"The Tearing" is the first episode of Season 1 of ReBoot, and the first episode overall. It originally aired on September 10, 1994 on YTV and ABC.
DVD Log Line
Megabyte threatens to harm Guardian Bob's new friends, Dot and Enzo, when Bob refuses to do him a mysterious favor. —ReBoot: The Definitive Mainframe Edition
The episode opens on Hack and Slash pursuing Bob while riding on ABCs. Bob tricks them into colliding, smashing both tanks and henchmen. Megabyte vidwindows Bob and mentions that he has asked Bob for an unspecified favour, to which Bob reiterates his refusal. Megabyte responds by obliquely threatening Bob's friends.
The next morning, Enzo vidwindows Bob to come to Dot's Diner, which has been trashed by Megabyte's goons. Dot and some binomes get Bob to tell them about the requested favour. At their urging, Bob doubles down on his refusal, and resolves to remain at the Diner to protect it from further damage. Megabyte vidwindows again, but Dot, Enzo, and Bob are defiant. The call is interrupted by the arrival of a Game.
Megabyte orders Hack and Slash to have his troops watch for Bob trying to enter the Game. Bob attempts to do so, but is stopped by the ABCs; he is knocked off his zipboard, but Dot catches him in her car. The Game lands without him.
Without Bob, the Game is lost, leaving the sector it landed on nullified. Bob says it would not have happened if he had agreed to Megabyte's favour; Dot suggests he go talk to Phong.
In the Principal Office, Bob and Phong play a game of Pong. Bob wins, and Phong declares that he has "proven yourself worthy of my advice." Phong's advice is to stay away from Megabyte, but also that "you should keep your friends close, and your enemies even closer." He tells Bob not to act rashly or on his own, and Bob says he will go back and talk to the others.
Instead, however, Bob goes to Silicon Tor and tells Megabyte he has decided to ally with him after all. Megabyte grants him entrance to the Tor.
While the Diner is being repaired, Dot calls Phong trying to find Bob; Phong infers where Bob has gone.
Megabyte escorts Bob into an enormous chamber in the Tor, where there is an army of viral binomes and many ABCs. A large tear, leading to the Supercomputer, is held within a containment field. Megabyte reveals the favour he wants: stabilize the tear into a portal. Bob refuses. Megabyte traps him in a harness tethered to a gunlike device and moves to shoot him through the unstable tear, but Bob temporarily stabilizes it with Glitch first. Megabyte retracts the tether, pulling Bob back out of the portal; Bob, in turn, recalls Glitch. Hack and Slash show up with Dot, who was captured causing a "riot" (in the form of a few binomes with protest signs) outside. While Megabyte is distracted, Bob kicks over a control console, taking down the containment field. Megabyte orders the out-of-control tear locked down, and Bob and Dot attempt to escape, but Megabyte catches up with them. Just then, a Game arrives and lands on the Tor's sector, stabilizing the tear.
Dot, Bob, and some binomes reboot into the game, Star Fighter, giving them uniforms. The User spaceship attacks them before Megabyte infects it and heads for the portal at the end of the third level. The others pursue him, first through an asteroid field, then to where the virals are manning a large weapons platform, which Dot destroys.
The third level is a tunnel within a snow-covered planet, leading to the cavern containing the portal. Bob shoots and destroys Megabyte's ship, but Megabyte lands on Bob's. He once again offers an alliance, which Bob rejects; Megabyte jumps off the ship and tears one wing off on his way down. The wing hits Dot's ship, destroying it; Bob has Glitch form a safety line before his own ship crashes. Megabyte lands safely near the portal and catches the falling Dot (and then drops her again). Bob drops from his Glitch-line into the portal, ending the Game and destabilizing the tear again. Megabyte menaces Dot, but Bob returns from the Supercomputer with several commands, one of which he uses to remove the portal and two more to vanish himself and Dot. Megabyte concludes that they used return commands to go back to the diner and leaves; Bob's voice then reveals that they were hidden file commands and he and Dot are merely invisible.
Later, at the diner, Enzo tells Bob and Dot that Megabyte and his henchmen left once convinced they were not there. Dot warns Bob that Megabyte will never forgive him. Enzo asks Bob about the Supercomputer; Bob says "It was nice to visit, but it sure is good to be home." The diner is revealed to be trashed again, even worse than before.
- "Low clock speed or what?" Clock speed is the rate at which a computer executes instructions; faster clock speed = higher processing power = "smarter". (This is particularly relevant later in "Enzo the Smart".)
- "Return" is the key which produces a new line in typing, like the carriage return on a typewriter; it is usually the same as, and the name used interchangeably with, the Enter key.
- "What a fortunate return of events."
- A Return command evidently returns you to a prior location. (Exact details unknown since one was never actually used.)
- The line from Phong's "old ReadMe file" is often supposed to be from Sun Tzu's The Art of War, but this is a misattribution. The actual quote "keep your friends close, but your enemies closer" is from The Godfather: Part II.
- "Proceed heading 1138" is a reference to George Lucas' film THX 1138.
- "Stay frosty" is a military expression meaning "stay alert" or "watch your back," with possible overtones of staying cool as well. In popular culture, it is best known from its use in Aliens, but it dates back at least to both the book and movie of The New Centurions.
- Although always meant as the first episode, "The Tearing" was not made first. Rather, "Racing the Clock" was, so that the first episode would not contain "all the trainee errors."
- Glitch commands:
- unknown (observing a Game from outside)
- key (temporarily tear stabilization)
- recall (name only, no command word)
- safety line
- disengage (release safety line)
- The "rioting" binomes' signs feature a no'ed out Viral Skull, "SMASH THE SOLID STATE", and "THE PROLETARIAT WANT BREAD".
- The Game's name, Star Fighter, is given in the Fleer Ultra trading cards.
"The Tearing - Mega March" by Bob Buckley