(BattleBots: The Gears Awaken is available for streaming online via Hulu, or ABC GO.)
I’m back. You’re back. They’re back. We’re back (A Dinosaur’s Story). Approximately one year ago this website relaunched in celebration of BattleBots’ return to the airwaves courtesy of ABC. Since then we’ve touched on the first UK Robot Wars event, a fake event from a terrible cartoon, and we’re currently smack in the middle of revisiting the original Comedy Central seasons. Right now, however, we’ve come back around to where it all began for BattleBots Update 2.0. Last month I had the privilege of being able to check out the brand new season of BattleBots in person and it was phenomenal. Finally, one month later, the first proper episode of this insane event has made it to air. It’s robot fighting time, and it’s also robot riffing time.
This episode starts out awfully metaphysical. “What form will victory take,” asks the narrator, who then goes on to ask twice if it’ll be a blade before defaulting to… a tank? Basically, sword twice, and if not that then it’s gotta be a heavily armored military vehicle. Those are the only options, while Steven Seagal is The Final Option. Then, because fucking drones are allowed this season, “with air support” gets tacked on while they roll footage of a drone shooting fire but not doing much else. I could go into details regarding why no other type of drone footage exists, but I signed a document stipulating that I will surrender ownership of two “non-essential” bodily organs to Disney if I reveal any spoilers from this show. Instead, enjoy a shot of Bombshell’s drone not being of any practical help by diarrheaing fire all over Bombshell.
This guy just keeps on going with the voice over, though. Now he’s yammering about single purpose tools while Ray Billings shows up as the second coming of Christ or something and Hal Rucker finishes his daughter’s magician cosplay. Then, fucking Rob Zombie of all people appears and as it turns out he’s not Rob Zombie at all but a super spooky SKELETON GHOST. This teaser video is off the goddamned hook, the hype is real. There are so many hits from so many fights and I hope we get to see every single one of them even if it means I end up running out of jokes halfway through the season and this blog just turns into me copying and pasting the phrase “and now we point and laugh” over and over again. Seriously, I’ve had to watch this intro multiple times just to catch everything because I see something new every single time, like how Brutus’ driver threatens to shoot us through the television as he holds golden fucking guns in a manner inconsistent with his skin tone. This dude just carries around gold firearms like his every day life is multiplayer mode in Goldeneye 007.
There’s too much in this intro. The robot-to-hype ratio is sloughing years off of my lifespan, it’s too much. Warhead shows up sporting a massive dinosaur head and Chomp is back looking like the most ferocious suitcase I’ve ever seen. Wrecks looks like it’s about to throw Witch Doctor out of the arena while Bite Force stands by with a GoPro so they can make an extreme sports compilation video on YouTube later. Anime cat ears, furries, profanity, Chuck Pitzer moments before slaughtering the entire production crew, flamethrowers, AMERICA, Obwalden Overlord’s fucking Real Steel suit nonsense. Are you seeing all this? Like, for real? Are you seeing everything that I am seeing, or did I pass out from a lack of oxygen to my brain and I’m just hallucinating the rest of this episode? Is this real? Am I real? Is Rob Zombie really a skelterman?
Samantha Ponder greets us and welc– hang on, I need to pour one out for Molly McGrath. I totally called this last season, by the way. So, Sam’s the new girl and speaking of things being remodeled it looks like Mark Setrakian’s table has been given a new coat of paint or something. The sculpture’s name is “Axis”, just in case you were wondering. Last season I referred to it as the “Dr. Claw Dildo Table” and it turns out if you search for “battlebots claw table” on Google this website is the first result, specifically showing the phrase “Dr. Claw Dildo Table”. The table’s actual name doesn’t even appear until the 5th search result. So uh, I kind of just want to offer an inconceivable amount of condolences and a personal apology to Mark. Please don’t kill me with Mechadon.
Sam hands the show over to Chris and Kenny, who’ve returned from last season because Kenny has run out of faces to beat up and Chris finished all of his coloring books. Chris immediately starts talking to Sam like she’s a fucking retard so I guess some things never change. I’ve mocked progressive culture relentlessly for at least a couple of years now but I think I finally understand what the term “mansplaining” means.
The editors toss up a massive (and almost impossible to read at first glance) infographic regarding how tonight’s episode is going to work. Eagle-eyed viewers on Reddit noticed almost immediately that Ultraviolent, the first robot from the “1” rumble category, also appears in the top row of primary competitors, third from the right. Don’t pay any attention to that. That’s not a real thing. Ignore that. Ultraviolent… there’s uh, two of them. Actually no, all of the robots are the same robot you just haven’t noticed it yet. Fuck, this distraction isn’t working. Uh, HEY is that Obwalden Overlord I see? Haha, what a piece of shit am I right? What is this, Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots? I mean it’s BattleBots, not awkward after regrettable-sex cuddling you guys get with it.
Chris asks Kenny to tell the world what a “rumble” is. Kenny starts his answer like a beauty pageant model trying not to vomit up the last of her meal replacement shake on national television. Kenny manages to hammer out an answer while Chris reminds us that there’s no hazards in these matches. That’s cool dude, there weren’t any hazards in the entirety of the last season either. We’re used to it, but thanks for the heads up! Also, I want to say someone at BattleBots had Chris make that fucking Se7en “what’s inside the box” reference just to spite me, but I think I’d be inflating my ego just a little bit too much. I’m not that important; the principle of Occam’s Razor points to Chris being a See N’ Say toy that only spits out dated pop culture memes.
Sam gets the audience hyped and I make the first of my many background appearances this season. If you look closely, next to the guy on the left holding up what is literally a sign with a fucking furry stripper on it there’s a guy in a red shirt clapping like a maniac. I’m directly camera left of him. Hi!
Chris introduces Son of Whyachi and compares Terry Ewert to Michael Jordan, which according to the NBA rulebook is a crime against basketball. This dude works for ESPN, he’s paid to know these things. Fucking come on, Chris. It only gets better from here because Chris’ introduction of Creepy Crawlies requires him to slap Kenny in the face which is fantastic and I’d make a GIF of it if I weren’t technologically incompetent in that regard. This whole first fight is a goddamned nightmare of production, case in point when Ultraviolent’s driver walks straight into the camera and audibly blips the microphone. Cool Knight Rider shades dude, maybe you shouldn’t wear them when you’re doing anything other than taking a new Tinder profile picture.
ULTRAVIOLENT vs. SON OF WHYACHI
vs. CREEPY CRAWLIES
Team TI Joe
Weapon: Lifting arms
SON OF WHYACHI
Weapon: Spinning overhead blade
Team Creepy Crawlies
Weapon: Hydraulic pincers
Ultraviolent is a new robot built and sponsored by Titanium Joe, meaning that everyone at this event who bought their armor from them are probably in for a nasty surprise. This robot is what happens when the only two things you liked as a child were Knight Rider and Tron. Pay attention during Ultraviolent’s intro and you’ll get a better shot of its driver’s ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY sunglasses. The ones he was wearing when the almost took out the studio camera that probably cost more than his robot. Ultraviolent’s weapon is a pair of lifting forks that extend across the entire robot, and here’s some bonus trivia that Kenny recorded on tape but the editors didn’t share: Ultraviolent’s lights apparently change color based upon how the robot is “doing”, so we’re pretty much seeing the fucking reincarnation of Plan X here.
Hardcore fans of BattleBots will immediately recognize Son of Whyachi, a former heavyweight champion that defeated Biohazard by entering the heavyweight division as a walker on technicality which pretty much let the team fight as a super heavyweight in that class. I’m not saying that’s cheating, but I will say that was 2001’s version of the “net in a box”. Now that all of the Whyachi fanboys have closed their web browsers and said something nasty about me on Reddit, I’m free to say whatever I want now. Son of Whyachi’s weapon is its overhead three-pronged spinner (nicknamed “The Poop Copter”) which appears to be powered by eight goddamned motors and, if Kenny Florian is to be believed, spins at over 200 MPH. If Chris Rose is to be believed, the robot is driven by Michael Jordan.
Creepy Crawlies is a robot that I want to like, and under any other circumstances I want to say this multibot would do well. Considering they were “drawn” to fight Son of Whyachi however, I guess Fruit’s arena introduction is more or less a eulogy instead. Creepy Crawlies consists of five miniaturized Robot Wars competitors (Panic Attack, Diotoir, Bigger Brother, Chronic, and Dantomkia) all armed with hydraulic pincers. The main idea of the robot is to act like those annoying fucking mini-Goombas from Super Mario Bros that latch on to you and prevent you from jumping; that’s a horrible comparison but that’s the one I’m sticking with. To my knowledge there has never been a five-part multibot entered in BattleBots before, the most I can recall are clusters of three, so there’s substantial new ground being broken with Creepy Crawlies. That’s worth something at least. Probably a plane ticket back to the UK. Yes I stole that joke from Jeremy Clarkson; what’s he gonna do about it, fly over here with his kite face and punch me?
When the match begins, the Creepy Crawlies team is understandably not sure what the fuck to do because this is not a fight they are going to win. Son of Whyachi’s spinning blade weighs more than twice of the minibots so that’s basically like driving a Prius and getting hit by a freight truck that’s somehow traveling faster than the speed of fucking sound. Meanwhile, Ultraviolent starts flipping around with its forks and doesn’t leave its starting square. The “Bigger Brother” Crawlie tries to back into Son of Whyachi, which might have worked if this were the full size Bigger Brother, but since it’s basically a goddamned lightweight the minibot is instead erased from history and thrown against the far wall taking “Diotoir” Crawlie with it.
“Panic Attack” Crawlie starts trying to nibble on Ultraviolent, who still hasn’t moved a goddamned inch, but shies away once the larger predator comes in for the easy kill. Son of Whyachi promptly destroys the back left wheel of Ultraviolent and causes the robot to start doing handsprings, because if Ultraviolent is going to die then god damn it it’s going to go down being what it wanted to be instead of a BattleBot: an Olympian gymnast. I should also point out that during this particularly gruesome beating, Ultraviolent’s wheels haven’t changed color one bit. I guess “blue” means either “absolutely ambivalent” or “meth-induced coma”. Son of Whyachi takes a moment to knock out “Dantomkia” Crawlie, which looks like it broke down when the Bigger Brother minibot was thrown at it earlier. “Chronic” Crawlie tries to run but fails to do so, resulting in its face literally disintegrating.
“Panic Attack” Crawlie is the only minibot left alive. Its frantic twitching in the corner of the arena while its buddy catches fire and burns to death and its desperate attempts to resuscitate “Diotoir” Crawlie implies that while Panic Attack might leave the arena in one piece, the arena will never leave Panic Attack. The only robot name more applicable than “Panic Attack” is “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder”. That robot has seen some serious shit. Those goofy ass ping pong ball eyes will never blink again.
The squadron of Creepy Crawlies is dead, strewn about the arena in more pieces than the robots themselves were originally built using, and Ultraviolent is knocked out because it never fucking worked to begin with. Son of Whyachi claims a knock out victory in this match because that was literally the only possible outcome here. This fight was basically a lightweight rumble that Son of Whyachi cheated its way into, kind of like how it did the heavyweight division in 2001. Roasted.
WINNER: Son of Whyachi, KO
BASILISK vs. BLACKSMITH vs. GEMINI
Team MBS Robotics
Weapon: Flipper (main) & drill (drone)
Team Half Fast Astronaut
Weapon: Chain-driven hammer w/ flamethrower
Team Free Radicals
Weapon: Spinning horizontal discs
Up next is another batch of new robots, starting with Basilisk who makes BattleBots history by being the first robot to enter the arena with a drone counterpart. I didn’t say it was good history, by the way, I just said it was “history”. Ultraviolent’s guy was the first person to enter the BattleBox wearing eye fedoras so make of that what you will. Basilisk’s primary robot features a pneumatic flipping arm while its drone is literally a flying drill press; the goal of the drone is to land on an opponent and then drill into its chassis like some kind of fucked up robot mosquito from your deepest darkest nightmare. That said, on a scale of 1-10, I give the drone’s perceived effectiveness a “you should’ve used that weight for something else” out of 10. You really think they’re going to be able to land that fucking thing on a moving target?
Blacksmith is one of my personal favorites from this season. Coming from Al Kindle, who’s been doing this for years, Blacksmith’s weapon is literally a hammer that breathes fire. I realize that sounds like the stupidest goddamned thing; I know it sounds like shit-tier World of Warcraft loot or something, but work with me here. The idea behind Blacksmith’s weapon is that the spikes on the hammer pierce the armor of its opponents, and then the fire comes in to light them up. That is such a Hail Mary play but wouldn’t that be fucking awesome if it worked? Blacksmith’s weapon seems completely improbable and somewhat impractical. It shouldn’t be possible to build this, but Al did because it’s one of the greatest highdeas in the history of the sport. At the very least, if Blacksmith fails then I’m sure Al could use it to make you a pretty sweet ass sword.
Finally, over in the weird greenish spotlight that Fruke keeps calling the “green square”, there’s Gemini. I like the overall idea behind Gemini — two identical robots that fight as a team — it was a neat idea the first time I saw it, back when someone did literally exactly this in Robot Wars. This iteration of the “Gemini” design concept features two robots armed with spinning discs instead of flippers, probably because having what amounts to two middleweights with lifting arms is a bad idea. I can’t really shit on Gemini too much because there’s not much there; the robots are pretty plain. If anything, they should be worried that all of their surface area presents nothing but opportunities both for Blacksmith’s hammer and Basilisk’s stupid drone. Shoutouts to Ted Cruz, the actual Zodiac Killer, for lending his moniker to Gemini’s arena introduction.
Somehow, Basilisk has already lost its fucking top. I don’t know how it happened, because there has been zero contact, so my best guess is shortly after watching their armor fall off Basilisk’s driver turned to his teammate and said “did you remember to tighten the goddamned screws on that?” Pause the fight with the clock at 2:56 and look between the two Ramrod hazards at the bottom of the screen; that’s Basilisk’s armor. Seriously. We’re off to a fantastic fucking start. Even better, Blacksmith is landing some solid blows right on top of Basilisk’s newly ventilated chassis. This would be a great time for some fire, but since Blacksmith’s weapon apparently only works in promotional shots I guess we’re not going to see any roasting. After a couple of pops, Blacksmith’s flame finally comes to life and the robot smashes Basilisk’s pneumatic arm back down which somehow completely knocks the robot out in the process. And nothing of value was lost.
With Basilisk suitably anesthetized, Blacksmith turns its attention to the two middleweights cruising around the BattleBox. Watch closely and you’ll see Blacksmith shatter the piece of black plastic that used to be Basilisk’s top plate with what Chris is now calling the “Big Time Hammer”. As fucking stupid of a name as that is, I like it. I’m going to start using it, because it’s exactly how a 7-year-old would describe Blacksmith’s weapon. The Big Time Hammer. Black Gemini gets knocked into the corner of the arena while the red robot follows suit and somehow ends up on top of its teammate after dealing some glancing blows to Blacksmith. With both bots stacked on top of one another, Blacksmith activates The Big Time Hammer’s “panini press” setting and goes to town on the multibot. Basilisk’s drone flies into the way of the shot to remind us that it exists because thus far that’s all these fucking things are good for: ruining shots.
Both constituents of Gemini have taken some serious damage and are currently fleeing from Blacksmith, so Al decides to go after Basilisk’s drone. Red Gemini shows back up to get in the way and promptly gets shoved into the arena wall over by its crippled buddy before Blacksmith brings its hammer down and blows up one of Red Gemini’s weird skateboard wheels. Basilisk’s drone lands in the background because no one is paying attention to it and its feelings are hurt. After sulking for all of ten seconds, the drone gets the bright idea to take a page from Tumblr and diagnose itself with histrionic personality disorder and immediately flies into the side of Blacksmith to get the attention it desires. As you might imagine, this kills the drone. Also somehow the primary part of Basilisk has come back to life??? Surely the robot was counted out like an hour ago, but I guess the temptation to bump into Blacksmith and do absolutely nothing was too strong.
Blacksmith finally smashes what was left of the drone and shovels it over near Basilisk to make it officially their problem before lighting up and going after Red Gemini. Al corners the miniature robot against the wall and just goes to town on it, smashing it over and over while the Basilisk team watches along with idle amusement since their robot managed to last all of about 20 seconds. I love how the transmitter for the dead drone just shows static by the way, presumably because its onboard camera was smashed to pieces. Blacksmith beats on Red Gemini so fucking hard with The Big Time Hammer that something burns out inside of the robot and Blacksmith retreats while smoking copiously. Chris starts to cheer on Blacksmith but since every word that comes out of this man’s mouth is a goddamned curse immediately after shouting “can he hang on” Blacksmith’s internals fucking blow up and the robot catches fire.
The mighty hammer bot is getting counted out right before our eyes which would give Gemini, who’s been pounded harder than a cheap whore, the knock out win with just three seconds left on the clock. However, by some miracle Blacksmith comes back to life and hobbles away, avoiding the count out and allowing the fight to go the full three minutes. I don’t even know how this went down the way it did; Blacksmith was literally on fire and just smoldering in the middle of the arena. Al must have prayed to the holy spirit of Ray Billings from the episode’s opener to bless his robot and allow Blacksmith to rise from the dead and extend its middle finger toward Gemini for the final three seconds of the round, because that’s exactly what happened. Glory!
WINNER: Blacksmith, Judges’ Decision.
There’s not really anywhere for me to put this mini section since it doesn’t quite fit in with the pacing of the show (they filmed this cutaway after the next fight — note the Mohawk team in yellow behind him — you’ll see why they had so much idle time to fill in just a second), but I felt it still needed addressing just because of how… wrong it is. I don’t even know if “wrong” is the right word here, but you’ll get what I mean. Alison Haislip, the post-fight interviewer whom I cordially referred to as “Tits Microphone” last season, is hanging out with Clark Gregg from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and is asking him some questions about his experience with BattleBots. If you’re familiar with historical content here on BattleBots Update, you’ll know I usually don’t give a shit about typing acronyms out correctly. I still don’t, I’m just typing the name of this stupid show correctly once for SEO purposes. I gotta get paid somehow.
So this Clark Gregg guy is an actor from this Marvel superhero show. I’ve never seen it. In fact, the most I’ve seen of this show is the last five minutes of the episode that ran before this episode of BattleBots. My summation of experience with Agents of SHIELD can best be summarized as “oh my fucking god can this stupid goddamned superhero show for retards finally be over I want to watch BattleBots for fuck’s sake”. I’ve never seen Agents of SHIELD. I never want to see Agents of SHIELD. I care so little about Marvel comics and superhero movies and all of their associated bullshit that if you were to take a measurement of my apathy on your Care-O-Meter™ the needle would actually loop back around in such a way that the reading would imply I was the biggest fan ever. I’ve thought more about the concept of “superhero” in writing this paragraph than I had in all of the year 2015 and probably every preceding year combined.
Clark starts ad libbing about how awesome the carnage is and pretty much just talks out of his ass for the sake of filming an impromptu spot for TV. You can’t fault him for that, however Clark makes the biggest mistake possible when you’re bullshitting about a subject you know nothing about; he treads into territory that you would only know if you were legitimately a fan of the sport. Clark says he’s excited for “the return of Whyachi”. You know… because there’s “the former Whyachi, and now the Son of Whyachi”. See, the problem here is that both Whyachi and Son of Whyachi existed at the same time. Whyachi was a super heavyweight and only competed in the series’ third Comedy Central season alongside Son of Whyachi which fought as a regular heavyweight. When BattleBots updated their rules and forced Son of Whyachi into the super heavyweight class, the original Whyachi was simply retired. Son of Whyachi has existed in some form for about fifteen years; there is nothing “new” about the robot at all.
That’s fine, Clark obviously doesn’t know that. The man is paid to pretend to be a superhero, not to know everything there is about BattleBots. That’s my job, and I make a hell of a lot less than he does because of it. I’m not pissed off at Clark at all, but he makes for a pretty amusing cautionary tale of biting off more than you can chew if you’re BS’ing on a topic you’ve only had about two hours’ worth of experience with. At the end of the day he’s going to go back to his job at the Daily Planet or whatever, and I’m going to sleep on a couch in a room that isn’t more than maybe 40 square feet in size.
MOHAWK vs. INVADER vs. LYCAN
Team Euclid Robotics
Weapon: Piercing jaw w/ flamethrower
Robotic Death Company
Weapon: Spinning outer shell
Team All Black Robotics
Weapon: Clamping jaw
Mohawk is the only robot from last season that is making an appearance in this episode. Whereas pretty much everyone else from last season was allowed to return and automatically qualify, Mohawk’s “dead in one hit” performance in a fight shorter in length than it takes you to read this sentence resulted in it being the bastard child that the producers couldn’t quite figure out if they wanted to see again. That’s Korey Kline for you, along with that great Team Loki quality. Mohawk hasn’t really changed all that much from last year in terms of design; it was and still is one of the many “me too” Razer robots that for some reason were extremely popular last year. I still don’t know why. Mohawk’s twist on the design is that fire shoots out from the tip of the pincer… and also lights up all the way across its “mohawk”. Because gimmicks. Basically what I’m getting at here is Mohawk was thrown into this rumble because the producers probably felt bad about saying “no” outright to the team, so they figured they could politely dispose of them in this manner instead.
If you’ve never heard of Invader, maybe you’ve heard of its near identical twin. Does Super Megabyte ring a bell for you? Under its original iteration “Megabite” performed pretty poorly at BattleBots way back in the day, however after turning into the hellacious full body spinner that it is today Megabyte famously gave Biohazard a beating so bad at the 2005 Combots Cup that the former BattleBots champion was forced into retirement. (Also, that video was uploaded to Team Wetware’s YouTube account. “Wetware” as in “Abbatoir” as in “literally my favorite robot”. The jokes on this stupid website go a lot deeper than you all sometimes think.) That said, Megabyte has been reincarnated as Invader and it’s here to hopefully wipe the smug grin off the Lycan guy’s face and also send Mohawk packing while he’s at it. It’s basically a heavyweight Ziggo.
There’s a lot I could say about Lycan and I don’t even know where to start. This guy, though. I’ve never met him personally, but the producers sure are trying to paint him like a giant douchebag. He’s been designing robots for “13 years”. The guy’s 26 goddamned years old, that means he was 13 when he started. There’s nothing wrong with that, however it’s a universal fact that no matter what it is you do, anything made when you were like 20 or younger is utter garbage not worth bragging about and doesn’t count. Trust me, there’s a very specific type of person who, in their twenties and onward, still holds their shitty Naruto & Harry Potter crossover fanfiction that they wrote in middle school in high regard. Those people get made fun of relentlessly on the Internet. Lycan is a decent robot at best. Buddy, you don’t have a big dick. What you do have is a clamp that is somehow worse than the thing Korey Kline just wheeled into the arena. You have bigger things to worry about besides where you’re going to put the Giant Nut that your hubris will not let you receive.
Also, in the shot immediately following Lycan entering the arena I’m in the upper left. Hi! Plus, shoutouts to sport historian and Robogames announcer Mark Elam who appears in the audience shot after Mohawk’s arena introduction (he’s the guy in the gray BattleBots shirt camera right of the kid dressed in blacklight nightmare clothes). Mark wasn’t even there that day but I guess his commitment to the sport allowed him to materialize on film like a ghost. At least he’s not a skellington ghost.
Lycan’s “thing” appears to be that it’s ridiculously fast and drifts around the arena like every fight is a game of Mario Kart or something. Mohawk makes first contact by backing into Lycan before letting the speedy robot plow into Invader which sends the spinner into one of the screw boxes and breaks it. Fun fact, it took the arena crew two goddamned days to fix the damage Invader just dealt to that hazard. This hit left a giant gash in Lycan’s face but also revealed Invader’s biggest flaw that I guess John Mladenik never fixed, the fact that Invader turns into the world’s deadliest hockey puck when hit hard enough. You can see Invader’s giant flagpole spinning around like crazy, that means its chassis under the shell is spinning around in the opposite the direction; John couldn’t drive that thing in a straight line now even if he wanted to. Instead, Invader bounces around to every single wall of the arena before making a complete lap back into the screw box it destroyed a few moments ago, just as an extra “fuck you” to the people who have to fix it later.
Mohawk carefully avoids the spinner, shooting flames as it does so to get us some of that delicious “implied action”. Lycan goes after Invader several more times because Lycan’s driver has balls the size of those novelty truck nuts that were popular last decade and he wants us all to know about them. The camera cuts to Invader’s driver who informs the referee that he’s completely lost control of his robot. This is important, and we will get back to this point later, but for now Lycan keeps charging at Invader thinking it can score free points with the judges for attacking a knocked out robot. Mohawk takes a shot from Invader because that’s all Lycan seems to be doing, so that’s gotta be the secret to winning this fight. Even Kenny acknowledges that attacking Invader is a stupid idea, something further cemented when one of Lycan’s pit members tells the driver “it’s dead” and specifically “don’t get [your robot’s] backend in there”. So what does Lycan do? Lycan takes a shot on the side after charging at Invader again like a fucking idiot.
The hit knocks one of Lycan’s drive chains loose which you can see flailing around as the robot spins 360’s in the middle of the arena. Lycan starts opening and closing its mouth because this is that robot’s way of doing that weird seething thing people do when they stub their toe really hard, except this is funnier because Lycan’s jaw manages to catch the broken chain and throw it across the arena. Mohawk starts to take advantage of this situation and after what feels like a week of watching it aimlessly stumble around the BattleBox it finally bites into Lycan’s tires and starts burning them. Lycan’s driver says “aw shit” because he’s finally noticed the refs are counting him out instead of Mohawk.
WINNER: Mohawk, KO
Alison interviews Mohawk’s team after the fight and Tom shouts out “we bite ’em we light ’em”, which is a cute enough catchphrase I guess. What’s funnier is the first take they did of Tom’s battle cry where he screwed it up and actually said “oh fuck” into the microphone. Pay close attention to the start of the interview and you’ll see Invader still spinning in the background. Chris even brings it up in their sendoff to commercials. The truth of the matter is something shorted out inside of Invader and the robot could not be deactivated. It spun like that for literally a fucking hour. During this time they filmed Mohawk’s interview and also that segment with Clark Gregg that I talked about earlier. That’s why I pointed out the Mohawk team in the background of that shot. The officials literally had to wait for Invader’s batteries to completely die before the arena was safe to enter and remove the bots.
Frankly, I’m surprised Trey Roski didn’t just call up Derek Young, who stopped the show with a net in a box last year, and say “we need your expertise on this one”.
BAD KITTY vs. SKORPIOS vs. BLACK ICE
Team Think Tank
Weapon: Vertical disc (main) & wedge (minibot)
Weapon: Articulated arm w/ saw
Team Black Ice
Weapon: Scoop chassis w/ cutting blades
In another life Bad Kitty was known as VD, or “Vertical Disc (of Destruction)”, the pride and joy of Team Think Tank responsible for countless destructive wins with its nasty weaponry. The antweight (1 pound) version of VD was so successful that for a period of time you could buy your own “VD kits” and build a carbon copy of the champion if your creativity skills were on par with Eric Bauman’s. That’s an old Web 1.0 joke that none of you are going to get. Bad Kitty is one of many “yesteryear robots” that were repainted and revived for ABC BattleBots, however one of the things I really don’t like about Bad Kitty is its minibot which serves pretty much no purpose whatsoever; it gives me the implication that the team just took VD, which competed under old heavyweight regulations of about 220 pounds, and decided to use their newfound extra weight on a minibot instead of improving their existing machine. All in all, Bad Kitty more or less looks like a Chinese knockoff of Witch Doctor.
Skorpios is another can of worms altogether. Orion Beach, the builder and driver of the robot, formerly competed with the Wrecks team last year. Wrecks is back again this year, however Orion bounced because that robot is a goddamned joke and he thought he could do better. He took the Bender approach and decided to build his own robot… with blackjack and hookers. The result of his labor is Skorpios, a robot with a wide chassis and front wedge whose primary weapon is a cutting disc mounted on an articulated arm. There are a lot of moving parts on this robot but thankfully none of them are as ridiculous as Wrecks’, so it looks like Orion has the right idea. Also, his name sounds like a secret level in the virtually unknown game Blast Corps.
Rounding out this fight and this episode is Black Ice, a robot that I personally think is pretty goddamned cool. Black Ice is absolutely no frills, it’s a basic design that hearkens back to simpler times in the sport. Fans on /r/battlebots on Reddit have been comparing it to La Machine, the robot that BattleBots founders Trey and Greg put together in the mid-nineties. It looks like a “we built this in the garage over the weekend” type of robot and to me that earns the robot an unfaltering charm. Black Ice’s primary weapons are its spinning blades hidden inside of its front scoop, however for this fight it’s also sporting a magnetic “road block” that it hopes to drop in the arena and disorient other robots with. Normally I’d say that’s a stupid idea, but thus far we’ve had a robot that only moved by flipping around, five lightweights, a drone, a hammer with a flamethrower inside of it, and a spinner that didn’t stop for almost the duration of a whole fucking movie. So par for the course I guess.
Black Ice deploys its road block immediately by making contact with Bad Kitty. Surprisingly, the blocker seems to work against the minibot. I really wouldn’t consider that a priority target, but hey he’s the guy that’s been in space not me. Skorpios tries to take Bad Kitty into the wall and fails to do so, lodging itself under the screws instead right in front of Chris who decides to try and start a conversation with the trapped robot. Skorpios doesn’t want to talk to Chris so it tries freeing itself from the screws by bringing its saw down onto the hazard. The shiny sparks start to distract Chris resulting in nobody, including the camera crew, noticing that Bad Kitty has somehow toppled over. This situation manages to right itself before Chris snaps out of his stimming fit.
Bad Kitty has a pretty formidable weapon, but it’s not able to do a goddamned thing to Black Ice thanks to Black Ice having a lower ground clearance. Bad Kitty tries to get in a shot but is immediately flipped over again, then righted once more by Black Ice. Meanwhile, Skorpios is still trying to free itself from the screws however the officials told them to stop cutting into the hazard because by this point they’ve sawed into it three fucking inches deep. Invader also blew one of the screws to hell in the previous fight so I’m sure the arena crew is forming a shit list of builders as we speak. While this is going on Black Ice careens head on into Bad Kitty’s minibot, throwing it against the wall. Kenny comments that Bad Kitty just needs “one good shot” to end this, but since thus far Bad Kitty has landed “literally no shots” the chances of that happening are pretty slim. Said chances get even slimmer when Black Ice backs into the robot and throws it on its back once again over near the wall.
This astronaut guy is shredding all kinds of ass around the arena with a robot that looks like it cost about a third of what its opponents have invested into their robots. For all the engineering that went into Skorpios the robot is dead in the water by virtue of its own bad design while the once legendary VD, as Bad Kitty, is being manhandled by what I can only describe as “Super Punjar”. Black Ice is whipping that pussy so bad that this fight is pretty much hardcore pornography by this point. Bad Kitty starts smoking near one of the screws and is finally KO’ed while Black Ice takes a well earned victory spin in the center of the arena. People just don’t do that anymore with their robots, Black Ice really is a relic of another era. Godspeed you crazy bastard.
WINNER: Black Ice, KO
Four rumbles, four winners, and 48 total robots that have qualified for the second ABC season of BattleBots (their seventh season overall). From here, the field of 48 will be whittled down to just 24, and 8 losing robots from the qualification round will return as wildcards. Last season I gave my overall review of the new show after its first episode and I pointed out some things that were a bit wishy-washy. I still don’t like that there’s three people hosting the show but for the most part BattleBots’ second ABC season has improved upon everything from the original reboot. I am so happy that this sport is making a comeback as strong as this one. If BattleBots was able to swing five seasons on fucking Comedy Central back in the day then I know with the resources of ABC backing it this time around BattleBots has the potential to be on TV for a very long time. American Idol got fifteen seasons, I know for a fact we can do better than that shit.
Thank you for coming back to BattleBots Update now that season two is officially underway! It’s not easy churning out near-7,000 word articles on a whim like this, but the support I get from the community makes it all worth it. The carnage is real, the destruction is phenomenal, and the tournament itself is as exciting as it is surprising. There are a lot of moments to come that will catch you off guard and a lot of new robots that will prove themselves in the arena. Take it from me, I was there, you won’t want to miss the rest of this event! Like Pretty Dress Lady said, season two continues June 23rd on ABC. Set your DVR, and if you’re still somehow living in 2003 set your VCR instead. Set the toaster. Fix the clock on the microwave. Update your antivirus. Follow BattleBots Update on Facebook. Do all that shit.
Also, the season premiere is a two hour episode. That’s going to be literal hell to write. God damn.
(Join us next week when we double back to the Comedy Central seasons and continue with season 1!)