HAWK SHOWED ME THIS AND BGGHSDFK I AM SO FURIOUS
LITERALLY EVERY SINGLE SENTENCE OF THIS ANSWER IS WRONG [more…]
Let me add some more disappointment, echoing your points:
Apparently where some saw “irredeemable villain” I saw “broest bro.”
Where they saw no possibilities, I saw a galaxy of possibilities. More Breakdown and vehicons. More Breakdown and Knock Out, exploring their relationship (whetever it may have been) further. There were plenty of plots open for using him :
Forming new friendships or strengthening them with the crew, protecting those he cares for, having a final battle with Bulkhead, revealing the source of his rivalry with Bulkhead, getting revenge on MECH, maybe going up against MECH again if they capture KO or even a Vehico bro, a developing rivalry with Airachnid, disillusionment with Megatron when he learns Megatron wanted to abandon him, going on a date with KO and getting caught up in street racing hijinks, being mistaken for an identical Armet Balkan mk7 armoured vehicle that holds something valuable and thus being chased by both a gang of thieves and law enforcement, and more!
Look, y’all, I identified with Breakdown. Breakdown was written, acted, and animated with an intriguing soft side that made him much more than the usual bruiser Decepticon. He was strong, brave, loyal, hard working, pun-loving, and he had his friends’ backs. He didn’t have Bulkhead’s back because duh, Bulkhead was his archenemy, not his friend. As well, the animation really made Breakdown out to be unsure about abandoning Bulkhead, and in his interactions with MECH, Breakdown came off as somewhat noble though very full of a warrior’s machismo. Either way, old rivalries die hard, and that’s how people work. If Bulkhead and Breakdown really are such enemies as we are asked to believe, why should their centuries of hatred die after one good turn that was, after all, a life or death situation where they were forced to work together? Breakdown was not a totally evil person, and even had admirable qualities. He was also quick to judgement, rough around the edges, and liked crushing things. He suffered from too much loyalty to a madman like Megatron. But other than not treating Miko like a sentient being, an attempting to squish her, he really never did anything outright evil. Bad, yes. He did plenty bad. But not unforgivably evil.
Nice to talk about war crimes here when the show never actually talked abut any war crimes. The most we were told about was that Bulkhead and Breakdown had a rivalry that went way back. What caused the rivalry was never revealed to us, even though that would have advanced both characters and made for a fascinating episode. For all we know, Bulkhead T-boned Breakdown at an intersection and they’ve been fighting ever since. Or Breakdown stole Bulkhead’s lunch once. Or Breakdown left the Wreckers and Bulkhead got personally offended. Or Bulkhead crushed Breakdown’s foot in a game of Lobbing. It was never stated. It was the centre of their character development, and what made them both well rounded characters, and yet we never learned anything more about their rivalry. That is the fault of the writers for not exploring more of that rich pathway to character development before killing off Breakdown and any chance to do so.
Those “just desserts” were done quick and ugly. They were in fact realistically quick and shocking. Death came, it wasn’t presaged, and it hit like a ton of bricks. No narrative flourishes hinted at it, and just like in any war, it was final. It was the most “real” death on the show, followed by Cliffjumper’s. The difference is that the death seemd less like “just desserts” and more like “oh Primus you killed off abeloved character.” IN other words: Breakdown’s death was in practice what Cliffjumper’s death was in theory.
Also… we were most certainly not told everything we needed to know. Because obviously I read a completely different character from the one that was intended. As for “more of the same”… we’ll never know, now will we? I am simply floored by this gigantic disconnect between DC’s authorial intent and the character that I watched and loved.
Did I simply just get Breakdown’s character… wrong?