The first episode of Transformers Prime Darkness Rising, Part One début on The Hub on the 26th November 2010. The episode was the first of a five part mini-series to introduce the characters and universe to viewers.
Transformers Prime is set in an alternative universe to every other Transformers series that has come before and is a universe where the Transformers have already been on Earth with the Decepticons being quiet for the last three years and the Autobots are now based out of Jasper, Nevada..
The episode begins with Cliffjumper, voiced by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Arcee on Earth looking for Energon. The first scene includes the following opening exchange of dialogue.
Cliffjump - So there I am on the lookout, when outta nowhere these highbeams light up my rear view .. and then it hits me ... I'm illegally parked!
Arcee - Another parking ticket?
Cliffjumper - Better! The boot!
Arcee - Big metal tyre clamp, impossible to remove.
Cliffjumper - Bingo! So the local police do their thing and I let them get all the way down the block, that's when I kick off my new shinying shoe and .. BANG!
Arcee - New York's finest soil themselves.
Cliffjumper - You know me Arcee, haha, mess with Cliffjumper
Arcee - And you get the horns.
Cliffjumper - hahahahaha
Suddenly Cliffjumper picked up a signal of Energon and goes off to investigate. Arcee asks if he needs backup to which the cocky bot declines. As Cliffjumper arrives as the Energon location he stumbles across the Decepticons and becomes under attack. Radioing Arcee for backup Cliffjumper takes on the Eradicons (Decepticon drones) while Arcee radios Optimus Prime who performs a roll-call on the Autobots Bumblebee, Bulkhead, Ratchet and Arcee to get back to base and then "ground bridge", explained in episode 2, but basically a localised SpaceBridge that works by transporting the Autobots between locations on one planet rather than between locations in space, to Cliffjumpers location. Unfortunately they are too late, Cliffjumper has been caught by the Decepticons though not before destroying the Energon.
The Eradicons take Cliff, as his name is often shortened to, to their commander ... Starscream. After a short exchange of words Starscream thrusts his fingers into the already damaged body of Cliffjumper extinguishing his Spark. At the time the Autobots ground-bridge to Cliffjumpers last location and discover one of his horns laying on the ground. Realising that he has been taken by the Decepticons they lock onto his life signal in the hope to locate their missing comrade only to watch as the signal fades, indicating that he has indeed gone "offline". Its also revealed that the Decepticons are scouting for Energon to prepare for "his" return and that they have remained undercover for the last three years.
Meanwhile back on the Decepticons ship, Soundwave plays back a recording of the conversation between Arcee and Cliffjumper which tells the Decepticons that there are more Autobots remaining on Earth. Starscream decides why kill just one Autobot and so the Decepticons start looking for the other Autobots.
On Earth Optimus Prime reveals that there are now only five Autobots left behind on Earth and that they will protected the Humans. Arcee takes Cliffs passing hard and leaves the group to "protect the Humans" whilst Ratchet warns Prime that by protecting the Humans they risk more loss.
The scene shifts to the drive-in "Big Burger" where fed up Jackson Darby is working. Jackson is clearly not happy and upon leaving the store he spots Arcee, who is parked in motorcycle mode near by and, having wanted a motorcycle for sometime, he wanders over and starts talking to the bike. Arcee parked as she was being followed by two Eradicons and wanted to loose them. The Decepticons close in but Jackson sits on the bike whilst two girls turn up and tease him for talking to it. The Decepticons decide to attack which causes Arcee to drive of with a shocked Jack Darby still sat on her. Arcee attempts to loose the Decepticons after dropping of Jackson but one of the Eradicons follows him, so she has no choice but to follow suit, collecting Jackson and racing away whilst being under attack from the Decepticons. As the action heads to the freeway, Bumblebee turns up to help but the chase takes them off road where a young boy, Rafael Esquivel is playing with a remote control Camero. Jackson and Arcee come jumping past the stunned boy but it is not long before the Decepticons turn up, transforming in front of the humans. Forced to defend herself, Arcee also transforms infront of the humans and tries to take on the pair of Eradicons. The battle does not go her way and it is only after Bumblebee turns up and reveals himself that the Autobots managed to fight off the Decepticons, after a distraction from the humans. Bumblebee, being based on the Movie version, can not speak and only beebs but Raf can understand what he is saying. The humans flee as the battle ends with Bulkhead turning up and the Decepticons turning away.
The scene shifts back to the Autobot base and Arcee and Bumblebee reveal that two Humans saw them. Optimus Prime tells the Autobots that if the Decepticons saw them with the Humans that they will become perceived as collaborating and thus will be tracked down by the Decepticons.
The scene shifts once again to the high school that Jackson attends and a scene begins with him walking past the third lead human character Miko Nakadai who is sketching (badly) Arcee who is once again parked nearby in bike mode. Jackson notices that Raf is near and so walks over to him telling the younger boy to keep what they saw a secret. At that point Bumblebee turns up telling the humans to go with them. Raf gets in the car but not before telling Jacksons that his "ride" is over there, pointing to Arcee. Jackson takes off trying to hide but Arcee catches up and tells Jackson to come with her. Before he can reply Miko sticks her head around the corner and urges the teenage boy to "go with". Having now seen the Autobot's, Arcee is forced to take the exchange student, along with Jackson, and head after Bumblebee back to the Autobot base. Once arriving at the Autobot base Optimus Prime introduced each of the Autobots to the three Humans and gives them a brief history of the Transformers, the war that rages on Cybertron and the Decepticons.
The episode closes with the Deceptcons. Soundwave reports to Starscream that he has picked up transmissions from deep space. Starscream activates the Space-Bridge and Megatron materialise announcing his return.
Overall its an interesting start to the series. Cliffjumper's guest appearance is short-lived which is a shame as he appears as one of the stand out characters of the show. Arcee is given plenty of screen time which, as a new main cast character, is good and the ending certainly keeps you wanting to see more. The CGI is an improvement on Beast Wars and its good to see that the backgrounds were not as plain as the initial test footage but they are still behind where they should be, especially considering the budget that the show must have had.
The humans are all fairly interesting, Raf will probably annoy older fans as the show goes on as will Bumblebee's lack of actual speaking, but it was popular in the live action movies which is why Hasbro decided to go down this route.
The main Decepticons don't get much time to shine in this episode, with Starscream having the most focus. So far he seems more loyal than previous incarnations but time will tell.