I think, and I'm not certain, but it's because all these episodes take palce at the same time. So continuity at the base "restarts" each time as we see each perspective. I don't know how well done it is, but that's the intention. This is somewhat of a precursor to events. Yes, he avoided the surgery because it was going to be painful, which is funny, but it's also a sign that the staunchly self-loyal Starscream from the end of Partners is gradually melting away. His whole season 1 arc of self-discovering and growing a backbone enough to strike out on his own is... well... In one of the cartoons you didn't watch, Cybertron, Starscream likewise (to no shock at all) betrayed Megatron and struck out on his own. And there was one scene in particular where, feuled by his lust for power and bottomless well of ambition, took on all of the Autobots (of which there were many, each a formidable fighter on their own) and cut a path through them to get to the series MacGuffin that would grant him the power he craved. He was beaten to hell but still just bum-rushed them like a madman, even losing one of his built-in weapons (a rare moment of visual battle damage in that show) and covered in damage by the end. But he did it, and while that Starscream was far and away more powerful than this one, I've firmly held that a Starscream is not judged by their physical strength, but they're all-consuming drive to succeed. When Prime Starscream made his decree in Partners of going it alone, despite how frail and physically unremarkable he was, I was excited. We've never seen such a weak Starscream before, let alone one with such high aspirations, and I thought it was a brilliant and bold move to humanize him so much whilst keeping his ambition intact. I was sure it was going to be something special. I also really liked Dreadwing. He was the only 'Con I actually got the toy of besides the main three from Darkness Rising. He does have honour, but much like Dinobot fromearly in BW, it's not heroic honour so much as a personal mantra. It's a breath of fresh air from all the one-dimensional Decepticons this show otherwise offers. Indeed you're right!