“Operation guineapig is proceeding according to schedule”
Location, India. Starscream, Thundercracker, and Skywarp attack a solar power plant. Optimus Prime, Wheeljack, Sunstreaker and Jazz arrive on scene to stop them. It seems as though the whole thing has been orchestrated by Megatron, as the scene cuts to Decepticon headquarters. A human named Dr Arkeville is watching the events unfold with Megatron on the view screen. Arkeville has a strange appearance, like a mad professor who has had some of his body parts replaced by robot parts.
It quickly becomes clear that the attack in India is a planned diversion, as back at Autobot headquarters, Soundwave sends his cassette minions in to draw the Autobots out and kidnap Sparkplug!
“Your guineapig has arrived Dr Arkevile!”
Sparkplug is taken to Decepticon headquarters, where Dr Arkeville plants a computer chip on the back of his neck. Megatron tells Sparkplug that he is to be the first of a new breed of slaves.
The Autobots mount a rescue plan, as Megatron discusses a “special cargo” with Shockwave that he is to send from Cybertron to Earth.
Following on, Dr Arkeville demonstrates what the chip that he planted on Sparkplug does. It’s a hypno-chip that can be used to control a human. They test it by asking Sparkplug to attack a facsimile of Optimus Prime.
The Autobots Attack Decepticon headquarters from two fronts to rescue sparkplug. One team attacks it head on, while Brawn leads a team below sea level. Brawn’s team are able to get inside and rescue Sparkplug-unbeknownst to them that he’s a hypnotic slave of the Decepticons and Dr Arkeville.
“Attack, spare no-one!”
As the Autobots are undergoing repairs from their battle, Spike starts to notice that something doesn’t seem quite right with Sparkplug. Megatron and the Decepticons show up undetected and launch a brutal attack on Prime and the other Autobots. As the Autobots try to fight back, they encounter glitches which incapacitate them. It becomes clear that while conducting their “repairs” Sparkplug has sabotaged both the Autobots, and Teletraan-1. Spike manages to repel the Decepticons by activating the Ark’s (the crashed ship that serves as Autobot HQ) fire countermeasures. The Decepticons flee, and Sparkplug leaves to join them, while explaining the Spike that they will be enemies next time they meet.
“You’re bringing a planet to the Earth!”
The scene shifts to the preparations Megatron is making to bring the “special cargo” to earth. He is overseeing adjustments to something he calls “energy pylons”. As Dr Arkeville questions him about it, he explains that the “special cargo” is Cybertron itself! He goes onto say that the devastation that will be caused on Earth by Cybertron’s gravity will create a flow of energy, which Dr Arkeville’s hypno-chip slaves will collect and turn into energon cubes.
Meanwhile, the Autobots are finishing up repairs to the Ark, including Teletraan-1, which enables them to send their sky-spy to check on what the Decepticons are doing. They discover Megatron’s energy pylons and set off to investigate.
“We are ready to transport Cybertron!”
The Autobots arrive at Megatron’s pylons just as he’s preparing to transport Cybertron to Earth. Just as they are about to attack, Megatron unleashes a load of human hypno-slaves. Naturally, the Autobots are fearful that if they attack the Decepticons, they will injure the humans, but the humans have no such reservations about attacking the Autobots.
The Autobots are being pelted and hit by the humans, while Dr Arkeville strengthens his hypnotic grip on Sparkplug, who, along with Thundercracker activate two of the three energy pylons. Shockwave explains that if the pylons are not operational, “Cybertron will be catapulted into oblivion!”
Optimus Prime pursues Megatron to try to stop him from activating the third pylon. However, Megatron convinces Optimus to activate it for him, explaining that if he doesn’t, Cybertron will be destroyed! Prime has no choice but to activate the third pylon and Cybertron is pulled towards Earth!
The gravitational forces become apparent straight away and Megatron revels in his achievement, leaving Prime to lament whether he has saved Cybertron or destroyed Earth.
“All in the next exciting episode of The Transformers-The Ultimate Doom!”
The episode concludes with a preview of what is to come next in part two-and it does look exciting!
Key Scenes, Plot Points and Characters:
Shockwave pops up regularly in this episode. He doesn’t have to spend a lot of time on screen to project his character and loyalty to Megatron. This makes him feel like he gets much more screen-time than he actually does.
Optimus Prime vs Megatron seems to be a recurring theme in this episode as one attacks the other directly on multiple occasions, concluding in their final scrum at the energy pylon. Megatron shows that he knows Prime well enough that he can talk him into activating the pylon for him without having to continue fighting him. This combined with the amount of times they seem to keep going to battle each other one on one, creates intrigue about their relationship.
This episode feels dramatic throughout. Cleaver storytelling and Megatron’s evil and cunning is really emphasised. While it’s not one of my favourite episodes, there’s really nothing I could find fault with, so this episode has to score 10 energon cubes out of 10.
The interesting thing about reviewing episodes, is that it makes you pay attention, perhaps more than you usually would. I’ve never been particularly keen on the Ultimate Doom episodes, but while reviewing this part, I thoroughly enjoyed it. In particular, I liked how well paced this episode was. Perhaps because it is one part of a three-part story, there isn’t the pressure to squeeze all of the elements that are needed into a short space of time. While there is the usual fighting and action we are used to, there is more time for story development, and this is done really well here.
There’s just something about Shockwave that makes him a welcome presence when he’s involved too. Perhaps it’s something to so with the way Corey Burton voices him, or the fact that his appearances are infrequent, or something about his character qualities, or maybe a combination of all those things, but he’s just fun to watch.