|Airdate||October 22, 1985|
|Written by||Francis Moss|
|Animation studio||Wang Film Productions|
Cy-Kill unites all the crime families of America into one massive army.
With Renegade activity at a lull, Leader-1 and Scooter keep busy helping to thwart more mundane human crimes, like a bank robbery that is brought to a halt when Leader-1 stomps the criminals' getaway car flat, and Scooter projects his voice to impersonate the police. Before the robbers can be carted away, however, the Renegades suddenly attack, liberating the men and escaping with them. The puzzled criminals think Cy-Kill wants a share of their loot, but he explains that he merely wishes them to pass a message on to their boss, inviting him to attend a meeting of major crime bosses at the Pinewood Resort. There, the various bosses discover that the Renegades have allied themselves with Murchison, a particularly hated kingpin who previously attempted to take over the East Coast crime syndicate. Using Murchison as a co-ordinator, the Renegades organize the rival crime families into one huge co-operative crime army who will conquer the Earth for them.
The allied Renegade/human crime wave begins almost immediately, with crimes ranging from from physical raids like daylight smash-and-grabs and attacks on armored cars, to digital theft, as bank accounts are hacked and funds illegally transferred, damaging the world economy. The Guardians are sorely outnumbered and overwhelmed by the campaign of crime, as Turbo finds out when he is unable to prevent Fly Trap, Scales, and Stretch—the latter functioning as Murchison's personal conveyance in his limousine mode—from plundering the Federal Gold Repository.
Hoping to unearth the full extent of Cy-Kill's plan, Matt goes undercover among the criminals at the Pinewood resort disguised as a biker, with Scooter using his holograms to pose as his motorcycle. Under cover of night, Matt discovers that the Renegades are using the stolen funds to build a remote forcefield generator that will be used to protect their human army as they continue their plan of conquest. Matt is caught eavesdropping by Crasher and thrown in a cell after Cy-Kill recognizes him; a moment later, it dawns on Cy-Kill that the motorcycle Matt arrived on must be Scooter in disguise, and the Renegades are able to mobilize in time to prevent Scooter from freeing Matt. Scooter flees into the woods and manages to escape when he tricks the pursuing Renegades into colliding with a fallen tree.
With the field generator now operative, the Renegades, Murchison, and their army march into Washington, D.C.. Thanks to Scooter's intel, the Guardians and a military unit under the command of General Newcastle stand ready to oppose them, but the forcefield keeps any of the heroes' attacks from landing and they are ultimately trampled by the evil army. The President of the United States is unseated, and Murchison installs himself as the new ruler of America.
With the other Guardians badly damaged and undergoing repairs, A.J. and Nick survey the conquered Washington from the air aboard Guardian helicopter Flip Top. When they spot the captive Matt being escorted by some guards, Flip Top swoops in to rescue him, blowing the guards away while the kids haul Matt aboard. Matt and Flip Top subsequently head for Pinewood Resort, where Matt ambushes one of the scientists working on the field generator and steals his coat so he can sneak into the facility and figure out how to disable the machine. Flip Top stands guard, but is found by Cop-Tur; unable to damage the Renegade thanks to his forcefield, Flip Top tries to keep him busy with an aerial chase. Simultaneously, Matt turns off the generator's overload protector, causing the machine to explode. The Renegades' shields are deactivated, and Flip Top socks Cop-Tur right in the mouth.
Alerted to the deactivation of the shields by Matt and Flip Top, the Guardians and the American military are able to quickly get the drop on Murchison and his men and retake Washington. The Renegades learn too late that they are defenseless: Stretch is taken out by Turbo, while Flip Top ensnares Cy-Kill and Crasher in his cables and dumps them into the Potomac. Cop-Tur arrives in Thruster to rescue his water-logged comrades, and the villains retreat, vowing to make the Guardians pay.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"I love the crunch of metal in the morning!"
- —Crasher is happy at her work
"We have no use for your filthy lucre, fool!"
- —Some phrases just sound better coming out of Cy-Kill's mouth
"Fly Trap and Stretch! What a nice couple!"
- —Turbo ships it
- "Crime Wave" features the debut of Renegade limousine Stretch in both broadcast and continuity order, though as tends to be the way, the Guardians are already familiar with him. He was released as "Tux" in the GoBots toyline, which presumably means "Stretch" was a preliminary name for the figure that lasted long enough during production that it made it into the show.
- In broadcast terms, this is also the first appearance of Guardian helicopter Flip Top, but chronologically, he will later appear in the "GoBotron Saga" mini-series, which occurs before the events of this episode. "Crime Wave" is very much a "spotlight" moment for him in the series, even though he only appears in the third act with no set-up. His dialogue with Cop-Tur ("It's time I finished you once and for all!") implies the two helicopters have a standing rivalry.
- Hey, that's the same president from "Trident's Triple Threat," still voiced by Frank Welker and everything! Points for consistency!
- Gadgets and Powers:
- Scooter has a functional metal bar-cutting blaster in his fingertip. Perhaps this is a version of the utility energy beam from "Dawn World."
- Crasher's line, quoted above, paraphrases the famous remark about the smell of napalm from Apocalypse Now.
- Cy-Kill adorably refers to money as "filthy lucre," a turn of phrase originating in the Bible (Titus 1:11).
- Murchison's army is really, really uncomfortably close to wearing the Nazi uniform (right), complete with red arm sash with white circle.
Continuity and plotting errors
- Matt is incorrectly drawn in his standard clothes when he's imprisoned at the Pinewood Resort. His biker disguise reappears after the criminals conquer Washington.
- Murchison goes from wearing his "Nazi" uniform in act two to being back in his blue suit in act three, despite there being no break for time in the story.
Animation and technical errors
- Leader-1's pupils aren't colored in when he first appears.
- When Cop-Tur slices open the paddy wagon with his rotor, he's not holding the rotor as he normally does; rather, his hand is missing, and the rotor is attached directly to his wrist.
- When the bookcase rolls out of the way to reveal the Renegades at the Pinewood Resort, there's no floor or background detail of any kind on the other side, making the Renegades look like they're floating in a purple void. Additionally, Crasher's red chest spots are missing.
- At the first heist, it appears as if the thugs arrived in an Armored Services truck...the same truck Crasher trashes in the following heist.
- Murchison has a larger, sexier moustache when he steps out of Stretch at the first heist. It immediately disappears in the next shot.
- Scales supposedly has the drop on Turbo from behind, but Scales drove into the shot from the right, then turns around to face Turbo's back. He would have driven past Turbo to get there in the first place. He's also look a lot smaller in this shot than he normally does.
- In the long shot that precedes Matt and Scooter showing off their biker disguise, Matt is drawn with his standard clothing, while Scooter is nowhere to be seen.
- Several scratches progressively appear over the top of Cy-Kill's shoulder-wheel as he chews out Murchison for allowing Matt to stay at the resort.
- There are no laser-blast sound effects as Cy-Kill fires on the fleeing Scooter.
- As Scooter whimpers that he's "got to get to the Guardians," his mouth stops moving halfway through the sentence as the scene starts to fade into the next one.
- In the first scene of Murchison's army marching on Washington, the soldiers are all miscolored in the series standard "tan uniform/white helmet" color scheme, instead of the all-black outfits they wear.
- In the same scene, when shown at a distance, General Newcastle is likewise miscolored as a white guy in a tan uniform.
- When Flip Top and the kids rescue Matt, Flip Top speaks as if there is only one guard, when there are two.
- As they make their getaway, Nick grabs him by the shoulders and Flip Top just takes off, making it seem like Nick is supporting Matt's dangling weight alone.
- "You can't hurt me through this shield, dummy!" laughs Cop-Tur when Flip Top tries to blast him. He's referring to the force field created by the generator, which surrounds anyone wearing a receiver, but any such glowing field effect is missing from the visuals of the scene; instead, the animation would have you believe the shield in question is the one created by his whirling rotors, as that's what Flip Top's blast bounces off of.
- Flip Top's character model doesn't normally display his rotors on his back, but they do appear during his confrontation with Cop-Tur.
- When Flip Top goes down, he screams "My...tail rotor!" Cop-Tur hit him several times, but never anywhere near his tail.
- After his crash, Flip Top and Cop-Tur appear during daylight at the Grand Mall in Washington. In the next shot, the background reverts to the correct nighttime woods.
- As Scooter escapes from the Renegades, animation of his wonky transformation from "Cy-Kill's Cataclysmic Trap" is re-used.
- Small Foot appears in a single scene, in vehicle mode, and never speaks. Although General Newcastle rides her into battle at the front of a tank convoy, no one ever acknowledges her by name.
- This is the only episode in which Dr. Go actually transforms onscreen.
Home video releases
1985 — Challenge of the GoBots — Volume VII: "The Secret of Halley's Comet," "The Gift," and "Crime Wave" (Vestron Video, USA)
1985 — Challenge of the GoBots — Auto-Madic (Vestron Video, UK)
2015 — Challenge of the GoBots — The Series, Volume One (Warner Archive Collection, USA)