Episode 16 is titled “Return of the Immortal Emperor.” It begins with a battleship floating through asteroids in outer space because OF COURSE IT DOES.
The episode features the return of a big character. Can you guess who? No cheating.
The boat is piloted by Spike and Arcee on a research mission in the ruins of Mars, destroyed last episode. Arcee has real cutting-edge graphics. It’s essentially an etch-a-sketch with neon tubes to outline it.
They eventually head back to the main base on planet Athenia and report that the damage is within acceptable levels. And how do they deliver the report? On paper. Star Trek saw past this stuff and invented iPads and cell phones before they existed. This show goes backwards, locking itself into the year it was created.
The Autobots then just do some general smack talk, talking shit about the Decepticons. It’s not very constructive, but I think we can all understand where they’re coming from.
Chromedome decides he should go fight the Decepticons and rushes off to do it. Cerebros tells him to stop and he literally tries to stop in his tracks and wobbles off balance. Hope you enjoy slapstick. This episode has plenty of it. Which is fine, but remember, last week the Decepticons blew up Mars.
Meanwhile, outside, Daniel and Wheelie are arguing. Daniel thinks Fortress Maximus could beat up Scorponok but Wheelie isn’t so sure. So Daniel shoves his friend into the lake and laughs. While mocking his friend, a glowing UFO blows past. That’s the mystery part. Why does it go by? You won’t get a satisfying answer.
The Autobot Headmasters are flying around in space, talking about monitoring Decepticon movements. They really have no clues. Nothing much is going on. Cerebros speculates that maybe the Decepticons are plotting something:
Say no more! Chromedome and Hardhead decide to go spy on the Decepticons on planet Chaar. They don’t like Cerebros’ passive monitoring and want to get the action going. And thank god they do, or probably nothing would happen this episode. They fly out into space, pissing off their boss. They do that a lot. Never any punishment.
Meanwhile, Scorponok hears about the approaching Autobots from his new intelligence officer, Counterpunch. And spying on this new spy are Ravage and Laserbeak, who now talk! They decide to report on this new spy to Soundblaster. There’s not much trust in the Decepticons and that’s cool. I just wish there was someone like Starscream who could really stir shit up.
Hardhead and Chromedome fly through vast interstellar space unaided and approach planet Chaar. They remark it isn’t very nice looking and wonder what the Decepticons see in it. Uh, maybe they don’t stay anywhere nice because you’d kill them for it, dumb dumbs.
Blitzwing is patrolling the space above Chaar so the Autobots stand behind some space rocks. Then Chromedome decides that sneaking onto the Decepticon planet would be a fun test for them!
However, they are immediately ambushed. Blitzwing let them pass and Scorponok and the Decepticon Headmasters are all waiting for Chromedome and Hardhead in orbit. Chromedome grabs Blitzwing who begins flying in fast circles. It gets very silly. Hardhead tells him to let go already and Chromedome replies as follows:
He couldn’t let go even if he wanted to? So that means he doesn’t WANT to let go? Eventually he slips off or is thrown off and goes flying towards Scorponok. Hardhead is grabbed by his legs and spun in a circle and also thrown that direction. Scorponok bats each of them with a claw and they go soaring into deep space like wayward tennis balls.
Fortunately for them, they eventually land on Fortress Maximus. Otherwise, they say, they would have kept going! Meanwhile, Soundblaster’s cassettes tell him about Counterpunch so he decides he needs to step up his game and that he’ll go to Earth to spy around some. But it took me a few rewatches to figure that out. It’s not very clear in the dialog. You have to piece it together with his actions.
The Fortress battleship is then intercepted by Scorponok in robot mode who goes back to his popular “stomp” move and follows it up with an awkard hump-the-battleship attack. Scorponok would probably have defeated him but the UFO flies by, distracting him and the Autobots retreat.
On Earth, Soundblaster visits the Decepticon base, ostensibly to gather intelligence and complains about how hard his job is. This is a side I’ve never seen to Soundblaster who is usually quiet and loyal. He’s the Geordi Laforge of Transformers. No real personality, he just does his job well.
Finding no intel (I’m guessing), he laments his woes to Sixshot who is unsympathetic at best. But then that UFO shows up in front of Sixshot. He introduces himself as a consultant (great pay, but not very good benefits) and then vanishes.
Soundblaster can’t believe what he’s just seen so he stomps on his own foot. He then hops around in pain. Finally, he stumbles into a rock and tumbles over it in a bad somersault, landing on his ass. Yup, Soundblaster is now an imbecile.
The Headmasters return to planet Athenia where Daniel tries to summon the UFO based on “a movie he saw.” He plays a bad knockoff of the Close Encounters of the Third Kind on a FuturePiano again and again. Chromedome drives up with Arcee and says it was a real treat to drive with her. What the hell is he talking about? Autobtos drive around with each other all the time. It just reminds you how little Arcee is allowed to do on this show. I don’t think they’ve drawn her holding a blaster once this season. The Headmasters gather around Daniel, expecting something to happen. It does not work.
Chromedome advocates destroying the Decepticons but Cerebros cautions him that they should do more than that. They should win. He overlooks how they would win if they destroyed the Decepticons.
On Chaar, Cyclonus and Scourge tell Zarak that his coronation ceremony as Decepticon leader is almost ready. Instead of having it on their base, they’re gonna have it on the Moon. Zarak berates them for taking so long with the preparations. Remember, these two were created by Unicron to be Galvatron’s mightiest footsoldiers. Now they plan parties. Badly.
Twincast tells Cerebros they need to talk about something and they head into the base. Cerebros enters the meeting room and sees Counterpunch with his blaster drawn and is terrified. But Twincast jumps in between them and apparently it was Counterpunch joking around because he then transforms into Punch, the Autobot intelligence officer. He’s a spy, you see. And he tells Cerebros how the Decepticons are about to meet on the Moon. But if he’s an Autobot, why did he tell Scorponok about Hardhead and Chromedome? Maybe we’re supposed to question this guy’s loyalty but somehow I doubt it. Also? Why did Crebros not know about this guy who is supposedly working for him? Does Twincast have a network of Transformers that no one else knows about? It seems unlikely. Also? Why does Twincast call him Spacepunch this once, instead of Counterpunch? What’s a spacepunch? It sounds delicious.
The Decepticons are about to crown Zarak as the new Decepticon leader. Then Fortress Maximus flies in. The other Decepticons are worried but Zarak takes it all in stride like it’s part of the plan.
But if he has any plan, it isn’t anything more than “punch everyone.” Basically both sides shoot at each other a bunch. Then, as Scorponok, he mentions a new name that is not at all obvious who or what he is talking about:
Eventually, the glowing UFO shows up and everyone stops fighting to look at it. It forms into a spaceship and someone beams down. It’s Galvatron! He says everyone should get back to fighting.
Galvatron? GALVATRON? He was at ground zero when Cybertron exploded. Look, here’s what happened in that episode:
The planet blew up and was rubble. Galvatron was right there. And he survived it! There’s no explanation like “I was teleported away” or anything like that. And he couldn’t have been. We saw him blown back and engulfed by the explosion. He flat out survived a bomb big enough to destroy a whole planet. Unbelievable.
So where has he been? He says he has just been hanging back and observing everyone and that he’s seen a lot. I wish I could tell if his gaze lingered on anyone in particular. “I’ve seen a lot. SCOURGE!”
The Autobots decide to retreat and Galvatron says to let them go, they can get them some other time. So, the war is a low priority apparently. When the Autobots reconvene on Athenia, Daniel smashes his synthesizer and declares that he hates UFOs.
And that’s the end! The Decepticons have their old leader back. Join us next time to see what his first act as leader is!