Some Think It As The Worst. Episode. Ever.
- Japanese title: The Revival of Bruticus
The Combaticons enter an unidentified city for no discernible reason, then all transform to vehicle mode for no discernible reason. They then drive (yes, even the flyers drive) about ten feet down the street and form Bruticus for no discernible reason. He is immediately destroyed with a single shot by Defensor (who's there for no discernible reason). Defensor just leaves the pile of parts alone and unsupervised, apparently not bothering to alert the other Autobots or anything. This enables Swindle—who has somehow survived without a scratch the explosion that reduced all the other Combaticons to a pile of parts—to gather up the bits. No human authorities are involved either.
Swindle then visits the generically evil foreign guy "El Presidente" on his ship filled with weapons in order to buy parts to repair the Combaticons.
Meanwhile, Megatron is running a simulation of his new orbital disruptor cannon. After Starscream whines, Megatron explains that once the Moon is knocked from orbit, they will use Soundwave's new device to control the tides. They will then use this colossal power to flood a single canyon, creating "a limitless source of power".
At the Combaticons' base, El Presidente's men load up the weapons and more advanced computer systems from the wrecked robots, as apparently Swindle forgot about that whole "repair" thing. Swindle then leaves to take the remaining parts to a dump. Shortly after they all leave, Skywarp arrives, noting no one seems to be home. He discovers a piece of one of the Combaticons, then notices there's a trail of them. Confused, he asks Megatron what to do.
Swindle arrives in a junkyard, where he threatens a junkyard worker before he starts to dump the leftovers. Starscream and Skywarp discover him in the act and capture him as he tries to escape. Back at the Decepticon base, Soundwave installs a bomb in Swindle's head; he has 15 hours to reassemble the Combaticons before it goes off. Swindle takes the parts back from various mid-80s evil foreign stereotypes and reassembles the team. However, they are unable to combine into Bruticus because Brawl's personality component is missing. Swindle is charged with getting the component back or the bomb will still go off.
Meanwhile, at Benjamin Franklin Pierce High School, Mr. Robbins' demonstration of a laser is sabotaged by two sociopathic students, Martin and Roland, who boost the laser's power output so high it instantly burns a hole through steel. Rather than involve the authorities, Mr. Robbins threatens them with an "F" in his class if they don't win a blue ribbon at the science fair, and assigns Elise Presser to assist them for no discernible reason.
Outside, the two jagoffs meet the meek and spineless Elise. They realize a high-rise is on fire across the street, and witness the Protectobots coming to the rescue (well, four of them; Blades appears to blow two window-washers off their rig with the wind from his rotors—the bastard). This inspires them to build a robot for their project. The three rummage for parts in the same junkyard where Swindle dumped the Combaticons' leftover remains, and Elise discovers a random piece of machinery. They spend the night in the school's lab assembling their machine, and Martin dubs it "B.O.T.". After several failures, Elise installs the random piece of machinery, which turns out to be Brawl's personality component. Naturally, Brawl-B.O.T. goes postal and starts trashing the place.
Martin grabs the laser and fires, and B.O.T. runs off. The kids run to the school's preposterously-advanced computer lab, and use it to call the Protectobots. Teletraan I gets the S.O.S., and Optimus sends Gears, Ironhide and Bumblebee to investigate.
Swindle re-threatens the junkyard worker, who says that maybe some kids took the part Swindle is after. Swindle mutters "you better hope so"... then proceeds to rummage through the trash, seemingly instantly forgetting that whole "kids" angle.
The Autobots arrive at the school. The kids seem disappointed that they didn't get the Protectobots, but quickly lead them to their runaway creation in the school's cafeteria. Brawl-B.O.T. knocks all three Autobots over with a single serving pan of corn on the cob (That high-school food, I tell ya, huh? Huh?), then deflects Gears' blaster-fire with a pot lid. Ironhide shoots molten lead at Brawl-B.O.T., but he leaps to grab a light fixture, avoiding the attack, and the now-weakened floor collapses under Ironhide. Brawl-B.O.T. runs for it, barricading the door out with remarkable speed, and heads for a seemingly abandoned building... as Swindle watches.
The Autobots follow, telling the kids to stay put. They enter the building, and find that Brawl-B.O.T. has taken an elevator thirty floors up. Ironhide wedges a stick into the doors, and the trio run up the stairs. Outside, the future serial killers grow instantly impatient, and drag Elise inside the building. They remove the stick, enter the elevator and head up.
A blast erupts behind the Autobots, and Ironhide orders them to shoot up. They shoot at absolutely nothing, Ironhide declares they hit whatever it was, and they run right into Swindle. Meanwhile, the elevator has stopped. Roland is lifted up so he can open the emergency hatch, and discovers B.O.T. is trying to break the elevator cables.
Sadly, B.O.T. is prevented from snapping the cables by an energy blast to the back. The Autobots pick themselves up, seemingly having been soundly thrashed by Swindle all by himself. They all run outside to witness Swindle driving away. Back at Decepticon headquarters, Brawl is restored and the bomb removed, and Bruticus is formed again.
At the school, Elise inspects the remnants of B.O.T. to find that the "funny component" is gone. Martin decides to hunt it down by reworking the machine that read B.O.T.'s "brain response" so it can track the signal. The three drive to the ocean, and Elise rewires B.O.T.'s speech synthesizer so it receives and decodes signals rather than creating them, letting them hear what Brawl hears. Megatron insists on a test-run of the cannon, and picks Autobot headquarters as the target. (Because it's in orbit, you see. Wait, no, it isn't.) The kids rush off to warn the Autobots, who send a signal to the Protectobots' base.
The Autobots apparently just sit around and wait for Megatron to set up his giant cannon, get his troops into position just outside their base, and for the Combaticons to assemble Bruticus before starting to defend themselves. Bruticus basically stumbles around until he falls apart. The Protectobots arrive and random fighting ensues.
Inside the base, the kids think they need to help, and Elise has a rare moment of spine. Using Teletraan I, she sends B.O.T. out into the battlefield on a beeline to the disruptor cannon. The Protectobots combine into Defensor and generate a force field, protecting about four other Autobots. The Decepticons wait until the force field wears off, then one shot blasts Defensor to pieces. Bruticus re-forms and tries to fire the cannon, but it turns and blasts Starscream and Soundwave instead. B.O.T. is working the cannon using a conveniently-placed control panel at the base, and causes it to explode by hitting the clearly-marked "overload" button, sending Bruticus flying away and forcing a Decepticon retreat.
Back inside, the Autobots thank the kids for their help and offer their apologies for the loss of their robot. Elise asks if they have any spare parts so they can try again... and Roland and Martin duct-tape her mouth shut and drag her away while the Autobots just watch argh argh argh...
Original airdate: 01/09/1986
Production number: # 700-64
Written by: Earl Kress
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"Call sanitation. There's junk all over the street!"
- —Defensor, leaving his mess for the humans to clean up.
"Megatron, I-I-I couldn't find Brawl's personality component! I didn't think it would matter..."
- —Swindle's high opinion of his teammate.
"This is so degrading."
- —Gears on being beaten by Brawl-B.O.T.
"B.O.T., say "Martin.""
- —Martin and B.O.T., showing the episode's general level of intelligence.
"We should've just taken the 'F' in Science."
"If you ever pull a stunt like that again, I'll melt you down for scrap tutonium!"
- —Megatron threatens Swindle with gibberish
- -Megatron impersonates Fred Flintstone.
"Very good Swindle, your head will continue to keep your body company."
- -Megatron mocking Swindle's current handicap
"What should I do?"
"Follow the trail, dummy!"
- -Skywarp gets yelled at.
"Hey, Screamer! Your pilot's license just expired!"
- -Streetwise alerting Starscream about his expiration date.
Animation and/or technical glitches
- When the Combaticons transform, Onslaught doesn't have a cab (making him look more like a giant tank).
- The scenery in this episode is always huge. In the opening scene, the five Combaticons are driving down a downtown street in a row (yes, even the fliers are driving on the ground) with plenty of room. Humans are drawn tiny compared to the doors of their own buildings, and the Autobots fit easily inside human structures.
- The Bruticus scrap pile changes between shots; first it's a few scattered parts on the street, then it's a solid pile of them.
- Swindle pops out of the junk pile from beneath a yellow rectangle with wheels. The only yellow component on Bruticus is... Swindle.
- There is no indication as to what jet-mode Starscream uses to capture jeep-mode Swindle.
- When Elise says "Maybe I wired the box in wrong." one of her legs is drawn way too short, almost as if she's missing her right thigh.
- The kids create and lose B.O.T. in the middle of the night. When the Autobots reach the school, it's bright and sunny outside. If this isn't an animation error, then we are forced to assume that Brawl-B.O.T. spent several hours not doing much at all, staying inside the school the whole time, while the kids waited for the Autobots to arrive.
- The "shooting at nothing upstairs" bit might be attributed to animation/script mismatch. The animation puts the Autobots in a circular staircase so they are plainly shooting at the clearly-lit curved wall directly ahead of them. It's possible the writer intended them to be shooting up a straight staircase into darkness... but that's pure conjecture.
- During a close-up, Elise's red VW Beetle becomes Swindle-colored (including a purple hood!), then changes back and remains red through the rest of the scene.
- A wall appears behind Megatron and Soundwave as they face down Hot Spot in the middle of the desert.
- When the Protectobots receive a signal from the Autobots, the animation used to depict the signal shown on the console screen drifts up toward the upper left corner of the screen.
- Swindle goes to El Presidente to buy parts to repair the other Combaticons. The next time we see them, he's sold the Combaticon parts - for what, we don't know. There is no explanation as to why he suddenly completely changed his plan.
- Gears describes the high school as a "one-level structure", but it's pretty clearly two stories.
- The kids don't seem to recognize what Transformers are, but by this point in the series, they're internationally recognized, there are holidays and tributes to them, etc. Despite this, they seem to instantly accept the existence of Transformers.
- Megatron's plan seems... severely overwrought. Build a giant cannon to knock the Moon out of orbit, build a device to control the tides in the Moon's absence, and use all that power to flood a canyon that contains a hydroelectric generator that they also built. Considering that in "More Than Meets the Eye, Part 2" all they needed was the already-made Sherman Dam and Rumble shaking up a river...
- Why does Megatron have only Swindle go looking for the lost personality component? Why risk permanently losing Bruticus that way?
- How did Swindle know exactly where to find each and every Combaticon component across the globe once he sold them to El Presidente?
- It is possible since Starscream created the Combaticons from already existing Earth vehicles (albeit antiques), then Swindle was simply grabbing compatible interchangeable parts from those he knew had them.
- Fifteen hours seems like an impossibly tight deadline to track down dozens or hundreds of parts scattered all over the world, retrieve them, reassemble them into complex high-tech robots, AND still have time left over to track down Brawl-B.O.T.
- The teens completely fail to notice a hundred-story building that is almost completely engulfed in flames and surrounded by emergency vehicles until they hear somebody fifty stories up call for help.
- Groove claims to use liquid nitrogen to put out the fire. Liquid nitrogen boils at -198 °C (-320 °F), so it would basically boil away to a gaseous state almost instantly upon exposure to the air, and with hugely explosive force to boot. On top of that, liquid nitrogen is not pink.
- Streetwise catches the two falling window-washers with his metal arms after they've fallen about fifty stories, and somehow they're not splattered all over him.
- Three high school kids can build a robot out of junk bits and Brawl's brain that is stronger and smarter than the Autobots. (The latter would be a little more believable if it weren't for the "Brawl's brain" part.)
- When B.O.T. is first activated, Elise is forcefully flung off the ladder by its arm. Somehow, she lands with only a soft thud and no real injuries.
- The high school's computer is astounding. It is exceedingly and hugely sci-fi in design, plus, how the kids were able to use it to send an S.O.S. to the Autobots over the phone is... magic or something.
- Autobots are weaker than kitchenware.
- There is a fully functional elevator within a seemingly condemned building.
- How did Swindle get above the Autobots on the way up? And how'd he get past them on the way down again?
- The speech synthesizer is "rewired" so that instead of "synthesizing and transmitting," it "receives and decrypts." And this somehow lets the kids listen in on a conversation being held in the Decepticon base... yeah, when this can almost be considered one of the episode's more plausible elements, something is very, very wrong.
- It's never really specified why Megatron needs Bruticus in specific to fire the cannon. If it's a size thing, he also has Devastator and Menasor. But the size thing is debatable because the cannon has a human-level control panel on it. Oy.
- On that note, the human-level control panel has a great big button clearly marked "Over Load" in English. Why did he install that?
- No, really, what the hell?
- This episode was made.
- "Benjamin Franklin Pierce High School" is a reference to Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce, the character from M*A*S*H* (who was also the inspiration for the Mini-Con Hawkeye's bio).
- Production-wise, it seems a bit odd to have three Season One Autobots respond to the kids' S.O.S., rather than showcasing the brand-new combiner team who would otherwise seem to be the spotlight buy-my-toy characters of the episode.
- This episode establishes that both the Combaticons and the Protectobots have their own separate bases. As this was the last episode before the jump to 2005, this is never touched on again.
- Mr. Robbins's class is made up of a very odd collection of students. The least odd are the two women who are just recolored character models from Jem, Hasbro's then-current cartoon-advertised foray into girls' fashion dolls. Towards the back, however, appear to be thugs in business suits.
- This episode introduces the most loathsome Transformers characters ever, Roland and Martin. Boosting a laser to a level that could grievously injure or kill someone as a prank, the duct-taping of Elise's mouth and constantly dragging her places against her will, and a general smarmy smugness level that makes Starscream seem humble.
- Astrotrain appears in the simulation of the disruptor cannon knocking the Moon from orbit, but is never seen elsewhere.
- The original script's cast list for the episode notes that the "junkyard operator" is a spy, and that the only other thing we learn about him is that he gets taken away by the "Federal Authorities". Oh, and he has no lines. This bizarre plot twist obviously didn't make it into the final draft, but really, what's one more wad of nonsense at this point?
- The billboard over the Protectobots' urban headquarters seems to be advertising for E Cola. Mmmmmmm.
- This episode was lampooned at the BotCon 2006 MSTF presentation, and as far as the writers are concerned, it is the single dumbest episode in the entirety of Transformers animation.
- It is also possibly the worst advertisement for the combiner teams possible. Bruticus is destroyed with a single shot from Defensor, and later stumbles around like a concussed baby as the Autobots shoot at him. Defensor's force field is rendered utterly pointless as the Decepticons just wait for it to run out, then he too is blasted to bits with ease.
- The Autobots don't know what a high school is.
- This was the last episode of season two. Can you imagine if this was the last episode of The Transformers ever?
- Good God, I need a stiff drink.