Transformers Prime - "Crisscross" Episode 17 Recap
I’ve made my opinion on Silas clear: he’s a good antagonist, but he lacks personality or motivation for his villainy. I wasn’t exactly thrilled for yet another episode with him. Fortunately, the return of Airachid lifted my spirits and “Crisscross” largely delivers.
In the previous episode “Predatory”, Airachid was a perfect foe: a maliciously creepy and sadistic bot. Airachid’s proclaimed neutrality leads her to play by her own rules, giving us a bit more variety on how she works and thinks without Megatron or Starscream breathing down her neck. Her role is similar here. She forces Silas to work for her under penalty of death, she kidnaps Jack’s mother, and she forces Jack to locate her within a time limit or she’ll kill them both in the most horrific way possible. Now that’s vicious. Here she prefers to be more upfront and loses the sneakiness that effectively expressed her nightmarish qualities before, but Airachid still has a dark edge that makes her compelling.
The real gem is the mother/son duel between Jack and June. Countless times Jack has proven to be Mr. Reliable, the go-to guy to keep his human friends away from danger with a cool, rational head. He’s an honest soul, so lying to his mother over the existence of alien robots leaves him conflicted. This finally takes its toll when June suspects her son is in a gang because of that blue motorcycle. Try as Jack might to deny this he’s ultimately grounded, even after he tries confessing the truth. Things then get worse when Silas kidnaps June to lure both Arcee and Jack. Once the villains are finally driven away Agent Fowler attempts a cover story on June, but she doesn’t buy it. So in the end the series pulls off one of its best developments: June now knows about the Autobots.
June is an interesting concept for what she isn’t. She’s not a child created for the show’s primary audience, nor is she an ally or enemy to the aliens. She’s just a normal single mother. Generally, her type of character would likely be a blip in a show like this. But now that she’s in the circle of secret keepers, June has a chance to shine and be her own character. It’ll be interesting to see how she deals with the idea of her son and friends risking their lives, and there could be a potential friendship with Ratchet since they have the medical profession in common. As a nurse and an adult, June has a perspective completely different from the children, and I’m excited to see what the creators can do with that. I really hope for an entire episode from her point of view.
Compared to its sister episode “Predatory”, “Crisscross” isn’t as emotionally intense. Arcee largely takes a backseat here for Jack and June to grow, Silas still needs a personality boost, Airachid loses a bit of her macabre quality when she undergoes a more head-on approach, and the bigger focus on humans may be a minus for some who just want the shiny robots. While I’m not too fond of Jack’s blandness, adding his mother to the team opens up a whole new set of possibilities that I’m fascinated by.