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Chain of Command

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Coc secondmoon

Heroes! This fall on NBC!

After Optimus Primal is abducted by an alien probe, the remaining Maximals must decide on a new leader.

Japanese title: 消えたコンボイ (Kie ta Convoy "Convoy Disappeared")


The Maximals detect an energon crystal under the cairn in the Standing Stones. Rattrap thinks it reeks of 'bait' and Rhinox notes that the energon on this planet isn't natural, as it does not conform to the planet's geology. The Predacons attack, putting an end to the discussion. Optimus Primal engages Terrorsaur and Waspinator in the air, but Terrorsaur evades his attack and (with much malice) fires directly on the buried energon crystal. Both sides duck and cover as it builds to overload- but instead of a debilitating energon wave, it sends a signal to the stars. With the crystal destroyed, both sides retreat.

Later, an alien probe emerges from Transwarp Space and enters the atmosphere. The Predacons initially mistake it for a Stasis pod, but Rhinox immediately recognizes it as something else. Both sides head to intercept it at the Standing Stones. Primal and Dinobot confront Megatron and Waspinator, but when they transform and begin to battle, the Probe puts out an energy burst that renders them unconscious and causes Primal to vanish into thin air.

Coc getshorty

An armed society is a polite society.

A disoriented Dinobot awakens in the Axalon's CR Chamber and, seeing three pissed-off Maximals standing over him, momentarily mistakes it for a Maximal Torture Chamber. The probe, as it turned out, somehow dumped Dinobot, Megatron and Waspinator outside of their respective bases. Believing Primal to be destroyed, Dinobot attempts to take command of the Maximals. Rhinox heads off a fight between Dinobot and Rattrap by insisting on a secret ballot, the traditional Maximal method for resolving such problems.

After the vote results in stalemate, with two votes for each contender, Dinobot declares that he will break the tie by force and attacks Rattrap. Before the fight can begin they are contacted by Optimus Primal, who is not dead. Primal's body has been digitally stored, but his consciousness remains active within the probe. Primal puts Rattrap in charge.

Megatron, also believing Primal dead, sends Scorponok and Waspinator to the Standing Stones while the other Predacons attack the Axalon. Dinobot fights Megatron one-on-one, ignoring Rattrap's order to disengage and reset the Axalon's failing shield circuitry. Rattrap scrambles and is able to restore the shields at the last moment. The Predacons retreat when Dinobot beats Megatron back, and Dinobot apologizes to Rattrap for not following his orders, declaring himself "dishonored". Dinobot's uncharacteristic deference and respect makes Rattrap uncomfortable, and he brushes it off.

The Maximals head to the standing stones with a device Rhinox has built to attempt to extract Optimus from the Probe. The Predacons attack them at the standing stones, and Rhinox releases his frustrations on Waspinator when his device malfunctions, blasting him to bits with his chaingun. Waspinator shorts out and comes in contact with one of the stones which activates, revealing the entire Standing Stones site is a single device. The probe opens in response, and Primal rematerializes. The Predacons retreat before his considerable firepower, but the Probe dematerializes before the Maximals can decide what to do with it.

Primal commends Rattrap on his performance as commander, though Rattrap is more than happy to hand the title back. The Maximals are left wondering what the Probe's purpose was, and Rhinox ominously observes the aliens have learned they have the ability to reason... and destructive capabilities.


Written by: Jesse Winfield
Directed by: ?
Original airdate: September 24, 1996


"Just like baitin' the mousetrap!"

Rattrap, in response to the energon at the Standing Stones.

"Hey, power down! You're on our side now, remember?"
"And Maximals don't have torture chambers! Though, you know... I could get behind that idea."

Cheetor and Rattrap to Dinobot

"Wait, stand by here! Who died and made you Prime, scaleface?"


"Megatron back! Megatron back! Scorponok alone with Tarantulas and Terrorsaur. Very bad!"

Scorponok loses coherence under pressure.

"I know just how the weakling Maximals will response to Optimus's death. Confusion! Bickering! Recriminations! The perfect opportunity for a surprise attack."


"Ha ha, great system, your 'democracy.' No system to break a tie!"


"Ah, they've come to meet their death, face to face!"


"Make a device to extract physical molecular structure from an alien probe? Man, I've gotta be a miracle worker!"

Rhinox, channeling Scottie

"You were selfless in putting that shield back online. I ought to have followed your command I... am dishonored."
"Ehh.... next time."

Dinobot and an uncomfortable Rattrap

"The day, and the probe, is yours, Optimus, yeees. Just beware, not all aliens are beneficent, after all."


"What the spotted heck was that all about?"


"But why would they want to know? And more importantly, who are they? Friends, enemies, or... something more?"

Dinobot needs a girlfriend

Featured characters

(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)

Maximals Predacons Others


  • The initial fight by the Standing Stones features shadow, a rare luxury in early Beast Wars episodes.
  • Optimus Primal is reading late at night below the Axalon when the Probe comes down, a rare quiet character moment.
  • The Maximals are not entirely convinced Dinobot didn't off Primal himself for the job, as he attempted to 3 episodes prior.
  • Dinobot, most unexpectedly, triumphs in single combat against Megatron while going full-out.
  • This is the first of only two times that Dinobot laughs. The other is "Before the Storm".
  • During the battle at the Maximal base, Megatron tries to gain the upper hand by ramming his face into Dinobot's airborne foot. Megatron clearly fails at this attempt and takes note to dodge easily evadable flying kicks in the future.
  • Scorponok exhibits his "babbling" personality this episode as, apparently, being left alone with the scheming Terrorsaur and Tarantulus while Megatron is undergoing major repairs makes him extremely nervous. Given Tarantulas's dietary habits, that might be understandable.
  • This episode features the debut of Rhinox's "Chaingun of Doom" (occasionally called the "Chaingun of Command" after this episode). And possibly the start of the trend of Waspinator getting utterly butchered in almost every episode.
  • Though it's never outright stated, judging by Rhinox's exasperated sigh at learning of a second vote for Dinobot, it's fairly clear that he was the one who voted for Rattrap and that Cheetor voted for Dinobot. Perhaps Cheetor's still a little bitter at Rattrap making fun of him in the episode "The Web"?
  • There's the additional fact that Rhinox would never be dumb enough to put Dinobot in charge of the team.
Waspinator's "death"
  • Waspinator is unfortunate enough to get shot by Rhinox's CHAIN GUNS OF DOOM for multiple times — about two minutes without stopping.

Technical/animation glitches

  • If that's a solar eclipse in the opening shot, how come there's light coming from below the horizon?
  • Towards the end of the episode, Scorponok remembers that he's a Predacon and adjusts the symbol on his chest accordingly. Finally.

Continuity errors

  • N/A

Transformers references

  • The episode opens with the second moon eclipsing the sun. The moon's unnatural nature will again be mentioned in The Trigger, Part 1, and it plays a critical role in the season finale.
  • The ongoing Vok storyline put in its first appearance since Beast Wars (Part 2), it will feature again in The Trigger, Part 1. The Vok will not be named until the series is almost over.

Real-world references

  • Rattrap makes a mention to "B movies", a uniquely human concept. It seems unlikely but maybe possible that Cybertronians had adopted a similar concept of entertainment.
  • The "Standing Stones" resemble many European stone circles, of which Stonehenge is the most famous. Most evidence points to Beast Wars not being set in Europe, however.


Standing Stones, Vok Probe, Energon Wave, Maximal Torture Chamber, shield circuitry, Energon radiation

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