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Old 2011-01-08, 04:23 PM   #7
Blackjack
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The Weak Component
Airdate: 23 October 1999
Written By: Rodney Gibbs
Japanese Title: The Promised Dawn

SYNOPSIS
Optimus Primal, still exhausted after reformatting Nightscream, gets a cryptic dream. Meanwhile, Cheetor leads Nightscream and Rattrap to a manufacturing facility where they are attacked by Vehicons. Rattrap is sent to download data from the computers while the other two battle the Vehicon forces. The Maximals realize that when the Vehicon Generals are stunned, their drones stop operating as well, and began to plan an ambush. Megatron observes this from the citadel, orders the Diagnostic Drone to purge his organic DNA, despite the Drone's concerns. In the battlefield, Rattrap, unaware of Cheetor and Nightscream's game plan, finally transforms out of concern and attacks, spoiling Cheetor and Nightscream's ambush. Rattrap's interference also accidentally causes the factory's machinery to build Tank Drones at a faster rate. Things get more complicated as Rattrap realizes that his short robot mode has no weapons in robot mode.

Megatron takes control of some of the drones from his generals, eager to finish off the Maximals himself. Rattrap attempts to stop the drones' manufacture by linking into the central computer, but it makes himself a sitting duck for the jet drones. The resulting feedback causes a system failure, the explosion of the manufacturing plant and a blackout for the sector. The Maximals wisely retreat. Cheetor and Nightscream harshly chewed poor Rattrap out. In their base, Rattrap walks to a still sleeping Optimus, and talks to him, but the others arrive and Cheetor knocks Rattrap to the ground. The impact causes Rattrap to replay his downloaded data, which reveals that Megatron is affected and weakened by the surge earlier. Cheetor brushes it off. Rattrap later listens as the other Maximals discuss about how Rattrap is being a burden. Bitter and angry, Rattrap leaves the Maximals. Rattrap travels to Megatron's citadel, where the Vehicon leader lay pinned under some pieces of machinery. After a bit of bickering between the two, they work out a deal — Rattrap will defend Megatron for one night in exchange for a gigantic power suit.

Cheetor leads the other two Maximals to rescue Rattrap. However, Rattrap was forced to honour his word, firing on the Maximals. As this happens Megatron began to reboot, taking control over Cybertron again. The Maximals and Rattrap are at a stand-off when a weakened Optimus Primal arrives, still exhausted, and tells Rattrap to look within himself, and that he is stronger inside than anyone realize. Megatron orders Rattrap to attack Optimus, but Rattrap points out that the sun has risen, and their bargain is dissolved. Instead of sending the Vehicons after the Maximals, Megatron upholds his word and lets the Maximals walk out, noting that he will liberate the Maximals' sparks another day.

Featured Transformers: Jet Drones, Optimus Primal, Rattrap, Tank Drones, Megatron, Blackarachnia, Tankor, Nightscream, Cheetor, Diagnostic Drone, Cycle, Thrust, Jetstorm

REVIEW
I am of two parts about this. On one hand, Rattrap, Megatron and Cheetor are so drastically different from their previous portrayals. On the other hand, this is a great character development episode for Rattrap, something that involves putting the character in a situation that involves temptation and whatnot. The build-up was great, especially since we have seen Rattrap's frustration across several episodes. Rattrap was genuinely trying to help Cheetor and Nightscream, and have finally transformed after five episodes of not being able to do so. However, he screwed up the ambush, discovered that his robot mode is lame and weaponless, and to top it all, his old pal Cheetor and snotty new brat Nightscream talk you down. And when you try to quietly sulk to someone you can trust like Primal, your old pal Cheetor knocks you down again. And then you hear them discuss on how useless you are. It is a nice reason to make Rattrap snap, and I for one have no trouble with the fact that he would make a mistake in decisions after that. The writers are really that good, and Scott McNeil is such a great voice actor that you could almost imagine Rattrap breaking down into tears. This is the kind of change-of-personas that would've worked, instead of shite like IDW's Spotlight Prowl.

What I have a problem with is what happened afterwards. It's so full of plot holes. Rattrap sees Megatron pinned by pillars, with the Vehicon troops nowhere to see. So does he strangle Megatron? No, he makes a deal with the guy who wiped out Cybertron's population and caused them untold grief in Beast Wars. This bit is more out of character than anything else. And when he gets the gun, does he shoot Megatron? No? Well, Maximal honour. But his friends come? Does he round them up to finish off the Vehicons once and for all? No, he SHOOTS them. Shoots them for crying out loud, when he had been the most paranoid and distrustful Maximal in Beast Wars and indeed the rest of this show. Sure, he's pissed off at them, but Rattrap has always been a staunch supporter of the Maximals, right?

While Rattrap's actions could be handwaved as circumstantial snapping, the same could not be said for Cheetor and Megatron. Cheetor becomes a bastard who doesn't hear to what his old and trusted friend Rattrap has to say, despite the two being practically best friends in Beast Wars. And this one has no excuse. I mean, Cheetor himself had gone through something similar in 'Feral Scream', right? Bloody selfish cat. And Megatron? He regains his power, the Vehicon generals are back, and the Maximals are honourable enough not to come in and shoot him while he's down? The guy who wouldn't let Dinobot II say the 'H-word'? Does he order his troops to take down the Maximals? No, he keeps his end of the bargain. What. I mean, this is Beast Wars Megatron, for crying out loud! The first half of the episode up to Rattrap's meeting with Megatron was good, bar the action scenes with anime streaky lines, as is Optimus talking Rattrap down near the end. Everything else will leave anyone watching the show closely to go 'huh?'

(Six out of Ten)

NOTES
The first of Optimus Primal's prophetic dreams from the Oracle. These symbolic dreams actually have meaning instead of being just padding, but right now they are annoying.

If the Vehicon General is stunned or damaged, their corresponding drones likewise malfunction.

As of this episode, Rattrap can freely transform between his robot and beast modes. Not that it does him any good in battles, mind.

This would mark the start of Rattrap's character arc. Namely to make up for his weakness in robot mode and compensate for them with his agility, gadgets and stuff. By the same token, Rattrap has replaced Rhinox in this series as the group's tech-head.

Megatron's dialogue as Rattrap walks towards him, 'so this is the way the world ends. Not with a bang, but with a simpering... rodent', is a misquote of of T.S. Eliot's poem 'The Hollow Men'.

This episode features one of the few times in Beast Machines where the setting is not night, namely the sunrise.

GOOFS
Well, there is Rattrap and Megatron's character inconsistencies. Rattrap, usually one of the most pragmatic and distrustful of the Maximals, sells out his team for a battlesuit. Just out of frustration. And he doesn't simply strangle Megatron when he's disabled and at his mercy.

Megatron, meanwhile, makes a big deal out of honour, despite him always resorting to dirty tricks, and having knocked Dinobot II aside just for using the 'H-Word' before.

When Rattrap says 'gangway!', Jetstorm's mouth angles upwards as he turns towards the camera.

Art inconsistency — Nightscream is coloured in his original beast mode paintscheme (without the techno-organic blue paint) when they discuss Rattrap's robot mode.

When Megatron appears via floating viewscreens to try and convince Rattrap when he faces off against Maximals, Meggy's mouth stops moving before the dialogue finishes.

Where did Jetstorm, Tankor and Thrust disappear off to when Megatron needed them?

If one listens closely, when Rattrap says 'not when I'm standing' near the end of the episode, Scott's voice slips into his Silverbolt voice instead of his Rattrap voice.

So why didn't Rattrap take the giant power suit with him?
 

Last edited by Blackjack; 2011-01-23 at 09:09 AM.
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