Ratchet completes the formula for synthetic energon while the Autobots attempt a rescue.
With only one episode away from the series finale, “Synthesis” is a lot more low-key than I expected. Usually Transformers Prime is good about building up an epic feeling during their season finales. Unicron’s rise that almost annihilated Earth and forced Optimus and Megatron to team up was epic. The Decepticons getting in a massive victory by establishing a giant tower over Jasper and destroying the Autobot base (and thus scattering them) is epic. “Synthesis” is quieter and while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s kind of boring.
The first half takes its time, but it’s not all for naught. It centers mostly on Ratchet, who is constantly under tension and improvising on the spot to complete the formula and find a way to keep it out of Decepticon hands. I especially love Knock Out’s complaints as he plays second fiddle amongst the other scientists. His interaction with Ratchet is minor, but I like it anyway. Given that Ratchet spends most of his time in the Autobot base, I think they missed a couple of opportunities to get the two contrasting medics to clash, so I’ll take what I can get.
Starscream managed to be smart for once and figured out the scout Raf sent to locate Ratchet. I only just noticed this, but Starscream hasn’t been much of a backstabber in season three. Manipulative and sneaky, yes, but he has yet to stage a mutiny against Megatron. When Predaking is beating on the Decepticon leader, Starscream doesn’t even run off like a coward, but instead stays and tries to fend off the beast. Either he’s being real patient and biding his time, or he truly has gone loyal after season two. Whatever it is, that’s pretty interesting character development.
The most significant part is when Predaking finally realizes that Megatron betrayed him thanks to Ratchet. Actually, this is one of the best things about Ratchet’s character. The show is very much rooted in black and white morals. Good guys are always good despite what they do (and I’ve questioned a lot of the Autobot’s actions before) and bad guys are bad because they’re established that way. However, Ratchet sometimes seeps into this specific gray area. While he never states that the Autobots destroyed the Predacon clones (and they totally contributed when Wheeljack chucked a grenade at them), he doesn’t deny it either; he simply tells Predaking that Megatron is just as responsible and he should take it out on the Cons when he’s done with him. This is what sets Ratchet apart from the rest, because he will see the gray area in an otherwise straightforward context.
Predaking does get to pound a new one into Megatron, but it’s short-lived and Megatron pushes him off the ship pretty quickly. It’s anticlimactic and I can’t help but think they only did that so the series finale will focus purely on conflict between the Autobots and Decepticons. I’m also theorizing that they’re saving Predaking for the upcoming TV movie.
“Synthesis” is fairly dull when I expected something bigger from the penultimate episode, but it did get better as it progressed. It’s not terrible, just lacking compared to the other two season finales. I’m a little worried if they will deliver a satisfying series finale when they only have half an hour left to conclude everything, but I imagine a lot of this will be epic fighting since most of the lingering plots have been solved. So, my fingers are crossed.