Beast Wars TV Show - "The Low Road"

in 1997, Beast Wars, Television Show Review

Beast Wars Transformers

Original Air Date: February 10, 1997
Writer: Bob Forward
Director: J. Falconer

Episode Synopsis
Fast growing "bean vines" are quickly growing around the Axalon, causing concern for the Maximals that Predacons can use the vines as cover for an assault. Dinobot and Rattrap are dispatched to clear the vines. The two first attend to their duties, but quickly begin to bicker when suddenly, the Predacons attack!

Rhinox, inside the Axalon knows that they can't turn on Sentinel until everyone is inside so he rushes out to get Dinobot and Rattrap, who are both still at each other's throats. Rhinox comes out with his guns blazing! Piles of spent bullet shells form around him as he gives cover fire to Dinobot and Rattrap.

Suddenly, Tarantulas launches an odd looking device which attaches itself onto Rhinox's face! Dinobot and Rattrap quickly get Rhinox inside. The Predacons retreat as the Maximals try to find out what has happened to their large friend.

The Axalon computer discovers that Rhinox has been infected with an "Energon discharge Virus", the Cybertronian equivalent of a cold. Everytime Rhinox sneezes or hiccups, he shoots out immense beams of energon, blasting holes in the side of the Axalon and damaging equipment everywhere. Even staying in beast mode doesn't help, and his energy is slowly draining away at dangerous levels.

Dinobot and Rattrap are sent out to find Tarantulas, who was damaged in the last battle. Dinobot figures he hasn't gotten far and he's right. The two chase him to the edge of a cliff where Tarantulas jumps off and seems to disappear. Rattrap and Dinobot follow, only to fall into a hole that slides them down into a tunnel leading to Tarantulas' lab. When the reach the end of the slide, Tarantulas is there waiting for them, but a loosened boulder crushes the Predacon first. Dinobot and Rattrap begin dragging the wounded Predacon through the tunnel, in hopes of getting a cure from him. Their bickering continues and provides plenty of comic relief.

Meanwhile, the Predacons try to figure out where Tarantulas has hidden the secret of the virus. His data is all encoded and soon, all they are able to find is the anti-virus, which they decide to use as a bargaining chip.

The Maximals meanwhile have to deal with their friend who is slowly losing energy at critical levels. When Dinobot and Rattrap suddenly disappear from their sensors, the Maximals decide to head out to the Predacon base and take the cure by force. Rhinox decides to come along, but first munches on some of the bean vines in order to gain some power.

At Tarantulas' lab, Dinobot offers up Tarantulas as a hostage, who Megatron calmly blows to pieces. Rattrap manages to get behind the Predacons (via a large pipe) and disarms them. At that moment, the other Maximals arrive, with Rhinox blowing a huge hole in the side of the base.

Megatron still has an ace up his sleeve however. He threatens to destroy the antidote if the Maximals don't surrender. Optimus decides to do as Megatron says. However, Rhinox suddenly starts making odd noises. He says the beans are hard to digest and begins to turn his back to the Predacons. We then cut to a scene of a large energy bubble forming on the planet surface. When the smoke (and gas) clears, the Predacons have been blown away (literally) and the Maximals manage to recover the antidote and save their friend.

Comments & Questions

General Thoughts:
This is an episode that one really has to place their minds into an offbeat state to appreciate. It dares to not only try to be funny (in a series that isn't a comedy), but make fun of itself. The fan reaction to this episode was mixed, some thought it was awful, others thought it was one of the highlights of the entire first season.

Comments:

  • The sword that Rattrap uses in the beginning of the episode to cut away at the vines is one of Optimus Primal's swords.
  • Drawing on the need for cliche elements in this series, Dinobot and Rattrap have a requisite fight.
  • Rhinox's "pile o' bullets" makes fun of the popularity of his "Chainguns of Doom"
  • When Rhinox is drinking the antidote, he is using a Maximal version of the infamous beer hat!