“I give you … the new and improved Metalhead!”
Donatello has been hard at work upgrading Metalhead. Now armed with various fighting techniques, the robot is the perfect training partner – and he shows the turtles exactly what he’s capable of doing. While Master Splinter tells the others to use this new and improved invention to their advantage, the security system goes off, and the boys rush into action, only to find Spider Bytez running around the sewer being chased by Kraang. The aliens capture the mutant spider, and the boys give chase, curious as to why they’re so interested in the mutant.
Along with Metalhead, the turtles pursue the Kraang to an empty garage, but the aliens disappear into thin air. Of course, Michelangelo finds a secret panel by accident, but when Metalhead tries to plug in, he shorts out and blows up their only clue. Donnie tries to fix up their steel friend, but Leonardo suggests that the only solution is to shut him down. Unfortunately, Metalhead doesn’t take kindly to that idea, and he runs away from the lair.
The turtles follow him into the city, and locate the robot just as he disappears through a well-hidden Kraang portal. They continue on and arrive at a Kraang holding facility, where the aliens have been rounding up the city’s mutants, including Kirby O’Neil. As it turns out, Metalhead has been trying to save the captured creatures (Slash, Snakeweed, Wingnut, Spider Bytez) and the turtles rush to save him from the Kraang. As they fight, however, the Kraang release some of the mutants, now under their control, but Metalhead is able to destroy the control devices. He opens the portal back to New York’s streets, and all the captive mutants escape. However, in order for the turtles to leave, Metalhead must stay, and bravely sacrifices himself for his friends.
It seems to be a noticeable trend now that episodes focusing on Donatello are significantly better than most of the others. It was as true with this episode as it was with the Pulverizer and Mutagen Man episodes. While Metalhead has been seen several times since his initial creation, another episode that involved him in the main action was certainly a welcomed change. It’s been a key feature of this incarnation of the turtles that even the most useless and disposable of characters have great personality that can drive an episode. Metalhead is no different, and with an upgraded A.I., he was even more of a character. Unfortunately, we now have no idea when he will be seen – or if he will – again.
Episodes like this are the perfect time to reveal smaller, but crucial parts to the overall story. Where the big reveal of April’s connection to the Kraang felt forced at the wrong point in time, the new piece of information in this episode was perfectly timed and executed. Knowing that the Kraang are trying to round up all the mutants gives the turtles a sense of the overall plan. What exactly the aliens hope to do with their captures is anyone’s guess, but knowing that they must protect their mutant enemies from their alien enemies adds a new and interesting layer to the story unfolding this season. It also means that this probably isn’t the last that will be seen of any of these old mutants, and may even be connected to the cure Donatello’s been searching for.
This episode showed two things: 1) that revisiting old characters can still be interesting, and 2) that the true nature of this season in the remaining 15 episodes is anyone’s guess. There are so many issues that could come back to play a factor before the season’s over, and that’s assuming that some of them aren’t held for season three. Really, all that is known is that surprises are still in store for the turtles and the audience, and it’s going to be a wild ride until the very end. Here’s hoping the boys have more friends like Metalhead around to help them through.