Ultra Zod (episode)
|This article is about the cartoon episode. For the title character, see Ultra Zod.|
"You come here prepared to fight a madman, and instead you found... a Zod?!"
|Airdate||October 17, 1985|
|Written by||Jim Bertges|
|Animation studio||Wang Film Productions|
A.J.'s visit to her aunt and uncle turns deadly when she discovers the Renegades have enslaved their town to build a new and improved Zod.
Matt, Nick, and the Guardians see A.J. off on her vacation to Waldron, Denver, to visit her uncle William and aunt Katherine. Upon arrival in Waldron, A.J. finds the streets deserted... and soon learns why when BuggyMan and Crasher, parked at the side of the road, suddenly transform and grab her! A.J. is taken to an airfield, where she learns that Cy-Kill has press-ganged the entire town into his service by capturing their children, and has put them to work building "Ultra Zod," a more powerful version of the original monster. A.J. is tossed in with the rest of the town's captive children, but is able to escape through a window too high for the other kids to reach. She runs into her uncle William as she sneaks away, promising him she will call on the Guardians to come and save the town.
To replace some damaged fuel rods needed for Ultra Zod, Cop-Tur raids Pro-Tex Laboratories, but runs afoul of the Guardians. He manages to nail Scooter with a blaster bolt, and makes good his escape while the heroes tend their wounded comrade. Leader-1 orders Turbo and Nick to follow Cop-Tur, a pursuit that leads them back to Waldron, where they stumble upon A.J. just as she is being menaced on the outskirts of town by BuggyMan. Turbo disposes of the Renegade, and once A.J. has explained what is going on, he puts in a call to Leader-1 for help. As they drive back through town, however, the trio finds that help can't come soon enough—because the Renegades have activated Ultra Zod! While Turbo leads the big blue behemoth out of town to minimize the damage it can cause, A.J. and Nick return to the airfield and free the captive kids. They find their way out barred by the vengeful BuggyMan, but fortunately, the injuries inflicted on him by Turbo have knocked out his weapons systems, giving the humans a chance to dump a stack of oil drums on him and make good their escape.
Leader-1 and Scooter soon arrive to back Turbo up, whereupon Cop-Tur and Crasher enter the fray to keep them busy while Turbo and Ultra Zod continue their chase. Leader-1 is able to take Cop-Tur down, then turns his attention to Cy-Kill, pursuing him back into town. Turbo, meanwhile, tricks Ultra Zod into trying to drive over a bridge, which results in him plunging into a river down below when the structure gives way under his weight. This dunking barely slows the monster down, however; Turbo just has time to save Scooter from Crasher before Ultra Zod is back in the fight, and heading back to town. To stop the giant beast once and for all, the Guardians call on Rest-Q, standing by in the Command Center, to bring out the big guns: their Power Suits, which combine to form the giant Power Warrior, Courageous. Using Courageous's power, the Guardians blast the ground out from under Ultra Zod's wheels, causing him to topple over, thereby exposing the weak spot on his belly. One blast from Courageous to this vulnerable port, and Ultra Zod is blown to bits!
The Renegades retreat, with Cy-Kill grumbling about all the hard work gone to waste, while the Guardians are honored by the mayor of Waldron, and properly introduced to A.J.'s aunt and uncle. Nick jokes about giving whatever town A.J. decides to visit next advance warning, and eeeeeverybody laaaaaaughs.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"I'm going to put the fear of Zod in them!"
- —Cy-Kill makes a long-overdue pun
"Destruction's such a turn-on!"
"So A.J., where are you going on your next vacation?"
"I haven't thought about it, Nick, why?"
"Oh, I just thought I'd call ahead and warn them that you're coming."
- —Nick and A.J.
- After their small cameo in "It's the Thought that Counts", this episode marks the Guardians' first broadcast use of the Power Suits and their combined form, the Power Warrior Courageous (right). As with many characters and concepts, however, their chronological debut would come in the "GoBotron Saga" mini-series; the final part of that story, "Return to GoBotron," provides a detailed origin sequence for the Suits, as they are created by the Last Engineer and used by the Guardians for the first time.
- Gadgets and Powers:
- Scooter creates a typical hologram by disguising himself as a road sign.
- Next, he creates a truly impressive holographic mosaic, tricking Crasher into driving off a mountain pass by making her think the road went straight. Wile E. Coyote would be proud.
- "Let's blow this baby and go home!" says Turbo of Ultra Zod, paraphrasing Han Solo's famous line from Star Wars.
Continuity and plotting errors
- There's really no excuse for A.J. not immediately recognizing the vehicle-mode BuggyMan and especially Crasher when she sees them on the street.
- Cy-Kill couldn't remove Zod's "vulnerable spot in the underbelly" weakness? How Ultra is this Zod?
Animation and technical errors
- When Cy-Kill invites A.J. to see Ultra Zod for herself, he has the erroneous eye design that occasionally appears in the show that gives him little black-outlined pupils in his orange eyes.
- The background painting of UNECOM headquarters from "Cy-Kill's Shrinking Ray" and "The Renegades' Rampage, Part II" is used again this episode, still featuring the misspelled "UNICON" sign despite some noticeable paint touch-ups having been carried out to the area around it.
- When Leader-1 contacts Matt and Nick to let them know about Cop-Tur's attack on Pro-Tex, the monitor in UNECOM headquarters is already displaying the interior painting of the Command Center's bridge, rather than a blank screen. As such, when Leader-1's call comes in, he fades in on top of the already-present background painting of his location.
- As Cy-Kill talks about the "fear of Zod," his black cheekbones are grey.
- When Crasher offers to destroy Turbo, Cy-Kill replies, "No, let Ultra Zod destroy the Guardian, fool!" That's a rather harsh rebuke to Crasher when she didn't actually do anything; in actuality, his inflection is probably off, and he was supposed to say "let Ultra Zod destroy the Guardian fool," aiming the insult at Turbo.
- When Turbo transforms to escape Ultra Zod, his head isn't visible on the underside of his car mode!
- As Turbo chuckles while watching Ultra Zod fall into the river, his red nose blinks grey repeatedly.
- There's no actual visible "weak spot" port on Ultra Zod's character model like there is with the original Zod; the Guardians just shoot his "abdomen" while the dialogue tells us what's supposed to be happening.
- Listen out for the really obvious overdub at about 3:48—when Cop-Tur tells Cy-Kill "the fuel rods were damaged in transit from Roguestar," the word "Roguestar" has clearly been dubbed into the sentence, replacing "Doomstar," the preliminary name for the Renegades' ship.
- It took twenty-four episodes to get here, but this episode finishes on that hoariest of old Hanna-Barbera cliches, the "Everybody Laughs" ending.
Home video releases
2015 — Challenge of the GoBots — The Series, Volume One (Warner Archive Collection)