BEFORE EVEN asking this question, we can be sure that if there is an answer, the robot fighting community will leap straight on to tell us. What was with Matilda and Dead Metal last night? They were barely seen at all.
Do house robots get annual leave? Or was there some fault with them which left Shunt and Sir Killalot doing all the heavy lifting? Or was it simply with the sheer awesome power of last night's robots, the two lighter machines were at risk, and it would not do for the house robots to seem in any way vulnerable.
And let's face it, last night was the most vicious heat yet, with the spinners (ok, 'spinnnneeeeeeehhhhs') not only dominating but in some cases decimating the competition.
The other thing that we noticed last night was that there was very little use of the pit release button, since it became a lucky dip that could see a rogue house robot released into the arena too. Is the idea of facing a house robot (who, let's face it, doesn't discriminate and might very well come after the robot who hit the button, not the opponent) is putting people off? How many robots have ended up in the pit this series? Not many.
Frostbite we have no sympathy for. Robots should not be made of plastic. Plastic. Exposed wheels. Avoid using them, it's not hard. But we did love that there continue to be lots of new teams this year coming up against ‘heroes'.
But we do worry that some of last night's robots were so powerful they actually spoilt things a bit, with battles so short and the analysis so long, they're upsetting the fine balance of the new format.
Last year, we got berated for accusing Robot Wars of being a bit of an old-boys club, but this year we've seen young and old, pro and amateur, male and female. The message that anyone can do it is coming across, which is exactly what the revival, which has an educational agenda, is pushing for.
In the end, though, the big news was Pulsar becoming the victim of a scoring malfunction. As they saw Ironside 3, who went on to win the heat, being counted out, the judges had stopped the countdown and the computers had not updated. As a result, after some discussion, head judge Noel Sharkey (a shoe-in to replace Len on Strictly, we think) told the teams personally that he was awarding a draw.
However, considering the shower of sparks that Ironside 3 made from Pulsar's shell during the battle, we think that was probably a bit of a lucky break anyway.
But then, in war, nothing is simple. Next week, last year's winner, Apollo is back, and we're expecting that to be a defining moment. µ
A surprisingly busy week in a quiet month
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