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"Make Him Express Himself" and the Tailgate/Getaway/Cyclonus drama

aleph-abyssal:

I know that everybody and their Nanna has an opinion on El Tailgato and his new admirer, and some of these opinions are of the genus: HDU/Robin Thicke/Getaway lurkin’ in the shadows to leap out with a tip of his fedora and  a M’Lady! level of creepiness, but I just wanted to throw my own opinions in the ring.

TAILGATE AND CYCLONUS ARE NOT OFFICIALLY AN ITEM

Waaaiit, I hear you say, they’re living together, Cyclonus is walking around with a low yield spark and Tailgate’s spark is currently bobbing around in Cyclonus-energon like a fat kid in a paddling pool. This is all very well and good, but as we saw in issue 12, you don’t have to be emotionally conjuxed with somebody to offer innnermost energon. It’s a plus, but looking at Rewind’s haul, he had a lot of good friends.

Also, Cyclonus hasn’t explicitly said that he (likes/loves/is drift compatible/ILU NO HOMO/whatever version of friendship level) with Tailgate. That’s not to say that the little guy isn’t trying to get him to say it.

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Cyclonus has never explicitly said to Tailgate I MISSED YOU, though of course we all know he missed Tailgate enough to rip his face open, fight through an army of drone-soldiers, battle Star Saber the (Torquemada of Primus Catechism) and even (gasp) make up with Whirl. But he’s never SAID anything confirming any higher feelings, and even Nightbeat recieved a choking-out when he correctly guessed that Cyclonus has trouble expressing himself.

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And unless he comes out and tells Tailgate how he feels about him, they’re officially not an item, and Tailgate is still, by definition, uncomplicated by a close relationship.

IT’S NO CRIME TO PUT THE MOVES ON A SINGLE MECH

There’s a lot of chatter about how “creepy” Getaway is when he descends upon Tailgate and starts chatting him up. And some concern as to why Cyclonus walked off.

When he appears in this panel he’s appearing as Tailgate would see him, a larger ‘bot, dark and mysterious, striking a “hero” pose. Tailgate has been regaining a crowd of newcomers about his adventures with Tyrest. Rather than challenging Tailgate about his incessant boasting, Getaway does the exact opposite, he confirms Tailgate’s story in front of other people and hails him via his expert opinion the saviour of Cybertron.

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Tailgate does appear taken aback by Getaway’s overt friendliness, but remember, his only experience of close friendship is with Cyclonus-The-Unexpressive. His body language is hesitant, but it’s not “ohmygodgetthefuckaway.” But more “Oh You! Please Continue.”

 Tailgate is not a shy bot by any means - he’s done all the heavy lifting in his relationship with Cyclonus, and let’s not forget he’s also cold-approached robots in bars and asked them to socialise.

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This is the first time Tailgates’s been overtly appreciated by another person without having to make shit up. That’s a kind of vulnerability in itself. Notice that Tailgate doesn’t reject the compliment outright. He WANTS to believe what Getaway is telling him. He sits at the table and they share a drink, and Tailgate shares the story of pretending to be a Bomb Disposal expert. This is not a ‘bot who’s being coerced.

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Getaway does something that Cyclonus hasn’t, he establishes a connection between them. A wate disposal bot and a cold constructed MTO have more in common that the same waste disposal ‘bot and a super-rich warrior and adherent of the Clavis Aurea. Cyclonus has always been slightly out of reach for Tailgate, there’s never been a scene where Cyclonus claims a shared bond between them. He’s said unequivocally that they have nothing in common, and has never verbally taken it back.

CYCLONUS MISSES HIS CUE TO CUE TO STEP UP TO THE PLATE

In one way it is a good thing that Cyclonus didn’t rush in to defend Tailgate’s “honour” as some fans have discussed. Macho nonsense of *ownership* aside, it’s Tailgate’s decision what friends he makes, what he does and doesn’t do with Getaway. But after the *bomp/kiss* incident, all the alarms go off, and Tailgate’s first thought is that they’ve crossed a line:

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So the narrative certainly suggests that there is something more transgressive in Getaways “bomping” than just an affectation and a friendliness to the previous conversation.

But why did Cyclonus walk off? He could have joined them at the table to let Getaway know that Tailgate was one of a couple. He didn’t, perhaps because *he hasn’t told Tailgate yet*. To have sought exclusitivity would have been the most obvious declaration of Cyclonus’ feelings so far. Nightbeat was bang on the money - Cyclonus is afraid of letting Tailgate know how close he is, because that gives Tailgate the power in the relationship, and the power to hurt.

And yes, to also make a fool of him, in front of others.

DON’T GO FOR SECOND BEST, BABY

After the “holding a gun on Megatron” incident, the two responses couldn’t have been more different. Cyclonus tells Tailgate he was making a fool of himself, Getaway calls him brave.

But immediately Cyclonus adds that Tailgate could have killed himself—which was so obvious when one holds a gun on Megatron it didn’t need to be said—Cyclonus clearly was afraid of losing Tailgate a second time.

To Getaway’s credit, he does defend Cyclonus’ actions to Tailgate. He’s not actively trying to steal Tailgate away, which a true creepy-bot would do. He seems to be a naturally friendly guy, and maybe a little oblivious to how he’s coming across.

When Tailgate seeks comfort, Cyclonus first ignores him, then gives a generalized answer: “We survived Tyrest.”. One can imagine Getaway being a lot more supportive and in the moment.

Getaway is definitely being set up as an antithesis to Cyclonus, and—I think—gives Tailgate the agency of an informed choice. Whether you subscribe to a romantic relationship like Chromedome/Rewind or more of a parental one, the reality is that they are relationships one chooses to be in rather than ones you are born into. Tailgate is a young bot and needs to see the options laid out for him before he makes a decision.

Getaway is MUCH more interesting a character now that he’s interacting with Tailgate, and we’re definitely going to see Cyclonus eventually have to face up to his fears, something he might not have done if Getaway was not the catalyst for action.

manicdraconis:

I will be at TFcon in Canada this weekend with a whole bunch of fluffbots! Prices are a bit different than etsy; fluffs come in 5 price tiers now, ranging from $25usd/cad for minibots (and undersized Preceptor) to $70usd/$75cad for Magnus, with a few special deals for specific character sets. (Prices vary with currency according to cost, due to exchange rate.)

I will be accepting cash as well as credit (via Paypal Here) Sharing a table on saturday with
katyamondfische
and
breadsy
! Come say hello!
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