This arc lasts from episodes 20-26 and leads into the finale of Season 2, and it is both simple and awesome.
For those not wanting spoilers, please scroll down, though I will try to keep it to a minimum.
In some ways, since smokescreen was a recent addition to the show before this arc, this is mostly his arc, as he grows into a true autobot warrior. However, this arc is also Optimus Prime and Starscream's arcs, and a LOT happens in this mostly transformer-centric story arc.
This arc starts with Smokescreen being taught the conventions of being a robot in disguise, but the real story begins with the retrieval of the Star Saber, a Sword Of Plot Advancement
that only Optimus can use, to DEVASTATING effect. Optimus's old mentor uses the sword to contact him and tell him about the Omega Keys: 4 keys that when used with the omega lock back on cybertron, can restore their dead home to life.
However, the decepticons, while not knowing about the omega keys's true powers (at first) are also determined to get their hands on them as well. And the arc essentially boils down to a Mac Guffin
chase to find the 4 keys before the others do, and a grand fight in the 2 part season finale. However, it also comes with some handy exposition that reveals that the artifacts found earlier in the show were meant for the autobots to use, and the fights here are fantastic!
The first 4 episodes are the 3 sides jostling for control of the keys, with Megatron, Optimus and Starscream (who was rogue at the time) jostling for control, with no real call on who will take control of the keys. However, after a Wham Episode
in episode 23, it's ultimately a decepticon who gets the keys, but not in the way you might expect.
However, it's the final two episodes that everyone will remember. On one hand, it's a triumph of weapons as the autobots tear through the cons using all the tools they acquired over the series (at first). On the other, it's a triumph of evil, as the end of the arc is best described as sobering and a Downer Ending
, with Heroic Sacrifice
of body and cause. Despite its simple premise, it ends up becoming probably the most memorable arc of the entire series, and the new standard for season 3 to live up to in the retooled Beast Hunters season.
It has its flaws such as a nasty case of Killed Off For Real
and some inconsistent pacing, but overall, I give the arc 8.5/10