If you want to read my reviews for previous Transformers shows, click here: neoyi.deviantart.com/journal/A…
As always, SPOILERS!
ROBOTS IN DISGUISE: TRUST EXERCISES“That first step we’ve been talking in the woods? I think it’s being taking.”
(“You’re a meanie.”
“No, you’re the meanie!”
“I’m not the meanie, you are.”
“No, you are!”)
It is a truth universally acclaimed that a team in shambles is in need of a good trust exercise. As the gang’s leader, Bumblebee logically takes the next step and introduces the idea of companionship and teamwork to solidify their goal to catch all the renegade Cons. Grimlock and Bee get along swimmingly, but problem child Sideswipe and by-the-book Strongarm needs a teeny bit of motivation. The result is typical: two opposite personalities bounce off each other, but somewhere down the line they have to work together. When Steeljaw has Strongarm captured, it’s up to Sideswipe to step in (along with Russell’s help) that eventually leads to the two getting a better understanding of each other. What I really like is that they didn’t go the standard route of putting aside their differences to team up against Steeljaw. Sideswipe distracts Steeljaw long enough for Strongarm to escape and kick the shit out of Steeljaw. It’s improvisation, one that Strongarm is grateful enough to thank, but not necessarily enough to buy Sideswipe’s fully come clean. It’s a small, almost unassuming “thanks”, but it carries bigger meaning coming from Strongarm. Baby steps, you know?
Sideswipe doesn’t want to trust; he wants respect. Bumblebee sees good in the kid and Grimlock simplistic one-note mind means Sideswipe is likely not as concerned on what the Dinobot thinks, but Strongarm deliberately judges him based on his delinquent act and it gets in his craw. Seeing as he wants to be treated as an equal only proves Bee’s assessment of him is right and he really is a good guy at heart (this goes without saying, he’s a rebel, not a genocidal maniac.)
If I felt Sideswipe and Strongarm’s interaction was largely standard, Grimlock’s interaction with Bee is not. When I think about The Big Guy, two archetypes bring to mind: they’re either dumb, aggressive lunkheads who want to punch everything or kind, gentle giants who just happen to be the strongest member of the team. Grimlock is in the first category. Grimlock is hilarious because his only motivation is to fight and fight some more, usually to the detriment of the other team members. In a surprising twist, this so-called Decepticon easily obeys Bumblebee and gets along fabulously without struggle. He’s not friendly per say and his lust for battle sounds like it could bite him in his metal ass if he doesn’t take it down a notch, but he shows empathy whenever he messes up and is just so dark giddy about this whole “catch the Con” quest. I theorize he acts this way because it is preferable to prison and he’s in a unique position where he can literally get into scuffles; something he is totally okay with doing because it means beating the shit out of Cons.
Alright, who's shipping them? Raise those hands, folks.
This complication means Grimlock is more of a wild card than Sideswipe. While the latter genuinely wants to do good, Grimlock’s morals a bit more loose. He has a good chance of screwing over the team and that’s what makes him fascinating. ‘Sides, I also really like his team spirit energy even if it benefits only him. It’s charming and funny to boot. I’m really liking Grimlock and I usually don’t cater much to The Big Guy characters.
While I like Fixit’s nerdy, neurotic behavior, I’m glad the creators did not dip fully into the stereotype pool and kept him as a socially awkward, geeky misfit. He snarks, giving him an edge that stands out from his unassuming form. Wouldn’t it be something if his biggest weapon isn’t his mechanical skills, but his mouth?
Other little things of note is the scene where Bumblebee admires Earth’s ocean. Aww, he really misses the place, didn’t he? You better call Raf, buddy! Meanwhile, Russell proves he’s not a useless human fleshling, but he still doesn’t have a striking personality, so meh.
Steeljaw is an interesting foe so far. He claims he wants to start anew on Earth and desires peace for him and any other prisoners who feel the way, but it’s clear the guy is bullshitting. His charisma, ability to lie at the drop of a hat, and a voice that glides on butter (brrr) means he has “manipulative bastard” in big neon signs slapped to his back. But is it so bad I want his speech to have some grain of truth? Robots in Disguise is operating under the belief that the Cons = bad guys. Nevermind the “No, DUH” factor and hear me out for a sec. The end of the war in Prime meant it fell heavily to the Autobots’ side and I suppose over time, word of mouth and propaganda got out that the Decepticons are the “villains.” Strongarm accuses Steeljaw of such and she’d be young enough to live in a world with that kind of belief. The meta answer is that it’s an all-age toy-driven show, so at its worst, it’ll stick with black and white morality as its central conflict between factions. But Transformers cartoons has dabbled with a bit of gray before (not to mention the ongoing comic series really goes out of its way to analyze both factions’ role after the war ended.) Animated’s Decepticons are rotten to the core, but the greater Autobot government gives incentive that perhaps the former group may be more justified in their reasoning than we think. Prime went out of their way to humanize and establish personal backstories and arcs for several Cons in an attempt to sympathize with their conflicts, even if we may not support what they do.
Robots in Disguise has a chance to go deeper. I don’t expect a philosophical thesis on the ethnics of morality and what is “good” and “evil” from a show primarily aimed for children (’sides, we got MTMTE for that ;D); I’m just saying there’s a good opportunity here to give Steeljaw depth and prove his words carry a seed of truth. After all, is he not a wolf, a creature known for its nobility?
Alright, I’ll admit it; he does look hot…for having an animal face. I’ve seen some confusion on the Cons obtaining beast modes since that seems to be a Predacon thing in Prime.
I can’t remember off the top of my head, but is it really a plot hole? I assume the “beast” in the “Beast Hunter” title during Prime’s
third season was more of a catch-all term than anything specific. The Predacons seem equivalent to dinosaurs in Cybertron, give or take a dragon. Airachnid is also a spider (well, half a spider anyway) which by definition counts as an animal form. So maybe it’s just a thing on Cybertron that Robots in Disguise
decided to exploit. Maybe it’s a new craze that happened in between Prime
and the present. Or maybe I’m thinking too much out of this. AND A HALF OUT OF FIVE STARS
BONUS OBSERVATIONSCROWN CITY
…is also the name of a city in PBS’ Arthur.
It literally only shows up in like one episode, but every time I heard the name, that’s all I think about. TIPSY HIGH:
The boat Bee and Grimlock takes barely hold them in. Should have considered the Burns’ Darby Eva;
that thing someone carries four bots each weighing at least 3000lbs."I AM THE TERROR THAT FLAPS IN THE NIGHT... I AM THE WEIRDO THAT SITS NEXT TO YOU ON THE BUS! I AM..."GRIMBEE!BEST LINE: ”I don’t trust him, he’s too cool.”
Pfft. Well, sometimes the baddies tend to be several shades more awesome than the heroes. His ”It was a dark and stormy night”
line is probably a good runner-up because the narrative treats it like the cliché line that it is.
STUPID FANCOMICSDiscovery (A Transformers Animated Fancomic):
Read the entire thing here. Placed there for archival purpose. Recently cancelled.
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