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Bumblebee's primary fighting style is Good Old Fisticuffs . Possible Shout-Out to Muhammad Ali and the famous "sting like a bee" line, or am I reading too much into it?
Good Old Fisticuffs isn't boxing, though.
So, should we clean up the Ensemble Dark Horse entry iN YMMV page? There's too many characters here.
Yeah, probably. That is... every Autobot except for Magnus, BB, and Prime.
And every Decepticon except Megatron, Airachnid, Hardshell, and Predaking.
That's... not good.
In the episode "Persuasion", is that a 'Flash Kick'(from Street Fighter) that the Predaking uses on Optimus? If so, would it count as a shout out?
The "Mask Division" mentioned in Project Predacon. Is that a Shout-Out to the other animated 80's series?
So, this is something regarding "Crossfire". Would it count as a wham episode? As a 7th episode twist? As an action packed, but still well foreshadowed episode that doesn't count as a wham? Ideas?
Alright, so let's talk about Rebellion. Namely, does what happened to Optimus Prime mean that the writers technically cheated? Did they give a Disney Death for that?
Considering that Optimus hesitated at least twice, either a) despite what he said in "Prey" he didn't feel that Smokescreen was ready to become a Prime or b) he knew that Smokescreen would take matters into his own hands.
It's more likely that Smokescreen acted in the instant before his death would have been final.
I'm going to agree with Mr Death here, he was Only Mostly Dead, and Smokescreen healed him.
Would he have really died? Honestly, I never thought he'd be killed (especially that way). I've said this on a forum before, but that's only a fantasy Megatron humors.
Kind of off subject but not really they did bring back one character who died Megatron was stab and killed in Dead Lock but was brought back by Unicron in Predacon Rising I hope I spelled everything ok.
I found this deleted, while I don't think it's an example of Jerkass Hero, with some edits, and removing the Allcaps, I believe it could go under What an Idiot!.
Yes, that's an example of What an Idiot!.
Thank you Septimus.
So, when Starscream stole the omega keys, is that a batman gambit, or The Plan?
That description on its own is The Plan.
The purpose of a Batman Gambit is that it rides off the psychological/emotional manipulation of the person, not merely anticipating what they are going to do based on the military procedures they followed through with.
Re: Black and Gray Morality:
Quoth that page: This is the essence of Black and Gray Morality; the only choices are between kinda evil and soul-crushingly evil.
There's really no way in hell you can possibly paint the Autobots as "kinda evil."
To On The Hill in particular, read the page more carefully next time. The part about
It says if both are true you have Black and Gray Morality. If I've already pointed out that the first is completely not true in the series, then no, the other one being true does not mean it's still the trope.
I think the Black and Gray Morality works if you assume War For Cybertron as canon (which may not be the case, since that game assumes the Autobots were a long-standing faction that had fallen to corruption, whereas Prime seems to showcase the Autobots as a relatively new faction in Cybertron's history). Then the Autobot faction as a whole qualifies, even if Team Prime are pretty much comparatively squeaky clean.
Even if you do, that means it's true for War For Cybertron. It's not true for this show and the characters depicted in it.
Like I said, I was talking about the Autobot faction as a whole, not just Team Prime.
It has nothing to do with War For Cybertron in particular. We're in the Aligned Continuity, where the war was fought over the caste system and how Cybertron should be reformed. That's the one solid consistency. Simple as that.
Just how selfish and power-hungry Megatron actually was is completely irrelevant. His relationship with Orion Pax, the incident with the council, their falling out...totally irrelevant. The show isn't about noble Autobots trying to keep the evil, nasty Decepticons from conquering the galaxy; it's about the final days of a terrible, ugly war where both sides hate the other and everyone is willing to do whatever it takes to win. It's black and grey and incredibly tragic.
And yes, Mr Death, the Autobots have done seriously reprehensible things. They've used the spark extractor.
Black and Gray Morality is when the "heroes" are so dark that they only really look like heroes because the villains are so dog-kickingly bad that almost anyone would look good compared to them. The Autobots are unambiguously heroic, and the few times they've done something "reprehensible" it's something they're called out for right away, or that they do when they're in a desperate situation.
For it to be Black and Gray Morality, Optimus and the others would have to be doing that sort of thing all the time, with it only ever being excused, if at all, because the Decepticons are so evil that the Autobots are good by default.
And that simply is not the situation presented in the show.
A good example of a Transformers show with ACTUAL Black and Gray Morality would be Transformers Animated, where the autobot regime and populace was explicitly speciesist, the citizens a bit sheeplike, and an asshole like Sentinel Prime given a position of authority. Prime just doesn't give NEARLY as much moral ambiguity to its Autobots - in large part, admittedly, because animating in CG is harder so they can't afford huge crowds of less then perfectly heroic incidentals to greyen things up like Animated could.
The corrupt ones were the pre-war Regime, who were neither really Autobot nor Decepticon, and, while Optimus is nominally the last remnant of that regime, the show doesn't do anything to emphasize his connection to it or attach its sins to him (and in fact makes pains to show him as having started out trying to change it for the better and pretty much succeeding, albeit with the help of Megatron killing Sentinel Zeta Prime).
"Black And Gray Morality is when the "heroes" are so dark that they only really look like heroes because the villains are so dog-kickingly bad that almost anyone would look good compared to them."
Except it isn't. That's not the qualifier on the page, not the case with all the other examples — it's not even the argument you've been pushing. The fact is, the Autobots have done some pretty reprehensible things more than once. They've admitted this. That they're desperate makes no difference whatsoever.
If you can think of a more fitting trope to describe this situation, please tell me.
Funny, because that's exactly what the page says: That Black and Gray Morality is when even the good guys are "kind of evil." Not when the good guys occasionally do something bad (and are immediately and consistently called out for doing that bad thing, and generally regret it).
Please read the trope you're trying to shoehorn in here.
Once again: Only the white gets removed, leaving behind a Crapsack World where the choice is between mundane corruption and baby-eating supervillainy. This is the essence of Black and Gray Morality; the only choices are between kinda evil and soul-crushingly evil.
Show me how the Autobots—as portrayed in the show—are corrupt. Show me where they're "kinda evil."
First, you have Wheeljack and Bulkhead, a Wrecker and an ex-Wrecker: a group that's known for their questionable methods. Wheeljack in particular makes no secret of his love for killing Decepticons, and they happily reminisce about the battles they've been in in the way soldiers sometimes do. We see Bulkhead tear the spark chamber out of a Vehicon he's fighting and much later, savagely beat a Starscream clone to death with his bare hands. Are these reprehensible, twisted, malicious acts? No, of course not. It's war and the Decepticons are their enemy.
You have Ratchet torturing the miner, which Optimus certainly didn't approve of, but which Ratchet never really directly regrets doing, either. You also have Ratchet and Bulkhead ready to deny Starscream medical care when he's injured in the wild. Again, nothing outright evil, but hardly unambiguously heroic.
And you have the spark extractor. Even if the Autobots had all been shining white heroes before that (which they know full well they're not), the use of the spark extractor would be enough to push them into Black and Gray. It's a horrible, atrocious weapon, an atrocity that literally rips/snuffs out your life force where you stand. Optimus had a significant moral dilemma when the opportunity came to use it on the Decepticons, though Smokescreen was just flat out gleeful and even decided to crack a joke beforehand.
The Autobots are "kinda evil" because really, they don't have a choice. When you're in a war like the one they're in, "kinda evil" is often the best you can hope for. That's not something I'm pulling out of nowhere; that is a *very* big theme of the show. You see it all the time with a character like Optimus, who's still clinging to the white side of morality when everyone around him has gone to gray or black. He's trying so desperately to push for that white area and simply can't.
From a storytelling perspective, they're unambiguously white. They're not antiheroes or anything, they're just heroes. The Autobots are about as unambiguously White as an armed forces can be. The examples you listed were Good Is Not Soft
The Wrecker paragraph doesn't really say anything. Ratchet's actions honestly paint them as more pure because his actions were shown to be considered wrong by everyone around him. In fairness, I haven't reached the Spark Extractor yet so I can't comment on it.
Black and Gray Morality isn't about "not-infallible heroes vs. villains," it's supposed to be about "characters who honestly could be considered villainous in their own right vs. a much more villainous enemy who makes the first group look heroic by comparison."
If the Decepticons were the absolute slime of the universe, that would make sense from a storytelling perspective. But they're really not. You've got Megatron wanting nothing more than to make Optimus suffer, Airachnid who collects heads to pass the time, and after that...a lot of grey areas.
Grey and Gray Morality, maybe? White and Grey Morality?
Killing someone in combat isn't "reprehensible." He immediately regrets beating the Clone to death. Just because they're soldiers and act like—gasp—soldiers doesn't mean they're "kinda evil."
Ratchet clearly and explicitly regrets everything the Synth-En had him doing. That includes the torture, and he's not portrayed as being right for doing it, at all. Being hesitant to help someone who's repeatedly—and gleefully—murdered people you know isn't "reprehensible" either.
You're making a lot of personal value judgments here. And that's what this is—you, personally, didn't like that they did something. That doesn't make it the trope. Is the Spark Extractor really any worse than, you know, just shooting or beating all of those Vehicons to death? Which they were doing already? It's a weapon. It's no more "reprehensible" than if they'd dropped a bomb in the middle of them.
They're not "kinda evil" because there's really nothing they've done that is at all evil. You seem to have it in your head that doing anything that might be construed as not nice, is "reprehensible."
Hell, being so white as they are is probably the Autobots' biggest problem, militarily. If they were anywhere close to qualifying as the 'gray' in Black and Gray Morality, they'd have won the damn war already. Hell, Ratchet says as much when he's hopped up on Synth-En—he outright says that they're losing the war because they're not "gray".
In short, you're making a value judgment—that you, personally, don't approve of a small handful of the things that the heroes have done—and deciding that personal disapproval means they qualify as "evil."
As for the Decepticons...you can really, seriously look at a group led by Megatron—whose motives and methods include "rule the universe, destroy the earth, and make my whole planet into zombies"—and say they're not black villains? Really?
And you, in turn, are justifying the Autobots' more morally ambiguous actions and trying to defend them as unambiguously white. Never mind that one of the show's conflicts is that they *cannot* be unambiguously white, no matter how hard Optimus tries.
And that's exactly what I'm saying. The Decepticon agenda isn't to conquer the universe and kick all of its puppies — like the Autobots, they grew out of a genuine desire to change Cybertron for the better. They're dangerous people, desperate people, and dirty fighters (the movement was born in the gladiator pits, after all), and they don't really prioritize the safety of tiny, fleshy, primitive things on backwater planets. But as we see with the Vehicons, Dreadwing, Skyquake, Breakdown, Knock Out, and yes, even Starscream, they're really just people. Soldiers who picked their side.
It's not their fault that their leader has become an absolute madman, and would rather torture his rival than heal their doomed planet.
As I said before. If you know of a more fitting trope for "Nobody is Right, Please Stop Fighting Before You Wipe Out Your Species", then please suggest it.
And also, it doesn't matter if you find the spark extractor's use to be "no worse" than any other weapon. The point is, the Autobots do. Plotwise, it was a pivotal, painful moment — resort to a method that went against their very ideals or risk prolonging the war and losing more of their own. They made their choice, completely aware of what it meant.
Maybe what amounts to, "I don't like some of the things the good guys do, and not all the bad guys are complete psychopaths" isn't a trope. Just because you have a personal opinion about what's going on doesn't make it a trope, and doesn't mean it has to be listed on the work's pages.
And, again: It doesn't matter if one or two things the Autobots did are bad things they regret. That is not the trope. The trope are characters who are always borderline evil vs. characters who are so evil the borderline ones have to look good. That's the trope, and there is no way you can twist the characterization and events in this show to fit it. Meanwhile, the Decepticons and what they do is evil. Megatron destroyed one planet in a transparent bid for power. Watch the relevant episode again—Optimus's argument against the caste system worked on the council. They agreed. Then Megatron started the war just because they didn't put him in charge.
And he and his subordinates—with maybe one exception in Dreadwing—are merciless, killing and torturing prisoners of war, and just about kicking every dog they can find. Just because the occasional individual Decepticon isn't that evil doesn't mean that their faction isn't bad.
Dreadwing loved his twin. Skyquake was simply following his leader's orders and doing his job as a soldier. Knock Out cared about Breakdown and has never been anything but a competent, patient physician when it comes to other Decepticons. Breakdown was kind to his subordinates. Soundwave is hardly sadistic — he follows orders to the letter. No more, no less. Starscream, one of the least ambiguous of the bunch, spared Arcee's life because she spared his and was horrified at the (second) loss of their home planet. A psychotic leader and a general sense of mercilessness does not black morality make.
It's a complicated situation they're all in, morally speaking, and the show has presented it as such. I'm trying to find a trope that fits it, but you seem to be too busy arguing for White vs. Black to offer any suggestions.
Individual badguys having a couple redeeming qualities does not disqualify it from Black and White Morality. Both Dreadwing and Skyquake were still fiercely and completely loyal to Megatron, who, again, is directly responsible for the death of his whole planet. Knock Out seems to really enjoy the thought of cutting people open who aren't on his side. Starscream sparing Arcee's life doesn't make up for the sheer glee and enjoyment he gets from murdering prisoners—seriously, the dude brags about killing Cliffjumper at every opportunity.
From the Black and White Morality page:
And that's how they're portrayed in the series—the Autobots are right, the Decepticons are wrong.
You're not understanding. The Decepticons, including Megatron, were fighting for their home and struggling against an oppressive system that had essentially reduced half the population to slaves. Megatron is even listed under Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds for this very reason. It was the violent extremes they were prepared to go to and the ugly falling out between Optimus and Megatron that set the war in motion. It's clashing ideologies. Simple.
In Black and White Morality, "the villains never have a sympathetic motivation for their actions. There aren't any Well-Intentioned Extremists, and The Mole will show his true colours once he's unmasked. Rather, their intentions are entirely selfish or for the sake of Evil." In Prime, the larger conflict is more of a grey area.
You know. Like war usually is.
Except that's not why the war started. The war started because Megatron wanted power and didn't get it. Then he destroyed his planet. Remember that flashback? Where Optimus makes Megatron's argument in front of the council, and they listen to Optimus, and then Megatron starts the war because they listened to Optimus and gave him power?
It wasn't "clashing ideologies" between Megatron and Optimus because they had the same ideology. Optimus was just better at making the case to the Council, and got rewarded for it. Instead of being happy that his case was being heard, Megatron decided, "Screw that, if I'm not the one being honored for this, I'm going to start a war."
And then, Megatron gets the opportunity to remake his world. To get what you say he's been fighting for the whole time. And what does he do first? He tries to wipe out humanity out of petty, evil spite.
Megatron started the ware because he wanted power (selfish). His actions during the war were pretty damn evil—biological weapons, torturing and executing captives, the whole schpiel. When he had the opportunity to rebuild his planet, he instead selfishly decided to kill all the humans first, just because he knew it would piss off Optimus.
Megatron leads the Decepticons, and through his actions has shown himself to be among the blackest of villains. They're his faction, he represents them, and they follow his orders.
"As we killed our opponents in the ring, we saw in their deaths the realization that they were individuals. And so we knew we were too. In killing, we understood life. In being the most disposable of commodities—a gladiator whose remains are thrown into the junkpile to be picked over and scavenged, the healthy pieces sold off to brokers in Iacon and Crystal City—in being disposable, we discovered we had value."
Oh, look at him go. Look at him demanding power. What a rank little bastard.
But let's assume that you're right. Going on nothing more substantial than that tiny flashback delivered by Ratchet, the one that contradicts other areas of Prime continuity, let's assume for a moment that the war was kicked off by Megatronus pitching a fit in front of the Council and becoming jealous of Optimus.
That does not matter.
Because Megatron isn't the entire Decepticon faction.
If Megatronus had earned his following by standing up and ranting about conquering Cybertron/ruling the universe/kicking all the puppies, then that would place the Decepticon faction in the moral black. But he didn't at all. He talked about reform, corruption, and radical change. He attracted followers who believed in the same thing. He gained their support as a leader and held it. Do you really think he led them all into planetwide warfare on the grounds of "I don't care for that little librarian who just took the Matrix?"
Whatever went down before the Council that day, it doesn't change the bigger picture...that both Autobots and Decepticons as a whole want the same thing. It's their methods of getting there that severely clash.
That fact isn't exclusive to any one continuity.
And that is a big moral grey area.
Morality Kitchen Sink
Here we are. Much better. Any objections?
Not to go all Godwin, but Hitler didn't attract his followers with "And I'll take over the world and kill all the jews!" either. But that's what he did. Just because someone promised their followers freedom and equality doesn't mean that's what he's actually after.
I'm not judging the Decepticons on their rhetoric, I'm judging them on their actions, and what those actions say about their real motivations.
Megatron might have preached equality, but let's look at his actions in the series: The first thing we see him doing? Desecrate the home planet you say he loves so much with Dark Energon, turning a dead husk (which he is largely responsible for) into a zombified dead husk.
When next we see him, he's fantasizing solely about killing Prime and ruling Cybertron. Then, after he wakes up, he does everything in his power to help Unicron—you know, the destroyer of worlds?—until Unicron insults him, whereupon he turns on Unicron because his big evil dark god didn't like him.
Then, at the end of the last season, when Megatron is given the opportunity to save Cybertron—again, the world you say he loves so much and which you're saying is his prime motivation—he decides it's more important to kill all the humans just to spite Optimus. And what's his reaction when Optimus blows up the machine, ruining any chance of saving this planet that Megatron's supposedly working to help? He laughs because now he knows where Optimus lives—he doesn't react at all to the fact that his homeworld is dead for good.
Maybe Megatron's motivations started good. Maybe the Decepticons had a legitimate grievance and were fighting for equality at first—but not any more. By the time the series happens, all of Megatron's actions are to win the war at all cost, for the sake of winning it and spiting Optimus. By the time of the series, which is what this page is about, the Decepticons as a whole, under Megatron's leadership, have gotten so far beyond gray that they're black.
If you want to make a page for the aligned continuity as a whole and add that trope, then go ahead. But it does not apply to the actions and events as depicted in this show.
Then there you have it. We agree that the Decepticon cause, at the very least, started in the grey area and that the show makes no secret of this. By your own acknowledgement, we agree that several present day Decepticons and their actions also count as moral grey areas. And despite your refusal to acknowledge it, the Autobots have made decisions that even they admitted were morally questionable. Their side includes a character like Wheeljack, whose every other action is written to be morally questionable and to conflict with the other Autobots. They're not all good, cannot be, and they understand this.
And while I'd like to sit here with you for a week and argue Megatron's moral compass (psst, it's kind of a shitty compass), I'm more interested in finding a fitting trope for a story like this.
So if no one else has any objections, I think Morality Kitchen Sink would be the way to go.
If they admit they were morally questionable and regret doing that, that still makes them "White" on the scale—Grey morality is when they do those things as a matter of course, don't regret them, and they're presented as the right things to do. And as that page says, having a couple of grey characters does not disqualify it from Black and Gray Morality. And Wheeljack isn't really that gray—what has he even done on screen that's morally questionable?
That said, the Decepticons as a whole are still wholly presented as wrong—Dreadwing's devotion to his brother and to honor don't stop him from ambushing and killing Wreckers in space, nor does it stop him from following Megatron. Starscream and Knock Out both laugh at the idea of killing off humanity.
During the course of the show, in the events between episode 1 and the end of the current season, the Autobots and Decepticons are, as a whole, presented as totally right and totally wrong, respectively, in their goals, motivations, and actions.
How they're portrayed in other parts of the aligned continuity (which contradicts itself enormously from work to work—there's at least two different stories for how Bumblebee lost his voice box, for example) isn't what this page is about—the page is about how they're portrayed in this TV show, and in this TV show, the Autobots are portrayed as right and almost always regretting or disapproving of morally questionable actions, and the Decepticons are a group who've tried to murder kids onscreen multiple times and think murdering the other 7 billion people on the planet is hilarious.
Alright. At this point, it seems you're more interested in keeping an argument going than anything, and contradicting yourself all over the place (i.e, ambushing someone is wrong, except when the Autobots do it. Taking pleasure in killing is evil, except when Wheeljack does it).
I'm adding the trope and tweaking the phrasing.
You're overgeneralizing and completely missing my point. It's not "taking pleasure in killing is evil, except when Wheeljack does it," it's "taking pleasure in murdering a whole planet that isn't even aware of you out of spite is evil." There is no comparison between Wheeljack enjoying the fight and Starscream, Megatron, and Knock Out laughing about murdering a whole planet.
And it's not "ambushing is wrong, except when the Autobots do it," it was "Dreadwing's supposed honor doesn't stop him from doing things that go directly against that honor."
Do not twist my words, please.
What I'm interested in, is keeping the appropriate tropes on the page, and keeping ones that do not apply off. It is my opinion that if any of the Morality tropes apply to the series, it's Black and White Morality, and not Morality Kitchen Sink. Don't twist my words, and don't try to dismiss my arguments in that fashion.
I've presented you evidence from the show itself, I've given you plenty of objective arguments, and I've even compromised with you. At this point, the only one clinging to an ill-fitting trope is you. I'm not dismissing your argument, but I'm also not going to sit here with you forever and nitpick the morality of killing in wartime when the show itself questions it.
It's a sticky area and Morality Kitchen Sink is broad enough to accommodate everyone. It doesn't call either side black, white, or grey, simply accounts for ambiguity. It allows the Decepticons to be ruthless, dangerous and generally pretty nasty while still acknowledging the — for lack of a better term — humanity their ranks often shown. And it allows the Autobots to be good guys who protect humans, but still takes their morally questionable moments into account.
No, you presented evidence from before the show's timeline, appear to have (willfully or otherwise) misinterpreted several things even from then, and have tried to dismiss my argument with false dichotomies, as I pointed out in the previous post.
Morality Kitchen Sink is when there's many varying viewpoints and levels of morality, including different factions that all fall along the scale—this does not apply to Transformers Prime. There are two sides, one clearly in the right, one presented very clearly as being in the wrong, and being very wrong at that—going to the lengths of attempted genocide.
And, again, just because individuals might come off as gray does not mean that it isn't Black and White Morality. The page says:
Where is it ever presented that the Autobots and their side are wrong? Where are the Decepticons ever depicted as being right?
The show is clear in its depiction—the Autobots are good guys and they're in the right, the Decepticons are the badguys and they're in the wrong. You, personally, are making moral judgments about their actions and trying to force that interpretation as the correct one. Your initial edits made it pretty clear your motivation had more to do with you, personally, not liking some of the actions the Autobots took.
I'm with Mr. Death on this. There are NO puppy kickers on the Autobot side, the humans all fall neatly into "good or MECH", and the only non-puppy-kicking decepticon was Dreadwing, and one character simply isn't enough to justify portraying everything as morally gray.
Sure, the puppy-kickers on the Decepticon side get sympathy moments, but that's just portraying them as three-dimensional puppy-kickers, not making them morally gray.
The backstory in other media (if anyone has raised it, not clear) is irrelevant, considering how much divergence you get in any given continuity family (compare g1 comics to g1 cartoon to Kiss Players, f'rinstance).
I took my evidence from the same source as you, that is to say Ratchet's brief account of Megatron and Optimus's history. We agreed that the Decepticon cause originated in the grey area. This is a sympathetic cause. Therefore, it's not Black and White Morality.
The Autobots are portrayed as the side to root for. They're presented, at the end of the day, as good guys trying to do the right thing. But there are many times when they're shown as being something other than "in the right", and this always ties into the series' overall theme of War is Really Terrible. I've listed these examples to you, and you continually offer personal opinions as to why these examples "aren't so bad because..."
On the other end of things, you have Decepticons like Breakdown, Dreadwing, and Skyquake, whose only crime was doing the job he'd been given as a soldier. Very clear and deliberate grey areas. You have entire episodes that explore their moral standards. Every time I bring these up, you counter with "Well, they still follow Megatron."
You are flat out ignoring two seasons of the show exploring this very difficult question we are arguing about right now in favor of your own biased opinion.
And on that very first point, you were right. The Autobots don't quite qualify as anti-heroes, and so grey and black morality was a poor match. I've conceded to you on that one.
But the situation has never been portrayed as stark black and white, either. And you refuse to admit even that much.
The problem is that for all their moral standards, they're still obeying a guy who dopes using Satan's blood and is OK with corpse desecration and genocide of people that don't even know about him. They actively aid and support him in this- making them complicit in his deeds. And the Nuremberg Defense was never really seen as valid. That they have positive aspects making them gray is undeniable, but that they're anywhere near a bright enough shade of gray for that to matter is only valid for Dreadwing, who was the only one to draw a line somewhere and declare that he wasn't going to go puppy-kicking with the boys today.
Thus, while there is variation, its "one side is solid white with some tiny streaks of off-white (maybe eggshell?), the other side is solid black with some small streaks of very, very dark gray", which is basically black and white for troping purposes.
What are these "many times" where the Autobots are shown as being wrong? You haven't cited anything specific except to say that it's happened, and vaguely referring to Wheeljack, whose reprehensible actions include...uh...being a little more trigger happy than is absolutely necessary, I guess?
Seriously, I can't even think of anything—any specific action—Wheeljack has done that's reprehensible or flat-out wrong. I can't think of much the Autobots have done to that end either that they weren't immediately called out on—by the other Autobots—as being wrong for.
Breakdown, Dreadwing, and Skyquake are all presented with clear opportunities to change sides, and don't—and these are all characters who are very well aware of what Megatron is like, what his actions have wrought, and what lengths he's willing to go to. Of the three, Dreadwing and Skyquake are most sympathetic—but that isn't saying much, since Skyquake's one speaking scene amounts to, "I serve Lord Megatron and to hell with any reasoned arguments for why I shouldn't!" Breakdown maybe cares about the guys on the lower decks, but that's about it. Dreadwing, when it came down to it, still couldn't go back on the Decepticons, and this "honorable warrior" was first introduced as someone who, as I recall, was faking distress signals to lure Autobots into death traps.
They all joined Megatron willingly—they weren't soldiers who were given jobs they couldn't turn away from, they volunteered to join him. His cause might have originated in a grey area, but so have most of the more hellish dictators on the face of the planet. The war itself started not when Megatron's goal of equality was shot down—it started because when he demanded to be made the next Prime, the council said no, and Optimus made the argument better. Or are you forgetting that part, where Megatron starts a world war, and dooms his race and his planet, because he was snubbed when he demanded power?
And by the time the show happens? Even if there might have been a point beyond the Decepticons, by this point their side's main goal is purely conquering and spiting the Autobots. Even when Megatron is handed a golden opportunity to repair his planet and rule it as a freaking king, he decides that kicking Optimus while he's down is more important.
All you've pointed out is that, occasionally, one of the Decepticons is given some characterization, but as I pointed out, that does not disqualify it from Black and White Morality. Again, I urge you to read that trope, because it does not say that every single character has to be completely black or completely white, which seems to be the criteria you are attributing to it.
But all of that factors into one of the big questions in Transformers Prime: in war, how far do you go to win? For the Decepticons, that's a pretty broad category. Dip into Unicron's blood, take your enemies' tiny alien companions hostage, use biological warfare. Remain loyal to your leader, even though he just inadvertently doomed your planet a second time.
For the Autobots, it's a serious dilemma that comes up again and again. Do you kill your enemy while he's lying there helpless? If not, should you save him? Do you torture prisoners? Do you use a weapon of mass destruction that goes against pretty much everything you believe in? And usually, the answer is "No. Well, maybe. Sometimes? Do we even know anymore?"
It's that constant questioning that keeps it from being black and white, and makes Prime such an engaging show.
"Choices: All major choices that the heroes are faced with are either unambiguously right or wrong. There aren't any grey areas, and when a Sadistic Choice is presented, there's always a third option. Furthermore, the heroes will always make the right choice unless they're about to learn An Aesop or pull a Face Heel Turn."
Please take your own advice and read the trope you're pushing so desperately.
I did. I read the start of that section, which said, "This can come in a variety of forms:" That's an example of one of the ways a show can fit Black and White Morality, not a hard and fast rule that it has to follow to qualify.
The Decepticons are, in their actions and motivations, far too Black to qualify the show for White and Gray Morality. The show never presents their actions and motivations as being right.
The Autobots are, in their actions and motivations, far too White to qualify the show for Black and Gray Morality. The show almost never shows their actions and motivations as being wrong, and when it does, it's almost always immediately followed by someone calling them out, and them learning a lesson about it.
Even when they have a "serious dilemma" as you put it, the show's almost always perfectly clear about what's the right choice.
The show, as a whole, does not have nearly the kind of diversity of factions that is required to qualify for Morality Kitchen Sink.
Ergo, the closest of the tropes it fits is Black and White Morality.
"Even when they have a 'serious dilemma' as you put it, the show's almost always perfectly clear about what's the right choice."
Except that it isn't. For every decision that it unambiguously declares to be right (not driving a drill into your enemy's face while he's buried in rock) there is another that it leaves open to interpretation (Wheeljack's behavior; Bulkhead beating the clone to death) or declares to be wrong, but a means to an end (the spark extractor.)
And this is where we're going in circles. I've just handed you three pieces of evidence as they were presented in the show. Are you going to take them seriously, or make excuses based on personal opinion and then say I've presented you with no evidence?
-Fully willing to leave Fowler in the hands of homicidal robots.
-Again willing to make the same decision for Vince.
-Beats the Starscream clone to death, afterwards simply stating, "He left me no choice," even though he could have simply gotten out of the way.
-Willing to let Cliffjumper be killed by the Decepticons even after he saved her from Airachnid.
-Forced Starscream into a death battle after surrendering to the Autobots.
-Smears Mech all over the walls after they take his t-cog.
-Willing to leave Starscream to bleed out when he seemed to be without valuable information.
-Nearly blasted Megatron's head off when he couldn't even walk.
-The smackdown during 'One Shall Fall' was pretty iffy.
-Allowing children on the front lines of their war.
This is a small list of some of the more morally ambiguous actions by Team Prime. Very rarely is an Aesop presented in these situations, and they hardly ever stick. Most of Team Prime is motivated by ending the war,and will take extreme measures to do so.
Again, On The Hill, I said be specific. "Wheeljack's behavior" is not specific.
As to the others: Bulkhead is immediately told it's wrong, and doesn't go through with it anyway, in both cases. It takes all of one line for someone to convince him to help. I.e., the show is clearly saying, "That was wrong."
Beating Starscream to death? It's a stretch to say that Scream doesn't deserve to have his face pounded in, and look at Bulkhead's face—he clearly regrets it the second he realizes what he was doing. I.e., the show is saying, "This is wrong to do."
Arcee: Where was she willing to let him be killed? I recall her being cold toward him, but aside from that she didn't abandon him or anything. And, again, she tells the story as an example of how she was wrong. And, again, Starscream was asking for it, almost literally—and, once again she's presented as being wrong for doing it. Not to mention that she had stopped asking him to fight, when he backstabbed her and then, you know, tried to murder her.
Bumblebee was fighting enemy combatants. He's a soldier. It's kind of what they do.
The Spark Extractor is a weapon, and it was used against an enemy army. It's an extreme measure, sure, but how is it any different than beating all those 'cons to death like they had been doing?
Starscream offered a trade. Information for medical aid. If he doesn't have information, he doesn't get the medical aid. Ratchet has no good, moral reason to render aid to someone who will—and has—gleefully murder people if you let him run free.
Optimus: Honestly, I'd argue that blasting Megatron's head off in any circumstances is morally good. Dude is straight up evil.
Are you going to say that any kind of violence is wrong now? How in the world is Optimus beating up Megatron morally wrong? It's Megatron.
Miko is the one most frequently on the "front lines" and that's only because she keeps sprinting out into them before anyone can stop her—and while everyone's saying it's wrong for her to be on the front lines. Jack ends up on the front lines mostly by accident. Raff is almost never on the front lines unless the 'Cons come at him.
The show is pretty darn clear on where its axis of right and wrong stands. In each of those instances, we're shown, directly (everyone saying, "Don't do that, it's wrong!") or indirectly (situations presented in the narrative as wrong), that they weren't right to do those things.
Black and White Morality isn't necessarily that nothing the good guys ever do could possibly be ambiguous—it means that the show has a clear delineation of what's right and what's wrong, and when the characters do wrong, it's clearly presented as being wrong. Which is the case here.
"It's war and the Autobots are soldiers." Correct! Bingo! Give this one a prize! The Autobots are soldiers in a war, fighting against the enemy. Oftentimes, they get a very real enjoyment out of killing their opponents. Often, they resort to doing horrible, ugly things (like using the Spark Extractor, which is different from any other weapon because it is stated in canon that it is.) The fact that they sometimes feel bad does not make it okay. Never does the show state that feeling bad about your actions excuses them completely.
It intentionally leaves the viewer to decide, which is why we are were we are now.
The Decepticons are also soldiers in a war, fighting against the enemy. Doing brutal things. Enjoying victories against the enemy. Loyal to their leader, who once upon a time, was a gifted young revolutionary who rose out of the gladiator pits to resist their corrupt system of governing. Time, anger, and the thirst for vengeance have turned him into something pretty ugly, but those under him are a mixed bag.
That's not Black and White Morality. It's a show that's prepared to question Black and White Morality, raise heavy questions, and give us as realistic a depiction of war as possible given the demographic.
Stories that are interested in staying out of the grey don't often give us Inglourious Basterds homages.
I don't appreciate the patronizing sarcasm, so please, do kindly knock it off.
The show presents a clear, stark difference between what's right and wrong—the Decepticons are very clearly portrayed as wrong in their actions and overall motivations. The Autobots are very clearly portrayed as right, and whenever they do something "wrong", they're either called out on it or otherwise clearly shown as being wrong.
I'm not saying that "feeling bad about your actions excuses them completely," so once again, stop putting words in my mouth, and stop twisting and deliberately misinterpreting what I'm saying.
I'm saying that the show is very clear that those actions are wrong. It is very clear on the morality that it's portraying. It very clearly says, "These things are wrong. When Ratchet/Arcee/Bulkhead did them, they were wrong to do that, and they learned that lesson." That is what makes it Black and White Morality.
Does it play with that? Yes. But, as stated, the Autobots are far too white and the Decepticons far too black for it to qualify as either White and Gray Morality or Gray and Black Morality, and it simply does not have the diversity of factions and character alignments to quality for Morality Kitchen Sink. None of those other morality tropes fit. No matter how you want to twist and creatively misinterpret what's going on, they do. not. fit.
The closest thing that applies is Black and White Morality, because...
"I'm saying that the show is very clear that those actions are wrong."
Time and time again, I've given you examples that were deliberately left less than clear cut: The Starscream clone (no, Bulkhead looking guilty is not the same as the show making things "very clear", which is the reason this scene is debated so heavily), the Spark Extractor, and the existence of Wheeljack (kills enemies with sheer delight, goes on personal vengeance quests, doesn't see anything wrong with planting a bomb on Laserbeak to take out Soundwave, and won't even stay with Team Prime because their methods clash so drastically.)
"A general rule of thumb as to whether or not black-and-white morality is present is that the heroes are almost always considered to be in the right."
And they aren't. You personally consider them to always be right, and you're contradicting yourself left and right. I'm not putting words in your mouth, you're putting them in your own.
As for Morality Kitchen Sink? Well, let's see...
You have the Autobots fighting for their beliefs, the Decepticons fighting for their own, and grey areas on both sides. You have humans who side with the Autobots, humans who side with MECH, and the constantly looming shadow of the military, whose first priority is humankind and who will terminate Team Prime if they step out of line. You have the Insecticons, whose loyalty is towards the hive and whoever happens to be holding the reins. Soon, we'll be getting the Predacons.
If it doesn't fit Morality Kitchen Sink, then you'd better go to Morality Kitchen Sink and start cutting half the page. Because under your logic, all those examples "do. not. fit.
No, it's mostly your opinion that's at work here. You are, once again, completely twisting and misinterpreting Wheeljack ("sheer delight"? What? You're trying to make him sound like some cackling madman who just goes around slaughtering guys which...he's not). He didn't leave because "their methods clash so drastically," he left because he didn't want to be tied down to one place.
"Fighting for their beliefs" is uselessly vague. In this case, the Decepticon "beliefs" are, by this point in the series, uniformly bad. You know, like conquering worlds, destroying humanity, putting themselves selfishly on top of the pile?
What "looming shadow of the military"? Where has there been any indication that they'd "terminate Team Prime if they step out of line"? Do you mean how, when it looked a lot like Team Prime had stepped out of line, the military took its time to carefully interview their liaison, then backed off entirely when Optimus came over and said, "Wasn't me, k"?
The Insecticons aren't a faction, they're just another set of even more brutal Decepticon troops. The Predacons are most likely going to be more of the same.
Since you've now moved to just plain making stuff up, I think we're done here.
Wheeljack openly loves fighting. He loves fighting against Decepticons, he loves killing them, and he freely resorts to methods the rest of Team Prime disagrees with, which I have listed to you. That's not opinion, that is his character.
The Decepticon faction, it has been established in canon, grew out of a moral grey area. Again, not my opinion.
Oh, I don't know? The reason the Autobots are so strict about staying covert? The reason they have to scramble whenever their cover is blown? The entire point of "Grill"? The military/government was very orderly about it, conducted their interviews, and backed off when Optimus himself showed up, but it was made clear that the termination (the wording using in the episode synopsis) of Team Prime was a possibility. They're not good, not evil, just a group that's opted to form a tentative alliance with the aliens that seem the least hostile.
The Insecticons had launched a full assault on the Nemesis; they stopped at the last possible second, at the very instant Airachnid dropped out of commission. Earlier, one of them nearly killed Megatron. Their loyalties can literally change in an instant and aren't reliant on morals, politics, or ideals, but rather some strange, buggy mechanism that's yet to be explained.
And you're right. Since you've started flat out ignoring my evidence in favor of "you're misinterpreting things" and "most likely's", I think we're very done here.
Saying Wheeljack takes "sheer delight" makes it sound like he's a cackling psychopath who only likes to kill. Which isn't his character. He enjoys the fight, yes, but you're deliberately mischaracterizing him to try and make your point.
The Decepticon faction's establishment in other parts of the canon is not a trope pertaining to this show. In this show, they are very much clearly badguys.
Once again, you said the "shadow of the military" would "terminate the Autobots if they stepped out of line." That is not at all what happened. The military is portrayed as another bunch of good guys who were—entirely justifiably—worried that some giant alien robots had turned on them. Saying "termination was a possibility" doesn't make them gray—and the episode synopses are often misleading, deliberately so to not give away the real point of an episode.
You're trying to make it sound like they're some sinister force that is just itching for an excuse to turn on Team Prime, which is not at all the case.
And the Insecticons are, again, not a faction—they serve someone directly. In this case, the instant that they were out of Airachnid's control, they immediately side with Megatron and apologize for ever being against him and declare their complete and total loyalty to him.
The Insecticons are not a wily wildcard, they're completely loyal to Megatron, and, as such, just another part of the Decepticon machine.
Calling it anything other than Black and White Morality would require that there be some group that actually falls in between the Autobots and Decepticons, and there isn't. You have the Autobots and the military firmly on the good side, and the Decepticons and MECH firmly on the bad side. As I've pointed out before, having complex characters on both sides doesn't mean it isn't BAWM.
You haven't presented any evidence. You've presented your own biased whitewashing of the Decepticons and demonization of the Autobots, and nothing more.
The show is clear in its portrayal of right vs. wrong, and there is not nearly enough diversity of the factions or the morality of the people within those factions for it to be Morality Kitchen Sink.
To be perfectly blunt, from all what I know, this work is clearly Black and White Morality.
And that's why I'm not citing other parts of the canon. I'm citing Transformers Prime, One Shall Rise, this very brief flashback which goes as thus.
"The great Autobot leader was once named Orion Pax, a simple clerk in the Iacon Hall of Records. Learning of Cybertron's past, Orion grew concerned about the corruption affecting high places and the state of inequity in society. He became inspired by the revolutionary words of Megatronus, a gladiator who took his name from one of the thirteen original Primes. Megatronus gained a loyal following through his radical and innovative actions, Soundwave chief among their number."
That's it. That was Megatron's start, and the start of the Decepticons. Politics.
"You're trying to make it sound like they're some sinister force that is just itching for an excuse to turn on Team Prime, which is not at all the case."
Now who's twisting whose words? The military isn't portrayed as some sinister force. Neither are they siding with the Autobots out of some shared belief in goodness and freedom. They'll help them, since they share a common enemy in the Decepticons, and if things come down to it, they'll terminate them. Or at the very least, evict them.
If you think I've been trying to whitewash the Decepticons and demonize the Autobots, you haven't been reading a single word I've said for the past week. It's an ancient, alien war between two factions, and while it's clear who we're supposed to like (the ones who don't believe in stepping on us or bowling over our planet), it allows for all the grey areas that come with war. All the heavy questions. It's also about the humans caught in the middle, and as I've said, they're all over the place.
That's three diverse groups, even if you don't care to count the Insecticons.
"while it's clear who we're supposed to like"
This is what makes it Black and White Morality. The other material fits into Enemy Mine and other tropes.
That is absolutely not what Black and White Morality means. There's not even any argument on that one. Who we're supposed to like has zilch to do with the trope.
Yes, it is. We are only supposed to like one part.
Now, concerning Morality Kitchen Sink: By your definition, about every work ever would qualify for that - "none of the groups fit cleanly into the White-Gray-Black categorization".
To borrow Mr Death's argument...
"A general rule of thumb as to whether or not black-and-white morality is present is that the heroes are almost always considered to be in the right, while the villains are always 'wrong'."
That's Black and White Morality. And it's not the case here. The Autobots are characters who want to be white, follow a leader who tries so painfully hard to stay white, but always find themselves back in that grey area. They're up against a monster who arguably wasn't always a monster, leading a group that consists of puppykickers, punch clock villians, and honor-bound soldiers. Through all this discussion and nitpicking, that's my main point. Whatever it is, it's not black and white. It's much too complex for that.
And no, not every work. Just a work like this, where War Is Hell is such an important focus and characters are rarely as morally clear-cut as the leaders they follow. In fact, I'm not even sure we have a morality trope that fits Transformers Prime perfectly.
It's not the same kind of morality trope, but in the interest of reaching some kind of middle ground, another one that fits it might be Sliding Scale of Unavoidable vs. Unforgivable.
On The Hill, you're cherry picking. You're citing his supposed motivation, but completely ignoring the rest of that flashback, where Ratchet says outright that Megatron started the war because they didn't make him a Prime. His following might have come from politics, but the war started as a grab for power when he was denied it.
And you're ascribing a lot of traits to the Military that are simply not presented in the show. Saying they're a "looming shadow" who'll terminate them "if they get out of line" is painting them as some sinister force—your own language tries to paint them as a constant, tangible threat to the Autobots that they're only barely skating past, when they just plain aren't.
I've been reading them, and yes, you have been whitewashing (calling the Decepticons only soldiers fighting for their beliefs) and demonizing (trying to paint Wheeljack as some blackhearted murderer who kills constantly and gleefully).
And no, "the humans" are not a single group—there's the military (good guys siding with the Autobots and against the Decepticons) and MECH (Bad guys, as bad as the Decepticons).
Repeatedly, I've painted Wheeljack as one thing and one thing only, and that's a hotheaded guy who really, really likes fighting Decepticons, and who does a lot of things the Autobots disapprove of. Same as he's painted in canon. If you interpret that as "WHEELJACK IS MURDERER", well, there's nothing I can do about that.
Exactly. The humans are not a single group. They consist of the humans consist of those who are firmly on the side of the Autobots (the kids, Fowler, June), to those who ally with the Autobots, but don't always trust them (military), and MECH (everyone's enemy.)
Please stop putting words in my mouth and stop using hyperbole.
OK, guys? How does this arguing affect the whole Morality Kitchen Sink question? (Or whichever trope we are talking about)
Also, On The Hill, I have a hard time grasping how what you say matters with respect to morality. Morality Kitchen Sink has stricter requirements than "dualistic alliance system".
Well, no. What you said about Wheeljack is someone who "kills enemies with sheer delight, goes on personal vengeance quests...and won't even stay with Team Prime because their methods clash so drastically." Yes, that does paint a picture of Wheeljack as some kind of crazed killer. Those are your words.
Aside from when it appeared that Optimus Prime had gone rogue and wiped out a military base, we're never shown that the military doesn't trust them. Aside from that, the military has always been firmly on the Autobots' side, and that was over in all of one episode. And during the brief period where they were made to think the Autobots had turned murderous, what did they do? They talked to their liaison and worked things out, and went right back to the status quo. That's not something that happens if there isn't already trust and cooperation between them.
You're the one saying that the Military doesn't trust Team Prime and is ready to terminate them "if they step out of line." Again, your words, which are not backed up by what we see in the show—where the Autobots do apparently step out of line, and the hostile, untrusting military...talks to them and works things out in an afternoon and one brief "hello" from Optimus.
Septimus, On The Hill is still trying to push his opinion by cherry picking, generalizing, and misrepresenting characters and their actions, trying to say that the morality in the show is more diverse than it is—he's said Wheeljack is someone who kills with "sheer delight", as if he was the Joker, while whitewashing the Decepticons. That's how he's pushing for that trope, hence the argument.
Mr Death, do not engage into "poisoning the well", please. There is a reason Wikipedia cites it under "Ad Hominem".
Anyhow, I'll throw a vote into this discussion and say that this work qualifies as Black and White Morality barring evidence of grayer or whiter portrayal.
I got directed to this from here, and I've skimmed over this discussion (but not in exact detail). After reviewing the various morality pages I would have to say that the best fit would be Morality Kitchen Sink simply because the morality of the show is not simple enough to fit into clear categories. Out of simplicity we should ignore anything from War For Cybertron/Fall Of Cybertron or Transformers Exodus as this is about the Transformers: Prime page alone.
@KJ Mackley, while I otherwise agree with your writeup (it makes it much easier to read this all), "This is the go-to morality trope for stories that can't easily be pigeonholed into one of the others. The fact there is an argument here would suggest this is the best option." looks like shoehorning of Morality Kitchen Sink. That is about completely mixed morality systems, not just "When the other two don't apply". Most importantly, it says twice that no character may be completely black or white.
Under Shades of Conflict, we do have White and Grey Vs. Grey and Black. That seems like it would be the most fitting, if it were an actual trope with an actual page.
It's followed by a link to Morality Kitchen Sink, for what that's worth.
So it's an example of "White and Grey Vs. Grey and Black", I see.
Probably not the best choice of words but my point still stands, in some ways this is like The Great Character Alignment Debate. We could devise a million different ways morality is portrayed and on-paper they would be distinct but in practice there would be A LOT of examples that are shared. Morality Kitchen Sink is the only one that addresses the key distinction that this discussion proves, that individual characters are not defined wholly by what faction they are associated with and thus the factions themselves are not cut and dry. Certainly there is no question of which side is the good guys and which side is the bad guys but even Optimus has been questioned on what he is willing to do in order to end the war.
OK, this is becoming too hair-splitty for me. I still feel that it's shoehorning to say it falls under Morality Kitchen Sink, especially since "Optimus has been questioned on what he is willing to do in order to end the war. " sounds like Fanon to me.
Once with Ratchet's tirade and again with the Spark Extractor. Two very different instances, but in both cases, Optimus was forced to seriously consider what he was willing (or unwilling) to do to end the war.
While White and Grey vs. Grey and Black would be the trope that fits this situation perfectly, I don't think it would be stretching or shoehorning to place it under Morality Kitchen Sink, either. They're very similar tropes, even overlapping.
It's not fanon, Ratchet's blowout on Optimus during "Stronger, Faster" was clearly meant to have some truth to it ("You didn't destroy him when you had the chance, MANY chances in fact!") and Ratchet again questioned Optimus' decision to destroy the Omega Lock, saving Earth but dooming Cybertron. This isn't an Alternate Character Interpretation but something suggested in the series.
... so he's grayer for NOT killing a guy? And for choosing to save a living planet and not an abandoned inhospitable one? Those are both "Damned If You Do, Damned if You Don't" situations. If Prime had killed Megatron earlier, or chosen Cybertron you absolutely would've called him out for that.
And again, calling the Decepticons anything but Black is just silly. They're clearly quite villainous as a whole. Like I said before, the Decepticons are treated as the bad guys of the narrative. Plain and simple.
From the B&WM Page: "A general rule of thumb as to whether or not black-and-white morality is present is that the heroes are almost always considered to be in the right, while the villains are always 'wrong'." The narrative treats the Autobots as unmistakably the good guys, and the Decepticons as unmistakably villainous. The times you mentioned the heroes getting called out aren't them being called out for the morality of their choices so much as them having to make a Sadistic Choice.
Look, I like the Decepticons. Much more than the Autobots. I also liked adaptations that are a bit grayer (Megatron: Origin for example, or even Animated) but I just don't think it applies here.
"... so he's grayer for NOT killing a guy?"
We could argue that one all day. The point is, Ratchet believes so.
And you're right. War Is Hell, so the Autobots are constantly being handed sadistic choices. And sometimes, they're forced to choose sadistic options. In a Black and White Morality, the show wouldn't have characters like Wheeljack or Ratchet. The Autobots would just be right all the time.
Morality Kitchen Sink doesn't mean you can't have two sides and be expected to side with a certain one. As KJ Mackley said, Morality Kitchen Sink is "a wide spectrum of characters ranging from purely good to irredeemably evil, with morally iffy characters aligned with both the good guys and the bad guys."
Thing is, there really isn't anyone "iffy" with the badguys (Dreadwing was probably the closest, but even then he was driven by revenge and unfailingly loyal to Megatron—and, per BAWM's tendency to get rid of grey characters in one way or another, he's dead), and the most "iffy" good guy (Wheeljack) really isn't that "iffy" (his major crime being that he's kind of headstrong and enjoys a good fight).
And this, "In a Black And White Morality, the show wouldn't have characters like Wheeljack or Ratchet," just plain isn't true. The BAWM page says that there can be and are gray characters in such a setting. And even when Ratchet calls Optimus out, the show is still largely siding with Optimus.
Mr Death, you're bringing personal opinion into this again. As far as the narrative goes, Wheeljack and Dreadwing are iffy. Ditto for Breakdown.
"And even when Ratchet calls Optimus out, the show is still largely siding with Optimus."
There's no evidence of that. Neither is there any evidence that it "sides" with Ratchet, or anyone else. It's an extremely difficult question that is raised, then intentionally left unanswered.
Honestly, even though I agreed with Ratchet, the entire theme of the aesop was that Ratchet was out of control on the Synth-En which honestly undermines any point he made.
Well, no. The aesop was that Ratchet was generally out of control and that this wasn't acceptable at all. That he made one or two (arguably) legitimate points during the whole fiasco was sort of the idea. As we see again in the season finale, Ratchet is often frustrated with Optimus and his way of doing things. Not just shallow irritation that the plot brushes off, but real, legitimate upset.
The show allows this from him, which keeps it from that "heroes are always right" qualification of Black and White Morality.
Except Prime isn't less moral for letting Megatron live. He may have made a poor decision, but Ratchet's issue with it isn't a moral one, it's a pragmatic one. "Heroes are always right" doesn't mean they always make the BEST decisions, but that the decisions they make are portrayed as the most moral. And you really, really can't argue that not killing someone is less moral than killing him.
It's very much a moral issue. Optimus's personal moral system is constantly at odds with the brutality surrounding him and his team, and questioned in scenes like the one we're discussing ("I will not endanger innocent human lives." "You seem to have no problem endangering ours.")
It's not about what I can or can't argue. That the narrative is asking these questions and leaving the answers ambiguous is what keeps the answer from being as clear cut as Black and White Morality requires.
"Bringing" personal opinion into this? It all started from yours, On The Hill. And it is your opinion that Dreadwing and Wheeljack are "iffy," or at least the extent to which their iffy-ness matters.
And what has Breakdown done that could be considered "good"? All I can think of is showing some appreciation for the lower deck guys.
Mr Death, I'm very close to being done with you. I've given you reasons, and you accuse me of whitewashing the Decepticons and comparing Wheeljack to the Joker. If you want my reasoning, there it is above us.
I see your reasoning. I think it's ill-founded and highly based on your own opinion and interpretation of events.
The language you used to make your argument has clear connotations that I find it hard to believe are unintentional. "Kills enemies with sheer delight" is not how I would describe Wheeljack's actions, unless I was deliberately trying to make him sound worse than he is. "Kills enemies with sheer delight" is how I would describe someone like the Joker, or any number of psychopathic villains. It is, quite simply, not a description that fits Wheeljack.
Likewise, quoting the flashback about Megatron's political aspirations while ignoring the part that comes after it—where he starts a war directly to grab power because they didn't give in to his demands to make him a Prime—is deliberately slanting, and something I can't see a reason for unless you want to paint the Decepticons as better than they are—ignoring the evil actions while highlighting supposedly good intentions (intentions that are A. millions of years in the past, and B. entirely moot now that the planet and hierarchical structure are, in fact, dead) is, in fact, whitewashing.
I ignored everything that came after Megatron's political aspirations because, for that argument, they were irrelevant. My point was that the Decepticon faction canonically grew out of politics and the corrupt state of Cybertron, that this is canon, and that this is counts as a sympathetic motivation. It has nothing to do with the quality of Megatron's personal character or how much time has passed since then.
Regarding Wheeljack and Dreadwing, I'm going to say this just one more time.
1) Wheeljack is an Autobot who is frequently at odds with Team Prime. They often have serious qualms with his methods and his behavior. This is canon. 2) Dreadwing is a Decepticon who is portrayed as morally grey. His personal honor system, desire to avenge his twin, interactions with the Autobots, and eventual death clearly indicate this. Also canon.
These are grey, "iffy" characters, whether or not you personally think it's enough to "matter."
One flashback of sympathetic motives that no longer apply does not override two whole seasons of actions that paint them as black.
And, once again, having a grey character on either side does not preclude Black and White Morality.
Also...wait. Dreadwing's desire to avenge his twin helps make him grey as opposed to black (i.e., that it's a good quality), while you earlier cited Wheeljack's desire to avenge his friends and comrades as something that helps make him grey as opposed to white (i.e., that it's a bad quality)?
One flashback of sympathetic motives (that absolutely matters, since the war that ultimately grew out of said motives is still going on) is still a flashback of sympathetic motives. Black and White Morality stresses a lack of these.
No, it doesn't. But having a distinctly grey character on each side, grey actions on each side, and heroes who strongly disagree on what "the right thing" even is certainly does.
Transformers Prime is odd about vengeance and never terribly consistent in its portrayal. Usually, the message is that seeking vengeance is never worth it — and indeed, Dreadwing's quest for it ends up getting him killed. It would seem that caring for your loved ones enough to want to (Arcee, Wheeljack, Dreadwing) is a positive quality. Actually strapping on your weapons and taking action (attacking Starscream, going after Hardshell, attacking Starscream) is not.
It doesn't fit under Black and White Morality. The question of where it does fit is what we're trying to work out now, and it looks like White and Grey Vs. Grey and Black is the answer.
I am rather dubious that "heroes who strongly disagree on what "the right thing"" is evidence that it's not BAWM.
At any rate, I feel that while I can't assign this work a clear morality status, you both need to be reminded that this discussion is about the morality of a work, not about world peace - this discussion really doesn't need to be that protracted.
"One flashback of sympathetic motives (that absolutely matters, since the war that ultimately grew out of said motives is still going on) is still a flashback of sympathetic motives. Black And White Morality stresses a lack of these."
Once again, I have to point out that the list you're referring to on the BAWM page is not a set of hard and fast rules that a BAWM setting has to follow. They're several possible ways that something can fit BAWM, so no, the villains having had (in the past, millions of years before the series begins) a motivation beyond motiveless malignancy does not preclude BAWM.
This series fits the Characterization one:
Wheeljack may be iffy in his methods, but there's never any question about which side of the conflict he's on, and that he's definitely a good guy on the good side. Dreadwing, the other iffy character, may not switch to one side or the other, but he is dead—the second he stopped being even nominally on a side, he was removed from the setting.
The problem I see with White And Grey Vs. Grey And Black is that there really isn't a "grey" side—there's the White Autobots and their military allies (who even when they're suspicious of the Autobots, give them more benefit of the doubt than you might expect), and the Black Decepticons, and the non-affiliated parties are either still firmly black (MECH), Decepticons themselves whose only real issue with the Decepticon faction was that they weren't in charge of it (Starscream, Airachnid), or swiftly killed off (Dreadwing).
And granted, Septimus—I think On The Hill and I both agree the discussion should've been over long ago. We just can't agree to what the outcome of that discussion should be.
You can just leave the page as it is. As I said, there won't be any fatalities if the page is left with a missing or wrong trope.
Let's see for On The Hill.
I'm fine with leaving the page as-is at this point.
You're right, it should have been finished long ago. Because KJ Mackley, in a single post, summarized the issue and came very close to finishing it. It was just a matter of deciding between W&G VS G&B or Morality Kitchen Sink.
On the contrary, I think their recurring disagreements may even be the strongest indicator that it's not BAWM. It's a moral issue (safety of humanity and adherence to Optimus's personal ethics Vs. the safety of the Autobots and the revival of their planet), it crops up more than once, and the show never takes a hard and fast line on either side. It's just a difficult issue that's treated as such.
And I do feel that it's incredibly important for the page to have a morality trope, simply because morality plays such an important role in this particular storyline. It never shies away from the fact that war is brutal on both sides — that you can't always be the good guys. You can't always be right, or Take a Third Option when there's a Sadistic Choice in front of you. Sometimes your enemy isn't the scum of the universe.
And that's a bold, significant move for a Transformers TV series to make. It's one that I think is worth acknowledging.
Okay, that's something that confuses me a bit. How can it be W&G vs. G&B? That doesn't make much sense to me... if you're saying that either of those are viable then aren't you just saying Grey and Gray Morality?
I go for W&G vs G&B.
No, Grey and Gray Morality must be reasonably similar. Even here, we are supposed to like one side more than the other.
Grey and Gray Morality implies a bit more grey area on either side. Exodus would probably be grey/gray.
In W&G vs. G&B, "you want one side to be good guys yet still have moral ambiguity in both parts of the conflict."
I think the only semi-rational argument for Black and White Morality is the fact that the Autobots are generally portrayed as the heroes and the Decepticons are generally portrayed as the villains, traditionally works get into good/evil factions use that trope. As stated the fact the Decepticons rose out of rebelling against the unfair caste system means that whatever they are right now they did not originate as Card Carrying Villains.
Black and Grey Morality would suggest the Autobot faction as a whole is morally questionable. Optimus makes mistakes and has been criticized for his actions but he does angst over those decisions that don't have a clear-cut "white/grey/black" answer, as there are repercussions to acts that might be made with the best of intentions.
Grey and Grey Morality would suggest that the Decepticons have a noble reason for their actions, but once their original cause was made irrelevant (the Caste system fell apart almost right before the war began) they no longer had any excuse or justification for their brutality and warmongering. In a contrast to Optimus above, Megatron has no boundaries he is unwilling to cross.
While I agree with the W&G vs. G&B that is more of a footnote in an example-less trope trying to cover all the bases. The only argument I can see against Morality Kitchen Sink is that it is not meant for stories that have such clear cut faction affiliations. But I still see it as being the closest approximation given the writing of the show. Especially that before "One Shall Fall" Optimus seemed to have hopes that a peaceful resolution could be made and that it didn't have to come down to the annihilation of one side. Each character has their own motivations for the cause and aren't aligned with one side or the other just because.
I've waited a few days, I figured I would insert Morality Kitchen Sink into the trope list and hopefully it is worded in such a way that it doesn't cause any arguments.
It's perfectly possible for a work page to exist without any of these tropes.
Nothing should be added. We can't come to anything resembling a consensus. We went to ATT and basically the answer we got from there was, as you can see from Sep, that we don't need any of them so we probably shouldn't just add something that half of us disagree strongly with.
"When Smokescreen uses some Reverse Psychology to get Bulkhead, still recovering from Tox-En exposure, angry, up, and walking, Ratchet's reaction is to sputter incoherently before turning and stalking off."
Ratchet wasn't sputtering incoherently, if you listen closely you'll hear him saying under his breath something along the lines of "Don't even know what you're talking about!"
Should Tempting Fate go in this page? Or is it already there? Or, should it go in Megatron's bio?
I actually think that it should go on this page, listed as a very subtle variant due to the events of Regeneration. Ratchet just tells the kid to go home guardian-less, and the kids wind up as hostages.
Upon watching "Scrapheap" I know what would be beyond awesome. Seeing Megatron's reaction to Scraplets. Sure, Cybertronians have damn good reason to be afraid of those things. But seeing the Metal Warlord getting all jumpy and scared about them, and ordering a ship-wide hunt, would be even more hilarious than Bulkhead's terror.
And judging from the reactions of three giant robots, it could be engineered by dumping even one Scraplet on board the Nemesis.
Seeing as Megatron actually had to deal with a Star-Saber wielding Optimus Prime I'd doubt Scraplets would get much of a response out of him; he would be scared, that's a given, but he would play it cool. Knockout and Starscream's reactions, however, would be hilarious!
Oh, man. Knock Out dealing with a Scraplet infestation on the Nemesis would be the most hilarious thing ever.
Should Prime Bulkhead be considered an Expy of Animated Bulkhead?
Er...no, not really. Not sure you can expy yourself.
In the episode "Tunnel Vision" Knock-Out looks saddened for a moment when he mentions Breakdown's death, is this worth of a trope or not? If it is should the trope be, They Really Do love Each Other?
Even Evil Has Loved Ones.
Should The Ensemble Darkhorse and Complete monster entries be deleted and replaced with links to the actual pages (Possibly saying look for the TF Prime section
Does anybody want to make a drinking game?
1 Drink every time Arcee does her stock scream.
I have some more suggestions.
Drink every time Bulkhead hurts Starscream in some way.
Drink every time Optimus and Dreadwing have their Worthy Opponent moments.
Take a sip if Megatron delivers a Curb-Stomp Battle to somebody.
Every time it looks like Bulkhead is about to die, take a drink.
Every time Dreadwing almost blows somebody up, drink.
I love this show, but feel this series could do with one.
Could Megatron arguably qualify for Magnificent Bastard status now?
Certainly for Manipulative Bastard.I'd wait for the third part of Orion Pax and how he reacts to whatever goes down in it (which will certainly be major for Orion's current role, at the very least) before putting him down for Magnificent Bastard just yet. I do think he's heading that way- I'd just wait for the end of this arc to call fo sure.
I don't think we can call it in yet. He's a little too ruthless and slightly distracted to be declared full Magnificent Bastard. Maybe later in the season we can add it in, but compared to a definite bastard Megatron from a different season, it's not a given at all.
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How well does it match the trope?