Spoiler Review Of Netflix War For Cybertron Episode 5

As the final battle of this first chapter in the War for Cybertron approaches, read on for our spoiler-filled review of Episode 5!

 

We begin by rejoining the Decepticons. Soundwave has identified the strange signal released by Ultra Magnus upon his death at Tarn Hauser Gate. Angered that Shockwave failed to discover this code sooner, Megatron demands a solution. Shockwave then suggests the use of a virus he has been developing that could be programmed to eliminate the code. Though further angered by ‘another one of your secret experiments we don’t know about’, Megatron is ready to hear out the plan. Shockwave claims that the virus, once released, will eliminate everything connected to the strange code. Soundwave then points out that, since the majority of Cybertrons infrastructure is based on Autobot tech, releasing the virus could adversely affect the Decepticon war efforts. However, it seems that Magnus’ final ‘betrayal’ of Megatron last episode was the last straw that pushed Megatron over the edge. Thus, he approves the plan, even though it requires using the codes former ‘host’ as a vessel!
 

Back at Autobot base, Jetfire is in stasis cuffs as he tries to convince his highly skeptical jailers (especially Elita) that his plea to join them is genuine and not some kind of trap. When pressed by Optimus, Jetfire states that he will not be party to Megatron genocidal drive to eliminate the Autobots. That’s not what he joined the Decepticons for. Though at this point in the war, he’s not sure what he did originally join for. All he knows, is  that it isn’t what Megatron fights for. Telling Prime that Megatron is determined to beat him at any cost and that he gunned down a helpless Ultra Magnus, personally.
 

Elswhere, Bumblebee, Wheeljack and Cog work to pinpoint the current location of the Allspark, by combining Bees knowledge of the Alpha Trion Protocols with the current mapped state of Cybertron. This also includes a small moment with Cog tries to reasure Bee that is he was chosen to bear the protocols, then he is worthy of them. Bee is much less certain of this.
 

As the rest of the Autobots arrive, still debating whether or not Jetfire can be trusted, the Allspark is located. Wheeljack then has to break the bad news that it is somewhere within the Sea of Rust. A place no Autobot has ever returned from.
 

Elita then angrily snaps at Optimus about the lunacy of this plan. That they should wait until a safer option presents itself. When Prime points out that the Allspark recovery, Ark launch and Space Bridge activation must be done quickly and simultaneously, Elita yells that, not long ago, even Prime wasn’t sure the Allspark even existed! Writing wise, i can see how they are trying to portray Elita’s growing despair at how desperate the situation is getting. Unfortunately though, since the story has shown that they are out of options, Elita’s outburst kind of lacks the weight it probably should have. Luckily, Bumblebee than pipes up that, though no Autobot has ever returned from the Sea of Rust. The Decepticons have.

Next we jump to the Space Bridge repair group, just as Ratchet gets it back online. As well as bringing a renewed sense of hope, this scene also shows the further growth of a mutual respect between Mirage and Impactor. Showing that they can work past their differences.
 

It also reveals an even bigger use of Mirage’s holographic powers than his duplication technique. As he completely shields the now active Space Bridge with an illusion of its previously broken appearance.
 
 

Next, at the Decepticon fortress, Shockwave has hacked into Ultra Magnus’ brain module and awaits Megatron’s command to release the virus through the now dead Autobot. And so, as Megatron comments that it is ‘poetic’ that Magnus will in fact be assisting them in the ‘total destruction of the Autobots’. The virus is released and a wave of energy begins to sweep across the planet.
 

Back at the Ark, Jetfire reveals that the Decepticons successfully managed to map the entire Sea of Rust long ago and offers to guide them safely through. Elita again voices her skepticism, so Jetfire turns to asks Prowl and asks about his past in Praxus. Offering to submit to the Core Override used there, if thats the only way. When the others ask what that means, Prowl reveals that back when he was a cop in Praxus, inmates outnumbered security. To mitigate the danger, the Council had the law enforcement bots implant remote detonation bombs in the heads of the inmates.
 

This revelation adds another interesting IDW-esque layer of moral ambiguity to the pre-war Autobots. Although nobody likes the idea of this option, Elita admits that it is the tactically correct thing to do.
 

Wheeljack then has to point out that they still need Energon to get the Ark launched. Bumblebee once again has the answer. Something worse than the Decepticons. As Optimus divides up the teams that will be heading out to get the Energon and the Allspark, Elita again objects to Primes plans, angry at the idea of bartering for Energon. Though Bumblebee is quick to point out that they aren’t going to barter. They’re going to steal it.
 

Bumblebee, Arcee and a Cog approach Soundblaster’s dome with the last of the Autobot Energon. Arcee isn’t exactly thrilled about this, until Bee points out that if they didn’t bring anything of value, they’d be turned away. Hurrying inside, they are brought before Soundblaster.
 

 
Meanwhile, Optimus Prime, Hound, Moonracer and Jetfire head into the barren and dangerous Sea of Rust. This is a spectacular scene, as the Autobots have to contend with electromagnetic lightning bolts and giant swirling Metallic Vortexes.
 


 
They evade as much as they can, with Jetfire using his missiles as decoys for the bolts, as well as risking his life to save Prowl when he nearly gets sucked away into a vortex. Prowl attempts to discard the remote Core Override switch after this save, but Jetfire insists that, for the sake of the mission, he should keep hold of it.
 

 
At the Ark, Elita starts receiving reports of Autobot bases going dark, as Shockwave reveals to Megatron that the virus has achieved 87% contamination. In desperation, she calls for all Autobots to retreat to the Ark, as they start Operation: Exodus.
 

 
Back with Bee, we discover exactly who Sounblaster is. This is an excellent and interesting reveal, as it makes use of Soundwaves black repaint/rename, but recontextualizes him as a completely new character. A defective (and therefore failed) experiment by Shockwave to clone the Decepticon spymaster. He’s also sporting the new Mercenary insignia seen on the upcoming Exhaust figure, rather than a Decepticon logo. I have to say that Sounblaster has much better executed voice than Soundwave here. After making sure that the two Autobots don’t mention Sounblasters resemblance to Soundwave, as he’s ‘sensitive’ about being a clone, not to mention having a few screws loose. Bumblebee greets the trader and waves away his comments about new ‘partners’ as the scavenger simply wanting to take on some apprentices. After Sounblaster deals with a problem customer, they are allowed down to his Energon stores.
 

At the Space Bridge, Mirage can no longer keep up the massive illusion. Its power drain nearly killing him. With their cover down, a squadron of Seekers move in.
 

 
At the same time, Shockwave’s deadly virus finally reaches the Ark, disabling their defenses and revealing them to the Decepticons. Once informed of these developments, Megatron calls for every Decepticon division to ready for battle!
 

And finally, as Bumblebee, Arcee and Cog attempt to make an Energon ‘withdrawal’ from Soundblaster’s stores, only for the mercenary trader to reveal that, like Soundwave, he has a robotic bird spy of his own.
 
 

Prime, Moonracer, Hound, Prowl and Jetfire arrive at the location of the Allspark…
 

 
Only for a horde of sparkless zombie Cybertronians to burst from the ground!
 
Overall, this was a fast-paced and engaging episode. Jetfire and Megatron reach the end of their respective arcs, the final hours of the War for Cybertron begin, we get some more intriguing snippets of backstory for the state of pre-war Cybertron law enforcement and we get the introduction of the clone black market trader Soundblaster. Mirage’s talents continue to be expanded in clever ways that got beyond the basic ‘guy who can turn invisible’ ability. However, its not all great. Elita’s continual objections to everything Prime wants to do grate quite a bit. Being skeptical of Prime is fine, but like in previous episode, her extreme contradictory attitude makes you question why she follows Prime at all. Also, a few more bots pop up out of nowhere and you wonder where they were before. In Moonracer’s case, her having shared the same toy/body type as Chromia doesn’t help her stand out. Ironhide gets a brief appearance, sporting a voice that is much younger than you’d think, given his G1 Siege design. Perhaps they should have switched the voices for Hound and Ironhide. Cliffjumper also gets a (blink-and-you\ll-miss-it) cameo. Oddly though, he’s just a recoloured red Bumblbee, rather than using any elements frim his actual figure.
 
Even so, the rising stakes and rush to the end as everything comes to a head will hook you in for the final part of this series.
 
Stay tuned for our review of Siege episode 6 to see how it all ends!
 
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