Transformers Prime - "Sick Mind" Recap
“When Optimus is infected with a deadly virus, the Autobots must infiltrate the Decepticon warship to find the cure.”
The Autobots have Lady Luck on their side. Their scanners finally pick up the Decepticon vessel and as an added bonus, a downed Autobot airship. Optimus and Ratchet opt for the latter to recruit potential allies, but discover to their horror that everyone has long since perished. The dreaded Cybonic Plague—a biological weapon Megatron created—wiped out all of them centuries ago. Optimus accidentally gets infected, and the only cure rests within Megatron’s mind. Arcee and Bumblebee volunteer to retrieve it by sneaking aboard the Decepticon ship and infiltrating his mind.
Well, that was an intense twenty-two minutes. Optimus is dying. Arcee and Bumblebee are dead if they’re caught inside the Decepticon warship, and if Starscream disconnects Bumblebee’s mind from Megatron, he’ll be stuck inside forever. The Autobots are running on limited time and their anxiety is appropriate. There aren’t a lot of memorable moments between them, but the sense of urgency juggling through their heads kept me entertained regardless.
Truthfully, this episode belongs to the Decepticons. In a bid to secure a permanent throne, Starscream and Knockout team up to convince Soundwave to cut life support off the vegetative Megatron. The duo bounce each other off perfectly, gleefully exchanging banters and arranging deals with crafty grins. However, I’m not sure why Knockout is vying for second-in-command. After he brings it up, this subplot plays out in the next episode before it vanishes completely with no explanation. It contradicts his character regardless because Knockout is too laid back to desire such a high position.
Soundwave serves as a stark contrast to most of the cast in Transformers Prime. While the rest are content to wave their arms around as they explain, Soundwave is still lingering in the background. We know he is fully loyal to Megatron; he constantly points fingers at Starscream and critically stares, waiting for him to crack. Unlike the others, Soundwave is the only one to have any visible affect on Starscream’s paranoia. He is always watching, always judging. Nothing slips past him and he makes Starscream uneasy. The scary part is that you don’t know when he’ll strike. Soundwave is an unassuming creature and by far the most mysterious and unpredictable.
I wish I could say I like Megatron. My favorite kind of villain tends to be the intelligently manipulative one that often outsmarts the heroes as much as they soundly thrash them. Both Beast Wars and Animated Megatron grace the screen with dignity and elegance, yet they’re no slouch in the battlefield. Prime Megatron is nothing but aggression and anger; he solves his problems purely through muscle. His arrogance is the only reason why he relinquished the antidote to Bumblebee, though this does emphasize his rivalry and respect for Optimus. In his dreams, he endlessly conjures his opponent only to wipe him out. For him, it would not be pleasurable if the real Optimus did not die in his own hands. However, later episodes tend to use his arrogance to prompt stupid decisions out of him. How did a big lug like him even possess the necessary brainpower to create an epidemic?
There are a couple of plot holes that confuse me. Starscream tries to convince Soundwave that keeping Megatron on life support won’t accomplish anything, but why does he try to make it out to be a lost cause when his brainwave is still active? I can’t imagine why Starscream would think Soundwave would agree despite that glaring significance. To make it more convoluted, after Megatron’s mind resides inside Bumblebee’s, his body is essentially a mindless drone. Wouldn’t that be the perfect case to peacefully end his life? Instead they keep him alive for some reason. I know the central villain has to stay alive, but this is a bit hard to swallow. Then there’s Megatron’s dream world crumbling the moment Bumblebee leaves his mind. They never attempt to explain why this happens. It’s Megatron’s imagination, so shouldn’t it collapse when it personally affects him? It would create a better dramatic scene than the one we got.
Questionable plot contrivances aside, “Sick Mind” is a great episode. The excitement, superb deliverance from the cast, and the unexpected cliffhanger is more than enough to make up for its mishaps.