Transformers: War for Cybertron, Chapter 1: Siege, Episode 2

Welcome to another cartoon episode recap! Following up on yesterday’s premiere for Netflix’s new Transformers: War for Cybertron we’ll be humming right along into the second episode today. With this series being available for nearly a week already, there’s plenty of full recaps and spoiler-based reviews out there and I’m pretty surprised with the mixed feedback. I’m already all-in on this show after one episode and yet, I’m seeing plenty of people say that the series is “too dark” which really doesn’t make sense to me. Yeah, it’s not exactly the goofy, kid-friendly fare you’d normally expect, but the battle of Autobots versus Decepticons has always revolved around one thing: war. It’s a war for survival of their race and yeah, that can get pretty dark.

So we gather today for the next installment of this war. When we left off, Megatron was getting a surprise guest who was cloaked to keep their identity secret, but even then, it was pretty obvious who it was. The episode cut off before the reveal so I’m sure we’ll be picking right back up with that today. Time to transform and roll out.

The Plot:

The visitor is Ultra Magnus, Optimus Prime’s right-hand man. This would represent a stunning heel turn, but Magnus was shown in yesterday’s episode to have some very opposing beliefs about the war than Prime does. Magnus stands before Megatron and states that – in good faith – he surrenders.

Magnus and Megatron have a one-on-one sit-down talking about their time in the military together where they fought side by side. Megatron implores Magnus to convince Prime to accept the treaty, but Magnus says he can’t force others to go against what they feel is right. He’s surrendering himself because that’s what he feels is right for himself.

Back on the Ark, Prime announces to the other Autobots that he has reports that Ultra Magnus has surrendered to Megatron. The others are aghast that Magnus would do such a thing, but then worry that he will give up the rest of them to the Decepticons. Prime commits to fighting on and the other agree “’til all are one.”

Shockwaves brings an idea to Megatron. They need to find the All Spark, the unit of urban legend that would provide its possessor with near unlimited power. Most importantly, according to Shockwave is that it would allow him to have a source needed to reprogram all of the outstanding Autobots into Decepticon slaves thereby ending the war. Megatron is listening, but wonders aloud about the All Spark. Is it even real, or just the stuff of legends? Shockwave confirms that his research into the work of Alpha Trion says that it is very real and it is exactly what the Decepticons need.

Ultra Magnus is in a holding cell until Megatron can figure out what to do with him, but he hears the conversation going on and radios Optimus Prime to tell him of the Decepticons new plan. Megatron doesn’t know if searching all across the planet for the All Spark is the best use of his resources, but Shockwave continues pushing saying that this is how Megatron can end and win the war, a total reprogramming. Jetfire, who’s also privy to this chat, state that it would be a victory without honor which actually causes Megatron to say he needs to think on this. Megatron, in this iteration, seems to be guided by a sense of honor and some semblance of a moral code which I don’t ever remember being part of his characteristics, but it is an interesting new wrinkle.

Magnus’s message to Prime goes through and the Autobots hear all about the All Spark. It hasn’t been seen in 10,000 years and Prime makes the decision to search for the All Spark  and gain possession before it falls into the hands of the Decepticons. The other Autobots aren’t exactly thrilled by this, calling it an ancient relic, but Optimus is their double main man and they’ve hooked their wagon to him and aren’t about to back out now.

At Deception HQ, Soundwave interrupts the leadership powwow to inform Megatron that he’s picked up an outgoing frequency: Magnus’s message to Prime. Jetfire easily concludes that the Autobots will now be looking for the All Spark and this actually cheers up Megatron who will now be able to forge Ultra Magnus’s voice through Soundwave and send coordinates to Prime that will lead the Autobots into a Decepticon trap! Egad!

Sure as shit, Optimus, Elita One and the other Autobots walk right into the Decepticons’ trap and are besieged by fire from Decepticon snipers. A battle ensues which, with the advancement of animation in today’s world is one of the coolest couple of minutes I’ve ever seen in a Transformers cartoon. The Autobots fight back and are able to retreat back to the Ark, but not before suffering casualties.

Elita One is growing more and more frustrated with Prime’s decisions, but she nearly loses her shit when he tells Wheeljack to sacrifice some of the Energon powering the cloaking of the Ark in an attempt to trace the energy of the All Spark. Optimus Prime is not exactly regarded as the all-knowing, doer of good in this series and that is also an interesting turn.

Megatron is furious at the combination of Optimus Prime’s survival as well as the fact that his soldiers did not return with highly-purified Energon from the site and storms off to Ultra Magnus’s cell demanding to know the location of the Autobots. When Magnus refuses to give them up, Megatron sneers that he’ll get his information and turns to Shockwave to order a full re-programming of Ultra Magnus thereby moving past whatever honor and code he was holding himself to.

The Thoughts:

Another solid episode that has only built more excitement to see what will be coming in future episodes. I love the animation and coloring of this show. It’s a much more gritty presentation than the classic, but sharpness of the characters along with the wear and battle damage each of the robots wear from this long war is vivid despite the darker coloring.

The battle scene where the Autobots were lured into the trap wasn’t the best or most action you’ll ever see, but it just looked so friggin cool. Maybe it’s because I haven’t really paid much attention to any of the post-original Transformers series so I’m just comparing this to the original in my head, but man, there was just something about watching this unfold and seeing both Autobots and Decepticons be shot, injured and killed that had me completely captivated by everything going on.

With only six episode in this chapter, I’m kind of feeling we may not get all the background on the war and all the reasoning behind it that I’d like to, but the expansion on both Optimus and Megatron is great. Megatron, a soldier who still had a code until he didn’t and Prime, admittedly not a soldier until forced into being one who is learning on the job and struggling with decisions that could mean life or death for those who follow him.

I genuinely hope we get much more of this. I’d love to see the origin of the disdain between Prime and Megatron; how it started and why it became a bloodfeud to the point where now Megatron is willing to torture Ultra Magnus, someone he has shown to have a bond with, just to get at Optimus Prime. Really can’t wait to see what reveals they’ll have in the future.

Main Man Standings:

I gave yesterday’s episode a Unicorn, but this one’s going to come in slightly lower simply because I give bonus points if an opener can suck me in and make me excited for what’s next. That’s to take nothing away from this episode, however, because like I said, I’m all in and found so many things to be amazing. That being said, I’m going with a QUADRUPLE AND A HALF MAIN MAN! Four and a half stars for a fantastic follow-up from yesterday that has kept my excitement high for more.

Comments & Concerns:

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