The Human Factor is the nineteenth episode of the second season of Transformers: Prime, and the forty-fifth episode of the series overall. It aired on September 14, 2012.
Silas's body is being fused by the MECH soldiers to Breakdown's body. Silas wakes up and realizes he is now in the robot's body. A MECH soldier explains to him that it was the only way to save his life. Silas thanks all of the MECH soldiers involved before shooting and killing them all.
Some time later, Silas drives up to the entrance to a military facility, stopping at the gate to introduce himself. Meanwhile, at the Autobot Base, Ratchet and Miko are trying to encourage Bulkhead to keep up his recuperation, despite the Wrecker's belief that he is being replaced. Smokescreen suggests he uses the Apex Armor for extra strength and power, but Bulkhead sees it as a crutch and knocks it aside, causing it to damage the computer system. As Ratchet grumbles over the negative atmosphere, Jack talks with Raf on the phone and is surprised to learn that Raf's been grounded for his slipping grades.
The Decepticons on the Nemesis, namely Knock Out, are likewise surprised when Breakdown's signal shows up on their scanners. Knock Out and some Vehicons are sent to investigate and find the military base wrecked. Moments after they arrive, what appears to be Breakdown strides out of the smoke. In response to the Decepticons' reaction to his marred appearance, "Breakdown" asks in Silas's voice to be taken to Megatron.
Agent Fowler briefs the Autobots on the theft of the Project Damocles satellite apparently by Breakdown assisted by a human whom Fowler believes is Silas. Ratchet strongly dismisses the idea of Decepticons and humans pairing together, rebuffed only by Jack's reasoning of the alliance working for the Autobots and Arcee makes a remark on how it only works at certain times. Aboard the warship, Megatron is introduced to the Breakdown/Silas combo, now calling himself Cylas: "Cybernetic Life Augmented by Symbiosis". Though Megatron is disgusted by such an abomination and Knock Out is keen to dissect Cylas as revenge for Breakdown's torture and the subsequent desecration of his body, the MECH commander wants to strike a deal with the Decepticons and offers the Damocles weapon as a token of friendship, telling him it's the best he has to offer. As Fowler's briefing in the Autobot base ends, the Autobots realize they must protect the satellite's interface codes, currently stored on servers in Colorado.
Soundwave has already gotten to the Colorado base, clearing it using a recording of Fowler's voice, and by the time the Autobots get there, the place is already heavily guarded by Decepticons. Cylas points out to Megatron that since Soundwave is now connected to the mainframe, he can operate the satellite. The Damocles satellite is duly launched from the Nemesis, and Soundwave starts targeting the Autobots on the ground. His first shot narrowly misses Smokescreen, and Optimus Prime contacts base for backup. Bulkhead is ready to go but Ratchet stops him as Optimus is actually after technical help to disable the satellite. Ratchet decides Raf is required for this mission and so Raf gets unexpected visitors in the form of Fowler, Miko and Jack.
While the Autobots try to keep Soundwave distracted, Bulkhead attempts to talk Ratchet into sending him to help. Ratchet finally concedes, but has his own ideas. While Raf works on a way to crash the satellite and Fowler tries to work out a way to get to the toilet without Raf's mom seeing, the Decepticons detect Raf's hacking attempt. When they track the source to Jasper, Megatron sends Cylas to deal with the matter, much to Cylas's chagrin. Cylas soon hauls up outside Raf's house and takes aim, only for Bulkhead to come barreling down the street and slam him into a nearby drainage canal. After a tense reintroduction, Bulkhead realizes his opponent is not Breakdown — and is shocked to find that it is actually Silas/Cylas operating the Con's body. The pair start fighting, but Bulkhead's weakness quickly begins to show.
Ratchet contacts Optimus who is still running from the Damocles beam, to report that Bulkhead needs backup. Indeed, the Wrecker is still not operating fully and not doing well against Cylas, but the addition of Smokescreen to the fight helps. Megatron, impatient at Cylas's failure, orders Soundwave to target the source of the hack. The Autobots take advantage of the cessation of the Damocles attack to try to storm the command center. The kids, meanwhile, see that the satellite has moved and is now aiming at them. Raf manages to get the satellite's thrusters under his control, and the shot does little more than knock the corner off the KO Burger sign before the satellite starts reentry. Their celebration is interrupted by Raf's mom, but luckily they break out the "study group" defense. Meanwhile, the Autobots break into the command center in time to see Soundwave leaving. Elsewhere, Cylas begins to lose his fight and is called back to the Nemesis. Bulkhead and Smokescreen see the satellite's reentry and congratulate each other.
Back on the ship, Megatron announces that Cylas has earned his place at the table—Knock Out's dissection table, that is—explaining that the MECH commander was correct about the human factor tipping the war's scales, but in the Autobots' favor. Cylas is then zapped from behind and dragged away for "study", much to his fearful displeasure and Knock Out's vindictive and malicious delight. As Cylas is dragged away begging for mercy, Knock Out remarks that he believes that Breakdown would be tickled to learn of the fate of Cylas before using his Energon prod to incapacitate the begging cyborg.
- Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime
- Sumalee Montano as Arcee/Raf's mom
- Kevin Michael Richardson as Bulkhead
- Jeffrey Combs as Ratchet
- Nolan North as Smokescreen
- Tania Gunadi as Miko
- Josh Keaton as Jack/MECH Surgeon
- Andy Pessoa as Raf
- Clancy Brown as Silas
- Ernie Hudson as Agent Fowler
- Irony: Cylas' predicament and treatment by the Decepticons in this episode mirrors his behaviour towards them in previous episodes. His first transgression against them was dissecting Breakdown and taking his optic in the end. When Starscream offered an alliance between them, rather than treat him as an equal, he instead treated the air commander as a foot soldier and took his T-Cog when the mission failed. In this episode, he expects to be treated as higher up, but instead is treated with scorn and hatred for desecrating Breakdown's corpse, and is demoted to a mere underling. Upon failing his task, he ends up getting a taste of his own medicine when Megatron orders him to be sent to Knockout's dissection table. In the end, Silas' arrogance and treachery ultimately came back to bite with a vengeance.
- Knock Out is willing to avenge Breakdown, further displaying the bond between them.
- We learn Raf's full name in this episode.
- One of Silas' biological eyes appears to be permanently dilated, known medically as anisocoria. Not only does it match Breakdown's uneven eye look, a permanently dilated pupil can also be a sign of serious cranial injury.
- Silas renaming himself C.Y.L.A.S ("Cybernetic Life Augmented by Symbiosis") is reflected in the end credits.
- The episode title is also a song by the band Metal Church. Along with "Toxicity", "Speed Metal" and possibly "Hurt", it would appear someone on the episode naming team is a big heavy metal fan.
- The base in which Silas is revived is the same one used in "Operation Bumblebee, Part 2".
- During Cylas's revival, one of the console's screens depicts the blueprints shown during Breakdown's dissection during "Operation: Breakdown".
- MECH was preparing to save Silas using Breakdown's corpse at the end of "Nemesis Prime".
- Silas refers to his merger with Breakdown's corpse as "the perfect meld of man and machine", the same line he used to describe Nemesis Prime in its eponymous episode.
- Smokescreen offers Bulkhead the use of the Apex Armor, which he took from Starscream in the previous episode. Bulkhead's resentment of the newbie also started in that episode.
- Bulkhead uses the lobbing ball from "Con Job" as a medicine ball.
- Cylas uses his real name (Leland Bishop) to introduce himself to the guard at the military base, which was first revealed by Fowler in the episode "Grill". Likewise, Project Damocles was first mentioned in that episode.
- After taking crippling injuries in "Toxicity", Bulkhead is finally well enough to go out in the field. He's far from 100%, but he can put up a fight.
- Knock Out references the events of "Operation: Breakdown" and wants vengeance for it.
- The place in which Cylas, Bulkhead and Smokescreen fight is the same place Arcee and Bumblebee engaged the Vehicons back in "Darkness Rising, Part 1", and it is shown to be —as Raf said in that episode— "right up the street" from Raf's house.
- Before fighting Bulkhead, Cylas states that the former will never again interfere with his operations, which references "Operation: Breakdown".
- Soundwave displays the picture he took of Jack, Miko, and Raf back in "Darkness Rising, Part 5".
Main Article: The Human Factor Gallery
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