PREVIOUS SEASON ONE REVIEWS:
3. Trust Exercises
4. More than Meets the Eye
6. As the Kospego Commands!
7. Collect 'Em All!
8. True Colors
9. Rumble In the Jungle
10. Can You Dig It?
11. Adventures in Bumblebee-Sitting
12. Hunting Season
13. Out of Focus
As always, SPOILERS!
(For every up there is a down
For every square there is a round
For every high there is a low
For every to there is a fro
To and fro
Stop and go
That's what makes the world go round)
"Clampdown realizes after all we've done for him, if he sided against us, I wouldn't rest until I made him eat his own claws."
Subverting her usual stance on rules, Strongarm's been leaving the base in secret during the dead of night for some reason. Unfortunately her favorite buddy, Sideswipe, caught her in the act. In an effort to keep up her creds and prove to her leader, Bee, she endures all the work he dumps on her. It's a classic blackmailing scenario, but what's important is Strongarm's little lapse in judgment. At least in her eyes. She knows what she's doing is against protocol and that it goes against everything she believes in, but it installs a lot of humanity and vulnerability in her, especially when said "vulnerability" is revealed to be a relaxing day at a car wash. 'Collect 'Em All!" had Strongarm dealing with a breakout of robot rashes from stress and overexposure to a foreign planet she's not used to. Mentally, a character like her probably overtaxes herself that she needed to find a way to adjust her needs. A car wash in privacy is probably the equivalent of me occasionally taking Yoga to reduce my anxiety (and back pain.) This is also comparable to Bee's method of relaxing: fighting Cons. He gets jumpy otherwise, though one can’t help but think he needs a better outlet. Hey, whatever works.
I also like the idea that Bee figured out Strongarm’s sneak out anyway, but instead of chastising her for it, he trusts her not to expose their secrets. This reveals that 1.) Bee is not an idiot 2.) Strongarm has worked hard that she officially has Bee’s trust that she won’t fuck shit up and 3.) Strongarm needs to be better at sneaking out. XD
In the Transformers Animated episode, "A Bridge Too Close, Part II", Megatron brands the Constructicons Mixmaster and Scrapper into his Decepticons legion after their services building an impromptu space bridge for his grand scheme. Instead of killing them or pushing them aside after they've done their part, Megatron sees value in keeping these two around and thus recruits them into his ranks. Megatron is pragmatic; he doesn't have any feelings or emotional ties for their well being. He cares for what they bring to the table; what they can contribute; and if must be, what sacrifices they can perform for the greater good of their clan. Animated Megatron treats his subordinates with a great amount of respect most villains in an all-age kids show would rarely afford: he never resorts to petty insults, he doesn't refer to them as his "minions" or "henchmen", but as loyal freedom fighters combating the Autobots due to their oppressed lifestyle. Sure, as long as you acknowledge Megatron as your superior (he doesn't necessarily see the rest of the Cons as equals which possibly adds a layer of hypocrisy and certainly an ego in him) and don't cross him, then you're good. All things considered, that's not a bad deal for an antagonistic foe. At worst, the most Megatron has ever done to his crew when they fail is an exasperated facepalm. Truly, the only one he ever roughed up and broke any of his cardinal rules for had always been directed to Starscream and we all know Starscream is a special snowflake case anyway.
All of these qualities fit Steeljaw to a tee or a near tee. He, too respects his comrades, never puts them down or insults them. "True Colors” reveals he’s quick to criticize, but just as likely to praise when Minitron didn’t off the Autobots, but did rescue Underbite. Of course Steeljaw also dropped the same bot as dead weight the moment he could, but that goes back to the same level of pragmatism Animated Megatron has: sacrifice once so the others can escape and live to rebel another day.
So far, the biggest difference between the two is how they present their ideals. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Megatron believes the Cons are oppressed. We don’t see it per say, but we can tell from the way the Autobot government acts: corrupt, biased, and xenophobic. More is underlined and detailed in the supplementary materials in The Allspark Almanac, but the leaders of Cybertron and its restrictive society (plus millions of years of war) gives plenty to doubt and more incentive to take Megatron at his words (and it’s a pretty bit incentive since their actions aren’t decent, no matter how desperate they are.) Steeljaw’s is a little iffy because we don’t know if his speech about Con oppression is true or a whole lotta bullshit he made to avoid prison time. He, as far as we know, didn’t have the whole war background nor do we have much details on Cybertron and its current government to know if what he feels is anyway justified. The closest evidence of a intolerable government is the council sending a bounty on Bee despite a previous episode establishing Jazz returning to Cybertron to placate them with Bee’s good intention. Since I don’t believe Jazz would sabotage Bee in anyway, this means the council likely didn’t believe or cared. Even then, this isn’t enough of a concrete evidence for or against Steeljaw.
Who is Steeljaw? Why did he act this way? Is what he is saying true or a mere facade? He's the most fascinating, mysterious character in the show that refusing to dwell into his background would be criminal. As much as I praise Animated (you’ll notice I compare a lot of TF shows to Animated a lot, but that’s because I haven’t watched Beast Wars in forever), they heavily dropped the balls with the Decepticons, refusing to dig into their specific stories and justification for their actions (even if a lot of their actions are downright malicious, if not obligatory for the purpose of giving them the standard antagonistic role on an all-age show; same applies to Steeljaw and his cronies.) Without understanding what makes their mind tick, we only have so much to take on Megatron and the Cons’ words. I hope Steeljaw won’t suffer the same fate, he is too interesting to be pushed off to the side.
OUT OF FIVE STARS
OH HAI MARK: When did Steeljaw pick up Fracture? Last time he appeared, dude just escaped before the Autobots could get to him. Sure, Steeljaw could have recruited Fracture prior to this episode, but all his recruitment before were shown on-screen, so this one sticks out a bit.
PARTING THAT RIVER: So anyone find it interesting Bee chose to turn his Decepticon Hunter into a staff? Anyone who's seen "Predacon Rising" (the Prime movie, that is) knows the Immbolizer was a thing Bee was semi-associated with since it, too was something of a stick-ish nature. There was a scene earlier in the movie where Bee upholds a rusty stick and uses it to bargain with Predaking. I once stated (something sarcastically) that it was a tool that symbolizes Bee's leadership. I wonder if there was an intent here?
FIXIT: A Decepticon alert!
BEE: *sigh* Thank Goodness, our dry spell is over.
Actually not the best line, but it made me think Bee gets off on Con searching.
Discovery (A Transformers Animated Fancomic): Read the entire thing here. Placed there for archival purpose. Recently cancelled.
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