Transformers Prime - "Orion Pax: Part 3" Episode 29 Recap
“Orion Pax: Part Three” fittingly ends the trilogy with massive brawls and high stakes for the cast. Arcee must contend with vicious Insecticons, holding down the fort so that Jack can journey into Vector Sigma to power up the key. Once there, the pressure ramps up when he has deal with a group of metal-eating Scraplets. Meanwhile, Orion Pax discovers that he is Optimus Prime and rebels against Megatron. Unable to leave the Nemesis, he must find a means to escape and return to his Autobot allies. It’s all about the heroes surviving and praying luck is on their side.
Taking the three-parter as a whole, it’s an extremely well-paced tale that vividly employs a perfect beginning, middle and end. It’s got just the right amount of action and emotional backdrop to wrap everything up in a neat little package, and the combat is always terrific. Even though it was predictable that Megatron would own Ratchet, Bulkhead and Bumblee, their battle was no less riveting. Equally as provocative is a particularly unnerving scene of the Vehicons brutally beating up Orion Pax just for kicks. Ever the pacifist, Orion refuses to lift a finger and instead begs for a peaceful solution. It’s a heartbreaking scenario that tragically underlines the key difference between Orion Pax and the Prime he would become.
Unfortunately, this adventure also wasted a perfectly good plot.
Standalone, the “Orion Pax” trilogy is marvelous. Taking the whole series into account, it suffers. Transformers Prime falls into its own traps yet again, utilizing an incredible opportunity only to thoroughly bash it to the ground. Optimus Prime is boring. By a divine miracle, the last episode of season one created a mountain of potential when he joined the Decepticons. We knew he was going to come back, but the possibility of a tainted Optimus was too good to pass up. Sadly, this did not come to fruition. There could have been a scene of Decepticon Optimus fighting his fellow Autobot comrades, only to regain his memories and realize he has gravely wounded his own companions. Or maybe he could have gotten a temporarily taste of darkness under Megatron’s influence - anything to set inner moral conflicts in his head. It would have been the exact opposite of his all-knowing, flawless leader routine and Optimus needed that. Effortlessly wrapping up the mess with no consequences belittles his character. I hesitate to even call him that; he’s an archetype, an extremely flat and bland protagonist doing what his trope expects him to do. It’s obvious Transformers Prime wants to tell an elaborate story with complex characterization, but Optimus’ reversion in this story contradicts that.
Despite this, “Orion Pax: Part Three” is a fantastic episode and the entire set starts off season two with a bang.
I’m still apprehensive about the show’s direction, but significantly less so than usual.