Note that for this episode I'll refer to each Optimus by his last name to avoid confusion.
So we get a recap of The Agenda, Part III. It's short, though they keep all of Megatron's final speech.
The time storm rages, Megatron cheers, when Blackarachnia reminds him she was a Maximal protoform. She turns Teletraan 1 online and an energy net expels Megatron.
Silverbolt approaches her and tells her he'll protect her. She tells him to cram it and come help her fix whatever Megatron did. They fly to the bridge and turn on life support for Optimus Prime, causing the time storm to subside. Funny how the Maximals were all pain at the beginning and during the previous episode but they shrugged it off now and can operate in the storm fine. I guess getting erased from history is the kind of thing you get easily used to and which subsides quickly. Like an ice cream headache. Still, this causes the Time Storm to subside a bit, but reality is still in flux.
The rest of the Maximals arrive and stare at Prime's destroyed head. They need to begin repairs, but the repair trauma would kill Prime, and his spark already is merging with the Matrix. Primal suggests they'll have to put the spark somewhere else while they repair his body. Despite Rhinox' protests, he takes Prime's spark in his chest. The resulting feedback blasts him across the room and he's clearly in agony trying to contain the Autobot leader's essence. The Maximals affect the repairs to Prime's head with Blackarachnia, despite some tensions all about. But Primal's not doing to well. His shoulder opens and a wing grows out. One of his hands shatter and is replaced with a much larger orange hand.
Megatron gets out of the rubble outside, calling his Predacons to "pull themselves" together. Inferno, looking charred gets out of the exploded cave. Waspinator's just finished reassembling himself. Tarantulas' drones are gathering his pieces, knocking Ravage's head off into the water as they do so. Quickstrike's tail looks for his body. Rampage slowly awakes.
So why not repair Ravage? He was clearly willing to work for Megatron. And more competent than most of his troops ...
Back at Mt St-Hilary, the repairs are proceeding when Cheetor tells the rest of the Maximals to check out Primal. He's now huge, the size of a small Autobot, and stable once more. Megatron and Inferno arrive, firing at the Maximals, but Primal turns to beast mode using shields to protect his crew. Hope you liked that glimpse of Optimal Optimus's beast mode, because he only uses it once more in the whole show AFAIK. Blackarachnia sneaks out. Primal turns back to robot mode and his BFG and Laser sight over Megatron`s spark deter the Predacon commander. The two trade quotables until Rattrap shoots Megatron against Primal`s orders. Waspinator lays some cover fire as Megatron and Blender Butt retreat. Optimus pursues in his new flight mode to carry Silverbolt, Rattrap and Cheetor in pursuit. The Predacons AGAIN fire on the tunnelt to collapse it, but Primal's new Tank mode (also barely ever used in the show. Enjoy it now) bust through. It does give Megatron time to shoot Blackarachnia for her treachery, to Silverbolt's melodramatic shock.
Primal and Cheetor pursue Megatron, Blender Butt and Waspinatr. Cheetor shoots Waspinator and makes him crash, before tackling Inferno. Wait? Cheetor can shoot and fly in robot mode? Since when? Wouldn't this have been useful a billion times? Like LAST EPISODE where he could've flown ahead of Megatron and shot him down??? Oh, whatever. Hilariously, Primal rips Megatron's gun from him and sticks in his thruster. As he falls, Megatron orders Rampage to do "as he ordered".
At the Axalon, Rampage and dozens of Tarantulas' drones pull on topes attached to the Axalon, tugging it towards the cliff. Primal flies in, cutting the ropes with his wing. Rampage transforms, stares at the rare sight of someone larger than him, then fires at Primal. The shot looks about to hit Prime's spark, and Primal deflects it with his arm, causing the missile to hit under the Axalon. The ship sways, and the crack from the Planet Buster attack causes the ship's bridge to break off and fall on rocks below. The rear of the ship soon falls into the water and sinks as Cheetor arrives. Cheetor asks Optimus what they'll do. He replies they must regroup and return a precious cargo. Oh and Tarantulas is alive. The show treats this as a sinister development... somehow.
Jazz... I had the WEIRDEST dream.
Back at the Ark, Primal returns Prime's spark. Prime's head lights up, and for a moment he silently stares at his descendant before returning to Stasis lock. The Time storm fully subsides. Optimus tells the Maximal - and Predacon and Blackarachnia is now on their side, that they need to fortify this place. Megatron will be back. They must gather all the salvage they can find.
A power line extends from the Ark to pieces of the Axalons gathered in a makeshift command center. Optimus declares they are "moving in".
Optimal Situation is leagues above Aftermath. It's a very good start to the season, though I do feel the whole climax of last season is kind of resolved too quickly. By about a third of the episode in, it becomes almost a non issue. It took an entire seasons to set it up, it would have been nice if it took actual effort to undo it. But no, the whole situation is resolved swiftly and relatively effortlessly. But still, that's my only complaint. The episode is fun, and the lost of the Axalon is treated with proper gravitas. And unlike Aftermath, the episode feels far from padded or pointless. A good start for the season.
Okay, huge bit of Fan Wankery and continuity here: The Animators based Prime's chest opening on the scene from the Movie where he passes on the Matrix. But they never realized what the Matrix was, leading to his spark container looking JUST LIKE the Autobot Matrix of leadership, with the actual thing nowhere to be seen in his chest. This confusion is further compounded by Rhinox' multiple mentions that Prime's spark "has the Matrix with it". You'll recall Beast Wars exclusively uses the term Matrix as Transformer Heaven, not referring to the Matrix of leadership (There's a reason future shows you call the former Allspark. It gets confusing). There's been two ways this error has been fanwanked away:
Prime's spark is in the Matrix of leadership - merged with its glowy bit, and Rhinox is being literal: Prime's spark _has_ the Matrix with it. This could also explain Optimus' immense growth in size when he takes it, not unlike Hot Rod becoming Rodimus. Of course, unlike said Autobot, Primal doesn't revert upon returning Prime's spark. Nor is anyone else using the matrix ever shown to drop dead when losing it due to having their spark in it... Also, the transformation bit doesn't make sense when you ccnsider what'll happen to Megatron in a future episode.
The other, now made canon by a comic◊, is that Prime's chest contains a Matrix-shaped container for his spark as a decoy. The real matrix is in a hidden panel behind it. Of course, that's not seen when you watch the movie... But it brings less plot holes and Fridge Logic.
As mentioned before, Waspinator somehow did not change during Possession. And Prime's spark being filled with some sort of Matrix is no handwave, as another episode will show.
Primal's voice resembles Prime's after he changes. This continues even after he returns the Spark. Next episode however, his voice is back to normal.
Primal uses two lines associated with Prime: Freedom is the right of all sentient beings. and Transform and Roll Out!. The former is Optimus Prime's motto on this tech specs for most of his toys. Bob Forward mentioned he picked it on the Transformer Usenet group without knowing its significance. Guess he got lucky.
In the Japanese continuity (Which is different from the American one. In Japan, Takara insists all the shows are in continuity with one another. All. Of. Them.) Optimus Prime (Convoy) is dimly aware of the Spark Transplant and of Optimus Primal. The two meet in a tie-in comic for the Binaltech toys and Prime recognizes Primal having saved him. In fact said recognition clues the reader on Primal's identity in the comic.
Ravage does come back from the dead in the comics. If you care about that.
There's a practical reason for the Axalon's destruction: Optimus wouldn't fit in it. In fact, the "station" he has in the new HQ made out of the ship's bridge has had its floor removed so he can stand there.
A nice touch in the episode's animation is you can clearly see the Maximals having trouble with their ancestors oversized buttons and switches, straining to use them.