Transformers Prime - "Regeneration" Episode 51 Recap
The Autobots engage in an all-out battle with the Decepticons for the Omega Keys.
This episode was a chore to sit through. As heart-pounding and unexpected as it was, it’s marred by questionable decisions, convenient twists and plot holes.
The biggest issue is Dreadwing’s death. Unable to side with the Autobots yet unwilling to betray the Decepticons, Dreadwing risked his life to avenge his brother by attempting to assassinate Starscream. While I think rage is likely the reason for his clouded judgment, it’s just as feasible to think he went in knowing it’d be a suicide mission. He’s going to kill off a guy Megatron just forgave and reintegrated into his faction. If he doesn’t back off, he can kiss his chassis good-bye. His fate is very abrupt and a large part of me considers it unnecessary because it’s another waste of a good character. I think the show could have done more with him. If he had lived, how would he feel working alongside the bot who killed his sibling? Would he leave the Cons for good and remain neutral? Still, for all intents and purposes, his death is appropriate and makes a certain amount of sense. He was underutilized, but whenever the spotlight shone in his direction, he had a consistent dilemma: choose Megatron or his brother. He chose the latter and paid for it with his life. At least he had an arc, whereas Breakdown didn’t even get that chance!
I’m more annoyed Megatron killed him so easily. A loyal servant—more loyal than Starscream, in any case—will be put to death, but he has no problem sparing a known backstabber. The Decepticons can fail numerous times, Starscream can secretly sneak around, but disobedience is enough for Megatron to assassinate one of his own. I wouldn’t be so critical if he hadn’t granted Starscream’s immunity for the millionth time, but he keeps doing it because it’s the easiest solution to keep Starscream alive for another season.
Arguably, this is very in-character with Megatron. He rules by power and fear; to have his order challenged not only angers him, but could also lead to his downfall if even one Deception rebelled at the wrong time. Dreadwing’s steadfast devotion to his twin would have been a constant obstacle impairing Decepticon plans. In that regard Megatron’s decision was the right one, but preserving a known usurper doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence about his leadership skills. How is Starscream’s constant betrayal any better? Maybe he’s just grown accustomed to his face. If anything, I can legitimately point to this picture because I certainly feel the same!
“Regeneration” needed to fit a lot of plot into just a half-hour. Fortunately it’s not as rushed as I originally thought it would be, but it does implement shortcuts for our heroes. Dreadwing just happens to give them the Solus Hammer, which is exactly the tool the Autobots needed to rebuild the ground bridge so they’ll reach Cybertron. It also reforges the Star Saber just in time for the big fight. I don’t know why it was destroyed in the first place outside of giving the Decepticons a short victory, as this arguably didn’t change much of anything. I’m stunned the Autobots are finally using the Cybertronian artifacts, but that only raises further questions. Why didn’t they ever use them prior? What prevented them? The Autobots certainly weren’t offended when Smokescreen claimed the Phase Shifter as his own.
There’s also a gaping plot hole concerning the Omega Keys. As far as I’m concerned, the keys have been around for a very long time and they were built to restore Cybertron. Their planet has been dead for years, so why didn’t Alpha Trion use them anytime prior to the series? Why didn’t he ask another nearby Autobot to do it? He only vaguely implies the Covenant of Primus and that his visions led him not to because the future will take its course. I could accept that, but he’s also admitted he isn’t a hundred percent sure how his prophecies will work out. Instead of potentially shifting the odds in the Autobots’ favor, he decided to take a risk by not doing any of the above because he kinda sorta predicts it’ll work out in the end. Why? Because Optimus Prime and company have to unlock the Omega Lock as the main characters.
“Regeneration” is perhaps the most epic episode of Transformers Prime yet and if that’s what you’re in the mood for, this episode delivers in spades. I got a few kicks out of it, but it was tarnished by problematic plot structures. It’s a shame they had to squeeze in a handful of stories by cutting corners. I appreciate their attempt at accessibility and thirty minutes can only accomplish so much, but the contrivances the plot’s progression leaves in its wake is pretty hard to ignore. Where Transformers Prime routinely does succeed is with its plot twists, as we see with Dreadwing’s fate and the ending. The Decepticons order the Autobots to surrender the Omega Keys and at the last minute fish out their bargaining chips: the human companions. The situation is deadlocked and Optimus must choose to either surrender the keys or refuse and watch the children die. Did I mention they’re really good with cliffhangers, too?