Beast Machines weekly rewatch anyone?

Discussion in 'Transformers Earthspark and Cartoon Discussion' started by OsirisPrime, Apr 28, 2024.

  1. SPLIT LIP

    SPLIT LIP Be strong enough to be gentle

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    I also think Silverbolt's transformation coming naturally had to do with his singular focus in that moment. He was in beast mode up until he was caught between Blackarachnia and Megatron, and as dark as it is, he did find balance. His inner turmoil was silenced, not with tranquility, but with singular hatred towards Megatron.

    Simply put, Silverbolt transformed because he was pissed. Primal describes maintaining robot mode as maintaining an "emotional center." He never said that emotion has to be a positive one. The fact that Blackarachnia had to physically remove him because he wouldn't stop attacking just goes to show how locked in Silverbolt was. This also makes sense given how he's rather consistent in that anger going forward, that his "normal state" after his reformatting seems to be a state of unhappiness. (for a short time at least)

    Botanica is also just a much more emotionally stable person. The fact that her alt mode is a plant, and that such a thing is clearly unusual even to modern Maximals, probably gives her a more open mind. The fact is the Maximals struggling as they did with their transformations is entirely due to their own pre-existing biases towards it. Once they understand how it works they transform with ease, as if it's no hurdle at all, and can even maintain robot mode under extremely stressful circumstances. Botanica probably understood this immediately, given she had just been cured of the virus that was causing her plant mode to lash out. (you could also chalk it up to her latent connection with the techno-organic trees and Cybertorn's core)
     
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  2. Joalro

    Joalro Well-Known Member

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    Okay, it's now May 10th which, if my calculations are correct, is a week after May 3rd, which means two more episodes are now in play. I have watched them both, but let's start with episode 3:

    So one thing I think this series does very well is that each episode, we learn something that we didn't know from the previous ones. Yes, we start this show very, very confused, but each episode sheds a little bit of light on us. This episode, we get confirmation the Maximals have memory loss. We also learn something that was kind of foreshadowed in the start of episode 2: being in robot mode is what causes the Maximals to show up on scans. If you remember back to Episode 2, it when the maximals were practicing transforming in which the drone discovered them.

    Also, for anyone doubting the trauma angle in all this, just compare Optimus' behaviour at the 6 minute mark compared to the first two episodes, espcially episode 1. Episode 1 gave us a Primal that was basically indistinguishable from Beast Wars Primal. After learning that Primal has lost everything, that Cybertron has been taken over by Megatron, and it's these four Maximals against everyone, you can really see how much of a toll it's taken on him. The world is on his shoulders, and he is not handling it well. Like, it isn't even very subtle. Rattrap explicitly points out this shift ("goodbye zenmaster, hello taskmaster") and Primal states it out in the open ("I failed my people once, I will not fail them again"). Primal is literally sparking in pain as he says his line. He is a gorilla in turmoil. Megatron *broke* him.

    One thing I find kinda clunky is Blackarachnia's refusal to go into Beast Mode. She only had two visisions at this point, within a very short window. There isn't much reason for her to assume being in robot mode is the cause. If anything, based on how she had her first vision when she was hit from fire, I'd imagine her trying to seek out getting shot. The fact that Primal asks her to transform also feels out of place, since at this point they don't know that being in robot mode is an issue. Rattrap asking "why are you so hot in being in robot mode" and blackarachnia responding "I have my reasons" all just feels completely out of place to me. Not a huge deal or anything, just feels like some clunky writing, in my opinion. It simply doesn't feel like a lot of the dialogue flows.

    Now, if there are critiques to lay on Beast Machines, they do not lie, in my opinon, with the vehicons. Their designs and personalities are just perfect. They are the best characters introduced in this series. Jetstorm, Thrust and Tankor are just awesome characters. Jetstorm in particular just has this fun, goofy, sadistic nature to him that you don't see too much. I feel as though Thrust and Tankor don't get nearly as much to do this episode, but every line delivered by Thrust always just exudes cool, and you get that vibe immediately.

    Episode ends with Blackarachnia remembering Rhinox and Silverbolt, and holding this information back, for some reason, which I find even MORE odd by the fact the next episode, she clearly tells him right away. So having Blackarachnia purposefully not tell Optimus just to immediately tell him off screen feels like it just robs us of that moment. It's a moment I really wish we got to see in it's entirety, and it feels so odd to keep that off screen.

    One thing this episode beings talking about though is individuality vs authoritarianism. Megatron has trouble handling the four maximals because his attention is too divided, so he has to bring some individuality into the equation. Generals that he can rely on to do his bidding, but as soon as he does, he starts losing control of the situation. It's a balance that Megatron never really understood, and it's always been his failing, even back in Beast Wars. Megatron always tried to rule through fear, not true loyalty, and it never, ever worked out for him. Yet it's all he knows.
     
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  3. SPLIT LIP

    SPLIT LIP Be strong enough to be gentle

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    I haven’t rewarched the episode yet, as I’m at work and will do so when I get home, but I pretty much agree with everything you’ve said.

    I do also find the contention over Blackarachnia being in robot mode odd given that they hadn’t yet discovered that danger. It’s also weird that Rattrap of all people questions her decision, given all he wants is to be able to transform.

    Your point about Megatron’s method of commanding also once again reinforces my examination of his character. He knows only how to dominate and control.

    Such a great line out of context. :lol 
     
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  4. Joalro

    Joalro Well-Known Member

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    The Irony of Megatron is he had some truly loyal subjects. Scorponok and Inferno truly loved Megatron. I'd say Scorponok was, in fact, the most loyal to Megatron. Inferno was too insane to really have true loyalty, he didn't really have the ability to choose to be loyal or not, he had faulty wiring. Scorponok had actual choice, and choose to be loyal to Megatron. And Megatron shed not a single tear, or even talked about Scorponok ever again, once he died. He never really rewarded Scorponok while he was alive for his loyalty. Scorponok's loyalty was just a feature he could exploit, literally in the same way he would exploit Tarrauntulus' disloyalty. To him, loyalty and disloyalty are basically the same, so long as he knows which they are he'll play the cards he has.

    But this kind of treatment doesn't encourage others to follow or develop loyalty. You can't see Megatron's casual disregard to those who are loyal to him and think "this is a great man who will bring me greatness!".

    Megatron's inability to connect, on any level but fear, was really his downfall in so many ways. And this comes into play, really really hard, in episode 4, which I'll write up soon.
     
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  5. SPLIT LIP

    SPLIT LIP Be strong enough to be gentle

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    I will say, BM is not always the most technically sound show. While I think they did a lot with the animation they had, and honestly the show looks damn good on average, the opening engagement kind of showcases the somewhat sporadic effort that goes into this show. I especially like how Blackarachnia and Cheetor have these outrageous double-takes that are so bouncy and fluid, then Primal walks around the corner like a Minecraft character. His glitched reversion to beast mode, while interesting stylistically, is almost comical in its lack of in-between frames. That said, the scene with Primal running up the building in beast mode with the tear-style split screen of the tank drones tracking and shooting at him is so damn cool, and honestly not something I've seen Transformers ever do.The entire scene with the Generals at the spaceport also has a lot of excellent animation and camera work.

    Also, since I'm picking on one of the best CGI animated cartoons of the late 90's, I think Blackarachnia's flashback where she's drifting through prehistoric Earth also showcases a big problem with the character designs. In neutral or angered expressions, I think Blackarania looks fine, but her face really doesn't seem like it was designed for the wide-eyed smile she has. Also Silverbolt in her flashbacks has Megatron-style mechanical pupils and it's... really weird looking.

    As a last technical observation, I always forget just how freaking huge Cheetor is compared to Blackarachnia when he's carrying her. The characters' proportions really don't betray their relative scale.

    Primal's character is definitely changed from the things he's come to understand. For as much as people remember "hippie Primal," he's far from peaceful and chill this episode. It really sells what I spoke of earlier in the thread, that Primal does not automatically shift his personality to a zen-style spiritual guru. He's embraced the Oracle, sure, but he's not at all reached true enlightenment. He's clearly lacking balance in himself still, but you can hardly blame the guy.

    The thing that, I think, makes Megatron such a compelling villain is that despite his high intelligence, he lacks this simple understanding. Of course, criticizing Megatron for not being able to manage loyalty is like criticizing him for being evil in the first place, but it goes to show how Megatron's only real flaw is his own world view. On a technical level he's brilliant, reasonable, and willing to adapt. The fact that he actually heeds the diagnostic drone's wisdom of the Vehicons needing free will is telling of the fact that Megatron is not stupid. He has his belief, his vision, but he also understands when to fight fire with fire. His vision of a single elegant machine be damned, he needs a few extra hands right now. In fact BM Megatron in general is a far more reasonable individual. His villainy is overarching, he's matured much since the Beast Wars where he was often detrimentally spiteful. This feels like a Megatron who thinks thrice, not twice, before making a move, and we'll see more of that as the series progresses.

    I do also think a large part of that is his comfortability. Megatron has all but won, and at this point the Maximals aren't necessarily a threat to his victory, just annoying. Pests, really, a handful of critters on a planet of technological perfection. It's only when they start doing damage to said perfection does Megatron start playing more and more seriously.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2024
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  6. Joalro

    Joalro Well-Known Member

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    Alright, let's hit up episode 4, and get right into Megatron's flaws from the very first scene. Megatron makes no attempt to find followers who support his cause, or people who he can connect with. He makes no effort to explain to them why they should help him, and make them soldiers for the cause.

    He plays stick and carrot. Obey me, you will be rewarded. Disobey, and you will be punished. This puts all the generals in the immediate mindset of "I must be the one to get the reward", rather than "It is actually a good thing for us to complete this task". The task itself is meaningless to them, they don't actually care that it gets done, only that they are the ones doing it. This is Megatron's flaw, and honestly, migth very well be why he wanted absolute control. He has absolutely no idea how to manage other beings. He knows how to manipulate them, how to strike fear in them, but not how to connect to them. Even Rampage looked for connection. Megatron only looked for domination.

    Next, we immediately have Primal looking at Silverbolt and Rhinox, mulling them over, already accepted that they are out there. This obviously becomes a high priority mission, bring back their missing friends.

    We hit upon another character arc that I think many people misunderstand. Rattrap breaks into a highly secured facility, without a robot mode, giving Cheetor access. He gloats, but Cheetor pays it no attention. Not even a single "good job". Rattrap, one of the most resourceful characters in Beast Wars feels helpless and useless being stuck in his rat mode, despite having just proven himself still useful and resourceful. Rattrap finds a "cure" for the virus, and Cheetor, correctly, is suspicious of it. Instead of showing Rattrap some understanding of how useless he's felt, he speaks to him pretty patronizingly. "Don't touch anything". Rattrap obviously has no intention of listening, and when Rattrap shows up in robot mode, he's immediately derided, once again. Yes, Rattrap screwed up, yes, that screw up destroyed their strategic advantage.

    But none of the maximals give any attention to why Rattrap is going down this path. They treat him as useless the entire time again.

    And once again, they plant a new seed as Primal senses a familiar spark. One thing the show does indeed do very well is plant these seeds to make them easier to accept.

    Also, I hate Rattap's face. I mean, hoenstly, I kind of hate everyone's faces. But why does Rattrap look like a child?

    Anywho, then we get an absolute mess of a fight scene. Rattrap fucks up their ability to form a cohesive plan, while the vehicons compete with one another, getting in the way of each other's plans. Literally, if one side could just get their shit together, either side could have had a pretty decisive victory.

    Tankor is victorious. Rattraps fuckup saves the day. Fight scene.

    Then we get Tankor switching sides. This one is interesting, because he's still operating under the shell program. While Primal is able to talk to his spark, it's still through the filter of Tankor's programming. It is Tankor who decides to switch sides, and that's because Tankor was never loyal to the cause, just fearful of Megatron. All Primal had to do was explain that he should be just as fearful of doing what Megatron wants, as not doing what Megatron wants. His only hope is that Megatron actually loses. It really says something on how terrible Megatron is rallying support.

    Unfortunately, Megatron doesn't need to rally support, just erase Tankor's memories. But, moving the plot forward, Primal realizes there's something familiar here.
     
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  7. Mako Crab

    Mako Crab Well-Known Member

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    Just finished ep 2: Master of the House.

    Honestly not one of my faves.
    It’s got some good moments, but it feels light on story.
    Instead we get a battle against a driller, a battle against aero drones, a battle against tank drones, a battle against cycle drones, and even get to the final boss.
    It’s lots of action, but I kept wanting to have a bit more story instead.

    I’m already looking forward to when they stop using “I am transformed” to transform. Blackarachnia’s transformation is on the freaky side, with her head morphing out of the light, giving us a silent scream.

    Of the things I liked: I like how Primal pairs up the two Maximals that want to go topside to get answers and then is surprised they disobeyed orders and went topside to get answers. Come on, Boss Monkey. :p 

    The shot of Blackarachnia’s spider legs slowly sliding out from under a manhole cover has always been creepy, but I like it.
    The way she delivers the line, “He told us to find a new base. He didn’t say wheere…” always makes me grin.

    I wish that Cybertron’s cities looked more interesting.

    And oh my god, when Cheetor transformed & quipped about having cool new cat moves & then proceeded to give us the goofiest, most drawn out bit of deflecting lasers- I may have been laughing. Just a little. It didn’t look that cool to me.

    Megatron’s first real appearance & our first good look at his harness of cables linking him to the planet is great.

    I would say the mystery over what happened to Cybertron deepens this ep, but then they solve it a few minutes later.

    It was an okay episode, but felt like they kept relying on action to fill out the runtime.
     
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  8. SPLIT LIP

    SPLIT LIP Be strong enough to be gentle

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    Y'know, I think it really speaks to how we treat character development in these kinds of shows. Rattrap is not a young character. I'd even argue he comes across as older in his attitude and mannerisms, and I think with non-youths we sometimes forget that not everyone is perfect, and that you can still learn and grow even when you're an adult.

    And I think even the Maximals forget that. I think it's rather telling that Cheetor of all people is harsh on Rattrap, considering Cheetor has made his fair share of errors, but he also had the excuse of his youth. Rattrap does make errors, but unlike Cheetor he doesn't get a free pass, even if older characters are just as fallible as younger ones. Rattrap's motivations make sense, you understand why he did what he did even if it was wrong. (and bear in mind, they just learned about robot modes giving them away, so him lapsing in judgment there is pretty forgivable. It's not exactly been a rule for very long) Yet he's held to a harsher standard, not helped at all by the fact that (as the characters themselves point out) he's already the "useless one." When their team is so small, so limited, with very few advantages, one quarter of the fighting force being a tag-along is fairly detrimental.

    Which is hilarious IMO, because the one who does end up getting their shit together is Tankor. Y'know, the idiot. :lol 

    Rattrap is the hard one to accept because, as you said, he looks too young. But he also looks the least like himself. Thing is, Blackarachnia's face has always been somewhat human-like, and Cheetor's face actually does resemble his TM2 face by virtue of being feline. Even Primal's face, as different as it is, still has some connection as a result of being patterned after a gorilla. Rattrap, however, had one of the least human-looking faces in BW. Not only does his BM face look nothing like it, it looks nothing like a rat TBH. He doesn't even have buck teeth. The closest he has to rat-like features is the little cheek pistons that kind of resemble whiskers maybe?

    But yeah, he looks too young. His face doesn't match his voice, which even for BM stands out. Which is a shame, because I actually really like his body. I like the shape of his shoulders, his muscle-ribcage-chest, and the wheels are a great callback to his TM form whilst also being just a cool feature for a robot to have.

    I think Cybertron looks really good, TBH. This is before the days of matte paintings and shortcuts to depicting large scale cities, so knowing that all of Cybertron we see is actually modeled to scale is impressive. Cybertron's city also looks like an actual city, which was surprisingly uncommon for some time in Transformers where the entire planet seemed, at best, the size of New York with a handful of randomly shaped towers with no real sense of layout.
     
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  9. Autovolt 127

    Autovolt 127 Get In The Titan, Prime!

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    I recently rewatched Beast Machines with a friend in his discord server, he really wanted me to give it a second chance and after having rewatched it, yeah Beast Machines is peak, kino and a top 5 Transformers show of all time.

    I just appreciate how ambitious the story telling is for it, its not perfect but man i love that Bob Skir set out to make a graphic novel as a 26 chapter television series, with the aesthetic, art design and shading, he absolutely nailed it.

    I think what really appeals to me about the show is how it takes these characters, brings them to their lowest points, the darkest they've ever been, their most helpless, pathetic and or radicalized, it breaks these characters and then rebuilds them into becoming their best versions of them. I always got the vibe that especially once you got into season 2
    Optimus Primal realizes he went too far with his radicalism, Rattrap finds a new purpose as the teams tech guy filling the void Rhinox leaves behind and even gets a girlfriend in the process and even the ending implies with Megatron gone, Silverbolt can go back to being his warm, optimistic heroic self being with the woman he loves.

    I think my only real gripe with the show now is
    how they kinda handwave Rhinox off in Fallout, him just being back to his old self, feeling remorse and apologizes for his actions in season 1 and then just dies and moves on offscreen, I kinda wish they had done more with this or given Rhinox a better way to redeem himself, i think there was something more that could've been done with him.
    well that and i wish we got more of Botanica, Obsidian and Strika, they were kinda introduced a bit too late into the show but they make their few episodes stand out with them being in it.
     
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  10. SPLIT LIP

    SPLIT LIP Be strong enough to be gentle

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    I always would've liked to see Rhinox hang around for a bit, in the Matrix, acting as an intermittent guide and confidant to Primal. Not exactly imparting wisdom, but just an entity he occasionally could converse with. Maybe even just near the end.

    Botanica really should've got some kind of toy at some point.
     
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  11. BWIguanusfan2

    BWIguanusfan2 BWII enjoyer and Triceradon's strongest warrior

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    I'm confused. are we watching one episode each Friday, or 2 or 4?
     
  12. SPLIT LIP

    SPLIT LIP Be strong enough to be gentle

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    I thought it was one normally, but two for the first week, but I guess it's two a week? Which granted would be fine with me.
     
  13. BWIguanusfan2

    BWIguanusfan2 BWII enjoyer and Triceradon's strongest warrior

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    I'll guess I'll need to catch up quick lol.
     
  14. Joalro

    Joalro Well-Known Member

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    Oh, I assumed we were doing two a week. If curtailed things or sped them up, I apologize. What is it people want to do? I'm fine scaling back to one.
     
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  15. BWIguanusfan2

    BWIguanusfan2 BWII enjoyer and Triceradon's strongest warrior

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    It's too late now. The dice has been cast.
     
  16. RedPandaTron

    RedPandaTron Techno-Organic

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    I kind of muse at doing a season 3 in which we get more of Botanica, or at least have Botanica appear in more animated media, and not just as a background character.

    I actually think a pretty interesting route they could do for Botanica in any future media is to make her a medicine woman or wise woman and leader of a group of techno-organic transformers. That's kind of the route I have for Botanica in my Biospheran AU idea.
     
  17. BWIguanusfan2

    BWIguanusfan2 BWII enjoyer and Triceradon's strongest warrior

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    I'm a week behind so I'll take about Master of the House and Fires of the Past together. I changed my mind about that 2 episode thing or whatever.

    Master of the House.

    I love the direction in this episode. Primal looking up at the citadel, megatron always hovering over primal, until he brings megatron down to earth by forcing megatron to confront uncomfortable truths about his situation, With megatron transforming in his dragon mode shot at a low angle, with Optimus in control of them situation in robot mode, only for it to switch back once megatron calmed down.

    We get to see cybertron's cities in depth for the first time since cheetor's dream all the way back to Spider's web in beast wars and it looks awesome in all its ealry cgi glory. The most blue building contrasted by the always dusk Magenta skies is a treat for eyes in my opinion and its the best it's ever looked outside of the WFC games. It's a lived in city with no one in it.

    I thought I was always dumb megatron let Optimus inside the citadel so easily but on this rewatch I realized that was point: it was a trap. Mentioning the citadel, Optimus says 3 times the citadel was where the Council of Elders meet which is a deep cut since Optimus mentioned them all of twice maybe in beast wars. So much for not having seen beast wars. I also like megatron decored the walls with what I think is supposed to be him in his pre-trex mode body implying that what he normally looked before beast wars and he's not wearing power armor like dawn of futures past and the IDW stuff implied. Megatron is also talking in his normal voice range for megatron (without the yesing :(  )

    Rattrap was able to rip vehicons apart with his bare teeth in the previous episode but he's now useless. Hope this doesn't become a running trend.

    Tank drone climbing up a building lol.

    Another awesome episode of peak fiction

    Fires of the Past

    Moar liek Fires of the PEAK! We are introduced 3 of my favorite characters, The chad Jet Problem Strom, the edgey biker Thrust and the mentally unstable Tankor. I love the voice work on all 3 of the vehicon general and they are very entertaining in thier own ways.

    I like how the statue of Optimus Prime Is holding replicas of the Voyager probe's golden disk(s) (2 of the them like in real life) implies Megatron stole the golden disk from this very same record hall they raiding for data now.

    Always thought the Sliverbolt dreams where creepy and weird.

    Kinda unremarkable otherwise. Perfectly average episode!

    foreshadowing for the vehicons being who's spark inhabit thier bodies.

    There was no foreshowing in Master of the House aside from a single shot where a Thrust model was used to represent a cycle drone

    Design wise
    • Jetstrom has a Red-to-orange-yellow detailing on his wings not unlike Sliverbolt's orange to bronze feathers
    • Thrust has wasp stripes like a wasp(inator)
    • Tankor has green lights like how rhinox was green and he has saw blades in his forearms, Which are similar in concept to the saw blade weapons the rhinox toy had which where reimagined to be his chain guns of doom.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2024
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  18. SPLIT LIP

    SPLIT LIP Be strong enough to be gentle

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    I think a big part of it is that Silverbolt's whispering voice doesn't sound anything like his normal speaking voice, and as I said once before, Blackarachnia's face doesn't really look right with a wide-eyed smile. :lol 
     
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  19. BWIguanusfan2

    BWIguanusfan2 BWII enjoyer and Triceradon's strongest warrior

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    Today's episode is mercenary pursuits! Rattrap takes drugs and tankor shows he has that dog in him.

    Thrust and Jetstorms short battle has always been one my favorite moments between these 2. This is the first moment shows off thrust's desire to dominate others and Jetstorm's refusal to step down from a fight. It's also funny, they continued to fight each other for some period of time until teamed up to try defeat tankor.

    I think Tankor knows full well his "reward" will be the end of his sentience. He's clearly in pain anguish every moment of his existence. Only after primal projected himself into Tankor's mind was he able to reach a moment of clarity.

    I thought I would have more to say but I don’t either then rattrap taking drugs is hilarious. I don't really have much to say either then it's another good episode. Thrust and Jetstorm's "friendship" is established and the plot continues to thicken...

    I remember Forbidden Fruits was one of my favorite episodes of the show when first watched beast machines some 12 years ago. Excited to talk about it next week.
     
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  20. SPLIT LIP

    SPLIT LIP Be strong enough to be gentle

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    Yeah, it's kind of screwed up how much he wants his Spark removed. This actually foreshadows the eventual reveal, but him being in mental anguish makes sense. It also makes sense why Jetstorm and Thrust aren't in any sort of anguish given what we come to learn.

    I never really saw it as Rattrap taking drugs, as in narcotics, but it does feel more analogous to steroids. He wanted an easy fix, a shortcut, cut out the hard work and focus and just get to the good part. Results were more important, and it also makes sense that a techno-organic body would not respond well to a transformation enhancer that would obviously be designed for fully robotic individuals.

    One detail that always kind of made me tilt my head even though it's entirely logical is the gag where Rattrap's robot head comes out next to his rat head. Besides the surreal sight of both faces of the character side-by-side, as a kid I had always just assumed he wouldn't have two heads? Like the magical morphing transformations almost feel like his one head would just morph between modes, that it would preclude the idea that anything is "stored away" in either mode. Though it's obviously not the case, as you see Cheetor have robot arms separate form his forelimbs during his transformation, so it's not without precedent. I guess it does reinforce that there's still some traditional transformation aspects to the Maximals despite being techno-organic.
     
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