16 Mar 2015

Transformers RID (2015) Season 1 Episode 7 Review

Alrighty, it may be overdue, but it's time for my review of Transformers Robots in Disguise episode seven, Collect 'Em All, featuring Chro. Okay, it's not Chro. No one likes Chro.

Beast Machines Chro
Beast Machines Chro. It's relevant, okay?
Image by TFU.info

But enough hating on Chro - there's plenty of time for that in the review after the break!

As the title suggests, episode seven is about collectors - in this case, obsessive collectors (kleptomaniacs). In an interesting contrast, two stories happen simultaneously but also nicely tie together. This premise isn't unheard of - in fact, it's fairly common in cartoons, including Transformers. Still, it works well - one focus is on the humans, with the other being on the 'bots.
We're introduced to the collector named Larry - clearly not Denny's friend. The idea of giving Denny someone to loathe was clever, because most of Denny's repertoire so far has consisted of "happy Denny", "excited Denny", "frustrated Denny" or "eager Denny"... not that I mind, because Denny is awesome.
This episode managed to have Denny in a slightly more major role, without being overblown, and having an episode or two with Denny playing a bigger part every now and then can definitely work - they proved as much in this episode, and they proved it in G1 with Sparkplug. Denny is a modern Sparkplug, end of story.

On the "giant alien robot" side of things, we have Filch, a kleptomaniac bird-bot (the exact sub-faction/species isn't specified). Filch is... Filch is Chro. You can argue all you want - you're wrong. Seriously though, Filch looks so much like Chro, even to the point of not having a robot mode (so far). Heck, if Filch shows up again and turns into a giant cannon, no one will ever be able to argue otherwise.
Filch is voiced by Constance Zimmer (Strongarm), but I don't know about this one. In my opinion, it's the weakest voice in the show so far, with the caveat that Filch says only two words ("shiny" and "mine") as well as crazy bird cries. The latter is easily the strongest part of Zimmer's performance, although I'm not sure it's quite Frank Welker-tier. The repetition of words, even when she appears to fully comprehend what is being said (especially when Denny talks directly to her) makes Filch sound brain-dead or, at the very least, mentally disabled. Maybe she's like a Pokémon. Oh God, please no.
By the way, Denny's hat/helmet - is it really shiny? I assumed it was just shiny because of the art style. This confuses me.
Seriously though, I think Filch is the least important part of this episode. She's basically a footnote in an episode focused more on Denny and his "arch nemesis" Larry. Oh, she also lives on top of the Statue of Liberty which is now in Crown City (or just outside of it), so either Crown City is a future New York City or someone did some serious lifting.

Speaking of serious lifting, Larry should come first, but screw him - let's talk about Grimlock (who apparently has the nickname of "Grim", which sounds way better than it should).
Grimlock is a t-rex. Now, Grimlock is a truck. This has to be one of the best ideas they've come up with for this show. Okay, yes, Grimlock is basically just comedic relief at this point, but there's no denying that he is some of the best comedic relief out there.
Why Grimlock can't scan a new alternate mode, I have no idea, but why would he when he can disguise himself as a truck? Alright, it's not very convincing, but it is incredible to watch. There's no way he "drove" past a bunch of civilians unnoticed, no matter how hard he tried.
Then, Grimlock proceeds to hold up the bridge that Chro Filch decided should be destroyed, all the while mentioning how awesomely he is holding up the bridge. It's basically one big pun, but that pun is made of solid gold.
But just when you thought Grimlock was big and dumb, it turns out that... he is big. Not so dumb, though. Sure, he doesn't do a lot, but he makes a good guard dog of sorts, and he seems like a pretty nice guy, despite wanting to punch a LOT of things. To be fair, I want to punch a lot of things, too, Grimlock.

One does not simply turn into a truck.
Image produced by me using footage by Hasbro Studios via Cartoon Network

Yeah, okay, Larry. He's a guy. He's also kind of a dick. I find it amusing that he wants Denny's rare collectables, but Larry goes to great lengths in order to legitimately buy Denny's collectables. Yes, he basically blackmails Denny into doing it but he broke into the scrapyard and proceeded to browse. Larry, man, if you're going to break the law, why not just go all the way and steal the stuff? I doubt Denny has any way to prove the stuff belongs to him, anyway.
By the way, Fixit: if video cameras could induce stellar fusion, I probably wouldn't be pursuing a career in the film industry. That being said, I still love you. I need me a life-size Fixit.

There's one more character I need to talk about, and this one's a doozy - Strongarm. I have a lot to say about Strongarm, but mainly for episode nine. I don't particularly like mentioning other episodes in these reviews - I like to stick to the one I'm talking about right now, and I definitely don't want to hold off on a discussion for an episode because I can talk about it later on. However, Strongarm requires a lengthy discussion, so for now, I'm going to attempt to hit the key points for her in Collect 'Em All.
Frankly, Strongarm is starting to get annoying, what with her quoting rules and regulations all the time. However, this episode players her up as homesick, which is a nice angle. I'm not sure I buy the whole idea of robot getting itchy in any way (alloy hives? Huh...) - it seems a bit farfetched to begin with, but we'll roll with it.
Even though I'm finding Strongarm more annoying than not, I can see that there is some real character there, even if it's buried for now. She's a rookie cadet, and she sure shows it. Strongarm just wants to follow the rules - that's all she really knows, because she hasn't had the experience that Bumblebee has, so having him not just as a leader but as a mentor, Strongarm has real potential for a lot of growth.
She's slowly starting to learn that doing things by the books isn't always the best way to get the job done, especially in extraordinary circumstances. I doubt Strongarm was ever trained to handle full-blown Decepticon criminals.
So sure, Strongarm can be really annoying, but she may turn out to be a fantastic character. Either that, or she'll become one of the most hated characters in the entire franchise and the sexism wars will never cease to end. Guys (and girls), sexism is dumb. Stop.

Well, that's all I have to say about Strongarm, and with that, that's all I have to say about Collect 'Em All.
In all honesty, it's my least favourite episode so far (although Grimlock is spectacular), but that's not saying much. FilchChro may be kinda dumb right now, but Russell, Fixit and Denny are still good characters, Grimlock is Grimlock, and the rest are enjoyable in their own way - yes, even Strongarm. Kind of.

Join me later today when the reviews for the next two episodes go online, and make sure to join me next week for another two episodes as well. If you enjoyed this review or any of my other content, please share it around and tell your friends!

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