AllSpark energy turns a junk pile into a sentient robot who tries to help the Autobots, but ends up doing more harm than good.
Garbage is piling up all over Detroit, as the trash-bots are malfunctioning and Sumdac Systems CEO Porter C. Powell refuses to repair them until the city and he can come to an agreement on payment. In Powell's office, a technician demonstrates a new form of the nanobots that caused big problems a while back, designed this time to break down garbage into its component molecules, quickly and cheaply solving the garbage problem (while allowing Powell to charge the city a hefty fee).
Elsewhere, the Autobots are trying to patch up their still-damaged reputation by helping pile garbage into scows. Ratchet ends up getting into a shouting match with an old man whose car ended up under a garbage mound, resulting in the car being dumped in the river and the two old grouches almost coming to blows. Captain Fanzone arrives to break up the scene and remarks that Ratchet needs to work on his "people skills". Prime agrees and assigns Bumblebee and Sari to try and help out Ratchet while they work more on the garbage problem. Ratchet is not happy with this.
Just before the Autobots depart, though, Sari's key glows, but she quickly disregards this...and misses the emergence of a junk-robot from the scow, brought to life by an AllSpark shard. The confused machine tries to figure out his identity using the scraps around him, but is unsatisfied with the results. Spying a passing blimp with a sign for the Detroit police department with the slogan "We're Here to Help", the robot happily goes about trying to find some police for some help with his identity.
At the Decepticon base, Lugnut detects a surge in AllSpark energy, and Megatron concludes that another fragment must have turned up. Megatron orders Lugnut to retrieve it, and Lugnut continues his glory-spouting as he leaves. Megatron's optical sensor begins to twitch noticeably.
Stuck in a traffic jam, Ratchet is about to display some serious road rage when Bumblebee puts on his siren and clears a path for them. Heading through, they a find a familiar couple who are expecting a child, but their car has broken down on the way to the hospital. Ratchet agrees to take them to the hospital, then jets off at high speed, despite Sari's warning to keep the mother calm.
Meanwhile, the new robot is walking through downtown Detroit, nearly causing several accidents. The police, pursuing the Angry Archer, crash into the robot, who subsequently asks them for help. Archer tells the robot to throw them aside so that they can escape, and the robot agrees. When Archer inquires as to his identity, the robot responds that he is "worthless-wreck-walking-pile-of-garbage," so the Archer dubs him Wreck-Gar for short. He tries to explain the that they steal from the rich and give to the poor (themselves), but Wreck-Gar gets the Archer's words confused. Seeing a passing armored car, Archer tells Wreck-Gar that they must "knock it over", so Wreck-Gar proceeds to chase the armored car and do just that.
Meanwhile, expecting mother Carly asks her husband, Spike, to ask the driver to slow down, only for Spike to learn that there is only a little girl in the car—and no driver! Ratchet tells them to keep quiet as he tries to find a hospital, only for the armored car knocked over by Wreck-Gar to land in his way. Jettisoning the humans, Ratchet and Bumblebee try to stop Wreck-Gar, but before they can do anything, the Angry Archer snags and flees with a canister that was in the armored car. Sari points out that Autobots are supposed to catch the bad guys, and Wreck-Gar assumes that he is an Autobot, slaps on an Autobrand, and goes after the Archer. Bumblebee and Sari go after him, while Ratchet offers to drive Spike and Carly to the hospital. They say they'll take a cab, leaving Ratchet miffed at their rudeness.
Outrunning the swinging Archer, Wreck-Gar hurls him into the air so he can "catch" him, allowing the Angry Archer to escape, but the canister falls into Wreck-Gar's backpack. As the Autobots and Sari show up, her key starts to glow, and they realize that Wreck-Gar was created by an AllSpark fragment. Ratchet rudely tells Wreck-Gar that he is not an Autobot and is only good for one thing: GARBAGE! Wreck-Gar therefore transforms into his garbage truck vehicle mode and leaves to deliver garbage to the people of Detroit—starting by covering Sari and the Autobots in a pile of it.
Meanwhile, Lugnut has reached the city, and he confronts Wreck-Gar at the military base he and Blitzwing previously visited. Lugnut demands the AllSpark fragment from the vehicle's driver, but Wreck-Gar transforms, revealing his robotic nature. When Wreck-Gar repeats Ratchet's statement that he's no Autobot, Lugnut concludes that Wreck-Gar is a loyal Decepticon, so Wreck-Gar slaps on a Decepticon symbol.
Back at the crime scene, Ratchet is removing the driver of the armored car when Powell and Fanzone show up. Powell reveals that the car was carrying the garbage-devouring microbots to a demonstration for Mayor Edsel. However, the canister carrying them is gone. Sari is more than willing to let Powell suffer, but Ratchet is concerned about what the microbots might do if infused with AllSpark energy. Tracking Wreck-Gar to the base, Ratchet demands the Microbots, only for Lugnut to transform and activate his bomb punch. Wreck-Gar interprets this as the universal greeting, and gives Lugnut a high five. Sari and the Autobots barely manage to avoid ground zero. As Lugnut transforms to attack, Wreck-Gar takes out the canister, which has cracked, allowing some of the microbots to touch Lugnut. Crying out in pain, Lugnut commands Wreck-Gar to get them off, so Wreck-Gar dissects Lugnut, causing his tail end, still carrying Wreck-Gar, to crash onto a garbage scow. Bumblebee declares their problems over, but Ratchet is worried. If those microbots could eat through Decepticon armor-plating, there's no telling what they'll do to downtown Detroit.
On the river bank, Powell arrives to cancel the presentation with the mayor, only for the group see the microbots eat the garbage on the scow. Powell quickly takes advantage of the situation to start wheeling and dealing. As the scow gets closer, Ratchet jumps from a nearby bridge to stop it. He tries to reason with Wreck-Gar, but everything fails, forcing Ratchet to make the ultimate sacrifice...and apologize. He tells Wreck-Gar he can be whatever he wants, and Wreck-Gar decides to save the city, vacuuming up the microbots. However, the microbots overload Wreck-Gar's backpack, causing him to fall into the river. Ratchet tries to pull him out with his magnets, but only finds junk. As Bumblebee and Sari declare Ratchet a hero, Powell cries foul, saying that Ratchet destroyed his product. Thus there is no deal with the city, and the garbage dispute will continue. Ratchet picks up Powell, the Mayor, and the Mayor's aide, and tells them to make peace or be thrown into the river. Powell and Edsel agree to a small increase to re-service the garbage bots, ending the dispute. Ratchet decides the cheering bystanders are lauding him, leading him to conclude that he does have people skills. Sari and Bumblebee know differently, however.
Meanwhile, at the bottom of the river, Wreck-Gar, buried shoulder-deep in sediment, assures the sea life that he is a hero and is there to help. First, however, he needs a hand. Or a fin. Maybe a pelvis?
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"You, quit harassing the Autobot. you, put down the citizen".
- —Fanzone keeps the piece.
"Ahh, I'm picking up a new AllSpark energy signal, my liege..."
"No doubt another fragment has surfaced. Retrieve it, Lugnut, before the Autobots get their filthy servos on it."
"Stasis lock itself could not deter me from your grand and glorious plan, oh wise and noble Megatron!"
[left optic twitches] "Just...go..."
"Yes, my liege!"
- —Lugnut's blind worship of his
queencommander can get too much even for Megatron sometimes...
"I don't suppose you can tell me what I am, funny green man?"
"You are...my partner-in-crime. They call me Angry Archer!"
"They call me 'worthless-wreck-walking-pile-of-garbage'!"
"Oh, really? Bit of a mouthful. Perhaps we should just call you 'Wreck-Gar' for short."
- —Angry Archer, Renaissance Man, does some on-the-spot dubbing.
"I am Wreck-Gar!"
- —The opening to pretty much everything Wreck-Gar says from the moment he gets his name.
[Sari, Spike, and a very pregnant Carly are almost crushed by an axle carelessly discarded by Ratchet]
"Uh, I don't know much about these things, lady, but I think you're s'posed to breathe or somethin'?"
- —Sari the midwife
Bumblebee: [at Wreck-Gar] "What are you?" [To Sari] "What is he?"
Sari: "I don't know, but he's givin' off a ton of AllSpark energy."
Wreck-Gar: "I am Wreck-Gar! I give off a ton of AllSpark energy!"
Bumblebee: "So, what, an AllSpark fragment just brought a junk pile to life and made some new kind of Autobot?!"
Wreck-Gar: "I am Wreck-Gar! I am some new kind of Autobot?!"
Ratchet: "Listen up, scrapheap. You're not an Autobot, and you never will be an Autobot. You're only good for one thing: GARBAGE!!"
Wreck-Gar: "I am Wreck-Gar! I am only good for one thing: GARBAGE!! I must deliver garbage to all!" [transforms and rolls out]
- — Ratchet's lack of people skills backfires again.
Lugnut: Human! The AllSpark fragment—now!
Wreck-Gar: No human here. I am Wreck-Gar! I am only good for one thing: GARBAGE!
Lugnut: Are you an Autobot?
Wreck-Gar: I am Wreck-Gar! I am not an Autobot and will never be an Autobot!
Lugnut: Ah! Then you must be a Decepticon!
Wreck-Gar: I am Wreck-Gar! I...must be a Decepticon!
[Wreck-Gar places a Decepticon badge on his chest]
Lugnut: Aah, ALL HAIL MEGATRON!
Wreck-Gar: All hail Megatron! Uh...w-what's a 'Megatron'?
- —Wreck-Gar makes a new friend in Lugnut.
Lugnut: Those accursed Autobots will pay for their insolence!
Wreck-Gar: Right! [Wreck-Gar pulls a burnt-out cash register] Cash, check or charbroil?
Lugnut: [Knocking the register out of Wreck-Gar's hands] ATTACK!!!
Wreck-Gar: Right! What kind of tack would you like? Thumb tack? Carpet tack? Income tack?
Lugnut: Rhaaah, nevermind.
- — Wreck-Gar can certainly teach Crazy Blitzwing a thing or two about being bonkers.
"You glitch-head!! You're gonna destroy the whole city! You wouldn't dare do something THAT stupid!"
"I am Wreck-Gar! I dare to be stupid!"
- — Ratchet and Wreck-Gar. Yes, but does he count his chickens before they hatch?
"I will destroy the whole city!"
- — Wreck-Gar, getting the hang of the Decepticon lifestyle.
"Fear not, fellow creatures of the deep, I am Wreck-Gar! I am a hero! Um...e-excuse me, c-could someone give me a hand...or-...or a fin...anyone?""
- —Wreck-Gar begins a new life under the sea.
- This episode was first shown on Friday, April 25th, at BotCon 2008. The version aired still had the time-code running in the top-left corner.
- This episode is the first to feature Ratchet's full robot-to-vehicle transformation animation sequence.
- When removing trash into a boat, Optimus transforms, and suddenly his trailer evaporates, together with all the trash on it.
- Why don't Sari or Ratchet react to the Key when it starts to glow, indicating the presence of AllSpark energy?
- Wreck-Gar interprets Lugnut's incoming rocket punch as an invitation to a high-five, and he happily delivers the universal greeting.
- Wreck-Gar's shifting allegiance and red optics as he faces down Ratchet on the garbage scow appear to be callbacks to the original Wreck-Gar, who at first appeared to be an enemy to the Autobots in his movie appearance, complete with red optics, and was even marketed as such in television commercials.
- The Animated incarnations of Spike and Carly, who made a cameo in the pilot episode, re-appear with speaking lines and even get their names called out. Corey Burton even reprises his post-Movie voice for the adult Spike Witwicky.
- G1 Wreck-Gar's motorcycle alt mode can be spotted amongst the garbage that Wreck-Gar throws at Bumblebee.
- Wreck-Gar's "I dare to be stupid!" is, of course, a reference to one of "Weird Al" Yankovic's most well-known songs, "Dare to be Stupid", a Devo "style parody" that appeared on the soundtrack to the original animated movie in the scene with the original Wreck-Gar.
- While driving Spike and Carly to the hospital, Ratchet drives past the Wyatt Toys toy store, a reference to Art Director Derrick Wyatt previously seen in "Sound and Fury".
- Even Megatron gets annoyed by Lugnut's constant worshiping. Sound familiar?
- The mayor still doesn't talk, letting his aide speak for him instead.
- Aside from Wreck-Gar, Weird Al also voiced the Sumdac Systems technician who explains the new version of the nanobots to Porter C. Powell.
- This is the first time we see Lugnut use his mace/axe weapon. It is awesome. It gets eaten by microbots.
- Given that Carly is about to give birth when she seemed to have a wafer-thin profile in the pilot, the Autobots seem to have spent at least six months or so in Detroit.
- This episode sees the return of the human newscaster.
- Bulkhead appears, but has no lines.