With a title like “A Better Mousetrap”, it’s not hard to guess who the central character is in this episode. The ninth episode of the first season Beast Wars is primarily centred around everyone’s favourite rodent, Rattrap…
The Predacons hatch a new plan to attack the Maximal’s base from underneath. Meanwhile, Knowing that their headquarters need improved security to protect themselves against attack from all sides Rhinox takes action. He’s been developing a new automated defence system – Sentinel – and he’s just putting the finishing touches to it. However, after one of their usual arguments, Rattrap decides that it would be a great idea to give the system’s intruder immobilisation system a quick trial run… on Dinobot!
Dinobot manages to free himself, and in the process throws his sword at Rattrap. He misses, but it penetrates the control console and damages Sentinel. The system, still incomplete, kicks in and classes Cheetor, Ratttrap, Rhinox, and Dinobot as intruders and sets out to eliminate them. All of the Maximals flee, but Rattrap stays behind to try and disable Sentinel, wrought with guilt for causing the problem…
Scott McNeill obviously steals the show with an incredible performance throughout as the wisecracking rodent. While there are plenty of serious moments in the story, Scott’s delivery of all the one-liners really makes this episode. But for me the real highlights have to include one scene where Sentinel has covered a corridor floor with a zero-friction coating. Rattrap’s solution is just to get a piece of metal and slide on it down the corridor! Seeing a rat surfing is going to give anyone nightmares!
Also, at the end of the episode when Rattrap has disabled Sentinel the other Maximals believe that Rattrap has been killed. Knowing that the only way Sentinel will drop it’s defences is when the intruder has been eliminated they mourn their friend. After the others have paid tribute to their “fallen” comrade, Rattrap pops out mocking them all in a way only he can!
It has to be said that there are some strange moments in this one. There are times where characterisation seems to be a little off the mark. Sometimes, some of the characters over-emphasised their names or used their names more often than they have done in the past. That gives me the impression that A Better Mousetrap was written to be broadcast earlier in the season.
A Better Mousetrap – Final thoughts
Truthfully the story concept is nothing new. having a protagonist face off against a trap-filled environment has been used countless times before. And no doubt we’ll see it a million times more in the future. So what’s really important is how well it’s executed. While I may be biased being a fan of the series, this is one of the better examples of how to do this type of story!
Overall, this is another good episode and a chance for Rattrap to shine on his own. Despite his cavalier attitude and wisecracks as he tries to bypass Sentinel’s defences, his conscience shows through brilliantly. It’s easy to see how determined he is to succeed as a way of apologising to his fellow Maximals. One of the real highlights of the first season.