Animated Episode 14: Nature Calls - Series - Review

In the forests outside New Detroit, a mining operation is in progress. A series of green construction vehicles is seen working in a mine. As a construction worker enjoys a cup of hot brew, something seems to be lurking in the shadows. Although it looks metallic, when the creature strikes, it attacks with organic looking tentacles. In another section of New Detroit's outskirts, Alt mode Prowl is overlooking the city, which is covered in snow. A passing snow plow doesn't seem to notice him and covers him in the white powder. He transforms into robot mode, looking pretty disgusted.

Cybertronian Detection

Back at Autobot HQ, Prowl shares his disgust over the human's apathy to nature with Bumblebee and Sari. However, they seem much more interested in their video game than his rantings. As Prowl tries to scold Bumblebee for his incessant use of technological devices, Bumblebee jabs him in the abdomen and sets off his holographic projector while reminding him that he, too, is a piece of technology. Prowl then shuts down the gaming console, upsetting both Sari and Bumblebee (who was on level 230). Optimus grabs everyone's attention before the hostilities escalate.

Teletraan 1 has detected a Cybertronian energy signature in the woods outside Detroit City. Prowl questions if it's Decepticon in origin, but Prime relays that it is non-sentient and mostly likely a fragment of their ship. He wants to retrieve the errant piece of ship before it 'falls into the wrong hands' but before he can formally set the mission in motion, Sari squeals with excitement and exclaims "CAMPING TRIP!".

Camping Trip

As the Autobots stare at Sari, she regains her composure and convinces the Autobots that she would be helpful to them as a guide. Optimus sees no problem with her joining the mission. As Sari picks back up on her excitement of a camping trip, Bumblebee becomes unnerved at the thought of leaving behind modern conveniences to rough it. Sari tries to reassure Bumblebee that everything is ok and she'll "show him the ropes". Optimus goes on to assign both Prowl and Bumblebee to the mission, calling it a "good character builder". Thank you, Calvin's dad.

As the other three look on (maybe to confirm Prime actually said that?), cut to a mountain pass road with Prowl in the lead and Bumblebee strapped down in what looks to be camping gear. Bumblebee questions Sari's expertise of the attached equipment, to which she begins describing the stereotypical camping trip including the roasting of marshmallows. Prowl reminds her that "Nature is about more than odd human customs and the roasting of mallowmarshes" as he speeds ahead. Bumblebee continues his whining about the progressively deteriorating condition of the road.

As they approach a clearning, Prowl advises that they should continue on foot. Bumblebee seems pleased to shed the weight from him, ejecting Sari in the process. Once in robot mode, some extra pieces fall from him, mostly electronic gear. As Prowl glares at Bumblebee, 'Bee tries to defend himself by calling his payload "bare essentials". As Prowl walks off wondering where Bumblebee found room for all of his payload, 'Bee gives a sheepish look and says that is better left unanswered.

The Truth About Camping

Night falls in the forest, with Sari and Bumblebee looking like they're not doing too well. Bumblebee in particular seems out of element, giving up on pitching the tent. He then proceeds to wander around looking to plug in his TV. Prowl explains, for the 100th time, that there is no electricity and he must rely on fire for warmth. Bumblebee then asks if he can use Prowl's batteries to power his TV, further fueling Prowl's frustration with him.

In the meantime, Sari seems to be having problems lighting her campfire. After trying to use rocks as a flint (and busting a finger in the process) and rubbing a stick, Bumblebee starts to figure out that maybe Sari is clueless about camping. She finally coughs up that her knowledge of camping is mostly from TV shows. As Bumblebee offers to use his stingers to light the fire, Prowl shoos him off. Using 2 logs, Prowl gets the fire going, then proceeds to stake the tent.

Sari's confidence picks back up knowing she has Prowl to fall back on. Prowl tries to instill on Sari that she needs to learn these skills, but she rejects it as a lecture and instead tries to interest them in a ghost story. Bumblebee trumps the card by saying he found the batteries to his media player. As Prowl questions how the media player will work without a screen, Bumblebee sneaks up behind him and interfaces the media player with his holographic projector. After 5 seconds of watching the movie, Prowl removes the media player, then promptly crushes it.

The Forest Creature

As the forest reverberates with Bumblebee's agony of his player being destroyed, the scene cuts to Prowl managing the fire while Bumblebee (in alt mode) is tucked under the tent with Sari in the cockpit. Sari hears a noise and Bumblebee goes berserk. Transforming into robot mode (and in the process both ejecting Sari and ruining the tent), he starts rambling about how TV movies always depict bad camping trips with monsters. Prowl goes into alt mode and, using his headlights, finds the shadow of what was causing the ruckus. He starts to denounce it as being a bear, but then the creature steps out of the shadows.

Although looking organic in nature, it has seemed to meld with the construction vehicles spotted in the mine earlier in the episode. Prowl tries to figure the creature out, but a backhand from a steam shovel hand knocks him through a tree and on his back. As Sari attends to Prowl, the monster then threatens her with his pick hand. Bumblebee manages to use his stingers to disorient the monster and knock him down. Both Autobots clear the area with Sari before the monster has a chance to recover. As Bumblebee and Sari exchange dialogue, Prowl attempts to use his shurikens to fight the monster. However, the Autobots are shocked as the shurikens instead sink into the monster.

Space Barnacles?

Prowl discerns that the monster is metallic in nature with an organic exostructure. Sari also confirms that the creature is Cybertronian, with the help of her Allspark key. Prowl attempts to fight the creature but is unsuccessful. Bumblebee thinks he has a better idea. He bolts. Prowl joins (and passes) him and they try to lose the monster. Once they feel comfortable that they ditched it, they begin to formulate exactly what their dealing with. Bumblebee tries to confirm that camping is a bad thing. Sari questions about the creature being Cybertronian and wonders if anything else on Cybertron was that ugly. 'Bee wastes no time trying to cut on Bulkhead, but Prowl reminds him to focus on the situation instead.

Prowl goes over the facts again. Made of non-sentient metal + covered with an organic organism + Cybertronian energy signal = SPACE BARNACLES! Sari asks if they are like barnacles found on ocean ships. Prowl confirms it, saying that normally space barnacles siphon energy off of ships, then acts like a computer virus. He theorizes that the barnacles might have picked up the energy from their ship prior to it crash landing. However, he is concerned that these barnacles have more sentience due to their control of the construction equipment. Thinking they may have mutated, he strikes down Bumblebee's joke of luring the creature into the city, reminding 'Bee of their rapid multiplication ability. Bumblebee begrudgingly admits that they must track the creature back down, and Sari's key responds by acting as a tracker.

Trapped In A Mine

Sari's key leads the Autobots back to the mine that was seen at the episode's beginning. Sari mentions that this may be one of her dad's mines, although she's unsure what may be inside. Prowl tells them all to be on guard, and that if the barnacles touch them they may be infected too. Prowl finds a steel rod nearby and uses it as a staff. Bumblebee activates his stingers. Sari, looking for anything as a weapon, forms a snowball. As they prepare to go in the mine, Bumblebee decides to call out to the monster to give up with it's hands over it's... whatever, getting the other 2 upset at him.

However, it works as the monster is actually on top of the mine. The monster proceeds to try and avalanche the Autobots. As Prowl runs towards the forest, Bumblebee grabs Sari and runs inside the mine with her, sealing them both in. As Sari mentions they need to find an exit, Bumblebee proclaims that spending hours on Medieval Monster Maze will help them out. However, after driving around and Bumblebee formulating they end up right where they started.

Back outside, the monster comes down to the forest floor and begins searching for his prey. Prowl gets his attention with his shurikens. As the monster charges at Prowl, we see it's only a hologram of Prowl and the monster barrels into the mine entrance, freeing Bumblebee and Sari. Before the monster can try and get at the 2 in the mine, Prowl once again gets it's attention. Prowl and the barnacles proceeds to fight. Prowl tries to use his jet pack to fry the barnacles. It temporarily stuns the creature, but then it uses it's pick hand to pin Prowl down against a tree.


At this time, Bumblebee uses his stingers to drive the creature back. The creature backs itself onto a cliff, tumbles over and lands in the river below, effectively knocking it out. As Bumblebee proceeds to pat himself on the back, they notice Prowl struggling with something. Prowl manages to warn Sari and Bumblebee to run before exposing that he's been infected by the barnacles. Bumblebee seems confident that Prowl can fight it, but has second thoughts once he sees Prowl's condition worsen almost immediately.

Sari asks if the key might help, but Bumblebee surmises that the key may risk being infected if used. They decide to run. As Bumblebee transforms into alt mode, he finds out it's hard to navigate in snow. Eventually freeing himself, he runs into the woods. Sari tells Bumblebee to shut his lights off, which immediately makes him crash into a tree. As he recovers and gets back on track, he tells Sari that they need to get back to the city and get the other Autobots to help. However, Sari reminds him that it would mean Prowl following them and possible affecting the town.

As Bumblebee laments at Sari always being right, Sari decides that their best course of action is to lure Prowl into the mine and bury him in it. At that point, an increasingly infected Prowl finds them. Kicking Bumblebee off his feet, Prowl attempts to corner Bumblebee. However, Sari manages to use a tree limb to knock Prowl down an embankment. Seeing Bumblebee's tire tracks, she tells Bumblebee that the tracks will lead them back to the mine.

Trapped In A Mine... Again

As Sari and Bumblebee trade jabs at Prowl to lure him in, Bumblebee finally remarks on how the barnacles have affected Prowl's ninja-bot skills as he opens fire. Prowl is successfully trapped in the mine. However, Sari remarks about how Bumblebee bungled it up by also trapping THEM in the mine. The 2 resort to running. Using the railroad tracks in the mine, Bumblebee mid-transforms and drives down the tracks. Again showing his ignorance of nature, Bumblebee asks Sari to find a tree so he can light it on fire with his stingers. They don't have much time to argue, as they approach the end of the line.

Using a loaded mine cart, Bumblebee proclaims he won't become breakfast for barnacles as he launches the carts and upsets it on Prowl. Hoping Prowl doesn't remember the incident when cured, Bumblebee and Sari duck into a nearby mine shaft. Looking for something that they can use as fire, Bumblebee spots a fire hose station and makes a terrible assumption. Initially surprised the hose outputs water, he then realizes his mistake. This mistake gives Sari an idea, noticing the furnace room nearby. She instructs Bumblebee to carry the hose with him into the room. Bumblebee tries to avoid Prowl while bringing the hose into the room. Once in the room, Bumblebee seals the room off breathing a sigh of relief. Sari attempts to get the pilot light for the furnace going, theorizing that if she can use her key to boost the output, the steamy water may burn the barnacles off.

Double That Infection

Having no luck getting the pilot started, Sari asks for Bumblebee's help with his stingers. However, it seems that he wasn't as lucky in fending off Prowl as he too is now infected. After knocking Bumblebee down with a jet of water, she tries using the key on the machine but it won't fit. Sari is now fuming over the whole experience and strikes the key on the control panel, emitting a spark.

As she looks surprised, Prowl manages to bust the door down and both he and Bumblebee corner her. She backs herself towards the furnace element. Striking her key on the element, she manages to activate it and get the furnace going. Shouting "Bath time,kids!" she lets the steamy water loose, dousing both Bumblebee and Prowl. Once the steam lets up, we see Sari drenched and both Autobots back to normal.

Wrap Up... and Pretenses

Back at Autobot HQ, Sari gives her report to Optimus Prime. She then goes on to complain about Bumblebee not having a heater in alt mode. Prime compliments her on her work and expresses his hope that she 'stops backfiring soon'. Sari corrects him and tells him it's called sneezing... shortly before sneezing again and blowing her nose. Bumblebee looks disgusted, saying he doesn't want to know what that's called. Prowl gives his gratitude to Sari, but Bumblebee uses the opportunity to rub into Prowl. As they both begin arguing, Sari comes up with the moral of the day (What, you didn't think there WAS one?) telling both bots that nature and technology can work together. As Prowl and Bumblebee sulk at both their arguments being nulled, Bumblebee reminds Prowl that "You still owe me a new media player."

Back in the forest, we cut to the area where the original 'monster' landed in the river. As the lumps sits near the river shore, the sun manages to break up the snow covering it... exposing a Decepticon insignia. A truck pulls up and out jumps Isaac Sumdac. He seems ecstatic that he has finally found the rest of Megatron and thinks of how happy Megatron will be once he finds out.


From the start, this seems like an episode carrying no arc and resembling some kind of B-rated horror flick. Although most of the episode is forgettable in my opinion, it does something that the writers of this series seem to have a knack for. It leaves you with a cliffhanger. The 'creature' was nothing more than Megatron's body infected with space barnacles. That alone is worth the other 20mins of Bumblebee's ignorant jabs and Prowl's 'living dead' infection. However, at the end, we get the knot in the gut that Sumdac is finally gonna regret being suckered by Megatron. With next week starting the 2 part episode "Megatron Rising", alot of loose ends might get tied together. Be sure to join BWBM next week, as part one airs.

DateMarch 22nd 2008  
Score 7 stars (7 out of 10)  

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