Tensions rise between the hotheaded Wheeljack and the straitlaced Ultra Magnus. At the same time, they must deal with Predaking’s return!
I’ve got to be careful what I wish for. I wanted conflict between Ultra Magnus and Wheeljack and the episode delivered exactly that. Unfortunately, the effort was less then desirable. The plot follows a similar retread from “Loose Cannons'”. There Wheeljack’s brash Wreckers style collided with Optimus’ patience and penchant for strategy. It took teamwork before Wheeljack eventually respected Optimus’ methods and it ended with the two compromising. Wheeljack also realizes he doesn’t always have to be a lone wolf and as the show progressed, so did Wheeljack until he became a permanent member of the team by season three. He had one of the most consistent developments throughout the series, so to see him walk out here left me flabbergasted.
There is partial justification. He and Ultra Magnus have a history: when the latter took command of the Wreckers, Wheeljack left because their views conflicted. Old memories die hard and the two butt heads once more. It’s engaging to watch, but I was expecting both of them to settle their differences. Sure, that would end exactly like “Loose Cannons”, but it would have stayed true to Wheeljack’s character. He was reasonable back then, so why is he being so stubborn now? For a bot bent on reuniting his former crew, his departure reeks of petty behavior. What does he even gain from leaving this time? He doesn’t even have a spaceship! It doesn’t do him any favors and left a sour taste in my mouth.
Once again, Starscream is the pivotal butt monkey. He makes idiotic decisions, jesters comically, and gets dumped around like garbage. I was hoping he’d regain some of his dignity like he did when he rejoined the Cons, but I guess that was short-lived. I am predicting his downfall will bring back his backstabbing tendencies, so that’s something to look forward to.
I can’t say I find Miko anymore endearing. She was technically at her best in season two, where she was kept out of focus until she had to be in the spotlight and those moments were largely put to good use. Here she rushes into battle again, but the episode compromises by giving her the Apex Armor (nevermind how she’s able to fit inside it, let alone control it.) She kicks a lot of butt, so it’s a better outcome than forcing her to play the load; I just wish the show didn’t overuse her so much. Jack got a lot of good moments, but I feel like poor Raf keeps getting the shaft to squeeze in more Miko time.
The only noteworthy moment is the return of Predaking and as per usual, he’s in top form here. He also has a brief flashback to his prehistoric days; I wonder if this means anything. Otherwise, “Chain of Command” is distressingly clunky.