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Old 2011-02-24, 03:42 PM   #19
Blackjack
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In Darkest Knight
Airdate: 1 March 2000
Written By: Steven Melching
Japanese Title:The Beast's Gratitude

SYNOPSIS
Nightscream flies alone in a derelict region in search for Noble, but he is attacked by Jetstorm and Thrust. In the Maximal base, Rattrap tells Blackarachnia about his newest invention, a combination of a spark extractor and a DNA scanner, which could be theoretically used to restore recovered sparks into Transformer bodies. Optimus Primal and Cheetor arrive, and along with Rattrap goes aboveground to try and locate Nightscream. Blackarachnia follows after she snags Rattrap's device. The Maximals arrive just in time to rescue Nightscream, and a battle ensues. Blackarachnia tries to get Rattrap's device on Jetstorm in hopes of turning him back into Silverbolt. Meanwhile, Megatron's gigantic floating head arrives and uses some gravity beams to capture Optimus Primal and Cheetor. Thrust is about to kill Nightscream but the arrival of Savage knocks out the Vehicon. Rattrap follows Savage as it drags Nightscream's unconscious body away, thinking that Savage intends to eat the Maximal.

Blackarachnia and Jetstorm go in a chase deep underground, and Blackarachnia manages to trap Jetstorm with some webs, causing him to topple into a pool of organic goop. The DNA scanner activates and scans the fossils in the chamber, including that of a birdlike creature. Jetstorm shrieks in pain and horror as he is reformatted. The Maximal Silverbolt is reborn, and is surprised by his new, techno-organic form. Appalled, angry and shocked, Silverbolt flies off, leaving Blackarachnia behind. She follows, but when she confronts Silverbolt, instead of finding the old corny idealistic Maximal she knew, Silverbolt is angry, sullen and self-loathing, telling Blackarachnia that he used to believe in things. However, Blackarachnia convinced Silverbolt to give her a ride to the Grand Mal, for revenge if not to help Optimus and Cheetor. Elsewhere, Nightscream wakes up in an abandoned warehouse. Noble approaches him and gives him a metallic apple. While not seeming intelligent, Noble seems to recognise Nightscream. Rattrap arrives to rescue Nightscream, but his presence confuses Noble, who transforms into Savage. Rattrap and Nightscream beat it.

In the Grand Mal, Megatron interrogates Optimus and Cheetor about information on the Oracle, and how he could use it to manipulate the sparks he holds captive. Blackarachnia and Silverbolt arrive. Megatron manifests as a hologram of himself made out of data, and tells Silverbolt that his honour would let him stay true to Megatron's ideology. Blackarachnia argues, trying to win Silverbolt back with friendship and love. After a short faceoff, Silverbolt transforms in a rage and attacks Megatron's insides with his feather blades. Optimus orders a retreat, but Silverbolt refuses. Blackarachnia uses her poison sting to knock Silverbolt out, and the Maximals escape. On the ground Rattrap and Nightscream manages to lead Savage to destroy the Cycle Drones. The rest of the Maximals arrive, and Silverbolt knocks Thrust away. Optimus welcomes Silverbolt back into the fold, but Silverbolt, not ready, flies away. Nightscream meanwhile argues to let Noble stay. The next morning, Silverbolt confesses to Blackarachnia that he enjoys and revels in being a Vehicon, but Blackarachnia tells Silverbolt that she believes in him, just like how he believed in her in the past. Together they return to the Maximals.

Featured Transformers: Nightscream, Megatron, Thrust, Jetstorm (turned into Silverbolt), Rattrap, Blackarachnia, Optimus Primal, Cheetor, Cycle Drones, Jet Drones, Savage Noble, Silverbolt

REVIEW
Some good, some bad. Silverbolt's post-Jetstorm characterisation is simply astounding. I mean, after you have your mind brutalised, forced to become a bad guy, helplessly watching as you gun down your friends... well, of course you will return a changed person. Silverbolt's initial conversion from his BW persona into this sullen, brooding, vengeance-ridden fella... at first I hated how he was portrayed. This was too far! But after a second watching and listening closely to how Silverbolt regrets the fact that he can't quit being Jetstorm, you can't help but admire how natural the radical change was. I have to praise Blackarachnia's characterisation as well. This is probably the first time Blackarachnia has taken center stage ever since 'Revelations', and she goes back to her Beast Wars roots... by going behind everyone's backs to get Silverbolt back, Maximal code of brainwashing be damned. It's a large improvement compared to her previous roles of being second fiddle to everybody. Her argument to win Silverbolt over with Megatron is also well done.

The plot is also advanced a little, with the problem of the sparks being brought into full center after our little detour with the Savage Noble arc. Although there's nothing too interesting revealed here, not like the tense mysteries of the past episodes. Nightscream and Rattrap's little misadventure is also kind of a rubbish side-plot, though at least it has credence by reintroducing the new, animal-like Noble. Don't see the point of bringing Noble back, but whatever. Now, the bad stuff... Thrust, for one, suffers from severe villain decay over the past few episodes. In the past he is as dangerous as the other Vehicons, now a single hit or two can put him down. Must suck not being the new toy anymore, eh? Pity. I really liked Thrust. Another problem is the ignoring of past plot points that had been dragged on for multiple episodes like maintaining robot mode in battle, mastering transformation, et cetera.

There's a bit of bad pacing in this episode as well. Despite the great characterisation on the part of 'Bolt and Blackarachnia, the rest of the episode falls short. While not particularly bad, it just feels lacking somehow. Oh, and at times, the animation especially Blackarachnia's funky webs look weird and unrealistic. And have I mentioned how bloody ugly Silverbolt's new body looks? I mean, Nightscream and Cheetor and Blackarachnia are already unsightly in their robot modes, but Silverbolt has to be the worst-looking one of the bunch. His robot mode, with that silly goatee and bulging, emo eyes, and that silly pose he strikes every time he transforms... blah. 'Purplebolt' looks like a bloody chicken painted like a peacock, and his alternate mode doesn't look any better either. What kind of bird looks like that? It's hunchbacked, ugly, and coloured like a painting disaster. And the parts don't move smoothly like other CG models, with the feathers looking all the world like stickers. Great characterisation in this episode, but poor execution.

(Six out of Ten)

NOTES
First appearance of Silverbolt's new body. Final appearance of Jetstorm.

Silverbolt's robot mode is clearly based on a Japanese samurai (even though his BW character is more of a medieval knight). He throws feather bombs from the feathers that sprout from his shoulders. These for some reason can never run out.

The Savage Noble body that is now vacant from Megatron's spark has became alive, albeit acting like an animal. Not sure if he is still considered as a transformer now since it doesn't have a spark.

This is one of the two episodes in the entire series to feature sunlight, and the other episode is the final one. Every other episode happens entirely at night.

To interact with the Maximals inside him, Megatron appears as a three-dimensional rendition of his head formed by scrolls of data a la the Matrix.

With both Tankor and Jetstorm gone, Thrust has sole command of all the tank, jet and cycle drones for the moment. But still he can't catch a break. Thrust will continue calling Silverbolt 'Jetstorm' throughout the rest of the series.

More techno-organic plants appear, this time in the metallic apples that Noble gives Nightscream.

So apparently while someone like Waspinator can break through his Vehicon shell program to save Blackarachnia, Silverbolt apparently enjoys and revels in being a villain so he subconsciously stops himself from helping Blackarachnia. Not surprising, because men with noble intentions are usually those prone to having subconsciously sadistic traits...

Silverbolt's darker side has appeared once, before, in 'Crossing the Rubicon' when he very nearly murdered an unarmed Tarantulas, but then that was in grief because he thinks Blackarachnia is dead.

GOOFS
The fossil scanned by Silverbolt is a bat fossil instead of a hunchbacked bird, identical to the one scanned by Nightscream. The fossil doesn't even have a beak!

Somehow Rattrap recognizes Silverbolt even though he looks nothing like his previous body.

Previously, it is a big point that the Maximals must be focused to remain in robot mode, and if they lost focus they turn into Beast Modes. Here Nightscream remains in robot mode even when unconscious.

Also, Silverbolt is able to transform without any training whatsoever, and he doesn't have the excuse of being directly reformatted by Optimus Primal that Nightscream has.
 
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