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  Season 4

Episode 8

  Well. Instead of after the first commercial break, now they're playing that little roll call at the beginning of the episode. Look, no matter how many times you tell them, the viewers aren't going to remember the names of the two non-Carmen interviewers. I have trouble remembering, and I'm required to for the summaries.

No sponsors! Yay! No longer will I have to sink my teeth... to crunch... the bitter... eh, who cares, anyway.

Hazard is still undefeated. SABotage is its opponent.

So let's fight some robots. Hazard is up to speed faster than you can say "Where's Complete Control in this tournament, anyway?" SABotage takes an early hit. Unsure of what to do next, it drives over some saws.

Hazard comes back over to SABotage and nails it with that spinning blade. A chunk of SABotage slides across the floor and the ladder that makes up SABotage's lifting arm is now bent way out of shape.

Another hit from Hazard. More small parts of SABotage fly away. Hazard hits SABotage in the wheel.

The wheel is not quite a wheel anymore. Hazard hits SABotage in the face.

Another hit from Hazard puts a big gash in SABotage's armor. This is absolutely brutal.

Hazard puts another big hit on SABotage, spinning it around. SABotage is no longer moving.

Hazard isn't done with SABotage. It goes to the back and lays on some more damage, cutting the wheel and the rear armor.

Yet again Hazard whacks SABotage. The rear armor flies off entirely. The saws push SABotage a bit, but do nothing compared to the way Hazard has made SABotage a mangled, gruesome mess.

Hazard starts to spin down and pushes SABotage back onto the saws. And again. And again. SABotage taps out. Note to self: Never cheese off Tony Buchignani.

The opening sequence plays. Seems kind of redundant after the talent introduction.

Replays. Carmen talks. Patience.

And here's another middleweight fight. Huggy Bear is a big H-shaped robot. It catches other robots in the H, a bar pops out to hold them there, and Huggy Bear takes them to hazards. Speaking of Hazard, Huggy Bear is built low enough that it could handily defeat the champion.

Double Agent has changed its design. It's still a box with two wedges, but now the wedges are made with hinged pieces of metal, so the robot has two wedges even if it's inverted.

The tree tells us that it's robot fightin' time. Huggy Bear isn't the most maneuverable robot, since it's so big and awkwardly-shaped. Double Agent's wedges are way too steep to work on Huggy Bear.

Huggy Bear drives into Double Agent, but Double Agent gets away. Double Agent gets a brief kiss from a saw.

Huggy Bear gets around Double Agent lengthwise, which makes it easier to push Double Agent onto some saws. Double Agent tries to get away, but Huggy Bear is on it. Huggy Bear pushes Double Agent to another set of saws. The saws pop up, bright sparks fly everywhere, and now the spike on the side of Double Agent is only half as long as it used to be.

Double Agent is knocked around a little more by the saw, then escapes. It drives rather erratically around the box. Huggy Bear gets Double Agent again and takes it over to the sledgehammer. Two nice whacks to Double Agent's body.

The bots separate, and they drive around for a little while. Huggy Bear gets the side of its huge body over some saws which do a little underbody work. A brief capture, but Double Agent gets away. Into the saws.

Huggy Bear tries to push Double Agent under another sledgehammer, but Pete gets overzealous and has the hammer on the floor before Double Agent is delivered. Double Agent escapes.

Bil talks about Double Agent doing too much defensive driving. Which raises an interesting question -- what was Double Agent's strategy for this fight? Unless it was "get hit by arena hazards," we haven't seen Double Agent execute any sort of strategy.

Huggy Bear has Double Agent again. Only a few seconds left, and Huggy Bear is trying to push Double Agent under a sledgehammer. The saws briefly pop up under Huggy Bear. But Huggy Bear gets Double Agent under the hammer for one hit before the timer reaches zero.

Of course, Huggy Bear is the winner. By an undisclosed amount. Let's pretend it won by... 42 points. Even though that's mathematically impossible.

Commercials. Commercials aren't funny.

The members of Team Robot Warriors assisted with the relief efforts at the site of the World Trade Center by mounting cameras so rescue workers could view things in tight spaces. Obviously I'm not going to make a smart-alecky comment about this, but I'm also not going to ignore the segment, since they deserve recognition.

Okay, the show then goes into the robot introductions. Jabberwock is a heavyweight parallelogram with Lexan over the front wedge. Mauler 51-50 is still a powerful spinner. It now has flails instead of bludgeoning devices, and the spiral paint job on the top is back.

A referee asks if the red driver is ready. Upon confirmation, he says, "Jabberwocky is ready." Frumious mistake. The other referee asks if the blue driver is ready. Morgan Tilford announces that he is. "Bawk bawk! Bawk!" announces Charles Tilford, wearing a chicken costume.

As is usually the case on the show, it's robot fightin' time. Jabberwock steadily approaches Mauler, which is spinning very quickly. Jabberwock pushes its wedge into Mauler -- really, not much more than a tap -- and Mauler goes off balance. Before you know it, it's gone up and over onto its back.

Most spinners would stop spinning when they were off-balance. But not Mauler. It keeps going at full speed. The body spins around inside the shell, rocking the entire robot and causing it to bounce around the floor. Mauler is still moving, just not in any specific direction. It wobbles its way over on top of some saws, which push it into the center of the arena. Jabberwock sits back, unsure of what to do in this situation.

Jabberwock decides that it's relatively safe, so it pushes Mauler toward some more saws. Mauler vibrates on top of them, and they fling the robot across the floor. This is one of the funniest fights I've ever seen.

Mauler makes its way toward the saws on the other side. They tap it back toward the center again. Jabberwock pushes Mauler toward the ramrods, which lift Jabberwock more than they do Mauler. Mauler continues to shake and rattle.

Jabberwock wedges under Mauler and pushes it toward some more killsaws. But Mauler wobbles away and Jabberwock is left sitting on the saws.

Mauler is making its way toward a sledgehammer. So Jabberwock makes the trip easier by pushing it underneath. The hammer falls on Mauler, which just will not stop spinning.

Mauler vibrates away from the hammer and the referee starts counting it out. One final hit from the sledgehammer before the buzzer sounds.

Personally, I think it's more fun to see Mauler lose than win. It does it with such style.

Three random cheerleaders take us to commercial. I wonder how many takes it took to get them to speak in unison like that.

The "in the pits" segment this time is a bunch of shots of sponsor logos on various bots. It ends with a completely gratuitous shot of a Comedy Central sticker on the rear of Carmen Electra's pants. Better her than Brad Wollack, I guess.

Here comes the final installment of How to Build a Bot. So far we've learned that Christian Carlberg knows more than you do about assembling a robot. Now he makes the final wire connections, attaches the tires, and takes it for a test drive. He notes that his example robot "doesn't have a weapon, but you know what, that's okay." It also doesn't have armor.

Another heavyweight match-up. We know how Silverback works from the previous episode, and we know how Tazbot works from the last three seasons. Let's roll.

The bots start by meeting in the center. Silverback drives onto Tazbot and immediately falls on its head. That was fast. Tazbot gives it a couple of side whacks while it self-rights.

Tazbot and Silverback drive at one another. And before long, Silverback flips itself by driving onto Tazbot again. Tazbot could just sit in the middle of the box motionless and win this fight.

Since Tazbot came here to actually do some fighting, though, it pushes Silverback into the screw while Silverback self-rights.

Silverback is on its wheels again and starts running away from Tazbot. For a change of pace, Silverback climbs onto Tazbot but doesn't flip over. It runs away and drives over some killsaws.

Tazbot goes after Silverback, which now has its arm fully up in the air. This actually is a good idea. As soon as it's knocked over by Tazbot (which happens soon after), it's all ready to spin the wheels and self-right. Saves time.

Then Silverback drives backward and tumbles over on its own. Okay, center of gravity issues. Better put the arm back down.

Silverback drives up onto Tazbot again, the lifting arm in Tazbot. This might be a good strategy -- depending on the power of that arm, Silverback could try to pop the head off of Tazbot. But Tazbot swats it off before it can do anything. Silverback is back on its silver back.

Another self-right. Tazbot pushes Silverback around. Silverback drives up and over again, and Tazbot pushes the upside-down robot into the wall. I can't help but draw parallels between this fight and any fight between Tazbot and Vlad the Impaler. Except this time, Tazbot gets to play Vlad.

Silverback is up against the wall and a screw and isn't moving. Tazbot gets its arm underneath to try to lift Silverback, but that doesn't quite work. Perhaps Silverback's arm or body is stuck on something.

No, Tazbot is moving Silverback around, so Silverback isn't caught. The ref starts the countdown. Silverback gets the arm moving again and rights itself on "four." Back to more driving.

Silverback drives onto Tazbot and almost flips over again. But it comes back down properly and starts to push Tazbot toward the wall. Tazbot swats it away and Silverback slams its own self.

With Silverback face-first against the wall, Tazbot arrives to swing the pointy part of the lifting arm into Silverback. Silverback runs away and Tazbot bounces off some saws.

Tazbot's body flips Silverback, but the arm is up for instant self-righting. Some driving, some fun with a saw (both appear to take some kind of hit). The fight ends with Tazbot pushing a flipped Silverback across the floor.

This is why the Fight to the Finish on "Robotica" will never live up to your average "BattleBots" fight.

Some replays. Obviously Tazbot won that fight, though we're never expressly told that.

Commercials. With 3D's gone as a sponsor, they have no theme for their "hit of the general time period." So they call it a "BattleBots Crunch." Sponsored by Nestlé.

Donald Hutson is interviewed. It doesn't matter by whom -- you feel sorry for him just upon reading that he was interviewed.

In the spirit of the lightweights, let's just tell you how all the middleweight quarterfinal fights turned out. Heavy Metal Noise exploded Huggy Bear's tank. It looked pretty. Zion has added a lifting arm this season, and it dragged Twin Paradox over some saws. I guess they'll be showing us the other two quarterfinal fights. Or at least spoiling them in the commercials.

The quarterfinal recap then turns into a general recap as we see Jabberwock win again. In case you forgot, Tazbot defeated Silverback.

Time for the always-exciting "BattleBots Update." Tony Buchignani was surprised at how easily he defeated SABotage. Jabberwock will be facing BioHazard later. And Tazbot apparently won its fight against Silverback. "Once again, that's Hazard, Jabberwock, and Tazbot all moving on." They really need to find something better to do with this time.

But it eventually ends, which means that it's time for more new fights to be shown in the second half hour.

Kelly Smith enjoys high-powered model rockets. So they strapped a small camera onto one and shot it into the air. It crashes into the ground and breaks. The rocket, that is. Probably the camera, too.

Time for a middleweight fight (this isn't a quarterfinals match -- the winner of this one moves onto the quarterfinals). Complete Control versus Psychotron. Complete Control is an awesome clamper. Psychotron is a long wedge.

Locked, on, time. Complete Control grabs Psychotron within the first ten seconds and lifts. Psychotron kind of slides off, but not before Complete Control inverts it. Psychotron drives directly into Complete Control's mouth, so Complete Control flips it again.

Psychotron gets under Complete Control's side and pushes it onto the saws. Then it runs away.

Complete Control tries to clamp Psychotron again, but Psychotron slides out. The two both lie in wait for the other. That won't help anything.

Complete Control flips Psychotron again. Complete Control drives into some saws, which shear off a part of the side armor. Complete Control and Psychotron share a dance in the box.

Complete Control has its lower forks a little off the ground, which is giving Psychotron the opportunity to push it around. So it takes a moment to readjust, and soon after, it grabs hold of Psychotron again. That's a sturdy clamp, time to go for a ride.

Complete Control takes Psychotron to the nearest sledgehammer and lets Pete do some of the work. Complete Control lets go and takes a hammer hit of its own.

The two robots try to get at each other again. Psychotron pushes Complete Control a little. Complete Control readjusts. Psychotron drives right into the clamping space, and like a Venus Fly Trap, Complete Control nabs it. Ooh, that's a really good clamp. Psychotron ain't sliding out of this one.

It's time for some saw action. Complete Control tries to drop Psychtron onto the saw, but the wedge is ground against the side of the saw. Complete Control picks Psychotron back up. Complete Control tries again, and one of Psychotron's tires takes some damage. Then a nick in the wedge. Then Psychotron escapes.

Psychotron wedges under Complete Control and pushes it a little. It happens again, so Complete Control gets the forks to touch the floor. Now Psychotron can't get under Complete Control. Neither robot takes advantage of the other before time runs out.

37-8 means Complete Control wins. As they go to commercial, Carmen tells us to "Feel the steel." Is that a euphemism of some kind?

We learn what some builders do with unwanted bots. Then there's a series of shots of busted-up bots with sad music playing underneath and bad puns placed on the screen. Ha ha! "Rust in Peace!" I'm thoroughly amused by this!

BattleRat is so named because its main sponsor is a radio station with the call letters WRAT. We learn nothing from seeing a segment on the team.

BattleRat looks the same as last season. It will fight Nightmare. Nightmare looks the same as it did two episodes ago.

Since the box is locked and the lights are on, it's robot fightin' time. Nightmare spins up. BattleRat heads toward it. A brief head fake by BattleRat, but the two face each other shortly. I think I see a problem for Nightmare...

Yep. BattleRat's wedge is sloped low enough that it can push Nightmare in the front without having to worry about Nightmare's disk touching it. It starts to push Nightmare back toward the wall. This works well, but then BattleRat tries for the quick kill and raises the lifting bar. The lifting bar comes in contact with Nightmare's disk. Nightmare goes bouncing backward, and BattleRat's bar now has a really big dent in it.

Nightmare heads back for BattleRat. BattleRat tries to push Nightmare some more, but Nightmare works its way over to BattleRat's side to make some smaller dents.

Nightmare aims for the hinge holding BattleRat's lifting bar. Upon contact, the disk stops spinning and BattleRat starts pushing. Nightmare flees.

Nightmare spins up again and grazes the side of BattleRat's lifter (which hasn't moved since that first hit). Nightmare moves to the other side of the arm and gets a tooth caught between the arm and the side of BattleRat. BattleRat begins to push Nightmare. Around and around. But not to anywhere.

A timeout is called so they can be unstuck. They are, and they soon get back to work. Nightmare spins up and tries to hit the wedge part of BattleRat. BattleRat pushes Nightmare into a screw. Nightmare is forced up higher onto BattleRat, snapping the lifting arm apart.

Now Nightmare has both its wheels lifted off the floor, so BattleRat can do what it pleases now. It pleases to drive itself over a saw, failing to even scratch Nightmare in the process.

Nightmare is free again. The disk starts spinning and Nightmare starts putting more dents into the corners of BattleRat's armor. BattleRat pushes Nightmare. Nightmare straddles the saws. BattleRat pushes Nightmare onto an entrance ramp (yep, that entrance ramp!).

Well, this is fun. Nightmare's wheels are off the floor again. BattleRat is barely moving. BattleRat releases, and then pushes Nightmare next to a sledgehammer. The hammer goes up and down, but doesn't hit anything. And again, BattleRat has Nightmare's wheels off the floor and is failing to push the robot anywhere.

BattleRat pretends to get Nightmare's wheel under the hammer, but never physically does. Nightmare escapes and, perhaps feeling sorry for BattleRat, takes a hit from the hammer on the disk. The big wedge that is BattleRat tries to push Nightmare some more, but really doesn't do much. Buzzer.

This one goes to the judges. I'll continue to state the obvious.

It's 27-18. The winner of the fight is Nightmare. The members of BattleRat's team are extremely displeased at this decision, surprised that they lost. We see an extended shot of the builders in the center of the box, with BattleRat's team clearly disagreeing with the outcome.

Team BattleRat is really ticked off about this, and they say so in the interview. One of the members says that he thinks they scored more points in the Strategy and Aggression categories, offsetting the obvious advantage Nightmare had in the Damage category. Okay, Strategy is a stupid category, so who knows how the judges scored that. Maybe repeatedly high-centering Nightmare is considered a strategy. Of course, aiming for the hinges of the lifting arm with a spinning disk is considered a strategy, too.

And I would disagree that BattleRat did so much better in Aggression. Yeah, it took Nightmare off its wheels a bunch of times, but to be aggressive, it helps if you actually move the robot somewhere afterward. Not once during that fight was Nightmare damaged by a hazard directly due to BattleRat's actions. I'll agree that the scores probably should have been closer, but I still think Nightmare won the fight.

I do miss the few times when they'd display real judges' scores on the screen. That'd be useful here.

As they go to commercial, we see Tom Petruccelli looking over Bad Attitude, You know, those pit passes make for excellent choking hazards should they get caught in some rotating device.

Final fight of the night is between Bad Attitude and Complete Control. They both know what they're doing. Here we go.

Bad Attitude wastes no time in driving toward Complete Control. It drives into Complete Control's clamping zone, though, so it also wastes no time in leaving.

Bad Attitude takes several runs at Complete Control, hitting the bot and quickly retreating. Nobody is noticing this, though, because we're all waiting to see when Complete Control will finally grab Bad Attitude.

In theory, Bad Attitude's strategy would be to get under Complete Control. However, all it's doing is colliding with the robot. Complete Control is having trouble snagging such a quick robot.

Complete Control briefly has Bad Attitude, but lifts the top arm to readjust. Bad Attitude escapes in the process. Unfortunately, Bad Attitude then backs up into Complete Control's mouth, and Complete Control isn't letting go this time. Bad Attitude goes up into the air.

The saw is the nearest hazard, so that's where Bad Attitude will go. Complete Control saws underneath Bad Attitude's wedge. Bad Attitude kind of rolls over the saw. Complete Control takes a few more passes with the saw.

The saw doesn't seem to do anything to Bad Attitude's armor, so Complete Control takes it to the sledgehammer. Wanna make sure that wedge on Bad Attitude is as flat as it can be. In the process, the top arm of Complete Control is bent sideways. Complete Control takes Bad Attitude away from the hammer and flips it over.

Bad Attitude drives over the saws and toward Complete Control. Even with the arm bent, Complete Control grabs Bad Attitude and lifts it. Back to the saws. A lot of grinding on Bad Attitude's main wedge. Bad Attitude is flipped again by Complete Control, and the fight resumes.

Bad Attitude ramps over Complete Control's fork. It does it again, flipping itself over in the process.

Complete Control almost grabs Bad Attitude, but Bad Attitude slips away. Some driving around. Bad Attitude takes another hit from a saw. Complete Control follows Bad Attitude around. Bad Attitude is unsure of what to do.

Complete Control clamps Bad Attitude one last time. Some more saw action, this time on Bad Attitude's side. Before time is up, Complete Control gives Bad Attitude another flip. Buzz.

It's a 39-6 decision, for Complete Control, natch. Commercial time.

A quick interview with Derek Young. Then six of the robots that we saw win in this hour have their fights recapped. That's right, six. See, they're barely pretending that these are separate two-hour episodes now.

And so ends another episode. As you know, I usually try to end these summaries with a list of some kind (unless I'm falling behind or have writer's block, in which case I cop out and just write a sentence that might be considered funny if you're thinking of something else that's funny at the same time). But it's not easy to come up with topical, accurate lists. Here are some themes I've rejected over time:

The most and least effective fruits to use in the construction of a BattleBot

The best parts of your body to test your BattleBot's weapon with

A list of "parts" I am selling which may or may not be useable in a BattleBot

Helpful phrases you can say while in the pits to gain other builders' friendship

Hilarious things to say to whatever model is serving as interviewer at this tournament

The best places to hide water balloons in your super heavyweight opponents

Effective battle-tested shapes for robots that also form dirty words

A completely factual list identifying various tools and how to use them

Ten reasons why my Diesector Pro Series toy can defeat your middleweight -- no fooling!

The "secret" rules not listed in the rulebook

The ten most effective weapons... to use when looking for sponsors


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