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A Prime Problem

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Prime Problem title shot

But which one of them is the real writer of this episode? WE'LL SETTLE THIS WITH A RACE!


Megatron creates a clone of Optimus Prime to lure the Autobots to their doom.


  • Japanese title: "Two Convoys"

Summary

The Decepticons discover a new power source in a crevasse in the Earth. They determine the fissure is filled with corlonium crystals, which make anything electronic that they touch go ka-boom unless insulated. They locate a temporary operations base nearby, and Megatron hatches a plan that he hopes will lead the Autobots into the crevasse and certain death.

Optimus Prime and the Autobots show up at the scene shortly, but before they can learn more about the lights, they are attacked by a Decepticon squad led by Starscream. With some well-aimed shots, Laserbeak knocks Prime over a cliff and puts him out of commission, then takes holographic pictures of him that Megatron uses to create a remote-controlled clone.

Primedeux

Double your pleasure...

The clone leads the Autobots back to base and causes some awkward moments when he doesn’t know the names of his troops nor how to use Teletraan I. The situation is complicated further when the real Prime shows up. The Autobots are ready to shoot him as an impostor, but Ironhide stops them.

Both Primes are put through tests—sharpshooting and a race—to determine which is the real one. The results are rather inconclusive. That’s what you get for letting Spike be in charge.

Tricked by false energy readings, the Autobots give up on finding out who is their real leader and instead head back to the crystal crevasse in order to stop what they think will be an imminent explosion. They are assaulted (again) by a Decepticon attack. Starscream stops everyone in the midst of battle and challenges the Optimus Prime clone to a one-on-one battle. They fight, and in the middle of declaring that he’s won, Starscream gets blown apart by one shot from clone Prime’s gun.

Now convinced that the clone is the real thing after the battle, the Autobots follow the clone to the crevasse, ignoring the warnings from the real Optimus. But before they are led to their doom, Windcharger pulls up from the crevasse and reveals the truth.

Primespike

Prime rubs Spike's head for good luck.

Earlier, he and Spike infiltrated the Decepticon base and overheard Megatron’s plan regarding the Prime clone, the mock battle with a fake Starscream, and the dangerous nature of the crystals. And now Megatron is holding Spike captive.

The clone says to disregard Windcharger’s report and Spike’s plight, and orders the Autobots forward into the crevasse. Ironhide declares the clone to be the fake, because the real Prime would save Spike. The Autobots shoot the fake Optimus into oblivion and follow Prime on a rescue mission. The Decepticons make a run for it in a rocket and drop Spike in mid-air, but he’s rescued by Powerglide and reunited with Optimus Prime, who then pets Spike like a puppy. The end.


Stats

Original airdate: October 2, 1985

Production number: 700-26

Written by: Dick Robbins and Bryce Malek

Featured Characters

(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)

Autobots Decepticons Humans Others
Regulars

Guests

Notable quotes

"It's just such ignorance which forever relegates you to the ranks of underlings, Starscream!"

Megatron


"All the danger you can handle is already here, Floptimus Prime!"

Starscream comes up with a clever insult.


"I'm sorry there are only three of you. Clobbering less than four Decepticons at a time is boring."

Optimus Prime


"Laserbeak... you tin-foil turkey!"

Optimus Prime dishes out the trash talk like a pro.


Fake Prime: “Bumblebee, come over here. The computer's not responding to my input.... Bumblebee, I'm speaking to you.”
Ironhide: “You talking to me?”
Fake Prime: “Of course.”
Ironhide: "But I'm not Bumblebee, I'm Ironhide, Prime.”
Fake Prime: "I meant Ironhide, naturally."

—The fake Optimus Prime totally flubs Ironhide's name, even though Ironhide's the only other one there, and the Southern-fried lug still doesn't get it...


"I don't mind hitting the dirt, but I don't enjoy eating it!"

Gears


"No, DO NOT! ARGH, my magnificent creation, vapourised! With Prime's replica destroyed, we must escape, now!"

Megatron, not being at all melodramatic.


"Is it really you, Optimus Prime? I mean really?"
"Yes, Spike. This time I am definitely me. Or I. Myself. Oh, whoever I am. Put 'er there, partner."

—A cautious but hopeful Spike questions Optimus Prime, who doesn't do the best job of keeping a sentence together.

Notes

Animation and/or technical glitches

  • In a dialogue flub, Optimus calls Trailbreaker "Trailblazer". Later he calls Spike "Splik". Makes you wonder if the Autobots destroyed the right one.
  • As he and Spike climb the mountain and spot Laserbeak, Windcharger is sporting a red Decepticon symbol.
  • After the fake Starscream is destroyed by the fake Optimus, Starscream is seen standing next to the other Decepticons.
  • Starscream sports a red symbol in some scenes.

Continuity errors

  • Anyone else notice that Powerglide isn't seen until the very end? Shows up right after the fake Prime kills the fake Starscream.

Transformers references

  • This episode has the first appearances of Powerglide and Warpath. However, no explanation of their origins is made.
  • Starscream clone? Hmmmm...

Real-world references

  • References

Miscellaneous trivia

  • Megatron's decision on how to best use his new cloning device is fantastically bizarre. Knocking Optimus Prime unconscious, cloning him, and using the clone to lead the Autobots to their doom is somehow better than having Laserbeak kill Prime when he's down? Even though there's something to be said for killing all the Autobots at once, Megatron HAS to know that the Autobots will be helpless without Prime's leadership. "Divide and Conquer" illustrated that pretty clearly.
  • This episode marks the first and last appearance of the Auto-Scout, a cassette drone launched by Soundwave.
  • Notice that when both Primes get X-rayed, neither one possesses an Autobot Matrix of Leadership in his chest cavity. Mind you, this was before the Matrix was introduced in the cartoon even though he's had it all the time....
  • Testing to see which Prime is fake by road races and sharpshooting contests (instead of, say, quizzing them on the names and histories of the Autobots) is fairly dumb.
  • Megatron's knowledge of Autobot names is a bit dodgy. Here, he mistakenly calls Ironhide "Bumblebee." This is particularly strange since he knew Brawn's name in "Fire on the Mountain," yet couldn't identify Ironhide, someone much higher on the Autobot totem pole. He was able to identify Ironhide by name in "The Autobot Run" when he told Long Haul and Scrapper to load Ironhide into the crusher.
  • Laserbeak is pretty hardcore. Optimus is easily able to overpower Starscream, Thundercracker, and Skywarp with his bare hands, yet a few blasts from Laserbeak take him down. Laserbeak also manages to open a pretty nice can of whoop-ass on Starscream when Starscream tries to run away.
  • Ironhide is pretty dumb, not suspecting Prime ofter the "Bumblebee" incident, seeing as they were meant to be old friends.
    • For that matter, all of the Autobots are dumb in this episode. I mean, how gung-ho is the normal Prime compared to the clone?
  • When trying to convince the Autobots not to go into the cavern, Optimus refers to Trailbreaker as "Trailblazer". Yeah, that'll convince them...

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