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Prowl, Bumblebee and Sari get more than they bargained for when they head out to the remote woods to investigate a mysterious energy signal.
- German title: "Der Ruf der Natur" ("The Call of Nature")
- Japanese title: "The Death-invoking Space Monster!" (死を呼ぶ宇宙怪物！ Shi wo Yobu Uchū Kaibutsu!)
- Polish title: "Zew natury" ("The Nature Calls")
Far outside of Detroit, a lone worker monitoring some oddly coloured mining machines hears a strange noise. Alerted, he looks around, but returns to his drink... only to be attacked by something. The construction machines stop their work, and they too get attacked.
Outside Detroit, Prowl, in his alternate mode, looks on at the snow-covered city before a plow comes along and rather rudely covers him in snow. Transforming, he rises from the snow with a sad look on his face.
When Prowl returns to the base, he goes on a rant about Nature's beauty and how humanity destroys it at every turn. Bumblebee and Sari are playing a video game, ignoring his vent. Prowl looks down on Bumblebee and asks why he's so devoted to machines, where Bumblebee retorts by noting that Prowl is "electrical components" too, nudging his Autobot insignia to activate a hologram of Prowl. The friendly banter takes a decidly unfriendly turn when Prowl shuts off the video game, enraging Sari and Bumblebee. Before something worse than insults is thrown, Optimus Prime interrupts, noting that there is a Cybertronian energy signature coming from the forest, made of non-sentient metal, and he wants Prowl and Bumblebee to investigate. Sari is thrilled at the prospect of a camping trip, while Bumblebee is horrified by the prospect of being cut off from entertainment.
The three of them head off into the woods, and Bumblebee laments unpaved roads, while Sari is excited, saying that they'll roast marshmallows, tell ghost stories and the like, though Prowl comments that nature is more than camp fires and marshmallows. When they prepare to proceed on foot, it's learned that Bumblebee brought a few entertainment devices...stored in a place that makes him a little ashamed. After finding a suitable camping site, Prowl sits quietly to commune with Nature while Bumblebee searches for an outlet to power his flatscreen TV. As campers, Sari and Bumblebee are miserable failures. They can't pitch a tent or get a fire going, and Sari is forced to admit that she's never been camping before, so Prowl does both within seconds. When Bumblebee commandeers Prowl's holographic imager to watch a movie, the ninja bot smashes Bumblebee's portable media player, much to the yellow bot's horror. Prowl 1, Bumblebee 0.
During the night, the trio is awoken by a crunching noise. Bumblebee cries monster. Prowl says it's a bear, which are hardly monsters. Lo and behold, a monstrous creature covered in purple tentacles and pink eyes does stomp out into the open and attack them. Bumblebee 1, Prowl 1. The creature absorbs Prowl's shurikens and holds its own against Bumblebee's stingers. What's more, Sari's Key glows, indicating that the creature is Cybertronian in origin. Unable to fight it off, the trio retreat.
Losing the creature, Prowl tries to figure out what the creature was, despite Bumblebee's snide comments. They both determine the creature is made up of space barnacles, scourge of space-going vessels everywhere. Normally, barnacles drain power and act like computer viruses, but these barnacles appear to have been mutated by something and made more powerful. They decide to go back and destroy the barnacles, rather than risk the creature reaching Detroit and infecting other machines. Glowing in the direction of the Cybertronian energy, the Key leads them to the mine shaft. When they're not looking, the creature drops a snowbank on them from above, sealing 'Bee and Sari inside.
Prowl fools the creature into smashing the entrance open, and Bumblebee uses his stingers to fry the barnacles. However, Prowl's prolonged contact with the creature has infected him and taken over, turning him into a barnacle zombie. 'Bee and Sari make a run for it, but they know they can't go back to the city because the barnacles may spread. They backtrack, hoping to lure Prowl to the mine and seal him inside, but end up sealing themselves inside too.
Now trapped, 'Bee and Sari seal themselves in a furnace room, and Sari hatches a plan to heat up water from a fire hose to scorch the barnacles off Prowl. However, Prowl's touch has infected Bumblebee as well. Sari tries to use the Key on the furnace machinery, but it doesn't work (for once). She manages to light the furnace by scratching a spark (not that kind of spark) from the Key instead. The furnace heats the water, and Sari sprays her two friends, boiling off the barnacles. The two Autobots are restored, and the three return to the plant to recount their harrowing tale to Prime.
Back in the woods, Professor Sumdac arrives in a truck and finds the Cybertronian machinery that was formerly coated by the barnacles, machinery that bears the Decepticon insignia. Sumdac comments that he's finally found what he's been looking for several years, and that Megatron will be pleased with his discovery. What, oh what, could it be?
- Written by: Todd Casey
- Directed by: Ben Jones, Bouakeo Thongkham, & Shunji Oga
- Original airdate: March 22, 2008
- Animation studio: The Answer Studio
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
(singsong) "We are going camping, we are going camping..."
- —Could Sari Sumdac possibly be any more excited?!
Bumblebee: At least I can get this junk out of me. I was feeling kinda bloated.
[Electronic devices suddenly fall out of him, Prowl gives him a look]
Bumblebee: What? You said to pack the bare essentials!
Prowl: Since when are surround-sound speakers, a strobe light, and a hand-held media player "bare essentials?"
Bumblebee: You should've seen what I left back at the plant.
Prowl: Where did you even find room for all of this junk?
[Bumblebee taps his fingers uncomfortably]
Bumblebee: I'd... rather not say.
- —Bumblebee and Prowl's conversation takes a decidedly uncomfortable turn.
Sari: So, wanna hear a ghost story?
Bumblebee: Hear a ghost story? [Presents his media player] I just found batteries for my media player. Which one do you wanna watch?
Prowl: You don't even have a screen to project it onto.
Bumblebee: Way ahead of you, nature boy.
[Bumblebee dashes off screen, sneaks behind Prowl and plugs the media player into his back, projecting a video of two campers being attacked by a bear through Prowl's chest, until Prowl disconnects it and crushes the media player in his hand]
Bumblebee: NOOOOOOOO! [Echoes through the entire forest]
- — Bumblebee has just experienced his own ghost story when he loses his only source of media at the servos of Nature boy
"First we must determine this creature's intentions."
[Creature knocks Prowl aside without provocation]
"I'm gonna go with 'hostile'."
- —Prowl and Bumblebee meet the monster.
Bumblebee: Hey! Why don't you pick on someone your own size?!
[Creature swipes at Bumblebee and Sari]
Bumblebee: Okay. Maybe we're a little unclear on the concept of "your own size".
Sari: Maybe you should stop talking logic to a creature that has no head!
- —Bumblebee and Sari debate whether or not to open negotiations with the monster.
"What did I tell you about camping? Monsters. TV is always right."
"So, wait. Monsters are real? Tutor Bot is such a liar!"
- —Bumblebee's faith in Television is reinforced, while Sari Sumdac's faith in Tutor Bot is shattered.
"You've got anything that ugly on Cybertron?"
"Yeah, but Bulkhead's back at the plant."
- —Bumblebee uses Sari's question as a platform to insult Bulkhead while the bigbot isn't there—oh, burn!
"BumblebeeAttention, barnacle monster! Come out with your hands over your...well, you don't have a head. But you get the idea."
"Prowl: Do you mind?
"Bumblebee: Just trying to break the tension!
A snowball hits Prowl's head
"Prowl: Do YOU mind?
- —Bumblebee instructs the creature to surrender, with terrible results from Prowl and Sari adds insult to injury.
- —Bumblebee, facing the barnacle-infected Prowl.
"Quick, turn off your headlights so he can't see us."
[Bumblebee switches off his headlights and crashes into a tree]
- —Sari's advice to Bumblebee on how to escape the infected Prowl doesn't turn out so well....
Sari: And then, they were back to normal, like nothing ever happened. Meanwhile, I'm stuck riding home with no dry clothes and an Autobot whose car mode doesn't have a heater!
Optimus: You showed a lot of courage and ingenuity, Sari. And hopefully, you'll stop...backfiring soon.
Sari: Hel-lo, it's called "sneezing".
[Sari sneezes, then blows her nose]
Bumblebee: I don't even wanna know what that's called.
- —The Autobots discover the concept of the common cold.
"Megatron will be so surprised!"
- —Isaac Sumdac, cheerfully dooming us all.
- Though the episode was never aired in Japan, it was released on DVD.
- If space barnacles are killed by heat, how did any survive atmospheric entry?
- Megatron's body clearly has the Decepticon emblem on it, and Isaac Sumdac... doesn't appear to notice, even though he should have noticed the differences between Autobot and Decepticons. Then again, he never noticed Megatron's eyes being red while all the Autobots have blue ones.
- Bumblebee's combined stinger attack also rings a few bells.
- Sari remarks that Bumblebee has no heater. Remember that 'Bee took his alternate mode from Captain Fanzone's car... and if any car in Detroit would be old and decrepit and lacking basic amenities, it'd be Fanzone's.
- This episode revisits a concept of the balance between technology and nature, with Prowl advocating the benefits of nature, Bumblebee advocating the benefits of technology, Sari advocating the benefits of balance, and lots of running away from things.
- The construction worker looks very familiar. (He's only credited as "Worker" and is voiced by Bumper Robinson.)
- This episode is one in a long line of episodes featuring Transformer-based diseases transferred by touch. It shares elements of the hate plague, cosmic rust, the transorganics from "Dweller in the Depths" and, most notably, the scraplets. Coincidentally, water ended up destroying the scraplets as well in the pages of Marvel comics.
- The barancle monster is very similar to Devestator.
- Bumblebee and Sari play their racing game on a console shaped very much like a PlayStation 2... With wireless Atari 2600 joysticks.
- There are actually barnacles not from space. Neat, huh?
- If those space barnacles came from the Autobots ship and latched onto Megatron's body before it hit reentry, what where they doing for the past fifty years? Be filmed on tapes as Bigfoot's cousin.
- The construction worker somehow survived being attacked by the space barnacle.
- What use could Bumblebee (and possibly Sari) have for a strobe light?
- Tutor Bot is mentioned, and in the voice credits for the episode, but does not actually appear.
- Only seven characters appeared in this episode.
- Why didn't Sari get scalded by hot water when she soaked Prowl and 'Bee?
- Some funny-Anime-esque expressions were used a lot in this episode, especially for 'Bee and Sari.
- Under the assumption Prowl can't transform into vehicle mode while infected with the barnacles, and also considering he moves at a snail's pace while infected, how could he cross over the trail tracks that weren't grounded? Even if he climbed over them, it should have taken him ages to finally make it across.