Episode Review: Beast Wars S01 Ep20 – “Dark Voyage”

Beast Wars

The end of the first season looms closer as we continue our watch through of the show that made me a fan of Transformers. This time our attention turns to episode 20, Dark Voyage.

Dark Voyage – Story Summary

Our heroes are out on a mission searching for energon. Rattrap boasts of his skills in mining but while exploring the area that is rich in eneron deposits, Dinobot discovers a large source but before they can do anything about it they come under attack from the Predacons. They fire a missile at the energon that sets off a chain reaction destroying it… but what of the Maximals within the blast radius?

By some small miracle, the Maximals have survived but not without consequences. They’ve taken significant internal damage but more significantly, they’ve all lost their sight due to energon contamination. Their only choice is to get back to the Maximal base and get into a recovery chamber before then energon contamination damages them too much and shuts their bodies down permanently.

A Dangerous Trek

Forming a convoy, the rely on their remaining senses and try to find their way back. While traversing a jungle they come under attack, leaving Cheetor critically wounded and they find that they are more vulnerable than they realise.

If the terrors of the jungle and the rest of their journey wasn’t bad enough, Megatron discovers that the Maximals survived and sends more of his minions after the injured survivors. Their race to get to the Maximal base takes on a new level of urgency.

Slapstick Comedy

For what is meant to be a serious episode, there are a couple of moments that are intended to be light-hearted but truthfully they are out of place and don’t quite work. We’ve had scenes before where we’ve had cartoon-style humour, bordering on the type of visual gags you’d expect from Looney Tunes cartoons and there are a couple in this episode. While we come to expect this sort of thing where Waspinator is involved, there’s a time and a place for that, and this episode wasn’t it.

Overall

The problem with any show that deals with disabilities – especially when characters are given them on a temporary basis – is how they are handled. In the case of Dark Victory there’s a lot of self-pity from the characters, and in the case of their blindness, the clichéd misconception that other senses compensate and are somehow enhanced comes in to play allowing the Maximals to overcome adversity. This, combined with the relatively quick cure, doesn’t really sit too well with me.

In a way it makes the whole notion of disability as being a minor inconvenience that can be cured and that’s certainly not the case. While I do applaud the series for trying to at least write an episode about the subject – and I did like Rhinox’s closing line in this respect – the rest felt as if if was doing the subject lip service and nothing else. I’m afraid to say that G1 dealt with disabilities far better than this with the inclusion of Chip Chase.

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About Simon Plumbe 499 Articles
Husband, father and lifelong geek. Originally from the West Midlands, now spending my days in South Wales with my family and a house full of animals. Passionate about video games, especially retro gaming, the Commodore 64 and PlayStation Vita. Love pro wrestling, sci-fi and I'm an animal lover and vegetarian. Enjoyed this and my other articles? Why not buy me a coffee: http://ko-fi.com/simonplumbe