TMNT – “The Pulverizer Returns” Review
“What? The Pulverizer?!”
Frustrated with constant failure, Shredder has a new idea about creating a better army. Meanwhile, battling the Foot clan has become boring for the turtles. But as they agonize over this development, they spot a large ninja breaking into a building below. After a quick brawl, the ninja is none other than the Pulverizer. Pulverizer joined Bradford’s dojo and was invited into the Foot, where he hopes to spy for his friends. Donatello tries to convince him otherwise, but to no avail.
Returning home, Master Splinter berates the boys for their growing complacency in battle, knowing that it could be their downfall. He orders the turtles to exchange weapons until further notice, putting all four in unknown territory. The exercise proves Splinter’s point, but Donatello receives a text from the Pulverizer, and the turtles head out. Pulverizer (Timothy) tries to give them information on Shredder’s plan, but Fish Face and Dog Pound interrupt. Pulverizer retreats, and the turtles are backed into a corner, trying to fight with unfamiliar weapons. They switch back and quickly defeat the Foot, but not before two soldiers escape with Kraang mutagen. Donnie realizes that Shredder must be trying to create a mutant army of his own.
For disobeying him, Splinter takes away the boys’ weapons. Shredder prepares to test the mutagen, with Timothy graciously volunteering. After learning what’s happening, the turtles race to save their friend, and Donnie faces down Dog Pound and Fish Face alone. His brothers soon arrive to fight, but Timothy still wants to be a mutant to help them. He pours mutagen on himself, transforming into a shapeless blob with organs floating inside.
Dog Pound sets the equipment to explode, and the turtles race to save Timothy before he’s hurt. The man-boy’s mind devolved to its base instincts, so the turtles seal his organs and most of the gooey body in a canister. Barely escaping, the boys return to the lair, where Donatello swears to restore Timothy someday. Shredder is furious with the outcome, and he and his captured Kraang realize that an alliance may be the only way to eliminate the turtles once and for all.
“The Pulverizer” was easily one of the best episodes of this season. He was a strong character that created a lot of focus for Donatello, and helped tell a good story using main and secondary plot elements. His return was just as successful. His insertion back into the action was done in a way that actually explained his absence, and it was obvious that the character’s growth wasn’t thrown out (with Donatello inspiring him to train harder).
There was also a new element of the turtles’ ninja training with Splinter’s insistence on switching weapons. Part of being a ninjutsu master is proficiency with all the weapons of the art. So even though Splinter was mad at them when he assigned the task, it was part of their training that he would need to address at some point. However, the anger over using the usual weapons wasn’t quite understandable when the boys’ lives were in danger. Yes, a ninja should be able to use anything as a weapon, but the middle of a life-or-death fight isn’t the time to experiment.
The loss of Timothy was a very unexpected twist. There have been episodes this season where certain expectations were hinted in the story. Every single time (for better or worse), those expectations were thrown out. This time, it was for the better. There was not an ounce of doubt until the very end that the turtles would rescue Timothy and teach him a valuable lesson. So to see his mutation actually happen was incredible. It was absolutely heart wrenching, but now the turtles have that much more motivation to stop the Kraang once and for all.
Both episodes to feature the Pulverizer were fantastic in their own ways. Story and character development were strong, and the added element of Timothy’s untimely loss was just a brilliant addition. It should be interesting to see how he is involved in future episodes, and if Donatello can change him back someday.