After releasing a doomsday weapon, Optimus Primal must face the consequences of his actions.
- Japanese title: The Cost of Victory (勝利の代償 Shōri no Daishō)
The storm continues to rage, as Primal (controlling the lethal Plasma Energy Chamber) and Megatron (wielding the deadly Key) fight, pushing their energies back and forth.
As this happens, Optimus sinks into the Matrix again, seeing a vision of Cybertron destroyed. He lashes out and blames Megatron, who takes no credit. Cybertron is doomed not because of Megatron's actions, but because of Primal. Suddenly, Optimus finds himself back on prehistoric Earth, the battleground where the Beast Wars were fought and where he proved himself a true leader.
He is attacked, not by Megatron or another marauding Predacon, but by a red-eyed copy of himself. The clone scolds Primal for his fanatical behavior and pushes him off a cliff, sending him plummeting back into space. Faces come and go, and he finds himself being encouraged by the Maximals he led in all their various forms and faces, however, they sadly failed him. Primal realizes that he must make his own decisions, not the computer. The Oracle acknowledges this fact, but tells him that his fate still lies with him.
The arrival of another old friend, Rhinox, comforts him. He has suffered the consequences for his actions, he tells his friend, and must remain in the Matrix. Primal shoots through another tunnel where the faces of Transformers he has yet to encounter flash before him and finds himself back in the heated battle. Taking control of both energies, he redirects them back into the Matrix itself. The remaining Maximals reawaken, back in their techno-organic bodies and free of the Key's energies.
With Megatron gone, the Maximals are the only active Cybertronians on the planet. An eerie wind blows as the camera pans over the discarded bodies of Vehicon Drones. Finding one another, the surviving Maximals head to the Throne Room in the Citadel, only to find the bodies of their former friends—and foes. Megatron's body crumbles to dust, leaving only his control-shell. When Rattrap touches the inert body of Tankor, it falls to pieces. Cheetor looks at Primal's flattened body, lamenting the fallen "Big Bot". Unsympathetic, Nightscream says that Cheetor only ever wanted him out of the way. Angered, Cheetor denies the fact, but reluctantly takes control.
Outside, Rattrap plugs into Cybertron's system, only to find that the planet is, in fact, brain-dead. But things change when Jetstorm and Thrust show up, and the Maximals and Vehicons prepare for another fight. Cheetor comes between them, telling them that the war is over, while Blackarachnia invites Jetstorm onto their side. The two Vehicons leave.
Some time after this, the Maximals decide to head down to the Oracle in an oddly familiar manner. However, the foursome find Optimus Primal inside the Oracle. Communicating with them via the supercomputer, he asks that the Maximals forgive him for being a zealot and his genocidal behavior. Rattrap protests, as "there is nothing to forgive," but Optimus does not listen and disappears. Back in the void, he sees the collective Sparks of Cybertron past, present, and future, inviting him into the Transformer afterlife: the Matrix. But Optimus has other plans. He is ready to join the Matrix, but not today.
Primal steps out into real-space again, and the Oracle tells him that it has taught him everything and that he must make his own way in his mission. Around him, plants spring upwards, as Optimus explains to the Maximals their destiny: not to have the organic destroy the mechanical, but to create a balance, the same way that the Oracle did with him. Cybertron to be neither purely organic or purely technological world, but a technorganic world.
Finally, the Maximals head above ground, only to find themselves face-to-giant-face with an enormous vessel bearing the likeness of Megatron!
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
- Optimus, We believe in you... believe in you... believe in you.
- Cheetor encourages Optimus to believe him.
- This episode marks the introduction of the Grand Mal.
- The recap at the start of this episode concludes with Optimus Primal's hand disintegrating and him insisting that "if this is the will of the Matrix, then so be it." However, the cliffhanger simply ended with Primal looking on as his hand disintegrated.
- When the four remaining Maximals head downwards to the Oracle, it is very similar to the same sequence in The Reformatting.
- As he exits the Allspark and comes back to life, Optimus has brief prophetic visions of characters who have not actually appeared yet.
- Rhinox must remain in the Matrix forever. Until he doesn't. Except when he gets killed even deader. (Multiple canons are fun, kids!)
- The Beast Wars gets referred to, with the retcon of the Matrix wanting them to go to prehistoric Earth to pick up beast modes there (or so Optimus figures). Since it was Megatron who decided to go there, then either Optimus is reading too much into it or the Matrix has been giving Megatron some nudges...
- It is also possible that it wasn't the Oracles specific intention to go to prehistoric earth, but any planet with organic life.
- When Primal's dead, he looks flat.