Operation: Breakdown is the eleventh episode of the first season of Transformers: Prime. It is the sixteenth episode of the series overall.
During a fight with Bulkhead in an abandoned town, Breakdown is captured by MECH, who wish to dismantle him and research his inner workings. Optimus Prime and Starscream both lead separate rescue missions to save Breakdown.
Bulkhead is fighting Breakdown in a ghost town on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Eastern Russia after the two have a run-in while tracking an energon signature. Though Bulkhead fights valiantly, Breakdown lays him flat with a hammer blow. As Breakdown prepares to finish the unconscious Bulkhead off, he's zapped by a blast of energy from a helicopter, which lands and disgorges Silas and a pack of MECH troops. Silas instructs them to take Breakdown. Bulkhead comes around to find Breakdown missing and Miko calling out to him on the comm. After he bridges back to base for repairs, everyone's confused about what happened to Breakdown. Agent Fowler has an idea who might be behind it.
On the Nemesis, Starscream relays news of Breakdown's capture to Megatron. Starscream is keen to hunt down the humans responsible and bring back Breakdown, but Megatron intends to leave Breakdown to his fate for being captured by those weaker, a decision which leaves Starscream dismayed.
Breakdown recovers to find himself firmly attached to a metal slab. Silas introduces himself to the captive, who chuckles and announces that Megatron will never pay a ransom, but Silas reveals they're not after money, just the technology in Breakdown's body.
Fowler fills the Autobots in — his intel has reported MECH activity in the Kamchatka Peninsula. While the other Autobots are happy for MECH to have Breakdown, Optimus Prime decides to mount a rescue mission. The others are surprised, and Bulkhead wonders if Optimus believes Breakdown will switch sides if the Autobots rescue him, but Optimus says while that's unlikely, they can't let MECH get Cybertronian biology.
Meanwhile, MECH have disengaged Breakdown's pain receptors in preparation for the operation. Silas thanks their captive in advance for the service he is about to do them, and the heavy machinery moves in to take the Decepticon apart.
Miko tries to talk Bulkhead into going on the mission, but he's none too keen as he hates Breakdown, and Optimus agrees he would not be an asset on the mission. Optimus departs with Ratchet, Bumblebee and Arcee. Miko looks disappointed, and Bulkhead suggests they watch a movie instead.
Prime's team arrives in the ghost town, to find it deserted. Though Bumblebee spots some vehicle tracks, Ratchet reports he's got an energon trace, and they go to look for the source.
Fowler has already fallen asleep in front of Dinolizard vs. Five-Headed Ape. Miko isn't watching the movie though, as she's disappointed that Bulkhead isn't getting to face down his own arch-enemy. Bulkhead still doesn't want to rescue the 'Con, but Miko points out that if he doesn't, he won't get to have another rematch. Bulkhead takes the Ground Bridge to Russia.
Prime's team finds the energon reading — it's Breakdown's eye, sitting in the open.
Bulkhead follows a MECH car to a railway tunnel and, weapons primed, ventures inside.
Ratchet hooks Breakdown's eye up to his scanner so they can retrieve the last images it saw, but it turns out that Silas has turned the eye into a two-way video feed. Silas is surprised to see the Autobots, but shows off the work they're doing on Breakdown and points out the bomb the Autobots are standing virtually on top of. Prime's team just manages to get clear before the bomb explodes.
Silas passes on the news to Breakdown that his would-be rescuers are Autobots, much to the captive's confusion. At this point, Bulkhead breaks through an outer door and fights his way through the MECH goons to find Breakdown. Freeing the startled Decepticon, Bulkhead leads the way to the exit, but once outside, they're confronted by the bulk of the MECH forces. Bulkhead calls for backup, and the pair start fighting in earnest. Silas's 'copter begins firing bursts of energy, and Breakdown, in an uncharacteristic act of altruism, knocks Bulkhead out of harm's way. The fight continues, but Silas's copilot reports incoming signals, resulting in Silas ordering a general retreat. Arriving, however, is not Optimus' team, but Starscream, who has disobeyed Megatron's orders and brought a squadron of Vehicons. Starscream orders Breakdown to either join the Autobots or get on with destroying Bulkhead, and though Breakdown is initially surprisingly reluctant, Starscream sways him, and he attacks his Autobot rescuer. Bulkhead soundly pummels Breakdown before smashing Starscream and taking out the Vehicons with Breakdown's body. The Decepticons are forced to retreat as Optimus's team finally shows up. Optimus is impressed that Bulkhead has risen above his petty rivalries to rescue Breakdown, but the moment is spoiled by Bulkhead asking if they all saw how he bashed the Decepticons.
Breakdown pauses short of the Nemesis, where Starscream informs him that he will repay his debt one day... when he must choose between Megatron's leadership and Starscream's.
Meanwhile, Silas records that the information they gained from Breakdown was enough for them to start Project Chimera...
- Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime
- Frank Welker as Megatron
- Sumalee Montano as Arcee
- Kevin Michael Richardson as Bulkhead/MECH Commando
- Jeffrey Combs as Ratchet
- Steve Blum as Starscream/MECH Navigator
- Adam Baldwin as Breakdown
- Clancy Brown as Silas
- Ernie Hudson as William Fowler
- Tania Gunadi as Miko Nakadai
Breakdown: As much as I'll miss our little reunions...hammer time.
- Breakdown, before being captured by MECH
Silas: Full disclosure: We intend to pull you apart. Break you down, if you will.
- Silas to Breakdown.
Breakdown: You're making a very big mistake, little man. When I'm finished with you, they'll have to scrape you off the floor!
- Breakdown to Silas.
Optimus: It's a trap!
Arcee: Would this be a 'roll out' kind of trap?
- Optimus Prime and Arcee
Bulkhead: "Marco!" You're supposed to say "Polo!"
- Bulkhead plays with MECH.
Breakdown: Never run when you can fight.
Starscream: One day, you will repay your debt to me, Breakdown... the day it comes time to choose sides.
Breakdown: Huh... between 'Bots and 'Cons?
Starscream: Between myself – and Megatron.
- Starscream informs a confused Breakdown of his plans for the future.
Starscream: I suggest that Megatron never know of this...rescue. You do want him to think you defeated the puny humans and escaped on your own, don't you?
- Starscream gives Breakdown a wise choice.
- Breakdown is seen being held down in MECH's base by metal bars welded around his hands. However, in all shots of his lower body, nothing is shown to be holding it down.
- Moments after calling Optimus Prime by name and stating that he was expecting Megatron, Silas tells Breakdown about his "would-be rescuers" without moving from the same location from which he had just been talking to them—yet Breakdown seems to have no idea that they were Autobots. How did he not hear the conversation? (It's possible that he couldn't hear the conversation over the sound of the machinery that was busily taking him apart at the time).
- Silas has Breakdown's pain receptors shut off so he doesn't make a lot of noise while being operated on. It is curious as to how his scientists knew it would work since they appear to have captured a first Cybertronian.
Main Article: Operation: Breakdown Gallery
- Miko did not follow Bulkhead. Guess she learned her lesson.
- The episode was screened on June 4 at BotCon 2011 before its first airing on television.
- Starscream got a new arm and a not an upgraded one.
- Miko's logic convinces Bulkhead to free Breakdown in order to defeat him later. This is similar to Bumblebee attempting to convince Megatron to give him the cure for Cybonic Plague in order save Optimus. Like Megatron, Bulkhead was double-crossed after saving his enemy.