Transformers Prime – “Loose Cannons” Episode 32 Recap
Our lovable—and temporary—Sixth Ranger is back and revved up as ever. Wheeljack left a considerable mark on the show; he’s rough, he’s rambunctious, he leaps into danger with his swords slicing first and asking questions never. He gets a kick out of danger and confidently boasts about his accomplishments with all the grace of a college party animal. He comfortably filled in the gap that the similarly untamed Cliffjumper left behind. Never one to overstay his welcome, Wheeljack departed, proudly carrying the One-Shot Wonder card on his back. I anticipated his return—someone that memorable should not be wasted!
“Loose Cannons” not only brings him back, but also puts him right in the center of the action. His feisty and brash behavior no longer receives a warm welcome though. Agent Fowler is splitting hairs over his reckless actions while Optimus Prime isn’t thrilled with his go-getter attitude, and Prime gets even less so when Wheeljack risks Bulkhead’s life for his pigheaded pursuit of Dreadwing. Interestingly, while Wheeljack isn’t much of a team player, he doesn’t abandon teamwork either. He gladly asks for Bulkhead’s companionship and the two fluently work side-by-side; as members of the “Wreckers” they’re familiar with each other and once followed the same code. Wreckers were autobots that took on the toughest tasks and often didn’t survive. The Wreckers’ way is what Wheeljack prefers; his training as a part of that group was so deeply embedded in him that it transcended into personal philosophy. His aggressive methods have always been his means of survival. Optimus’ “safer” ways bug him; to Wheeljack Optimus is a yellow-belly chicken, a general who flees a battle if the situation gets too hairy. Bulkhead also has fond memories of his ways as a Wrecker, but he has adapted under Optimus’ guidance vouches for his leader’s courage. The duo trade biased arguments on the subject, but never to the point of friction.
Eventually Optimus outsmarts Dreadwing, which earns Wheeljack’s admiration.
Optimus isn’t weak. His strategy is the opposite—he thinks first.
The episode is an excellent study on Wheeljack’s identity and turmoil.
He’s an abrasive bot, but capable of change. He comes understand and respect
Optimus Prime, but his lifestyle isn’t compromised either. Wheeljack is
a free spirit and it will take time for him to adjust to things on Earth.
Megatron largely stays onboard his ship, but he applies tranquil thought and logic here instead of his usual pomp. He warns Dreadwing the danger of underestimating the Autobots’ skills and how a clouded mind will result in his demise, although he’s just as liable to let Dreadwing die when he dives into battle regardless of his advice. I like that train of thought. What use is an ignorant soldier who will not obey his commander? There’s a fine parallel to be made between Dreadwing and Wheeljack’s defiance. Both chose personal feelings over prudent guidance before they realized the gravity of their situation. They’re in remarkably different places by the end though; the lucid Dreadwing is under Megatron’s hand while the rowdy Wheeljack is cruising the open road.
“Loose Cannons” is a treasure trove of character exploration. Wheeljack could have carried an episode through his charisma alone, but they opt to give him depth. They don’t slouch on Bulkhead either, and the addition of Dreadwing could permanently shake up the battlefield. I frequently complain about this show’s lack of focus, but season two as a whole is heading in the right direction. The character development is improving in spades and I have a better appreciation for some of the cast members I didn’t care about before.