The Rebirth, part 3
Despite handing the key to the Plasma Energy Chamber to Optimus Prime at the last episode's climax, Arcee apparently decided to hang onto it, thus resulting in Scorponok giving chase to swipe it from her. After crushing just about every other Autobot in the process of catching her, she's eventually grabbed by his immense claw and shoved in his mouth, before letting the other Decepticons board him and jetting towards Cybertron.
Even Optimus Prime has no idea how they'd
fight an enemy that humongous (apparently Metroplex has been entirely forgotten
about), but they board his shuttle anyway and prepare to give chase, but Spike
says he's staying on Nebulos with Cerebros. Optimus doesn't take kindly to this,
remembering Alpha Trion's statement that only organic life is immune to the
powers of Plasma Energy (which, by the way, is said to also be able to explode
stars in the recap at the beginning - a fact lost in the sea of confusion that
was his meeting inside Vector Sigma in the previous episode. How's that for good
storytelling?), but Spike is more concerned with battling Scorponok. With
Cerebros' help and the fact that Scorponok has his kid locked inside his
innards, Spike believes he can come up with something to beat the fiend. Prime
eventually gives in to his demands, leaving him there as he and the rest of the
Autobots blast off.
Over on Cybertron, the Autobots are faring poorly against the Decepticon forces, the Aerialbots having been wiped out by the Combaticons and the Throttlebots lying unconscious. Onslaught informs Galavtron that his torops have finished "the construction" at the other side of the planet, and are told to take the deactivated Autobots to that construction site. The purpose? To build the biggest rocket engine the universe has ever seen!
As Galvatron is gloating, Ultra Magnus and the Protectobots sneak up behind him and open fire, though just as they're about to finish him off...
Scorponok arrives, the Decepticon
Headmasters and Targetmasters in tow, and what good they were about to do is
effectively squandered, while Ultra Magnus is left to the clobberings of the
Headmasters. Poor Magnus. Can he do anything right?
The rocket engine is activated, which gives Cyclonus and company time to explain what all happened to Galvatron, and he is none too pleased with this revelation. His troops allowing filthy organic beings to reside inside them? Blasphemy! He prepares to blow the Nebulon partners to oblivion until Zarak tells him to stop, reminding him that within Scorponok is the Autobot with the key he seeks. Galvatron begrudgingly spares their lives.
Back on Nebulos, Spike patches Cerebros up into working order again and asks to be taken to the city he found before he was rendered unconscious, but the poor guy just wants to be left alone and not get brought back into the war. Upon being told that Scorponok is essentially holding his son hostage, Cerebros complies.
And inside Scorponok, Monzo is torturing Daniel for the key (though by torturing he just seems to by shaking his arms a little), which prompts Arcee to submit to the demands and give them the key.
On the Autobots' shuttle, Prime gets another flashback to Alpha Trion and is reminded that no harm must befall upon the key, just before he's shown something spooky.
Cybertron is missing!
Optimus assumes they've moved to the planet towards Earth, and indeed it is! The engine is fuelled by the "power packs" of the fallen Autobots, while Cyclonus gives Galvatron the Plasma Energy Chamber key, though Scourge reminds him all the shit a few small volts of that stuff caused. Galvatron is perfectly aware of it, so that's why he aims to wait until they're closer to Earth before opening the chamber.
On the run from the Hive's machines, Spike
and Cerebros arrive at the city in question, where Spike sets about tinkering
with some controls that send the machines into mindless sprawls. This city is
where the Hive lived before gaining their mental powers, so they operated stuff
with manual controls like regular ol' doofuses, but now with this power he can
rebuild the city into something new and exciting!
The Autobots arrive on Cybertron,
conveniently on the rocket engine side of it and immediately discover the
horrors that have occurred. Galvatron's got the key, their buddies will all die
if they don't get some energon into them, and the unleashing of the Plasma
Energy will destroy Earth, Cybertron - heck, it could even go all the way to
Nebulos! That's playing with power. Everyone suggests that the simplest solution
is to destroy the key, but when Optimus tells them of his encounter with Alpha
Trion and all the fun knowledge he provided him with; Vector Sigma letting Galv'
know of the key, the key needing to be kept safe and all that jazz, they decide
it might be a good idea to keep it intact.
The Nebulons think otherwise, deserting their partners in favour of finding the key to demolish it, forcing the Headmasters into vehicle mode with their absence and prompting them all to stop them. And the Nebulons had the sense to bust their way straight into Scorponok, forcing them to enter Decepticon territory to stop them from being stupid. This'll be a barrel of laughs.
As soon as they reach one of the chambers, energy nets restrain them and allow Cyclonus and the Combaticons to threaten them with guns. Not to mention that Galvatron still has the key and is approaching the Plasma Energy Chamber! He sets the energy to release in ten minutes, which he believes will give him and his army enough time to vamoose before the solar system is demolished.
Cyclonus and company prepare to off Prime and the others, but a vast rumble prompts them to head outside and see what's up. And indeed, up above descends another humongous city... Fortress Maximus! With Cerebros as its Headmaster and Spike as the Headmaster to Cerebros!
Fortress Maximus opens fire with all kinds of heavy artillery, and not even the Terrorcons, Headmasters and Targetmasters stand a chance against his awesome firepower! Galvatron is frustrated with this turnaround, there being a mere five minutes before the place goes boom, so orders Scorponok to transform and finish things quickly.
Of course, in giant robot fights you simply can't finish things quickly, and describe firing tail lasers and using piercing claws and all, a few missiles is all it takes to prompt Zarak to transform Scorponok into robot mode. Having been made mad, Cerebros does the same and transforms into the head mode, allowing Fortress Maximus to use his robot form. They do a bit of scrapping.
While pinning him to the ground, Zarak reminds Spike that he still has Arcee and Daniel inside Scorponok, and when he fails this match, they'll all die! Of course, this only prompts Fortress to get back up and clobber the shit out of Scorponok, bringing him back to city mode and allowing Cerebros to head inside and rescue Daniel. Fortress is still on standby though, and opens fire upon Galvatron as he attempts to return inside Scorponok to escape the planet, but it's not like he can get inside with that thing trying to blow him up.
While inside Spike frees Prime and the others, but refuses to leave Scorponok without saving Daniel. Prime reminds him that the chamber is likely open by now and he's the only one that can close it, but he's refusing to do so without saving his kid. Meanwhile, the Decepticons are somehow able to get inside Scorponok and flee before the Plasma Energy seeps through the surface of the planet and disables the Autobots.
Daniel and Arcee are freed, and the three of them (well, four, if Spike being cooped inside Cerebros still counts) escape Scorponok and land back on Cybertron safely, just as a particularly gargantuan dose of Plasma Energy sails through the air and blows Scorponok into the distance.
Arcee, meanwhile, totally fricking explodes. Daniel has little time to grief for this exaggerated offlining as he and Cerebros flee, who is also knocked offline by some Plasma Energy, popping Spike off in the process. The Plasma Energy makes its way into the sun, which is ready to go nova if amuch more goes into it, while Prime, with the last of his energy, tells Spike that all he can do is shut the chamber down and hope that Vector Sigma's promise of a miracle is true.
That gives Spike an idea! The Nebulons, who are obviously unaffected, are told to reverse the polarity (groan) from output to intake on the giant rocket engine, while Spike goes to shut down the Plasma Energy Chamber. Which, it turns out, is as easy as pushing a single button. The rocket engine, meanwhile, is set up to no longer emit energy, but to take it inwards - all the way to Vector Sigma!
Quite conveniently, that excess Plasma Energy from the sun is sapped out again into the rocket engine tube, going straight to Vector Sigma and resulting in a massive burst of energy, that happens to have rejuvenated Cybertron! Similarly opportune, this revives all the dying dudes and they're back into tip-top shape.
Then Cerebros has to be a mood spoiler and wants to be shut down forever so he doesn't have to fight anymore.
Spike refuses, and bonding to his body once more, shows him that Cybertron has entered a new golden age! People are happy! It's so joyous that Goldbug and Bumblebee exist as separate entities in this one scene! Optimus Prime reminds him that yes, there will always be Decepticons, but he has a different job in mind for Cerebros.
Nebulos may have had the Hive's leader and leading members driven away, lost in deep space inside Scorponok, but the Hive and their evil machines still exist, meaning they must be stopped and the people be taught of living together in harmony. And when Nebulos enters its peaceful state once more, Cerebros will live there as the guardian of the land. He's all too chuffed with this happy ending.
Meanwhile, inside Scorponok, Galvatron is bitching to Zarak about how long it took for them to get this thing flying again, while the Hive leader moans about how Galvatron was stupid enough to open the Plasma Energy Chamber in the first place. Still, that doesn't soil Galvatron's spirits - he hopes to pillage planets of their resources to build a planet better than Cybertron, and then he will rule the galaxy! Zarak's attempt to remind him to say "we will rule the galaxy" Galvatron's set on it just being himself in charge. "We shall see, Galvatron. We shall see..."
And that, from the English side of things, was the last animated Transformers story in the G1 continuity for quite a few years. The shows would be repeated in season 5 (with interludes of Optimus Prime talking to Tommy Kennedy), and then again in Generation 2 presented by the Cybernet Space Cube, but it wouldn't be until Beast Wars in 1996 that the US would actually get a new show. The Marvel Comics kept going until 1990, though, so they got to see Prime die a couple of more times. The Japanese, of course, got Headmasters, Masterforce, Victory, two one-episode OVAs and quite a few comics after this portion of G1.
This is the first time Cerebros is seen in his alternate mode... and it's just a scaled down, recoloured version of Fortress Maximus' city mode. How about that.
Before the Cybertron-is-missing commercial break, Alpha Trion is waving the key around in another of Prime's visions...
And as he does so, one frame has it shaped like a Christmas tree, instead of the usual pyramid shape. You know who we can blame for this? Wizards.