What They Say:
Darkness Rising: Part 2 -” The return of the Decepticons.
The first episode of Transformers: Prime did a decent job of setting up events and getting us familiar with the five Autobots that are left on Earth as well as introducing us to the humans that are now paired with them. It breaks the stereotypes a bit by having Jack with Arcee and Miko with Bulkhead while Raf spends his time with Bumblebee, but the big thing was the return of Megatron to the screen at the end, complete with Frank Welker taking the role over again after quite a few years away from it. Megatron’s return has him ready to just take over again as he gets to the Decepticon base. And he’s intent on going big here as he has a shard of Unicron, which causes enough pause for Starscream considering that it’s believed to be the anti-Spark in the universe. Some things you just don’t mess with.
While we’ve been introduced to the three humans, it turns out they’re not the only ones aware of what’s going on. The Autobots have a human liason in the form of Special Agent Fowler, a government agent who works with them to cover up their activities. They’re completely aware of the Decepticons and their threat, hence working with the Autobots, but it’s not clear how high the knowledge goes. The gist of the deal though comes down to the fact that the Autobots have to keep their activities off the radar so as to not alert the general populace to their existence. This is something that’s about to become much harder to do now that Megatron is back and has a plan.
With Cliffjumper dead as of the first episode, Megatron’s shown the potential of the Unicron shard by injecting it into his remains. It’s essentially reanimates him but there’s nothing of his original personality there. It’s essentially a hyper-zombified creature that’s relentless in its pursuit of killing anything that’s in front of it. Even after Megatron slices it in half, it still wants to crawl wherever it can in order to kill. It’s easy to see why Megatron wants this in his possession and how he can build an army that will give him all he wants, with some proper controls added to the whole idea in order to make sure it doesn’t get out of hand.
Transformers: Prime brings in a fair bit of back story and development of the overall plot but it also knows how to focus on the action. There’s a fun sequence that has most of them using the Ground Bridge, an adapted form of their Star Bridge technology, to head to where Cliffjumper’s body is and that leads to an Energon mine with quite a few Decepticons to fight. It’s a fun sequence that has a good mixture of transformations to it and plenty of laser action, but it still lacks the kind of action that paints a real sense of danger to it. The scale of it works well though as they start to see what Starscream has built here that’s now under Megatron’s control. Some of the small details are neat though, especially the facial expressions that Bumblebee has during parts of it.
One aspect to really appreciate with this series is the way the human characters are being utilized. I’m always afraid of how they’ll be used poorly, but here we get some marked differences. Jack is ready to get the hell out of there and wants nothing to do with it all. Miko finds it to be the thrill of a lifetime and wants to live every moment of it. The very different approaches, especially compared to previous incarnations of Transformers series, is very welcome. Especially as noen of the humans are brought along on the first mission, giving hope that they won’t be involved in every battle. The only dislike I have comes again with Raf who as the resident twelve year old computer genius, he’s able to save the day with certain things, such as repairing the computers that the Autobots inherited from the missile silo base they operate out of. It’s just too much of a convenience which will likely be abused regularly.
Transformers: Prime covers a fair bit of ground in its second episode. The return of Megatron gives clue to his plans but doesn’t spell everything out completely which is nice. There are some interesting things to watch with the Decepticons and the intrigue that’s there as we can see Starscream is certainly scheming right from the start, but also getting some neat ideas when it comes to the blood of Unicron that Megatron has. The action sequence we get is good and there are some rather solid carryover elements from the first episode to make it a piece that fits withotu being forced. But my main hesitancy comes from the human side of the cast as they’re the weak link. So far they’re handling it well and making nods towards the realities of life in how these kids do have them outside of this new adventure, and that the kids are kept out of the first mission they see the Autobots go on. All told, Transformers: Prime has a lot of potential that’s slowly becoming realized, but I’m still very guardedly optimistic. Episodes like this are definitely reassuring however.