Before becoming a warrior Bulkhead was a construction worker. For a time, he served in the Wreckers with Wheeljack.
Bulkhead first appears in the pilot episode where he responds too late to a call for help from Cliffjumper, who is taken by the Decepticon and killed. Later when Arcee is attacked by the Decepticons Bulkhead and Bumblebee come to her aid and the Decepticons run away. Bulkhead later goes to rescue Agent Fowler, the Autobots' government liaison, from Starscream, only for Miko, Raf, and Jack to follow him and be put in danger. Optimus later scolded Bulkhead for endangering the humans, but it is revealed in the next episode that Bulkhead's damage to the Decepticons' ship stopped Megatron from locking onto Cybertron with his Space Bridge.
In Scrapheap, despite being ravaged by the metal-eating swarm of Scraplets, Bulkhead proved his bravery when he nobly used himself as bait to draw the Scraplets out of the base: an act that allowed both the freezing-to-death Optimus Prime and Arcee to return to base safely, and saved Ratchet and Bumblebee from further injury from the Scraplets.
In Con Job, Bulkhead is thrilled to welcome his old comrade from the Wreckers, Wheeljack, who he nicknamed "Jackie", to Team Prime. However, Bulkhead notices that Wheeljack doesn't seem like himself, and does not tell his part in their adventures he recounts. Bulkhead's suspicion turns heated and proves vindicated when Wheeljack does not recount one of their war stories truthfully: Wheeljack is in fact the shape-shifting Decepticon Makeshift, who takes Miko hostage. The real Wheeljack, who'd been captured by Starscream, is able to get back the Autobot base and defeat Makeshift. However, Wheeljack opts to leave Earth to continue his solo journey among the galaxy, but Bulkhead is not saddened, since he knows that while Wheeljack always leaves, he always comes back.
In Deus ex Machina, Bulkhead's old nemesis Breakdown makes his presence known to the Autobots. When asked about his feud with Breakdown, Bulkhead only replies angrily, "We have a history." Bulkhead is defeated twice by Breakdown in the episode, but eventually subdues his nemesis with Knock Out's electric prod. Bulkhead did not have to wait long to engage his enemy again; he and Bumblebee fought and defeated Breakdown in Speed Metal, and Bulkhead later fought Breakdown to a stalemate with Arcee in Out of his Head.
In Operation: Breakdown, following his defeat in another clash against Breakdown, his nemesis is captured by human terrorist group MECH. Bulkhead stubbornly refuses to help his nemesis, explaining to Miko that their history goes a long time back, and that he simply cannot forgive Breakdown for the things he's done. Miko convinces him that if he doesn't go after Breakdown he has no chance to avenge his earlier defeat. Bulkhead eventually fights his way to Breakdown and together they fight their way out of MECH's lair, and fight back to back to fend off the hordes of MECH troops. During the battle, much to Bulkhead's surprise, Breakdown pushes him out of the way from a paralyzing blast from MECH. Starscream arrives, and urges Breakdown to kill Bulkhead regardless of their teamwork, and Breakdown nearly does so, but Bulkhead single-handedly defeats most of the Decepticons present. Optimus commends Bulkhead for "rising above " to save Breakdown, but Bulkhead was more happy he defeated all the Decepticons present so swiftly.
In "Metal Attraction", Bulkhead goes on a recon mission with Arcee, who is rather irritated with Jack's mother June being too concerned with Jack's safety. The two come across Breakdown and Airachnid fighting over a magnetic device. They manage to defeat the Decepticons, before Breakdown magnatizes them together, forcing Bulkhead to walk to find Breakdown on foot. After he and Arcee are separated, they fight the two Decepticons and win, and go away with the device.
In "Rock Bottom", Bulkhead and Arcee investigate an old Decepticon energon mine that mysteriously went back online. Miko runs into the mine, forcing Bulkhead to go after her. When Megatron caves in the mine, Bulkhead has to hold up the ceiling to save Miko. His legs start to give way eventually, and Starscream arrives to capture and deliver Bulkhead to Megatron. But thanks to Arcee, Bulkhead is saved, and Starscream is the one forced to hold up the ceiling.
In "Partners", Bulkhead helps investigate a Decepticon ship, where the Autobots come across Starscream and Airachnid. Starscream submits, and decides to defect to the Autobots. Bulkhead does not believe him, and makes it obvious he doesn't trust him. When the Autobots find Airachnid, she freezes Bulkhead with the Immobilizer, which Ratchet later uses to reverse the effect.
In "T.M.I", in the middle of a battle, Bulkhead is knocked into the path of an active data cylinder by Breakdown and is zapped in the head. The information in the data cylinder is transferred to his mind, and he begins to write equations for synthetic energon. Miko tries her hardest to help Bulkhead remember everything about his life, like Ratchet, Wheeljack and herself. It fails, and the two are attacked by Breakdown and Knock Out, who are after the formula. Miko knocks the information from Bulkhead's mind, and he is rendered unconscious. But Miko brings him back online when she plays his favorite song on her guitar.
In the first season's final episodes, Bulkhead notably became the only Autobot besides Optimus to be able to take on a Dark Energon-influenced Megatron. In "One Shall Rise, Part 3", Bulkhead is infected by Dark Energon, but soon recovers following Unicron's defeat.
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