Robot Combat

BattleBots Season 1 Review: Episode 4

Battlebots 2015 episode 4 bot damage

Amazing highlights from BattleBots Season 1, Episode 4

Featured image credit:  Zoe Stephenson and Chomp The BattleBot Facebook

Episode 4 picks up right where Episode 3 left of, which I guess is kind of the point, right? We are deep into the Round of 16 and fixing to get a lot deeper. Last week gave us one of the best bot battles ever to take place in the plexiglass arena. That’s not a robot opinion. That’s robot fact. Let’s hope this week we will get something as off the charts as Stinger v Warhead from Episode 3. And with Tombstone driver Ray Billings, the self-proclaimed bad boy of BattleBots in the mix, I’d say we’ve got a decent chance of lightning striking twice.

“Nobody gets inside my head. I got that beat out of me working at prison.”

I bet you did, Ray.

We’ve got four spots left to fill in the Round of 8, and twice as many rabid battle bot drivers willing to do pretty much whatever it legally takes to wrap up one of those spots. Actually, you can go ahead and remove ‘legally’ from that last sentence. Is he talking about robot murder or human murder? You’ll know soon enough!

Once again we are reminded this week of what all these gearheads are fighting for: the Giant Nut. Sounds like my high school career. I know I’ve explored this ground before, but can we BattleBots Giant Nut Awardall just take a moment to remind ourselves how perfect of a trophy the giant nut is? Not only is it refract light like the finest free-trade diamonds, it provides viewers and recappers with endless fodder for innuendo and immaturity. As I said: perfect.

This week’s matchups are shaping up to be quite juicy. Not only will we get to see Tombstone’s massive steel wonder blade destroy something someone holds dear, but we have a rare rematch between Lock-Jaw and Overhaul. Way back in Episode 2, Lock-Jaw escaped with a split decision victory in a match that was not without some personal tension between opposing drivers. And since everyone loves a petty pissing match, we’re poised to see them piss each other off once again!

Now that I’ve finally run out of off-the-cuff insults towards our hosts Chris Rose (white guy A) and Kenny Florian (white guy B), let’s skip the personal jabs and get straight to the fights, shall we? Good.

Bout 1: (9) Witch Doctor vs. (8) Overdrive

Witch Doctor Captain: Andrea Suarez

BattleBots Witch Doctor Team

Witch Doctor made it into the Round of 16 via a curious wild card gift after a somewhat embarrassing loss to Bronco in Episode 2. I guess the judges sympathized with the fact that Bronco is a baaaad mother shut-your -mouth and figured Witch Doctor has a few voodoo remedies left to prescribe. Or something like that. Thankfully, the damage suffered by the good doctor was mostly emotional, as a quick tune up got it back in tip top shape.

Witch Doctor is going to try to go at Overdrive’s exposed rubber wheels with flamebot sidekick, Shaman. We all know how I feel about how ineffective fire is in this competition, so I’ll skip it this time. We already saw Overdrive quite easily take out Chomp and its useless flame thrower, so there is precedent for potential miscues beyond the fact that fire LITERALLY DOES NOTHING.

What Witch Doctor really needs to do is be aggressive.

And as the famed BattleBots ring master says: “glippity gloppity glippity good, it just put a voodoo curse on you!” I want to call his writer and give them a gold star.

Overdrive Captain: Christian Carlberg

battlebots overdrive-team-1

We didn’t really get to know team Overdrive in Episode 2 as they were curiously glossed over, along with 7 other drivers, in the shotgun approach the show took to move the opening rounds along swiftly. Christian Carlberg is a veteran driver who enlisted his 12 year old daughter to help him in designing and building their brain child, Overdrive. Yes, it’s just a cute as it sounds. What the little girl lacks in years on this planet she more than makes up for in wit, charm, and adorable one-liners. You could replace her with Kenny Florian and literally no one would notice.

Overdrive’s strategy is to be a bully. Because it is so limited in any real weaponry, it is going to have to rely on pushing Witch Doctor around the arena while doing nothing about Shaman because it’s worthless. Christian is one of the elite drivers in the field, and will need to be once again if he’s going to pull off the victory.

Let’s Battle Some Bots!

Out of the shoot Overdrive goes right after helpless little mini flame bot Shaman! The adorable robot sidekick gets thrown away like a Christmas tree in January.

Huge hit by Witch Doctor! Overdrive is sent flying into the air. So far, Overdrives only offense seems to be picking on poor little Shaman. The distractor bot is working as advertised (for once). In a hilarious turn of events, Overdrive flips over and can apparently drive backwards.

After sitting and waiting for Overdrive to kick itself over, Witch Doctor moves in for another massive hit. This match has been about as one sided as a half minted quarter. These analogies doing anything for anyone?

Witch Doctor delivers the final blow after simply toying with the overmatched Overdrive. Can we start calling it Underdrive? Good. An electrical fire, some superlatives from our humble narrators and this match is ovah!

Winner: Witch Doctor – KO
Hot Take: This is me with egg on my face.

Bout 2: (1) Tombstone vs. (16) Radioactive

Tombstone Driver: Ray Billings AKA the bad boy of BattleBots

BattleBots tombstone_team

I feel like I’ve given Tombstone and its nefarious driver a generous amount of attention, and I do it with good reason. Ray is a cocky, insufferable, unpredictable menace of a driver and the confidence he exudes is on par with the destruction his robot dishes out. It’s a rare combination in this competition and worthy of being put under the microscope. In Episode 1, we saw Tombstone absolutely eviscerate Counter Revolution in comical fashion. Ray doesn’t just defeat his opponents. He mocks them. He taunts them. He toys with them because he knows the power at his fingertips he can unleash whenever his dark, dark soul needs feeding.

Tombstone only has one strategy because Tombstone only needs one strategy: fire up that blade and rip the fuck out of anything in the way. Look for Ray to go right at Radioactive and for words like “pulverized” and “mince-meat” and “boomshakalaka” being thrown around by our commentators. At least, I hope.

Radioactive Driver: Kane Aston

BattleBots radioactive_team

We didn’t learn much about Radioactive after an all too brief look at its first round matchup against Sweet Revenge in Episode 2. The same Sweet Revenge that was built and piloted by an ambitious and surprisingly capable group of Catholic school girls. Radioactive barely made it out alive and is going to have to come up with some serious firepower to avoid a six foot dirt nap at the hands of Tombstone.

Kane Aston leads a group of well-mannered Brits who you have to feel for this week. Being the 16 seed means a long, tall, daunting hill to climb. Radioactive’s strategy is going to be to avoid Tombstone’s spinning wheel of impending doom at all costs. Use the arena if you can, don’t get too close, and hope to go the distance and get in a few shots if you can. I wouldn’t be too confident though. That plastic body Radioactive boasts is poised to get all kinds of jacked up.

Let’s Battle Some Bots!

Before the fight even starts Kane Aston has issues with his “are you ready” button. Not a good sign.

In a grotesque display of cockiness and giving no fucks, Ray starts the match with his spinner sitting idle. He toys with Radioactive, who doesn’t really seem interested in being in the ring at the moment.

Tombstone finally fires up that spinner and goes in for a brutal opening hit. Kicking an already dead horse comes to mind. Actually, switch “kicking” with “taking a chainsaw to.”

After a futile and somewhat pathetic attempt from Radioactive’s ice pick hammer, Tombstone goes in for a pair of devastating hits. The maniacal smile grows on Ray’s grinch face.

“One more?” Ray asks the camera before the biggest shot of the match, rendering Radioactive even less active than at the start of the match. Game. Tombstone.

Winner: Tombstone – KO
Hot Take: Every story needs its villain. This one’s name is Ray.

Bout #3: (6) Lock-Jaw vs. (11) Overhaul (version 2.0)

Lock-Jaw Captain: Donald Hutson

BattleBots lockjaw_team

Donald was on the ass end of one of the coldest shoulders ever given at the end of his Episode 1 victory over the salty nerds from MIT. If you remember, Donald didn’t let up on Overhaul even well after the buzzer sounded, getting in a few late hits that rubbed team MIT in all sorts of wrong ways. It led to some hurt feelings and a legendary hand shake snub on the part of Overhaul’s driver. I’d say that kind of bad bot blood is perfect fodder for a Round of 16 rematch. It would seem the show runners would agree.

Lock-Jaw didn’t get too banged up in round one. A quick tune up puts it right back in fighting shape. The key this week? Don’t underestimate your opponent. In the first bout, Donald assumed his experience alone would be enough to stroll right into the Round of 16. What he encountered in Overhaul was no stroll at all, and it took a hair-thin judge’s decision to get Lock-Jaw the win last time. You can use that same hair to measure the difference between confident and cocky.

Overhaul Captain: Charles Guan (or leader of the young nerds from MIT)

BattleBots overhaul_team

This group of students who are way smarter than me are out for revenge. They’re still pissed about Lock-Jaw’s round one late hit and are putting all efforts into not just advancing, but enacting severe pain on their opponent. The team worked overnight to make a few tweaks to Overhaul in hopes of bettering their chances this time around. They’ve added MORE POWER to the clamp, making it faster and angrier. I’d say Overhaul underwent quite the…makeover.

Team future-leaders-of-America should implement the same strategy that almost got them a win in round 1: jab and move. If they can avoid the lockiest jaws in the competition and get in a few meaningful blows with their upgraded bot, they stand a chance to advance. Channel that nerd rage into uber focused robot driving and be the better team. I’d say if one of the team members wears cat ears during the fight they have no chance to lose (foreshadow alert).

Let’s Battle Some Bots!

A gentleman’s robot kiss to start the match. Perhaps the animosity has finally been swept under the rug? And we do, indeed have a cat ears sighting!

Overhaul wastes no further time and quickly grabs hold of Lock-Jaw’s rubber tire. It sinks in deep and the two interlocked bots tango around the ring like a couple of tango guys. “Lock-Jaw” needs a spare! Somebody check the trunk!” I don’t know how much they’re paying these commentators, but it’s not enough. Overhaul continues to lock down on the rubber tire, and Mr. Jaw can’t seem to do anything but incessantly flail.

Lock-Jaw is pretty much dead, but manages to release a quick pulse of fire, a weapon no one even knew it had. Only being able to blast fire is basically the same as being incapacitated. Sorry, bro, you’ve locked your last jaw.

Winner: Overhaul – KO
Hot Take: Looks like the Lock-Jaw got itself lock jawed.

Bout 4: (3) Bite Force vs. (14) Hypershock

Hypershock Captain: Will Bales

BattleBots HyperShock Team photo

Hypershock won a bittersweet round one matchup that pitted young Will Bales against his father and brother. The Battlebot Gods are cruel, indeed. However, the chance of a family reunion presents itself in the final match of the Round of 16! Father and brothers have made nice and joined forces to make some much needed repairs for the impending matchup with the favorite, Bite Force. The whole fam damily worked all night putting work into Hypershock, including tuning up the drum spinner that’s going to need to be in tip top ship shop shape to have a chance in this one.

Strategy? Don’t get bite forced. Warhead learned in round one this isn’t a robot to be messed with. Hypershock will try to evade the jaws and the masterful driving from Paul Ventimiglia. I checked, that is a real last name. If Hypershock can square up and land a shot with the drum spinner, it could have a chance at the upset. It’s going to be tricky, though, as bite force presents a low-rider design that showed Warhead what it thinks of drum spinners. Here’s a hint: it doesn’t much like them.

Plus, “It’s caused more blackouts than a case of wine coolers.” Here’s to hoping that ring announcer getting his own show. Gold.

Bite Force Captain: Paul Ventimiglia

BattleBots Bite-Force-Team

Bite Force surprised arena goers in round one with an unlikely upset of tournament favorite Warhead. That virtuoso performance earned it a 3 seed along with the confidence of driver ___ going into the round of 16. There’s nothing spectacular about Bite Force, but that unassuming machismo is what allowed it to better Warhead, and is what makes it a favorite in the match against Hypershock.

One of Bite Force’s most unique features is a pair of magnetic track wheels that literally grip the metal arena floor. This give is unparalleled traction and push ability. With a bite that forceful and a track that…magnetic, grabbing like hell and not letting go will let the points rack up and the time wind down. I don’t expect any kind of visual display of sparks, fire, or robot gore, rather a methodical bout represented by two of the more subdued approaches to robot fighting. Meaning: you might want to settle in with a good book.

Let’s Battle Some Bots!

Hypershock captain Will Bales calls to the arena Gods for the hammer, and so the hammer he shall receive. Bite Force is cornered as the trusty pulverizer gets in three good hammer slams.

Boom! Hypershock finally gets that drum spinning and lands a direct shot on to Bite Force’s diagonal. Bite Force has flipped. I repeat: Bite Force has flipped.

Until now, Hypershock has been dominating the bout. But Bite Force isn’t dead yet! It gets at the broad side of Hypershock and brings down the chompers.

The fight fizzles to an anticlimactic end as Hypershock suffers some inopportune internal bleeding. The motor overheats, Bite Force pushes its dead carcass around the arena a bit and the fight is over. It’s an unfortunate end to a fight that was dominated by Hypershock until untimely electrical problems. Boo hoo.

Winner: Bite Force – KO
Hot Take: That knockout was weaker than my 8th grade rap album, Fuck Yo’ Sack Lunch.

…………………….

The Round of 16 is a wrap! I’d be lying if I said this week had the most exciting lot of matches I’ve ever seen, but it’s always fun to see Tombstone wreck some shit up. As the field thins, the best of the best will be left to duke it out for robot glory, and the coveted Giant Nut. See you next week!