SYNOPSIS FOR "FIVE FACES OF DARKNESS" PART 1
TOTAL NUMBER OF BLOOPERS: 109
ASTROTRAIN: "In the days of Megatron it was not like this."
CYCLONUS: "You mean Galvatron!"
SWEEPS: "Hail Galvatron! Hail Galvatron! Hail Galvatron!"
ASTROTRAIN: "Well, they were the same guy..."
SKUXXOID: "They paid good money, okay?"
ARCEE: "The Decepticons?"
SKUXXOID: "The who? Oh--I mean yes, of course! The Decepticons..."
- Name the voice actors from the movie who were replaced, and the names of the actors who replaced them.
- What does Rodimus mean when he says, "Remember what happened to the last two guys who tried to watch out for me?"
- "Five Faces of Darkness" is generally regarded as a disappointment due to the careless and technically flawed animation. Taken by itself, the story (while drawn-out and often convoluted) is one of the most ambitious plots ever brought to the series, and explains a lot of loose ends left open in the movie. Unfortunately, the sheer number of animation mistakes (from an artistic team who brought us lackluster episodes such as "The Core" and "The Autobot Run") drag the mini-series down, and remains widely criticized as being among the worst Transformers episodes of all time.
- When "Five Faces of Darkness" was released to video, somebody really screwed up the box art. Along with the airbrushed Quintesson on the cover, the box art for the Powermaster Optimus Prime toy is featured. (The only time Powermaster Optimus ever appeared was as a computer-generated puppet to narrate the fifth season stories. He certainly never appeared in "Five Faces of Darkness.") The other drawing used is the toy box art from an Action Master named Mainframe, who never appeared in the series. Also, on the back of the box are some screen shots of Alpha Trion holding the key to the plasma energy chamber, and Pounce and Wingspan breaking into the vault that contained the key. These are both from "The Rebirth"!
- For some odd reason, in the video release, the trailer for part 4 is missing, as is the title for part 5.
PLOT OVERSIGHTS: (11)
- At the very beginning, the narrator claims that the Great Wars are finally over. Obviously that's not the case, since in part 4 the Matrix-bound Optimus explains that the third war "rages to this day."
- After Astrotrain returns to Chaar in shuttle mode, he seems unable to complete his transformation back to robot mode. I suppose he could be suffering from some other ailment, but given the Decepticons' current situation, I assume it's because he's low on energon. If that's the case, though, shouldn't he be unable to stay transformed, as demonstrated in "A Decepticon Raider in King Arthur's Court"?
- Why is Bonecrusher giving orders to the other Constructicons? Is Scrapper just really depressed because his bid for Decepticon leadership didn't work out in the movie?
- Also, suddenly the Combaticons and Stunticons are amongst the Decepticons again; they were curiously absent in the movie. Furthermore, Onslaught and the others appear to be badly damaged, suggesting they somehow played a part in the battle for Autobot City. Can you say... retcon? (I suppose it's possible that they were part of the battle for Cybertron when Unicron attacked. But they were still missing from the movie.)
- Suddenly, the terms "Autobot City" and "Metroplex" are used synonymously. There was never any indication in the movie that Autobot City was a Transformer; the Autobots had to operate multiple control panels to get the city to transform. (Personally, I think somebody came up with the idea of making the city an Autobot after watching the movie and deciding it would make a neat toy.)
- Also, if the original transformation cog was supposedly destroyed during the movie as Perceptor claims... then how did they transform the city from battle station mode back to city mode after the "great battle"?
- I suppose this is as good a time to ask as any: When Cyclonus and the Sweeps visit Unicron's head, why is there so much room inside the behemoth's skull? There's even a floor to walk around on--that certainly is convenient, isn't it? (I'm beginning to wonder if Unicron wasn't originally designed to be a manned station--like the Giant of Bab-il from Final Fantasy II, just to name an example off the top of my head.)
- Exactly how does Scourge make the determination that Galvatron is alive just by spotting his immobile hand sticking out of a plasma pool? Based solely on that image, personally I would conclude that Galvatron was dead. (I also question the fact that there are no planets or other celestial bodies obstructing Scourge's view across what appears to be half the galaxy.)
- When Blaster and Outback arrive in Carbombya, Blaster expresses concerns that it will be impossible to find the Decepticons, who are hidden amongst Abdul Fakkadi's other aircraft. Did it ever occur to Blaster to look for their Decepticon insignias, which are clearly visible on Dirge and Ramjet's wings and nosecones?
- I find it unlikely that the Autobots would know of Chaar's existence before this episode. The Decepticons have evidently had no interaction with the Autobots since they were kicked off of Cybertron; they certainly don't have the resources to launch an attack, and Rodimus is surprised at their situation when he and Grimlock visit Chaar. The Autobots have no first-hand knowledge of the planet (they didn't know its location until this episode), so how do they know of it at all?
- How, exactly, did Rodimus and Grimlock get all the way up to that mountain peak on Chaar? It would be awfully tough to climb all the way up there (and seemingly pointless--surely that's not the only vantage point from which they can observe unnoticed), and you'd think the Decepticons would have noticed a ship dropping them off.
DIALOGUE AND SOUND EFFECTS: (16)
- When this episode was rehashed for the fifth season, Victor Caroli's opening narration was replaced with a similar, but not identical, voiceover courtesy of the computer-generated Optimus Prime puppet.
- On Chaar, when Scavenger knocks poor Bonecrusher out of the way to get to the energon, Bonecrusher lets out a generic Ultra Magnus-style scream. Then, when Hook pushes Scavenger in turn, Scavenger yells in the same voice. Finally, after the Constructicons combine and push Astrotrain out of the way, Astrotrain screams in the same voice. Apparently, Jack Angel was cast for these "background cries" even though Astrotrain was the only character he voices in this scene (and it's not his voice, either). Also, none of these screams are Transformer-amplified.
- After Menasor knocks Devastator into his component parts, he reassembles (very slowly) with no transforming sound effect.
- As Cyclonus and the Sweeps arrive, Astrotrain is stuck in half-train, half-robot mode. When he finally manages to complete his transformation, there's no transforming sound effect.
- In Autobot City, as Warpath and Bumblebee are watching the Olympics on the monitor, Bumblebee seems to be mouthing something. (I think the animators thought he was making all the audience cheers we hear on the monitor.)
- Warpath's voice sounds muffled when he says, "Zowie! We sure do have an unusual leader, don't we? Boing!" Also, the slots on his face plate aren't glowing blue when he speaks, as they did in "Hoist Goes Hollywood."
- As Springer and Arcee are applauding at the Olympics, their hands are making fleshy clapping sounds instead of metallic ones (as we hear later in part 4).
- When we first hear the "mystery villains" (read: Quintessons), their voices are deepened. I'm guessing they did this so we wouldn't recognize their voices from the movie (for all the good it does).
- After the Skuxxoid ignites the torch, Arcee and Springer's voices are heavily amplified. What, is the fog making their voices echo somehow? I don't get it.2
- Hmm, there must be a throat infection going around Autobot City. Rodimus, Ultra Magnus, and Kup all sound different--almost as though they got new voices. (Wink, wink.)
- When Scourge spots Galvatron on Thraal, Galvatron lets out a low moan. I was excited when I first saw this episode, because after hearing this moan, I thought that Leonard Nimoy would still be doing Galvatron's voice. Actually, Frank Welker took over the part; but whoever did that moan is definitely not Welker. (It's the same voice as the Unicron moan from earlier in the episode.)
- And more importantly, how, exactly, does Scourge hear Galvatron's moaning? With his telescopic... hearing??
- Abdul Fakkadi hails from an African country (as confirmed in "Thief in the Night"), but he sounds like he's doing a lousy Boris Badenoff impression.1
- When Springer and Arcee land on the rockaroid, before they actually meet the Skuxxoid, if you listen carefully you can hear him go, "I surrender, I surrender!" He says this again at full volume a moment later, face to face with the Autobots. Was he just rehearsing his performance?
- When the Skuxxoid is reporting the success of his mission to the Quintessons and they offer to let him live by way of a "bonus," the Skuxxoid, on the Quintessons' monitor, puts out a hand in protest. Well, one of the sound effects editors dubbed in a sound of his claw touching the glass, making it seem as though Scukzy isn't on the monitor at all, but rather standing right behind the glass!
- The first time Onslaught speaks in this episode--"I admire your passion, my friend. But what is our hope of defeating the Autobots, when we can barely sustain ourselves?"--his voice is way off. It's the same voice Wildrider uses a few moments later ("These guys better have some energon for us"), which is also the wrong voice (it may be the same actor, but it's a completely different take on the character than we saw in his last appearance, "Masquerade"). Steve Bulin voices Onslaught; I don't know whether he does Wildrider too. Either way, Onslaught's voice has resumed its normal accent by part 2.
ANIMATION AND CONTINUITY: (77)
- The five-part mini-series got its very own title sequence. Here's a quick rundown of the glitches:
- Near the beginning, several Decepticons all tackle a single lonely energon cube, symbolic of their plight on Chaar. (Actually, they use Cybertron as a backdrop, but whatever.) Among these Decepticons is Shockwave, who shouldn't be appearing at all. Furthermore, he's colored entirely grey, with a black head, black boots, and a light blue chest window--almost like Megatron, but not quite.
- Also in this scene, Soundwave's backpack is grey instead of blue.
- In the scene on planet Goo, when Springer flies off (never mind that in the actual episode, he is unable to escape the goo) the front of his helicopter mode flashes from green to yellow and back.
- The first minute or so of the episode, of course, was taken from the movie. I almost wish they hadn't done that; the sudden shift to the low-quality, Hanna-Barberaesque animation is very jolting. It's almost their way of saying, "Look! The animation in this episode is going to be really lousy, especially compared to the movie!"
- When Astrotrain first lands and the Constructicons run toward the energon he drops, Hook is colored like Scavenger and Scrapper is colored like Hook.
- When Astrotrain struggles to transform and manages to stick his head and arms out, the front of his train mode ends up on his back. It actually forms his legs, as we saw in "Blaster Blues."
- As the Constructicons are fighting amongst themselves right before they combine, Scrapper's eyes are flashing from red to grey and back.
- When Devastator forms, Bonecrusher's arms form the bulldozer treads and his legs form the top of the bulldozer (it should be the other way around). Also, Scavenger appears to form Devastator's chest and Hook becomes Devastator's back (?).
- As Menasor knocks Devastator apart with his sword, Devastator has separate eyes instead of a connected visor.
- Then, when Dev's pieces fall to the ground, they aren't Constructicons--they're Constructicon parts.
- After this, Menasor takes a step back, his arms at his sides. In the very next scene, however, his left hand is stretched out in a defensive stance.
- In this same scene, Devastator stands up, and his right leg continues to go up... and up... and off the screen. Limber boy, that Dev.
- Right before Menasor knocks Devastator apart for the second time, another vehicle--Long Haul?--levitates up the screen.
- After Dev gets knocked apart again, only Bonecrusher, Scavenger, Hook and Long Haul fall to the ground. Where are Scrapper and Mixmaster?
- In my review of the movie, I balked at Shrapnel's presence on the Planet of Junk because the Insecticons had previously been turned into Sweeps. Well, now Kickback is back among the Decepticons, too. I have to assume that these are a few straggling survivors of the Insecticon clone army (or else the guys that got turned into Sweeps were).
- When Astrotrain steps up after Cyclonus arrives and laments the loss of Megatron, he's looking quite beat up. In the very next scene, he's brand-spanking shiny just like Cyclonus.
- Devastator and Menasor both seem too small during the above scenes. The energon cube Devastator picks up is about the size of his hand, and yet he clutched Optimus Prime in his fist easily in "City of Steel." Also, at one point Menasor steps up and Astrotrain comes up to his chest, yet in "Cosmic Rust" Megatron only came up to Menasor's knee.
- Among the spectators watching the opening of the Galactic Olympics is a robot who's trying to applaud, but can't seem to get his hands closer than a few inches apart.2
- The marching band that's playing at the Olympics, incidentally, steps right off the dirt path they're on and proceeds straight into the grass. (Hey, don't knock it--the band came free with the catering truck.)
- When Ultra Magnus appears on Warpath and Bumblebee's monitor, the microphone in front of Magnus is colored red (I guess they thought it was part of his body) instead of grey.
- When Warpath first sits down, Powerglide is seated to his right, colored like Bumblebee. In the very next scene, Bumblebee is seated there instead.
- As I mentioned in the movie bloopers, almost every single one of the movie characters actually has two character designs. The original designs are what the toys were based on, which is why I tend to refer to these models as the "toy designs." After the toys were already being worked on, somebody decided to tweak the characters' designs very slightly. These are the models that were used in the finished movie, so I refer to them as the "movie designs." Sometimes the animators used the outdated toy designs during the third season. It's almost always the Korean studios that do this, which makes me think that nobody bothered to send them the updated models. (Akom was probably working on "Five Faces of Darkness" at the same time that Toei was doing the movie.)
This is one of the episodes that uses the alternate toy designs for the characters. For Rodimus Prime, the panels inside his shoulders aren't colored grey, and the wheels on his arms are black (this makes more sense to me, actually). Also, in the movie Rodimus Prime was the same magenta color that Hot Rod was, but starting with this episode, Rodimus is more of a dark maroon. (He will revert to that magenta color whenever he reverts to Hot Rod, though.)
- In one of the events, Jazz is racing a blue car and a yellow car. These two guys fall into a pit during the obstacle course, but a moment later they're right back alongside Jazz again.
- As Jazz approaches the finish line, his Autobot symbol is white instead of red. Then when he transforms, his front bumper is white instead of red and the top panel on his chest is white instead of blue.
- Rodimus, Magnus and Kup are seated at a stadium, but as the "mystery villains" (read: Quintessons) observe them on their screen, there's a blue sky background behind them. Also in this scene, Magnus is missing the Autobot symbol on his right shoulder.
- A note on the Skuxxoid's outfit: What is he wearing a chastity belt for?
- When he presses the button on his little device to ignite the torch, the button changes color.
- After the flare goes off, during the ensuing panic some alien runs right over the top of one of the obstacle course pillars as though it were merely a painted backdrop. (Hmm...)
- As the "mystery ship" (read: Quintesson cruiser) flies overhead, it doesn't spiral like it did in the movie. (Must have been too challenging to animate.)
- After the pod is ejected containing the "mystery captors" (read: Sharkticons) and Rodimus fires on it, part of Magnus's chest component is red instead of blue.
- I find it amazing that said "mystery captors" are never illuminated--even from the laser blasts that hit them dead center! These guys are so utterly hidden in shadow, they're even darker than the inside of the pod they climb out of. Now that's really hidden in shadow!
- When Magnus and Arcee fire upon them, Magnus is missing the details on his lower right leg.
- After the first commercial break, right before Spike is captured, he doesn't seem to be standing on anything.
- In the next scene with Arcee and Springer, they forgot to draw the front bumper on Arcee's chest, so they colored the entire bottom half of her chest grey (only the bumper should be grey; the rest is pink).
- As Rodimus cries, "Munch protons!" they draw him with Hot Rod's face. The only difference between the two are the extra lines on his cheeks that roughly approximate age lines, and make him look more mature. (This will happen quite a bit in the series, and I must say in all fairness that it's an easy mistake to make. After all, Hot Rod and Rodimus Prime are basically identical except for a few pen strokes.)
- Also, in that scene he runs off toward the battle, but in the very next scene he's back with Magnus and Kup, then moves off.
- After Arcee shoots the "mystery captor" (read: aah, never mind), he drops his gun and it vanishes.
- Once the battle ends, Arcee puts her gun away on a hip holster which she didn't have before. (Somebody needs to tell that girl about subspace.) Also, her gun is pink in this episode--it was grey in the movie. (Actually, she went through two guns in the movie, so this will be her third.)
- As Rodimus promises to "trash every Decepticon in the galaxy," he goes from a Rodimus face to a Hot Rod face and back.
- The ship that bursts through the crust of the planet and rockets off into space is not the Skuxxoid's ship.2 The ship Springer and Arcee chase later is orange and kinda boxy. This ship is white and has a long neck--in fact, it's the same ship Blaster and Outback are piloting a few scenes down the road.
- As Arcee and Springer speed off to find a ship to pursue Scukzy, Arcee catches up with Springer in car mode, but in the next scene she's way behind him again. (My sister found this one, by the way.)
- I try not to comment on the way things are drawn as long as they're technically correct, but that's really a hideous drawing of Cybertron as we cut to Blurr and Wheelie's departure. Why didn't they just use a backdrop painting?
- When we first see the head of Unicron, he's entirely grey and there's no sign of Cyclonus. In the next scene, Unicron is back to his grey-and-orange colors, and Cyclonus has appeared near his eye socket. Also, Cyclonus seems much larger than he should be. He looks like he could barely fit inside that eye socket--isn't this the same eye that Hot Rod crashed an entire Quintesson cruiser through?
- Four Sweeps (including Scourge) show up inside Unicron's head. Careful observation of the movie reveals that a total of five were created. So where'd the fifth Sweep go?
- The last visual appearance of Galvatron is, of course, from the movie. (I would have much preferred to see the animators redo the scene. It wouldn't have been drawn as well, but it beats recycling footage.)
- Oh, can we discuss Abdul Fakkadi again for a moment? He must frequent the same tailor who gave the pirates their snazzy, multi-region, multi-era look in "Dinobot Island." Where should we start? Supposedly, this guy is from an African nation right? Well... The epillettes on his shoulders? That's strictly a French uniform thing. The three white stars on his right breast? Only American uniforms have these. And the symbol on his hat seems to be derived from the Russian double-eagle symbol... although it also kinda looks like the Batman insignia.1
- In Carbombya, both Ramjet and Dirge are blue when Blaster... er, stares right at them.
- Then when Blaster and Outback disembark from their ship, one of Fakkadi's jets is colored blue like Dirge.
- When Outback breaks out his explosive, the door on his right shoulder disappears for an instant.
- I promised myself I wouldn't comment any more on the constant appearances of 3-D viewscreens on this show. Rodimus is using one when he talks to Outback. Let's just say they have the technology by 2005 and be done with it, shall we?
- Back inside Autobot City, as Perceptor examines the remains of the Sharkticon, the close-ups of Rodimus have a blue sky background behind him. Did they open Metroplex's sun roof or something?
- Perceptor's Autobot symbol is white when he suggests that Rodimus take Grimlock along.
- Grimlock, by the way, is once again back to his one-piece helmet design.
- When we cut from Autobot City to Springer and Arcee's pursuit of the Skuxxoid, the scene bumper goes from an Autobot to Decepticon symbol. Does that seem right?
- As Springer and Arcee's ship approaches the rockaroid, it's white with an orange nose and wings. When the claw grabs the ship, however, it's entirely white.
- After the Autobots commandeer the rockaroid, as Springer grabs the throttle is disappears for a second.
- Here's a problem I've seen on just about every episode of Inspector Gadget and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles... The Skuxxoid uses a handheld communicator to report to his "mystery bosses," but on their monitor, he can be seen holding the communicator. Does that seem right?
- When we cut from the Skuxxoid to Chaar, the scene bumper goes from an Autobot symbol to a Decepticon symbol.
- I count at least 40 Decepticon on Chaar. That's about ten Decepticons too many (unless of course there are some from Cybertron that we never saw before).
- Why is Onslaught in such pathetic shape? He wasn't even in the movie (although it's possible he was on Cybertron the whole time, and got the chips kicked out of him when the Autobots retook their homeworld).
- At one point Dirge appears on Chaar. Not only did the Autobots let him go as soon as they interrogated him, they shipped him Galactic Express--"For when your Decepticons absolutely, positively, have to get there overnight!" (Then again, maybe it's just Thrust colored wrong.)
- As Cyclonus returns, no fewer than six Sweeps accompany him back to Chaar! What's up here--did the Sweep that used to be Shrapnel retain his cloning powers? Or did Cyclonus manage to bring Unicron back to life and get him to make another Sweep out of Frenzy? (That might explain why we never see him.)
- What, precisely, is this box Cyclonus is carrying with him? Does it contain information about Thraal's location? I thought Scourge had already spotted the planet. Is it supposed to hold the Decepticons' energon contributions? I thought Cyclonus and the Sweeps would fuel themselves with it. What's the deal with the box?
- When Wildrider comments, "These guys better have some energon for us," Drag Strip's visor is blue instead of red.
- After Cyclonus reports that Galvatron survives, the Decepticons cheering in the background are as follows: Tantrum (who's not supposed to show up yet); a Decepticon jet (Starscream/Thundercracker/Skywarp), colored like Ramjet (with no arm-mounted guns); Octane; and Soundwave with no Decepticon symbol.
- After Cyclonus kneels down next to Astrotrain, Cyclonus lifts his left arm for a moment, but the drawing of his arm touching the ground remains underneath it.
- Following Cyclonus' energon-evangelist speech, the 'Cons in the background are: Headstrong, colored like Tantrum; Galvatron; a grey Blast Off, and Starscream colored like Dirge again.
- When Motormaster makes his energon contribution, Hook is kneeling beside Soundwave and Hook's hand is overlapping Soundwave's foot.
- Then, when Motormaster collapses, Hook is colored like Dead End.
- When Cyclonus spots Rodimus and Grimlock and leads the charge, two Motormasters follow his lead (which is two Motormasters too many, since he just fell unconscious).
- As the Decepticons charge, one of them (it's impossible to tell who) is colored like Fireflight.
- In a high angle of the charge, one of the Sweeps is colored like Breakdown.
- In the last scene of the episode, Dead End is colored like Breakdown, and Soundwave's cassette window is flashing from light blue to dark blue and back.
- During the end credits, Casey Kasem's name is incorrectly spelled "Kasey Kasem."
- Here's a list of the shots from the credits sequence, and which episode of "Five Faces of Darkness" they came from (this credits sequence is used for the rest of the season):
- Jazz (or Unka Spenka, his twin) winning the race, part 1
- Galvatron, transforming after having destroyed Thraal, part 2
- Springer trying to escape planet Goo, part 3
- Arcee following suit after Springer leaves the Olympics, part 1
- Cyclonus landing on Chaar, part 1
- Jazz participating in the race, part 1
- Cyclonus and the Sweeps beginning to transform and land on Chaar, part 1
- Galvatron preparing to destroy Thraal, part 2
- Kup attacks a Quintesson guard, part 2
- The Sweeps departing from Thraal, part 2
- Springer landing after dousing the Olympic torch, part 1
- Cyclonus landing on Chaar again (somebody really liked this scene, I guess), part 1
- Kup transforming on Quintessa and preparing to "rush 'em and pray," part 2. In this scene, Kup is running in place before he transforms; in the finished episode, they cut that part.
- Unidentified red robot in the Olympics, part 1
- Springer, off to find a ship, part 1. The really interesting thing here is that in the finished episode, the background is scrolling, but in this version of the scene, it isn't moving. The end result is that Springer appears to be running in place for a moment before he transforms.
- Dick Gautier took over for Judd Nelson (Hot Rod/Rodimus Prime); Jack Angel replaced Robert Stack (Ultra Magnus); John Stephenson took over for Lionel Stander (Kup); Peter Cullen replaced Eric Idle (Wreck-Gar); and Frank Welker, the original Megatron, replaced Leonard Nimoy (Galvatron).
- This is probably a reference to The Transformers: the Movie. One of them is Optimus Prime, who hesitated firing on Megatron for fear of hitting Hot Rod-as-shield, and got himself killed in the doing. The other is most likely Ultra Magnus, who was destroyed on the Planet of Junk. The problem here is Ultra Magnus technically wasn't looking after Hot Rod, who wasnt even on the Planet of Junk when this happened (he was on Quintessa). I suppose one could make a good argument for the other guy being Kup.
Since I first posted these bloopers, several fans have mentioned that they though the "last two guys" in question were Ultra Magnus and Kup, who got kidnapped in this episode. I may just be reading into things way too much, so you get points for that answer, too.
©1999 Inspiration Studios