TFP misunderstandings, in depth analysis of arcs and their meanings

Discussion in 'Transformers Robots In Disguise / Prime Discussion' started by Lord Tron, Apr 7, 2017.

  1. Chopperface

    Chopperface Holtzmanned

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    I do agree that maybe we did overhype Dreadwing as Dinobot 2.0, and I guess it was interesting that at the end, Dreadwing didn't want redemption because he clearly didn't think he was in the wrong at all. He's not interested in the Autobot cause. He firmly believes in the Decepticons, or at least, before Megatron and Starscream ruined the cause for him.

    He should've just kept shooting at Starscream, though.
     
  2. Lord Tron

    Lord Tron Well-Known Member

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    Welcome back to the next file of my TFP character and story arc analysis last file studied the in my opinion greatly misunderstood and incredibly well done conclusion to Dreadwing's arc, now we will move onto another greatly misunderstood story point.

    File 2: Bulkhead's injury and recovery.

    This particular story point is one of the biggest complaints of TFP season 2, many citing it as very useless and irrelevant to the narrative and having minimum impact, this is a misconception mainly due to the fact that many overlook just how it served the characters this is partially understandable one is difficult to catch the other however is very clear. Now as we did with Dreadwing let's run through the basics of this plot point. Special note this file will also give us quite a bit of a character study on Miko since it's critical to her story

    Bulkhead is sent to track down an unknown relic later revealed to be toxic energon during the battle he is gravely injured and left in critical condition. Miko discovers this and blames herself for not being able to help him. She sets out with Wheeljack to track down Hardshell for what he did. She's filled with rage and anger this ends with Miko being the one who kills Hardshell this doesn't make her feel better and it doesn't help Bulkhead, Miko for the first time sees the horrors of war that it's not a game. This leads to his recovery which is slow Miko is angry demanding and pushing Bulkhead further than she should. This leads to her talk with Arcee which helps her see the dangers of hiding her pain.

    Now of course you're asking what does this have to do with Bulkhead for the time not much. Bulkhead's injury is just as critical to Miko as it is to Bulkhead himself. This incident changed her after this Miko no longer rushed through the ground bridge blindly and her desire to come with them came from a desire to help her friends. This is very notable in Chain of command where Miko follows Ultra Magnus orders something she would never ever have done before hurt. She's not rebellious anymore when Jack comes up with the plan to defeat Soundwave Miko follows orders. Bulkhead's injury turned Miko into a soldier she becomes a full on wrecker driven by a desire to help rather than have fun, she become obedient yet spirited soldier.

    Another notable impact is Wheeljack and Miko's bond growing and her proving herself a wrecker in his eyes. This incident was critical to Miko becoming a wrecker and was very much the catalyst that caused it to happen. Orginally Miko was just a thrill seeker due to being bored of her life as a result of trying to be something she was not. Rock Bottom and TMI changed this making her consider her actions a bit more but it also gave birth to her need to help. Jack being chosen by optimus drove Miko to try and prove herself she wasn't seeking thrills anymore but she was still going for selfish reasons.

    Bulkhead's injury changed this Miko did prove herself and it didn't make her feel better, this incident was what led to her becoming a wrecker and pretty much leaving her rebel nature behind she even asked for permission to come. Bulkheads injury is the most critical part of Miko's character arc. Killing Bulkhead would likely not have the same result Miko would certainly learn but her obedience and desire to help would likely be driven by rage and a need for revenge on all cons likely making her even more reckless, it could work but that's a completely different arc however it would also waste bulkhead as a character.

    Bulkhead's actual process to recovery is important to his character as it puts him through a struggle that up this point Prime hadn't put him through. Bulkhead while getting plenty of screentime up to this point had not gotten very many notable arcs, his recovery is the only arc that really cuts to the core of his character and forces him to question himself and his worth though not as entirely expected, this arc is not what it appears to be. Bulkhead had up to this point been the brawler and not much else now he's in a position where his physical stature is threatened and he desires to prove his own worth. Smokescreen drives this conflict bringing a new Autobot on the team that Bulkhead fears will replace him.

    Bulkhead in his bitterness has forgotten how much his team value and care about him. He feels he's letting them down and can't just sit back and wait for his injuries to heal. He recklessly rushes into battle to face Breakdown later revealed to be Cylas and almost dies because of it even worse his own pride almost kills Miko, Jack Raph and Fowler. Ultimately what's holding him back is his pride he's not healing properly because he won't wait and let it happen. He won't rest, he won't stop trying to force himself to accelerate the process he's pushing his body to hard, much like Miko was.

    Bulkhead's main obstacle is overcoming his pride not proving his self worth if one doesn't notice this the story completely falls flat especially it's resolution. In the end Smokescreen shows up and Bulkhead has to accept that he isn't strong enough to win he has to accept Smokescreen's aid. Bulkhead has defined himself purely by his strength and his pride can't accept being unable to do anything he can't accept that he's not ready so he refuses to let himself recover. In the end Bulkhead must accept he's not strong enough to win and has to let his pride go. Once this is done Bulkhead can wait and allows himself to recover. This arc does change Bulkhead in a few ways first he isn't as clumsy nor is he as angry when things go bad. Look at Orion Pax then Darkmount Bulkhead handles the scenario completely different because he isn't as prideful about being powerless and about having to wait. He doesn't break things like he used to.

    This arc is actually critical and defines Bulkhead's whole character, revealing his central flaw his pride and insecurities which he uses his strength to try and deny. In the pilot why does he break what ratchet was using because Fowler questioned his efficiency. Why did he rage out during Orion Pax because he felt powerless to do anything about the optimus situation. What makes him murder Starscream's clone when he slices his chest to show superiority. Bulkhead has a inferiority complex which he uses his strength to hide, the show doesn't really touch on this until his recovery arc which forces him to confront it by accepting that his strength isn't enough and he needs to accept Smokescreen's aid. After this arc all of Bulkheads outbursts, breaking stuff all but vanish. Killing Bulkhead in hurt would be a waste, his arc didn't resolve yet and the show didn't do enough with him before that point it would just be a sudden death for the sake of shock value.

    Despite this there are a few issues regarding this story. First it probably should've been longer this was a pretty in depth story for Bulkhead and more time certainly wouldn't of hurt, we probably needed to wait a little longer after the human factor to get him back into the action showing the last traces of his recovery, it just ended too soon. The other issue is in my opinion far bigger, Bulkhead pretty much lost relevance after this story he was kind of just there, which is unfortunate as there were potential possibilities for the newly reborn Bulkhead, possibilities that unfortunately we never reached.

    Ultimately my issues with the story more relate to what it followed it regarding the character over the actual story itself, it's a critical story for the character that not getting would've certainly been a mistake since it would mean we never really delved into Bulkhead. It's unfortunate he didn't get much after it but killing him in hurt and losing his recovery arc would've been a complete and utter waste of the character.

    Next file Orion Pax.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2017
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  3. DOTM Bumblebee

    DOTM Bumblebee I must be some kind of nut...

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    I'm not sure if the inferiority complex may be reaching or not (Bulkhead's humble and thinks more highly of others than he does himself, but I don't recall it being to that extent), but I do agree with the rest of your analysis here. I'd probably dislike or be indifferent to Miko without the growth she experienced during this arc. I actually didn't notice how Bulkhead changed over the course of this arc at first, but looking back, I do think your argument here is sound.
     
  4. soundwaverulls

    soundwaverulls Well-Known Member

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    The problem with Lord Tron's ideas about Miko is that she hadn't acted recklessly since season 1. You can't write out a character trait that you've already abandoned for over half a season. I know she hadn't really made that many appearances, but you can't expect people to realize that you're addressing something that everyone thought you were trying to ignore, especially if everyone is perfectly happy forgetting it existed. This arc might've worked if it was at the very beginning of season two, but its placement in the middle of the season utterly kills it. Sure, it may work from a technical standpoint, but if the audience doesn't realize what you're doing, then it's a failure. Improperly conveying your intention is just as big a failing in writing as any other. The same goes for Bulkhead. Him crushing random objects is s rather pointless thing to change. Removing an inferiority complex should completely change a character. Major examples of Bulkhead acting out of rage are few and far between, so of course removing them isn't going to be noticed. Lord Tron's comparison between Orion Pax and the Darkmount arc is flawed because the different reaction can too easily be seen as the result of a different situation. In the former arc, Bulkhead had lost Optimus for 10 months and it seemed to him like they were never getting him back. In the latter arc, Bulkhead was only separated from the group for a much shorter amount of time and had no idea anything had happened to Optimus. He only found out after Magnus turned up, someone who he long ago learned to respect and fall in line under his command. If the writers had intended Bulkhead to have some sort of inferiority complex, they should've made it clearer that was driving him and made it clearer when it had been removed.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2017
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  5. soundwaverulls

    soundwaverulls Well-Known Member

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    Alright. Luckily, it wasn't hard to edit my post to sound more like a general statement on yours, rather than something specifically talking to you.
     
  6. Snowcat

    Snowcat Animation Detective

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    Where are you getting 10 months from? I'm fairly sure the events of the series 1 finale and Orion Pax take place over a couple of days.
     
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  7. soundwaverulls

    soundwaverulls Well-Known Member

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    I haven't watched it in years, but I recall it being said Orion had been missing that long, early in episode 1. I believe it was the scene with Arcee, Jack and Sierra.

    Edit: Huh. Just checked and it's not there. I guess my brain totally made it up.
     
  8. Snowcat

    Snowcat Animation Detective

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    Yeah, it would have been strange if it was that long amount of time. Considering Megatron knew Orion Pax wouldn't trust them for long and he needed him to decode the Iacon database quickly.
     
  9. soundwaverulls

    soundwaverulls Well-Known Member

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    I also could've sworn there was a line about him being kept in isolation while he adjusted to his new environment. Did my brain make that up, too?:confused: 

    Still, my point about Bulkhead, in the Darkmount arc, not knowing anything had happened to Optimus until Magnus arrived still stands, even if the part about the amount of time that had passed being much shorter than in Orion Pax doesn't.
     
  10. Snowcat

    Snowcat Animation Detective

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    Yeah, I think you did. It's okay. I've just been watching all of Prime these last few weeks by coincidence, so it's all very fresh in my head.
     
  11. Autob ironhide

    Autob ironhide Well-Known Member

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    Man I really wish prime would of lasted longer, not liking this baby shit mustard we had in RID.
     
  12. NOCV

    NOCV Cretin of Kaon

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    When did they say that? It's right there in The Art of Transformers Prime that they are the same:
    DSC_0662.JPG

    Meg's should've used the Forge of Solus Prime to revive him.
     
  13. Autobot Burnout

    Autobot Burnout Hammer of the Gunplas

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    Not according to Bob Skir.
     
  14. NOCV

    NOCV Cretin of Kaon

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    Huh. Well, that's an interview against in 2011, and a publication for in 2013, sooooooo I'm going with the book. Plus he looks too good with them to not be.
    DSC_0743~01-picsay.jpg
     
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  15. NOCV

    NOCV Cretin of Kaon

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    Statements and publications aside, there is no other logical conclusion than that the Nemesis is still Trypticon in TFP, and that he does reawaken for Flying Mind.

    When Trypticon was last seen, he was converted into the Nemesis and locked in permanent stasis. That's established in Fall of Cybertron.

    If we consider the presented properties of Dark Energon in Transformers Prime, we know that
    In Flying Mind, after the Nemesis is catastrophically damaged by Bulkhead, Megatron puts Dark Energon into the ship's Energon Core to expedite the ship's repair because he knows that it repairs damaged Cybertronians.

    The ship is repaired, but is now sentient, operating with a will of its own. Megatron, despite being infused with Dark Energon, does not share the same symbiosis with the Nemesis as he did with the dead Cybertronians that he resurrected - and so he is unable to control the ship's will.

    The Nemesis, now acting with its own will, speaks. Now, consider Trypticon speaking in War for Cybertron. The two voices are undeniably similar, though Trypticon is voiced in WFC by Fred Tatasciore, and the Nemesis voice in Flying Mind is provided by Bulkhead's Kevin Michael Richardson.

    Given what is established by the series about Dark Energon, we know that it
    • Gives life to regular electronic devices
    • Repairs damaged Cybertronians
    • Resurrects dead Cybertronians
    Since the Nemesis is Cybertronian technology powered by Energon, we can assume that its sentience is not granted by the Dark Energon. Since Megatron is unable to control the ship, we can assume that it is not a resurrected Cybertronian. Since Trypticon was last seen damaged but alive, and being placed into permanent Stasis Lock, we can assume that the ship's sentience is due to the Dark Energon's ability to repair damaged Cybertronians.

    Based on those details, the extremely similar voices used, and the designs existing for Trypticon's TFP rendition, the only logical outcome is that the ship is Trypticon.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
  16. RazorclawX

    RazorclawX Campaign Oracle

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    This was a thing? I mean, seriously?

    Dreadwing was another case of stunt casting gone wrong in a misguided attempt to A) recuperate the cost of building Skyquake's model and then kill him off in the same episode, throwing away money for a perfectly good model and toy for no good reason, and B) try to fool people into thinking a lot of money is being put into the show. Surely it worked by hiring Dwayne Johnson for one episode and then Adam Baldwin (which we later found that production did not in fact have money).

    I hesitate to call him Breakdown's replacement because I firmly believe that is what Hardshell was-- a character invented to resolve all the character roles meant for Breakdown at a cheaper cost.
     
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  17. Coffee

    Coffee (╭☞ꗞᨓꗞ)╭☞

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    Dreadwing was no doubt heading towards a redemption arc that never came to fruition. You don't have a character work with the opposing team on multiple occasions and give him a code of honour only to cut his arc short for the stupidest reason of "he's not Starscream."
     
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  18. NOCV

    NOCV Cretin of Kaon

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    I'm torn on this. I loved the dynamic of the brotherly devotion between Dreadwing and Skyquake, and would've enjoyed seeing the two work together. It's unfortunate that Dreadwing had to be destroyed, because he was powerful, had great character, and it was interesting seeing him deal with the confliction of being loyal to Megatron, his cause and seeking the truth about his brother's demise, but his death was quite the moment.

    I wonder if Megatron would have made the same choice had he not shared the Cortical Psychic patch with Starscream and learned his true motives and actions?
     
  19. Snowcat

    Snowcat Animation Detective

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    I've never found it a satisfactory conclusion to his story. And I wasn't going in expecting a Dinobot story either.

    But I think it could have been interesting for him to just leave both sides of the conflict. Be some kind of rogue element. He's obviously not going to join the Autobots but he's lost faith in the Decepticons. You could do something interesting with that.

    Instead, he's killed so quickly and then it's just on with the rest of the plot!
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2017
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  20. Gordon_4

    Gordon_4 The Big Engine

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    The pre-release hype was probably their biggest misstep. I remember all this fucking guff over what it meant to be a Prime, and when Optimus lost his memories and became Orion Pax I thought "Holy fuck, this season is going to be tough on the guy" but nope, all stakes flushed down the proverbial within five episodes. And then there was the tone; the utterly pretentious tone of the writing trying it's gosh darn best to be.....whatever the fuck you want to call it and dropping the ball beyond wit of spelunker.

    The show wasn't the most awful thing in Transformers, truthfully it's probably in the upper tier but considering some of its competition (the Unicron trilogy for example) they're not exactly clearing a high bar.
     
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