Ratchet is forced to team up with Wheeljack
as they race against Soundwave for the next Relic.
I’ve sung my praises on Soundwave before; if there is one character Transformers Prime consistently nails, it’s him. Subtlety has never been Prime’s strong suit, but he’s always portrayed as inconspicuous and graceful. This even shows in the way he fights, such as when he dodges Wheeljack’s swords with the grace of a dancer. “Triage” is the most we’ve seen of him yet, so there are a couple of moments that sticks out. The first and obvious one is that he’s an exceptional warrior and proves the one major time he showed off his chops wasn’t a fluke. I’m not sure why he isn’t sent out on the field more, but I suspect he chose to stay out of the limelight to work in shadows and Megatron probably respected his decision. After all, every one of his Decepticons suffered under his wrath, but he’s been nothing but supportive and commending of Soundwave’s work (likely because he has yet to lose a battle). The second standout moment comes between him and Laserbeak. Understanding fierce loyalty, he lets Wheeljack live simply to rescue his fallen comrade, sparing not one missing piece in the process.
Ratchet and Wheeljack share some good chemistry with each other, as the straight-laced Ratchet is egged on by the other’s rough and tumble nature. That’s all well and good, but it’s kind of ruined by bad pacing. Did that dogfight with Soundwave really had to go on for three whole minutes? By the seven minute mark, Ratchet’s annoyance towards Wheeljack is done away with and he successfully formulates a plan with barely any argument. Ten minutes in, Wheeljack leaves Ratchet and the two reunite near the end. Transformers Prime constantly suffers from overworking the action, sacrificing story and characterization in the process. “Triage” isn’t the most severe case and their interaction works marvelously, but they need to find a proper balance. Bonus points to Wheeljack for nearly beating Soundwave though; that’s a feat in itself and further cements his awesomeness.
The best events by far occur in the final stretch. First we get hints that Knockout’s potentially gradually heading toward madness, though the question is what exactly is he so angry about? He’s undergone humiliation in a previous episode, so he has reasons to be agitated, but all signs currently seem to point elsewhere. From what I can gather, he’s jealous of Soundwave’s special treatment from Megatron. If this is what the show is aiming for, I’m curious on the how and why. Prior episodes never had the two at odds with one another. Knockout never strived to be Megatron’s favorite either; he selfishly indulges in his passion when he’s off-duty. So where did this come from? Maybe like all drama queens, he just wants attention.
Finally, there’s Bulkhead’s supposed demise. His injuries are ambiguous enough that we don’t know if he’s heavily damaged or dead. I can’t say I care for Bulkhead; his standard trope – The Big Guy – isn’t a personal favorite of mine and he hasn’t done much to elevate himself. But, this is a good way to throw off audience expectations.
All in all, “Triage” may be the best episode to come from the current Relic Hunt yet. Flaws notwithstanding, it sports winning cast as well as stunning revelations.