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Overwhelmed by the burdens of leadership, Rodimus Prime doesn't care too much when the Decepticons steal the Matrix of Leadership away from him.

The Burden Hardest to Bear (Japanese title: "The Mission Way Too Heavy") is the twenty-eighth/third-to-last episode of the third season of The Transformers and overall is the ninety-third episode in The Transformers series overall. It is the ninety-third episode of the G1 Era of Transformers.

Detailed synopsis[]

At dawn, the people of Japan are awakening to do their daily tasks: fishing, going to shrines, and sword practice. Then, the Decepticons show up to cause random trouble.

Devastator begins harassing a few fishermen, but is chased off by Broadside. Astrotrain tries to ram a train head on (real smart) only to have the Aerialbots drive him away. Bruticus and Defensor fight it out, when Cyclonus and the Sweeps arrive, but are driven off by Rodimus, Kup, and Sky Lynx. However, instead of thanking the Autobots for saving many lives, the government of Japan is very upset, saying that the Autobots frightened people and ruined business (thankless bipeds). When Marissa Faireborn arrives and brings more problems to Rodimus, the Autobot leader (who has had enough of the stress of being the Leader)loses patience, transforms, and drives off. Kup explains that Rodimus is merely strained under the burden of command, much like Optimus Prime was in his early days as leader, and Marissa decides to follow him, to let him have someone to talk to.

Matrix burden 1

Galvatron takes the brown acid.

Meeting up on the highway, however, the two are attacked by Wildrider and Dead End, who knock Marissa into a lake and force Rodimus off a cliff after the latter attempt to rescue her. When they inspect Rodimus, they find the Matrix. Realizing that Galvatron will be really happy, they steal it and return to Chaar. In his throne room, Galvatron inserts the Matrix into his cannon, but instead of making it even more powerful like he had hoped, visions of the Ancient Autobots (including Optimus Prime himself) seep out of the barrel and demand that Galvatron return the Matrix. Galvatron orders Scourge to destroy the Matrix, believing it better to be destroyed if the Decepticons can't have it. Scourge, however, inserts the Matrix into himself, and becomes more powerful - but at a startling price.

Meanwhile, the Autobot leader wakes up, to learn that he's reverted to Hot Rod. Springer and Ultra Magnus argue that they should go after the Decepticons, but Hot Rod feels that the Matrix isn't worth it, and jets off. Real smart idea, Roddy. On Chaar, Scourge challenges Galvatron, defeating him and Cyclonus. Scourge leads the Decepticons in an attack on Earth, with Galvatron and Cyclonus in pursuit. On Earth, Hot Rod, while watching a martial arts class, gets some perspective, and realizes that he needs to get the Matrix back. He tracks down Scourge, and manages to defeat him, reclaiming the Matrix and becoming Rodimus Prime once more. Galvatron and Cyclonus find a less powerful, and very frightened, Scourge who explains that his change in personality was due to the Matrix. And they are not too happy with him...

As the Decepticons retreat, Rodimus realizes that he must deal with his missing part, as have those who came before him. Kup reminds him that no matter who carries the Matrix, he will retain that part forever.


Original airdate: November 19, 1986

Production number: 700-114

Written by: Michael Charles Hill


"He done blowed up real good."

Wildrider, master of grammar

"Let's waste this dinkus!"

Wildrider, again, master of grammar


Cyclonus, doing his Megatron impression

"I wish to see the look on Scourge's face as I demolish him!"

Galvatron, anxious to bust that ass

Cyclonus: We’re too late Galvatron. Scourge has already launched his assault.
Galvatron: He doesn’t know the meaning of the word assault. But he’s going to leeaarrnn.


Kiss it good-bye, Scourge.

Galvatron: O, Scourge?Where are you Scourge?Scourge?
Scourge: Mighty Galvatron, oh…no! Galvatron, you don’t understand!
Galvatron: Understand what?!
Scourge: It wasn’t my fault…it was the Matrix!
Galvatron: The Matrix… (transforms)then this too is the fault of the Matrix! (blasts Scourge)


Animation and/or technical glitches[]

  • When Wildrider transforms as they steal the Matrix, he has an Autobot logo on his chest.
  • When Rodimus is reverted back to Hot Rod, he's still occasionally drawn using Rodimus Prime's character model.
  • For some reason, the EDC letters on Marissa Faireborne's shoulder has been replaced with "AOC".
  • When Galvatron is about to put the Matrix in his cannon, Bruticus and Devastator are shown to be the same size as Galvatron.
  • When Hot Rod regains the Matrix, he sticks it into his chest without opening a compartment for it.
  • Optimus Prime is shown among the ancient Autobots, but he is colored completely blue.
  • At one point it looks like Galvatron has five o'clock shadow.
  • At one point, Galvatron's logo is colored red by mistake. (WHEN will this error stop popping up? WHEN?!?!?!?!)

Continuity errors[]

  • The episode "Masquerade" highlights oil-slicks to be Breakdown's schtick — however, in the car chase with Marissa Faireborn, it's Wildrider who drops one.
  • In "War Dawn", set nine million years ago, we see the start of the Third Cybertronian war, which makes Rodimus' "few dozen millenia" comment a little off. Like, "by a factor of over seven hundred" little.

Transformers references[]

  • When Galvatron inserts the Matrix into his cannon, he says "Now, all shall become one, under Galvatron!"
  • Yes, Optimus Prime is among the Ancient Autobots. And yet his voice wasn't heard.

Real-world references[]

  • Set in Japan (see also: "Kremzeek!"), the episode is replete with references to Japanese culture. We see a fishing boat (all wood, with hand-cast nets), a high speed bullet train passing by Mt. Fuji, a kendo dojo, a woman about to offer prayer at a Shinto shrine garden, and a surprisingly accurate rendition of the Tokyo Imperial Palace and its Seimon Ishibashi bridge, where Rodimus meets with the Prime Minister. We also see Rodimus get chewed out by government guys who are stereotypically worked up about robot battles being "very bad for business." And of course there's that metaphorical rising sun in the opening shot.
  • Giri (義理) is a real Japanese word and concept with long roots, but the specific translation of "the burden hardest to bear" comes from The Yakuza, an American crime film from the 1970s. Defining it this way is questionable, as giri more accurately refers to one's social responsibilities and duties, regardless of their difficulty. But in broad strokes, Rodimus's arc does echo the tension between giri and ninjō (or "human feeling") that has historically driven much of Japanese drama.
    • In addition to The Yakuza, Hill took inspiration from Hagakure, an 18th century book on bushidō written by the samurai Yamamoto Tsunetomo.
  • The train driver calls in the incident with Astrotrain to "JNR Central", referring to Japanese National Railways (which in the real world would be broken up and privatized only a year after this episode aired.) The specific line is called out as the Yamanote Line, which... is an urban transit line entirely within Tokyo, and certainly doesn't pass by Mt. Fuji, but hey, points for trying! The train itself appears to be very loosely based on the 0 Series Shinkansen trainsets.
  • The voice acting for several Japanese characters in this episode employs a very stereotypical Western view of Asian people and their pronunciation of English words.
  • The naming of Marissa's vehicle as a "spinner" presumably comes from the hovercar vehicles of the same name in Blade Runner.
  • Star Wars sound effects:
    • Scourge launches for Earth with the Millennium Falcon engine burst noise.
  • Scourge becoming more powerful and aggressive by the Matrix is how steroids affects people.


  • Altho "The Burden Hardest to Bear" is not the last episode of The Transformers series, this is the final episode of The Transformers series that fallows a standalone Plot-Of-The-Day structure, as the next/last five episodes of The Transformers series will have important story revelations.
  • This is also the final episode of The Transformers series to be a solo episode, as the next/last episodes are multi-parter episodes.
  • While the episode order can vary, it's a little funny that the episode about Rodimus finally getting used to being leader of the Autobots was followed by the episode in which Optimus returns to replace him. Unless you're in Japan, that is.
  • When Scourge starts mutating, at one point it looks like he's crying, which marks the second time that a Transformer is seeing crying, with the first of which being Omega Supreme from the Season 2 episode of The Transformers series "The Secret of Omega Supreme".
  • When Galvatron is about to put the Matrix in his cannon, Devastator is shown in his Generation 2 color scheme.
    • Speaking of which, this is the last appearance of Devastator.
    • Also, this episode marks the last appearance of Springer. Despite the important roles he played in both the movie and some of the episodes, there were none about him.
  • Galvatron claims that the Matrix has eluded the Decepticons for years, even though it's only 2006 and he had possession of it during 2005 in The Transformers: The Movie.


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External links[]

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