“No Decepticreeps, but there is something weird in there….”
SOS Dinobots opens with the Autobots deliberating over the cause of tremors that they are feeling. They discover that the tremors are strongest behind a wall of rock at their headquarters, which they open up and find a cavern laden with dinosaur fossils. This intrigues the Autobots, and Prime suggests that Spike continues to educate them about dinosaurs.
The scene shifts to a water powered plant at the Great Falls, where soundwave and reflector are gathering data. They fly back to Megatron to give him their report.
“That one’s a walking fang factory!”
Spike takes the Autobots to a museum to lean more about dinosaurs. Hound is able to create a hologram depicting dinosaurs, and they marvel at their power. The Autobots discuss how useful dinosaurs could be in the fight against the Decepticons, so Wheeljack and Ratchet are given permission by Optimus Prime to attempt to build some.
Meanwhile, the Decepticons plan to attack the waterfall power plant that Soundwave and Reflector gathered data on, so they can use it as an energy source.
“Autobots, meet Dinobots”
Wheeljack and Ratchet introduce Grimlock, Slag, and Sludge (the Dinobots) to the Autobots. The Dinobots demonstrate their abilities to the Autobots and we learn that they have simple brains, just like real dinosaurs. Just as Wheeljack is explaining that they are working on improving this, the Dinobots go haywire and start rampaging inside Autobot Headquarters, causing chaos and damaging Teletraan-1.
The Dinobots cause so much damage that Optimus decrees that they must be destroyed, however Wheeljack manages to shut them down with his Magnetic Inducer. Optimus Prime tells Wheeljack that the Dinobots are too dangerous to be activated again, and the Autobots seal them in the previously revealed cave.
“We need help in a big way.”
The Decepticons attack the power plant, and the humans try to contact the Autobots for help. As Teletraan-1 is damaged, the request for help doesn’t get through. Due to Teletraan-1 being out of action, Spike and Hound are out on patrol looking for potential Decepticon activity, and they discover them at the plant. Hound reports back to Optimus Prime, who takes a team to intervene. Bumblebee is ordered to to guard headquarters while Wheeljack works on….something.
Upon arriving at the plant, the Decepticons surround the Autobots and attack. Megatron and Rumble combine to shake and blast the mountain the Autobots are on on, which sends them into the great falls. Bumblebee, disobeying orders arrives on scene to pick up Spike and take him back to base.
“We do as told….for now!”
Upon returning to base with Spike, Bumblebee meets with Wheeljack and Ratchet. They lament that they do not have enough Autobots to rescue Prime and the others, but Wheeljack reveals what he has been working on. He has created upgrades to add to the Dinobots brains, which will make them more intelligent and easier to control. Despite Optimus Prime’s order that the Dinobots should never be re-activated, they decide to give the Dinobots their upgrades and send them to save Prime and the others.
The scene shifts back to the plant, where the Decepticons have removed the Autobots from the great falls and tied them up in energon chains ready for execution. Just as they are about to fire, the Dinobots arrive with Wheeljack and attack. The Decepticons try to fight back but the Dinobots power and abilities prove to be formidable. In the meantime, Wheeljack finds the Autobots weapons and is able to use them to free and recharge his friends. The Decepticons give in to the Dinobots attacks and flee.
“The Dinobots shall remain among us!”
After the Decepticons flee, Bumblebee awaits punishment from Optimus Prime for disobeying orders, but Prime decrees that no reprimand will be issued for him and Wheeljack, and explains that the Dinobots have proven their value and will remain among them.
Key Scenes, Plot Points and Characters:
On a couple of occasions, the animators seem to be unsure whether to give Grimlock a toy accurate head, or a different animated version. In time, they do settle on the more simplified animated version, but in this episode they switch between the two a couple of times when Grimlock is showing his laser/flame breath. As well as the Dinobots being introduced in this epidode, Wheeljack has a number of good moments as he shows his prowess as an inventor and on more than one occasion uses his shoulder mounted cannon to good effect, even taking on Megatron himself!
The Dinobots become much loved characters, so it’s great to see how they get introduced to the animated Transformers universe. The animation is a bit up and down in this episode, with some lovely looking scenes mixed in with some inconsistencies and errors. The Dinobot origin story more than makes up for this though. I score this episode 8 energon cubes out of 10.
The main thing that stands out for me in this episode is how many fun and exciting things are in it: Kids love robots. Kids love cars. Kids love robots that change into cars. Kids love dinosaurs. Kids love robots that turn into dinosaurs! Obviously, I use the term “kids” loosely as these are still things that many of us all love as adults!
Even as I saw the Autobots discover the cave with the dinosaur fossils in it, I felt a wave of excitement within. Although these fossils were animated, I think the exciting thing about fossils is that they force you to use your imagination to try to work out what the ancient creatures would have looked and behaved like. The Dinobots are a stroke of genius in that they combine these variety of things that excite all of us from a young age and give something tangible and fun for our imaginations to enjoy.
If you’re already familiar with what lies ahead in season 2 of The Transformers, you may also be interested in an older article I wrote involving the Dinobots, but if you’re not, then be warned, this article will contain spoilers: G1 Cartoon Plot Holes That Need to Be Fixed Part 2-Why Didn’t the Dinobots Have To Go to Vector Sigma? – Auto Assembly