Transformers: Robots in Disguise Episode Guide
Episode 18: The Test
Original U.S. air date: September 26, 2001
Written by: Tom Wyner
When Sky-Byte is sent to attack an oceanic oil drilling platform, Scourge arrives without explanation and attacks him. After Optimus Prime arrives as well, Sky-Byte flees and Scourge silently departs rather than confront Optimus himself. Optimus takes this as a sign that the Decepticons are conflicted because they were originally Autobots, and so when Mega-Octane sends a secret message to set up a private meeting, Optimus agrees. However, unknown to either Optimus or Sky-Byte, the Decepticons are following a plan of Megatron's to gain access to the Autobot headquarters.
Suspicious of the Decepticons' sudden change of heart, the Autobots Side Burn, Prowl and X-Brawn advise Optimus to let them test the Decepticons by assigning them various good deeds: cleaning up a forest, policing downtown traffic, repairing a building they destroyed in an earlier battle. After a full day of this, Optimus is convinced, and the other Autobots nearly believe as well. Before Optimus can bring them to the Autobot headquarters, however, Sky-Byte attacks Scourge, thinking that stopping a traitor will bring him favor with Megatron. Scourge pursues him and nearly kills a human driver in the process, and when Optimus confronts him about it, Scourge gives away their plan. The other Decepticons form Ruination and fight Optimus in hopes of capturing him and salvaging their goal, but Optimus, enraged at having his trust manipulated, defeats Scourge and Ruination single-handedly and forces them to retreat.
Sky-Byte continues to lose favor with Megatron, while the question of whether the Decepticons' Autobot origins can be salvaged is seemingly answered once and for all. Some fans accused Optimus Prime of idiocy in this episode, but it was significant in that it strongly reinforced his noble nature while acknowledging that, hey, Optimus can make mistakes, too.
This is also the only episode to draw any real attention to Scourge's temper and pride; elsewhere in the series he's very patient in waiting for what he wants, but spending an entire day helping Autobots clean and repair the planet seems to be too much even for him.
It's not the last time Scourge's unique part-Optimus origin plays an important role, however. In "Maximus Emerges" we see that it also gives him the power to impersonate an Autobot in certain ways.