Predaking proves he’s more than he seems when he transforms and gains intelligence. Afraid he might rebel, the Decepticons concoct a plot to trick the Autobots into destroying the other Predacon clones.
Predaking’s reveal is brilliant.
After Starscream peeves him off one too many times, Predaking transforms into robot mode, an action the Predacons of the past had never performed. Needless to say, the Decepticons are stunned – all the more so when he exhibits speech and free will. The evidence was already there; past episodes emphasized and sustained Predaking’s growing intelligence. The gradual progression of his self-awareness worked to its advantage, while his newfound volition and pleasant mannerisms provide the next logical step for the character. Compliments to his voice actor for giving him a decidedly stern, but warm air. He doesn’t speak in a gruff, monstrous tone, but someone capable of making civilized conversation.
In fact, he’s so polite that Megatron’s plan is idiotic and just plain crazy. Shockwave is still nurturing new Predacon clones and it’ll only be a matter of time before they’re born. Predaking gently asks Megatron if he can lead them, prompting Megatron to hold a secret meeting with his fellow Cons to sabotage and destroy all the clones out of fear he’ll rebel. Never mind that Predaking has not once shown any outward sign of disloyalty or that one moment where he actually pledged his servitude to Megatron—he’s instantly a lost cause. There’s being prepared and then there’s just being paranoid. I don’t understand why Megatron thinks Predaking isn’t even allowed one chance to prove his worth, yet keeps Starscream alive repeatedly despite his backstabbing tendencies. I can’t help but think a lot of this may be due to lack of time and resources to create and animate other Predacons. If Predaking is all we’ll ever see of his kind, I’ll be really disappointed. Why waste so much publicity on an entire group when we have only one guy to show for it? I mean, Predaking is awesome, but I really expected more.
At least he gets a killer battle scene. Predaking vs. Wheeljack and Ultra Magnus is right up there as one of the best the show has offered. Every hit from the former looks like it could hurt; exemplified the best when he squishes Ultra Magnus’ hand. That alone is a wince-worthy scene. The last time I felt this level of intensity was Megatron’s duel with an Insecticon. I also think Ultra Magnus and Wheeljack’s difficulties with each other and eventual partnership is better expressed here than in either “Chain of Command” and “Plus One”. Teaming up with Wheeljack likely made Ultra Magnus realize his usual strict regime isn’t always necessary; he, too needs to change. It’s great application of “show, don’t tell.”
Starscream’s usual designated butt monkey role is pushed aside to give him some credibility – he’s the one who comes up with the brilliant plan to sabotage the clones and make it seem like the Autobots did it. He even gets a little payback at Shockwave just to cite his bitterness. I fear this will only be a temporary display of dignity, but it was fun to watch him at his best.
It also looks like the plot will bring the synthetic Energon back in a big way, given the reveal of it having created cyber matter from Predacon DNA. Whatever disadvantage Megatron had at the start, he’s got a new advantage now!