Season Three, Episode 12: Nemesis, Part 1
Reviewed by Blackjack
An amazing start to the conclusion of what is undeniably the best series in Transformers lore. The action scenes are non-stop, and the writers have manages to tie in reasons for Tarantulas' seemingly erratic plans. The soundtrack and the visual effects (especially the dramatic unveiling of the Nemesis
), and the comparison of how massive the Decepticon warship is, are breath-taking. The Nemesis
is a great plot device, with the threat of a gigantic warship being realistic and believable. And having it reference something from the original cartoon, thus cementing the whole time-travel thing, it sets up the mood for a do-or-die situation. There's a lot that I like about this episode. Megatron's grandiose speech, Silverbolt trying to act tough, Waspinator standing up for himself, Inferno rambling about the royalty, the Covenant of Primus... really entertaining stuff. Dialogue is perfect, with quoting the Covenant of Primus leading to the characters quoting some excellent (if a wee bit corny), almost biblical, quotes. No doubt Furman's work.
But to me, the real clincher was the Rampage and Depth Charge battle, resolving the cold-blooded rivalry between the two, while the Nemesis
powers up in the background. You might argue about whether it comes off, but for me personally it does. Depth Charge's characterization is fantastic, especially that point where he was ready to abandon the fight to complete his mission, showing us that even cold-hearted pricks can warm up. The resolution to the brutal, excellently animated fight is so satisfying yet tragic. Rampage letting go of the energon dagger could be interpreted as many things — he wanted to end the mockery of a life being forced to serve Megatron, or he wanted to test Depth Charge's will, or he simply wanted to kill Depth Charge with him. It is a touching moment for both characters, and a nice, if a little abrupt, ending for those two.
However, there are bits where things could have been improved. Inferno's party of sidekick Predacons, while highly fun, feels so much like padding. The assault on the Protohumans, while supposedly a major plot point before (in 'Code of Hero'), doesn't attract the attention of the Maximals like it should, and seems to be a half-assed attempt to get the minor characters out of the way.... which is a shame, because I love those three goons. There is also Tigerhawk. He fills Silverbolt or Cheetor's role as a flying Maximal, only more lifeless. It's just because he's a new toy. And that little advertisement with Primal reading the Covenant of Primus in the beginning, making Tigerhawk seem like some promised deliverance... eesh. Plus, there's that whole unexplained Dinobot II/Dinobot thing. Still, like all things the writers of Beast Wars does things with charm and grace, and it's easy to overlook these minor mistakes in favour for the prelude to Beast Wars' conclusion. It's an excellent episode, with some of the most spectacular CGI for the series. Compared to G1's Rebirth, Nemesis feels like an all-or-nothing finale instead of yet another episode. At least Beast Wars would go out with a bang.
The deaths (and final appearances) of Rampage and Depth Charge. The first appearance of the Nemesis
, and the first time that the Decepticon shuttle is ever named.
crashing down under the sea solidly cements Beast Wars as being part of the G1 cartoon continuity as opposed to the comic continuity (where the Decepticon ship kind of floats around in space until Galvatron shoots it). However, Optimus Primal describes the Nemesis
as shooting down the Ark, instead of the battle between the Autobots and Decepticon boarders aboard the Ark causing it to crash down onto Earth, as seen in the first episode of the cartoon. Although it seems to be a deliberate choice on the part of the writers to make the Nemesis
more badass, using the advantage of Optimus Primal as an unreliable narrator.
Longtime Transformers scribe Simon Furman worked together with Bob Forward on the outline of Nemesis
. However, when a fourth season was deemed unfeasible, much of the plans they had developed was cut short.
The Covenant of Primus seems to be the Transformers' equivalent of the Bible. The bits read by Optimus Primal, with a mighty warrior casting a great dragon and his followers away, while parallels Tigerhawk casting Megatron and the Predacons away, is a reference to a passage in the Bible where God banishes Satan and his followers from heaven.
There are only two copies of the Covenant of Primus. One of them is in the Ark, the other is in the Nemesis. It's also revealed that Beast Megatron took his name from the Covenant of Primus, not from G1 Megatron. Not directly, anyway.
Megatron calls Tarantulas "Unicron's Spawn", something that is possibly should be a generic insult. However, some fans took this literally, since last episode tells us that Tarantulas is neither of Autobot or Decepticon descent.
Silverbolt's remark 'tis just a scratch', followed by his arm falling off, is a homage to Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Inferno utilizes Looney Tunes' classic "somehow hiding behind an impossibly skinny tree" maneuver.
Waspinator has a long, green tongue. Also, this is the only time (barring his appearances as Thrust) where Waspinator refers to himself as 'I' instead of 'Waspinator'.
Like the T-Rex head in his original body, Megatron's dragon head seems to have a life of its own, being treated like a pet by Megatron.
When contacting the Maximals, Optimus encodes transmission 'M Sipher', a shout-out to a fan of the same name.
Depth Charge's part that sinks sombrely into the ocean floor totally has the same ball joint that the toy has.
The major plot hole: when Dinobot II cries out in pain after Rampage's death, he flashes back to the original Dinobot's character model and memories. It doesn't make any sense, since the episode 'Dark Glass' remains unproduced.
When Optimus Primal recites the Covenant of Primus in the beginning of the episode, Cheetor in his first Transmetal body could be glimpsed walking around.
Depth Charge flies around in his robot mode, when this is normally his vehicle-mode ability.
Depth Charge is the one who opened the hatch and was closest to the bomb, yet Silverbolt was the one who fell apart afterwards.
When Dinobot squeezes Rampage's spark to pacify him, his shoulder pads are missing.