When a small crew of maintenance Autobots comes into possession of the powerful Allspark, a battle with their long-forgotten enemies sends them crashing toward a strange, distant planet known as... Earth.
- An Aesop: It's good to reach for your dreams, but beware of the challenges that come with it.
- An Arm and a Leg: Starscream's bomb blows off Megatron's right arm note , and then Prowl slices off what remains.
- As You Know: The War has already happened and ended centuries ago, the Decepticons have been exiled from Cybertron, Optimus is not the leader of the Autobots in this continuity and is instead the leader of what is essentially a clean-up crew, the Allspark was thrown into unknown space to keep it out of evil hands, and fifty years from the present, Detroit is a technology hub.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Optimus so badly wants to be a hero. Starscream's ultimatum shows him how much pressure that involves.
- Big Bad Wannabe: Why Starscream tries to claim the Allspark for himself.Starscream: Now, nothing will stop me from leading the Decepticons and crushing the Autobots forever!
- Comically Missing the Point: When the team reveals themselves to the humans, everyone has their Jaw Dropped at the sight of giant robots while Sumdac, looking through binoculars, only sees that Sari has been snatched by the monster. Fanzone turns his head for him.
- Dare to Be Badass:Bumblebee: We're repair bots! We're not programmed for this kind of action.Optimus: Then consider this an upgrade.
- Death Is Cheap: So cheap, in fact, that Optimus is only dead for like a minute.
- Eats Babies: Bumblebee says that he's heard that Megatron eats protoforms for breakfast.
- Establishing Character Moment: The scene of the Decepticon crew together establishes all the pertinent quirks: Starscream's disregard for Megatron and toady charade, Lugnut's complete devotion to Megatron, Blitzwing's multiple personalities, Blackarachnia's organic mode, and Megatron being large and in charge.
- Failed a Spot Check:
- After Optimus switches off the anti-gravity, Bumblebee enters the bridge and fails to notice that Megatron is in it until he bumps right into him himself.
- Sari fails to realize that the factory has been abandoned, being more concerned with getting Sparkplug back. When she gets scared by the talking vehicles, she blindly runs off and bumps right into the giant monster.
- Professor Sumdac is too busy worrying that the monster may hurt Sari that he initially doesn't notice that four vehicles have transformed into giant robots.
- Fake Ultimate Hero: Starscream mocks the Autobots for thinking they finished Megatron when it was really because of his bomb. Starscream doesn't know that Megatron survived the explosion, but it was the deciding factor; the damage Megatron suffered gave the Autobots the chance to fight him off and eject him during the crash. As the season finale would later demonstrate, none of these Autobots have the skills yet to fight a fully powered and undamaged Megatron.
- The specific coloring of the Autobot ship and Optimus trying to activate the Omega defense system hint at a big reveal in Season 2.
- Starscream loudly proclaiming that he was the one responsible for Megatron being blown up. Upon being reactivated, Megatron will see a recording of this and learn he was betrayed.
- From the Mouths of Babes: Sari completely shatters Optimus Prime's innocence when she tells him about the birds and the bees◊.
- Genius Bonus: Sari's tutorbot can be heard mentioning the Hawley-Smoot Tariff.
- Hopeless Boss Fight: The team believes this when they get chased down by Megatron's flagship, which is much larger than them and they can't do anything but try to flee to the nearest space bridge due to lacking a weapons cache.
- Instantly Proven Wrong: Prowl, after saying I Work Alone, immediately gets absorbed by the monster when he attacks it alone. The others have to save him, and without Sari's Key, this decision would've proven to be deadly.
- Irony: While making repairs for the damage caused in the fight with Starscream, Bumblebee notes they're doing what they did at the start of all this: fixing bridges.
- It's Probably Nothing: Ultra Magnus dismisses Optimus's concerns about them being near a Decepticon ship while carrying the Allspark, ordering him to just stay put, though he does say that he'll send a small team to help.
- I Work Alone: Prowl refuses to cooperate with his teammates, citing this. At one point, he gets Instantly Proven Wrong after saying this, resulting in him almost dying had Sari not intervened.
- Meaningful Echo: "You can trust this face, can't you?"
- Mythology Gag:
- The documentary of the Great War at the beginning is footage from the original series.
- The ship resembles the Ark, Teletraan I is the ship's navicomputer, and Optimus attempts to activate Code: Omega.
- Oh, Crap!:
- When Teletraan I reveals that a Decepticon ship is heading their way, then Optimus and Ratchet recognizing it as a flagship... Megatron's, in fact.
- Sentinel picks up the line and pesters Optimus instead of listening to him. Optimus shuts him up fast by showing footage of them with the Allspark in their cargo bay.
- Teletraan I revealing that the ship is unarmed because of new protocols to conserve energon, meaning that they can't defend themselves. Optimus gives a Big "WHAT?!" in response to this.
- When one of the jets at the celebration goes straight towards the Autobots.
- One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Bumblebee sneaks Sari aboard the Teletraan I, but has trouble getting her to behave while he's in vehicle mode.
- Sadistic Choice: Starscream demands the Autobots turn over the Allspark, or else he'll kill the hostages and begin tearing the planet apart to find it himself.Optimus: Give up the Allspark or give up the Earth. How am I supposed to decide?
Ratchet: Heroes are the ones who make the hard choices.
- Sarcasm Failure: In a traffic jam, one of the drivers complains that he'd rather just walk at this point. Bulkhead agrees and transforms out of vehicle mode to just walk instead of just waiting.
- Screening the Call: Ultra Magnus stuck Optimus in a dead-end job, citing that he's "not programmed to be a hero", despite the previous scenes showing his experience in the Autobot Academy and that he clearly has the capabilities to be a hero.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
- Blitzwing, Lugnut, And Blackarachnia leave in escape pods when the Allspark explodes and consumes both ships in the explosion, leaving Starscream alone on the bridge to wax about the tragedy of Megatron's death and how he'll have to be leader now, oblivious to the explosion until he realizes nobody else is still aboard.
- Screw Your Ultimatum!: While fighting over the Allspark.Starscream: Let go, Autobot!
Optimus: Never! The Allspark is life!
Starscream: Then, let it end yours!
- Spotting the Thread: Fanzone realizes something's up with a certain four vehicles when he notices that the motorcycle and his own car have no drivers.
- The Talk: Optimus asks Sari where babies come from. His reaction is one of surprise.
- Tears of Joy: After Optimus is revived:Optimus: Is this the Well of All Sparks?
Sari: [crying] No, it's Detroit. [hugs him]
Bulkhead: Hey, I thought you only did that leaking thing when you're sad.
Sari: You guys have so much to learn about humans.
- This Cannot Be!: Ratchet realizing that one of the jets is a Decepticon.
- Thrown Out the Airlock: Optimus kicks Megatron out the airlock as the ship descends into Earth.
- The Un-Reveal: At the beginning, the rest of the team learns that Optimus attended the Autobot Academy. When they ask him what he's doing in a backwater job, their attention is pulled away to the discovery of the Allspark. Optimus's solemn facial reaction to being asked the question implies something bad happened, and it is hinted shortly afterwards that he isn't seen highly of and taken seriously by the Elite Guard.
- War Is Hell: During a celebration in their honor, Optimus asks if this is what it was like in the old days.Ratchet: The Decepticons didn't leave us very much to cheer about.
- We ARE Struggling Together: The Decepticons on Megatron's ship find each other annoying.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Prowl gets this from Optimus following several repeated acts of insubordination.
- With All Due Respect: After being ordered by Ultra Magnus to stay put, Optimus orders his team to get back to the space bridge they were at, saying that while he respects Ultra Magnus, he has no idea how urgent their situation is.
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Though definitely worried about her father and Bumblebee, Sari exploits crying in order to get the Autobots agree to let her help save Starscream's hostages. As she says, it's a usual way to get what she wants.
- You Are Not Alone: Prowl reminds Optimus of this after Starscream makes his ultimatum.