I’m not so much interested in the meta on humans as I am that sentence in the middle there:
(The only part I’d disagree with is that I see Megatron’s laughter at the destruction of the Omega Lock as bitter and disbelieving, not full-on fruitcake flapjacks crazy. But I think that only strengthens the overall point.)
Or — well. I agree and don’t. I suspect the TFP writers actually meant fruitcake flapjacks crazy.
However, I think they intended this because they are absolutely godawful at writing the type of villain that Megatron is.
Don’t get me wrong, they’re great at writing certain types of villains. They’re fucking amazing at Evil Snarker, for example, and I love the TFP Decepticons for that alone.
But they have no idea what a villain who is a leader should look like. They want Megatron to be strong and regal, so in the service of this goal, they give him a noble-seeming past. Then they reason that he has to be bad now, so they decide to make him crazy. And they don’t carefully character-develop descent into madness, with ups and downs and nostalgia and tragic half-awareness of what’s happening. They just give him scenery-chewing crazy shit to do, and call it good.
I think the laughter at the breaking of the Lock was that. “See? This guy’s loopy. Just in case you forgot. Loopy! See? We told you.”
Which falls so short of what the character could be.
I interpret the laughter in the same way you do — as a mad, bitter kind of grief that can only laugh wildly in the face of such horror.
I think it’s a valid interpretation. But I don’t think it’s what the writers meant. I just don’t give them that much credit, sadly.
However, I choose to say fuck the writers and think it’s a valid interpretation because… it makes more sense than what I think they intended.
Think about it. Megatron refers to the humans as “your pets” multiple times. He thinks the Autobots see the kids as… puppies, or something. Cute little animals they’ve grown to love.
He sees the merit in Starscream’s plan to get the Keys back by threatening the puppies. Losing the opportunity to restore Cybertron over three pet puppies is a bit extreme, yeah. But as Bulkhead points out, both the ‘Cons and the ‘Bots want Cybertron restored. As strategically disastrous as letting Megatron be the one to do it would be for the ‘Bots, Megatron reasons that Optimus might rather have a Cybertron that he has to fight for and his puppies than live with the guilt of his puppies dying.
And Megatron, as I see him, is still somewhat bewildered by Optimus. He doesn’t really get why Optimus turned against him. Not spark-deep. I don’t think he has the same hope of reconciliation Optimus keeps having and rejecting and having again, no, but I also think part of him doesn’t fully understand what the hell happened.
So, Optimus’s weakness is puppies. Optimus chooses to save puppies. Okay then.
But what destroying the Lock is isn’t just saving puppies. It’s doing the equivalent of putting puppies before humans.
If most of us had to choose between letting Earth become uninhabitable for humans forever and letting millions of puppies die… well, I think a lot of us would sadly pull the trigger. We love puppies, but most of us feel humans are a “higher” life form. I can only think of a few animal rights activist types who would choose the puppies.
That’s what Optimus reveals himself to be.
A well-written Megatron? Is shocked and horrified at that. A well-written Megatron? Thinks Optimus is going mad.
So I choose to interpret that laughter as shocked horror. Because as monstrous as Megatron has become, a choice like that is absolutely incomprehensible to him. He’s seen all kinds of abominations and desecrated just about anything to get his way, but something like that —
that’s just beyond even his comprehension.
Or would be if the TFP writers knew what the hell they were doing, anyway.