Collateral Damage is the twenty-first episode of Season 3 and the sixty-sixth overall of Transformers: Robots in Disguise.
Soundwave finally escapes the Shadowzone to set up a Generator intended to summon Megatron, and while the Bee Team engages the notorious Decepticon atop a skyscraper, Optimus Prime takes on Laserbeak in the skies over Crown City, and Sideswipe learns a lesson in considering the consequences of his actions.
Bumblebee finds Russell making shadow puppet shows with some toys, because he really misses his horror movies. An alert sounds, but it turns out to be Denny and Sideswipe returning, having retrieved a bunch of their stuff from the scrapyard. Bumblebee is disappointed that they took the risk, but Denny placates him with a Rear Axle poster. Also retrieved was a televisionwhich Fixit soon has plugged in so Russell can enjoy Vlad Gastlee's horror show, "Showcase of Shivers". The Autobots and humans suddenly have to scramble as the cavern shakes, but Russell goes back for the TV and Strongarm only just manages to prevent him from being crushed by the ceiling. The disturbance turns out to be Optimus Prime arriving via space bridge. He's investigating Shadowzone readings picked up by Ratchet. Bumblebee orders Sideswipe to go scout the provided coordinates, but as Sideswipe moves to leave, he accidentally steps on Russell's TV set, destroying it. The other Autobots move out as well, unaware they're being watched by Hi-Test.
Sideswipe arrives at the demolition derby arena and observes Steeljaw reporting to Soundwave. Steeljaw's intrigued by the Decepticon Hunter Soundwave is toting, and the 'Con reveals he has genetically-engineered Activator Mini-Cons working with him. Soundwave goes on to explain he has built a trans-galactic generator which will create a blast to irradiate all life on Earth, than he would use it to create a new army. Steeljaw is outraged as he planned to rule the planet, but when he attacks Soundwave, he's soundly beaten and retreats. Sideswipe tries to report to the others, only to be detected by Soundwave and Laserbeak, who blast him before departing with the nuclear fuel rods Steeljaw supplied.
The other Autobots are soon digging Sideswipe out of the pile of rubble. While they head towards Crown City, Strongarm contacts Mayor Trujillo's office and persuades them to start an evacuation. This forces the Autobots to go in via the sewers and though Fixit can't track Soundwave, something Sideswipe overheard points them to the Crown City Bank building. Sideswipe and Strongarm argue over the former's accidental smashing of Russell's TV set. After they arrive at the bank, Optimus jetpacks up to distract Laserbeak. Bumblebee announces the rest of them have to form Ultra Bee however their attempt at merging fails, and they instead head up the building in an elevator.
At the top of the building, Soundwave detects Optimus's approach and sends Laserbeak after the Autobot while he continues to power up the beacon generator. The rest of the Bee Team arrive as well, and immediately come under fire from Soundwave. Bumblebee and Strongarm draw the 'Con's fire while Sideswipe moves in, but Soundwave spots him and uses a crane to take him out. Elsewhere Laserbeak manages to get the drop on Optimus and shoot the Autobot leader down before blasting a building to make it fall on him. Optimus is suddenly joined by Hi-Test, who combines with him and gives his vehicle mode some extra firepower. The pursuit continues.
Sideswipe climbs back up the building to find the Autobots are losing. The Autobots try flanking Soundwave, who uses the Decepticon Hunter to freeze Bumblebee and Strongarm, but Sideswipe manages to kick the weapon out of his hands. On the ground, Optimus hits Laserbeak with a pair of homing missiles, taking the 'Con out. Bumblebee manages to get to the Decepticon Hunter before Soundwave and powers up, using the weapon to defeat Soundwave before blasting the beacon generator. He succeeds in destroying its energy shield, but Soundwave moves the device itself to a crane, and it begins powering up telling bee he had failed until a couple of missiles from Optimus destroy it how ever soundwave than opens a ground bridge and he and laserbeak escape promising to make them pay. Optimus introduces the others to Hi-Test, who can't tell them much as his memory has been wiped. The Mini-Con departs into the Shadowzone.
That evening, Sideswipe and the other Autobots put on an impromptu version of "Showcase of Shivers" to make up for the destruction of Russell's TV.
- Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime
- Will Friedle as Bumblebee
- Constance Zimmer as Strongarm
- Darren Criss as Sideswipe
- Khary Payton as Grimlock
- Mitchell Whitfield as Fixit
"In that case, welcome to what is soon to be my Decepticon homeworld, brother."
"You are no relation to me. And this world is not yours."
- —Steeljaw gets some blunt truths from Soundwave.
"That wasn't my deal, I'm to rule earth a living planet, NOT a lifeless waste land!"
"Your ambitions are irrelevant, like the activators you have served your purpose, find another world to rule!"
- —Steeljaw and Soundwave.
"You think you can just come to Earth, cause a little kid's television to break, and it doesn't matter?"
"Your comments are nonsensical and inconsequential."
"Put a socket wrench in it, scrud-pile!"
- —Sideswipe and Soundwave exchange smack talk.
"Megatron... will return..."
- —Soundwave, fanboy forever.
- Soundwave's goal is revealed to have been to summon Megatron to Earth (evidently unaware that Megatron denounced his tyrannical ways and exiled himself back in Predacons Rising); he needed the nuclear fuel rods, stolen by Steeljaw in "Prisoner Principles", to power his beacon generator. We now know that Steeljaw's "benefactors", who released the Pack in "Exiles", have similar interests. Just as Megatron did to the Weaponizer Mini-Cons, they genetically modified the "Activators" and sent them to free Soundwave.
- Optimus is still working with Ratchet, who left Earth with him at the end of "Decepticon Island (Part 2)".
- The ability of three Decepticon Hunters to combine into a multi-purpose sword that powers up its wielder was also revealed in that episode.
- This is the second time Steeljaw has had a "you can rule the planet" promise backfire on him. The first time was in "Battlegrounds, Part 2".
- Soundwave and Steeljaw first meet at the stadium where Grimlock met Scowl in "Similarly Different". Only it turns out that the stadium was being renovated, not demolished.
- Held Prisoner: Clampdown, Quillfire, Underbite, Thunderhoof
- Returned to Cybertron: Soundwave, Laserbeak
- Known at Large: Steeljaw
- The toyline's term "Activator Mini-Con" is used onscreen for the first time.
- Mayor Trujillo is most likely named for the show's Animation Producer, Therese Trujillo.
- The briefly-seen horror host, while drawing from decades of TV horror hosts in general, takes specific visual (but not voice) cues from Chicago's Svengoolie.
- Optimus fires missiles at the Beacon, which contains nuclear fuel rods. This should have shattered the rods and distributed radioactive debris over a large area.
- When they were returned to the Shadowzone in "Portals", Soundwave and Laserbeak were still in their bodies from Transformers: Prime. How they were able to reformat to their new bodies is left unexplained.
- When the question was posed to Adam Beechen, he commented saying that Soundwave and Laserbreak augmented and modified their bodies with debris and parts found in the Shadowzone.
- Though Hi-Test's toy turns into a turret, he is shown to turn into an engine of sorts here, similar to G1 Hi-Q whom the character homages.