Trident's Triple Threat
|"Trident's Triple Threat"|
|Airdate||September 25, 1985|
|Story by||Jeff Segal and Kelly Ward|
|Teleplay by||David Schwartz|
|Animation studio||Wang Film Productions|
The Renegades ally with the cyborg Trident to abduct world leaders with a super-powered Astro-Beam.
Small Foot is assigned guard duty on a high-speed train transporting UNECOM's new Disruptor weapon, which will hopefully be able to block the Regenades' Astro-Beam. She is accompanied by Matt, but neither is made to feel welcome by the brusque General Orlando, who is confident Guardian assistance is not needed to protect the Disruptor. Little do any aboard the train realize, the Renegades are fully aware of the "secret weapon," having been spying on the whole operation from the Caribbean island volcano base of their new ally, the cybernetic human Trident. Cy-Kill sends Crasher, Cop-Tur, and Loco to attack the train, and though Small Foot fights bravely, the evil trio overpower her and shoot her out of the air. Crasher disconnects the last car on the train, containing the Disruptor, Matt, and Orlando, and Loco assumes his train mode to couple up to it and drive off with it.
The Renegades take their prizes to Trident's volcano headquarters, where the villain explains to Matt and Orlando that he was one of the original scientists who worked on the creation of the Disruptor, and that he knows how to modify it to turn it into a "super Astro-Beam" with no time-limit. Matt tries to take a swing at the machine-man, but Cy-Kill holds him back and invites Trident to display the three functions of the cybernetic arm that gives him his name—crushing claw, powerful drill, and laser—just to punctuate how unwise a move Matt would have made in trying to fight him. Matt and Orlando are tossed in separate caves and sealed in with energy bars, and the villains return to their work—a scheme to use the Disrupter to abduct world leaders!
Having been away on another mission, Leader-1, Turbo, and Scooter return to UNECOM headquarters, where General Newcastle briefs them on what has occurred. While Turbo recovers the injured Small Foot, Scooter begins scanning the globe for the massive energy spike that will denote the activation of the Disruptor. A.J. and Nick are most concerned about Matt, however, so while the Guardians tend to Small Foot's wounds, the two humans take one of the base's jet fighters and follow Scooter's findings to the Caribbean.
In return for Cy-Kill's assurance that he will be "Renegade governor of Earth" once their plan succeeds, Trident activates the Disruptor, snatching the President of the United States right out of the White House. He continues to teleport more and more world leaders into cells within his base, including Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, but the continuous power surges caused by the machine's activation lead Nick and A.J. straight to the island. A blast from Loco sends their plane into a tailspin, but just as the kids think they are about to be smeared across the side of the volcano, a hidden hangar door opens in the mountainside, through which their failing craft glides. The jet comes to rest at the feet of Cy-Kill, who immediately grabs Nick and A.J. and tosses them in Matt's cell.
Following the energy spikes, the Guardians soon arrive in their Command Center. The Renegades fly out to meet them in battle, and while Leader-1, Turbo, and Small Foot engage their enemies—the latter hungry for some payback against Crasher—Scooter heads into the volcano to look for their human allies. Trident aids the Renegades by deploying the weapons systems hidden in the mountain, but Leader-1 turns the tables on him when he out-flies a barrage of heat-seeking missiles, causing them to double back and impact on the volcano itself. The feedback overloads Trident's control console, weakening the energy bars on the cells and allowing Matt, Nick, and A.J. to break out. Trident and Matt face off again, but the villain's drill attachment holds no fear for Matt; he grabs Trident and hurls him into the rock wall of the volcano, where his drill becomes embedded, causing his body to spin around violently until he passes out. Scooter takes over the control console and uses the Disruptor to teleport the Renegades across the galaxy to the Crescent Nebula, winning the day.
Once all the world leaders have been rescued, the President honors the Guardians for their help. General Orlando admits that the GoBots do have a role to play in protecting Earth after all, though Matt wishes there had been an easier way to prove it!
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"Aren't you the catch of the day! I've been looking forward to your capture a long time, Mister Hunter!"
"Yeah? Well enjoy it while you can! 'Cause when the Guardians find out I've been kidnapped--"
"Kidnapped? What a naaaasty word. Let's just say you're my... permanent guests."
- —Cy-Kill and Matt share pleasantries
"Now my chess set is complete! It is full of kings, queens, and presidents... but all of them are pawns in my scheme!"
"Come now! Smile! Do you have any cavities? No? Well... you soon shall!"
- —Trident advances on Matt with his drill
- In broadcast order, "Trident's Triple Threat" is the first appearance of Small Foot, though her "chronological" first appearance comes in "The GoBotron Saga" mini-series, which would not be broadcast for a couple of months, and she also appears in the earlier-set "Cy-Kill's Cataclysmic Trap". Small Foot is not just another occasional Guardian guest star—though she drops in and out of the series, she is very much the fourth official member of Leader-1's team on Earth. No "origin" story is ever provided for her joining the team—she's just... there one day—and the only allusion to her "newbie" status comes in "Doppelganger", when Leader-1 remarks on her lack of experience and considers sending her home.
- Loco previously appeared in a few silent cameos in the pilot mini-series. This episode represents his first speaking role, and the first time he is named on-screen.
- While the episode does not use the actual U.S. President of the time (Ronald Reagan), the British Prime Minister (right) is depicted authentically as an auburn-haired woman, even if she's not actually named as Margaret Thatcher.
Animation and technical errors
- Trident is like this close to not looking bad, but any menace his character design might have had is undone by the fact that his cybernetic eye regularly slips out of alignment with his regular one, making him look constantly googly-eyed.
- When Small Foot lands on top of the train, the cels are slightly misaligned, resulting in her foot starting to disappear from view, as if going behind the visible part of the train, before she's actually made contact with it. Her face also briefly turns red during the shot.
- When the Renegades attack the train, it's obvious that the overhead shot of the train hasn't actually been "animated" as moving—the static cell has simply been dragged across the background, as is evident from the fact that several noticeable spots of dirt on on the cell move alongside the train at the same speed.
- Small Foot is very tiny when she flies behind Turbo during the airborne battle in the final act; it looks like a layering error, but it does seem like she's supposed to be behind him.
- As Turbo bobs up and down after Cy-Kill is teleported away, a speck of dirt on the cel to the right of his head bobs with him.
- A moment later, the grey squares on Small Foot's pelvis blink in and out and she floats beside Leader-1 and Turbo.
- In the final shot of the episode, as the camera pushes in on Matt, a speck of dirt sliiiiides out of his mustache and carries on moving across the screen to the left.
- Everyone really hits the "dent" in Trident's name, as if his name was parsed like a GoBot or Masters of the Universe character. Tri-Dent. Not according to the title card, though!
- Both Trident and General Orlando have vague "European"-sounding accents. Given that "Orlando" is an Italian name, plus the general's darker complexion, he can probably be assumed to hail from Italy. If this means the Disrupter project was Italian in origin, perhaps Trident is supposed to be Italian as well, pale skin notwithstanding.
Home video releases
1985 — Challenge of the GoBots — Volume III: "Trident's Triple Threat" (Children's Video Library, single-episode tape)
1985 — Challenge of the GoBots — Volume II: "Trident's Triple Threat" and "Doppelganger" (Children's Video Library, multi-episode tape)
2015 — Challenge of the GoBots — The Series, Volume One (Warner Archive Collection)