Aided by a mysterious benefactor, Detroit's B-level villains team up to take down the Autobots once and for all.
- German title: "Der Zeitblocker" ("The Time Blocker")
- Japanese title: "Swindle's Scheme" (スィンドルの策略 Swindle no Sakuryaku)
Nanosec is on the loose again and leading the Autobots for a merry chase. As they pursue him, they wonder how and why he's young again. They're no closer to catching him, so Optimus Prime instructs Bumblebee to head off down a side street and come back around to cut off his escape. Bumblebee disregards this order, reasoning that he's the "star player" and is more than fast enough to get Nanosec on his own. As he speeds up, a mysterious force hits him and stops him in his tracks, which leaves the other Autobots no room to react. Nanosec escapes, and before Bumblebee can snap out of it, the Autobots crash into him. Optimus Prime expresses his disappointment in the little yellow one and orders him back to base so that Ratchet can run a diagnostic on his drivetrain.
Bumblebee ignores this order as well, resolving to find Nanosec again to prove to Optimus that he isn't malfunctioning. His search proves fruitless until Sari discovers that due to his scanning of Captain Fanzone's car, Bumblebee has a built-in police scanner. Hearing a report of a robbery in progress, he reasons it's Nanosec and heads over. He's wrong, though, as it turns out to be the Angry Archer. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, he decides to capture the other villain. Again, he is about to pursue when mysterious blue energy skids him to a halt. Sari urges him to have Ratchet check him out, but he still believes it's nothing serious. A third and final crime scene turns out to be Professor Princess trying to level a video arcade. Yet again, Bumblebee is stopped by the blue energy, and since it affects him in his robot mode, he finally admits he has a problem. However, Sari has noticed that the Key reacts when the energy lashes out, and she surmises that an AllSpark fragment may be at fault. As she deduces this, a shady figure on a rooftop skulks off.
Soon, that same figure meets with the other three villains at her lair, introducing herself as Slo-Mo. She reveals that she has aided each of them on their respective heists recently by using her timepiece, which can disable machines, even Transformers. She and Nanosec hit it off immediately, due in no small part to the fact that her time-based superpowers are what restored him to the prime of youth. She proposes to all of them that they make a great team and should form a crime syndicate. Professor Princess protests that she is not a criminal, but is quickly convinced.
Soon, news reports are everywhere regarding the new crime wave and its perpetrators. Bumblebee is quite frustrated at being repeatedly thwarted by Slo-Mo, but is soon hopeful when he hears a burglar alarm. This time, the criminals have bitten off more than they can chew, having loaded themselves down with too much loot. They try to escape and are initially successful, stopping Bumblebee. However, the cops soon have them surrounded without any getaway car. Slo-Mo receives a call on her watch phone and gets an offer from an anonymous benefactor. Taking the deal, the gang pile into a dull-yellow Hummer and peel out. With the police in hot pursuit, their patron speaks through the vehicle's console and tells them he's a big fan of their weird, wacky adventures. He says to consider the Hummer a down payment on what he hopes will be a beautiful business relationship. Slo-Mo seems less than impressed, as she considers herself the leader of the cartel, and it's just a truck. The voice then tells her to press the red button. A humongous turret rises from the back of the Hummer, blasting the police to smithereens. Having gotten their attention, their newfound benefactor mentions a scheme of heists that should make them all fabulously rich, as they will be stealing components to a weapon they can sell on the open market.
Definitely interested, the gang heads to a Sumdac Systems factory. Angry Archer attempts to blast the lock open with an explosive arrow, but Professor Princess announces that she has defused all of his weapons because she disapproves of violence - unless it is really colorful and pretty. Gleefully blasting an even bigger hole in the fence, she leads them in. The voice instructs them on what to steal, which is quickly rounded up by Nanosec while Slo-Mo takes care of the police robots.
Bumblebee and Sari spot them and speculate on what they're up to based on the items they stole, but hang back as they realize they'll never catch the crooks if they get blasted by Slo-Mo again. Shadowing the cartel from a safe distance, they follow them to the roof of a parking garage. The gang's unseen patron instructs them on how to assemble the device in spite of their skepticism. Archer and Nanosec ask the purpose of the device and how it's going to make them money. The voice explains that it's ultimately useless without the final piece: Slo-Mo's superpowered timepiece. The crazy doll refuses to give up her superpowers, which angers her benefactor, who reveals himself to be their getaway vehicle, the Decepticon Swindle.
Swindle makes it clear to them that he isn't about to take "no" for an answer, and he isn't above using his multitude of weapons systems against the puny fleshlings either. Blasting the floor out from under her cohorts, he squares off against Slo-Mo. She's initially confident that her timepiece will take care of him, but a useful purchase from the Vok proves more than enough to deflect it. Bumblebee races to intervene, but the debilitating blasts ricocheting off of Swindle's force field mean he can't get near the battle. Realizing he's in over his head, with much haranguing from Sari, he calls in Optimus and the other Autobots. Leveling his main cannon at Slo-Mo, Swindle is reminded by the dame that if he blasts her, he risks destroying her watch as well. Feeling a bit silly, the Decepticon recovers quickly and reveals he could simply take it using his integrated tractor beam. The MacGuffin retrieved, he then blasts the floor out from under her too.
Slipping the timepiece into its intended slot in the device, Swindle quickly dials up his favorite warmonger, Megatron. Expressing how glad he is that the old despot is still functional (and looking well), he brags about a weapon that would easily turn the tide against the Autobots and consign them to a fate worse than being offlined. Though his interest is piqued, Megatron is nonetheless dubious as to whether Swindle could pull it off. The arms dealer proves only too eager to show off the many merits of his wondrous new invention, and pulls a "But wait, that's not all!" that succeeds in blacking out every mechanical device in Detroit - even the Autobots!
Both Bumblebee and the Autobots speeding to the scene are left frozen, unable to move or talk, but aware of their surroundings. Sari notices, however, that Sumdac Tower is still powered up, and she deduces that its emergency forcefield kicked in, protecting it from the device as long as the emergency generators held. Unfortunately, being a little girl, Sari has no real chance of dragging Bumblebee to the safety of the tower. She receives aid from an unexpected source: the spurned cartel, who want to even the score with Swindle. Aiding her in transporting Bumblebee, they watch as she uses the Key to gain access to the tower and suffers dismay when the Reception Bot announces their location as Powell Tower. Once within the shield, both Bumblebee and Powdered Sugar are quickly revived, and Sari is able to use the Key to jury-rig personal force fields for both the Autobot and his new, reluctantly accepted team of villainous backup. She also reprograms the Reception Bot's greeting to her satisfaction.
Though Swindle proves quite ready for the big payback, the villains manage to buy enough time for Bumblebee to sucker-punch the Decepticon with his stingers, whilst Sari deactivates the device with the Key. Slo-Mo attempts to retrieve her timepiece, and a scuffle ensues, resulting in it falling over the ledge and directly into Swindle's hands. All seems lost, but the rest of the Autobots arrive on the scene. Swindle is about to turn the timepiece upon Bumblebee's backup, but the little yellow Autobot charges in and lets his forcefield deflect the Decepticon's shot, paralyzing Swindle. Optimus Prime once again scolds the young hot shot, but Bumblebee gloats, shooting out Swindle's tires. Meanwhile, the villains, showing why they're B-grade, attempt to escape in Swindle, only to be apprehended by the timely arrival of Captain Fanzone and the police. Fanzone notes that Swindle will be stripped at a police impound lot and sold for parts. He seems quite confident that the police department will get their Christmas bonus checks this year.
- Written by: Dean Stefan
- Directed by: Irineo Maramba, Ciro Nieli, & Shunji Oga
- Original airdate: May 31, 2008
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"An Autobot. Verily, the arrows of outrageous misfortune seek to pierce me to the quick. Exeunt!"
- —Angry Archer. Yon criminal maketh his escape, or something.
"Explosions aren't nice... except when they look like BEAUTIFUL RAINBOWS!"
- —Professor Princess, ever the fashion plate.
"Ooh, I like a man who works fast!"
"And I like a girl who takes it slow."
- —Slo-Mo and Nanosec go over the target audience's heads. Hopefully.
"Negatronic force field emitter. A little something I picked up in an arms deal with the Vok of Nexus Zero. Nice creatures, the Vok. If you're ever in the Nexus Zero area, do yourself a favor and check them out. You won't be sorry."
- —Swindle thinks the Vok are quite nice. It probably helps if they're not destroying your planet.
"Megatron, you old warmonger! It's been stellar cycles. I can't tell you how tickled I was to learn that my favorite customer was still online. You look great by the way."
"Oh, spare me the platitudes, Swindle. How did you get this frequency?"
"A mutual bounty-hunting friend provided it in exchange for a weapon or two. Professional scruples prevent me from revealing his name."
"Scruples? You'd sell your own motherboard to the highest bidder."
- —Swindle pours on the charm while Megatron pours on the acid.
"Are you seeing this? Are you loving this? Every machine, every robot in Detroit, inoperable! I could spring a leak, I'm so excited!"
- —Swindle about to sell you some Ginsu knives.
"Welcome to Sumdac Tower. Porter C. Powell is a booger-head."
- —Receptionist-Bot calls it like it is - with a little help from Sari Sumdac.
"Where's the off switch on this thing? Oh yeah, right here."
- —Sari. Yep, she found the right thing.
Optimus: You should have called us sooner. If that weapon had gotten into Megatron's hands—
Bumblebee: I know. I guess I just wanted to prove that I still had my touch.
Ratchet: Well, I hope you've learned something about team work.
Bumblebee: Oh, yeah. Even the star player needs backup sometimes.
- —Bumblebee learns the value of teamwork. Humility? Not so much.
"Uhm, yes... could... someone... give us a push?"
- —Angry Archer. Seconds before his capture.
- In the Japanese version, it was aired as the twenty-second episode.
- When Captain Fanzone arrives at the end, Slo-mo is briefly wearing her clock weapon. When the scene changes, it is gone again.
- When Slo-Mo pushes the red button to unveil Swindle's really big-ass cannon, during the shot where it's firing, the buildings are moving...... BACKWARDS!
- Angry Archer uses an arrow that looks like a magnet to catch the bus. Except that it's the window, which wouldn't BE metal, that it sticks to.
- Somehow, neither the Autobots nor the humans noticed the machine-freezing ray launched at Bumblebee, instead thinking he had a glitch on his sistem. However, when the synonyms-repeating villain attacked her arms-dealing financier, Sari was able to warn Bumblebee to stay away from the ray, so she could see it. Perhaps only the spectators and Swindle can see it at daylight.
- Speaking of Sari, why didn't her key warn her of an AllSpark fragment at the first two freezing attacks? Did it also get paralised? Boy, she should complain to the seller!
- Nanosec's mugshot should either have a long beard, as he was apprehended right after Bumblebee had run him into old age, or be out of his costume, as he was also apprehended before he became a super-speedster.
- It was shown throughout the episode that the watch's slowdown effect was only temporary. It only gained the ability to "freeze" its targets permanently when it was put into Swindle's machine. Yet later, Swindle is said to be frozen "permanently" by a reflected blast from just the watch itself. Maybe it was holding a last fully charged shot?
- On the other hand, Swindle did seem to 'charge' his shot longer than the short bursts Slo-Mo was using, so the shot that reflected back at him had a longer effect. And maybe Bumblebee was just wrong. (Imagine that!)
- Swindle is all impressed by Vok forcefield technology, but apparently forcefields designed by Isaac Sumdac are just as powerful. Though Sumdac did steal all his technology from Megatron; perhaps a deal with the Vok was just (much, much, MUCH) safer for Swindle.
- Either the S.U.V. team knew Swindle was time-blocked and they should have known he wouldn't move, or they thought he was still fully functional and were ready to climb into the Decepticon that tried to kill them 5 minutes ago. So what was their plan, exactly?
- Furthermore, when Angry Archer opens the window to ask for a push, it's clearly an electric window and even sounds like one. Which shouldn't have worked at all.
- While it's explained why Nanosec had the accelerated aging reversed, there's no given reason for the effect to have stopped once he was young again. Possibly Slo-Mo gave him "booster shots" off-camera.
- While selling Swindle's parts is a nice piece of poetic justice, realistically, his parts won't sell for much, if anything at all since they're all shut down.
- The final numbers on the cards the villains hold up in their mugshots correspond to the episodes in which they first appeared.
- Swindle mentions that he got Megatron's frequency from a "mutual bounty-hunting friend" in exchange for new weaponry. Gee, who could THAT be?
- Fanzone mentions Swindle will be stripped and sold as parts. How Poetic.
- When Swindle holds up the time piece at one point, it bears a striking resemblance to the Matrix of Leadership.
- Slo-Mo's watch functions similarly to The Immobilizer, including how Autobots turn gray when frozen by it.
- Bumblebee repeatedly worries about losing his edge in this episode. Specifically, he keeps mentioning how he doesn't want his friends to think he's losing The Touch. Not HIS touch, THE touch.
- Nanosec and the Archer's team name suggestions of "The Fast and the Villainous" and "The League of Extraordinary Criminals" are references to The Fast and the Furious and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, respectively.
- Nanosec calls the Archer "William Smell", referencing legendary Swiss archer William Tell.
- Nanosec says he is "tanned, rested, and ready," which was a slogan attached to a fake 1988 presidential campaign for Richard Nixon.
- The Angry Archer's "arrows of outrageous misfortune" bit is more than likely a ref to Hamlet's famous 'to be or not to be' speech.
- In addition to the above, "Exeunt" was the Shakespearean translation of "Exit" or "Get off the stage, you're not needed anymore". Seeing as the Angry Archer was in a hurry to get away, this is appropriate.
- There is a clock tower which bears a slight resemblance to Old Main, a building located on the Wayne State University campus in Detroit. The clock tower shares Old Main's shape and color scheme, characteristics that have made the building highly distinguishable among all the buildings in Midtown Detroit.
- This episode was first shown in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It made its English language debut in Canada, one week before its American debut.
- This episode has the most "guest" voice actors yet, at three: Brian Posehn (Nanosec), Kath Soucie (Professor Princess), and Fred Willard (Swindle).
- Bulkhead appears, but has no dialogue.
- Professor Princess - flowers in a wide spread attack beam? Seriously?
- Bumblebee's stingers actually knock Swindle down—the first time in the entire series that this weapon hasn't just bounced ineffectually off a Decepticon's hide. Maybe Swindle should trade off some of his weapons for a little more armor. That, or Bumblebee's stingers plus the assault of Angry Archer and Professor Princess gave him enough power.
- When Professor Princess falls butt-first on Nanosec's face, there's an odd squishy sound, followed by her looking very surprised. Either this is a case of cartoon sound-effects gone wrong, or that fall REALLY scared her.
- In the end, Swindle is trapped in a state that Bumblebee could not stand being in for less than an hour, forever, and the Autobots don't seem to object to him being ripped apart and sold for spare parts. That seems a tad excessive. You'd think they would want him locked up in an Autobot jail or something, even if he can't move. This is even worse than what Bumblebee did to Nanosec the last time....
- Bumblebee and Sari discover that he has a built-in police scanner, which makes sense, since Bumblebee scanned Captain Fanzone's car for his vehicle mode.
- Speaking of Sari, why didn't her Key warn her of an AllSpark fragment at the first two freezing attacks? Did it also get paralysed? Boy, she should complain to the seller!
- The Society members all put their seat belts on when they clamber into their getaway SUV. Even among villains, safety must always come first! Now you know...
- This is the only episode where Captain Fanzone actually chuckles.