The Alien Invasion of Griffin Rock is the fifth episode of the first season of Transformers: Rescue Bots.
Huxley Prescott interrupts programming to cover a daring rescue, as Boulder and Graham Burns try to prevent a truck of dangerous chemicals from plunging from a cliff. As Boulder strains, the other Rescue Bots arrive. Aware they're being recorded, they first rescue the driver, and then pull the truck to safety. Unfortunately the tank pulls loose and falls, but Chaseexecutes a daring last-minute save. For a moment, the Burnses think their cover is blown, but Prescott is distracted by what he believes to be a crop circle, but is actually just a path cut for Mayor Luskey and his wife to have their picnic.
Later in the fire house, Chase believe he will be reprimanded, but Chief Burns lets them all know that when lives are at stake, saving them takes priority over maintaining their cover.
Doc Greene unveils the SETI dish he's built for Prescott, so Prescott can continue to try and find the aliens he believes are hidden in Griffin Rock. Greene instructs Prescott on the proper use of the dish and stresses the danger of overload.
Cody and the Rescue Bots sit down to watch a movie, and Cody selects The Natives of Tatooie, a movie about explorers living on an island. Audio from the film is intercepted by Prescott, who excitedly cranks the dish up to maximum, believing he has heard a transmission from aliens. He's soon making an emergency broadcast to announce his discovery to Griffin Rock. The Burns family assembles in time for the phone to ring, as Mr. Bufkin believes aliens have abducted his cows.
Boulder and Graham are called to Mr. Perkins's farm to check out reports of aliens in his cornfields, to instead find cows. Dani and Blades head to the town square where a UFO is supposedly taking off, to find Milo in a balloon going alien hunting. Heatwave and Kade rescue Mrs. Neederlander's cat from a tree and assure her he wasn't abducted by aliens. At that point, the power goes out all over Griffin Rock and air raid sirens sound. Chief Burns is approached by the panicking Mayor. Burns contacts base and tells everyone to get to the power plant, but is cut off as communications black out. Prescott makes another news flash warning everyone to get off the island. Predictably mass panic sets in as the island's population tries to evacuate, and the Griffin Rock ferry is endangered as it's overloaded, forcing Dani and Blades to tow it to safety.
The team reaches the power station and venture inside to find Cody, who has come to help. The Rescue Bots, left outside, are on-edge. Graham finds Prescott's SETI dish is responsible for the power drain which will eventually cause a massive explosion. Unfortunately the power drain traps the humans in the power plant, so the Rescue Bots must go driverless to deal with the dish.
Doc Greene, having figured out what the problem is, arrives at the dish first but is unable to shut it down. Frankie is surprised to see the Rescue Bots driving on their own, and as the bots deal with the dish, Prescott films them. The Burns family arrives to provide cover for the Rescue Bots, and Cody tells Prescott that the transmission he received was from The Natives of Tatooie. As they leave, Doc Greene points out that Prescott's been transmitting everything. Prescott manages to dig himself deeper by subsequently mistaking Mr. Buffkin's cows for aliens.
- Mayor Luskey
- Huxley Prescott
- Edgar Pruitt
- Graham Burns
- Kade Burns
- Charlie Burns
- Dani Burns
- Cody Burns
- Mrs. Luskey
- Frankie Greene
- Doc Greene
- Mr. Perkins
- Mrs. Neederlander
- Mr. Harrison
Doing your taxes has never looked so cool.
"Cody, this hurts inside." "The natives have spears and blowguns!" "Now you're talkin'!"
- —Heatwave and Cody
"I used to think everything on Earth was interesting."
- —Boulder reviews the movie.
"Just to remind you, we're aliens."
- —Heatwave is tired of his team panicking.
"Robots without masters... could they be our aliens? Are they the ones who received that mysterious communication from space?"
- —You're only half-wrong, Huxley Prescott.
- The parade footage Prescott interrupts is from last episode's Lobster and Technology Festival. Milo's balloon is one of the parade balloons from the festival, though it's unclear whether it's still filled with floatium.
- Judging from their level of boredom, it appears that Cody and the Bots watched the entire Natives of Tatooie movie through from start to finish. However, when Prescott comes on the TV after this to report the "findings" of his SETI dish, he says that he intercepted the alien transmission "just moments ago". Given that the part he recorded seemed to come from the movie's opening, it must have been one really short film.
- In this episode, Frankie's suspicions about the Burns' rescue vehicles are aroused, starting a minor season-wide story arc. She eventually learns the truth about the Bots in "It's a Bot Time".
- Gadgets and powers:
- Boulder has a rear-mounted winch. He can also project light from his eyes.
- Coincidentally and/or ironically, the town actually would be invaded by aliens in the season 4 opener, "New Normal".
- In "Blame the Gremlins", Heatwave just crashes right through the power plant's wall in vehicle mode without even stopping. Can a door be stronger than the wall it's a part of?
Aliens! Aliens everywhere!
- The episode's entire premise is inspired by the supposed public reaction to the 1938 radio adaptation of H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds (directed and narrated by Orson Welles), during which many people mistook the radio drama as an actual news broadcast and created mass panic. The film audio even features Maurice LaMarche doing his infamous impersonation of Welles.
- Crop circles are a real-world phenomenon caused by either aliens or hoaxers, depending on who you ask.
- SETI is also a real thing.
- Tatooie is a reference to Star Wars planet Tatooine.
- Both the Rescue Bots and the residents of Griffin Rock appear to be movie buffs, as several real-life movies are referenced in this episode:
- Huxley's line "Be afraid, be very afraid" is the tagline for the 1986 movie The Fly.
- The aliens in Mr. Perkins' cornfield are likely a reference to Signs.
- Mrs. Pruitt fears her husband Edgar is a giant cockroach, a rather specific reference to the villain of Men in Black.
- Chief Burns's encounter with the Mayor after the lights go out is from the 1978 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
- The cute alien who wants to call home is a reference to E.T.
- The face-hugging aliens are, of course, from Alien.
- The amorphous alien who eats cars may be a reference to The Blob.
- The invisible alien that cannot see you if you are covered in mud is a reference to the movie Predator.
- Frankie wonders about the concept of self-driving cars, something modern vehicle developers have been pursuing in various capacities as the holy grail of their industry. Ironically, of all the wild technology ideas depicted on Griffin Rock - including the transforming, talking rescue vehicles the Rescue Bots are masquerading as - self-driving cars are possibly the most real-world realistic.
Animation and technical errors
It's because he's so bright, see.
- The time on Prescott's digital watch seems to be permanently stuck at 12:53.
- Creating a system which can overload and knock out the island's entire power grid, without any safety cutoff, seems like poor design on Doc's part. For that matter, a power plant that can be overloaded by a surge from a single source also seems like something the town should have addressed earlier. Particularly given how cheaply one can buy a surge protector.
- Cody should have really identified the true nature of Huxley's recording as soon as he heard it; he just watched the movie.
- During the last five minutes of the episode, most things are colored darker as it's night, but in a number of shots Doc Greene is given "daytime" colors.
- While it wasn't an error at the time of this episode, one of the characters on the ferry will have their character model recycled in "The Haunting of Griffin Rock" as a long-dead resident of Griffin Rock.
- An exit to a building that requires power to open seems like a violation of a number of safety codes. And seems even less of a good idea in a power plant.
- In this episode the Rescue Bots' preferences for movies were: Heatwave likes war movies, Blades likes comedies, Boulder likes romance movies and Chase likes action flicks (ones with high speed pursuits)