Countdown to Extinction
What with Cybertron being brought to Earth's orbit in the last story arc, Earth's a bit of a tip, so the Autobots are kind enough to help rebuild things. The Decepticons, however, are less helpful and are merely dissing each other in their submerged ship instead of working as a team to repair it, Rumble and Frenzy beating up Skywarp for his job until Megatron steps in.
This comes as a surprise to everyone, what
with him being caught in the explosion of an energon transport in space, but he
ignores the opportunity to explain how he survived and says how he has
unfinished business with Dr. Arkeville, who has vanished, along with Starscream,
much to his dismay. Laserbeak conveniently flies in and Soundwave plays back the
airborne cassette's findings, showing that Starscream has claimed himself leader
of the Decepticons and aims to work with Dr. Arkeville and his inventions; even
without an explanation to what he plans to do, Megatron doesn't like any of
this, and the Decepticons set to the skies.
Meanwhile, Wheeljack gets Teletraan-1 operational again, only to alert them of Decepticon activity, so the Autobots roll out to take out the trash. Elsewhere, Starscream and Arkeville arrive at the mad doctor's secret lab, getting past his secret entrance and spy the Exponential Generator, Arkeville warning the Decepticon about how the Earth and everything on it will be obliterated if it's rhythmic pulse is disturbed. Starscream couldn't care less!
The Autobots catch up with Megatron and his
army, who dispatches Thundercracker and Skywarp on the ground-bound robots,
while Starscream "improves" on the generator by adding a timer to it, and when
it ends, it's maximum capacity will be reached and the Earth will go kapow, and
Starscream will collect the resulting energy to give him the power for world
domination! Arkeville suggests he stay behind to be sure nothing goes wrong,
only to be shoved to the ground with a flick of the jet's finger and brought
along with him to Cybertron.
We're all gonna die.
While Starscream gloats about himself soon to be ruler of the universe, the Autobots transform and start blasting the Decepticons, Wheeljack knocking Skywarp out of the sky with a missile and Optimus Prime laying the smackdown on Megatron, who calls for a retreat after being thrown into a puddle. So much for that 9 Courage rating.
Starscream and Arkeville arrive at Cybertron and meet up with Shockwave, who refuses to allow the human in, following Megatron's orders, only for Starscream to shove a Decepticon symbol in his face and claim he's the leader of the Decepticons now, what with Megatron being obliterated. Shockwave refuses to believe his leader's demise, even though he cannot get contact with him, but is ordered to stop any further contact with the planet. The obedient little guy reluctantly complies.
Starscream checks up on the generator via monitor and sees that things are still running smoothly before wandering off elsewhere, leaving Arkeville alone with the computer. The mad doctor attempts to try and stop it by fiddling with the control panel, only to receive an electric shock and be rendered unconscious due to the sentry monitor, which prevents any non-Decepticon from using the controls. Shockwave's minions enter and carry off the unconscious Arkeville, following Starscream's orders to take him to the repair bay.
The Decepticons, meanwhile, arrive at the Valley of No Return with the intent of luring the Autobots into a trap, which is precisely what happens when the entire Autobot army drive into quicksand and get themselves stuck pretty badly. Megatron, despite seeming pretty certain that this is the end of the road for Optimus Prime and his troops, he merely leaves Laserbeak behind to make sure none of them escape while he and the rest continue on their way to find Starscream and Arkeville.
After the bad guys have left, Ironhide pulls
his arm free to activate his liquid nitrogen cannon to cool off the sand and
lessen it's slippery grip, while Mirage blasts Laserbeak with a missile, sending
the feathered creep recoiling back into cassette mode and falling into the hands
of Jazz. After an awkward permission granting from
Prime, Jazz replays the tape in his car mode and find out what the Decepticons
heard about at the beginning of this episode; with his knowledge, their goal to
find Starscream, Arkeville and what they're up to is the same, so they roll out
to wherever that secret laboratory is.
The Decepticons know, apparently, and
Megatron somehow knows about the Exponential Generator and it's vast power, but
is oblivious to the ticking timer right behind him. However, after spending
sixteen minutes ogling the thing (commercial breaks must be long), Rumble
alerts him to the Autobots arrival, and they all
head outside to fight them.
They don't do terrible well, though.
Back on Cybertron, the repairs on Dr. Arkeville are finished, leaving him as a wheelchair bound, half-naked half-mechanical being who can't even lift his arms, meaning he can't even supply a feeble punch as a reply to Starscream's slandering, while Shockwave returns to the communications room what with his current leader occupied with other affairs.
Optimus discovers the Exponential Generator and stands in front of it when Megatron enters, preventing him from firing upon his own weapon while trying to point out that it's in an unstable condition, though the Decepticon leader simply believes Prime wants it for himself. Shockwave contacts him before he plans to fire, and alerts him of something shocking.
"Megatron, you must find Dr. Arkeville's lab and disconnect the timer on his Exponential Generator; it will explode in an astro-second!"
The two enemies find it quickly and rip it's wiring out before the last two seconds are up, leaving them shocked at what could've happened if the mono-eyed minion hadn't alerted them. Megatron asks him for Starscream's location, and is informed that he's also on Cybertron and aimed to gather up the energy of the Earth's destruction for himself. Starscream, meanwhile, is mildly pissed about the lack of explosion, blaming his timing device and commands Arkeville to go down and check on it, but since he's essentially a giant brick in his robotic body, the jet will have to go down there himself.
Megatron tears out the insides of the Exponential Generator and takes the dome for himself, despite Prime telling him of it's unstable condition, and tackles him to get it in safer hands. Their struggle, however, merely disturbs the rhythmic pulses, putting it in a critical stage, and leaving the two of them only one choice.
To stuff it in Megatron's barrel and blast it into space.
This actually works, somehow, and it conveniently explodes by Starscream, sending him spiralling back to Earth and crashing by Megatron's feet, who demands answers, leaving the jet to flub his way through an explanation, claiming everyone thought he was a goner. With their job finished for the day, the Autobots head on home, asking Prime what he thinks Megatron has in store for Starscream. "Nothing gentle, I would say."
I know Transformers is filled to the brim with animation and colouring errors...
But two Brawns!? One was enough! Then once the scene changes the second one is shown to be Gears. That's just as bad.
There are tons of great facial expressions in this episode, ranging from Shockwave managing to express an adorable amount sadness despite only having an eye...
To Starscream looking incredibly jolly with only a slightly open mouth.