In space, scientists Gregory Swofford and Jessica Morgan are testing out some new heat-resistant alloys on their ship, the Solaris. They report to Mark Morgan that the alloy is working as expected, so he tells them to come home so they can celebrate. But Jessica tells her father now to celebrate yet, as they need to test the alloy closer to the sun. But they then see something on a monitor: another ship.

The ship seems to be a on a collision course with a planet. Jessica scans it and says she's picking up life signs. They find out that Optimus Prime is onboard the ship! This triggers a bad memory for Gregory, as he points to the scar under his eye...

Years ago, Optimus Prime was battling Megatron in Gregory's lab. After being knocked back by Optimus, Megatron picked up a jar of chemicals and threw them. This caused a massive explosion which injured Gregory.

Back in the present, Gregory said it was Prime who did this to him, it was his fault. Jessica says it was the other Transformer, as Optimus Prime is an Autobot -a good robot. If he doesn't want to help her save him, he can stay here. He reluctantly gets a spacesuit on and follows her over to Prime's ship.

As they enter, they soon find Prime, who is lifeless. Gregory says they've got five minutes to get back to their own ship before this one blows up, so Jessica tells him to stop floating there and help her. They quickly get Prime's body moved to their own ship, and then get out of there.

Prime's ship then crashes into the planet and explodes, causing the nearby sun to go nova. As Gregory and Jessica watch on the monitors, Gregory asks what is going on, as it looks like some kind of spore.

Jessica says who cares -the sun is going nova, but their ship is surviving! There experiment is a success, so they head back home to Earth. At Mark's lab, Mark says that the spores they brought back with them are definitely alive.

Gregory pours some of the spores into a chamber, which contains two rats. One of the rats gets infected with the spores, turning it red. It immediately becomes aggressive and attacks the other rat, infecting it with the spores as well. Gregory says the spores are a virus that manifest hatred, making the rats wanting to destroy each other.

Mark says it's incredible and wants to write reports about it, but Jessica warns him about how crazy this is -he must get rid of those spores by shooting them back into space, as if they contaminate people, they could make World War II look like a school yard brawl. Mark is about to tell her she's overreacting, but then the whole lab shakes. Outside, the Terrorcons have arrived, and have been sent by Galvatron to get the heat resistant metal.

The Technobots arrive, and Scattershot says Rodimus was right -that report about the new alloy drew the Decepticons in like a magnet! Hun-Grr says they have to fight back, and has the Terrorcons merge and form Abominus.

The Technobots respond by uniting into Computron, but Abominus tells him he thinks too much, and shoots him. With Computron out of the way for the moment, Abominus shoves one of his hands into the lab, causing part of it to collapse.

Jessica pushes her father out of the way, but some debris falls onto her legs. Abominus transforms back onto the Terrorcons, and Sinnertwin finds the alloy. The Technobots rush in with their guns blazing...

...but the Terrorcons have got what they want, and Hun-Grr tells his team they can fight another day. They retreat, leaving the Technobots to help the humans. As Scattershot removes the debris off of Jessica, he asks for First Aid to be summoned. Mark gets hysterical and tells them to leave his daughter alone.

He and Gregory place Jessica into First Aid, not realizing he's an Autobot. As he heads off, he tells him he'll take his daughter to county general. As the other Autobots leave, Mark realizes that the ambulance is one of them. He tells Gregory how much he hates Transformers, he hates all of them. Gregory says they aren't helpless, and they can get even with them.

They can use the spores, and get the robots to hate and destroy each other. They have the Autobot leader -they have the body of Optimus Prime! Once they're done, Prime won't be the Autobot's leader any more... he'll be their destroyer!

They take it in turns between restoring Optimus Prime and visiting Jessica at the hospital. Eventually, Jessica wakes up, so Mark and Gregory go back to the hospital. They see several Autobots there, but they also see Jessica. Jessica can walk again, thanks to the exoskeleton she has been given.

First Aid explains that the exoskeleton will enable her to move about. Mark is distraught at seeing his daughter like this, and believes the robots are destroying her like they destroy everything else. Hot Spot tells him they just want to help, but he asks how -by turning his daughter into a robot?! Jessica says they made it so she could walk again, and Hot Spot tells him they thought he'd be pleased.

Mark isn't pleased at his daughter becoming a blasted machine, and tells her she's coming home right now. At the lab, Gregory and Mark give up on their plan with Optimus Prime's body, as they can't get him to work. Gregory says he won't be a complete waste, as they can use the Autobot leader's metal to make more of the alloy. They are going to put him into a furnace, but Jessica begs them to stop.

She says the Autobots helped her to walk and Optimus is their leader, so they can't destroy him. Gregory says she's right, and stops the machine. Optimus is the Autobot's leader, and if the others knew where he was, they'd come for him. And when they do come, the spores could be waiting for them.

Mark says he needs Jessica to find any Autobot, and tell them their leader is here. Jessica doesn't want to, as it's wrong and the Autobots aren't their enemies, but he tells her to look at Gregory's face, look at her legs. It's the metal menaces who did this, so he isn't wrong, she is! He asks her as her father to do it, and she says she will -but she'll hate it. She just hopes she won't also learn to hate him.

Later on, Jessica finds Ultra Magnus, who takes her to Autobot City so they can find Rodimus Prime. Rodimus is talking to a statue of Optimus Prime, and wonders why he can keep seeing Optimus in his dreams. Is he telling him he's not the leader he was? He already knows that... he always has.

Magnus and Jessica then arrive. She explains that her father wants her to betray the Autobots, and Rodimus asks how. She tells him they they intercepted Optimus' ship before that star went nova. Rodimus asks if Optimus is alive, and she says he isn't -but her father has Optimus' body in his lab. Rodimus says they must retrieve his body, and put him somewhere where he can rest in peace.

Jessica warns that that's what her father wants him to do, and it's a trap. Rodimus says he doesn't care, as Ultra Magnus advises him not to be hasty and listen to Jessica. As this is going on, nobody notices that Ratbat is listening to everything. Rodimus says he'll listen on the way, but wants Magnus to put together an assault force. The Protectobots, Aerialbots...

...and Throttlebots are summoned, as are Wheelie, Blurr, Steeljaw and Bumblebee. Rodimus tells the Autobots to roll out.

Ratbat heads back to the Decepticons, who are at a stadium. Soundwave plays back what he recorded, and the Decepticons find out about Optimus Prime. Galvatron says Optimus Prime may yet live, but not for much longer. Meanwhile, the Autobots arrive at the lab. Jessica explains that Optimus is at the back of the lab.

Rodimus tells Magnus to take the Aerialbots and Throttlebots to circle around and retrieve Optimus' body, whilst he and Jessica will distract Mark. He tells the others to patrol the area, as the Decepticons were here once, so they may return, and he doesn't want them making it harder than it already is. He tells Defensor to stay outside as backup, and reminds everyone not to touch any red dust.

Rodimus and Jessica head in, but Mark is nowhere to be found. Strangely, they find the body of Optimus slumped in some room, even though Jessica says the body was previously in the back lab. They realize that Mark must have set a trap for the others, and in the back lab, Magnus, the Aerialbots and Throttlebots are infected with the spores.

Rodimus is about to bust into the room, but Jessica stops him and says it's too late. The Autobots inside the lab soon start fighting each other.

Magnus asks where that punk Rodimus Prime is, as he wants him, whilst the Aerialbots combine into Superion, who bursts out of the lab's roof. He sees Defensor and shoots him down.

Defensor says he can't waste the energy setting up a force field, and instead transforms back to the Protectobots, who withdraw. Back inside, Magnus smashes through a wall, and finds Rodimus. Rodimus has loaded up Optimus Prime's body, and moves out with him and Jessica.

As he drives around a corner, they find Mark lying in wait. He says he's got the lousy robot now, and throws a container of spores at him, but Rodimus manages to avoid them and drives around. Jessica directs him to another exit in the loading area, so Rodimus heads there.

But as he nears the exit, Bruticus smashes the door down. Rodimus hides behind some crates as the Decepticons move in, and Galvatron says they've come for Optimus. But then the infected Autobots arrive and charge right at the Decepticons.

Within seconds nearly every Decepticon is infected, but Galvatron wonders why the Autobots are acting like madmen. Rodimus drives out and tells him it's a madness plague. If one of those Transformers touches him, he'll be infected. Galvatron thinks he's lying, but Rodimus tells him that's fine, whatever makes him happy -but he should watch his rear thrusters!

As Rodimus leaves, Galvatron says they've all gone mad, so this is no place for him! He retreats. Meanwhile, some of the other Autobots confront Superion, as do the police.

Superion makes short work of the police, and quickly guns down the Autobots. He then sees Defensor trying to evacuate people off a bridge, so goes after him next.

Defensor picks up a girder and smashes Superion with it, but Superion rebounds and infects Defensor. Defensor transforms back to the Protectobots, who start fighting each other.

Rodimus makes it back to Autobot City, where Wreck-Gar is waiting. Rodimus asks him if he can help him see if there's anything that can be done for Optimus. Wreck-Gar takes a look, and Rodimus asks if there is any hope the Junkions can repair him, but Wreck-Gar has his conclusion: he's dead Jim. Jessica asks who built Optimus in the first place, and Rodimus says it was the Quintessons, who revived him once before.

Rodimus contacts Sky Lynx and tells him to bring him a Quintesson. Sky Lynx says they're in hiding at the far reaches of the galaxy. Rodimus asks him what's the matter -doesn't he think he can handle it? Sky Lynx says of course he can, but he wants to know what he wants with a Quintesson. Rodimus says he needs one to rebuild Optimus Prime! When Sky Lynx hears this, he tells him he won't rest until he finds him a Quintesson!

Nearby, Ultra Magnus arrives at Autobot City, and crashes through a wall. Rodimus tells Jessica he must disconnect Metroplex, as if the plague were to infect him... Jessica says it's a terrible thought. Rodimus heads off on his own and tells Metroplex he's sorry, but he has to do this. Metroplex says he understands.

Rodimus almost has the shut down complete, when Magnus attacks him from behind. Rodimus avoids being touched and batters Magnus with a machine, sending him flying into a wall. He quickly completes the shut down sequence and leaves.

He tells Magnus to fight the disease instead of him, as he transforms and rolls out. Magnus chases after him, and screams that he can't escape -he can track his gas fumes anywhere! A little later on, Magnus traps Rodimus down a dead end.

But before he can do anything, Wreck-Gar lassos him. Rodimus wonders what they should do with Magnus, but Magnus then pulls the rope and briefly touches Wreck-Gar.

Rodimus shoots Magnus, and asks if Wreck-Gar is OK, but Wreck-Gar turns around and says he's a pepper -would he like to be a pepper, too? He touches Rodimus, who is then infected as well.

Bonnie Carlson presents a news report about what has become known as the hate plague. It's spreading like wild fire across the world, and began with infected Transformers. But it soon spread to the human population, and she asks how many of them will be infected, and is there any cure? If not, when will the plague end, and will anybody be alive to see the end?

Meanwhile, the hate plague has spread across the galaxy, and arrived on a planet the Quintessons occupy. A Quintesson judge is being chased by some infected Sharkticons, as Sky Lynx flies in. He asks if he needs a lift, and the Quintesson begs to be let in, but Sky Lynx tells him not so fast. He can only come aboard if he agrees to restore Optimus Prime to life. The Quintesson says he'll do it, so Sky Lynx lands, lets him onboard, and quickly takes off.

They land on Earth and go into Autobot City. The Quintesson examines Prime and says it won't be easy, but Sky Lynx tells him to just be sure he does it right. The Quintesson starts working and gets the main memory board finished, and tells Sky Lynx to start power to it.

Sky Lynx overloads the power, causing a machine to explode. The Quintesson tells him he sent too much power, so do as he says or his leader will never be revived! He gets the legs operative next and then tries to do the same for the arms. As he works, one of Prime's arms swings out accidentally and hits Sky Lynx in the face. Sky Lynx says he did that on purpose, but the Quintesson says it was an accident!

The Quintesson says they're almost done, but asks what they'll do about the disease. Sky Lynx says Optimus will know what to do... he hopes. A little later on, the Quintesson says they're ready, but if this doesn't work, Optimus Prime will never live again. He activates a machine, which causes Optimus to glow with a white aura, which expands to cover the entire room.

Optimus stands, and the Quintesson says he's done it -Optimus Prime lives! Sky Lynx says it's true... their leader is back. Optimus tells Sky Lynx that this time, no force in the universe can stop him.


-The Secret Files segment for this episode is about the Autobots.

-SCRIPT DIFFERENCES: Click here for details.

-After the Transformers movie was released, there was a massive backlash against it due to the death of Optimus Prime. To appease fans, Hasbro decided to bring Optimus Prime back in this two part season finale. It seems these two episodes were made slightly later than the other season three episodes -all of the other episodes were first broadcast in 1986, but The Return of Optimus Prime was first broadcast in February 1987. The story for these episodes picks up right where Dark Awakening left off, but changes a ton of things. Mainly, at the end of Dark Awakening, the Quintessons are blasting Prime's ship with everything they've got, but are completely absent here. Optimus was really battered by the end of Dark Awakening, but looks brand new at the start of this episode. Presumably, as Dark Awakening had already been made, the writers had no other option but to retcon parts of it to get these two episodes to work story-wise.

-The shot showing Prime's ship exploding is taken directly from Dark Awakening.

-This episode marks the first time that Streetwise and Groove are actually called on by name.

-It also marks the debut of the Throttlebots, who aren't named and immediately get infected.

-It also technically marks the first appearance of Goldbug, but his appearance is an error -he can briefly be seen standing in front of Superion and Defensor. He'll appear for real in the next part.

-The hate plague seems to have an odd effect on Transformers. Whilst it does make them fight at first, some of them, like Ultra Magnus, seem to calm down a little and start trying to just infect others. For example, when Magnus finds Rodimus in Autobot City, he doesn't try to hit him, rather, he just tries to touch him. Brawl can be seen doing the same thing to Headstrong later on. The Sharkticons can also be heard yelling "infect them all!" when they chase after the Quintesson. We'll get to see more of this behavior in the next part. Also odd is how the infected Aerialbots are shown working together to combine into Superion.

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