"Robots in Disguise (2015)" TV Show: "True Colors" Synopsis & Review

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Robots in Disguise (2015)
"True Colors" Synopsis & Review

Synopsis
At the Scrapyard Fixit is trying to explain the computer system to Rusty but he's not listening. When the proximity alarm goes off, Fixit is happy because the system actually works. The other Autobots show an empty pod they brought back (or rather, a pod full of mud). Suddenly, Grimlock attacks! The Autobots try to talk to him but the Dinobot keeps charging and acting aggressive, thrashing the Autobots around even as Fixit gets Rusty into the command center. Bumblebee is knocked out cold and soon Strongarm and Sideswipe are down as well.

Grimlock approaches the command center. Fixit bravely stands up to Grimlock but is quickly tossed away with the flick of Grimlock's claws. Rusty tries to stand up to Grimlock to protect Fixit. Just as Grimlock is about to strike Rusty he stops, seemingly resisting his own body (and talking to someone the whole time). He heads off instead to find the Stasis Pods. Meanwhile, Rusty suggests he and Fixit set off the proximity alarms to scare Grimlock away.

Fixit and Rusty

Grimlock grabs a giant cart and shops around, looking for the Stasis Pods. Soon he finds the one he was looking for: the pod with Underbite! Suddenly the alarms go off causing Grimlock to head out with the Stasis Pod on the cart. Before departing he smashes the control panel and threatens Rusty. Rusty bluffs that Optimus Prime is coming to answer the alarm so Grimlock takes off.

The Autobots awaken and argue about just what is going on. Sideswipe defends the Dinobot while Strongarm thinks he's guilty and has been fooling them all along. Rusty thinks someone is trying to control Grimlock. He also thinks the original plan was to grab more Stasis Pods, but he interrupted the plan. They figure out that whoever Grimlock is working for is probably hidden at the Crown River dam, which is both huge and automated so there are no humans there. The Autobots take off, leaving Fixit and Rusty behind.

Grimlock

Rusty asks Fixit to check the prisoner manifest and they discover that Underbite is missing! Meanwhile the Autobots are still disagreeing over what's going on with Grimlock when they trigger a trap! Bumblebee and Sideswipe go down the a steep mountain. Bumblebee manages to transform and Sideswipe grabs on. The two just barely miss going over a cliff! Strongarm catches up and they examine the trap: a cryo inducer which froze the ground causing Bumblebee and Sideswipe to slip.

Meanwhile Fixit continues the repairs and activates the control panel. It winds up playing music (but not exploding) so they are both happy.

Grimlock versus Fixit

At the dam, Grimlock arrives and is greeted by Steeljaw! He tells Grimlock that Thunderhoof is out scouting for a larger base. Steeljaw is disappointed that Grimlock only brought one pod. Before the conversation goes further, Bumblebee and Steeljaw begin to fight! Sideswipe tries to talk to Grimlock but the Dinobot attacks. The battle continues but Grimlock gives Steeljaw the upper hand. The Autobots soon team up to stop him, but Steeljaw abandons him, taking Underbite with him.

As Sideswipe keeps Grimlock busy, Bumblebee and Strongarm use some cable nearby to tie Grimlock up as Sideswipe uses hissword to keep his jaws locked. Working together they incapacitate him. Fixit manages to get his signal through and tells the Autobots that Grimlock is being controlled by Minitron. The Autobots search Grimlock and soon they find the tiny Decepticon! After using one Autobot against the other, Grimlock manages to grab the Decepticon and could squash him, but chooses to knock him out instead.

Steeljaw

Back at the Scrapyard the Autobots put Minitron into a small Stasis Pod. Strongarm apologizes to Grimlock but he isn't holding any grudges. Bumblebee tells Grimlock he will have Fixit change Grimlock's Decepticon symbol to an Autobot symbol, making the Dinobot extremely happy!

Strongarm is worried that Steeljaw has Underbite, but Bumblebee is confident the Autobots will be up to the task.

Review
After an "okay" showing with last week's episode, I was very happy with this entry into the "Robots in Disguise" series. This episode seems very straight forward but in fact there's a lot going on here. The "A" story features Grimlock, who is rapidly becoming one of my favorite characters in the show. Sure he's goofy and can easily add humor to scenes, but when he is controlled by Minitron we get to see just how devastating his power is. It is no exaggeration to say that if he chose, Grimlock could take down the entire Autobot team by himself and barely break a metaphorical sweat. Seeing him be purely aggressive was really unsettling, and I mean that in a good way. It shows a potentially terrifying side of the character that is thankfully not his true personality. Indeed, his true personality gets to shine even under Minitron's control when he restrains himself taking out both Fixit and walking away from Rusty. Sure he struggles, but that's the point. He doesn't just give in and thrash Fixit the way he did with Bumblebee or Sideswipe. He knew those 'bots could take the punishment, but deep down he knew one strike would have easily ended Rusty's life so he managed to fight that command and that is the true measure of the character. Despite the Decepticon symbol on his arm, he has a deep seeded regard for life and I found that to be a powerful character moment.

Underbite in Stasis Pod

Minitron is a character we didn't see "in person" a whole lot, but his presence was definitely felt throughout the episode. What I found interesting is that when he controlled Grimlock, the Dinobot "spoke" as Minitron, but once he was separated he had a tiny, almost unintelligible voice. It also didn't look like Minitron had an alternate mode that could be discerned from his "insect/robot" mode. He's a rather unique, parasitic Transformer and I appreciated that he had echoes of G1 Bombshell's "Cerebro Shells" (which were used by Bombshell to control other characters) but was more of a creepy parasite.

Autobots

This episode is also the first that gives us a sense that the Decepticon threat is growing into an organized force. Steeljaw's statement about creating a planet for Decepticons is an interesting one, because stated up front, the idea of a planet where Decepticons can just live and do their own thing sounds great. The problem is that they have no regard for any of the other life forms on there and are willing to run roughshod over them to achieve that goal. Also note that he says Thunderhoof is scouting for a larger base, meaning Steeljaw has plans on increasing his forces significantly (with Underbite being one of the first steps towards that goal). Sure the end battle goes by fairly fast, but there's a lot of set up that happens in this scene for the rest of the episode.

There is another bit of character development in this episode that could easily be overshadowed by the other events in the episode. Specifically I'm referring to Sideswipe. While Strongarm firmly believes Grimlock has been evil all along and Bumblebee tries to play the middle ground, Sideswipe firmly holds to his stance that Grimlock is good and something wrong is happening. This does two things. First, it shows that he now feels more like he is part of a team rather than being a loner who got stuck with a couple of other Autobots. Second, it shows he's not some selfish teenager who only cares about himself (though to be fair, his actions in the premiere episode in rescuing Rusty showed that too). Though Sideswipe sometimes plays the self-absorbed loner role, this clearly shows that there is much more to the character than that and I found it to be a great progression for the character.

Steeljaw versus Bumblebee

Notes:

  • Grimlock's argument with Minitron includes a statement that Dinobots are hard to control, an element of their character since the days of G1.
  • While Grimlock is strolling through the Scrapyard, he mentions "Corvicons" being hoarders just like Filch.
  • Bumblebee's attempted catchphrase this time out is "Maximum velocity!" and goes just as well as his others.
  • This episode establishes that Fixit can transform his right hand into a "Hyperspan Regulator" tool.
  • As Grimlock is thrashing Bumblebee and Strongarm, he is humming the classic G1 Transformers theme song.
  • Note that Bumblebee mentions Fixit would be needed to swap out Grimlock's Decepticon symbol for an Autobot one. In this universe the process of changing symbols appears to be more along the lines of getting a new coat of paint on your car at a shop than say, "Beast Wars" where the symbol was a hologram that the Transformer could change at will.

Minitron

Final Thoughts:
This episode was a huge step up from the last one. The Decepticon storyline was advanced nicely and there were some fantastic character moments. The action was also great, partly because it was filled with tension when Grimlock was fighting the Autobots and the fight between Steeljaw and Bumblebee was awesome. It was great to see 'bee go toe to toe with the new Decepticon leader and hold his own. I really enjoyed this episode and it makes me look forward to more!