Sonic the Hedgehog
"Heads or Tails" is the thirteenth and final episode of the first season of the Sonic the Hedgehog television series, and as well the series' pilot episode. Despite being produced as the first episode of the show, it originally aired on 11 December 1993 as the final episode of the show's first season.
The script of the episode was included as a bonus feature in the Sonic the Hedgehog: The Complete Series DVD boxset.
- For the transcript of this episode, see Heads or Tails/Transcript.
A sleek black aircraft descends through the clouds to planet Mobius. Doctor Robotnik, the planet's absolute ruler, is returning home to Robotropolis, a sprawling cityscape choked with the smoke of innumerable factories. Robotnik strokes his robotic bird, Cluck, saying "I do miss the beauty of this place when I'm away." The aircraft settles on a landing platform on one of the tallest buildings, where Robotnik's toady Snively waits to greet him. As Robotnik enters the control room, Swat-bots open the door to let him in, but when Snively tries to enter the Swat-bots close the door and Snively bumps into the closed door, and the two Swat-bots chuckle, since he fell for their prank. In the control room, Robotnik demands to know if there has been any hint of his nemesis, Sonic the Hedgehog. Snively is too cowardly to admit that there has been none, and stammers for a while until an emergency appears on monitor 10. Scanners have detected one of Sonic's group of Freedom Fighters: Snively recognizes him as the young Tails, usually accompanied by Sonic. Robotnik says to capture him. "Perhaps his cries will flush out the hedgehog!"
Meanwhile, Tails is out picking flowers for Princess Sally when he spots one of Robotnik's Buzz-Bombers bearing down on him and he flies away. Not far away, Sonic demonstrates a new rock song for his pal Rotor Walrus. Sonic wants to impress Sally, but Rotor says she won't like it. She'd prefer a softer song, like a ballad, but Sonic can't stand ballads. Suddenly, they hear Tails crying for help. Sonic speeds to the rescue, whisking Tails out of the way of the Bomber's sting blast, which ricochets off a rock and destroys the Buzz-Bomber! Rotor draws their attention to a floating eye camera. Sonic and Rotor use the opportunity to insult Robotnik, who is watching from a monitor, but Tails simply waves and says "Hi mom!" Before they go, Robotnik swears that he'll have both Sonic and the Power Rings in the palm of his hand before the day is through. The three Freedom Fighters are not impressed, and Sonic zooms away with his friends in tow.
Soon after, the three heroes arrive at the secret entrance to their home at Knothole. Tails enjoyed riding with Sonic, but Rotor feels decidedly queasy. Sonic and Tails ride together down a twisting slide that takes them into Knothole and drops them in a haystack. Moments later, Rotor follows, landing on top of them.
Some time later, the Freedom Fighters (Sally, Bunnie, Antoine, and Rotor) attempt to repair some catapults. Bunnie, a cyborg, does the heavy lifting and is annoyed by Antoine's habit of "supervising" while doing no work of his own. Antoine also flirts with Princess Sally, who rebuffs his advances. Sally uses a computer to determine why the throwing arms of the catapults keep breaking, and finds the answer just as Rotor deduces it all by himself: the cotter pins are made of wood, but need to be metal in order to take the extra payload. Just then, Sonic arrives. When Sally explains that they need metal cotter pins, Sonic takes Rotor and says they've "gotta do the Power Ring thing!" He, Rotor and Tails go to the Lake of Rings, and as they watch a Power Ring rise out of the water. Tails wonders why only Sonic can use the Power Rings, so he explains: his Uncle Chuck invented them to help Sonic take down "dorks" like Robotnik.
While Sonic waits to get an example cotter pin from Rotor, Tails decides that he's going to head to the "big city". When Sonic catches him up, he is fighting a tree. Sonic explains that the big city is too dangerous for a kid like Tails: it's swarming with Swat-bots, who are just waiting for a chance to roboticize Tails! Tails points out that it's a long way back to Knothole and he could be captured by a Buzz-Bomber, so Sonic agrees to let him tag along as long as Tails stays hidden in his backpack and guards the Power Ring.
In Robotropolis, Sonic and Tails narrowly avoid detection by Swat-bots. They reach one of Robotnik's factories, where they manage to find the cotter pins in a pile of debris. However, Tails spots a line of worker robots walking into the factory. Sonic explains they used to be people, until Robotnik roboticized them. Tails asks if Uncle Chuck is there, but Sonic doesn't see him. Sonic misses Chuck, as well as his old dog Muttski. Suddenly, Tails sees a mean-looking robot guard dog: it's Muttski! He may look vicious, but Sonic believes Muttski won't hurt him because Sonic is his best bud. He calls out to his dog, only to have Muttski pounce and bite his tail. Sonic is disappointed, since after all he put Muttski through four years of obedience school. "Bad dog! You sit, you stay, you don't bite! Understand?" Suddenly, Muttski does just that - his eyes turn from red to white and he sits, and starts wagging his tail. He's Sonic's friend again! He licks Sonic's face and Sonic promises to turn him back to a real dog by putting him back through Robotnik's robo-machine. Unfortunately, Muttski's old personality doesn't stay long, and he quickly turns back to a savage, red-eyed guard dog. Sonic flees rather than fight his friend.
While escaping from some Swat-bots in the city, Sonic and Tails dive into an air vent. It turns out this vent leads to Robotnik's control room, where Robotnik is explaining his latest plan to locate Knothole Village and eradicate the Freedom Fighters. His Buzz-Bombers will fly over the Great Forest, spraying it with a new chemical that Robotnik invented, which will kill every tree, exposing Knothole's location. He also has a "hedgehog-seeking missile" prepared, in case Sonic should interfere. Just then, Tails sneezes with such force that he and Sonic both fall into the control room. They quickly escape the building, however, and Sonic uses the Power Ring to increase his super-speed even further and defeat the Swat-bots sent to capture him. He and Tails speed back to Knothole.
Sonic quickly warns everyone about Robotnik's plan, but luckily Sally has a plan of her own. When the Buzz-Bombers approach, the Freedom Fighters set up the now fully-functional catapults in a line at the edge of the Great Forest. However, Sally says that the range is limited, and Sonic volunteers to lure the Buzz-Bombers in range. Using one of the catapults, Sonic shoots himself towards the incoming Buzz-Bombers, leading them to launch the hedgehog-seeking missile. However, Sonic is able to turn this against them by leaping on top of the tanks of Robotnik's defoliating chemical. The missile hits the tanks, which fall to the ground far below. Robotnik orders the Buzz-Bombers to attack Sonic, who leads them in range of the catapults. Sally gives the order to fire, and they pelt the Buzz-Bombers with water balloons, short-circuiting them. Robotnik demands through the radio that they keep attacking, but the Buzz-Bombers have had enough, and flee. Robotnik decides to take his frustrations out on Snively.
Safe once again, the Freedom Fighters celebrate, and Sally says that Sonic was "really great today!"
- Sonic the Hedgehog (First appearance)
- Doctor Robotnik (First appearance)
- Cluck (First appearance)
- Snively (First appearance)
- Miles "Tails" Prower (First appearance)
- Rotor Walrus (First appearance)
- Buzz-Bombers (Only appearance)
- Bomber-One (Only appearance)
- Antoine Depardieu (First appearance)
- Bunnie Rabbot (First appearance)
- Sally (First appearance)
- Charles Hedgehog (First appearance) (Cameo)
- Muttski (Only appearance)
- Swat-bots (First appearance)
- Hoverbots (First appearance)
This episode introduces all the main characters of the series, as well as several of its main themes including:
- The Freedom Fighters' opposition to Robotnik
- Robotnik's capacity of roboticizing his enemies
- Sonic's mission to de-roboticize Uncle Chuck and Muttski
- Robotnik's obsession with defeating Sonic, locating Knothole, and capturing Princess Sally
- Sonic and Antoine's various separate attempts to impress Sally and win her hand, and their ensuing rivalry
- Sally's confused feelings for Sonic
However, as it is the pilot episode of the series, it is slightly inconsistent with other completed episodes. The designs of various characters were finalized after production of the episode, most notably Princess Sally, who is depicted with pink fur and black hair in this episode. Some characterization is also different. For example, in this episode the Swat-bots are seen laughing when Snively walks into a closed door. In other episodes, they are depicted as emotionless drones. Also, Sally insists that she not be called a princess, saying that the only royalty in the woods is "Mother Nature". This was also changed in subsequent episodes. The voice cast is also slightly different in this episode.
In this episode, Tails' shoes are not their usual design. Instead, they are like Sonic's with an inverted colour scheme: white, with a red stripe down the middle and red socks.
- When Sonic practices playing a rock song on guitar in order to impress Sally, he says he "hit the old Axl Rose pose right on the downbeat". Axl Rose is the frontman of rock band Guns N' Roses.