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What An Idiot / Transformers: Prime

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Megatron, scolding Airachnid for outright abandoning Starscream to the Autobots (Partners)

Ignorance or lack of common sense on behalf of the characters is a critical driving force in the plot of multiple episodes in Transformers: Prime. While most characters in the TV series are shown to be quite naive and impulsive, this trope is usually what defines Miko and Starscream. Arcee and Megatron also have their moments of stupidity whenever they do something impulsive without thinking first before they act.


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    General and Recurring 
  • Miko, it turns out, is one to actively try to sneak out and charge headlong into the Autobots' conflicts. This usually makes her the Spanner in the Works for the Autobots. Within the first two episodes after her debut, everyone has caught on to this.
    You'd Expect: They would modify their Groundbridge transit procedures to prevent Miko from darting through undetected. Like never leaving the Groundbridge open longer than necessary for safe transport. Or the Autobots checking themselves and the surrounding area on both sides of the bridge before proceeding with their mission. Or having somebody watch Miko and SHOUT if she so much as flinches. Or better yet, kick her out.
    Instead: They don't, and then groan when she does manage to end up on the frontlines with them. AGAIN.
    You'd Also Expect: That upon discovering that they have a stowaway (again), the Autobots would insist that Miko return to base, no matter how much she begs and pleads. They are giant robot warriors, after all; they do have that kind of authority.
    Instead: They just shrug and let her tag along, thinking "It can't really be all ''that'' dangerous."
    You'd Also Expect: Anyone would remember to use their own judgment rather than take advice from Miko at face value. Yes, she does sometimes have a point, and yes, her idea does work for the better every once in a while. But what tends to happen more often is...
    Instead: They take her advice, wind up in over their heads, and have to be bailed out by Big Damn Heroes.
  • By the end of Season One, the Autobots have already acquired the Polarity Gauntlet and the Immobilizer stick.
    You'd Expect: For them to use those state of the art weapons to end the war against the Decepticons already. The Autobots are already outnumbered and should the war keep going on, they'll die from depletion of Energon resources since earth doesn't have sufficient quantities of it as did their dead home world Cybertron did.
    Instead: They keep the old fashion routine of guns and physical combat, for the sake of keeping the show's plot going. Lampshaded where Smokescreen had to use the Phase Shifter to take out Starscream in his Apex Armor in "New Recruit" as while the main cast tried taking down Apex Armored Starscream with old school punching and kicking.
  • Starscream becomes rogue considered a criminal by both Autobots and Decepticons starting towards the end of Season 1, and if they see him, their first action will be to cuff him with stasis cuffs.
    You'd Expect: Whichever team of Transformers (Autobots or Decepticons) to cuff Starscream with his hands behind his back (as the real-life police would) so that he cannot use his hands to do anything.
    Instead: They cuff him with his hands sticking out in front of him. Because of this, he was able to find a way to escape captivity from both Autobots and Decepticons in "Partners" and "Triangulation" respectively.
  • Speaking on Starscream, he goes rogue and is always short on resources.
    You'd expect: That he'd be careful about putting himself in situations where he's no longer useful to a potential ally or outright make himself a target, and refrain from wasting time while he's on missions by empty gloating, given that he no longer has a horde of soldiers to clean up his messes.
    Instead: His big mouth gets him in trouble every time - whether it's letting slip about killing Arcee's partner in front of her while he's chained, negotiating with Airachnid while he has nothing to ofer and she has a monstrous beast at her command which is right next to him, grovelling to Silas whom he's caused to lose a T-Cog which he himself can be the donor of, or just gloating to the Autobots and giving them time to devise a tactic or just causing his special power-up to run out.

    Season One 
  • In the pilot episode, Jack Darby who is working at K.O. Burger is forced to deal with heckling to-go customers. The food they order is actually finished before they arrive at the counter.
    You'd Expect: Jack to keep the food out of reach until it's paid for.
    Instead: He leaves the food on top of the counter before the customers pay, and when he isn't looking they laugh at his stupidity and swipe their burgers and fries then drive off in a dash. Then Jack mentions that because they didn't pay, he'll be held responsible and will have to pay for those burgers himself.
  • Again in the pilot episode "Darkness Rising Part 1", Arcee is following Jack. But Miko caught sight of Arcee in motorcycle form drawing her.
    You'd Expect: Arcee to stay in vehicle mode and ask Jack to come with her to the Autobot base.
    Instead: She reveals herself in robot mode right in a back alley for humans to see, just so she can make Jack see who she really is outside of disguise. Miko catches sight of Arcee in robot mode.
    Results: They have to deal with an annoying Japanese teenager who is always sabotaging their missions for the rest of the series!
  • In "Darkness Rising Part 3", Agent Fowler learns of Jack, Miko and Raf and Bulkhead refuses to let Fowler take them away into custody. Fowler storms off from the Autobot base to go back to his unknown headquarters.
    You'd Expect: For Fowler to tell his authorities he's leaving "that special place no one should know about" without addressing it as what it is. At least come up with a fake name for it!
    Instead: Having his mind clouded by anger (to put it in Optimus's words), he just flat-out says "Autobot base" on the phone in open radar, prompting Starscream and Soundwave to send Laserbeak to bring him in.
  • In "Sick Mind", Bumblebee uses the cortical psychic patch to enter Megatron's mind, after his body was decimated by the Space Bridge explosion, and search for the cure to Cybonic Plague when Optimus gets infected by it. Megatron's consciousness converted into a hologram finds Bumblebee and comes to understand what he came for, but refuses and indirectly takes Optimus as hostage for his recovery.
    You'd Expect: Megatron to keep the cure a secret from Bumblebee at all costs to keep the hostage situation going.
    Instead: Megatron instead presents the language writing out the Cybonic Plague's cure's formula in the form of a holographic square (a hologram projecting another hologram?) right in front of Bumblebee for a few seconds, then closes it, just to taunt the scout. Ratchet catches a screenshot of the cure's formula and so Bumblebee is free to go when Arcee disconnects his mind. But thanks to this, Megatron's consciousness is able to infiltrate Bumblebee's mind.
  • In "Metal Attraction". Breakdown and Airachnid are fighting over an artifact that magnetizes metal. Arcee and Bulkhead arrive at the scene to watch them duke it out.
    You'd Expect: Arcee and Bulkhead to sit back and watch as their most hated enemies tear each other apart.
    Instead: They immediately leap into action and inevitably results in Airachnid and Breakdown teaming up against them.
    • At the end of the same episode, Bulkhead and Arcee are standing over the defeated Breakdown and Airachnid, who have been magnetized together. They contemplate on what to do next.
      You'd Expect: Since those two Decepticons are their personal greatest adversaries, they'd finish them off right there, or at least take them prisoner.
      Instead: Fearing that the Polarity Gauntlet could cause even more trouble, they just leave them there, allowing Megatron to recruit Airachnid, who's been a rogue so far. Do mind, they have no problem using the Gauntlet later on.
  • In "Partners", after the Autobots have put the stasis cuffs on Screamer while pursuing Airachnid for the Immobilizer. Arcee is sent to guard Starscream, and the two start having a conversation about what a monster Airachnid is to them. Arcee complains that Airachnid killed off her partner, and Starscream quickly assumes that it was Cliffjumper when really Arcee was referencing Tailgate.
    You'd Expect: Starscream to keep quiet or to ask Arcee which partner it was, and not admit to killing any of her partners.
    Instead: Getting mad thinking that Airachnid stole his credit for killing Cliffjumper, Starscream screams out loud he did it. Because of this, that's all the evidence Arcee needs to figure out that he murdered Cliff. This angers Arcee and she challenges Scream to a fight.
    You'd Then Expect: Arcee to free Scream with the key to his cuffs herself and start the fight.
    Instead: She throws the key right next to him, but then Scream fakes cowardness pleading mercy. Arcee rescinds the fight and goes to retrieve the key, allowing Scream the chance to slash her in the hip with his clawed fingers then take the key himself. Oh, and also get him an advantage in their inevitable fight.

    Season Two 
  • In "Operation Bumblebee Part 1", Starscream joins the human terrorist organization MECH after the latter just stole Bumblebee's T-cog - which probably isn't a bright idea because MECH is a danger to all Transformers only interested in tearing them apart for creating non-sentient copies of Transformers. Then in "Operation Bumblebee Part 2", Bumblebee infiltrates MECH's headquarters, beats up the fleshy bastards who stole his T-Cog but then Starscream grabs his T-Cog.
    You'd Expect: Starscream to distance himself from Bumblebee while keeping Bee's T-Cog hostage.
    Instead: Starscream chooses to stand only a few feet apart from Bee while pointing a gun at his T-Cog. This allows Bee the opportunity to punch Scream and make him lose grip of his T-Cog, which now flying in the air Bumblebee jumps up to grab it.
    You'd Immediately Expect: For Starscream to shoot Bumblebee.
    Instead: He shoots Bee's T-Cog, which makes him incur the wrath of Silas - who electrocutes and steals his T-Cog instead as replacement, dooming Starscream to spend the rest of Season 2 without the ability to fly.
  • In the next episode, Starscream meets up with MECH, whose plans he has failed by enabling Bumblebee to recover his T-Cog. Silas immediately has him surrounded with weapons that Starscream knows can fell a Cybertronian, but before opening fire, he gives a one-liner, plus their weapons take a few seconds to charge up.
    You'd expect: For Starscream to immediately transform and bolt out of there, and finish the humans off from the air if necessary. While MECH have choppers with technology strong enough to disable a Cybertronian in one blast, Starscream is a much more agile flyer. Notably, he has been quick to transform and fly out of much less dangerous situations.
    Instead: Starscream just stares and does nothing, then loses his T-Cog.
  • Again in the next episode, Breakdown and Knockout are fighting Optimus, Arcee and Bulkhead on a mountain for the legendary hammer the Forge of Solus Prime. Knockout has the clear advantage using his newest weapon, a force field generator, to push Optimus and Arcee off a cliff as while Bulkhead gets his hands on the hammer. However, the hammer is so heavy that Bulkhead can't run holding it.
    You'd Expect: Breakdown to just watch as Bulkhead try and carry that very heavy hammer and bring it all the way to him or Knockout for a beating. He really doesn't have to do anything but sit back and watch Bulkhead miserably attempt to save the other Autobots whom are at Knockout's mercy by now.
    Instead: Breakdown angrily charges at Bulkhead anyways, allowing Bulkhead to strike him with the hammer, sending him flying and impacting onto Knockout, who loses his grip on the force-field generator, allowing Bulkhead to destroy it. Megatron then has to intervene to collect the hammer.
  • In "Nemesis Prime", MECH has finally completed their own fully functional Transformer, a mindless duplicate of Optimus with Silas in the control seat. "Nemesis Prime" is actually doing a good job against the Autobots when they track down MECH's lair, so it's up to Agent Fowler to get the drop on Silas at his control panel.
    You'd Expect: Silas has one of his men stand close by to take over Nemesis' controls in case he needs to deal with an interruption.
    Instead: He sits alone at the controls while his men are taken down by Fowler. When the latter shows up, Silas leaves his bot completely unmanned to fight him, which buys Optimus enough time to send the inert Nemesis crashing through the ceiling.
    You'd Expect: Silas to run while he still has legs.
    Instead: He stands there repeatably screaming "No!" before Nemesis Prime falls on and nearly crushes him to death. Things only go downhill for him from here.
  • In "Grilled", Agent Fowler is being interviewed by General Bryce who believes that the destroyed robot the US Army has taken into storage is Optimus (when really it's his evil counterpart Nemesis Prime).
    You'd Expect: Fowler to just call in Optimus to show up in-person (or in-robot?).
    Instead: To keep the plot of this Bottle Episode running, Fowler just gives the general a very long (albeit unnecessary) recap of the show thus far with flashbacks (constituting a Clip Show).
  • In "Flying Mind", the Autobots and Agent Fowler take advantage of the grounded and defenseless Decepticon ship and try to use the Spark Extractor to kill all Decepticons in one shot. However they soon learn that the ship is indeed fully functional.
    You'd Expect: Having lost their tactical advantage, they would retreat.
    Instead: They try to attack the ship anyway, even after it zaps several of them into stasis with its guns. The Autobots fall one by one, leaving themselves and Fowler at the mercy of the ship's cannons. Thankfully, the ship had its own agenda and left the area, so they remained safe, but the Autobots wouldn't have known that. They thought the ship was under Megatron's command, so why did they then keep advancing after almost all of them have been zapped?
    • Later on, the human kids succeed in getting the Nemesis to shut down from the override switch that Megatron pulls. But there's still the matter of the USB key inserted into the computer that KnockOut has been immobilized next to.
      You'd Expect: Jack to get Ratchet to remove the USB key.
      Instead: Completely forgetting that the Dark Energon-corrupted Nemesis is no longer a threat and that the Decepticons are regaining mobility, Jack tries to retrieve it himself just in time for KnockOut to also recuperate. Luckily, Ratchet arrives in time to knock KnockOut out and retrieve the vital information.
  • In "Triangulation", Optimus forces Starscream (who's been handcuffed by Dreadwing) to guide him to the Apex Armor in Antarctica. Starscream does lead him to it, but now Dreadwing arrives as well.
    You'd Expect: Optimus and Dreadwing to extinguish Starscream then proceed to battle each other for the A.A. suit.
    Instead: They leave Starscream alone with the Apex Armor as they duel, and just before Dreadwing can finish off Prime Starscream barges in to kill both of them because you know, those two really pissed him off.
    Result: Optimus and Dreadwing are forced to use the latter's bombs to sink Starscream down to the Antarctic Ocean because he's too powerful to fight with physical force. Dreadwing goes home empty-handed to Megatron who is (obviously) not happy about his failure to retrieve a suit powerful enough to help the Decepticons score a huge win on the Autobots.
  • The episode "Legacy" is all about this trope applied to Jack and Smokescreen. In that episode, Smokescreen sees that the Decepticons are attempting to steal the Star Saber which has been secured into a rock by Alpha Trion and cannot be pulled out by any amount of force as even Megatron fails to pull it out himself. Only a Prime can pull it out, so guess which character that would be. Also, Megatron is being guarded by his regular army of Vehicons and newly gained Insecticons.
    You'd Expect: Smokescreen to send Jack back to base, and call the other Autobots for back-up who have been wandering around trying to follow a navigational trap set up by the Decepticons.
    Instead: Smokescreen blindly charges towards the Star Saber to pull it out, without regards to seeing the Decepticons that would point a gun at him and shoot thus allowing the Insecticons to chase after Jack, forcing the rest of the Autobots to come in and save the day. Arcee then gives the equivalent of a mother's scolding to both Jack and Smokescreen.
    • Before "Legacy", Smokescreen only very recently joined the Autobots and isn't well adapted to earth culture and customs.
      You'd Expect: For the Autobots to tell Smokescreen not to expose himself in robot mode to any human nor break any human traffic laws that can put the Autobots at risk of exposure to the media.
      Instead: They neglect to do so having assumed that Smokescreen would do the right thing because the rules stated above seem so obvious. When "Legacy" begins, Smokescreen drives above the speed limit and nearly collides into a human driver - who he then shows his robot mode to just for fun.
      Results: The Autobots chew him out and have Raf delete the picture of Bee and Smoke taken and posted online by that unfortunate driver.
  • In "The Human Factor", Silas is brought back to life by his team, inside Breakdown's body.
    You'd expect: That since he's in an uncertain position, he'd like to keep them around. Those are the people who are unflinchingly devoted to his agenda, and are competent enough to maintain and operate very effective anti-Cybertronian weaponry, not to mention that they seem to be better experts than Silas himself when it comes to Cybertronian physiology, so he could rely on them to fix him if something should happen. Retaining a base of his own would also have been nice.
    Instead: He kills them all out of megalomania, then has no home base, which causes him to throw in his lot with the Decepticons without any backup plan and meets a sticky end when he is no longer of use to Megatron. Then again, he's not all there after the surgery.
  • In "Inside Job", Starscream "texts" the Autobots that he has the Omega Keys and he'll trade them in exchange for the Autobots repairing his T-Cog and allowing him to fly.
    You'd Expect: For the Autobots to give Starscream's proposal the boot.
    Instead: The Autobots buy it, not just cause they fail to comprehend the above, but because of Optimus Prime's overwhelming generosity when it comes to mutual relations among others. Because they buy it, Starscream injected with Red Energon (Energon that grants enhanced speed) gets away with using a dead clone of his as a puppet diversion and in the process he manages to sneak into the Autobots' HQ, steal the Omega keys and run to home base.
    Results: Optimus, in an act of breaking his calm and easy-tempered behavior, lets out a scream of furious anguish.
    You'd further expect: that after all their run-ins with Starscream, especially since they know that: 1) he possesses an Omega key, 2) he possesses red energon which has allowed him to blindside Smokescreen and remain undetected, 3) he has cloned himself (since Bulkhead killed one of the clones) AND he has a spare T-Cog from somewhere, so he must have a cloned body of himself at his disposal, that he'd attempt to sneak into their base, and take precautions such as not keeping the ground bridge open longer than necessary, and maybe not bridging directly at the position chosen by Starscream.
    Instead: They walk right into his trap, are completely puzzled by the dead clone body and allow him to sneak in, steal the keys and leave.
  • Starscream himself has one of those in the same episode and only escapes through sheer dumb luck. He has one single dose of speed-enhancing red energon.
    You'd expect: that he'll make quick use of it, sneak in, steal the keys and be gone before the Autobots know what hit them.
    Instead: with his big mouth, he stops to gloat at every turn. Eventually, the red energon wears off and Starscream only manages to escape due to the Autobots' shock and poor aim, and after much fumbling with his own ground bridge remote.
  • In "Regeneration", while the Autobots and Decepticons are fighting it out on their still dead planet Cybertron with the intent to use the Omega Keys to restore it in each faction's own intent, the kids are stuck at school with no one to pick them up.
    You'd Expect: Ratchet to come pick them up.
    Instead: Ratchet ignores the kids' pleas to take them home, being too impatient wanting to know of the outcome of the fight and also too selfish to care about the kids, allowing Starscream to abduct the three children and stuff them inside tubes so that Megatron can blackmail the Autobots into surrendering the keys and then themselves. Nice going, Ratchet.
    Results: The consequences of this episode carry over onto the entire course of "Our Darkest Hour". Optimus slices the Omega Lock like a watermelon to ensure Earth and humanity's safety at the cost of restoring Cybertron. The Decepticons discover the Autobot base (a goal they've been trying to achieve for 52 half-hour episodes in a span of 2+ years), set up a giant fortress upon earth with plans to dominate Earth to make up for their loss of Cybertron, and Megatron fries Optimus with laser cannons. ALL because Ratchet wouldn't pick the kids up from school.

    Season Three: Beast Hunters 
  • In "Darkmount, NV" the Decepticons can now trace the Autobots if they even so much as make communication with each other as they're now wiretapping all lines. Jack stupidly texts his mother, allowing Megatron to send in troops after him and Arcee.
    You'd Expect: Megatron to send in some Insecticons so that they'll be more than enough to overwhelm Arcee.
    Instead: He sends only two Vehicon troops (did he learn nothing from the past episodes that Vehicons are useless?) and Arcee quickly blows them up in a gasoline explosion.
    • Relating to the above, "sorry, mom; I'd call if I could." Technically, Jack could as he knows, but even so...
      You'd Expect: Jack to trust that June is safe and sound, probably under Agent Fowler's protection. Besides which, an overly emotional mistake is Miko's M.O., not Jack's; proving you're alive at the moment won't do you much good if you just end up dead soon after and end up giving your mom a false hope in not Outliving One's Offspring.
      Instead: "One text couldn't hurt, could it?" A moment later...."smile, Jack. You're on Decepticon TV." At least alert Arcee if you're going to do this instead of ending up surviving by dumb luck, Jack.
  • In "Chain of Command", the Predacon returns back to the Nemesis after his frozen stasis.
    You'd Expect: Megatron to command the Predacon to return back to its enclosure.
    Instead: He tells Starscream to make the Predacon do so, claiming he has other matters to tend to. What other matters are a lot more important than the dangerous, colossal Predacon?
    Result: Starscream does a horrendous job taming the Predacon, and his constant infliction of electrocution on the Predacon like a circus animal drives Predacon angry up to the point its mind and sense of individuality starts evolving and then some episodes later he transforms into robot mode and demands Megatron for sole leadership of the Predacons while promising to still swear loyalty to Megatron. Megatron (secretly) refuses that deal because Megatron fears Predaking will only become far more conscious (and therefore more egotistical/power-hungry than he already is) and realize that he's stronger than the entire Decepticon forces. Therefore, Megatron scraps Project Predacon and blames it on the Autobots.
  • In "Thirst", we see that Knockout is experimenting with Synth-En (from "Stronger, Faster") upon CYLAS trapped in Breakdown's body. Starscream proposes also adding Dark Energon to CYLAS so that Megatron will be able to control CYLAS and have a bonus Super Soldier whom Starscream thinks can replace Predaking.
    You'd Expect: Knockout to reject Starscream's plan immediately, especially regarding the incident when they used Dark-En on the Nemesis (Trypticon) back in "Flying Mind". In addition, Shockwave rather than Starscream is the Decepticons' chemistry expert so Knockout should consult Shockwave, not Starscream.
    Instead: Knockout injects CYLAS with the Dark Energon anyways after Starscream manipulates him to do so anyways claiming that this is a military operation and reminding Knockout that Megatron put Starscream in charge of the military.
    Result: Zombie Apocalypse!

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