“Action first Gears, maintenance later!”
Humans have struck gold at a mine! Unfortunately for them, the Deceptions want their gold! They are attacked by the Seekers and Soundwave, who dispatches Laserbeak and Ravage to capture the humans. One human manages to escape and calls for help over the radio. Starscream is about to stop him, but Megatron, who arrives after his troops have already done most of the work, advises him that the human calling for help is actually part of his plan.
The call for help is received by the Autobots, who set off to provide aid. When they arrive at the mine, they sneak up on the Decepticons, who have the humans imprisoned. Their quiet arrival allows Optimus Prime to get a powerful shot in on Megatron and Starscream, which sends them both flying! The Autobots appear to have the upper hand, and then Megatron blasts the cage housing the captured humans, who run for it. Prime orders his troops to hold their fire to avoid harming the humans, which Megatron uses as an opportunity to knock the Autobots off balance with energised boulders. As the Autobots are sprawling, Megatron has his Decepticons bring Autobot Gears to him. The Autobots free themselves from the boulders just in time to see the Decepticons flying off with Gears!
“Behold my creation, the Solar Needle!”
As the scene shifts to a wooded area where the Decepticons are located with Megatron’s new Solar Needle, Megatron explains to Gears that he will help him harness the power of the sun. Naturally Gears declines, so Starscream uses a blast from his null-ray to temporarily freeze gears long enough for Megatron to remove one of his circuits.
It turns out that the Decepticons had run a secret scan of all of the Autobots which had revealed that Gears had the circuit needed to complete the Solar Needle. That same circuit was also responsible for modulating Gears’s personality, so removing it changes him from a grumpy bot to a good natured one. As Megatron adds Gears’s circuit to the Solar Needle, it comes to life in an explosively powerful eruption of energy.
“Megatron is behind this, I’d bet my titanium torsion bars on it!”
Meanwhile, at Autobot base, the Autobots are coming up with a plan to save Gears, when violent tremors rock the area. They see a beam travelling from the ground to the sun, causing solar flares. Prime makes the correct assumption that Megatron is behind this.
Back at the Solar Needle, the Decepticons are putting the now happy-go-lucky Gears to work collecting energon cubes from the energy that the Solar Needle is taking from the sun.
The Autobots meanwhile have analysed the solar activity and learned that if it continues, the sun will explode in less than two earth hours! They have also tracked the location of this activity and head off to stop it.
“No problem Starscream, I love being a slave……or do I?”
The Autobots trek through African jungle on their way to find the Decepticons, while Gears is still being exploited to fill energon cubes. Gears starts to question how he is being used and reflects on his missing circuit, which is housed in the Solar Needle.
On arriving at the Solar Needle, the Autobots try blasting it, only to find that it has a reflective energy shield that turns their blasts back at them. Optimus realises that the only way to stop the needle is to block the hole through which the suns energy enters it. Impulsively, Cliffjumper heads off to take action and gets caught in one of the Solar Needles energy beams, which disables its energy shield.
Megatron deploys his Decepticons to tactical locations to protect the Solar Needle from the impending Autobot attack. Cliffjumper re-joins the Autobots, who are on the move, just as gears is trying to retrieve his missing circuit. Starscream intercepts him and is about to destroy him, but Bumblebee comes to the rescue just in time to save him.
Prime meanwhile is battling Megatron on the Solar Needle, trying to make Megatron understand that if he doesn’t stop what he’s doing, the sun will explode. Megatron refuses to believe him, and throws him towards one of the Needle’s energy beams. Gears sees this and reacts just in time to blast the energy grid, shutting down the beam that Prime would have crashed into.
“How can I help you Megatron, you rotten hunk of scrap?”
Angry at Gears’s intervention, Megatron blasts him and then holds Optimus at gun point, threatening to destroy him if the Autobots don’t throw down their weapons. Optimus pleads with his warriors to destroy the Solar Needle, but they are unwilling to risk his life, and throw down their weapons.
Assuming Gears is still taking his orders due to his good nature, Megatron orders him to repair the Solar Needle, while he keeps his Fusion Cannon pointed at Optimus. Gears appears to comply, but at the last second, under request from Optimus, he blasts the Solar Needle. The energy released from the blast knocks everyone off their feet long enough to allow the Autobots to regroup and recommence their attack on the Decepticons. Gears joins the battle and takes care of Starscream.
Seeing that the Autobots have gained the momentum, Megatron’s troops desert him. Megatron is determined not to give in, but Optimus lands the final blow to send him on his way. In a last second rush to stop the Solar Needle before the sun explodes, Optimus makes a quick decision on which wire to pull to shut it down, and thankfully guesses right. Disaster is averted and Gears’s circuit is returned to him, restoring his grumpy personality!
Key Scenes, Plot Points and Characters:
Gears is given a lot of screen time in this episode, and much is made of the difference in his personality after having his circuit removed. Having had his grumpy personality restored, and going off on a tirade about how the destruction of the Solar Needle will affect him, it’s amusing to see even the patient Optimus Prime transform and drive away rather than continue to listen to Gears complaining at the end of the episode!
In key battles, we continue to see Prime and Megatron going one on one against each other, and there are some impactful scenes as the Autobots regain the momentum of the final battle when we see Ratchet and Wheeljack land decisive blows on their opponents.
A good episode, with some tense moments and some amusing moments. I score this episode 7 energon cubes out of 10.
This is not a stand-out episode, but it’s well done and it’s good to see a character like Gears get more screen time. This episode continues to show Megatron’s lust for power and energy and Optimus Prime’s willingness to always keep the greater good at the forefront of his thinking and decision making.