Those lame Transformers guys ripped us off!
|Airdate||November 1, 1985|
|Story by||Patrick Barry, Kelly Ward, and Jeff Segal|
|Teleplay by||Patrick Barry|
|Animation studio||Wang Film Productions|
An Astro-Beam malfunction sends Leader-1 and Scooter to a parallel universe of evil Guardians and heroic Renegades.
In front of an audience of international dignitaries, the Guardians demonstrate the ability of their new Proton Cultivator to make barren land fertile again. When the Renegades attack the demonstration, Turbo gets the dignitaries to safety while Leader-1 and Scooter ("backed up" by a Scooter-generated hologram of Turbo) counterattack. Unfortunately, the two are lured into a trap in a box canyon, where the villains have stashed an Astro-Beam. Crasher zaps the Guardians with the beam, intending to teleport them into the Sun, and the villains abscond with the Proton Cultivator. While Turbo attempts to contact GoBotron, only to discover that an ion storm is disrupting transmission, Nick and A.J. follow the Renegades and watch as they convert the Proton Cultivator into a Proton Destructor, able to reduce metal to putty.
Leader-1 and Scooter, meanwhile, materialize not in the Sun, but in the middle of a forest, no worse for wear. The sound of battle nearby draws their attention, and when they investigate, the two Guardians are shocked to see themselves battling the Renegades! These mysterious doppelgangers drive the Renegades off, and when Leader-1 and Scooter approach them in search of answers, their evil-hearted doubles take them prisoner and throw them in a cell on their Command Center. Scooter easily hacks into the cell's systems and shuts off its energy bars, though their larger problem still remains: the Astro-Beam, Leader-1 deduces, has sent himself and Scooter into an alternate universe where everything is reversed! Attempting to escape, the pair come across the evil Guardians working on a Proton Destructor of their own, converted from a Proton Cultivator stolen from the Renegades, which they plan to turn on the city of "Wen Kroy." When the villains turn the Destructor on them, Leader-1 is able to save Scooter with his forcefield, and manages to redirect the Destructor back toward their evil doubles with a few well-aimed blasts. This buys the pair time to escape, but their bodies have been severely damaged by the Destructor's beam and they realize they must seek help from this universe's heroic Renegades!
Back in the "regular" universe, Nick sneaks off to spy on the Renegades some more and learns that Leader-1 and Scooter were supposedly Astro-Beamed into the Sun. He is spotted and caught by Cy-Kill, but saved moments later when Matt Hunter leads a squadron of fighter jets in an attack on the Renegades' bolthole. While Nick gets away, the jets are not so lucky; the Renegades have already built several copies of the Proton Destructor, and even though the clumsy Cop-Tur manages to destroy one while attempting to wield it, Crasher is able to use the weapon to bring down Matt's jet, forcing the others to retreat. Matt parachutes to safety and is met by Turbo, Nick, and A.J., whereupon Nick shares what he has learned. Turbo is hopeful that the ion storm interference may have disrupted the Astro-Beam too, meaning that Leader-1 and Scooter will have escaped their fate...
In the mirror universe, Scooter tracks Renegade transmissions to locate Thruster, but when he and Leader-1 attempt to peacefully approach, the Renegades assume that their enemies are attempting to trick them, and take Leader-1 and Scooter captive. The Renegades naturally disbelieve the Guardians' wild tale of parallel universes, until Scooter collapses as a result of his injuries, which Crasher recognizes as the work of the stolen Proton Cultivator. At Cy-Kill's suggestion, Leader-1 agrees to submit to the Brainstormer, which verifies the truth of his words. Convinced, the Renegades use another of their Cultivators to reverse the effects of the Destructor on the bodies of Leader-1 and Scooter.
Meanwhile, in the regular universe, the Renegades begin loading their duplicate Proton Destructors aboard Thruster. Unable to delay any further, Matt and Turbo launch an attack, with Matt sniping from a nearby hill while Turbo drives down into the thick of the action. Cop-Tur chops down trees to send Matt fleeing for cover, and Cy-Kill turns the Proton Destructor on Turbo.
In the mirror universe, the Guardians and Renegades head for Wen Kroy to stop the evil Guardians from unleashing the Proton Destructor on it. In the ensuing battle, the presence of two Leader-1s only winds up confusing Cop-Tur and leads him to attack the one on his side, until the wicked laughter of the evil Leader-1 betrays his identity. Cop-Tur blasts the evil Guardian leader, and then he and the heroic Leader-1 destroy the Proton Destructor, sending the enemy Guardians packing. The Renegades thank Leader-1 and Scooter for their help, after which the Astro-Beam finally reverses, teleporting Leader-1 and Scooter home.
Leader-1 and Scooter materialize in the middle of the Renegade camp as Turbo is being bathed in the Proton Destructor's ray. In the confusion that follows, the Renegades—now outnumbered by the Guardians and humans—are pushed back, allowing Nick to run up and take control of the Proton Destructor. The Renegades retreat lest they be caught in its beam, departing under cover of their stealth device. Scooter converts the Destructor back into a Cultivator and uses it to heal Turbo's injuries, as everyone marvels over his and Leader-1's incredible adventure.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
|Guardians||Renegades||Humans||Friendly Renegades||Enemy Guardians|
"When we're done with that place, they'll call it the Baked Apple!"
- —The evil Scooter dreams of attacking Wen Kroy
"Do you two want to surrender now, or what?"
- —Turbo gives the Renegades a choice, and Crasher picks the hard way
- Gadgets and Powers:
- Scooter creates an interactive hologram of Turbo to fool the Renegades. He even adds (non-functional) blasters to make Cop-Tur fly off course.
- Later, Scooter hides himself by holographically projecting a tree.
- The whole concept of an "evil parallel universe" where good characters are evil and vice versa is a ripe old chestnut in science fiction. It was brought to particular prominence by the 1968 Star Trek episode "Mirror Mirror," and the number of other basic Star Trek plot lifts that appear in the series, from alien gladiator games to wolves in folds, make it easy to presume that the writers had "Mirror Mirror" in mind when they conceived it. The ion storm disrupting matter transmission such that characters enter a parallel universe matches exactly with the explanation given in the famous Star Trek episode. It's a wonder nobody has a goatee!
Continuity and plotting errors
- Nick overheard Cy-Kill and Cop-Tur talking about how Leader-1 "must be a cinder by now". Somehow, Nick was able to interpret this as meaning Leader-1 was Astro-Beamed into the Sun.
- Yes, yes, "Wen Kroy" is "New York" backwards, and Scooter says "everything's backwards" in the mirror universe while studying the circuits of the cell, but nothing else is spelled backwards, sooo...
- Turbo remarks on how the Astro Beam will reverse itself soon, but that's hard to believe. Most of the time, Astro Beam use is notoriously random and unpredictable. Later episodes will apply the hard number of 48 hours, and it doesn't appear as if two days have passed in either reality.
- When the Astro Beam does reverse itself, Leader-1 and Scooter should have appeared in the box canyon they vanished from or, maybe, their Earth's version of New York since that's where they left the mirrorverse. Instead, they appear in a third location...one where the plot is conveniently taking place.
Animation and technical errors
- Turbo is slightly off-model several times during this episode. The extra creases on his face vanish repeatedly, and he is noticeably blockier in the chest. Additionally, when he visits the disappearing point of Leader-1 and Scooter, his roof is colored like another window, and it opens instead of his standard windshield to release Nick and A.J.
- When he advises Cy-Kill he (Cy-Kill) has chosen "the wrong party to crash," Leader-1's jet exhaust overlaps his body with a constant flicker.
- Crasher is missing the orange squares on her chest-cockpit when Cy-Kill blasts Scooter, and again a second later when she takes aim with the Astro-Beam.
- When he is grabbed by the "Enemy Turbo" and demands to know who the doppelgangers are, Leader-1's voice incorrectly has the deeper electronic modulation of his evil double (see "Trivia," below). Then, later, when Leader-1 rescues Scooter from the Destructor's beam, the evil Leader-1's voice is modulated like the regular Leader-1.
- As the Renegades prepare the Proton Cultivator, Cy-Kill is missing his stubble, and Crasher's eyes are positively bugging out of her head.
- Cop-Tur is evidently supposed to accidentally destroy one of the Proton Destructors (Cy-Kill calls him a "clumsy fool!" after he wrecks it), but the animation's such a mess that it looks for all the world like Cop-Tur has knocked over and stomped on a Destructor deliberately. The effect is increased by his dialogue ("I'll turn 'em to mush!"), which is played far too late in the scene, making it sound like he's actually talking about the Destructor he's in the middle of stomping on.
- The Cultivator the "Friendly Renegades" use to heal Leader-1 and Scooter has a red "Destructor" beam instead of the yellow it should have.
- Cy-Kill's black "cheekbones" are grey as the GoBots arrive in Wen Kroy.
- Cy-Kill's mouth doesn't move as he says "Snipers!" when Matt fires on him.
- Like many kids in the '80s, Cy-Kill seems to have lost his engine block when he transforms as Turbo and Matt attack Thruster.
- When he finally manages to figure out which Leader-1 is which, a layering error causes one of the Leader-1's to pass by in front of Cop-Tur instead of behind, making the Guardian appear tiny.
- The gray on Friendly!Cop-Tur's chest is colored blue when the Friendly Renegades celebrate their victory.
- When they Astro-Beam back to their own Earth, the footage of the Guardians fading out is simply played in reverse to represent their arrival, meaning that Wen Kroy appears in the background, when they're actually beaming into a wooded area.
- All six of the main GoBots actors do a commendable job with the mirrorverse plot. While their voices are all kept recognizable, the Guardians all add an undercurrent of menace to their roles, whereas the Renegades dial back the melodrama considerably. Additionally, the unique electronic modulation of the two factions is reversed: the gentler echoing effect of the Guardians is applied to the "Friendly Renegades," further softening their voices, while the harsher, more "computerized" modulation normally used on Renegade voices sharpens those of the "Enemy Guardians." Topping it off, the three evil Guardians—Leader-1 in particular—have their voice electronically pitched down, distinguishing them from their heroic counterparts to an even greater extent.
- There's something genuinely ironic about a mirrorverse where Renegades can recognize the Guardians by their ridiculous laugh.
- Friendly!Cop-Tur's voice is noticeably more different from his prime self's than those of the other alternate GoBots are from their own prime selves. Whereas Prime!Cop-Tur's voice is deep, electronic, and thug-like, Friendly!Cop-Tur's voice is like that of a general.
Home video releases
2015 — Challenge of the GoBots — The Series, Volume One (Warner Archive Collection)