Transformers Prime – “Metal Attraction” Episode 18 Recap
Much like the orb that harvested Energon in “Deus Ex Machina”, the Polarity Gauntlet is the gimmicky weapon of the day this time; it can create a magnetic field to pull or push anything metallic. When Arcee and Bulkhead literally get stuck back to back after they’re exposed to the device, they have to work around their unique situation as they try to retrieve it from Airachid and Breakdown. Meanwhile, the two Deceptions are battling each other to claim the weapon for their own. Hilarity ensues and complications arise! Or they would have if this episode had taken better advantage of its situation.
Unfortunately, any problems that arise from the two Autobots’ misfortune are underplayed. They don’t suffer any lingering frustrations. They’re annoyed, but the two immediately make the best of their situation with minimum effort and quickly manage to separate. Miko jokes that they’re attracted to one another but they hardly do or say anything that gives me an idea that these two are family, let alone friends. Arcee confides in Bulkhead a little on a personal issue, but it’s meager. They blandly react to the plot; the only reason they’re even in the same screen is to fight their respective Decepticon rivals.
The subplot is also wasted. It’s less a missed opportunity and more a misplaced one. Arcee feels exasperated and downright offended when the kids – mostly Miko – compare her overprotective nature to June’s overbearing motherly concerns. After protecting Jack daily she’s secretly envious of her because June’s essentially doing the same, only she has the advantage of being Jack’s mother. Being as strict and dedicated to the job she is, Arcee denies this because she wants no comparison to the woman she’s jealous of. This is a great angle for both Arcee and June’s character, but it failed to live up to its potential because of Miko.
Miko has little connection to either Arcee or June and should not have been the designated human for this episode. Nothing about “Metal Attraction” adds anything new to Miko either. She’s still disobedient and annoying, whereas the side story could have been saved if June had been the one to tag along with Arcee and Bulkhead. Arcee is frustrated by June’s criticism and concern about Jack, while June doesn’t know much about this “new girl” in Jack’s life. Forcing the two to have a heart-to-heart chat for the bulk of the episode would have resulted in a better resolution between the two. Instead Arcee chats with June at the very beginning, muses for a couple of scenes, and finally settles things with her at the last minute. It’s a cheap fix.
Both Breakdown and Airachid are equally dull villains here and merely served as obstacles, especially the latter. Airachid was an incredibly scary and morbid figure before, but here she delivers a few generic quips before breaking out the fists. I do appreciate that they gave Breakdown an eye patch, alluding to the consequence he suffered at Silas’ hands. Logically, this is iffy because he could have just gotten his eye replaced – he’s a robot! After all, Starscream seem to have found a quick replacement for the arm he lost in “Shadowzone”. I personally don’t mind though, since the loss is triggering paranoia in Breakdown. He’s second guessing himself, which could lead to some interesting changes to his generic personality.
“Metal Attraction” is an episode of lost opportunities that was boring and clumsily handled its plot and characters. I won’t regret skipping it when I rewatch this series.