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An embittered scientist uses the body of Optimus Prime to unleash a dangerous plague on the Autobots and, ultimately, the universe.

The Return of Optimus Prime, Part 1 (Japanese title: "The Resurrection of Convoy - Part 1") is the first part of the two-part "The Return of Optimus Prime" Saga, is the twenty-ninth/penultimate episode of the third season of The Transformers and overall is the ninety-fourth episode in The Transformers series overall. It is the ninety-fourth episode of the G1 Era of Transformers.

"Heroes never die. I, Optimus Prime, can never be conquered."
"Catch the surprise return of Optimus Prime coming soon to
The Transformers."

Optimus Prime and Narrator [src]

Detailed synopsis[]

While on a deep-space mission to test a new heat- and radiation-resistant alloy that they have developed, scientists Jessica Morgan and Gregory Swofford detect a ship carrying Optimus Prime's body (see "Dark Awakening") on a collision course with a planetoid orbiting a star they are researching nearby. Despite Gregory's reservations (his face was scarred in a previous scuffle between Optimus and Megatron, which he blames on Optimus), he is talked into helping Jessica rescue Prime's body before the ship collides with the planetoid, the impact of which also sets off the star into a supernova and coating their ship with unusual spores.

Upon return to Earth, Jessica's father studies the spores and learns that they are not only alive, but are an incredibly contagious viral agent that induces hatred and destructive urges into whoever they contaminate. After a new scuffle between the Technobots and Terrorcons over the new alloy gravely injures Jessica, her father is convinced by Gregory to try and resurrect Prime's body as a carrier of the spores against the Autobots, a sentiment exacerbated when it's learned Jessica was paralyzed from the waist down in the accident and now needs a special exosuit to walk. However, when reviving Prime's body turns out to be impossible for them, Gregory and Jessica's father decide to use it as bait for the other Autobots. Dr. Morgan forces Jessica to lure them into a spore trap at the lab.

The trap goes off without a hitch, mostly due to Rodimus' reckless haste in recovering his predecessor's corpse in lieu of caution, and several Autobots - including Superion and Defensor, two of the most powerful Autobot gestalts - are infected. The Decepticons have learned about Optimus Prime's recovery as well, and have shown up to terminate the former Autobot leader permanently, but are instead infected themselves. Fortunately, Rodimus, Jessica, and Galvatron manage to escape unharmed, the former two with Optimus' body; a few other Autobots manage to escape infection as well, but are badly wounded while attempting to subdue a sickened and crazed Superion.

Back at Autobot City, Rodimus pleads to Wreck-Gar to try and repair Prime, but Prime is too far gone even for Junkion medical experience. Desperate, Rodimus contacts Sky Lynx and orders him to locate and bring back a Quintesson, remembering that they had once before restored Optimus to life. He then sets about disconnecting Metroplex to keep the city-former from becoming infected. However, just as he finishes the final steps to do so, an infected Ultra Magnus appears. He gives chase to Rodimus before he's temporarily subdued by Wreck-Gar...who ends up becoming infected, and infecting Rodimus in return.

With the Hate Plague, as it's now called, rampaging even to the ends of the galaxy, Sky Lynx finds an uninfected Quintesson who he saves from infected Sharkticons in exchange for reviving Optimus. The Quint warns that - should anything go too awry during the process - there's a good chance that Optimus will never live again. It's touch-and-go for a while, but eventually, the Quintesson manages to pull through and Optimus is restored to full life, declaring that "no force in the Universe can stop me."

To be continued...


Original airdate: February 24, 1987

Written by: Marv Wolfman and Cherie Wilkerson

Featured characters[]

("Numbers indicate order of appearance.)

Autobots Decepticons Humans Others

Notable quotes[]

"Computron think too much!"

Abominus, who subsequently shoots Computron.

"Why do I keep seeing you in my dreams, Optimus? Are you telling me I'm not the leader you were? I already know that, Optimus. I always have."

Rodimus ponders in front of Optimus' statue in Metroplex.

"Where's that punk Rodimus Prime?! I want him!"
"There you are, you puny wimp!"
"You can't escape, Rodimus! I can track your gas fumes anywhere!"

—several lines from infected Ultra Magnus as he tracks down Rodimus Prime. In virus veritas, indeed.

"The Autobots are acting like madmen!"
"It's a madness plague, Galvatron. If one of those Transformers touches you, you're infected."
"You're lying!"
"Fine. Whatever makes you a happy Decepticon. Just watch your rear thruster."

Galvatron and Rodimus Prime

"I'm a doctor, not a forklift!"
"His engines, they cannot take the strain!"
"He's dead, Jim."

Wreck-Gar's inspired medical descriptions of Optimus Prime's condition, and making a vague reference to Star Trek.

"It's over kid. I've won!"
"Don't believe it, old friend!"

—infected Ultra Magnus blocks Rodimus Prime, who evades him.

"It's as I said before, kid. It's all over. What...? ARGH!"
"And as I said before: Don't believe it."

—infected Ultra Magnus corners Rodimus Prime, only to be lassoed by Wreck-gar.

"I'm a pepper! Wouldn't you like to be a pepper, too?"

Wreck-Gar merrily spreads the infection.

"They've all gone mad. This is no place for me!"

—The irony is lost on Galvatron.

"The world needs a leader, now!"

Sky Lynx on the reactivation of Optimus Prime. He doesn't realize that the Autobots have needed a good leader since Optimus died in the first place...

"I've done it! Optimus Prime lives!"
"It's true. Our leader is back."
"Yes, Sky Lynx, and this time, no force in the universe can stop me."

Quintesson and Sky Lynx as the decidedly confident Optimus Prime is revived.


Animation and/or technical glitches[]

Swindle TROOP

"So we bought your daughter's exosuit from a Decepticon . . . what's so bad about that?"

  • At the lab, before the spores were introduced to the lab rats in the glass container, they were already red as if they were already infected, but in the next scene they were coloured normal.
  • When Rodimus is done talking to Optimus's statue, his head slides backwards. Twice. (Gigiddy)
  • When Gregory and Jessica's father rush at the hospital and find the Autobots, Swindle is amongst them.
  • When Defensor is shown after the Protectobots combine his left arm is missing.
  • When Superion raises his hands after transformation, the gun on his right hand disappears.
  • As the rest of the non-combiners transform, Steeljaw appears from thin air rather than seen running from the left side of the screen like all others.
  • When Soundwave looks down after having Ratbat inserted into him, his faceplate stays in its old position of looking upwards.
  • When Ratbat is inserted into Soundwave, he is white instead of a purplish-magenta colour.
  • Also pertaining to Soundwave, when he says "Ratbat has returned. Ratbat, report!", his vocoded voice sounds more high pitched than usual.
  • Rodimus, while on the run from Ultra Magnus swerves away from two Throttlebots and Wildrider, who hasn't been infected yet.
  • In one scene, Bruticus is the same size as all the regular Decepticons, or the regular Decepticons are the same size as Bruticus.
  • Before entering the lab to retrieve Prime's body, Rodimus gives orders to Defensor...though Defensor is shown as the one making all of those orders.
  • In the same scene as above, Goldbug is somehow right in front of Defensor, but Bumblebee wasn't rebuilt into him yet.
  • When Wreck-Gar is about to infect Rodimus, Rodimus is all red before he's been infected.

Continuity errors[]


Nobody knows who fixed Prime's body without reviving him.

  • More or less this entire episode is a massive continuity error, as it purports to pick up at the end of Optimus Prime's last prior appearance in "Dark Awakening", yet actually presents entirely different conditions. In the prior episode, Optimus Prime lost an arm and half of his face (on top of his longstanding physical damage still left from the animated movie), but managed to steer his ship at high speed through the heavy fire of a massed Quintesson spacefleet, deliberately ramming a detonator that caused a binary supernova and obliterated the ship and the entire solar system around it. Yet in this new episode, Optimus Prime is shown completely intact and pristine, as his ship drifts, slowly and alone, through a system in which the sun is about to go nova from natural causes.
  • Galvatron lures the Autobots into a trap in which he escapes by flying stating that Autobots can't fly, despite them being shown flying previously...a lot.

Transformers references[]

  • Megatron appears in a flashback when Dr. Morgan remembers the fight between him and Optimus Prime. It was the show's last visual appearance of Megatron.
  • It was also the last appearance of Soundwave and Ratbat (last seen playing the piece of information that Optimus Prime's body had been discovered) in the original American cartoon.

Real-world references[]

  • Wreck-Gar's lines: "I'm a doctor, not a forklift!" and "He's dead, Jim." Reference popular quotes from Star Trek medic Dr. Leonard H. McCoy.
    • Similarly "His engines, they cannot take the strain!" comes from another Star Trek character, namely Montgomery Scott (AKA Scotty), though this is often claimed to not be attributed to the character except for its use in parodies.
  • Wreck-Gar's comment: "I'm a pepper! Wouldn't you like to be a pepper, too?" is a reference to an old Dr. Pepper ad campaign in the late '70s to early '80s.

Miscellaneous trivia[]

  • The resurrection of Optimus Prime in the show was a direct result of children's reactions to his defeat in The Transformers: The Movie and subsequent letters, as acknowledged by a Hasbro exec in a 1987 newspaper article. He didn't even have a toy on the shelves (which changed in 1988 with the release of Powermaster Optimus Prime).
  • It's not an error per see, but did Swafford and Morgan really believe that the Transformers, if infected, would infect and destroy each other without a single other living thing catching the plague? They're clearly very rash, and Morgan's judgment is affected by his daughter's injuries, but it's incredibly difficult to believe that two men of science would be this reckless and naive.
  • The Hate Plague appears to affect Sharkticons differently from how it affects Transformers and humans. While other organisms become incredibly aggressive, Sharkticons seem to become obsessed with infecting everyone else.
  • When Jessica Morgan asks who built Optimus Prime in the first place, Rodimus Prime responds by saying the Quintessons did so, yet Optimus was modified from Orion Pax who was repaired by Alpha Trion, though he might have meant who built him in his original form.
  • Jessica Morgan and Gregory Swofford are able to lift, push and pull Optimus Prime's massive body out of his chair and onto their ship without any mechanical assistance or devices except a rope. Seriously? Even though they appeared to be in low-to-zero gravity, it would be exceedingly difficult to maneuver something as big as Optimus without, at the very least, more people. Exacerbated by how much of a big deal Gregory makes out of how little time they have to do it.
  • First appearance of Goldbug and technically the last appearance of Bumblebee. You get the idea.
  • Despite being of vastly different age, in a lot of scenes, Swafford and Morgan look nearly identical and are differentiated only by a scar. This, coupled with their brown hair and haircuts can let a viewer make G.I. Joe references all day.
  • Rodimus has the brilliant idea to disconnect Metroplex. However, an infected Ultra Magnus is already inside Metroplex while he is still active. So, why wasn't Metroplex infected to begin with?

External links[]