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EPISODE 3:
CONQUEST OF EARTH

ORIGINAL AIRDATE:
10/09/1984
WRITERS:
Alan Burnett, Jeff Segal and Tom Ruegger
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SYNOPSIS

What use is this ghoul?Cy-Kill heads to the NORAD base at Cheyenne Mountain to undertake the next stage of his plan for world domination. Meanwhile, Leader-1 is able to use his forcefield to shield Turbo and the humans from the Sorium until Scooter arrives and saves them in the Command Center. They take Crasher and a bemused Anya with them as well. Cy-Kill summons Geeper-Creeper from Gobotron to sneak Braxis into Cheyenne Mountain. Aboard the Command Center, the Guardians interrogate Crasher, work out where he's heading and give chase. Matt calls ahead to try and warn the base staff, but Braxis is already inside and fiddling with NORAD's satellite network, also letting Cop-Tur and Cy-Kill inside.

In Soviet Russia, Gobot drives you!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.


NOTES

Freak out!This 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).


TRIVIA

I'm sure that's based on sound scientific principlesGobots Featured: Cy-Kill, Cop-Tur, Scooter, Leader-1, Turbo, Crasher, Geeper-Creeper.

Humans Featured: Nick, Matt, 'AJ', Doctor Braxis, Anya.

Others Featured:
Zod.

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.


REVIEW:

Christ, that's nearly dynamicStill 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.