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Transformers Prime - "Crossfire" Episode 33 Recap



A suspicious Megatron orders Airachid’s demise as she leaves the Decepticons and goes rogue. Meanwhile, Starscream struggles to survive without the ability to transform.

Starscream got his groove back. Now that’s what I’m talking about! He started off as a legitimately competent foe. Though he suffered numerous failures, Starscream carried an unlimited abundance of pride as his chief backbone. Regrettably his arrogance was undermined as the show progressed, turning him from a dirty coward to a wimpy punching bag. I detested it and approached “Crossfire” reluctantly. Fortunately, in this episode Starscream returns to proper form: a manipulative jerk who deserves and receives karmic justice, endowed with an unwavering ego that gives the illusion that he is dignified and savvy. Starscream hides in a cave so the Insecticon won’t kill him, but venomously spits out an insult. He begs the Autobots to heal him—in a hilarious callback to a similar incident—and when that doesn’t work, he tricks them. Lastly, much to my exhilaration, he dispenses much-needed revenge on Airachid after their past feud left him in an embarrassing rut.

 

Oddly, Starscream undergoes an abrupt but small shift in his character when he spares Arcee’s life as payback for her doing the same for him in a previous episode. This benevolence is completely out of character since a bot like him has no sense of honor, yet I can’t help but hypothesize that the creators are planning to go somewhere with this. Perhaps he’ll end up as a vitriolic ally to the Autobots. Or maybe it’s just a crafty move on Starscream’s part since he can use that incident the next time he needs to seek the Autobot’s aid. Either way, color me intrigued.

Like Starscream, Airachid regains her appropriate personality. She started off as a neutral individual who had no concern for Decepticon affairs, yet I was baffled when she tried to take over Megatron’s crew in the season one finale. Nothing backed up that decision; it was a complete 180 that conveniently pushed the plot and did little for her character other than poorly mimicking Starscream’s role. Here, after patiently biding her time, Airachid betrays the Decepticons and strikes out on her own. She doesn’t emulate the creepiness she possessed in earlier appearances, but she’s malicious. Her devious plan to end Megatron is delectable, using the Insecticon drone she hypnotized to battle a one-on-one duel with the Decepticon leader. It is her murder of Breakdown that takes the cake though.

It’s hard to care about Breakdown. He barely had a personality to begin with, lingering as a bland powerhouse for the Decepticons. His departure works only as a shocking plot twist and nothing to emotionally invest in, but there were a couple of hints that he could have been more. After Bulkhead rescues him, Breakdown starts to question his position; maybe the Decepticon way isn’t so charming. I wanted to see how things progressed from there, but now the potential is gone and he’s a lifeless shell for MECH to play around with. It’s a shame he was killed before they could attempt to expand his personal story.

Megatron and Optimus play a secondary role, but their diminutive time on screen greatly enhances their characters. Megatron’s hammy idiosyncrasy effectively worked to his advantage this time around. After the Insecticon gave him a more thorough thrashing than anyone else had given him, Megatron gains a last minute triumph and ultimately defeats the mindless bug. He bellows in victory, warning anyone nearby to think twice before crossing him. For once, his unsubtle hollering emphasizes his strength and magnificence instead of turning him into an overdramatic idiot. However, this scene proved even the mighty Megatron can easily stumble in battle, and Airachid eventually discovers a whole nest of Insecticons. If one of these creatures gave the former gladiator a hard time, what disaster could this mean for the rest?

Optimus’ role is significantly minor compared to Megatron’s, but it’s far more poignant and telling. Earlier, Optimus firmly advised his comrades never to kill an opponent who is weak and weaponless. When a temporarily disabled Megatron collapses before him, Optimus contemplates: should he uphold his own words or go against them? He disobeys his own honor and breaks out his gun with the intent to kill. I liked it not only for the irony, but the consistency of his past decision. His repeated attempts to lure Megatron from the dark side failed. It’s too late to save his old friend; he has to kill him in order to end the war. It’s fittingly tragic.

“Crossfire” is a worthy offering. It reverses previously derailed characters back to their original (and better) framework and squeezes in a number of sudden plot twists that will surely keep the Autobots on their toes. I won’t mince words, I’m excited for future plots.

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