Far Too Much Background
In 1987, Sunbow released what will go down in history as the single greatest movie ever made: Transformers: The Movie. Figuring that a movie was a great way to showcase new characters and to market the corresponding new toys, Hasbro commissioned Sunbow (who in turn commissioned Toei) to create and animate a feature-length motion picture about their wildly successful Transformers toy line. They did so. And we all know the first law of toyline marketing physics: when new characters come in, old characters must go out. Oh, and did they ever. Perhaps one of the most incredibly morbid PG-rated animated movies ever made, the film begins with a planet and its entire population being decimated by Unicron. The movie really kicks into high gear when Megatron (leader of the Decepticons) proclaims "DIE AUTOBOTS!", transforms into a gun, and is used by Starscream to kill Brawn and Ratchet and to cripple Ironhide (whom Megatron dispatches himself moments later). Long story short, lots of death. The Autobots seemed to suffer far more casualties than their opponents (the Decepticons lost less than ten while the Autobots lost more than a dozen), despite the fact that the Decepticons were branded "the losers." Even the hitherto indestructible Optimus Prime died on an operating table from wounds received during his cataclysmic one-on-one with Megatron. Megatron himself was near death and was thrown into the void of space by his second-in-command Starscream in a fuel-saving maneuver (I guess, since there's no other way I can think to explain Astrotrain's complaint about the need to jettison weight in a weightless place). Thundercracker, Skywarp, the Insecticons, and, oh hell, Reflector were all thrown out as well. While the other Decepticons expired (I say this for a few reasons, most notably that their normally bright red eyes were all dark), Megatron survived and ran into Unicron himself. Unicron tasked Megatron and his fallen warriors with destroying the Autobot Matrix of Leadership in exchange for "a new body and new troops to command." One of these troops was a dark blue Decepticon whom his creator, Unicron, dubbed "Scourge the Tracker."
Scourge The Tracker: Absurd Liberal Myth
If there was ever a Decepticon that just looked fucking evil, Scourge was it. From the bizarre metallic goatee, to the sharply sinister eyes, to his wings that looked like a jagged cape shrouding his body, Scourge was a visual force to be reckoned with. Given the fact that he was also essentially raised from the dead, and you've got the makings of a very grim character. Even on top of that, he had a series of identical drones called the Sweeps who obeyed his (and the newly-created Galvatron's) every command. And all this was discovered in the very first five seconds of his life! After that, however, it was pretty clear something just wasn't right.
The first clue there was something not quite right with Scourge and his lot was the fact that they transformed into what appeared to be either blue bars of soap or flying speed boats. Then there was the minor fact that Scourge's "huntsmen" had a real problem with, uh, not getting blown up. In fact, they must have gone through about a hundred Sweeps from the middle of the movie to the end of the third season. In the only three episodes of the so-called "fourth" season, the Sweeps weren't even present. Needless to say, Scourge began to cut a progressively less imposing figure right from the start of his somewhat lackluster career. His shining moment in the movie was the intoned line "the Autobots have been terminated." (Yes, it was a very bold statement, particularly because it turned out to be entirely false.)
After the movie, Scourge's position in the Decepticon hierarchy seemed to lessen with every episode. In the movie itself, he seemed like Galvatron's right hand man. He spoke to him, he stood next to him, he even picked him up off the floor while Unicron was torturing him. What a guy! After the movie, however, Cyclonus (another Decepticon created by Unicron in the movie) unquestionably became Galvatron's lieutenant and unwavering right hand. Although Scourge was still within the top tier of the Decepticon ranks (and by that, I refer to the Decepticons created by Unicron; the others are just sort of incidental and perhaps seen as somewhat inferior by Galvatron), he was more often than not the victim of Galvatron's aggression. Berating him as an idiot, a fool, a traitor, a total failure, and every other conceivable negative appellation that can appear on a children's show, Galvatron at first may appear unduly harsh until one realizes that Scourge was basically all of those things and more. I can hardly think of a single mission that Scourge was able to successfully complete.
Scourge also had a rather bizarre propensity to be overtaken by supernatural forces beyond his control. First off, he holds the record for being possessed by Starscream's ghost more often than anybody else. Starscream only returned as a ghost in three episodes ("Starscream's Ghost," "Ghost In The Machine," and the Beast Wars episode "Possession"), but Scourge wound up being inhabited in two thirds of them, so I'd say that's a pretty poor track record. On the second occasion, Starscream requisitioned Scourge's body for the purpose of bringing the inactive Unicron back to life so that the latter could give the ex-Decepticon air commander his old body back. Scourge got cold feet at the last second and left, however (I believe his parting words were "hey, I didn't buy into any of this!"). Although the mission ultimately failed (and Scourge hadn't exactly gone along willingly), I can't imagine that the whole affair had a very positive effect on Galvatron's opinion of Scourge.
Even less positive, I would imagine, was the little incident where Scourge took the Autobot Matrix of Leadership for himself and used its power to attempt to destroy Galvatron. Of course, the thing was wholly unintentional, so Scourge yet again blundered his way into treachery. It seems as if Decepticons weren't meant to possess the Matrix. When he put it into his chest, his body mutated into this disgusting thing with lumps all over and he fell over into convulsions of agony, yet he boasted of having the strength of a hundred thousand Decepticons and proceeded to wrest leadership away from Galvatron and Cyclonus. He then proceeded to lead an assault against the Autobots on Earth and went on a rampage through downtown Tokyo. Fortunately for us, the writers saw fit not to include any unnecessary jokes about a certain green, scaley creature with a habit of breathing fire during this little tirade. Although the revived Galvatron claimed he was going to murder Scourge and destroy the Matrix, he did neither. I guess having a psychotic leader helps if you want to get out of trouble.
In the short-lived forth-season, Scourge had yet another (un)happy accident that eventually led to what I suppose was the end of the Decepticons. After attempting to open the Plasma Energy Chamber down below Cybertron's surface, he was nearly killed by a massive blast of energy that sent an Autobot ship halfway across the galaxy. Enraged, Galvatron sent Scourge, Cyclonus, and several other Decepticons we had never seen before (marketing!) to follow them. When they eventually found them and the artifact they were holding (the key to the Plasma Energy Chamber), a back and forth battle ensued that wound up uniting Autbots and Decepticons with organic Nebulans as Headmasters (where the Nebulans wore suits that allowed them to transform into the heads of the Transformers) and Targetmasters (this procedure allowed the Nebulans to wear suits that allowed them to transform into the weapons of the various Transformers). Galvatron, of course, was infuriated by this development as he had a deep-seeded hatred of anything and everything organic. Eventually, however, he was forced to accept their help and it wound up propelling most of the Decepticons off of Cybertron and through space, never to be heard from again. What eventually happened to Scourge is anyone's guess.
It's widely believed that Unicron made Scourge was from the dead/dying body of the Decepticon jet Thundercracker, and the available evidence would seem to corroborate that hypothesis; Megatron became Galvatron, Kickback and Shrapnel became two of the Sweeps, Bombshell became Cyclonus, and one jet became Scourge and the other became a Cyclonus clone that was never seen or heard from again. It's hard to tell which is which because the two jets in question, Thundercracker and Skywarp were the same character model in different colors and the reformatting sequences were shot in what was basically greyscale. The only way to tell them apart is that when you look at the jet that becomes the Cyclonus clone, the coloring pattern on the arms (his shoulders were purple, his "biceps" were black, and his fists and forearms were purple as well; the coloring pattern was light-dark-light) matches that of Skywarp. By default, that means Scourge was made from Thundercracker. This has been the source of much controversy in the TransFan community, since many people see Scourge as actually being Thundercracker. What they forget is that the movie was a method for the writers to introduce entirely new characters, not rehash old ones. Scourge is nothing like Thundercracker, just as Cyclonus is nothing like Bombshell. They're all different characters; as fun as it would be to look for little hints that tell you otherwise, it's just not the way they were thinking. Hell, there was even a statue erected in Thundercracker's honor in a Decepticon crypt on Cybertron...that means he's dead, not that he lives on as Scourge. I wish that could clear up the confusion, but I know it never will. Le sigh.
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