The Autobots get an urgent call from Agent Fowler. Fowler plane has been shot down while transporting the hi-tech Dynamic Nuclear Generation System, or as he called it the "Dingus". It is a volatile nuclear device and he needs help in completing his mission. Optimus says that using the Ground Bridge to transport it would be too dangerous, so instead they'll have to take it by road. They soon have it loaded into a trailer which Prime starts hauling, with Bulkhead and Bumblebee as an escort. Fowler is disappointed that he doesn't get to drive just as Optimus stops him from taking the wheel, which he told Fowler that he will handle the driving. Ratchet and the kids monitor their journey from base.
On the road, Optimus is irritated by Fowler's enthusiasm with the horn. Unknown to any of them, the convoy is being observed by a helicopter. Fowler and Optimus are discussing whether there was any evil on Earth before the Decepticons came, when they spot the helicopter, which Fowler believes is a Decepticon. Five green sportscars move in on the convoy, but Optimus warns everyone to maintain their cover and stay in vehicle mode. Ratchet's surprised that they're not showing up on his sensors. All is made clear when one of the cars draws level with Optimus's cab, and a masked human aims a gun at Fowler. Optimus orders the other Autobots to use non-lethal force only. Bumblebee knocks one of the cars, flipping it over, but another drives up alongside Optimus. One of the masked goons climbs onto Optimus and starts attempting to sever the trailer. After Prime knocks the car off the mountainside road, Fowler climbs out and grabs the masked goon, but loses him before he can start the interrogation.
The fellow in the helicopter makes contact over the walkie and introduces himself as Silas, part of the MECH organization, and arrogantly states that they intend to steal the Dingus for their own use. One of the cars pulls up behind Optimus and the MECH goons blow the trailer's back door open, only for Arcee to jump out in motorcycle mode and flip their car, causing it to explode. While Optimus warns Fowler not to take Silas lightly, Ratchet informs them they are nearing the rendezvous point.
The Autobots reach the rendezvous point and duck into a rail tunnel alongside a train. Bulkhead seals off the incoming end. A short time later, they and the train emerge from the other end of the tunnel, and Silas continues to follow the Autobots. As luck would have it, the Vehicons take this opportunity to appear and open fire on the convoy. The Autobots avoid getting hit, but Prime's trailer is shaken loose and explodes. The Vehicons transform and move in, forcing Optimus to inform Fowler that they're going to have to break cover to survive. Silas observes the fight and notes that the rumors he's heard of living technology are true. He lets Fowler know that he's aware the Dingus was transferred onto the train while the Autobots were in the tunnel, and the helicopter moves off to intercept the cargo. Unfortunately, while Fowler is giving Optimus the bad news, the Autobot leader takes a tree trunk to the face and falls off a nearby cliff.
The kids have a frantic discussion about a plan B. Miko is in favor of Ratchet Ground-bridging the kids onto the train so they can fight the MECH goons. With Raf's help, Jack and Miko are soon on the train. As the MECH helicopter tries to land on top of the train, Raf flips a point switch to make the train go off along another line. In response, the helicopter's pilot hacks Raf's laptop, causing it to short out. On the second try, the helicopter lands atop the carriage the Dingus is in, and the MECH guys start cutting through the carriage roof.
Not far away, the Autobots continue their fight with the Vehicons. Optimus comes around and sees the train in trouble.
Miko and Jack grab weapons, which they wave at the MECH guys when the ceiling's opened. Back in the chopper, Silas spots Optimus running alongside and sounds a retreat. As the helicopter heads away, he fires a missile and takes out the track ahead of the train. Due to Raf's laptop being out of commission, Ratchet no longer has the train's coordinates and can't bridge the kids out. They prepare to jump, but Optimus zooms past them and grabs the front of the train and brings it to a halt in the nick of time. Hovering in the helicopter nearby, Silas promises that next time the playing field will be levelled. Optimus reports back to Ratchet that the kids and the Dingus are safe, but notes that a new player has entered the game...... Decepticons in human skin.
Cast and Characters
Bulkhead: After a long road trip, feels good to get out of the car, stretch my legs and kick some tailpipe!
- Bulkhead after a car trip.
Ratchet: And what have I been saying all along about Earth technology.
- Ratchet pointing the obvious.
Arcee: Where's Optimus?
Agent Fowler: He had a train to catch!
- Just one of those dramatic action sequences by the one and only Optimus Prime.
Optimus Prime: Intact, Ratchet. Crisis averted. But the world in which we live in is a different one then we previously imagined. One which has spawned it's own Decepticons, in human skin.
- Optimus ending the episode with a negative note on some humans.
- On the monitor inside the Autobot base, the fork is shown to be on the right side of the rails. When the scene changes to show the running train, it is shown to be on the left.
- The number of MECH cars is somewhat inconsistent, as are their positions. Three cars initially pull up behind and to the sides of Bulkhead. An additional car appears to replace the one that pulls ahead to block Bumblebee, and another appears to replace the one that pulls up to Optimus' driver side to force him to pull over. When the Autobots begin applying force, the car that was in front of Bumblebee has moved to Optimus' passenger side. After this, four of the pursuing cars are dispatched through various means, leaving only one, yet three cars are chasing the Autobots when they reach the train tunnel. The cars vanish from the story completely after this.
- While Silas delivers his last line, the straps that cross his chest clip into each other.
- At the beginning of the episode, when Ratchet asks Agent Fowler why Starscream would bother with "such primitive technology" (i.e., the Dingus), a small light can be seen inside his open mouth, as if the light coming from his left optic sensor can be seen through it.
- When the Autobots first transform in front of the platoon of Eradicon Jets and reveal themselves to MECH in the process, there is no plateau near their right side to safely place Fowler on, but in the very next shot, it is right next to them, even though the Autobots never moved from their position.
- The plane Fowler was transporting the Dingus on is the same one he had in "Masters and Students".
- Miko makes reference to that episode when she follows up Fowler's comment that he had been shot out of the sky with an "again?"
- This episode is the first to feature a human enemy to the Cybertronians (both Autobots and Decepticons). However, they do not meet the leader, Silas, until much later; the Autobots only hear him speak this episode.
- On board the train, Jack and Miko each pick a "weapon" of choice to face the MECH goons. Miko happens to take an axe, like she did to face Soundwave's tentacle, while Jack takes a fire extinguisher, like he did a couple of episodes ago.
- Optimus's trailer is adorned with the same paint scheme as his Generation 1 counterpart's trailer.
- "Convoy" is the usual Japanese equivalent to the English "Prime".
- This episode is the first in Transformers: Prime to feature a reproduction of an actual real-world vehicle: the locomotive depicted hauling the 'Phase II' train is a very accurate model of a four-axle GP series model produced in La Grange, Illinois (Later London, Ontario) by Electro-Motive Diesel.
- This is the first episode where Optimus Prime uses his trailer.
- The Autobots have a curious definition of "minimum force". During the short battle, they flip over three cars and blow up a fourth. The latter most likely killed the passengers. It's amazing the others came out unharmed, considering one was hanging out of the sunroof of his car at the time.
- The train set piece germinated from Alex Kurtzman's desire to have a Train Transformer, which would have been too expensive.
- The fact that the Autobots were battling humans rather than Decepticons - a not insignificant twist in the plot - was spoiled by the next-episode preview shown during the Hub's airing of "Con Job". What is this, Japan?
- As was previously featured in "Darkness Rising, Part 4", this episode features an Autobot transforming while carrying a human passenger. Fowler somehow ends up sitting in Optimus's hand rather than inside him, though.
- Silas deems the Autobots' use of the train tunnel a tactical error because it only has one exit, but then makes no effort to stop them on the other side.
- In the beginning of the episode Optimus tells Fowler he will handle the driving but later on in the episode we see Fowler driving. It might be that Agent Fowler just kept his hands on the steering wheel or that Optimus was just being kind.
- When Jack and Miko grab the fire extinguisher and the fire axe to fight MECH, they apparently forget that there is a gun on the floor, dropped by the immobilized soldier. However, neither (presumably) has had firearms training, and it's unlikely that Optimus would appreciate trigger-happy allies.
- Silas' attempt to destroy the Dingus at the end of the episode seems a bit reckless, given its nuclear core. However, there's no indication he's aware of just how nasty that thing going up would be; when the decoy trailer goes up, the MECH pilot merely indicates there's no detectable radiation. If they knew about the five-state irradiation deal, they'd probably be just a wee bit more on edge and wondering why they weren't dead.
- This episode might imply that Jack has feelings for Miko. But this more or less never comes up again.
- This episode may contain human death. After Arcee jumps off one of MECH's vehicles, it rolls right into another vehicle and the two explode. No humans are seen exiting the vehicles during the accident, so it is likely that they perish in the explosion.
- Optimus Prime has a cup holder. Whether this is a default part of his alt mode or for Fowler's benefit is unspecified.
- Adaptations of this episode include a prose version in Optimus Under Threat titled "Off the Rails", and a storybook version for younger readers as Optimus Prime and the Secret Mission.
Main Article: Convoy Gallery