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  • Sacrificial Lion: Cliffjumper. Originally billed alongside the main robots, his death is referenced repeatedly during the initial five-episode pilot, and the possibility of him being alive drives most of the plot in the second episode. He gets mentioned every so often by the other Autobots as they are worried about future casualties and he gets a flashback episode in the second season. Lastly Starscream gloats about killing him every 5th episode.
    • Breakdown is a rare villainous example. His death at Airachnid's claws shows she's playing for keeps about deserting.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Jack and Miko.
  • Say My Name: See Skyward Scream.
    • Megatron does a variant on a tradition: usually, when Megs discovers 'Screamer's betrayal, he'll bellow "STAAAAARSCREEEEEAM!!" and you know payback is going to ensue. In this series, when Megatron's body is finally restored and his spark restored to it, he immediately opens his eyes and whispers "Starscream." He then goes on to mercilessly punish him.
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  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: The characters use vocabulary quite sophisticated for a children's show, such as contingency, iota, excruciate, agonize, intuitive, pontificating and conventional.
  • Scream Discretion Shot: Knock Out's "cosmetic punishment": Starscream moves in close, and the camera cuts away to Breakdown cringing as Knock Out screams.
    • The death of Breakdown. Airachnid moves in for the kill and the camera cuts away to a distant part of the forest and the reaction of some crows as Breakdown screams.
    • Also, the death of the final Starscream clone. Subverted in that since Starscream feels his clones' pain, it's actually him screaming as his kills the clone. Starscream takes aim... and we fade to black. However, just before credits roll, we hear BOOM! followed by "AAAAAARRRRRRGH! ''Scrap'', that hurt!"
      • Before that, Starscream had another when MECH stunned him in order to steal his T-cog.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Bulkhead. Made even funnier because his voice is naturally very deep and baritone.
    • Starscream in the Japanese dub. Also has a moment in the English dub, when shot at in the room he's torturing Fowler in.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: In "Partners", Starscream first decides he's had enough of Megatron's mistreatment, then tries to join the Autobots, but after Arcee attempts to kill him, he declares he no longer has any allegiance and serves only himself.
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    • In "Crisscross", Airachnid abandons her attempt to kill Jack and Arcee when Fowler and his troops show up, outgunning her.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Scraplets, who even seem to emerge from a dumpster-like container.
    • To a lesser extent, there's also Skyquake, who is in stasis on Earth as a sleeper agent until Starscream releases him.
    • Unicron, who has been sleeping inside Earth for eons.
    • The Insecticons remain in stasis pods until an Autobot frequency (or someone emulating one) awakens them.
    • Airachnid gets trapped in a stasis pod, and is being held at the Autobot HQ.
  • Secret Government Warehouse: The recovered Iaconian artifacts are kept in a storage area in the "back 40" of the Autobots' secret base, one artifact to a bay. Among other things...
    Smokescreen: (spots the stasis-locked Airachnid) Woah, what kind of relic is she?
    Jack: The kind you don't want to mess with.
  • Self-Deprecation:
    • Miko appears to be a dig at the worst of the Autobots' human allies, as she's got all the traits of the most hated human tagalongs that have infuriated fans over the years, and she irritates the in-universe characters just as much.
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    • The show contains many playful shots to Transformers: Generation 1, such as Starscream sneering at Knock Out when offered a Null Ray, G1 Starscream's signature weapon, to replace his missing arm. In Prey, while complimenting Bumblebee's inverted colour scheme, Arcee laments that were she to undergo the same procedure she would be pink, which was G1 Arcee's colour scheme.
  • Send in the Clones: Starscream does this with five clones of himself. Unlike Transformers Animated though, they aren't that distinct from each other, which probably contributes to why they come within a few seconds of actually terminating Megatron if Airachnid hadn't chosen to attack as well.
  • Series Continuity Error: The Decepticon fortress created in the second season finale was originally dubbed "New Kaon" by Megatron, but later called Darkmount. It could be a difference between the land and the building itself but it isn't clear.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Bulkhead breathes this trope when he becomes a walking encyclopedia in "T.M.I.".
  • Serious Business: Ratchet and the science fair projects.
  • Shapeshifter Mode Lock: Happens briefly to Bumblebee when MECH steals his T-Cog, the organ that allows Cybertronians to scan alternate modes and transform. He doesn't take it well.
    • The same thing ends up happening to Starscream. He doesn't take it well either.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Arcee mostly but the other Autobots share this trope. Optimus holds great regret for the lives lost in the war, Bumblebee lost his voice which Ratchet was unable to fix, and Bulkhead is a former special ops agent who did some things he wasn't proud of.
  • Ship Tease: The writers have made a few questionable dialogue choices in some scenes featuring Jack and Arcee. Just look at Jack when he first meets Arcee (who was disguised as a motorbike); if he talked and behaved that way to her robot form, he'd come across as quite The Casanova Robosexual. Also, there was his heartfelt confession to Arcee that ''she was his first... bike."
    • Considering what June said when she found out that Optimus Prime wasn't around makes you wonder if it runs in the family.
    • And then there's "Metal Attraction", where Arcee and Bulkhead spend half the time magnetized together. Miko can't seem to help acting like a jealous little sister.
      Ratchet: The gauntlet may be our best solution for your current... attraction.
      Miko: Ugh! They're not attracted to each other!
      • She turns the tables on Jack in Plus One, when Arcee and Wheeljack go off on a mission together.
    • "Convoy" has a few sweet moments between Jack and Miko. She even holds his arm and, well, he tried to sweetly say goodbye.
      • And then the Season 2 finale "Darkest Hour" has them all being separated by necessity. Mounted on Arcee, Jack gives Miko a brief glance, and she from inside Bulkhead looks towards him almost longingly, her hand against the window as Bulkhead drives off. Even if you see it as merely platonic, it's like she's trying to take in some reassurance - as much as she'd be annoyed by Jack at times, he's always protected her and Raf like a big brother, and they don't know when they might see each other again.
      • Miko absolutely glomps Jack when they reunite in "Prey"...then jokingly punches him in the gut and calls him a "weakling".
    • In "Stronger, Faster", Breakdown tells a Vehicon that he's intrigued by Airachnid, despite the extra arms and domineering personality.
    • As of the end of the season, there seem to be a few hints of an attraction between Agent Fowler and June Darby. Most noticeably, he gave her a gigantic bearhug when Unicron was defeated.
      • "Plus One" plays it for maximum effect.
      • Predacons Rising develops some between Bumblebee and Arcee.
  • Ship Sinking: A nasty example in "Crossfire", in which Breakdown, who admitted to being "intrigued" by Airachnid in "Stronger, Faster", has no problem trying to kill her on Megatron's command. Nor does it save him from being brutally murdered by her.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: No human characters appear at all in "Partners".
    • Neither do any of them appear in the incredibly complex and dark episode Crossfire. Except some MECH grunts who salvage Breakdown's corpse.
    • Jack is the only human to feature in "Predatory," and by the end of the episode, he's left behind his clown status.
    • In "Loose Cannons", the only human to feature is Agent Fowler, the more serious of the main five humans.
  • Shout-Out: When Arcee meets up with Jack after he's seen that Cybertronians exist, he tries walking away from her while saying "I get it. The first rule about Robot Fight Club is that you don't talk about Robot Fight Club."
    • the Dark Energon produced drone-thing in "Darkness Rising, Part 3" makes the exact same squawks and screeches as the Warrior Bugs from Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles.
      • Frank Welker also seems to have imbued zombie Cybertronians (notably Cliffjumper) with his Gremlins snarls.
    • The Vehicons in the mines have different helmet designs than the combat variants. These are similiar to another space miner.
    • When fighting the Scraplets in "Scrapheap", Miko says that they're going on a bug hunt.
    • "Predatory" is essentially a half-hour long love letter to Predator.
      • As if to clue the audience even further on Airachnid's wickedness, her facial plate has horns identical to Maleficent's.
    • Take a close look at Megatron's altmode. It looks an awful lot like a Blade Ship from Animorphs, doesn't it? (Ironic, considering that Animorphs had its' own line of co-branded Transformers figures in the late 90s, though they weren't successful at all due to Kibbles and Bits not translating well to organic beings, and generally forgotten by both fanbases today.)
    • In "Out of His Head" Starscream says "I love it when a plan comes together."
    • Knock Out calls humans skinjobs.
    • There is no mistaking that the Polarity Gauntlet is inspired by the Omni-Tool from Mass Effect.
    • Some of the moves Ratchet pulls off in "Stronger, Faster" resemble attacks from the Street Fighter series, particularly the "Spinning Bird Kick".
    • Arcee, in both vehicle and robot modes, mirrors the coloring and looks of Priss Asagiri's Motoslave and Hardsuit, respectively.
    • There is an unmistakable shout out to A New Hope when Fowler has to pretend to be a Vehicon when Breakdown starts wondering why the Space Bridge crew has not reported in at the usual time.
    • Also in the Orion Pax episodes, Vector Sigma looks unmistakably like the control room in Halo
    • The sentient warship turning on the crew as well as its defeat is very similar to HAL 9000.
      • The ship's stasis beam recycles the zat'nikt'al (Zat Gun) sound effect from the Stargate-verse.
      • Miko refers to Knockout as "Doc Knock", in reference to Doctor Octopus's nickname Doc Ock.
    • In flight, Laserbeak bears a striking resemblence to the JAM fighters from Sentou Yousei Yukikaze.
    • In "The Human Factor", Breakdown!Silas' revival sequence bears quite a resemblance to that of Frankenstein's Monster. His request of "take me to your leader" is also a nod to early sci-fi movies involving aliens arriving to Earth.
    • Starship Troopers again: the Insecticons in bug form resemble the razor-winged air support bugs.
    • Fowler refers to the wing of jets he's leading to destroy Darkmount as Skystrikers.
    • The truck Fowler brings for Optimus to scan for his new vehicle mode is said to be an "experimental vehicle designed by our M.A.S.K. division."
      • All of that is related to how the hangar Fowler and the other Autobots use is marked "E" and has the "Unit:E" symbol on doors. "Unit:E" was an attempted Hasbro project from 2011 where many Hasbro (and ex-Kenner) properties were brought together, often reimagined, even somewhat out of left field properties like Micronauts, Stretch Armstrong, and even Candyland.
      • And let's not forget how he rocks out to "The Touch" on his way home from work in Nemesis Prime.
    • The tunnels within Unicron bear a strong resemblance to those in Xenomorph hives.
    • Predaking's mandibles in his Beast Mode resemble the mandibles of the titular aliens from Predator.
    • The Vampire-Terrorcons in the Episode Thirst are virtually identical to the Reavers in Blade 2 when their lower jaws split open and their tongues strike out like hideous serpents to suck the energon from their victims and turn them into more Vampire Terrorcons.
    • In Chain of Command, a Seeker gets hit by a Shoryuken from a newly-armored Miko.
    • In Darkest Hour, just before the attack on the Autobot base, Megatron shouts, "Decepticons! Transform and rise up!"
    • In Hurt, a Decepticon mine is designated TVC 15, a David Bowie song.
    • Both Breakdown and Airachnid's voice actors starred in Firefly. Nearly every scene they share in "Metal Attraction" is accompanied by a distinctly western, distinctly Firefly-esque guitar twang.
  • Shown Their Work: The train in "Convoy" is surprisingly accurate. The Mythos also get themselves some decent references, like Bumblebee being hooked up to an Electro-Pulse modifier, something mentioned way back in Generation 1, and only once.
    • The large radio antenna array in Ep 5 actually does exist in real life and it really is astronomically accurate.
    • In "Inside Job", when Starscream uses red Energon and uses resulting Super Speed to infiltrate Autobots base, the lighting seems to be pulsating when shown from his perspective. That's because lamps work on AC power. And if you would obtain Bullet Time along Super Speed, then you would be able to see the pulses of the current as changes in luminosity of the lamps.
  • The Silent Bob: Soundwave doesn't speak much, and so far, anything he "says" is a rather creepy recording of another character (complete with G1's heavily modulated voice). It seems to be a type of Evil Counterpart to Bumblebee's Cute Mute status. Most likely, the irony that someone called Soundwave is mute is intentional.
  • Silent Snarker: Soundwave, natch.
  • Simultaneous Arcs: "Tunnel Vision", "Triangulation", "Triage" and "Toxicity" all take place at the same time.
    • "Project Predacon" and "Chain of Command" also take place simultaneously, with Ultra Magnus, Bulkhead and Wheeljack being sent off on a mission during the former and actually seeing what happens in the latter.
  • Single Tear: Miko gets one when Bulkhead tries to do a Heroic Sacrifice in "Rock Bottom".
    • June also gets a happy one upon hearing that Jack has returned from Cybertron unharmed.
  • Skyward Scream: Starscream curses Megatron's name in "Rock Bottom".
    • Arcee provides one when Soundwave teleports her to the Arctic before she can recover Optimus/Orion from the Nemesis.
    • Megatron does one in "Orion Pax part 3" when the restored Optimus escapes with Jack and the Autobots.
    • Optimus, of all bots, does one in "Inside Job" when Starscream escapes with the Omega Keys.
  • Slasher Smile: Megatron, Starscream, and Airachnid are very good at these. Knock Out, of all bots, gets a chilling one in "The Human Factor."
  • The Smurfette Principle: Even though there are quite a number of female characters in the show compared to past incarnations, males still outnumber females by a large margin and are often the only female within their respective groups.
    • Arcee is the only female Autobot on Earth and the only female transformer among the main Autobot team.
    • Miko is the only female among a trio of human kids hanging around with the Autobots.
    • Airachnid is the only female Decepticon on Earth.
    • Solus Prime is the only female Prime.
      • And to make matters worse, she's also the only Prime that they've gone out of their way to state as being implicitly dead in the novels.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: A favourite activity of Starscream and Knock-Out. It's easier to count the scenes when they aren't trading barbs like a pair of particularly passive-aggressive high-school girls.
  • So Proud of You: June, as she watches her son Jack grow from a child into a responsible adult and brave warrior in "Orion Pax, Part 3."
  • Soul Jar: Unicron's ulimate fate
  • Space Is Cold: Averted. The Autobots have no problems in space, but the sub-zero temperatures in the Arctic are a major concern.
  • Space Is Noisy: Fails on this account, though. Starscream hears Megatron's voice and Soundwave's Deployer in space.
  • Spikes of Villainy: The Nemesis is covered in them.
    • As is Unicron, but that's tradition.
  • Spot the Imposter: Teased, but ultimately averted when Makeshift impersonates Wheeljack. Toward the end of the episode, they have a one-on-one fight, and the kids even say they've lost track of who's who... only for the real Wheeljack to win handily and toss Makeshift through the GroundBridge... with a bomb strapped to him.
  • Spiritual Successor: Shares more similarities with Beast Wars than other Transformers works. Small teams of named characters led by an Optimus and a Megatron, respectively, with a similar character dynamics and structure of plot arcs. Season 1 is mostly introductory, with day-to-day skirmishes and ends with both sides teaming up against a common threat and Megatron using the outcome and Optimus's sacrifice to his advantage; season 2 builds into a Myth Arc and has Megatron deal a deadly blow to Optimus Prime; season 3 is entirely within one arc and the stakes are high with the heroes barely winning after Megatron almost uses The Nemesis to destroy his enemies.
  • Stab the Scorpion: Megatron, in the season 1 finale.
  • Standardized Leader: To a certain degree, deconstructed. It's mentioned several times that Optimus is a very compassionate and noble leader, but he doesn't have much of a sense of humor and doesn't socialize, either. Arcee and Bulkhead have said it comes with the title of Prime, as such a responsibility weighs upon an individual. Ratchet notes that Optimus was much different before he became a Prime, and in fact compares him to Jack.
  • The Starscream: Like Bumblebee, it would be a crime if he weren't here. This incarnation appears to be a little less backstabby and more of a long-term plotter. He jumps at the chance to take control when the opportunity arises (such as Megatron being critically wounded after the miniseries), but he is generally too afraid of Megatron to openly oppose him. He alternates between actually being in control and plotting against Megatron behind his back. And in "Partners", he finally has enough and goes rogue.
    • Airachnid plans on taking command of the Decepticons, due to Megatron's absence. Soundwave is quick to veto.
  • Status Quo Is God: Optimus gets a game-changing advantage in "Legacy", so naturally it's nullified by the end of the next episode. Similarly: Starscream's dramatic bridge-burning exit from the Decepticons is undone by the end of season two, not just returning him to his former position, but killing off his replacement, Dreadwing, in order to make room in the ranks; MECH, originally positioned as a major player and thorn to both Autobots and Decepticons alike is wiped out in one episode by the head of that group, completely away from the activities of the Cybertronians, and for unclear reasons; and New Kaon/Darkmount is turned to rubble within four episodes.
  • Stealth Pun: Right before being abducted at gunpoint by MECH, June is saying that as a parent, she needs to stick to her guns.
  • The Stoic: Soundwave.
    • Optimus, as Bulkhead points out that he's never seen Optimus laugh, cry or lose his cool in all the time he's known him. However, Optimus is certainly warmer and allows a few rare smiles once in a while.
    • Shockwave would appear to be one as well.
  • Strike Me Down with All of Your Hatred: Megatron tries this on Jack during "Rock Bottom". It doesn't work.
  • Stupid Statement Dance Mix:
    • It's like a turducken!
    • There's also one for the DNGS, and another for All Hail Starscream! - all three created by The Hub themselves, for the Huboom TV spots.
    • Soundwave mocks the Autobots by creating one on the spot made up of Optimus Prime's questions during an interrogation.
  • Stylistic Suck: This Mockumentary-based "Making Of" feature. "Are... we going to get paid for this?"
  • Suddenly Voiced: Bumblebee, Predaking as well.
    • Soundwave: superior. Autobots: inferior.
  • Super Cell Reception: Doubley subverted. When the kids are stranded in another dimension, they try using a cell phone to call for help, and while the call reaches the Autobots, there's too much interference for it to be legible. They try to get around this problem by sending a text message, which works.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Raf and Miko try to lie to Optimus about how the other bots are trying to fix their problem getting involved with street racing and Knock Out. It evidently doesn't work, but it would be hard to lie to Optimus Prime.
  • Sword In The Stone: The Star Saber, which extends a protective energy field around itself and the rock it's embedded in. Only Optimus is able to remove it.
  • Sword over Head: Arcee has such a moment when faced with a critically damaged Megatron, but stands down when she learns Megatron has information the Autobots need. As soon as Bumblebee gets what they needed, Arcee cuts Megatron's life support. Megatron survives, however.
    • She has Starscream at her mercy several times after finding out he killed Cliffjumper, but ultimately refuses to murder him once she sees Bumblebee giving her the Puppy-Dog Eyes.
    • This trope is played to the hilt in "One Shall Fall".
  • Symbolic Blood: Much like in the movies, the robots tend to bleed a blue fluid that appears to be energon.
  • Synchronous Episodes: Tunnel Vision, Triangulation, Triage, and Toxicity split the cast across the globe as they seek to quickly gather Iacon relics that have been revealed at the same time.
  • Taken for Granite: Subverted in "Crisscross". Airachnid gets covered in cement which hardens, but she breaks out within seconds.
    • "The Immobiliser" has this effect on Cybertronians, doing Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Bumblebee fakes getting hit by it to take Airachnid by surprise.
  • The Teaser: The first Transformer series to have one.
  • Technical Pacifist: Played with: With Decepticons, the Autobots hold no restraints, but against human enemies, Optimus is adament on using minimal force. This still involves driving people off the road and crashing people's cars. Some are shown to survive but others are more than likely killed.
    • Optimus is only willing to harm Combat-class Decepticons, which means Labor-class ones such as Miners are also off-limits. Optimus also has a habit of trying to convince named Decepticons (barring Starscream and Airachnid) to change sides, even Megs himself, before and sometimes during combat.
  • Teenage Mutant Samurai Wombats: Other Transformers series have had elements of this, but Prime is the first one to play it completely straight.
  • Teleportation Sickness: Humans experience this on taking the GroundBridge, although the kids quickly get used to it with repeat trips.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • "Do I ever need backup?" —You do this time around, Cliffjumper.
    • "Time to jet, because I can!" —Starscream mocks Bumblebee's inability to transform due to the loss of his T-Cog. Guess what MECH steals from Starscream at the end of the episode?
    • "Easy prey." — Famous Last Words, Breakdown.
    • "Never seen Optimus laugh, cry, or lose his cool." — While he still doesn't end up laughing or crying, Optimus definitely loses his cool.
    • "One text couldn't hurt, could it?" — Yes, it could, Jack. note 
  • Terrible Artist: Miko.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Megatron isn't just stabbed in the chest, he than falls off the ship and burns up in orbit.
    • And that still doesn't stop him from coming Back from the Dead, thanks to Unicron.
    • Yet even this can't prevent Unicron from bringing him back to life.
  • They Call Me Mr Tibbs: Starscream gets extremely peeved with the other Decepticons when they refuse to address him as Lord, usually because they are openly contemptuous of his leadership.
  • Thin Chin of Sin: Starscream has a ridiculously long and sharp chin, even among Decepticons (who tend to have these in general).
  • This Is the Part Where...: "So, is this the part where you say goodbye and tell us we need to forget we ever saw you?" No, Miko, it's not.
  • Those Two Bad Guys: Knock Out and Breakdown.
  • Three-Point Landing: Starscream is rather fond of these when making his big entrances.
  • Throat Light: The common trait of the Terrorcons and the zombified Cliffjumper, and those under the influence of the Blood of Unicron.
  • Title Drop: Almost every episode.
  • Too Dumb to Live: No matter how many times Miko almost dies, she jumps right back into harm's way. She gets better during the second season.
    • Starscream in "Partners", left in handcuffs with a furious Arcee watching over him, trades stories about how much each of them hate Airachnid when he accidently lets it slip that he killed Cliffjumper.
      Starscream: She showed up one day, and the next thing you know, she's acting like she runs the place! She whispered lies into Megatron's ear, manuevered to rob me of my rightful place.
      Arcee: Well, she terminated my partner.
      Starscream: What?!? She's taking credit for scrapping him now, too?!? That was my doing!
      Arcee: What? You weren't there.
      Starscream: Uh, of course I wasn't. I don't know what I was thinking.
      Arcee: Who are you talking about?
      Starscream: No one. Who are you talking about?
      Arcee: Tailgate.
      Stascream: Who's Tailgate?
      Arcee: You were the one... You extinguished Cliffjumper!
    • Starscream's treatment of Predaking in Beast Hunters could qualify as this.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Ratchet in "Stronger, Faster", courtesy of some Psycho Serum. It doesn't last.
  • Torture Technician: Airachnid.
    • Shockwave, too. Though he isn't sadistic like the aforementioned spider, he has absolutely zero qualms about using things like the cortical psychic patch to get he information he needs.
    • Starscream also shows traits of it at times.
    • Possibly Knock Out. At the very least, it seems like he's going to be this for Silas.
  • Trash Talk: It wouldn't be Transformers without it.
  • Town Girls: In Team Prime, there are 3 female characters who vaguely fit. Arcee is the tough robot girl of the team, is quite emotionally repressed and stoic (at least at first, before Character Development), is very serious and is quite prone to rushing in and dishing out brutal beatings to her enemies in battle. She also objects to the idea of having more pink in her colour scheme in one episode(Butch). Miko is the first human girl to join the team, and shows quite the enthusiasm for getting stuck into the action and fighting alongside the Wreckers, and is very boisterous and loud to boot. But she wears a lot of pink, can sometimes be brought to tears when placed in dire situations and has some hidden emotional fragility. She's also a bit of a Phoneaholic Teenager and Kindhearted Cat Lover (Neither). That leaves June Darby, Jack's mother, who is a nurse and serves as the protective (or as Arcee and Miko sometimes view it, overprotective) moral figure of the team, being the one least involved in the action and most concerned about the safety of the young children getting involved in robotic warfare (Femme).
    • While fighting over a MacGuffin, this little exchange occurs:
      Knock Out: Come to papa!
      * Gets bodychecked by Bulkhead*
      Bulkhead: Run to mommy!
      * Gets grabbed and lifted by the head by Breakdown*
      Breakdown: Say Uncle! Say it!
  • Trainstopping: Optimus in "Convoy".
  • Trash the Set
  • Treasure Chest Cavity: Alpha Trion sealed the final Omega Key within Smokescreen.
  • Trust Me, I'm an X:
    Ratchet: It's all right, I'm an emergency vehicle!
  • Twitchy Eye: When Miko and Raf's attempts to distract Bumblebee from his missing T-cog result in him seeing a commercial for his own vehicle mode — complete with a slogan about how buying the car will "Transform you!" — his left optic gives a few twitches.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: Jack, Raf, and Miko.
  • Ultimate Universe: Check out the Transformers Aligned Universe. The very basic intention of this series is to work off a very elaborate Universe Bible and that gives this series an internally consistent backstory that has been difficult to accomplish with the rampant continuity reboots. As such, various plot points within this series are taken from all aspects of the franchise and is not simply an updating of G1.
  • Understatement: Upon Optimus getting a new body that easily overpowers Megatron, all Ultra Magnus had to say was, "Sir? ...you're looking robust."
  • Undying Loyalty: Soundwave to Megatron. Unlike Starscream, who is, well...
    • Likewise, Dreadwing and especially Skyquake are both loyal to Megatron, though Dreadwing's loyalty is initially overshadowed by his desire to avenge his fallen brother. He seems to have left this attitude behind at the end of his introductory episode. Or not.
  • Unobtanium: Dark Energon, by the time of this series, is an extremely rare substance. It's so rare that it took Megatron a three-year trip into deep space to find any, and characters who have experienced it before have no idea supplies even exist anymore.
    • And it turns out Megatron could gotten more Dark Energon than he could have ever possibly used just by digging deeper right here.
    • Next to that is Red Energon, which is probably just as rare to find.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Per Transformers tradition, various car parts are substituted for more inappropriate normal words. Arcee in particular seems fond of using "scrap" to stand in for a slightly shorter word.
    • Also, they may be using it as a substitute for the more classic Cybertronian curse "slag", as it's quite insulting in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Ireland.
      • "Frag" seems to be used on occasion as a stronger epithet. Which is logical, since a frag(mented) computer is a bad thing.
  • Unwilling Suspension: Starscream's preferred method of keeping prisoners. Airachnid kept Arcee like this during the flashbacks in "Predatory".
  • Useless Security Camera: In "Deus Ex Machina," Miko uses her phone to take a picture of the Energon harvester the kids are stealing, and then places it in front of the camera lens. The guard watching the screens barely blinks.
  • V-Formation Team Shot: Averted in the opening credits due to the fairly large size difference between the characters. Instead they're arranged from smallest in front to largest in back.
  • Variable Terminal Velocity: Fowler's car falls off a bridge. Bulkhead manages to jump down, beat it to the ground, and catch it.
  • [Verb] This!: Skyquake's response to being told to bow to Starscream:
    "Bow to this!" (punches Starscream into a canyon wall)
    • And in "Speed Metal", when Starscream tells Knock Out to forget about drag racing and focus on repairing Megatron (specifically, buffing out his body), Knock Out replies with "Buff this!" in a way very similar to flipping someone off.
  • Vertical Mecha Fins: Soundwave has some rather prominent ones in robot mode. Justified as it's his transformation kibble.
  • Victory-Guided Amnesia: On Optimus. He gets better.
  • Villainous Breakdown: In "Con Job", Starscream gets progressively less patient as Makeshift fails to report in. Then Wheeljack escapes and promptly kicks all of Starscream's soldiers' asses, in addition to laying a smackdown on Starscream himself. It all culminates in Wheeljack sending back Makeshift... who then explodes, due to the bomb hidden on him.
    • Another one occurs in "Out Of His Head" when Optimus Prime ruins Starscream's plan to thaw a glacier in the Arctic and begin mining a huge energon deposit. Starscream loses his cool and screams that Megatron's greatest mistake was letting Optimus live. And then Megatron comes back...
    • Megatron has one in "Orion Pax, Part 3" when his manipulations of Orion/Optimus start to fall apart and his plans go straight to hell.
    • Silas has one in "Nemesis Prime" when he realizes that Agent Fowler has successfully distracted him from the fight with Optimus; he starts panicing as he loses control of the fight, which ends with Nemesis being dropped on top of him.
    • Megatron has another one in "Rebellion" upon seeing the new and improved Optimus flying right at his fortress. His reaction is a brief moment of panic, followed by complete and utter rage.
  • Villainous Rescue: Toyed with in "Rock Bottom". When Bulkhead and Miko are found by Starscream, the entrance resembles a legitimate rescue, along with a prepared speech. Then Starscream realizes he's found the wrong person.
    • "Out Of His Head". Megatron inadvertently saves Optimus from Starscream's wrath... if only because he wants to kill Optimus himself, and because he is currently deciding whether or not to kill Starscream for his treachery.
    • Again in "Operation: Breakdown", when Starscream and a bunch of Vehicons show up just in time to drive off Silas and the MECH goons, saving Bulkhead and Breakdown... at which point Starscream orders Breakdown to kill Bulkhead.
    • In "One Shall Rise, Part 2", Megatron saves Optimus from Unicron.
    • In "Crossfire", Starscream, of all bots, ends up saving Arcee from Airachnid.
  • Villain Decay: In the first episode, Arcee and Bumblebee struggle to defeat two Vehicons, and only the arrival of Bulkhead causes them to retreat. Bulkhead himself spends a significant amount of time battling a single Vehicon in "Darkness Rising, Part 3." However, by the regular series, a single shot takes them down.
    • Ditto for the Insecticons. Megatron battled a single Insecticon extensively in a gladitorial match, while Arcee and Bumblebee struggled to defeat one in the subways of New York. However, by the episode "Armada", the Autobots are taking them out with a single blast. (Fans have attempted to justify this by claiming they're more vulnerable in insect mode, however this doesn't correspond to the animation.)
    • Starscream was the one and only Decepticon in the entire series who took out an Autobot. He accomplished this in the first episode, while running his own agenda to be "Lord Starscream." However, by the end of the main series, he'd shrugged off a brief period as a rogue agent, answerable to nobody but himself, and had positioned himself as Megatron's lickspittle, who wailed in despair when Megatron died in at the conclusion of the series proper.
  • Villain Episode: Thirst is entirely Decepticon-centric and doesn't feature the Autobots at all.
  • Villain Pedigree: Defied; once Megatron sees what Predaking is capable of, he's very quick to recognize that an army of Predacons like him could render the Decepticons irrelevant at best, and stops the cloning process before any more can be made (though this has its own consequences).
  • Villain Team-Up: Silas and Airachnid in "Crisscross".
    • MECH's at it again in "Operation Bumblebee" with Starscream, who appears to be helping them build an earthborn Transformer in exchange for his own supply of Energon.
    • Silas tries this one more time after being placed into Breakdown's body and disposing of his MECH lackeys in "The Human Factor" but it backfires on him. He tries to strike a deal with the Decepticons, but Megatron declines his offer, and allows Knockout to take him away for experimentation and torture.
  • Vocal Evolution: Frank Welker has purposefully reimagined his classic Megatron voice into something that's not quite as screechy, (some would say a voice that almost sounds ill) but more of a softer, controlled evil instead. As he has said, "More of an acting place..." (it's also easier on his larynx than the G1 voice). Peter Cullen's Optimus Prime voice has only become more dignified as he's aged, if such a thing is possible.
  • War Is Hell: You better believe it!
  • Watch the Paint Job: Knockout, very much.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Cliffjumper, Skyquake, Makeshift, Tailgate, Seaspray, and the sentient Nemesis.
  • We Have Reserves: Megatron revives Cliffjumper, turning him into a zombie, and simply stands back and watches with a smile on his face as the creature tears apart two Vehicons. In general, the Decepticons in general and Megatron in particular don't seem to care at all about all the mooks the Autobots invariably trash in any given episode. There seems to be an endless supply of them.
  • Welcome Back, Traitor: Starscream is welcomed back into the Decepticons after deserting late in season 1. The Omega Keys help smooth things over a bit though...
  • Wham Episode: "Partners" It ends with Starscream becoming a neutral party.
    • "One Shall Fall" Dark Energon is on Earth.
    • "One Shall Rise, Part 1" Unicron is Earth.
    • "One Shall Rise, Part 2" Megatron offers the Autobots his help in defeating Unicron, and they take it.
    • "One Shall Rise, Part 3" Optimus Prime uses the Matrix to stop Unicron, but loses his memories of the war. He then joins the Decepticons as Orion Pax, courtesy of Megatron's lies.
    • "Hard Knocks: The last Iacon relic is... Smokescreen.
    • "Inside Job": Starscream steals the Omega Keys and returns to Megatron, using them as a "peace offering".
    • "Regeneration": If Megatron gets to the Omega Lock first and is the one to revive Cybertron, he winds up with an overwhelming political advantage. When things are finally in the 'bots favor for once, Megatron's posse shows up with the kids in tow, and threatens to expose them to Cybertron's toxic-to-humans atmosphere if they do not relinquish the Omega keys.
    • "Darkest Hour": Megatron gets the Omega Keys, activates the Omega Lock, and nearly cyber-forms Earth itself. Then, Optimus destroys the Omega Lock to prevent that from happening and cuts off Megatron's Prime arm. Disaster averted? Nope, turns out the Decepticons know where their base is and launch an assault that ultimately destroys it, forcing the Autobots to split up (kids included) as to evade capture while on the run and Optimus stays behind to ensure the 'Cons can't follow.
    • "Rebellion": The end of the first part of season 3: Ultra Magnus leads team prime against darkmount, with the intention of destroying it with the help of human jets. Unfortunately, due to heavy fire and the actions of the decepticon heads, the bots are all captured. Meanwhile, Optimus Prime actually joins with the all spark, but using the last jolt from the forge of solus prime, Smokescreen forcibly revives him, giving him a jetpack, his presence single handedly turning the tide, destroying darkmount, and putting the decepticons on the defensive.
    • Synthesis: After being captured, Ratchet finishes the synthetic energon, allowing Megatron the tools to cyberform whatever he wishes. However, he turns Predaking on Megatron, and leads the Autobots to the warship for their final showdown. Megatron incapacitates Predaking, grabs his Dark Star Saber, and declares that this will be their Last Stand and the Final Battle.
  • Wham Line:
    • In "One Shall Fall", when Optimus finds out Megatron is responsible for Raf being deathly sick, he utters this line after he boards the Decepticon ship.
      Optimus: Megatron must be destroyed!
    • Optimus and Ratchet get a shared one in "One Shall Rise, Part 1":
      Optimus: Agent Fowler, I do not believe that Earth became Unicron's home, but rather that, with time and gravitational force, debris collected around the slumbering titan.
      Ratchet: Forming your Earth, itself.
    • Optimus again, in "One Shall Rise, Part 3":
      Optimus: Where are we, Megatronus?
    • A fully restored Optimus gets a good one in "Orion Pax, Part 3." Megatron reacts accordingly.
      Optimus: Megatron, be gone! *beats the crap out of Megatron*
    • At the end of "Legacy", when Optimus is communing with the Star Saber:
      Optimus: I am receiving a message.
      Ratchet: From who?
      Optimus: Alpha Trion.
    • "Darkest Hour"
    Agent Fowler: In Jasper, Nevada? I don't get it, I already had the town evacuated. Why here?
    (Bumblebee points out The Nemesis floating towards them)
    Optimus: Because the Decepticons have discovered the location of our base.
    • "Evolution"
    • "Deadlock" has undoubtedly the biggest in the entire series.
    • "Predacons Rising" actually manages to top the last one by being the most shocking.
    Megatron: ENOUGH! The Decepticons are no more!
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Airachnid and the Insecticons are never brought up again after "Thirst", with them being sent to one of Cybertron's moons, Airachnid having contracted vampirism and spreading it amongst her army.
    • In Dreadwing's debut episode, it was established that he had killed Seaspray, a fellow Wrecker to Bulkhead and Wheeljack, thus motivating Wheeljack to come after Dreadwing and become a more-or-less part-time member of Team Prime. After that debut episode, Wheeljack and Dreadwing pretty much go on to have no more interactions and Dreadwing's killing of Seaspray is never brought up again, not even by Wheeljack.
  • What Have You Done for Me Lately?: Spoken word for word by Starscream as his motivation for attempting to switch sides in "Partners".
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Not even human Mooks are safe from this.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Jack's given Bulkhead and Miko this treatment thus far.
      Bulkhead: Location scan was incomplete. Oh well.
      Jack: Uh, "Oh well?" Seriously?
      Bulkhead: Fowler's a jerk!
      Jack: Whoa! Whether you like the guy or not, the Decepticons may have him!
    • Bulkhead gets this treatment from Jack again in "Speed Metal" when local bully Vince is taken hostage by Knock Out.
      Bulkhead: Oh, well.
      Jack: Bulkhead!
      Bulkhead: What? I hear the guy's a jerk.
      Jack: No argument there, but Vince still doesn't deserve to be made into roadkill by a 'Con.
    • Ratchet (while under the effects of the synthetic energon) gets this when he tortures and tries to kill a Decepticon miner, who is a non-combat unit that was fleeing from the site of a battle. Then he gives one to Optimus for not defeating Megatron for good when he had the chance, and pointed out he had many chances.
    • June Darby also gives one to the Autobots for allowing the children to stay around them, which almost led to Raf's death, before taking Raf (and attempting to take Miko and Jack, who both refuse) away in "One Shall Rise, Part 1". Averted, though in that on the ride home, since June refused a GroundBridge, instead opting to drive back to Jasper, she and Raf are almost killed in a whirlwind caused by Unicron's awakening, but are saved by Bumblebee, who returns them to the base, where June comes around to the idea that the Autobots have been protecting the children. She still grounds Jack until he's twenty-five, though.
    • Wheeljack in "Hurt" and Smokescreen in "Legacy" receive this reaction from the other Autobots (both verbally and expressionally) for putting the children in danger.
    • Ratchet lays into Optimus for destroying the Omega Lock and their best chance at restoring Cybertron, though it's clear it's less about Optimus than his need to vent his frustration.
  • What Were You Thinking?: Jack asks this of Miko. Repeatedly.
    • Arcee asks Jack this in "Legacy" after the latter, in his own words, "pulls a Miko".
  • Whole Episode Flashback: "Out of the Past", which also has a flashback within that flashback.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Played with, it's implied that when an exhausted Megatron is at the mercy of Optimus he was going to take him captive, only for Optimus to aim his ion cannon and prepare to execute him. But there is just enough hesitation for Dreadwing and the Vehicons to pull a Big Damn Villains.
    • Constantly averted with Arcee who spares both Starscream and Arachnid. Although she did attempt to take out a comatose Megatron, so she does make some exceptions.
  • Wild Card: Wheeljack. He's an Autobot through and through, but he's used to operating as a Wrecker with no chain of command but your own team.
    • Starscream during season 2. He only pledged loyalty to himself and was willing to fight the Decepticons. Whether he helped the Autobots or fought them depended on the situation. The only reason he rejoined the Decepticons was because he realized how low his supplies were.
  • World Building: Every episode is trying to build up this incarnation by constantly referring to previous events, characters and other things that are common knowledge to them but unknown to the human characters. In that regard, they sort of act as The Watson.
  • World of Badass
  • "World of Cardboard" Speech: After Megatron almost kills Raf with Dark Energon, Optimus finally decides that he has allowed the war and Megatron's life to continue far longer that he ever should have, and immediately resolves to rectify this mistake:
    Optimus: I have been foolish not to see what history has proven over and over again. That Autobots and Decepticons will never mend their ways. If there can be no diplomatic solution to this perpetual conflict, then I must not allow more darkness to fall upon this or any planet. Megatron must be destroyed!
  • Wolverine Publicity: Cliffjumper. For all the advertising he gets, he dies in the first episode, gets resurrected as an energon zombie, then dies again immediately.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The Decepticons certainly have no problem in endangering any of the children. Megatron nearly kills Raf in "One Shall Fall".
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Averted. Arcee and Airachnid get in as many fights as any of the boys. Sometimes against the boys.
  • Wreathed in Flames: Starscream briefly does this when he gives himself a Dark Energon upgrade, and Megatron undergoes it when Unicron possesses him.
  • Wrecked Weapon: Both times Optimus fought Megatron one-on-one ended in his arm-blade getting broken off. It ends no differently the third time with the Star Saber. The next couple times end better for him, though.
    • The fight between Predaking and the Wreckers in "Evolution" has two such examples: Wheeljack's energy whip, and the depowered Forge of Solus Prime Ultra Magnus had taken to wielding.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Miko uses some pretty fancy wrestling moves on Starscream and two of his Seekers when she dons the Apex Armor in Chain of Command.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Optimus in "Darkest Hour." He stays behind after the base is evacuated to destroy the Ground Bridge and ensure the Decepticons cannot pursue his teammates. Too bad Megatron opted to obliterate the base rather than than capture it...
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness:
    • In "Rock Bottom", Megatron reveals that he's been aware of Starscream's acts of betrayal from the beginning, but didn't do anything since he found Starscream's string of failures amusing. However, now he's had enough, so he's going to kill him. Fortunately for Starscream, at this point, Jack and Arcee stumble onto the cave, and Megatron turns his attention to them, allowing 'Scream a chance to escape.
    • In "The Human Factor", Silas, having been installed into Breakdown's body by his men, kills them all because he feels his place is among the Cybertronians. Then Megatron does this to him after the Damocles satellite Silas offered is destroyed, giving him up to Knock Out for dissection.
  • You Said You Would Let Them Go: Jack uses this when Airachnid refuses to let his mother go after he reaches her in the time limit. Airachnid points out that the deal was to save her, not just find her.
  • You Owe Me: Starscream does this to Breakdown after leading an unsanctioned mission to rescue him (along with I Was Never Here).
    • Bulkhead tries to do this to one of Starscream's clones in "Armada", saying that he and Ratchet fixed him up when he was in trouble, twice. Starscream points out that they only bothered to help him after he gave them useful information.
    • Starscream tries this on Optimus in "Triangulation", pointing out that he had helped restore Prime's memories among other things. Optimus points out that Starscream only did that to further his own agenda. Starscream doesn't deny it.
  • Your Head A-Splode: When Megatron needs to wrap up his fight against Unicron's giant-size simulacrums to catch a Ground Bridge, he does it by power-diving, in jet mode, through one's head.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Ratchet, Bulkhead, and Bumblebee pull this on Megatron in "Orion Pax, Part 3" keeping him from getting through the space bridge while Jack and Arcee are retrieving Optimus' memories from Vector Sigma. A similar moment occurs in the five-part pilot, with the team taking their stand at the threshold of the space bridge.
  • Your Size May Vary: Size-accuracy has never been a big deal in Transformers media (the exception being the Bay movies) and it's still shaky in Prime. Still, it's a considerable improvement on the mass-shifting and scale issues of G1. Megatron doesn't run around transforming into a gun, Optimus is just the rig of a truck and lacks the box (except when specially attached), Soundwave is a plane, and he doesn't have half-a-dozen tapes living in his chest; just the one (Laserbeak). Arcee, however, is a major offender, with her vehicle mode (a motorcycle) being approximately the size of her robot mode's calf.
    • Predaking, too: Though dwarfing even Optimus and Megatron in dragon mode, he stands only a bit taller than either in robot mode.
    • Planet issues are improved on. Unicron is the core, not the planet itself, and we see only manifestations of him (which vary in size) and his optic - which is about the size of a small town.
  • Zeerust: The show came out in the early 2010s, but Miko and Jack use flip phones which completely went out of use in the late 2000s. Ditto for Dreadwing who uses a bomb remote shaped like one.
  • Zerg Rush: Unicron can make many copies of himself out of the Earth.
    • The Insecticons did this to Megatron's ship before the Decepticon leader regained control of them.
    • It's a favored tactic of the Scraplets.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: The objective of Megatron's initial plan with Dark Energon.
    • In "Thirst," Starscream and Knock Out accidentally cause another Terrorcon outbreak, these ones vampiric.
    • In Predacons Rising, Unicron does precisely that to an entire plain of the titular beasts' remains, and attempts to destroy Cybertron's core with them.
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