I've been a huge fan of the Transformers cartoon ever since I can remember, and for some reason, until I came across this site and Matt so cleverly pointed it out, it never once occurred to me how ridiculous the shit that happens in each episode really is. Granted, we've talked about a lot of weird stuff on the site, so the Transformers cartoons seems relatively tame by X-E standards. I used to think the recurring theme in Transformers episodes was that the Autobots eventually emerged victorious, because they worked as a team and fought with integrity. But now that I'm older and hopefully wiser I've realized that those things had absolutely nothing to do with it.
Watching these episodes (now that I'm old enough to understand the harsh realities of full scale giant robot warfare) has revealed to me why the Decepticons fail time and time again. While the Autobots were stupid, the Decepticons were just really stupid. It's kind of like a never-ending limbo contest only Megatron/Galvatron and his minions can never go too low and not outdo the sheer idiocy that the Autobots manage to exhibit in each episode. How I never figured this out before I'll never know, but I'm still wondering whether or not that is a compliment to the cartoon's writers and creators or just another thing to chalk up to raw stupidity on my part. Either way, the show remains one of my favorite cartoons of all time and for good reason.
Case in point: Grimlock's New Brain.
I came across this episode while I was dutifully downloading "The Return of Optimus Prime" on Cute MX (a rather cool file sharing program). Most people use it to download porn, but it's a pretty good source for cool music videos, mp3s, and old episodes of cartoons (Cowboy Bebop episodes too!). I have this particular Transformers episode on tape, but I figured downloading it and taking screenshots from the downloaded file would save me a ton of time in the long run. Bless the gods of broadband internet connections.
Throughout the course of this episode, Grimlock gets a new brain, becomes a full fledged genius, and takes every opportunity that presents itself to make fun of other Transformers that possess a lesser intellect, which now just happens to be every single one of them. You really have to be a dork to enjoy Grimlock making fun of Kup, but I know I'm not alone out there. Anyways, I'm babbling now so onto the episode.
Oh yeah, I apologize in advance for the blurriness of the pictures, but taking images from the .ASF file instead of my taped episode saved me a ton of time. And ignore the subtitles at the bottom of each image too. :)
Today's show starts out with Ultra Magnus explaining to us that the Autobots have just found a source of energy that will supply them with power forever, and they've just finished constructing a giant machine that will allow them to harness this energy for their use. Now call me crazy, but I think this is a rather powerful machine and a pretty important moment for the Autobots. Like I said, this machine could potentially provide them with energy forever. So naturally Rodimus Prime (who I hate) decides to have Grimlock flip the switch and start up the whole damn thing, which if you know Grimlock, isn't exactly the smartest thing to do. Why he decides to entrust Grimlock with pulling the activation lever is beyond me. For some reason, Grimlock is in the control room all by himself, and he manages to pull about three wrong levers before Rodimus can run up to there to stop him from doing any more irreparable damage. Rodimus pulls the correct lever down and the machine starts up but not before giving Grimlock a piece of his mind. So everything's fine and dandy, and now the Autobots supposedly have an unlimited source of energy.
The question begs to be asked. Why not have Perceptor or some other halfway competent Autobot pull the switch? Does Perceptor have something better to do, or is a massive power source that could potentially last the Autobots forever just not important enough to warrant his attention? Regardless, the recurring theme so far in the episode has been the other Autobots calling Grimlock an idiot, because he keeps fucking everything up.
The Autobots are very proud of their newly built machine and are thankful Grimlock didn't break the entire thing, but they don't realize that Galvatron sent a couple of spies to find out what those Autobots have been up to. I must say that with the likes of Soundwave, Ravage, and the rest of those cassette tapes, Megatron/Galvatron was always much better at gathering information on his opponents and what they were planning than Optimus or Rodimus ever were. How he utilized this information is an entirely different matter altogether.
Meanwhile, Sky Linx and Cosmo were so busy hunting Decepticons in space that they're running late for the all important Autobot ceremony. But as they're speeding home and preparing to land, both of them mysteriously lose control and come crashing to Cybertron's surface. They're both alright, but what could have caused them to lose control and crash like that? According to the Autobot's central computer, the power core is emitting some odd force waves that are causing the Autobots to lose control of their actions. It looks like Rodimus is going to have organize things and send out a team to investigate.
The team that is assembled to put an end to these mysterious Autobot malfunctions: Rodimus Prime, Ultra Magnus, Kup, He-Man, and Grimlock.
Ok maybe not He-Man, but he sure as hell would've come in handy on this mission.
Apparently, the power core that they need to find and shut down is located in a maze of tunnels, and the only thing the Autobots have to keep them from getting totally lost in these tunnels is a clock/compass device that Perceptor built.
So Rodimus Prime, Ultra Magnus, Kup, and Grimlock set out to find the core and attempt to fix the problem. Normally right here I'd be asking why they brought Grimlock with them in the first place. He's more of a brute force type of Transformer and generally not the first Autobot you'd pick for a search and repair mission. Anyways, this device Perceptor built is their only guide through the tunnels and the only thing that will help them to find the power core. Rodimus is carrying the thing and leading the search party through the tunnels when everyone starts making fun of Grimlock again, because he thinks he should be the one using the compass thing. So after taking a pretty good ribbing from his three fellow Autobots, Grimlock gets pissed, steals the device from Rodimus' hands, breaks it, yells at it, and then finishes with the coupe de grace of stupidity by throwing it into a bottomless abyss.
Real fucking smooth Grimlock. This is just like when that idiot in the Blair Witch Project throws their map away for no fucking reason.
When Rodimus berates the Dinobot leader again, Grimlock gets pissed and throws a tantrum, storming off into one of the many tunnels. Even though they're now apparently lost in the tunnels forever, Rodimus figures they still need to find Grimlock and get him back with the group. He orders Kup to go search for Grimlock, while he and Ultra Magnus try and find the power core. Poor Kup.
So the two groups each take different paths through the maze of tunnels. Rodimus and Ultra Magnus are navigating through one of the tunnels when something happens, and they both start mysteriously malfunctioning for no apparent reason. Meanwhile, Kup and Grimlock have found the power core! There is a problem though. The power core is causing Grimlock and Kup to lose control as well!
Grimlock regains control of himself long enough to end the suffering of the other Autobots by electrocuting himself and essentially shorting out the entire power core. Grimlock and the operation of high-tech machinery just don't mix. Luckily when he does this, he is magically endowed with an infinite amount of intelligence, which is where things start getting really weird. The electrocution not only alters his intellect, but it also changes his voice as well. It's like the Transformers version of the lawnmower man. Grimlock's newfound staggering intellect also comes along with an extremely dry sense of humor, which he uses to mercilessly make fun of every Transformer who happens to cross his path. As you can tell by the sound clip, he's already bitching at Kup for being surprised that Grimlock's not a complete idiot anymore. Now he's just an asshole.There was never any indication of how they planned on getting out of the tunnels without that compass device, but the writers conveniently leave their return to the base out of the episode without any type of explanation of how they got back. I guess they were just magically transported to headquarters or something like that.
When they get back, the other Dinobots are together fishing, and they want Grimlock to come join them. However, now that's he's a genius, he wants nothing to do with such trivial activities. He's got more important matters to take care of.
To fix the power core and get everything operational again, the Autobots need some rare material that can only be found on Unicron's remains. The Decepticons had already figured this out, so they've already set up camp on Unicron's giant head.
The Autobots head for Unicron's remains, but the Decepticons have already picked them up on their radar. It looks like it's about time for the big showdown...
When the Autobots land on Unicron, they immediately start duking it out with the Decepticon forces, but apparently Rodimus Prime, the fucking Autobot Leader (remember I hate him), is no match for one of the Decepticons most useless members, because he has two heads. It amazes me how incompetent Rodimus really is as a leader and an Autobot in general.
Here's what I don't get about the Decepticons though: throughout the entire series, the Decepticons are always looking for some way to gain an advantage and vanquish the Autobots. But it's pretty much a given that in a fair fight, the good guys rape Megatron/Galvatron's forces every time. Why is that? Remember the episode where Megatron fights Optimus one on one, and before the fight, Megatron steals the powers of every Decepticon to help him win? How come Megatron is automatically an inferior Transformer that has to cheat to win? Granted, Optimus Prime is the ultimate bad ass, but why does the entire Decepticon army suffer from some such a huge inferiority complex? Is it imperative that they must hatch some super complicated, nearly impossible-to-execute plan at the beginning of every episode just so they can feel justified in their victory? It's just something I've always wondered. Anyways, back to the episode at hand.
So while Rodimus, Kup, and the others are in the heat of battle, Grimlock once again proves that this super intelligence is indeed a blessing. You see...now that Grimlock's not stupid anymore, he can see how pathetic the Autobots really are. It's like his eyes are open for the first time. So naturally he does the only logical thing: he runs away from the battle and decides to build some Autobots who actually hit their targets when they shoot. Impossible you say? Well the Technobots may have something to say about that!
Grimlock realizes that only one bad ass Autobot won't be enough to put an end to the Galvatron's evil plans, because sooner or later, an Autobot was bound to fuck up so bad that Mr. Bad Ass Autobot would get killed. Hell, they had Optimus, the ultimate Transformer, and Hot Rod fucked up so bad in Transformers: The Movie that Megatron was treated to some free target practice on the former Autobot leader courtesy of Hot Rod. Since Grimlock knows this, he conveniently builds five new Autobots literally in the span of a few minutes.
The newly created Technobots engage in some witty banter with Grimlock, and he orders them to shoot at and actually hit the Decepticons. What a great idea! Meanwhile, the battle rages on and just as expected, no one on either side has been hit with any type of laser blast. I wonder what a game of dodge ball would've been like for these guys.
Because of these new Autobots who are actually shooting at them and hitting them(!), most of the Decepticons are forced to retreat from the battle but not before Abominus is formed and starts to attack the Autobot forces. The Technobots run back to Grimlock looking for advice on what to do. And boy does he have a surprise for them...
As you can see, Grimlock not only built a formidable fighting force of Technobots to fight alongside his fellow Autobots, he also endowed with them with the ability to transform and form Computron, in my opinion one of the coolest looking Transformers ever but sadly one of the most annoying as well. Anything he does is preceded by him saying "Datum received...conclusion...." I guess making him talk like a computer seemed like a good idea at first, but he's in this episode for a few seconds and still manages to annoy the hell out of me.
However, there's one little problem. Computron has limitless capacity for intelligence, but he has no actual intelligence. So Grimlock builds a special device and transfers his intelligence into Computron, thus returning the Dinobot to his former state and giving Computron the ability to combat Abominus.
Now that I think about it, Computron's voice must not have bothered me too much when I was younger, because I vividly remember being disappointed for days when I broke the head off my figure of Lightspeed, one of the Autobots who formed Computron's arm. Since their heads were used to connect the smaller Transformers together and form the bigger guys, Computron was usually relegated to being the injured Transformer who was held hostage by the evil Decepticon forces when I was younger.
Anyway, the two giants duke it out, and Computron must use his superior intelligence to combat the brute force of Abominus. Abominus grabs Computron and puts him in a bear hug. Computron decides the best course of action is to vibrate really fast and force Abominus to break apart into the five weaker Decepticons. When he does this, the five Decepticons who formed Abominus come tumbling to the ground. Realizing that he's no match for this new guy without Abominus, Galavatron commands his troops to retreat and return to safety. Meanwhile, the Autobots have five new troops, Grimlock is back to normal, and they've defeated Galvatron once again. Things are certainly looking good for the good guys.
Upon their return, the Autobots have a ceremony to welcome the Technobots, but Grimlock isn't around for some odd reason. Where could he be? He's back fishing with the rest of the Dinobots of course!
All in all, this wasn't one of my favorite Transformers episodes, but it was fun watching Grimlock call all the other Transformers idiots. But if Grimlock transferred all of that intelligence into Computron, how come we never got healthy doses of Computron making fun of Rodimus and the others? Speaking of Rodimus Prime, I hate him. As Hot Rod, I thought he was pretty cool, but I blame him for Optimus Prime's death in the movie. Couldn't Hot Rod have just shouted, "Look out Optimus! He's got a gun!" instead of diving at Megatron and getting Optimus killed? In later episodes, listening to Rodimus order other Autobots around and repeatedly fuck up only makes him that much more annoying. That may come off as a bit hostile, but I absolutely cannot help it. I hate Rodimus Prime with a passion. A normal Transfomers episode would have all the other Autobots fuck up, with Optimus Prime coming in to save the day. But since he was dead during this episode, the Autobots had no such luxury. It's a good thing Megatron got turned into Galvatron, otherwise they'd be really screwed.