“Dude, are you talking to your eyeball?” – Michelangelo
Bebop and Rocksteady are out searching for chemicals so Stockman can complete his mind control formula, but are quickly becoming fed up with not running things. The turtles arrive to stop their chemical hunt, but in the fray a vial of mutagen falls on a garbage man, transforming him into living trash.
The boys return to the lair to take stock of the battle. Meanwhile, the trash man learns of his fate – and his control over garbage. Believing the turtles to be at fault, he wants his revenge. Instead, he finds a man being mugged, and saves his life, becoming the hero and new celebrity Muckman in the process. Muckman doesn’t appreciate the attention, though, and runs away. The turtles confront the mutant, and his rage returns. Muckman starts attacking, but as people near he flees again. Unfortunately, the turtles are not as lucky to escape before the news crew arrives.
Caught on camera, the turtles make an appearance on the nightly news, and Master Splinter grounds them. Fearing that Bebop and Rocksteady are still on the loose, the turtles sneak out. Meanwhile, the two mutants have to hunt down more chemicals for Stockman, and they hope to use Muckman to accomplish their goal. Confronting the garbage mutant, Rocksteady and Bebop convince him to steal the needed chemical under the guise of it being retro-mutagen.
The turtles try to stop the mutants, and Muckman attacks them for revenge. As Joe the eyeball tries to talk some sense into the garbage man, Bebop and Rocksteady turn on him, teaching him of his real allies. Muckman and the turtles stop the other mutants from stealing the chemials Stockman needs, and the noxious avenger becomes their newest ally. While the turtles escape, Muckman convinces the news team that the turtles do not exist, and that he is the only mutant hero the city has, overcoming is insecurity.
The introduction of Muckman seemed reminiscent of the Pulverizer, but with fewer repercussions. When the Pulverizer was on the scene, the turtles were trying to find a energy crystal that could change the fate of the world, and they knew such. With Muckman, there was a clear indication that the stakes were suppose to be high (new ally/villain, mind control formula, and being seen on the evening news), but it didn’t seem like the episode really delivered. There has always been a point where the turtles were ultimately discovered by the mainstream media and exposed to the world. It would be a nice twist on things if this had been the start of that aspect for this series. Even if they were still “hidden” at the end of this episode, it would have been very interesting to see a reporter trying to scoop the story and expose them once and for all (possibly someone working with one Vern Fenwick). It would be a great way to lead into season four, and provide the series with some momentum.
Muckman, as a whole, seems like he could be a regular addition to the show, but his overall entrance was a bit underwhelming. Both the ideas of wanting revenge and being Bebop and Rocksteady’s patsy were great, but the fact that neither was dealt with until almost the end of the episode meant that there really couldn’t be much done with either. If, instead, the revenge had been taken in this episode, and then Muckman was “evil” for one more later (then his conscience got to him), then it would have been a little more satisfying. It also doesn’t help that there’s no indication what role Muckman will play in the series, or if he’ll even return again.
This was an okay episode, and while it was great to see another old character return, including old characters without any indication how they will be relevant to the show as a whole is starting to become less meaningful. Bebop and Rocksteady had meaning; Mutagen Man had a purpose; the Mighty Mutanimals have yet another appearance coming up soon. So far, Muckman seems superfluous, but hopefully he’ll play an important role at some later time.