“Why is that dude afraid of a cute, tiny little squirrel?”
The turtles are out on their mutagen hunt. Having trouble pinpointing any particular canister, Donatello finally locates one outside a movie theater. As they recover the half empty vial, a scream from the theater draws them in to find a mutated squirrel crawling down a man’s throat! In shock, they take the man back to the lair to figure out a way to help him, but it doesn’t take long before the squirrel crawls back out – only this time there are two of them, having used the poor man as a host to replicate.
A chase begins around the lair to catch the two mutant squirrels, but to no avail. Eventually Master Splinter manages to capture one, but the other forces its way into Raphael’s mouth and into is stomach to reproduce. Two new squirrels soon appear, and all three begin emitting dangerous amounts of energy, burning out the lights in the lair. The heroes split up to find them, but are quickly drawn back together by three now very large, very mutated squirrelanoids. Splinter holds them off, but all three escape into the depths of the sewers.
Scared, the turtles send Metalhead out after the creatures, but the robot is easily destroyed, forcing the boys to man up and jump into action. They chase down the squirrelanoids, and find themselves surrounded. Ready to go out in a blaze of glory, the boys fight hard, until Michelangelo comes up with a plan. Momentarily retreating, he gathers some food and lures the mutants into the nearby septic system. When all three dive in, Mikey flushes them into the large tanks deep beneath the city, where they will hopefully stay until Donnie can come up with a cure.
This episode was billed as a “Halloween” show, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. There’s sort of an understanding with a series’ Halloween episodes that they be extra creepy or try and terrify the audience in some way (within reason, depending on who the target group is). Seeing a squirrel crawl down a man’s throat within the first three minutes certainly accomplished that goal. It’s good to see that even in a show that has absolutely no boundaries in terms of how weird or crazy it can get, it’s still possible to shock and surprise and horrify at just the right time.
The story itself also added a lot of good foreshadowing to what might come up a lot during this season. While it’s fun to see which unfortunate humans are mutated into classic allies and villains, it’ll also be just a fun to have more instances of ordinary animals getting into the ooze and terrorizing people simply because they don’t know how else to function. More of those types of stories will certainly be entertaining for viewers and the turtles, because they will provide moments like this episode where the humor was just off the charts, even when the eeriness is cranked up to 11.
It was also good to see another episode where Michelangelo got some real development, and, in a sense, redemption. While he wasn’t the focus of story as some other episodes have been for the various turtles, Mikey’s particular brand of knowledge kept resurfacing and ultimately became crucial to resolving the problem. The resolution itself, though, added much more, giving Mikey a bit of reconciliation for his previous mistake. By saving the others and (hopefully) putting the squirrelanoids somewhere safe for the time being, he made amends for dropping the canisters of mutagen all over the city in the first place.
Overall, it was another strong episode to begin the second season. The squirrelanoids will likely be back again in no time (just as the unfortunate man who thinks it’s okay to eat a bag of popcorn he finds in the sewer). They’ll undoubtedly prove to be worthwhile foes, as well as great test subjects for whatever concoctions Donnie comes up with to put everyone afflicted by the mutagen back to normal.