Does the portrayal of RID Springload disturb you?

Discussion in 'Transformers Cyberverse and Cartoon Discussion' started by Nathanoraptor, Oct 5, 2016.

  1. Nathanoraptor

    Nathanoraptor Well-Known Member

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    I've always maintained that RID is of much lower quality than Transformers: Prime, without any of the aims to invoke grander themes that that show (and, indeed, other recent works of Transformers fiction) have had.

    And one of the reasons is the portrayal of the Decepticons. They're billed as "Cybertron's most wanted criminals"; whilst bots like Steeljaw (sedition), Nightstrike (a possible serial killer) and Thunderhoof (a crime boss) I can understand, I don't get how bots like Chop Shop (a petty thief) or Quillfire (a mere anarchist, who's only possible crime is vandalism) are considered Cybertron's most wanted.

    And then there's Springload.

    Springload (for those who don't know) is a Decepticon obsessed with a mythical Cybertronian city. He's prone to uncontrolled and random fits of violence towards those around him, talks to inanimate objects as if they're living beings, has conversations with voices in his head and appears to be rather unstable and erratic towards those around him.

    Does this sound like a deranged criminal to you? Or someone who is seriously mentally ill?

    A friend of my father's, who runs a residential care facility, after watching his introductory episode, commented that Springload is probably schizophrenic. From his portrayal, I seriously doubt that Springload is even aware of the crimes he has committed; I honestly think that Springload does not think he has done anything wrong. He’s apparently unaware that he's on the wrong planet; he clearly believes himself to still be on Cybertron. He’s clearly unable to recognise the two Autobot police officers following him as being any other than equally obsessed treasure hunters; he doesn't give any hints that he understands that he was arrested or recognise the Autobots symbol as the same as those who arrested him. Whilst he is a dangerous individual, the guy clearly does not belong on a prison ship with mobsters and thugs; Springload is more a mental patient than he is a criminal. This fact, which is obvious from his actions, doesn't make the Autobots come off as very sympathetic; there was no attempt at contact or middle ground with Springload before they started beating him up.

    The reason why I'm so hung up on this? I'm filled with questions about how this guy ended up on the Alchemor; what were the circumstances of his arrest? What was his trial like; how could you give a fair trial to someone who doesn't even understand he's committed a crime? These questions will never be answered, both due to the "villain-of-the-week" format and RID's attempt at a more light-hearted tone. If this had been done on TF: Prime or Barber and Roberts' IDW run, it could have been used as commentary on the treatment of people with such illnesses in a court of law; which does happen, sadly too often, in real life.

    What do you think?
     
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  2. Windsweeper II

    Windsweeper II The Pristine

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    Given the way Arcee and Whirl are both portrayed and viewed by the fandom i have my doubts about that last part.
     
  3. soundwaverulls

    soundwaverulls Taking a break

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    They've outright said that there's something wrong with the new Cybertronian council, which Optimus Prime temporarily left to investigate. I'm hoping that plot line will be followed up on, although considering that he's already returned to Earth, without any story showing what he did when he was away, I fear they might've dropped it entirely. However, I still stand by that this series is better than Prime. I mean, the idea that Prime would've had any sort of commentary is absurd. The show never did anything like that. Sure, Barber would, although that doesn't stop any of his stories from being utter crap.
     
  4. Weezie

    Weezie Taking a break, back soon TFW2005 Supporter

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    I'm sure that all the Decepticons have some kind of underlying mental illness if you think about it. If you makes you feel any better, at least the 'cons are being put into stasis this time around, instead of being killed outright as they were in Prime. I remember Drift or another character saying that they are given chances to reform themselves but fall back onto their old behaviour.

    This makes me wonder why Decepticons would exist on restored Cybertron in the first place. This is supposedly a fair society now (or at least seemed so from the offset), so you would think that the criminals and malcontents would have disappeared. But the show needs them because bad guys.
     
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  5. Nathanoraptor

    Nathanoraptor Well-Known Member

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    Even if the plot with the new Cybertronian High Council is continued, we still probably won't get an explanation as to why they arrested someone who was severely mentally ill and locked him up in a maximum security prison, instead of sending him to some mental health care facility, where his mental illness could be treated.

    Maybe "grander themes" was the wrong word. However Prime did tell complex stories and made its characters three-dimensional; if Predaking had been first introduced in RID, he'd be a slavering monster and if Breakdown had been introduced in RID, he'd be a mere thug. The fact is these Decepticons are much more one-dimensional than the ones on Prime. They have no important backstory or other three-dimensional aspects.

    Comparing Springload to IDW Whirl and Arcee is a bad analogy, because Whirl and Arcee have qualities other than being crazy. Springload doesn't.

    I don't think all the Decepticons qualify as "mentally ill" in any way; for example, Quillfire thinks he's some sort of revolutionary, but that's just because he has delusions of grandeur, not because he suffers from some sort of mental disorder. And I don't remember Drift saying anything along those lines about Decepticons being given chances to reform themselves.

    Any society, no matter how perfect, has criminals and malcontents; it's the way of the world. And also, it's possible that ex-Decepticons have become some sort of underclass; it's how they began and it's certainly evident from the majority we've seen.
     
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  6. LegionMaximus

    LegionMaximus Well-Known Member

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    What gets me is the council puts a bounty on Bumblebee's head and he . . . continues rounding up Decepticons for the council. Then Ratchet outright tells Bumblebee the council is corrupt and Bee is like, "WHOA! So anyway, let's catch those Decepticons." Good job, Bumblebee, way to address the root of the problem.

    But yeah, I agree with you that RID is basic and unnuanced. What really gets me is Grimlock. Here is a guy who WAS a Decepticon, who spent time in a stasis pod for a minor crime (property damage), and who is now hunting down fellow Decepticons. They could have done so much with that. He could have been a character to rival BW Dinobot in emotional complexity. He could have been the viewers' gateway to the question "so what does 'Decepticon' even mean in this show?" Instead he is just "the big dumb jovial guy". There's no sense that he has a history, even though he MUST have a history. His sole purpose is to knock things over for comic relief and occasionally punch things.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2016
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  7. Mako Crab

    Mako Crab Well-Known Member

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    Never gave much thought to all this, but I will say the one thing from Springload's first ep that made me raise an eyebrow was at the end when BB compliments Strongarm for using Springload's fears against him.

    It's a perfectly legit tactic. But in works of fiction, especially kids fiction, using fear as a weapon is usually reserved for the bad guys.

    Again, I think she acted smartly, and it was cool to use his craziness against him. It just made me look twice is all.
     
  8. Nathanoraptor

    Nathanoraptor Well-Known Member

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    Again, there was no attempt at contact or middle ground before fists came into play. Given that Springload is severely mentally ill, the way that Strongarm and Bumblebee treated him in the episode made them come off as unsympathetic; they basically made a schizophrenic have a full-on mental and emotional breakdown. That's emotional torture.
     
  9. Windsweeper II

    Windsweeper II The Pristine

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    Well, there is the answer to your question: Crazy.
    Mental illness doesnt exist in popculture, only crazy.
    Being crazy makes you automatically superpowerfull and supersly and makes you kill people, why wouldnt they lock someone like that up ?
    Looking for a mature approach to the subject in popculture is like expecting the needle to jump out of the haystack and land before your feet... or something like that. Its the ultimate waste of time.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2016
  10. BigRed

    BigRed Well-Known Member

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    First of all, Transformers Prime is the same show that protrayed the revolutionary Decepticons as nothing but shallow evil boogeyman that cackle evily as they're ready to blow up Earth and went as far as killing off Dreadwing before he even had a chance to do more with his character morality beyond being pissy his boss didn't kill the Starscream, so no, no it wouldn't touch on those themes, and Breakdown IS nothing but a thug. "Oh but he was slightly nice to those vehicons" means jack. Fracture is nice to his too because, surprise surprise, people on the same side do sometimes work together. You are thinking of a imaginary Transformers Prime, one that exists in the mind of Tumblr fanfiction.

    Second of all, no it doesn't bother me because he is a cartoony villain from a cartoony show that treats itself as such. All you need to know is that he violently attracks people that get in his way and that he is nuts, at no point is his illness played for drama and it would be tone-deaf if not pretentious to do otherwise. And that is not to mention that even if you want to nitpick real-world details we know for fact that the Alchemore is a prison ship, a good number of those are made for transport of prisoners not for final incarceration (this seems to be the case since the Fixit minicons are heading back to Cybertron to deliver them) so there is no way to know what is Springload's fate, all that matters on Earth is that he was physically dangerous and thus had to be stopped. But again, why do that form of nitpicking when it's so irrelevant to the material and the target audience?
     
  11. kaijuguy19

    kaijuguy19 Keyblade Wielder

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    As much as I like RID15 Grimlock I really do wish we'd get more insight to his backstory because him being locked up for minor property damage seems fishy to me. Not to mention that since this is likely a different backstory for him then in FOC at the very least we'll see that he has more depth to him other then just being a jolly dumb guy. Like for example he may have been a bot that was opposed to the council's corrupt methods and tried to stop them but he got punished for it like have his mind altered to be a simple thug like a take on Shadowplay from IDW and made the story of him doing property damage as a cover up to avoid suspicion, and that alone would've made things interesting and shows a shocking revelation to his character.

    As for Springload I wouldn't be too surprised if the council decided that trying to give proper help to him wasn't worth it because he's a Decepticon thus locking him up with no problem. This wouldn't be the first time that a council would play favorites in a TF show like how the Society on Cybertron in Beast Wars favors Maximals more then Predacons.
     
  12. Nathanoraptor

    Nathanoraptor Well-Known Member

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    Considering that the majority of the Decepticons on the show treated the Vehicons like garbage and viewed them as entirely expendable pawns, Breakdown showing them some basic respect is notable. Name me ONE point in Prime in which Megatron or Starscream treated the Vehicons with any sort of respect. Breakdown treating the Vehicons with basic respect and decency is notable because Megatron and Starscream don't do it; he's unique in that regard.

    That's a very shallow statement; saying that "it's just a cartoon", in order to prevent deeper discussion.

    First of all, there's no evidence that the Alchemor was taking its prisoners anywhere. It's probable that there are many ships like the Alchemor; Mini-Con staffed maximum security prisons which keep potentially dangerous criminals off Cybertron and away from any inhabited world. It certainly makes sense from a practical standpoint.

    Secondly, in any other piece of current/semi-recent TF fiction (e.g. Barber, Scott and Roberts' IDW comics), Springload would have been portrayed sympathetically or quasi-sympathetically. Even Prime would have portrayed Springload sympathetically; I repeat, RID doesn't have any of the character development Prime had.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2016
  13. LynKey

    LynKey Well-Known Member

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    He got imprisont becaus Decepticon means unwanted and he caused troubel.

    I´m not sure why you focus only on Springload. Filch for exampel has no indicacion that she has any selfawareness at all and only funktions on the most basic instinkts she has.

    What do you expect to happen if they had tried to talk with him. The reaktion would had been something like: They try to confuse me. They want to keep me from Doradus. They must be stoped.

    If there is any episode I would had wanted them to try an talk things out, it be Sideways. Clampdown seemed so scared all the time and everyone acted mean. I also would had liked to see Grimlock try to minotaur Scowl.
     
  14. LegionMaximus

    LegionMaximus Well-Known Member

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    Didn't Steeljaw get arrest for having "forbidden knowledge of sub-sonics"? Kind of eerie that scientific knowledge is now forbidden (for Decepticons? For everybody?). What the heck is going on with that council?

    Good point about Filch.
     
  15. Gayformers

    Gayformers writes bad fanfiction

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    I think Steeljaw was arrested for instigating a rebellion or something like that? He just happened to know subsonics.
     
  16. Nathanoraptor

    Nathanoraptor Well-Known Member

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    Wow. That's very shallow reasoning; he was imprisoned "because he was a Decepticon".

    With Filch, I'm not so sure she's mentally challenged: for all we know, she's actually of normal intelligence, but her vocal processor is damaged. Springload, on the other hand, shows clear signs of mental illness; poor emotional control, talks to inanimate objects as if they're living beings, has conversations with voices in his head... need I go on?

    And as for what would have happened had they tried to talk to him, they could have played along; claimed they knew where Doradus was. And before you say that sounds silly, a friend of my father's runs a residential care facility, in which there are several schizophrenics, who are deluded about various things; she says the worst thing to do with people like that (and like Springload) is to try to snap them out of it; it only makes them aggressive towards you. And that's exactly what Springload does.
     
  17. QLRformer

    QLRformer Seeker

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    I'm not really bothered by Springload, he puts me in mind of the eccentric villain who doesn't do any real harm and is best left alone.

    But the OP points out that it's rather odd that such a character was immediately marked as a Decepticon.
     
  18. soundwaverulls

    soundwaverulls Taking a break

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    Considering Grimlock seems to be a good person, I expect that if they do continue the corrupt council story line, there will likely be at least some vague statement about wrongful imprisonment. As for Predaking's story somehow being complex, the show treated him as someone who had simply been tricked into doing the wrong things. Anything that could be read further into it was never actually acknowledged in the show. I don't see how it's any more three dimensional than the Aeron's Minicons being coerced into fighting the Autobots by Clawtrap, in order to maintain his protection against Starscream, so your blanket statement about everything in RID15 being less complex than Prime is wrong.

    Bee and Strongarm are law enforcers, not psychiatrists. They don't specialize in dealing with the mentally ill, just stopping criminals, and to them, Springload was a criminal, who they apprehended without the use of deadly force.

    Except Breakdown was just another thug. Him getting along with Vehicons doesn't show that he's nice, it show that he's on their level, just a generic soldier in the Decepticon army.

    That seems like a very big waste of resources. Besides, if it were intended to stay in space, why not build a space station? Why build a space ship that can travel around, and crash on distant worlds?

    Barber also gets so caught up in the political side of his stories, he forgets to write likeable characters, or stories that actually progress anywhere. Heck, if Springload turned up before Dark Cybertron, he probably would've been wasted by having the Autobots kill him to show just how grimdark and morally bankrupt the Autobots are in Barber's oh so grimdark and super serious story.
     
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  19. soundwaverulls

    soundwaverulls Taking a break

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    BTW, I meant Aerobolt, not Aeron.
     
  20. Nathanoraptor

    Nathanoraptor Well-Known Member

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    Please note, the war went on for millions of years. Maybe some of the Alchemor's innmates were ex-Decepticons, who returned to Cybertron after the war ended; there's no reason to say that all Decepticons had to renounce their faction for amnesty or that "Decepticon" is a blanket term for an individual that has committed a crime. It's important to note that at least one of the Alchemor's inmates is a definite Decepticon war criminal (Overload); it's not hard to imagine that others were too.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2016
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