To counter the new Stunticons, the Autobots create the Aerialbots, but the new team members aren't so sure about the Autobot cause.
On Cybertron, the Autobots are busy converting old drone rockets into Earth planes. Once their redesigns are complete, they take the ships to Vector Sigma. However, without the Key to Vector Sigma, which is in the possession of Megatron, they cannot activate the supercomputer and give Cybertronic personalities to the new bots. Alpha Trion, however, intends to activate it by merging his lifeforce with the computer. Optimus Prime tries to stop him, but Alpha Trion merges with the supercomputer. It gives life to the new Aerialbots: Silverbolt, Slingshot, Skydive, Fireflight, and Air Raid.
The Autobots and Aerialbots prepare to leave, but Alpha Trion gives Optimus a warning: the Key to Vector Sigma will have different properties on Earth, which could destroy the planet. However, Shockwave overhears this. Heading back to the surface, the Autobots and Aerialbots encounter more Centurions, but the Aerialbots are able to get them to Omega Supreme. Omega returns them to Earth, but suddenly explodes.
Ratchet, Wheeljack, and Sparkplug Witwicky begin working to restore Omega, while the Autobots and Aerialbots head toward the base with the superfuel. Shockwave contacts Megatron, informing him of the recent developments on Cybertron, and the Key's power, so Megatron decides to run some tests. At the base, the Humans believe that the Autobots attacked them, and open fire. Slingshot is pissed, but Ironhide reminds them that they are simply confused. Suddenly, they detect high speed movement. Optimus initially believes that it's Starscream and the jets, but it's the Stunticons, who quickly overwhelm the Autobots, forcing the Aerialbots to take to the air. Slingshot is attacked by Motormaster. Silverbolt goes to save him, but suddenly panics. Megatron, still testing the Key, orders the Stunticons to return to base.
However, during the tests, Soundwave trips and drops the Key, causing it to discharge its energy...turning the ground below it into metal. Megatron realizes that the Key can not only give life to machines, but also turn organic matter into metal. He now has a new plan—convert Earth into a new Cybertron.
Back at the base, the Aerialbots are unimpressed with the Autobots and disgusted with the Humans they are supposed to defend. Optimus confronts Silverbolt about his panic, and learns that Silverbolt is afraid of heights. In a questionable command decision, Optimus appoints Silverbolt to be Aerialbot leader, hoping it will give him something to focus on other than fear. Soon, Teletraan I detects the energy emissions from the Key, and its result. The Decepticons are heading toward Seattle, and the Autobots roll out. Meanwhile, Silverbolt attempts to convince the Aerialbots to return to the base, saying that if they're the best, they should run the place. He shows them that the Decepticons will destroy them, showing how bad they are. He also shows the humans' capacity for compassion, letting them see how Sparkplug continues to work on Omega while Ratchet goes to recharge. Convinced, the Aerialbots move out.
Near Seattle, the Stunticons are overwhelming the Autobots, with Optimus Prime about to be crushed to death, when the Aerialbots arrive and save the Autobot leader. Megatron and Optimus reveal their last aces in the hole, ordering the Stunticons and Aerialbots to form Menasor and Superion, respectively. Menasor has the strength advantage, but Omega Supreme arrives, and turns the tide. The Decepticons retreat with the Key, but Silverbolt races after Megatron, knocking the Key from his hand and switching to robot mode to destroy it. Silverbolt believes he's about to go splat, but Slingshot manages to save him. The Aerialbots are convinced to join the Autobots, while Optimus appears convinced that Alpha Trion made the right choice.
Original airdate: November 26, 1985
Written by: David Wise
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"He gave himself up just so we could have some jets? That's nuts!"
"No. One Autobot gave his life so that six could be born. He made a choice...the kind of choice I hope they'll be able to make when the time's right."
- —Blaster and Optimus Prime on the sacrifice of Alpha Trion to create the Aerialbots. Prime approves of the kamikaze concept (and is unable to count), apparently. (Then again, Superion could be the sixth...)
"And we're sworn to protect these bird brains?"
- —Slingshot, on humans
"Somebody ought to revoke those dudes' driver licenses."
"Those guys are out of their cotton picking heads!"
- —Blaster and Ironhide after their first encounter with the Stunticons.
"He's afraid of heights, can you believe it? And you call yourself a jet."
- —Slingshot figures out Silverbolt's phobia
"Go ahead, I'll finish this up."
- —Sparkplug Witwicky to Ratchet while fixing Omega Supreme. This is Sparkplug's last line in the series.
"Aerialbots, show 'em what you've got!"
"NO! It can't be!"
"Surprise, Megatron! Meet Superion!"
- —Optimus Prime introduces the shocked Megatron to the first Autobot combiner.
"So long, cruel world!"
- —Silverbolt after destroying the Key to Vector Sigma
Animation and/or technical glitches
- Right before the scene where Shockwave contacts Megatron about the key, the insignia notice turns from Autobot to Autobot, but everyone knows that Megatron is a Decepticon.
- In the scene where Shockwave contacts Megatron in-flight, Breakdown is colored as Silverbolt.
- As the Aerialbots leave the Ark, Silverbolt is missing his right arm.
- In the scene where Slingshot said that Aerialbots "beat them", Ironhide's lower body is just a big gray cube.
- In the Rhino version of this episode, once the Key is destroyed, the forest is shown turning into metal, rather than returning to normal. (This was corrected in later releases.)
- When Fireflight introduces himself, Optimus Prime's head is in the way covering all but Fireflight's arm.
- In one scene, Omega Supreme is missing his face, much like his action figure.
- Optimus says that Alpha Trion gave his life to give life to SIX bots. There are only FIVE Aerialbots (maybe he was foreshadowing Superion?)
- This will not be the last you'll hear of the Key to Vector Sigma. The Key, and, in particular, its ability to transform organic material into techno-matter will play a key role in the events of Beast Machines (no pun intended.)
- Teletraan I identifies Megatron turning trees into metal 20 miles west of Seattle-Tacoma, Washington. That would put him in Olympic National Park.
- The tank vehicles seen at the army base are the M.O.B.A.T. and the Armadillo from the G.I. Joe animated series.
- The Aerialbots conclude that humans are worthless after watching television. Should this tell us something?
- During the script stage, this episode had the sub-title "Fury of the Aerialbots."
- In the Kid Rhino VHS release of this two-parter, the blurb on the back of the box names Omega Supreme as one of the Aerialbots created in this episode. That would have made his being the one to bring the Autobots to Cybertron in part one quite difficult.
- The shooting scripts for both installments of this two-parter contain several "deleted scenes" which expand greatly upon some of the more significant events in the story. In this episode:
- Omega Supreme repairs himself after his battle with Shockwave (deleted from Part 1, although this episode contains a vestigial reference to it, when Ironhide says remarks: "Now all we've gotta do is hope that Shockwave didn't get the better of Omega Supreme!"), but is only able to do a rudimentary job, noting that his personal survival is "highly improbable." It is this which causes Omega to explode upon his return to Earth - he willingly puts himself in danger to bring the Autobots back so they can stop the Stunticons.
- Later in the episode, when the Aerialbots watch as Sparkplug works to repair Omega, Sparkplug turns on the young punks, explaining what caused Omega to explode, making them realise what he did for them, and what they owe the Autobots. This is very much in contrast to the complete non sequitur of the finished episode, in which the fact that Sparkplug can continue working when Ratchet can't makes the Aerialbots somehow realise that they owe the Autobots their lives.
- Additionally, there are some extended scenes of the Prime reaffirming that there are six Aerialbots, to squash the subtlety of the hint at Superion, and the Aerialbots watching more television.
- This episode features the last appearance of Sparkplug Witwicky
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