Sentinel (episode)

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This article is about the cartoon episode. For the title character, see Sentinel (character).
Challenge of the GoBots ep 25
Sentinel cykills lies.jpg
"Sentinel"
Production code 0142-8505
Production company Hanna-Barbera
Airdate October 18, 1985
Story by Jeff Segal and Kelly Ward
Teleplay by Don Glut
Animation studio Wang Film Productions

UNECOM's robotic creation Sentinel allies with the Renegades to exterminate all organic life on Earth.

Synopsis[edit]

Sentinel i do not take orders.jpg

When Crasher and Cop-Tur attack a human factory developing anti-Renegade energy weapons, the Guardians are able to drive them off, but not before the two villains successfully wreck the facility. Even as Leader-1 worries that humans weapons will never be enough to stand up to the Renegades, Anya Turgenova contacts the heroes in order to request their presence at UNECOM headquarters for the activation of their top-secret "Sentinel" project. Sentinel, the Guardians learn upon arrival at the base, is a huge, human-built super-robot, designed to help protect the Earth against the Renegades. Scooter helps with the finishing steps of Sentinel's programming, linking him to UNECOM's global computer network to provide him with access to the sum total of all humanity's knowledge... but no sooner is he brought online than Sentinel turns on his creators, dubbing humans "inferior lifeforms." Easily fending off the Guardians' attempts to shut him down, Sentinel smashes his way out of the base and broadcasts a message all around the world, warning humankind that in order to protect the Earth against "impure" beings, he intends to exterminate all organic life on the planet!

Sentinel and renegades.jpg

With solar flares on GoBotron's sun causing interference that prevents any Guardian reinforcements being Astro-Beamed in to help them, Leader-1's team is on their own against Sentinel. Unfortunately, the Renegades get to Sentinel first, and after a brief battle, make peace with the robot by claiming they are "pure machines." Cy-Kill proposes an alliance to help Sentinel complete his mission; Sentinel agrees, and together, they launch an attack on Chicago. The Guardians soon arrive, ready to really cut loose against Sentinel, but even holding nothing back, they are still unable to put a dent him. Leader-1 and Turbo are casually hurled away by the giant mechanoid, while Scooter—feeling guilty for helping gift their enemy with his intelligence—is washed away when a blast from Sentinel ruptures a water main. With the Guardians down, Matt, Nick, and A.J. take control of the Command Center and unleash its weapons on Sentinel, but it too is just as ineffective, and is soon buried when Sentinel collapses a building on top of it. Rationalizing that the only way to get Sentinel to leave is to make him believe the Guardians have been destroyed, Scooter feigns a retreat, projecting holograms of Leader-1 and Turbo as he does so. The phony Leader-1 and Turbo "explode" when Sentinel fires on them, and, satisfied that his objective in Chicago has been completed, Sentinel departs with the Renegades in tow, intending to "purify" other cities.

Sentinel vs courageous.jpg

Soon after the villains' departure, Leader-1 and Turbo come around, Scooter returns, and the Command Center extricates itself from the rubble. The desperate heroes contact GoBotron, but construction of solar flare shielding that will restore the Astro-Beam to functionality has not yet been completed. Blaster and Heat Seeker announce their willingness to risk transit to Earth anyway—and none too soon, as news soon comes through from Anya that Sentinel has devastated already New York, Washington, D.C., and Boston! Blaster and Heat Seeker are successfully Astro-Beamed to link up with the Guardians at the Grand Canyon, where the team intercepts Sentinel and the Renegades for another battle. They manage to take down the three Renegades, after which Scooter calls on Zeemon to Astro-Beam in their Power Suits. Using them, Leader-1, Turbo, Blaster, and Heat Seeker merge to form the Power Warrior Courageous, who proves to pack enough punch to give even Sentinel pause. As Courageous and Sentinel fight to a standstill, the recovered Renegades egg on the robot from the sidelines, reminding him of his mission to destroy all organic life. Realizing the lie Cy-Kill has told, Leader-1 reveals to Sentinel that GoBots are not the "pure machines" Cy-Kill claimed they were, as they possess organic brains. Sentinel scans the Renegades to confirm this and, furious at the deception, immediately turns on them. The Renegades flee into space, with the robot hot on their heels... and all the Guardians can do is hope that Sentinel finds another planet to visit his wrath upon, lest he return to Earth!

Featured characters[edit]

(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)

Quotes[edit]

Sentinel such a turn on.jpg
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"Demolition is such a turn-on!"

Cop-Tur bites Crasher's style


"I may be outnumbered, but I'm never outclassed!"

Crasher


"S-s-s-scrambled my circuits! I feel like I... I had too much fifty weight!"

Turbo suffers a blast from Sentinel


"A vehicle with an irrational organic control mechanism!"
"That's no way to talk about a lady!"

Sentinel analyzes Crasher


Turbo: "[Scooter] pulled our hides out of the junk heap more than once!"
A.J.: "And calling in Courageous and the Power Suits was a great idea!"
Scooter: "Yeah, it was, wasn't it?"
Leader-1: "I just hope Sentinel finds another world to purify. If not, he might be back. Heh, and Scooter will have a chance to be a hero all over again!"
Scooter: "I will? Oh, no..."

Notes[edit]

Sentinel cykills organic brain.jpg
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Sentinel under construction.jpg

Continuity notes[edit]

  • "Sentinel" is the first broadcast episode to feature the idea that GoBots, rather than just being robots, possess living organic brains (right). A part of GoBots lore from the very beginning, introduced in the "Escape to Planet Earth" storybook available with the first wave of toys in 1983, this piece of information was curiously absent from the pilot mini-series, and even its inclusion here is not really treated as any kind of "revelation" for the audience, more as a matter-of-fact statement by Leader-1 for which no explanatory context is provided. The later-broadcast, but chronologically-earlier episode "Cy-Kill's Escape" will flesh the concept out a little, explaining how the once-organic "GoBeings" became GoBots.
  • Gadgets and Powers:
    • Cop-Tur makes an unusual move of deploying his rotors in robot mode from their vehicle position, making a whirling shield on his back side.
    • Leader-1 uses a robot-mode variation of his levitation beam, used only in vehicle mode in previous episodes, which sees him project the rays from his optic sensors.
    • Scooter's chest plug can remotely link a computer system to UNECOM's information network.
    • He also fakes the death of Leader-1 and Turbo by letting Sentinel blow up one of his holograms.
    • ...and an apparently solid pile of rocks that Cy-Kill careens off of.

Real-world references[edit]

  • Nick and Matt compare Sentinel to Frankenstein's monster, the former inspired by the lightning-like crackling of electricity that brings Sentinel online, the latter by Sentinel turning on his creators. See Trivia below for more on this!
  • When Sentinel broadcasts his message around the world, it is evidently done in multiple languages so everyone who hears it will understand. Only one other language is heard being spoken on-screen, when Sentinel declares "Meenya zavoot Sentinel!" ("My name is Sentinel," in Russian).
  • The city Sentinel attacks is not named in dialogue, but can be assumed to be Chicago, based on a billboard Turbo is sent flying through promoting a show at the Chicago Civic Opera House. The billboard shows a performer dressed as Brünnhilde from the opera Die Walküre (right), the stereotypical operatic "fat lady."

Animation and technical errors[edit]

  • When Leader-1 levitates debris during the clean-up after the fight at the weapons factory, the chunk of rubble he is moving stops in mid-air, failing to move on with Leader-1's levitation beam as he turns his head.
  • Scooter's chest cable is off-model this episode, not matching up to its typical appearance in other episodes.
  • The dialogue and animation don't match during Sentinel's activation. Nick sounds really happy as calls it "Fantastic!", but the visual shows the entire group take a step back and cowering
  • Zeemon is supposed to be either monologuing or explaining the situation to some other Guardians when he talks about how the Guardians cannot send reinforcements to Leader-1's team on Earth. Unfortunately, the animation shows Leader-1's team, uh, standing in the same room with him.
  • When Cy-Kill introduces himself to Sentinel, he's got white teeth instead of his usual brownish-yellow, like the rest of his face.
  • Act two shows Leader-1 crashing into a mountain of wrecked cars in a scrapyard when Sentinel knocks him out of the air, but act three depicts his resting place as a mound of rubble in a city street.
  • Blaster's teeth are colored grey instead of their normal yellow when he and Heat Seeker volunteer to go to Earth, making him look like he's got big pouty lips.
  • During his and Heat Seeker's mid-air battle with Sentinel, a head-on shot of Leader-1 opening fire depicts him flying upside down. He... could be, of course, but it seems more likely the cels were oriented incorrectly.
  • As noted above, Scooter creates a hologram of a pile of rocks that Cy-Kill careens off of, sending him off the edge of a cliff. Presumably the idea was that Cy-Kill was just supposed to swerve around the rocks suddenly, losing control of himself, but the animation definitely shows him making physical contact (impact starbust effects and all) with something that has no physical mass.
  • Turbo's dialogue makes it clear that Courageous is supposed to be using Leader-1's forcefield to deflect Sentinel's blasts back at him, but the field itself is not actually animated.

Trivia[edit]

  • Nick and Matt's remarks, noted above, and the general visuals of Sentinel's assembly and activation (right) are as far as the Frankenstein metaphor goes (no "misunderstood monster" here), but the inclusion of the reference is another example of writer Don Glut working his personal interests into his scripts, as in "Dawn World" and "Destroy All Guardians." Glut has produced copious amounts of work on the horror classic, including essays, fiction of his own, and amateur films, and told a Transformers version of the story for the 1985 episode "Autobot Spike."
  • Speaking of Glut and Transformers, the opening scene of "Sentinel" is taken from another of Glut's Transformers episodes, "Divide and Conquer," in which the Decepticons attack a human factory developing anti-Decepticon weaponry.
  • GoBots is not a dynamic-looking show, but to give credit where it's due, this episode tries harder than most, with several sequences—like Crasher transforming to attack Sentinel, or Cop-Tur transforming during the final battle—that stand out as being much more dynamically framed, shaded, and animated that much of anything else in the series.
  • So Leader-1 actively hopes that Sentinel can find another planet to purify instead of Earth. Like, he literally wishes death on another planet. Wow. Wow, guy.

Home video releases[edit]

DVD

2015 — Challenge of the GoBots — The Series, Volume One (Warner Archive Collection)