Season Three, Episode 9: Crossing the Rubicon
Reviewed by Blackjack
Another introduction of a Transmetal 2 upgrade, but unlike the case with Cheetor, Blackarachnia's upgrade had been hinted upon numerous times prior. It's very good writing throughout the series, and Blackarachnia's gradual change from an evil Predacon b*tch to a reluctant anti-hero and now to be accepted fully into the Maximal fold is so well-written, putting many of the laughable attempts at faction-hopping seen in the newer series look like paltry attempts in the process. Of course, that romance bit helps the storytelling too. And so far, Silverbolt and Blackarachnia's little love story is the only good one that I've seen in any Transformer fiction. And Megatron's plan this episode is uncharacteristically brutal for the series, where he sends his troops just to foil an attempt to operate on a mortally-wounded Blackarachnia. It's very dark compared to the 'build a big gun!' seen last episode.
Silverbolt's pain is really well played out, as is his vengeful hunt for Tarantulas. Rampage provides a sadistic foil to Silverbolt's hurting emotions, and Blackarachnia's 'death' does seem a little sad if you don't see what's coming. That said, this episode isn't without its bad sides, though. The parts where Rhinox had to basically play a video game to shoot down Tarantulas' safeguards is agonizingly long and not really interesting to see, and the new-toy-pwns-old-toy battle between Blackarachnia and Rampage isn't the best one. Still, it's a great episode, although it could do with some trimming.
First appearance of Transmetal 2 Blackarachnia.
After his appearances of working with the Predacons in two previous episodes, this episode gives an inkling on how Tarantulas works now. He's somewhat of a loosely Predacon-based consultant that alerts Megatron of anything that could further mutual interests.
Megatron's rubber duckie is seen again, but it now has metal rings around it, as if it's been Transmetalized. Cute.
The medical machine connected to Blackarachnia is very similar to an electrocardiograph, the way it quickens and slows down, and even flatlines when she 'dies'.
When Megatron deduces that Blackarachnia has transmitted the Ark's access codes to Optimus Primal, he notes that this 'fits in nicely with our little plan for him', foreshadowing the next episode.
What exactly is a rubicon? It's a river in Italy which was illegal for Roman generals to cross (protecting the capital city from a military threat). Julius Caesar crossed it, causing a civil war which ended with Rome becoming his. 'Crossing the Rubicon' is an idiom meaning to go past the point of no return.
Like in 'Proving Grounds', when Blackarachnia gets out from the X-Ray machine, the spider legs mounted on her upper arms are missing. Perhaps they are removable?
Blackarachnia's gray battle damage disappears and reappears between shots.
When Optimus and Rattrap are talking when the Predacons attack, Optimus' blast shields are placed in his arms instead of his shoulders during one shot.
Optimus transforms into his jet mode by saying 'Maximize', when traditionally 'Maximize' is used to transform into robot mode. Normally he says 'Flight mode' when changing into jet mode.
When Dinobot II battles with Cheetor, the plate on his stomach/crotch is oddly stretched.
Not technically a goof, but Optimus Primal says that going off on your own is not a Maximal thing to do, when throughout all the episodes every single character (barring perhaps Rhinox) have done so at one point or another.