Starscream returns from the grave to get revenge on Megatron and the Autobots!
Compared to the two episodes before it, “Mission Accomplished” lags a bit little behind. In this episode, the Autobot Elite Guards once again don’t play nice and refuse to believe Megatron is back. Never mind that Ultra Magnus believed and supported Optimus’ story once they found irreversible proof of a dispersed Allspark, he denies everything else because of plot reasons. Granted, he did state that the Autobot populace back on Cybertron would go into a panic if they knew, but that only begs the question: why do they have to know? Ultra Magnus could just keep the information to himself and a few select others. He’s got the political power to do so. I mean, he’s strict, not intolerable. He really couldn’t give Optimus the benefit of the doubt just so they could drag this around for one more episode?
Ironically, it’s Sentinel who provides Optimus with a second chance. In a surprisingly kind gesture, he offers to reinstate Optimus into the Autobot Academy in exchange for keeping his mouth shut. It’s a shallow bribe that benefits him as much as it does Optimus and eventually they’re back to butting heads, but change doesn’t come easily. Sentinel is at least humble enough to offer that in the first place, so points for trying. Naturally, Optimus is too goodhearted to take such an ugly deal; he got his dreams and he did it without cheating.
Once again Megatron proves his capability as a credible villain in this episode. Rather than blaze a trail of destruction, he schemes in the shadows instead. In fact, he grimaces at the thought of his fellow Decepticons wantonly destroying space bridges without a coordinated plan. Then there’s how quick he is to dispose of Starscream, once he steps in.
Which brings us to the infamous “Starscream Death Montage.” Starscream’s death wasn’t as final as either he or Megatron believed, thanks to an Allspark piece lodging itself onto Starscream’s head and giving him immortality. He takes advantage of this and tries to end Megatron, only to get trounced repeatedly in the process as a kind of cruel joke. Look, it’s a very funny scene and a favorite among fans, but I always questioned the logic behind it. Megatron is a smart guy, he would have suspected something after the third kill at least—he saw him without his spark! I do love that this all occurs during Megatron’s speech about Decepticon unity and loyalty. Oh, sweet irony, how I love thee.
Giving Starscream total immunity is a very clever way to keep him around after his death, but his reaction in the last act legitimately surprised me more. After his plan falls through, Starscream attempts to leave and fight another day. The Autobots gang up to stop him, but he refuses to stay and gloat, only retaliating when he has to. No insults, no hammy speeches, no nothing; Starscream tries to escape in silence. It’s almost terrifying to see him act so unlike himself, but I personally theorize he’s just tired and fed up at this point. Immortality changes nothing, he’s still a few gears short of the victory he thinks he deserves.
Sari’s subplot is expected, but largely forgettable. The Autobots are ordered to leave Earth and with no home to go to, she’s rightfully distressed about the prospect. The subject is solved in this episode, so it’s all good. I will say she did take this issue much more gracefully here than in “Lost and Found. All in all, Mission Accomplished” concludes the trilogy and sets things up for rest of season two. Its events were necessary to alert the Decepticons to the presence of the Elite Guards, but a couple of tedious moments and the weird logic mentioned earlier weakens the episode and keeps it from being perfect.