In search of energy now that planet Cybertron has finally been drained, the Autobots must leave Cybertron and venture to other worlds in search for energy, but to make matters worse, they are also pursued by the Decepticons, who are also seeking energy themselves if they are to win the war against the Autobots.
- Japanese title: "The Road to Earth"
- Russian TV dub title (channel #6): "Ne vse tak prosto: Chast 1" ("Not so simple: Part 1")
PlotOn Cybertron, many millions of years ago, the Autobots are on the verge of extinction. Eons of war with the Decepticons, their bitter enemies, have drained the planet's once plentiful resources. Autobots Wheeljack and Bumblebee are scraping together energy conductors, and narrowly avoid capture by a Decepticon patrol. They arrive at Iacon, the Autobots' headquarters. There, Optimus Prime, the Autobot leader, confers with his lieutenants Jazz, Prowl, and Trailbreaker on the plan to leave Cybertron on a mission to search for new sources of energy. This plot is overheard by the Decepticon spies Soundwave and Laserbeak. Autobot spaceship, followed by the Decepticon cruiser. An asteroid collision forces them to use up most of their energy clearing a path through the resulting storm. The Decepticons take advantage of this vulnerability and attack. Both ships spin out of control, crashing on nearby Earth.
Four million years pass, and time goes by, as Earth modernizes around the Ark and the mountain in which it now rests. It is the year 1984, and volcanic activity stirs the half-buried Ark, awakening the computer systems aboard. Teletraan I sends out a Sky Spy satellite to reconnoitre this new world, and scans examples of terrestrial machinery in order to reformat all onboard Transformers, Autobot and Decepticon, into new alt modes. First up are the Decepticons, and Skywarp is awakened first, before he revives Megatron, who helps him revive the others. Megatron observes that much time has passed since the crash. An impudent Starscream leaves a parting shot at the Ark, unwittingly awakening the dormant Autobots within, with Optimus Prime as the first Autobot to awaken.
Megatron decrees that their mission is to drain Earth of its resources in order to build an ultimate weapon and conquer the universe (as one is so often wont to do). To start, they will need a base of operations, so he puts Starscream in charge of converting the area for the construction of a new star cruiser. The Decepticon Rumble trashes a nearby power station to serve as raw materials.
Meanwhile, Optimus Prime dispatches Hound and Cliffjumper to scout the area. They find the Decepticons, and Cliffjumper brashly takes a shot at Megatron. He misses, and the Decepticons unleash Laserbeak in pursuit. Hound is blasted and injured.
Cliffjumper returns with help: Autobot medic Ratchet and drone Hauler come to fetch Hound. Meanwhile, Decepticons Thundercracker and the Reflectors spot an Earth vehicle coming to investigate the destruction of the power station. Reflector takes a photo for Thundercracker to get a better look; he believes it's an Autobot, and contacts Soundwave. Ravage intercepts the vehicle, frightening the human workers away.
Hound is repaired, and reports what he overheard of the Decepticons' plans: they are on the hunt for energy. Prime has Jazz assemble a battle group to go after them. The Decepticons attack an off-shore oil rig, where William "Sparkplug" Witwicky and his son Spike work. They begin gathering energon cubes, but are interrupted by the Autobots.
A battle scene erupts on the drilling platform, during which, Megatron's Fusion Cannon blasts the rig's supports, tipping it into the ocean. It bursts into flames as the oil is ignited in the crossfire. Realizing the humans are in danger, Optimus Prime tries to save Spike and Sparkplug while the Decepticons retreat with cubes worth of their Energon plunder.
Original airdate: September 17, 1984
Production number: 4023
Writer: George Arthur Bloom
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"Prime told me there'd be days like this."
"And you didn't believe him?"
"I do now!"
- — Bumblebee and Wheeljack under fire.
"When do we start the search mission?"
"'Soon as you are ready to launch."
- — Prowl is told to hurry up by Optimus Prime
"Fear not, Megatron. Cybertron shall remain as you leave it."
- — Shockwave, more accurate than he realizes.
- — Ironhide
"What about materials?"
"Use your imagination!"
- — Starscream and Megatron.
"Here's something to keep you warm."
- — Megatron as he ignites the oil spill.
- — Sparkplug saying some unusual slurred word instead of his son's name as he dives into the sea after him.
Animation and/or technical glitches
- Although the vehicle modes for the Transformers are different on Cybertron, their robot modes are exactly the same as on Earth.
- The Decepticon "welcoming committee" that tries to detain Wheeljack and Bumblebee includes Starscream, Skywarp, and Thundercracker, though Starscream has a different voice when he speaks. Other shots show differently colored Seekers, including an orange one who was retroactively established to be Sunstorm.
- Further, the welcoming committee is shown to have as many as five members in one shot, but seven distinct color schemes, and rarely more than three jets appear in any single shot. The other jets may have been just off-screen, or mistakes.
- Immediately after a shot of Optimus Prime rallying his troops to prepare to repulse Decepticon boarders ("Prepare for battle!"), the same animation is re-used, but this time with Megatron's voice urging his troops to "Attack! Attack!" When the episode was re-done for the Generation 2 series, this scene was amended by placing a shot of Megatron sitting on this throne from earlier in the episode over the image, shouting the command.
- A shot of Soundwave being kicked out of frame by Ironhide is immediately followed by Soundwave sparring with Ratchet.
- When Soundwave tosses Ratchet into a console aboard the Ark, the Autobot Medic is sporting a Decepticon symbol in the center of his chest windshield, most likely the result of the animator carrying over Soundwave's design.
- After Ratchet is thrown into the console, Optimus Prime and Megatron enter the frame, struggling with each other. Megatron is missing his fusion cannon in this shot, but it reappears when the angle changes to show them grappling as Prime asks for a status report.
- Ratchet is shown being thrown by Soundwave, but after Optimus Prime asks for a status report, Ratchet is seen fighting with Thundercracker on the other side of the room.
- As the above shot pans across the bridge to the right, we see Soundwave slumped against a console. As it continues, another Soundwave is seen with Sideswipe.
- When Starscream is shooting at the Ark, the Decepticon symbols on his wings are up-side down.
- When Optimus Prime assigns Hound his mission, the establishing shot has Cliffjumper with Bumblebee's yellow colors.
- In the long shot of the Decepticons building their base, Soundwave appears in Sideswipe's colors.
- In the pan shot on the Ark when the Transformers find out they are going to crash, there are TWO Soundwaves and TWO Starscreams...
- When Rumble knocks Spike into the water, his father yells "Pike!" instead of "Spike", with a strange slurred lisp at the end of his exclamation.
- Jazz's roll-call of the Autobots assembled to stop the Decepticons at the oil platform does not match the Autobots who eventually go on the mission. For example, Huffer and Brawn are both seen next episode at the oil platform, though Jazz never called their names.
- Because Laserbeak discovered the oil platform long after Hound was chased away, Hound could not have overheard the Decepticon plans to attack the platform. As such, it is unclear how the Autobots knew to go there.
- While he is getting repaired by Ratchet, Hound refers to an Energon cube as "some kind of cube", implying that the Autobots do not know what Energon cubes are, despite the fact that they are shown using cubes as fuel during the flashbacks in "War Dawn". It is possible that Hound is a younger Autobot and was not created until after Autobots stopped using Energon cubes; Prime would know what they are, since he was there back then in the episode ""War Dawn" as Orion Pax.
- The Autobots are all shown flying. In subsequent episodes, this ability would disappear when required, only Autobots with flight modes would take to the air.
- The episode ends with a preview of Part 2. While other multi-part Transformers episodes generally refer to the episode by its title ("Next time, on The Transformers: The Ultimate Doom"), this preview uses the series title, "The Transformers", instead. This is probably because More Than Meets the Eye is a retroactive name for the three-part episode, which began as a mini-series before becoming a regular program.
- Megatron somehow knows the Planet's name, though it's unlikely that ANY of Cybertronians have ever known such place as Earth and they've been there for, like, few minutes after 4 000 000 years of inactivity, without any contact with the locals.
- The offshore oil rig that the Transformers do battle upon seems to be inherently dangerous and practicing a whole plethora of prohibited activities: minors directly assist in hazardous operations, huge lengths of steel pipe are stacked in unstable pyramids in the middle of the production area, small, flexible rubber cables carry oil and gas, there is apparently no firefighting equipment installed whatsoever and there aren't even any safety rails around the platform edge. No wonder the Witwickys are hard as nails.
- The Decepticon vessel is rediscovered in the episode "Microbots".
- The vessel is named Nemesis in the Beast Wars episode "Nemesis Part 1", where it is described as the most powerful Decepticon warship in history. Gotta wonder why it went down so easily, though it probably does not help that no one was shown piloting the ships during the fighting.
- This is also the first, last and only appearance of Hauler.
- Where does Cliffjumper keep his big gun?
- The events of the Beast Wars cartoon take place during the 4 million years in which the Autobots and Decepticons lie dormant in the wreckage of the Ark.
- Footage from this episode was used to represent a historical video in "Transform and Roll Out!", the opening movie for Transformers Animated.
- Wheeljack is the first Autobot and the first Transformer seen in the series.
- Starscream is the first Decepticon seen in the series.
- Skywarp is the first Transformer to get an Earth mode.
- The three parter was released on video in the UK in 1986 under the title "Arrival from Cybertron".
- Oddly enough, nobody opens fire during the scuffle when the Decepticons board the Ark - not even Megatron. Probably because a missed shot would blow a hole in the shuttle, thus dooming all aboard.
- When Ratchet, Hauler, and Cliffjumper show up to help Hound, Ratchet's "Base" from his toy shows up beside him very briefly.