At this stage in the first season of Beast Wars we’re all familiar with the characters and their personality traits. So when it came to the tenth episode, it was safe enough for the creative team to tinker with them a little. In Gorilla Warfare it was time to see a different side to Optimus Primal and give voice actor Garry Chalk something new to work with…
Gorilla Warfare – Synopsis
Optimus and Dinobot are out on a routine scouting mission, studying the nearby terrain and plant life. Suddenly they come under attack from Scorponok. During the onslaught Dinobot is crushed and tapped under a deluge of falling rocks. Before he can do anything, Scorponok launches a cyberbee that attaches itself to Optimus’s chest.
The cyberbee turns out to be a viral mine, which impregnates Optimus with a personality-altering virus. To make matters worse, the mine has linked itself into Optimus’ systems making it impossible to remove without injuring or killing him. And if it is removed, it will self destruct, taking out everything else nearby with it.
Primal is affected by the virus, unleashing the darker side of his personality. In essence his more hostile and aggressive side comes to the forefront. In a moment of rage, he decides to go after Megatron on his own, to retrieve the anti-virus so he can return to his normal self.
Despite lacking in originality for the core plot, it’s still a good story boasting a mixture of elements borrowed from other sci-fi films and franchises. The idea of something happening to a character and altering their personality certainly isn’t a new one, but as long as it is well scripted, I don’t think it particularly matters. It has been said that there are only a handful of basic story ideas and that almost everything ever written has been derived from these and this is no exception.
In fact, the only thing that spoiled this episode for me was another mention of the “Beast Wars”. Frankly, this still makes me cringe every time I hear it to this day. It is almost as if the line was included at the instruction of Hasbro to act as a reminder to the viewer of what product range to look for in the stores!
The stand-out moment for the episode this time had to be a line of dialogue from Megatron. Specifically when he was talking to Cheetor when he was trying to negotiate for the anti-virus, “Mmm… pussy cat… yes!”!
Overall, another great episode and as we approach the mid point of the season, it’s going to be interesting to see what the show runners had in store for us…