massive dinosaur thing: Trypticon. Back on Cybertron, an EDC ship requests clearance for an emergency landing. Going against Perceptor’s better judgment, Kup allows the Trojan Horse to land. Decepticons, lead by Galvatron, quickly empty out and begin their attack.

Notes: The first encounter between Optimus Prime and Megatron which is glossed over here, happened in the episode “War Dawn”. The lipoles have the ability to transform into missiles. That’s gotta be the worst alternate mode in history. Trypticon is shown being activated for the first time, however, in the Japanese timeline he’d been active for several years within the manga and the “Scramble City” OVA.

Errors: At the beginning of the episode, Slag is seen on Goo with the Autobots. Skydive and (a miscolored) Snarl are seen amongst the Decepticons after Galvatron arrives to berate them. Megatron is shown being built by the Constructicons (eight of them, in fact). This doesn’t exactly jive with what we know about their origin(s). Rodimus turns into Hot Rod without warning again.

Featured Transformers (in rough order of appearance): Ramjet, Dead End, Brawl, Ultra Magnus, Rodimus Prime, Arcee, Kup, Grimlock, Slag (oh for cryin’ out loud!), Blast Off, Galvatron, Scourge, Cyclonus, Sweeps, Snarl (wha?), Swindle, Skydive (c’mon!), Motormaster, Wreck-Gar, Blaster, Blurr, Wheelie, Soundwave, Octane, Springer, Megatron, Alpha Trion, Optimus Prime, Scrapper, Mixmaster, Bonecrusher, Hook, Longhaul, Trypticon (first US appearance), Cosmos, Perceptor, Silverbolt.

Notable Others: Spike, Quintessons, Marissa Faireborn, lipoles.

Review: My favorite part of the “Five Faces of Darkness”, honestly. I love this version of the origin of the Transformers, as I was never really big on that Primus/Unicron stuff (not saying it’s bad, I just like this one more). What’s nice is how writer Flint Dille manages to make it gel with all the various tidbits we’ve learned from the previous season in episodes like “Desertion of the Dinobots” and “War Dawn”. Of course, there’s still that mess-up with the Constructicons, but whatever. It’s a shame the animation is so bland and clunky in this episode, as certain scenes would have looked much more impressive had they been drawn competently (the transformation of the Earth city into Trypticon comes to mind). It’s a very fascinating and well-plotted episode; certainly the highpoint of this miniseries.


“Five Faces of Darkness, Part 5”

Japan Title: “The Quintessons’ Plot”
US Airdate: 9-19-86
Japan Airdate: 12-12-86
Animation: AKOM Studio
Credited Writer: Flint Dille

Synopsis: As the Decepticons attack Cybertron, Sky Lynx arrives on Io to rescue Marissa Faireborn, Blurr and Wheelie. The rescue is cut short when the Predacons arrive, determined to steal the transformation cog. After merging into Predaking, they’re promptly defeated by Sky Lynx, who flies off with his comrades.

On Earth, Trypticon makes his first stop at the Ark, destroying it with ease. He then heads off to his second destination: Autobot City. Elsewhere, Blitzwing discovers that the Quintessons intend to double-cross the Decepticons by activating a switch that will freeze all the Transformers. Blitzwing attempts to relay this news to Galvatron, but he isn’t listening. Rejected, Blitzwing decides he has no choice but to warn the Autobots.

Back on Earth, Trypticon arrives at Autobot City at roughly the same time as Wheelie and the transformation cog. Pipes installs the cog and Autobot City transforms into Metroplex. The two cities briefly rumble, ending in Trypticon getting hurled over a mountain and into the ocean.

Back on Cybertron, Blitzwing and the Autobots succeed in stopping the Sharkticons from flipping the switch, only to have a misguided Galvatron do the job for them. With all the Transformers frozen in place, the Quintessons land on their newly conquered homeworld. Spike, not being a robot and all, manages to destroy the switch and free all the Transformers. The Quintessons flee, leaving a perturbed Galvatron to banish Blitzwing from the Decepticons for his brief allegiance with the Autobots. The Decepticons retreat and Rodimus laments that a newer and greater foe, the Quintessons, have now presented themselves.

Notes: Where did the Predacons come from? It is noted in the Japanese-exclusive Comics Bom Bom story pages that the Predacons were a joint construction between the Quintessons and the Decepticons (guess they were built rather quickly, considering how brief their alliance between this episode and the last was). Multiple Cyclonus-like Decepticons are seen throughout this episode. Consider them his rarely seen “Armada”.

Errors: The Sweeps at the beginning of the episode are very oddly colored…and drawn. Rodimus Prime randomly turns into Hot Rod (again). During the Minibots’ fight against Trypticon, Powerglide is randomly in space for a scene. Alternatively, Io is drawn to look like the American Southwest for a sequence. Dirge and Ramjet are clearly shown being destroyed by Ultra Magnus, yet they show up just fine later on. Note that the same thing happened in “Transformers the Movie”. Bumblebee is shown fighting on Cybertron just after he was shown on Earth. Scrapper talks in Mixmaster’s voice just before the battle between Metroplex and Trypticon. The Insecticons are once again alive, and even more-so, two Shrapnels are shown standing next to each other. Some Construcitcons are shown celebrating the safe return of the transformation cog to Metroplex. The way Metroplex throws Trypticon, and Trypticon’s trajectory, defy all known laws of physics.

Featured Transformers (in rough order of appearance): Galvatron, Scourge, Cyclonus, Sweeps, Rodimus Prime, Springer, Kup, Ultra Magnus, Trypticon, Powerglide, Warpath, Pipes, Swerve, Bumblebee, Beachcomber, Tailgate, Scamper, Blaster, Sky Lynx (first appearance), Blurr, Wheelie, Outback, Mixmaster, Scrapper, Bonecrusher, Dirge, Ramjet, Perceptor, Slingshot, Blitzwing, Sharkticons, Rampage (first appearance), Headstrong (first appearance), Tantrum (first appearance), Divebomb (first appearance), Razorclaw (first appearance), Predaking (first appearance), Scavenger, Thrust, Laserbeak, Motormaster, Swindle, Vortex, Blast-Off, Kickback, Bombshell, Shrapnel, Jazz, Metroplex (first US appearance).

Notable others: Spike, Quintessons, Marissa Faireborn, Teletraan-1.

Review: A good miniseries falters at the conclusion, unfortunately. While scenes such as Trypticon destroying the Ark and the concept of Blitzwing betraying the Decepticons for the greater good of Cybertron were certainly some of the best parts of “Five Faces of Darkness”, the “magic shutdown switch” reeks of a quick resolution. It’s the kind of left-field plot device Simon Furman typically employs when he can’t figure out how to end a story arc. What could have been a titanic and impressive battle of city-sized forces is pretty much botched by AKOM’s grotesque animation, leaving the promised Metroplex/Trypticon bout a stale disappointment. The introduction of the Predacons was a nice surprise (I honestly forgot they were even in this episode) but they arrive so out of the blue you can almost catch a wiff of that New Toy Smell. I’m being a bit harsher than this episode really deserves, but I can’t say it was an altogether satisfying conclusion with a straight face.


“The Killing Jar”

Japan Title: “Four Captives”
US Airdate: 9-25-86
Credited Writers: Michael Charles Hill & Joey Kurihara Piedra

Synopsis: A Quintesson scientist and his Allicon guard go on to kidnap several Transformers of interest. First on their list is Ultra Magnus. Fooling him by projecting a hologram of Sky Lynx on their ship, they lure Ultra Magnus to get on board. There Magnus is subjected to an experiment where he is betrayed by a hologram of Rodimus Prime. Next, the Quintessons go to Charr to kidnap Cyclonus, where he was succumbs to being betrayed by hologram Galvatron. The next target is Wreck-Gar, who is fooled by a (believe it or not) a hologram of a clown from a show he is watching. The Quintesson theorizes that Wreck-Gar will go offline when he sees that
there is no junk on his cell, but Wreck-Gar proves him wrong by tearing up his cell walls and making his own junk. The final target is Marissa Fairborne, who is subjected to being betrayed by a hologram of her father, who changes to a Quintesson-headed human.

The Quintesson introduces his prisoners to each other before starting his experiments and shows that it is futile to try to escape, beginning with Marissa. But Wreck-Gar launches his hand to switch off the ray holding Marissa. She takes out the scientist easily, and proceeds to try to free Ultra Magnus. Just as the Allicon tries to attack her, the ship flies into an electron storm, which wrecks havoc on everybody.

The two Quintessons run to the control room and steer clear of the storm. Magnus shorts out the energon bars and the four prisoners escape. Wreck-gar battles the Allicon while Marissa battles the Quintesson. Cyclonus battles Magnus over who gets the ship. However, a greater danger soon presents itself: a black hole, about to destroy the ship. The engines keep the ship in place, but the people on board fight over the remaining escape pod.

During the resulting skirmish, the pod was launched, with the six still trapped on board. Magnus is sucked out, but is pulled on board by Cyclonus, claiming 'warriors should meet their end in battle'.

A derelict ship is sucked into the black hole. Just as they debate again whether the engine would prevent them from being sucked in, the engine blows up and the ship is sucked in and transported into a negative dimension where everyone is turned different colours (Cyclonus is a nice shade of gold!). They repair the engine with donated parts, and enter the white hole on the correct trajectory.

They exit the black hole, to the place Sky Lynx and Astrotrain has arrived after receiving the distress signal. Predictably, the two space ships are fighting. Magnus and Cyclonus, respecting each other as warriors, are content to leave but they promise that the next time they meet it will be as enemies.

Notes: Flint (Dashiell Fairborne) of G.I. Joe is apparently father of Marissa; both their surnames are Fairborne. This was confirmed to be the case, and Flint's voice actor was supposedly used in this episode. Cyclonus and Magnus respect each other as warriors. Wreck-Gar references many TV shows, as always. See TFWiki for a list. This is the first time the term "Alternate mode" is used in fiction, by the Quintesson to describe the Allicon.

Errors: The hologram of Rodimus Prime is miscoloured as Hot Rod. Maybe because it's a fake? The Quintesson lure Cyclonus with a hologram of... Broadside. Even has the correct voice actor. Why doesn't Magnus think of short-circuiting the energon bars earlier? He was the first to be captured, and must have plenty of spare time while the ship travels to Charr, Junk and Earth. Wreck-Gar has two hands for a short time after he shoots one of. During the time when the Quintesson prepares to leave in the escape pod, the escape pod is missing. In the alternate universe, when the Quintesson explains their predicament, Cyclonus' lips are moving. The colour of negative universe Magnus' face jumps around. The Allicons' right forearm disappears right before the scene in which Marissa removes it. Cyclonus apparently needs an escape pod to escape, although he turns into a freakin' space ship himself.

Transformers featured: Allicon, Ultra Magnus, Sky Lynx (hologram and in present), Rodimus Prime (hologram), Cyclonus, Broadside (hologram; see errors), Galvatron (hologram), Wreck-Gar, Blast Off

Notable Others: Quintesson Scientist, Marissa Fairborne, Flint (Hologram)

Review: With a small cast of three transformers, one human and the two Quintessons, this episode gives plenty of characterisation for them, particularly Magnus and Cyclonus, the centerpieces of the episode. The two of them have been pushed aside by others like Galvatron and Springer for screentime, and it's nice to see them shine. However, the black hole plot was stupid and felt redundant, since they escape in less than two minutes. There aren't even random badly-drawn aliens for them to fight! All that happened in the alternate universe is that they change colour. Come on! I mean, they could just get sucked into the negative universe, with evil Autobots and all, and fight their way out, and Magnus and Cyclonus can STILL recognise each other as warriors. What a wasted opportunity. Still, it's a great piece for the characters spotlighted in the episode. Namely, Magnus, Cyclonus, Wreck-Gar and to some extent Marissa. Even though I dislike her. That GI Joe reference is cool, though.



Japan Title: “Death Crystal”
US Airdate: 9-30-86
Credited Writer: Paul Davids

Synopsis: The Skuxxoid is flying around Decepticon territory, blasting junk with something best described as a shrapnel bazooka. This, of course, does not go unnoticed and Blast Off attacks. The alien sells the weapon to Blast Off, but the ammo (greenish crystals) can only be found on a certain planet.

Meanwhile on Cybertron, Kup tells one of his stories to the other Autobots. In the planet Dread, Kup escapes from Ick-yak, a lizard monster, by tricking him into a quicksand. However, Kup was captured by 'Orbs', who wanted to make a slave out of him.

Grimlock heard that the monster Chaos lives on Dread, but Kup is evasive about it. At that moment, Wreck-Gar alerts the Autobots that someone blasted an EDC station. Kup, Blurr, Grimlock, Wheelie and Sky Lynx head to Goo to investigate. Blurr wisely turns off the goo so they can walk.

They meet Wreck-Gar and see the blasted station. Kup's machines detect that the holes were made by Death Crystals. When the others push Kup, who is being evasive about what he knows, Runamuck and Blast Off attack with the death crystals. Sky Lynx saves the other Autobots, who board him. Sky Lynx then evades the crystal blasts, until his wing is hit, but a comet blows up and the Autobots escape.

The other Autobots demand that Kup tell them what he knows, and Kup does so reluctantly, saying that Death Crystals grow on Chaos, a monster that lives in the mountain on Dread. When Kup was captured by the Orbs all those years ago, he was one of the numerous robot slaves captured and made to work in a cave to gather Death Crystals near Chaos' cavern. One day, Chaos, a glowing green monster, attacked. In the confusion Kup escaped. The other slaves beg for Kup to free them, but Kup left them when he saw Chaos.

Meanwhile, on Dread, Galvatron, Astrotrain and the Predacons are forcing the slaves there to mine the death crystals and build... A giant cannon. Surprise, surprise. Chaos appears and the slaves run out of the mine. Galvatron, thinking that the slaves are escaping, orders Predaking to capture them.

Sky Lynx arrives on Dread. Blurr and Kup do a little recon. They are ambushed by the Predacons, and Blurr is kicked down into the quick-mud. The other four Autobots arrive, and Sky Lynx battles the Predacons while his bird part rescues Blurr. Grimlock helps Kup, who is under attack from Rampage and Razorclaw. Wheelie and Wreck-Gar then drive the Predacons away.

The Autobots want to destroy Chaos so there will be no more death crystals. Sky Lynx flies to the mountains for recon. Meanwhile, the cannon is ready to destroy Cybertron when Sky Lynx attacks. The other Autobots arrive to help. Sky Lynx gets blasted while monologuing. (You think only the bad guys monologue) Galvatron cannon-blasts the others.

Kup enters the cave to face Chaos. Just as he does so, Predaking uses a lightsaber to bring down a big rock that seals Kup in the cave. The Autobots, with Sky Lynx down, the Autobots don't fare well against Predaking. They escape and meet Sky Lynx.

In the cave, Kup uses the unorthodox method of 'there is a greater monster than you outside and you're afraid to face him.' Kup then frees the slaves he abandoned so long ago.

Galvatron then prepares to fire on Cybertron, but Kup arrives with the freed slaves. They push the cannon and aim it at Chaos. They fire at him, blowing the mountains up in process. The Autobots and slaves board Sky Lynx and escape before the Decepticons could pursue them. Kup then tells a story about Jonahgar and the space whale...

Notes: Kup first tells the story of the Ick-Yak in Transformers: the Movie. Chaos is a kind of ugly giant bear made of green crystals. Blurr shutting off the Goo is a reference to the earlier 'Five Faces of Darkness part 4'. This is Runamuck's first appearance. Jonahgar and the Space Whale is a reference to the Biblical story of Jonah and the whale. The early model for Kup (seen in Transformers Universe and elsewhere) was used for flashback scenes. According to Jim Sorenson, originally this episode called for organic alien slaves, and character models were developed for them.

Errors: Galvatron blasted Goo into pieces in 'Five Faces of Darkness Part 4', yet Goo seems just okay here. Did Wreck-Gar rebuild it or something? Of course, it might not be the same Goo (as the one in FFoD had a serial number). How did Kup and the slaves get out of the sealed cave? If the cannon is enough to destroy Cybertron, how come all it does is only blow up a mountain? Predaking's sword clips through a rock at one point. As Kup frees the prisoners, one of them disappears and reappears between frames.

Transformers featured: Blast Off, Kup, Wheelie, Blurr, Grimlock, Wreck-Gar, Sky Lynx, Runamuck, Galvatron, Astrotrain, Razorclaw, Headstrong, Tantrum, Rampage, Divebomb, Predaking

Notable Others: Skuxxoid

Review: A filler episode. Still, it is quite good, even if Chaos is unbelieavably ugly, and the plot is not exactly original. It just combines two of Megatron's classic Season Two plots — a giant cannon as well as energy crystals, with a weird looking monster thrown in for good measure. However, this gives great characterization for Kup. The old Autobot stars in this episode, with him facing his old sins. It's a bit shy from a finished script (Kup's stories are edgy at times, and it clashes a bit with the Decepticons' presence) but it's not terrible.


“Dark Awakening”

Japan Title: “Convoy's Shadow”
US Airdate: 10-1-86
Credited Writer: Antoni Zalewski

Synopsis: The Decepticons chase the Autobots to an asteroid field after being informed of their location by the Quintessons. Galvatron, obviously, doesn't trust the Quints anymore. The Autobots escape from Decepticon torpedoes by letting their ship blow up while they escape in a lifepod. Hey, if it works once...

Without communications, and air for the humans (Rodimus says "Basically you have two choices: suffocate or smother." Jerk.) they board on something big, with an Autobot symbol. The Decepticons follow suit when they see the big thing.

As it turns out, it is an Autobot mausoleum that houses Autobots that died in the Great War. (Great War = TFTM) They enter, much to Daniel's chagrin. The Autobots walk around, but Daniel wanders off. Suddenly he comes face to face with the dead body of Optimus Prime, walking. Daniel freaks out and slams into one of the graves, and a dead Autobot falls out. He runs again, and bumps into Rodimus. He tells him about his encounter. Rodimus Prime, with the others, goes into Prime's tomb, behind the veil. Roddy opens it. It's empty!

The Decepticons attack, and the Autobots, low on energy, are pushed backwards. Their ship is destroyed by the Decepticons. At this point, to the surprise of everybody, Optimus Prime blasts all the Decepticons, who retreat. Rodimus is prepared to give Optimus the Matrix, but Magnus and Kup disagree, asking Optimus what happened. Optimus replies, "Hhh... darkness. Cold. Then, light." Daniel speculates that OP was in a coma.

It appears that OP has built an escape ship. Rodimus, enthustiastic to give the Matrix to Optimus, does so. However, Optimus begins to move backward when he sees the Matrix, before pushing it into his chest with difficulty. Rodimus turns into Hot Rod, and Prime suddenly blasts everybody. As he does so, he says "What have I done?" Prime then activates Auto Destruct before escaping by himself. The Autobots find themselves on a collision course with a sun.

Prime returns to Cybertron and tells the Autobots that Rodimus and the others were killed by Quintessons. Predictably the Autobots angrily follow Prime to attack the Quints.

Rod's party escapes to Cybertron on another ship just as the mausoleum explodes. explodes. They meet dumb Sludge and Snarl, who, in their stupidity, ramble on about “you are dead,” and tell everything to them. Meanwhile, Prime's party doesn’t stop for anything, even when Blurr gets a message that Rod and co are still alive.

However, in their base, the Quintessons reveal that they actually placed a bomb in the planet as a trap. They say "To Prime himself he seems... Alive." Meanwhile, the defence systems blast the Autobots.

Rod's party arrive in a ship. Prime seems reluctant, but orders to destroy the ship, which they do. However, Perceptor identifies the floating Autobots and orders a rescue.

Hot Rod orders to turn the ship around, while Hot Rod faces Optimus. Optimus suddenly flashbacks that the Quints reactivated him, but there would be lingering remnants of his memory and personality. However, apparently because of the Quints' implants, Optimus' body fights Hot Rod while Op's mind realises that he should be destroyed.

The two fight and Hot Rod is downed, but, due to the Matrix's influence, Optimus regains control of his body, and returns the Matrix to Rodimus. Optimus Prime orders the Autobots to return to Cybertron. Despite the Quints' efforts, the flagship (with OP in it) crashes into the detonator, blowing the planet up along with him inside. At the end, the narrator promises that Optimus Prime will return.

Notes: Optimus Prime still retains his injuries from his fight to the death against Megatron in Transformers: The Movie. The Autobots whose bodies are housed in the mausoleum are (as read by Daniel) Ratchet, Prowl, Ironhide and Huffer. Ratchet, Prowl and Ironhide died in the opening scene of TFTM (although they didn't list Brawn for some reason). Huffer's death, however, is not shown in TFTM, but it is possible he died off-screen. Wheeljack and Windcharger are not listed, leading to speculation that they are still alive. Multiple jets using the smaller Aerialbots character models, as well as Skyfire and Powerglide models, make up the Autobot armada and are all blasted apart. Since the Aerialbots show up later in the series, it is safe to assume that they are generics. This leaves the other two's fates ambiguous, though. In a nice bit of twist, Optimus' mouthplate doesn't move when he speaks until he regains his consciousness.

Errors: Rodimus says that Prime has been dead "for years", although Season 3 takes place immediately after TFTM (Daniel is, at least, still on the same age). Cyclonus fires his laser bolt from his knuckle instead of his gun. The Autobots fire purple lasers. During Prime's first appearance, when he freaks Daniel out, he looks more damaged than how he looks for the rest of the episode. Also, there are cobwebs around him, which couldn't be possible unless spiders create webs that fast. Dirge, who was killed by Magnus not so long ago, appears. But that happens all throughout season three, so let's say he gets revived sometime prior. Optimus Prime's back is coloured blue for one scene. Powerglide (or his twin) is seen to be blasted by missiles but shows up again in the next scene dodging missiles. Jazz and Blaster are miscoloured. When Optimus is in control of the flagship and orders the other Autobots to return, he has his left arm again... Hot Rod and Rodimus Prime switch character models at random as usual.

Transformers featured: Rodimus Prime, Ultra Magnus, Galvatron, Cyclonus, Sweeps, Scourge, Arcee, Kup, Dirge, Thrust, Optimus Prime (killed again), Hot Rod, Perceptor, Grimlock, Springer, Skydive, Sludge, Snarl, Air Raid, Fireflight, Slingshot, Blurr, Powerglide, Skyfire, Wheelie, Perceptor, Blaster, Jazz

Notable Others: Daniel, Spike

Review: This is one of the best episodes of Season Three. Much better than the Return of Optimus Prime two-parter that's to come. It's dark, and a great spotlight for everyone involved. The Autobots become the stars of the episode, with the Decepticons hardly featured bar to set things in motion. Optimus Prime gets his usual heroic moment, Hot Rod/Rodimus Prime is perfectly characterized, Daniel's not all that annoying... even the guys on Cybertron (Grimlock, Springer, the other Dinobots) all get great reaction shots. Optimus Prime's half-dead sacrifice is really well done and rather touching. No wonder, then, that it got voted as one of the best moments across Transformer lore. Shame that all the work here would be undone somewhat by the Return of Optimus Prime two-parter.


“Starscream's Ghost”

Japan Title: “Starscream's Ghost”
US Airdate: 10-2-86
Credited Writer: Megeen McLaughlin

Synopsis: Exiled from the Decepticons, Octane now makes a living freighting scrap metal from planet Junkion for the Autobots. However, his past catches up to him when Galvatron hires a Skuxxoid to assassinate Octane. Just after he leaves Junk, Octane's ship is blown up by a bomb planted by the bounty hunter. Fortunately Octane is merely blown away from the explosion and is rescued by a passing ship.

Angered by the Skuxxoid's failure, Galvatron dispatches the Combaticons to track and eliminate the exile. Octane takes refuge with the Autobots on Earth and seeks the advice of his fellow triple changer, the Autobot Sandstorm, who doesn't believe him at first. However, they were ambushed by the Combaticons, who gang up on Octane, but leaves Sandstorm alone. Convinced, the duo escape Earth through a shuttle.

The two Triple Changers stop and refuel at an alien space station, and use the time to discuss the situation in a diner. Octane shows off to Sandstorm, doing tricks like juggling energon cubes. The Skuxxoid has managed to track the ex-Decepticon but is foiled in several attempts to kill Octane. Finally, the Skuxxoid tries to tackle Octane from the back. Octane manhandles the alien and demands to know who hired him. When the Skuxxoid says he was hired by Galvatron, Octane, definitely spooked, decided to go deeper into hiding.

He flew to Cybertron but is tailed by Cyclonus, Scourge, and the Sweeps. When the Decepticons found Octane, he hides in what appears to be a sewer pipe, but turns out to be the secret entrance to the Decepticon Crypt. Walking around the Crypt he encounters the ghost of Starscream, who strikes a deal with Octane. They plan to take control of Cyclonus. Successful in possessing the Decepticon Air commander, Starscream then proceeds to "capture" Octane. However, they are pursued by Autobots intent on protecting Octane. Starscream manages to convince Rodimus Prime to let them go, to the confusion of the other Autobots.

When Cyclonus-Starscream brings the Octane back to Chaar, Galvatron was furious that the exile was not destroyed. Cyclonus-Starscream says that Galvatron that the 'traitor' should be interrogated for any information he might know. At a faux display of torture, Cyclonus-Starscream convinces Galvatron that he has forced an Autobot secret out of Octane. The trio travel to a specified location. However, the location is a pre-arranged spot between Starscream and Rodimus Prime, and Galvatron is trapped with many Autobots in an ambush.

The ambush fails, however, and when Galvatron returns and sees Cyclonus-Starscream and Octane discussing his apparent demise. Starscream can't resist gloating, revealing his presence to Galvatron, who immediately blasts a hole into the possessed Cyclonus' torso. Starscream jumps out of Cyclonus the moment before the blast hits.

As Galvatron orders Cyclonus be repaired, Scourge is possessed by Starscream...

Notes: This episode is supposed to be written for Blitzwing, as a sequel to his fate after deserting the Decepticons in 'Five Faces of Darkness'. This is further proven when TV Magazine in Japan shows that Blitzwing meets Starscream's Ghost. It is also rumoured that Sandstorm's role was originally Springer's. Why did this change? Why, Octane and Sandstorm were the newer toys, of course. The scene where the Combaticons (which only consists of three members this episode for some reason) attack Sandstorm and Octane uses recycled Star Wars laser sounds. This particular one is from the Empire Strikes Back. Starscream's marker in the Crypt only has the lower legs and boots on. Someone had a sick sense of humour. (For those who didn't get it- Starscream was destroyed by Galvatron and the only parts remaining were his legs and crown.) Markers of Megatron and either Skywarp or Thundercracker are also present. Octane reads a mis-quote of Dirge's final dialogue in 'Five Faces of Darkness' behind a particular marker, implying that Dirge is buried there. However, the statue doesn't resemble Dirge at all (plus, Dirge shows up every time anyway). The female robot Octane ogles on his computer has Arcee's character model but with much larger shoulder pads and breasts... It's a little disturbing. Kup oversees Cybertron's security in Shockwave's old tower. On the topic of Starscream's Ghost, this episode marks his ghost's first appearance. He'll reappear in a ghost again in the episode 'Ghost in the Machine', several Japanese fiction and the Beast Wars episode Possession (where he possesses Waspinator). The BW Episode 'Bad Spark' explains that Starscream's Spark is uniquely mutated, rendering it indestructible and able to possess others. The idea of Starscream being a ghost would later be revisited in Energon. Being immortal would be revisited in Animated.

Errors: When Galvatron is speaking in the opening sequence of the episode, only his throne is seen, Galvatron himself is missing. While Octane is walking with Sandstorm outside Autobot City, he trips and falls over a rock, but the animation seems to imply that the rock jumps in front of Octane's foot. During the Autobot City scene, the background alternates between Earthen sky and space. The walls of Autobot City are somehow low enough of Sandstorm and Octane to jump over when the Combaticons attack. Oh, and no one in Autobot City noticed a group of Decepticons attacking. Immediately after Sandstorm and Octane jump into Autobot City, the shot cuts into them escaping on a shuttle. Sandstorm's cockpit is apparently big enough for Octane to sit in. The energon on the Space Diner are orange wedges instead of purple cubes. A mutant variety? Um. On Cybertron, the Decepticons' lasers are colored gold/yellow instead of purple. The back of Starscream's legs are miscoloured as he creeps up behind Cyclonus. Silverbolt has four engines when they go after Cyclouns-Starscream's group. Oh, and Kup drives backwards when the Autobots counter attacks to rescue Octane. Galvatron is shown fighting off the large group of Autobots, but next thing we know, he has escaped (albeit barely injured), heading back to Chaar. In several shots in Chaar, Cyclonus/Starscream and Octane mouth each other's dialogues.

Transformers featured: Junkions, Octane, Galvatron, Sandstorm, Onslaught, Blast Off, Brawl, Scourge, Sweeps, Cyclonus, Starscream's ghost, Kup, Rodimus Prime, Ultra Magnus, Silverbolt, Air Raid, Fireflight, Skydive, Slingshot, Perceptor
Notable Others: Skuxxoid Mercenary

Review: A nice episode, although the first few minutes are too fast-paced. Even if you hate Starscream, his best episodes are the ones where he is a ghost. While Octane hogs the spotlight (and I really wished that it was Blitzwing instead of Octane), it gives him and Sandstorm some much-needed characterization. It is also worth mentioning that the Autobots seem more 'gray' in this episode than usual. Octane, instead of being welcomed into Autobot ranks with open arms (like the offer given to Blitzwing), is thrown aside scavenging garbage. Roddy Prime also makes a deal with the lesser evil to kill Galvatron, yet another example of Season three's darker writing. Dark, yes. But with very light-hearted humour thrown in. The Sweeps are given sweet dialogue this episode, and the Skuxxoid had some hilarious attempts at killing the duo. Even if you don't like Starscream, the episode is okay. Points, however, must be lost for the unresolved ending about Octane and the fast initial pacing. Anyways, this is one of the better episodes.


“Thief in the Night”

Japan Title: “Metroflex versus Dinosaurer” (Metroplex and Trypticon's Japanese names)
US Airdate: 10-6-86
Credited Writer: Paul Davids

Synopsis: Rodimus Prime and several other Autobots are watching the video of Metroplex's previous battle with Trypticon. When asked, Teletraan II claims that Trypticon survived the encounter. Broadside and Seaspray are dispatched to the site where Trypticon was apparently destroyed to investigate, and find out that the Decepticon had indeed survived, and had traveled underwater.

Meanwhile, the Decepticon Octane is nursing Trypticon back to health, using Energon made from the oil from the nation of Carbombya, where the two work as overzealous coastal guards. Octane is planning to overthrow Galvatron with the help of Trypticon. Meanwhile, Abdul Fakkadi is furious with Trypticon's over-consumption of oil. Fakkadi demands the Decepticons to leave, threatening to call the Autobots. Octane offers to bring Fakkadi gold in exchange for their stay, but Fakkadi states that it would take all the gold of the United States to allow them to stay. Octane, being literal, gets Trypticon to steal Fort Knox.

Fakkadi agrees to allow the Decepticons to remain in Carbombya 'until the next crescent moon', and Trypticon is put under strict watch of one thousand barrels a day. Octane declares that Trypticon will starve. Meanwhile, the Autobots investigate the disappearance of Fort Knox. Perceptor and Grimlock find energon cubes which have 'Dinosaur Transform Static' in it. Grimlock suspects that one of his Dinobots might be involved, and Metroplex decides to round them up. Meanwhile, Trypticon steals the Taj Mahal for Fakkadi, who is pleased to have monuments for the tourist attraction.

However, Galvatron and his troops arrives to track down Trypticon and to punish the traitor Octane. Octane claims that he brought Trypticon to Carbombya to help him get better with better energon made from Camborbyan oil, and gives Galvatron a sample. The Decepticon leader finds that it actually is better than normal energon. Meanwhile, Slammer, Six-Gun and Scamper are interrogating the Dinobots and a nonplussed Sky Lynx. Perceptor runs in saying that the Energon Grimlock found was made with Carbombyan oil, and he concludes that Trypticon is responsible for the thefts.

Broadside takes the Aerialbots to investigate, and sees Trypticon rising from the sea with the Eiffel Tower. Galvatron and Octane are explaining to a reluctant Fakkadi that the Decepticons will supply Carbombya with more buildings in exchange for the oil fields. Trypticon and the Decepticons drive away the Aerialbots relatively easily. However, they managed to learn that Trypticon is intending to take the Kremlin in Moscow. The Autobots lie in wait for Trypticon in Moscow, who arrives and steals the Kremlin. Metroplex, delayed by some weather in Siberia, arrives late, but is able scare Trypticon off. Trypticon beats a hasty retreat, throwing the Kremlin into Metroplex's hands. The Soviet and India governments blame Metroplex for the thefts instead of Trypticon.

At Carbombya, Fakkadi is recording a message to send to the Autobots, authorizing them to invade Carbombya and attack the Decepticons. Galvatron discovers the plan and locks up the dictator. However, as the Decepticons prepare to produce more 'Super Energon', as they call it, an army of Autobots arrive to fight off the Decepticons. A battle ensues, ending with Metroplex throwing Trypticon into the ocean. Again. Without Trypticon, Galvatron orders the Decepticons to retreat. Metroplex returns the monuments, clearing the Autobots' name. Fakkadi swears over the camels of his mother that he will never ally with the Decepticons again.

Notes: This episode, due to the stereotypical portrayal of Abdul Fakkadi as an Arab villain, leads to voice actor Casey Kasem (voice of Teletraan I, Dr Archeville, Cliffjumper and Bluestreak), who is of Lebanese birth, to leave cast the Transformers. Meanwhile, the voice actor-less Teletraan I appears to have been destroyed in Five Faces of Darkness, and is replaced by Teletraan II. Trypticon had been taken to Dinobot Island in an attempt to help him recover before Octane takes him to Carmborbya. Trypticon is the source of all the world energy crisis. I mean, look at the amount of oil he drinks! (Fifty energon cubes per hour, with a hundred barrels per cube, according to Fakkadi.) We last see Abdul Fakkadi in 'Five Faces of Darkness', where Blaster and Outback were looking for Decepticons. This episode marks the only appearance of Six-Gun in the cartoon. The population of Carmbobya is 2000 humans and 10000 camels according to a signpost.

Errors: Nobody (other than the people immediately in the vicinity of the building) notices a giant big lummox of a Decepticon coming and stealing entire buildings? And the captain of the ships never reported being shelled by Camborbyan troops? And the Autobots are all idiots. And come on, taken by a dim-witted Decepticon halfway round the world, and none of the buildings are damaged? Ripping a building out like that should have ripped the support beams and whatnot apart. They discover the dinosaur transform plot device, and instead of blaming Trypticon, who they established to have been alive moments ago, they blame some of their best warriors. Sky Lynx's lower part is miscoloured almost for the entire episode. When the Autobots are shown firing after Trypticon is hurled into the ocean, there are two Rodimuses, two Perceptors, and two Blurrs. Despite the dialogue, the building Trypticon attempts to steal from Moscow is not the Kremlin but resembles the Saint Basil's Cathedral. It's pretty unbelievable, with so many witnesses in Moscow, that the people mistook Trypticon for Metroplex. This episode is actually set before "Starscream's Ghost", but aired later. Also, isn't Ramjet and Dirge are supposed to be dead? Twice? Not to mention Dirge's miscoloured as a wingless Beachcomber in the intro shot.

Transformers featured: Trypticon, Metroplex, Rodimus Prime, Fireflight, Skydive, Air Raid, Rodimus Prime, Perceptor, Slingshot, Grimlock, Silverbolt, Broadside, Seaspray, Octane, Sandstorm, Galvatron, Cyclonus, Blast Off, Ramjet, Dirge, Thrust, Slammer, Six-Gun, Scamper, Slag, Sludge, Snarl, Swoop, Sky Lynx, Springer (maybe), Scourge, Wheelie, Blurr, Ultra Magnus, the Sweeps
Notable Others: Abdul Fakkadi

Review: There are some precious scenes in this episode. Octane's bargaining posture; Sky Lynx being interrogated; the utter daftness of Trypticon stealing world landmarks... Even the battle between Metroplex and Trypticon is still watchable without your eyes going sore. The animation is okay as well, although Trypticon standing upright with disproportionate legs look stupid. The story, however, is just plain dumb. I mean, stealing monuments? In the middle of the night? Without noise? That's a bit far fetched, even in G1 cartoon standards. Still, there are moments for Octane and Trypticon here, as well as some memorable lines. Not the best that season three has to offer, but by far not the worst.


“Forever is a Long Time Coming”

Japan Title: “Time Trap”
US Airdate: 10-8-86
Credited Writers: Gerry Conway and Carla Conway

Synopsis: Perceptor, Wreck-Gar, Blurr and Blaster are investigating chronal pulses coming from an asteroid belt, when they are attacked by Sharkticons, which come from a bowl-shaped asteroid, the source of the pulses. The Autobots destroy the Sharkticons. Blaster radios Rodimus to send reinforcements. The Autobots land on the asteroid just in time to see a Quintesson scientist, Inquirata, open a time portal to 11 million years in the past to retrieve a target subject. Meanwhile, the rest of the Autobots enter the portal to escape the Quintesson warships firing on them. The time portal fades out, stranding the Autobots in the past. Stray shots from the Quintesson ship hit the portal before Superion and Rodimus Prime arrives and drives them away. All of a sudden a figure suddenly materializes.

Meanwhile, eleven million years ago, the Autobots there encounter a Dark Guardian, and Rewind realises that they're stranded in the past. They are \rescued by a female transformer, Beta, who tells the others to follow her before the Quintessons send reinforcements. She requests for Blaster and co's help in attacking Hive City. Beta explains that the Autobot insignia is actually the mark of slavery given to them by the Quints, but A3, their current leader of sorts, feels that it must become a symbol of freedom. Beta explains that A3 has a Coda Remote device to freeze the Dark Guardians, allowing the slaves to rise against the Quintessons. Rewind finally realises they are in Cybertron's past, when the Transformers were still slaves for the Quintessons, and the Quintessons' plan is to stop the rebellion in the past. Even without A3, the Autobots and rebels still plan to attack at dawn.

Back in 2006, the time window is creating ripples in the timestream. Rodimus refuses to shut the window down as there are Autobots are stuck in the past. Inquirata fear that if the time window isn't closed within the next hour, the ripples will travel through the universe, wreaking havoc with reality. Even as they speak, some events are happening in the wrong order they're supposed to happen. The Quintessons then begin an assault to destroy the Time Window.

A3 has finally revived in 2006, but refuses to give information to Quintesson slaves like the Autobots. However, before they could speak further, the Quintessons attack. The other Autobots defend the time portal. A3 is blasted away from the asteroid and tumbles through space before being saved by Superion. During the battle, the chronal energies turn A3 into his future self, Alpha Trion (and back again to A3), and causes Superion to be in two places at the same time. The Quintessons, afraid of the chronal energies, retreat. Space and time gets more distorted as the sky literally tears apart. Rodimus orders Pipes to repair the damaged Perceptor so that they can figure out what's going on.

In the past, the rebels, as well as Blaster's group, battle the Dark Guardians. In the present, Inquirata calls the Autobots, imploring them to close the Time Window before space and time cease to exist. In the past, the Autobots and rebels take down lots of Dark Guardians and the raid is apparently successful. Suddenly, a Quintesson judge demands them to surrender, stating that he had been amused enough, and more Dark Guardians surround the rebellion.

In the present, Inquirata convinces Rodimus to close the time window, but A3 volunteers to go through the time portal to retrieve the time-displaced Autobots. A3 lands at the raid when the Quintesson orders the Guardians to attack. A3 removes the golden Autobot symbol on his chest, which is the Coda Remote in disguise, and disables the Dark Guardians. A3 then orders the Autobots to return to the present, thanking them for their help. The Autobots return to 2006 just in time for Rodimus to close the time window.

As the day is saved, the Autobots finally realize that A3 was Alpha Trion, as a constellation forms with his likeness.

Notes: The Quintesson scientist is named 'Inquirata' in the script, but not in the episode itself. Rewind calls Beta by her name although she never mentioned it. Then again, given Rewind’s penchant for having endless amounts of useless trivia… Wreck-Gar quotes TV shows as usual. It's worth noting that Ramhorn actually speaks a lot in this episode, despite being an animal Cassette. This is one of the few episode does not feature the Decepticons. In the script, the Quintesson Scientist is named Inquirata, but was never referred to by name on screen. Alpha Trion becoming a constellation image mirrors that of Optimus Prime in ‘Dark Awakening.’ So the Aerialbots save A3, to whom the Aerialbots would previously (or later, depending on your point of view) bring Orion Pax, causing A3/Alpha Trion to rebuild him into Optimus Prime, who would ask for the Aerialbots to be built. For the Aerialbots to be built, Alpha Trion sacrifices his life for the Aerialbots, who saved his life 11 million years earlier. Or a few years later. Well, give or take.

Errors: The Autobots are seen leaving Cybertron twice in a row. Wreck-Gar blocking the Sharkticon laser blast with his shield is shown out of sequence. The Autobots fly towards the time window, but they are never shown flying INTO the window. Perceptor is seen in the place of Superion when the rescue party arrives to rescue Perceptor. As the Autobots come under attack from the Dark Guardian, Rewind points and his mouthplate moves, but he doesn’t say anything. When Blaster ejects Rewind, his tape door opens sideways. During the time-flux thing, Wheelie and Jazz are out of scale. When the Quintessons instructs the Sharkticons to attack the Autobots, the background alternates between deep space and Quintesson ship. Wheelie is glimpsed with Blaster's group, replacing Rewind, when they're sneaking up to the Dark Guardians. The Dark Guardian that got slammed by Ramhorn is tiny, or Ramhorn is huge. When A3 returns to the past, the Autobots are on a completely different setting, and the Dark Guardians are absent. The time anomalies makes my head hurt.

Transformers featured: Perceptor, Wreck-Gar, Blurr, Blaster, Rewing, Sharkticons, Allicons, Ramhorn, Superion, Rodimus Prime, Silverbolt, Air Raid, Slingshot, Skydive, A3/Alpha Trion, Dark Guardians, Beta, Kup, Pipes, Bumblebee, Jazz, Swerve, Springer, Wheelie, Cyclonus (simulation)

Notable Others: Inquirata, Quintessons, Marissa

Review: A brave stab at time travel and introduction of the Quintesson/Transformer history, but the execution of this idea reeks of War Dawn. The reuse of the Aerialbots in particular seems redundant when there are other Autobots who needed screentime desperately (the Protectobots or the new Minibots, for example). The errors in this episode are numerous, and the animation is mediocre at best. However, there are good character moments, especially for the Autobot cassettes. Rewind and Ramhorn, to name two of the stars of this episode. Beta is also an interesting character, surprisingly. It builds up on what we have seen in Five Faces of Darkness, and offers insight to the Quintesson-controlled past. Not the best episode, but by far not the worst either.


“Surprise Party”

Japan Title: “Surprise Party”
US Airdate: 10-9-86
Credited Writers: Steve Mitchell & Barbara Petty

Synopsis: Spike and the Autobots throw a surprise birthday party for Daniel, but it is interrupted by an attack from the Combaticons. In the battle Ultra Magnus shields Wheelie from the crossfire. After blowing up some stuff, the Combaticons retreat. The attack was a meant by Galvatron to disrupt a peace conference to be hosted on Cybertron the next day.

Meanwhile, as a 'thank-you' gesture, Daniel and Wheelie decide to give Ultra Magnus a surprise party, but no one knows the date of his creation and it isn't recorded in the Hall of Records. An library drone tells them that the information must be stored on the 'lost Autobot storage asteroid.' Daniel and Wheelie steal a garbage ship (seriously) and head out to find the asteroid and the info. Unfortunately, Cyclonus happens to be watching and Galvatron orders the Decepticons to follow.

Flying headlong into an asteroid belt, Daniel and Wheelie crash on the asteroid that so coincidentally happens to be the asteroid they were looking for. While exploring they are attacked by flying metallic snake things, so the duo hide in a cave, which so coincidentally is the entrance to the archives. Inside, after Daniel inadvertedly gives a wrong file name, sentry robots attack them. They run away, smack into the metal snakes who attack Wheelie . Luckily for them, Scourge, Cyclonus and the Sweeps, blow the enemies, take the two hostage and interrogate them.

Cyclonus reprograms the asteroid into a collision course for Cybertron and then sends a message stating that he’s holding Daniel hostage. Ultra Magnus takes Sky Lynx to the asteroid, and the Sweeps attack. Magnus naturally makes short work of them, then runs after Cyclonus.

The two battle each other while Wheelie sneaks past them and presses the ever-present self-destruct button. Cyclonus and Scourge runs off and the Autobots and Daniel escape in Sky Lynx before the asteroid blows up.

Safe on Cybertron, Daniel explains how they got into this mess, looking for Ultra Magnus’ birthday. Spike suggests that they mark that day as Ultra Magnus’ birthday and everyone cheers.

Notes: This is Daniel and Wheelie's first team up. The space snakes seem to be leech-like, attaching themselves to Wheelie. Japan sources would later term them 'energon leeches'. Autobots have libraries on Cybertron, complete with an irritable librarian droid.

Errors: Swindle is mistakenly coloured green in a few shots, giving him a Hound-like appearance. Bruticus replaces Onslaught when the Decepticons retreat. Blaster's face is miscoloured in one scene. During Daniel and Wheelie's conversation with the librarian, Daniel mouths Wheelie's lines. Just before Ultra Magnus asks for Sky Lynx's help in finding Daniel, two Rodimuses can be seen. Sky Lynx has a red Decepticon logo during the battle with the alien snakes. The word "welcome" is spelt "wellcome". Wheelie activates the asteroid's "auto destrut sequences". And a whole lot of logic loopholes... How does Daniel breathe in that asteroid? It's so convenient that Cyclonus happens to be watching garbage ships, does it? It's again all too convenient that Wheelie and Daniel land on the correct asteroid, and then runs into the correct cave. Cyclonus actually leaves Daniel and Wheelie in a place where they can crawl out of. The data asteroid is supposed to be a database, and yet the librarians shoot people for wrong data inputs. And all-too-convenient, there's the self-destruct button.

Transformers featured: Warpath, First Aid, Rodimus Prime, Wheelie, Groove, Blades, Ultra Magnus, Galvatron, Scourge, Onslaught, Blast Off, Brawl, Swindle, Vortex, Cyclonus, Bruticus (see errors) Perceptor, Blaster, Sky Lynx

Notable Others: Daniel, Spike, random alien delegates, Archive Sentry Drones

Review: A pathetic 'filler' episode to spotlight Wheelie and Daniel. Other character spotlights like 'Chaos', 'Webworld' and 'the Killing Jar', while not perfect, are vastly superior to this episode. While I normally don't mind Wheelie (he's silly, but his being the worst transformer evar shtick has always been overrated) in this episode he's really driving me bollocks. And the logic loopholes and convenient MacGuffin, a.k.a. self-destruct button, are cheap shortcuts. Furthermore, the episode's plot is pathetic and way too childish, even for G1 standards. I mean, chasing birthdays? Come on! And the ending is lame.


“Madman's Paradise”

Japan Title: “Daniel in Wonderland”
US Airdate: 10-13-86
Credited Writer: Craig Rand

Synopsis: ts are hosting some sort of diplomatic event for a number of aliens, with Rodimus, Spike, and Carly introducing the guests. A colour-changing alien ambassador, Enara, compliments Spike and Carly's "post-embryonic spawn", but Daniel feels insulted. Spike tells Daniel that he can go off and play, but tells him to stay out of trouble and keep the tuxedo clean. Daniel is bored and goes off, thinking that there is no one to play with, no trouble that he can find. An apron-wearing Grimlock, hearing that, decides to give a help on that matter, and follows Daniel.

However, Grimlock does not know the place that they are milling around. Daniel kicks a piece of metallic trash that is lying around. It hits a panel in the wall, revealing a secret passage in the floor. Grimlock leans forward to see better, but predictably falls in, pulling Daniel in as well. Sliding down, they pass a crevice and enter a room covered in ancient symbols. Grimlock sees a dragon glyph and comments on how handsome it is (like him), and as he poses, his tail hits the symbol, causing the red circle on the centre of the room to glow, through which Daniel and Grimlock sink. Grimlock and Daniel find themselves somewhere, and someone in a castle, wearing a red cloak, is aware of their arrival.

Back at Cybertron, Carly looks for Daniel and asks Ultra Magnus and Blaster if they have seen him, at which point Enara tells them she saw Daniel walking away with a Dinobot. The prospect of Grimlock and Daniel together, unsupervised naturally causes everyone to freak out, but Rodimus says "Don't panic yet. Stay calm until we know what's going on. Then we'll panic." Prime sends Magnus, Blaster and Carly to search for them.

Elsewhere, Grimlock and Daniel come across some strange trees that ‘transform’ into centaur-like creatures. They demand to know who the two fight for, and Grimlock says nobody. The tree-centaurs decide to attack. Bad idea, as Grimlock proceeds to toss them around. To make a long story short, Grimlock beats up the centaurs until one freezes his leg. The man in red, impressed with Grimlock's power, waves a tentacle and sends a bolt of energy to attack the tree-centaurs.

He heads out, changing his tentacle into a hand, and welcomes them to Menonia, the realm they have entered. He offers an invitation from the Red Wizard (which is clearly the man himself). Taking them to the castle, the Red Wizard claims that the world was once ruled by the Golden One, a powerful sorcerer, but then the Golden One disappeared, and the Red Wizard took his place. However, evil rebels fought against the Red Wizard. He asks for Grimlock's help. While the two are talking, guards take Daniel, who is asleep, to somewhere more comfortable. Of course, it is the dungeon.

On Cybertron, Steeljaw has tracked down Grimlock and Daniel's scent, and discovered the room they were in. Rewind discovers that the writings on the wall are Quintesson inscriptions. The room was a banishment point for the Quintessons, where they would exile their own criminals to various dimensions for crimes. This must be before they got Sharkticons. Rewind concludes (without any reason) that the wayward duo is in Menonia, where Mara-Al-Utha was banished for practising sorcery. Perceptor activates the portal and stays behind to reopen it when they need it to be.

Meanwhile, Daniel wakes up, and sees an old man chained in the dungeon. The old man's face is similar to the Red Wizzy's. Using a lightsaber, Daniel frees the old man, who explains that the Red Wizard is evil and was the one who imprisoned the Golden One in a cave. The old man is the Golden One's pupil, and was impersonated by the Red Wizard. As he finishes the story, Golden One loyalists (not rebels after all) begin an attack on the castle, which freeing the two. Grimlock, having been duped, begins fighting off the loyalists. Daniel and the pupil head for the cave in which the Golden One was imprisoned.

Meanwhile the Autobots and Carly, having arrived in Menonia, head to assist Grimlock when they see the fighting. However, Carly and Steeljaw find a piece of Daniel’s tux. Steeljaw sniffs him out, reaching the cave. Daniel explains everything to Carly and the cassettes, but the Golden loyalists have are already been beaten back. Since they cannot move the stone and free the Golden One, the pupil prepares to give up.

At this point Ramhorn charges the rock, shattering it and freeing The Golden One. Exposed to sunlight, Goldie is free and reenergized. After the Autobots get told off by Daniel, they storm the castle. The Golden One's arrival causes the Red Wizard to reveal his true form, the Quintesson Mara-Al-Utha. Mara attacks and the Golden One is too weak to defend. He knows of counterspells that will stop Mara, but he needs them to be heard (uh, by who?). Blaster transforms into cassette player mode, and gives the Golden One a microphone. The Golden One speaks his counter spells, and Mara-Al-Utha is banished.

Notes: Grimlock wears an apron, which would later be included in the Masterpiece Grimlock toy. Oh, and there are no Decepticons featured in this episode. The Quintesson model is the same as the scientist shown in ‘The Killing Jar’.

Errors: Ancient Cybertronian is remarkably similar to ancient heiroglyphics. When Blaster ejects Rewind, the cavity behind his chest door is missing. Why Rewind’s guesses that Daniel and Grimlock are in Menonia is never explained. Perceptor's face is a wrong shade of gray for a couple of shots. Is Grimmy so stupid as to naively trust and fight the rebels? (Ah, wait, this is Grimlock.) Rewind and Eject appear in the same colours a couple of times. The lightsaber changes colour from red to blue at random. If it's magic, does the loudness in which the Golden One speaks his spells actually matter?

Transformers featured: Rodimus Prime, Ultra Magnus, Grimlock, Blaster, Ramhorn, Eject, Steeljaw, Rewind, Perceptor
Notable others: Spike, Daniel, Carly, The Red Wizard/Mara-Al-Utha (first and only appearance), The Pupil (first and only appearance), the Golden One (first and only appearance)

Review: A surprisingly error-free episode. This episode, like ‘Surprise Party’ highlights on Daniel’s freaky adventures, only this time he goes with Grimlock instead of Wheelie. It's a real shame that Season 3 Grimlock was downgraded into a brute comic relief, replacing his old rebellious streak, something that really shouldn't been done. Daniel isn't that obnoxious this episode, although still irritating. Rodimus and Grimlock's lines are hilarious. However, the whole magic and Golden One rubbish had sealed this episode into one of the worse episodes in G1.


“Carnage in C-Minor”

Japan Title: “The Challenge of the Planet of Music”
US Airdate: 10-14-86
Credited Writer: Buzz Dixon

Synopsis: Galvatron, Soundwave and the Constructicons attach a rocket to an asteroid, planning to send it on a collision course with Cybertron. A group of Autobots led by Ultra Magnus intercept, and a fight ensues. Broadside drops out of the sky in aircraft carrier mode to slam Devastator. The rocket is destroyed by a group of 'Autobots' (see Errors) but the comet still moves uncontrollably to a nearby planet, with the Autobots and Decepticons around it. Suddenly, a musical wave hits the asteroid and destroys it. The Autobots and Decepticons rumble on the planet, with Blaster and Soundwave commenting on the great harmonious melody.

Leaving the Constructicons to battle Perceptor and Hot Spot, Galvatron and Soundwave fly to the city. Ultra Magnus and Blaster hold on to Broadside as they also go to the city. In the city, apparently everything is based on melodies and songs, and the 'ultimate harmony' is created by Allegra, Basso Profundo and Zebop Scandana. (my, what weird names you have.) Allegra and Basso have a fight, and she leaves. Magnus' team arrives to warn Basso about the Decepticons, but Basso says anyone not satisfied with their culture can go like Allegra.

The Decepticons, spying on them, blast a bridge to bury the Autobots alive. Then they go to find Allegra on her isolated island retreat. The Autobots are revived by Basso and Zebop's combined melodies.

The Autobots race to rescue Allegra, but Allegra has been deceived into giving the Decepticons one third of the melody, which had been recorded by Soundwave. Allegra realises the Decepticons are evil but Galvy holds her prisoner. The Decepticons and the Autobots fight, but Soundwave's playback is too powerful for the Autobots. Zebop tries to use his part of the melody, but Soundwave records it and uses both recordings to bury the Autobots in a hole.

Galvatron prepares to kill Allegra, but Ultra Magnus and Broadside, rising from the crevice, stop him. Blaster fights Soundwave, but in the process Zebop is crushed by them. As the Decepticons retreat, Allegra heals Zebop.

Meanwhile, the Constructicons fight Superion and Defensor. As Galvatron and Soundwave arrives, Basso conveniently plays the third part, which knocks Defensor out. Soundwave records it and plays the whole harmony, defeating Perceptor and destroying part of the city. The Decepticons retreat, keen on killing Metroplex on Earth with the full harmony.

Magnus' team arrive, and makes things clear. The people heal Perceptor with music. Meanwhile Soundwave wreaks havoc on Metroplex with the melody. However, the Autobots, with Allegra, Zebop and Basso in tow, counterattack with anti-music, a.k.a. white noise. Blaster clashes with Soundwave, deleting the tape files in the process. The Decepticons retreat, and the Autobots teach the trio of aliens about harmony and all that stuff.

Notes: This is Broadside's first proper appearance, although his jet mode has appeared at the strangest places in some previous episodes. Broadside has two character models developed for him. Unlike other characters like Cyclonus or Kup, though, his two character models are distinct from each other. One is the visored one similar to the toy, while the one used in this episode (and all his Marvel comic appearances) has a face and different arrangement of kibble. Perceptor can defeat Devastator with one shot. Oh, trivia fans: the planet's name is Eurythman, according to TFWiki. I won't bother to edit everything.

Errors: Crap, where do I start? This episode is notorious for having the most errors, enough for a whole season. Okay, in the Autobot attack, Devastator is shown to be as tall as Soundwave. In the immediate next scene, the Constructicons were shown to combine to form Devastator. Transformers' heads are often drawn slightly larger than usual. Broadside and Superion are shown to be the same height as the other Autobots for a scene when they should tower over them. The three Autobots that destroy the rockets are: Huffer, Brawn and Bonecrusher. Huffer and Brawn are dead by this point, Bonecrusher's... switched sides? This is made worse by Bonecrusher having an Autobot insignia a scene earlier. Also, music can travel in space. When the Autobots are shooting the meteor, they look like they all have one leg and big heads. Despite being 'outnumbered', the only Autobots that stay constant are only Magnus, Broadside, Blaster, Perceptor and Hot Spot. Others randomly change from Grimlock, Superion (who appears and disappears as the story progresses), Groove and Defensor (who appears, disappears and switches place with Superion, though Hot Spot's still there). During the second scene when Devastator was formed, the animation was so messed up that it appears seven Constructicons formed him. Defensor appears for a scene beside... Hot Spot! Hot Spot also appears with Magnus' and Perceptor's team at random intervals. Soundwave and later Broadside have sported purple Autobot insignias. Blaster mouths Broadside's dialogue in one scene, while at another scene, Magnus mouths Blaster's. The Aerialbots combine into Superion to fight Devastator. A couple of scenes later, Defensor and Superion are present. After that, Superion goes AWOL. he height comparison between Soundwave and Galvatron varies throughout. Broadside's height ain't that constant either. Soundwave points out that Zebop is standing in the distance, while Galvatron says that he probably is with the Autobots. Yet, Ultra Magnus is standing nearly next to him. Lesson: Ultra Magnus can't take cover and Galvatron needs spectacles. Blaster mouths Ultra Magnus' dialogue on one point. Soundwave is shown with both groups at the same time. Magnus is able to scoop two Constructicons with his hands and clonk their heads together. He is big, but ain't that big. Soundwave conveniently has an 'erase button' within reach of any Autobot. Apparently the safest way for a human, and the Autobots, to ride Broadside is to hang on to his wings, instead of riding in the cockpit, defying all laws of physics. Even though Zebop and Blaster should fit in Broadside's cockpit) At times they even look like they are not hanging on. In one scene a tiny Blaster is flying on Sondwave's shoulder. Broadside's cockpit has enough air supply for three humans/aliens from another planet to Earth. Also, despite the aliens/humans speaking in English, albeit in a sing-song manner, everyone bar Soundwave and Blaster couldn't understand anything. And that is without considering the crap plot involving harmonies and singing maniacs.

Transformers featured: Galvatron, Soundwave, Bonecrusher, Ultra Magnus, Perceptor, Grimlock (one fleeting look), Devastator, Broadside, Brawn (see errors), Huffer (see errors), Bonecrusher, Blaster, Superion, Long Haul, Scrapper, Scavenger, Mixmaster, Hook, Hot Spot, Fireflight, Silverbolt, Skydive, Slingshot, Air Raid, Defensor, Groove, Scamper, Metroplex

Notable Others: Allegra, Basso and Zebop (first and only appearances for all three)

Review: A crappy plot, an error-filled episode, irritating singing dialogue... Despite having a promising start, with the nice action scenes, it all goes waaaaay downhill when they touchdown at the planet with unprounceable name. The singing talking definitely makes me appreciate Wheelie's rhymes or Blurr's speedy talk more. The animators always mix up the character models, and the plot device (three parts of music) is crap. It's also very convenient, isn't it, for Soundwave to have an erase button within reach? And they can't decide who exactly are among the Autobot team. The only redeeming quality is the scene where Broadside falls on Devastator. That is all.


“Fight or Flee”

Japan Title: “Fight or Death”
US Airdate: 10-15-86
Credited Writers: Tony Cinciripini and Larry Leahy

Synopsis: In space, Cyclonus and Scourge are chasing Air Raid. Following him into an asteroid field, the two Decepticons are ambushed by the other Aerialbots. In the ensuing battle, the Aerialbots form Superion and do a large amount damage to the Decepticons. Cyclonus spots a swirling vortex and decides to hide in it. Once they've passed through, they find a planet that looks similar to Cybertron. They crash-land on the planet.

When they woke up, Cyclonus and Scourge had been nursed to health by the natives. The planet, called Paradron, is inhabited by pacifistic Autobots. A native Autobot named Sandstorm greets the two Decepticons, explaining their pacifistic ways, but Cyclonus and Scourge observe that the planet has a seemingly unlimited supply of energon. Contacting Chaar, they inform Galvatron of the discovery. A suspicious Sandstorm calls a meeting, warning the population that Cyclonus and Scourge are dangerous, but the others ignore his warnings. Soon enough, the Decepticons arrive and declare the planet a part of the Decepticon Empire. Naturally, the Paradrons don't agree with that, one claiming outright that the planet is a democracy. Galvatron kills the rioter.

Taken to a concentration camp of sorts, Sandstorm manages to escape. Decepticons Brawl and Razorclaw follow him and manage to knock him off a bridge, but Sandstorm flies away and manages to lose the two Decepticons. Heading for a long-abandoned spaceship, Sandstorm manages to power it up and take off, narrowly avoiding Divebomb.

Making contact with the Autobots on Cybertron, Sandstorm explains that his ancestors left Cybertron during the fourth great war to escape the violence. The Autobots, knowing that they can't let the Decepticons have Paradron's energon nor allow the Decepticons to enslave Paradron, head for the planet. By now, the Decepticons have dug in and are using the Paradron natives as slave labor. Detecting the Autobot ship, the Decepticons destroy the Autobot shuttle and believe them destroyed. However, it's just a ruse by the Autobots. Ultra Magnus takes a team to secure the energon, while Rodimus Prime takes Springer, Sandstorm, and Sky Lynx to rescue the prisoners.

Breaking through the prison defenses, the Autobots present the Paradrons with weapons, but the Paradrons are reluctant to fight. Sandstorm claims that their ancestors would fight as well. The frank Rodimus gives them a simpler choice: fight or flee. Reluctantly, the Paradrons take up arms.

Unfortunately, the Decepticons' control over the planet is too firm. Unwilling to let them have Paradron, Rodimus orders Ultra Magnus to destroy the energon core, which will destroy the planet. Sandstorm objects at first, but agrees to the plan when he learns that the Paradrons can live on Cybertron. Using escape pods, the Paradrons flee the planet, while Magnus and Sandstorm head for the core. Planting a time bomb, the two Autobots hightail it out of there. Galvatron sneers at their cowardice, then remembers that Magnus is anything but a coward. Realizing that something is wrong, Galvatron orders the Decepticons to abandon the planet.

From space, the Autobots watch the planet explode. Sandstorm remarks that even in death, it's still beautiful. Rodimus says that Cybertron is better anyway.

Notes: (Well, other than characters like Shrapnel, Ironhide and Ratchet seemingly back from the dead...) Blitzwing is seemingly accepted back into the Decepticons since the events of 'Five Faces of Darkness', and was seen among Galvatron's troops. Paradron would appear again in Dreamwave's comics. The Paradron Medics are basically Arcee painted green. Divebomb has camera in his eagle mode forehead, a la Laserbeak.<

Errors: Although this episode gives Sandstorm's origin, he had appeared in the earlier episode 'Starscream's Ghost'. It appears to be a mis-numbering of episodes. When Cyclonus and Scourge contacts Chaar, Soundwave and Bonecrusher are seen, but the voice is Shrapnel's voice and even has Shrapnel's unique repetition, repetition. It's entirely possible that he's offscreen, but he's supposed to be dead by then. Sandstorm's size is inconsistent throughout the episode. At times, he's huge. Then he's half the size of Ultra Magnus, yet in the next scene he's the same height with him. Superion is drawn in the same size with Cyclonus and Scourge in several shots. In various shots, the Paradron natives change their colour schemes from being all-white into more colourful. As Cyclonus drinks from the Energon fountain, Cyclonus is coloured like Sandstorm, while Sandstorm is block-coloured orange. When Cyclonus notes that the Paradrons are not armed, the Decepticon insignia on his chest is missing. When Scourge and Cyclonus plot, Scourge suddenly becomes shorter than Cyclonus. Bruticus, like Superion, is also shrank down to be slightly taller than Galvatron. Bruticus also talks in full sentences in this episode. When Rodimus says "Fight or flee", the other Paradrons kneel to pick weapons off the floor... which aren't there. Long Haul is coloured blue and orange for one shot. Galvatron's cannon is white in one scene. Brawl could be seen helping Headstrong with a cannon although Bruticus stands nearby. Sandstorm says that Paradrons left Cybertron during the fourth great war, although this war is the Third Great War.

Transformers featured: Cyclonus, Scourge, Air Raid, Slingshot, Fireflight, Silverbolt, Skydive, Superion, Sandstorm, Paradron Citizens, Paradron Medics, Bonecrusher, Soundwave, Shrapnel's voice (see errors), Galvatron, Long Haul, Brawl, Razorclaw, Divebomb, Bruticus, Astrotrain, Hook, Blitzwing, Blurr, Rodimus Prime, Springer, Kup, Ultra Magnus, Wheelie, Sky Lynx, Headstrong, Blitzwing (see errors), Swindle, Blast Off, Onslaught, Vortex, Sweeps, Tantrum, Scrapper, Mixmaster

Review: Surprisingly dark, and it benefits from it. Sandstorm, Scourge, Ultra Magnus, Rodimus and Cyclonus are nicely spotlighted in this episode. It has a more mature and darker mood, with Rodimus' act to sacrifice an entire planet being the highlight of the episode. A rather surprising ending. While some people criticize Rodimus Prime because of this, it makes this episode stand heads and shoulders over other kiddy G1 episodes. Never cared much for Rodimus Prime until this episode. From the ultimatum of 'Fight or Flee', to his blowing up of Paradron, to him rebuking Sandstorm with a deadpan 'Cybertron is nicer'... That is totally unexpected. This gives an all new 'gray' area amongst the Autobots. Ultra Magnus also delivers a particularly cool line ("I've never seen anything this beautiful in the entire galaxy.... All right, give me the bomb"). I could see Rodimus and Magnus doing that, since the planet was empty. The Decepticons were golden as well, and we see a more war-like insight to them. Instead of creating cannons, they're now conquering planets and enslaving citizens. Highly recommended.



Japan Title: “The Planet of the Web”
US Airdate: 10-20-86
Credited Writers: Len Wein and Diane Duane

Synopsis: Galvatron leads Cyclonus, Soundwave, Scourge and the Sweeps to an asteroid belt, searching for a material known as isodrite. As Galvatron monologues about crushing his enemies, his insanity became more apparent. Soundwave ejects Ratbat, who finds Autobots mining the isodrite. A battle ensues, during which Galvatron, in insanity, beats up his own troops. To sum it up in the words of Perceptor: “Remarkable. Galvatron is doing most of the work for us.” The Autobots make a clean getaway aboard Sky Lynx.

Back on Chaar, Motormaster and Swindle (and apparently Laserbeak as well), complain to Cyclonus, asking him to do something about Galvatron's madness, or they will think of choosing a new leader. As Cyclonus ponders what to do, a hologram of a Quintesson appears, and advises him that there are places which specialize in repairing damaged minds, such as the planet Torkulon. Cyclonus naively believes the Quintesson, and begins making plans to make Galvy to go to Torkulon. Meanwhile, the Quintessons discuss among themselves that they would not have to deal with the most unpredictable of the transformers.

Cyclonus informs Galvatron that the Autobots are resting on Torkulon after their recent battle. Predictably, Galvatron orders an assault on Torkulon, accompanied with Cyclonus, Scourge and a couple of Sweeps. Upon landing, Galvatron threatens several aliens caged in webs, demanding that they tell him where Ultra Magnus is. The aliens answer with insane replies. “Mommy!”, “I have no head.” etc. The Torkulons, monkey-like beings, arrive shortly. When Galvatron refuses their orders to restrain himself, they restrain him. Galvatron quickly realises Cyclonus has fooled him. Galvatron is carried away to begin his therapy, while Cyclonus fills out paperwork. (and proceeds to rip it up. Jerk.)

As the therapy proceeds, Scourge protests but Cyclonus tells him to give it a chance. The Torkulons are unsuccessful in trying to get Galvatron to talk about his problems, since he answers with “Kill… Smash… Destroy! Rend… Mangle… Distort!” Then they try to get Galvatron to rebuild his scarred psyche by building things. Predictably, he builds a gun and blasts the Torkulon. Finally they attempt "exo-drama" where patients act out their problems. A bouncing alien shrieking at Galvatron finally causes him to snap, as he shouts "I'll give you something to scream about!!" Galvatron becomes immune to the Torkulons’ restraints. The Torkulons use more webbing on him and use their last resort, the Alya solution.

The therapists reveal that Torkulon is a living planet, and can manifest itself in the form of insectoids that consume the damaged and crazed parts of an unrepairable psyche. This treatment, however, will in effect leave Galvatron mindless. Cyclonus and Scourge protest and demand Galvatron's release, but they are also restrained by the Torkulons.

The Alya begin to feed on Galvatron's mind. Cyclonus and Scourge also protest at their leader’s torture, but suddenly something goes wrong. Galvatron’s insanity proves too much for the planet, and causes it to malfunction. In the chaos, the Decepticons are freed from the planet's grasp. After beating up Cyclonus a little for getting him in this mess, Galvatron blasts his way to the ‘centre of the planet’, having seen its mind while it was inside his. The planet’s attempts to restrain him are futile as Galvatron blasts his way through to its living-computer core. Several cannon mode blasts render the entire planet inoperable. Galvatron says he will now destroy whatever is left, and warns Cyclonus against stopping him.

After the planet and the therapists are “devastated with precision and care”, Galvatron gloats over its beauty, seeming to be just a little more sane. At least until Cyclonus informs Galvatron that it will take the Torkulons centuries to rebuild. Galvatron decides his work of destruction isn't done if it's going to take only centuries, but the weary Cyclonus suggests that the Autobots are a bigger threat. Galvatron remembers Ultra Magnus and the Decepticons leave the planet in search of the Autobots.

Notes: This is Laserbeak's final appearance in the G1 cartoon. Walking, no less. The tests done on Torkulon are parodies of actual psychological methods. (Although as far as I know Earthen psychologists don't use giant bugs or webs). The therapist confirms that Galvatron's descent to madness is caused by the plasma bath in FFOD, or possibly Unicron's reformat of him. Regardless, he's batshit insane now.

Errors: Soundwave speaks without the monotone sound effect, so he's Dr Claw for the entire episode. After arriving in the battlefield Soundwave promptly disappears. During the battle the Decepticons' and Autobots' laser colours are switched. Swindle appears among the retreating Decepticons despite not being there earlier. Cyclonus has an Autobot insignia on him at one point. The relative number of Sweeps at Torkulon changes from only Scourge to up to three Sweeps along with him.

Transformers featured: Galvatron, Soundwave, Cyclonus, Scourge, Sweeps, Ratbat, Perceptor, Springer, Ultra Magnus, Sludge, Sky Lynx, Swindle, Motormaster, Laserbeak

Notable Others: Torkulon

Review: One of my favourite episodes of Season 3. For one, it focuses on the villains. Hey, I am a sucker for Decepticons. The Autobot/Decepticon battle is only an excuse for Galvatron to display more insanity and for the Autobots to say some good lines. Cyclonus and Galvatron are well-defined, Galvatron's insanity is apparent, and Cyc's concern for Galvy (as well as his naiviety) is well executed. Scourge's more suspicious nature is a nice contrast to Cyclonus' single-mindedness as well. Motormaster and Swindle are good choices for those not satisfied with Galvatron's rule. The scenes in Torkulon are funny, yet there is brutality. Everybody, even the physicians, deliver memorable lines. Webworld confirms that Galvy and Megs are two different characters (Galvy loves to go BWAAAAAA for one thing). It seems that in the end of the episode Galvy nearly kills everybody, a rare situation in the G1 episodes. This excellent episode is a wonderful spotlight for Galvatron and Cyclonus. Was it any wonder that it's one of the 25 Greatest Moments in Transformer History?



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