Lost on GoBotron
|"Lost on GoBotron"|
|Airdate||October 9, 1985|
|Story by||Jeff Segal, Kelly Ward and Eric Lewald|
|Teleplay by||Eric Lewald|
|Animation studio||Wang Film Productions|
Matt is forced to fight in gladiatorial combat when he, Nick, and A.J. are taken prisoner on Old GoBotron.
Nick, A.J., and Matt accompany the Guardians to GoBotron for a conference with representatives from multiple alien worlds regarding a mutual anti-Renegade defense treaty. Nick and A.J. are excited to visit the GoBots' homeworld, and A.J. asks Leader-1 about the planet's curious "apple core" shape. The Guardian leader explains that the sphere at the center of the "apple core" is Old GoBotron, the original planet on top of which the modern GoBotron was built, a slum where modern GoBots dare not tread, home now only to derelicts and illegal aliens. Scooter is eager to the show the humans around his hometown, GoBana, but as they are enjoying the sights, the Renegade Fly Trap attacks, tipped off to their presence by an alien who observed their arrival. Fly Trap and his alien companion Gorn knock out Scooter and capture the humans, who they take to Old GoBotron and throw in a cell. There, Cy-Kill talks to the humans over a communications screen, revealing that he has abducted them to hobble the defense treaty, and also to lure Leader-1 into his clutches.
A little later, after Cy-Kill has arrived on Old GoBotron himself, Fly Trap and Gorn return to the cell to bring the humans before their leader. Matt plays possum, then drop-kicks Gorn into Fly Trap, buying himself and his young companions precious moments to escape. Pursued by their jailers, the humans take refuge in a nearby chamber, only to find they have stumbled into the clutches of a broken-down old GoBot named Wrecks. Wrecks puts Nick and A.J. on display as a sideshow attraction for the inhabitants of Old GoBotron (so that his thieving urchins can pickpocket the crowd that forms), and threatens to kill them if Matt will not participate in the gladiatorial games that he holds for the population's entertainment—games, Matt learns as he watches Tung the Ruthless triumph over Mullah, that are fought to the death above a lava pit. Left with no choice, Matt takes on Tung and emerges victorious. Wrecks is impressed by the human's skill and takes a shine to him, but Matt demands freedom for himself and his friends. Wrecks agrees to one further fight: if Matt can win, he will release them all, but if not, Matt must stay and fight for him forever.
Presently, Cy-Kill, Fly Trap, and Gorn arrive at Wrecks's arena, certain that the humans are being held there. Wrecks agrees to fetch them for the Renegade, but instead has his urchins help them escape through a secret passage, much to Matt's confusion. Cy-Kill demands to know where they have gone and threatens Wrecks with violence, but the urchins spring into action, tying up and tripping over Cy-Kill and his goons and carrying Wrecks to the safety of the secret passage. He reunites with Matt, Nick, and A.J., who in the interm have talked with his urchins and other loyal followers, and have learned that the honorable old GoBot keeps them safe and looks after them.
As all this has been happening, the peace conference has gone poorly without the humans, so Leader-1 has set out to find what has happened to them. He comes upon Scooter just as the young GoBot awakens, and the pair immediately head down to Old GoBotron to search for their friends. Getting no help from the scared locals, the pair make their way to Unity Square, a location Leader-1 is familiar with, to look for the being who "runs the streets"—but instead, they run into Cy-Kill and his henchmen. Fly Trap and Gorn go after Scooter while Leader-1 and Cy-Kill trade blasts, and the battle catches the attention of Wrecks's urchins. They lead the humans to the Guardians' side, and then employ their tricks to first trip and bind Fly Trap, then cause Cy-Kill to collapse a wall on top of himself with a misaimed blast. Matt, meanwhile, challenges Gorn to one last gladiator match and manages to claim victory, sending his brutish opponent to his end in the lava below. Wrecks and the humans make peace and Leader-1 invites Wrecks to return to the surface with them, but the old 'bot politely declines, preferring to stay and take care of his friends, just as Matt fought to keep his friends safe. Wrecks and his urchins bid their new friends farewell, and the Guardians and humans head back to the peace conference.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"I'm not gonna fight just to entertain that filth out there!"
"Now that is a shame. I did so hope I wouldn't have to terminate your two friends."
"I would... and I'd sell tickets!"
- —Matt is forced to fight by Wrecks
"If you don't tell me where they've gone, I'll make your name come true... Wrecks!"
- The GoBots' home planet has not received a lot of attention in the series up to this point; though it has often been looked in on in short scenes, episodes have largely occurred on Earth, in space, or on other planets. As such, this episode serves to casually introduce and/or allude to more of the backstory of GoBotron that will fleshed out a bit further in the later-produced-and-broadcast but chronologically-earlier-set "GoBotron Saga" mini-series. For instance:
- GoBotron's unique "apple-core" shape is explained to be the result of the planet being built outwards, away from and around the original. "Cy-Kill's Escape" would expand on this a little, adding the idea that the Guardian/Renegade war, prior to their becoming GoBots, broke parts of the larger planetary "shell" away, creating the current shape. A.J. was not present to hear this additional explanation, so there is no on-screen continuity conflict with her asking about the planet's shape in this episode.
- When describing the inhabitants of Old GoBotron, in addition to "illegal aliens," Leader-1 mentions "Modifier rejects." No context is provided for this statement; it is not until "The Fall of GoBotron" that we will be properly introduced to the Modifier, which is the device that gives GoBots their alternate modes. Presumably, then, "Modifier rejects" are GoBots who, for one reason or another, the machine did not give an alternate mode to, which would suggest Wrecks is one such individual.
- Additionally, this is the broadcast-order debut of Fly Trap, but chronologically, he too will also appear in "The GoBotron Saga."
- An alien with squid-like tentacles who greets Leader-1 at the conference is named "Kalimar," which, spelling from the character's model sheet notwithstanding, must be derived from "calamari," the culinary name for squid.
Continuity and plotting errors
- It's never really explained why Gorn is working with the Renegades. He may be Cy-Kill's liaison to Old GoBotron, but no one ever addresses why a being like him is suddenly working with GoBots.
- Matt jumps three times his height to deliver a flying kick that sends Gorn flying backwards with enough force to knock Fly Trap to the floor too. Riiiiight.
- The rat-like gladiator and his elephantine opponent are unnamed dialogue, but the elephant bears the name "Kal" on his model sheet. The error here is that the rat-man calls Kal a "tripod," and talks about "disarming him one by one," which would logically imply he's meant to have three limbs. He doesn't.
Animation and technical errors
- The same background painting is used to represent the Von Meezis Tower, the tallest building in GoBotolis, and Building Cyber-12, the facility in which Scooter was programmed.
- Leader-1 doesn't turn his head to greet Calamar, who has already moved off to his left by the time he speaks.
- When Cy-Kill greets the humans in their cell over a communication screen, his cheekbones are grey instead of black.
- As they duel, Kal and his opponent have their feet hooked under the handlebars of their hovering platforms (see right), when they should presumably be standing on the bars, because they're defying gravity otherwise.
- When Leader-1 transforms to land on Old GoBotron, there are no conversion sound effects.
- A moment later, as Scooter spots some locals, the upper parts of his shins are colored red instead of black.
- When Nick and A.J. are tossed back into the cell with Matt, A.J. observes that Matt has torn his shirt in the match he has just fought. Except the tear wasn't there before this scene, and it disappears again afterward.
- As Wrecks raises his arm while speaking to Cy-Kill, the shadow and light sides of the limb are briefly inverted.
- When Cy-Kill orders Gorn to follow Wrecks, the cel of Fly Trap's body jerks around a bit, while his head stays stationary.
- Just before Cy-Kill blasts Wrecks, one of the red panels of the side of his torso flashes white.
- When two of the urchins use a pipe to trip up Cy-Kill, the one in the distance passes in front of the Renegade's legs instead of behind.
- As the urchins carry Wrecks through the secret passage, the back of his pelvis blinks from the correct blue to brown.
- When the humans reunite with the wounded Wrecks, the GoBot's finger clips behind his head. Then, as he tilts his head, the animation cel of his noggin in its original position is not removed, making him look like he's got two heads on top of each other.
- After Matt challenges Gorn, Fly Trap butts into say "I'll take care of him!"... then turns around and runs into the opposite direction. Immediately after, there is no transition to Gorn and Matt's impromptu gladiator match; the pair have just suddenly gone from being out in the open to the the indoor lava-filled arena.
- Gorn's mouth does not move as he tells Matt "I don't like you!"
- When Matt hops off his hover platform in front of Wrecks at the end of the episode, Wrecks's whole torso jerks backwards. The glowing effect for his mouth does not move with it.
- This is the second of only three episodes in the entire series to not to feature either Crasher or Cop-Tur. The others are "Cy-Kill's Cataclysmic Trap" and "The GoBots That Time Forgot."
- The Guardians know full well about Old GoBotron being a cesspool full of unfortunates and do absolutely nothing to help those living there. In fact, Leader-1 tries to get one of the few halfway positive characters shown, Wrecks, to simply leave the place and its' people behind. What a bunch of a-holes.
- It might be inferred from Nick and A.J.'s excitement at getting to visit GoBotron, along with Scooter's desire to show them around, that this is the humans' first time on the planet. This wouldn't make much sense, though, since they left with the Guardians to go there at the end of the pilot mini-series, and the "GoBotron Saga" mini-series would also show them visiting the planet. It's funny, though; given how this episode doesn't feature Crasher or Cop-Tur (who were captured at the end of the pilot mini), and how Cy-Kill is never actually shown escaping at the end of the story (he is last seen as the wall collapses on top of him), one could, if one were so inclined, slot "Lost on GoBotron" between the two mini-series, and use it as an explanation for how Cy-Kill was captured—but it was assuredly not written to serve that function.
- Likewise, Matt, A.J. and Nick aren't wearing the UNECOM dress uniforms seen elsewhere (e.g. "Cy-Kill's Escape") that you would expect for a high-level conference. In reality this was again due to the "GoBotron Saga" being made later, and the designs having not been created when "Lost on GoBotron" was made. Maybe we can pretend they just hadn't got changed before getting kidnapped.
- Dude, like, a bunch of guys die in this episode. Right into the lava! Nothing ambiguous about it! Matt straight-up murders two of 'em in self-defense. You didn't see that on Transformers!
Home video releases
2014 — Challenge of the GoBots — The Series, Volume One (Warner Archive Collection)