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Episode Review:


Fallen Comrades


Season 1


Episode written by: Bob Forward


Reviewed by Blazemane




                            Review in a nutshell: Combining action and desperate circumstances with multiple references and subtle hints to the future story arcs of Beast Wars in general, Fallen Comrades places the show and its respective characters into perspective of what they will promise to their viewers, even so early in the overall tale.


              Plot: Fallen Comrades begins with an outer space shot of some orbiting debris and a few stasis pods. One pod begins to drag away from the group and falls to the Earth. In the Axalon, you see that the Maximals have been tracking its descent. Primal tells all present to be ready to retrieve it. When the pod finally lands, the audience sees that the Predacons have also been watching from the Darksyde. Terrorsaur asks if Megatron intends for them to get it, but Megatron reveals that he has a different plan in mind- to first disable Primal because of his ability to fly.


              Back at the Axalon, Primal insists that he has to fly to get to the stasis pod, but Dinobot objects, suspecting a cheap move of some sort on the part of Megatron. He requests of Primal that he may go outside first. Primal agrees, and Dinobot is unable to detect any Predacons in the immediate area. He goes back up and tells Optimus so, but also asks if he can lead a scouting patrol around the area. Primal refuses for the sake of time, and heads out (with Dinobot on the platform in stark refusal of leaving the situation completely out of his hands). Soon after Optimus gets off the platform, he is hit with one of Waspinator’s missiles, confirming Dinobot’s suspicions of ambush. Terrorsaur finishes the job of impairing Primal, and after a short and somewhat inconclusive battle with Dinobot, the two Predacons retreat.


              In a humorous moment that can not go unmentioned, Cheetor asks Dinobot to “give him a hand” bringing Optimus back inside. Dinobot helps Optimus to his feet by lifting him off the ground and bringing him to eye level in a “told-you-so” manner before lowering him back to a standing position (revealing that Dinobot is a tall fellow).


              The Maximals are now left with a party of three- Cheetor, Rhinox and Rattrap, to run for the pod. Terrorsaur and Waspinator inform Megatron that Optimus is incapable of flying, and he sends the two on their way to the pod. Meanwhile, he anticipates that with a land party departing from the Axalon, only the damaged Optimus and perhaps another Maximal would be present. He therefore decides it is an ample opportunity to attack the Maximal base.


              On their respective ways to the protoform, Terrorsaur and Waspinator run into the Maximal runners. The Maximals attempt to bring them down, but their flight allows them an easy get away from the weapons’ fire. Then they turn around, and plow straight through the two ends of an ice bridge, lying over a deep and rather long chasm which the Maximals had intended to cross. The bridge collapses, hopelessly delaying the ground party.


              Rattrap gets on his comlink and informs Dinobot that their main route has been destroyed, and that the Predacons will almost assuredly reach the protoform first. Dinobot tells Rattrap that he is not allowed to make excuses, and must continue moving. Rattrap has a lovely remark for him, but Dinobot cuts off the communication before it can be fully heard.


              Dinobot manages to awaken Primal’s core consciousness (in the form of a floating blue gorilla’s head), and informs him that the ground party has been “forcibly delayed”. Optimus questions if there is a way the two of them can reach the protoform themselves. After Dinobot rules out the possibility of comlink use, Optimus suggests they use a laser pulse to transmit information. Dinobot contests that they would need to be able to aim for the pod in a line of sight manner, but Optimus suggests they bounce it off of something. Dinobot acknowledges that such a thing might be possible.


              Outside the Axalon, we see that Megatron has arrived. He quickly spies Dinobot on top of the ship, establishing a laser projecting construction, and signals Tarantulas and Scorponok to split up and get into ambushing positions.


              Megatron calls Dinobot, and Dinobot responds by transforming to battle mode. Megatron appears flustered and claims to come only “to talk.” He then moves on to acknowledge the fact that Dinobot is in control of the Maximals base, and on his own, before proposing that Dinobot should again be a Predacon and hand the base over to him (he also mentions the fact that it would end the Beast Wars, give Predacons the rule they desire, and that Dinobot himself could be his second in command).


              To all of these ideas, Dinobot responds with a hearty refusal before blasting Megatron with his optic lasers in defiance. At this point, Tarantulas and Scorponok show up on top of the Axalon with Dinobot, and Dinobot simply stares into space in frustration before getting blasted completely off the roof. The Predacons attempt to get him on the ground with two more missiles, but he rolls away, and the impact of the resulting explosions pushes him the rest of the way to the boarding platform.


              Dinobot commands the ship’s auto guns to activate, and both Predacons are blasted to the ground. Megatron, in the middle of a furious auto gun salvo, gives up and orders the Predacons to retreat. Dinobot gets inside and informs Optimus that the laser is in position. Optimus commands the computer to upload necessary protoform instructions to the laser, and then the laser activates.


              The pod is engulfed in the laser, and soon after, a beast form scanner appears and searches. The laser then resumes its information transfer. This whole time, a white tiger has been watching in curiosity.


              The Maximal ground party sees the laser, but Cheetor despairs, noting that it has come too late, as the Predacons are soon to reach the protoform. Meanwhile, Waspinator notices his and Terrorsaur’s proximity to the pod with apparent glee.


              Optimus, having finished his time in the CR chamber, places Dinobot in one and sets off for the pod (and he doesn’t get shot this time, I promise).


              Terrorsaur and Waspinator struggle to open the pod (and probably have been doing so for a while), when the Rhinox, Rattrap and Cheetor arrive and scene and order them to get away from the pod. Megatron arrives on scene (he’s very fast, you see), and orders the Maximals to stand down, claiming he knows their “weaknesses”. He shoots a snow ridge and causes two tigers to fall onto the ground in a boxed in section of snow, then threatens to shoot them unless the Maximals surrender. The Maximals give in and watch on as Waspinator opens the pod.


              But it’s empty. Megatron asks where the Maximal is, and the new Maximals responds “Right here.” We then see a white tiger, who transforms into the first new arrival of the show: Tigatron.


              After an unbalanced fight, which Optimus himself is able to eventually join, Megatron and the two fliers retreat. As they do, Tigatron reveals a pair of wrist rockets, and shoots one of them off. Megatron runs over a hill and off-screen, and the rocket follows him, displaying an impressive power as snow gets spewed into the air, and the “camera” shakes violently.


              (Unfortunately, we never see the rockets again. Nor do we see an impressive freeze gun of his any other time than in “The Spark”, but that is a different, although sadly similar, story.)


              Primal welcomes Tigatron, and then admits that the Maximals were uncertain if he would make it. Tigatron confesses that he nearly did not. After he crash landed, he had no idea who he was supposed to fight for, or who he was. But the Maximals’ willingness to risk their own lives to save himself and the other tiger convinced him of who he was meant to be with.


              Primal notes that the Maximal base is 100 clicks south, but Tigatron objects, stating that he feels he is more tiger than he is Maximal, and that he wishes to stay with his “kind.” Primal finds this acceptable and Rattrap chimes in that a Northern scout would be useful. Primal leaves saying that he suspects the Maximals will meet Tigatron again, and in the near future.


              Tigatron watches the Maximals walk off, and then gives the last line of the show:


              “Let the trails lead where they may. I will follow.”


              He looks to his tiger compatriot, who is watching the sky, and then the Northern Lights appear.




              One might say that in a manner better than the six episodes before it (save, perhaps, for “Equal Measures), “Fallen Comrades” depicts many of the patterns that will be seen in the rest of the show.


              Firstly, we have our first “save the pod” episode. In “Fallen Comrades”, the Maximals must rush to ensure Tigatron’s safe arrival and continued existence as a Maximal. The Predacons want to make him one of their own. And so it is a race. Many episodes afterwards use this device to introduce new characters, although many spend less time on the retrieval of the pod itself, and more on the aftermath of the characters’ arrivals (as is seen in the episode “Double Jeopardy” and “The Coming of the Fuzors”).


              Secondly, we have a subtle clue that the Cybertronians are indeed on Earth (if rats and pre-historic animals weren’t enough of a hint). When Terrorsaur is scanning the pod’s descent, you see that Tigatron has landed on what seems to be Greenland.


              Thirdly, while Terrorsaur and Waspinator are flying to the pod, we are given a long shot of the Vok’s moon. Half of it is seemingly lost to space, and in comparison to Earth’s moon, which is later shown, it looks irregularly huge. It is interesting that writers sought to remind the audience of the moon. It will, of course, become a major plot point and problem for all beast warriors.


              Fourthly, Megatron challenges Dinobot’s loyalty to the Maximals at a time when his disloyalty would have spelt their end. He had the very fate of Cybertron, essentially, in his clutches, and an opportunity to have what he had once fought alongside Megatron for. We see, however, that he completely refuses. It is hard to imagine that even one so stubborn as Dinobot would do such a thing just because of his anger towards Megatron, and desire to spite him, although it is not inconceivable. It does seem, however, to be the first signs that Dinobot is truly having a change of heart, and desires the peace which Maximals fight for. Either way, Dinobot remains securely loyal to the Maximals until season 2. But it interesting to see a question that will, once again, become so important later, brought up in this episode.


              Tigatron feels more tiger than Cybertronian. This introduces the feud between Maximal circuitry and animal instinct- two concepts that Tigatron will, eventually, become the pioneer of balancing. That fact itself will come to save the Maximals’ lives.


              Additionally, many of the episodes before “Equal Measures” were focused on specific characters (although, of course, not all were). The scope of this episode is so large in comparison to them, not only because of the fact that a Maximal’s entire sentience is put on the line, but because it becomes an important thing to every single character in the show. In one episode, we see effective characterization for a lot of the Beast Warriors that we are unable to see in many others. For example,


              Megatron is a wily little jerk. Dinobot, as mentioned above, is secure in his Maximal loyalty. Dinobot and Rattrap are always free to exchange pot shots at each other. Rattrap doesn’t like wily little jerks, or fliers. Primal is willing to throw caution to the wind for the sake of saving one’s sentience. The Maximals are willing to allow a sentient to become a Predacon, so long as he lives, to spare arguably non sentient or even partially sentient life. Terrorsaur and Waspinator are an effective pair. Cheetor isn’t always as foolish as he seems (he too disagreed with Primal flying out, and then splitting up and leaving Primal behind. On both accounts, Megatron made moves to affirm the need for those suspicions). Tarantulas can be too experimental for is own good. Scorponok can be too scared for his own good.


              Entertainment: The audience is allowed to see some great fights, interesting estimations of enemy tactics and the proper (and improper) responses to them, and in the mean time, care, because a life (whether in peril of death or a life corruptly lived) is on the line.


              Animation: Top notch. It is entirely set at night (alleviating any worries for the non-existence of shadows, and, in general, adding to the grand scale and desperate nature of the story being told) and often set in snow (which adds emphasis to explosions, provides a bright contrast to the night and character colors, and adds another appeal to the audience’s senses- in both a visual and feeling-wise sense. Snow looks and feels cool).


              Overall: A great episode. I would rate it 10 out of 10, but in a different manner than any other episodes I would give a similar rating to. For example, it does not reach the tense heights that the “Other Voices” two-parter does, nor the emotional high that “Code of Hero” does.


But it allows the audience to see all of the characters, puts something important on the line, establishes a few points that make the above mentioned episodes so compelling, and provides solid entertainment.

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