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EPISODE 28:
IN SEARCH OF ANCIENT GOBONAUTS

ORIGINAL AIRDATE:
28/10/1985
WRITERS:
Jeff Segal, Kelly Ward, Phil Harnage and Mark Young
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SYNOPSIS

Scooter activates the Gobotic artefact The archaeologist Doctor Cunningham discovers a spaceship under a pyramid he's exploring in Ecuador, and heads to UNECOM with his findings. Scooter recognises an artefact as Gobotic in origin, and Cunningham explains the pyramid it was under is six thousand years old. The Guardian theorises it could be related to a mythical Gobot warrior, the Evil One, who had the power to destroy the universe. He was banished, along with his 'dark heart' weapon. Scooter, Nick and AJ head back to Ecuador with Cunningham to investigate further. Cy-Kill learns of this via a spy, and follows. Inside the ship, Scooter activates a hologram recording confirming it as part of the Evil One's ship, and revealing that the Dark Heart is hidden on Earth. Scooter prevents the recording from telling the precise location, but then the Renegades arrive. They try to take the cube, but Nick initiates the ship's self-destruct sequence and they all have to run for it. Leader-1 arrives in the Command Center to save Scooter and the humans. However, the Renegades delay the Guardians with some rubble and escape.

Leader-1 discovers the Evil One's shipScooter has recorded where the Dark Heart was kept, and the Guardians decide to find it before the Renegades do. Matt recognises it as an aerial view of the Nazca Plain in Peru, often linked to theories regarding ancient UFOs. After searching the area, they find a stone structure marked with the sign of the Evil One. Entering the chamber, they discover the structure is his ship, and find a recording left telling of his achievements and influence (which inspired the Sphinx and the pyramids). The Dark Heart is revealed, but Cy-Kill Astro-Beams into the ship. Cunningham, actually a Renegade spy, gives him the weapon. Cy-Kill uses the device to turn invisible and then threatens Leader-1 with destruction. The Guardian manages to make Cy-Kill see the danger the weapon poses to the whole universe. Cunningham snatches the Dark Heart from the Renegade and fires it, starting an antimatter reaction. The Guardians and Renegades work together to fight the antimatter, but one by one are drained of energy. Leader-1 stays in the chamber as its' destroyed, stopping the reaction. He's badly damaged, but manages to survive the explosion thanks to his forcefield. The dejected, depleted Renegades withdraw. Cunningham is arrested, and Leader-1 decides to hide the indestructible Dark Heart disguised in a museum.


NOTES

The Evil OneCunningham is a UNECOM reserve officer (and is built like a boxer). Gobots have been visiting Earth for 200 years to Scooter's best knowledge - this doesn't actually contradict anything we've seen before (in contrast to Transformers, Gobots seem pretty aware of Earth's culture and people - no-one has to explain the true meaning of basketball to the Guardians or anything), and might just explain how everyone has Earth alternate modes from the start. It'd be a Hell of a reach, though, as you have to wonder why they adapted them before Earth assumed any real significance in "The Battle for Gobotron". Maybe they just suit Gobotron? Maybe Earth's been more significant before, and for whatever reason it went unrecorded? Ancient Gobotic is a hieroglyphic language. Scooter refers to the Evil One as existing before 'the Dark Times', and (according to Leader-1) after the disappearance of the Master Renegade. His actions purportedly brought a thousand years of darkness to Old Gobotron. The Dark Heart is an antimatter weapon.

The episode is named in reference to the 1973 TV documentary In Search of Ancient Astronauts, while Cunningham is probably named after Alexander Cunningham, a nineteenth century British archaeologist mainly active in India. Add into that the Nazca lines as alien runways (as proposed by Erich Von Daniken), and you have a fairly well-researched episode. Well, apart from Cunningham referring to the Nazca as "ancient Indians".


TRIVIA

Cy-Kill with the Dark HeartGobots Featured: Scooter, Cy-Kill, Crasher, Cop-Tur, Leader-1, Turbo.

Humans Featured: Doctor Cunningham, General Newcastle, Nick, AJ, Matt.

Particularly Glaring Errors: Let me get this straight - the Renegades have no clue where the Dark Heart is. Until the Guardians go looking for it to stop it falling into Renegade hands, thus allowing it to be taken by the Renegades. Good work. They might not have known Cunningham was a spy, but even he didn't know where it was until the Guardians head out to Peru. Quite why Cunningham wants to destroy the universe isn't explained. I'm not sure that firing lasers at antimatter would help, but it's such a great scene I'll let it slide.

Moments of Actual Quality: Cy-Kill stopping short of blowing a hole in the universe because Leader-1 points out it'll make him one of the most hated monsters in history is in the running for best scene from the whole damn show.

Unintentional Hilarity: Cunningham's physique is a bit much.


REVIEW:

Turbo, Cy-Kill and Leader-1 fight the antimatter fieldThe retro 'ancient astronauts' stuff is great fun, obviously someone on the writing team's pet subject. It makes for an interesting difference to the usual fare, and it's nice to learn a bit more about Gobot history. Cunningham's a bit obvious as the Renegade spy (it's always a give-away when the only other named characters are the regulars...), but it's not the fulcrum of the plot.

The best bit is the desperate Guardian/Renegade alliance, giving Cy-Kill (and the other Renegades) some sort of depth beyond his pantomime dame antics, while even Scooter's tolerable in this well-written episode.