Just a quick note before we launch into an episode full of death, zombies, and new monsters. I mentioned before that the continuity between this soft reboot of Transformers and its previous seasons is light, but it is worth noting that the opening titles show Fortress Maximus, the Trainbots and end with the main characters, seen here:
Read on to learn about the Decepticons’ latest cuckoo plan.
I was a big Transformers fan as a kid. I had a couple paper routes by 5th grade and I was able to have some of my own money that I spent on the toys. But by this era, the late 80s, the toy quality went downhill. The original vehicles, weapons and gadgets that were based on real-world counterparts were great. The futuristic stuff was harder to relate to. But the Pretenders were flat-out awful toys.
The idea behind them was that the Transformers would disguise themselves as monsters or humungous humans in battle armor (not a great disguise). The toy was a hard plastic shell that split in half and the actual Transformer was inside. However, this meant they were small and fairly simple so that they could fit in the shell. Almost all of them did little more than fold in half to form a futuristic (to put it kindly) vehicle.
We begin with the local news telling us that 10 dead bodies were stolen. But apparently that’s so boring, they also give us half a dozen other TV shows to watch too. I recommend jazzercise.
Cut to the Decepticon (called Destrons in Japan) Base, where the bodies have been taken. I’m sure you’re surprised.
Blood has turned them into a type of zombie army that he calls Destroids. He apparently also took some time to sew them matching military uniforms.
The Destroids are released in New York City, but Lander is there and has no trouble dispatching them. The bodies are unstable as Destroids and disintegrate into nothing.
Meanwhile, Hawk is hanging out with Professor Go at the Space Astronomy Research Center in Japan and gets an update from Lander. This prompts him to tell the Professor about how he and his Autobots imprisoned the Decepticon Pretenders thousands of years ago.
Hawk says he’s found a strange energy signature that seems to have released the Decepticons on the same day from prisons in the pyramids of Egypt, the Nazca Lines of Peru and the ruins of Atlantis. The strange thing about all this is it seems like Hawk has already told Professor Go about this stuff before so the Professor is just sort of patiently letting him monologue.
Professor Go hints that if things get too bad, they may have to use “them.” The them is some secret project these two bros have come up with but we don’t get to learn about it this episode. Sorry.
Blood decides that the problem with his Destroids was that dead bodies are unstable and his new plan is to use living humans. He sends Gilmer and Dauros to the isolated Karin Islands to kidnap some people quietly. However, Diver just happens to be in the area and sees the Pretenders arrive with some Seacon Lobclaws. he radios Hawk. The ocean must be a small place. I’ll have to look at a map sometime.
Shuta hears about what’s going on and begs and begs to go along until he finally gets his way. Only children tend to be spoiled.
On the Karin Islands, we meet their prince, Cab. He likes to swing in the jungle and talk to the animals. Like, literally talk to them. Best not to dwell on this, since this is a show about transforming robots. Just… just accept it.
His guardian, Donq, runs up to tell him that he’s been accepted into the International School of Japan. But first he hilariously trips over Cab’s armadillo (apparently native to the Karin Islands?). It’s always fun to see a frail old man fall down!
Cab has zero interest in school. Maybe this appeals to little kids? I think it makes him look like a brat.
The argument between Donq and Cab is interrupted by the Decepticons who are crashing through the jungle, looking for citizens to kidnap. He’d probably have better luck flying overhead in his jet mode, right? I guess he’d rather make a memorable entrance.
Cab is pretty much instantly discovered and surrounded. So long, Cab! Can’t say we’ll miss you. And I gotta say, the Lobclaws look like the most delicious of the Seacons.
But then Metalhawk flies in and blows up the Seacons, saving Cab. Dauros escapes in the confusion.
While all of this is going on, some Overbite Seacon drones are imprisoning some of the natives on a nearby beach.
Shuta and Hawk (his human form) meet up with Diver. They go to the palace and Cab tries to tell Donq that they’re actually robots that he just saw blow up some other robots. Donq doesn’t believe him because that just sounds kee-razy.
Hawk goes with Diver and the recently-arrived Phoenix to hunt down the Decepticons and tells Shuta to explain everything to Cab. Cab’s pet armadillo rolls into a ball and tries to attack Shuta but this is where Shuta can put his glorious soccer skills to use, playing hacky sack with the poor animal. This amazes Cab who has no real world experience and could really benefit from some professional schooling.
Then Cab shows off by talking to a bird, which tells him that the Decepticons are on the nearby Isle of the Gods, imprisoning his people. Cab insists on helping them and runs off. I suppose it is actually his responsibility as a prince. Shuta tells the Autobots what just happened.
Cab is instantly captured by an Overbite along with his people. They all seem to walk around in their underwear, unless the Decepticons made them all strip. Cab then sneaks away, apparently the only one bright enough to think of simply walking away. He bumps into the Autobots.
The Autobots run in in their apparently completely useless big people in armor form and instantly turn into robots instead, battling the Decepticons.
The battle is decisive as the Seacon drones are blown up and the Pretenders retreat. I really wish they’d shout out Megatron’s old catch phrase: “Decepticons! Retreeeeeeat!”
Cab is really impressed with the level of violence on display. This kid has no chance at a good life. Isolated, uneducated and captivated by the promise of violence.
Shuta brags about knowing them and tells Cab he should go to school after all so that he can stay with him and the Autobots.
Cab grudgingly agrees to do the thing he actually wants to do.
Meanwhile, Blood has decided to attack the research center while the Autobots are away. Lander alone tries to defend the building which Blood has already lit ablaze. He puts in a distress call to Metalhawk and the team. Blood collapses a pillar on Professor Go and while Lander is distracted, hits him from behind. He leaves as the building crumbles down. Blood comes off as pretty clever.
By the time the Autobots arrive, the building is destroyed. They quickly find Lander who is okay. Then they find Professor Go under the rubble. Oops.
The Autobots then struggle to move the rubble in their human forms. Not the brightest, I guess.
As the Professor lays dying, he asks Hawk to take care of Shuta. To hell with family, I suppose.
He says it’s time to use “them” and hands Shuta a key, which I am pretty sure Shuta does not ever use (but I’m only up to episode 8 myself). Then he dies.
The Autobots relocate to a new base hidden in a hill. Shuta doesn’t seem especially distressed to have lost his father. Your hero, ladies and gentlemen!