Episodes like this are why I like to recap the Japanese Transformers seasons. It’s full of bizarre dialog and cultural gestures and phrases that do not translate at all. This episode has lots of silly slapstick, too. It starts off in Canada with an old farmer named Tom spying on prairie dogs with binoculars. And apparently the Japanese animators and writers thought Canada was the old west. Because it is full of nothing but cowboys and plains.
Tom sees a prairie dog and it pops up right next to tons of TNT that he’s set up in his fields. Seems like overkill but Tom is downright gleeful about the destruction he’s about to cause.
He starts to ease down on the trigger’s plunger when the tables are hilariously reversed. The ground starts to shift and crack. Tom is the one that is scared and he runs for his life.
He turns to look back and a huge sinkhole has formed. Surely nothing natural could have caused this, right?!
We cut to the Autobots who apparently consider it part of their job responsibilities to not only battle the Decepticons but to prevent natural disasters. Not help people after the disasters. It’s specifically stated that they try to protect nature FROM disasters. Star Saber decides to send out Machtackle, the Multiforce Autobot, not because he’s particularly qualified to investigate sinkholes but because it’s time to feature this toy.
Meanwhile, Tom the farmer is hanging out at a bar where Hitler got a job as bartender. It’s mostly full of other farmers, plus one generic 80s biker punk. Tom is trying to sell them a tour of his sinkhole, but none of them are interested. There’s a knock at the window. A BIG knock.
Tom draws the blinds and it’s Machtackle knocking. He asks the bartender if they sell gas. No one is surprised at seeing a gigantic robot. In fact, Machtackle walked into town right past a sheriff on a horse who didn’t even bother to look up at him. A sheriff on a horse. Again, they treat it like it’s the wild west.
Machtackle corrects Tom and says he doesn’t run on gasoline. It’s played as a joke except we’ve seen over the years that Transformers CAN run on gasoline. They can convert any form of energy into energon. Movingon.org. Machtackle asks if anyone can direct him to the sinkhole and Tom volunteers to show him.
Tom comments on how they don’t see young robots very often around here. So they DO see them. Just not often. Also, I’m really not sure how Tom can tell if Machtackle is young. But he keeps calling him that and Machtackle never corrects him so I guess he’s young.
Machtackle investigates the hole and decides the best way to really look at it is if he splits into two robots instead of one. For the first and only time, a Multiforce member splits into his two component robot parts. This is an interesting idea – that the main robot version we see is actually a combined gestalt version of two robots with distinct personalities. Do you think the episode will investigate that and explain it at all? No? You’re right, they don’t.
When Machtackle splits into two robots, Tom loses his goddamn mind. Seeing a young robot? Doesn’t phase anyone. Seeing him split into two robots? Tom’s eyes bug out to goofy extremes.
Mach and Tackle casually explain it’s just something they can do. Tom asks if it’s a form of ninjitsu and they confirm that it is. So… these guys are apparently ninjas! They do zero martial arts.
Tom wonders if he can also split into two. No, really. He does. He contorts his body, trying to make it split but all he does is fall on his back in pain. So clearly Tom is not well in the head. It also makes me think the writers don’t think much of the kids at home, because if they have an adult try to duplicate what he just saw a robot do, don’t you think they would worry the kids at home might try to mimic it as well? Hopefully not, because this episode features some real violence, not just lasers and such.
Tackle (the orange robot that turns into the jeep) starts droning on about how water was being driven through the rocks and it eroded the land, making it collapse. Get ready, because they’re about to try to teach you something.
Tackle explains it to Mach through metaphor. He explains the siphon principle. Why is the space shuttle the dumb one?
His example includes how you can hold water in a drinking straw when you put your finger on it. This is not something robots are likely to do. Especially Mach who does not even have a mouth.
After he finally wraps up, Tackle says he hopes that the problem wasn’t caused by the Decepticons. Either way, it’s a pretty minor disaster.
Before he can waste any more time, Tackle is distracted by a prairie dog. No reason.
The Autobots radio Star Saber and explain what they’ve seen and that they’ll follow the path of the waterway just to be sure everything’s ok. Tom jumps on the screen and flips off Star Saber. Wait… what?! Yeah, he’s clearly giving Star Saber the finger. I went to look this up and apparently, in Japan that gesture is just a silly gesture that doesn’t really mean anything. It sure does here.
Tom keeps calling Tackle “young.” Anyway, Tackle repeats the plan. Things are moving a bit slow. Mach and Tackle transform into vehicles and follow the path the water would take.
Tom then tries to transform. He just hurts himself again. This man is seriously mentally disturbed. Why can’t the Autobots see that?
As he gets ready to walk away, Tom notices a prairie dog and has the sudden realization that he was ready to kill it despite the prairie dog causing him no personal harm. In fact, he feels guilty for being a farmer on the vermin’s land. I guess he’s grown. And we’ve all learned that being a farmer is a morally repugnant job to have.
We cut to an underground facility and I’m sure everyone is shocked that the disaster was caused by the Decepticons. Somehow they’re siphoning water out of the ground and using it to generate hydroelectric power. It’s just the five Breastforce members. Drillhorn happens to be watching a monitor of unknown function that’s watching for Autobot activity above. So they know they’re up there, looking for them.
We then see Mach looking through an industrial warehouse park with x-ray vision! Yeah, seems like a pretty handy tool. Want to guess whether it’s ever used again? He sees absolutely NO activity and therefore assumes everything is on the up and up.
Tackle points out that it’s weird that there has been no road built to the factory. Oh snap, that’s TRUE! So the Decepticons went to all the trouble of building a factory facade and overlooked building a road to it. Dumb dumbs!
The Autobots move in and Leozack realizes they’ve been busted. He deploys Hellbat, Killbison and Jallguar to kill the Autobots.
Hellbat, a jet, chases Mach, a space shuttle through the woods. And somehow Mach is able to outmaneuver him. Wow. Hellbat crashes into some trees and yells at nature itself, declaring that he hates “the jungle.” I hate that he can’t tell the difference between a forest and a jungle.
Meanwhile, Jallguar is hunting the most dangerous prey: an Autobot! This scene is well done. It’s quiet and we keep looking at potential places Tackle could be hiding: the river, the treetops, some wildbrush.
Jallguar hears some conversation and unloads into the trees. Is Tackle done for? Yup, he dies and the episode ends early.
I was obviously lying. Tackle had just left a “communicator” to distract Jallguar. Although it really looks like a kid’s toy.
Tackle jumps up behind Jallguar and RAMS his face into the ground. Try this at home, kids! It’s pretty violent. Also, Tackle misses the perfect opportunity to use the frequent catchphrase: “Eat this.” A true loss.
Mach and Tackle regroup and talk about nothing at all important.
In fact, they begin arguing. Over pretty much nothing. They should be fleeing. But they waste time arguing.
It goes on way too long.
Eventually Killbison drives up. Mach and Tackle decide to merge in reverse order. So they are now Tacklemach. Seriously.
Killbison transforms, announces himself and flips Tacklemach the bird.
Do they begin fighting? Of course not. Because Killbison doesn’t recognize Tacklemach. Makes sense, right? Why would you shoot at someone you’d never seen before? Eventually he realizes he should be attacking the Autobot and he launches his chest animal at him.
Tacklemach bravely flees, shouting at “Mr. Cow” to stay away from him. Tacklemach is a coward I think? Maybe because he’s in reverse order?
Star Saber pops up and kicks Killbison’s breast animal right into him. They are both knocked down and the Autobots just ignore them. They do not bother to finish them off or restrain them. Knocking someone down is good enough. Star Saber brought along Wingwaver and Dashtacker and the four Autobots decide to force their way into the Decepticon base.
Leozack orders Drillhorn to lock down all entrances. Drillhorn is worried about the three teammates that would be locked outside but Leozack says to do it anyway. He then turns on their automated defenses. Drillhorn acts like they’ll be overwhelmed but I’m not sure what he’s worried about. They seem pretty well fortified to at least begin some sort of escape.
The Autobots are pinned down behind some convenient rocks and don’t know what to do until Tacklemach suggests the Autobots that can fly – Star Saber, Mach and Wing, fly above the lasers and break into the base through the roof. This idea works.
They easily break in and confront the Decepticons. For reasons, Star Saber’s subtitle is right justified.
Drillhorn is about to shoot them but Leozack stops him, saying laser blasts would blow the place up. Leozack attacks Star Saber with his spear but it’s cut in half right away. Leozack always loses to Star Saber but to his credit, he never hesitates to attack the leader of the Autobots. So I kinda like him.
Star Saber tells Leozack that he’s mad at him in a very redundant speech. I’ll transcribe it for you:
“Leozack! Because of you, land has collapsed! I will not forgive the destruction of nature!”
“That’s the only reason you came?”
“I will never forgive you for destroying nature!!”
Mach and Wing smash Drillhorn’s face into his console. Again, super violent and easily immitatable. For unknown reasons, getting your face smashed into a console starts off a self-destruct sequence.
Leozack has his breastplate transform into a gun and threatens to blow the place up. So the Autobots let the Decepticons escape. Then the Autobots fly away with just seconds left.
The factory goes boom. Did the Autobots escape in time? Yeah.
Having won the day, Star Saber declares that the Decepticons will never try this again. He just can’t be right. Why would they not try this again? If they built a road to the factory next time, they should be in the clear.
Meanwhile, Tom is charging people to look at his sinkhole. He claims it’s more amazing than the Grand Canyon. If folks are falling for this, they deserve to lose whatever Tom is charging them.
But then water erupts back into place. Why? Not explained. There is no way it could be explained. Tom’s hole is filled. He is devastated, assuming his tourist trap is now ruined.
And Mach and Tackle learned something. Tackle declares that he prefers to be a power bottom.
Star Saber says the Autobots will repair the damage to the land. But Tom stops them, saying that he could now become a fish farmer. Uh… I guess? He’ll have to import the fish and I would assume there’s already plenty of fishing in Canada but he thinks he’s got a great idea. And all the Autobots begin laughing really happily.
Cut to Tom winking at the camera. His teeth sparkle. He makes an “okay” sign but apparently in Japan that’s a sign for money. He’ll be able to afford pink shirts for the rest of his short life.