Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Recap – Season 3, Episode 16: Clash of the Mutanimals


Hey there. It’s been a while since we got to recap a brand new episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, though part of that is because we missed last week.

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What matters is that we’re here now, and the Mighty Mutanimals are back. The Turtles’ unique mutant friends are back, only it’s looking like the two groups aren’t just going to peacefully team up and kick butt. I’d bet any money that Shredder is part of the reason why, but let’s find out for sure by jumping into “Clash of the Mutanimals.”

Turtle-Powered Recap: Tiger Claw is attempting to make a deal with some criminals for a vial of a mysterious chemical when he’s interrupted by the Mighty Mutanimals. Alas, things quickly go wrong for the would-be heroes, as not only does Tiger Claw defeat them all, the Foot make off with both Slash and Rockwell, with Tiger Claw saying they could be of use “to him.”

Michelangelo watches an episode of Crognard the Barbarian that sees all of Crognard’s friends fall under mind control (even Spooch!), though his mind is too small to be controlled. Mikey notes that the cartoons they watch often seem to be linked to their real life missions, though Raphael says he’s reading too much into them and simply wants to go after Shredder. Like right now. While he rages out, Donatello notes that he’s repaired the Shellraiser. Possible plot point alert.

Suddenly, Leatherhead stumbles in, telling the Turtles about the fate of the other Mutanimals. Pigeon Pete discovers the joys of pizza crust, and Leo vows that they will rescue the others.

About them … Baxter Stockman informs Shredder that the chemical obtained by Tiger Claw is the final ingredient he needs to finish his mind control formula. Shredder wants it tested on the captured mutants first, and Baxter informs them the formula must be applied directly to the brain. If that sounds bad, it gets worse when Stockman reveals he’s got special worms to do the job. Yuck!

When the Turtles, Leatherhead and Pete arrive on the scene, they’re surprised to see Slash and Rockwell have already escaped. After dispatching some Foot robots, they take the mutants back to the lair, where Mikey suggests that they both seem a bit off. Rockwell admits that Shredder had them experimented on, but it only sinks in when Slash attacks Splinter. Amid the surprise and chaos, Slash and Rockwell are able to trap Leatherhead behind a heavy door and capture Raph. They even steal the Party Wagon, but after checking on Splinter, the others pursue in the Shellraiser (see?). Rockwell uses an oil slick to take out the other vehicle, and Leo says that ironically, Raph is going to get his wish after all, because they’re going to need to assault Splinter’s base.

Speaking of Foot HQ, Raph is being prepared for the brain worm treatment, and we see for the first time that the worm can literally drill into one’s head. Outside, Donnie asks about a plan, and Leo says to forget a plan, simply asking Leatherhead to make them a door.

Raph awakens and tries to attack Shredder but is surprised to find that he is compelled to follow Shredder’s verbal commands. The Foot leader tests how effective his new thrall can be by ordering Raph to attack him. The Turtles and remaining Mutanimals arrive right after that, dismayed to find that the odds are against them thanks to Baxter’s work.

So we’ve got ourselves the big fight of the episode as the combatants pair off. Leatherhead vs. Slash! Pigeon Pete vs. Baxter Stockman! Donnie vs. Rockwell! Mikey vs. Tiger Claw! And topping it all off, Leo vs. Raph.

As they battle, Leo appeals to Raph’s rage, taunting him constantly. That pays off when Raph shakes free of the mind control and vomits up the brain worm, which is disturbing but not quite as gross as it sounds.Seeing how that works, Donnie is able to do the same thing to Rockwell, who in turn uses his mental powers to free Slash.

The TMNT and Mutanimals unite to attack Shredder eight-on-one. Shredder is able to fight all of them off, at least until Slash knocks a large statue over on top of him. Tiger Claw arrives with a host of Foot robots in tow, but Leo simply says, “Another time,” and all eight mutants disappear in a ninja smoke bomb. Is Shredder crushed? Perish the thought, as the Foot move the statue and we find that he’s been able to find a depression in the floor that saved him. He is angry, though.

Back at the lair, Slash apologizes to Shredder, saying he was aware of his actions but simply couldn’t help himself. Rockwell also thanks them, and when Leo points out that every team needs a loud-mouthed, ultra-violent member, he steels himself for some incoming blows from Raph but instead gets … a hug? Sure, why not?

Favorite Moment: The writers continue to show how Mikey is intuitive in his own way even while struggling with basic smarts and common sense. Not only was he the one able to sense that something was amiss with Slash and Rockwell, he also correctly pointed out how episodes of Crognard could be teaching them lessons. It’s a small thing, but definitely enjoyable.

Final Thought: The Turtles continue to win battles, but are they losing the war? Shredder knows his mind control serum works, even if it has limitations. Karai, who we saw briefly in this episode, is still in his custody, and the Turtles don’t know that. Her fate still looms as a plot thread that will be important before the end of this season.

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