Transformers: Robots in Disguise Episode Guide
Episode 27: The Two Faces of Ultra Magnus
Original air date: October 20, 2001
Written by: Michael McConnohie
As the Predacons study their video of Ultra Magnus, Sky-Byte tells Megatron of his plan to lure Magnus away from the Autobots to their side. After Megatron agrees, Sky-Byte locates Magnus on the highway, just as the Autobots Side Burn, X-Brawn and Prowl are catching up to him themselves. Magnus follows Sky-Byte to an empty park, where Sky-Byte offers to join forces with him to destroy Optimus Prime. Magnus agrees, intending to go along only to get information about where Megatron is hiding.
The Autobot car brothers are spotted by the Decepticons when they follow Magnus and overhear the conversation, then captured and taken away. While Optimus sends team bullet train to locate them, he himself receives a message from Scourge to meet at a different location if he wants to see the car brothers returned safely. Scourge encourages Sky-Byte to have Magnus attack the bullet trains as a test of loyalty, but Magnus decides to attack Sky-Byte instead and drives him away. He tells the trains that Prime is heading into a trap, and where, while he goes to release the car brothers himself.
The bullet trains form Rail Racer, but even he and Optimus are unable to withstand the Decepticons' assault for long, after being told the car brothers will be punished if Optimus resists. Finally the car brothers and Magnus arrive to fight, but so does Megatron, and in dragon mode he forces them down and crushes them slowly. Magnus demands he let them go, and is surprised to see a glowing energy emerge from his chest and fly towards the car brothers, giving them a "supercharged mode" and a new appearance to go with it. Optimus presses the defense by forming Omega Prime with Ultra Magnus against his wishes. Together, they are able to repel Megatron and drive the Decepticons and Predacons away. Magnus is thanked for his help, but he himself is mystified where the energy came from. He supposes only that he and Optimus are sharing the Matrix of Leadership somehow, and that he was able to access it.
A busy episode, with a lot of characters and one objective: to determine once and for all whose side Ultra Magnus is really on. He clearly has his gripes with Optimus Prime and, by extention, any Autobot who follows him. But as in "Ultra Magnus: Forced Fusion!", Magnus wants to defeat Optimus himself, and would rather fight the Predacons single-handedly than let them do the job for him.
The "supercharged mode" for the three Autobot car brothers comes from the recolored variants introduced by Takara for the Transformers: Car Robots line in Japan, and the show most likely just concocted the "supercharged" idea in part to explain it and in part to balance out the brothers' lack of a gestalt mode like the Build Team or Team Bullet Train. It gives the brothers dramatically enhanced speed, strength and firepower, for as long as they remain that way.
This episode was first broadcast on a Saturday, while the episode following was broadcast the previous Friday. Presumably this was part of FOX Television's practice of showing the first appearance of new characters on Saturdays in order to maximize their placement on kids' Christmas wish lists.