What They Say:
Darkness Rising: Part 3 – The return of the Decepticons.
With the third episode of Transformers: Prime, we get a couple of story elements that really heighten the potential of the show but also a couple of things that drag it down far too much. The combination of the two ends up negating a lot of the good things unfortunately, which is a real shame as the series has some really strong potential to it. At this point of the series, we’ve had the main human characters introduced, the coming together of a team of sorts with them and the return of Megatron has given us a lot to work with. What takes it to the next level is the inclusion of the Dark Energon and what it can do to change the balance of power. As Megatron says, he feels like he can hear Unicron speaking to him now that he’s feeling the Dark Energon inside of him.
That Dark Energon is Megatron’s main secret weapon at this point, but that secret is exposed pretty early on when one of Ratchet’s tools that’s been infected goes live and he and Optimus manage to figure out what it is. It’s a subplot the rolls forward from here as the two go out into the field, the first time for Ratchet in an age, as Prime has somewhere very specific to go. While it’s kind of cagey and may make more sense to more established Transformers fans, talk of wars past and the way that during those dark days Energon was stored across many worlds, which is why Earth became involved at one point. With Megatron having more Dark Energon and needing an out of control army to use, graveyards of the past on the planet may give him what he needs. There’s some really fascinating little nuggets in here that makes you want to know more.
With those two off on their own mission, the breakdown in structure happens quick as Arcee doesn’t want to babysit in the base and heads out with Bumblebee. Miko proves she’s even more annoying that first thought with her actions and slowly but surely everyone finds themselves outside of the base. What causes this exodus is that Agent Fowler had come to the base to talk to Prime and ended up being captured by Starscream’s machinations while Megatron is away. And this proves to be the real problem with the story telling here as Fowler communicates on a line that the Decepticons can break that he’s heading back from the Autobot base. Yet rather than track and trace where Fowler came from, Starscream instead has Soundwave send out his minion to capture him so they can interrogate him.
All of this on top of the character interaction material, primarily with Miko, that doesn’t flow well leaves me feeling rather unsettled by this episode. Miko’s very pushy and aggressive with everyone but she runs roughshod over Bulkhead in particular to get her way, which naturally puts her in danger. But she’s also very pushy with everyone else and it makes her a very unappealing character. She has something of a thrillseeker attitude about her at first, but it becomes something more the further that it goes. The other human characters don’t get to stand out much against her personality, especially Jack, as he’s almost a wallflower here.
When peeling back the layers of the larger universe of Transformers, this episode certainly has some decent material to it. Optimus and Ratchet offer up the most with it while Megatron has a bit as well and there are some nice scenes involved Starscream’s time with Megatron. The action si fairly light but Bulkhead has a really good moment where he gets to rip out a Decepticon’s guts in what could be considered a pretty brutal moment. The material with Agent Fowler is hard to watch though with what it does simply because of his attitude, the holier than though nature and with the way the Decepticons handle him. Between that and the Miko bits, it’s an episode that left me feeling less than happy with things, but hopeful because of the Optimus material.