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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Week in Review: Transformers: Prime Season Finale and Look-Back

Airachid: "You have something to say, Soundwave?"

Soundwave: "....."

Airachid: "I command this vessel, you will resume your post!"

Soundwave: "....."

I don't know about you guys, but I've been dying of anticipation to watch this episode all week. Once I saw the preview, it was one of those "freeze and jaw on the floor moments." I had high expectations for this episode. Now that I've watched it, (and again on YouTube) I'll give you a review, and even a look-back at the first season, talking about the characters, and what they got right and wrong. Minor spoilers approaching.

The plot continues as Optimus and the Autobots follow Megatron into the core of Unicron. Meanwhile, aboard the Decepticon vessel, Airachid claims that Megatron is lost, and that the Decepticons should move on with her in charge. Soundwave has something to say about that....

Wow. That was the one word I thought while watching it. After, I was speechless. This episode is by far the best in this show yet, and one of the most exciting episodes of ANY show I've ever seen. Amazing writing, epic fight scenes, and just had a very cinematic atmosphere. I found my myself getting supremely excited over some scenes, (SOUNDWAVE!) which I hardly do.

There are some really big pay-offs in this episode. We get a very nice flashback of Optimus and Megatron before they were hated enemies. Very in-depth and helps newbies understand. The biggest pay-off (for me anyway) was Soundwave taking a stand against Airachnid. Seriously, I have been waiting for this guy to make a move, I'm glad the writers understand that he's not just the computer guy, he knows how to fight. (Megatron did make him his chief among his followers.) That scene with Airachid getting humiliated automatically gets five stars. 

The Unicron plot finishes, though fans might be disappointed at how fast the "Chaos Bringer" loses. To be honest, this arc lacked pizzazz, he wasn't fully fleshed out. Optimus and Megatron, them being the central characters of the show, have some great scenes in this episode. Hated enemies, but have their backs in honor. The other Autobots don't really do much, but that's to be expected. Jack and the rest of the pitiful humans are thankfully nothing but side-characters. (Jack's mom says that they should play a game to ease the tension. I mean really?) Also, that important Cybertron card Optimus gave Jack? He's tapping it against a rail casually like it's some credit card. And that ladies and gentlemen is why we need more mature main characters. And I have to wonder why Bulkhead was the only one effected by Dark Energon. 

Overall, fans will be disappointed at how fast the Unicron plot finishes. On the other hand, this episode is packed with thrills, not a dull moment. (Excellent music by the way.) Soundwave finally shows Airachnid who's the real person in charge, I'll never forget that moment. (Seriously, I've been waiting for that.) When they said a mind-bending ending, (saw what I did there?) they weren't joking, even I was caught off-guard by how ambitious it was. You are not going to want to miss this.

10/10. PERFECT score.

So the first season of this show is over. Transformers has had a lot of incarnations in the past. G1 is still, and always will be, the most popular and recognized by fans. There's the infamous Beast Wars, the anime trilogy, and Animated. (Which was pretty horrible by the way.) Prime seems to want to appease both fans of G1 and the movies.....and it succeeds wonderfully. It takes the good stuff about the franchise, and just puts a hint of the movies in. (Like Bumblebee not being able to talk.) The show succeeds in having that cinematic atmosphere, having superb voice acting, great animation, amazing fight scenes, (more hardcore than you would think from a Y7 rating) and spectacular writing. There are many standout scenes, such as when Ratchet became powered up and entered the Decepticon base. Megatron laughs, saying he isn't a threat. Ratchet then punches Megatron to the ground, with the ladder getting up and saying "Alright then." Another great moment was when Megatron entered the Autobot base, saying "So this is where the magic happens. Quaint." Those are just a few of the amazing dialogue pieces. Now I will examine the character re-designs. 

Optimus Prime is the same as always. Voiced by the ever great Peter Cullen, he brings a certain calmness, putting the atmosphere at ease, even with certain death impending. Megatron has his look more akin to his movie incarnation, but with the famous Frank Welker as his voice. He is definitely his most evil yet, none of that cheesy "Decepticons, RETREAT!!!!" nonsense. Bumblebee completely resembles and acts like his movie incarnation. I don't mind, he was never a major character to begin with. Fans of Arcee may be annoyed at her color change. But really, I can't picture an all pink bot running around. Bulkhead, a character first introduced in Animated, (though technically his name was first used in Energon) is portrayed as the strong, but not very bright type. So take that as you will. Now, for Soundwave.

Soundwave's re-design is by far the most diverse, sporting a completely different look. The major change that had us fans scratching our heads was that he doesn't talk, he's silent. His new ability is being able to record anything through computer, and play it. (Heh, I still remember when he played Arcees's recording way back in episode one, and everyone thought he was a girl.) We're so used to his awesome computerized voice, this wasn't welcomed. However, after episode one, I began to appreciate this re-design. Him being silent, (though he could talk, according to producer Duane Capizzi, he just chooses not to, how awesome is that?) made him unique in this show, and his look is by far the coolest. The only gripe is that he was underused, way too underused. He was absent for some major episodes, and sometimes all he would do is just making a standing appearance, it was like the writers didn't know what to do with him. The season finale finally gave him a fight, (seriously, up until that point, he hadn't fought once) and truly established his character. He's not this quiet computer whiz you push around, you mess with the order of things, you better watch out. This Soundwave is by far the coolest of his incarnations, my favorite character. 

I almost forgot to mention Starscream. He's like his campy G1 self, but at the same time, cunning. (He is voiced by all-star Steven Blum, which helps.) He was surprisingly absent for the Unicron arc, then again, what could he do? Nothing, he's not exactly the brightest or strongest. Original character Airachid brings something new to the table. (She might be a Predator wannabe, but she's cool anyway.) Her story and rivalry with Arcee is a very good dynamic, especially with the flashbacks. Knockout and Breakdown are good, they bring some genuine humor. There's this evil human group called MECH, I forgot about them throughout this arc. Let's face it, they are NOT INTERESTING. I don't see why they were added in the first place, they really bring nothing to the table.

Some things I have to mention, good and bad. A bad thing was when Megatron came back to the living, he didn't destroy Starscream, even though he knew that the ladder would have destroyed him in space. I didn't get that, after that fiasco, I would have expected him to completely eliminate Starscream. The humans are just plain annoying, the episode where they are absent or side-characters are always the more enjoyable ones. Seriously, I want to see a whole arc without these guys. The show succeeds in giving each character a diverse personality, something G1 was lacking. (I love the scene where Soundwave sends Laserbeak to monitor Starscream, it's those little moments that make this show stand out.)

Overall, if you haven't been watching Transformers: Prime, what are you waiting for? Old and new fans alike will greatly enjoy this show. Season Two is coming soon, so catch up with the episodes. The series has been good with keeping the episodes exciting and non-filler, the only episode I didn't care for was the one with those Scraplets. The two things this show needs to do are: Give Soundwave a much bigger role in things, and.......destroy off Miko, I don't know how, just do it. 

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