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Episode Review:

Dark Designs

Season 1


Reviewed by: Jen Pacerpaw


The Maximals are all outside looking for energon one fine day. But it turns out the source was too deep down to access, a “dead end” as Rhinox downcast calls it. Optimus Primal says that as dead ends go at least that one has a view. Rattrap complains about them spending all day jaunting up there just to enjoy the scenery then wonders what else they have to look forward to.

He just had to ask that didn’t he? Because just when he finishes that line a rocket is launched toward them knocking Cheetor aside! The Predacons attack them from higher ground! With the Maximals having no advantage of cover or somewhere to retreat without getting peltered by gunfire, the Predacons have the upper hand. 

So the Maximals have to fight from that position. Primal says they need a diversion and orders them to cover him as he lifts off.  But he gets hit and lands hard! Megatron thinks it’s almost too easy.

The teams trade heavy gunfire a few moments. It seems Rhinox is up to something, he doesn’t shoot straight at the Predacons for some reason. Cheetor tells him to “shoot straight for crying out loud, you’re missing them by a parsec!” Rhinox just continues to shoot, hitting the cliff wall above the Predacons repeatedly until…it causes a mass amount of large boulders to fall down on the Predacons!

With the danger momentarily gone, Rhinox comments that there is more then one way to skin a Cat so to speak then transforms. The others do the same. He quickly gives orders to get them going as Optimus is still recovering. “No time to waste! Dinobot,  lead the way. Rattrap, Cheetor help Optimus. I’ll cover the rear”

Optimus has recovers enough to commend Rhinox though. “Well done old friend. Steady nerves and quick thinking” The Rhino tells him it comes with the job description. Optimus responds that he is serious, that Rhinox would make a Prime leader if he wanted to. Rhinox thanks Optimus but tells him that he’d rather leave that sort of thing to him. “I’d rather tag along behind and smell the flowers”

Megatron was within earshot as he recovers, noting that he may have underestimated the Rhinoceros and that he could have a use for someone like that. Tarantulas leaves on a little mission…

Some distance away, Rhinox has gotten a little further behind the others. Suddenly Tarantulas appears, capturing the Rhino in one of his strong nets! The spider wastes no time, inserting poison.

Rhinox later wakes up at Predacon HQ, secured to a platform of some kind. Megatron has plans for him, involving a newly created device called a Transmutor. Meanwhile the Maximals have discovered that their comrade is missing. Rattrap uses his skills to try patching thru the interference to activate his friend’s comm. link. Cheetor thinks they should just go after him but Optimus tells him to cool his gears. First they have to find out where he is. Um isn’t that a bit obvious?

Rattrap succeeds in activating Rhinox comm. link. They overhear Rhinox talking to Megatron “If you’re just going to finish me anyway, do me a favour! Shut up and get on with it!” Megatron smoothly replies that he’s not going to finish him. “I’ve only just started with you!”

The Predacon hits a switch and Rhinox is hit by the transmutor. He yells but Megatron just laughs. When it’s over big green has been reprogrammed into a Predacon! His Rhino eyes has turned red as well red and the brown skin looks dark purple. As he transforms it’s evident that the golden highlights in his colour pattern has turned silver. He looks almost sinister now and speaks with a rougher voice. Rhinox asks is it’s a private club or anyone can join! Megatron tells the others to welcome the new Predacon. Scene ends with a few wicked laughs ™

Elsewhere, Cheetor comments the situation. Dinobot says it alters the balance of power. Cheetor is more concerned about what it does to Rhinox however. “Better dead then Pred!” Dinobot isn’t amused by this and tells spots that “Some of us have survived the experience, fur ball!” Rattrap loses the connection to Rhinox comm. link and can’t get it back. 

Optimus says they need to get closer to the Pred base. Cheetor agrees and adds “Like right thru the gates with weapons blazing!” Optimus tells him no though. Pointing out that they don’t have the forces for a full scale assault. Rattrap says that the kid has got a point they can’t just leave his pal in there. Optimus just says that they can and that is exactly what they are going to do. The Rat wonders if he’s got a few bugs in his systems directory. The boss monkey replies that he thinks Megatron has “bitten off a little more then he bargained for, yesss”

Inside, Megatron has given Predacon Rhinox a tour of the base and is talking to him. The leader brings up a hologram of the Maximal base and says that Rhinox intimate knowledge of the defense system may prove most valuable. Pred Rhinox asks what’s in it for him and Megatron replies “The satisfaction of having played a leading role in the destruction of you former comrades.” The Rhino comments “Destruction…yup destruction is always good!” All of a sudden the hologram image disappears. Megatron tries to get it to work but can’t. Pred Rhinox innocently asks it there’s anything wrong. Megatron thinks it’s a malfunction. The Rhino replies that he hopes it’s still under warranty. Megatron doesn’t like that, no.

A moment later in another room Skorpinok is tinkering with the machines trying to find out what the problem is. Predacon Rhinox enters with the excuse that the chief wants to know how long it’s going to take. Skorpinok replies he has to figure out that the problem is. The Arachnid discovers that something is missing. Pred Rhinox is a bit sarcastic over this discovery.

As soon as Skorpinok turns around, big green opens his hand holding the missing piece then crushes it! He then gets the Arachnid’s attention. “Skorpinok! Over here!” Skorpinok comes closer, noting that Rhinox is lightly pushing on staple of heavy equipment. He tells the large bot to be careful with that but he just continues. “Oh, I’m being REAL careful! See, I’m on this side and it’s all gonna fall THAT way!” The Arachnid backs away but it’s too late! It all falls on him and he gets crushed!

Later on Megaton and Waspinator finds and uncovers him from the pile. Megatron wonders what Skorpinok has done now and gives his unconscious form him a hard nudge. Waspinator notes that “Idiot does not response, Idiot is comatose!” The tyrant tells him to get Skorpinok to the restoration chamber. In the background a wicked chuckle can be heard by the viewers only.

Once Waspinator has dropped off the Arachnid in a cr tank, he is hit by a piece of heavy equipment hung up like a wrecking ball in a rope. He bounces repeatedly against a few walls. But instead of going unconscious he goes bonkers and flies around like crazed. Again, a wicked chuckle can be heard and we see a glimpse of Pred Rhinox. Terrosaur has seen it though. “So! This is the game!” 

Waspinator continues to fly around like he was insane, saying “I am Shrapnel, Decepticon hero-o!” Megatron and BA sees him and wonders what wrong with him. “What is that bug buzzing about?” BA says that he’s whacko to witch Waspinator replies

“Not whacko! Wonko the sane!” and knocks himself repeatedly in the head. Megatron face palms at this.

 Moments later in one of the corridors Pred Rhinox walks with heavy steps, fittingly to a horror movie like theme. He stops and looks around. Terrosaur appears confronting him and having deduced the old take over strategy. He wants in on it on the condition that they are equal partners. Pred Rhinox has other plans though. He grasps Terrosaur by the throat and declines the offer, threatening to make him into a new fast food sensation if he doesn’t keep his big beak shut and does exactly what he is told. Terrosaur has no objections!

Megatron tries to contact Tarantulas and Blackarachnia but gets no response. He sees them on screen, captured in their own nets and poisoned! He yells “What is going on around here?!”

Outside, the other Maximals has heard what happened in there. Cheetor is amused and says he gets Optimus plan to leave Rhinox inside so he can create total chaos. Optimus replies that he was guessing the transmutation would push his aggression levels right off the scale and that it looks as if he guessed right. Dinobot says that there is only one problem: “Megatron is no-ones fool” Rattrap agrees with Dinobot saying that pretty soon he’s going to put two and two together and then what happens to Rhinox?

Inside Pred HQ Skorpinok has recovered and has just revealed to Megatron what Pred Rhinox did to him. Megatron says it seems he made a mistake by reprogramming the Maximal but that fortunately that mistake can be rectified. “It’s time to put this experiment and Rhinox himself to an end!”

The Maximals overhear this as well. Cheetor urges that they gotta move fast. Optimus says not yet. He thinks that if they intervene then they will face seven Predacons including Rhinox. Rattrap says that if they wait they will face six Preds and a large collection of Rhino bits. Dinobot agrees with him saying the game is over. Optimus says not quite. Rhinox and Megatron still have one hand to play…with each other! He says they will move in closer but hold their position until he gives the word.

Inside Predacon HQ once again, Pred Rhinox comes walking on a bridge like walkway. Megatron hovers up on a platform and greets him in a deceptively pleasant tone. Rhinox responds in the same manner. As Megatron calls him a traitor he responds that he’s got a point there and transforms.

Pred Rhinox grabs Megatron saying “They’re playing out song Megatron! Time to dance!” Megatron smoothly responds  “Oh, I do so hate to disappoint but you won’t mind if I sit this one out!,” he frees himself from the grip.

Terrosaur and Skorpinok appear on both sides of big green. Rhinox comments Terrosaur's apparent switching of sides, telling Skorpinok that Terrosaur was watching and smirking before. Terrosaur looks nervous and tells the arachnid not to listen to Rhinox. Skorpinok believes the former Maximal and leaps over him to attack Terrosaur. Terry responds by hitting Skorpinok back. Rhinox takes the opportunity and grabs them knocking their heads together. Once he’s taken care of them he throws them aside and draws his gun shooting Megatron in the knees. The tyrant looses his balance and falls down with a heavy crash.

Pred Rhinox leaps down to face him and do some old fashioned gloating before planning to finish him off. “Well, well whadda ya know, I win! Turning me into a Predacon was the worst mistake you ever made! Because now that I’m a Predacon I’m just a little too crafty for you!” Megatron responds that he sees that now. Rhinox comments that it’s called irony.

“I take over, and you head straight to the recycling bins, yesss!” Megatron can’t get up, but he sees an opportunity to save himself when the rhino stands on the edge of the platform the Transmutor is on! 

The tyrant tells Rhinox he has taught him a valuable lesson. Rhinox asks him what that lesson is and Megatron responds that “Predacons gloat too much!,” hitting the switch with a shot. Big green is turned back to normal and dazedly asks what happened only to be shot down by Megatron who recovered enough to stand. Just then the wall is blasted open and the other Maximals come charging in!

There is a brief fight. Megatron responds to Optimus show off with his swords by blasting him, Dinobot brings Skorpinok out with his sword. Optimus cuts off Megatron's arm much to the tyrants anger. Cheetor gets annoyed at Waspinator and shoots him to shut his insane babbling up. The wasp falls and accidentally fires a missile as he goes. It hits the transmutor device! It looks as if it’s about to go boom. Cheetor alerts the others and Megaton orders the Predacons to take cover. Optimus tells Dinobot to grab Rhinox so they can go! Dinobot thinks they should take the opportunity to take control over the base. But Rattrap whistles, announcing “Yo! Everybody outta the pool!” Dinobot does as he is told and they make run for it as the device explodes. Phiew!

Terrosaur tells Megatron that he can explain. Megatron is not happy with this and responds “Ah, let me share this with you Terrosaur: “I am very, very unhappy indeed! Oh yess!” he looks menacing.

Later that day the Maximals all relax outside in a sunny glade. Rhinox literally smells a flower and thinks it’s heaven to chill out like that. Optimus says it’s great to have him back and Cheetor asks how it felt like being a Predacon. Big green response “Like you’re three gigabytes attitude on a two gig hard drive. No wonder they’ve got personality problems!” They all laugh except Dinobot who softly growls and looks irritated.

Episode notes:

Rhinox saved the Maximals by using his intelligence and guns and it was sweet to behold. Rhinox could be a good leader if he ever wanted to shoulder that burden. Not only that, he gave the Predacons a major surprise once he was turned Predacon! Ah, sweet irony! Be careful what you wish, Megatron! I noted that both Optimus and Predacon Rhinox imitated Megatron's trademarked little “Yessss”. That was a nice little amusing detail. Also, the scene where Optimus tries to intimidate Megaton by using both his swords like that and Megatron then just blasting him resembles the scene in the Indiana Jones movie “Raiders of the lost Arc” but with reversed roles!

This is an entertaining episode even if the good guy turned bad guy plot doesn’t feel new. There were many convenient things. Such as Megatron being overly confident that Predacon Rhinox would be loyal to him once his personality had been radically changed. It’s interesting to see how Rhinox takes them out one by one or two by two. Wicked! Optimus reaction indicates he knows Rhinox very well and could guess what being changed would do to him pretty accurately. Rattrap’s reaction only confirms further how much he cares for his big friend, so no surprise there.

Reviewed by Pacerpaw

A big owwie for Megatron

You don't wanna try it....

Home sweet home...where nothing happens

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