And so it’s come to this. I can only assume somewhere in Japan there is a junkyard full of leftover story ideas. The writers of the Headmasters show visited him and bought a pack for a discount. “You can have these but they’re all pretty much the same: the Decepticons steal energy from an alien planet and the Autobots chase them away.” $old!
Episode 22 is called “Head Formation of Friendship” and primarily deals with a big-breasted jungle girl falling for Highbrow. But it starts out like wayyyy too many of these do – the Headmasters are BORED!
While Chromedome lounges, Hardhead awkwardly talks to him through his shoulder cannon and Cerebros tells them that Fortress’ main guns are broken so they need to repair them.
Read on for more jungle girls and new toys… er, that is, characters.
Hardhead and Chromedome climb along the outside of Fortress while it flies through space, so that they can get to the gun they need to repair. And then Chromedome slips and falls, but Hardhead catches him. Yup, that’s right. They’re implying there is both gravity in space AND that the Headmasters can’t fly this week. It’s that kind of an episode.
Galvatron and the Decepticons approach and land on a lush jungle world they call Planet Paradise to steal energy. They instantly start blowing up people and destroying a village. Galvatron gets a kick out if, which is pretty darn evil. Surprisingly violent, even for this show, but in character.
Back on Fortress, Hardhead and Chromedome laugh with each other when they see that they each have oil on their face. The oil ostensibly came from working on the guns, but then again…
Brainstorm tells Cerebros that they’ve pinpointed the Decepticons on Planet Paradise. Arcee actually asks what the planet is like. I like to think that the stoic face Cerebros is shown is him disappointed in his team, but it’s probably just a stock character profile.
Cerebros doesn’t want to escalate things unnecessarily, which is sort of his defining characteristic. He sends Highbrow down to do reconnaisance. Hardhead and Chromedome beg to go, but Cerebros reminds them that they have a job to finish. He actually seems really happy to rain on their parade, too.
Showcasing their desperation, Chromedome tells Cerebros that Highbrow doesn’t know how to transform by himself! Is he lying? Joking? No idea. Cerebros ignores him. Chromedome angrily punches the gun and two little screws roll off and fall into space. Hardhead just sort of stares at it and mutters, “That can’t be good.” No, it can’t.
Highbrow takes off in the trainbots and waves goodbye to Hardhead and Chromedome, who are sulking. Everyone’s really rubbing it in on those two. As he departs, Highbrow insists he’s going down to see if he can find anything that will help him decifer the microfilm he got recently, that holds the information about Scorponok’s weak spot. So Highbrow thinks that primitive people without spacefaring technology are going to help him with complex engineering that even he can’t quite figure out? Whatever happened to Perceptor? Get him involved, Cerebros!
While flying in to the planet, a jungle girl on a giant eagle flies alongside and introduces herself to Highbrow. This is Papika, a native of the planet and the main supporting character. Despite being from a pre-industrial culture, she is not at all overwhelmed by flying trains and robot passengers.
Highbrow introduces himself as an Autobot so Papika decides she can trust him. Because she already knows that the creatures that destroyed her village are Decepticons. So if he’s not a Decepticon, he MUST be okay. And he SAYS he isn’t a Decepticon. Easy Trust Building Achievement unlocked.
Fortress somehow has monitors showing what Highbrow is up to and Wheelie thinks that Highbrow is just trying to impress Papika. Then he notices that Daniel is totally chubbing up for her and asks if he’s not pretty enough for Daniel. Their relationship bothers me.
Hardhead and Chromedome are still working on the gun, by the way. Chromedome looks behind his back to update Cerebros in one scene and his head looks like it’s on backwards. Now, he’s a robot and his head detaches, so he absolutely should be able to do this. But it looks like he broke his neck.
Highbrow takes Papika… somewhere, after the Trainbots head back to Fortress. Papika is totes into Highbrow. She gives him plenty of signs. Compliments. Sits inside him. She says it’s great that he can transform into so many things. He can transform into exactly two things: A robot and a weird helicopter. That’s one more thing than you are Papika. I don’t know how her people define “so many” but something tells me when they count the stars at night, they top out at 20.
Papika introduces Highbrow to her father, an old black man. Uh. I just… won’t touch this one. Draw your own conclusions on why he has a white daughter.
Having made friendly contact, Fortress lands and the Autobots introduce themselves. Wheelie meets Papika and she shakes his hand. His eyes turn a glowing red for a second. I think it’s supposed to be blushing, but if so, why not redden his cheeks? He seems to just get possessed. I don’t trust Wheelie. And neither should you.
Papika shows them the village’s temporary houses. Daniel needs some dating pro tips because he does not play it cool. He way overcompensates, acting like they’ve invented a free orgasm machine.
Then Daniel and Wheelie reach in and grab fruit from Papika. It’s kind of creepy. They’re almost feeling the girl up. I don’t know if it’s intentional. But if I were Papika, I’d put the fruit on a table and back away without looking away from where Daniel and Wheelie are at all times.
Meanwhile, Galvatron and his cronies are taking energy from a volcano. Highbrow is spying on them but is caught by Mindwipe. Mindwipe uses his hypnotic power on him and I realize that his chant is just absolutely bizarre. He keeps saying that Highbrow will be “as blind as a bat in battle.” Blind as a bat is one thing. They are blind. So what’s the “in battle” portion have to do with anything? Maybe he’s just bored and varies it up. “You’ll be as blind as a bat on vacation in Maui.” “You’ll be as blind as a bat shopping at Walmart.”
But then Highbrow sort of fights it off and drop kicks Mindwipe. Then, despite the fact that he can transform into a flying bat, he wobbles on the edge of a cliff for a while, flapping his arms for balance. He falls. Ladies and gentlemen, your slapstick moment of the episode.
Unfortunately for Highbrow, Skullcruncher and Weirdwolf show up and just lay waste to him.
Meanwhile, Daniel and Wheelie waste our time and Papika’s by trying to impress her. Wheelie turns into a car. Since she doesn’t need a car and has already seen Highbrow transform, she’s not very impressed. For some reason, Daniel is. Daniel… focus.
Papika shows what she can do by whistling for her bird and showing how that lets her fly. Then she shoves her fist in her mouth.
Ultimately, Wheelie and Daniel act unimpressed. These guys seriously need some of Vincent’s dating pro tips. Unless they’re trying to “neg” Papika. Actually… Wheelie transformed to “peacock.” They keep asking her questions about herself. They’ve inititated contact when they reached for the fruit. They’ve moved to a second location to make the date seem bigger than it is. Holy shit. These guys are trying to use Mystery’s dating techniques. This might work!
Suddenly, the Decepticons attack, raining a barage of blaster fire down on Fortress, which is blocking the attack for the villagers. The forest on the other side of Fortress catches fire. Chromedome suggests actually using Fortress to counter attack. This is up there with him deciding a good fight move might be to move his hand, while closed, in a fast movement towards his opponent’s head.
Then? THEN! This total weirdo monster with two heads breathes more fire on the burning trees. The second head says to shoot water. I don’t know who this is! No one else is in the scene with him so I can’t even tell if it’s an Autobot or Decepticon. He came out of nowhere. What is going on?
Galvatron and some of his combiners are nearby, protecting the energon supply they’ve built up. But then the monster with two heads shows up along with some other weirdos and they breath fire on the Decepticons. No one else gives them orders and they don’t talk to anyone during, before, or after. I had to start doing research on Transformer toys around this time. Turns out these are the Monsterbots. Last time we saw them was towards the beginning of the series when Rodimus Prime told them to stay on the Battle Beast’s planet to keep it safe from Decepticons. Well, I guess they left at some point because here they are. No explanation. How confusing must this have been in 1987 when there was no google or wikipedia? The best you could do was look at those sheets of all the Transformer toys that came in each box and try to use your memory to match it up.
The other Headmasters, Daniel, Wheelie and Papika see that Highbrow is chained up by a waterfall nearby. Papika tries to cut his chains with her knife but of course that doesn’t work. So the Headmasters decide to use their friendship powerup move. I don’t know what to say. When they hold hands, they get extra energy. And it works, giving Highbrow enough strength to break his bonds.
With the extra help, the Autobots blast away at the Decepticons and blow up all the energon cubes. Galvatron is bummed out.
The Decepticons retreat (I really miss hearing Megatron shout “retreat”) and the villagers tell the Autobots they’ll rebuild just fine. Although, when you think of the sociological implications of this primitive society being introduced to godlike robots from outer space, you just know they’ll kill each other over religious reasons within a few generations.
If it seemed like a nice moment and a decent place to end things, don’t worry. Wheelie and Daniel begin arguing that their planets are at least as beautiful as this one. And Arcee has to lecture them on how any planet is beautiful if it’s peaceful.
The Autobots get ready to leave and say that they “hope” it won’t happen again. Maybe it’s time to DO something about this, guys. Nevertheless, Papika tells Highbrow that he’s a real gentleman. Highbrow tips his top hat to her and uses the proper fork to finish his salad.
And then the Autobots leave. You have to imagine that the introduction of transforming robots to this primitive culture will have very bad repercussions on them sociologically, but I guess that’s not the Autobot’s problem.