|Airdate||October 31, 1985|
|Written by||John Bates|
|Animation studio||Wang Film Productions|
The Renegades engage in piracy on the high seas.
When UNECOM detects a huge meteor shower heading into Earth's atmosphere, toward Micronesia, the Guardians are called into action to save the day. With Flip Top on their side, Leader-1's team takes out as many of the space rocks as they can, but all have to combine their firepower to deflect the largest and most dangerous of the meteors. A few rocks get by while they are occupied with this task, landing in the ocean off the coast of Maru Maru Island, where their splashdown is observed by native brothers Woki and Katu. What the pair have no way of knowing, unfortunately, is that hiding among the meteors is the new Renegade fortress known as the Starfish! Having snuck by UNECOM defenses under cover of the meteors, Cy-Kill installs his new base on the seabed, surrounding it with a forcefield and concealing it with a stealth device, and sends out Water Walk to spy the cargo ships the villains' plan to pillage.
The Renegades' first target is a freight full of titanium, which is caught in a vortex generated by the Starfish, trapped in a bubble, and sucked down to the seafloor. Before it goes under, the ship gets off a distress call to UNECOM, but by the time the Guardians arrive on the scene, it has vanished beneath the waves. Out on the ocean doing some fishing, Woki and Katu watch the boat go down and are able to tell the Guardians what they have seen, leading Leader-1 to suspect the Renegades' involvement. The Guardians Astro-Beam underwater expert Dive-Dive in from GoBotron to help the monitor shipping lanes for signs of Renegade activity, but it is Flip Top who runs into Renegade trouble when his assigned ship, the SS Vega, is targeted by Water Walk for its vanadium cargo. So the capture of the vessel can be carried out covertly, Water Walk lures Flip Top into chasing him, leaving the Vega unattended long enough for the Starfish to captured it too. Unfortunately, Woki and Katu's boat is caught in the vortex, and while Katu is able to swim to safety, Woki is trapped in the bubble and dragged underwater with the Vega. The other Guardians arrive on the scene moments later, and Dive-Dive tries to follow the Vega, only for it disappear off his scanners when it is enveloped by the Starfish's stealth device.
Calculating that the next thing the Renegades will require is chromium, the Guardians load a boat up with the metal to serve as bait in a trap. Turbo and Scooter hide in the ship's hold, while Matt, Nick, and A.J. disguise themselves as crewmen. Eager to help rescue his brother, Katu dons a disguise of his own and sneaks aboard, but is quickly found by the others. Water Walk soon appears to target the ship; Flip Top makes a show of fighting back so the Renegades don't suspect anything is amiss, and plays possum when hit. The ship is summarily captured with Turbo, Scooter, and the humans aboard and taken to the Starfish, where the crews of the other vessels have been put to work using the materials to expand the base in size. Matt conspires with a crane operator to "accidentally" dump a load of metal bars on Crasher, causing enough of a distraction for he, Nick, A.J., and Katu to get inside the Starfish itself.
Once inside, Matt shuts down the stealth device, enabling Dive-Dive to spot the base, which serves as Scooter and Turbo's cue to emerge from hiding. Crasher and Cop-Tur pursue the two Guardians into the newly-built outer ring of the Starfish, but Turbo outmaneuvers both of them, keeping them busy while Scooter meets up with the humans in the control room. Matt and the kids are sent to get all the humans onto their ship, while Scooter reprograms the starfish to surround the ship with a bubble that returns it to the surface. Turbo then arrives to blast the machine, deactivating the forcefield. The Guardians make a run for it, pursued by a furious Cy-Kill, but Dive-Dive comes to their rescue, blasting his way into the now-defenseless Starfish, flooding it, and carrying Scooter and Turbo to safety in his submarine mode. The Renegades disconnect the original Starfish from the larger structure that has been built from the stolen materials and try to make a getaway, but once the base surfaces, they find themselves surrounded by Leader-1 and multiple UNECOM warships. Left with no choice, the villains abandon the Starfish and flee in Thruster, and the Guardians are left to celebrate their victory, with the reunited Woki and Katu enjoying the chance to sail on so big a ship.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"Come and get me now, you little whirly-nerd!"
- —Water Walk taunts Flip Top
"Isn't this plan dangerous?"
"Danger's my business, general."
- —General Newcastle sets Leader-1 up for a cool line
Matt: "You two okay?"
Scooter: "I'm fine, as long as I stay here! How about you, Turbo?"
Turbo: "I'm a little Cy-sick myself, and there's only one cure for that!"
- "Depth Charge" features the first appearance of Renegade Cessna seaplane Water Walk in broadcast order. Chronologically, his only other appearance in the series comes in "Flight to Earth," which occurs before the events of this episode.
- Flip Top and Dive-Dive make return appearances following their debuts in "Crime Wave" and "Cold Spell," respectively. "Depth Charge" serves as a second and final "spotlight" adventure for both Guardians; though Dive-Dive will put in one further cameo appearance in the series, chronologically, this is the last time out for Flip Top, whose subsequent appearances all take place in the "GoBotron Saga" mini-series, which takes place before "Depth Charge."
- Gadgets and Powers:
- Flip Top has a sonar scanner that can probe underwater from the air.
- Water Walk is capable of producing a mid-air smokescreen.
Continuity and plotting errors
- When the Renegades use the meteor shower to slip by UNECOM's defenses, they seem really proud of themselves. But...it's shown to be equipped with a stealth device! One of the major plot points of the series is how the Renegades can come and go as they please without being detected.
- When Water Walk comes flying past, it's a little odd how Woki and Katu instantly presume he's a GoBot. He's in vehicle mode, and they don't seem concerned as if they know him as a Renegade from previous news reports or something. They just spot a Cessna and say, "Oh, look a GoBot."
- In fact, why are Woki and Katu in this episode at all, really? They don't actually do anything. They never help or hinder the Guardians, and the concept of Woki being captured and Katu sneaking aboard the Guardians' phony ship to save him doesn't actually lead to anything. He just quietly tags along, contributing nothing to the plot, and Woki is rescued all-but-offscreen.
- In addition to the pointlessness of Woki and Katu's presence in the third act, the basic plot gets into a bit of a knot here. Matt and co. talk repeatedly about how their job is to deactivate the Starfish's "forcefield," and Turbo and Scooter are instructed to stay hidden until they have done so. Though they are never actually shown to do anything on-screen (Matt hops up on a console, then the scene changes to Dive-Dive), it is apparent that what they are actually meant to be shutting down is the stealth device, since Dive-Dive is able to see the Starfish, and the stealth device should make it invisible to the naked eye. Further, Turbo and Scooter emerge then from hiding, even though the forcefield is still up, and Turbo is the one to deactivate the forcefield in the end.
Animation and technical errors
- As Cy-Kill gloats over the Starfish's successful arrival on Earth, his left eye is grey.
- Matt, Nick, and A.J. all appear in their undercover sailors costumes too soon in the episode. Matt has already changed clothes when they first receive notice a ship is in trouble, and Nick and A.J. have changed when Dive-Dive arrives, still before Leader-1's undercover plan. They all also briefly switch back to their standard clothes during the capture of the second ship before finally it becomes appropriate for their undercover gear to be worn.
- Woki and Katu are experiencing a glitch in the Matrix as the ship gets sucked down the whirlpool. They keep waving their arms up and back repetitively.
- When Matt boards Leader-1, rather than open his canopy and climb inside as he normally does, he just runs under his nosecone, and then sort of phases up through it into his cockpit.
- In the shot of the Vega that follows the scene of Flip Top breaking off his fight with Water Walk and turning back, several dirty smudges are visible on the animation cel of the Vega that slide across the screen in parallel with the ship.
- Clear blue skies and clouds appear above Matt and the crane operator when they're supposed to be at the bottom of the ocean in a force field.
- While infiltrating the force field controls, the animation can't decide whether Katu or the generic crane operator accompanied Matt, Nick, and A.J.
- Water Walk appears on-screen to radio in the news of the Guardians' approach, but when the angle changes to show Cy-Kill approaching the monitor, Walker Walk has disappeared from the screen.
- Cy-Kill is missing his left wheel when Crasher spies Turbo and Scooter entering the outer ring.
- Turbo is missing the red on his nose when he blasts the control console.
- A background painting of the sea floor is used when Cy-Kill reacts to Dive-Dive blasting a hole in the Starfish, instead of the metal interior of the base.
Home video releases
2015 — Challenge of the GoBots — The Series, Volume One (Warner Archive Collection)