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EPISODE 11:
TIME WARS

ORIGINAL AIRDATE:
17/09/1985
WRITER:
Jeff Seagle, Kelly Ward and Doug Booth
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SYNOPSIS

Professor Ling and his Plot TransporterProfessor Ling explains his Chronos Time Transporter to UNECOM, unaware the transmission is being overheard by the Renegades. They plan to use the first use of the machine to travel through time, and conquer the Earth in the past. BuggyMan distracts the Guardians by destroying a dam, causing them to put off their meeting with Ling. The Renegades nearly trick the Professor, but the Guardians arrive. A fight starts, sending the equipment haywire, and the Renegades are transported to ancient Rome - 217BC, to be precise. There they are mistaken for Roman gods, and use their recall sensors to evade recapture. The Guardians then head to 217 BC, leaving Path Finder and AJ to guard the Time Transporter. They are immediately attacked by the Romans, and cornered by the Renegades. Matt and Nick escape into a cave, but the Guardians are knocked out and captured.

Commodus meets the Gobots The Guardians are paraded through Rome, and Matt and Nick are caught and sent to be trained as gladiators. They win their fight, and talk Emperor Commodus into letting the Guardians and Renegades fight to prove which of them are demons. The weak Guardians are defeated, but manage to escape. The Emperor approves, but is locked up at Cy-Kill's command. Back in the present, things begin to change due to the Renegades' influence on the past, so AJ and Path Finder head to 217 BC as well. Path Finder recharges her comrades, who defeat the Renegades and restore the emperor. Both sets of Gobots return to the present - however, BuggyMan is in wait and is able to free his fellow Renegades, also sabotaging the time transporter. Leader-1 is able to protect everyone, but the device is destroyed. Their travels have left their mark, however - the Romans erected a statue of Scooter which has baffled archaeologists...


NOTES

Cy-Kill lives out every viewer's fantasyBuggyMan is shown to be very powerful, blasting a dam into rubble with just a few shots from his built-in weaponry. It's his turn to ride the Astro-Beam to Earth today, while Path Finder is doing a shift with the UNECOM team too. Cy-Kill has powerful lasers in his chest, a shot from each knocking out a Guardian - though you have to wonder why he doesn't use them more often. Matt, amazingly, can use a bolo expertly, and Nick is good with a net. Turbo's exhaust can produce a smokescreen. Path Finder can seemingly heal other Guardians with a quick zap from her vehicle mode weaponry. The Renegades have a handheld version of their stealth device (it's used by BuggyMan here).

This episode was released on NTSC VHS in America, on Challenge of the Gobots Volume 1 with 'Cy-Kill's Shrinking Ray'. It was also issued in the UK on PAL as a standalone tape.


TRIVIA

Cover-to-cover Cy-KillGobots Featured: Crasher, Cy-Kill, Scooter, Leader-1, Turbo, BuggyMan, Cop-Tur, Path Finder.

Humans Featured: Matt, AJ, Nick, Professor Ling, Emperor Commodus, Marcus.

Particularly Glaring Errors: Just after Matt uses the Command Center to block the flood, Leader-1 is shown against a 'space' background, despite being on Earth at low altitude. The Romans seem to be very large compared to the Renegades - check them towered over Crasher's Porsche mode. I'm not sure if this is just something I've never noticed before, but Scooter's transformation is dreadful - the head mounted on his handlebars blatantly moves towards his waist (as it would if there was a head on the toy's vehicle mode), while another sprouts from behind his front wheel. How do Nick and Matt understand what the Romans are saying? Where do they get the giant manacles from? How can the Gobots move around inside the Coliseum so easily? If tampering with time is so dangerous, as Leader-1 lectures at the end, why were the Guardians so enthusiastic about the device in the first place? And why is the actual tampering that leads to a statue of Scooter being made in ancient Rome treated as a joke? I'm not even going to touch on what's wrong with the way the present changes - Cy-Kill changes things so he's 'Governor of North America', and yet Ling, AJ and Pathfinder are totally unaffected.

Moments of Actual Quality: BuggyMan's actually rather effective, taking out a dam early on, then engineering the Renegades' escape. Does he get a permanent slot, though? No, let's keep that idiot Cop-Tur on instead...

Unintentional Hilarity: Ancient Rome looks suspiciously like the mid-American landscapes most of the series takes place in. Turbo using his exhaust looks like he's doing the mother of all farts thanks to his facial expression and physical straining.


REVIEW:

BuggyMan to the rescueThe standard 1980s kids' cartoon plotline of travelling back in time makes its' inevitable appearance. These are usually utter dross, and 'Time Wars' is no exception. Points for acknowledging actions in the past could affect the present, but those and more are deducted for the moronic handling.

Aside from the involvement of BuggyMan, there's not a single surprise in the thing, and even by Hanna-Barbera standards the thing looks very cheap and tawdry. And yet, despite the straightforward nature of the simple, simple plot they still manage to mess up a lot of it. A really poor episode.