We’re almost a third of the way through the first season of Beast Wars now and both the Maximals and Predacons are starting to gather their forces. The stasis pods in orbit are slowly descending to the planet below and each faction is desperate to get to them to bolster their forces. Another struggle for supremacy in numbers ensues in this latest episode that I’m looking back at from the series – Double Jeopardy…
So as I already hinted at in the opening, in Double Jeopardy we see another stasis pod is crashing down out of its temporary orbit. Before the Maximals can retrieve their newly arrived comrade, Optimus Primal’s party is ambushed by the Predacons. Primal notes that it’s not the first time that this has happened to them recently. On several occasions their plans have been scuppered, subjected to preemptive strikes from the Predacons. Understandably Primal has become increasingly frustrated. And on this occasion, the Predacons are successful and manage to steal the pod and the protoform inside it.
Back at the Predacon base, Tarantulus is tasked to reprogram the protoform. Without Megatron’s knowledge, he chooses the beast form for this new addition to the Predacon’s ranks. A deadly spider. And shortly afterwards his female counterpart becomes fully active… Blackarachnia!
Back on board the Maximal’s ship, the crew are debating their situation and the concerns they have. They come to the conclusion that, based on the increasing frequency of the attacks they are coming under, that there is someone leaking information about their plans to the Predacons. And all eyes turn to Rattrap. Deciding that they need to test his loyalty, he is sent out on a reconnaissance mission. During this mission, he comes under attack from Terrorsaur. To the surprise of his comrades listening in on the comm system, he surrenders to his adversary and apparently defects to the Predacons.
In reality – as you can guess – he doesn’t. But this ploy provides Rattrap with a perfect way of infiltrating the Predacon base. Once inside, he sets out to find out just how they are monitoring Maximal activity, and to stop them before more damage is done.
This type of story isn’t new, but as long as it is as well crafted as this I don’t particularly mind. The main objective of any sci-fi series in its formative days is to help the viewers familiarise themselves with the characters. In addition it should establish their personalities and character traits and this episode manages to do an admirable job in doing this.
In addition to being a rather enjoyable episode, there are also some animation effects in this story that were simply stunning for the time. During the ambush at the beginning of the episode, Optimus is attacked and badly damaged. He ends up lying on the ground on fire the visuals here are literally breathtaking!
A good story, good effects, and some nice moments of humour injected into what is essentially a serious episode. One particular highlight was the scene where Rattrap is exploring the Predacon ship and saw a rat running around and they both paused to look at each other. All of this adds up to make for a great 25 minutes of television. Well worth watching and one of the highlights of the season so far.