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A bio-engineering genius experiments with some of Bumblebee's hydraulic fluid and accidentally transforms himself into Meltdown, whose corrosive touch can melt anything—including Autobots!
- German title: "Der Säureangriff" ("The Acid Attack")
Optimus, Prowl, Ratchet and Bulkhead are observing human society by way of television. After seeing cars being refueled and demolition derbies, they find a wrestling show hosted by businessman Prometheus Black as part of his biochemical makeover program (or as Prime puts it, human upgrades). As a demonstration of the upgrades' success, one of his test subjects will be fighting a robot in the ring. To the Autobots shock, the robot is Bumblebee! To their greater shock, Bumblebee's puny opponent, Cyrus "Colossus" Rhodes, activates special pistons on his back that stimulate special steroids in his system, causing him to swell into a muscular bruiser bigger than Bumblebee.
As 'Bee takes a beating, Black converses with Captain Fanzone in the luxury box. Black believes that this display should prove that he, not Isaac Sumdac, deserves the Detroit Police Department's security materials contract, offering bio-enhanced officers over robotic drones. Then Bumblebee starts using his speed and stingers to get the better of his overgrown opponent. Enraged, Rhodes stimulates the steroids further, growing even huger, then scoops up Bumblebee and chucks him out through the arena wall. He then leaps outside after the small 'bot and starts tossing and smashing everything around to crush 'Bee. The other Autobots arrive and, thanks to Prowl's quick thinking, manage to stop Rhodes. However, during the battle, Bumblebee has become more and more sensitive to size-related comments, taking them personally. Bulkhead's ribbing doesn't help. Across the parking lot, a disgusted Fanzone denies Black the police contract; as much as he hates machines, he'll take them over a berserk, bio-enhanced gorilla. As Black fumes, he discovers a piece of Bumblebee, covered in the Autobot's internal fluids, at his feet, and takes it back to his lab for research.
At the lab, Black combines Bumblebee's fluid sample with his own special steroids, creating an incredibly powerful acid. However, his financier, Porter C. Powell, informs him that, owing to the bad publicity from the wrestling match, his investors have cut all their funding and not even prisons will give him test subjects any more, leaving him no way to continue his research. Furious, he knocks over the containers of his experimental fluid, swearing he'll take matters into his own hands if he must. The acid starts melting through a good portion of his lab, with the fumes setting off alarms. Black stumbles through the fumes, half-blinded, and begins mutating, his flesh developing a greenish, flowing patina. He then emerges from his lab, swearing vengeance, his hand melting a portion of the door jamb where he gripped it.
Later, Professor Sumdac unveils the newest model of the Sumdac Systems Police Drone to a rather bored audience of local dignitaries, promising, among other things, that its new recognition software will prevent a recurrence of "that unfortunate incident with the captain's wife." The drone malfunctions badly and explodes, and an angry Fanzone demands the apologetic Sumdac contact them AFTER the bugs are fixed. Sari then discovers a portion of the drone covered in a greenish residue and takes it to Ratchet, who confirms that it indicates sabotage. The corrosive even melts Autobot alloys, so he requests a few hours to run tests on it. Bumblebee is impatient, drawing more "short" jokes from Bulkhead and even Prowl. Sari insists that the banter can wait, as her dad has to be warned first. Most of the Autobots leave for the Sumdac Tower.
However, Black, now fully mutated and calling himself Meltdown, has already arrived. He melts his way past the robot secretary, with the resulting smoke setting off an alarm, and starts on his way up. As Sumdac wonders what the noise is about, Sari contacts him from within Bumblebee and tells him about the sabotage. Isaac wonders who would sabotage him, then gets his answer as Meltdown dissolves the door.
Outside, Sari warns Bumblebee a bit too late to keep him from running into a force field, the result of the tower's auto-defense mode. Ratchet's magnetics open a hole in the field, but Colossus Rhodes shows up to keep the Autobots occupied. His old weak spot's been reinforced now, so Prowl's previous strategy won't work. Prime orders Prowl and Bumblebee to go into the tower with Sari and save her father, but Rhodes knocks Bulkhead into the force field hole, plugging it before Prowl can get through. Bumblebee and Sari are on their own.
In the tower, Bumblebee finds the elevator cables melted, so he wheels his way up the shaft while Sari tries to deactivate the force field from the front desk. In Sumdac's office, Meltdown gives vent to all his frustrations, swearing he won't be bested by a fraud like Sumdac, even though he himself is a freak now. Downstairs, Sari finds the force field controls, but her first attempt to deactivate it only makes it stronger. Back upstairs, Bumblebee arrives just in time to knock Meltdown aside, scoop up Isaac and burn rubber. Meltdown's pursuit forces Bumblebee to drive down the stairs, badly shaking up Sumdac, but they reach the ground floor safely. Meanwhile, Sari finally finds the right data port for the Key and shuts down the force field, freeing Bulkhead.
Bumblebee and her father arrive in the lobby just ahead of Meltdown, who has taken a shortcut by...er, melting his way down. Bulkhead arrives and grabs him up, but finds a handful of acid is VERY painful. Still, he refuses to let go.
Outside, Rhodes smacks Prime into a nearby church bell, then seizes up when it rings. Realizing what's going on, Prowl calls for Prime to hit it again. As Prime plays Quasimodo, Ratchet brings the bell down on top of Rhodes, thoroughly disrupting the bruiser's techno-organic circuits and bringing him back to normal (and probably deafening him).
Back in the tower lobby, Meltdown works a hand free and prepares to blast Bulkhead in the face, but Bumblebee takes the shot. As both Autobots collapse, Meltdown approaches Professor Sumdac yet again, but Prime runs up and clocks Meltdown with the church bell. It doesn't prove effective, but Prime quickly suggests stopping him with the one thing that stopped the Autobots: the tower's force field. Sari reactivates it, Ratchet plugs himself into the console to project the field, and Meltdown finds himself contained, unable to melt what he can't touch.
Afterward, Ratchet and Prime praise Bumblebee's courage and Bulkhead apologizes for going a little overboard with his teasing. Bumblebee's learned that even at his size, he's still pretty awesome, but now he won't let the others live it down for a while.
- Written by: Rich Fogel
- Directed by: Matt Youngberg, Naoto Hashimoto
- Original airdate: January 19, 2008
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
Television:So the next time you fill up your tank, use Premium."
Bulkhead:That looks like it must hurt.
Channel changed to a race where one cars rear bumper gets smashed. Prowl:(gasps)Not... As much as that.
Bulkhead and Prowl discover what's on human television.
"That's a human?"
"Must be a new model."
- —Bulkhead and Prowl comment on Cyrus Rhodes.
"Just stay out of his reach."
"Which one? The guy in the middle or the two on either side?"
"Just swing at all of them."
- —Sari plays coach to Bumblebee. She's no Mickey Goldmill.
"Stand and fight! What are ya, yellow?!"
- —Colossus Rhodes' insult is lost on Bumblebee
Ratchet: I'd like to run some more tests. It should only take a few hours.
Bumblebee: That long?
Bulkhead: His attention span is short, too.
Bumblebee: I heard that!
Prowl: Apparently, so is his fuse.
Bulkhead: Ooh, the ninjabot gets in a good one!
Ratchet: Who knew he had it in him?
Bumblebee: Yeah, aren't you supposed to be the strong, silent type? Emphasis on the silent.
Sumdac: Prometheus, why are you doing this?
Meltdown: Because you're a fraud!
Meltdown: I am smarter, better-looking, and more educated than you, and yet, everything you touch turns to gold! While everything I touch...
[Statue melts, and Meltdown throws it out through a window]
Meltdown: Just...look at me. I'm a freak! But I refuse to be beaten by some simpering nerd who merely got lucky!
- —Meltdown gets closer to the truth than he realizes.
- When Bulkhead gets stuck in the forcefield, Prowl is seen trying to pull him out, but Ratchet is missing.
- Why did Sari have to wait until she and the Autobots were en route to Sumdac Tower to contact her father? Could she not have reached him from the Autobots' base?
- When Sari said, "Yes!" during the scene where Bumblebee fights, her lips didn't move.
- During the battle outside Sumdac Tower, plenty of car alarms are going off from wrecked vehicles, but these don't seem to affect Rhodes the way the car alarm did outside the wrestling arena.
- Ratchet says that the study of the strange corrosive will take "a few hours". What happened to Cycles? Did the Autobots adapt to earth culture that fast?
- Black angrily asserts that Sumdac is only successful because he "got lucky." In "Transform and Roll Out!", Sumdac publicly joked that he had "stumbled upon" the secret of his success.
- Sumdac's sabotaged police drone bears a more-than-passing resemblance to the ED-209, a police robot from the film RoboCop. Likewise, Sumdac's mention of its faulty identification software is likely a reference to a scene in the film in which the ED-209 runs amok at a demonstration. Coincidentally, RoboCop also takes place in a futuristic Detroit.
- When Meltdown tells Professor Sumdac, "Everything you touch turns into gold", this references Midas and the James Bond film Goldfinger.
- Bulkhead can make a chair out of his own back kibble. The Leader class toy can do that!
- Prowl gets called a ninja, finally.
- The Sumdac "S" logo on the Foyer floor is the same as the Sphere logo from Skyland.
- Although "Total Meltdown" is the fifth episode in production order, it was aired as the eighth episode in the United States.
- In Canada, it aired on YTV on January 19, 2008 at 9:30 a.m., Eastern Time.
- "Total Meltdown" finally aired on Cartoon Network in the United States on February 10, 2008.
- In the United States, as of 2008, the possession of anabolic steroids without a valid prescription is punishable by up to seven years in prison. Since Black volunteers the info about Rhodes' use of steroids to Fanzone, the laws must be different in near-future Detroit, or else Black's particular types of steroids are exempt. (Or Rhodes' doctor wrote him a prescription with the decimal point in the wrong place.)
- This is the first episode (counting "Transform and Roll Out!" as one episode) not to feature Megatron. Or any Decepticon for that matter.
- Bulkhead has a powerful straw.
- Why would Meltdown use steroids? That is sending the wrong message to children about steroids.