Rob's Pile of Transformers: Manic Ramblings

Manic Ramblings and Delirious Rantings
Re: "Endgame Part 3: The Seeds of the Future"
5/04/00

One final time: a big double-sized sugar-coated THANKS with a cherry on top, to the good folks who made Beast Machines Season 2 available via the Web: most notably Prime at TFExtreme.com, but also Ytsetron of #wiigii!, and the annonymous host(s) of TFArchive.com. That's what fandom's all about, folks.

You're

trying

to

physically

SPOIL

me.

How

amusing!

Up Side:

Very fast recap of last ep, that told us exactly what we need to know: Megs is OpOp, the Maximals are de-Sparked.

"So, Optimus Primal," Megs gloats, "It all comes down to you and me. Or should I say, you and you." "Megatron... in my old body!" "Minus the impediment of a beast mode, of course... Victory is most delicious when seasoned with irony, is it not?" Primal assumes a defensive posture: "You're not getting these Sparks!" "They're mine already... and when I at last take yours, my collection will be complete. And speaking of my collection, here are some old acquaintances," Megs says, as three Diagnostic Drones float in bearing Sparks, which are deposited into the containment unit (to the sound of distant cries.) "Today Cybertron's Sparks... tomorrow, the entire Matrix! I alone will rule all Transformers past, present, and future!" "Not while I'm still standing, Megatron." "My sentiments exactly!" Megs says, laughing and targetting Primal with the siting laser.

"My drones will now open the Spark chamber, allowing me to begin my ultimate assension. And YOU will NOT stand in my way!", Megs finishes, punctuating the words with laser shots. Primal deflects the shots and ends up damaging the containment unit's controls. "Your meddling no longer amuses," Megs says, blasting Primal through a wall. "I don't need to amuse you, Megatron. All I need to do is --" But then Primal sees the empty shells of BA, SB, and Thrust, and stares. "Painful isn't it... seeing the faces you lead to defeat... after all, I have to find some way to entertain myself, while my drones repair my equipment," Megs says, blasting Primal this way and that. "For the sake of Cybertron, for the sake of the Matrix, I will NEVER surrender!" "Bravado in the face of death! How droll." A running fight across Cybertron's surface ensues, till Primal finally blows up some very large explosive buildings with Megs right in the middle.

One of Megs' appendages comes flying out of the fireball: "Say farewell to arms, Megatron!" But Megs is still otherwise intact, and after bashing Primal aside, easily re-attaches his missing limb, and the chase resumes. Optimus ends up clinging to the side of a building, which Megs blasts over, dropping the Maximal into a lake of some kind. Optimal Megs goes after him, blasting open a conduit which sucks both water and Optimus into darkness.

Op awakes to find himself in the dark, silent chamber of the Oracle, where he comes upon the shells of Botanica, Rattrap, and Nightscream. And then a nasty laugh sounds from above. Megs leaps from the ceiling and seizes Op: "Yes.... the seeds of *your* future lie in ruins." He jets off to the surface, Optimus in hand, where the drones have finished their repairs: "While the seeds of my future... have just been release!" The Sparks stream out of the containment chamber.

Megs unveils a funky throne, topped by what looks like a futuristic TV antenna, on a pedestal above the surface of Cybertron. "As you can see, Optimus Primal, all of your attempts to stop me have failed. And now, as a reward, I shall allow you to witness my grand assention." Primal is tossed into some kind of restraining unit, as Megatron opens his Spark to recieve the others. Primal repeats his resistance schtick to the Sparks; Megs repeats that they're his already.

Primal then tries a different tactic: "This is wrong, Megatron. We are all but fragments of the Matrix, which releases each of us in order to struggle, and grow and evolve. So when we return to it, *it* may grow, and evolve. Thus do we serve the Matrix -- not just by battling, but also by acquiring knowledge, wisdom, and experiencing love." "Knowledge? Wisdom? Love? Am I supposed to occupy *my mind* with trivialities in the face of ultimate power?" "Is that the only ideal you serve, Megatron? Megalomania??" "And what do you serve, Optimus Primal? The law of the jungle? Survival of the fittest? Ha! Are those your lofty ideals?" Primal looks downcast... till the voice of Cheetor tells him not not to give up -- "this isn't over yet."

As what are apparently the Sparks of the other Maximals are pulled toward Megatron, Primal has a vision, the other Maximals drifting past him one by one. "Hold on to your convictions," BA tells him. "Dont' forget what the Oracle said!" RT says. "The seeds of the future lie buried in the past!" Cheetor's voice adds -- as Primal resurfaces to see Megatron's chest plates slam shut behind the last couple of Sparks, and a glow envelopes Megs. His body grows... and grows. "My great assension... is finallly complete!" Primal says he won't let Megs do this; Megs answers that he can't defy destiny -- then blasts away a circular patch of ground, exposing a shaft leading all the way down to the organic core. "Once I enter the planet's core, I will form a perfect world -- with *me* as its core conscious! All that remains is to activate the key to Vector Sigma, and this entire planet will be transformed into the perfect technosphere!" Megs raises his arms, summons up a little light show -- then is chagrinned and befuddled when nothing happens.

"Have you forgotten, Megatron? Now that we share the Oracle, you can't activate the key without me!" We're shown a vision of a Spark, surrounded by Primal's Oracle donut from "Spark War" -- one side blue, one side red. "You have what I need -- the means to reformat Cybertron. I have what you need -- the means to reach its organic core. Stale mate!" "Not quite, my friend!" Megs unleashes a blast, intending to separate Op from the Oracle... and the blue side of the Spark is blown away. Megs resumes his light show: "Now, I alone control the fate of Cybertron!"

"Forget it Megatron. I will not allow you to destroy Cybertron!" "Destroy it? I'm re-creating it, in my own image!" Megs fires the key into the core, and the transformation begins. But Op, inspired by the voice of the Oracle, forces his way out of the restraints, and unleashes a pure white beam from his chest, missing Megs and hitting the throne -- which begins a techno-organic transformation. "You're trying to physically harm me. How amusing!" Megs gloats as, behind his back, his throne comes to life: "Soon your disgustingly organic body will be merged with the technomatter, while your Spark remains with me." Just then the throne-turned-vines wraps itself around Megs' arms, distracting him from the business of transforming the planet. Primal leaps to the attack, jetting into Megs and knocking him off-kilter. Only the vines are holding him up, till Primal starts to blast them away. "What are you doing?!" a suddenly-panicked Megs asks. "Planting the seeds of the future. We must seek the balance, Megatron -- not only between the technological and the organic, but the balance between eternal enemies. Between you... and I!" Megs suddenly snags Optimus in his free hand -- but Op fires right through it, chopping off a finger... and the last vine. The two tumble into the abyss.

"The great transformation awaits, Megatron," Op tells him as they fall. Prepare to be... reformatted." And with that, they land in the liquid of the organic core, disolving to white... a white which streaks forth to envelope the entire planet, pole to pole.

A blue sky greets us next. Blue sky, white clouds, and a yellow sun rising over fields of green, speckled with grey. Trees. Vines. And the Maximals, who one by one rise to their feet. "What happened? What is this place?" BA asks. "Believe it or not... this is Cybertron! Or what used to be Cybertron," Cheetor answers, gazing out over a city of buildings poking out of the green, flocks of birds passing by. "I don't get it. I felt Megatron reaching into my Spark, and then... poof," RT says. "No. There was another voice, remember?" "Optimus!... what about Botanica?" RT says, noting they're one short. But just then she shoots up out of the ground. "Somebody call my name?" "Sprouts!" RT says, leaping into her arms. He glances at the others: "So I'm a tree-hugger... deal with it!" Botanica gazes at the landscape: "It's beautiful! But it could use a little something..." She touches a branch nearby, setting off a chain reaction of sparkly flower blossoms that races over the horizon. The Sparks come flying overhead from that same horizon, disappearing behind the hills... then the sound of cheering voices comes, followed by bodies -- dozens, hundreds, streaming over the hills and exulting.

Cheetor is seized by an Oracle-eye-lighting: "At long last... transform your destiny. Transform and transcend." A vision of Optimus's face is replaced by a lone Spark floating into the distance. "I... understand," Cheetor says. The others are still watching the crowds. "The menace is past. At last, we can truly be together, dark venom of my heart," Silverbolt says to BA. "Oh, of all the corny --" She grabs him for a kiss, which of course is interrupted before it can start -- this time by the arrival of an oddly-shaped little wasp, with the robot-mode head of Thrust grafted onto it.

"Waspinator want glory! Waspinator want power! And what Waspinator get?--" Rattrap bats him away and into the distance just then -- "Waspinator never get what Waspinator want!!"

"It just doesn't feel like victory without the boss monkey," Rattrap says quietly. Cheetor responds with a speech: "He's with us, Rattrap. As long as Cybertron is alive, Optimus lives on. In our hearts, and our memories. As will Megatron who also played a vital role in the grand scheme. The vision from the Oracle has finally come to pass! Optimus finally achieved his mission." And we pan away, settling on a flower -- the same kind shown at the start of "The Reformatting" -- before fading to black.




Down Side (there's two sides to every MR&DR):

The end!

So what'd I nail last week? No vision at the beginning, though there *were* visions. Primal and Megs took each other out. The others survived. Waspinator cameo. No more Generals. But, to my surprise, the Transformers *did* return to their bodies. Returned to them... then came marching over the hills, in exhuberant, cheering, wild crowds that just happened to be in orderly, Vehicon-like regiments of rows and colomns. Isn't the whole *point* of all this that they have free will? ( Yes! We are all individuals!) Maybe Mainframe has been doing drones for so long that they've forgotten how to do anything else.

This episode left us with one of the biggest piles of fanfic fodder since... gods, since I don't know when. The future, at the moment, is totally left up to speculation. And the writers, no doubt per Hasbro's instructions, left themselves plenty of space to work with. The next series (assuming there IS a next series) could pick up 5 minutes later, or five centuries. Primal and Megs could be gone forever, or they could be returned if the company wants. The population of Cybertron could consist of more Mighty Morphin' Maximals, or plain ol' robotic bots, or any combination thereof. Ultimately, the only really *big* change was the transformation of Cybertron.

And what a transformation it was! With a single flash of light, Primal turned the world into one that... has a daytime! That's right, regardless of what little niggling differences there may be on the surface, the BIG change is that Cybertron now has a star that can actually make it *above* the horizon (as opposed to that teaser of a sunrise at the end of "In Darkest Knight"). No more eternal Boogie Nights on Cybertron.

More seriously, though, this episode's ending made me suddenly jump to the same conclusion that Neale Davidson reached a long time ago: the series is telling us "Machines bad, organic good". Cybertron has been a world cast in perpetual darkness and shadow throughout the series -- despite the evidence that it DOES have a sun and daylight ("In Darkest Knight" and this ep.) But not till the techno-organic transformation is over do we finally get to *see* the sun. The symbolism is about as heavy-handed as it could possibly be.

As for the new Cybertron -- I thought it was... well, I won't say it was *ugly*. But my first reaction sure wasn't "wow, what a great transformation!" The new Cybertron seems pretty pedestrian alongside the technological wonderland it replaced. That was always the thing that made Cybertron unique -- it was "a world composed entirely of machinery", to quote from Transformers comic book #1. Now it looks like a bunch of Aztec ruins, moldering away beneath a sheen of climbing, smothering vegetation -- or maybe suburban America, not my favorite archetype in the world. This is exactly the thing that most G1 fans feared the series would do, and which turned them off from the show. I feared it too, and now that it's happened I'm not sanguine about it (though I haven't bitched about it till now, simply because till now it *hadn't happened*. How can you complain about something that hasn't happened yet, and therefore isn't a certainty?...)

Why don't I like it? Well, for one thing, it destroys the very nature of the planet as it's been canonically established for the last fifteen years. No matter what kind of fleshy beast coatings Cybertronians were donning on prehistoric Earth, we oldtime fans could always console ourselves with the thought that there was still good ol' Cybertron, harboring a planetful of other possibilities. But now, in a sense, that's gone as well. Presumably all the new robot bodies are techno-organic, much as I'd like to think otherwise (though we don't have evidence either way, so maybe I should keep my mouth shut on that count.)

Additionally, like I said, it just doesn't *look* as cool as an all-machine Cybertron. It was always a treat when the G1 cartoon took us to Cybertron, because it was so *bizarre* and *different* and *cool*. Now? Well, it's *different* and *bizarre*, I'll grant that... but the Maximals' orchard always bored me, and a planetful of the same doesn't sound much more interesting. In fact, the only interesting bits (visually) were the old techno-parts still showing through: the BFH, and the city in the distance. Stupid nature stuff. ;]

Moving on to the rest of the episode: Megatron gets mondo major Stupid Points for letting Primal live as long as he did. More than mondo major. He gets *infinate* Stupid Points. He was SOOOOOOO close. And for the umpteenth time, he let his arrogance drive him to do something really, really, really, stupid, like letting his mortal enemy sit right beside him in a piddly little energy cage. Primal, OTOH, gets Smart Points for creating a weapon out of Meg's throne. Heh heh. And here I was thinking that he was trying to reformat Megatron... :]

Op and Megs' chase scene was mostly filler (debating with Orebinder has taught me to look for such things. :] When Optimus was swimming along underwater, I couldn't somehow feel a bit cheated that they were wasting time during the *last episode* showing me *this*. What the heck was the point of the underwater scene, anyway? Why was it written in? Such visual spice should have been used *long* ago, if it was needed in the first place. This would have filled in nicely for one of Season 1's endless chase scenes, for example. The only real purpose it served was to show Optimus some more of his defeated troops' bodies, and the burnt-out orchard (I *think* -- it's really hard to tell from the dark recording of the ep that I have.) Ah well. More Smart Points to Primal, for remembering he's got a big laser gun on his chest, and actually *using* it. Too bad he didn't think to do that back when the Maximals first crashed on Cybertron.

It *was* nice to see Megs give the OpOp body a real workout. I don't think Primal ever pushed it that hard when he was in it; in fact, it never really seemed very powerful or threatening to me (all that was required to take it out was a rock or two.) And Megs used the ground mode more in one episode than Primal did during an entire season. It was also nice of Megs to explain: no more beast mode. Simple answer to my question.

The psychological warfare was going fast and furious, though not so intriguingly as in past episodes. The seeds of doubt that Megatron sowed in "Wolf in the Fold" briefly bore fruit, but that was negated within seconds. Primal gave a niftly explanation of the philisophical nature of the Matrix -- it grows and expands and evolves through the lives of its Transformer-fragements. Interesting. The episode as a whole, truthfully, is Megatron verses Optimus in both word and action, with the other Maximals reduced to sideliners at best. Nightscream had, what, two lines the whole episode? (Not that I'm complaining.) But, given the nature of the series and these two characters, perhaps that's as it should be. If ya gotta go, you deserve your own episode.

So what *happened* to the two leaders? They fell in the goop, and triggered the reformatting of the planet. But no explanation, visual or otherwise, is given for why their bodies created this reaction or what happened to them. They're missing, presumed deceased, I suppose. One hopes Primal at least fared better than to end up battling Megatron for the rest of eternity. Still, if he had to go, what better way than by taking down Megs *and* freeing the population of the planet?

And hey! Didn't Megs have a bunch of Sparks in him when he fell into the drink? How come *they* got away okay, when Megs himself apparently bought it? They were at ground zero too! That strikes me as the biggest magic reset button of the whole episode, maybe the whole season. And funny how Our Heroes made it back to their bodies right away, but all the other Sparks had to search around for a bit... And wasn't Megatron "lost" and "confused" when *he* was disembodied? How'd all the other TFs know where the local body shop was located?

Cheetor sounds *very* much like Dragon Ball Z's Goku in his speech at the end. Not surprising, since Ian Corlett voices both characters (or did, in Goku's case.) But until now he's always managed to make them sound distinctive from one another. Ah well. I guess this signals Cheetor's latest developmental stage -- notice he's got none of the teenage angsty hardcore edge that he's sported since BW Season 3. In fact... heck, he's almost to the point where Primal was at the start of "Beast Wars". How's THAT for circularity?

Waspinator, OTOH, just sounds *wrong* somehow. Mr. McNeil might just be a bit out of practice for doing the voice... or maybe he wasn't trying hard, since Waspy's three lines were pretty lame. Come ON, if he's only got 3 lines, at least make one of 'em funny. The visual gag of him having Thrust's head fell flat for me. It wasn't funny, just... dumb. And how *did* he end up in a tiny version of his own body with a cycle drone head? The gag factor is definately outweighed by the "yeah, right" component here. Ah well, at least his ending wasn't *too* unhappy. I mean, he's *alive*... that's more than Rhinox can say. :[

Speaking of bodies: where *did* all those bodies come from? I thought the Maximals were gonna have to spend an eternity running around doing to one Transformer after the next what BA did to get Silverbolt back. But apparently there was a handy supply of bodies *just* over the horizon. Reformatted drones, perhaps?

I would have liked to see some of the populace of Cybertron more clearly, but I can understand Mainframe's reasons for not showing us. I do appreciate that they showed us the crowds at all, instead of just leaving that part hanging. Although, the shadow-models they used seemed *very* simplistic, and I don't think it would have been *too* hard to improve them somewhat. At LEAST don't make them all walk in rows. I suppose one can say they all look alike because they all came from identical drones...

I found myself a bit put off by Megatron's "ultimate assension" at first -- "What, he just gets really big??" At least he was kind enough to explain his real plan, which -- as many have long expected -- was to merge with the planet itself. Now THAT'S thinkin' big.

SB and BA get a happy ending at LAST. Hooray!

Nice images: loads of 'em in this ep. My favorite is the BFH all covered with greenery, like some kind of Incan ruin. But Primal's falling building was very nicely done. And the stuff he blew up around Megatron -- awesome! Especially the one fire-streak that dropped right in front of the camera. Kewl, d00d. :P

Anyone else notice all the long, drawn-out synth chords used in the background music at the end? BM has had a lot of that lately, but never in such a heavy dose as this episode. Too bad it's not as recognizably tuneful as, say, Dinobot's theme music.

Overall: As expected, lots of mystical and action sequences, an ongoing one-on-one between the leaders, a big stupid last-minute victory-costing blunder by the bad guy, and a big, happy, and VERY open ending. Yet again, satisfactory -- but not really overwhelming.

And my retrospective take on the series as a whole?

Yeah, right. Some other day! :]

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