By Ed Sum
For every high in an episodic series must arrive a respective plateau where viewers get a chance to take a breather. Here, they can get caught up with the rest of the cast. This weekend’s episode,”Persuasion,” is basically a continuation of “Minus one,” and these two episodes are better off viewed back to back. While the fight from last week gets resolved, another story emerges.
Insights to how important the lives of the youths—Rafael, Miko, and Jack—are to the Autobots are explored in this act. Viewers have not seen the trio for much of the latter half of the season, and to show they are still important is a good sign. Perhaps the reason why they have not been seen is because of what the Deceptions know. If they get captured, Megatron will have no qualms in using them to gain leverage over the Autobots. He did it before in “Darkest Hour” and he will do it again. To keep the children away and under heavier protection must have been a job of Fowler. He has not been seen lately either.
In this episode, Starscream shows that he still does not understand the humans relationship with their robotic guardians. He believes they are a weak link. But for viewers, they are their greatest strength. Throughout the series, they have taught the Autobots a thing or two about humanity. Rafael showed great intellect and after one harrowing near death situation where the medic neglected to learn human biology (“One Shall Fall”), the two have become closer. In this medic’s spare time, he’s taught the boy how to read Cybertronian and Raf has amusedly picked up on some of this mech’s manners.
Bumblebee hardly has time to be jealous or notice. With the war only getting worse, the two may have not had quality time to just hang out like two buds ala Iron Giant. Curiously, this episode is the first to see Raf behave much like Ratchet. Viewers have to wonder when did the education start, since no hints of Raf’s change were seen before.
Humanity’s future is at stake and nearly everyone’s future is being considered to round out the series. Interestingly, a moment is shared between Jack and Fowler where they talk about what the teen should do next. Both this agent and Jack’s mom have been talking, and Jack does not like the idea. He might become an early recruit to the FBI program or enter the military service. Previous episodes (“Predatory” and “Shadowzone”) have shown how quick thinking he is in dangerous situations. At West Point, he can be educated to eventually lead a corp of space soldiers to defend the Earth or become a diplomat. This story direction can happen. Viewers may recall that in the G1 timeline, Spike married Carly and became Earth’s ambassador.
Miko, on the other hand, might ride on the coat tails of whatever Jack ends up doing.
With plenty of character expositions going on, the other tale largely gets forgotten. Megatron has Ratchet, and he does not have to do much to convince the scientist to perfect the synthetic energon formula to further either faction’s goals. A new source of energy is required if the Cybertronian society is to emerge from cathartic stasis. Cybertron may well reawaken with a potential new threat. The question of who is waiting in the wings is too obvious. When the movie is titled “Predacons Rising” many fans will be waiting with bated breath.