Rebuilding older characters into new ones is something I think they could stand to do more often. And not just in a lazy recolor way like Soundwave and Blaster into Soundblaster and Twincast. It works well to play at that metaphor of the inexperienced or eager young character growing up into a more prominent role. (I know it's not the same episode. I don't care ) I like the matrix as a concept the way it was at the start where it just was, as you put it, a shiny bauble that signified Optimus and Hot Rod were worthy of being leader. I like the idea that it essentially "chooses" the bot that already possess the qualities necessary to be a good leader and that as a benefit it does add some additional perks like access to the collected knowledge/wisdom of past leaders (including memories of historical events). It works that way because it helps validate that the guy in charge should be in charge because he really is that good. And it works for a situation like Rodimus where he has to struggle to balance the fact that the Matrix chose him with his belief that he can't possibly live up to Optimus' legacy. I just didn't like it here because having Optimus admit he had no plan is a bad look because it seems to imply that he's smart on his own, he was just propped up by the Matrix. And because taking it away from Rodimus is a slap in the face to the whole 'chosen one' narrative that had been wrapped around Hot Rod since the movie. Not that I want to put too much stock into what I think is a mediocre show in Zone, but I liked the idea there that Star Saber steps aside to allow the new guy, Dai Atlas to become the leader after he proves himself capable. It would've been interesting to almost set up Optimus in a sort of Alpha Trion like advisor or senior leader/coordinator role while Rodimus retained operational leadership of the Autobots.