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Old 2011-02-05, 12:03 PM   #9
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Revelations Part II: Descent
Airdate: 6 November 1999
Written*By: Marv Wolfman
Japanese Title: Memory of a Friend

Optimus Primal has a cryptic vision from the Oracle, seeing a bunch of plants become technological. He wakes up, finding that he's struggling against the Maximals; apparently he was screaming and trashing in his sleep. Cheetor has assumed command, and tells the Maximals that they must reach the brainwashed Maximal sparks from the Vehicon generals, and if possible, reformat them into techno-organic bodies to join the Maximal fold. Despite Blackarachnia's wishes to go after Thrust first, they decide to go after the slow and dumb Tankor. They split up, Blackarachnia and Nightscream distracting Thrust and Jetstorm respectively, while Cheetor and Rattrap will try to return Tankor to whomever he was before.

They find the three Vehicon generals in a spaceport, and Nightscream soon engages Jetstorm. Blackarachnia, meanwhile, appeals to Thrust to his past, causing the Vehicon to have flashbacks. Meanwhile, Cheetor and Rattrap, after a lengthy game of distraction and collateral damage, manages to get Rattrap to interface with Tankor's mind, and access the Vehicon's memories, which, at first Rattrap thought to be his. The Maximals are in the Autobot shuttle, but mid-flight Megatron broke free and was sucked away. The shuttle returns into Cybertron, and was shot down by missiles. Flash forward some time later, and the Maximals are running away from tank drones, who fire green gas from canisters which causes the Transmetals to be reverted back into their original beats modes. Silverbolt is paralyzed on the ground. The owner of the memories then sees the reflection of Rhinox from a nearby tank drone...

Cheetor and Rattrap conclude that Tankor is Rhinox. Jetstorm, meanwhile, manages to bury Nightscream under rubble and confronts Thrust and Blackarachnia, accusing the former of treachery. Jetstorm forces Thrust to prove his loyalty by removing Blackarachnia's spark. Nightscream arrives to back Blackarachnia up, but in the ensuing struggle Nightscream gets pinned under rubble, while Jetstorm extracts Blackarachnia's spark...

Featured Transformers: Optimus Primal, the Oracle, Megatron (flashback), Blackarachnia, Cheetor, Rattrap, Nightscream, Tank Drones, Jet Drones, Thrust, Jetstorm, Tankor, Rhinox (flashback)

As the second part of a three-parter, Descent is a great episode. It gives a great introdump on what has happened between BW and BM, thus dissolving a mystery. The whole planning stage to reach Tankor is well done. Many scenes in this episode are wonderful. Cheetor assuming command role when Optimus isn't fit, Nightscream and Jetstorm's counter-jibes, Blackarachnia applying to Thrust's inner good, Rattrap's frustration at subduing Tankor... A great episode. Very little fault to be found here, in terms of plot, dialogue, pacing and everything else. The surprise twist of Tankor being Rhinox... well, I didn't see that coming. It came as much a surprise, especially with the reveal being drawn out slowly, with the bluff that the memories being Rattrap's.

Reality check, though, since the review's short (the good episode doesn't leave much to talk about. It's just good). The plot of the series is intelligent, dark and thought-provoking. However, to the seven year old kids that expect a fun, campy series like G1 or Beast Wars, this isn't really working as a kid's show. As an older fanboy it is a great piece of fiction, possibly in my opinion one of the best in terms of characterization, but it isn't something accessible to little kids. I mean, they don't ever get the time travel aspect of the show, much less the reprogrammed part stuff. Which, I suppose, was what led to the series' shorter run compared to Beast Wars or G1. Still, there's no denying how good the series is.

(Nine out of Ten)

First appearance of the portable spark extractor.

Technically, this episode features the first appearance of Rhinox since his disappearance from the beginning of Beast Wars. The Tankor personality is stated to be a 'shell program', but it is arguable whether it is an AI, a wholly different being, or a split personality of Rhinox's.

We get to see what exactly happened between the end of Beast Wars and the beginning of Beast Machines.

We see another one of Optimus Primal's cryptic visions here. This time the vision had Optimus swinging around in an organic world, seeing a bunch of Sparks flying around, a bunch of vines catch Optimus, then the organic becomes fully engulfed by Megatron's technology.

In Thrust's flashbacks, we see Optimus Primal, Blackarachnia, Cheetor and Rhinox in their season three bodies.

Since Megatron had broken free of the Autobot shuttle while they were still in Transwarp jump, he presumably arrived on Cybertron some time earlier than the Maximals, allowing him to conquer the planet in the interim. Time travel is complex stuff, kids!

The green gas that is seen during the flashback is presumably a version of the transformation virus. To Transmetals, it de-volves them (if it makes sense) into their pre-Transmetal forms, then locks them in their alternate mode. Silverbolt and Rhinox, meanwhile are paralyzed and are unable to move, being locked in their robot modes instead.

It's worth noting that Silverbolt and fellow Fuzor Quickstrike had previously been able to resist the Vok's Metal Hunter weapon that did not affect Transmetals. Presumably the properties that saved him then wasn't enough now.

Presumably, as of now nearly all memory gaps are filled in, and the Maximals are up-to-date with events as much as the audience.

When trying to calm Optimus down, Cheetor's feet clip into the floot.

Again, Thrust is miscoloured as one of the Cycle Drones when he first enters the battlefield.

So why didn't the Maximals fight back? Transmetals have previously been shown to be insanely powerful, especially Blackarachnia and Cheetor. Even if they didn't, surely assuming vehicle modes or beast modes would let them escape the Vehicons easily?

Again, the problem of Optimus Primal somehow turning into his pre-Transmetal body.
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