While the Autobots encounter a mysterious muscle car creating havoc in Detroit, Ratchet keeps flashing back to his tour of duty in the Great War.
- Big "NO!": Ratchet when Lockdown gets away with Optimus.
- Bittersweet Ending: In the past, though Ratchet defeated Lockdown and was able to keep Arcee's codes safe, it comes at the cost of losing his EMP generator to Lockdown and wiping Arcee's memories. In the present, Ratchet defeats Lockdown, gets his EMP generator back, and saves Optimus, and though the past can't be changed, Ratchet accepts his past and confides in it to Optimus.
- Darker and Edgier: A bittersweet tale that deals with trauma suffered in war.
- Friendship Moment: Optimus offers to be the one Ratchet can tell his experiences to. Ratchet isn't willing, until the final scene.
- I Am the Noun: "I am the vehicle."
- I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: "I'm a medi-bot, not a field commander!"
- Innocuously Important Episode:
- Because Lockdown was in communication with Blitzwing and confirmed that Optimus is there, Blitzwing and Lugnut will eventually be heading to Earth to settle things themselves.
- The access codes that Arcee are carrying will retroactively be revealed to be part of Project: Omega and a major component of the Autobots' victory over the Decepticons in the war.
- It's Personal: Ratchet is disgusted at Lockdown both for what happened to Arcee and for using a medical tool as a weapon to hurt others.
- My Greatest Failure: Arcee's memories being wiped is one for Ratchet.
- Papa Wolf: Lockdown defeats all of the younger members of the team in combat, which only pisses off Ratchet even more.
- The Reveal: Ratchet's war wound on his wrist is where his EMP used to come out. We soon learn why that changed.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Blitzwing's Icy and Hothead personalities want to even the score against Optimus for Megatron's supposed death. Random just wants to see the fire truck mode.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Optimus begins to understand why Ratchet doesn't like talking about his war experiences.
- Ship Tease: In the low-key form of bonding between Ratchet and Arcee while they're on the run.
- Subtext: Ratchet saying he has to remember for those who can't. Now, what was the fate of Arcee?
- The Easy Way or the Hard Way: Upon meeting in vehicle mode, Optimus tries to coerce Lockdown to pull over using this phrase. It doesn't work.
- This Cannot Be!: Lockdown's reaction to Ratchet not being shut down.
- Villain Respect: Lockdown towards Prowl.Lockdown: Almost forgot about you. I'm impressed. It's been eons since the last time anyone got the drop on me.
Prowl: Next time will be much sooner.
- War Is Hell: Ratchet is clearly suffering the equivalent of PTSD and blames himself for what happened to Arcee. Also, some of the flashback scenes show the scale of the destruction caused by the war.
- Worthy Opponent: Prowl is the only one that can fight Lockdown on even terms and is acknowledged as such. Lockdown even has to resort to the EMP to stop him.
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Ratchet resorts to "playing possum" to get the drop on Lockdown: seemingly knocked out by the EMP and attacking once Lockdown's back is turned. As Ratchet says, the EMP has no effect on the 'bot it was actually designed for.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: The other Autobots initially think they're just dealing with an out of control, human driver in a muscle car.Optimus: Now, please, step out of the vehicle, sir.
Lockdown: Just one problem. [transforms] I am the vehicle.