Prepare for Departure is the nineteenth episode of Season 3 and the sixty-fourth overall of Transformers: Robots in Disguise.
The Bee Team struggle to recover a canister with radioactive fuel rods from Steeljaw and his pack, while Grimlock struggles to learn the difference between work and play.
Steeljaw's Pack moves through the wilderness, directed there by their mysterious benefactors. Arriving at a clearing they had been directed to, a Ground-Bridge portal from the Shadowzone opens and a Mini-Con steps out. Through the portal, Soundwave reveals that he's working with Steeljaw's benefactors, and orders the group to make ready for their arrival on –or else.
Over in the Autobots' cave base, Grimlock is on monitor duty and getting increasingly bored. He reports to Bumblebee, who is out with Sideswipe and Strongarm, that the others aren't back with supplies yet. After that conversation, Grimlock decides to head off and explore the tunnels for fossils, and therefore misses when the monitor picks up five Decepticon signals. Fixit, Denny and Russell arrive back with the supplies to find the new alert. Fixit contacts Bumblebee, just as the latter arrives back in the cave, and when Grimlock reappears, he gets a reprimand from Bumblebee, the Autobot leader directing the Dinobot to learn the difference between "work" and "having fun". The Autobots then head out to investigate the signals.
They find the Decepticons digging a pit in a nuclear waste disposal site. Bumblebee instructs his team to flank the Cons and attack on his signal, but Underbite spots them coming and it devolves into a disorganized scrap. Grimlock, wanting to uphold his pledge not to mix work and pleasure, is reluctant to tail-swipe Underbite, and instead the 'Con manages to toss him. In the pit, Clampdown unearths a barrel of nuclear waste and alerts, who proceeds to pull Bumblebee into the pit. Ordering Clampdown to take the waste into Crown City, Steeljaw stars jackhammering Bee. Strongarm comes to Bee's aid, and the Autobots begin pursuing Clampdown until Thunderhoof's stomping causes the ground to open under them. This results in an argument breaking out between Thunderhoof and Steeljaw, and when Quillfire interrupts it, Steeljaw tasks him with towing the nuclear waste. They're gone before the Autobots climb out of the hole. Sideswipe plants the blame on Grimlock's reluctance to fight. They find a container left behind by the 'Cons which contains a Geiger Counter, and head off to use it to track the Decepticons.
Meanwhile, a RV hauls up outside the cave. The alien-hunting Hermit has been drawn to the area by strange reports, and immediately encounters Fixit who panics and flees. Denny and Russell, observing the Hermit's pursuit of the frantic Mini-Con, decide to spring into action.
The Autobots head into Crown City, using the Geiger counter to track the Decepticons. Sideswipe's attempts to explain to Grimlock what he's doing wrong only confuse the Dinobot more. The Decepticons stop in a warehouse so Quillfire can ask if someone else can tow the waste for a while, but no one else is keen. The Autobots arrive and Quillfire fires a spike at them, but Sideswipe deflects it and it knocks down some hydrochloric acid instead. The acid starts spreading towards the nuclear waste container. Another fight breaks out, and Sideswipe grabs the nuclear waste, though his foot's burned with acid in the process, causing him to stumble into a shelf and almost unleash more acid. Inspired, Steeljaw orders Quillfire to cause a distraction. Grimlock moves in to stop the 'Con, but hesitates because he wants to avoid any fun, and ends up getting hit with quills. Sideswipe has Grimlock take out the other 'Cons, while he hits Quillfire with his sword. More containers crash down, creating a green cloud which allows the defeated Decepticons to escape. Grimlock, considering his performance at the end of the fight, finally realizes he can have fun while doing work.
Using a pair of gas masks as disguises, Denny and Russell successfully convince the Hermit that they're miners and the "Fixitron 5000" is a mining robot. Believing their story that they're looking for dinosaur fossils, the despondent Hermit heads off in his RV as the other Autobots return, idly telling them that they're wasting their time if they're looking for secrets in the cave before departing. His mention of the mining of dinosaur fossils results in Grimlock charging inside.
"We will depart this realm shortly for yours. Prepare for our arrival. Or you will be deactivated. Painfully."
- —Soundwave ensures the Pack knows where they stand.
"Do we have to wear disguises even in the grocery store? I don't think Steeljaw is going to attack me in the deli aisle."
- —The great wizard Russell is perturbed.
"I've always wanted to open you up and see what makes you tick."
- —Once again, Steeljaw has Bumblebee at his mercy and forgets what kind of cartoon he's in
"Base Security? I surrender! Please don't harvest my brain patterns for robot overlord artificial intelligence modeling!"
- —The Hermit, fooled by a couple of gas masks.
- The (very unrealistically configured) nuclear waste disposal site was previously visited in the season-opening two-parter.
- Soundwave and the Activator Mini-Cons have been working on a secret project in the Shadowzone through the season, but this is the first time it's indicated they're associated with Steeljaw's Pack's "benefactors".
- Thunderhoof's description of Steeljaw being "forged" draws off IDW Publishing's ongoing continuity, where the term is applied to Cybertronians who were created through one of two different methods.
- Fixit sings "It's a long way to Kaon City" to the tune of "It's a Long Way to Tipperary".
- Bumblebee's Autobot insignia reappears on his chest after Steeljaw took it off by a jackhammer.
- When the Autobots are spotted at the dig site and transform to attack, the animation commits the common cartoon shortcut of panning the background without regard for the actual motion of the characters. Grimlock, for example, is traveling much faster than his rather stumpy leg animation and handful of on-screen steps suggests, while both Bumblebee and Sideswipe land on their feet as they transform, but their forward motion remains uninterrupted.
- While hydrochloric acid is used to balance the pH levels in swimming pools, it still seems very improbable that a swimming supplies warehouse would have several large canisters filled with a (very concentrated) corrosive solution, and on rickety shelves to boot.
- While it's been hinted at from the on-screen evidence before, Steeljaw provides confirmation that the Activators are operating Soundwave's Shadowzone bridge portals.