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EPISODE 37:
WHIZ KID

ORIGINAL AIRDATE:
07/11/1985
WRITER:
Al Pegal
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SYNOPSIS

Buddy's probe locates the Guardians Buddy, a teenage genius, is experimenting with a spectral probe, unwittingly causing the Guardians pain from the other side of town. They track the signal to its' source, and take her back to UNECOM HQ for questioning. They release her, satisfied that she's not a Renegade spy, and she helps repair Scooter. Buddy suggests her device could be modified to affect the Renegades instead of the Guardians. However, Leader-1 tells her not to use the device again, and she's returned home. Buddy decides to press on with adapting the device anyway so the Guardians will let her join. She manages to interfere with Cop-Tur, but Cy-Kill and Crasher track the signal back to her house. Buddy is captured, and taken to Roguestar. Doctor Go uses the Brainstormer to download plans of the probe. Back on Earth, the Guardians find Buddy's wrecked house and piece together what's happened. However, they come under attack from the Renegades' boosted spectral probe, and fall under Cy-Kill's control. Only Scooter is unaffected, due to a slight upgrade made by Nick and Buddy.

Stinger captures BuddyCy-Kill dispatches the controlled Leader-1 to Gobotron. Scooter and Nick escape from the base, chased by their comrades. They give Turbo and Good Knight the slip, and head towards the Renegade base at Big Horn Mountain. Once there, the pair sneak onboard Thruster. On Gobotron, the controlled Guardians seize Zeemon and the rest of the Guardian Council, and take them to Roguestar. Nick and Scooter find Buddy, and free her. They free the Guardians from Cy-Kill's control, and wreck the device. The trio steal a scout ship and make contact with the Command Center. Thruster follows, but is sent packing by the other Guardians. Buddy is returned to her mother, but is still full of bright ideas.


NOTES

Nick disables SpoilerGobots have a neural interface, which connects their organic brains with their robot bodies. They have Alpha frequencies (used by Guardians) and Beta frequencies (used by Renegades). Buddy's other inventions include an asynchronous modem, whatever that's for. General Newcastle doesn't understand kids.

The Guardians have a fully fledged apprentice programme - Nick is a member (I guess AJ is too - no room for her and Matt this episode). The Guardian Council is for once made up of named Guardians (seeing as you ask, Path Finder, Staks, Dozer, Scratch, Rest-Q, Road Ranger and Zeemon), rather than the usual generics.


TRIVIA

Zeemon is taken by Blaster and TurboGobots Featured: Leader-1, Turbo, Scooter, Cy-Kill, Crasher, Cop-Tur, Spoiler, Slicks, Stinger, Doctor Go, Good Knight, Blaster, BuggyMan, Fly Trap, Zeemon, Dozer, Scratch, Rest-Q, Staks, Path Finder, Night Ranger, Hans-Cuff, Road Ranger.

Humans Featured: General Newcastle, Buddy, Buddy's mum, Nick.

Particularly Glaring Errors: Gestapo-style questioning for a teenage girl? Even the brief overhead shot of Nick and Scooter on the highway obviously has the same few cars recycled. Why is there a ramp at the level crossing? Doctor Go is shown on the Guardian Council initially (Road Ranger takes his place after a little while). During the fire-fight with Night Ranger and Hans-Cuff, Leader-1 calls Blaster "Van Guard". Are the seven members of the Council really so much weaker than Leader-1, Turbo, Blaster and Good Knight that they make no attempt to fight them onboard the Command Center? The same animation of Doctor Go getting knocked down is used twice, but that's probably to make it funnier. It does work, to be fair.

Moments of Actual Quality: Scooter and Nick just get on with things with a minimum moaning - fair play, and a nice change (or maybe I'm just getting numb to the pair). Scooter even traps Spoiler under a door, allowing Nick to leap on the Renegade's back and tear a shitload of wiring out of Spoiler's back with his bare hands. Christ.

Unintentional Hilarity: Buddy's mum has almost exactly the same character model as Shaun's mum in yesterday's episode. It's not the episode's fault, but someone did name a mountain range the Big Horns (here it's just a single mountain, which I'll let go - Gobots is more honest about the world's geography than certain other cartoons about transforming robots, so they get away with the odd fudge).


REVIEW:

Scooter frees BuddyWhen I first saw the title card, I groaned. When I first saw the Punky Brewster knockoff Buddy, I groaned again. But with that out of the way, "Whiz Kid" isn't a bad episode. Buddy is kept out of the way, and while the stuff with Alpha/Beta frequencies is difficult to swallow, there's some good stuff in here.

It's one of those episodes which basically everyone is in, which gives it a less formulaic feeling. Scooter and Nick using initiative and a bit of courage to save the day is a nice change too, and it zips along nicely.