The Transformers: Season 3, Episode 27

The Burden Hardest to Bear (19 Nov. 1986)
"Transformers" The Burden Hardest to Bear (original title)

TV Episode  |  TV-Y7  |   |  Animation, Action, Adventure
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 29 users  
Reviews: 1 user

Rodimus is having problems with all the responsibilities that come with being a leader. He is attacked by decepticons who manage to take the matrix from him, transforming him back into Hot ... See full summary »


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Title: The Burden Hardest to Bear (19 Nov 1986)

The Burden Hardest to Bear (19 Nov 1986) on IMDb 7.5/10

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Episode credited cast:
Silverbolt (voice)
Jack Angel ...
Scrapper (voice)
Gregg Berger ...
Long Haul (voice)
Susan Blu ...
Arthur Burghardt ...
Devastator (voice)
Bruticus / Cyclonus / Prime Minister of Japan (voice)
Philip L. Clarke ...
Ozu's sensei / Dead End (voice)
Optimus Prime (voice)
Bud Davis ...
Predaking (voice)
Laurie Faso ...
Skydive (voice)
Ron Gans ...
Drag Strip (voice)
Sweep / Rodimus Prime / Hot Rod (voice) (as Dick Gautier)
Johnny Haymer ...
Vortex / Swindle (voice)
Sweep (voice)


Rodimus is having problems with all the responsibilities that come with being a leader. He is attacked by decepticons who manage to take the matrix from him, transforming him back into Hot Rod. The Autobots want to go after the decepticons right away to get the matrix back. But Hot Rod isn't as anxious. Scourge tries to give the matrix to Galvatron, but it doesn't work for him, Scourge uses the matrix on himself, and becomes more powerful, and attacks Galvatron, and then goes on a rampage. Hot Rod witnesses a sensei training a student, and learns a valuable lesson, and realizes what he has to do. Written by Jesse Sanchez

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Release Date:

19 November 1986 (USA)  »

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[Rodimus, after losing the Matrix, has reverted back to Hot Rod]
Hot Rod: Oh, my aching head! What hit me?
[notices the others looking at him]
Hot Rod: What hit *you?* What are you all staring at? You look like you've seen a ghost!
Ultra Magnus: We have... Hot Rod.
Hot Rod: Hot Ro -
Ultra Magnus: You no longer possess the Matrix.
Hot Rod: Yeah, I thought I felt something different!
Springer: How do you feel, Roddy? Strong enough to go after them?
Hot Rod: Wait a minute, what's the rush?
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User Reviews

Rodimus Prime was always cooler when he was Hot Rod
4 November 2008 | by See all my reviews

There is a problem with all leaders that were left to fill in Optimus' boots... they had pretty big shoes to fill, and that must have been a killer for self esteem, and a shi*load of responsibility...

Ultra Magnus would have surely kissed Galvatron for stealing the Matrix from him during the movie, and boy, was he happy to leave that little young punk Hot Rod to lead the Autobots against Unicron! Hot Rod didn't want to be the chosen one, he wanted to be Hot Rod, to race, to fight and do all the crazy stunts he could with zero accountability. But when Unicron came and the Autobots were all but extinguished, only one guy stepped up front, took charge and made decisions, and that was Hot Rod. He even went and fought Galvatron to reclaim the Matrix even though he had zero chance of defeating such a powerful foe. He did pretty well for a while, until Galvatron got his hands on him. Then comes the part we all know by heart, he touches the Matrix...'arise Rodimus Prime' Stan Bush's the Touch, and off goes Galvatron straight through Unicron's 'skin', humiliated and helpless.

What happened with that Rodimus Prime? After that, he quickly turned into a self-doubting, self-hating bore. He would constantly appear to find his own space as Autobot Leader, and the next episode he would again be whining about not being right for the role.

But then came two situations in which he was deprived of the Matrix and was forced to reclaim it. (Ultra Magnus, where were you in both occasions?). The First one was in 'Dark Awakening', where the 'zombi' Optimus Prime stepped up as Autobot Leader, only to lead the Autobots into a suicide run against a Quintesson trap. Here again, it was Hot Rod who went after Zombi Optimus Prime to put an end to the madness. He did quite well in hand-to hand combat (although to be fair, that Optimus was a total wreck), and was only rendered unconscious via a treacherous kick. Moved into temporary sanity, Optimus placed the matrix back in Hot Rod's chest.

The second occasion is depicted in this episode. Rodimus freaks out unable to handle the pressure and runs away like a spoiled brat. He is absurdly defeated by a stunticon who bumps him off a cliff, and the Matrix is stolen. The stunticons take the Matrix to Galvatron, who is unable to use it as a weapon. Infuriated, (and freaked out by the autobot specters that emerged demanding the return) he orders Scourge to dispose of the artifact. Scourge, possessing some affinity as a potential Matrix bearer, senses the power and possibilities, and introduces it into his chest. He is then transformed, but perhaps, due to his 'unicronian' reformatting, mutates hideously and ends up like a melted and distorted version of himself.

Who steps up again and faces that monstrous Matrix-powered Scourge? Hot Rod. He defeats Scourge and reclaims the Matrix for the last time, finally comfortable and in command of himself. Right? well, not quite. All this character development is immediately scrapped in the next episode, just as happened after 'Dark Awakening', and 'The Ultimate Weapon'.

What follows is what I consider the horrid 'The Return of Optimus Prime' two-parter. Not horrid because of the return of our beloved hero, but because I feel the execution of the story was sloppy, ridiculous and annoyingly cheap. Rodimus returns to his worst whiner version ever without any regard for his achievement a mere episode away, and is finally deprived of the matrix with no dignity whatsoever, turned into an infected raving fool and sucker-punched into unconsciousness. I always preferred Optimus Prime, but I think Rodimus deserved a better thought ending. In any case, this episode once again shows how to all effects, Hot Rod has always had the Right Stuff, whereas Rodimus Prime didn't. Maybe because the Matrix just artificially advanced him to an adult state that he should just reach by himself... or heck, maybe I'm just reading too much into it, it's just a cartoon after all...

But you know, for us transfans, it will never be just a cartoon ;) On a side note, I think Toei sort of dropped the ball here a bit with the animation, much like in 'The return of Optimus Prime', it's below their best standards and feels a bit sloppy. It's still way above anything AKOM would produce.

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