TMNT – “Journey to the Center of Mikey’s Mind” Review
Half the fun of this series has been trying to catch all the references they pack into each episode. And not just references to other iterations of TMNT, although there are plenty of those here, but to pop culture in general. In this episode alone, there are references to Star Wars, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and Pulp Fiction, among others. Then there are more broad references, like the wild west showdown between Mikey and Bellybomb, and the callbacks to the He-Man and Voltron cartoons the guys watched in previous seasons. The writer’s have done such a good job of having layers of enjoyment for audience’s of all ages, and an episode as fun as this one is a good one to celebrate that notion on.
The first half of “Journey to the Center of Mikey’s Mind” has very little to do with Mikey. It focuses on the Turtles and Fugitoid traveling to a “No Terrans” cantina to buy information on where the Triceraton’s are. If anything, Mikey’s more annoying than usual, ignoring Raph’s protests to treat Bellybomb with more respect. Of course, we find out that Bellybomb, real name (in this iteration) Beel-O-Bomb, is not worthy of such respect. He immediately tries to steal the groups money without giving them the agreed information. Not willing to take this lying down, the Turtles try to stop Bellybomb’s escape, leading to the aforementioned wild west showdown, and a full blown shootout in the middle of the bar. It’s always a little weird seeing the Turtles using guns, but set in the middle of what could pass as Mos Eisley Cantina, it feels right at home. The Turtles succeed, aided by a stiff punch by Fugitoid, and they leave the bar with their money, but sans any information.
The Turtles return to their ship, but Bellybomb has sent the Neutrinos after them. It was exciting to get the Neutrinos introduction into this TMNT, but it was disappointing to see them reduced to mini mind parasites. Kala, Dask, and Zak these are not. Anyway, the Neutrinos invade Mikey’s mind, and Fugitoid, with help from April’s psychic powers, sends Leo, Donnie, and Raph in after them.
Traveling into anyone’s mind would be a trip, but traveling into Mikey’s mind? Now that is an adventure. At first, the boys just experience memories of their travels; Mazes and Mutants in the sewer; the farmhouse and Sasquatch, etc. The Neutrinos start to chase them through each memory, tearing into the scene, hunting the Turtles. It reminded me of Nemesis from Resident Evil and the first Terminator. Next the Turtles find Mikey’s subconscious. There they meet Angry Mikey, Hungry Mikey, Weird Mikey, and Funny Mikey. It was nice to (literally) go deeper into Mikey’s character. The cheesy rap was cheesy, but also insightful, exactly how you’d imagine Mikey being. Of course Angry Mike was Raph’s favorite, and in true Mikey fashion, Weird Mikey was also strangely smart, ultimately leading the trio to the heart of Mikey’s brain: his imagination.
Imagination land is crazy, but what did you expect? Seeing all of Mikey’s favorite things coming together and clashing styles was a real treat. We got guest appearances by the Mutanimals, the Turtles forest attire, and Ice Cream Kitty. We got all the various cartoons he watches, some living action figures, and even a giant Renet. The finishing move on the Neutrinos was very anime-esque, which is appropriate for Mikey.
Side note: Isn’t it funny how Mikey still looks up to Bradford? I guess our heroes never die.
“Journey to the Center of Mikey’s Mind” was a fun episode. Sure, it was a filler episode, but a great diversion from the serious hunt for the Triceratons. If you can’t have a romp through space once in a while, what’s the point in going? By the end of the episode, the Turtles seem back on track, but with a more clear appreciation for their younger brother.