Starscream the Mysterious Mercenary is the eighth episode of Energon. It first aired in the United States on April 09, 2004 on Cartoon Network.
The ghostly Starscream stalks Optimus Prime, culminating in a battle on the Moon.
Ironhide and Inferno watch as Kicker restlessly rides around Ocean City. He finally realizes that someone or something is coming. Starscream's voice wanders down corridors, searching for his victim, Optimus Prime. Ironhide and Kicker both suspect something, but find no one. Worried for Optimus' safety, they head for HQ Central Ops. Signal Flare and Skyblast also sense something, but dismiss it. Aboard Unicron's head, Alpha Q speaks to his new creation, Starscream -- a warrior without physical form, who cannot be harmed. They ran out of energon while re-creating him, leaving him incomplete. They send him to destroy Optimus Prime, who's hoarding all the energon. Kicker senses Starscream and orders Ironhide to open fire, even though it seems like he's shooting at empty air. Starscream takes a shot at Optimus in the control center, misses, and retreats in the face of Ironhide's barrage of laser fire. The Autobots meet with Prime and voice their concerns, but Prime says he doesn't need a bodyguard. Kicker isn't happy about this. Outside the city, Kicker and Ironhide receive orders from Hot Shot to secretly tail Optimus around the city. Prime's already aware of it, and orders Hot Shot to get back to work, over his protests. Prime remembers the mysterious entity that attacked him recently, and stops. He shouts a challenge to whoever it is that wants to take him on. Kicker, watching, senses the attacker and shouts a warning. Starscream attacks from the sky. The others arrive, only to find empty air. Prime leads his attacker away, intending to find out who it is. The other Autobots are baffled by Prime's disappearance, when a space bridge appears above them. Prime drives into it, followed by Starscream. Though delayed by Starscream, Kicker, Jetfire and Ironhide follow, heading for Lunar City on the moon. The pair meet with Lunar City's crew, who haven't seen a trace of Prime. Jetfire finds out that Prime has turned off his communicator -- he wants to deal with this alone. A horde of Terrorcons approaches the moon. Cyclonus wonders how the Autobots figured out Optimus is on the moon. Megatron orders him to find Optimus and "that mindless menace" before the Autobots do. Within Unicron's body, Scorponok gives Demolishor a hard time over his recent defection. Hot Shot observes the incoming Terrorcons and requests energon stars from the Omnicons. In an empty crater, Prime shouts another challenge at his invisible attacker, who responds dismissively. Hot Shot and Skyblast arrive to help out Prime. Prime manages to get a few hits in on Starscream, who tells him he's doing this to revive Unicron. Skyblast powers up the Autobots with energon stars and Megatron swords, which Kicker finds rather heavy compared to the Energon Sabre. Prime is rather irate at Starscream's plan to revive Unicron. Megatron finds Prime just as Starscream blasts him. As the invisible soldier drifts away, Megatron shouts angrily at him to identify himself. Kicker finds Prime down and inoperative, and completely freaks out. Skyblast revives him with a series of energon stars. Megatron breaks off pursuing Starscream and heads back to Prime's crater. Prime materializes "Hot Shot's blaster" and wonders why he's been granted it. The blaster holds Megatron off and sends him flying away. Kicker is bummed about Lunar City getting trashed again, just as it was rebuilt. Prime tells him that lives are more important than cities, and to leave the worrying to him. Kicker says he'll always be there for backup.
In the episode
English dub changes
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"Aw, Megatron, trying to find Optimus is a total waste of time!"
"Scorponok will pay for this."
- —Cyclonus and Megatron aren't making any sense at all.
"Terrorcons. They're in attack mode again. We'd better beef up our defenses."
- —Neither is Hot Shot.
"Forgive me, men, but let me have a moment while my hard drive optimizes."
- —Neither is Optimus Prime, as he prepares to fire "Hot Shot's blaster".
"I get the impression that Megatron has doubts about your loyalty, Demolishor."
"He ordered me to stand guard. And that's exactly what I'm doing, Scorponok."
"Up until yesterday, you were standing guard for the Autobots. That in itself would cast doubt upon you."
"Come on, you can't be serious!"
"Relax, I was just having some fun with you. Now let's try to get along, Demolishor; that would be the mature thing to do."
"Why don't you go and leave me alone."
- —Scorponok picks on Demolishor.
"What's this? Hot Shot's blaster-- but why is he giving it to me?"
- —Optimus Prime is confused by the confusing confusion.
Lost in translation
- Upon hearing Starscream's disembodied voice, Ironhide wonders if Demolishor has returned, but the Energon dub warps it into him thinking that Demolishor is playing a joke on him (making it sound like he never left).
- The Decepticons arrive on the moon because Scorponok has told them that Optimus Prime is there, leading Cyclonus to wonder how he knows (the answer being that Alpha Q told Scorponok, since he knows that Starscream has lured him there). In Energon, however, the line is screwed up into him wondering how the Autobots have located the missing Optimus Prime, making it sound as if the Decepticons were responsible for his disappearance, and erasing the actual explanation for their presence. However, the dub does accurately preserve the scene in which Megatron blames Scorponok for his inability to find Optimus, which consequently makes no sense within the dubbed episode.
- A silly little error occurs when Prime launches his Prime Force drones by uttering the command "Super Mode!" In Super Link, he barked "Grand Force!" (the Japanese name for the drones), which the translators obviously mis-heard as "Grand Cross" (Prime's Japanese super-mode combination phrase), and so it got replaced with its normal English equivalent.
- The Energon version of this episode features some unfinished animation that was later completed for Super Link. Although it is mostly minor stuff (a different background layout here, a close-up not zooming in as far there, a missing laser blast or two, see screenshots), one brief segment is fully missing—when Kicker asks Ironhide for the Energon Saber, Ironhide simply tosses it to him without argument, and Kicker hops up on top of it. The complete absence of this bit of animation in Energon (replaced second-for-second with a still frame of Kicker and Ironhide looking at each other) results in some nonsense being inserted into the script which sees Ironhide pout about giving up the sword. This is made even more nonsensical by Kicker's exasperated cry of "Never mind, I'll make do with this one"... as he flies off on the Energon Saber. Gnnnnn.
- In one of the most notable instances of Energon just plain screwing something up in the most obvious way, Optimus Prime refers to the weapon which emerges from his chest as "Hot Shot's blaster," when Hot Shot has never been seen using such a weapon, and plays no hand in even giving it to Prime. In Super Link, this weapon is referred to as the "Matrix Blaster," and Prime refers to it as "a token from the previous commanders." While this is distinctly Mcguffiny and makes only the most rudimentary level of sense, it's interesting to note that this is the only reference to the Matrix in either Super Link or Energon. The gun was, by the by, released as the Energon roleplay toy, "Optimus Prime Energon Blaster."
- "Uh?": 15
- Stock footage: 2
- We need/they want energon: 2
- It's time to: 2
- We've gotta: 4
- Let's do it: 1
Animation and/or technical glitches
- Starscream apparently bashes Jetfire away from the space bridge, but at no point are they shown in the same frame together -- Starscream swings his arm at nothing, and a second later Jetfire bounces away from nothing.
- The animation of Ironhide and Jetfire's space bridge arrival on the moon is hilariously bad.
- When Optimus Prime deploys Copter Two in super mode, his normal mode's lower left arm assembly is missing.
- When we first see the Decepticons, they're flying directly above Tidal Wave (though it's not exactly clear from the animation that it's him.) A second later, the moon's surface is directly below Cyclonus instead.
- Megatron's final insult toward Starscream is a bit mis-timed, since he turns around and starts flying towards Prime before he's more than a word or two into the sentence.
- "Hot Shot's blaster" is not actually shown firing at Megatron; Megs simply flies into a beam of red energy.
- When Kicker cries out "OPTIMUS!!!" after seeing him unconscious from his fight with Starscream, he for some unknown reason has Starscream's voice.
- Why do Kicker and Ironhide have to "synchronize" their communicators?
- Demolishor is totally not voiced by Alvin Sanders in this episode.
- How does Prime's helicopter drone fly in the moon's vacuum?
- When Skyblast throws the sword he's holding to Kicker, Kicker struggles to hold it, despite being on the moon, where its weight should be less of an issue.
- When Kicker requests the Energon Saber, Ironhide says he "Just got it", despite the fact he is holding it in the everyone-stands-still-and-fires-blindly-at-Terrorcons scene just a bit before that.
- This episode is a prime example of the general sloppiness that typifies the series. A lot of the dialog makes no sense at all, or doesn't correspond to the visuals. The scene editing jumps around rather randomly as well.