By Ed Sum
** Spoiler Warning
Not many Transformers Prime episodes are worth a full-on commentary after broadcast as the latest. “Thirst” brings back two favorites; one of them being Silus (voiced by Clancy Brown) who was unceremoniously dragged off to heaven knows where last season and presumably to be never mentioned again. Thankfully, the dangling plots are being addressed as this last season starts to wind down. As for this poor cybernaut, his transformation gets scarier and it harkens to many a product from horror movies.
Watching this episode combines the best of several iconic films from this genre. Readers beware, spoilers are ahead.
This episode is comparable to watching Abbott and Costello meets Frankenstein. Toss in some Alien and Resident Evil references, and that is this episode in a nutshell. The banter between Starscream and Knock Out makes for some great comedic moments as they try to make sense out of a terrible situation. The comic timing is impeccable and that makes for plenty of great laugh out loud moments. The screenplay is far better than any other because it starts to tie up those loose ends in more ways than one. And, the best line has to come from Knock Out saying to Starscream, “You’re no Breakdown!. Tho’ I must confess I’ve admired your lustrous finish.”
That awkward moment is perfectly timed and the direction to create that unease has to be the best work to date to single out a memorable moment for this series. Knock Out has always been the epitome of machismo and Starscream has always had this air of femininity about him, in the way this character is designed and moves. Had this scene of been done in any other format, the onus will have to be in how well the two performers can create the discomfort of confessing their feelings in a situation where they feel that their end is nigh.
But to see the return of Breakdown aka Silus is not necessarily one of surprise. His fate had to be revealed sooner or later, and to see closure for this sub-plot is definitely a sign of a series starting to wind down. When he becomes a guinea pig for Knock Out’s experiments, the moral and ethical ramifications make for a great rhetoric to justify studying the effects of synthetic energon in much the same way as Ratchet did when he was playing with fire. The big question is if the ends justify the means for creating super soldiers? Starscream can only answer it with another question, “What good is another freak of nature that cannot be controlled?”
But when both him and Knock Out start toying with Dark Energon, the results are more than disastrous. Silus has turned Frankenstein, and his rebirth is worse than that of a Predator impregnated by an Alien donning a Darth Vader suit. What is left of this human’s mind is that of needing Energon to keep himself alive. And the ghoulish trail he leaves is classic. Whoever he ends up biting will only wake up to be just like him, a creature needing blood to avoid becoming cathartic.
When this creature chances upon an old foe of the Autobots and Decepticons alike, the ramifications are worse. Arachnid has truly become a black widow spider, and to see her spread Silus’ disease upon her minions suggests more than a few ideas to the fertile mind of a horror genre enthusiast. She has become the Ripley that fans do not want to see ala Aliens III. Also, her role may well be a tie-in to the plot introduced in IDW’s comic book series, Transformer Prime: Beast Hunters, which looks at the war back home on Cybertron.
By all indications, the remaining five episodes may not be enough if the one-line episode titles are truly telling. Either this tale will continue in comic book form or a movie will be required to wrap up this series proper. While executive producer and show runner Jeff Kline has confirmed to IGN that the next iteration is being developed by Hasbro and his team (that brought Prime to life), no hints have been given if the next series will continue in this universe or if it will be completely new.