ROCKS 1C: Transformers - The Golden Lagoon - Starscream's Brigade - Revenge of Bruticus

Discussion in 'Other Cartoons & Collectables' started by LiamABC, Oct 8, 2016.

  1. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    A big thanks to everyone that are joining us through all of this. It’s going to be an enjoyable ride!

    We're starting off with the original 1984 series of Transformers, and specifically for this thread, we're discussing the following three episodes, selected for us by Mark M:

    1. The Golden Lagoon - a lake of electrum is discovered making any Transformer who bathes in it invulnerable for a time
    2. Starscream's Brigade - an exiled Starscream discovered old wartime vehicles, and creates his own team, the Combaticons
    3. Revenge Of Bruticus - the Combaticons attack Cybertron and send the Earth spiralling into the sun!

    Just a friendly reminder to everyone that, whilst fans are obviously welcome to passionately discuss and give their views on these episodes, please remember to keep things on a friendly footing and respect your fellow posters.
    Remember too, no spoilers. This is admittedly less applicable in these threads than if we were watching a whole series through, but don't give away any major plot points from other episodes.
    Also, please do not post where or how to find the full episode online. And do not post asking others to PM it to you. You are however allowed to watch the show in whatever manner you want.
    Mark M likes this.
  2. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    The Golden Lagoon is a god episode featuring a Beachcomber and a few f the other smaller cheaper toys as the main characters. I really the end scene with Beachcomber contemplating the cost of their victory with the destruction the battle caused.

    Starscream's Brigade really shows Starscream's character. This was the first single episode I ever saw after the two VHS tapes of The Rebirth 1-3 and Desertion of the Dinobots 1-2. It was on a VHS called the Action Adventure Collection with episodes of G.I. Joe and Inhumanoids.

    Revenge of Bruticus is an enjoyable episode but not one of my favourites but it is a nice continuation from the last episode.

    With the pilot and these six episodes watched I think we are definitely familiar enough with the characters and ready for the movie. :D
  3. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    The Golden Lagoon
    A very nice episode. I’m actually surprised that this was an 80s cartoon episode because it was quite ahead of its time. Despite the seemingly simple plot of Autobots vs Decepticons, the real essence of the episode was about the environment.

    Basically it iterates the old African saying; “When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers”. The episode delivers a strong message without being preachy at all. In fact, it addresses nothing directly at all, instead letting the visuals do the talking. The end scene of Beachcomber saying that they won while staring at the destroyed surroundings is very poignant.

    I liked that again the secondary characters were given the spotlight. Interesting to see how many of the Autobots are so tiny compared to the Decepticons who are mostly massive! The scene when Beachcomber first discovers the lagoon with its background music is very peaceful and calming to watch.

    Starscream’s Brigade
    As the title suggests, this episode really is Starscream’s 22 minutes of fame. Of all the villains, he is arguably the most interesting and memorable one. He is the only one who has the cojones to sass Megatron. He wears his heart on his sleeve and has never hidden his intentions to become the elader of the Decepticons. I wonder why Megatron keeps him around. I certainly wouldn’t! Starscream has already stabbed… er shot Megatron in the back once, and does it again this time.

    Despite being rather impetuous, Starscream also has good foresight, as shown in this episode, first when he keeps the Combaticons under his control by denying them the energy absorbers, and secondly when he is prepared for Devastator with his own giant robot (Bruticus).

    The Autobots are relegated to a secondary role in this episode, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The battle between Starscream’s and Megatron’s gangs is more enjoyable than the usual Autobot Decepticon clashes.

    The Revenge of Bruticus
    An action-packed episode with lots going on! There are three groups fighting each other (Autobots, Decepticons and Combaticons). Naturally, two of them join forces to take down the third, and it is great to see Prime and Megatron join forces, albeit temporarily.

    Starscream’s prudence is again put on display when he reveals that he had put in a failsafe in Bruticus, just in case. But the real “intelligent” character in this episode is undoubtedly Megatron. Despite his hatred for the Autobots, he is smart enough to see the bigger picture and does not let his emotions dictate his decision to join forces with the Autobots. Someone like Starscream probably wouldn’t have done that.

    In the end the audience is pretty sure that once the threat of the earth plummeting into the sun has been neutralized, Megatron would turn on Prime. However, it was a very refreshing “twist” that he did not go down the cliché road. Instead he let the Autobots go because he had a bigger plan in mind, about 50 feet bigger and named Bruticus!

    In my conclusion, I’m going to go slightly off-topic and compare this to the ThunderCats. As a die-hard TCats fan, after watching these few Transformers episodes, I can no longer use the “its-an-80s-kids-cartoon” excuse to defend the poor writing of the many TCats episodes.

    Here we have the Transformers, also an 80s kids cartoon made to sell toys, but with much mature writing. Kids are a lot smarter than most people give them credit for. There is no need to dumb down cartoons for them. There are a lot of similar themes explored in the various episodes of ThunderCats and Transformers but the latter handle them so much better.

    While there are a number TCats episodes which deal with environmental protection/destruction, they tend to shove the message down our throats while “The Golden Lagoon” does the same in a very subtle way.

    In “The Revenge of Bruticus” we got to see the main hero and villain join forces, something that TCats fans have always wanted but never got. The problem I think is with Mumm-Ra the character. There really is no bargaining chip that one can use against him. Megatron is not immortal and he needs earth so that is why he joins forces with Prime. Mumm-Ra on the other hand is super powerful, immortal and does not care if earth and all its inhabitants are destroyed. So there is no likely reason that he would jon forces with the TCats.

    A part of me wishes that the “Sword of Omens” did not exist in the TCats mythology. Mark raised this issue in one of the threads. I know a lot of people will disagree as it is the core of the TCats. While I do agree with that, I feel that if the Sword did not exist, then perhaps the writers would have used their brains to come up with more intelligent resolutions to episodes.
    LiamABC and Mark M like this.
  4. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    I am glad you liked these episodes.
    I hope you enjoy the movie this week just as much. :D

    Picking select episodes has been really hard as there is still a lot of other great episodes like Cosmic Rust, Masquerade, War Dawn, Megatron's Master Plan 1 + 2, Desertion of the Dinobots 1 + 2, Traitor, War of the Dinobots, Triple Takeover etc.

    I am not against Lion-O having a sword but I just think it didn't need to have so many powers and the lazy writers just resolving everything with a wave of the sword and shouting Ho!
    In Transfomers, with the exception of the barer of the Matrix, they are all basically equal and all have their strengths and weaknesses. Visionaries is a good example where all the characters are equal. They all have the ability to turn into animals, some have staffs and those that do not have staffs have the magic to power vehicles.
    Even in He-Man they came up with other ways of winning than just He-Man's super strength.

    Liam was saying the other day how Starscream's Brigade reminded him of Jackelman's Rebellion.
  5. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    I definitely enjoyed them a lot! You picked some really good episodes, Mark. Thanks! :thumbsup I'll keep the other episodes you mentioned in mind as I intend to continue watching the show for myself because I enjoyed it so much!

    I wanted to ask you a couple of things about Transformers, since you clearly know pretty much everything there is to know about the show and the cartoon :):

    1. During the entire show, was there ever an Autobot who joined the Decepticons or vice versa? Just curious because in TCats we had a number of evil charactres who became good and a number of good characters who became evil.

    2. When Optimus Prime transforms into his robot form, his trailer disappears, and when he transforms into his vehicle form, it appears out of nowhere. What's the deal with that?? ;)

    Yes, it certainly reminded me of that episode too. But again, Jackalman's Rebellion was handled rather poorly while everything about "Starscream's Brigade" just felt right. I think of all the "renegade Mutant" episodes, "Monkian's Bargain" is probably the most well done.
    Mark M likes this.
  6. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    My thoughts on these episodes:

    The Golden Lagoon
    The first thought I had on this one is that it's another example of how there are too many characters in the show, and watching random episodes like this with no kind of introduction for them can get a bit confusing. I kept asking, "who's that one?" at the start.

    I also found the concept of the electrum lake a little odd. How would that exist in nature? (I can accept the invulnerability properties of it as gold in particular is a non-reactive metal, and silver virtually the same.) The destruction of the lagoon at the end is inevitable, as it would have to be. One advantage like that basically making whoever controlled it undefeatable would spell end-of-show.

    Starscream's Brigade
    Yes, this episode is what "Jackalman's Rebellion" could have been like. Starscream's Combaticons are a real threat, rather than just an irritating problem. Starscream is no fool, he makes good use of the resources he can find, and creates these new characters with a definite plan. He gives them the ability to be a real threat to Megatron, and also the Autobots. But also he makes sure they can't stab him in the back as he would Megatron.

    There are so many ways you can make the "secondary villain goes it alone/usurps the main baddie" storyline work, and this is undoubtedly one of them. As Wilycub pointed out, the Autobots don't really have that much to do in this one. Even when two of their number are captured, they turn up and rescue them, but that's all. This is all about the villains. The relationship between Megatron and Starscream is explored very well here, and there are actual consequences to the latter for his actions. He is exiled. Of course, this being an 80s cartoon, and him being a major character, he has to come back, so . . .

    Revenge Of Bruticus
    The next episode follows on directly from that. This has temporary alliances on practically all sides. Truces were called left right and centre, with mistrust reigning high. It's like ancient Rome! Optimus Prime and Megatron forming an alliance, however temporary, is one of those great moments. In all 80s cartoons, any uneasy alliance between the heroes and villains makes for as memorable an episode as the secondary villain having their moment to lead, and here we had both in a two-parter of sorts!

    Agreed with Wilycub in that we never properly got that in Thundercats: obviously they couldn't team up with Mumm-Ra (although he did sort of help them in Shadowmaster, for my money the only really good episode in season 4!), but Lion-O and Slithe could have had a team-up episode of sorts. I think The Mountain was the closest we got to that, and even then they weren't really putting their hearts into it.

    Here, the stakes were high enough to justify both sides teaming up. Optimus Prime made the opening gesture very well, "I'll give up some needed parts from my own body if Megatron does the same" - and yes. It all worked. Agreed too on expecting the Decepticons to turn on the Autobots at the end. I was waiting for that extra showdown that never came, and was surprised at them still agreeing at the end to get rid of Bruticus . . . only to find out after the Autobots had left that Megatron had other ideas for Bruticus! The failsafe Starscream incorporated into that giant monster was good thinking too on his part. He built his Combaticons to be dependent on him, but just in case anything went wrong, he incorporated a weak spot. This was a good episode.

    In conclusion, yes, good show. Unlike Thundercats or He-Man, this show isn't centred around one character with an all-powerful sword. This has a team of individuals who all get to have their moments. Wilycub, if you're enjoying this, you're probably going to enjoy both Defenders Of The Earth (which we're doing after we've finished Transformers), and Visionaries (which as it was only 13 episodes we could possibly do in its entirity).

    I'm looking forward to the movie next week!
    Mark M and Wilycub like this.
  7. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    That's great Wilycub. Really glad you and Liam have been enjoying the episodes and hope you both check out some of those episodes I mentioned from season one and two.

    1. I can't think of any Autobots that joined the Decepticons/turned evil. Well in season 4 there is an Autobot double agent spy in the Decepticons. There was technically some Decepticons that joined the Autobots / became good and did the right thing.
    The UK and USA comics series had Autobots that joined the Decepticons and vice versa. As did the Japanese cartoon. The Japanese cartoon takes place directly after season two as Japan did not get the movie, so they had their own alternate time line.

    2. That has always been a bit of a mystery. LOL. I guess we will just have to say it rolls out of the way and just isn't seen on screen. In fact let's say Prime's trailer is like the sword of omens. When Prime needs it, it magically comes to him. ;)

    I know Liam has seen the movie before but have you seen the movie before Wilycub?

    Also regarding Starscream's technical abilities I just want to let both of you know that early in season one it is revealed that before joining the war Starscream was a scientist but enjoys being a warrior far more.
  8. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    Actually in one of the episodes you showed us, there's a moment where one of the others took Prime's trailer for him.
    Mark M likes this.
  9. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    Very well said! "JR" was all over the place. It starts off with one fine day Jackalman just suddenly deciding to steal the Flying Machine. Then he enlists the help of probably two of the weakest villains (Driller and Molemaster). After that his intentions don't seem clear as he first tries to unsuccessfully trap Cheetara and then decides to pillage the Wollo Village. What exactly would he do with the loot? It would have been more logical if he and his "army" planned to take control of Castle Plun-Darr. That could have also lead to Slithe and the other Mutants seeking the help of the ThunderCats.

    In contrast, we always know that Starscream wants to take control of the Decepticons, so his "betrayal" isn't a surprise, in fact it is expected. As you correctly pointed out, he is also very intelligent and plans things through before executing them. He was a real menace. Jackalman was just an annoying pest.

    Sadly true. The Cats and the Mutants working together (sort of) to clear rocks just isn't as exciting or fulfilling as the two battling a common enemy. An episode like say "The Rock Giant" would have been ideal for this alliance. The Giant, awakened by Mumm-Ra, would start pummeling Castle Plun-Darr and the Mutants would have had to help the TCats in destroying it.

    I recall there was also an episode in which Lion-O and Snarf pay the Mutants to transport them to New Thundera in the RatStar. The name of the episode escapes me.

    Unfortunately no. As a kid I only saw three Transformers episodes. "More Than Meets The Eye Parts 2 and 3" and "Call of the Primitives". These were the only Transformers cartoon that were included in the "Mixed Cartoons" VHS that I use to lend from the video store. And there is quite a story gap between these episodes so I was never fully able to grasp what was going on in "Call of the Primitives".
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  10. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    Ultra Magnus didn't have that problem. ;) His trailer became his body. Same with the Power Master Optimus Prime toy. The later never appeared in the US cartoon but in the Japanese cartoon was called Super Ginrai.
    Sadly ''Call of the Primitives'' is one of the worst episodes in the series. :( Don't know what they were thinking when they approved that episode.
  11. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    The biggest problem with Jackalman's rebellion is that it just happens out of the blue. There's nothing at the start to show why Jackalman picked that moment to go off on his own.

    Whereas Starscream is kicked out, and suddenly spies opportunity among the wreckage.

    I wrote a Visionaries story about Cravex rallying the Darkling Lords collectively against Darkstorm after a particularly agonising defeat. Cravex (who if you didn't know actually has the same voice as Starscream!) did say in the very first episode of the cartoon, "rule me well or suffer the consequences". It could just as easily work with Virulina. And in fact I've been thinking for a while maybe I should redraft it swapping Virulina and Cravex around.

    Curiously enough I think that's the episode I suggested should come right before "Jackalman's Rebellion" in the continuity order, as the other mutants would have eventually found him in that embarrassing position and maybe he was sick of being laughed at . . . but that's a discussion for another thread!

    I think that's "Return Of The Thundercubs" - but of course the mutants didn't keep their end of the bargain.

    As for these episodes, yes, as I said earlier, the stuff about the main characters was very good. The one problem with the series is that there are too many characters to take in on an initial viewing. (I understand GI Joe had a similar problem.) Fortunately, when we start on Defenders Of The Earth after this, there's no such problem there.
    Mark M likes this.
  12. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    That's the one thing I will always say about Transformers and G.I. Joe, they had far too many characters. I would have preferred them to have kept a smaller more consistent cast. But I suppose the big difference compared to other cartoons at the time was they were both having a lot of success and had to show off the various characters of the toys available.

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