Welcome to part four of the Transformers: War for Cybertron saga! It’s good to be back and checking out another episode of something I’m really into so let’s not waste a lot of time messing around.
Yesterday’s episode was…a lot. A lot of a lot of things. Grit, hope, despair, darkness, action. It’s actually amazing that they were able to fit so much into a singular episode and still make it digestible, but somehow they did it and I applaud the writing staff for that.
When we left off, Jetfire – a Decepticon and leader of the Seekers as well as Megatron’s right hand – had turned on Skywarp, another of the Seekers, for wanting to start an Autobot genocide that Jetfire simply was not about. He’s questioning his motivations as this war continues and while Megatron has thrown honor and the code of war to wayside for any chance to finally defeat Optimus Prime, Jetfire still refuses to break from his beliefs. Skywarp did survive long enough to fly back to Decepticon base, but his spark ran out shortly after ratting out Jetfire to Starscream who you can only imagine is too happy to hear of Jetfire’s treasonous ways.
And that is how we’ll start today. Another exciting look into the war for Cybertron. Transform and roll out.
Ultra Magnus is being led by a group of Decepticons to what appears to be a Transformer graveyard with the centerpiece being a memorial for Alpha Trion. Magnus has led them here knowing he will be killed, but also giving the Decepticons a fake address for the Autobots secret hideout. Megatron is basking in the moment: his troops in the air and on the ground are in position for an Autobot annihilation and he – Lord Megatron – has broken the great Ultra Magnus into cowardly giving up his Autobot brothers and sisters. Magnus presses his hands to open the the doors to an empty room as Megatron stews about being lied to. Magnus smirks at Megatron’s furor, taking a moment to step toward Megatron’s blaster as he accepts his fate while telling Megatron that he will never win this war. A moment later, Ultra Magnus crumples to the ground, killed after a point-blank shot to the chest from the Decepticon leader.
With Magnus strewn on the ground, a peculiar energy source stars circling him almost as if his spirit is being channeled by he Alpha Trion memorial. It’s only seconds before he’s surrounded by colored lights that then shoot through the tower and are projected onward as the Decepticons look on in confusion. The energy lights travel Cybertron until finding Bumblebee – walking alone on a desolate street – and overtake him; causing him to fall to the ground as this new energy fills him.
At Autobot Headquarters, Optimus Prime gets a sense that the Alpha Trion Protocols have been activated. Nobody around him knows what that means or is, but Prime lowers his head as he informs his team that Ultra Magnus is dead.
Megatron, still in the graveyard with the rest of the Decepticons, wants to know what that engird source from Magnus was and where it went. He commands Laserbeak, the audio cassette that lives inside Soundwave and turns into a reconnaissance bird, to track it down before giving new orders to Jetfire. But before those plans can come into play, the Seekers arrive on the scene, led by Starscream who blasts Jetfire and informs Megatron of Jetfire’s traitorous actions in killing Skywarp.
Megatron gives the order to kill Jetfire, but he’s able to cause a distraction with some smoke bombs before heading into the air to attempt an escape. The Seekers follow suit and are able to catch up before Starscream is able to finally blast him out of the air. The ranks thin even further.
Bumblebee awakens looking as if he got bumped on the noggin, but the new energy is causing him to see things in a different light and he continually says “Trion” even though he has no idea why or what that is.
Optimus Prime readies a team to attempt a repair of the space bridge, but he must first consult The Guardians to inform them of Ultra Magnus’ death. Elita One asks if this means they will get involved, but Prime doesn’t have an answer. He simply knows that they respected Alpha Trion and, as his students, also gave respect to Prime and Magnus. Prime tells them the news and also asks if the Alpha Trion Protocols had transferred to them. His bigger ask is if they will now get involved in this war with the Decepticons. The Guardians are only seen through haze and smoke and offer nothing to help Optimus. They will not interject themselves into the war nor have the Alpha Trion Protocols transferred to them. Prime is angry and frustrated which, once again, seems almost out of character for the Autobot leader. He swears that if they won’t help, he will protect Cybertron on his own “til all are one”.
He returns to the Ark, defeated as he tells Elita One of his encounter and openly wonders if he’s doing the right thing. I’m not going to lie: it really tugs at the emotions to see the great Optimus Prime wallow in doubt. Elita One offers support and Wheeljack tells Prime that he’s close to getting Teletraan-1 (the computer inside the Ark) online that will allow the Ark to fly should they also get the space bridge in working order. Suddenly, the doors fly open and a screaming Bumblebee is trying to drag himself away from Hound, begging to talk to Prime. His question is simple: “Who’s Alpha Trion,” and Optimus is shocked that the Alpha Trion Protocols have chosen Bumblebee.
Whatever it is, Bumblebee doesn’t want it and offers to give it to Prime, but that’s not really how it works. He can’t even explain why it would have chosen Bumblebee as the only one who can is Alpha Trion himself. Bumblebee takes a step back and allows his conscience to be overtaken by the Protocols where he comes face to face with a digital remastering of Alpha Trion explaining that the Protocols include all of the history and strategies of the Autobots so that they can be preserved and passed down forever. Prime holds the Matrix of Leadership and Magnus held the Protocols because the two agreed that no one person should hold both. Bumblebee was chosen because he can be trusted to use them correctly as all he’s wanted this entire time is peace. He is now to become Prime’s right hand, to be there for him in victory and defeat.
As Bumblebee relays some of this meeting to Prime, the intruder alert at the Ark goes off: a lone Decepticon from what Elita One can tell. As it comes into focus, and eventually crashes and skids to a halt, he transforms to show a badly wounded Jetfire. He’s here to join the Autobots.
Wow, this was another completely packed episode, although – I will admit – I think it does leave a little bit to be desired. Under no circumstance am I saying it’s bad or that I didn’t like it, I just wish there was more meat on this bone.
I am incredibly intrigued by the Alpha Trion Protocols, but – like everyone not name Optimus Prime – had no clue what they were, are or how they can be of value. I find it strange that even Elita One who is obviously close to Prime has no knowledge of this and, when finally revealed, how little we still know about them. I wish we would have had more. Maybe some kind of flashback to a young Prime and Magnus having the torch passed to them by Alpha Trion where we learn some of the history and backstory of that as well as the Matrix of Leadership. This episode was really the first time that I felt that things were being somewhat rushed because of how short the season is.
With only six episodes, I suppose this was bound to happen and maybe things will be further fleshed out in the future chapters, but man, I just feel like there’s a lot being left on the table that could have had deeper dives. I’m fine with starting the was “in progress” like an episode of 60 Minutes after an NFL Sunday, but I wouldn’t be opposed to even more backstory about Optimus Prime, Megatron and the origins of how their two factions came to be.
To this point, this show hasn’t utilized any kind of flashbacks so maybe it’s something we’ll ever get, but <inhales deeply> now I want more.
And wanting more is a good thing! Better to keep me wanting rather than hate-watching just to get through it, right? I’m really into this show and already dreading that I’ll be done with it much sooner than I really want to be. So, yes, they could have given us a further and deeper backstory, but it’s still pretty good.
To follow up on the “darkness” of yesterday’s episode, this opening scene with the death of Ultra Magnus – though not entirely unexpected – was pretty brutal to see play out in front of you. Seeing Magnus accept his fate and step toward Megatron, not in an aggressive manner to fight for his life, but to position himself to the villain’s cannon is not something I was ready for. I’ve never really been an Ultra Magnus fan, I always though he was pretty whack as the successor to Optimus in the classic, but his presentation in these four episodes put him in a completely different light for me to where I had genuine empathy for what he was feeling toward the war and then the bravery he showed by not giving up the location of the other Autobots.
Was this a perfect episode? No. Was it still highly entertaining? Absolutely. Nothing’s changed for me: I’m still all-in on this and, like I said, am already wishing there were more episodes.
Main Man Standings:
It sounds bad saying this was the “worst episode” thus far when it wasn’t a bad episode, it just left me hungry while still at the dinner table. For that reason, I’m giving it a TRIPLE AND A HALF MAIN MAN, 3 1/2 stars for a still solid episode that continues to keep me very engaged.
Comments & Concerns: