Right. So that happened
Honestly, I've thought long and hard about what the finale might be; where it could (or even in some cases should) go. However, across all the varied scenarios I had seen in my mind's eye I can sincerely state that there were various aspects of this I did not anticipate. Sadly, thanks to Hasbro being unable to keep their respective mouths shut there were some elements of this that were ruined months in advance. Namely the "death" of Bumblebee and his subsequent resurrection. While this was spoiled, that did not however take from the powerful nature of the scene and what it entailed, namely the (ultimate?) demise of Megatron. I will admit to having some serious doubts concerning the later, but should it come to pass that the Decepticon Lord is returned one can only hope it is done in a capacity that warrants narrative respect and isn't simply a MacGuffin.
I've gotten ahead of myself, sadly. I merely wanted to touch on those events in order to focus on the moments that really had me excited to witness. I won't recount the entire episode as I've done in past reviews as I feel there's really no reason to. We all saw it, and I'm sure everyone has their own powerful opinions as to what transpired.
For me the moments which stand out were, of course, Jack's decision to attempt to take the Nemesis bridge and, in the process, go up against the sinister force that is Soundwave. At last, in this moment, we see Jack as I've always wanted him to be portrayed and how he was toted for much of the first half of the series before seemingly be placed on the back burner in order to shift the focus to Smokescreen as "the rookie." For a moment it truly felt like I was watching the Jack Darby I've always described in my fiction; e.g. The Hero.
Fully aware that he can't confront Soundwave in a physical encounter, Jack proves to be his equal nonetheless in a match of wits, utilizing Soundwave's own quiet overconfidence and sense of superiority against him by blindsiding him with one of his own tricks. Thanks to Raf's skill set we saw Soundwave caught between a convergence of Bridge Points resulting in his trip to, essentially, The Phantom Zone. Even without a true face, the *look* of surprise in that moment was quite, quite delicious. And, yes, I'm aware that Miko was added, but the convenient nature of her Apex Armor has always bothered me and, honestly, I found it to be one of the weaker inclusions in the story. While I have never been overly fond of Miko as a character I would have liked to see her achieve a victory of some kind, perhaps against Knockout as we saw later, without the assistance of an impervious power suit.
With the bridge taken we moved out to the Omega Lock and the final battle. The animation in this exterior sequence was, to put it mildly, jaw dropping. Some amazing combat between Megatron and Optimus, and we see an absolute melee flawlessly executed when Smokescreen appears with the relic of the week to try to give Optimus a fighting chance against the Dark Star saber. Of particular enjoyment was Arcee finally getting her long awaited payback against Starscream. Another moment where a decepticon facial expression was priceless. This sequence, of course, culminated in Bumblebee getting caught centermass by one of Megatron's energy blasts, blowing him clean away.
The dissolve of his body into the Cyber Matter "Stargate" (come on, I can't be the only one who thought it looked exactly like it) was a nice thematic touch. Again, what happens next was known to me, but the execution of it was, regardless, pretty gripping. Megatron is felled, much to his surprise, at seemingly the moment of final victory over his millenia old foe, and the realization that he has, instead, lost it all was magnificently poetic. My hats off to the animation of his hand running along the length of the blade as his body falls away, as though even in death he still cannot quite believe his demise is real.
After this, we have, of course, Mr. Batman Beyond himself, Will Friedle, as the voice of Bumblebee. To be truthful, I could have taken it or left it. Bumblebee's film Beep Speak was always a point of contention and, indeed, I'd often played with the idea of restoring his voice early in my fiction. I do give them credit, but it's something I just stopped caring about a long time ago. I can not help but wonder though if this might have been inspired by Bumblebee's voice being possibly restored in the live action films as well even though Prime is a separate continuity. I suppose we'll know in 2014.
So, with the Battle won the Autobots return to Cybertron with their Human Allies in tow in order to reignite the Light of Primus at the heart of the planet. This was, as with others, another visually stunning sequence. Seeing Cybertron alight was beautiful, though I admit to wishing we could have seen a bit more detail in the environment. The 'War For...' and 'Fall of Cybertron' games depicted such a Cybernetically lush Cybertron that I had hoped to see a glimmer of that even with the show's budget, considering that Prime's continuity is set after the events of "Fall of Cybertron" and the novel "Exodus." Still, what we saw was impressive. We were also treated to a perfectly comical recreation of C-3P0 and R2-D2's escape pod moment from 'A New Hope' with Soundwave and Starscream filling the roles. I'll admit I would have thought they would pair 'scream with Knockout for something like that, but 'The Odd Couple' like pairing was quite outstanding.
And, at last, we come to the heart wrenching, gut punch moment of the finale. Knowing that the road to reconstruction will be long and difficult, Optimus and the Autobots agree that a permanent relocation to Cybertron is required. Given this we have our three core pairings give their goodbyes. Now I did enjoy Raf and Bee and, likewise, Miko and Bulk's. Raf's delivery of "You don't have to say anything." Followed by Bee's "I never did." choked me up a bit, I won't lie. Miko's tears were sad but the loss didn't really move me all that much. Where I did find my facepalm moment of the episode was Jack and Arcee's "goodbye."
(*Breath*) Okay...here we go.
So, for more than three (four, technically, if you count the extended break) seasons we have watched what was, perhaps, the most bipolar romance in the history of animated narratives. From the start these two were plagued by writers and showrunners that seemed at odds with wanting to acknowledge the romance *everyone* with an iota of observational and emotional prowess have seen since "Darkness Rising." We have been agonizingly teased with the depth of their true affection for each other in various early episodes only to have the show drop strange moments between Arcee and other male 'bots like Prime and Smokescreen; these were mirrored with the painfully forced "teen romance" attempts between Jack and Miko in episodes like "Convoy." As most of you know I had, essentially, lost all hope that we would ever see a complete recognition of Arcee and Jack's relationship beyond platonic. That hope however was, for a brief second, rekindled during this goodbye. Dear lord, the emotion between them was, easily, the most palpable out of all the other goodbyes. We see, *see*, how much they want to say what Jackcee shippers have been waiting for. All it would have taken, all it *would-have-taken*, was a quick, perfect, "Empire Strikes Back" Han and Leia moment to answer our shipping prayers.
Jack: "I love you."
Arcee: "I know."
Bam! Done! Thank you and goodnight. Would it have been the full romance I've always wanted? No. But it would have at least respected the intelligence of the fans who have known this *thing* existed. (*Sigh*) Still, their dialog did at least keep very romantic undertones. "Don't be a stranger, Jack. I wouldn't want to hunt you down." A brilliant throw back to their first conversation in "Darkness Rising: Part One." Once I was done shouting at my television in consternation, I took a breath and tried to take that little bit of good out of their farewell. There were a few other great moments here at the end, with Ratchet staying behind in order to help protect the planet and species that had, seemingly, driven him crazy for well over two years as well as Jack, Miko, and Raf being brought on as full time "consultants" for Unit E (Or UNITY as it's also known in the Prime expanded lore).
We know Prime will now be spun off into movies that might result in a new Prime spin-off series down the line (Hasbro has been vague, to my knowledge, of what they exactly have planned for the long term before the Bay films return) so we know that while this is goodbye it's not likely farewell. To what extent? Well, I've fought to avoid spoilers for the 'Predacons Rising' film (which are, sadly, out there) so I couldn't say. We'll find out just where things go from here. Regardless of that we had one really outstanding final moment with Prime. Over the entire series we've listened to his powerful tones and sage wisdom, always the great leader with the perfect commanding words. Yet in that last moment he didn't need to say anything. With a single nod, he spoke volumes as to how much deep admiration and respect he had for this most valued family he had helped to build. Honestly I found that, above all else, to be the perfect final word.
And, with that, we have what might be my very last review for Transformers Prime as a series. It's been a rollercoaster, and it was a pleasure to share it with every single person who's bothering to read these words right now. For, maybe, the last time: "Roll Out!"