31 Mar 2015

Transformers RID (2015) Season 1 Episode 10 Review

It's that time of the week again. I'm a week late, you say? Oh, I guess I forgot about the world while I was busy fighting certain software just to get some simple videos produced. Pro-tip: Compressor sucks. A lot.

However, now that I've finally managed to get some quality time with video editing software and learn some more tricks (as well as which programs are better left untouched), I'm back for some more reviews. I've got a bunch of other content planned, with the last (for now) four Robots in Disguise reviews rolling out slowly throughout this week.
With any luck, I'll be doing some streaming next week as well, so if all goes to plan (which it usually doesn't), I'll let you all know to tune in.

Building something from nothing is pretty difficult and time-consuming, especially when you need to consistently pump out content, but I'm confident (er, kinda) that I can pull it off. Eventually. I just appreciate all the support that I have got so far... which isn't a lot, but it's better than none at all. I mean, damn, I made 26¢ from this blog in a month! I'm living the high life.

Dammit, Hasbro, update your website to include other characters. I'm running out of images!

Anyway, if you're reading this, you're reading it because you want to get my opinion on Can You Dig It? Well you've come to the right place! Let's jump into the review of episode ten... after the break!

Everyone comes into this knowing these reviews are filled with spoilers (or, at least, they should), but talking about the new character(s) straight away always feels kind of wrong. Still, one of my long-time favourites, Jazz, shows up in episode ten, and he does so very early on in the episode.
Jazz is voiced by Transformers newcomer Arif S. Kinchen, a not-so-well-known African American (surprise) actor/voice actor whose most notable role (at least in my opinion, which is always correct, so don't argue, because you're wrong) is "Pierce" from the Saints Row games. You know, the black guy who happens to be a gangster. Totally not stereotypical. He's a pretty awesome character, though, but Johnny is still better.

Jazz is Jazz. Admittedly, I'm disappointed that Troy Baker didn't reprise his role as Jazz after an excellent performance in Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, but Kinchen does a fantastic job of portraying Jazz.
Once again, we have a music-loving character that can kick some serious ass. He's clearly got a respectable rank of some description, too. All in all, Robots in Disguise's Jazz feels a lot like G1 Jazz to me, and I like that a lot.
One gripe I always had with Jazz was his lack of sound use as a weapon or defence mechanism. To be fair, he used sound in such a way in G1 but the usage was quite scarce. In RID, however, Jazz has speakers built into his shoulders, and can blast sound to take down enemies. It's a great offence and defence, and I like that.
Admittedly, I find it a little cheesy, especially with the sound effect they chose for it, but it works, giving Jazz a signature weapon of sorts. He also likes to boogie. He's Jazz.

So, Jazz shows up, beats up Sideswipe, then becomes his mentor of sorts. The two team up to beat the stuffing out of Ped (not related to a Catholic priest), and Jazz buggers off back to Cybertron.
Alright, I'm horrible at summaries, but the premise of this episode just sounds terrible. The plot is pretty cliché, but honestly, there's some good stuff crammed into this one, so let's dig a little deeper.

"TV Time with the Autobots" has to be one of my favourite parts in this episode. Everyone in the main cast is crowded around an old-school television set (you know, the sort that half of us grew up with and may or may not still have), watching what seems to be a show on biker gangs (or something similar).
Grimlock assumes the motorbikes can transform, which they obviously can't, and this is something I find odd. Either he's just that dumb (that is, he has seen many, many Earth vehicles at this point, and knows they don't transform), or he assumes the loud, obnoxious sounds and media attention means they're special.
I have a sneaking suspicion that this might also be a slightly fourth wall-breaking piece of dialogue, taking a stab at something such as G.I. Joe, where there are vehicles that don't necessarily do anything interesting (i.e. they don't turn into awesome alien robots).
This is definitely something that has crossed my mine, as well as the minds of many others - if it doesn't transform, it's instantly less interesting than something that does transform. Or perhaps I'm thinking too much into this.
Once Russell heads off for bed, though, the Autobots get treated to some late-night romance, ending with Strongarm's comment of "why are they smashing their mouthes together?" - a comment made of nothing but pure gold (and ignorance, of course). I want to imagine that they were watching some crazy X-rated show, but let's be honest, they weren't.

Sideswipe wanders off (yeah, big surprise) and encounters Jazz. I've already mentioned this, but what I find weird is how Jazz proceeds to beat Sideswipe up for no apparent reason. My assumption is that Jazz thought Sideswipe was a loose Deception, and couldn't see in the darkness.
But let's talk about the lighting, shall we? There was a light shining clearly on Sideswipe, and yet Jazz was completely black. Yeah, okay, I know what you're thinking, but it was a completely innocent thing (I think) - they were trying to hide his true identity until after the opening credits... which makes no sense because the lightning was still wacko.
This scene bothers me, no matter how much I try to explain it away. Oh well. I still love you, Jazz.

There's a new Decepticon in town called Ped. He has an awful name and a whiny voice. I don't dislike his voice, but I can't really understand what type of character they were going for. He's constantly referred to as a "bot-worm", which I assumed was a pun on "bookworm", but it doesn't really make much sense.
After all, the stereotypical image of a bookworm is a smart, nerdy and often physically weak person. Ped isn't very smart, he's (physically) pretty strong and yet his voice feels like the sort you'd associate with the term "bookworm".
My guess is that, considering Ped isn't very important to this episode (or at all), the writers came up with his character, then ended up changing it at the last minute, but didn't bother trying to have it make complete sense, because no one cares about Ped and we probably won't see him again.

Ped's gimmick is tunnelling. He creates a sinkhole at the very beginning of the episode, then starts tunnelling under Crown City. He turns into a drill... thing, akin to what Prime's Airachnid could do - it's more of an in-between mode as opposed to a full transformation. He can also turn into a tanker truck, reminiscent of Octane.
Ped wants to have the monopoly on Energon cubes so that he can sell them for profit. Seems a little pointless when you're stuck on a distant planet with guys who'd rather kill you than pay you, doesn't it?

Oh boy, Energon cubes are back, though. This is the first mention of them in Robots in Disguise, at least as far as I recall. Apparently they have a similar use - if not exactly the same - as in G1. Whether or not you like watching multiple episodes where Decepticons syphon energy to create Energon cubes doesn't really matter, but I personally love those episodes of G1, and having them back is great.
I just hope we see them again. Heck, if Soundwave shows up and starts producing them, that'd be amazing. Energon cubes are better than a stupid Allspark cube any day of the week.

Sideswipe is the most important character aside from Jazz in this episode. He hates rules and regulations. Sideswipe is still very much a teenager, who feels the need to prove himself and yet doesn't want to listen to what others have to say, even when it's beneficial for him. When he gets to see this solo guy, Jazz, in action, Sideswipe admires Jazz and eventually gets some advice out of him, creating a sort of soft mentor-student relationship that is a lot more friendly and not so strict.
This is absolutely beneficial for Sideswipe. While the pay-off is yet to come, at least in a big way, Sideswipe is making some progression, and that's the most important step for him.

That's the bulk of the episode and character progression right there, but as usual, I feel the need to point out some small things that caught my attention.
Denny is once again being resourceful, making him a useful character who isn't overdone.

Fixit needs to shut up, because he's quickly going from one of my favourite characters to the one I want to strangle the most.
Seriously, the voice tic is annoying. It's not clever. Children won't necessarily like it. I thought the clever part was when Sideswipe corrected him, but of course, they've increased the amount of times he screws up a word per episode from one to two (or three or four, as we'll see later on).
To whoever thought this was a good idea: it's not. Please stop. There is a better way to handle Fixit being on the fritz. This is not it.

Bumblebee and Strongarm don't do a lot, apart from holding up the underside of Crown City.

Grimlock continues being big and dumb and fun, and big dumb fun. There really isn't much to say about him, other than he's a cool dude.
I have a feeling that Strongarm's line about Sideswipe having worse people to look up to than Jazz is referencing Sideswipe and Grimlock's "friendship". I wouldn't read too much into that, though, because if that was intentional, I assume it wasn't to be taken as "Strongarm thinks Grimlock is a bad influence on Sideswipe" as much as it was "the writers are acknowledging Grimlock and Sidewsipe's immaturity through the use of Strongarm's dialogue".

That's a wrap, for this episode, anyway. We've still got three more to cover, the reviews for which will be hitting the site over the next week.
Stay tuned until then, share this with your friends (and foes) if you liked it, and make sure to return for more reviews of Transformers Robots in Disguise, courtesy of the one guy that refuses to put a semi-colon in the title!

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