Guardian Academy (episode)
|This article is about the cartoon episode. For the titular institution, see Guardian Academy.|
|Airdate||December 12, 1985|
|Story by||Jeff Segal, Kelly Ward, Mark Young and Lane Raichert|
|Teleplay by||Mark Young and Lane Raichert|
|Animation studio||Wang Film Productions|
It's graduation day, but not all the cadets have the Guardian cause at heart...
Leader-1 and Turbo are restrained in one of Thruster's detention cells while Nick and A.J. coordinate a rescue with the Red and Blue teams of Guardians. The ship is protected by a diffusion field; Twister of the Blue Team reports that Tri-Trak has already knocked himself out after running into it. A.J. then tells the leader of Red Team, Re-Volt, of a secret weakness in the shield and his team-mates Chaos and Traitor help take it down. The impulsive Tri-Trak then races in to free Leader-1, despite Nick warning him of the possibility of booby traps. It is too late and Thruster explodes. Thankfully it was all just a training exercise, though instructor Scooter and supervisor Zeemon give the Blue Team 200,000 penalty points - a record at the Guardian Academy. Tork of Blue Team objects and blames Tri-Trak but Leader-1 tells him teamwork is a crucial part of being a Guardian. The next exercise is flights around the solar system; as they reach Saturn the Red Team grows tired of keeping pace with the Blue Team and sets off. Radio interference then stops communications as Tri-Trak spots something on one of Saturn's moons, which should be deserted. He goes in to investigate, with the rest of Blue Team, A.J. and Nick following. They are then attacked by Vamp, Scorp and Creepy. The Red Team meanwhile meet Cy-Kill on Saturn itself; the three are really Renegade spies. They give him the details of Thruster's diffusion field weakness while he gives them a miniaturised Astrobeam, planning to abduct Zeemon at the Academy graduation ceremony and Brainstorm him to gain access to Guardian secrets.
Tri-Trak is saved from Creepy's claws by Tri-Trak but the Renegade restrains them both with webbing; as the cadets have not been through final modification and cannot convert they are unable to fight on an equal footing. However, the Red Team arrive and the Monster GoBots retreat. Tri-Trak is suspicious that they retained use of their radios and that the Renegades were driven off so easily and a fight nearly breaks out between him and Re-Volt. However, A.J. and Nick cool things off and they all return to the Academy ahead of the final test - target practice in a shooting gallery of Renegade and Guardian targets; the former shoot back and must be destroyed for points, the latter don't shoot and destroying them costs points. Tri-Trak seems set for a record score until he is attacked by a target of Scooter; he tries telling the real Scooter but no-one believes him. Everyone then receives their scores - with Tri-Trak as the only cadet not to graduate. He believes his scores were rigged and after goading by Tork sets out to prove it. Later he spots Re-Volt and Chaos secreting the Astrobeam projector on the stage that will be used for the ceremony but is spotted and knocked out by Traitor before he can tell anyone.
The next morning Tork, Twister and Staks get themselves ready ahead of the ceremony, though Nick and A.J. are worried about Tri-Trak, whose recharge pod hasn't been activated all night. They decide to check if he's investigating the firing range but are fired on by the targets - including one of Leader-1. At the ceremony Leader-1 introduces the cadets to the audience and calls on the Red Team; as the highest scoring graduates they will be the first through the Modifier. In the firing range A.J. and Nick are able to tool up in combat suits and she takes out most of the targets before they find Tri-Trak, strapped to a target of Scooter. A.J. blasts the neural inhibitor off his chest and he informs the pair of the Red Team's treachery. Zeemon meanwhile gives the Red Team their medals for passing the course before they reveal their true colours and try to take him. The old politician hurls Re-Volt over his shoulders but Traitor is able to restrain him from behind. Cy-Kill, Crasher and Cop-Tur then Astrobeam in, planning to use their captive as a shield. However Tri-Trak appears and knocks Cy-Kill down before diving through the Astrobeam portal, with the rest of Blue Team following. A blast from Cop-Tur takes out the portal, trapping himself, Cy-Kill and Crasher at the Academy, and forcing them to fly off alone as Path Finder, Hans-Cuff and Rest-Q advance on them. Meanwhile at the other end of the portal Re-Volt, Chaos and Traitor have a waiting Thruster and get onboard, activating the stealth device and covering the fault on the diffusor field. The Blue Team seems to be too late; however Tri-Trak has an idea. Meanwhile Cy-Kill, Crasher and Cop-Tur have accidentally boarded the Thruster simulator and are surrounded by a huge force of Guardians. Meanwhile Re-Volt pilots the real Thruster away only for Tri-Trak to smash through the front windscreen and the rest of Blue Team soon arrive, subduing the spies, though Cy-Kill's group are able to burrow out of the simulator and escape. The ceremony is reconvened, with Zeemon congratulating Tri-Trak and announcing that the Blue Team can stay working together as a team - codenamed Secret Riders.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
This episode has continuity problems that might be from it being aired out of order.
- Story Order: when GoBots tries to have continuity, they make continuity errors.
- In broadcast order, Tri-Trak, Twister and Tork have all appeared already as active members of the Guardians. Re-Volt also appeared with the Renegades, meaning this episode must take place earlier than "Terror in Atlantis", "Mission: GoBotron", "Et Tu, Cy-Kill", and "The Secret of Halley's Comet".
- This episode also retroactively creates errors in the flashback scenes of "Et Tu, Cy-Kill", which showed Tri-Trak and Twister as active Guardians long ago, before Cy-Kill's defection.
- No explanation is given for Staks having to attend Guardian Academy, considering he's been active since the pilot and made numerous appearances. He's even shown on the scoreboard. It is possible the part was originally planned for Throttle, who shows up as part of the Secret Riders on their first mission, but it's hard to ignore Staks being actually there.
- Creepy appears here as a general-purpose Renegade thug but will later appear in "Quest for New Earth", the plot of which requires him to not be known to Cy-Kill. Only problem there is that "Quest for New Earth" is given in dialogue as the Secret Riders' first mission. Maybe Cy-Kill didn't know he was working with Vamp and Scorp and he was just visiting and decided to pitch in? Probably not, as Tri-Trak calls him by name.
- Maybe everyone's been DXed. The production team certainly have.
- Guardians are reportedly only put through the Modifier to receive vehicle modes after graduation from the Guardian Academy. It is referred to as "final" Modification, though, which may explain why the cadets already have vehicle kibble.
- Nick and A.J. don UNECOM dress uniforms (as seen in "Cy-Kill's Escape") for the ceremony. In fact the pair have four different costumes - the square-headed spacesuits, their usual outfits, the dress uniforms and the firing range suits with wrist-mounted blasters, and the animators don't mess them up once. Now that's a record score.
- Combat dummies of Cy-Kill, Stretch, Cop-Tur, Pincher, Crasher, Leader-1, Scooter, Snoop, Water Walk, Bad Boy, Tank, Dozer, Defendor, Screw Head, a blue Crain Brain, Night Ranger, Fitor, Spay-C, Spoiler, BuggyMan, and Loco can be seen in the firing range.
- Cop-Tur actually snaps back at the end when Crasher suggests they should have left him at the ship, with an angry "Lay off!" replacing his trademark "So-rry".
- Whoever thought to have Twister give Tork bunny ears for their class picture is a genius.
- Gadgets and Powers:
- Creepy is able to project energy-draining webs to snare opponents while in creature mode.
- Traitor can produce electrical sparks from his antenna.
Continuity and plotting errors
- Leader-1 claims the Red Team has the highest score, but that isn't true. Together, the Dread Launchers score is 122,750, while the Secret Riders score (even with Tri-Trak's measly 1 point) is 138,153.
- Cy-Kill's portable Astrobeam creates a stable portal the Blue Team is able to fly through. It is a modified Astrobeam, so this wouldn't necessarily be an error, but Cy-Kill and his goons materialized in traditional Astrobeam fashion first.
- The Dread Launchers escape on Thruster, activating their stealth mode. Tri-Trak says he has an idea and then just flies through the window, which would explain why he's able to get through the shield but not how the Blue Team were able to track the ship to attack it in the first place.
Animation and technical errors
- Whether or not Tri-Trak has a moving mouth when he speaks is inconsistent throughout the episode.
- Turbo's left eye is missing in the opening shot when he turns his head.
- Tri-Trak is lying on a different ground for his close-up shot than the distant shot with him and Twister.
- The area around Tri-Trak's face is also red when he's on the ground, when it should be gray.
- Staks phases through the side of Thruster when Blue Team infiltrates the ship, instead of walking through the portal.
- When she and Scorp charge the Guardians, Vamp converts without turning around, causing her robot face to rest on the front of a distorted version of her car mode.
- It's odd to call this an error, but when he's shown relaxing and reading a book (named Playbots), Staks has hands. Staks doesn't have hands. Poor Staks.
- When Leader-1 announces the cadets and they fly in it's just the Red Team and Staks who are seen.
- Zeemon is among the Guardians who arrive to stop Cy-Kill from escaping with Zeemon.
- Rest-Q's face is melting when the Guardians all clap for Tri-Trak's graduation.
- And yet another example of BuggyMan appearing in a crowd of Guardians.
- The opening sequence, in which a mission seemingly ends in disaster and the death of our heroes before a pull-back reveals it to be a training exercise, was probably influenced by the famous opening scene of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
- Firing Range Scores:
- Tri-Trak 9,795 (reduced to 4 after he shoots the Scooter target)
- Nick 87
- Graduation Scores:
- Re-Volt 48,932
- Twister 47,329
- Staks 46,541
- Tork 44,372
- Chaos 37,426
- Traitor 36, 392
- Tri-Trak 00,001
- And yes, none of the Guardians even think of suspecting that the guys named Traitor, Chaos and Re-Volt are planning a treacherous, chaotic revolt.
Home video releases
2015 — Challenge of the GoBots — The Series, Volume Two (Warner Archive Collection)