Spoilers are not what they seem.
The first season, Siege, focused on introducing us to the war for Cybertron while it was taking place in Cybertron. It also did a decent job of reconciling the different versions of the conflict between Autobots and Decepticons as well as re-introducing the characters and their defining traits. For the second season, our attention is diverted between the ongoing war of attrition between the two factions in Cybertron and the fate of the troops that left the planet. Most of us know the destination, but the way there seems to be riddled with sidequests.
Transformers: War for Cybertron – Earthrise was created by James Barbatano and Drew Hopper. It features the voices of Jason Marnocha as Megatron, Jake Foushee as Optimus Prime and Linsay Rousseau as Elita-1. Also notable are the voices of Frank Todaro as Starscream, Joe Zieja as Bumblebee and Keith Silverstein as Jetfire. Since we left them, the Allspark has vanished and so has the Ark. Energy reserves are severely depleted. Megatron seems to be working on a secret plan called Project Nemesis (a scheme of Shockwave so you know it’s going to be baaad). Elita-1 does raids on Decepticon bases and liberates prisoners regardless of faction. Skyfire gives them a hand for air support which they desperately need, but is a bit hesitant about liberating Decepticons.
Meanwhile, the Ark is found by a mercenary faction led by Doubledealer. They bring Optimus and his crew to Deesus which turns out to be a Quintesson. The retconning of the Quintessons as part of the Transformers lore was a welcomed fresh addition. Deesus claims, among other things, that the Quintessons gave the Transformers the ability to raise against their original creators – then again Deesus is not to be trusted so who knows how exactly that went down. Eventually the Autobots will manage to escape, run into Scorponok and even take a brief detour into the Dead Universe, with the Decepticons actually catching up to them.
The moment that Megatron and Optimus face each other again we run into the main problem of the show. Eventually, one of them gains the upper hand and has the means to destroy the other which would inevitably end the storyline. So we have to cause circumstance and opportunity for that scene to de-escalate. This means that too often Optimus faces Megatron’s Fusion Cannon just for one last minute distraction to knock off his aim. Megatron too ends up in Optimus’ sights in a scene in which Optimus seems ready to kill him to prevent further atrocities just to be distracted before he can pull the trigger. Unfortunately, the more often this scenario happens, the more and more this aspect of the conflict weakens.
There are a lot of things that work. Starscream is still his greedy self, so eager to take command at the slightest hint of Megatron being in trouble that he gives himself away too quickly. It’s still enjoyable to see him getting his ass kicked by Megs just to crawl back into his graces again. Bumblebee works better when he follows Optimus’ lead, and I prefer him without his mercenary attitude. Contrary to what you might think, I like that Jetfire is willing to contest Elita-1’s orders – not by openly defying them but by voicing his concerns and still following orders. Elita-1 seems to have a more cautious and wiser approach than Optimus in that aspect. Yes, they do get overwhelmed which seemed unavoidable, but I don’t see that as a failure in her leadership. It’s actually her earlier act of kindness that pays off later. That’s something that might have happened or not, but I think she would’ve acted according to her ideals nonetheless.
Recommended for Transformers fans only, as well as Generation One fans. This is obviously nostalgia-based and technically filler until we get to the next season, but we get to expand the lore for a lot of the recurring characters in the Transformers’ mythos. That actually can get interesting, as the world-building can be quite ingenious in the way we retcon some characters that only existed without a backstory. On the other hand, the eternal conflict between Megs and Optimus does get repetitive so I was thankful for some regrets and agency in both sides. In the end, only fans of the Transformers’ extended universe will be interested. Thankfully in this series, it is about the Cybertronians and not the humans. So far.
That will do for now.