Review: 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' Ultimate Showdown DVD, Disc 1
This is actually a two disc collection of the back half of season 1 of the Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. I’m breaking them up into to two reviews, one for each disc, so that it doesn’t break the around six-ish episode streak of each review.
If you’d like to check out reviews of the rest of the first season, you can read the first seven episodes reviewed here, and the second six reviewed here, plus an extended review of the first two episodes (or one long episode, the series still isn’t clear on that) here. In fact, you should probably read that last linked article first, seeing as how it’s both the first chronologically and it also has breakdown of what this series is about.
You know, just in case the series title Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles didn’t clue you in that it’s about turtles, who are also ninjas, mutants and teenagers.
And we start off with one of the best episodes of the series, with the weird penchant for horror tropes and allusions finally given an episode where they fit like a glove. Dr. Falco (Jeffrey Combs) continues his experiments with the mutagen, but a lab accident turns him into the Rat King, with the ability to control all rats, and the turtles come to a horrifying realization; Splinter’s been taking it easy on them in training.
“The Alien Agenda”
In this episode, April is threatened by an old lady, Baxter Stockman creates legs for Xever/Fishface, Karai creates a kitty/octopus monster named Justin, Shredder learns about the existence of the Kraang, the turtles learn about the existence of Karai, Leonardo learns a lesson about trusting women (that’s messed up, right?), the Kraang reach a highly undesirable outcome, and Dogpound finds the whole thing very entertaining.
The title character of this episode is a pudgy nerd who saw the turtles fighting Baxter Stockman in an earlier episode, and decided he could be a hero too. The episode makes it very clear that, no, no, no, that doesn’t work like that, and that if you want something, you have to put in the time and effort to get it; foam rubber muscles are no substitute for the real thing.
“I suppose Kraang has once again been foiled by turtles and failed to retrieve that which Kraang was to retrieve.” “Kraang is wrong. Kraang has retrieved it. In Kraang’s face.” I think that about says it all.
This episode features multiple allusions to a James Cameron movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. I’m not sure, but I think it was called True Lies. Anyway, I have to feel sorry for the titular cockroach; he seemed so happy to help the turtles spy on the Kraang, until Raphael accidentally caused him to mutate. Really, this is all Raphael’s fault.
Taking a brief break from the Kraang, the Foot decide to menace the turtles for an episode. Baxter Stockman is tired of being disrespected by the duo of Fishface and Dogpound, so he channels his inner Arcade to create a deathtrap for them and the turtles. The mutants are forced to work together, and Xever/Fishface reveals his origin story to Raphael.
This disc contains four making of “The Mutation of a Scene” shorts, which show scenes as storyboards, rough animatics and finished animation. The scenes come from “The Pulverizer,” “TCRI,” “Cockroach Terminator” and “Baxter’s Gambit.”