When is Dead Dead? (Or, Death in Transformers:Prime)

(FAIR WARNING: Rambling stream of consciousness rant ahead!)

There’s been a phenomenon of late that I’ve noticed over on fansites such as TFW2005 with regards to character appearances and deaths in Transformers Prime. Heck – at this point it’s become so pervasive that some people (like me) joke about it in threads.

Namely, the pattern goes something like this:

  1. Solicit for an episode mentions a new guest character/major event happening to an existing guest character
  2. Solicit for next episode says nothing about that character
  3. ZOMG THAT CHARACTER MUST BE DEAD.

Now, here’s where I’m going to go into spoilers, so fair warning.

The latest episode, “The Human Factor”, is one I was looking forward to for awhile. It’s an episode where we see Silas (or is it Cylas now?) finally gain a robot body – namely, Breakdown’s empty shell. And he instantly considers himself above his former comrades, offs them, and then tries to join Megatron’s forces.

Which ends, as you expect, with Silas being carted off for dissection by a smug Knockout.

And of course, the internet is already reacting with a “NO SILAS IS DEAD THAT WAS A WASTE” reaction in some circles. But you know what? He’s not. He’s really not.

One of the hallmarks of modern action cartoon writing (or even some live action shows), as well as comic books, is that if we don’t see a death on the page, it doesn’t happen. In fact, there can be MORE interesting stuff when the character DOESN’T die.

But even in the rules of Transformers Prime’s world, death has been fairly consistent (or rather, the rules thereof):

  • Vehicon troopers: Clearly die from getting killed with shots/getting dismembered.
  • Cliffjumper: First got skewered. Then they made sure to bring him back as a zombie and explicitly kill him via blowing up the body.
  • Breakdown: We don’t see the act of death, no. But we see the very next scene where a CLEARLY dead body is scattered around. No signal + no lit optics = dead.
  • Hardshell: Shot through the chest. We see the body.
  • Skyquake: Killed, then brought back as a zombie after we’d established that being a zombie makes you pretty definitively dead.
  • Makeshift: Do we see a body? No. But that might be because he had a live grenade strapped to his body, so I’d be surprised if there’s much of anything that survived, especially with how Prime characters are all killable and such.

So Prime has pretty definitive deaths; yeah. With Silas’ NOT being one of them. (Ditto for Shockwave, too – they all but confirm that he survived his Space Bridge explosion implicitly.) So until we see a body, or hear a line of dialog from Knockout or Megatron confirming he’s dead? He’s not dead. (Heck – I’m predicting he’ll end up in a similar predicament to Baxter Stockman in the 2003 TMNT cartoon, at this point.)

And one final thing before I finish this rant of a Teknobabble….. voice actors. Adam Baldwin might not be hyper available. The Rock is expensive. But Clancy Brown? He’s a fairly regular voice actor. Does a LOT of voice work. So I wouldn’t have any doubts that he was unavailable to do more episodes. Kevin Michael Richardson’s way busier than him and still manages to voice Bulkhead in almost every episode. So yeah.

Until we hear he’s dead, he’s not dead.

Posted in Teknobabble

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