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Old 2011-08-16, 02:33 AM   #10
Blackjack
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Deus ex Machina
Airdate: 11 March 2011
Written By: Nicole Dubuc

Synopsis:
Miko is stuck in detention when Bulkhead drives up outside the school. Miko takes advantage of the detention teacher's inattentiveness and sneaks into Bulkhead, who isn't very happy that he is used as a getaway car. As they head to the Autobot base, Bulkhead tries to explain to Miko that school is for her good, but fails to get through. Ratchet, meanwhile, reports that he has found an Energon pulse in Greece. In the Nemesis, an impatient Starscream is approached by Knock Out, who had taken some time to arrive because he had to drive (something which disgusts Starscream). Starscream tells Knock Out that he has brought him in to assist Megatron medically (after the crew took a vote) and brings him to see the comatose Megatron. Knock Out tells Starscream that he can work better with his partner... but Breakdown is on the trail of Energon. In Greece, Bulkhead and Miko arrive on an excavation site. Bulkhead tells Miko to research her history report, while telling her that humans have hit an Energon vein. However, something Cybertronian in an ancient fresco among the ruins caught Bulkhead's attention. Bulkhead identifies the object drawn as an Energon Harvester, and Miko snaps a picture. However, the Decepticon Breakdown interrupts them and after trash-talking Bulkhead, attacks the Autobot. After a quick struggle, Breakdown smashes Bulkhead into the fresco, destroying it, before driving off.

In the Autobot base the other Autobots look at the picture from Miko's cell phone. Optimus Prime and Ratchet confirm the identity of the device, and are relieved that the fresco is broken so the Decepticons won't be able to find the Harvester. However Raf points out that there are photos of the actual Harvester online, placed in display at a museum. The Autobots try to contact Agent Fowler, but only get his answering machine because Fowler is in a training retreat. After briefly considering entering the museum themselves, the Autobots agree that the kids are their best bet of obtaining the Harvester. Soundwave has found the same thing, and Starscream says Megatron's revival will have to wait. At night, the Autobots move into position around the museum. The kids are Ground Bridged in along with a motorized lift. Miko covers the security camera in the room with a photograph from the cell phone. Knock Out and Breakdown attack Optimus Prime, and Breakdown opens fire with a missile. Optimus catches the missile before it could impact on the museum, but Knock Out knocks Prime down with an Energon prod. Breakdown uses his missiles to knock Bumblebee and Arcee around, and physically throws Bulkhead onto the museum (and Knock Out), setting off the alarm. The kids get the Harvester onto the lift platform and move towards the rendezvous point. Miko, scouting ahead on foot, is caught by a security guard, who takes her into a security room. Raf and Jack run towards a ramp door, but are accosted by Soundwave. Soundwave grabs the Harvester with no opposition and flies away, and the other Decepticons likewise drive off. In the museum Miko claims to say she was locked in while doing her history report.

Despite Bulkhead's insisting that they go rescue Miko, Optimus convinces Bulkhead that Miko is fine, and sends the rest of the Autobots to try intercept wherever Starscream might go to gather Energon. In the base Ratchet works on creating a replica of the Harvester to return to the museum, and Bulkhead (after smashing one of Ratchet's tools) realise that the Decepticons will be going for easy prey; namely the excavated vein at Greece. Starscream, Knock Out and Breakdown are indeed in Greece. Knock Out and Breakdown try to claim credit for the discovery of the weapon, but Starscream uses the Harvester on a hapless Vehicon behind the two, draining the poor sod to death. Knock Out and Breakdown become much more cooperative. Starscream starts to drain the Energon in the rocks. Bulkhead tries to sneak up, but reveals himself to the Decepticons. Bulkhead manages to cause Breakdown to whack Knock Out, and deals with Breakdown, but Starscream turns the Harvester on Bulkhead. Struggling as the Harvester drains his Energon, Bulkhead manages to reach Starscream, punch him in the face and breaks the Harvester. Bulkhead lobs the device into the sky, which explodes. The Decepticons are about to finish off the collapsed Autobot, but the Autobots arrive and chase all of them away. In the museum, Miko tells more Greek history to the guard, when Fowler turns up to collect Miko (and to point out that the exhibit has been 'returned'). Miko is reunited with Bulkhead and tells him how her report will be about Autobots and ancient civilisations.

Featured Characters: Miko Nakadai, Bulkhead, Ratchet, Jack Darby, Starscream, Knock Out, Car Vehicons, Megatron, Breakdown, Optimus Prime, Rafael Esquivel, Bumblebee, Arcee, Soundwave, Agent Fowler

Review:
A grand episode. Yes, the synopsis does not seem much, and if it were, say, an Armada or RID episode it'll be just another banal repetition. But Prime has a way with dialogue, characterisation and animation which makes a stock plot like this impressive. Action scenes are superb, like something out of the live action movies, yet the robots are as smooth and stylised as Animated. Every battle scene is well rendered. From Knock Out spinning his Energon prod, to Starscream sucking the life out of the redshirt goon, to Breakdown's initial appearance and wrestling match against Bulkhead in Greece, to Breakdown accidentally clobbering Knock Out, to Breakdown's missile exploding and Bumblebee transforming through it, to Soundwave's rotating Reaper alt-mode, to Bulkhead's showdown against Starscream... clearly the action scenes alone are enough to warrant rewinding and rewatching. The rather large goofs section might cause you to think that the animation is sub-par this episode, but none of them are noticeable until after rewatching it.

This episode introduces two all-new Decepticons, Knock Out and Breakdown. Breakdown is, so far, just a thug rival of Bulkhead's and Knock Out's assistant. It's a nice breaking of the stereotype, since, like Animated Bulkhead before him Breakdown is a genius bruiser. And despite his name, Breakdown is not a slavish G1 homage, which is refreshing. Knock Out, however, stands out as one of my favourite characters in the show, and that's saying something. He's like an evil version of G1 Tracks, and Darran Norris' rather campy and aloof performance as his voice only seals his likability. It's a nice touch that the Decepticon medic is not portrayed as a stereotype mad scientist, and while Knock Out is still sadistic, he's a whole lot more fun to watch. This episode moves things forwards too, with the Starscream-Megatron situation progressing despite being sidetracked by the Energon Harvester. Miko's performance here as the impulsive daredevil character, and her dynamic with Bulkhead as a surrogate big brother, seals the deal and I like Miko now. Bulkhead's also pretty badass this episode, especially when his large size actually saves the day, what with there being more Energon to drain. Both Starscream and Optimus Prime continue to impress, even though they don't do as much this episode. I'm very optimistic about this series, and I do hope Knock Out becomes a regular character.

(Nine out of Ten)

Notes:
First appearances of Knock Out and Breakdown, although technically Breakdown appeared before in the IDW prequel comic, and, if you take the War for Cybertron game as part of Prime canon, there as well. WFC Breakdown and Prime Breakdown are considerably different in personality and shape, so personally I don't buy that they are in the same continuity. While WFC Breakdown is a direct expy of G1 Breakdown, Prime Breakdown has nothing in common with his G1 counterpart other than his red face, yellow eyes, and having blue in his paint scheme.

Breakdown and Bulkhead have a history. Fitting, since both are bulky bruisers of their respective teams.

Making a cameo in detention is Sierra's unnamed friend from 'Darkness Rising'.

The Energon Harvester is loosely based on function from the Solar Harvester from Revenge of the Fallen, in that it absorbs energy and is connected to ancient human ruins. A golden orb which turns out to be alien technology instead of a magical device of the gods might be based on the Assassin's Creed line of games.

Speaking of the fresco, the god holding the Harvester has a trident, so he is presumably Poseidon, and the soldiers' shields have the Lambda, so they are Spartans. The notion that Cybertronian symbols are on ancient frescos (and ancient Transformers interacting with ancient civilisations) is also a minor plot point in ROTF.

Megatron's comatose condition, hooked up on life support, is common knowledge among the Nemesis crew, causing majority voting to bring Knock Out in. This might mean that Knock Out wasn't the crew's regular medic, although after this episode he appears frequently.

Starscream expresses derision that Knock Out chose a automobile alternate mode instead of a flight mode, a reference to how in early G1, all Decepticons were jets and electronic devices and all Autobots were cars. It's a wee bit odd when you take in the fact that we've seen lots of car mode Vehicons before.

Agent Fowler's first name is William, revealed both in here and in 'Convoy'.

Ratchet says another 'Bulkhead, I neeeeded that' this episode. That said, Ratchet's 'I hate talking to machines' may be a rather far-fetched homage to Animated's Captain Fanzone's running gag.

A T-Rex skeleton and an Easter Island moai aren't things that look strange in a museum. But seeing them together calls to mind the film Night At The Museum. Especially their placement in the lobby.

Knock Out's wolf-whistling comment on Optimus Prime may be based on RID Side Burn's harassment on red sports cars. Or it may just be me getting off an RID hangover. Regardless, hitting on Optimus Prime have caused some fans to claim that Knock Out is gay.

Promotional blurbs for the episode mentioned that Lugnut will be on the episode, and fans thought that Lugnut is an early working name for the similarly thug-like Breakdown. BotCon 2011 reveals that Lugnut is an early working name for Knock Out which was dropped for not being sexy enough.

Arm Gimmicks:
-Knock Out's hand can retract into a wicked-looking dentist-drill-like apparatus. It's one of those curved spiralling drills.
-Knock Out's weapon of choice in battle, however, is an Energon prod of the same design that Starscream used to torture Fowler in 'Darkness Rising'. Knock Out uses the prod like a stun baton, and it can collapse into a shorter version.
-Breakdown has a triangle-barrelled missile launcher on his vehicle mode roof.
-Breakdown's hand retracts to reveal a massive carpenter's hammer.
-Soundwave has claws to grip things in his jet mode's underbelly.

Goofs:
The two pages in Miko's textbook mirror one another.

The detention teacher and the security guard both read a copy of the Jasper Daily. The model again uses the reverse page order, and is the exact same newspaper that Raf used to make his volcano in 'Masters and Students'.

Also, how did the guard, who is working in a museum in a large city, get the Jasper Daily anyway?

For the entirely of this episode (and the next), Arcee's chest have a bunch that are miscoloured in the metallic lavender colour used for her rims. These parts are usually clear.

Really, it's very silly for a special agent liaison like Fowler to be unreachable. At the very least, the Autobots should've been able to contact another agency.

During action scenes, Bumblebee's eyes alternate between glowing blue in the center and black in the center.

I swear, I'd kill if my cell phone could fool security cameras like Miko's. In real life trying a trick like that would give a blurry, low-res image.

Speaking of the cell phone, at one point on the guard's screen the phone is clearly visible, but on others the image covers the entire screen.

In real life surely there would be more than just one security camera in a museum surely?

Despite the guard having informed the authorities after the Harvester goes missing, they never show up. Even accounting that Fowler might've called them off the hunt, it would only take a couple of minutes for police cruisers to reach the scene.

When the Autobots find Bulkhead on the ground, their eyes are in various state of brightness.
 

Last edited by Blackjack; 2011-10-04 at 12:07 PM.
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