Professor Sumdac upgrades a trio of animatronic dinosaurs from a local theme park, but the creatures develop minds of their own and become rampaging Dinobots, bent on destroying the Autobots.
- German title: "Drachenkämpfer" ("Dragon Fighters")
- Japanese title: "The Birth of the Dinobots" (ダイノボット誕生 Dinobot, Tanjō)
Sari takes the Autobots to "Dino Drive", a dinosaur-based theme park, in order to teach them about Earth's history. On the way, Bulkhead accidentally destroys every car in the parking lot. Once inside, Tutor Bot gives an impromptu lesson on dinosaurs. The Autobots see the animatronic dinosaurs and become amazed by the replicas, especially Bulkhead, who becomes so fascinated that he tries to get the robot Pteranodon to fly. This only succeeds in having the robot fall and cause a Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus robot to collide and break each other, crushing Tutor Bot in the process. The Autobots take the broken animatronics to Professor Sumdac for repair.
At the lab, Megatron views the power of dinosaurs through the damaged Tutor Bot and seems very impressed by their destructive potential. Sumdac enters the lab and berates himself for programming the Tutor Bot with such simple information that everyone already knows. Megatron reveals his consciousness by saying he never knew these things. Sumdac is shocked, and Megatron, pretending that he has just come back online, asks where he is. Professor Sumdac rambles a bit, then says it's a long story. Megatron reassures him that he can listen, as he is not going anywhere. After Sumdac gives a brief history of Megatron's discovery and how he relates to modern technology, Megatron convinces Sumdac that he is an old friend of the Autobots and that they'll be more forgiving of Sumdac keeping his secrets if he helps repair their old comrade. However, it would be best to keep it quiet for now. As a sign of good faith, he offers to help Sumdac repair the dinosaur displays and provide information on how to upgrade their technology so they'll be even more convincing. He conveniently forgets to tell Sumdac that he plans on using them for prototype attack drones.
Meanwhile, at the Autobot base, Prowl is trying to teach Bulkhead how to control his strength. This, of course, ends with Bulkhead falling on Prowl. He then tries a new tactic and moves the training to an island in Lake Erie. This results in Bulkhead causing some trees to drop on Prowl.
At Dino Drive, Sumdac reveals his and Megatron's creations to the gathered press and Autobots—the Dinobots! After a short display, Megatron takes control, and the Dinobots go on a rampage. As the Autobots fight them, Bulkhead tries to recreate Prowl's teaching, but to no effect other than falling into Prowl and knocking him flat on his back. Ratchet and Bumblebee then combine their powers to create an electromagnetic pulse to shut down the Dinobots, but her Key is somehow drawn to the creatures. She decides to help and plugs the Key into Bumblebee. The blast intensifies, blowing the dinosaurs' skins off and revealing the robot bodies beneath. Professor Sumdac is confused as to why they malfunctioned and brings them back to his lab for maintenance.
At Sumdac's lab, Megatron becomes perplexed as to why the Key activated, thinking it sensed something Cybertronian about the Dinobots. He dismisses this idea and curses the drones for being useless. Their failure also forces Megatron to reassess his plans. Given the primitive level of technology available on the planet, it could take years not only to create adequate attack drones, but even longer for his own new body. Megatron laments the grim situation of being locked away in Sumdac's lab, then something very surprising happens—the Tyrannosaurus starts to talk, and the other dinosaurs begin to move. On top of that, Megatron finds he can't control them!
Megatron then surmises that the Autobots must have done something to them, declaring that, somehow, they have sparks of their own. The Tyrannosaurus then dubs himself "Grimlock" and, without fail, Megatron declares that he is the Dinobots' leader. Grimlock doesn't approve of this concept and announces that he is the leader, and Swoop and Snarl seem to agree. The Tutor Bot activates, much to Megatron's annoyance, and explains how dinosaur fossils create fossil fuel, which powers cars and trucks. Grimlock takes this to mean cars and trucks "eat" dinosaurs and announces that cars and trucks are bad. Megatron takes advantage of their low intelligence and tells them to destroy the "fossil feeders", and, of course, that the only things worse than cars and trucks are "car robots". He shows them how to use one of their more destructive powers, fire-breath, and they use it to destroy the Tutor Bot. Grimlock is pleased with this, but does not know how he did it. Megatron explains how he designed them, then tells them that the fossil feeders want them dead, so the Dinobots go to defend themselves.
As they start on their rampage, Captain Fanzone and assembled emergency crews try to stop them. Suddenly, Snarl whips a car with his tail, and Captain Fanzone's car becomes the first casualty of the Dinobots' war on the fossil feeders as the thrown car lands on it. Fanzone, not missing a beat, takes a bazooka and shoots Snarl in the face, but he just swallows the incoming missile.
The Autobots arrive and, at Bulkhead's suggestion, lure the Dinobots to a park in order to avoid any more collateral damage. As Grimlock sees them transform, he remembers something he'd forgotten: Car robots are worse than cars and trucks. Furious, he orders the Dinobots to attack. As the battle goes on, the Autobots are seriously outmatched, especially since Bulkhead is trying to "access the situation" before acting, as Prowl tried to teach him to do. Prowl, realizing their disadvantage, hollers for Bulkhead not to try and be like Prowl, but to be like Bulkhead. Reassured, Bulkhead quickly drops Snarl and Swoop.
At the lab, Sumdac and Megatron are watching the events unfold on the news, and Sumdac is unable to comprehend why the Dinobots malfunctiooned again. Suddenly, the professor realizes that the fire-breath was part of Megatron's design specifications. Megatron feigns shame, claiming that he wanted a body again, so he experimented with the Dinobots by adding "features". Sumdac sympathizes with Megatron, promising not to tell the Autobots and to restore Megatron one day.
Meanwhile, Bumblebee and Ratchet are pinned down by Grimlock's fire-breath. Snarl and Swoop get up and join in, the heat melting the parking lot behind the two Autobots. Optimus remembers the tar lesson from Dino Drive, and Bulkhead throws all three Dinobots into the newly formed pool. The Dinobots use their flames in an attempt to free themselves from the "black, sticky stuff", but only make things worse for themselves.
The Dinobots are trapped with only their heads sticking out. Professor Sumdac promises to melt them down due to their unpredictableness and the danger they therefore pose. Optimus approves of this, but Prowl does not, feeling that they have shown they have minds and sparks of their own. When Sumdac returns the next morning, he finds the Dinobots have escaped from their tar prison.
On the deserted island where Prowl and Bulkhead trained, the Dinobots are freed into a large crater which houses a beautiful natural environment. Prowl and Bulkhead see how happy they are and decide to keep it their little secret. With that, Prowl sets a hologram up to keep them hidden and safe from the world.
After they leave, Grimlock dubs cars and trucks bad, but Nature good. Two birds promptly defecate on him, which makes him rethink his claim and dub Nature stupid. He orders the birds to come down and "fight like Dinobot" and spits out a flame at them, but they simply fly away. Furious, Grimlock suddenly activates another of Megatron's "features" and transforms, displaying an Autobot insignia in the process. Snarl and Swoop stare in amazement as Grimlock draws a giant, flaming sword. Grimlock like...
- Written by: Kevin Hopps
- Directed by: Irineo Maramba, Ben Jones, & Kentaro Mizuno
- Original airdate: January 12, 2008
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"Sorry I'm late, guys. Uh, did I miss anything?"
"No, I'd say you hit just about every car in the lot."
- —Bulkhead can't seem to catch a break, certainly not from Bumblebee. At first I thought Bulky was as destructive as Patrick Star but now, I think he's worse!
Tutor Bot: Besides the valuable information dinosaurs' bones can tell us, fossils also gave way to fossil fuels, which today power our automobiles.
Sumdac: Oh, I cannot believe that I programmed you with such simplistic information. Everyone knows this.
Megatron: Oh, but I did not.
Sumdac: Well, everyone but you. [gasps loudly] You...you spoke!
- —Isaac Sumdac learns that his guest is awake...
"Nice, Prowl. Maybe next you can teach an engine block to float."
- —Ratchet being a crotchety old goat
"This island will be the ideal place to train you: quiet, peaceful, and nothing around for you to damage."
- —Prowl, who is wrong
"The primitive materials available on this planet are useless. It will take countless solar cycles to create attack drones capable of my needs, and without more substantial robotics for my own body, my prospects are grim, locked in this prison of a lab."
- —Megatron learns why Grimlock's name doesn't start with an "S".
"Then listen well, Grimlock. I am Megatron, your leader."
"Me Grimlock leader."
- —Grimlock and Megatron. Some things never change.
"Cars and trucks bad! Car robots...worse!"
- —Grimlock, to the dismay of Robots in Disguise fans everywhere.
Bulkhead: Wait! Uh, I was thinking. Maybe we should lead them some place safer first.
Optimus: Good thinking, Bulkhead!
Bulkhead: He said "good thinking".
Bumblebee: And "Bulkhead".
- —Optimus gives Bulkhead kudos, much to his and Bumblebee's shock.
"Bulkhead...what are you doing?"
"I'm doing what you do!"
"...better idea! Do what you do!"
- —Prowl and Bulkhead discuss strategy.
"You call breathing fire a glitch?!?"
- —Ratchet, saying what we're all thinking.
"I should be more careful when I try to reverse-engineer alien technology."
"Just because something is big and lumbering and destructive doesn't mean you give up on it."
- —Prowl delivering the most backhanded compliment ever
- —Grimlock upon transforming. And the world trembled.
"I don't know what went wrong. I'm absolutely certain that Meg- my assistant and I thought of everything."
- - Isaac Sumdac nearly gives away who is assistant is.
- In the Japanese version, it was aired as the eighth episode.
- In one scene, Snarl's head is coloured grey instead of gold.
- Prowl removes his Autobot symbol because of its hologram emitter. However, in the next shot, he still has it. However, it is revealed in Five Servos of Doom that if Prowl removes his hologram generator, a panel comes down which covers the hole over with a replacement insignia.
- When the dinosaur shaped door to Dino drive opened, it had round teeth. By the next scene it had sharp teeth.
- Near the end, two birds poop on Grimlock's nose, but Grimlock is shown walking up to them in the next scene .
- A far-off island that becomes a training ground for a lumbering warrior to hone his skills without causing collateral damage to the Autobots' base? Gee, that sure sounds familiar...
- After smashing into Snarl, Bulkhead cheerfully apologizes with "Excuse me!" in much the same way that Generation One Slag did after stomping on a Quintesson in The Transformers: The Movie.
- Grimlock's line "Cars and trucks bad! Car Robots worse!!!" may be taken as a subtle jab at Transformers: RiD, which was called Car Robots in Japan. Interestingly enough, that was also the only post-G1 show that did not feature David Kaye, Grimlock's voice actor.
- Megatron tries to convince Grimlock that Autobots are bad. Familiar indeed.
- Only two other animatronic dinosaurs are seen in Dino Drive, a Stegosaurus and an unidentified sauropod. These may be references to Sludge and the original Snarl. And/or potential future Dinobots.
- Grimlock's robot mode resembles his look in the Generation One series. However, in this series, he wields a flaming sword just like his G1 toy and depiction in several comic series including Transformers War Within.
- This is not the first series to use a tar pit to entrap the Dinobots. In the original G1 cartoon episode "Dinobot Island," Megatron used the island's residents to drive the Dinobots into a tar pit to get them out of the Decepticon's way; they freed themselves using fire breath. In the G1 Marvel comic series, the Decepticon Shockwave defeated the Dinobots by entombing them in tar (before falling in himself).
- Unlike its namesake, Dinobot Island has no actual dinosaurs.
- The gate of Dino Drive is remarkably similar to the gate of Jurassic Park in the movie of the same name (and thus, by extension, to the gate from King Kong, to which Jurassic Park's design was an homage). Music reminiscent of the Jurassic Park theme can be heard during some of the Dino Drive scenes.
- This marks the first time the Dinobots have been used in a Transformers TV series since Generation One. There is much joy. Grimlock is particularly happy.
- Snarl was obviously designed to be the Animated incarnation of the Generation One Dinobot named Slag, and preproduction shots even bore that name. Hasbro holds the US trademark for "Slag" unopposed, and renewed it as recently as Xmas 2007. They aren't using "Slag" as a product name because, as acknowledged by the Hasbro representatives at BotCon 2008, it is a negative slang term in the United Kingdom (specifically, a reference to prostitution), and might have affected toy sales. Thus far, Grimlock is the only Dinobot to be named in the show itself.
- The Dinobots' color schemes are lifted directly from the Generation One cartoon, with some minor variations. This is most obvious in Swoop's torso being blue, rather than the red featured in Generation One Swoop's comic and toy incarnations. The Diaclone version of Generation One Swoop's toy likewise had a blue chest, so this is possibly an homage, but is more likely coincidence.
- For the first time, the Dinobots' alt modes match closely with how dinosaurs are depicted in the fossil record (no sluggishness, more mammal/bird-like, Grimlock bent over horizontally, no bowleggedness, etc.). There was still a lack of feathers before they were de-skinned, though. (However, since it's doubtful T. Rexes had a feather covering like smaller therapods, and large pterosaurs had short, bristly fur, if at all, it's not really an issue)
- In this episode, Tutor Bot actually teaches Sari and the Autobots about dinosaurs and fossil fuels. He's back on form, however, when the pre-Transformer Grimlock squashes him.
- It seems somewhat odd (but not terribly surprising) that humanity has developed advanced robotics and such, but still uses fossil fuels in cars.
- According to Ratchet, the Transformer race is over 10 billion years old.
- Tutor Bot makes statements of questionable factual accuracy in this episode:
- Despite what Tutor Bot says, fossil fuels are not made from dinosaur fossils. Fossil fuels are made from various hydrocarbons, which are mostly formed from plant matter that has long since settled in the Earth's crust. For more, see this.
- Tutor Bot claims that the Jurassic era is over 200 million years old. It lasted from circa 199.6 million years ago to 145.4 million years ago.
- Tutor Bot claims that many of the creatures lived during the Jurassic period, but Tyrannosaurus, Triceratops and the pterosaur Pteranodon hail from the Late Cretaceous, not the Jurassic. The only dinosaurs actually from that time period are the Stegosaurus and the sauropod mentioned above. This makes Tutor Bot blind, vague, or incapable of teaching about dinosaurs, fossil fuels, history, and (depending on how literally you take him) basic math. The fact that Professor Sumdac continues to fix him is almost amazing.
- Michigan does not have volcanoes. (Although, this is the future.)