Friday, March 19, 2010

Transformers: Headmasters – "Return Of The Immortal Emperor"

Chromedome: The Decepticons have become more cunning since Galvatron disappeared.
Fortress: Scorponok is hideously cruel.
Hardhead: Damn it! Which planet are they going to target next?
Highbrow: They know how dangerous it is.
Chromedome: You're naive. Scorponok is obsessed with vengeance.
Fortress: Reinforce the patrols. We have to know everything they are planning.

Following the devastating destruction of the planet Mars, Arcee and Spike investigate the aftermath, piloting through the debris aboard Broadside's aircraft carrier mode. They return to Athenia and report to Fortress that the area is on the verge of becoming dangerous, moreso if another planet is destroyed in the solar system. They all set on patrol immediately to monitor for Decepticon activity.

Meanwhile, Daniel and Wheelie playfully argue outside about whether Fortress or Scorponok is stronger before seeing a strange, multi-colored light in the sky, which then rockets past them. Arcee reports this "UFO sighting" to Fortress, who promises security checks of the area. Unknown to Fortress and the others, Chromedome and Hardhead have snuck away to the battleship's outer hatches, planning their own sneak attack on the Decepticon HQ on Charr.

On Charr, Scorponok receives word from double-agent Counterpunch that Fortress is patrolling nearby. We see Ravage and Laserbeak watch this conversation from elsewhere and they decide to "warn the boss", i.e. Soundblaster. Yes indeed, Ravage and Laserbeak do surprisingly speak to each other in this scene, contrary to their former, silent selves in the US series. However, one could look back to part two of the original mini-series for an instance of Ravage reporting his findings in plain English to Megatron, by way of playback in Soundwave's tapedeck mode. Perhaps they always possessed this ability, but simply never had much to talk about?

Back in space, Chromedome and Hardhead travel on their own towards Charr, but soon are hiding behind nearby asteroids as they notice Blitzwing out for a reconnaissance flight. Next they see Scorponok heading right towards and find themselves trapped by Blitzwing coming back around. Weirdwolf and Skullcruncher emerge from Scorponok and in a brief scuffle they send Chromedome and Hardhead back across space, crashing into Fortress.

Back on Charr, Soundblaster is leading a mysterious meeting with his cassettes:

Ravage: Don't get carried away by what they're up to.
Soundblaster: Don't worry. I have many veteran information gatherers like yourself.
Laserbeak: We're all working very hard on it.
Soundblaster: So you'll be digging up some important new information, then, won't you?
Laserbeak: When you say important...?
Ravage: We're in the thick of fighting as we speak.
Soundblaster: If we go to Earth, there'll be some of them around. Let's go!

Above Charr, Fortress, unable to charge enough energy to use the Master Sword, is being battered by Scorponok. Just as it seems he will be beaten, the strangely lit UFO races by and in between the two of them, allowing Fortress to escape. Once the Autobots return safely to Athenia, we find Daniel channeling 1977's "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" with his keyboard, tapping in notes in hopes of attracting the odd spacecraft. It actually did make me laugh that the writers included this reference, as he even states that he "saw it in a movie"!

At the Decepticon HQ on Earth, Soundblaster meets covertly in the dark with Sixshot, who intuits that he is about to hear some bad news. Suddenly, the glowing UFO appears before them, Sixshot challenges it verbally and looks to be completely absorbed by the light. When it fades, Soundblaster finds he is alone.

Meanwhile, Cyclonus and Scourge report to an impatient Scorponok that "all preparations have been made for the ceremony" and that all Decepticon leaders are requested to attend, then ply him with bold statements of how he will one day be ruler of the entire universe. This is no doubt the bad news that Soundblaster was prepared to deliver to Sixshot before the latter disappeared. We see this same news delivered by Counterpunch to Fortress and Twincast, with further details that the Decepticons are now headed towards Earth's moon. Not to blow it up, as initially feared, but for Scorponok's coronation as emperor.

On the Moon, in the Sea of Silence, a stadium has been constructed for the coronation, since we all know that the Decepticons, like all good villains, love the showy pomp and circumstance. Cyclonus announces Scorponok, who then addresses the crowd that he is the new emperor, prepared to destroy both Fortress and the Autobots HQ on Earth. Just then, his coronation is disrupted by Fortress himself, bearing down on the Moon. Scorponok commands the Decepticons to spring into battle and they are met Headmasters, Trainbots, Superion, Computron and Defensor.

During a brief pause in the action, Soundblaster arrives and attempts to gain Scorponok's attention, but the mysterious UFO descends quickly, shooting beams of light at both Transformer armies. Sixshot materializes from the light, before it dissipates completely, revealing a fierce looking spaceship. It lands and from within it emerges… Galvatron.

All parties are shocked and almost speechless at his return, Scorponok most especially looking humbled and distraught. Galvatron rallies the Decepticons to attack the Autobots and they are driven from the Moon in defeat. Afterwards we discover that he had been watching from afar:

Galvatron: It seems you can't govern yourselves when I'm not around, Scorponok.
Scorponok: At least we're making an effort...
Galvatron: Am I not welcome back?
Scorponok: What are you saying? Lord Galvatron, why didn't you show yourself sooner?
Galvatron: I was observing. I wanted to see what had happened in my absence. I saw a lot. It seems everything's ready.
Cyclonus: In fact...well...we were awaiting your return.
Galvatron: Scorponok, Sixshot has told me of your achievements. Your skills seem to have improved. But now that I'm back, I'll take charge. Galvatron is emperor of the Decepticons.

And so with that exchange, Galvatron continues his prediliction for interrupted the coronation of others who decide they should rule the Decepticon forces. At least he didn't blast Scorponok to dust! I guess he figured he was much more useful to keep around than Starscream ever was, but nevertheless this episode surprisingly brought a seemingly swift end to Scorponok's time as ultimate leader. It's a pretty nifty episode, ending with an Autobot retreat, following upon their effective loss on Mars and thus giving the Decepticons a better string of victories than they've experienced for some time.

Soundblaster and Sixshot seemed to have soured on the new leadership, so perhaps it is to their advantage that the former emperor returns. I find it interesting that the writers of this series, who had quickly moved most of last season's cast to the benches, brought Galvatron back to the forefront. I guess it's really hard to argue against the fierce charisma and intensity his character brings to the show, whether now or as Megatron!


Jimtron said...

You know, structurally, this is an odd episode. It seems very strange to seemingly off Galvatron (saving Cybertron, none the less!) in the same episode where Rodimus & co depart for parts unknown, only to bring him back a few episodes later. Then, of course, they kill him again. I'm not sure what they were trying to achieve, but I don't think they quite got it.

Brian said...

Good question, I wish I could say for sure... Perhaps someone on staff at Takara was already missing the Galvatron/Zarak back and forth in struggling for total leadership? More fans of Galvatron at Takara, but they knew that they still had to move forward with Zarak as the new leader?

It makes for a nice humbling moment for Zarak, at least. Up until this episode, he's been extremely effective at pulling the strings, manipulating events and generally been successful in gaining energy and taking power. He was getting might cocky there by the end of the Mars 2-parter and needed an event like this to take the wind out of his sails, so to speak! :)

Admittedly, the series does start to meander for a time now in a more episodic format, but at least it bounces back towards the end.