A look at the most recent episodes of Transformers Prime.


Bulkhead is left in a critical condition after his ordeal with the Insecticons. As he lies in stasis while the other Autobots monitor him, Wheeljack and Miko head out to find Hardshell and exact revenge for what has happened. At an Energon mine, Wheeljack engages with Hardshell and his Insections, as Miko watches the battle from his ship. Wheeljack becomes heavily injured, at which point Miko fires the ship's missiles, killing Hardshell. Meanwhile, Knock Out tries to convince Megatron that the Insecticons are a danger to the rest of the crew after Hardshell had attacked a pair of troopers. 

Comments:  This was definitely one of the better episodes of season two. Bulkhead lays dying and his two closest friends go out for revenge! It doesn't get more adult then that and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Great action and great characterization in a story that held together in its internal logic. What more can one ask for?

:  Very Good.

Out of the Past

Miko is angered by Bulkhead's slow recovery and storms out of the base. Arcee tries to cheer her up by telling her the story of how she and her old battle partner Cliffjumper first came to Earth: The two were captured and brought to Kaon by Starscream, interrogated by the Decepticon scientist Shockwave, and uncovered Shockwave's plan to build a Space Bridge. Miko and Arcee share from their respective experiences that they should not be closed off from others.

Comments:   This basically amounted to a retelling of the story from the Prime comic mini-series/TPB from last fall (same writer too, I believe) but with Shockwave thrown into the mix for no apparent reason. I didn't like the choice for Shockwave's voice actor (he sounds like an black guy now--much more baritone then the classic English voice someone like Cory Burton would use). I much prefer the classic voice. Other then showing him off for some reason (help sell the toy? Get a character model ready for the future?), Shockwave disappears quickly and is not seen on-screen again. He adds nothing and doesn't need to be there. Also, Cliffjumper has a sound-alike of Dwayne Johnson, which is noticeable (serves them right for stunt casting in the first place!)

Verdict:  Good. A good back story for Arcee and Cliffjumper with an reasonably good framework around it. To my mind, it seemed pointless to recycle this story from the comic and it makes me wonder which is the "real" version (perhaps we can assume Shockwave was in the comic but unseen?) Still, good overall. 

New Recruit

During a fight with the Decepticons, the Autobots are unexpectedly aided by Smokescreen, a young and adventurous Autobot. Despite Arcee and Ratchet's distrust in the newcomer, Optimus Prime invites Smokescreen to the base for further training. Later, Starscream and the Autobots battle for Red Energon, which grants the consumer enhanced speed. The Autobots return to the base, where Optimus Prime welcomes Smokescreen as the newest member of the group, leaving a still-injured Bulkhead in fear of being replaced.

Comments:   Enter the youthful character trying to prove himself. Hot Rod--er, I mean, Smokescreen, is an okay addition to the cast and he doesn't irritate the viewer too much by his inclusion. The whole "will Bulkhead be replaced by a newer model" angle was a nice touch too. A part of me briefly expected them to have him turn out to be a Decepticon infiltrator but they didn't go that direction with it. It wasn't an extremely memorable episode but a decent one overall.

Verdict:   Good.

The Human Factor  
Silas is merged with Breakdown's body as a result of a biotech surgery performed by the M.E.C.H. surgeon. With the new body, he terminates his crew, then confronts Megatron for a position in the Decepticon ranks, promising to aid their cause with Project Damocles, to create a satellite enabled to fire a particle beam with precision to any given location on Earth. Raf, however, manages to hack the system, leading the project to failure. Megatron calls Silas back to his warship, and orders him to be dissected by Knock Out. 

Comments:  We finally get to see the end result of Silas' mad plans to utilize Cybertronian technology for his own ends...and then it's terminated early. Silas kills his own men (for some irrational reason) and runs to try and join up with Megatron (why? He suddenly ran out of ambition to do anything more interesting with his new found power?) This is emblematic of Prime this season--set up a great premise and then just tosses it away with a lame payoff. Silas getting his at the end was somewhat satisfying after all the trouble he caused but it just feels like a waste of a great premise. Were they in a rush to wrap up the sub-plots to clean the slate for Season Three or did they just hire some new and incompetent writers?

:  Pass. A terrible waste of premise.  

The Autobots are led astray with a decoy pot from the Decepticons for Megatron to retrieve a new relic, until Ratchet informs the rest of the crew of the real location containing the actual relic, the Star Saber. The relic is lodged in a mountain, and it can be removed only by an Autobot leader, a "Prime". The Autobots eventually arrive at the location. Optimus Prime is able to wield its power and send a powerful attack to the Decepticons warship. Back at the base, Optimus Prime receives an incoming message from Alpha Trion via the Star Saber.

Comments:  A good premise with some great action and a great ending. The Autobots now have "the" super weapon and a desire to use it to serve good. Sadly, like so many other stories this season...the premise ends up being a waste of time next episode. 

:   Good.

Alpha Trion informs Optimus Prime about the last four remaining relics left in play, those being the Omega Keys capable of regenerating Cybertron through the Star Saber across the ages. Megatron goes to Cybertron and desecrates a sacred tomb of an unidentified Prime along with his second in command, Dreadwing, to obtain its hand so he can master the Forge of Solus Prime. After using the Forge of Solus Prime to create the Dark Star Saber from a chunk of Dark Energon, he challenges Optimus Prime to a battle in which the Star Saber's blade is broken remaining only his hilt. This unwittingly allows Smokescreen to retrieve the Omega Key with some help from the Phase Shifter and he and Optimus return to the Autobot base. Smokescreen receives the Phase Shifter as his permanent weapon but looks at the Star Saber in despair, before being cheered up by Ratchet telling him that Prime does not need it to be the mightiest warriors.

Comments:  Apparently, anyone can use the weapon of a Prime--all they need is to rip the arm off a dead Prime and presto! That Megatron got a Dark Energon sword was not a terrible story development per se, but that he got it so soon after the first sword showed up and then rendered it useless made me wonder why they bothered to have the Star Saber at all. Of course, the Autobots can't keep the super weapon forever or they'd win the war in a matter of episodes. But to loose it so soon after and have it neutralized by an evil sword? Talk about lame! And now Megatron has a super evil sword--but conveniently won't use it to destroy all the Autobots and take over Earth outright. Again, why--nobody bothers to think of an answer. He just won't. End of story. The beginning of the lamer writing this season, where the balance of power must be maintained at all cost (because the writers are too lazy to find creative ways to make it work). 

:   Pass. This episode needed a serious re-think.

Hard Knocks  
When Optimus determines the whereabouts of the second Omega Key, Bumblebee and Arcee bridge to the destination to retrieve it. But Knock Out, wielding the Resonance Blaster, gets there first and recovers the key. Similarly, Bulkhead and Smokescreen head out to find the third Omega Key, but Starscream, equipped with Red Energon, knocks out Smokescreen from behind and takes the key. The final relic is discovered to be inside Smokescreen himself. Soundwave manages to kidnap him and accordingly retrieve the fourth key. 

Comments:  More drama with both sides trying to get the Omega Keys first. An episode in the middle without much to show for it other then to move events along as it goes. Meh. Good action, I guess, but the plot was thoroughly by-the-numbers. 

:  Average. Nothing great, nothing terrible.

Inside Job
After Smokescreen is brought on board the Nemesis, Megatron learns that the final Omega Key is within the young Autobot. Despite this, Smokescreen manages to not only steal the second Omega Key, but retrieve both the fourth Omega Key and his Phase Shifter back from Knock Out and Megatron and escape the ship. Later, however, Starscream uses his new speed power ,courtesy of the single dose of Red Energon, to sneak into the base and steal the remaining Omega Keys, giving him all four keys. He sneaks his way onto the Nemesis and presents the Omega Keys to Megatron as a peace offering.

Comments:  The part of the story where Smokescreen gets free and steals all of the Decepticons Omega Keys is worth the price of admission. However, the whole tit-for-tat nature of the show kicks in when Starscream uses his red energon to sneak into the Autobots base (via their space bridge) and steals them all back, only to offer them to Megatron.

:   Good. Overall, a worthwhile episode but I am getting tired of the whole "make sure the balance of power stays equal all the time" mentality this series seems to have picked up.

Starscream approaches Megatron with the four Omega Keys, proposing a truce with the Decepticons. Skeptical, Megatron orders Knock Out to set up a cortical psychic patch in order to discover Starscream's true intentions within his memories. However, despite the past events revealed to him, in the end Megatron allows Starscream to rejoin the Decepticons, for every member's participation is imperative in aiding the leader's cause of conquering Cybertron. 

Comments:  This was a strange story choice ("I don't know if I can trust you, Starscream, so I'll go into your mind and scan your memories"). It just seems like an odd tactic for Megatron to employ (they obviously needed some framework to re-use the old animation for a clip show and save money on the budget). Being that it was mostly flashbacks, there wasn't much new here although Dreadwing discovering what happened to Skyquake was priceless and worth withstanding the rest of the blah storytelling.

:   Average. The ending was the only worthwhile segment really, while the rest of it was mostly irrelevant.

Dreadwing offers the Forge of Solus Prime to the Autobots, and Optimus Prime uses the relic to upgrade the Autobots' ground bridge into a space bridge, enabling direct transport to Cybertron. Then on the Nemesis, Dreadwing tries to kill Starscream after his T-Cog is installed, but Megatron kills him for disobeying his order to stand down. The Autobots race to the Omega Lock on Cybertron, defeating Megatron's army of troopers along the way while regaining all four keys. 

Comments:  I'm glad the whole Dreadwing/Starscream arc was resolved here but disappointed how it was done. Dreadwing had the potential to be an interesting character but was characterized inconsistently  (he's an honorable Decepticon--but he uses bombs to sneakily kill his enemies?!) and he was underused at times too. There simply aren't enough named Decepticons in the show and those who are quickly get killed off (Breakdown), put on ice (Airachnid) or otherwise marginalized (Knock Out, Starscream at times). We need more of them to fill the ranks not less.  While I applaud that characters can die (unlike previous shows where everyone always managed to either survive or get rebuilt inexplicably), they need to stop wasting characters needlessly.

:  Good. A mixed bad in some respects (Dreadwing's death) but the final action scenes where the Autobots go on the offensive made it ultimately worth it.

Darkest Hour  
The Autobots are forced to surrender all their weapons and the Keys in exchange for the humans. Megatron then puts the Omega Lock to use, initially to reform the war-torn Cybertron, but then also to convert Earth into a new metal planet, at which point Optimus is forced to destroy the Omega Lock. The Autobots retreat back to Earth, but the Decepticons have discovered the Autobot base's location, as a new dark citadel had been created in front of it.

Comments:  After all the build-up I was disappointed by this episode. About half of it takes place on Cybertron and then it turns into a final solution type scenario with the Decepticons chasing the Autobots out of their base before destroying it. I had assumed they would succeed in reformatting Cybertron and it would then introduce the new beast characters for Season 3. I understand that trying to shake up the viewer's expectations can be a good thing but in this case I feel like they went too far off-course at a strange time. I think the viewer wanted the main story to unfold as expected (I know I did) not switch gears and become about the Decepticons running the Autobots out of their base. Also, after the previous episode's aggressiveness, why didn't the Autobots take on the Decepticons instead of running away. They have one battleship and have lost multiple Vehicons, how many more could they really have left? If the Autobots gave up so easily when it came to Cybertron, it's small wonder the Decepticons won.

:  Pass. The season finale of Prime catalyses the inconsistent writing this season. Changing gears in the story at the worst time, building up to an unexpected twist ending. The ending could have been effective but do to the strange story choices fails to have as much impact as it should have. Also, how many times has Optimus Prime died already? Try something new!

(Episodes synopsises courtesy Wikipedia.org)