"Power of the Primes" Episode 1 "The Swamp" Review
Title: The Swamp
Air Date: May 1, 2018
Summary (from Tumblr):
Megatronus hunts for the Requiem Blaster as we learn about its mysterious past. Elsewhere, Megatron and his team are also searching for the weapon, hoping to get to it first, when they encounter Grimlock and his fellow Dinobots.
Review (SPOILERS AHEAD):
I confess I went into this episode with some trepidation. While the show is very pretty to look at and some of the voice acting was top notch, the writing and pacing had some serious issues. However by the end of the episode I breathed a sigh of relief. "Power of the Primes" kicks off not so much with a bang, but with a good paced episode that drops us into a story that takes place as soon as "Titans Return" ends. The story is broken up into two parts: one focusing on Megatronus and the other showing us where some of our heroes from previous episodes are up to.
The Megatronus section of the episode will be interesting for any fans of the franchise who appreciate the mythology of the Transformers. We see Megatronus on Cybertron looking for the Requiem Blaster but most interesting is the flashback along the way showing his interaction with Solus Prime. As it is currently understood, this does not go well and leads to Megatronus betraying the Primes and becoming The Fallen. We do not see the actual betrayal, but we see the beginnings of it as he becomes angry when Solus Prime asks him to give her the Requiem Blaster for safe keeping. It is a very tense scene and it benefited from having Mark Hamill use some of his Joker-esque threatening tones in Megatronus' voice!
The other portion of the episode was fun in a different way. The motley crew of Megatron, Windblade, Perceptor and Victorion seek out the Dinobots for help, and the results are not ideal. The Dinobots are all introduced and it did my G1 fanboy heart so much good to hear Gregg Berger reprise the role of Grimlock. While actor's voices do change over time, Berger's Grimlock voice sounds like it came right out of a G1 episode.
Specifically, these are the 1985 Dinobots in attitude who were rebellious and at times equally unfriendly to Autobots and Decepticons alike. Sure this Grimlock remembers Perceptor, but he doesn't want to have anything to do with anyone associated with Megatron - and frankly can you blame him? This series (in theory) follows some version of the Generation One timeline and Megatron came into conflict with Grimlock plenty of times, and it is clear the Dinobot leader remembers this. I also appreciated Grimlock saying he had heard about Megatron's change of heart, but he refuses to believe it and that fits very well with the stubborn Dinobot leader's personality.
I was happy to see the episode did not end with everyone being friends, but rather the Dinobots escalating the situation even more by forming Volcanicus! This too is true to their personalities and in what is perhaps the biggest compliment I can give the episode I am really looking forward to the next one!
- There is zero explanation as to why Unicron's head appears in the beginning title sequence, but I did enjoy seeing it!
- It is nice to hear the term "Requiem Blaster" again. It has been written about now and then, but it has not been as central to an animated Transformers series since "Armada".
- Victorion's size seems to change a bit from the time we first see her to the battle with the Dinobots. She seems to shrink a bit at that point. The Dinobots do not seem as gigantic as they did in G1, so I'm guessing this is for dramatic effect.
- I was glad to hear Megatron's line about Transformers across the universe. This implies there are others who are no longer on Cybertron, which is oddly desolate in both "Combiner Wars" and "Titans Return".
- In G1, animation designs were often simplified or refined in some way compared to the toys, and Volcanicus' design is one such case. While Victorion pretty much looks just like her action figure (as does Windblade and Perceptor), the designers simplified elements of Volcanicus for the better. Perhaps the best changes made are to the legs, where Sludge's long beast mode neck is not flat against the front of the leg (instead of partially sticking out) and Snarl's tail does not split. While not "toy accurate", I actually like the way this looks.
"Power of the Primes" episode one shows promise that I really hope we see more of as the show goes along. The pacing was good, the story elements are interesting and the Dinobots are fun on screen. Looking forward to the next episode!