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Old 2011-02-15, 04:21 AM   #16
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Airdate: 9 February 2000
Written By: Robert N. Skir & Marty Isenberg
Japanese Title: The Cost of Victory

Optimus Primal and Megatron, caught in the storm caused by the activation of their respective superweapons. As this happens, Optimus Primal sinks into the Oracle, seeing a vision of Cybertron's destruction. A distraught Optimus blames Megatron, but a spectral image of Megatron appears and tells Optimus that Cybertron is doomed not because of him but of Optimus. Optimus then finds himself on prehistoric Earth, and is attacked by a red-eyed copy of himself who scolds Optimus for his fanaticism and pushes him off a cliff. Optimus finds himself floating in space, and the faces of all his Maximals tell him that he failed them. Optimus realizes that he must make his own decisions, not the Oracle. The Oracle tells him that his fate still lies with him. Rhinox's spirit then appears, comforting him. He has suffered the consequences for his actions and is now one with the Matrix. Optimus is greeted with flashes of mysterious Transformers, and finds himself back in the battle. Optimus Primal uses his Oracle-given powers to take control of both energies and directs them back into the Matrix itself. There is an explosion.

The Maximals awaken, finding them back in their techno-organic bodies, with all the Vehicon drones laying deactivated on the ground. They regroup and head to Megatron's throne room, finding all the combatants there dead. Megatron's body crumbles into dust, leaving only his control shell. Rhinox/Tankor's inert body falls to pieces upon being touched. While Optimus Primal is but a smear on the ground. Cheetor laments their leader, but Nightscream tells Cheetor that the other Maximal always wanted Optimus out of the way. Cheetor denies the fact, but reluctantly takes command. Once outside, Rattrap plugs into Cybertron's system, only to find that the planet is brain-dead. Jetstorm and Thrust attack them, but before they could fight properly Cheetor comes between the two forces, telling them that the war is over. Blackarachnia invites Jetstorm to their side, but both Vehicons leave.

Some time later the Maximals descend into the Oracle again, and is astounded to find Optimus Primal inside. Optimus asks his Maximals to forgive him for going to such extremes. The Maximals tell him that there is nothing to forgive, and Cheetor insists that Optimus not give up. But Optimus disappears anyway... in the void, he sees a swirl of sparks from past, present and future, inviting him into the afterlife: the Matrix. Optimus seems eager to enter, but at the last second he changes his mind. Optimus Primal steps out of the Oracle into the real world. The Oracle tells him that it has taught him everything. Around them techno-organic plants sprout up. Optimus explains to the Maximals of his fault: Cybertron was not to be a purely organic or purely technological world, but a balance between the two, just like their bodies. Just as the Maximals head above ground, however, they find themselves below a gigantic vessel shaped the image of Megatron's head...

Featured Transformers: Optimus Primal (killed and resurrected), the Oracle, Megatron (killed), Rattrap, Cheetor, Nightscream, Blackarachnia, Rhinox/Tankor (killed), Tank Drones, Jet Drones, Cycle Drones, Jetstorm, Thrust, Diagnostic Drone (flashback)
Vision: Noble, Obsidian, Strika, Silverbolt, Botanica

Well, there sure is a hell lot of visions here, aren't there? Thankfully they are so well-scripted that I don't mind at all. Now this is much more spectacular than the last episode, even though not much happens other than some heavy characterization on the part of Optimus Primal. But we'll get to that later. Poor Rhinox had the worst exit in the show, and he gets shafted with a one line and the Tankor body collapsing. At least the poor fella has made his peace, and he gets to apologise to Optimus Primal... Megatron not being mentioned after his death is on purpose. Does anyone believe Megatron would be killed off for good? Still, his body shattering into bits is well-animated. Rattrap's 'there is nothing to forgive' line is also especially touching. Cheetor gets lots of character development as well for the little screentime he got, with him grieving over his dead leader, while that jerk Nightscream tells him that he seems to want that to happen. Nightscream is such an unsymphatetic jackass.

I just pity the little five year olds watching the episode who surely have no clue why the good guys aren't fighting the bad guys but is just floating in space talking... Optimus Primal's character gets explored, and he is confronted with his guilt, his ego, his fanaticism... everything in the initial set of visions is so emotional to Optimus, from Cybertron being destroyed, from ghost-Megatron telling Optimus it's all his fault, to the disembodied heads of his friends telling Optimus he failed them... and ends with a determined Optimus Primal knowing what he has to do, and blows everyone up. That sombre mood as we pan across dead Vehicon drones, as well as when the Maximals descend to the Oracle...

It's well done, with perfect pacing and emotional exploration. Even the little goof with Beast Wars could be overlooked as Optimus' brain trying to rationalise things. Although that bit at the end where Optimus Primal somehow gets stuck floating in the Oracle looks rather silly. The whole finding the balance and the Oracle admonishing Optimus for being a fanatic is well done, though. It is excellent with a few quibbles, but very deep and dark. No doubt kids wouldn't get this episode.

(Eight out of Ten)

The last in-show appearance of Rhinox and of Megatron's cloaked body.

The first appearance of the Well of All Sparks/the Allspark/the Matrix (not to be confused with the Creation Matrix or the Matrix of Leadership), the Cybertronians' equivalent to valhalla.

Beast Wars is heavily mentioned here. There are some short clips from the show (the only one that isn't about the present Maximal crew was Silverbolt coming out of his pod), and there is a little retcon that the Oracle intended for them to go to prehistoric Earth to restore the organic to Cybertron. See goofs.

In the vision we see the beast mode heads of all the Maximals in all their previous bodies, even for Beast Wars, telling Optimus that he failed them. Nightscream, not appearing in Beast Wars, had to make do with his Technoorganic head and his not-so-technoorganic head prior to his reformat.

As Optimus exits the vision thing he gets a vision of future Transformers he'll meet as the show progresses. It's all very brief, though.

As the four Maximals head down to the Oracle with Blackarachnia's web, it is near-identical to the similar sequence in the first episode of Beast Machines, albeit with different bodies.

The gigantic Megatron head seen at the end of the episode has been foreshadowed in the episode 'the Cure' on the Diagnostic Drone's screen. While never named on-screen, additional pieces of fiction dubbed it the 'Grand Mal'. Fandom names include 'Big Floating Head' or Megabolt, the latter named after the toy released a couple years later.

Rhinox would be resurrected from the Matrix/Allspark in the Universe comic to make penance for his sins.

Jetstorm's line in rejecting the Maximals' offer of alliance is a misquote of the rock anthem 'Won't Get Fooled Again'. You know, 'meet the new boss, same as the old boss'.

Beast Wars started, lest we forget, with Megatron going back in time to change history, while Optimus Primal's crew just happened to be around to pursue them. Unless the Oracle had given Megatron some nudges the whole 'Oracle sends Maximals to the past to collect organic DNA' is rubbish. Although since it is Optimus Primal's conclusion, and he isn't quite in his right frame of mind at that point...

The recap concludes with Optimus Primal's hand disintegrating, but adds an additional dialogue of 'if this is the will of the Matrix then so be it'. Last episode Optimus only stared in horror as his disintegrating hand.
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