The Return of Optimus Prime, part 1
Space scientists Gregory Swafford and Jessica Morgan are testing out a heat resistant alloy near a sun, though as they move closer to test it further, they see a ship drifting towards a planet with life signs emanating from it. And that life force belongs to... Optimus Prime!
(didn't take that long did it)
Gregory flashbacks to a scuffle between Optimus and Megatron in his laboratory, where an explosion of chemicals caused the scar on his face and his undying hatred of all robotic life, though he tags along with Jessica who heads out to get Optimus to safety. They manage to get him back on board their ship before the shuttle crashes into the asteroid, which also causes the sun to go nuts and explode, smothering their ship with spores but also proving that their alloy works perfectly.
They return to the lab of Jessica's father, where they test the spores on two rats, revealing that it causes them to go insane and start trying to kill each other, and whoever they touch shares the same fate. Jessica tells her father that they should shoot the spores back into space, claiming unleashing them upon humans will "make World War 2 look like a schoolyard brawl," but before he can argue back, Terrorcon attack!
The Technobots show up, which only urges
each side to form their respective combiners, Abominus and Computron, and set
about fighting each other and unintentionally destroying the lab in the process.
Jessica's legs are crushed by falling debris while the Terrorcons swipe the
alloy and flee, so the Protectobots just show up out of nowhere to get Jessica
to a hospital, much to Mr. Morgan's dismay at even the ambulance being an Autobot.
Gregory reminds him that they still have the spores and the body of Optimus Prime, so they can get even with the robots in disguise they abhor so much! While Jessica is treated at the hospital, the insidious scientists set about trying to make Optimus Prime functional again, though they pop over to the hospital to find Jessica back on her feet and doing well, albeit with exoskeleton legs to help her walk.
Mr. Morgan doesn't take this in stride, claiming they're just subtly destroying her and takes her back home. Gregory states that it's impossible to restore the life back into Optimus Prime, foiling their plan at getting back at the Autobots, though they toy with the idea of melting him down to make more of their alloy. Jessica cries for his safety...
And her request is complied, though they then pressure her into finding an Autobot and luring them all to the lab with the intention of spreading the hate plague among their ranks and destroying each other. Hitching a ride with Ultra Magnus, she finds Rodimus Prime and tells them of her father's trap, making sure to quite clearly tell them that it's a trap, but this falls on deaf ears while a strike force is assembled.
Ratbat listens in on the whole thing and plays back the discussion to Galvatron, who also wants Optimus' body for his own reasons. The Autobots arrive at the lab while Rodimus orders that he and Jessica enter to distract the scientists while everyone else circles around and gets the body of their leader, reminding them not to touch any red dust. He enters and finds Optimus in the first room, the scientists nowhere to be found. That means...!
The infected Autobots immediately start
driving into each other and delivering knuckle sandwiches to each other before
Ultra Magnus decides that he should be hunting for Rodimus, who's trying to get Optimus
out of the lab. Although he runs into just about every infected Autobot ever,
along with Mr. Morgan carrying a jar of the spores, Rodimus manages to make it to the
The Decepticons, however, barge in while
looking for Optimus, and are greeted by the infected Autobots who make their
enemies join their mindless ranks, though Galvatron believes hanging out with
madmen isn't his scene and makes an exit along with Rodimus. Superion,
meanwhile, wreaks havoc in the city, taking down Kup, Blurr and Bumblebee, as
well as making Defensor join the ranks of the infected.
Rodimus consults Wreck-Gar to see if anything can be done for Optimus, though the Junkion quotes Star Trek three times to get the point across that he's just a giant doorstop by now. Rodimus is reminded by Jessica that the Quintessons were the ones who revived Optimus before, so Sky Lynx is contacted to nab themselves one of them, even though they are hiding in the far reaches of the galaxy, just to see his fallen leader rise once more.
Ultra Magnus arrives to grab himself Rodimus' head, so Rodimus disengages Metroplex to prevent an even greater force from joining the forces of the mindless before fleeing from his former ally. When it looks like Rodimus is trapped, Wreck-Gar saves the day with a lasso, only to be infected himself and making contact with the Autobot leader, meaning very few people aren't violent and nutty!
After a news report showing that the hate plague has spread to the human population as well, Sky Lynx saves a Quintesson from a rampaging mob of Sharkticons, though only after he makes him promise that he'll revive Optimus Prime with no funny business. The two proceed to rebuild the robotic wonder, though not without a few screw-ups and accidents along the way.
With the task finished, the Quintesson hits the switch after noting that if something goes wrong, Optimus Prime may never live again. Naturally, that doesn't happen, and the fallen Autobot leader rises once more.
"And this time, no force in the universe can stop me."
The notes for Dark Awakening already mention the inconsistencies between this and what's meant to come before. What I can mention, however, is how the Quintesson attitude changes from treacherous and menacing to a big silly-voiced five-faced teddy bear in this episode, really.
Actually withholding spoilers for once...
The little guy in front of Superion appears in the Autobot strike force, even though he isn't introduced until the next episode.
One of the Combaticons, Swindle, is among the Protectobots at the hospital.
I would never have noticed this if it weren't for people dorkier than I. And now you know too!