View Single Post
Old 2011-04-18, 11:16 AM   #4
Blackjack
Micromaster
 
Blackjack's Avatar
 
Default

Darkness Rising, Part 4
Airdate: 2 December 2010
Written By: Steven Melching

Synopsis:
Optimus Prime and Ratchet watch in horror and disgust as the revived zombies shamble towards them. The Dark Energon has given Megatron complete control over his army. Optimus and Ratchet begin shooting, and then hacking their way through the zombies with their blades. At where the Decepticon ship was parked, Bulkhead rescues Jack and Raf from the Decepticon sentries. The boys explain that they were worried about Miko. Bulkhead drops the humans behind some rocks, before transforming, scaling a cliff and jumping atop and began tearing the sentries apart. However, Bulkhead realizes that a dizzy Miko had stowed away inside him, and releases her from his chest. More drones appear and Bulkhead uses a piece of machinery to knock down a couple of Decepticons, before taking Miko and moving into the ship. Jack and Raf, left behind the rocks, are discovered and captured. However, as they are taken into the ship and about to be taken to the brig, Arcee and Bumblebee arrive and rescue them, having entered unopposed. The two groups meet each other in a corridor, and the boys, having overheard the drones discussing about where the other human is kept in, directs the Autobots to the brig. In the brig, Starscream is close to breaking Fowler, who begins to speak... but sounds of gunfire could be heard, and Fowler stops being helpful. In rage Starscream shocks Fowler with the Energon prod, stunning him unconscious.

Meanwhile, Ratchet and Optimus are overwhelmed and dogpiled by the zombies, but Optimus shoots and carves his way apart and rescues Ratchet as well. In the Nemesis the Autobots clear out a room so the kids can hide, because they are slowing them down. Miko and Jack immediately start arguing about whose fault it was, which upsets Raf, who shouts and sulks in a corner. Both Jack and Miko calm down and try to comfort the younger boy, and Jack notices a huge computer screen. Distracted by this, Raf thinks it has important information. However, they have no idea how to get it to the Autobots. Raf contemplates a flash drive, but a Decepticon walk in. The kids dive for cover, but Raf runs back for his backpack, and is spotted by the Decepticon, who raises his gun. In the brig, Starscream finds Fowler delirious, but can't do anything else as Bumblebee and Bulkhead barge in, kill his troops and point their guns at Starscream, who points his gun at Fowler. Arcee had sneaked onto the ceiling, balanced over Starscream and points her gun at him. The combatants have a tense standoff but the delirious Fowler blurts out something, which distracts Starscream. The Autobots fire at Starscream, knocking his aim off. Starscream leaps into the air, transforms and flies down the corridor. In the room, the lone Decepticon starts firing at Raf. Jack runs out, tackles Raf onto cover behind the Decepticon corpses. Jack orders Miko to take a picture. Miko photographs the Decepticon, before realizing Jack had meant the computer screen.

The kids run away from the room, the Decepticon stalking after them... only to be met with a very angry Bulkhead who proceeds to slam the Decepticon around. The kids and Autobots escape. In the valley Optimus and Ratchet finish off the last of the zombies. Optimus climbs up towards Megatron, eager to confront his nemesis, but Megatron merely complements Optimus, boasts that this was merely a prelude and flies off. Back at the base, Ratchet has his arm in a brace, Optimus tells off Bulkhead, and Miko shows the Autobots the photographed screen. Jack is upset that Miko can be still so cheerful despite the fact that they were almost killed, and wants out. Optimus tries to talk to Jack, but after some sad farewells (and a happy one from Ratchet) Jack goes home via ground bridge. In the Decepticon ship, which had taken into orbit, Megatron beats Starscream for disobeying orders, which resulted in a delay. Starscream tells Megatron that he has a way to get their plan back on course. In Jasper, Miko pays Jack a visit, and tries to talk to him, saying that he's special and can't be normal, but Jack is content to go back to his normal life. Ratchet, meanwhile, checks out the data Miko photographed and realizes it's a spec for a Space Bridge. Optimus points out that the Bridge might be able to bring an army to Earth... and the only place with enough Cybertronian corpses is Cybertron.

Featured Characters: Zombies, Ratchet, Optimus Prime, Megatron, Vehicon Cars, Jack Darby, Rafael Esquivel, Bulkhead, Miko Nakadai, Bumblebee, Arcee, Agent Fowler, Starscream, Soundwave

Review:
You know, I want so bad to give this episode a lower score. Seven or six, maybe. The zombie-hacking sequences are blatant padding, and the moment where Jack and Miko fight (and later try to reason each other to their thinking) are overlong. Certainly it isn't up to the standard set up by the first three episodes. But I look at the G1 cartoons, I look at Beast Machines and Robots in Disguise, even Beast Wars... this episode, despite it faults, isn't six or seven material if I use those series as a measuring stick. Besides, the action scenes are simply spectacular. Bulkhead takes it all up to eleven, with his excellent scene of climbing up to the Nemesis, using the momentum from his vehicle mode to boost up the cliff, the climb it, hop onto the ship, throw a Vehicon off and begin charging and beating the crap out of them. Heads fly! Body slam! And again in the corridor, where Bulkhead drives and transforms on top the kids, charges the Vehicon in a bear hug, flips him around and slamming him onto the floor... Bulkhead hogs all the best action scenes here, a nice variation of the bumbling Patrick-Star-idiot from Animated. But he doesn't get changed into a war machine, no. He's still gentle to his pals, a little bumbling, and goes all Papa Wolf when Miko's safety is concerned. It's a change for the better. Also like it when the adrenaline rush nearly caused Arcee and Bulkhead to shoot each other: "Friendly!" "Hello!"

Ratchet also has a dry wit that I simply adore. "I recommend dissection, the smaller the pieces, the better!" "No point in long goodbyes, there's the door." Starscream's got a nice Mexican standoff with the Autobots, and the results of the mostly-offscreen interrogation scene... poor Fowler is clearly driven nuts, and nearly broke had the sounds of fire outside the corridor not been audible. Though do we need those cookie pie jokes? My favourite scene so far is the battle at the crossroads in the Decepticon ship, where we see it from the humans' POV, the Autobots and Vehicons looming over them, giant legs, bodies collapsing, heads falling... and we go into a 'Saving Private Ryan'-esque quasi-silent action scenes with the Autobots fighting in the background and we go in a rather speedy swirling action... simply amazing. Starscream is not as great as past installments but still a load of fun, especially that scene near the end cowering under Megs' foot. Optimus Prime and Megatron's little exchange is also chilling, despite the sub-par script. 'As long as Energon runs through my veins' isn't a great line, but Peter Cullen's delivery of it is simply the bomb. Megatron's reply is also great as well, it's nice to listen to a Frank Welker Megatron that you don't have to strain to understand. Megatron's pretty much enjoying himself. No, he isn't the vaudevillan BW or Animated Megatron, he's a mix of G1 and Movie short-sighted, short-tempered, scary, and more concerned in some grand yet easily-guessed plan above anything else. I particularly like his line on how he and Optimus have been at this for a long, long time. Optimus' talk with Jack is excellent as well.

But the zombie hacking sequences isn't that good. I think it's a shame that Optimus' swords aren't glowing orange like ROTF because it'd be more prominent, but it is pretty fun to see Prime and Ratchet hacking apart those mooks like a video game. And this episode is the most excellent evidence why human kids shouldn't follow Autobots into battle. 'They slow us down and they are easy targets.' We see how the kids are helpless against the Transformers, and there is an emphasis that the humans can easily die. Jack and Miko aren't shy of waving the D-word around, which is usually taboo for human characters in cartoons. Jack is basically Sam Witwicky again, and it's a safe bet that by next episode he'll change his mind. Excellent exit for him, though. Raf, well, I thought he was going to be like those annoying Energon/Cybertron kids that can download high-tech Transformers stuff, when Jack asks him what the symbols mean, and Raf says something about a flash drive... and it's then subverted by Raf realizing that the 'Con computers don't have a USB port. Charming. Miko's kind of a wild card, she's pretty irritating and treads the fine line between adorable jerk like Animated Sentinel Prime or ROTF's Galloway, and irritating jerk like BM Nightscream. Her little argument with Jack that causes Raf to sulk (as if mom and dad are fighting) is as well-scripted as it could be, so it the discussion about death. She's this gung-ho girl that's basically bored of normal life. I had been worried that she would be a flat character, but they again proved me wrong by providing characterisation when she tries to bring Jack back in. The zombie plot may be silly, but it doesn't detract from the whole gorgeousness of the series. It's a safe bet that this has been pretty well thought-out, like Animated but better. If this continues it may even surpass Beast Wars.

(Eight out of Ten)

Notes:
Megatron says that symbiosis has occurred and that he has complete control of the zombies. Trying to create a zombie army has been done before by rogue Autobot Flame in the Marvel UK comics.

According to Ratchet, Dark Energon saps the Autobots' strength.

Last episode we saw aything inside Bulkhead goes into his chest compartment when he turns into robot mode. This happens, unfortunately, to poor Miko, who hides inside Bulkhead when he transforms.

The zombies fall over relatively easily, unlike Cliffjumper, who survived Vehicon fire and being bisected. It's probably because Cliffjumper is a fresh corpse while those in the valley have been rotting for quite some time.

The exchange between Optimus Prime and Jack, about responsibilities and stuff, recalls a similar conversation between Optimus and Sam in ROTF. The specific words, though, is akin to Optimus' confrontation with Galloway from the same movie ("We respect your decision to leave" vs "If you make that decision we will respect it").

Miko name-drops the city as Jasper, Nevada. She's a pretty rich bored Japanese brat. She also calls the undead as 'zombies'.

The technical term of a space bridge according to Ratchet is a 'space-time vortex generator'.

Cybertron again uses the model seen in the WFC game.

Arm gimmicks:
-Like his live-action movie counterpart, both of Optimus' hands can retract to become those long barreled cannons. Both of his hands can also retract to reveal swords, again inspired by his movie counterpart. He can switch between both weapons within seconds.
-Ratchet makes up for being in a support role by having scalpels to substitute for his hands for zombie-hacking action.
-After being damaged, Ratchet's right arm is on an arm brace.
-Starscream's right arm transforms into a segmented futuristic alien cannon thing.

Goofs:
How did Arcee and Bumblebee arrive at the Nemesis so fast, and how did they so coincidentally bump into Jack and Raf?

Difficult to believe that the drones didn't inform Starscream or Soundwave about the break-in immediately after Bulkhead attacks.

After Miko took the picture, how did the kids manage to open the door to escape the Vehicon?
 

Last edited by Blackjack; 2011-10-04 at 11:33 AM.
Blackjack is offline   Reply With Quote