Earthrise poster
The search for the Allspark begins

At last the second part of the Transformers: War for Cybertron has released on Netflix. While this second chapter may be called Earthrise, this season takes place in Cybertron and outer space. we see many new faces and all of the surviving faces from chapter one. This season may not cause the stir of emotions like last season, but sit back and enjoy an incredible story as Transformers Earthrise makes planetfall.

Cybertron is dead. The planet crumbles without the Allspark and fresh sources of energon. Optimus Prime and a group of Autobots may have escaped Cybertron to search for the lost Allspark, but they are the exception. Megatron and the Decepticons remain stuck on Cybertron along with Elita-1, Jetfire, Red Alert, and Chromia. They lead a token resistance against the Decepticons, but with both sides out of energy, the war is all but over.

But Megatron, with the help of Shockwave, launches a plan to escape Cybertron and hunt Prime and the Allspark. So begins Project: Nemesis. Once complete Prime and the escaped Autobots will pay for what they did to Cybertron.

Earthrise Makes Planetfall – The Edge of Psychoses

If you hope for the same level of shock and awe, action, suspense, and unbelievable deaths in season 2, you will be sorely disappointed. This new season slows things down and tells a magnificent story that centers on characters rather than action and shock. The biggest in the opening episodes is Megatron.

Megatron started idealistically and wanting a better Cybertron, but being a former gladiator, his ways are the way of the fist. When something doesn’t work you smash it. We actually see both regret and sadness from the Decepticon leader. He wanted a better Cybertron, not a dead one. Shockwave, who had his emotions removed, will do anything needed without question. Ends do justify the means, but when Megatron finds out the atrocities Shockwave committed in the name of Project: Nemesis, he balks. Megatron does not want to do what must be done. The price is too high, but when he lays all his guilt on Prime, knowing it’s this or death, he finds a way to do it.

We also get a glimpse into the madness that will possess him later. Very early on in the show, we see Megatron in a council chamber talking things through with someone on screen. The bot he talks to? Ultra Magnus’ severed head, which he keeps on his table.

Honestly, much of the opening to this season is quite disturbing. Megatron talking to Magnus’ head. What Shockwave actually does to power Project Nemesis, and a few other parts raise some seriously disturbing images. Kids will most likely look right past them, but adults who understand what truly happens may feel their skin crawl a bit.

Earthrise Makes Planetfall – Prime Begins the Hunt

Double Dealer and his merc buddies
The problem with Mercs

Aboard the Arc, things are no better. Energon runs out there as well, leaving Prime and Co with some tough choices, followed by a huge gamble. They can take one shot at finding the Allspark. An apparently functional space bridge has been found that will take them to the Allspark, but if anything goes wrong the Autobots will be stranded forever.

They run into a band of Mercenary Transformers, led by Double Dealer, a Wheeljack, Ramjet, Dirge, and Bug Bite. They wear a ‘mercenary symbol, different than the Autobot and Decepticon logos. In cuffs, they are led before one of the great new surprises teased in the trailers, Deseeus the psychopathic Quintesson. I’ll let you learn their backstory in context, but once again we watch a very disturbing scene, that while brilliant for the story, made my skin crawl with revulsion.

Upon escaping and reaching the space bridge, Prime and Co square off with Megatron, newly arrived on their ship, the Nemesis, and one other bot. This final adversary was never shown in a trailer so I won’t spoil who it is, but let’s just say it leads to one hell of a three-way fight.

Earthrise Makes Planetfall – Erase Preconceptions

The epic finale I’ll leave for you to watch even though we know the ‘big reveal’. The problem with the teaser trailer for the Transformers Kingdom and the release schedule of the toys is that we know the big reveal at the end. A piece of advice, however. Throughout this season, scrub the ‘faction’ idea out of your heads. We see several transformers on different sides than we are used to, and since transformers are duplicated throughout the show, trying to remember who fought for who originally gets too confusing (Autobot Wheeljack vs Merc Wheeljack for an example).

The story of this second season really stands out and does an amazing job developing some of the key transformers and their mindsets. There will be plenty of action to be sure, but this season is more about character development. One other point the ending makes struck a chord of familiarity. Through their fights and banter, Megatron and Prime are very much like Batman and Joker. Each needs the other or they will be incomplete, despite fighting for opposing beliefs. The ending does an amazing job squaring the two off against each other both in the fight and in the mind.

MINOR SPOILER: I throw in this minor spoiler because some might get their hopes up. In the trailer, we saw glimpses of not only the Quintesson, but Galvatron and Unicron as well. Deseeus may be real, but Galvatron and Unicron are used as mind tricks of a sort. They do not really exist in this shows chronology (yet), so do not expect Galvatron and Megatron to be together going forward.