After his latest attempt to overthrow Megatron's rule of the Decepticons, Starscream is banished from HQ, but this time, he hatches a plan...
Decades ago, (it was 1943, if you must know), humans waged war on one another on the island of Guadalcanal in the south Pacific. Some of their wrecked vehicles remained there as of 1985, where our story begins...
Within Decepticon Headquarters, Starscream and Megatron are, as usual, having a spat. Predictably, it ends with Starscream shooting Megatron in the back and proclaiming himself the new leader. Megatron's tougher than that, though, and after waking up a few seconds later, he blasts Starscream and has Laserbeak dump him on Guadalcanal.
Humiliated and infuriated, Starscream stumbles upon the remnants of some old World War II vehicles, which inspire him to create an army of his own. Entering the space bridge by threatening Skywarp, he travels to Cybertron and steals the personality components of five renegade Decepticons. Installing them into the wrecked vehicles, he transforms them into the Combaticons. The quarrelsome warriors threaten to simply beat Starscream to a pulp, until he reveals that their new bodies do not contain energy absorbers, without which they cannot refuel: "No energy, no life." In exchange for the needed equipment, the Combaticons agree to obey Starscream's orders for the moment.
At the unveiling of the Optimus Prime Memorial, Starscream and the Combaticons attack and kidnap Jazz and Cliffjumper. They return to Guadalcanal, where the Combaticons demanded the energy absorbers from the captured Autobots. Starscream weaseled out, saying that rather than be accused of playing favorites, they should collect three more Transformers.
Back at the Decepticon base, Shockwave informs Megatron that the Combaticons' personality components are missing. Assuming the Autobots are responsible, Megatron launches an attack on the Ark. However, Optimus Prime's demand to turn over Jazz and Cliffjumper causes Megatron to suspect Starscream.
Megatron and the Decepticons met with the renegades at a subway station. During the ensuing shoot out, Soundwave reported that the troop low on energy. Megatron commanded a retreat, leaving the down-and-captured Dirge and Ramjet, bringing their energy absorber count to four.
Back at the Decepticon base, Megatron rallies his Decepticon against Starscream and company. They found and engaged the renegades refueling at a power plant. In the ensuing battle, Megatron's trump card, Devastator, is easily brushed aside when Starscream reveals that the Combaticons can likewise combine into a single titan: Bruticus! The massive combiner scoops up Megatron in one hand and forces him to acknowledge Starscream as the new Decepticon leader.
The Autobots use the battle's distraction to rescue Jazz and Cliffjumper; meanwhile, the late-arriving Stunticons look over the situation, and decide that Starscream is too likely to continue his rampage. Merging into Menasor, they defeat the unsuspecting Bruticus with one massive punch.
From the resultant crater, Megatron emerges; grabbing Starscream by the throat, he decrees that he and his army are banished from Earth. The usurpers are hauled away by Astrotrain and left stranded on a distant asteroid in deep space... from which Starscream swears vengeance.
Original airdate: January 7, 1986
Production number: 700-61
Written by: Michael Charles Hill
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"NOBODY TURNS HIS BACK ON ME!"
- — Starscream, as Megatron turns his back on him.
"We're under strict order not to let anyone travel on the Space Bridge without proper authorization."
"Here's my authorization." (points his null ray on Skywarp)
(Skywarp clears his throat) "Proceed."
- — Skywarp and Starscream observing the proper travel protocols
"I have with me two members of the Autobot team: Jazz, and Cliffjump."
"Uh, that's Cliffjumper."
- — Marty Minkler and Cliffjumper.
"I see incompetence breeds even more incompetence. HAHAHAHAHAHA!"
- — Megatron to Starscream, after the latter fails in his attempt to destroy the Decepticon leader.
"Starscream is a child. Even with an army of thousands, he couldn't lead them in a parade, let alone against us."
- — Megatron
"Now, Megatron: who is the new Decepticon leader?"
"Enough! Uhm... you are."
"I can't hear you!"
"I am now the leader of all Decepticons!"
- — Megatron in the grip of Bruticus (literally), and Starscream.
Motormaster: Megatron's in trouble.
Dead End: Who cares.
Wildrider: It looks like Starscream's defeated him.
Dead End: So?
Motormaster: So, you think Starscream's going to stop here?
Dead End: Good point. He never knows when to quit.
Motormaster: Stunticons, unite to form Menasor!
- — the Stunticons survey Starscream's victory.
"No Starscream, not Bruticus. It's Megatron - your leader!"
"Megatron, don't, please!"
"This time, it really is 'goodbye', Starscream! Astrotrain, get him and his giant ally off this planet! ...They are banished from Earth... forever!"
"You'll regret that you did not destroy me Megatron! I shall have my revenge!"
- — Starscream and Megatron, after the Decepticon leader survives Starscream's latest mutiny.
Animation and/or technical glitches
- At several points in the episode, such as when Starscream approaches the Space Bridge, his eye colour changes from red to blue.
- When Megatron rallies the Decepticons before going after Starscream, Shockwave is seen among the group, even though he had been shown to still be on Cybertron.
- Also seen at Megatron's speech at the Decepticon base is Dirge, even though he had been captured by Starscream and the Combaticons during the subway station shoot-out.
- When Starscream says, "Don't think that it hasn't been fun." when he confronts Megatron, his wings are missing. Briefly afterwards, when Megatron says, "I see incompetence breeds even more incompetence!", Starscream's wings appear slightly bigger than they're supposed to be.
- When Powerglide flies over the Decepticons, his plane mode is not only white, but a different model.
- When Megatron is attacking the Autobot HQ, a black Thrust can be seen standing to his left. The camera cuts to Prime, and then back to Megatron, who now has a properly decoed Thrust standing to his right.
- When the Combaticons attack Jazz and Cliffjumper, Cliffjumper briefly appears to have Bumblebee's color scheme.
- When Starscream and the Combaticons attack the Decepticons, Starscream jumps out from behind a subway train, however when he lands his feet appear to be invisible.
- Starscream maintains control of the Combaticons by not installing energy absorbers into them, thereby preventing them from re-energising. They are however later shown to re-energise anyway when they steal energy from a power plant.
- Powerglide's deductive powers are so eerily accurate that he suddenly know (despite practically having no background info) that it was Starscream who stole the personality components and that his objective was to build his own army.
- This episode was aired after Aerial Assault, which also featured the Combaticons.
- Shockwave once again appears on Earth amongst Megatron's crew and the Constructicons in Decepticon Headquarters. He once had a little trip to Earth during "The Autobot Run".
- This is the first appearance of the Combaticons.
- Elements of World War II are shown in the episode with the abandoned military vehicles.
- Guadalcanal is an island in the Pacific Ocean and the site of a major World War II campaign.
- Near the start of the episode, Starscream and Megatron were having an argument, ironically, about Shockwave, whom Megatron describes as being "an ideal soldier, he is both humble and respectful". He should thank God this is not the Marvel continuity.
- Laserbeak single-handedly carried Starscream, a robot more than twice his size, over oceans to dump him in Guadalcanal. He's that strong!
- The Combaticons' personality components/sparks were held in Cell 217. As in The Shining.
- By the way, the personality components look like bite-size energon cubes. Yummy.
- After getting the personality components of the Combaticons, Starscream blasts the detention cells (that look strangely like filing cabinets), causing them to explode. Not only did Starscream raid a detention center to free bots that are ciminal even according to Decepticon standards, he also killed whoever else was left behind in those cells.
- According to the G1 Production Bible, this episode was titled 30 Seconds Over Megatron before broadcast. 
- How exactly did Astrotrain transport Starscream and the Combaticons off the Earth?
- Skywarp was threatened by gunfire from Starscream if he doesn't launch him to Cybertron using the Space Bridge. This probably inspired the Transformers Animated Skywarp to be represented as the cowardice of Starscream.