Spoiler In Dark Awakening, Optimus Prime comes back to life and crawls out of his grave and returns to lead the Autobots but it turns out that it is a trick, and the Quintessons have resurrected him but turned him into their control. Optimus Prime breaks free of their control and sacrifices himself by piloting his ship into a (um, sun? planet? device? can't remember) that explodes.
Return of Optimus Prime forgets the whole 'exploding' thing and they find him in his ship adrift. As if no-one read the script of the previous story.
Spoiler As I remember it they did try to make return fit into Dark Awakening. Fairbornes ship comes across Primes as it is heading towards whatever hes aiming at and remove Prime before the ship explodes. It really doesnt work, but they did try. Assuming Prime probably wasn't intended to return when Awakening was made they made the best of the situation. If They did know Prime was coming back, well then they utterly bodged it.
FIVE FACES OF DARKNESS as it sets up this series and what happened after TF:TM. Then watch the episodes in order until you get to the end (THE REBIRTH).
Not sure I trust your opinion anymore, Docktor, after that last bombshell.
*old man rant*
One of my bugbears of The Internet is when folk ask for a jumping on point or 'key episodes'. My answer is always: 'Episode 1 and forward from there one episode at a time. With your phone switched off.'
*old man rant over*
Last Edit: Sept 11, 2018 17:09:23 GMT by The Doctor
Spoiler Return of Optimus Prime forgets the whole 'exploding' thing and they find him in his ship adrift. As if no-one read the script of the previous story.
Hmm. That isn't right Blue. The script for Return is very carefully woven into Dark Awakening. The problem was the storyboarding/animation wasn't as careful which led to visual inconsistencies. The plot itself is a clever retro-fit.