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Return of the Immortal Emperor is the sixteenth episode of Transformers: The Headmasters. It first aired in Japan on November 20, 1987 on Nippon TV.
In the middle of Scorponok's coronation as the new Decepticon emperor, the Autobots attack and an old enemy makes a surprising return!
In the aftermath of the destruction of Mars, Arcee, Spike and Broadside survey the field of rubble that remains, attempting to discern what effects the loss of the planet has had on the solar system. They report back to Athenia that the damage done is just within safety limits, and Fortress and the Headmasters become determined to keep track on the Decepticons' movements before any further planets can fall victim to them. As they talk, outside, Wheelie and Daniel argue, with Wheelie's fears for Autobot safety being shouted down by Daniel insisting that Fortress is stronger than Scorponok. Daniel pushes Wheelie in a lake, but their argument is immediately forgotten when a mysterious, iridescent globe of light swoops down out of the sky, spraying water everywhere as it flies low over the lake, and then vanishes into the sky.
The Headmasters have since departed to monitor the Decepticons' movements, and Fortress soon receives a report of Daniel and Wheelie's mysterious UFO sighting. Such things are not the concern of Chromedome and Hardhead, however, who refuse to partake of such passive action against the Decepticons - in an attempt to be proactive, they sneak out of Battleship Maximus and head to attack Chaar on their own. Although they are able to sneak past the lone sentry patrolling the planet's perimeter, Blitzwing, they are unaware of the fact that Scorponok has been made aware of the Headmasters' movements by his intelligence officer, Counterpunch, and has allowed the two Autobots to get as close as they have. Scorponok transforms to scorpion mode and carries the Decepticon Headmasters into space, where they defeat Chromedome and Hardhead, and send them hurtling back, to collide with the approaching Battleship Maximus. The two warships collide, and Scorponok transforms to robot mode and thrashes Maximus, when suddenly, the strange glowing UFO appears over their heads. Using the distraction, the Autobots are able to escape, and the Decepticons puzzle over what the mysterious object is as it disappears into the depths of space.
Back down on Chaar, Soundblaster receives an unhappy report from Ravage and Laserbeak on how Counterpunch has shown them up by finding out information that they couldn't. Soundblaster takes his team to Earth in the hopes of digging up some new information to improve his standing, but a search meets with nothing but failure - a fact that Sixshot is not afraid of pointing out. As the two stand outside the Decepticons' Earth base, the UFO appears in the sky and floats down. Soundblaster dives behind a rock for cover when the UFO bathes Sixshot in bright light, and a second later, as the amazed communications officer emerges, both Sixshot and the UFO have vanished.
As the Headmasters return to Athenia, Daniel is trying out a trick he saw in a movie, using a musical keyboard to play a tune in hopes of contacting the UFO. The Headmasters crowd around, with Fortress wondering if the alien is friend or foe, but time passes, and nothing happens. A little later, Fortress is led by Twincast to meet the Autobots' new informant - it is Counterpunch, who steps from the shadows with his gun drawn! He's just fooling around, however, and reveals his true identity - Counterpunch is really Punch, an Autobot double-agent within the Decepticon camp. Punch explains to Fortress that the Decepticons are active on Earth's moon, where they are planning to hold a ceremony for Scorponok's coronation as the new Decepticon emperor.
In the Sea of Tranquility on the Moon, Cyclonus introduces Scorponok to the assembled Decepticons, and Scorponok proclaims himself the new Decepticon emperor. No sooner are these words spoken, however, than Battleship Maximus and the Trainbots appear overhead, deploying the Headmasters, Aerialbots, Protectobots and Technobots for battle. Scorponok again transforms into his giant robot mode and attacks Battleship Maximus, and once again, the UFO suddenly appears, just as Soundblaster arrives to try and inform Scorponok of what he has learned. The Autobots are all cut down by energy beams emanated from the UFO, and Sixshot steps out of the light, much to all the Decepticons' surprise. Then, the light dims, and its source is revealed - the UFO is a spacecraft, which projects a beam of purple light down to the lunar surface. From this beam, a familiar figure strides - Galvatron lives! Both Autobot and Decepticon react with total shock, but the reappearance of their leader gives the villains their second wind, and the Autobots are forced to retreat. Quietly incensed that his leadership is clearly over before it has even truly begun, Scorponok demands to know where Galvatron has been; Galvatron claims to have been observing, interested in seeing how the Decepticons function without him. He commends Scorponok for the strides he has made for the Decepticons' cause in his absence, but quickly makes it clear that he is now back in charge.
As the Autobots observe the ceremony from back on Athenia, Daniel, now realizing what the UFO was, smashes his keyboard and runs from the room, more angry at himself than anything. Wheelie catches up to him and soothes his temper, but the spectre of Galvatron's renewed evil hovers over the Autobots...
In the episode
English dub changes
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
Animation and/or technical glitches
- In the group shot of Decepticons at Scorponok's coronation, Skullcruncher is colored yellow instead of green.
- As the Trainbots arrive on the moon, Soundblaster is again colored like Soundwave.
- When Computron combines, he is colored as Superion.
- It's taken a while for the other cassettes to catch up to Ratbat, who first spoke in robot mode in "Operation Cassette", but beginning with this episode, Ravage and Laserbeak are heard to clearly speak in their animal forms.
- This episode continues the running joke of Chromedome having something of a crush on Arcee, which we first got a hint of when the Statue of Liberty's look was compared to Arcee's in "Terror! The Six Shadows". The big lug got up the courage to ask her for a dance in "The Shadow Emperor, Scorponok", and here, he's just happy to get the chance to drive alongside her, as well as to, ahem, watch her transform. Kinky?
- Galvatron met his apparent end in "Cybertron Is in Grave Danger, Part 2". How he survived an explosion capable of destroying a planet and where he acquired the ship he has in this episode are never explained.
- Scorponok professed to know where Galvatron was, and to have been appointed leader in his absence, in "The Shadow Emperor, Scorponok". It was clear to the audience that he was lying from the outset, but although this episode makes his deception publicly obvious, he doesn't actually suffer any repercussions for it. Well, Galvatron basically turns him into a bus for the next eight episodes, so maybe that counts.
- This is not the first time that Galvatron has returned during a coronation.
- The movie that Daniel picked up the musical communication trick from is, of course, Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
- With the wrapping up of its major running plot points in the previous episode, The Headmasters took a five-week break before it returned to Japanese TV screens with this new installment.