For this season of Battlebots, The Young Folks’ music editor Ryan Gibbs and staff writer Joey Daniewicz will be giving their impressions of each episode in our new feature Battlebots Chat. These will be a little more informal than our regular reviews – after all we think it’s a little complicated to review something that we both consider to be a competitive sport as opposed to a game show or a reality television program.
If you want the history on Battlebots and robot combat in general, SB Nation ran an oral history on the show that is well worth your time to read. You can also read more about this season’s competitors over on the show’s official site. You can also read a bit about the robots that battled in this week’s episode on the show’s website. Also worth reading is Battlebots Update, which, like us, provides analysis of each Battlebots episode.
This week’s matches:
Opening Thoughts and also Olympics jokes
Joey Daniewicz: Can we count the number of weeks it has been airing, including breaks, and how long it will be until they’ve aired a Bite Force fight?
Ryan Gibbs: Would you include that spring Gears Awaken special that’s technically the season premiere?
Joey: I don’t think either of us were even aware that happened at the time, so nah. The upcoming break lead to a pretty hilariously jarring preview
Ryan: Eight weeks with no Bite Force. Maybe more, because of this two week hiatus for the Olympics.
Joey: HOW WILL POISON ARROW TRY TO HANDLE SON OF WHYACHI???
Ryan: Are they really just showing repeats of Battlebots on during the Olympics? I guess ABC thinks that Battlebots is just going to get trounced by whatever Olympic events run on NBC the early evening.
Joey: Look, Ryan. I am just relieved that we can step aside from robot fighting time for a minute to watch Olympic pentathlon.
Ryan: Or water polo.
Joey: Water polo is “that thing that we are reminded exists every four years”
Ryan: did you know that tug of war was an Olympic event until 1920? Imagine if that continued to the present day. How would that do in the ratings against a repeat of Battlebots?
Joey: I basically cannot believe pentathlon exists.
Ryan: But it was THE event at the ancient Olympics. Well, the race part, not the other stuff.
Joey: “fencing, 200m freestyle swimming, show jumping, and a final combined event of pistol shooting, and a 3200m cross-country run” Is this not the dumbest collection of things you have ever heard?
Ryan: It is.
Joey: And yes, show jumping, as in horses.
Ryan: Anyway, enough of use making fun of the Olympics. How’s about we talk about the last new Battlebots fights we’ll be getting for two bloody weeks?
Minotaur vs. Warhead
Joey: Thank you based Minotaur. Thank you so much. Minotaur has cemented its status as my favorite modern day bot, and it’s not particularly close!
Ryan: That hit on Warhead’s disc thing was so great. One of my favorite hits of the whole tournament.
Joey: It was just so viscerally satisfying. Warhead was reduced to the pile of trash it is.
Ryan: I was thinking wow, Team Razor and Team RioBotz are two of the best driving teams in this whole sport and it would be a really cool fight. It certainly was cool, just not for Team Razer Better luck with your actually good robot at Robot Wars this year I guess.
Wait — *SPOILER FOR SHOW NOT AIRING IN THE US* apparently Razer double KO’ed itself and its opponent in the first episode of the new Robot Wars. Apparently that’s a thing that can happen there.
Joey: Hahahahahaha. I guess it can technically happen in Battlebots. I’ve just never seen it happen. That is the Robot Wars equivalent of that Biohazard clip I showed you last week
Ryan: So yeah, Team Razer still not bringing much game to Battlebots. A shame too! Warhead at least looks aesthetically cool. but I mean, so was Mechadon. At least it got pretty far this time.
Joey: Yup. Anyway, until you bring back Warhead with no real improvements next time, Team Razer!
Ryan: Can we talk about Minotaur too? Like everything went perfectly for them with this match.
Joey: I’m just trying not to gush. The next round — that’ll be a test.
Ryan: Yeah! Bronco is gonna be a challenge for them. I have a feeling they have a chance if they keep driving the way they’ve been. RioBotz has a good balance of aggressive and careful driving.
Joey: Get the wheels, bruh
Ryan: Or hit the sides.
Joey: Exactly. Whoever wins that is pretty much in the finals, huh?
Ryan: Pretty much. NO JINX.
Joey: Would be so unfortunate if it wasn’t the case, for real.
Hypershock vs. Poison Arrow
Ryan: Rake Fight 2: The Bad Rake Fight.
Joey: This was…..deeply unsatisfying.
Ryan: Poison Arrow has a great weapon sure, but I’m not very happy that a robot with a drone has gotten this deep into the bracket.
Joey: It didn’t look very great. This stupid thing could end up in the final four so easily now. And people will be like “drones work” even though we have seen no demonstrable instance of that ever being true.
Ryan: What did that drone even do?
Ryan: Not get hit or taken out of the sky by a rake?
Joey: I suppose that is commendable, yes. Also some drones immediately crashed for no reason and this hasn’t done that.
Ryan: Given its performance before it stopped moving, Hypershock would have probably won this fight through a judge’s decision if it didn’t blow its drive train. It was nicely aggressive for half of this fight.
Joey: Yeah, this was a win that has me thinking a lot less of Poison Arrow moving forward.
Ryan: Like, if Bombshell pulls the same thing with Poison Arrow that it did with Cobalt last week, it’s probably toast.
Red Devil vs Bombshell
Ryan: Bombshell basically had this fight from the word go. I think Red Devil’s weapon touched it maybe once.
Joey: This was so boring, man. Fuck this quadrant. Screw whoever put Witch Doctor at #3 and allowed hell to rain down once that officially licensed Target RC toy made it past. At least there’s only one fight in this quadrant left.
Ryan: You and I both hate Red Devil. It’s like one of the main things we agree on.
Joey: Bombshell didn’t look like much, either.
Ryan: I don’t like Red Devil’s weapons. I don’t like it’s claws and I don’t like its cheap looking Home Depot saw. Bombshell at least had that cool horizontal spinner bar that chopped chunks out of Cobalt.
Joey: The horizontal spinner that did nothing this time.
Ryan: Well, they used a different weapon. Bombshell got in one nasty hit and then stopped working. And it still knocked around Red Devil the whole fight without its weapon.
Joey: Yup. Boring fight. Good thing we got a commercial break to tear up the suspense of the judges’ decision.
Ryan: What did you say about Red Devil when we were talking earlier?
Joey: I said I could probably find one in the Target toy aisle for about sixty bucks.
Ryan: That’s the best burn you’ve made this whole tournament. You weren’t even that savage about Wrecks.
Joey: I couldn’t top what Wrecks did to itself, its saw hitting the floor and sending itself flying. I just can’t approach that. I think it’s more devastating when you just kinda laugh something off than when you go all in, and Red Devil deserves that. Witch Doctor fans are probably all dead.
Ryan: I liked Witch Doctor and it deserved better than to lose against that Erector Set looking thing.
Joey: But yeah, bad match.
Ryam: I guess I’m okay with Bombshell advancing this far. As long as it keeps that spinner bar instead of whatever weapon it had this week.
Bronco vs. Razorback
Ryan: This fight is a great example of how deadly Bronco is without even making full contact with its lifting arm.
Joey: I dunno about deadly. I think this spoke more to its durability.
Ryan: True. Is this is also the first Inertia Labs fight where something other than their pneumatic weapon basically decided the fight?
Joey: What about the last Bronco fight?
Ryan: Well they got a few flips in. It was definitely the first one where they really didn’t even use the flipper. They got Razorback with a hit from the back end of the flipper.
Joey: Yup. This was another ending that was not very satisfying. Although at least this was a little bit funny.
Ryan: And it was between two veteran teams!
Joey: They even said something about that this time!
Ryan: I do wonder why Inertia Labs is “conserving” Bronco’s flipper the way it has.
Joey:I think they’re more experimenting.
Ryan: I bet a lot of teams are preparing for Bronco’s flipper.
Final Thoughts and More Olympics Jokes, We Guess
Ryan: These new seasons have more time for the competitors to fix and alter their robots in the pits. Do you think that’s a positive or a negative change?
Joey: Positive By a lot.
Ryan: I agree. It’s really beneficial to the quality of the fights and it makes for good TV
Joey: We would probably have the correct champion now if it had been there last season.
Ryan: Yeah, Bite Force won through sheer luck. I wonder if the reason they’re delaying Bite Force so much is because it either wins big in the next episode or it get beaten to pieces
Joey: Or maybe it was just never a draw in the first place.
Ryan: Perhaps I’m just excited to see Tombstone when this show comes back in two weeks.
Joey: TWO WEEKS. Until then, I’m excited to watch shot put, pentathlon, beach volleyball, and “soccer.”
Ryan: and Basketball without LeBron or Steph Curry.
Joey: I’m actually genuinely still pretty hype about basketball.
Ryan: Because the USA has won every year but one since the 92 Dream Team?
Joey: The bench is just so deep that it’s gonna be a show every game.
Ryan: it usually is.
Joey: Plus, you get a preview of Warriors-era Kevin Durant.
Ryan: I guess Golf is new this year. Aren’t you thrilled to watch Olympic golf instead of Tombstone vs. Brutus?
Joey: Oh my god, yes!
Ryan: Man, It’s gonna be a long two Battlebot-less weeks.
Joey: Indeed. It’ll be almost September.
Ryan: Yeah, I hope there’s no more cuts or squeezes again. It’ll be rubbing up against ABC’s fall schedule when it comes back. At least that awful looking Greatest Hits Live thing that’s been following Battlebots all summer is over and done with.
Next week: ABC is showing reruns until the Olympics are over. Battlebots will return on August 25. What were your thoughts on this week’s matches? Let us know in the comments!