*MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!!*
Last season’s cliffhanger finale left the Autobots and the Earth’s futures in question. Megatron has used the Omega Lock to create his new tower of New Kaon. The third season begins with Team Prime trying to regroup after using the Ground Bridge to escape their base moments before it is annihilated by the Decepticon warship. However, not all are accounted for. Smokescreen stays behind and uses the Phase Shifter to rescue a severely injured Optimus Prime and hide him from the Decepticons. Optimus, whose spark is fading, tells the young Autobot that a new Prime will rise. Meanwhile, the Autobots and the kids slowly come together but not without trouble. First, Megatron gains a huge tactical advantage in the form of Shockwave who was presumed dead after his encounter with Arcee and Cliffjumper. Second, the Decepticon tactician gives his master a gift—the ultimate Autobot hunter, a Predacon. Things look bleak when the Predacon is set loose to hunt down the Autobots but they get an advantage of their own. Autobot Commander Ultra Magnus arrives on Earth and assumes command in Optimus’ absence. They then mount a counter offensive with assistance from Agent Fowler and the military.
Elsewhere, the light fades from Optimus Prime’s eyes as he looks upon the potential candidate to carry the mantel of Prime—Smokescreen. Smokescreen doesn’t feel ready to take on the responsibility and requests that Optimus use the Forge of Solus Prime, which he retrieved from Megatron’s vault, to repair himself. Optimus decides against it as the Forge is losing its power and what remains should be used to repair the Omega Lock to restore Cybertron. Smokescreen has a better use for the Forge. When Optimus’ eyes go dark and the Matrix reveals itself, he places the Forge in his leader’s hand.
At Darkmount, Team Prime, led by Ultra Magnus, infiltrate the Decepticon fortress with the mission of destroying the power core to the fortress’ fusion cannons. However, their mission does not go as planned. After seeing his creation defeated by Ultra Magnus, Shockwave takes out his frustration on Wheeljack and Bulkhead. Inside, Arcee and Bumblebee hold off Decepticon troops but they are soon surrounded. Ultra Magnus loses his battle against Megatron, who tells him that “he is no Prime”, suggesting that his greatest foe can only be Optimus Prime. Megatron gets his wish when a revitalized Optimus Prime arrives to save his fellow Autobots from execution. In a dramatic air battle, Optimus defeats Megatron and destroys the power core. Agent Fowler leads the attack on Darkmount and brings the fortress down. Afterward, he congratulates the Autobots for their victory.
I love this series and how it has reinvented the characters we’re so familiar with. They’re different from their Generation One, or G1, counterparts but the change isn’t so drastic that they’re not recognizable, whether it’s their appearance or behavior. Many of the Decepticons have gone through changes. Megatron retains his appearance from the movie franchise however his facial appearance and addition of his arm-mounted Fusion Cannon are from the original series. Breakdown is still a vehicular Decepticon except he is an armored blue monster van and retains his color scheme from his incarnation in the original series as a Stunticon. Starscream is still as conniving, underhanded, and cowardly as all his previous incarnations in any Transformers series. His appearance takes note from the recent movies yet his design is from G1. The only really dramatic change is Soundwave. He’s still purple except he has almost no traits from any of his incarnations other than his faithful minion Laserbeak. Except Arcee, all the Autobots retain their appearances from previous series. Regardless of what series he’s in, Optimus Prime is always a truck. His long nose big rig appearance is from the movies but his color scheme is G1. The same applies to Ratchet and Bumblebee (whose color scheme was reversed to resemble the insect at the start of the third season).
This season saw the return of a couple familiar faces. First, Shockwave returns virtually unchanged from any of his previous forms. He is still the cycloptic Decepticon scientist we all know and love (to hate). His personality is cold and calculating like his comic book counterpart with a touch of an evil Spock where he’ll decide whether something is logical or illogical. Ultra Magnus makes an appearance also virtually unchanged though his personality does differ from the original series. In G1, he was reluctant to give commands where he was more comfortable following them. In Transformers Prime, he is a by-the-book soldier who commands respect from those around him except Ratchet and, obviously, Optimus Prime. Other than Soundwave, Predaking (referred to as simply Predacon in the series) has also been given an overhaul. His appearance now is that of a great dragon but he does keep his familiar orange and black coloration and is just one robot instead of the form of five.
Of all this, the one thing that stood out for me was Smokescreen’s dedication to Optimus. After the rest of Team Prime had gone through the Ground Bridge, he stays behind to rescue his leader. Smokescreen uses the Phase Shifter to retrieve the Forge of Solus Prime with intent to use its power to repair Optimus, who tells him to use the Forge’s remaining power to repair the Omega Lock. Smokescreen believes that there is only rightful leader of the Autobots despite the fact that Optimus saw that he has potential. But like G1 Ultra Magnus, he is more content with following orders than giving them.Now as with any Transformers series, be it comics or TV, there is a point where Optimus Prime dies. This is thanks to the original animated movie and the Marvel comics kicking this recurring event off. The Prime series would not be immune as Optimus does in fact die from his injuries sustained when the Autobot Base is destroyed in the second season finale. We know that as with any Prime death, there is Prime’s resurrection. Seriously, he has Jesus totally beat in this department. Optimus is brought back to life thanks to the Forge of Solus Prime that Smokescreen placed in his hand to save him. Prime returns with a brand new form reminiscent of his Power Master days with flight capabilities from the third live film, “Dark of the Moon”. He cleans house in Darkmount, rescuing his fellow Autobots and destroying the Decepticon citadel. I just love how well this latest series is scripted and can’t wait to see how the rest of the third season turns out.