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EPISODE 60:
GUARDIAN ACADEMY

ORIGINAL AIRDATE:
12/12/1985
WRITERS:
Jeff Segal, Kelly Ward, Mark Young and Lane Raichert
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SYNOPSIS

The Red Team - Re-Volt, Chaos and TraitorTwo competing teams of Gobot cadets are being evaluated for the Guardian Academy. Red Team, made up of Re-Volt, Chaos and Traitor, have the upper hand. The Blue Team - Twister, Tork, Staks and Tri-Trak - are being held back by the latter's impetuous behaviour, which includes a record low score of 200,000 penalty points on the hostage rescue scenario. During a later exercise, Tri-Trak heads down to a moon, having seen a strange flash on the surface. The rest of Blue Team, plus Nick and AJ, follow. They find an underground Renegade base and are attacked. Red Team, meanwhile, are actually Renegade spies. They rendezvous with Cy-Kill and hand over their findings so far. He gives them an Astro-Beam device so they can help kidnap Zeemon at their graduation. They then return and drive off their fellow Renegades to save Blue Team and the instructors. Tri-Trak is suspicious at the convenience of this, but no-one listens. The cadets prepare for their final test, a gruelling target range.

Tork Tri-Trak and Twister of the Blue TeamTri-Trak initially scores very well, but loses a huge number of points when a target of Scooter attacks him. The real Scooter informs him it's impossible as the Guardian targets aren't programmed to fire. The others all score enough to graduate, but Tri-Trak fails. He sets out to prove his test was rigged, and follows the Red Team to the graduation site. There Tri-Trak overhears them communicating with Cy-Kill, but is knocked out by Traitor before he can tell anyone. Nick and AJ set out looking for him as the ceremony begins, and find that the firing range has been rigged. They tool up and take on the targets, finding the real Tri-Trak tied to one of them with a neutraliser on him. They release the cadet and he tells them about the Red Team. At the ceremony, Re-Volt reveals their true nature and grabs Zeemon. Cy-Kill, Crasher and Cop-Tur Astro-Beam in to help them, but Tri-Trak appears and knocks Cy-Kill out. The rest of Blue Team leap to his aid, and they follow Red Team through the Astro-Beam. The other Renegades are chased off by Guardian security guards, before mistaking the Thruster simulator for the real thing and are surrounded. Re-Volt's team take off in the real Thruster, but Tri-Trak crashes through the cockpit. His team-mates board the ship and capture the Renegades. Cy-Kill and the others, however, bore through the bottom of the simulator to escape. Blue Team are then graduated, and Zeemon tells them they can work together as a team - the Secret Riders.


NOTES

Tri-Trak negotiates the target rangeThe Renegades have perfected a miniaturised Astro-Beam. The cadets haven't yet been through Final Modification, and thus don't have vehicle modes. Creepy can fire power-draining webs. The Guardian logo is seen here - not the one off the Tonka toys, but a red outline of a grown with a 'G' in it.

In the firing range test, Re-Volt scores the highest (48932 points), followed by Twister (47329), Staks (46451), Tork (44372), Chaos (37426) and Traitor (36392). Tri-Trak scores 7 points, but is cheated. Nick and AJ wear their dress uniforms (as seen in "Cy-Kill's Escape").


TRIVIA

Traitor disables Tri-TrakGobots Featured: Leader-1, Turbo, Re-Volt, Chaos, Traitor, Tri-Trak, Twister, Tork, Staks, Scooter, Zeemon, Cy-Kill, Scorp, Vamp, Creepy, Crasher, Cop-Tur, Path Finder, Rest-Q, Hans-Cuff, Dozer, Van Guard, Blaster, Small Foot.

Humans Featured: AJ, Nick.

Particularly Glaring Errors: Re-Volt, Chaos and Traitor? You'd think they'd give them cover names, they hardly sound like Guardians. Staks is part of Blue Team (and thus the Secret Riders) despite having been an active Guardian since the very start (appearing in the first episode). It's likely, going by "Quest for New Earth", that his place was meant for Throttle. Creepy shows up despite not being introduced until "Quest for New Earth", which features the Secret Riders who are formed here. He seems to be drawn in place of Pincher. Why do Red Team bother saving Blue Team when they're under attack from Scorp and company? They'd be guaranteed graduation that way, and there would be no witnesses. Why does the modifier split the Red Team into two vehicles? Could it be because the Red Team are based on the Dread Launchers figures and Blue Team on the Secret Riders ones, I wonder? Heh. Mind, the Renegade nature of the Red Team would have given a great get-out - they could have already had one modification before, and this second dose splits them into two vehicles. All it would have taken is a line of dialogue... A blue Crain Brain can be seen in the target range - the animators probably forgot who he was. The Guardians surrounding the simulator include Zeemon. BuggyMan can be seen applauding Blue Team at the end.

Moments of Actual Quality: Zeemon hurls Re-Volt over his shoulders. Not bad for an old politician. Twister does bunny-ears over Tork's head for the graduation picture at the end.

Unintentional Hilarity: Tri-Trak has a Scottish accent. For no reason whatsoever.


REVIEW:

The Secret Riders graduateDespite a litany of animation and continuity errors (which suddenly mount up in the later stuff as episodes seem to be written with a specific order in mind), this is a highly enjoyable episode. It's hard to take Red Team seriously as Guardians, so therefore it's sharp to give the non-surprise away early, while Tri-Trak is an engaging, likeable lead.

It's also interesting to get a bit of a look at how prospective Guardians train and graduate to become full operatives, something only hinted at before.