Our retrospective look at Beast Wars is in full swing now as we reach episode 11 of the first season. In The Probe the series finally teases us with our first glimpse of the Beast-era Cybertron…
The Probe – Synopsis
The Maximals back on Cybertron are trying to locate Optimus and his group. They eventually realise that they are no longer to be found anywhere in the current time frame. In order to find their lost comrades, they launch a series of temporal probes across space and time to find them.
One of these probes is discovered by Rhinox on a long range scanner, but it is just outside of communications range. It passed by the solar system missing Optimus and his fellow Maximals completely. In order to try and reach the probe again on it’s return, the Maximals decide to construct a transmitter beacon to send out a broadcast of the ship’s transwarp signature. They hope that this signature will stand out from any background noise and gain the probe’s attention.
Predacons… Attack! (again)
As you’d expect, no episode of Beast Wars is complete without some form of conflict between the two opposing sides. While the array is being built, Tigertron and Cheetor are attacked by Tarantulus using his latest invention. A ray that forces and locks all Maximals or Predacons into their beast modes. After using it on the now helpless felines, they are captured and taken back to Megatron.
Meanwhile, Rhinox converts the transwarp signature so it can be transmitted. But before anything can be done, all of the Maximals are attacked by Megatron and forced into their beast modes, preventing them from activating the array. All it takes then is a couple of shots from Megatron, destroying the transmitter, ending their hopes of a return home.
This is yet another solid episode with more wonderful characterisation. I always love to see the teaming up of Cheetor and Tigertron as the two work so well together. It was pretty clear from the offset that the attempt to send the signal would fail, but the question throughout was how the story would develop for that to happen. The ending was handled in a satisfying way and you were left feeling genuine empathy for the Maximals as they had to continue to struggle with their isolation away from home.
Probably the strongest scenes in the entire episode featured Dinobot. He was the only one of the Maximals not looking forward to a return to Cybertron. His fear that he would be treated as a Predacon prisoner and not as the Maximal he had become was evident throughout. There was some superb dialogue here, and there was some exceptional performances from the voice cast, most notable Scott McNeil as Dinobot which made this work incredibly well. This torment of Dinobot’s status was a story line to be picked up again later on…