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Old 2010-10-30, 04:18 AM   #62
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Crossing the Rubicon
Airdate: 22 February 1999
Written By: D.C. Fontana
Japanese Title: Shiny!

SYNOPSIS
In an alcove, Blackarachnia straps herself a ragtag piece of machinery that would hopefully convert her into a Transmetal 2. When she activates the machine she accidentally attracts the attention of Silverbolt, who flies in to the 'rescue'. Blackarachnia berates Silverbolt, but suddenly short-circuits and passes out. Silverbolt rushed Blackarachnia back to the Maximal base, where Rhinox diagnoses the problem. The shell program is starting to degrade, and if not removed soon it would delete Blackarachnia's core consciousness with it. Rhinox begins the procedure to remove the shell, something that have never been done before. The disoriented Blackarachnia wanders off to think about it, and confides to Silverbolt that she still views herself as a Predacon, and the idea of becoming a Maximal bothers her. Silverbolt insists that the only reason she is thinking that way is because of Tarantulas' shell program, and that deep down she is a Maximal. Blackarachnia abruptly short-circuits again in the middle of the conversation.

With little time to spare, Blackarachnia decides to go through with the operation. She transfers the access codes to the Ark (gained some time ago) to Optimus Primal before submitting to the operation. Rhinox controls some sort of nano-machine injected into Blackarachnia's systems, and begins to destroy the safeguards guarding the web-like shell program with calculated precision. This attracts the attention of Tarantulas, who informs Megatron of the situation. Megatron concludes that the access codes to the Ark must've been transferred, and that they have no reason to keep Blackarachnia alive anymore. Megatron recruits Tarantulas and sends his Predacons to attack the Maximals in order to disrupt the delicate operation. Optimus Primal, Cheetor and Rattrap defend the base while Rhinox tries to concentrate and gun down the safeguards. As Rhinox is about to destroy the final safeguard, a rocket launched by Tarantulas hits the base, causing Rhinox to miss and extinguishing Blackarachnia's spark in the process. A shell-shocked Rhinox shuffles off to tell Optimus, but Silverbolt, fueled with rage, stalks out in hunt of Tarantulas. Tarantulas, meanwhile, detects that Blackarachnia is dead and breaks off the attack, heading in a different direction with the other Predacons. Silverbolt follows. Meanwhile, the other Maximals (not aware that Silverbolt had slipped away) give Blackarachnia an eulogy and apologizes belatedly for not trusting her more. When they realize this, they head off to hunt Silverbolt. Unseen by them, the Transmetal 2 Driver begins to glow...

Silverbolt trails Tarantulas into a desolate area, and brutally attacks the Predacon. However, just as he was about to deliver the killing blow Rampage arrives and beats Silverbolt to the ground... only to be stopped by Blackarachnia, having been upgraded into a Transmetal 2. Using her newfound powers she makes quick work of Rampage and returns to base with Silverbolt. They return to base and Blackarachnia shrugs off her revival as being 'dark, then light'. She then gives Silverbolt a kiss on the cheek, much to the other's embarrassment.

Featured Transformers: Blackarachnia, Silverbolt, Optimus Primal, Rhinox, Cheetor, Rattrap, Tarantulas, Megatron, Rampage, Quickstrike, Inferno

REVIEW
(Eight out of ten)
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.

NOTES
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.

GOOFS
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.

Quote, Unquote
Blackarachnia: "Oh, yeah. Sure. Like you were gonna help the Pred get more power."
Optimus Primal: "Maximal or Predacon, you're one of us. You should know that by now."

Silverbolt: "You're only a Predacon because of Tarantulas. Inside, you're a Maximal. When this is over, you'll be one again, as you were meant to be."
Blackarachnia: "Easy for you to say. You enjoy this hero stuff. Me? I'm a bad girl at heart."
Silverbolt: "I know your heart and when I look into it, I see no evil. Only love."
Blackarachnia: "Sappy as always. What did I ever see in you anyway? Oh yeah, I remember..."

Silverbolt: "Tarantulaaaas! She's… gone, and it's all because of you!"

Tarantulas: "Ahh, the avenging hero!"

Rampage: "Ah, such pain. I must help deepen it."

Rampage: "Love the new look… goodbye!" [Fires missile]
Blackaracnia: "Missed. And you're ugly!"

Optimus Primal: "Not a very Maximal approach."
Blackarachnia: "Even when I'm good, I'm still bad."
 
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