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A Bridge Too Close, Part I

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TFA ABTC1 TitleCard

Closer... closer...

The Decepticons kidnap Bulkhead to aid in Megatron's ultimate plan to take over Cybertron.

German title: "Die Weltraumbrücke, Teil 1" ("The Spacebridge, Part 1")
Japanese title: "Respective Expectations" (それぞれの思惑 Sorezore no Omowaku)


Megatron branding

"Can't you just put the insignia on our chest?"
"Now, where's the fun in that?"

Now serving under Megatron, the Constructicons have completed construction of the villain’s space bridge. They are rewarded for their efforts by being officially branded as Decepticons, with a color-change for their eyes and armor thrown into the bargain. At Megatron’s instruction, Professor Sumdac fires up the bridge, but when it fails to activate due to the professor’s simple lack of understanding of the technology, Megatron realizes that he will require additional help...

TFA ABTC1 Screamer Clones Argue

"There's something in your optic." "No, there isn't!"

On Earth’s moon, Starscream gloats over five new clones of himself, to which he is in the processing of putting the finishing touches. The final clone is completed and, like its fellows, brought online with a tiny chip of the AllSpark that gives Starscream life. Immediately, however, Starscream has to wrestle with the various wacky personalities the clones have wound up with, each one an exaggerated aspect of his own: a coward, a sycophant, an egomaniac, a pathological liar... and a short-tempered female who declares that Starscream not ask what aspect of his personality gave birth to her.

Megatron contacts Shockwave on Cybertron in order to have him track down the top space bridge engineer on the planet. Shockwave is surprised to report that the engineer in question is on Earth—it’s Bulkhead! Megatron decides to capture Bulkhead personally and instructs Lugnut and Blitzwing to pick up an item from Sumdac Tower to aid in “convincing” the Autobot to help them. When Lugnut points out that Sumdac cannot be trusted in the base alone, Megatron decides to take the professor with him. As all this scheming goes on, however, someone else is listening in—the mysterious “Blue Racer” that Bumblebee recently encountered.

TFA ABTC1 Megatron Sumdac Hostage


ABTC Painting

This is much scarier than some living black sticky stuff.

At the Autobot base, Bulkhead is working on his latest painting, an abstract rendition of Sari. Unfortunately, backseat artistry from the other Autobots winds up ruining the painting, and Bulkhead goes for a walk with Sari to vent a little. Bumblebee follows to apologize, but just as he catches up to them, Megatron appears in the sky overhead and opens fire. Using Sumdac as a human shield to stop the Autobots from firing back, Megatron continues to rain destruction down on the Autobots as Bumblebee and Sari argue over whether or not Sumdac has been working with Megatron. Suddenly, the Blue Racer speeds onto the scene, and Bumblebee, believing the enigmatic speedster to be working with Megatron, chases him off through the city and manages to run him off the road. When he attempts to report his success to Bulkhead, though, there’s no response—because Megatron has captured Bulkhead and is airlifting him away. Bumblebee’s failure is compounded by the next turn of events: The Blue Racer reveals himself to be Blurr, a fast-talking member of the Cybertron Elite Guard who has been covertly monitoring Megatron’s activities.

Back at the Decepticon headquarters, Bulkhead refuses to help Megatron, so the villain unveils the fruit of Blitzwing and Lugnut’s labor: a Headmaster unit! Faced with the threat of once again having his body taken over and being used to destroy his fellow Autobots, and failing to elicit any help from Scrapper or Mixmaster, Bulkhead relents and agrees to work on the space bridge.


"He's the fastest thing aliiive!"

At the Autobots’ base, Blurr relates his mission to Optimus Prime and company and brings them up to speed, quite literally. While Prime leads the rest of the team to the Decepticon base, the location of which is provided by Blurr, Ratchet and Sari head for Teletran-1 to try to get it online one last time. Just like last time, their efforts lead to nothing, forcing Ratchet to attempt one last drastic approach: using the AllSpark fragments the Autobots have gathered to jump-start the ship’s systems.

TFA ABTC1 Screamer Clones Emerge

Why, I'm beside myself! And myself! And...

Prime’s team is led by Blurr into the Decepticons’ coal mine base, where they are immediately attacked by Lugnut and Blitzwing. The fight is a brief one, as Blurr uses his super-speed to bind the odd couple with stasis cuffs. Meanwhile, as the space bridge nears completion, Bulkhead insists on modifying many aspects of Sumdac’s design, and winds up in an argument with the human, which Sumdac interprets as Bulkhead trying to sabotage the bridge deliberately. When the bridge is activated, however, it functions perfectly—Bulkhead knew fully well that Sumdac’s design was wrong, and he corrected it! As the bridge flares into life, Prime’s team bursts into the main chamber, but they are instantly immobilized by cement booties, courtesy of Mixmaster. With the Autobots out of the picture, it seems there is nothing to stop Megatron now...until the roof of the cavern explodes, and Starscream and his clone army make their grand entrance!

To be continued…


Featured characters

(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)

Autobots Decepticons Humans


"Ah, never before have I seen such an impressive group of lethal fighting machines! And pretty good-looking, if I do say so myself."

— The ever-humble Starscream comments on his clone army.

Skywarp: Us? Against Megatron?! Are you INSANE?!? [meekly] Ah, ah... I think I just sprang an oil leak.
Thundercracker: Silence, you fool! Megatron is but a worthless pile of scrap metal compared to my genius.
Sunstorm: Brilliant observation, brilliant! But your genius pales in comparison to that of our leader, the original Starscream.
Starscream: Mmm, I could listen to this one all day...
Ramjet: What are you talking about?! I am the original Starscream!
Starscream: Liar! I am the original Starscream.
Ramjet: [sheepishly] I never said I was the original Starscream.
Starscream: You just did right now.
Ramjet: No I didn't.
Starscream: Yes you did.
Ramjet: No I didn't.
Starscream: Yes you did!
Ramjet: No. I. Didn't.
Slipstream: Ugh! Haven't you figured it out yet? He's a pathological liar. Each of us clones represents one aspect of your personality. [points to each clone in turn] He's a coward... he's an egomaniac... he's a suck-up... he's a liar.
Ramjet: I am not!
Starscream: So, which part of me did you come from?
Slipstream: Don't ask.
Starscream: [sigh] This is going to be a long orbital cycle...

— Best introdump ever?

"I just didn't think my head was so big."
"That's your leg."

Sari and Bulkhead. Oh, the irony!

Sari: No, don't shoot! You'll hit my dad!
Bulkhead: She's right!
Bumblebee: So what are we supposed to do? Fight him with snappy comebacks?

Bumblebee conveniently forgets his normal attack strategy.

Bumblebee: All right, Zippy, start talking!
[Blurr transforms from vehicle mode to robot mode]
Blurr: First of all, the name's not "Zippy"! As a matter of fact, I don't believe I've ever met another bot named Zippy, so one can only assume that you came up with "Zippy" in reference to my speed, which may be technically accurate, but lacks a certain creativity!
Blurr: More to the point, the name's Blurr! I'm an Autobot intelligence agent, sent to this planet by the Elite Guard to keep an eye on Optimus Prime and his crew as well as monitor the Deception activity, and you, my friend, have just blown a decacycle of covert surveillance designed to uncover Megatron's plot to conquer Cybertron. Everything was going according to plan when I intercepted a communication between the Decepticon leader and an unknown double agent! They were in the midst of plotting the abduction of an unsuspecting Autobot, which now, from the status of the current ground situation, appears to have been successful. Got that so far?
Bumblebee: Uh...could you repeat the last part?
Blurr: Which last part?
Bumblebee: Oh, everything after "The name's not Zippy."

— It took Bumblebee a long time to get Blurr to start talking. From this point on, he doesn't shut up.

Bumblebee: Woah, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Back up!
Prowl: Did he just say Bulkhead?
Optimus Prime: Our Bulkhead?
Ratchet: An expert? On anything?!

— The Autobots aren't terribly impressed with Bulkhead.

"I must be a bigger pain in the gearshaft than I thought."

Starscream openly admits one of his primary faults.

Optimus Prime: The area is clear. No sign of any Decepitcon energy signatures.
[The Autobots are attacked by Lugnut and Blitzwing]
Bumblebee: Whoa!
Icy Blitzwing: Unfortunately, ze same cannot be said for your energy signatures, Autobots.
Lugnut: Our signal dampeners created by your human professor have been quite useful.
Bumblebee: (activates his stingers)
Icy Blitzwing: (freezes Bumblebee's stingers)
Optimus Prime: (uses his ax, but gets stopped by Blitzwing)
Hothead Blitzwing: Is it hot in here or is it me?! (shoots fire)
Bumblebee: Thanks, Blitzbrain.

"Okay, I give. I'm officially no longer the fastest thing on wheels."

Bumblebee is humbled after seeing Blurr's speedy takedown of Blitzwing and Lugnut.


  • In the Japanese version, it was aired as the twenty-fifth episode. Furthermore, as their episode appearances were removed, the Constructions' origin were changed.

Animation errors

  • When Mixmaster encases Optimus and Prowl in concrete, his colors shift back to his neutral, pre-Decepticon color scheme.
  • When Megatron attacks the Autobots, his cockpit changes from black to grey for a brief moment, then back.
  • Blurr's mouth disappears for a frame after he introduces himself to Bumblebee and is pointing at him for the second time.

Continuity errors

  • Not so much an error as a quirk: During the engagement in the mines, Icy Blitzwing is scowling noticeably, while Hothead Blitzwing is...smiling???

Transformers references

  • Starscream speaks of his clones as being "pretty good looking, if [he does] say so [himself]". The Generation One Starscream also made this comment when first looking at his clone in the episode "A Prime Problem".
  • Shockwave's report on Bulkhead appears to be in the form of Tech Specs.
  • After branding, the Constructicons' colour schemes match those of their Generation One counterparts.
  • In the scene when Mixmaster and Scrapper being directed by Bulkhead and Isaac Sumdac, the large green circular jar the Constructicons are carrying may be quite familiar.

Real-world references

  • In The Bridge on the River Kwai, Alec Guinness is a prisoner of war who is forced to build a bridge. Even though the bridge will help his enemies, he builds the bridge to the best of his ability just to demonstrate how capable he is. In "A Bridge Too Close"...replace "Alec Guinness" with "Bulkhead".
  • Among the parts needed for a space bridge are "hollow cathode tubes", parts which until recently made up computer monitor displays.

Miscellaneous trivia

  • So in all the months that Isaac Sumdac has been missing, it never occurred to anyone that the Decepticons kidnapped him? Perhaps everyone thought he was dead.
  • All of the heavy exposition is given to the guy who talks really, really fast. Handy.
  • Megatron initiates new Decepticons by branding the symbol onto them with cattle brands. How bovine.
  • Starscream opens a hatch on his head to pick parts from his Allspark fragment to bring the clones to life, suggesting that in all of the episodes when you do see it, he has his hatch open, exposing the Allspark fragment.
  • Sunstorm, the Sycophant Starscream was called a "Suck Up" in the episode, but it is revealed he is a Sycophant Starscream.
  • Blurr finally transforms into his humanoid mode.
  • Bumblebee asking Blurr to "repeat the last part" is slightly similar to a semi-running gag in Get Smart.

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