Episode Review: Beast Wars S01 Ep02 “Beast Wars, Part 2”

Following on from my review of the opening episode of Beast Wars, the two parter continues where the story left off, with Optimus Primal and Predacon turncoat Dinobot bringing their head-to-head to a close as they challenged each other over the position for the leadership of the Maximals…

Ambushed by the Predacons, understandably the Maximals believe that Dinobot was insincere in his intentions to reject his Predacon ways and they are convinced that he lead them into a trap. Despite Dinobot’s protestations, even attempting to prove his new allegiance changing his transformation voice activation code to that of the Maximals, he is still outcast yet again.

Back to their primary goal and the Predacons soon discover a fresh source of Energon. Learning of this, the Maximals head to try and stop them from securing it. En route both sides encounter a stone structure that looks rather like Stonehenge… Both sides battle in what initially appears to be a fight to the death, with Megatron and Optimus fighting atop a mountain rich in Energon. It seems as if Megatron is going to defeat his enemy and carry out his plan until he is stopped by Dinobot.

Despite only being 25 minutes long, this is quite a packed episode offering a strong conclusion to the season opener and really grips you from start to finish. Characterisation is well crafted, and shows that both heroes and villains are far more rounded and three dimensional (sorry!) than most animated shows of that time period. At the same time, the episode really keeps the viewers intrigued by not delving too deeply into their background details at this early stage. You know things are going to develop from here into a major ongoing story, but this acts as a teaser for what is to come.

As for the cast, this really was a case of Garry Chalk and Scott McNeil stealing the show with this one. Their scenes together were stunning and despite the conflict between the two, you could already sense traces of mutual respect forming as well. Impressive stuff.

The only weak point of the episode is a line from Optimus at the end when he refers to the now ongoing conflict between the Maximals and the Predacons when he says that he is going to call the fight “Beast Wars” – it wasn’t really needed and it felt as if the cringeworthy line was there almost to remind the viewers what brand of toys to look out for in stores more than anything else.

Despite that, it was a great episode and set the tone remarkably well for what was to come…

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