ReviewsTV/Cartoon Series

TMNT: “Raphael: Mutant Apocalypse” Review

Well…That was a weird one. Honestly, it’s hard to give this one a review score. On the one hand, “Raphael: Mutant Apocalypse”, despite a small pacing issue, was a well told story. The conceit of this final season being “Tales of the TMNT” allows for strange scenarios. It’s admirable for the creators of the show to take a risk like this. After years of building up a mythology and many characters, they boiled it all down to the core foursome.

This didn’t feel like a “what if” episode though. The way this was told feels like this is really what happens to these Turtles in their timeline. A massive mutagen bomb detonates in New York. All humans are mutated and apparently die. Only mutants remain, in a world that is stripped of life. And when you watch the episode in that context, after getting to know these characters for many years….well it’s all kind of sad.

This was a story of the Turtles not as teenagers, but as adults in an impossible reality. The episode starts with Raphael and Donatello, the only two survivors of the characters we’ve grown to love over the course of the series. Raphael is old and weathered, a long beard dominating his face. He’s scarred and weary of the life he is forced to live. Donatello, on the other hand, is a cyborg. His body was destroyed by the mutagen bomb, but (much like his IDW counterpart) his mind was downloaded into the body of Metalhead. It looks like in many futures, Donnie is destined to become one with the technology he loves so much.

It’s not long before we meet our primary antagonist for the tale; Verminator Rex. He is the leader of a gang of mutated Honey Badgers, bandits who steal from other survivors. They target Raph and Donnie for their vehicle and supplies, but they are on a much greater mission. They need to track down a girl with a map.

Donnie and Raph eventually fight them off, blowing up a cliff face to create separation between them and their foes. They stop at an abandoned rest area to look for supplies, but Raph is ambushed by none other than the girl Rex was tracking. Her name is Mira (she’s a meerkat, so of course it is), and the map is actually a tattoo on her arm. Her whole village tattooed the map, so as not to lose it, because it supposedly leads to Oasis. Unfortunately, Meera is the only survivor of her village.

While she initially tries to steal our duo’s van, she eventually falls in with the team. That will happen after several attacks by Rex and his crew. From here on out, the road trip becomes a mission to find those who can help Meera make sense of the map (it’s encoded in what everyone calls gibberish) and eventually lead them to Oasis. The team faces new threats, as Rex teams up with a clan of mutated lizard people, and reunite with old family.

Mira seeks an old wise man, who her village called the “Holy Chalupa.” This of course turns out to be Mikey, who’s been holed up in a Mexican/Italian pizzeria with Ice Cream Kitty and Chompy. He’s a little crazy, having only Kitty, Chompy, and some robotic restaurant mascots to talk to. He’s also been subsisting off of canned pizzas and insects for years.

Verminator Rex, however, is backed by Maximus Kong, Warrior Chief of the Wasteland (among many other titles listed by Mira in what is an obvious nod to Game of Thrones). Kong is a massive mutant, head concealed by a metal helmet. He drives an impossibly large vehicle, centered by a giant creepy skull, and commands sentient oil mutants who have their own cute, miniature wasteland armor. He wants Mira and her map, because the Oasis is the only land he hasn’t conquered, and he’s been searching for it for years.

This, of course, turns out to be Leonardo, revealed in a fight with Raphael. Leo is in a constant state of rage, caused by his second mutation in the center of the mutagen bomb. Leo nearly kills Raph, but stops when Raph refuses to defend himself and tells Leo that he loves him. The reminder of his family, combined with a massive crash of his impossibly large vehicle into the side of a mountain, finally snaps Leo out of his rage. Memories start flooding back to him, and we finally see what happened so many years ago; Leo saved his brothers from the epicenter of the mutagen bomb, but was stuck in the middle of the blast.

As stated in the beginning, it’s really hard to put a rating on this episode. “Raphael: Mutant Apocalypse” is an obvious send up to Mad Max, and even borrows some plot points from Fury Road. The creative team have always done a great job with these tributes, and this episode is no exception. The style is spot on; even the camera work is reminiscent of George Miller.

It was a smart move for Nickelodeon to air this as an hour long special. None of the cliffhangers were particularly suspenseful. It was pretty obvious that Raph and Donnie would be reuniting with Michelangelo. Would anyone believe Leo was being called the “Holy Chalupa?” Similarly, it wasn’t surprising that everyone survived the restaurant getting blown up, or that Raph and Mira would escape the Pit. Because of this, it was nice that we didn’t have to wait 3 weeks to get the whole story. Instead, we got a full length featured tale.

That being said, the conclusion did seem to come out of nowhere. After Leo is finally wrestled to his senses, there’s a quick whiteout, and suddenly we’re in Oasis. The four brothers have arrived with Mira, without incident. It’s a weird cut. Was there absolutely no trouble following the rest of the map? Did the brothers not see what each had been up to this whole time? Is no one concerned that Leo became a Wasteland conquering murderer? Does he feel no guilt over this? Would a whole other episode solve this problem? Who knows? But it’s jarring to rush to “everything’s great now.”

Additionally, the whole episode is just bittersweet. The episode was initially planned as the series finale, complete with a “For Kevin and Peter” at the end before the credits roll. Could you imagine this being the last episode you saw of this TMNT? Where after all the trials and tribulations, the victories and losses, the growth of each character, and the death of Splinter, it all ends with pretty much everyone dead? There’s no mention of April, Karai, Shinigami, the Mutanimals, or Renet! Casey’s lone appearance is HIS SKULL USED AS A BOMB TO SELF DESTRUCT THE TURTLE VAN! It’s no wonder Nickelodeon changed the airtime to Friday evenings.

But it’s moments like these that you have to remind yourself that not every story has to have a truly happy ending. Bittersweet is a valid decision. These Turtles have gone on all kinds of journeys, and this is the way that Ciro Nieli and his team decided to end it. Ultimately, it ended with all four brothers together and a new home.

A couple shout outs: The story is reminiscent of Andrew Modeen and Jim Lawsons “TMNT Odyssey.” We covered Modeen’s successful crowdfunding effort to create the followup “TMNT Origin.” Both stories take place in the original TMNT Mirage continuity, although they’re not technically canon. Regardless, “Odyssey” sees the Turtles in their advanced years, traveling through time to stop an evil force that is wiping out timelines. Think “Raphael: Mutant Apocalypse” combined with “Turtles Forever” and you’ve got a pretty good idea. You can check it out here if you missed it: http://www.thegreenlanterncorps.com/tmnt/odyssey.pdf

As usual, there were some pretty good references in this episode. Verminator Rex is a nod to Verminator X, a character from the Archie Turtle comics. He was a half cat cyborg, much like Rex is a honey badger with cybernetic enhancements. The mask on Casey’s skull (really hard to get over that) in the turtle van is a reference to the mask he wore in Image Comics. The Space Heroes the Next Generation joke was also good. It’s nice for the crew (or at least Raph) to finally realize that the shows they watch parallel the adventures they have.

“Raphael: Mutant Apocalypse” showed us the future of the Nickelodeon Turtles and it looks like our heroes have a rough life ahead of them. The risky conceit gave us a cruel world where the Turtles are torn apart, some literally, and forced to forge on when all they care about is taken away. Did the risk pay off? It’s hard to judge. If you’re willing to be open to the story of the episode, it’s really well told. That being said, it’s fair to say it’s not what we were expecting to see for this series. It’s so far in the future, and we’re given so few details on how this world was created, that it’s hard to argue that it doesn’t fit. But because we’re given so few details (Who dropped the mutagen bomb? How was it created? Why?) it’s hard to argue that it does. Additionally, the ending is so bittersweet, the whole experience comes off as sad. But sad doesn’t equal bad.

Judged on it’s own merits, “Raphael: Mutant Apocalypse” is probably a solid 9. But taken as a whole with the rest of the series, it comes down to a 7. There’s a weird symmetry of seeing this episode follow “Lone Rat and Cubs.” We saw the Turtles at the beginning of their lives, a troubled existence made better through family. This episode achieves much the same, only at the opposite time of their lives. It’s brutal and unforgiving, but ultimately tells it’s tale well. It’s hard to dock it, but it’s so brutal in it’s honesty that it got in the way of enjoying it when compared to the rest of the series. The Turtles deserve a happy ending.

Maybe that’s why Nickelodeon chose not to air this as the series finale? I guess we’ll find out as the series begins to wrap up.

 

Editor's Rating

7.0
Judged on it's own merits, "Raphael: Mutant Apocalypse" is probably a solid 9. But taken as a whole with the rest of the series, it comes down to a 7. It's brutal and unforgiving, but ultimately tells it's tale well. It's hard to dock it, but it's so brutal in it's honesty that it got in the way of enjoying it when compared to the rest of the series. The Turtles deserve a happier ending.
7.0

The Author

Dan Spitaliere

Dan Spitaliere

Dan Spitaliere is a sound designer and engineer, voice over artist, and a lifelong shellhead. He grew up on a healthy diet of Turtles movies, comics, cartoons, and toys, and can recite the first movie in its entirety from memory. He is excited to be a part of such a great team in the middle of this current Turtle Renaissance!

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  • William Kerfoot

    Of course it’s not an end we expected but you’ve got to judge it on its own terms. I don’t think this is a story you can place in an alternate universe/dimension and if that’s the case I’m not blaming the creators for doing that. They did a bad job with the human characters the last two and a half seasons so you can’t blame them for focusing on the foursome only.
    Plus, it doesn’t matter who launched the mutagen bomb or how it was launched. “The Leftovers” didn’t focus on dealing with the Sudden Departure/Rapture and yet it’s recently gone down as a classic TV series. If this story did, the story would’ve focused on the search to reverse everything. They, in the end, did the smart thing by focusing on the themes that have defined the TMNT– at least since it first hit the TV airwaves all those years ago.
    Plus it was nice how Leo was portrayed as the villain. Like Shredder when he disowned Yoshii as his brother as well as his accidental murder of the woman he loved, Leo was driven to the same madness as him after losing everyone. Oasis came to represent both a physical paradise and the family that the TMNT had lost. Now, should the creators have told a Mad Max story to end the series? No. Do I blame them though? As far as this one goes, no.

    • Totaldrama Icequeen

      The meaning of Oasis is right! I felt like Mira was not only meant to find Oasis, but reunite all 4 brothers

      • Alan Wahl

        Mira- Mirage- Mirage Studios

        • Totaldrama Icequeen

          It’s support to be Mira as in meerkat but. *rimshot*

    • Sunny

      I don’t think that the themes are mutually exclusive from undoing the damage. They could have done both…

  • newsball

    well and actually this was 90 minutes and the next two epiodes air weds, and then i have no idea, as if you go to the wikpiedia page they have the next two episodes sept 27th, and we’ll likely have to wait until when they air when the next two air and where, as the wikpedia page has only 5 episodes, which was wasteland warrior, the imposible desert. carmageddon, the curse of savanti romero and the crypt of dracula on nicktoons, but the frankentein experiment and monters among us could air on nick, and then we know the final 3 wanted beebop and rockteady, the foot walks again and the big blowout air in another 90 minute special nov 12th

  • Derek Clay

    odds are a vengeful nihilistic baxter stockman teamed up with surviving remnants of the kraang(the turtles never really did get around to checking up on that underwater kraang base did they)??? KNOWING THE KRAANG THEY WOULD SOONER DESTROUY THE EARTH THENALLOW THE HUMANS TO LIVE THIER LIVES FREE AND UNMOLESTED AND NONMUTATED WHAT WITH THE KRAANG BEING SUCH SPITEFUL SOULLESS REVENGE OBSESSSED !@#$ARDS IN THIER WAY AND BAXTER DOES HAVE INTIMATE KNOWLEDGE OF THE MUTAGEN AND HOW TO WORK WITH IT CREATE AND AND ENHANCE IT OVER TIME AND WITH THE LATE SHREDDERS REAMINING FACILITIES FROM THE DEEP UDNER GROUND MUTAGEN LAYER IT ALL ADDS UP

    • Sunny

      Actually, the Kraang are relatively goal-oriented. They didn’t seem to do much out of sheer pettiness.

      And it’s poor writing to just go, “Well, a Kraang weapon happened… for some reason… you can fill in the blanks.”

    • BirdLady12

      Hmmm….to each their own. But, I don’t really buy that theory. I would expect that the de-mutated Baxter Stockman went on with his life. The Kraang are no more, since Kraang Prime and SubPrime were destroyed. It wouldn’t make sense for them to just mutate the world and then leave. So many plot holes with this arc. Then, there’s the stuff with Renet. It simply doesn’t fit in the canon timeline.
      I suppose in this alternate reality, there is just a more prolonged war with the Kraang, and the Triceratons as well (perhaps that’s how the moon gets all broken up, I don’t know). Maybe the Kraang are ultimately defeated, but not before the Mutagen Bomb goes off (and perhaps there are other bombs all over the world, which is why the whole world gets turned into a wasteland and humanity is effectively wiped out). Maybe in this reality, they did not manage to perfect the Mutagen, and so it has unforeseen consequences. Thus, the world becomes a wasteland. Still doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but doesn’t matter so much when we’re talking about an alternate reality.

  • Totaldrama Icequeen

    You’re crazy giving this a 7 out of 10! This episode was not only action packed, but a tear jerker as well! I really thought that Leo and Mikey were dead in the beginning! Seeing them alive and reuniting with Raph and Donnie brought tears to my eyes! Heck, I really felt like crying at the end! Not for it being the series finale, but because the turtles were reunited together after so long! The hidden moral of this arc, and maybe the series as a whole, is…as long as you’re with family, you are home. This deserves a 10 out of 10 because this was meant to be the finale and it crushed all other TMNT finales down the garbage disposal!

  • Mystery Cup of Joe

    This was a perfect ending to mirror the Mirage comic book series. The Mirage comics always foreshadowed a darker time for the Turtles. Even the fan made comic, TMNT Odyssey, did the same thing. The ending note “For Kevin and Peter” showed how this was a love letter to the original comics.

    Is it sad? Incredibly. However, I think it deserves a 10 for taking such a huge risk. Not a lot of shows will end this way due to fear that they are overstepping the bounds for kids. X-Men on Fox and Teen Titans on Cartoon Network are the only two shows that come to mind which show a not so happy wrap up. I would have been disappointed if they all just ate pizza and were like, “Thanks for joining us on this happy adventure kids!”

    This ending brought up some realistic ideas of how life has some dark twists and turns. It treats kids as mature enough viewers and respects them to give a more serious ending. The next incarnation might not have such an impacting ending as I hear it will be a bit more silly (hopefully there will be serious moments). Awesome job Nickelodeon!

    Now excuse me as I wipe the tears as I see that ending family reunion photo again.

    • Totaldrama Icequeen

      Got a favorite part?

      • Mystery Cup of Joe

        It is a tie between the flashback of Leonardo pushing his brothers away and there are tears in his eyes. He tried so hard to be a leader and he couldn’t protect them the way Splinter did (even though the situation was totally out of his hands).

        The second one was when Leonardo saw the younger image of Raph as he was beating him up. It reminded me of when the 3rd Hokage in Naruto saw the younger Orochimaru before dying.

        What is your favorite part?

        • Totaldrama Icequeen

          It’s a tie between Mikey and Chompy reuniting with Raph and Donnie, Raph discovering that Leo was Maximus Kong, Leo regaining his memories, and the ending

    • Alan Wahl

      Dinosaurs, 90s Jim Henson sitcom, ended with the Ice Age coming.

      • Mystery Cup of Joe

        Oh man! I never realized that show ended that way. I guess I was too young and couldn’t keep the shows in order. I thought it just was cancelled. That is super depressing, especially when I think of that baby dinosaur.

        I also wanted to add that some of the Transformers stuff ended on somber notes. These include: Beast Wars, Beast Machines, Transformers Animated, and Transformers Prime.

    • Sunny

      Except it wasn’t made this way because of the comics or as a risk. It was done as a “nobody else gets to touch my toys!” gesture by Nieli. Seriously, he said as much.

      • Mystery Cup of Joe

        I didn’t realize that. However, since the turtles are pretty much flexible with time travel due to Renet and Professor Honeycutt, the idea of infinite universes is not far off.

        I really feel bad for Mutagen Man. I don’t think he ever got a resolution. This is similar to that soldier that got turned into a mutant by Agent Bishop in the 2003 series.

      • NicoLe Osborne

        He fails to realize that people will make more of it regardless. Tmnt is way too alternate/parallel universe friendly for something like this to stop others from making more.

        • Sunny

          And with Nick holding all the rights, they can just ignore the MA arc and incorporate these Turtles into whatever they want (like future crossovers). They already disavow it as “another dimension.”

    • Totaldrama Icequeen

      I agree! I love the reuniting, the tears, the action, everything

    • BirdLady12

      I’m glad you enjoyed it. To each their own 🙂
      However, I do not agree that it respects kids. When I was a child, my peers and I would often question things that did not make sense and would frankly have been insulted by this arc, with the way that it contradicts canon so badly (ie Renet and her description of the future) and expects the viewer to either ignore it or not be observant enough to notice. Also, there is the treatment of the main female characters (ie, it basically ignores them, other than a few “mementos”), which has some….unfortunate implications, especially when you consider the young girls in the audience.
      I’m not sure I would consider it to be taking a risk either. Downer endings are nothing new in fiction (cartoons included), and can in fact be quite lazy. A good ending needs to make sense in the context of the story.
      Personally, I think Owari makes a better ending to the main canon storyline (with Kavaxas as an epilogue). Now, THAT is a bittersweet ending; Shredder is defeated, but Splinter is still dead and never coming back. And it manages to do that without contradicting previously established canon.
      The family reunion photo was sweet, though, especially with the accompanying music 🙂

  • Elisa

    I have to agree with your review. It was a well told story – the animation and music were great. I loved the symbolism of Oasis. However, it didn’t seem like an appropriate finale to this series because all these characters they spent so long cultivating were barely a mention. I prefer to take it as SAINW. A possible future for the 2012 timeline. It doesn’t mean that I need a finale that is entirely happy, but I’d like to at least have some closure to some story points and characters. I think the 2012 story really ended at Owari. And tales were just side stories really. I enjoyed MA, but it didn’t feel like an adequate send off – if that was really the purpose.

    • Sunny

      Agreed. I’d also like to feel like the Turtles accomplished something in their heroic exploits, especially since Renet said they were legendary heroes in the history books. Can’t do that if civilization is gone and there’s nothing really to save… and there are no future humans like Renet.

      Tales are side stories, all the way. It’s the only way this continuity mess makes sense.

    • BirdLady12

      Agreed. Though, I may be a bit more critical of the story than you 😉 But, I strongly agree with you on the animation (outside of a few terrible character designs). The voice acting was also excellent. I do agree that the story ended at Owari (with Kavaxas as an epilogue, I suppose).

  • danspitaliere

    Thank you for the comments everyone! Let’s keep the conversation going!

    • Totaldrama Icequeen

      The episode deserves a higher rating

    • Totaldrama Icequeen

      Favorite part of this special

      • danspitaliere

        The vehicle chase scenes were really good. I really enjoy this teams tribute episodes, and not only did they nail Mad Max as a concept but they did a great job of honoring George Miller’s style.

        • Totaldrama Icequeen

          Scenes when the turtles reunited with each other were my favorites. Specifically; the scene when Mikey reunites with Raph and Donnie, Raph realizing that Maximus Kong’s Leo, Leo gaining his memories back, and the ending

  • notsosmartguy

    I feel the same way you do. Its a well told story and in my opinion an interesting conclusion but on the other hand its really depressing and bitter which really turned off alot of fans.
    I think it would have been better if April and Karai were included in the finale cause their absence is a big complaint from the community.
    Personally I find it better to think of it as a possible future in the vain if stories like the Dark Knight returns or Old Man Logan even if this is probably what the creators intend to be the true ending.

    • Sunny

      According to Brandon Auman, story editor/writer, it’s legit to disregard it as a finale and just go with the last real cohesive arc.

      • William Kerfoot

        I don’t believe you “Sunny”. You’re going to tell me that WWC didn’t happen? You’re going to tell me that the Splinter episode didn’t happen? That the B&R arc didn’t happen? I don’t think so.

        • Sunny

          Don’t shoot the messenger. He said it, not me. You can find screencaps of his message on Tumblr. He said that the “tales”arcs are effectively fun side-stories that don’t have to adhere to continuity.

        • Sunny

          No need to shoot the messenger, dude. It doesn’t matter if you believe me or not; the screen caps of his words are up on Tumblr, but sadly I can’t post a link to them.

          He basically said that if people didn’t like this arc, the Kavaxas arc was the true ending of the story and that the “Tales” are effectively side-stories that don’t necessarily share continuity with the main story.

          • William Kerfoot

            I’m just saying that it’s not that simple. Surely you read my reasons for liking it (probably Icequeen’s too) and if it happened in an alternate universe then fine. If not, I’m still not going to blame the creators for making the episode.

          • Sunny

            If you like it, that’s cool. I just wanted people to be aware that, between Nickelodeon’s disavowals and Brandon, it’s also completely legitimate to see it as being not canon with the main series. If you enjoyed the ending and found it fitting, it can be canon with you or not, as long as you like it.

  • NUMBER ONE TMNT FAN

    THIS WAS CRAZY. Bittersweet is the perfect word. After having watched all the way since the beginning I wanted the finale to be something special and memorable, BUT I WASNT EXPECTING THIS!!!! Frankly, the outright gruesome end feels fitting in a way. But it is still quite jarring. I’m glad we still have the halloween episodes to look forward to as well as the 80″s crossover (which I’ll be watching tonight since i bought the dvd!!!!!)

    • Sunny

      It’s not actually the finale then…

      • NUMBER ONE TMNT FAN

        it is they just aired it out of order.

        • BirdLady12

          It was intended by Ciro Nieli to be the “true” ending, but Nickelodeon changed it and has made the Crossover arc the official series finale. Personally, I see Owari as the true ending (with the Kavaxas arc as an epilogue) to the main canon storyline. But, the Crossover does make fun finale for the Tales season.
          I actually agree with Nick’s decision on this. I personally would not call the arc bittersweet. More nihilistic, to be honest. Plus, it doesn’t fit into the canon timeline, if you think about it (with Renet’s description of the future and the defeat of the Kraang).

          • NUMBER ONE TMNT FAN

            TRUE!!!

  • NUMBER ONE TMNT FAN

    Guess what, so I’m watching this episode on the Nick app, and right away I was confused. The first thing i saw was Raph fighting this huge beast. Then you see that it’s actually Leo and suddenly they’re all at this oasis with a meerkat I’ve never seen and before I realize what I’m watching, the credits start rolling……THE APP GLITCHED UP AND PLAYED THE ENDING BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE THEREBY COMPLETELY SPOILING THE ENTIRE THING!!!!!!!

  • KB

    Right?!?! This was so jarring and bittersweet. I have completely LOVED the series but there was just something so so so sad about this special. I have to say I’m glad it was NOT the series finale. That would have just been cruel. The episode itself was enjoyable and I’m glad I got to watch it but man, I’m here for those goofy teens, not gonna lie. I enjoy watching the alternate and older versions and I don’t expect things to be super happy bubbly but this was like– super depressing!! Casey’s appearance was as a SKULL!!!! They could have just kept it sad enough offing one or two of the turtles or just Casey and April, they offed the entire human race. I did like it but totally agree with the review. Hard to judge it, I’m just glad it won’t be the last episode of the show. So sad it’s ending though. I knew they had only planned for five but I was kind of hoping they’d go to seven anyway.

    • Alan Wahl

      Casey would approve. it’s metal!!!🤙🏻😎

  • Alan Wahl

    These apocalyptic episodes seem to take a lot of it’s information from the role-playing guide made in the 80s called road hogs teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles supplementary. It would’ve been so like them to have actually been playing a role playing game along,

  • Sunny

    Actually it has a lot of canon clash with the rest of the series, like with Renet and her predictions, and the destruction of the Kraang; this episode just acts like those things didn’t happen. So it really does work better as an AU.

    And I’d say it’s not bittersweet. Bittersweet was the loss of Splinter and his family struggling to move on. This is downright tragic – if you accept it as canon, it’s not just what the Turtles were turned into and all they lost, but the deaths of all their friends, the extinction of humanity, the loss of civilization, and the fact that every single world-saving thing they did throughout the series is effectively made meaningless. Nothing they did really matters.

    And I don’t think the “team” was particularly unified in what they saw this as, especially since Nieli basically did this whole hurtful thing as a “nobody gets to touch my toys but me!” gesture. Brandon Auman said said that “technically” the “true ending” was the ending of the Kavaxas arc, and therefore it was totally okay if people disregard this as a story that doesn’t follow the show’s continuity. So that seems like the best option…

    • William Kerfoot

      Why do we have to listen to Brandon Auman? It’s our opinion(s)!

      • Sunny

        Because it legitimizes the entire viewpoint of MA as a non-canon story, from official sources who worked on the show, for people who didn’t like this episode as an ending. Especially since fandom is never friendly to dissenting opinions.

    • BirdLady12

      Sunny,
      Agreed. The future Renet described does not fit with a post-apocalyptic wasteland. She specifically referred to the 25th century, which she described as quite technologically advanced, to the point of developing the ability to travel through time. The turtles also become “legends” who save the world. This also does not fit with a world that becomes a post-apocalyptic wasteland, along with the loss of human civilization.
      I also agree that this arc was not bittersweet. It was downright depressing and actually quite nihilistic. I know these versions of the turtles find each other in the end and seem to find peace. But, the human race is still destroyed. All of those innocent people who were horribly mutated and/or killed. Does that mean nothing? I feel that was sort of glossed over, which is frankly a little disturbing. Honestly, I felt that this arc was lazy; nothing more than a Mad Max rip-off. Some people seem to think that if a story is depressing, that automatically makes it good. But, it doesn’t. Plus, a canon finale should include all four turtles (not leave one of the turtles out until the last several minutes, and the other one for the first third of the special). Now, Owari or End Times. THOSE were bittersweet endings. They defeat Shredder, and in the latter episode, save the world. However, Splinter is still dead and they still have to deal with the scars (both physical and emotional) from the many traumatic experiences they have had. Honestly, I consider that the true ending to the main canon storyline.
      Yeah, I agree that Nieli’s reasons are pretty dubious. One more reason that I don’t care about his intentions. I appreciate what he did for the vast majority of the series; I am actually one of the fans who thought that it stayed strong all the way through. Mutant Apocalypse is the one exception ( in fairness, I probably would have liked it a lot more of certain people didn’t try to force it down our throats as the “true” ending).
      One thing though (sorry if you already know this ). But, it turned out Brandon Auman did not say that. It was, however, some unidentified individual working within the writing team. So ,I think you may be right that not everybody was on board with this dumpster fire. And the comments still line up with Nick changing the name of the show, opening titles, etc. I also like how they included the Kavaxas arc with the final Season 4 episodes. Sorry for the super-long response 🙂

  • Underwater-Astronaut

    I had a lot of conflicted feelings about this episode. As an AU episode, I think it was really solid. I don’t think I liked it as a finale episode though.
    The one thing I can say I was not on board with was the color scheme. The colors throughout this episode were just really ugly. Everything is stuck in these nasty brown tones. Backgrounds blended together with characters and nothing really seemed to pop – character and set designs felt confusing and cluttered. I understand that it is supposed to look ugly because it’s a apocalyptic world, but in my personal opinion they went too far with it.
    There was however one character design that I love without any complaint – Robot Donnie. He was gorgeous. I could have watched Robot Donnie all day. Mikey was sort of “meh”, I thought Raph’s wasn’t too bad (after he took off the beard), and Leo’s was flat out weird and I didn’t like it. But the moment I saw Donnie I was totally on board.
    I realize most of this was about the designs and not the actual content of the episode, but that’s really what stood out to me the most. Any other thoughts/opinions?

    • BirdLady12

      It’s OK as an AU. I agree that it doesn’t work as a canon series finale. It’s a shame. The voice acting (especially Rob Paulsen and Sean Astin) was excellent. It really sucks that we did not get more of Seth Green. In fact, it’s pretty ridiculous that one of the turtles was absent for most of the special, and another one (Mikey) was missing for the first third.

      I also thought Robot Donnie’s design was adorable. However ,his situation is rather disturbing, if you think about it.

  • BirdLady12

    I hope you don’t mind me adding my 2 cents 🙂

    In short, I thought this special was pretty bad, especially considering it was originally intended to be the “true” ending. It’s OK as an alternate reality, but it had some serious issues, which I’ll describe below. There were some good things: the animation was amazing (other than some unfortunate character designs), the voice acting was wonderful (especially Sean Astin and Rob Paulsen), and there were a few good moments (Robot! Donnie, despite his disturbing situation; the scene between Raph and Leo was sweet). But, it wasn’t nearly enough to make up for the flaws, in my opinion.

    “This didn’t feel like a “what if” episode though. The way this was told feels like this is really what happens to these Turtles in their timeline”
    –>I felt the complete opposite. It actually felt completely disconnected from the main series, to the point where I felt like I was watching a Mad Max fan video, into which they had attempted to stuff the TMNT. Emphasis on “attempted”. Even the ending photo with Splinter felt tacked on and out of place. It actually made me feel better. It truly felt like an alternate reality, especially given how badly it contradicted canon (ie, Renet’s description of the turtles’ true future). My personal headcanon? Raph wrote a self-insert Mad Max fanfic.

    “After years of building up a mythology and many characters, they boiled it all down to the core foursome.”
    –> Which brings us to another major flaw. A good canon TMNT series finale should include all four turtles from beginning to end. It simply doesn’t work well when one of the turtles only shows up in the last several minutes. And even Mikey was absent for the first third of the special.

    “But it’s moments like these that you have to remind yourself that not every story has to have a truly happy ending. Bittersweet is a valid decision”
    –> No, but at the same time I can understand why some folks would prefer happy endings. There is enough tragedy and sorrow in real life. Some people turn to fiction, fantasy in particular, to escape from that, even for a short time. Not everybody wants to see their favorite characters have an unhappy ending, and I certainly won’t judge them for that. Besides, just because an ending is a “downer” ending that does not automatically mean it’s a good ending. It needs to make sense within the story. Mutant Apocalypse did not.

    Owari and End Times were good examples of bittersweet endings. Shredder was finally defeated, yes, but Master Splinter was still dead and never coming back. I would argue that Mutant Apocalypse was not “bittersweet”. “Nihilistic” would seem to be a more appropriate word. If it were the canon ending, it would have pretty much rendered the Turtles’ struggles during the entire series meaningless. To be very frank, I could have potentially handled the Turtles dying, as long as it was done well, if it made sense within the story and if it was a meaningful sacrifice.

    Frankly, I thought the arc was incredibly lazy, nothing more than a Mad Max ripoff. And the reasoning behind it (according to an interview given by Ciro Nieli) was dubious.

    Other issues:

    1) the treatment of April and Karai. The fact that these two strong female characters were basically “fridged” ( a few mementos simply don’t cut it) has some….unfortunate implications. These two young women had become part of the Turtles’ family, and to almost completely ignore them was just nonsensical, and not good storytelling.

    2) The flashback of the bomb bothered me. Why on God’s green Earth is Leo just standing there instead of jumping off with his brothers? And why did his brothers need to be pushed in the first place, instead of getting their shells out of the way on their own? They are all smarter than that in canon! It doesn’t make sense. No wonder there ended up being an apocalypse in that reality!

    I can’t believe I’m saying this….but Nick made the right decision by treating it as non-canon (according to the official TMNT twitter). This arc simply does not work as a canon series finale. It’s OK as an alternate reality; it still has flaws, but in that case, those flaws are a little more forgivable. Honestly, I consider Owari to be the true ending to the main canon storyline, with the Kavaxas arc as a cool epilogue. That said, the Crossover still makes a fun finale for the Tales season 🙂

  • BirdLady12

    Part 2 of massive comment:

    Other issues:

    1)
    the treatment of April and Karai. The fact that these two strong
    female characters were basically “fridged” ( a few mementos simply
    don’t cut it) has some….unfortunate implications. These two young
    women had become part of the Turtles’ family, and to almost completely
    ignore them was just nonsensical, and not good storytelling.

    2)
    The flashback of the bomb bothered me. Why on God’s green Earth is Leo
    just standing there instead of jumping off with his brothers? And why
    did his brothers need to be pushed in the first place, instead of
    getting their shells out of the way on their own? They are all smarter
    than that in canon! It doesn’t make sense. No wonder there ended up
    being an apocalypse in that reality!

    I can’t believe I’m saying
    this….but Nick made the right decision by treating it as non-canon
    (according to the official TMNT twitter). This arc simply does not work
    as a canon series finale. It’s OK as an alternate reality; it still has
    flaws, but in that case, those flaws are a little more forgivable.
    Honestly, I consider Owari to be the true ending to the main canon
    storyline, with the Kavaxas arc as a cool epilogue. That said, the
    Crossover still makes a fun finale for the Tales season 🙂

  • BirdLady12

    I hope you don’t mind me adding my 2 cents 🙂 Re-posting since my original massive comment was eaten by the spam filter.
    In short, I thought this special was pretty bad, especially considering it was originally intended to be the “true” ending. It’s OK as an alternate reality, but it had some serious issues, which I’ll describe below. There were some good things: the animation was amazing (other than some unfortunate character designs), the voice acting was wonderful (especially Sean Astin and Rob Paulsen), and there were a few good moments (Robot! Donnie, despite his disturbing situation; the scene between Raph and Leo was sweet). But, it wasn’t nearly enough to make up for the flaws, in my opinion.

    “This didn’t feel like a “what if” episode though. The way this was told feels like this is really what happens to these Turtles in their timeline”
    –>For me, it was the exact opposite. It actually felt completely disconnected from the main series, to the point where I felt like I was watching a Mad Max fan video, into which they had attempted to stuff the TMNT. Emphasis on “attempted”. Even the ending photo with Splinter felt tacked on and out of place. It actually made me feel better. It truly felt like an alternate reality, especially given how badly it contradicted canon (ie, Renet’s description of the turtles’ true future). My personal headcanon? Raph wrote a self-insert Mad Max fanfic.

    • BirdLady12

      Splitting this comment up. Continued here:
      “After years of building up a mythology and many characters, they boiled it all down to the core foursome.”
      –> Which brings us to another major flaw. A good canon TMNT series finale should include all four turtles from beginning to end. It simply doesn’t work well when one of the turtles only shows up in the last several minutes. And even Mikey was absent for the first third of the special.

      “But it’s moments like these that you have to remind yourself that not every story has to have a truly happy ending. Bittersweet is a valid decision”
      –> No, but at the same time I can understand why some folks would prefer happy endings. There is enough tragedy and sorrow in real life. Some people turn to fiction, fantasy in particular, to escape from that, even for a short time. Not everybody wants to see their favorite characters have an unhappy ending, and I certainly won’t judge them for that. Besides, just because an ending is a “downer” ending that does not automatically mean it’s a good ending. It needs to make sense within the story. Mutant Apocalypse did not.

      • BirdLady12

        And the final part of this very long section:
        –> Owari and End Times were good examples of bittersweet endings. Shredder was finally defeated, yes, but Master Splinter was still dead and never coming back. I would strongly argue that Mutant Apocalypse was not “bittersweet”. “Nihilistic” is a much more appropriate word. If it were the canon ending, it would have made everything that came before it meaningless: everything the Turtles accomplished, every time they risked their lives, everything they sacrificed to save the world. To be very frank, I could have potentially handled the Turtles dying, as long as it was done well, if it made sense within the story and if it was a meaningful sacrifice.
        Frankly, I thought the arc was incredibly lazy, nothing more than a Mad Max ripoff. And the reasoning behind it (according to an interview given by Ciro Nieli) was dubious.

  • Sunny

    “This didn’t feel like a “what if” episode though.”

    Actually, it totally did. The whole disaster came absolutely out of nowhere with no legitimate explanation for how/why it happened, there’s massive disconnect from the main series and this arc, and the events explicitly contradicted canonical future events (Renet’s existence is impossible, as is the future she comes from, and the loss of both would cause massive paradoxes). Honestly, this puppy ONLY makes sense as a “what if” or an alternate universe.

    Nick has also apparently shelved this under AU as well, having disavowed its canonicity on the official Twitter account (calling it a “tale from beyond”) and reclassified it as “another dimension” in an official press release. Ultimately, they get to decide what’s canon, so it’s legit to regard this as an AU.