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Episode Review:


Other Voices Part 1


Season 2


Reviewed by Blazemane


 Review in a nutshell: “Other Voices Part 1” was designed to give basis for the next episode- the fact that the aliens wish to destroy the Beast Warriors, their responses to this fact, the establishment of a median range in intensity between “Before the Storm” and “Other Voices Part 2”, etc. And it does just that. But, in the process, it provides some entertaining scenes.


              Plot: Rhinox picks up an alien signal in “grid Trion”, and analyzes it. This confirms that the signal is of the same type that has been witnessed in previous alien establishments on Earth. Optimus decided to send Airazor and Rattrap to the source of the signal and heads off to meet them there. Rhinox warns him before he leaves that the Predacons would have picked up the signal by now as well, but Primal relies on the fact they still have a truce.


              Tarantulas recognizes the alien signal and calculates when the next Maximal stasis pod will fall out of orbit. Tarantulas decides the estimated time is be too long, and admits he has to find another way to escape Earth. Blackarachnia appears in his lair, and when Tarantulas tells her to leave, she threatens to tell Megatron about the transwarp cell that Tarantulas stole (although we, as the audience, already know Megatron is aware of Tarantulas’ theft, and for some odd reason, has been encouraging it behind the scenes). Blackarachnia continues to tell Tarantulas that she can get past the Axalon’s shields so they could acquire a stasis pod there.


              We then see that Megatron has been watching the whole conversation on surveillance, but merely notes to himself that the spiders’ treachery will serve him in the end. He then orders Waspinator to go to the location of the alien signal and secure that area. When Waspinator protests, Megatron reminds him that “the current ceasefire applies only in reference to Maximals.” Waspinator relents, and leaves for the signal.


              Airazor and Rattrap approach the signal’s source, to Rattrap’s apparent chagrin, and when they land, they discover a pulsating crystal in the center of some circular, flat formation. Airazor decides to scan it, and announces it’s a field generator. She begins speaking about how it’s making a large amount of energy when an electric bolt emits from a sort of leaning pillar, and knocks her over. The crystal lowers until its supports are completely in the ground. It knocks Rattrap clear away from the circle with an energy pulse and then begins shooting more pulses, which grow closer and closer to the edge of the circle.


              When the last pulse finds the circle’s edge, a transparent energy begins forming upwards into a mushroom-like building. When it’s fully constructed, it becomes a solid, plant-looking material.


              Rattrap gets on his comlink and tells Optimus that they’ve reached the signal’s source, but it was “some sort of nutty alien bungalow”, and Airazor is trapped inside. Waspinator arrives on scene and knocks Rattrap over.


              Inside, Airazor gets up and hears alien voices around her. She explains that she means no harm, but is soon shocked with an energy bolt similar to the one that hit her earlier. She is raised into the air with it, and the shocking continues.


Outside, Rattrap, fights Waspinator off (without weapons, of course- there is a truce, right?). Primal arrives on scene. He asks Rattrap if there is any way in, and after Rattrap tells him that there isn’t Primal suggests using a cutting laser.


Inside, Airazor is still being shocked. She transforms into beast mode, and the shocking ends, while she falls to the ground. The alien voices continue speaking and end their speech with the word “Cybertron”.


Rattrap’s laser is not working, and Megatron arrives with Scorponok and Terrorsaur. Megatron suggests using a biological method to get in the alien building. Scorponok fires a toxin into the wall, and a gaping hole opens up. Primal goes in with Rattrap and they find Airazor on the ground. Primal tells Rattrap to get Airazor outside, and as Rattrap begins dragging her away, she wakes to tell Optimus not to stay inside. Optimus refuses to leave, explaining that the aliens deserve an explanation for the destruction that has been caused on the planet.


Shortly after, Optimus is brought into the air with metallic coils, and scanned by the aliens.


Meanwhile, Tarantulas and Blackarachnia make it to the Axalon. Blackarachnia reveals a contraption of her own, and uses it to open a small rectangular hole in the ship’s shield. They walk in, and Inferno is seen to have followed them (without their knowing). He tries to walk in the same way they did, but the contraption was apparently timed, and short circuits as he makes his attempt. Unfazed, he begins to dig his way under the shield.


Rattrap makes it out with Airazor, and as soon as he does so, the Predacons hold him and Airazor at gun point. Rattrap notes that the truce is over.


Inside, the aliens finish scanning Primal, and when they announce that they have run into the same ‘bot they scanned before, Primal asks who they are. An optical illusion forms in the air above Primal to show Unicron. When Primal notes his own confusion at this, the aliens explain that they can not be physically comprehended by him, and so they chose to look like Unicron to communicate with him.


Primal begins to debate with the aliens, saying that they, having scanned him, must now know that he and his crew didn’t come to the planet by choice. The aliens contend that, regardless, they Cybertronians are there. Primal says he means no harm, but the aliens are not happy, because the harm has been done. Their “project” has been ruined, and must be voided. Primal says that the Beast Warriors can fix any damage that was done. But the aliens are only interested in sterilizing the experiment. Primal argues that they have no right to do that because of the life on the planet.


The aliens note that they have no choice, arguing cryptically, that “there is more danger” than Primal knows. They then initiate a “termination sequence,” and the Unicron illusion disappears. Primal breaks the metal coils and goes into beast mode. Meanwhile the entire alien structure is flashing vividly. In the confusion outside, Rattrap grabs Scorponok’s arm and fires one of his missiles at Megatron. Airazor shoots Scorponok, and Rattrap transforms and shoots Terrorsaur. Primal flies out of the structure, and orders the Maximals to get back to base.


Megatron watches the alien structure from a distance and notes that “there is still another hand to be played.” The structure finally sends one final, huge pulse, and then seems to melt upwards, sending a powerful, constant stream of energon straight into space.


It collides with the biggest moon surrounding the planet, and the surface of the moon begins burning away, revealing myriads of the pillars seen at the alien structure earlier. The energy also causes the orbiting stasis pods to begin falling to the planet.


At the Axalon, Rhinox attempts to use communications and track the falling stasis pods. The energon surge from the alien device makes both impossible. He uses all power to observe the surge, and when he sees what it is, he is understandably confused.


Rhinox hears a noise behind him, and looks to see that Blackarachnia is hanging from the now open roof hatch. Rhinox reaches for his gun and begins firing in an arc. Blackarachnia shoots him with Cyber venom, and he falls over in pain. Dinobot runs in to see Blackarachnia and Tarantulas coming in, but they combine their automatic fire power to deactivate him.


Blackarachnia and Tarantulas drop to the ground, and Blackarachnia sees Rhinox’s scan of the energon beam on the Axalon’s. She asks what it is, and Tarantulas tells her it is the beginning of the end.


Outside, the alien moon begins shining from within with a powerful bright light, illuminating the Axalon and its surrounding region in an ominous glow.


Review: Much like the episodes before it, “Other Voices Part 1” tells a story in more of a pensive, but noticeably dark manner (as opposed to a one episode set up with an entertaining fight at the end). However, “Before the storm” mentions the impending peril in a quiet manner. Things aren’t quite right, but the idea of a truce brings an unexpectedly light nature to the episode, if the audience can just hold on to the hope that perhaps Megatron will actually play fair and fight with the Maximals against a common enemy. And, after all, the fight at the end is appreciably comedic. Because of these factors, “Other Voices Part 1” is able to step the intensity of the plot up a notch.


The very mention of the aliens brings about the memories of the Cybertronians’ past experiences with them. We, as the audience, know by now that they are powerful, and Tarantulas’ previous paranoia is once again brought into the light. The fact that the aliens mention a “termination sequence” doesn’t exactly brighten the mood. The episode takes place entirely at night, something that thematically assisted many other episodes, such as “Fallen Comrades”, “The Coming of the Fuzors Parts 1 and 2” (right up until the end, but then, the end wasn’t suppose to be tense anymore).


But one of the factors that makes this episode tense (perhaps not the greatest factor, but one of them), is the mere manner in which Megatron conducts himself throughout the entire episode. He knows what’s going on, and he’s got everything planned out, but still, he acts in such a meticulous (borderline nervous) manner to make everything goes perfectly. After all, if he messes anything up, he, and basically everyone else, is dead. This fact, and the skill he has at predicting outcomes and planning reactions, is most fully revealed in the next episode. Therefore, his scheming may do more to intensify the last three episodes for people who have actually seen them before, than those who have not.


Dark as it may be, I would argue that the real worries are reserved for the next episode, and in that regard, this episode is intended mostly for set up. Not that it isn’t a good episode anyways…


Entertainment: Maximal vs. Predacon confrontations are not as flashy in this episode as in many others since this was intended to give more background to who the aliens were, what they intended to do, and how the Beast Warriors came to realize it all. However, there are some skirmishes, and even then, the tactics and the thinking do not automatically equate to “un-entertaining.” If you wish to watch this episode for the explicit purpose of entertainment, you won’t exactly be disappointed, but there are other episodes which are far more direct. At any rate, watch the next episode after this one. It does, after all, give this one meaning (and is just plain awesome, but… that’s for another review…).


Animation: Much like the rest of the episodes. I don’t mean that in a bad way of course. Interestingly, a lot of the characters in this episode spend a good deal or even a majority of their time in beast mode. Since part of the appeal of Beast Wars is the unorthodox alternate modes, it’s cool to see.


Overall: It is meant to establish the premise for the next episode, and generally, it Part 2 that I look forward to seeing. So personally, I wouldn’t rate it as high as it successor. I would rate it 8 out of 10. It doesn’t have any glaring problems, it’s just, perfection demands a lot, and this episode isn’t always on top of my list. But, in its defense, it does exactly what is meant to do, and undeniably holds its own for the 20 minutes devoted to it.  





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