Invasion from the 21st Level, Part II

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Challenge of the GoBots ep 17
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"Invasion from the 21st Level"
Part II
Production code 0142-8507
Production company Hanna-Barbera
Airdate October 8, 1985
Written by Laine Raichert
Animation studio Wang Film Productions

With half their number captured, the Guardians struggle to save Earth from the threat of Exor and her insectoid army.

Synopsis[edit]

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Faced with Exor's powerful "soldier" insectoids, against whom their weapons are ineffective, Leader-1, Turbo, Small Foot, and Blaster retreat into the bowels of Roguestar. Pursued by the alien creatures, they take refuge in the ship's engine room, where Leader-1 and Small Foot attempt to overload the power generators, causing an explosion that will destroy Roguestar and take the insectoids with it. While they work, Turbo and Blaster hold the door closed against the insectoids pounding on the other side, but when the Astro-Beam wears off and Blaster teleports out, Turbo's strength alone is not enough to keep the insectoids out. They spill into the room, and Leader-1 and Small Foot are forced to abandon Turbo in order to escape, blasting out of the hull of the ship and flying back to Earth.

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Turbo and the captured Renegades are strapped into power-draining "sapper" racks and relocated to the hive Exor has established on Earth, where Turbo is reunited with the captive Scooter. Doctor Braxis and his Dimensional Interfacer are likewise moved to the hive, whereupon the preening Braxis finds the shoe to be on the other foot as Exor declares she no longer has a use for him and orders him taken to the "food camps" with the numerous other human prisoners the insectoids have gathered. The indignant Braxis uses an explosive to cover his escape, and rushes to the prison cells holding the GoBots. Preferring not to feel Cy-Kill's wrath for his earlier betrayal, Braxis elects to free Turbo and Scooter if they will take him with them. Unfortunately, Cy-Kill alerts a pair of passing guards to their escape attempt; though the two Guardians are able to get away with Braxis, in the scuffle, Cy-Kill's restraints are damaged and he too breaks his bonds.

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Meanwhile, Leader-1 and Small Foot reconnoiter UNECOM headquarters, now under insectoid control, seeking to gain access to the Astro-Beam to summon reinforcements. In the process, they almost find themselves trapped in a magnetic energy net, but it turns out not to be an insectoid attack, but the work of Matt and A.J., who mistook their friends for insectoids. Taking advantage of their small size, the humans are able to sneak into the base for the Guardians and activate the Astro-Beam to summon Heat Seeker, who immediately saves them from an insectoid that has discovered them.

Turbo, Scooter, and Braxis flee through the hive's many tunnels, but find their escape dogged by insectoids. After burying a pair of the creatures by collapsing the tunnel roof, the Guardians are confronted by the now-freed Cy-Kill, Crasher, and Cop-Tur. Before the villains can open fire, however, the insectoids dig their way out of the pile of rubble and resume their attack. Turbo, Scooter, and Braxis leave the Renegades to fend for themselves, making good their escape. Luckily, their fellow Guardians have just arrived outside; Small Foot and Heat Seeker have already distracted the hive's guards, and Turbo and Scooter emerge just as Leader-1 is approaching the entrance. The Guardian leader is happy to see his comrades, but—ever honorable—he also makes sure Turbo honors his deal with Braxis and allows the human to go his own way.

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Concurrently, Heat Seeker leads an insectoid guard in an aerial chase, during which the Renegades burst out of the roof of the hive with more of the bugs on their tail. Heat Seeker uses the opportunity to trick the two groups of insectoids into colliding with one another—a distraction that gives the Renegades a chance to escape orbit and make for Roguestar, but Cop-Tur's jets give out on the way and Cy-Kill and Crasher leave him to fight the pursuing insectoids hand-to-hand while they power up Roguestar's weapons. Cy-Kill vaporizes the insectoids with the ship's main cannon, hauls Cop-Tur aboard, then takes the ship down into orbit to target the hive. Before opening fire, however, he spots Braxis walking away from the hive and decides to take a few potshots at the scientist, who runs back to the hive for cover.

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Meanwhile, the Guardians have re-entered the hive and headed straight for Exor's throne room. There, Scooter reactivates the Interfacer, but Exor once again uses her mental powers to counteract the machine and shut the portal. Just as she begins blasting the GoBots, Roguestar's cannons hit the hive, blowing it wide open. While Exor is busy firing back on the ship with more mental shockwaves, Leader-1 reactivates the Interfacer, which successfully draws all the insectoids up and returns them to their home dimension. Only Exor remains, desperately fighting the portal's pull—but Roguestar's attack has weakened her to the extent that she cannot fight for long, and is eventually sucked through, gone for good. The portal is closed and Turbo destroys the Interfacer, with a stern warning to Braxis never to build another!

Featured characters[edit]

(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)

Quotes[edit]

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"I've always thought you were a punk, Turbo!"
"Yeah, you're much tougher'n me, Crasher—that's why they captured you first!"

Crasher and Turbo in captivity



"Turbo! Am I glad to see you!"
"You are? Strapped to a power-drainage rack? Six miles underground? Surrounded by the entire insectoid hive?"
"I... uhhh, well... I'm sorry, these racks are scrambling my logic boards!"

Scooter and Turbo reunited



"Oof! Hey! I could do without the bumps!"
"Fine, sweetheart—you can get out and walk!"

Braxis has a rough ride inside Turbo



"Braxis... did you invent this... this Interfacer?"
"Of course."
"Well don't do it again!"
(KABLAMMO!)

Turbo puts an end to Braxis's invention

Notes[edit]

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Continuity notes[edit]

  • In both broadcast and continuity order (a rare combo!) this episode features the debut of Heat Seeker. In fact, his introduction comes oddly early in the series; his toy was not released until 1986, and the other characters from that year's range would not appear in the show until the final half-dozen-or-so episodes. For Heat Seeker to show up forty-plus episodes in advance of most of his wave-mates would suggest there may have been some plans to release his toy as part of the 1985 series that fell through.

Real-world references[edit]

  • The insectoids featured in the first part of this story were "drones," and in the opening moments of this episode, Exor identifies the bigger, stronger breed she has summoned as "soldiers," terms taken from real-life ant colonies.

Continuity and plotting errors[edit]

  • In Part I, the "sapper" into which Scooter was strapped was made up of black rings with blue joints. In this episode (in which it is referred to only as a "power-drainage rack"), the rings are yellow and the joints are brown.
  • Heat Seeker and Small Foot each distract one of the two insectoid guards. While Heat Seeker's mid-air chase plays out on screen, it's never shown how Small Foot deals with her guard—in fact, Small Foot completely disappears from the episode after this scene.

Animation and technical errors[edit]

  • After Leader-1 sets Matt and A.J. down, Small Foot was two big, round eyes instead of her usual visor.
  • Detecting the approach of insectoids after freeing Turbo and Scooter, Braxis exclaims "Drones!" but the creatures that walk by are of the soldier variety.
  • When Cy-Kill alerts the guards to the Guardians' escape, his eyes are black pupils on orange sclera, instead of the normal reverse.
  • Cy-Kill is missing his "stubble" as he escapes his rack.
  • Heat Seeker looks really small in jet mode as he buzzes the insectoid while escaping with Matt and A.J.
  • Small Foot's eyes are missing from her visor while Leader-1 tells everyone his plan.
  • When A.J. congratulates Heat Seeker after he tricks the insectoids into flying into one another, a starfield background is used instead of a blue sky.
  • When Crasher detects activity on Roguestar's scanners, her dialogue is cut off mid-word (not overlapped, literally cut off) by the sound effect of the scanner monitor rising from the console.
  • As he mutters to himself while walking away from the hive, Braxis's mouth does not move.
  • Cy-Kill's stubble flickers in and out as he laughs while shooting at Braxis.

Home video releases[edit]

VHS

1988 — Challenge of the GoBots — Volume III: "Invasion from the 21st Level" Parts I & II (Children's Video Library)

DVD

2014 — Challenge of the GoBots — The Series, Volume One (Warner Archive Collection)