One of my favorite cartoons as a kid – early-to-mid- 1980s – was Transformers. Fast-forward 10 years and one of my favorite cartoons was Beast Wars. What happens when you combine the 2? Double-crosses, double-crosses of the double-cross, and a moderate dose of insanity.
Season 1, Ep. 21: “Possession”
There is a nasty electrical storm brewing outside, one that’s wrecking havoc on both the Maximals and Predacon bases. The favorite whipping boy of the Predacons, Waspinator, took significant damage from a lightning strike to the base.
Don’t worry, Waspinator is still functioning.
While Rattrap is reporting in on Maximal base damage, Waspinator is struggling with getting the computer working. As he beats on a screen, a shrill voice yells at him, deriding him for his lack of computer prowess.
A familiar voice.
Waspinator gets enveloped in a ghostly white light… and starts manically laughing to himself. Meanwhile, the Maximals are assessing their damage: perimeter sensors knocked out, a breach of the outer walls.
Back to the Predacons: there is a lot of smoke but no definitive answers on what’s damage. Megatron orders Waspinator found, but Waspinator shows up on his own, complete with lightning flashes, thunder, and eerie music. And…
… was that a red and white wing that flashed behind Waspinator??
“YES, HERE I AM, AT VERY LONG LAST!!! Allow me to present myself: AIR COMMANDER STARSCREAM, OF THE DECEPTICON BATTLE FLEET!!!”
(cue eerily dramatic music)
Before I continue, let’s revisit what happened to the Supreme Air Commander. Starscream, after the disappearance of the original Megatron, announced himself as the new Decepticon leader. After Starscream settles into his new position, a group of Decepticons show up, led by newly-resurrected-and-vastly-enhanced Megatr…. nope, Galvatron. Galvatron asked Starscream what in the name of Ultra Magnus he thought he was doing; Starscream made a snide comment. Mistake.
Back to the Predacons:
Starscream/Waspinator told the still-stunned Predacons that he died in the fight against Unicron but his “spark” survived. He drifted in time and space until that moment; now, he just wants to pledge allegiance to “the Glorious Megatron”. Glorious Megatron wanted to know why he should trust Starinator; Starinator said that he had secret intel on the Maximals, including their current location. Good enough for Megatron.
The next morning, Waspscream made good on his promise: the Predacons launch an all-out attack on the Maximals, injuring Dinobot (via a blast in the back by Megatron) and running the Maximals from their base. Megatrons leaves Waspistarnatoscream at the Maximal base, with a scheming Blackarachnia and Scorponok, while he and the rest of the troops return to their own base. Megatron pulls Scorponok to the side, warning him to not trust Waspinator/Starscream. Meanwhile, Blackarachnia tells Starscream/Waaspinator of his actual demise – mouthed off to, and got LIT UP by, Galvatron – but promised to keep it a secret if he let her in on his real plans. He does: he wants to take over both Maximal and Predacon teams.
If the ultimate traitor schemes with a traitor, does it count as a double-double cross?
Back with the Maximals:
The Maximals retreat to the forest, tending to Dinobot. Optimal Primal is concerned about Starspinatoscream; Dinobot is having none of it. Dinobot revealed the original Starscream’s deceptive nature with the original Megatron. Optimus starts plotting…..
Back to the former Maximal base:
Optimus and the rest of the Maximals march back to the base, dragging a horribly-wounded-but-not-really Dinobot with them. Optimus announces his surrender to Starscream, citing the need to use the CR chambers to heal Dinobot. A generous Starscream agrees and lets Dinobot and Optimus on board.
Let me step in for a moment. Dinobot and Optimus are about a step away, with Starscream(!!!) letting them on board. 3 guesses as to what happens next.
The near-instant that they step on board, Starscream turns on them, de-arms Optimus, and locks them both up in holding cells. His Master Plan has begun!
… only it is over before it began. For our possessed Waspy friend has fallen into a classic trap: he let his enemies into his home. 100% oblivious, Screamiwasp (hmmm… I like that one) then orders the leaderless Maximals to attack the Predacon base… before Scorponok objects. He gets twin blasts from dueling turncoats Swasptarscreamitor and Blackarachnia. Rattrap objects; Waspinator/Starscreen has the line of the episode, after he was called ‘a snake in the grass’:
“Flattery will get you flattened.”
Optimus breaks out of the shackles that were hold him, as soon as he was alone, frees Dinobot, and proceeds to run off the 2 traitors. At the Predacon base, Megatron finds out that his “trusty Supreme Air Commander” and his spider lieutenant are both traitors and vows to destroy them both. Optimus chased Starscream in the air and defeated him in an aerial dogfight. Screamy grovels at Optimus’s feet but was rescued by Blackarachnia. Well, she didn’t exactly “rescue” him; she blew up a hidden cache of Energon underneath him, blasting Starscream’s spark from Waspinator’s body.
Back at the Predacon’s Base:
The Predacons finish up repairs to their base, after the Maximals had added some fresh wounds to it, while Megatron finishes repairing Waspinator. Blackarachnia explains to Megatron that she did what she did “to reveal Starscream’s true nature”; Megatron accepted her report but warned her that she would regret another move like that.
Back at the now current Maximal base:
The Maximals also wrap up their repairs. All, except Cheetor, who was singing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Starscream”. Silly Cheetor
Back in Outer Space:
The spark of Starscream is shown floating away, spewing vengence-and-oil-fueled venom at everyone in the Beast Wars.
I chose this episode mainly for the mix of arguably the most ridiculous, annoying character in the original generation of Transformers, and the 1st or 2nd most ridiculous, annoying character in Beast Wars (“Inferno” is up there with Waspinator). I don’t remember how many times it happened but this was one of the episodes where the Maximals took a loss to the Predacons. I think that can make a show or cartoon more watchable: you now want to tune in every day/week and see if the ‘good guys’ can get revenge or if they’ll be forced into an even deeper corner.</span>
I like how Blackarachnia channeled her inner Natasha Romanoff (…. get it?)and played both Starscream and Megatron’s sides. Starscream was out-Starscreamed in his scheming!
It had been years since I saw a Beast Wars episode, so the voices took a little getting used to, mainly Optimus Primal not sounding like Optimus Prime and Rattrap’s Jersey accent. After the initial adjustment, it was like I was back in the late 1990s, watching how the Beast Wars would play out. This was a fun episode!