Manic Ramblings and Delirious Ranting
re: "The Golden Lagoon"
"The Golden Lagoon" is widely hailed as one of the best G1 episodes, and not without reason. It does suffer from some cheesey cartoon conventions and plotless wandering, all of which I'll mercilessly ridicule, of course. But there's some great character development for Beachcomber, some good humor, and one of the coolest battle scenes in the entire series.
Perceptor, Beachcomber, Powerglide, Seaspray and Warpath are walking (well, rolling, in the case of Seaspray and Warpath) along a beach, when Perceptor stops to study a random rock that "has traces of gold and silver!" While the Autobots debate the value of "wow! gold! and zowie! silver!", Blitzwing, Ramjet, and Thrust transform and attack from a bluff overlooking the beach. A running fight ensues: Ramjet against Seaspray, Thrust chasing Powerglide, Blitzwing strafing and then ramming Warpath. "Barbarians!" Perceptor shouts, firing at Thrust. "Beachcomber! Follow me!.... Beachcomber! Where are you??"
Beachcomber, it turns out, has wandered through a cave in the cliff base. On the other side, he finds a tree-filled glade which he describes as "paradise!" A bird lands on his shoulder. "Well, let's see if I can learn your language!" Lights flash across his eyeband, and he whistles back to the bird for a moment. "Hmmm, how do I say, it's a beautiful day?" Finally it screeches and flies off: "Oh, I guess I said something wrong, uh..." BC notes. Shortly, deer, rabbits, birds, and chipmunks are clustered all around BC, who happily offers himself as a bird post, chuckling -- till his sensors suddenly pick up something nearby. "Great Maximus!" He walks over to a circular pond that sparkles gold. He sticks a hand in, and it comes out coated gold. "Electrum," he says, impressed.
The battle, meanwhile, continues: Seaspray gets knocked aside when Ramjet flies out of the ocean; Warpath and Blitzwing trade shots; Thrust blasts at Powerglide and misses, hitting the cliffs instead and starting an avalanche.
"Well, we can't let anyone find out about the electrum --" Beachcomber's commune is interrupted by Thrust's avalanche, which sends bolders tumbling down the cliff. He transforms and heads back into the tunnel. Above, Thrust dives at the pool, transforming and landing beside it. "Thrust, my man, you're about to become number one Decepticon!" He dives into the pond, and emerges glittering golden from head to toe.
BC arrives at the battle and transforms, calling Perceptor's name. "Where where you?" Percy demands. "Oh.... nowhere... get out of here!" he adds as more lasers hit around them. Ramjet knocks them both down; Seaspray pops out of the ocean and shoots him down. Then the gold-covered Thrust returns to the scene: "Out of the way!" he tells Ramjet, landing on the beach. Perceptor's shots don't scratch him. "What's that? A tickle torture?" Thrust effortlessly shoots down Seaspray. "Disengage and retreat, Beachcomber! Something most peculiar is occuring!" Perceptor says. Warpath and Powerglide also have a go at Thrust, hitting him with "hot and cold blasts -- that'll crack him!" But Thrust shrugs it off again and throws ice chunks at them. "Zang! We gotta zooooom!" Warpath declares, transforming back and blasting an escape route through the cliff side. "But what about the others?" Beachcomber says. Thrust transforms and snags Perceptor and Seaspray with a pair of claws, then flies off. "We'll need help!" Powerglide says.
"The brilliant scientist Perceptor, and the naval tactician Seaspray! I'm certain you have many Autobot secrets to tell us!" Megatron gloats in Decepticon HQ. "You'll extract no information from us, Megatron -- I promise you!" Perceptor answers. "How naive... take them away!" "Megatron! I discovered a fountain of electrum!" Thrust says. "We will be invunerable!" Megs says anxiously. "Personally, I need proof!" Starscream says. Megatron: "Personally, I don't care WHAT you need!"
The 'cons land at the electrum pond. "Starscream. Why don't you test the electrum for me?" "What? Me? NO!!" "Don't you want to be invunerable like Thrust here?" Megatron fires his fusion canon at Thrust, who doesn't move an inch. "See? Not a mark on him." "You're sure it'd work for all of us, and not just him?" "GO!!" Screamer jumps in, and emerges gold-coated. "I will enjoy this," Megs says, taking aim. "N-no -- no, Megatron!!" Starscream whimpers. Megs fires; the shots bounce off, hitting trees instead, and Starscream's cringing turns to cockiness. "It works!!" "Let's go!" Megatron says, and the rest of the troop dives in. When they emerge, they have fun blasting each other to no effect; the lasers bounce all over and trash the grove. "Nothing can stop us now! The Autobots are finished!!"
A squad of Autobots gathers beneath Omega Supreme's base mode. "I'm glad I'm goin' on the mission, blam! I want another crack at 'em! Kazowie!" Warpath says. "Easy, kid! This is supposed to be a rescue operation, not the Charge of the Light Brigade," Powerglide replies. Beachcomber, meanwhile, is withdrawn, gazing glumly at his one gold-plated hand. "What's with our geologist friend?" Smokescreen wonders. "Aw, Beachcomber? He's a thinker, not a fighter!" Warpath says. "Just wish I knew what he was thinking about," Smokescreen replies. Warpath gives the order to move out. "Sure wish Mirage was here. We could use him!" Powerglide comments. "Your wish is granted," says the thin air, out of which Mirage materializes -- "I've been here for ten minutes!" The 'bots roll out.
"Decepticons -- attack!" Megatron orders at the lagoon; the group heads skyward. Before long, they find the 'bot patrol. Megatron points: "Destroy!" Powerglide is mystified when he nails one of the Seekers to no effect; he is quickly shot down and crashes in the ocean. "I don't get it!" Warpath says, getting similar results, a moment before he's also put down. "Something's very wrong. I'm going back for reinforcements," Mirage says to Smokescreen. "See you around," Smokescreen says offhandedly. "Oh no you won't!" Mirage says, disappearing. Smokescreen pulls his own disappearing act, camaflaging himself with smoke as he charges the 'cons. "Just shoot at the whole cloud! He's in there somewhere," Megatron says, sounding exhasperated. The 'cons fire, and a second later Smokescreen comes flying out and crashes. "Bring on the rest!!" Megatron enthuses.
Mirage re-appears before another group of 'bots at Omega Supreme. "Sunstreaker! Our weapons don't seem to have any effect on them!" "I'll blast a few big Ds for ya, and you'll see what a difference a pro makes!" Sunstreaker replies. He, Wheeljack, Hound, Bluestreak, Brawn, Beachcomber, and a couple of others roll out.
"Show no mercy!" Megs says, pointing groundwards at this new group. "Did we ever?" Screamer replies. "Starscream! Let's see you take THIS!" Sunstreaker says, letting loose with a rooftop cannon. "What th-?" he adds a second later, when the shots bounce off. A second later he's shot off the road. The others transform and attack, with no luck. "No! It's not possible! They found the golden lagoon!" Beachcomber says in horror, clearing out. The others keep fighting, as Megatron advances.
"Over ten thousand electron bursts hit me dead on, and it felt like a soft breeze!" Starscream laughs within Decepticon HQ, surrounded by other 'cons. A door opens, and the Autobot captives are lead in. "Ah! Our entertainment, gentlemen. They will fight each other to the finish, courtesy of me, Starscream, ace of the air!" The Decepticons cheer. "Megatron must be informed of this," Soundwave says. "Who cares? We need a little amusement," Starscream says, tossing guns to the Autobots. "Megatron must be informed," Soundwave insists, exiting. "I said, fight!" Starscream says. Seaspray tries shooting past Perceptor at the 'cons, but the shot just bounces off, of course, and the 'cons laugh.
A battered Smokescreen stumbles up to Omega Supreme. "You're our only hope, Omega," he tells him. Omega transforms to his gargantuan robot mode: "Failure: impossible," he declares.
Beachcomber, meanwhile, returns to the lagoon. "Report on Starscream's activities, completed," Soundwave is radioing to Megatron, who's re-coating himself along with a couple of other 'cons. "Megatron!" Beachcomber breathes, jumping out of cover -- only to be snagged in an electric field of some sort by Blitzwing. "Megatron -- look what I caught!" BW laughs, as BC is levitated helplessly.
"Ready?..." Seaspray breathes. "Prepared," Perceptor replies. "Then... go for it!!" They both turn and fire at the ceiling, bringing rubble down on the 'cons, then blast the doors open and escape. They're about to shoot the elevator doors, when the doors slide open to reveal Megatron with a captive Beachcomber. "Going somewhere?" Megs asks pleasantly. "You FOOL! They almost escaped!" he then snaps at Starscream, who comes running up just then. "We attack Omega Supreme at once. YOU will lead the first wave." "O-Omega Supreme?!" Starscream whimpers.
Powerglide circles around the titanic Omega: "Enemy armada dead ahead!" "Information unncessary," Omega replies, swivelling his head around to fire from his head-mounted tank turret as well as both arms. The 'cons are hit dead center, but keep right on coming. "Results: disappointing," Omega notes. Omega aborbs wave after wave of firepower, till both his shoulders are sparking and smoking. When some of the 'cons land, he stomps the ground, sending them tumbling into a crevice; finally Megs decides to "finish him off personally!" He transforms, lands in Soundwave's hand, and fires a beam that sends Omega crashing to the ground. His arms fall limp. "Re-arm to attack Autobot Headquarters!" Megs enthuses, and the 'cons take off.
At Autobot HQ, Optimus is stunned: "Omega Supreme, defeated?" Ironhide: "Unbelievable." "But true. Omega didn't even make a dent in them," Mirage says. "Optimus! Teletraan One computes the word 'electrum'. Mean anything to ya?" Ironhide asks. "Electrum... yes! Send out survey teams at once. If there's electrum out there, we've got to find it -- before Megatron strikes again!"
Powerglide has managed to motor his way to the shore, where he transforms. "Made it. I'll make repairs in a jiffy if --" Hearing the approaching Decepticons, he takes cover, then follows them to the lagoon. "So that's their secret. Wait'll Prime hears about this!" PG flies off.
"We'll be ready to attack Autobot Headquarters within the hour. What about the prisoners?" Starscream asks Megatron via monitor. "They're at your disposal!" Megs replies. "I am honored, Megatron!" The monitor shuts off. "I thought you would be," Megs says to the camera.
"Alright, Beachcomber, outta there! Starscream's got a surprise for ya!" Skywarp says, entering BC's cell. But it's apparently empty -- "He's gone!" -- till BC drops down from the cieling, where he's been holding himself eagle-spread. BC knocks out Skywarp and tackles Thundercracker before he can fire. "C'mon," he tells the other 'bots, opening their cell. They run till they come to an outside window, which BC blasts open with one of Skywarp's guns. The corridor floods; Seaspray hauls the others to the surface, and the three head for shore at full speed.
"Decepticons! Our moment of total victory over the Autobots is here!" Megatron tells his troops. "Cut the oration, Megatron. We already heard it!" Starscream interrupts. "Yeah, let's talk about victory after we've got it!" Skywarp adds. The Decepticons launch for battle.
At the lagoon, Long Haul spills his cargo all over Dirge: "Fill up the drums with that gold stuff. I'm goin' back to the main force." "You're leaving me aloooone to guard the electrum?" Dirge moans. "That's right, Dirge! See ya later!" "Thanks for nothin', Long --eeerrrrrgg!!" Dirge's sentence goes unfinished as Seaspray emerges from the bushes behind him, grabs him by the head, and yanks him in. Seaspray, Beachcomber, and Perceptor emerge a second later. They take cover at the sound of approaching footsteps -- but it's the other Autobots. "Well, looks like we all found out about this place at the same time," Prime comments. Beachcomber takes the plunge: "Come on in, the electrum's fine!" The Autobots follow.
The Decepticons unload a ton of ordinance at the entrance of Autobot HQ, till Starscream makes a startling discovery: "Megatron! They're dummies! The entire base is empty!" "Quick! To the golden lagoon!" Megatron orders.
The Autobots are waiting there in rank. "Attack!" Megs orders, just as Omega Supreme rises up from the lagoon. Both sides trade lots of firepower, which bounces off of course, and further demolishes the wilderness around the lagoon. Finally, the Decepticons' color fades. "Prime! Observe how their electrum is wearing off!" Perceptor says. "Then we've got them," Prime replies, as one Decepticon after the next is shot down.
"Obliterate the lagoon! If we can't have, nobody can!" Megatron orders. The 'cons dump a load of firepower into the pond, as Beachcomber desperately cries out: "NOOO!!" The lagoon explodes, a smoldering crater left in its wake. "Retreat! Return to base. Retreat!!" Megs orders. The 'cons fly away; the Autobots cheer.
Some time later, Beachcomber (back to his normal colors) sits on a stump in the ruined grove, smoke hanging in the air, his head resting on his hands. "We won," he says glumly, as we pan across the devastation and fade out.
Like, wow, man:
This ep is far from perfect. It's got some funky-shaped plot holes and several general oddities. However, it's still really good, especially in the character department. But first things first: let's start with today's Breach of Physics, the eponymous electrum pond.
I'm not real big on this type of plot device -- the Undiscovered Geographic Feature. Humans have pretty much crawled over every square inch of North America and listed, catalogued, and researched most of it. I find it hard to believe that this funky gold pond was just sitting there with nobody being aware of it till now, especially along a coast (traditionally a very popular spot for humans.) Maybe if it'd been inside a cave or something.... but it wasn't; it was just on the other side of a bluff. Satellites would've spotted it years ago.
Furthermore, how the hell is this stuff formed? If I see a gold pond, my first thought is "industrial pollutants". Is electrum a naturally occuring substance? If so, why is it in this one spot, and nowhere else? If it's so valuable, why haven't the 'cons or 'bots figured out how to manufacture it? I don't have a hard time buying that it can reflect lasers; my take is that it fills in the chinks in matter to make it ultra-smooth and therefore highly reflective (that doesn't account for missiles and stuff, though...) On the other hand, if it covers a Transformer's optic sensors, how does he *see*?? Maybe this stuff is a better version of the metal that's developed in "The Return of Optimus Prime".
Technically, there's no reason the Decepticons' electrum should have worn off that fast. They re-coated themselves at least twice. Beachcomber had electrum on his one hand from the very start of the episode, and it was still there near the very end. Granted, if the stuff is going to wear off, the 'cons would be the first to go, and that's the important part as far as the plot goes. It just happens unrealistically fast, due to cartoon compression of time. We can probably guess that the battle went on a LOT longer than what we were shown... or the 'cons wasted a lot of time flying to and from 'bot HQ. Or maybe being shot at *does* cause it to wear out eventually.
And what kind of freakoid rock has flecks of gold AND silver in it?? I don't remember my mineralogy that well, but I'm pretty sure that's nigh-impossible. I think the industrial pollutants are striking again. Or maybe it's supposed to be related to the presence of the lagoon. Or maybe both.
If you look at the overall plot structure, it's extremely simple: the Decepticons find the electrum and run roughshod over the Autobots till they find it too. There's the sub-plot with the captured Autobots. Everything else is either filler or a big fight scene. Beachcomber finding the electrum doesn't have much bearing on things one way or another, plot-wise (except that it enables him, Seaspray, and Perceptor to meet up with the others near the end.) As interesting as it is character-wise, the Beachcomber story kinda fits in the gaps of the story (I almost wrote "interstices" but I think that the word "interstices" really has no business being in a Transformers review. :] But, hey, I'm not complaining. As I said in regards to "Quest for Survival", sometimes these simple plots are great exactly because they allow such rambling character subplots to exist within them.
Okay. Can anyone figure out Beachcomber?? First he leaves the scene of a battle to go exploring, and blissfully hangs out with animals for what appears to be a pretty long time while his comrades are getting pounded. It's not like he's guilty about it; it's like he doesn't even care (and yes, he IS still present when the battle begins.)
Second, he finds the electrum and seems to understand exactly what it is; he also clearly sees Thrust covered with the stuff. But says nothing about it to his buddies -- not when Thrust first shows up at the beach battle, or later on when the first group of 'bots is about to take another crack at the 'cons. WHY?? At the very least he could have prevented both Warpath's and Sunstreaker's groups (the latter of which included himself!) from rushing headlong into a battle they were bound to lose. He knows what the stuff is; he knows that at least one of the 'cons has it; he knows where to get more of it. Is he holding back to protect the little grove around the pond? Even if he'd just said "Hey, this gold stuff makes them unshootable," that'd be a start -- he wouldn't have to SAY where the stuff came from. One can speculate about pacifism as his motives, but really, it'd be nice if the episode *explained* this somehow. Instead, however, he just ditches the battle (that's twice in one episode!), and heads back to the lagoon, to... to what? Defend it? Utilize it?
Third -- Beachcomber sees the gold-covered attacking Decepticons, and is *shocked* by it. Didn't he see Thrust on the beach? Isn't it a simple matter of one plus one? It's hard to keep a secret like a complete change of color from Megatron when you're one of his troops (not that Thrust even tries. Compare that to Terrorsaur in "Power Surge"... :]
Fourth -- he re-visits the lagoon, and is *surprised* when the Decepticons are there. He just saw the 'cons covered with the stuff only a scene or two earlier! Is he stoned or something?? Even the pacifism angle doesn't explain these last two.
And how pacifist IS Beachcomber, anyway? He's certainly not afraid to fight, especially when his life is on the line -- witness his daring and ingenious escape from the cell (a great scene, BTW. Skywarp's words are a creepy hint at what was to become of the prisoners.) He just doesn't LIKE it much, obviously. He apparently has that fatal flaw of not fighting till it's almost too late.
Starscream's inner cowardice is not so inner during this episode. He's afraid to test the electrum; he's afraid to be shot at by Megs afterwards; he's afraid of attacking Omega. Oddly, this is a reversal of the usual pattern: Starscream is usually the one who wants to jump the gun and skip all the tests, as seen in "Traitor", "Kremzeek", and "Atlantis, Arise!" (though not in "More Than Meets the Eyes" part 2.) I like his posturing in the Decepticon base, and it's nifty to see what Decepticons do for fun in their spare time (also nifty to see it come around and smack them in the rears like that!)
A hysterical little detail is Screamer holding his nose as he jumps into the electrum. Heh heh! It fits especially well with his little-girl cringing through much of the ep. Another great detail is his varied reaction to being shot by Megatron -- at first he's scared, then he's kind of curious, then he's confident, all through body language. Nice.
Screamer actually gets a substantial amount of attention and development in this ep, even though he never really comes across as a main focus of it. In fact, that's one of the best things about this ep -- lots of minor characters get interesting bits and short little scenes to themselves, including: Thrust, Powerglide, Warpath, Mirage, Dirge and Longhaul, Smokescreen, Perceptor and Seaspray, and of course Beachcomber.
Megatron's statement to Starscream that "I thought you would be [honored]" is... odd. It does lend credence to various pro-Decepticon theories that have been floated here and there. Megs is obviously in a much better mood here than in "Hoist Goes Hollywood"...
Apparently Skywarp and Thundercracker didn't feel the need to tell Megatron about the escaped prisoners. After Seaspray and co. get away, Skywarp is back with the other 'cons like nothing happened. One would think Megatron would have a sense of urgency if he'd known the Autobots had escaped.... or would have at least dispatched somebody to finish them off. (Remember, at this point Megs knows that Beachcomber is aware of the lagoon.) Skywarp apparently has the escapees on his mind -- he raises the spector of the 'cons not winning. :]
The final scene is often cited as being among people's favorites, and indeed it is rather powerful: Beachcomber surrounded by devastated nature, glum, silent, motionless. "We won." I especially like the pall of smoke that's just hovering there. However -- I really think they chose the wrong background music. Maybe they were going for irony with the heroic fanfare that soundtracks the scene (I doubt it), but personally I think a better choice would be the whistful variation of the Transformers theme that plays when BC first finds the grove. Maybe they thought that would be *too* sad. Come to think of it, if those two scenes switched soundtracks they might *both* work better.
The attack on Omega Supreme is, IMO, one of G1's best battle sequences: swift, brutal, with a touch of dry humor, and pefectly soundtracked. It serves to reinforce powerfully the notion that the Autobots' time is quickly running out -- when their presumable last line of defense falls with an earth-shaking thud, things don't look good for 'em at all. And it contains what may be Omega's most famous (and funniest, in context) line: "Results: disappointing." :]
(But wait a minute! When we last saw Powerglide, he was shot down and crashed into the ocean. A later scene indicates that it took him a long time to get back to shore, which he finally does near the end. So what's he doing in this scene?? Did he get right back up, but then decide to go for a swim after Omega was taken down?)
On a similar note, it's cool how we never see the ending of the second Autobot raid. The shot just cuts away with Megatron gleefully advancing.... the viewer can fill in the rest all too easily.
Another great scene is poor Dirge being played for laughs. First Long Haul dumps barrels all over him, then he gets left all by himself while everyone else flies off to glorious victory, THEN he gets yanked into the bushes and subdued by Seaspray. Heh heh!! I love Long Haul's dismissal of the electrum as "that gold stuff" -- it pretty much sums up his intellectual capacities.
Here's more fuel for the Dumb Autobots crowd: doesn't anyone notice that the 'cons are covered with the aforementioned gold stuff? TFs don't just change their paint schemes on a whim. Yet nobody seems to find it worth mentioning that the 'cons have suddenly gone monochrome. Instead it's just "Our weapons have no effect!" and "Huh?" and "I don't get it!"
Beachcomber, Thrust, Megatron, and Optimus all recoginize electrum by sight and/or name. Ironhide and Starscream seem to be clueless about it, though. Thrust is more knowledgable than Starscream??
So can Beachcomber really understand The Secret Language of Birds? It certainly seems so, or at least he makes a fair approximation (even if he apparently says something to upset the bird in question.) But what the heck -- animals just come out of the woodwork and nuzzle up to him. Does he have a transmitter that emits Happy Animal Vibes? Most wild animals tend to run at the sight of anything bigger than themselves that's moving -- and I mean run *away*.
Did Warpath get edited? He randomly shouts out "Blitzwing!" right before BW crashes into him. Was there supposed to be a sentence there? Or was this just another version of Warpath's speech quirk manifesting itself?
The sight of a tank falling out of the sky is rather amusing -- especially the second time when Blitzwing gets shot down. He must have transformed to his tank mode from WAY up in the air.
Perceptor was fine and dandy in the last shot we saw before Thrust captured him, ordering Beachcomber to retreat. Was he attending to Seaspray when Thrust snagged them both? Nothing happened on-screen to knock him out or render him helpless. It's hard to tell, since he and Seaspray are just dots on the screen when Thrust grabs them.
How'd they get Omega Supreme fixed so quickly? And how'd he fit inside that little pond, which had seemed pretty shallow till that point?
Where did Gears come from during the second Autobot sorte? He wasn't in the group that left Omega Supreme, as far as I can tell. My VCR won't let me freeze-frame the group shot, though, so I can't tell who a couple of the guys are. At any rate, the shot of him firing just seems like it was randomly inserted.
Megatron sounds really goofy ordering the 'cons to attack when there's nobody around.
There was no sound effect to indicate that Mirage was driving up to Omega Supreme to report to Sunstreaker. We therefore are left to conclude that he was just sitting there for a long while, till he finally decided to speak up. Wierd.
What is that.... THING that flashes along Thrust's nosecone when he sees the electrum? It's like his nosecone was supposed to light up, but it didn't -- the air right NEXT to his nosecone lit up instead.
The Seeker jets in this ep have acquired the odd habit of removing their arm-mounted weapons to use them. It's not without precedent (it happened in "The Master Builders", among others) but it's just kinda weird, considering they can be fired perfectly well while still attached to their arms. One presumes in this case it's done so that Beachcomber can take one of the guns with him when the 'bots escape.
Powerglide is shot down, lands in the sea, and motors across the water to shore -- presumably because he's damaged and can't fly. Then the 'cons fly past, and he instantly takes off and flies after them. How's that work?
Powerglide seems to be some kind of mechanical expert. He fixes Bumblebee's jetpack in "Dinobot Island", and he seems confident that he can repair himself in this ep. Heh -- he DID make repairs in a jiffy...so fast we couldn't even see it! Explains how he got back in the air in time to warn Omega Supreme of the attack.... but then the question is why did he put himself back in the ocean? :]
I really like Megatron's voice acting in this episode. His delivery of the lines about "bring on the rest!" and "shoot at the whole cloud" are great. If you look at "Microbots", "Auto Berzerk", and this ep, there's a whole little sequence of Megatron vs. Smokescreen (first Megs is disoriented by SS's gimmick -- "Can't see!" Then he's not so phased by it -- "You'll have to do better than that!" Here he's just exhasperated -- "Just shoot at the whole cloud!") Incidentally, if Smokescreen is heading toward the Decepticons, how does the smoke coming from his *tailpipes* get in FRONT of him?? And if I may play Zobovor for a moment, his smoke usually comes from his normal tailpipes; here it comes from a bank of pipes that rise up from his trunk.
Beachcomber's hub-bub-boo-bub-bub blubbering when he first finds the lagoon bothers me. It sounds so *cheesey*. Same for when he says things like "hooo, WOW," in "Dinobot Island" and elsewhere. If he needs a speech quirk, I much prefer the way he occassionally draws out parts of words ("eeeeelectrum!", or "Lllllllet's go!" from "Insecticon Syndrome".)
The whole scene where Warpath's group prepares to go meet the Decepticons seems kinda forced to me. Smokescreen's delivery of his lines seems... strained (too much shoutin', I guess.) Then there's Powerglide randomly saying that he wishes Mirage was there. Why Mirage? Why not Trailbreaker with his forcefield, or Hound with his holograms, or Brawn with his drill (assuming this mission was supposed to go rescue Perceptor and Seaspray from 'con HQ)? And hey, ha ha ha, he actually is there. Oohhh, funny. Laugh, laugh. I do like Warpath's answer to Smokescreen's question, though ("Aw, Beachcomber?...") Warpath is actually a fun character to listen to, when he's not inserting WHAM! BLOUW!! ZAP! ZING!! SNARL!! BLARG!! into every sentence (and yes, it DOES happen occasionally. Check out "Deceptacon Raider..." -- "I gotta go see what 'Sir Hoist' wants!" :]
Artwork and animation are good, though not really great at any point. It's not quite as a good an example of how G1 Transformers is supposed to look as, say, "Quest for Survival" or "Blaster Blues"; the angles often seem a little bit off, a little too round. The only errors I can think of off-hand are that Perceptor suddenly has his light cannon back after the 'bots escape from Decepticon HQ (nice that the animators thought to remove it from him while he was captive, though; but somehow, after they escape, he manages to get both his cannon AND his gun back!) Brawn also has a green head at one point. The animals generally look funky throughout -- especially the vibrating animals in the cave when the 'cons are firing at each other, and the rabbit with eyeballs that flees from Thrust.
This episode is tremendously guilty of Off-Screen Laser Multiplication, however. How many hands does Thrust *have* to throw ice chunks at the 'bots with? How many lasers *is* Ramjet equipped with? How many shots at a time can come out of Seaspray's one (later, two) laser cannon/s?
Something about the season 2 Autobots makes the Season 1 bots look rather hokey and old-fashioned when they take their crack at the 'cons. Is it the colors? The second year 'bots have a more unified look -- they're almost all red or blue with white trim, except for Grapple, Hoist, and Cosmos, all of whom were absent in this ep. Or maybe it's the shading -- they don't seem to be colored as brightly as the newer 'bots for some reason, and they contrast badly with the desert setting of much of the episode.
The Incomprehensible Cartoon Line from the Black... err, Golden... Lagoon: Soundwave's radio transmission sounds like he says "Forton Starscream activiting completed." I assume what he really said was "Report on Starscream's activities completed," but who knows for sure?
Overall: this ep gives Transfans something they seem to like: character development that's rich (well, rich by cartoon standards anyway), yet leaves a lot of ambiguities and room for speculation. Combined with a pretty cool story and some very well-executed scenes, it adds up to one of G1's very best episodes. Not perfect by any means, but hey, that's G1 for ya.
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