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EPISODE 51:
DOPPELGANGER

ORIGINAL AIRDATE:
11/10/1985
WRITERS:
Jeff Segal, Kelly Ward and Antoni Zalewski
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SYNOPSIS

Cy-Kill and Dr. Go unveil their copy of Leader-1During a fight with the Renegades, Leader-1 is baffled when Snoop passes up a clear opportunity to attack him. Instead, the Renegades retreat. The injured Small Foot is returned to Gobotron with Rest-Q for repairs, after Leader-1 berates her for being inexperienced. The Guardians continue work on their new weapon - the Space Bender. Unknown to them, Snoop actually took a detailed film of Leader-1, allowing Doctor Go to complete exact duplicates of him and the other Guardians. Trials of the Space Bender are interrupted when the Renegades attack Washington. During the fight, Leader-1 is surprised by his double, and knocked out by Doctor Go, Crasher and Cop-Tur, who place a neural lock on the Guardian and capture him. The doppelganger replaces him onboard the Command Center. Soon his doubles begin infiltrating Gobotron, and when the Command Center arrives on the planet, the false Leader-1 tells Scooter and Small Foot they're being retired from active duty, before taking Turbo on a secret mission. Suspicious, Scooter follows them, and sees Turbo being neutralised and copied by the Renegades. He tells Small Foot, Matt, Nick and AJ. The humans suspect Small Foot might be a duplicate, and question her. She turns and fires the Space Bender towards them.

Van Guard comes face to face with his doubleShe's actually firing at the Turbo duplicate sneaking up behind them, convincing everyone she's the real thing. The duplicate is shorted out by the Space Bender, and dissecting the thing reveals that the real Guardians are being held at the Moon of Shadows. They reprogram the Turbo copy so they can infiltrate the base. They're able to capture Doctor Go and free the real Guardians. Cy-Kill tries to block their escape, but the Command Center is able to leave. The warning is intercepted by the duplicate Leader-1, and the doppelgangers shoot the Command Center down. It crashes on Gobotron and the duplicates attack, but the Guardians are saved when Zeemon arrives with reinforcements. The Renegades arrive with more doppelgangers, and the battle gets confusing. However, Small Foot and Matt turn the malfunctioning Space Bender on everyone, and the duplicates are shorted out. The Renegades retreat, and Leader-1 apologises to Small Foot for underestimating her.


NOTES

The Leader-1 duplicateCrasher has Ben-Hur style spiked hubs, though hers are retractable. Small Foot has a grappling hook and winch located in her truck bed. She clearly hasn't been on Earth for long. Snoop has a retractable camera turret in Blackbird mode, and thinks Leader-1 is a "good-looking Gobot". A Zod is simulated by Scooter, and Cy-Kill's dialogue implies he has some of the real ones stashed away somewhere, just not at this base. This is one (possibly the only one) of the rare occasions Zeemon and Rest-Q are seen in combat.

Another of Gobotron's moons, the Moon of Shadows, is seen. It's huge and largely barren, apart from Cy-Kill's base, which is located inside a giant statue of a dragon. This was presumably built by the inhabitants of Gobotron some time ago. The Gobots seen in the control room on Gobotron appear to be generics (aside from Leader-1 and Zeemon), but at least they look less weird than the series' generics tend to. The opening of the episode, where Snoop films Leader-1 instead of attacking him, bears a few similarities with the Transformers episode "A Prime Problem".


TRIVIA

Zeemon leads Hans-Cuff and Rest-Q into battleGobots Featured: Leader-1, Cy-Kill, Snoop, Scooter, Cop-Tur, Turbo, Small Foot, Crasher, Rest-Q, Doctor Go, Spoons, Van Guard, Zeemon, Path Finder, Good Knight, Street Heat (duplicate only), Flip Top (duplicate only), Blaster, Fitor, Zod (hologram only), Staks (duplicate only), Hans-Cuff.

Humans Featured: AJ, Matt, Nick.

Particularly Glaring Errors: Small Foot has tiny wheels when tussling with Crasher in vehicle mode. In mitigation of Snoop, the Guardians aren't shown to collapse quite as easily without Leader-1 as the cartoon Autobots are without Optimus Prime, making it less stupid that she doesn't just kill him when she has a clear run. The Guardians cope fairly well without Leader-1 in both of the five-part miniseries for a start (despite what Cy-Kill claims here, and Cy-Kill's always saying mad stuff) - probably because he's not actually all that impressive. Though the duplicate does make the usual mistakes, like calling the humans "irritating" for no apparent reason (they are, but the real one never noticed) - again, in mitigation, at least everyone notices something's up straight off the bat. You have to wonder why the Renegades don't destroy the captured Guardians instead of just neutralising them. It might be the poor picture on my copy of this episode but Small Foot is missing the 'eyes' on her visor on several occasions. Van Guard walks straight into his duplicate - there's another one of those few-seconds-that-feel-like-forever moments between the double being right in front of him and Van actually reacting. Why does the false Leader-1 fire Small Foot and Scooter instead of keeping them nearby, seeing as the Renegades do have duplicates of them both? Doctor Go is seen boarding the Thruster among and in-step with a load of Guardian dupes - it can't even be the real one mucking around, he's left on the Moon of Shadows. This episode seems to be the only one that shows Zeemon transforming - the later episode "Et Tu, Cy-Kill?" claims he can't; it's worth noting that his alternate mode looks (albeit on my copy, which is too light - I can only see him at about the size of my thumbnail) more like Turbo's. Fitor's just standing around on Gobotron after Small Foot wipes out the dupes.

Moments of Actual Quality: The Guardians versus Guardians fight at the end is quite good - especially Zeemon turning up with the battle-cry "Let's show them what real Guardians can do!". I like Zeemon, it's nice to see he's not permanently stuck in his office Thornton Reed-style. Plus Cop-Tur offering encouragement when Cy-Kill's defeated once again ("Maybe you'll do better next time") is quite sweet.

Unintentional Hilarity: Space Bender? This episode is, of course, the source of the internet famous 'rape' clip, and to be fair the scene in question could have been laid out a bit better.


REVIEW:

Small Foot activates the Space BenderA clone episode usually means logic is left out of proceedings, and this one is no exception. Despite the massive stack of errors, however, this one is really good fun. Small Foot is engaging, and the plot just cranks it up - there's no letup in this one.

There are also some marvellous battle scenes, and I always have a soft spot for the big cast episodes - it's nice to feel the whole thing doesn't hinge on three or four Gobots on either side, and it's also a nice change to have the thing mostly set on Gobotron rather than Earth.