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Transformers Prime “Orion Pax: Part 1” Episode 27 Recap

by on February 19, 2012

“The newly amnesiac Optimus Prime is now under Megatron’s command, forcing the rest of the Autobots to cope with the sudden change.”

“Orion Pax: Part 1” predictably continues immediately where we left off. Season One’s finale left the Autobots with a hollow victory. The devastating might of Unicron has been sedated, but at the cost of Optimus Prime’s memories. He reverts to his younger counterpart—the humble librarian Orion Pax—and is quickly taken under Megatron’s wing. Confused, our heroes are left without their leader. It was an unexpected plot twist and an amazing cliffhanger to end on. After months of anticipation, I waited with mixed feelings of excitement and apprehension on how the beginning of the second season would handle the aftermath.

All things considered, it was handled very well. The first half is fairly quiet as both heroes and villains adjust to the Orion Pax situation. Precious little action occurs onscreen and I have no problems with this, as it gives the characters room to mull over the situation and react accordingly. The Autobots are frustrated over their loss and constantly bickering amongst themselves. Optimus’ closest companion, Ratchet, remains the designated leader purely out of necessity and he too buckles under pressure. The humans are just as bewildered, confused, and agitated. They’re slowly falling apart without a commander to guide them. Only Jack reminds calm and frequently plays referee to the others,  as befitting someone who shares a lot of Optimus’ traits. He also happens to be the one holding the coveted Key of Vector Sigma, the only MacGuffin that can conveniently restore Optimus’ memories. However, the keyhole is located on Cybertron.

I’m impressed with Megatron. Previously, he was a musclehead who somehow managed to lead an entire army. Here, he’s thinking thoroughly and effectively and successfully manipulating “Orion”. He drives him against the Autobots by portraying the Decepticons as outcasts from Autobot tyranny, and he convinces him to decode secret Autobot files. I especially like how soft-spoken Megatron is being. Usually he’s annoying loud and hammy, but here he’s chillingly friendly and gentle. It’s a telling mood change that proves just how deviously smart he’s being.

Starscream—who had abandoned the Decepticons—continues to be one of the most amusing characters in the show. Still scraping by, he pathetically steals Energon cubes from his old home just to survive. It’s well-deserved karma, yet I can’t help but pity him in-between the schadenfreude.

When combat does finally begin, it’s executed with flare. As always, Transformers Prime’s combat is fast and well-choreographed. As amazing as Arcee’s one-robot army act was, the crowning moment oddly belongs to the one who does precious little. Soundwave owns Arcee by simply calculating a well-timed space bridge to teleport her away. There are no words on how much I admire his grace; it’s an awesome scene.

Some may complain about the lack of action here, but I’m glad they focused so sharply on the characters. We needed to know how they feel on Optimus’ shift, and we got the necessary conflict. Everyone reacted exactly as I imagined they would and the episode’s unexpected cliffhanger leaves me wanting more. My only fear is that the Orion Pax plot point may not last as long as I want it to. It’s too good to be dropped so quickly. Regardless, season two is off to a good start.

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