The Insecticon Syndrome
Spike, Bumblebee, Hound, Beachcomber and park ranger Jeff are out and about in a forest, where the park ranger has led them to demonstrate a peculiar sight: Lines and lines of trees, all chewed and broken as if by something huge. Something very huge and very hungry. Beachcomber comes to the conclusion that it was no animal that devoured the flora, but the Insecticons!
The Insecticons are in their cave, whining
about how they can devour a whole forest of pine trees and not too long after
they're low on energy again. I suppose they haven't made robot Weetabix in 1985.
They decide to head out for lunch to dine on some redwoods, felling trees in the
Which attracts the attention of another park ranger, Mike, who's more than a little stunned to see giant insects munching on their property. He promptly calls Jeff and informs him of the barmy sight he's witnessing and demands he come on over, so Beachcomber offers his service by providing a lift for Jeff and Spike.
Meanwhile, Megatron and the Decepticons are
on the lookout for the Insecticons, but they don't take long before landing down
and spying them munching on the foliage. Mike is nearly crushed by a fallen tree
and gets an up-close view of the Insecticons, prompting him to drive off and
warn the Autobots of the monsters in the woods.
One of which has a grenade launcher! The Autobots scatter to avoid the blast as Bombshell chases after Bumblebee, the rest staying behind to open fire for a brief while, but decide it best to make themselves scarce. Of course, they decide to escape on a downhill slope, perfect for a fallen tree trunk to be pushed down to endanger their non-flattened construction!
They take a trip down a shallow river in hopes of shaking the log off their trail, but it's still rolling! They soon reach the end where the river is revealed to be a rather humongous waterfall, and because they haven't got Superman on their side, they're doomed. They all got ploughed over the edge and fall to their demise.
The Insecticons don't have much time to laugh over their victory before Megatron lands down, very pleased with what they have accomplished, but not so pleased with Starscream's suggestion that they should lead the Decepticons. While Megs and Bombshell talk business, the corpses in the water below disappear, revealing it was all a hologram while the good guys hid on the platform below. That crafty Hound!
Megatron offers the Insecticons a gorge of energon at the Nova Power Plant, which will give them enough energy to assist in a little task; to siege defence computer at Iron Mountain! Spike and Bumblebee happen to have hid before the log struck, apparently, and overhear the whole discussion, deeming it wise to alert the base of this revelation. Prime informs the others of this who make lots of silly comments before rolling out.
The Decepticons approach the power plant as
the security guards board helicopters and try to fight them off, allowing the
three Seekers to take care of that while the Insecticons feast on the energy...
While Megatron, Soundwave, Laserbeak and Buzzsaw deal with the Autobots. Jazz and Inferno make light conversation while shooting idly at the cassettes, before realising that the helicopters have crash landed and decide to make themselves useful by rescuing those trapped inside. Inferno douses them all in foam and Jazz cracks a bad gag.
The Insecticons enter the power plant and chase away the scientists before gorging upon the Nova Power Core, and soon fall victim to a strange sensation: They are growing! Naturally, with this new boost in power, size and the ability to pick on people smaller than them, they comment that they have no reason to remain with Megatron now!
Soundwave eavesdrops on this via the legendary tactic of placing a stethoscope to the wall.
However, the Insecticons manage to discover this and burst through the wall, beating him up a bit before planting a cerebro-shell in his head, effectively making him their slave!
Meanwhile, Hound, Beachcomber, Bumblebee and Spike arrive on the scene and ask if they've stopped the Insecticons, but no such luck. Ironhide and Wheeljack are left on guard duty to look for them, which is just climbing up towers and looking around the complex. Professional stuff.
The Insecticons promptly burst out of a wall and electrify Ironhide's tower while kicking Wheeljack's one to the ground, prompting all of the Autobots but Spike and Bumblebee to go to their aid. Those two are left to cover them, with guns, even though Spike isn't even old enough to drive. They drag them into Prime's trailer and flee, leaving the Decepticons to gloat over their victory.
As Ironhide and Wheeljack are patched up, Teletraan-1 reveals that the Nova Power is incompatible with the Insecticons' stomachs, which means they won't just feel ill and take the day off from work, but will explode!
Meanwhile at Iron Mountain, Megatron tells Soundwave that he'll do away with the Insecticons after this mission. This is stupid both because his minion has a cerebro-shell and all he hears will be relayed to the Insecticons, and also because the Insecticons are right behind them so they'd probably hear it anyway.
The guys at Iron Mountain radio the Autobots for help, and since the Insecticons are more or less living time bombs, they'll blow the place sky high if they're inside when they go off!
The security procedure is set up at the military base, meaning lots of guns come out of inconspicuous mountain walls and whatnot.
Ratchet and Wheeljack set about making an antidote while the Autobots roll out to fend off their foes, and already the Insecticons are feeling a little sick from their feast. They make use of their mind control powers to use the base's weaponry against itself, only for the Autobots to arrive and divert their attention to them, making use of the convenient ledge above them to smother the Autobots with boulders.
They're relatively uninjured and just need a bunch of boulders and allies taken off their backs. Soundwave makes his way to the defence computer and gets the information they need, so with their mission a resounding success, they have no need for the Insecticons and order their units to dispose of them.
That is, until Bombshell steps in and blasts all of the Decepticons but Megatron with cerebro-shells, putting them under his command! The emperor of destruction threatens to blast the betrayer until dramatically posed Optimus Prime steps in and tells him not to, lunging upon him and knocking him down. The Insecticons find this humourous that even the Autobots care about them, and make their way into Iron Mountain to feast on the data.
Prime informs Megatron that his cannon would've detonated the volatile Insecticons and blown them all to smithereens, so Megatron takes out his anger on the Seekers and destroys their cerebro-shells in the process. Wheeljack and Ratchet arrive on the scene to provide the antidote, and Megatron is more than happy to assist in destroying his six-legged liabilities.
Just as the Insecticons are about to feast on the data, Megatron and Optimus storm in and open fire, only narrowly missing as the super sized roaches start feeling particularly queasy. They are, however, powerful enough to blast Megatron into a wall and render him unconscious, while Spike informs them all that there's thirty seconds until the Insecticons go kablowy! Optimus can't wake him up, so he has no choice...
But to transform Megatron himself.
He loads an antidote into his temporary ally and blasts Bombshell with it, shrinking him to his original size. Kickback attempts to escape with Soundwave only to suffer the same fate.
Shrapnel is the only one left and he's not willing to go down without a fight. He punches Wheeljack and knees Hound, and with only ten seconds before detonation, he uses his lightning powers to summon electricity and blasts Prime with it, dropping the antidote!
Spike snatches it up just before it's destroyed, but it's all getting too much for poor Shrapnel who collapses to his knees and clutches his head, but before he explodes, Spike climbs up his legs, opens his chest and throws the antidote inside...
Just in time! It doesn't stop Shrapnel from imploding and knocking everyone against the wall, destroying Soundwave's cerebro-shell and what the data he had recorded in the process, but nowhere near the lethal capacities it could've been. Megatron is only disappointed he didn't get to destroy the runt himself.
Bombshell cracks out a cerebro-shell and scatters it over his fallen comrade, which allows Shrapnel to rebuild himself good as new as the three of them escape. Megatron's allies are a little dazed from the cerebro-shells wearing off, but are dragged back into action to chase after the unfaithful collaborators into the forest.
With the Decepticons' plan foiled and the villains chased away, there's only one thing left to do: For Spike to make a lacklustre joke that we all knew was coming. Everyone laughs, though, just to humour him.
Ironhide has his name on the innards of his arm.
Must be the robot equivalent of putting your name on your underpants.
Nobody ever remembers that ability for the Insecticons to piece themselves back together. The clones aren't even used in this episode, but everybody remembers them. Underrated ability!