Dinobot makes the ultimate sacrifice to save those who are still to come.
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In a wild valley, a group of primitive hominids forage for food. A gargantuan snake attacks two of their number, and the protohumans are helpless to stop it. At the Axalon, a haunted Dinobot meditates on his sword, with the blade held ominously over his chest, appearing to be contemplating suicide. But after a long moment of tension and hesitation, he casts it aside. On the bridge, Rhinox announces that he's been calculating the path of the Transwarp Wave from the Planet Buster's destruction -- it's travelling through time at an accelerated rate, and will reach Cybertron in the "present", thus alerting Cybertron to their location. Optimus fears Megatron has made similar calculations (as does Rattrap), and the group realizes they need to increase their defenses.
Dinobot, still somber, runs into Rattrap, who rips him a new one over his turning the Disk over to Megatron. They proceed to argue as usual, but Dinobot is left to reflect that his actions cannot be undone - but may yet be "mitigated". He arms himself and heads off into the wastes.
Megatron and Rampage are out for a stroll, when Cheetor observes them. They drive him off with some damage, but Cheetor calls in the sighting to Dinobot, who promises to follow up.
At his lair, Tarantulas has captured a tasty antelope for his dinner. But as he creeps up to the struggling beast, Dinobot bursts out of the ground, holding him at gunpoint and demanding to know what information is on the Golden Disk. After Dinobot releases his meal, Tarantulas admits he doesn't know -- there are no more copies remaining, and Megatron is keeping the Disk on his person at all times. Dinobot uses Tarantulas as his unwilling ride.
Megatron and Rampage have arrived at a particular mountain near the protohuman valley. Rampage sneers that the Maximals will come from Cybertron and that he anticipates Megatron's imminent demise. Megatron admits that's very likely, unless he changes reality. He pulls out the disk and explains that it contains images recorded in the future, including one of the same mountain. Megatron has Rampage destroy the mountain, and the image on the disk changes to suit the altered reality. Dinobot observes all this with dawning dread: Megatron has the power to change the future.
The Predacon leader intends to change the outcome of the Great War in the Decepticons' favor, by destroying the protohumans and depriving the Autobots of an important ally race. The rest of the Predacons arrive, and begin a full assault on the valley. While Dinobot's back is turned, Tarantulas blasts him; Dinobot reciprocates by squashing him under a rock. Dinobot contacts Optimus, who orders him to maintain position, but Dinobot knows there is no time to wait. He moves in to attack the entire Predacon force single-handed.
Despite the odds, Dinobot is able to take out the Predacons in various skirmishes; Inferno is damaged with his sword before he steals Inferno's weapon to take out him and Blackarachnia, shoves Waspinator into Rampage's gun while in tank mode to blow up both when a missile backfires, and beats Quickstrike unconscious. Unfortunately, the combat is extremely damaging to Dinobot, with his weapons being destroyed as his body suffers significant damage, draining most of his energy supply and rendering his optic lasers unusable. Soon, it's just Megatron and Dinobot, who reveals a human captive. On his last bit of Energon, Dinobot plunges a rock into a stick, creating a makeshift hammer. He knocks the Disk out of Megatron's hand and then destroys it with his optic lasers, expending his last bit of energy.
Megatron flees as the Maximals arrive, but it is too late for Dinobot. As he lays dying- having been assured by Optimus that his sacrifice has saved the future-, Dinobot solidifies his friendship with Rattrap, and asks Optimus to tell the whole truth about him, the good and the bad, and allow him to be judged accordingly. With that, Dinobot's spark leaves his structure, and he dies. The next morning, the Maximals hold a funeral for Dinobot. The fliers soar through the air in a salute, as Rattrap and Rhinox dissolve Dinobot's remains.
At the valley, a curious protohuman finds Dinobot's hammer. It soon figures out how to use it to break coconuts open - and to fend off predators like the giant snake. Dinobot's actions have not only saved the protohumans, but also helped them take a step toward evolving into humanity.
Rhinox: "Remember that transwarp cell explosion?"
[Primal gives him a glaring look]
Rhinox: "Okay, stupid question..."
- —The rhino has a once-in-a-lifetime lapse in intelligence.
"The rodent's words give off the stench of truth. Destiny has one great test in store for us all. Has mine already come? And have I already failed it? A deed, once done, cannot be undone. But perhaps, it may yet be mitigated."
- —A Shakespeare-esque monologue by Dinobot following a harsh truth spoken in anger by Rattrap.
- —Dinobot sniffs out and captures Tarantulas.
"When reality alters, the future alters with it. With the Golden Disk Megatron's power is limitless."
- —Dinobot realizes what Megaton is now capable of.
Tarantulas: "Shouldn't take you eyes of a spider. They tend to be venomous."
Dinobot: " But they still squash."
- —Tarantulas scores the first hit. Dinobot still crushes him with a rock (again).
"Destroy this valley and everything in it! The human race shall never have existed!"
- —Megatron, announcing the impending genocide of the protohumans.
"The question that once haunted my being has been answered. The future is not fixed, and my choices are my own. And yet, how ironic...for I now find that I have no choice at all! I am a warrior...let the battle be joined."
- —Dinobot, realizing his destiny.
"One lonely turncoat, battling on against impossible odds." (Wiping fake tear) "I'm almost touched.... Fortunately, such moments pass quickly. Quickstrike, scrap him!"
- —Megatron, observing Dinobot's fight to save the valley single-handedly.
"So, what's a warrior without weapons, eh?"
"A warrior still!"
- —Quickstrike goading Dinobot into a fight
Computer: "Warning. Power reserves ninety-six percent depleted. Stasis lock commencing."
Computer: "Repeat. Power loss critical. Further expenditures will result in loss of Spark. Stasis lock must commence.
- —Dinobot gets his first warning.
Megatron "Hmm, my ears are burning! Yesss! Why, Dinobot, what a delightful surprise! Let's see, where are we now? I have the Golden Disk, I have the power to change the future, and the only obstacle in my path to unimaginable glory...is yourself. Exhausted. Damaged beyond recovery. Defeated."
Dinobot "Not just yet!"
Megatron "Ah-ah-ah!" (Megatron reveals a protohuman bound in energon bindings.) "One more step, and it's raining bits of early anthropoid, yesss." (He sees Dinobot hesitate.) "Oh dear, how positively Maximal of you. You were weakened before you started, Dinobot. Weakened by compassion."
- —Megatron confronting the severely damaged Dinobot.
Megatron: "Oh-ho-ho-ho, really, Dinobot, a stick—against a Transmetal? I think not."
Computer: "Final Warning: Power failing. Jeopardy extreme. Repeat: Extreme."
Megatron: "Please. Face it, Dinobot. You're old technology. Obsolete. What could you possibly do?"
- —Dinobot's down but not out yet.
Optimus Primal: "Well fought, my friend. You saved the valley. You saved the lives of those who live here...and of those who are still to come."
Dinobot: "Then there is nothing to regret."
- —Optimus Primal shows his respect. Dinobot shows his acceptance of his fate.
Rattrap "Like I said, you're just a blasted, slag-spouting saurian, but...it's nice to know where you stand."
Dinobot "Upwind of you, for preference, vermin."
- —Rattrap and Dinobot sharing one last banter.
"Tell my tale to those who ask. Tell it truly, the ill deeds along with the good, and let me be judged accordingly. The rest...is silence..."
- —Dinobot's last words.
"He lived a warrior...and died a hero. Let his spark join the Matrix, the greatest of Cybertron."
- —Optimus Primal's eulogy to Dinobot.
Written by: Ian Weir
Original airdate: March 9, 1998 (Special Cartoon Network Preview); April 25, 1998 (Regular Syndication)
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
- When Rattrap is working at the wall panel, his right forearm is backwards and remains thus until he is grandly gesturing.
- As Quickstrike approaches Dinobot, his left shin is backwards.
- At Dinobot's funeral, Rattrap is in his pre-Transmetal body.
- When Megatron is flying over the proto-human valley, his legs are missing and his body has very little detail.
- Megatron orders the destruction of the prehumans to prevent the development of mankind. Humans assisted the Autobots to win the Great War. Notable humans include Spike Witwicky, Sparkplug Witwicky, Daniel Witwicky, Carly, Raoul and Chip Chase. Also Marissa Faireborn and Abdul Fakkadi.
- As the Predacons jump into the valley to destroy the hominids, Rampage crushes a butterfly. This evokes the famous Ray Bradbury short story "A Sound of Thunder", in which a time traveler in the past steps on a butterfly, thus dramatically altering the future of humanity. It is also reminiscent of the Butterfly Effect, a principle of chaos theory which holds that a small change (a flap of a butterfly's wings, killing a few dozen hominids) can eventually lead to vast changes (changes in storm systems a world away, the dominion of Predacons over Maximals). Of course, the writers may have merely intended Rampage's act to symbolize how killing the hominids would be no more difficult for the Predacons than crushing a butterfly.
- Dinobot's final words, "Tell my tale to those who ask..." and "The rest is silence", are taken directly from Shakespeare's plays "Othello" and "Hamlet" respectively.
- Dinobot considers suicide in a style akin to Seppuku, the ritual suicide of a samurai.
- In a bit of foreshadowing, while Dinobot is contemplating suicide, three ravens fly past his window in the missing man formation, which the Maximal fliers use in their salute to him at his funeral. There were also three protohumans who were traveling in the missing man formation prior to the predacon attack.
- Right after Dinobot crash-lands on Waspinator (for the umpteenth time, Waspinator gets no respect) Rampage points his cannon at Dinobot with the aim view similar to the gun barrel views from numerous James Bond movies. Of course, most Bond villains do not give the opponent time to stuff a trashed Waspinator into the barrel (for the umpteenth and one time, Waspinator gets no respect) but still...
- Beast Wars co-story editor Bob Forward drew storyboards for this episode. Not only is it the only Beast Wars episode to be directed by the series' writers, but it's also the only episode to be done up in storyboards, traditionally, rather than being directed on-the-fly. Bob Forward worked in person with the Mainframe animators for this episode.
- When Megatron pulls out his Golden Disk when talking to Rampage, it has "The Sounds of Earth" written on it.
- The original storyboards were auctioned for charity at a BotCon.
- According to Bob Forward, Megatron's transformation sequence had to be reconstructed to be able to show his transformation from underneath for one shot. Previously, the animation only "worked" when seen from eye-level or above.
- For someone with an endurance level of '4', Inferno makes a great shield. Blackarachnia's guns have no serious effect on him.
- This episode marks the very last appearance of Rhinox in beast mode.
- It also implies that Dinobot did have a flight/hover based power, using his cyber-blade weapon/shield as helicopter blades. This may explain why at least one redeco has the blades on his back in the card art. The trick works as long as Waspinator doesn't aim straight up. Hence the crash landing.
- During the recording of this episode, Scott McNeil was attempting to deliver Dinobot's last words, but was continually interrupted by the recording crew's laughter. He is reputed to have said while still in character, "Do you mind?!! I'm trying to die here!!!"
- According to McNeil, Dinobot knew he was going to die five episodes before he did, as right up until the last second, he believed Dinobot to only be "cartoon dead" as opposed to "dead dead."
- It's no surprise that a DVD containing this episode was packaged with Dinobot for Beast Wars 10th Anniversary. Interestingly, this is the only post-Season 1 episode included with any 10th Anniversary figures.
- This episode was cut from the schedule upon later FoxKids' airings, presumably due to its graphic themes and violence (for a children's show, that is).
- Silverbolt has no speaking role in this episode. Strange that an openly heroic character should have nothing to say over the death of a tragic hero like Dinobot. Most likely he belived Dinobots actions spoke louder then any words he could come up with.
- If the Humans never existed, then the oil rigs, rocket bases, and mines that the Decepticons stole from would never have been made. The rubies and oil could have been found naturally, but still...
- Surprisingly, Optimus' words in Dinobot's eulogy came to pass in more ways than one as Dinobot has been inducted into the Transformers Hall of Fame as one of the most memorable characters of all time.