CONQUEST OF EARTH
ORIGINAL AIRDATE: 10/09/1984
WRITERS: Alan Burnett, Jeff Segal and Tom Ruegger
The Command Center arrives outside the mountain, Matt and Anya heading off to try and warn NORAD. Cy-Kill already has the personnel subdued and working for him though. Matt and Anya are captured, and Cy-Kill tests his new pulsar generator on them, taking over their minds and those of everyone in the base - except Braxis, who has rigged himself a frequency neutraliser gadget. The signal even reaches Nick and AJ. Nick releases Crasher from her cell on the Command Center, and she takes over the vessel. She uses it to attack the Guardians. AJ runs off, while Cop-Tur, Geeper-Creeper and some army tanks arrive and also attack. Braxis boosts the generator through the network satellite, extending control to the whole world. Leader-1 covers Turbo and Scooter's escape, but is shot down and captured by the Renegades.
episode is the third of a five-part mini-series - effectively a pilot
for the Challenge of the Gobots series, though in practice it was simply
broadcast in five parts at the start of the series' syndicated run. The
whole five-parter was released in compilation form (with the intervening
credits and recaps removed) on VHS, simply titled Gobots. This was released
on Vision Video Limited's Kideo Video label on both sides of the Atlantic,
with promotional art of Baron Von Joy (who wasn't in it) slapped on the
front. I'm working from this release for the reviews, and while the fades
are left in, I've had to go with best guesses for where one episode ends
and another starts - feel free to contact
me if I've made an error with this. The whole mini-series is often
referred to simply by the title of the first episode - "The Battle
for Gobotron" (which is also the onscreen title on the video compilation).
The Command Center has a tractor beam. Crasher used to participate in demolition derbies on Gobotron - she refers to these as the good old days... Christ, if she enjoyed those more God knows how much she cackled back then. She used to have a crush on Leader-1 at the time, and still tries to talk him over to the Renegades. What a dirty old slapper. Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado really was a NORAD HQ at the time, a weird touch of realism. Anya is, obviously, a Communist. Geeper-Creeper can project a disabling ray from his optics, while Cop-Tur also has a tractor beam (which makes you wonder even more about his hollow chest from episode 1).
Featured: Cy-Kill, Cop-Tur, Scooter, Leader-1, Turbo, Crasher, Geeper-Creeper.
Particularly Glaring Errors: The Guardians interrogate Crasher with a mind probe? Sensible, to the point and effective, but not exactly good guy stuff, is it? The signs outside Cheyenne Mountain all say 'Keep Off' rather than the more logical 'Keep Out'. Leader-1 orders Anya along to corroborate Matt's story - but why is anyone going to believe a weird Soviet scientist when they won't believe a US of A astronaut type? The Guardians didn't bother taking out Crasher's power chip thing for her Footstompin' electro attack thing? That was careless... And is that meant to be Big Ben in the 'taking over the world' bit? Did Hanna-Barbera really not know what the thing looked like?
Moments of Actual Quality: More nice painted backgrounds - some aren't even spoiled by having animation (and I use the term in its' broadest sense) layered on top. That said, there is something very neat about Geeper-Creeper. Maybe it's the way he obviously hates Braxis. Minor kudos to Bernard Erhart for somehow just about managing to pull off the line "The science of Gobotron would appear as magic to you Earthlings".
Unintentional Hilarity: Anya is actually funny simply because the character's such a racist stereotype. It's so amazing that this was genuinely thought to be okay for a kids' show in the 1980s you have to laugh... "Who are you kalling a spy, kapitalist dog?", "Nyet! I can talk the English good!" - it's all super-offensive gold. There's the first of several drugged out AJ moments as well.
Still very, very boring. Anya provides the best bits - yes, the best bits are the ones suggesting behind the Iron Curtain even scientists are loudmouthed morons. Geeper-Creeper provides a bit of variety, but Braxis is still very annoying and the rest aren't much better.
Add in a crazy plot device from Cy-Kill and a ludicrous jolting narrative and you're left with an episode that's about 90% padding with characters making all sorts of random decisions just to keep what there is of the plot moving.