TMNT – “Fungus Humungous” Review
“I’m freaking out, I’m FREAKING OUT, I’M FREAKING OUT!”
April loves having Casey to discuss turtle business with, and the two now make trips to the lair together. However, when they slip into the sewer, April is blasted by a yellow powder, and begins hallucinating. Casey runs to the lair and collects the turtles to help hunt down their female friend, but during the search he inhales the powder as well, and imagines a swarm of rats.
The boys find April deep in the sewer, but also come across a mutant mushroom. While they manage to fling it off into the depths, Raphael is exposed to its spores as well. Back in the lair, Donatello deduces that the mushroom releases a toxin that’s causing them to see their worst fears. The gang treks back out into the sewers to stop the fungus, but when they stumble upon its breeding ground the remainder of the ninja team is sprayed with spores. Now all six heroes are stuck inside their worst nightmares.
However, not all hope is lost, because Leonardo is able to fight his fear long enough to penetrate into the heart of the fungi’s lair. With an onslaught of mutant mushrooms guarding the main branch, Leo is forced to come face-to-face with what he fears most – losing his team. Fortunately, he comes to grip with the possibility, finds perfect focus, and uses sunlight to defeat the freaky fungus. With the spores’ effect worn off, the others track down their leader and take him home, safe and sound.
It was fun to see an episode in the recent mix that doesn’t have implications beyond the immediate problem. The mutagen issue is still a threat, and here the turtles were dealing with it again, while taking a break from the major plot developments. The episode was quick, enjoyable, and overall well timed. It was also nice to see the turtles’ little family growing, and the dynamic including their new brother/friend. Casey and April now have each other as confidants, and the turtles have a new ally; when all six are finally together and fighting for real, they will be a formidable team (as they always have been).
Even though it wasn’t a major Shredder or Kraang episode, this adventure did have its implications for the greater TMNT universe. Several times with this series there have been episodes to feature Leonardo’s competence as leader, but they’ve always been from someone else’s perspective (usually Raph’s). Finally, though, the same issue is being addressed from the actual leader’s perspective. This is a prime example of how to keep the show from going too stale. It’s okay to have the same plot used several times, as long as there is a new spin on it with each use. That was accomplished here, and seeing Leo confront and embrace his greatest fear was remarkable growth for the hero.
Interestingly enough, there was also some pushing of the Donnie-April-Casey triangle this episode, as well. Fans knew that this would be an issue, but the question still remains whether or not there will be an episode devoted to it later on. Casey and Donatello were giving each other grief over how each handled April’s freak out, and there was clearly the sense of a greater rivalry brewing. If ever the writers were going to address the Donnie-April romance(?), then having an entire episode devoted to just putting it on the table and dealing with it would be ideal, especially now that Casey Jones can make the whole conversation much more interesting.
This episode was simply a fun addition to the TMNT story thus far. While it didn’t have too many grand implications for the story as it’s developing, it still helped progress a few minor plot points, and gave new life to the mutagen chase happening over the course of this season. It’s great to see Casey and April working together with the turtles, and it’ll be fun to see how the six of them act as a real team when it comes time to battle the Foot or Kraang down the line.