Episode Review: Transformers S01 Ep15 – “A Plague of Insecticons”

“They’re being attacked by gigantic robot insects!”

This episode opens on the island of Bali, where humans travelling though “Demon Swamp” are confronted by a strange new form of robot shaped like a giant insect. There are in fact three robots, who we will soon come to know as Bombshell, Kickback, and Shrapnel-the Insecticons. As it turns out, they were never interested in the humans, only the boats they were travelling on-they consume them and turn them to energy. The Insecticons learn that there is a farm nearby. Excited by the prospect of the amount of energy they can get from the farm, they set off to find it.

At Autobot Headquarters, an S.O.S is received from Bali, specifically about these robot insects. Brawn, Windcharger, Bumblebee, and Spike set off aboard Skyfire to investigate, leaving Sparkplug behind to radio Optimus for backup.

“Then…the giant bugs aren’t bugs at all…..they’re Decepticons, like us……”

The Autobots were unaware that they were being spied upon at their headquarters by Laserbeak! Laserbeak reports back to Megatron about these giant robot insects, and Megatron takes Soundwave and Thundercracker to investigate.

Soundwave dispatches Ravage, who finds a crashed Decepticon escape pod, which Megatron surmises was launched over 4 million years ago. Thundercracker explains that the occupants of the escape pod were adapted for life on Earth by their idento-computers by turning them into Insecticons. While this is happening, the Insecticons have made it to the farm and attack-consuming everything in their path!

Meanwhile, Optimus Prime, Ironhide, Sunstreaker, Sideswipe, Wheeljack and Trailbreaker are on their way to meet the other Autobots. They are diverted on their way by a village celebration, so decide to tunnel under the villagers to keep their journey underway.

“Run! There are monsters in the fields!”

Back at the farm, the Insecticons are creating carnage by their feeding behaviours! Skyfire and co arrive on scene and are immediately attacked by the Insecticons. Bombshell and Shrapnel combine to use raw materials from damaged farm equipment to create Insecticon clones-creating a plague of Insecticons to outnumber the Autobots!

The Autobots have no choice but to run, as Optimus and his team are still tunneling away to get to their destination. To make matters worse, Skyfire sustains damage which leaves him unable to transform, and then Megatron arrives on scene!

After a quick bit of mutual bonding, Megatron and the Insecticons decide to team up to finish the Autobots, but Optimus and his car-based colleagues arrive just in time. They open fire, but the Decepticons and Insecticons take to the air in pursuit of an oil refinery to power them all up.

“I’ll keep an eye on the Decepticons from sky side.”

Wheeljack repairs Skyfire, which allows him to take off and follow the Decepticons, while Prime and the rest of the team follow on ground. Soundwave pics up that Skyfire is tailing them, so Megatron sends the Insecticons to take care of him. The ground based Autobots spot that Skyfire is in danger and Wheeljack intervenes with a barrage of missiles to fend off the Insecticons. Meanwhile, Megatron and the rest of the Decepticons have found their oil refinery and have begun production of energon cubes.

It seems that Wheeljack’s missiles didn’t scare the Insecticons for long, as they resume pursuit of the Autobots and use their special powers to control Sideswipe and Sunstreaker. They try to cause a collision between the Autobots, but Trailbreaker manages to use his forcefield to disrupt the override waves and return control of Sideswipe and Sunstreaker to them. The thwarted Insecticons then decide to re-join Megatron at the refinery.

“….I’m sure fighting Autobots has given you an appetite”

Megatron encourages the Insecticons to drink their fill of oil, which spills some of it into the sea as they drink it. Skyfire arrives at the refinery and begins attacking, he’s quickly followed by the rest of the Autobots, who join in the battle. Shrapnel forces Prime, Wheeljack, and Brawn into the oil-laden sea. Thundercracker tries to set fire to them, he is successful, but the fire he creates spreads to the nearby oil tanker. Prime orders Ironhide to intervene and he manages to stop the flames before they reach the refinery.

It seems that the Insecticons skills have no end, as they are able to use storm clouds overhead to create and control lightening, which Bombshell is able to redirect at the Autobots. Spike, wisely remembers that rubber insulates against lightening, so he instructs the Autobots to transform so that they are protected by their tyres. The Autobots are able to fight back, and Megatron-sensing he’s lost the advantage-sets fire to the oil tanker again, sending it back towards the refinery. Prime jumps to the rescue, and Trailbreaker uses his forcefield to cut off the Insecticons control of their clones.

Prime subdues Megatron by tossing the oil tanker at him, and the Insecticons wonder if they chose the wrong allies. They consume Megatron’s energon cubes and decide to look out for themselves for the time being. Megatron, annoyed at being betrayed, flies after them in pursuit of vengeance!

The episode concludes with the Autobots discussing that the Insecticons and Decepticons are likely to become allies once more due to them having the same engineering, followed by some celebratory banter between Spike and the Autobots.

Key Scenes, Plot Points and Characters:

The standout scene in this episode was Optimus Prime rising out of the sea, huge oil tanker in hand, and throwing it at Megatron. Prime is such a kind, noble being, who only resorts to fighting when he has to, that sometimes it’s easy to forget how powerful he really is. This scene was a fantastic illustration of that power. Of course, the main purpose of this episode was to introduce us to the Insecticons and they do get a lot of screen-time!

The Verdict:

A good episode. It stands out for its introduction of the Insecticons, and I like how their existence on Earth and the forms they have taken are well explained and provide a connection to Cybertron’s past. I score this episode 9 energon cubes out of 10.

Afterthoughts:

This is a more exciting episode than I have previously given it credit for. There are so many good episodes of Transformers that it’s easy for less iconic episodes that are still very good to get lost in the mix. This one has some fantastic scenes in the final battle at the oil refinery, which could easily be turned into iconic posters if someone was so inclined, and there are lots of very varied battles throughout the episode.

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About Steve Shreeve 35 Articles
Steve Shreeve is a busy Personal Trainer who loves to write. As well as his love for health and fitness, Steve has many interests including Transformers, Star Trek, basketball, conservation of plants and animals and is a keen supporter of The Shark Trust and The Woodland Trust.