“It’s some kind of Mega Shredder!” – Michelangelo
Deep in Baxter Stockman’s laboratory, Shredder continues to pump mind control worms into Karai’s brain. However, the evil lord believes another attack is imminent, and sets Bebop and Rocksteady to guard his adopted daughter. Meanwhile, the boys are ready to attempt another break-in, this time using Donatello’s new urban camouflage. Against all odds, the camouflage works, and the boys infiltrate Shredder’s lair. However, they quickly find themselves face-to-face with Bebop, Rocksteady, and Tiger Claw. The turtles can’t handle Shredder’s forces, and are forced to retreat.
Back at the lair, the boys are broken and bruised, complete with a sprained ankle for Raphael. Because of the injury, Splinter sidelines the team until Raph is healed. However, Leonardo takes this to mean that he should go in alone, and ventures back to Shredder’s compound. Fortunately, Michelangelo backs him up, and the two infiltrate yet again. The brothers manage to get their hands on a brain worm, but they’re caught by Bebop and Rocksteady, and strung up above the vat of mutagen.
In an attempt to stall for time, Leo convinces the goons to add some more stuff to the mutagen and create a super mutant. The rhino and pig choose to throw in the crustacean Shredder mutants, but when the three enter the container they are warped together into a mega mutant that towers over NYC. With no time to lose (and with Mikey now sitting in the mutant’s stomach), Raph, Donnie, Casey, and April get the newly repaired Turtle Mech out of storage and face off against the mega mutant.
The Turtle Mech takes a lot of damage, and can’t seem to find a weak point on the monster, even with Leo providing cover. However, right when things seem their worst, Mikey manages to break free of the beast’s stomach, and severs its brain from the body. With one final move, the boys blow the monster sky high.
While another fun addition to the growing story here in the season’s final episodes, the purpose of breaking into Shredder’s lair seemed to be overshadowed a bit by the Mega Shredder. The boys did manage to get a brain worm for Donnie to work with, but usually this point in the season has the episodes more meaningful than this one. It was good to see some development on the Karai front, but there wasn’t nearly enough to warrant the mission. Or, perhaps it’s more accurate to say that this episode didn’t give the mission the gravity that it deserved, especially with Raph’s injury after the first attempt. That in itself could have been something more, turning this into a larger Raph-focused episode. But there was a workaround that totally undid any issue. On top of that, the Mega Shredder aspect seemed more important than the brain worm. A couple more infiltration attempts (down a team member) culminating in a six-on-six battle royale would have added much more.
It was, however, nice to see the vision quest gear making a comeback – even if it was just Leonardo’s. Everything that was gained during the vision quest (including the cool stealth uniforms) has basically seemed forgotten and/or removed from the show since its original appearance. So it was a welcomed callback to see it in action again. Since Leonardo used his for a stealth mission, it would be a great thing if they became official stealth gear moving forward. At least that way then the gains of that adventure (much like Donatello’s reoccurring technological achievements) would have a place in all the ninja missions.
While not quite what should have been seen at this point in the season, this episode proved to be yet another solid addition to the set leading up to the final showdown. Whether the brain worm will be dealt with again before the finale remains to be seen, but at least it’s now in Donnie’s hands, and can be used to find a way to save Karai once and for all.