|Airdate||December 6, 1985|
|Story by||Jeff Segal, Kelly Ward and Eric Lewald|
|Teleplay by||Eric Lewald|
|Animation studio||Wang Film Productions|
Cy-Kill wages a war against GoBotron and their very faith in the Guardians to protect them.
Leader-1, Mach-3, Scooter, Matt, Nick and A.J. Foster are harvesting material from barren planets for the ongoing repairs to GoBotron, towing the cargo back in the Command Center. However, Cy-Kill is watching with Crasher and Cop-Tur from Thruster, and dispatches Sky-Jack and Gunnyr to capture the materials. Leader-1 and Mach-3 engage them but Matt orders the cargo jettisoned. Mach-3 is damaged and the Harvesters are destroyed, leaving the Guardians to return to GoBotron empty-handed. Cy-Kill is delighted, aware that his plan is causing considerable discontent with GoBotron's population. He is right; Leader-1 and Zeemon show Man-O-War a section of GoBotron under construction and he complains that it should already be finished, asking if the Guardians are really able to deal with the Renegades. Zeemon defends them and Leader-1 hopes the completion of the latest forest section of the planet will impress the GoBot population. However, on a security check of the area Turbo spots Cy-Kill, Crasher and Cop-Tur at the site. The Guardians soon chase them off, but the new section is heavily damaged in as the Renegades had already planted soundwave generators underground, wrecking much of the section - and Scooter nearly falls into a ravine opened up by one of the devices.
Leader-1 is able to save him and shut down the sonic generators but the damage is done, much to the Renegades' delight. At the next meeting of the Guardian Council Bolt and Man-O-War are furious at the situation, with the latter insisting the Guardians are more ruthless. Leader-1 refuses to stoop to that level but reveals he does have a plan to stop the Renegades once and for all. Turbo controls a group of Boomers to collect and process more material in the form of gigantic metal sheets, which he, Dart and Bolt prepare to tow back to GoBotron. The Renegades are watching but Cy-Kill wants to wait until they're in full view of the planet and over GoBotolis before destroying it, hoping to ruin Leader-1's prestige once and for all. Leader-1 and Ace are escorting the convoy when the latter detects a disturbance, but it seems to be a false alarm. Ace is disappointed, wishing the Renegades would try something. Meanwhile on GoBotron Zeemon, Man-O-War and Night Ranger watch the arrival of the convoy. Sky-Jack and Gunnyr attack once again, drawing Leader-1 and Ace away and allowing a trio of Thrusters to attack the convoy, injuring Dart. Cy-Kill, Crasher, Cop-Tur and Hornet set out to attack personally, being met by Mach-3 and Bolt. However, Cop-Tur is able to send the huge sheets of metal from the cargo raining down towards GoBotron before the Renegades retreat. The falling material causes huge damage and panic despite Man-O-War's attempt to blast them out of the sky as Leader-1 desperately tries to think of a way of stopping a complete disaster.
Ace manages to board Command Center 3 and remotely activate the city's defences but is unsure how long it will last. This buys Leader-1 the time to tractor beam the sheets to safety, ending the destruction and saving most of the material. Man-O-War is impressed, believing the display will boost GoBot confidence in the Guardians. However, Gunnyr reports this to Cy-Kill, who orders a full-frontal assault on the Guardians, blasting the Renegade when he queries this course of action. The Renegade fleet descends on GoBotron, where the Guardians are waiting - Leader-1, Ace, Bolt and Mach-3 attack in aircraft mode. Battle is joined; Ace and Bolt are shot down but once the Renegades are committed a fleet of Command Centers appears and begins to cause heavy damage. A frustrated Cy-Kill leaves his ship to attack the Guardians personally, blasting Mach-3, but is then shot in the back by Leader-1. Crasher and Cop-Tur collect him and retreat, leaving Zeemon to congratulate Leader-1 at the next Council meeting. Man-O-War apologies for having doubts, and Leader-1 states the victory shows what free GoBots working together can accomplish as the repairs to GoBotron are back on schedule. However, back on the safety of Roguestar, Cy-Kill swears he will return.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"Nothing's more fun than making Leader-1 look like a jerk!"
- —Cop-Tur is a Renegade who loves his job.
This episode has continuity problems that might be from it being aired out of order.
- In broadcast order, this episode was a major changing point for the cast, introducing no less than EIGHT new Guardians and Renegades, even if only for brief appearances. However, the continuity of the final six episodes becomes increasingly complicated, and nearly half the new characters would soon be RE-introduced in origin episodes that would have to take place before this one, chronologically. That, combined with the high stakes and all-out war in the finale, leads many to conclude this episode actually works best as the season (and series) finale, last of the final six episodes instead of the first. It also establishes that the Guardians are working on the rebuilding of GoBotron, which leads directly into the opening scenes of Battle of the Rock Lords.
- Mach-3 appears for the first time in this episode. The toy's traditionally gray color scheme is replaced by a stark white look for the cartoon, though earlier animation models show him with a beige colour scheme. This lack of toy accuracy is a recurrent theme of the later episodes (see also Throttle, Tork, Blades, Re-Volt and Twister), when presumably the animators were working from early versions of the toys.
- Sky-Jack appears for the first time since The GoBotron Saga mini-series. He was called "Spike" in that brief appearance, but has the correct name in this episode.
- Gunnyr also appears for the first time. The future episode "The GoBots That Time Forgot" would show his origin, and therefore takes place chronologically earlier than this episode. That episode featured him as an unaligned but villainous GoBot, and ended with Gunnyr and his lieutenant Bug Bite being shipped off to the Prison Moon. Presumably at least Gunnyr was freed off-screen by the Renegades and joined up with Cy-Kill's mob as a result. Like Mach-3, Gunnyr's animation model has a remarkably different color scheme, trading in his Commie red colors for a more drab olive.
- Dart, Ace, Hornet, Re-Volt, Bolt, Rumble and Man-O-War appear for the first time as well - and the only time for Bolt, Man-O-War and Rumble.
- Dart is a Guardian this episode, but his continuity gets more confusing in the final episodes. He and Ace would receive a chronologically earlier origin story with Gunnyr in "The GoBots That Time Forgot", while Dart would also appear in flashbacks during "Et Tu, Cy-Kill" that show him defecting from the Guardians to the Renegades alongside Cy-Kill and Fitor
- Although he doesn't interact with any Guardians this episode (merely mans a Thruster), it seems likely that Re-Volt's infiltration mission in "Guardian Academy" also takes place chronologically earlier than this episode.
- Mention is made of the GoBots "building" GoBotron, reference to the apple core shell constantly under construction around Old GoBotron. Indeed, later shots in the episode show the apple core of Old GoBotron now concealed by a larger central pillar for the planet.
- Scooter hugs both Nick and Leader-1 on different occasions.
- Guardian Council line-up: Zeemon and three generics (one of which isn't a million billion miles away from Major Mo, see below), plus Bolt and Man-O-War - though the precise role of the latter pair is unclear.
- Multiple Guardian Boomers are seen, including one in 'robot' mode that might well count as Rumble. The only other time a Boomer is seen in the series is in vehicle mode in "Terror in Atlantis", where Blast's colour scheme was used for a Guardian Boomer.
- Ace gives a possible reason for the occasional instances of GoBots coughing, saying his ventilation systems are clogging up.
- Before the assault the Renegades have "less than 20" Thrusters; the most seen at once is 15. Gunnyr (in a rare show of continuity still bearing the damage from Cy-Kill shooting him a few moments earlier), Crasher, Hornet, Cop-Tur and Re-Volt are all seen as pilots. Leader-1 shoots down two, one is hit by a turret, while Gunnyr, Crasher and Cop-Tur are shown abandoning ship. If the animation is to believed only 3 Thrusters escape the battle.
- Leader-1 is oddly shown without the toy-accurate four landing wheels of his toy; instead his underside is more in line with the Super GoBots version of the character (or a real F-15 Eagle).
- Gadgets and Powers:
- Despite turning into propeller-driven aircraft Ace and Bolt can fly in space, just as Zero did in "The Third Column".
- As happens several times in the series, Leader-1 claims to have a plan, take action that looks nothing like a plan, objectively seems to lose, and then claims victory because it wasn't as bad as it could've been.
- Specifically, he claims to have a "dangerous" plan to stop the Renegades "once and for all". But then he just initiates a transport run like normal. When the Renegades attack, as he knew they would, Leader-1 and the Guardians defend the convoy like normal as well. At no point does he do anything resembling a new plan...just stay the course and try not to lose.
- But they do lose. Not only does Cy-Kill stop the convoy, he causes the metal slabs to rain down on GoBotron, implicitly crushing and killing many civilians. The Renegades have won, and leave knowing they've won.
- Worse, Leader-1 has made the utterly incomprehensible decision to leave total control of the city's defensive suspension fields slaved to the console of Dart's Command Center in the convoy. When Dart is shot (as he inevitably would be as part of the convoy), GoBotron is left unable to activate their own defenses. When Ace finally climbs aboard Command Center 3 and activates the field in Dart's place, Leader-1 shouts "It worked!" like he actually did something smart!
- The only possible "plan" is if you assume Leader-1 is focusing on the population's faith in the Guardians, and is clued in to Cy-Kill's deliberately trying to undermine it. Then you could assume he created the "largest convoy in history" knowing Cy-Kill would wait till the last minute to attack for maximum effect on civilian morale. But, if the Guardians win in full sight of the civilians, GoBotron's faith in the Guardians will be restored.
- If so, Leader-1 deliberately created a situation with a high probability of civilian casualties, made the city's defenses objectively more difficult to activate, lost a battle which resulted in losing some of the convoy's resources, mass destruction and probably death on GoBotron...and calls it a victory!
- Maybe he should run for office.
Animation and technical errors
- When the Renegades attack, Leader-1 says, "Let's intercept them", and Mach-3 replies, "Right. Argh!" because he gets shot. However, instead of showing him get shot between those two words, as the dialogue intends, Leader-1 speaks, Mach-3 gets shot, and then he responds enthusiastically to Leader-1 before remembering to shout in pain.
- Bad Boy appears to be fixing GoBotron. Community service?
- The following dogfighting sequence seems to lose something in the interpretation as well. Leader-1 shoots Mach-3 as if they were enemies, shouting "Gotcha!" while Mach-3 screams again in pain. However, it then appears as if Leader-1 has surrounded Mach-3 with a force field (although not his typical version), then encourages Mach-3 to reach the Command Center. It's almost as if a sequence of Leader-1 attacking Sky-Jack (another white jet) was blended into a sequence of him helping Mach-3 reach safety, with Mach-3 playing both his role and Sky Jack's while the animation and dialogue desperately try to make it work.
- Although he's happy with the successful sabotage mission, Cy-Kill's body language makes it appear as if he's scolding Crasher, and she in turn is cowering away from him.
- A completely different, more cylindrical establishing shot of GoBotron is used midway through the first act.
- Bolt has a mouth when he's seen on the Guardian Council, but has a face plate when aboard the Command Center.
- Gunnyr is seen flying alongside Mach-3 and Bolt as a Guardian in defense of the convoy.
- Man-O-War's normally red eyes are gray when he's in the stasis field.
- Zeemon and Man-O-War are paralyzed in a typical GoBotic city, but when the field drops they're standing in a forest area.
- Snoop appears with the Guardians running for cover on GoBotron during the Renegade attack.
- Hornet's head is colored gray instead of dark blue while manning his Thruster.
- This episode begins with a scrolling text of the title, giving it the feel of an old-timey news reel bringing updates on the war.
- One of the members of the Guardian Council has more than a passing resemblance Major Mo, featuring similar colours, wheels on the shoulders, the distinctive 'collar' of the toy and other similarities. The same scene featured some generic councillors but also introduced Man-O-War and Bolt. However, unless an animation model surfaces to corroborate this it cannot be stated for certain.
Home video releases
2015 — Challenge of the GoBots — The Series, Volume Two (Warner Archive Collection)