I’m continuing my look back at Beast Wars – one of the most popular and critically acclaimed Transformers television shows produced. This time, we’re up to the fifth episode of the show’s first season – Chain Of Command.
The Maximals discover a strange stone structure, rather similar in design to Stonehenge, Here they find a source of Energon that is alien to the planet’s geology. While investigating this the Maximals are attacked and in the ensuing battle the Predacons fire off a number of shots that strike the Energon deposit. The Energon is destroyed and as expected is set to release an enormous Energon surge harmful to all Cybertronian lifeforms.
The Maximals flee in beast mode – the only way to protect themselves – and as they watch the resulting surge from a distance, a beam of pure energy is emitted from the stones into space as if it were some form of beacon…
Shortly after an alien probe arrives, apparently in response to the beacon. On investigating it closer, Optimus Primal is struck by a blast of energy from the probe… and he vanishes without a trace. As the Maximals struggle to come to terms with the loss of their leader, they are also faced with the prospect of having to select a temporary replacement. All of this while still trying to find Primal.
Eventually Rattrap is chosen as the unlikely group leader. At the same time, a signal has been received by the Maximals from Optimus indicating that his consciousness is trapped inside the probe. Rhinox is given the unenviable task of trying to free Optimus from the probe. Meanwhile the rest of the Maximals have to protect the probe at all costs from the Predacons who are eager to take advantage of the precarious situation that Primal is in…
Chain Of Command – Thoughts
Generally this is a good story here. Granted, it is a premise that has been used countless times before in far too many shows to mention. It has become almost a requirement of any series with an ensemble cast to have one of them forced into a command role unexpectedly. The “fish out of water” storyline may be clichéd but it’s usually written to showcase the individual character and their relationship with the rest of the cast more than anything else. And in the case of Chain Of Command it’s handled competently enough.
Despite having some action scenes, this isn’t what Beast Wars – or this episode – is about. There are strong character scenes and development throughout. Particularly the dialogue between Rattrap and Dinobot as they try to prove which of them is the more worthy successor to Optimus Primal.
It’s another good episode and while it isn’t the strongest so far – hampered by its reliance on an over-used plot device – it’s still an enjoyable story. But it’s still early for the series and the best is still to come.