Episode Review: Beast Wars S01 Ep03 “The Web”

With the pilot episode out of the way, which I’ve already taken a look at in more detail previously, Beast Wars’ first season can commence properly with its third episode, The Web. Now that we’ve been introduced – albeit briefly in some cases – to all of the show’s primary cast, it’s time for the series to start giving characters their own episodes, and as the title implies it focuses on one of the shows 8-legged villains as well as a personal favourite of mine…

In The Web, Cheetor acts as the protagonist of the story and even at this early stage he is showing all of the hallmarks of why he became my favourite character of the series (but I’ll come onto that later). Plot wise, the Maximals are developing a new long-range communication device which – they hope – will help them cut through the interference created by all the Energon present on the planet and allow them to communicate once again with Cybertron.

Cheetor is tasked to go out into the field to test the equipment, and while out he encounters Scorponok – who has discovered a weapon that is part of the debris from the fallen Predacon ship. Typically without thinking, Cheetor rushes to try and stop Scorponok, but in his haste gets captured by Tarantulas and placed in a deadly energy-draining web (hence the episode title) and it is left to the other Maximals to rescue him…

This is a great early episode. While the premise of the story itself isn’t particularly original, it’s well executed but being blunt the story isn’t particularly important. The real focus of the episode is to emphasise the devious and self-serving nature of Scorponok and Tarantulas, as well as delving deeping into Cheetor’s persona. Just like many of the episodes to come, it’s really an episode intended to introduce more of the characters in greater depth and it does that admirably.

As the episode progresses, we quickly learn more about the feline and his fellow Maximals, the depth of his friendship with Rattrap, his sense of humour, his laid-back carefree nature and his recklessness that clearly betrays his relative youth compared to the rest of the crew. If I’m completely honest, it’s all of these qualities that really drew me to the character so quickly more than any of the others and he very quickly became my favourite in the show.

Animation in this one – as you would expect – is absolutely fantastic with some great use of special effects. Granted, the type of CGI animation used on the show had to cut a few corners to enable the producers to create a regular weekly animated show (shaded and texture-mapped rather than the true  ray-traced animation), but the series was certainly the best example of what could be done with this system at the time.

Nothing really needs to be said about the voice acting as it’s up to the usual high standards of the series and overall it’s another fine outing for the show. Not the greatest episode of the series, but a good first “proper” episode and certainly a sign of good things to come…

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