Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Recap And Review: Season 3, Episode 22: The Creeping Doom


The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are all talented martial artists and have other skills that contribute to their overall team dynamic. But the one attribute that they lean on more than most, especially in Season 3, is Donatello’s brain. His smarts simply can’t be replaced.

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Or can they? Imagine the Turtles up against not one, but two of their previous mutant foes, and without Donnie’s science to help bail them out. Heck, no need to imagine it at all, because that’s a great way to quickly summarize this week’s episode, “The Creeping Doom.” Let’s see how they fare.

Turtle-Powered Recap: Thanks to the (barely) successful efforts of Leonardo and Michelangelo in the previous episode, Donnie has a brain worm on which to work. Mikey marvels at all the toys in his lab, which are actually souvenirs from some of their prior adventures. In a serious case of foreshadowing, we see that two of them are a claw that belonged to Snakeweed and a jar holding the remnants of the Creep, the plant monster they tangled with in upstate New York earlier this season.

Of course, Mikey bumps into something and splashes some red liquid on Donnie’s hand. He chastises his brother and implores him not to touch anything as he heads off for minor medical attention. Bet you can guess what happens next: Mikey knocks just about everything in the lab over, and while he’s quick enough to catch and return all of it to the proper shelves, we see the Creep’s jar is ominously cracked.

Later, Splinter is pleased with April’s progress in her own ninja training and has her spar with Leo. Donnie spars with his other two brothers but strangely blanks out while they fight. Something’s not right with him. Meanwhile, the Creep has freed itself from its jar and sucked up all of the red liquid. That can’t be good.

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Donnie, April and Mikey head to the lab and find carnage, with an astonished Mikey immediately taking a verbal butt-whipping. Through his anger, Donnie’s symptoms appear to be getting worse, as he calls Mikey Raph and tries to start cleaning while holding his broom upside-down.

As April gets some advice from Splinter and some ice from Ice Cream Kittie, the Creep sneaks up on Leo and chokes him unconscious after a brief fight. The other Turtles don’t fare much better, but Splinter is able to flip the plant monster out through one of the walls of the lair. That’s quite the ninja technique! As more fingers point at Mikey, it’s also discovered that the Creep took Snakeweed’s claw (told you that was foreshadowing), though Donnie can’t figure out why.

In the Shellraiser, the Turtles start to piece things together. The Creep has become smarter and Donnie is getting dumber, which he demonstrates by accidentally leaving the whole vehicle without power. April is able to get the van back online but loses track of Donnie in the process.

The other Turtles find the Creep just in time to see him revive Snakeweed from the claw, with the new monster quickly getting dubbed Son of Snakeweed. Raph ends up tangling with the Creep by himself, landing plenty of stabs with his sai but finding they do nothing, really.

Mikey recommends luring the monsters into a trap using themselves as bait, surprising Raph with the wisdom of the plan. They head back toward the Shellraiser, with Raph saving Donnie from disaster right before April unleashes a barrage of explosive barrels that ignite some oil and blow the plant monsters to smithereens. Case closed, let’s go get some pizza, right?

Not quite. There’s still the question of Donnie’s mental state, which isn’t improving. Mikey ignores the scoffs of the others when he claims he can recreate what Donnie was working on because he was watching the whole time. As he begins to experiment, April asks Splinter if maybe the healing mantra might work. His response is priceless, as he deadpans, “Highly doubtful.”

Mikey adds some pepperoni to his concoction, “for flavor,” and Donnie guzzles it. No effect, and it might actually have made him worse. Also, there’s the little matter of the leftovers from both monsters combining into a huge hybrid plant monster which begins to shake the lair with its roots and terrorize the people on the surface.

The combo beast is named Creepweed by Mikey, and the Tutrtles have to wear breathing masks to avoid its knockout gas, which has already KOed most of the people in the surrounding area. Even with the Shellraiser and its weapons, Leo and Raph end up out cold. Mikey bravely fights Creepweed one-on-one, but it’s looking grim until a recovered Donnie arrives with a spray gun full of “retro mutagen-based weed-killer.” How can you not love this show when you hear phrases like that?

That works, of course, and Donnie thanks Mikey for cooking up an antidote that actually worked. April notes that Mikey might really have a photographic memory, and Donnie notes that he’s going to be nicer to his brother now that he’s experienced what it feels like to think like Mikey does all the time. Hey, wait a minute!

Favorite Moment: This episode had more than one excellent moment, but as a TMNT fan of a certain age, I enjoyed Mikey calling out that their foes were working together just like in Swamp Creatures 2: Electric Swampaloo. Any reference to the most awesomely named sequel of all time is alright with me.

Final Thought: This was my favorite episode of recent weeks, full of nice development for multiple characters — Donnie and Mikey, obviously, but also April and even Splinter — while also including a callback to one of this season’s earlier enemies. We did end up with “Turtles vs. giant monster” for the second straight week, but that’s a small gripe. Plus Ice Cream Kittie even helped out a little! If you didn’t smile at least a few times watching this one, you’re probably burnt out on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in general. My condolences.

Next: TMNT 321 Recap and Review: Attack of the Mega Shredder!

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