Animated Episode 12: Survival Of The Fittest - Series - Review

The episode begins at Autobot headquarters, where Sari is being trained by Prowl in ninja moves. However, the training seems to not be going so well. While some, mainly Bulkhead, question why Sari has to learn combat moves, Prowl reasons that the Autobots might not always be there to protect her. Optimus backs up Prowl's assumption and allows Prowl to continue with his training. Sari tries again, with Prowl instructing her to thrust her kick. She misses Prowl and instead lands a flying kick on Bulkhead's knee, in which he responds with some overdone theatrics.

The Abduction

It is nightfall, and Sari is back in her room practicing her moves while uttering cocky retorts. She decides to turn in for the night and crawls into bed. Shortly after, a shadow whizzes by and gets Sari's curiosity up. As she raises her window and walks to the balcony, she is greeted by what looks to be the Dinobot Swoop. She seems pleased to see Swoop...until he abducts her. Sumdac enters the room shortly after her abduction with cookies and milk for his daughter, but instead sees the mess left from the abduction. He calls the Autobots and they immediately head towards the Sumdac compound.

New Detroit Police are already on site, as well as scouring the city looking for clues into Sari's disappearance. At the docks, mini-subs are seen scouring the lake. Inside the main entrance to the Sumdac compound, Captain Fanzone is receiving a status report from one of his officers on a seriously outdated phone (make sure to note the phone has a rotary dial on it). A call waiting tone beeps and Fanzone asks his officer to hold while he takes the call. However, Fanzone's affliction with machinery causes him to always get patched back to the original officer. After a few attempts, Fanzone flares his temper up and utters his tagline "This is why I hate machines!"

Prowl's Dinobot Cover Blown

Instantly, the reply of "No need to be such a technophobe, Captain" is heard. It's Prowl and the rest of the Autobots, who have come to assist in the investigation. Optimus asks if there's been any word on Sari, to which Fanzone confirms her activities with the Autobots from the previous day. Fanzone seems perturbed that the Autobots were training Sari in "ninja nerve blows". However, the Autobots try to defend their stance on giving Sari defensive training. About this time, something on a nearby monitor attracts Prime's attention.

After a rewind, Prime is shocked to see an image of Swoop. While Ratchet and Prime try to make sense of the video, Bulkhead and Prowl become nervous. After all, they relocated the Dinobots without Prime's knowledge or permission. While Bulkhead considers coming clean to Prime, Prowl instead tells Bulkhead that the Dinobots are his responsibility and he will handle it on his own. Bulkhead, already being deep in the situation and wanting to find Sari, convinces Prowl to take him. Fanzone has been intercepting the conversation between Prowl and Bulkhead and his suspicion begins to get the best of him. He decides to track the 2 Autobots on his own.

Trip To Dinobot Island

It is nightfall again, and both Prowl and Bulkhead command a ship to head towards the island. Fanzone is close behind in a minisub monitoring them. He fears he's been spotted, so he tries to down the periscope but instead opens the main hatch, flooding the minisub. As the sub loses buoyancy, you can hear Fanzone try to utter his tagline again before being drowned out. Prowl and Bulkhead are now on Dinobot Island. While Prowl tries to make sense of why the Dinobots would want Sari, Bulkhead is ready to tear them apart. Cut back to the shoreline where Fanzone arrives on the scene, only to have his minisub come apart at the seams.

As the screen pans towards the peak of the island, Bulkhead voices his regrets about leaving the Dinobots on the island, worried that they might be found. As Prowl disengages his holographic projector, he finds that the Dinobots are nowhere to be found. As Prowl and Bulkhead make sense of their findings, the camera pans back from a monitor to reveal the Dinobots in the background and a familiar face behind the main console chair: Prometheus Black.

Being Watched

Bulkhead is now lamenting saving the Dinobots, insisting to Prowl that they should have been melted down. Prowl still holds on to his conviction that the Dinobots are sentient and therefore need to be spared. Bulkhead retorts by asking who is going to save Sari. As the 2 leave the scene, Fanzone is seen in hiding monitoring their moves. However, Fanzone's attention soon becomes fixed on a runaway log unintentionally dislodged by Bulkhead, who is still oblivious to Fanzone's presence.

At Prometheus' headquarters, Colossus Rhodes and Prometheus watch the movements of the three 'intruders'. Rhodes is guarding Sari, who is being held in a laser mesh prison pod. Rhodes asks to intercept the intruders, but Black indicates he has other plans for them. Sari then proceeds to egg Black and Rhodes about being caught and serving some jail time. This leads to Rhodes and Sari having a growling match, with Rhodes winning once he activates his steroid electrodes.

As Prowl and Bulkhead search the island, Prowl warns Bulkhead to watch the quicksand pool. Bulkhead notes that he saw it and "You'd have to be a real glitch head to fall into that." Fitting that the next sound you hear is Captain Fanzone falling into the muck. After Bulkhead uses his mace as a gripline to help Fanzone out of the quicksand, Fanzone reveals (by questioning the Autobot's business on the island) that the island is actually an abandoned research facility on Lake Erie. Prometheus decides this is the ample time to strike. He commands Rhodes to keep watch on Sari while he personally deals with the 3 intruders. Rhodes gloats that Prometheus is going to scrap the intruders and asks what Sari thinks about that. She replies by saying she needs a bio break.

The Dinobots Attack

Back to the forested area, where Fanzone puts the pieces of the puzzle together and grills both the Autobots about his findings. Bulkhead tries to play stupid to avoid the questioning, then points out something of interest to Fanzone. It's the Dinobots. Prowl tries to greet them, but Grimlock treats them as intruders and proceeds to attack. Prowl becomes bewildered while Bulkhead goes on the attack, launching his mace into Grimlock's mouth before he can make mincemeat of Fanzone.

Prowl still can't understand the Dinobots' aggressive behavior and tells Bulkhead not to hurt them. However, it's becoming apparent that there may not be another alternative. When Swoop grabs hold of Prowl, Prowl notices acid burns on Swoop's legs. This leads him to assume that someone is using force to control the Dinobots. His thoughts are interrupted when a tree turned javelin is launched by Bulkhead and strikes Swoop, dislodging Prowl with Fanzone still clutching on.


Prowl transforms midair with Fanzone on the seat in an attempt to dodge a charge attack by Slag (or is it Snarl?) waiting for them on the ground. Bulkhead assumes his alt mode as well and they both try to flee the scene. The Dinobots are heavy in tow. However, Fanzone and the 2 Autobots end up at a dead end in a canyon, trapped by the Dinobots.

Prometheus is there to confirm their realization, who now rathers himself to be called Meltdown. Prowl then confirms his suspicion of the acid burns on Swoop's legs, to which Meltdown again confirms. It is further confirmed by the cowering of the Dinobots upon mention of Meltdown's acid touch. Grimlock goes so far as to apologize to Prowl. When Bulkhead questions Meltdown about Sari, Meltdown confirms that he has her. When he refers to Sari as his 'latest experiment', Bulkhead goes into a charging rage. That charge is quickly halted when Meltdown melts a hole in Bulkhead's chassis, putting him on the brink of statis lock. As Fanzone and Prowl rush to Bulkhead's aid, Meltdown activates a trap door, sending the both of them spiraling downward.

The Experiments

Fanzone helps Prowl come to. They find themselves in an arena-like setting. Prowl is worried about Bulkhead's injuries and finding Sari so her Allspark key can fix him. However, Fanzone tells Prowl that between the military grade steel on the walls and the laser grid bars blocking the exit, there's not much hope of escape. Prowl tries one of his shurikens, but it explodes against the grid to no avail. Meltdown then appears on the scene.

He tells the 2 that after his last encounter with the Autobots, he's been conducting experiments on humans to make them shapeshifters, inspired by the Transformers' ability to change form. However, Meltdown admits that his experiments have so far failed. A holding cell then lights up and we see 2 creatures that have resemblance to the G1 Pretenders. Meltdown notes that the one on the left, bearing a resemblance to Submarauder's pretender shell, used to be his lawyer (fitting). The one on the right, bearing resemblance to Bombburst's pretender shell, isn't given an identity. Meltdown reasons that he has attributed the failures to experimenting on adults, and plans on scoring a double win by using a child for his next test... but also by using Sari as a form of revenge against Sumdac.

The Escape

As Meltdown releases his 2 experiments, he tells the two prisoners that he will retreat to administer his serum to Sari and watch the results. As Fanzone and Prowl contemplate Sari's fate (as well as their own), we cut to a hallway, where Colossus Rhodes is agonizing over the frequency of Sari's bio breaks. Sari is using the time in the loo to devise a method for freeing herself. She notices a keyport next to the toilet and hatches a plan. Convincing Rhodes that there's a problem with the toilet, she uses her Allspark key to create a massive backflush on Rhodes, which shorts out his electrodes.

Back to the arena, where Fanzone calls dibs on Submarauder (because he hates lawyers) while Prowl tackles Bombburst using the wheels on his knees. As Sari locks Rhodes in the restroom, we again cut back to Fanzone and Prowl, who aren't faring as well. As they are backed up against the laser grid, the grid suddenly dematerializes (due to Sari's key). Prowl uses the moment to team with Fanzone and give their opponents a few kicks. Prowl then assumes his alt form and speeds off with Fanzone.

Loose Ends

Prowl and Fanzone find Sari, who remains cocky as ever reminding Prowl that she won't always be there to cover him. Prowl alerts Sari about Bulkhead's condition and Sari leads them to the exit. Fanzone notes a storage bin full of Meltdown's special suits and takes one thinking it'll come in handy. As they race to the exit, they trip an alarm which begins sealing the exit off. Prowl uses his jets to speed all three of them to safety. They end up back where Prowl and Fanzone were prior to falling into the arena, with Bulkhead barely functional. Sari quickly administers the key on Bulkhead, healing him.

As Bulkhead regains his senses, Meltdown again shows up with the Dinobots in the background. As he prepares to administer his acid pain, Sari does a failed attempt at a flying kick. Prometheus seems amused, but it was merely a distraction as Prowl lands a flying kick on him instead. Fanzone quickly reacts by using Meltdown's spare suit to bundle his hands up, thereby eliminating his acid touch. Meltdown orders the Dinobots to attack, but Prowl tries to convince them that Meltdown can't hurt them anymore. Grimlock responds with "Meltdown can't hurt Dinobots, but Dinobots hurt Meltdown!"

Finally, we witness all three Dinobots transforming into their respective robot modes for the first time (sans Grimlock, who we've seen before). This seems to shock all others in attendance. This sends Meltdown into fear, begging for the Autobots to keep the Dinobots away from him. At this moment, the main door blows off the hinges, and a bulked up Rhodes (who seems to have got his electrodes working again) emerges with both of Meltdown's experiments. The Dinobots, however, seem to even strike fear into these three, especially once the Dinobots' weapons flame on.

Explosions are seen on the island as the Autobots, Fanzone and Sari leave the island on the ship. Fanzone lets Sumdac know that Meltdown is apprehended and Sari is safe... shortly before his phone malfunctions and lands in the lake. Bulkhead and Prowl both agree that they must come clean with Optimus about the Dinobots. Prowl and Fanzone begin a comradeship. And Sari goes back to practicing her flying kicks, this time getting it right. After a delay, Bulkhead screams in pain before falling into the cargo hold and ending the episode.


More G1 bones continue to be thrown out, although this time in short supply. It was interesting nod to the G1 Pretenders. Bulkhead and Prowl learn that secrets sometimes have an ugly way to rear themselves. Fanzone also learned that not all technology is bad. We also see a softer side to the Dinobots, which I'm mixed about. It's a new face, but in the past the Dinobots have always been the 'bad asses'. Meltdown's acid touch domesticating them though? Seems kinda weak to the veteran TF fan. While not one of the strongest episodes, it does have merit. And we do get to see all three Dinobots again... especially in robot mode.

DateMarch 8th 2008  
Score 8 stars (8 out of 10)  
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