"Robots in Disguise (2015)" TV Show: "Adventures in Bumblebee Sitting" Synopsis & Review
"Adventures in Bumblebee-sitting Synopsis & Review
The Decepticon anarchist Quillfire is on the run, tearing through a parking lot as the Autobots pursue him. He fires his energy quills at Grimlock, who picks up a car to block them and continues giving chase. The other Autobots charge in as well. They eventually surround him but he is able to use his quill weapon blasts to disable the Autobots! Before leaving he uses a quill to carve his personal symbol into a nearby container. The Autobots slowly regroup but Bumblebee collapses as the other Autobots look on helplessly.
Back at the Scrapyard Fixit performs repairs on Bumblebee which includes removing a quill embedded into his body. Fixit then uses the quill to identify the Decepticon they are pursuing as Quillfire. His analysis reveals that the quills have a neurotoxin that affects different Transformers in different ways. While Bumblebee is out, Strongarm realizes she is in charge. Once Bumblebee wakes up he begins to play pranks on the Autobots (and laughing it up in the process). He then takes off to parts unknown.
Elsewhere, Quillfire has decided to set the other Decepticons free.
Meanwhile, Strongarm decides to secure Bumblebee and then capture Quillfire. The Autobots search the Scrapyard where Bumblebee keeps appearing and playing pranks on them. Fixit concludes that Bumblebee's system has to work out the neurotoxin before he changes back to normal. Russell offers to help with the babysitting, though Bumblebee isn't going to make it easy on anyone. While Strongarm and Grimlock to go capture Quillfire, Sideswipe and Russell are left in charge of babysitting Bumblebee.
Elsewhere, Quillfire comes across a group of elephants at a carnival and sets them free from "oppression" and winds up causing a stampede. Happy with himself, the Decepticon leaves his mark again.
In an attempt to calm Bumblebee down, Sideswipe and Russell watch a movie with him - only to have Bumblebee disappear once a commercial break comes. At the carnival, Strongarm uses her disguise to call of police called to the scene of the stampede. When the elephants come at her, Strongarm runs while Bumblebee and Grimlock work together to herd the animals.
Strongarm thinks the Autobots have the upper hand as she tracks Quillfire since the park is dark and quiet. Suddenly all the lights and rides activate thanks to Bumblebee, who is still amused by everything. Quillfire winds up using this to his advantage and traps Grimlock and Strongarm in a ride, then he goes into a tent to hide.
Inside the tent however, Quillfire learns that the ground is bouncy and when Bumblebee joins him the two bounce all over the place! When Quillfire attempts to use his signature quill weapons, he winds up taking himself out in the process!
With Quillfire defeated, the Autobots decide to tie Bumblebee up in a tall tower where he can't cause any issues. When he awakens the next morning he is back to normal. Back at the Scrapyard Quillfire is stored away in a Stasis Pod. Bumblebee thanks Strongarm for her work.
Episodes where a character switches out their personality for another (or in this case, "de-ages" his personality) goes back to the time long before television sets. In the "Transformers" universe, even G1 had episodes like this such as "Changing Gears" where the normally grouchy character Gears became cheerful (you have to see it). Anyhow, such episodes require a very difficult balance for the writer. Go too far and people will spend most of the episode rolling their eyes and waiting for the thing to end. "Adventures in Bumblebee-sitting" manages to come very close to the edge of getting annoying, but it is constantly pulled back, thanks in part to the presence of Quillfire.
Quillfire is an interesting character because he claims to be an anarchist, yet he bears the Decepticon symbol which implies that at one time he was some part of a larger army. This got me wondering if in the "Prime" universe some Transformers simply took on the Decepticon logo and identity as a way to show they are not Autobots, but not necesarily slavishly loyal to Megatron's cause. It is also possible that the Autobots branded the Decepticon symbol on guys like Steeljaw and Quillfire to show they are "enemies" of the Autobots, leaving little social nuance. One clue we get is Quillfire's desire to free his comrades from captivity. Sure it's in the name of freedom and anarchy, but there appeared to be genuine concern there. Sure he may just want to use them for his own cause but it was interesting to see. Actor Andy Milder does a great job of giving Quillfire's voice an ongoing urgency and desperation that fits the character nicely.
Bumblebee's shenanigans throughout this episode ranged from amusing to mildly annoying. Part of what helped is seeing the reactions of other characters whether it's Strongarm playing the "serious" role or Sideswipe finding Bumblebee's pranks amusing. Indeed, it's a nice story beat to have Sideswipe go from being amused and admiring to annoyed over the course of the episode when he falls for one prank too many. I do give the writers credit for finding a unique and funny way for Bumblebee to bring Quillfire down with something other than a beat down or immense display of firepower. "Robots in Disguise" skews towards a younger audience, so it's kind of fun to see such creative "take downs" from time to time.
- The title of this episode is a homage to the 1987 film "Adventures in Babysitting"
- This is the first episode where we see Fixit transform into a tool. This harkens back to the original Mini-Cons in "Armada", who could transform into weapons and tools as well as vehicles.
- Quillfire is voiced by Andy Milder whose credits include the long running show "Weeds" as well as animated work on shows like "Batman: The Brave and the Bold".
- When Bumblebee is watching television, a "Flieber" brand is mentioned, establishing this as a known brand in this universe.
- In a possible reference to "Age of Extinction", Bumblebee rides on Grimlock's back in dinosaur mode.
- Grimlock's animation model has a Decepticon symbol on it after he finishes tying up Bumblebee, it should be an Autobot symbol since he received one in "True Colors"
This was not one of the strongest episodes of the series, but I think every "Transformers" series has had its episodes which focus more on humor than a serious story or furthering an arc, and this one does just that. What I enjoyed most about the episode was the introduction of Quillfire and all the interesting issues his dedication to anarchy brings to the surface. What does it actually mean to be a Decepticon? That is something that I believe will be explored further once Steeljaw makes his presence more known (at least I hope so!).