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The Weak Component

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Frustrated by his inability to help the other Maximals in battle and ashamed of his uselessness, Rattrap makes a deal with the devil.

Japanese title: Dawn of Promise (約束の夜明け Yakusoku no Yoake)

Summary

Optimus Primal, still exhausted after Nightscream's recent reformatting one episode prior, awakens from a dream and is informed by Blackarachnia that Rattrap is on a recon mission with Cheetor and Nightscream.

At a manufacturing facility, Rattrap, Nightscream and Cheetor are being attacked by Aero Drones and Tank Drones. Since Rattrap still is unable to transform, Cheetor orders him go and download the data from the computers. As Megatron observes this, a Diagnostic Drone warns him that the DNA purging process is still in its experimental stage. But Megatron, eager to be rid of his hated beast mode, wishes to proceed before the Maximals can discover any more “mongrel beasts”.

During the fight, Nightscream uses his sonic powers and discovers that if they attack the generals, the drones stop operating. Cheetor and Nightscream plan to ambush Tankor to test the theory.

Unfortunately, Rattrap observes the ensuing entrapment setup from his computer, unaware of the plan. He finally transforms successfully, and being eager to help, swings into action as Nightscream and Cheetor are attempting to disable Tankor and Jetstorm. His interference ends up spoiling the ambush, however, and causes the factory's machinery to start operating and building more Tank Drones at a faster and faster rate. Rattrap realises his robot form is unarmed, so he is unable to help in the battle.

As the new tank drones run wild, Megatron takes control. Rattrap attempts to stop the manufacture of the drones by linking himself into the main computer, only to become a sitting target for Megatron's Aero Drones. The resulting feedback travels along the power cables and causes a system failure, the total destruction of the manufacturing plant, and a power cut for the whole sector.

On their way back to their base, Cheetor and Nightscream harshly reprimand Rattrap for not following orders. Rattrap later complains to a sleeping Optimus Primal about his robot mode, when the others appear. Cheetor knocks Rattrap to the ground, ordering him to transform to beast mode; this jolt to Rattrap's system causes him to realise Megatron is weak as he replays vital stats he downloaded earlier. However, Cheetor brushes off his suggestions of an attack on their weakened enemy.

Rattrap overhears Blackarachnia, Cheetor and Nightscream discussing what to do with him and how he is such a burden with his useless robot mode. Infuriated, he leaves the base alone.

Rattrap-bm-withmegatron

My shoulder angel!

Megatron is being told the extent of the damage caused by the feedback earlier, when Rattrap saunters into his citadel, saying he wants “noisemakers”. After a bit of back and forth, Megatron and Rattrap work out a deal wherein Rattrap will defend Megatron for one night when he is at his weakest. If anything happens to Megatron, Rattrap forfeits his new weaponry.

Unexpectedly, Cheetor, Nightscream and Blackarachnia arrive to rescue Rattrap, forcing Rattrap to honour his word with Megatron—and he does so, firing on his friends as they advance. While this is happening, Megatron returns to full strength and begins rebooting his control of Cybertron. The Maximals and Rattrap are at an impasse when Optimus Primal arrives, still exhausted, and asks Rattrap to look inside himself and re-evaluate what he's doing. Primal tells him that Rattrap is stronger than any of them realize.

Megatron orders Rattrap to to attack Optimus Primal, but Rattrap reiterates the terms of the deal: As of now, the sun is rising, the solar cycle is over, and Rattrap has kept his end of the bargain, which means it is now time for Megatron to do the same; the only issue is that will he abide.. or will he not? Even the newly restored Vehicon Generals ready their weapons in preparation for the all clear to let the Maximals have it. Impressed with Rattrap's handling of the situation, Megatron upholds his word and lets the Maximals walk away. Megatron vows to his Diagnostic Drone that they shall liberate the Maximals' sparks another day.

Featured Characters

(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)

Maximals Vehicons


Notes

Perceived characterization inconsistencies

  • Rattrap finally uses the the Technorganic style of transformation properly (in this case, on his own) in this episode, rather than being aided by something which, in turn, resulted in the rise of a major incident, but lacks any onboard weapons.
  • This episode was the source of some controversy, as Rattrap was arguably depicted as being a "traitor" to the Maximals, something many fans claimed was completely against the grain of his character (which never happens in the Beast Wars).
  • Fans also complained about Megatron's behavior at the end. Whereas before, he would have crushed a subordinate for merely mentioning "the h-word," here he makes a huge point of displaying honor when he keeps his word to Rattrap at the end of the episode, with no ulterior motive.
  • In fact, either side could have potentially won the war right there, but instead, the two characters with the least scruples suddenly became interested in fair play for no reason so that everyone is now on equal ends for the time being (other than to keep the series from ending, obviously).
  • Other fans counter the points above by mentioning how Megatron implies Rattrap deserves to win because of his gambling skills, which refers back to Megatron's repeated use of gambling and card-playing idioms throughout the Beast Wars.
  • It is suggested in return that "he played a fair hand" doesn't align with how Megatron used gambling lingo before, since he previously emphasized cheating (e.g., "stacking the deck") rather than fair play. And every time Megatron showed no forms of fairness, it was often a good explaination as to why he would have a 50-50 chance of either success or loss with his plans.
  • But don't forget that he had been in a bad state of mind ever since he discovered that he couldn't transform, that made him feel bad enough since he couldn't actively help in the battlefield. And then when he finally does transform to help his friends, not only do they more or less spit in his face and state that they don't care, but he finds out that he has no means of fighting alongside them (we're talking about a guy who used to carry bombs around, so that's gotta suck). Throw in Cheetor brushing off his suggestion of attacking Megatron at the perfect moment and overhearing his 'friends' complain about how much a burden he is, especially after he nearly got electrocuted fixing his mistake for them, can you honestly blame Rattrap for turning away? If you think about it, Dinobot did the same thing with the Predacons during the Beast Wars; switched sides when the others on his team (in his case, Megatron) rejected him as useless.
  • Speaking of Dinobot, he briefly rejoined the Predacons, but returned to being a Maximal when he encountered Rattrap. Rattrap sort of paralells this action by switching sides briefly before Optimus comes to him and reminds him of who he is and what's more important to him. Looks like he picked up some old habits from his old friend, even if he didn't realize it.
  • Also, Rattrap only wanted to keep the 'noise-makers' with the intent to try and make himself useful on the battlefield, he didn't plan on the rest of the team coming to 'save' him. In a sense, he was really trying to trick Megatron into giving him the weapon suit since he believed that the others weren't gonna listen to him. In this regard, if you stop and think about it, he was displaying honor by keeping his word to Megatron rather than turning on him then and there, which is what Megatron himself would probably do and Rattrap is nothing like Megatron. And along that same line, if you watch carefully, Rattrap wasn't really attacking the others outright; from where I was watching, he was firing at the ground in front of them to keep them back and only hit them (like with Nightscream) to keep them away. He was probably, more or less, trapped in his own bargaining scheme and had to stall for time without really hurting anyone. Plus, he refused to take the suit in the end, showing that he didn't really care for the weapons after all and he seems to be restored to his old self from this episode onward.
  • Rattrap's gambling mood just does not belong with his trademark portryal as it has no real fit to his persona in terms of value. The way it worked in this episode was because his style of thinking was changed by an influence that the recon mission and Megatron's connection to the manufacturing facility had. Megatron was attacked from the system overload via his connection and, because the overload was major, received severe damage and lost his control of the entirity of his network, and so the influence was that Rattrap had connected himself to the system and learned about Megatron's condition after the incident (which explains where he got his information from) and sought to take advantage of this for himself to land an attack now while the team had the chance (which they simply threw away), before he chose to take things personally and operate under the deal set up between both him and Megatron. But as demonstrated here, it is perhaps possible that at least one character must have some form of change that is influenced by a situation that has taken place and/or their personal feelings.
  • There's also a slight flaw with Rattrap asking for the weapons. Megatron only asked to be protected for one night, and if Rattrap still chose to fight with Optimus, he could still keep the weapons at no additional cost. Assuming Rattrap did indeed decide to keep the weapons once he was done protecting Megatron, then he and the Maximals would have more firepower, and they'd probably be able to defeat Megatron a lot sooner. But what would Rattrap do with the weapons after that? The enemy would be gone, the war would be over, and the weapons wouldn't have much use in the Maximal's quest to restore Cybertron.
  • What's up with Cheetor coming in and pushing Rattrap over? He never acted like such a prick.

Technical/animation glitches

  • When Rattrap says, "Gangway! Rat crossing!" and the Vehicons turn towards the camera, Jetstorm's mouth angles upwards, over his nose.
  • As Rattrap tells the Maximals how Megatron is weak, one can see right through Optimus' head.

Real-world references

  • When the weakened Megatron sees Rattrap in his chamber, he remarks: "Ah, so this is the way the world ends. Not with a bang, but with a simpering...rodent." This is a paraphrased quote from the poem "The Hollow Men" by T.S. Eliot.

Notes

  • Blackarachnia calling Rattrap a traitor is, quite frankly, the pot calling the kettle BLACK.


MissingPiece
Thanks for helping me... pull myself together.

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