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EPISODE 26:
AUTO-MADIC

ORIGINAL AIRDATE:
23/11/1985
WRITER:
Mark Zaslove
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SYNOPSIS

Cy-Kill and Stretch negotiate with the Cocoas Cy-Kill devises a plan to combat the Guardian Powersuit combiner Courageous, and sends the Renegades out to steal materials to build a Puzzler to combat it. He forces a used car dealer named Larry Cocoa to help build the components for the Puzzler, and sell them in their car disguises. Meanwhile the Guardians are investigating the thefts. They split up and find the Renegades are behind them, but all come under attack. The Guardians all manage to escape, however. Cocoa and his overbearing wife try to get out of the factory with the remote for the Puzzler. She accidentally activates the other machines, causing them to combine into their Puzzler form.

Leader-1 attacks the PuzzlerThe Guardians arrive to investigate, but are unable to match the giant robot's power. Cy-Kill regains control of the remote, and Scooter is sent to call for the Powersuits from Gobotron. The other Guardians try to keep the Puzzler busy, but the robot is invulnerable to their weapons. They manage to hold out until Heat Seeker and the Power Suits arrive, allowing them to form Courageous. The subsequent battle shorts out the remote, causing the Puzzler to fall apart. The Renegades escape while the Guardians' energy levels are low, and the Cocoas are left to deal with the disgruntled buyers of the Puzzler cars.


NOTES

The Puzzler advances on StaksThe Puzzler is explicitly referred to as entirely robotic, being controlled by a remote. Cocoa seems to make up the individual names (Jig Saw and Tic Tac are the only ones named) on his own initiative, pretending they're the names of the car models (I'm guessing even in the 1980s they'd be pushing trademark law to describe them as a Chevrolet or Toyota, plus as drawn they bear only a passing resemblance to the real cars anyway). Their car modes have headlight mounted blasters, while the combined form has eye and fist lasers. The robot is also continually portrayed as having two left forearms - it's possible (just about) to split Cross Word's rear in half while combined on the toy, so it seems Hanna-Barbera were working straight off the figure and just didn't have it transformed quite right. Oh, my.

Scooter has a lock picking device built into his chest. Courageous can form an energy shield. Here it also has a more toy-accurate face, with a black visor. Cocoa's wife is unnamed, unless she's called Dumpling.


TRIVIA

The PuzzlerGobots Featured: Scorp, Vamp, Pincher, Cop-Tur, Crasher, Cy-Kill, Stretch, Scooter, Leader-1, Staks, Heat Seeker.

Humans Featured: Larry E. Cocoa, Mrs Cocoa, General Newcastle, Matt, AJ, Nick.

Others Featured: Jig Saw, Tic Tac, Zig Zag, Crossword, Pocket, Puzzler, Courageous.

Particularly Glaring Errors: Where the Hell does Staks come from? He's not seen until the battle with the Puzzler, and is just suddenly among the group in the street. Scooter projects a hologram of a car to cover his escape... And then Nick opens the door and climbs in. That's not how holograms work. When Scooter calls Gobotron and speaks to Path Finder, it's Heat Seeker on the screen, using her voice.

Moments of Actual Quality: Few and far between - maybe Leader-1's tank backup?

Unintentional Hilarity: The Puzzler breaks down into neat components. Possibly intentional, but probably not meant to look quite as silly as it does.


REVIEW:

Courageous readies the finishing blowA real letdown. The episode feels like it's building towards an epic battle between Courageous and the Puzzler, but when it arrives it fizzles, even allowing for Hanna-Barbera not being the ideal choice for depicting such a bout. Considering that the Puzzler is designed to take Courageous, that it's defeated in thirty seconds flat when the Guardian combiner turns up feels very cheap.

Beyond that, it's padded out with some obvious heist sequences and the irritating, stereotyped Cocoas. Poor.