Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Recap And Review: Season 3, Episode 21: Attack Of The Mega Shredder!


One of the real joys of the current Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series is how the writers are able to shift between genres and still fit nearly any kind of story into the framework of the overall plot. Granted, when you have turtles who were mutated by alien ooze and then trained to be ninjas, it does give you a lot of leeway in that regard, but the point is that if you’re anxiously waiting for some particular kind of tale, you’ll probably get it eventually.

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In the case of today’s new episode, “Attack of the Mega Shredder,” that means a classic kaiju battle between giant robot and giant monster, but the way we get to it is anything but ordinary. Intrigued? How could you not be?

Turtle-Powered Recap: Hooked up to some contraption that seems to be designed specifically to administer brain worms to her, Karai is a sad sight. Shredder apologizes to his adopted daughter from behind what’s surely a thick pain of glass, explaining that he never intended for things to get this out of hand, but that her time for revenge would be coming soon. Concerned about the Turtles making a move, he orders Bebop and Rocksteady to watch her.

Michelangelo is watching Crognard the Barbarian as the title character tells his companions to watch over Spooch if he doesn’t come back from a battle against a giant rock monster he must tackle alone. Excited by the conclusion, Mikey finds his brothers arguing about how to best infiltrate Shredder’s compound so they can capture a brain worm and have Donatello reverse engineer it. It’s going to take stealth, and Donnie believes he has the perfect urban stealth vehicle for the job.

And, it’s a dumpster with a toilet attached, or at least that’s what it looks like from the outside. It’s also pedal-powered and super slow, though after ejecting a homeless man who was relaxing on the toilet seat, its weapons prove surprisingly effective against the Foot robots (except for the sausage cannon). The Turtles slip inside and manage to almost make it to the lab before Bebop and Rocksteady discover them.

The brothers still like their odds, but that changes after Tiger Claw and the three Shredder seafood mutants show up. While retreating, Raphael is gored by Rocksteady’s horn.

After the escape, Tiger Claw chastises his fellow mutants, while Shredder blames all of them and promises consequences, because that’s what he does. April examines Raph’s leg and says it’s sprained, at which point Shredder benches the team until he’s healed up. Undeterred, Leonardo says the problem is that there were too many of them, and that the best solution is for him to go alone with no tech.

He tries doing just that, but is followed by Mikey and forced to reluctantly accept his eager brother’s assistance. That almost backfires when Mikey trips over a sleeping Rahzar, but the duo manages to sneak all the way into the lab. They’re just gathering a brain worm when Bebop and Rocksteady arrive again, capturing them and pondering their fate.

Casey Jones arrives at the Turtles’ lair just as Shredder finds out Leo and Mikey have defied his order — and he’s not happy. They’re in a bit of a pickle at the moment, too, hanging in a cage over a vat of mutagen as the evil mutants decide to turn them into a two-headed turtle. Leo is able to use reverse psychology on them (Rocksteady in particular) to convince them to add the Shredder seafood mutants to the mix as well, and it’s easy to get all three to dive into the mutagen just by throwing some food in there. Alas, as Leo frees himself thanks to the extra time, the seafood trio has combined to form one giant mutant with multiple mouths, all kinds of spines and spikes and a long tongue with a little man on the end of it. It’s also large enough that it stands several stories tall and busts through the street, where Mikey dubs it the Mega-Shredder.

The rest of the gang sees the monster on news reports, forcing Splinter to agree to let them go save their brothers and the city. Raph is game but his leg is bothering him too much, though Donnie wonders if there isn’t something else to help him walk …

They need to figure it out fast, as Mega-Shredder swallows Mikey and is about to do the same to Leo (though his heroic solo fight sequence is pretty boss). The returning Turtle Mech comes to the rescue, piloted by Donnie, Raph, April and Casey. A titanic kaiju battle commences, with Mikey barely able to avoid a trip into the monster’s stomach acid (which could also be mutagen, by the looks of it) and the Turtles eventually figuring out the brain of the monster is in the tongue guy.

Just when things look darkest, Mikey comes busting out of one of the mouths, shattering a few teeth in the process. After he takes out the tongue man, the Turtle Mech lobs some explosives into the mouth with the missing teeth, blowing the monster up from the inside and raining down some pretty gross liquid on the citizens of that part of New York. Everyone’s accounted for and they managed to get the brain worm, so Leo figures it wasn’t a bad day all around.

Things aren’t quite as rosy for Bebop and Rocksteady, who Shredder leaves to the tender mercies of Tiger Claw. At the end of the episode, we see the big cat about to pounce …

Favorite Moment: Probably when Mikey sees Leo sneak out to go solo. As the Turtles’ leader is perched on the edge of a roof, Mikey sneaks up behind him, drawn by the animators as a serious-looking and large Turtle shadow. The fact that he’s right when he says he “totally ninja-ed” Leo is undeniable, and his good-natured declaration that he’s there to back up his bro is one of those Mikey things you can’t help but love.

Final Thought: I loved the kaiju tribute, but as we’ve mentioned in previous recaps, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles works best when it plays with different genres or themes and still works to drive the overall narrative forward. This season has been uneven in that regard, but the last two episodes have been strong in either character development, advancing toward a conclusion to the long-running Karai subplot, or both. Let’s hope that continues as we get down to the nitty gritty of Season 3, where one would expect something will happen to drastically change the status quo yet again.

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