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EPISODE 4:
EARTHBOUND

ORIGINAL AIRDATE:
11/09/1984
WRITERS:
Alan Burnett, Jeff Segal and Tom Ruegger
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SYNOPSIS

Chuck another Leader-1 on the barbieCy-Kill orders Leader-1 to be imprisoned instead of killed for nebulous archenemy reasons. Geeper-Creeper returns to Gobotron when the Astro-Beam's effects war off, but as Cy-Kill has the entire population of Earth under his control, it's not a big problem. He continues to hunt for Turbo and Scooter. Pursued by cops and hicks for weeks, the pair finally find some shelter in a barn. Fed up with the blundering humans, Crasher plans to use Nick and AJ as bait to lure the Guardians out of hiding. However, Scooter uses his hologram generator to trick Crasher into thinking he's Cy-Kill, and the Guardians free the pair. Turbo and Scooter take shelter in a deserted city, hoping to find a way of breaking the pulsar generator's hold over their friends. Cy-Kill has Earth's population building a vast army of Zods, but the Guardians are spotted by a patrolling jet fighter. Cy-Kill summons Tank from Gobotron to deal with them.

He'd probably still missCop-Tur and Tank soon arrive in the city with a massive force of human-crewed helicopters (including one piloted by Matt) and tanks. However, Scooter has already devised frequency neutralisers for Nick and AJ, and the four are able to escape into the subway. Along the way, they recapture and deprogram Matt. The Renegades believe their attack to be a success, giving the Guardians some breathing space. Their Gobotron-based comrades are doing much better, and the siege of the Renegade fortress is going well. However, Tank returns and informs Fitor of Cy-Kill's success on Earth. Cy-Kill has also managed to probe Leader-1's mind for the secrets of the Guardians' resources on Gobotron, and has Braxis program the Zod armada to attack their bases. Turbo and company have escaped the city and end up at a Zod factory, finding Anya there. Just then Cy-Kill arrives in the Command Center. Turbo creates a distraction, allowing Scooter and the humans to get back onboard their ship. Matt is able to get a neutraliser into Anya along the way. However, Cy-Kill returns to the Command Center before they can free Leader-1. The Renegade flies to ship to a scrapyard, and drops Leader-1 overboard, where a Zod is waiting to eat him.


NOTES

Staks' moment of glory, soundly defeating a doorThis episode is the fourth 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).

Tank is huge in, erm, tank mode - taller than Cy-Kill's robot form. He's initially enormous in robot mode as well, but quickly shrinks to being just a shade taller than most other Gobots. He can fire guidable laser beams. Staks' guns can function as a precision laser cutter.


TRIVIA

"The Guardians are here? If only two of us weren't standing around chatting!"Gobots Featured: Cy-Kill, Cop-Tur, Leader-1, Crasher, Geeper-Creeper, Turbo, Scooter, Tank, BuggyMan, Fitor, Staks, Screw Head, Loco, Path Finder, Hans-Cuff.

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

Others Featured:
Zod.

Particularly Glaring Errors: Leader-1 picks up some battle damage that wasn't there last episode (this is very obvious on the video edit, where the end of the previous installment fades straight into the start of this one). Scooter claims he and Turbo have been on the run for weeks, yet when we catch up with the action on Gobotron, little has changed - has the obviously uneven battle gone on for that long? Cheyenne Mountain's had its' entrance signs redone, but this time they proclaim the base to be 'Gomerment property'. Oh dear. What the Hell is up with Leader-1's face when Cy-Kill gloats about the Zods? He looks like he's going to cry... Matt survives a fall from a helicopter without ill-effect. There's a very fudged bit of animation when Cy-Kill passes the results of Leader-1's interrogation to Braxis - in Cy-Kill's hands, whatever he's holding is about the proportional size of a piece of A4 paper... he passes it to Braxis, and it's about the size of a piece of A4 paper in his much smaller hands.

Moments of Actual Quality: Nick and AJ standing there massively while Cop-Tur prepares to slice them up is actually a little chilling. To be fair, while the pulsar generator is a Macguffin, the concept of two Guardians (well, one Guardian and Scooter) versus an entire planet has merit, it's just a shame it's handled with a near-total lack of panache. Crasher toppling all the Zods over domino-style is great, though.

Unintentional Hilarity: Got to love those low steady mind-control monotones. Or not, as the case may be. Turbo stores Nick and AJ in his chest upside-down.


REVIEW:

Zods, Zods, ZODSA considerable improvement. The concept of the two Guardians on the run from an entire planet is excellent, even if the rich potential of the idea isn't mined particularly well. It has a fair bit of pace, at least.

However, several elements are very contrived - the one helicopter Turbo shoots out of the sky just happens to contain Matt, while the one Zod factory they swing by just happens to contain Anya and, seconds later, receive a visit from the Command Center. And Leader-1 has to be the least inspiring good guy ever - he spends the entire episode as a whimpering prisoner of Cy-Kill. Still, less Braxis equals more fun.