TMNT Re-review: Episode 1.02: “A Better Mousetrap”

“I’m afraid I can’t let you live, Ms. O’Neil. You’ve seen far too much already and…well, let’s just say I have trust issues.” — Baxter Stockman

Written by Marty Isenberg
Original Air Date: February 15, 2003
Characters Introduced: April O’Neil, Baxter Stockman
Teaser Narrator: Donatello

Synopsis: As the turtles settle into their new home and learn more about the attack that forced them from their old one, we meet April O’Neil, Stocktronics employee and assistant to renowned scientist (and creator of the mousers) Baxter Stockman.

Intially thrilled at the exposure Stockman’s mousers–designed, allegedly, to rid the city of its rat problem–April begins suspecting her employer’s motives after finding about the unexplained dissapearance of several mousers and overhearing a conversation between Stockman and a mysterious backer. Eventually, she discovers that Baxter has been secretly creating hundreds of mousers in a secret factory below the Stocktronic’s building.

After Stockman discover’s April’s intrusion, he confronts her, decides that she can no longer be left alive, and sends his mousers after her. After managing to escape the initial batch of robots, April escapes into the sewers.

Meanwhile, after Donatello manages to reactivate one of the mousers defeated last episode, the turtles decides to follow it as it tries to return “home”. As they do so, they find new batch of mousers attacking a defenseless woman…

Rescued, April proceeds to thank her saviors, realizes that they are something not altogether human, and faints.

Random thoughts:

Sooo…the second episode of TMNT, based on the second ever issue of the comic book of the same name. It’s also, in a way, the most adapted TMNT story ever, given that the scene where April gets rescued appears in almost every incarnation. This is easily the most faithful to the original, even when quite a bit about it is changed.

Personally, I’m not too keen on this episode. It’s perfectly alright, with no major flaws to really think of, but it’s missing that spark that would really make it excellent.

It’s been almost seven years since this episode first aired, an I’m still not sure what to make of April’s standard belly shirt–it’s just so completely at odds with the setting. Even if Baxter allowed it (which says some rather interesting things about him, particularly since his portrayal throughout the series is mostly asexual) why would she ever think it was appropriate clothing for a workplace enviroment? I could sort of understand it if were the only outfit she wore throught the series, but it isn’t. She eventually wears tons of different looks, all of which would have been more appropriate than this one.

What’s more, would a belly shirt even be something that April would wear (setting aside the fact that, well, she does)? In my 24 years, I’ve only known one person who wore them regularly, and she was a) a dancer, b), had a seriously drool- and flaunt- worthy stomach she clearly worked her ass off for. While April also has a flaunt-worth stomach, that’s because she’s, well, a cartoon. While we know precious little about what April O’Neil: The College Years looked like, I like to think that she spent more time poring over books at the library than at Waldo Gonzalez’s School for the Performing Arts (not that Waldo’s isn’t awesome, because it is). As for her personal style, I’d imagine it looking more hippie-ish and free-spirit than what her actual style, which is sweet Generican from Generic, Genervania. My point being? Character designers should watch more Project Runway.

Speaking of April, it’s interesting to hear her claim that she has friends, since we never really see them or get any other indication that they exist.

Speaking of character designs, you gotta love the mousers. It really is an excellently-designed robot–there’s a reason why it’s the one design that hasn’t changed since 1984. Plus, it gives Leo a chance to actually cut loose, so that’s appreciated.

During the scene where the mousers first attack April in the Stocktronic labs, the music playing sound very much like a complete version of the Mouser Theme. It’s kind of awesome and makes me with once again for some sort of OST for the series, because while the music isn’t the greatest thing ever, I would like to here some of the character themes in their entirety, instead of the same 3 seconds we always hear.

On the voice acting front, I have to say I love, love
Scott William’s Baxter Stockman. He does egotistical so well. It’s a shame that 4Kids doesn’t use him more. Even if his range turns out to be limited, his acting chops are something you just don’t turn away.

On that note, Wayne Grayson is still trying to find his Mikey voice. It’s particularly notable, particularly in his first seen. Everybody else seems to have settled down, for the most part.

I forgot to note it last time, but I really like the split-screens the series would use during its first few seasons. Along with the narrated intros, it helped the show stand out. It really is too sad that they stopped using them with season 4.

One thing I appreciated: in the establishing shot of the sewer, we see that it’s raining somewhat heavily. There is no plot-related or thematic reason for that to be the case, but there it is.


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