My name is Optimus Prime, and I send this message: Though we did not choose to be of Earth, it would seem that we are here to stay. If you approach this planet with hostile intent, know this: We will defend ourselves. We will defend humanity. We will defend - our home.
Transformers Prime is the 2010-2013 TV series in the Transformers franchise. It ran for three seasons, plus a made for TV movie.
Set on Earth in the same continuity as Transformers: War for Cybertron, Transformers Prime is the story of Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Ratchet, Arcee, Cliffjumper, and Bulkhead, a skeleton crew of Autobots left to defend Earth in case the Decepticons come back. And, of course, they do.
Accidentally caught up in the action and befriending the Autobots are three humans: Jack, Rafael and Miko. They act mostly as Naive Newcomers as they watch the robots battle it out, though they do prove useful in their own way due to the limited number of Autobots.
The show is animated in CGI but carries a bit of a 2-D flair. Here is the opening sequence for the series. The overall look and tone of the show follows closely with the live-action films (with Optimus, Bumblebee and Megatron having similar designs) while it continues to take inspiration from many other Transformers incarnations, and it has inspired a new MMO game, Transformers Universe. By the end of its premiere season, the show has accumulated not only good ratings, but has become one of the most highly-praised incarnations of the franchise for its high production standards in both writing and animation.
Now with a recap page.
- Acting Unnatural: Miko and Raf trying to lie to Optimus in "Speed Metal".
- Action Girl: Arcee.
- Miko gets points for trying, if nothing else.
- Airachnid, the dark counterpart.
- Actor Allusion: Clancy Brown plays the human super villain Silas, who bedevils Optimus Prime. By coincidence or design, this is the second time Clancy has found himself playing a supervillain who is an antagonist to a benevolent super-powered alien primarily clad in the colors red and blue.
- In the Japanese version, Arcee and Jack are played by Shizuka Ito and Jun Fukuyama respectively. They reprise their roles from the Romantic Comedy Harem Anime To Heart 2 in that they once again play a couple with a Big-Sister and Little-Brother relationship.
- Similarly, Steve Blum in the English version once again plays Shin from Fist of the North Star, in that Starscream is a sadistic warlord who takes pleasure in literally shoving his hand through the rib-cages of helpless prisoners.
- Adaptation Distillation: It is common for reviews to state that this show takes many of the good points of the films (intense action scenes and realistic robot designs) while following thematics that were established by Beast Wars or Transformers Animated.
- Adaptational Badass: Taking from movies again, Bumblebee and Starscream are quite competent soldiers. 'Bee isn't quite the bruiser as from the films, but he charges headlong into a fight and holds his own just as well. Starscream is also scary in both his new competence and even his appearance; they made him a sadist who is unafraid of killing prisoners for talking back at him and willing to make cheap shots to gain the advantage in a fight.
- Also, Wheeljack. He went from an inventor of wacky devices (that end up exploding) to a dual-sword-wielding ex-Wrecker who is willing to go up against a 'Con army and even boast about his odds. Rather than the mad scientist of G1, he's known for inventing things on the fly (Yes, he's MacGyver) and for being an explosives expert.
- Arcee is rivaling Blackarachnia for the best Action Girl in a Transformers series. Not bad for being simply The Chick from G1.
- Breakdown too, considering most of his previous incarnations are critically paranoid nutcases. Here, he's a tough bruiser who's the rival to Bulkhead. Though it should be noted, he used to be a critically paranoid nutcase (though still useful in battle) in this universe as well, so with him, it's also a mix of Took a Level in Badass.
- Adult Fear: June Darby worries about Jack riding and racing Arcee because she works in an emergency room. Naturally, she is also not at all pleased after realizing that children are near the front lines of five robots' war against the Decepticons.
- Advancing Wall of Doom: Knock Out tries to push Optimus and Arcee off a cliff with a Force Field generator in "Operation Bumblebee Part 2".
- Aliens Are Bastards: The Decepticons.
- And to a lesser extent Unicron, though technically his status as "alien" is debatable, since he is revealed to be the core of the Earth.
- Aliens Speaking English
- All Deaths Final: As stated by Word of God, and consistently upheld so far (mindless Dark Energon zombies don't really count).
- All Webbed Up: Courtesy of Airachnid.
- Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Japanese version has "Feelings" for the opening and "I Believe in All" for the ending.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents:
June: Where's Optimus?
- Ambiguously Gay: Knock Out is actually characterized with more of a metrosexual personality as opposed to a flamboyantly gay personality. (He's really particular about his appearance and compliments Optimus on his truck-mode customization.) However, the fine line between the two, along with Starscream's remark that he is "one of those" (ostensibly meaning "those" as "Decepticons with cars rather than aircraft for alt-modes"), has led to fans remarking on this.
- And That Medic Was Me: In "Operation Bumblebee, Part 1", Ratchet tells Raf how the field medic who saved Bumblebee after Megatron had tortured him wasn't able to fix Bumblebee's voice box. He was speaking about his own inability to completely fix Bumblebee since he was that field medic.
Ratchet: Yes, well... the medic could have done better.
- And This Is For: When Arcee first battles the Vehicons, she begins pummeling one of them whilst exclaiming; "This! Is! For! Cliff!"
- Angrish: Ratchet doesn't take Raf showing him up on the subject of radio telescopes very well, and neither is Breakdown exactly OK with Airachnid trying to bury him alive.
- Lampshaded, no less:
- Animal Motifs: Megatron's face looks fairly shark-like. It's not like we know how bloodthirsty he is anyway.
- Animation Bump: Comparing individual episodes, it's obvious that they were truly fine-tuning the animation while season 1 marched on. This is especially obvious in the season one finale, where the mouth animations—best described as "okay" before—become very accurate and almost pretty to look at.
- It's particularly evident in "Partners", but the lighting and the detail on the individual characters (dings, scrapes, paint scratches, etc.) has only improved as the series progressed.
- Animesque: Somewhat, it was animated by a Japanese company and the designs are a hybrid of this and the Live-Action film series.
- Apocalypse How: Cybertron itself endured a Class-6.
- Unicron, who is the Earth itself, endangers all life on Earth by performing a Class-X, then intends to cause a Class-Z.
- Arch Enemy: Optimus and Megatron. Arcee and Airachnid. Bulkhead and Breakdown. Wheeljack and Dreadwing.
- Arm Cannon: The weapon of choice for the majority of Autobots and Decepticons seen so far.
- Art Evolution: War For Cybertron was, more or less, a blending of the design aesthetics of the original G1 series with the live-action films, leaning slightly more towards the former (blocky proportions with a lot of moving parts). The design for this series has been described, more or less, as being a more evenly balanced mix of the style of Transformers Animated with the films, leaning a little more towards the latter (complex looking designs with sleek proportions).
- Several episodes in, people were already commenting on the show improving in art style from the first episode, particularly the look of the environments.
- In "Orion Pax, Part 1," the interior of the fast food takeout stand Jack works in now looks fully functional, unlike in the first episode where it looked unusually empty.
- Generally in the first season the vast majority of action scenes took place in desert canyons, arctic canyons or underground caves, with a scattering of scenes in the Nemesis hallways or in open forests. It was probably due to cost and a tight timetable. The second season immediately started adding new locales like open prairies, mountain roads, cliff faces, shipping yards and Cybertron itself.
- Art Shift: When Optimus explains the story of the Cybertronian war, the accompanying visuals looks like a Limited Animation of a comic book. It seems to have become the standard style for lengthy flashbacks, as it's also used when describing the war between Primus and Unicron, when depicting Optimus and Megatron's history before the war started, and when describing how Bumblebee lost his voicebox.
- Likewise, when Optimus describes what would happen to Earth should Megatron bring an undead army to it, various elements of the scene are non-CGI elements such as the fire and explosions.
- Atlas Pose: Pulled off by Megatron, of all bots.
- Bulkhead spends most of "Rock Bottom" in this position, and at the end of the episode, Starscream is forced to take his place.
- The Atoner: A mild version in Ratchet, who felt that if he was skilled enough, he could have repaired Bumblebee's voice box.
- Back-to-Back Badasses: Optimus and Ratchet vs Megatron's undead army in “Darkness Rising, Part 2". By the end of it, there's a massive pile of scrap, and the two Autobots are only mildly injured.
- Bulkhead and Breakdown have a moment like this when they take on MECH in "Operation: Breakdown".
- Becomes humorously literal when Arcee and Bulkhead are polarized, causing them to be stuck back-to-back in "Metal Attraction".
- Optimus and Megatron whilst fighting against Unicron's antibodies in "One Shall Rise, Part 3".
- Bad Liar: Miko, Raf, and Bulkhead. It's a minor miracle the kids haven't blown their cover with their parents.
- As of "Crisscross", Jack has. Ironically, the only point when his mother thinks he's lying is when he's actually telling the truth, completely straight-faced.
- Raf again in "Operation Bumblebee, Part 1", "Hello, friend of Jack's mom! Who is a nurse! Who works at the hospital!"
- Badass Bystander: The human kids can't really get involved with the heavy metal action, but the show has gone out of its way to show moments where they are able to help just by being an extra set of hands.
- Badass Normal: Agent William Fowler. He "has some pretty big bearings, for a human," according to Bulkhead. He's willing to argue with the Autobots, dogfights Soundwave's drone in a helicopter rather than be captured without a fight, and continued to mock Starscream while being tortured, never giving up the location of the Autobot base.
- His Badassitude is further shown and justified in "Nemesis Prime". Turns out he's a retired Army Ranger.
- Jack gets into this every now and again. Raf proves to be helpful with his tech savvy. Miko wants to be this, but is too enthusiastic to be of actual help.
- Band of Brothers: The Autobots seem to be this way.
Jack: *in reference to Bumblebee* Friend of yours?
- Bare Your Midriff: To a certain extent, Arcee's design/color scheme can occasionally induce the impression that she's wearing lowriding pants and a crop top.
- Barehanded Blade Block: Pulled off by Megatron, while battling Optimus in "One Shall Fall". It helps that his hands are made of metal.
- Bash Brothers: Knock Out and Breakdown. Bulkhead and Wheeljack were this back on Cybertron as part of the Wreckers.
- Batman Gambit: Ratchet decides that losing one Iacon relic would be worth it if he could use Laserbeak to download the entire archive from the Nemesis so the Autobots could find the rest of the relics before the Decepticons could.
- Battle Couple: Miko muses to herself about Bulkhead and Arcee being one in "Metal Attraction", though she later becomes distressed when it appears to be becoming literal.
- Battle in the Center of the Mind: Subverted. Megatron tries, but any attacks he throws at Bumblebee are useless. The two are forced to an impasse.
- Berserk Button: Arcee is very touchy about her ex-partners she's lost in the field.
- That's nothing. Optimus is not happy when an innocent human is harmed.
- Starscream's clone must really have had a death wish when he threw Cliffjumper's death in Bulkhead's face.
- Beware the Quiet Ones: In "One Shall Rise, Part 3", Soundwave utterly wipes the floor with Airachnid for trying to usurp Megatron's position. Knock Out then quotes this trope, nearly word for word.
- Big Bad: During the first season the role gets handed back and forth between three villains- first Megatron, then Starscream, then Megatron again, then Unicron, though technically he is the Bigger Bad of the series.
- Big Bad Ensemble: Season Two is setting this up with Megatron, Silas and Airachnid all laying potential claim to this on an episode to episode basis. Starscream also tries from time to time.
- Big Damn Heroes: Happens a lot.
- Bulkhead finishes the fight in the drainage ditch by simply showing up and delivering what would have been a Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner... if the Vehicons hadn't turned tail rather than face him.
- Optimus Prime gets one in "Convoy", where he saves the train with Jack, Miko, some soldiers and a nuclear reactor on board, Superman style.
- Double Subversion in "Operation: Breakdown". While Bulkhead and Breakdown are fighting MECH, one of the mooks reports some bogies on the radar, seemingly the Autobots coming to the rescue. Turns out it's really Starscream disobeying Megatron. They fight Bulkhead for a while, then the Autobots show up for a real Big Damn Heroes.
- Agent Fowler gets to do this, showing up with helicopters to rescue Jack and June from Airachnid and MECH.
- In "One Shall Rise, Part 1" just as Megatron is about to finish off Optimus, the Autobots' GroundBridge appears right in front of them and out comes Bulkhead.
- Bulkhead and the others do it again in the following episode, saving Optimus from Unicron's copies.
- A restored Optimus Prime comes to the aid of his comrades against Megatron in "Orion Pax, Part 3".
- Big No: Knock Out does one when Starscream punishes him in "Speed Metal".
- Miko in "T.M.I." when Bulkhead is almost beheaded.
- Arcee when Unicron is about to step on Optimus.
- Megatron does a magnificent one when Jack restores Optimus's memories and the Autobots escape in "Orion Pax, Part 3."
- Knock Out does it again after he sees what stopping a train with his face did to his paintjob.
- Big Ol' Eyebrows: It would be safe to say that what Animated had in chins, Prime has in eyebrows.
- Bittersweet Ending: The ending of Season One. The Autobots stop Unicron from awakening and the Earth is saved. However, Optimus loses his memories of the Autobot-Decepticon war, and Megatron uses this to get him onboard the Nemesis and away from Autobot hands.
- The Blade Always Lands Pointy End In: Cliffjumper's horn does this when broken off by the Vehicons, and Optimus's broken arm-blade does it in "Darkness Rising, Part 5". This also happens when one of Hardshell's mandibles gets knocked off.
- Blofeld Ploy: Starscream does this in "Deus ex Machina". When Knock Out tries to claim credit for retrieving the Energon Harvester, Starscream aims it in his direction and fires... killing a hapless Vehicon positioned behind them.
- Blood From the Mouth:
- In "Darkness Rising, Part 1", Cliffjumper spits out a bit of Symbolic Blood when he's brought before Starscream.
- In "Con Job", after being tackled by Wheeljack, Starscream gets it.
- In "Stronger, Faster", Ratchet, whilst under the influence of Synthetic Energon, punches Megatron in the face hard enough to accomplish this. Megatron promptly owns him afterwards.
- Followed shortly by Optimus doing the same thing to Megatron in the following episode. Repeatedly. He was seriously pissed off at the time.
- Blood Sport: Ratchet considers monster truck rallies to be this.
- Which takes on a slightly darker dimension when we find out that Cybertron had actual gladiators and Megatron used to be one.
- Bloodless Carnage: Breakdown's remains are completely devoid of Energon, which stands in odd contrast to the fact that Starscream, Airachnid, and Megatron all bleed copiously from (non-fatal) wounds in the exact same episode. Vehicons and Insecticons don't seem to bleed much, either. Case in point: Megatron ripping Airachnid's Insecticon's forelegs off before decapitating it, with nary a drop of Energon to be seen.
- Bluff the Impostor: Bulkhead to Wheeljack/Makeshift in "Con Job" with "The Battle of Darkmount Pass".
- Book Ends: "Partners" opens with Starscream monologing about how he's accepted his position as Megatron's servant. It ends with Starscream monologing about how he has no place on either side.
- A Boy and His X: Threefold. The creators have even admitted that they wanted the humans' relationship with the robots to resemble the close dynamic seen in The Iron Giant.
- Bring My Brown Pants
Cliffjumper: ...I let 'em get all the way down the block. That's when I kick off my new shiny shoe, and "BANG!"...
- Broad Strokes: Hasbro has stated that Prime is part of a "modern continuity" that also encompasses Transformers: War for Cybertron and the Transformers Exodus and Transformers Exiles novels, evidently meaning it is part of a continuity family (in much the same way that the Sunbow cartoon, Marvel comics, Dreamwave comics and IDW comics are all part of Transformers Generation 1 without all being in continuity with one another) and later clarified this was the intent. See the Transformers Aligned Universe page for more information on that.
- Broken Faceplate: Inflicted on Soundwave by Wheeljack in "Triage"... and yet he manages to get right back up and keep on fighting, despite the fact the Wheeljack basically just put a crack in his face.
- Bulletproof Human Shield: Bulkhead does this with several Vehicons when he attacks the Nemesis in "Darkness Rising, Part 4".
- As does Arcee in "Orion Pax, Part 1".
- Call Back: When Fowler finds the kids at the Autobot base in "Darkness Rising, Part 3", Jack says they're interning for a science scholarship. When Fowler meets Jack's mom at the end of "Crisscross", Fowler tells her Jack's his intern. (Jack then tells him not to bother; she already knows the truth.)
- Ratchet tells Bulkhead that he needed the tool that the latter had just crushed in the premier of Season 1. Bulkhead smashes a similar tool in the Season 2 premier and asks "What? You needed that?!"
- Came Back Wrong: Dark Energon revives the dead, but turns them into mindless berserkers unless something is around to command them.
- The Cameo: Cliffjumper appears briefly in a Flash Back, with him and Bumblebee rescuing Arcee from Airachnid.
- Bulkhead mentions Perceptor's Paradox during his scientific rambling in "T.M.I.".
- Can You Hear Me Now?: "Shadowzone" gets a bit schizophrenic with this trope. While stranded in another dimension, the kids try to use Miko's cell phone to call for help, but she left it at the base. Then, Jack realizes he still has his and uses that. The call gets through, but since they're in a freaking alternate dimension, the call is unintelligible. Then the kids realize they can get around this problem with texting. It works.
- Car Fu: Very common, thanks to the characters' need to keep their presence a secret. Particularly evident in "Convoy", where the Autobots' battle with MECH gets several of the MECH cars run off the road, flipped over, blown up, and otherwise disabled, presumably killing the drivers and passengers.
- Not that it's restricted to covert battles. One especially memorable instance involves Optimus turning into a truck, ramming Megatron, and grinding his wheels into his Arch Enemy's face.
- Cassandra Truth: In "Crisscross", Jack tells his mother exactly what the deal is with him and his motorcycle. An uncooperative Arcee ensures that she doesn't believe him. Later on in the episode, when said mother is kidnapped by Airachnid and Jack and Arcee come to the rescue, Jack says he can explain everything, before stopping and going, "Wait. I already did."
- Agent Fowler has a similar problem when debriefing his superiors after the incident with Nemesis Prime. Until Optimus Prime showed up in person to prove that he was alive and well, Fowler's superior was ready to send him away for psychiatric rehabilitation.
- Casual Danger Dialog: Fowler reacts very nonchalantly to being tortured, though it's mostly so he can mock Starscream. In the end, the torture leaves him so drained that he's delirious and saying how much he likes pie.
- Catch Phrase: Fowler often makes a patriotic reference like "You can eat my star spangled shorts!" or "Well, I'll be a bald eagle!" In "Stronger, Faster", Ratchet started using "Hooah!" for his own catch phrase, and previously would say "I needed that!" anytime his equipment had been broken (though neither has phrase really shown up much lately).
- Chekhov's Gag: Bulkhead breaks a piece of Rachet's equipment as a demonstration to Agent Fowler about how the Autobots use precision force, with Ratchet audibly annoyed by him. That same random machine is turned into a chaotic spider-like drone by Dark Energon.
- Chekhov's Gun: Miko's guitar surviving Bulkhead's transformation intact. It lets her do the same without getting transformed into chunky salsa.
- Wheeljack's grenade. Makeshift's disguise as him includes one, which winds up being used to kill him.
- The camera on Miko's cell phone comes in handy on multiple occasions.
- Played with in "Predatory". Jack mentions his pocket knife and fire starter at the beginning of the episode, setting up two guns. When Jack is being chased by Airachnid, he takes out his knife, says "Who am I kidding?" and keeps running. The fire starter is used to light energon and blow up Airachnid's ship.
- The Dark Energon shard Starscream plucked out of Megatron in an attempt to murder him is used by Starscream to empower himself.
- The Harbinger. The downed ship becomes Starscream's base of operations in Season 2.
- The piece of the Decepticon's ship Bulkhead rips off while protecting Miko turns out to be very important the next episode.
- Chekhov's Gunman: A nasty example in the form of several deceased characters' corpses. If the body hasn't been utterly destroyed (as in Makeshift's case) you'll be seeing them again. So far, Cliffjumper's body has been used as Mgeatron's Dark Energon test subject, Skyquake's corpse was resurrected by Starscream as another zombie, and Breakdown's remains have been reconstructed for MECH's nerfarious purposes... namely, seemingly uploading the critically injured Silas' consciousness into them.
- Bonus points for Skyquake. His split-spark twin, Dreadwing, sensed his death and traveled to Earth to avenge him.
- Click. "Hello.": Arcee pulls one on Starscream in "Darkness Rising, Part 4" when he threatens to kill Fowler if the Autobots don't back off. Further establishing that this Starscream is awesome, even this doesn't make him back down.
- She pulls it off again in "Rock Bottom". He doesn't handle it as well.
- Cliff Hanger: Good LORD. Several during season one, but special note goes to the last four episodes.
- And then there is "Triage" and "Toxicity", which get special note for using the same cliffhanger twice, but somehow making it work both times.
- Clip Show: "Grill."
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Subverted in "Operation: Breakdown", the titular character is taken apart (starting with his eye), but feels no pain since Silas, the leader of MECH, made sure to have his pain receptors turned off beforehand.
- Also done by Ratchet (whilst under the effects of synthetic Energon) in "Stronger, Faster", to a Vehicon miner. With a blowtorch.
- Color Coded for Your Convenience: Blue Eyes = good, Red eyes = bad, Purple Eyes = worst of all.
- Come Alone: Starscream, while acting as The Informant, tells Ratchet to do this. Twice. He brings Bulkhead along. Both times. The second time, he doesn't even come through the GroundBridge until Bulkhead gives the all-clear.
- The Comically Serious: Optimus. Certain things become more funny with his deadpan reaction to it.
Jack: Hey, Optimus, wanna see something funny?
- In "Grill", Optimus was able to make a simple greeting hilarious. He clears Agent Fowler's insistance to his doubting superior that Optimus is still alive. Optimus promptly shows up right next to the building window.
Prime: "I am fine, General Bryce. How are you?"
- Command Roster: For both sides
- Autobots- Some roles were vague until the "Iacon Relic Hunt" in the second season solidified everyone's position
- The Captain: Optimus Prime
- Number Two: Arcee
- The Medic: Ratchet and June Darby
- Mr. Fixit/Mission Control/The Scientist: Ratchet and Raf share all these positions
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Agent Fowler
- The Security Officer: Bulkhead
- The Marine: Wheeljack
- Cunning Linguist: Jack and Miko, mostly in that they can run interference to prevent the Autobots from being spotted by other humans
- Autobots- Some roles were vague until the "Iacon Relic Hunt" in the second season solidified everyone's position
- Composite Character: Arcee has more in common in her general demeanor and color scheme with Chromia than the original character. Likely an attempt to avoid the "Girls Wear Pink" cliche (she does have some pink highlights), while Arcee is still the best known female Autobot.
- Bulkhead combines the general demeanor and construction-bot background of Animated Bulkhead with the heavy-hitter position filled by Ironhide in G1.
- Wheeljack himself takes the name and general look of the G1 character (with some of Ironhide's traits as well), while adding elements of an obscure comic character named Drift (the swords in particular).
- Airachnid, being a female purple and black Decepticon with a spidery look, was initially thought to be an Expy of Blackarachnia (from both Transformers Animated and Beast Wars). However, her debut episode showed her to be quite different, being totally evil and combining Animated Lockdown's loner mentality, love of hunting, trophy collection with Rampage and Tarantulas' homicidal tendencies, only the arachnid appearance of Blackarachnia. Her color scheme is also reminiscent of G1's Insecticons.
- Conservation of Ninjutsu: Played with. The Vehicons are fairly tough; just two of them give Bumblebee and Arcee a rough time, and it's only the appearance of Bulkhead that forces them to run. When the Autobots fight together, an army of them gets gunned down in droves, but that can be applied to Bash Brothers. A major exception to the trope is Cliffjumper's last battle; it was seven-to-one, but he brought down three, with another two caught in the energon explosion that took him down.
- Likewise the first two times we see an Insecticon, they're considered nightmarishly strong and dangerous. The first one encountered on Cybertron has to be outwitted and the second one nearly beats Megatron in a 1v1 fight. A later episode has an entire army of them being gunned down by the regular bots with relative ease. It should be noted, though, that in the latter case, there was much more room to maneuver (as opposed to the fight with Megatron, wherein both combatants were trapped in an enclosed arena), and the Autobots had full access to their ranged attacks (unlike Megatron, whose powerful fusion cannon was webbed up and inoperable) as well as the fact that Insecticons are apparently highly vulnerable to blasterfire while airborne.
- As the series progressed, it seems that Insecticons are most dangerous in enclosed spaces because of their raw size and strength making maneuvering difficult. In open areas they are clumsy enough that smarter fighters are better able to avoid their attacks and strike back.
- Container Maze: Dreadwing sets up his third confrontation with Wheeljack in one of these.
- Continuity Cameo: Impactor, Roadbuster, Rotorstorm, and Pyro are briefly referred to as (deceased) Wreckers.
- Continuity Nod:
- The prequel graphic novel tie-in to the series has Cliffjumper and Arcee investigating Decepticon activity on Cybertron, with mention that the planet is still effectively a dead world, as it was left at the end of War For Cybertron.
- Cybertron's design when shown in the series, is the exact same design used to depict the planet in War For Cybertron (just recoloured a little).
- Also, Megatron is using Dark Energon in the series, which he acquired control of in War For Cybertron.
- Although both Megatron and Starscream act like it's their first time seeing it up close, creating one of a few Continuity Snarls for those who want to put Prime and War for Cybertron in the same continuity.
- The bulk of the Decepticon forces in War For Cybertron are formed by nameless Decepticon Troopers that are purple in color and have red visors. In this series, similar troops are used, only they're called Vehicons (which is itself a nod to Beast Machines).
- In the story told about the legend of Unicron and Primus, Optimus notes that Primus became one with Cybertron's Core, which as shown in the flashback, is almost identical to how it appeared in War For Cybertron, and was how Optimus acquired the Matrix of Leadership in this continuity.
- The history of Optimus and Megatron told in One Shall Rise, Part 3 is a condensed version of events that happened in Transformers Exodus and War For Cybertron.
- Optimus' broken sword remains broken, as seen in the finale of the three-part "Orion Pax" season premiere.
- In "Operation Bumblebee, Part 1", Megatron mentions that he was the one who damaged Bumblebee's ability to speak, which happened in Transformers Exodus.
- Convenient Color Change: Putting Dark Energon into himself changed Megatron's eye color, and doing the same to his ship, the Nemesis, made it change from blue power lines and purple screens to purple power lines and red screens. Oh, and also sentient.
- Cool Big Sis: Arcee acts as this toward Jack, according to her official bio.
- Cool Bike: Arcee's altmode.
- Cool Car: Bumblebee turns into what is essentially a muscled-up version of a Chevrolet Camaro (called an "Urbana 500" in-series), while the ground-based Vehicons transform into sleek black vehicles. MECH is also outfitted with their own vehicles, seemingly with custom paint jobs.
- Cliffjumper turns into an old-fashioned Dodge Charger with bull horns on the hood.
- Wheeljack turns into what can described as the Mach 5. It hasn't had much screen time, but seems to be based off of either a Lancia Stratos, or the New Stratos concept, although keeping the colors of the G1 character's "Alitalla" livery.
- Knock Out turns into an Aston Martin DBS sports car.
- Cool Plane: Starscream is a modified F-16, while Soundwave is a Predator drone.
- Skyquake (and his twin, Dreadwing) is an F-35.
- Megatron is a Cybertronian jet.
- Cool Starship: The Nemesis, which serves as the Decepticon base.
- Criminal Amnesiac: Optimus in the first episodes of season 2.
- Cue the Sun: The end of "Predatory", set during a particularly heartwarming moment between Arcee and Jack.
- Curb Stomp Battle: It's been mentioned a few times on here, but it feels nice to sum it up here: Megatron or Optimus vs ANYONE (other than each other of course) equals this, not counting Airachnid's sneak attack on Optimus in "Partners". The best example is a literal version of this, with Soundwave totally owning Airachnid.
- Cute Mute: The few times Bumblebee speaks, it's in mechanical beeps and whirls that, among the humans, only Raf can understand (and he does so immediately), whereas the other Autobots seem to have no trouble understanding him.
- Dare to Be Badass: Miko tries this on Jack after he refuses the Call the second time, but it doesn't work, at least not on the spot.
- Darker and Edgier: And how.
- The series opens with the death of Cliffjumper, showing just about anyone can be offed at any moment.
- With episodes such as "Predatory" carrying some rather horror film-esque tinges, some fans believe this to be the darkest Transformers show yet.
- And in the episode "Flying Mind", Optimus admits he is willing to use measures extreme as the spark extractor on the Decepticons at their moment of vulnerability to end the war.
- Deadpan Snarker: This applies to many of the Autobots (Arcee, Ratchet, Wheeljack, and Cliffjumper most prominently), as well as Jack.
- Knock Out has become one too, to the frequent irritation of Starscream.
- Soundwave does this using other people's voices.
- Airachnid's pretty snarky as well.
- Deconstructor Fleet: Towards the Transformers series in general, as elaborated in the show's Analysis page.
- Decoy Protagonist: The beginning of the first episode focuses on Cliffjumper, leading us to believe he'll be one of the main characters. Then Starscream kills him within five minutes of the episode.
- He was also featured in promo artwork for the show, and was the main character of the tie-in comic.
- Delegation Relay: Arcee, you're in charge... Bulkhead, you're in charge... Jack, you're in charge... Raf, you're in charge.
- And also, when the Decepticons begin to lose control of their space bridge.
Megatron: Starscream! What is happening?
- Demonization: Megs does this with the Autobots, going as far as to blame Ratchet for Cybertron's destruction. All for Orion's benefit, of course.
- When Optimus/Orion asks Megatron why they're called "Decepticons, he tells him that it was a form of Autobot propaganda to demonize them.
- Designated Girl Fight: Largely averted; Arcee and Airachnid have several one-on-one fights and an ongoing emnity, but neither is the designated opponent for the other in group battles (even the Bulkhead/Arcee vs Breakdown/Airachnid fight has them put briefly against their partner's opposite number), and both of them have proved themselves in single battle against larger and more powerful male opponents.
- The Determinator: Megatron. Go on, try and kill him.
- Also, Optimus and Bulkhead.
- Deus Ex Machina: One of the episode titles. Lampshaded and Invoked in said episode. Near the end, Miko explains the trope just in time for Agent Fowler to execute it.
- Diagonal Cut: Megatron manages one of these on zombie!Cliffjumper.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Optimus turns the full power of the Matrix onto Unicron's Spark. Either it returned him to stasis or extinguished his Spark outright.
- Disappeared Dad: Jack's father. In "Metal Attraction", June confirms that Jack's dad left.
- Disney Villain Death: Happens to the Insecticon in "Orion Pax, Part 3" while simultaneously being devoured by Scraplets.
- Divergent Character Evolution: The series is probably the first of any Transformers continuity to make Bumblebee and Cliffjumper wholly independent of one another. Not only are their personalities entirely different, but this time around, they don't share the same body-type.
- Do Not Touch the Funnel Cloud: Bizzarely subverted and played straight in "One Shall Rise, Part 1". June's car is realistically dragged by the windforce of a tornado, not the funnel. So is Bumblebee when he tries to hold it still. But June and Raf not only exit the car without being immediately ripped into the sky, but aside from June's ponytail whipping about, it's like the wind is actively ignoring them.
- Don't Look Down: Or Up. Or Left.
- Dream Apocalypse: Happens when Arcee disconnects Bumblebee's mind from Megatron's in "Sick Mind."
- Drill Tank: Several of these are used in the energon mines in the second episode. They're used to fend off the Autobot attackers, but don't do very well.
- More of them show up in "Rock Bottom".
- Drop the Hammer:
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Breakdown is unceremoniously sliced up by Airachnid.
- Dual-Wielding: Wheeljack, with a pair of giant scimitars.
- Dumb Muscle: Bulkhead knows he is't particularly smart, but no other Autobot has the same raw determination as he does. Bulkhead saves the day (accidentally or not) more often than the others.
- Earth Is the Center of the Universe: The current story is pretty minor in scale (The Autobot base is considered to be an outpost and nothing more), but there was a larger conflict in the past. Random things that are Cybertronian in origin do show up quite frequently, but then we find out Earth is actually Unicron, so it might have a bit more subconscious interest to Cybertronians than initially suspected.
- Egomaniac Hunter: Airachnid works as a merc to travel to exotic locales and hunt the local sapient lifeforms.
- Electric Torture: "Bring the prod."
- Elite Mooks: Insecticons.
- Enemy Mine: Bulkhead and Breakdown vs. MECH.
- Megatron makes an alliance with Optimus in "One Shall Rise, Part 2" against Unicron.
- Optimus and Dreadwing vs Starscream, who's wearing the Apex Armor and knocking both of them around with ease.
- Energy Absorption: The Energon Harvester can absorb energon from anything, including other Transformers.
- Establishing Character Moment: Breakdown's first appearance has him taunting Bulkhead and being capable of throwing the big guy around. Knock Out's first appearance highlights his vanity, and he even approaches Optimus complimenting the customization on his vehicle mode. Together they were able to briefly take down Optimus himself and subdue the other Autobots, immediately proving themselves far more dangerous than the Vehicon mooks.
- Establishing Series Moment: It starts off with a conversation between Cliffjumper and Arcee, then a fight with Decepticons where Cliffjumper fights them alone, doing well, then he's captured and unceremoniously murdered by Starscream.
- Eva Fins: Soundwave has some rather prominent ones in robot mode.
- Every Helicopter Is a Huey: In spite of the show's otherwise high-tech setting, the only US military helicopters that appear are Hueys. Since the animators could have drawn any helicopter they wanted, the only logical explanation for this is the production team thought Hueys just looked cool.
- Evil Former Friend/We Used to Be Friends: Optimus Prime and Megatron.
- In the Exodus novel, Megatron takes this a step further, and refers to him as brother in the symbolic sense, claiming he felt Optimus was like family. It gets a bit odder in Exiles when it is stated he had once wanted Optimus, then Orion Pax, to be his trusted right hand and advisor if the High Council had done what he saw as the right thing and named him Prime. Megatron's current actions suggest he still misses their old friendship, but is also more than willing to use and discard him after millions of years as enemies.
- Evil Gloating: Starscream is fond of this, usually when he thinks he's rid of Megatron once and for all.
- Evil Is Not a Toy: In the end the first season, Unicron possess Megatron due the Dark Energon inside of him, showing inevitably that using the blood of a God of Evil has consequences.
- Evil Knockoff: Nemesis Prime, a MECH-built copy of Optimus controlled by remote.
- Evil Versus Evil: Breakdown and Airachnid fighting over the Polarity Gauntlet in "Metal Attraction".
- Breakdown vs. MECH.
- Megatron vs. Unicron
- Megatron again vs. Airachnid's Insecticon.
- The Decepticons vs. Trypticon.
- Exactly What I Aimed At: Optimus and Dreadwing's fight in "Triangulation" ends with them battling at the foot of a glacier where Dreadwing manages to gain the upper hand. Optimus then draws his Ion blaster and fires straight at the face of the glacier, just over Dreadwing's shoulder.
Dreadwing: Your aim is poor.
- Eye Scream: Optimus' plague infection starts at his eye. Breakdown has one eye torn out when he's captured by MECH.
- Megatron gets this in "One Shall Fall" when Optimus knocks him off a cliff, lands on him, and then starts grinding his tires into Megatron's eyes. It was quite epic.
- Megatron does this to a copy of Unicron.
- Eyes Do Not Belong There: Unicron's eye opens up inside of his body.
- Faceless Goons: The Decepticon Troopers, as well as all MECH members shown except Silas.
- "Grill" deconstructs this trope when Fowler points out that some of MECH's members could be serving members of the military, hence their masks.
- Facing the Bullets One-Liner: A quick one in "Darkness Rising, Part 4", when the Autobots finally locate Fowler.
Arcee: I wouldn't.
- Failed a Spot Check: In "Nemesis Prime" Silas, piloting the titular machine via remote control, climbs on top of the structure he is sitting in, with Optimus following behind. This ends up backfiring horribly, because Optimus ends up smashing Nemesis Prime through the roof, severely injuring Silas. He apparently didn't notice the location of the bots until the roof started to cave in.
- Family-Friendly Firearms: For the Transformers, this is obviously a traditional and justified case. Averted with Fowler's helicopter in "Darkness Rising, Part 3", which has a Gatling gun. Played straight with MECH, but then again, considering how tough the Autobots and Decepticons are, it's actually justified too. Averted with members of the US Army, who are seen carrying assault rifles but never seen firing them.
- Family-Unfriendly Death:
- Cliffjumper in the first episode.
- Skyquake follows soon after the pilot. He gets his robo-entrails ripped out by Bumblebee before falling several thousand feet to his death. He Came Back Wrong in "Shadowzone"... just in time to be trapped in an alternate dimension.
- Tailgate, Arcee's other dead partner, gets one of Airachnid's talons in the general vicinity of the head. It's not directly shown, of course, but it's still incredibly disturbing to watch.
- And, of course, if you're unfortunate enough to be a Mook in this show, your chances of dying horribly rocket the hell up. See Family-Unfriendly Violence below for further clarification.
- As far as death goes, in "Orion Pax, Part 3" we're treated to a shot of an Insecticon being devoured alive by Scraplets, showing them in far gorier detail than their introductory episode ever did.
- Breakdown is positively sliced to pieces by Airachnid. One imagines that one only got through because the animators utilized Bloodless Carnage.
- One of Starscream's clones, while most of it is obscured, gets brutally beaten him to death by Bulkhead.
- The Insecticons can't seem to catch a break: in "Toxicity", one of them gets shards of Tox-En driven through his throat by an explosion, courtesy of Bulkhead's hidden grenade. You can see him writhing and choking in agony for several seconds before he finally kicks the bucket.
- Family-Unfriendly Violence: Despite the TV-Y7FV rating, there are several instances of explicit robot violence. In fact, the sole reason the series is rated TV-Y7FV with all this violence is because these are robots, which serves as an example of Getting Crap Past the Radar.
- In "Darkness Rising, Part 3", Bulkhead rips out a Vehicon's spark (or at least a fair portion of the vital components in his chest) onscreen. To him, he's ripping out the guy's heart, so he tells Miko (who's watching) to look away, seemingly to protect her innocence. Naturally, she just looks on in awe.
- The "Terrorcons" are effectively zombies; robotic limbs and parts are flying. Optimus impales one, then morphs his still-imbedded arm into a gun to blast the head off of another.
- In "Darkness Rising, Part 1", Starscream punches a hole in Cliffjumper's chest with his claws. Fluid leaks out and splatters on the ground in a manner not unlike blood.
- In “Darkness Rising, Part 2", Arcee leaps on a Vehicon's shoulders and rips his head off with her ankles.
- Not to mention Fowler's torture by Starscream, which manages to be deeply disturbing even though it's not directly shown onscreen.
- In "Convoy", we see various vehicular crashes with human mooks inside the cars. While the first car that crashes clearly shows the mooks surviving, the others don't, and one of the cars clearly explodes. And then there's the mook that Fowler accidentally kills by holding him in the path of a tree branch. And the one that falls off a car.
- The next time MECH shows up, this continues. Breakdown and Bulkhead have a Back-to-Back Badasses moment that is not shy about showing them smashing and exploding clearly manned cars and helicopters.
- In the next expisode, Arcee smacks around MECH soldiers... outside the cars into walls. Owch!
- Starscream effectively guts Arcee at the start of their fight in "Partners". He almost finishes her off... but then she gets a Heroic Second Wind and beats him down.
- Starscream's back up to his old tricks in the season 2 premiere, killing off a pair of Vehicons in brutal fashion.
- Similar to the Starscream example above, Megatron guts Ratchet in "Stronger, Faster".
- Airachnid cuts Breakdown to pieces. The actual violence is offscreen, but we get a glimpse of his mangled remains.
- The brawl between Megatron and the rogue Insecticon from the same episode is also pretty brutal. It ends with Megatron tearing two of the Insecticon's forelegs off, and then decapitating it; and this happens onscreen.
- Silas' Disney Death involves having debris and Nemesis Prime's body dropped on top of him, ONSCREEN
- Knock Out getting caught between a subway car and tunnel wall counts too... and then he gets rammed by a train and pushed even further along the track later on. Needless to say, by the end of "Tunnel Vision", he looks like absolute crap.
- Fantastic Racism: After a fashion. Starscream calls Knock Out "one of those" and wonders how any self-respecting Decepticon could choose an automobile as an alt-mode.
- The Decepticons as a whole think very little of humans.
Bulkhead: We have a history.
- Megatron holds humanity in such contempt that he has yet to acquire an Earth-vehicle mode. Wolves, he reasons, should not hide amongst sheep.
- Unicron views humans as parasites. Although, to be fair, we kinda are. We do live on the filth that accumulated on his body while he slept, after all.
- Fascinating Eyebrow: Optimus' response to Miko and Raf's Acting Unnatural.
- Fastball Special: Bulkhead and Arcee in "Metal Attraction".
- Fish Eyes: Megatron
- Five Episode Pilot: The series premiered with two episodes back-to-back as a preview, then the whole pilot over the course of the next week.
- Five-Bad Band:
- Big Bad: Megatron
- The Dragon: Normally Starscream. Following his defection in "Partners", the role seems to rotate among Soundwave, Knock Out, and Airachnid, depending on Megatron's mood. As of the start of Season 2, Soundwave takes this place but in "Crossfire," Dreadwing is promoted to second-in-command.
- Evil Genius: Soundwave (espionage) and Knock Out (medic and tech advisor).
- The Brute: Breakdown. But not anymore.
- Skyquake had a very brief tenure as one before he died.
- Hardshell has now taken this role.
- Dark Chick: Airachnid, since she pretty much joins the main 'Cons at the end of "Metal Attraction". She's gone rogue as of "Crossfire".
- Makeshift was one as well before his death.
- Sixth Ranger: Orion Pax, AKA amnesiac Optimus Prime Only lasts a few episodes, though.
- Dreadwing seems to be here to stay. And damned if he doesn't get promoted fast...
- Five-Man Band
- Forced to Watch: Airachnid threatens to kill Tailgate in order to get Arcee to talk. Arcee doesn't actually have the information Airachnid's after. This leads to a Gory Discretion Shot.
- Foreshadowing: Dark Energon has been confirmed as the blood of Unicron in this series, and Megatron plunges a raw shard of it into his own spark in the second episode, after which he comments that he feels as if he can hear Unicron's thoughts.
- When Megatron has a hallucination of Unicron in "One Shall Fall", there seems to be a rush down through layers of earth just before we see Unicron; the next episode revealed Unicron was the Earth's core. So Megatron essentially has a mental journey to the centre of the Earth to reach him, which is what he does with the 'Bots two episodes later.
- A couple instances in "Darkness Rising", in relation to "One Shall Rise":
- Megatron claims to be able to hear Unicron's thoughts. He says the exact same thing 20 episodes later, in "One Shall Fall".
- Megatron also tells Optimus that he would make a "fine Decepticon", which is what happens at the end of the season (by the way, Orion Pax isn't a fighter, having to hide behind the Vehicons whenever anything happens, but is key in deciphering codes written in Iaconian code, having been an Iaconian archivist before becoming a Prime) .
- In "Operation Bumblebee, Part 1", we get a look at Project Chimera, whose shoulders and hands resemble that of Optimus Prime, we learn why 4 episodes later.
- In "Sick Mind," Megatron brings up "phase-displacement armour" when talking about why he can't kill Bumblebee. Bee actually gets a piece of said armour in "Tunnel Vision."
- Fragile Speedster: Arcee is one of the faster and more acrobatic members of the team, but she also can't take much damage.
- Starscream is a slightly tougher version of this for the 'Cons.
- In general, the bigger you are the more damage you can absorb. The smaller you are the faster you are.
- Freudian Trio: The three human kids are an excellent example of the Freudian kind:
- Jack: Ego. He's the most down-to-earth of the three kids and serves as the voice of reason. He's a perfect balance between Raf's intelligence and Miko's emotion.
- Miko: Id. The most impulsive and given to emotions.
- Raf: Superego. The most intelligent and tech-savvy, and the one most willing to pursue logical courses of action.
- Fun with Acronyms: The DNGS (Dynamic Nuclear Generation System), a.k.a. the Dingus. Presumably the case with the terrorist organization out to steal it, MECH.
- Subverted in one of the tie-in comics. When Ratchet builds a training area for the Autobots called the "Safe," Raf asks if the name's short of "Systems And Firing Evaluation." Ratchet says no, the name just means that it's a safe place to train, but he likes Raf's idea too.
- Funny Background Event: In "One Shall Fall", during Megatron's opening monologue, Knock Out is in the background checking his nails.
- Genki Girl: Miko. For bonus points, she's a Japanese exchange student living in Jasper.
- Genre Savvy: Megatron. When Dreadwing declares that he's going to kill Optimus, Megatron warns him that 'Cons who try that and aren't named Megatron tend to end up dead. He eventually relents and lets Dreadwing give it a shot... then hangs up the comm signal, turns to Soundwave, and notes that he'll be very surprised if they ever see Dreadwing again.
- Starscream as well. During "Triangulation", even though he's got the Apex Armor and has become basically unkillable, and thus his arrogance starts going through the roof, he retains enough awareness to realize that Optimus and Dreadwing have something planned to try and stop him. Too bad it didn't kick in until just a moment too late.
- Gentle Giant: Bulkhead.
- Give Me a Reason: Defied/Inversed in "Partners", Arcee doesn't need convincing to strike the finishing blow on Starscream, at least until Bumblebee shows up.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: Megatron, when the Dark Energon in his system really starts working.
- God Is Evil/God of Evil: Unicron. As Optimus puts it he is, metaphorically speaking, the parent of humanity and all life on Earth. He agrees with Optimus on this, and then Unicron declares his creations parasites unworthy of living.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Wheeljack has several scars on his cheek and lower lip, indicating his past as a Wrecker.
- Gory Discretion Shot: In "Predatory", there's energon splattering across the wall like blood due to Airachnid slashing open one of Arcee's allies in a flashback.
- In "Convoy," Arcee knocks a particularly unfortunate Mook off of one of MECH's cars. The actual impact is hidden behind the crashing car.
- G-Rated Drug: The synthetic energon in "Stronger, Faster" which, judging by its effects, is a clear stand-in for steroids.
- Great Offscreen War: There was apparently a fairly elaborate conflict between the two factions on Earth long ago, and considering Megatron's plans, Optimus correctly assumes he would test out Dark Energon on the site of an unexplained battlefield.
- Green Rocks: Dark Energon, which generally has similar properties within the show but is quite different to the stuff shown in War For Cybertron.
- Grievous Harm with a Body: Starscream blows off Arcee's arm in the prequel comic and proceeds to smack Cliffjumper around with it.
- Wheeljack chops off a Vehicon's arm and smacks another Vehicon with it.
- The Grovel: Starscream does this in "Rock Bottom" when he, well, hits rock bottom and Megatron is sick of putting up with him.
- Gun Kata: The second, Wing-Chung-y style shows up in "One Shall Fall", when Optimus Prime and Megatron have an epic duel at the foot of a Dark-Energon-spewing volcano.
- Harmful to Minors: Bulkhead tells Miko to look away before finishing off a Vehicon by ripping out its equivalent to a heart. She doesn't.
- Heroic Second Wind: Optimus gets one in "Darkness Rising, Part 4" after he gets dogpiled by Dark Energon zombies.
- In "Partners," Starscream nearly kills Arcee, but she gets back to her feet and kicks his ass.
- Hero-Killer: Several of the Decepticons. Starscream murders Cliffjumper, Airachnid killed Tailgate, Dreadwing blew up Seaspray, and Megatron is shown impaling an unnamed Autobot in a flashback.
- Hidden in Plain Sight: Seemingly taking a page from the IDW G1-inspired comic series, the Autobots are exceptionally careful about staying in their alternate mode and avoiding any attention. The Decepticons show a similar attitude, and while they're more willing to draw weapons, that also means they're more willing to kill human witnesses. It is such that the human kids are placed under Autobot protection because Optimus fears the kids will be mistaken for Autobot allies just for stumbling across a confrontation.
- Holding Hands: A platonic version occurs between Optimus and Arcee in "Scrapheap" where they are freezing to death in the Arctic and believe it was their end.
- Hollywood Tactics: Considering the Autobots are typically outnumbered they sure seem to like standing close together during a fire fight and out in the open.
- Hope Spot: Done to the villains when the Decepticons find out that Makeshift does indeed know the location of the base, it's cut short by the Decepticons finding a bomb on Makeshift, which promptly explodes, killing Makeshift and denying the incredibly important information to the Decepticons.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Played straight in Miko and Bulkhead's case, inverted with Jack and Arcee.
- Humiliation Conga: Pretty much the entirety of "Shadowzone" for Starscream. "Rock Bottom" didn't cut him any slack, either.
- Almost any episode he appears in after "Partners". The poor guy can't catch a break.
- Knock Out really goes through the wringer in "Tunnel Vision", and it doesn't get any better for him in "Triage".
- Hurricane of Puns: "Metal Attraction", regarding the situation Bulkhead and Arcee are in (stuck to each other via MacGuffin).
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: Soundwave to this to both Megatron and Starscream. Unusual is that while Megatron is competent in his own right, he is more of a broad schemer and uses brutal tactics while Soundwave takes care of the fine details. Starscream clearly knows it and is careful around him; Airachnid did not and learned a hard lesson.
- Hypocritical Humor:
- "Scrapheap" has two such instances in one scene. At the end of the episode, Miko freaks out over a tiny spider, when earlier she'd mildly made fun of Bulkhead for his fear of Scraplets. (The difference is Bulkhead has a genuine reason to be afraid of them: The little things are lethal.) Bulkhead also comments that she Screams Like a Little Girl, when he'd done the same thing earlier (and of course, Miko actually is a girl).
- In "Rock Bottom", when Bulkhead tells Starscream that he isn't going to beg for mercy, Starscream (who was doing exactly that with Megatron earlier) nervously comments that begging for mercy would be "quite pathetic".
- Happens again in "Partners", when Starscream accuses Airachnid of being a scavenger and an opportunist. Airachnid points out the hypocrisy of what he just said.
- I Have Your Mother: Jack's mother is kidnapped by MECH in "Crisscross" as a plot to get access to a Transformer.
- "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Raf does this to a Megatron-possessed Bumblebee who is attempting to use a shard of Dark Energon to heal the Decepticon leader in "Out Of His Head". It doesn't work.
- To drive the point home, Megatron's thoughts are revealed to the audience, saying that Bumblebee can't hear Raf anymore, just to show how total of a control Megs has over Bumblebee.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: A series of episodes in the second season that are four seperate stories about hunting Iacon relics occuring at the exact same time all begin with "T." "Tunnel Vision," "Triangulation," "Triage" and "Toxicity."
- If Only You Knew: When Starscream shows up and runs into Orion Pax who was told that Starscream was dead, this conversation happens...
'Starscream]: Megatron says many things, some of which are not true.
- I'm Dying, Please Take My MacGuffin: A premature version. Optimus gives Jack the Key to Vector Sigma As part of his contingency plan.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: How Starscream dispatches Cliffjumper.
- In "Nemesis Prime", the titular character guts the real Optimus. Fortunately, the wound was neither fatal nor enough to prevent Optimus from getting a Heroic Second Wind and opening a can of whoopass on Nemesis.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The Vehicons rarely manage a solid hit.
- Airachnid demonstrates very good aim when it comes to shooting webs, though not so much with her hand blasters.
- The Autobots would succumb to this whenever a named Decepticon shows up, although averted hard whenever it is Megatron, who is just that tough to withstand every single shot.
- In Harm's Way: Miko, full tilt. She's constantly sneaking onto the battlefield to watch the Autobots fight, and is almost killed every single time.
- In Medias Res: The Autobots have been on Earth for some time and have contacts with the human governments, and references are made to an initial Autobot/Decepticon conflict on Earth several years prior.
- In Memoriam: "Partners" was dedicated to the memory of Captain H.L. "Larry" Cullen, the brother of Peter Cullen who died four months before the episode aired. While Captain Cullen was never personally involved with the Transformers franchise, Peter has said he looked to mirror Larry in his performance. In short, the inspiration for Optimus Prime passed away.
- Info Dump: The explanation of Dark Energon in "Darkness Rising, Part 2" is very informative for people who haven't played Transformers: War for Cybertron; the Transformers Wiki pointed out that the Infodump was to the point that it sounded like Megatron and Starscream had never encountered it before, which they have. Of course, given the Broad Strokes relationship between this series and WFC, the exact properties of Dark Energon are also up to change.
- Ratchet takes almost an entire segment between commercial breaks to explain the history between Megatron and Optimus. It works, though.
- The Inner Reveal: In the episode "Crisscross", Jack does this with his mom twice. The first time doesn't work out so well. The second time she buys it, but she's also seen "Jack's motorcycle" duke it out with a giant mechanical spider-bot at that point.
- Instrumental Theme Tune: Courtesy of Mr. Tyler; no "More than meets the eye/Robots in disguise!" to be found here.
- Intergenerational Friendship: The Autobots (who lived for many, many years) and their human allies who range from pre-teens to teens.
- Ironic Echo: In "One Shall Fall", right before Megatron beats the scrap out of Optimus:
Megatron: How was it that you put it, Optimus? "I could not have allowed this to end otherwise"?
- Soundwave does this sometimes; repeating a voice clip of another character in a different context. For instance, Starscream mentions that he "Must bear witness" to Optimus Prime's defeat, before flying off. Soundwave repeats "Must bear witness" before sending his drone to follow Starscream.
- A non-verbal example in "Orion Pax, Part 3", in which A newly restored Optimus performs a Barehanded Blade Block on Megatron in the same manner Megatron did to him at the climax of "One Shall Fall".
- In "Stronger, Faster" Ratchet tells Megatron he is his Doctor of Doom. Later in "Orion Pax, Part 1", Megatron uses the same title for Ratchet when demonizing him to Orion Pax.
- Irony: In "Rock Bottom" Starscream was brought to the old energon mine to be executed by Megatron as a final humiliation for all his failures. Upon encountering the Autobots and causing a cave-in, Starscream barely makes it out while Megatron is trapped behind. Starscream begins gloating over the switch-up, but then realizes Megatron has survived worse and still commands far more loyalty among the Decepticons (who would seek to rescue him), and there's no place he could hide from Megatron's wrath. He rants in anger, realizing his best option is to re-enter the mine and rescue Megatron in order to "prove" his loyalty.
- It Got Worse: When the kids are attacked by one of Soundwave's Combat Tentacles, Miko goes at it with an axe. It knocks her down before she can land a hit, then grabs the axe. Subverted in that Soundwave doesn't kill them though.
- It Has Been an Honor: Arcee says this to Optimus when it seems like they're going to freeze to death in the Arctic.
- It's Personal: Arcee's rivalry with Airachnid. And, to a slightly lesser extent, Bulkhead's rivalry with Breakdown.
- Arcee and Starscream, after Arcee learns that Starscream is the 'Con who killed Cliffjumper.
- Wheeljack's rivalry with Dreadwing.
- Miko lists this as the reason why Fowler should go after Silas in "Nemesis Prime", referring to how Silas tried to kill Fowler earlier in the episode.
- Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Subverted in "Convoy". Fowler tries to get information out of a mook by holding him off the side of Optimus driving at highway speed. Then said mook gets hit by a tree branch and dies.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Agent Fowler, Ratchet, and now Wheeljack. Arguably, Breakdown is a villainous version.
- Journey to the Center of the Mind: Bumblebee enters Megatron's mind in order to find a cure for Optimus' disease.
- Kibbles and Bits: It's Transformers, so it's required. However, even the Transformers that explicitly don't have vehicle modes clearly have vehicle kibble, most likely to save money on character models.
- Killed Off for Real: Jeff Kline, a producer of the show, says "When we kill a character, we kill a character." This seems to have held true, and even taking the zombifications of Cliffjumper and Skyquake into consideration, it's not technically "them" anymore, they're just nigh-unstoppable mindless berserkers now.
- Many fans are worried that this trope will apply to even Optimus, since it has become almost tradition for the big guy to die in each continuity only to be quickly revived soon after.
- Killer Rabbit: Scraplets. Cute to organics, deadly pests to mechanisms, with a particular sweet tooth for Transformers.
- Kryptonite Factor: "Tox-En" is a dangerous form of energon which instead of powering a Cybertronian, shuts them down to the point of spark loss.
- Large and In Charge: Optimus and Megatron are a lot taller than their subordinates. Subverted with Bulkhead when Optimus appoints a temporary leader; Bulkhead never gets picked.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: When Optimus gives up the Matrix of Leadership to defeat Unicron, he subsequently loses all of his memories since he originally obtained the Matrix millenia ago, thinking him and Megatron to still be allies and not recognizing any of the Autobots.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Starscream, in "Operation Bumblebee, Part 2", makes fun of Bumblebee's inability to transform due to MECH stealing his T-Cog. After almost destroying it, guess what MECH does after Starscream returns to give the news of the destroyed T-Cog?
- Lasers Are Worthless: Hitting anything bigger or more relevant to the plot than a Vehicon with lasers might as well be hitting them with a beanbag.
- Last-Second Word Swap: "[Airachnid] is planning to retaliate against Mega- er, man...kind!"
- Lean and Mean: Starscream, Soundwave, and the Vehicons, the last of whom look like slimmed-down versions of the Decepticon soldiers from War for Cybertron.
- Lesser of Two Evils: Siding with Megatron against Unicron.
- Let's Get Dangerous: In the first season finale, when Airachnid makes a bid for leadership (not unlike Starscream) the Decepticon forces are almost ready to join her due to Megatron's absense and erratic behavior. The only person to oppose her is Soundwave, who up to this point has done almost zero fighting. Airachnid scoffs at him, only to be on the receiving end of a Curb Stomp Battle. The point was made... do not screw with Soundwave.
- Light Is Not Good: Megatron is primarily platinum in coloration.
- Limited Wardrobe: All of the human characters have the exact same outfit in every episode. Agent Fowler even pilots a jet and helicopter with the same shirt, suit and tie-at-half-mast combo, when he should probably be wearing a flightsuit.
- Fowler's case is explained in "Grill" as being upgrades to his jet from Ratchet. And a preference for being comfortable.
- Living Relic: All of the Transformers. Their civilization is old beyond reckoning and is now destroyed. While their technological capabilities are impressive, it is clear in many episodes that they only have SCRAPS knowledge compared to what once was.
- Load-Bearing Hero: Throughout most of "Rock Bottom", Bulkhead is holding up the ceiling of the cave to prevent it from collapsing on him and Miko. By the end of the episode, Starscream is forced to hold it up as they escape.
- Look on My Works Ye Mighty and Despair: The gigantic statue glorifying Megatron in the ruins of his former capital of Kaon oozes this.
- The Lost Lenore: Cliffjumper, and, to a lesser extent, Tailgate for Arcee. The other 'bots seem affected too, especially in "Darkness Rising, Part 5" when Arcee takes serious damage.
Ratchet: We lost one this week, by the Allspark, don't let it be two.
- Lost Superweapon: Related to Lost Technology above. There are quite a number of weapons that are far, far more effective than the standard Transformer armament hidden about.
- Lost Technology: Earth appears to be littered with Cybertronian technology (and a few Cybertronians), including at least two crashed starships. And yet humanity hasn't discovered any of it, despite some of it sitting out in the open. MECH is... working on it, however.
- Somewhat justified in that the crashed starships and battlefields are in isolated wilderness areas. Smaller tech (like the energon extractor) has been found, but it seems no one realized what it was.
- Lotus Eater Machine: During his coma, Megatron dreams of perpetual duels with Optimus that he always wins. He's tempted to stay, but Bumblebee convinces him that this is ultimately empty.
- Magic Skirt: Averted in "Speed Metal" when Jack drag races Vince down a long strip of road. The blast from their vehicles whips up a breeze that looks to blow Sierra and her friend's skirts up, but they immediately pull and hold their skirts into place as soon as they starts to billow.
- Magnetic Plot Device: In the first season, several episodes were dedicated to fighting over some Cybertronian artifacts that seemed to be randomly on Earth somehow. The second season clarifies that as the Cybertronian Civil War got worse, Autobot officials took a lot of culturally and technologically significant artifacts and scattered them into space to prevent Decepticon usage in case the Iacon Archives were compromised (and some artifacts were too dangerous/valuable for even Autobot use), providing a handy justification for a new MacGuffin every so often.
- Makes Us Even: Starscream name-checks this trope when he frees Arcee from Airachnid's webbing in "Crossfire".
- The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life: In the season 2 premiere, Jack is talking to Sierra at his job. She's obviously interested but never sees him around. As Jack tries to make an excuse, Arcee chooses this moment to broadcast her voice over the intercom so she can pick him up. She obviously thinks it's his girlfriend, an assumption which is not dissuaded by Arcee's holographic driver in skintight leather.
- Mecha-Mooks: The Vehicon drones, who function as generic footsoldiers for Megatron and Starscream. They're actually dangerous, though, as they captured Cliffjumper and give Bumblebee and Arcee a hard time.
- Mechanical Lifeforms: When properly introduced to the Autobots, Raf asks, "So, if you guys are robots, who made you?" Ratchet is insulted by the question. Optimus then explains that they are "autonomous robotic organisms from the planet Cybertron." It's shown later in the series that they have an approximation of the same nervous system and "vital components" that regular organic life has. They have limits to the amount of damage they can take, and even cold arctic weather can be dangerous.
- Further attention is brought to this when Arcee feels nauseous after coming into contact with Dark Energon.
Miko: Robots who get dizzy?
- Another interesting factor comes up when Arcee notes that just being robots doesn't mean they know all the details of how technology works, much like how humans may not know how their own body works:
Jack: You're a motorcycle, Arcee. Shouldn't you know how to build a motorcycle engine?
- Another factor is the description of T-Cogs (which control a Cybertronian's ability to transform into their alt-modes or access their built-in weapons) when Bumblebee's was stolen in "Operation Bumblebee". While mechanical in nature, T-Cogs are essentially biology, meaning they can't make one from spare parts any more than humans can replace a kidney with a chunk of beef (although transplants are an option). To anyone like MECH (who are making their own Cybertronian inspired robots) they're useless without a flow of Energon, as a result of being biology and not technology. This also means that Bumblebee and later Starscream essentially became victim to organ theft.
- Several episodes have described the use of biological weapons being used in the Cybertronian war. Cybonic Plague is a poisoned form of energon transmitted via interpersonal contact and Tox-En is a more carpet bomb type of bio-weapon.
- Merchandise-Driven: Played with, as the toys came out over a year after the premiere date because of the debacle a few years ago concerning on the delay of the Transformers Animated toy line because the movie line was still selling well. Even then, the toy line is fairly minimal as they are a subline of the greater "Robots in Disguise" line rather than being their own set (like the movies or Animated).
- Meteor Move: An Insecticon, under the influence of Airachnid, pulls a uniquely vicious variation of this move on Megatron. It slams the Megs into a cave wall and kicks him into the air, flying after him and bloodily ripping a chunk of his shoulder off with its mandibles in mid air, before raining a hail of laser fire after him as he crashes to the ground. This has the undesired effect of seriously ticking him off.
- Mind Rape: Optimus' time as a Criminal Amnesiac could count as this, given the way Megatron took advantage of him. When Megatron uses this to taunt him, it gets a little uncomfortable to watch.
- A more straightforward example is Bumblebee's brief Demonic Possession by Megatron.
- Mook Horror Show: The MECH Mooks fought by Bulkhead and Breakdown. Though when they break out the high-grade weaponry, things even out a little.
- A similar thing is done by Bumblebee, also against MECH.
- Moral Dissonance: See the Family-Unfriendly Violence entry for "Convoy".
- More Teeth Than the Osmond Family: Scraplets. Tiny little critters that actually look cute. But when they see living metal, they open their mouths and show their teeth, and you can hear a dentist's drill as they speed toward their target.
- Mugging the Monster: MECH thinks it's stealing the D.N.G.S. from "an unarmed civilian truck". The Autobots don't even need to transform to trash the MECH cars, and it takes Decepticon interference to reveal the Autobots to MECH.
- My Skull Runneth Over: Bulkhead, after getting the data cylinder's contents uploaded into his brain.
- Neck Lift: Megatron does this to Starscream in "Darkness Rising, Part 4".
- And that's after Megatron stopped beating him.
- Never Recycle Your Schemes: Double Subverted in "One Shall Fall". Megatron tries to rebuild the space bridge that was destroyed in the pilot, in order to use it to find more dark energon. However, it turns out that he didn't need to. There already is more dark energon on Earth.
- Never Say "Die": Averted throughout, particularly in the first five minutes of the show with Cliffjumper.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: In "Orion Pax, Part 3", a pair of Vehicons start beating up Orion Pax (who is starting to doubt Megatron's lies) when he protests against Megatron's plans. The beatdown causes Orion's arm cannons to appear -- the arm cannons Orion didn't know he had. He immediately kills the Vehicons and leaves to confront Megatron.
Orion Pax: I'm... armed?
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Humongous Mecha Zombies!
- No Flow in CGI: Subverted, due to the series being animated by a veteran CG animation studio. All of the human characters' hair looks somewhat like clay, but this is largely due to the art style and most likely intentional.
- No MacGuffin, No Winner: Silas tries this in "Convoy", but Optimus manages to save the DNGS.
- Done more successfully by Bulkhead with the energon harvester.
- In "T.M.I.", Megatron destroys the information capsule rather than let the Autobots take it.
- Subverted with the polarity gauntlet and the immobilizer staff.
- In "Toxicity" Bulkhead does it again with the Tox-En by throwing it in a volcano.
- No One Could Survive That: Optimus and Starscream both write Megatron off after the space bridge explodes with him at ground zero. It takes until the next episode for Megatron to show up again, alive... but not exactly well.
- In "Rock Bottom", Starscream initially writes Megatron off after the cave-in... but then almost immediately remembers that Megs has survived worse, and he decides that rescuing him would probably earn him some points.
- No Ontological Inertia: Averted; breaking the Immobilizer does not unfreeze Optimus and Bulkhead.
- Played straight when Unicron is defeated and all the natural disasters he was causing on Earth just stop.
- No Sense of Humor:
Jack: Uh, Optimus! You wanna see something funny?
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Optimus gives one to Megatron in "One Shall Fall".
- In "Orion Pax, Part 3", a couple of Vehicons start whaling on Orion when he protests Megatron's orders. This backfires spectacularly when Orion reflexively activates his arm cannons (which he didn't know he had thanks to being mentally regressed to a time before he was ever armed) to defend himself.
- Bulkhead delivers one to a Starscream clone, going so far as to actually beat him to death.
- Non-Action Guy: Ratchet doesn't see much fighting and usually stays at base as Mission Control. But when needed, he is still willing to go into battle, surgical blades and all.
- Soundwave tends to stay out of combat as well; for almost the entire first season, his only fight scene was when he attacked the kids with one of his tentacles in the pilot. In the season finale, however, he proved that when motivated, he's easily one of the more dangerous Decepticons.
- The Noseless: All of the robots seem to follow the aesthetic set forth by Animated, substituting noses with a small ridge on their helmets in the same approximate place. Optimus is perhaps the most notable example, as his ridge is so small as to be barely noticeable.
- Not Quite Dead: Megatron survived the space bridge exploding thanks to dark energon, which left him barely alive.
- Silas, after Nemesis Prime gets dropped on him. He's left on heavy life support, with the implication that they might need to upload his consciousness into Breakdown's body to save him.
- Off with His Head: Happens twice in "Crossfire":
- When MECH finds what's left of Breakdown, his head is lying well away from his body with an expression of terror on his face.
- Megatron decapitates Airachnid's Insecticon later in the episode.
- Offhand Backhand: Ratchet (while under the effects of the synthetic energon) pulls this off on a random Vehicon in "Stronger, Faster".
- Off-Model: The eyes of the robots mix the colored shapes that were used for most all prior incarnations and the pupils are the intricate "adjusting camera lens" look that the movies introduced. Depending on the episode certain characters pupils (most often Bumblebee and Starscream) vary between the camera lens look and being just filled with color.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The synthetic energon-powered Ratchet versus Breakdown fight in "Stronger, Faster".
- Oh Crap: When Cliffjumper is confronted with almost a dozen Vehicons in the first episode. "Arcee... about that backup..."
- Another example in "One Shall Rise, Part 3": Everyone when they realize that Optimus has amnesia and has switched sides.
- At the end of episode 3, Optimus and Ratchet have one when Megatron raises his army of Terrorcons.
- In Episode 4, the Autobots' reaction to Megatron's latest plan, which involves creating a space bridge to Cybertron and releasing dark energon to make an army out of thousands upon thousands of dead Autobots and Decepticons.
- Makeshift's reaction to realising that Bulkhead tricked him into blowing his cover in "Con Job".
- In "Sick Mind", this is everyone's reaction to the discovery that Megatron is Not Quite Dead. And it's also Megatron's reaction to discovering just what happened to him and what sort of state he's in.
- Also, in "Out Of His Head", everyone's reaction to Megatron's return. Especially Starscream.
- In "Shadowzone", Jack, Raf, and Miko have this reaction to learning that they're trapped in a parallel dimension with a Decepticon zombie.
- In "Orion Pax, Part 3," Megatron himself has this reaction when Orion Pax goes back to being Optimus Prime.
- A hilarious one from Miko and Raf in "Operation Bumblebee, Part 1" when they try to distract Bee with TV. What are the odds they'd see that car commercial, right then?
- Two consecutively in "Crossfire". One by Bulkhead when Dreadwing shows up with an army of Vehicons to assist Megatron, and right after that, Arcee when she realizes that she has fallen in Airachnid's trap.
- Silas gets two Oh Craps in quick succession in "Nemesis Prime". The first one when he realizes his fistfight with Agent Fowler has caused him to step away from Nemesis' control chair and given Optimus the time to recover and start kicking his copy's ass, from which Silas proves unable to counter even when he manages to get back into the control chair, causing him to visibly panic. The BIGGER one comes when Nemesis comes crashing through the ceiling of MECH's base... directly above Silas.
- Airachnid gets a few as well. Her first one comes when Jack blows up her ship... which Airachnid was standing on top of at the time.
- The second is during her fight with Soundwave, when she sees that Laserbeak isn't resting on his chest. Cue being shot in the back.
- The big one, though, comes in "Armada," when she realizes she's standing on a primed stasis pod. The pod activates before she can get away, freezing her in a permanent Oh Crap expression.
- One-Man Army: Bulkhead is second only to Prime in combat power, and he produces a fine showing of this in "Darkness Rising, Part 4", when he takes on a squad of Vehicons by himself with surprising grace, finesse and power. He's also the only Transformer that wasn't Optimus to hold his own against Megatron, while he's fully powered by his dark energon. A very impressive feat.
- Ditto for Wheeljack. It seems that for the Wreckers, this trope is par for the course.
- In "Orion Pax, Part 3", Megatron takes on Ratchet, Bumblebee, and Bulkhead at the same time, and wins.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Megatron is willing to let others kill Optimus, but only if he gives the order.
- And in an interesting variation, Miko apparently feels that Bulkhead is the only one allowed to defeat Breakdown.
- Arcee and Airachnid have this attitude towards each other, though Airachnid is a bit more... insistent about it.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Miko is supposed to be Japanese, but Tania Gunadi's Indonesian accent is still audible.
- Our Zombies Are Different: Adding Dark Energon to a Cybertronian's corpse results in a savage monster who kills everything in its path. They can be controlled by a living Cybertronian with Dark Energon in their system.
- Also counts as Non-Human Undead.
- Outrun the Cave In: Starscream fails this in "Rock Bottom", Big No and all.
- Palette Swap: In proud Transformers tradition. One of Arcee's old partners, Tailgate, is a recoloring of Cliffjumper in a white primary with red accents. They manage to hide it by showing sharp camera angles on him so it isn't so obvious.
- Dreadwing is a recoloring of Skyquake, justified because they are brothers (split from the same spark).
- Happens with the titular character of "Nemesis Prime."
- Papa Wolf: When Megatron nearly killed Raf, the normally calm Optimus decides that enough is enough and heads into battle to kill Megatron.
- Pardon My Klingon: Cybertronian-style swears such as "scrap" and "frag". Notably missing is "slag", which is an actual swear word over in England and the UK (but not America or Canada).
- Perpetual Frowner: Agent Fowler is constantly grumpy.
- Pietà Plagiarism: When Bumblebee carries an injured Arcee back through the GroundBridge at the end of "Darkness Rising, Part 5".
- Playing Both Sides: Starscream. Though, it's not what it sounds like. Starscream's just trying to survive and ends up trying to get help from the Autobots when he's injured and wrecking Megatron's plans when he can, but he's not above trying to convince Dreadwing to let him help fight against Optimus Prime, only to turn around and help Optimus take out some of the Vehicons, only to later exclaim to Dreadwing that he was forced to help Optimus.
- Playing Possum: Bumblebee does this in "Partners" to fool Airachnid into thinking she hit him with the Immobilizer.
- Plot Tailored to the Party: "Scrapheap". The base is swarmed with Scraplets, metal-eating termites. The only way to get them out of the base is through the GroundBridge. The only way to fix the GroundBridge is to repair the leak in the fuel line. The fuel line is where the scraplets swarm is located. Now if only there was someone in the base not made of metal who could go down there to fix the fuel line...
- It is lampshaded by Ratchet: "We're lucky it happened... on a Saturday."
- Plug N Play Technology: Averted. Raf tries to download Decepticon information onto a flash drive, but can't find a port for it. Miko has to take a picture of the screen on her cell phone.
- Police Are Useless: In "Deus ex Machina", the museum guard calls the police before he finds Miko and takes her into the security room for questioning during the night. At the end of the episode, morning comes and the police never arrive, when realistically, it should only have taken them a few minutes to get there. Fowler manages to get there before they do, and he was supposed to be on break at the time.
- POV Cam: The show is fond of showing the view of an Autobot, usually Bulkhead, while he's firing at Decepticons. Sometimes it's closer to an over-the-shoulder view, possibly in homage to Transformers: War for Cybertron.
- A literal one is used during Bumblebee's trip into Megatron's mind, which later proves to be more than just giving a reason why the others know of Bumblebee's adventures.
- Powered Armour: The Apex Armor, as seen in "Triangulation". Currently in Starscream's possession.
- Professor Guinea Pig: Ratchet in "Stronger, Faster". See below.
- Psycho Serum: The incomplete synthetic energon formula from "Stronger, Faster". Injecting it DOES make Ratchet much faster and stronger, but also makes him far more aggressive, angry, brutal, AND overconfident enough to try and take on Megatron alone. And the episode ends with Knock Out finding a sample, presumably so the Decepticons can now manufacture it themselves, and Megatron sees no problems with its side-effects...
- Punch Catch: Megatron grabs Ratchet's second synthetic Energon-powered punch, twists his arm, and punches a hole in Ratchet's gut with his free hand.
- Punch-Punch-Punch Uh-Oh
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis! : A rare quiet example: "All. Hail. Starscream."
- And in "Speed Metal", a much louder example: "IT. IS. LORD!!!!"
- Punctuated Pounding: Accompanies the above examples of And This Is For and leads into Punch-Punch-Punch Uh-Oh for the first one.
- Puny Humans: Used to insult Breakdown after he gets captured by MECH. Megatron refuses to send a rescue team, claiming that since Breakdown got captured by creatures smaller and weaker than him, he's not worth rescuing. Starscream also uses the trope name later to make Breakdown "forget" about the unauthorized rescue.
- Puppy Dog Eyes: Starscream, of all bots, does this a few times in "Partners".
- The Quiet One: Both Bumblebee and Soundwave. When Bumblebee does speak, his "voice" is a series of beeps and whirrs, but even then, he doesn't seem to carry on long conversations. Soundwave only "speaks" using recorded audio tracks of a recent conversation; that and his blank stare are meant to be unsettling.
- Ramp Jump: Optimus uses a glacier to get onto the Nemesis in "Out Of His Head".
- Readings Are Off the Scale: Invoked by Bulkhead when he finds the pod in "Scrapheap".
- Reality Subtext: "Decepticons! I have returned!"
- Recap Episode: S02E09 "Grill".
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Standard for Decepticons. Megatron tops this one, his stare alone is enough to frighten anyone at first glance.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Scraploads.
- Arcee and Optimus are the most clear-cut examples in the Autobot ranks. Arcee is brash and somewhat reckless while Optimus is generally The Stoic amongst the Autobots.
- Starscream and Soundwave fit this trope to a T. Starscream is a foul-tempered, narcissistic coward while Soundwave is cold, calculating, and utterly emotionless.
- Knock Out and Breakdown are another excellent example. Their color schemes are an inversion, however; Breakdown is dark blue while the more cultured Knock Out is red. Likewise, either one of them is red to Airachnid's blue.
- Starscream and Megatron.
- Megatron and Soundwave. Pretty much anyone and Soundwave, really.
- Even though the former is long dead and they never actually met in-show, twins Skyquake and Dreadwing seem to be a pair. Skyquake carries himself like a gladiator, takes absolutely no crap from Starscream, and is quick to attack the Autobots. Dreadwing has an noticeably cooler temperament than his brother and employs more sophisticated weapons and tactics.
- Miko is an obvious red to Jack and Raf's blue.
- The Reveal: In "One Shall Rise, Part 1": Unicron is Earth, the planet having been formed around his slumbering body.
- Revenge Before Reason: Arcee's obsession with defeating Airachnid to avenge Tailgate's murder. In "Partners", this also extends to Starscream for Cliffjumper's death, and she nearly crosses the line by killing him in cold blood, but snaps out of it in time.
- Fortunately, she seems to have learned her lesson; in "One Shall Fall", when Bumblebee is about to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Megatron for injuring Raf, she's the one who talks him down.
- In "Orion Pax, Part 2", when Bulkhead and Ratchet try to hide who they got their info from, they're surprised at how nonchalantly Arcee deduces it's Starscream, despite their fears that she would fly into an uncontrollable rage finding out that they actually accepted Starscream's help.
- Arcee seems to have backslid a bit by "Crossfire" when she breaks ranks and attempts to go after Airachnid on her own and would have gotten killed for it had Starscream not come to her aid.
- She shows enough restraint in "Armada" to let Airachnid get locked into stasis, though she admits that it was difficult to hold back.
- Fortunately, she seems to have learned her lesson; in "One Shall Fall", when Bumblebee is about to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Megatron for injuring Raf, she's the one who talks him down.
- Reverse the Polarity: How they blow up Megatron's space bridge; reversing the power flow causes it to overload, destroying the whole thing. Although there is an attempt at justification, as energon is naturally volatile and what they do seems to be something like crossing positive/negative currents.
- Robo-Family: Not exactly mentioned in the show itself, but there are a few examples:
- Unicron and Primus are twin brothers.
- The Thirteen Original Primes left behind a few descendants. Prima's lineage is recognised by those who possess a "Primian polarity", among whom Optimus is included. And Amalgamous Prime is ancestor to the "shifter" breed, which includes Makeshift.
- One that actually is mentioned in-series, and is plot-relevant at the same time, are Skyquake and Dreadwing. Dreadwing is Skyquake's twin brother, come to avenge his death.
- Running Gag: "I needed that!!", said by Ratchet in regards to whenever anyone damages something he needs.
- 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.
- Breakdown is a rare villainous example. His death at Airachnid's claws shows she's playing for keeps about deserting.
- Save the Villain: Subverted in "Rock Bottom". They're not willing to kill the bad guys in cold blood, but aren't going to bother rescuing them, either.
- Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Jack and Miko.
- Say My Name: See Skyward Scream.
- 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 their pain, it's actually him screaming as his kills the clone. ("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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: A lot of combat shots, if they aren't in slow-motion, tend to be of this sort.
- 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.
- Serious Business: Ratchet and the science fair projects.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Bulkhead breathes this trope when he becomes a walking encyclopedia in "T.M.I.".
- 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.
- Ship Sinking: An nasty example in "Crossfire", in which Breakdown, who admitted to having a crush on Airachnid, doesn't let that stop him from trying to kill her on Megatron's command. Nor does it save him from being brutally murdered by her. Ouchies.
- 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 Robosexual Casanova. Also, there was his heartfelt confession to Arcee that she was his first...bike."
Ratchet: The gauntlet may be our best solution for your current... attraction.
- "Convoy" has a few sweet moments between Jack and Miko. She even holds his arm and, well, he tried to sweetly say goodbye.
- 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 finally defeated.
- 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.
- Short Run in Peru: Canada aired episodes 21 to 23 several weeks before The Hub did, but then stopped until the two stations were roughly in sync in terms of episodes. Singapore, however, aired the three-part season finale several days before North America did.
- Shout-Out: As is tradition for Transformers, we have a ton of Shout Outs to other continuities, way too many to list here (check the Trivia page).
- 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.
- 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.
- Simultaneous Arcs: "Tunnel Vision", "Triangulation", "Triage" and "Toxicity" all take place at the same time.
- 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.
- 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."
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 had never seen Optimus laugh, cry or lose his cool in all the time he has known him. However, Optimus is certainly warmer and allows a few rare smiles once in a while.
- Stop Helping Me!: Bulkhead is wrestling a Vehicon with Miko too close for comfort. She tries to "help" when Bulkhead has the 'con pinned to the ground by dropping a big rock (for her) on its head. It understandably doesn't do anything, and Bulkhead takes a moment to get her out of harm's way before he makes the finishing blow.
- Strike Me Down with All of Your Hatred: Megatron tries this on Jack during "Rock Bottom". It doesn't work.
- Stylistic Suck: This Mockumentary-based "Making Of" feature. "Are... we going to get PAID for this?"
- Suspiciously Similar Song: The score isn't done by the films' Steve Jablonsky, but is clearly meant to emulate it (as well as some elements of Hans Zimmer's and James Newton Howards' scores for the new Batman films).
- 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 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".
- This happens virtually every time Megatron and Optimus have a one-on-one fight.
- Symbolic Blood: Much like in the movies, the robots tend to bleed a blue fluid that appears to be energon.
- Take That: In episode 3, Starscream actually says "Humans... always the weak link." Miko herself seems to be a Take That, as she's got all the traits of most hated human tagalongs that have infuriated fans over the years, and she irritates the in-universe characters just as much.
- 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 (except Starscream) 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.
- Tempting Fate:
- "Do I ever need backup?"—Yes, Cliffjumper, you do this time around.
- "Time to jet, because I can!"—Starscream mocks Bumblebee over his 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.
- Ten-Minute Retirement: C'mon, did you really think Jack would stay away after leaving at the end of only the fourth episode?
- Terrible Artist: Miko, judging by her sketch of Arcee.
- They Call Me Mister 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.
- 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: In "Sick Mind":
Arcee: Spiking hard... his sick mind is still at work.
- Too Dumb to Live: No matter how many times Miko almost dies, she jumps right back into harm's way. This is not unlike some real-life adrenaline junkies.
- 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.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Ratchet in "Stronger, Faster", courtesy of some Psycho Serum. It doesn't last.
- Trainstopping: Optimus in "Convoy".
- Trash Talk: It wouldn't be Transformers without it.
- While fighting over a MacGuffin, this little exchange occurs:
Knock Out: Come to papa!
Bulkhead: Run to mommy!
Breakdown: Say Uncle! Say it!
Ratchet: It's all right, I'm an emergency vehicle!
- Two Guys and a Girl: Jack, Raf, and Miko.
- Ultimate Universe
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Victory-Guided Amnesia: On Optimus.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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..." Of course, Peter Cullen's voice has only become more dignified as he's aged.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Cliffjumper, Skyquake, Makeshift.
- 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.
- Wham! Episode: "Partners" It ends with Starscream becoming a neutral party.
- "One Shall Fall" Dark Energon is on Earth.
- "One Shall Rise, Part 1" Earth is Unicron.
- "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.
- "Crossfire" The Decepticons' ranks are comletely reshuffled following Airachnid's desertion and her murder of Breakdown, as well as Dreadwing's promotion to second in command, in his second episode, no less. Also, Airachnid now has an ARMY of Insecticons at her disposal, and MECH has spare parts for Project Chimera in the form of Breakdown's remains.
- Wham! Line:
- In "One Shall Fall", when Optimus finds out Megatron is responsible for Raf being deathly sick, he utters this line after he's on 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.
- Optimus again, in "One Shall Rise, Part 3":
Optimus: Where are we, Megatronus?
Optimus: Megatron, be gone! *beats the crap out of Megatron*
Knock Out: No! Not the finish! Anything but the finish! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!
- Though, it is pretty heinous when you remember that the finish is his skin!
- Which means Starscream is essentially giving him a cut. A scratch really, not even anything deep enough to draw blood/energon.
- Though, it is pretty heinous when you remember that the finish is his skin!
- What Have You Done for Me Lately?: Spoken word for word by Starscream as his motivation for switching sides in "Partners".
- What Measure Is a Mook?: Where to begin...
- Even human Mooks aren't safe from this.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Jack's given Bulkhead and Miko this treatment thus far.
Bulkhead: Location scan was incomplete. Oh well.
- Bulkhead gets this treatment from Jack again in "Speed Metal" when local bully Vince is taken hostage by Knock Out.
Bulkhead: Oh, well.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- What Were You Thinking?: Jack asks this of Miko. Repeatedly.
- Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: When an exhausted Megatron is at the mercy of Optimus, the latter aims his ion cannon and prepares to fire with 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- Would Hurt a Child: The Decepticons certainly have no problem in endangering any of the children. Megatron nearly kills Raf in "One Shall Fall".
- Averted to a degree by Soundwave. During the opening miniseries, and later on in the series he encounters the children, but only uses as much force as he needs to to accomplish his objective, even when Miko unintentionally hands him an axe. Being Soundwave his motives for this are unclear.
- 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.
- Wrecked Weapon: Both times Optimus fought Megatron one-on-one ended in his arm-blade getting broken off.
- 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.
- You Owe Me: Starscream does this to Breakdown after leading an unsanctioned mission to rescue him.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- Your Size May Vary: The approximate size of the characters' vehicle vs. robot forms is subject to interpretation, which is nothing unusual in Transformers media. Arcee stands out the most, and while Bulkhead is about the same size as he was in Animated, his vehicle form was downgraded from an (extremely large) armored SWAT transport into a (moderately large) SUV. Optimus and Bumblebee seem to be about the appropriate sizes. On the villains' side Megatron doesn't have an Earth-based alternate mode, but if Starscream is an approximation of a real F-16, his robot mode would be extremely small. (He's not much taller than Bulkhead.)
- An egregious example of this is Skyquake, being based on the Lockheed Martin F-35. If you thought Starscream's transformation was disproportionate (which, taking real-world measurements into account, isn't that far off), Skyquake is a freaking giant, easily towering over the kids in "Shadowzone" and almost matching Optimus in height in "Masters and Students", while his real-world alt form, the F-35, is a mere two feet longer than the F-16. There's a reason why his toy is a Voyager-Class, alongside Optimus, Bulkhead, and Starscream.
- Zerg Rush: Unicron can make many, 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 plan with Dark Energon.