Elevator Action and Elemental Rock, Paper, Scissors: “Return to New York” Part Two
9 July 2012 3 Comments
Written by: Marty Isenberg, Michael Ryan
Original Air Date: October 4, 2003
Recap Narrator: Raphael
Characters Introduced: Foot Mystics
Gargoyles episode I could make a forced comparison to: N/A
- The turtles fight off and defeat the three mutants in Shredder garb.
- On the Foot Tower’s 72th floor, the turtles traverse through a hallway of traps, leading to a temple of sorts. There, they encounter the Foot Mystics–five sorcerers, each in control of a particular element (Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, and Metal) and impervious to physical attacks. It is only through the combined use of the “mystic” Sword of Tengu and elemental rock paper scissors that Splinter manages to defeat them. The victory is not without a price, as the ninja master is hurt by both the sword’s energies–he used it without the protective glove and the debris from the battle, which falls on him.
- The turtles find an elevator to the top floor, where they encounter Shredder, his Elite Ninja, and Hun. Led by Leonardo (who is still struggling with the emotional scars from his first encounter with the elites) the turtles fight off the Shredders strongest underlings. Before either side can claim a victory, however, Baxter Stockman, inside a robotic exoskeleton, breaks through the floor, ready to settle the score with his two sets of enemies.
- This arc takes its premise from the comic book story of the same name, which was published in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Vol. 1) issues #19, #20, and #21. The Shredder clones from the first act first appeared there.
- Splinter is the second person to be able to use the Sword of Tengu without the protective gauntlet. The Shredder is the first, as shown in “Darkness at the Edge of Town“.
- Leonardo first encountered the Foot Elite in “The Shredder Strikes Back” part 1, where he was beaten within an inch of his life.
As the second part of a three-parter, there’s not a lot of plot in this episode–the large bulk of it consists of three different fights. If there’s anything interesting about this episode, it’s the way it sets up stuff that will eventually get rewritten or contradicted later on. The Shredder mutants are initially theorized to be “Shredder clones” (which is what they were in the original story) which, as later episodes show, is somewhat impossible, given The Shredder’s nature. The Sword of Tengu is described as a combination of science and sorcery, while the Utrom’s history records suggest otherwise*. The Foot Mystics, which like the clones appear to have been created only so they could star in a cool set piece, eventually turn out to be way more important than this episode suggested.
I find it interesting how the Shredder “clones” a’re one of the only few Foot-related elements to never get revisited. We never find out what they were for–the original story explains that they were the result of failed attempts to clone The Shredder back to life, which obviously doesn’t work here–or even if they survived. All in all, they come across as a concept who was only included here because they were included in the original, which is fine as far as it goes, although I’ll admit they’re far from my favorite concept.
Far better executed are the Foot Mystics; not only do they have cool designs that manage to adhere to the theme while being distinct, their fight is easily the best in the episode. The fact that the Sword of Tengu is so effective against them becomes particularly interesting later on in light of the revelation that they are held under the Shredder’s control by an artifact called the Heart of Tengu. It’s natural to presume that a connection between the two, but what it entails apart from a clue as to The Shredder’s naming tendencies isn’t clear. Are they made using the same process and materials? Is the Heart of Tengu mystical (and it would almost have to be) and if so, is the Sword, Utrom theories nonwithstanding? Were they crafted for the same purpose? So many questions…
Finally, we have the mini-fight with the Foot Elite, which doesn’t get much of anywhere before it’s interrupted by the end of the episode. Of all the scenes in the episode, this one is the one meant to carry the most weight, as Leo’s overcomes his fears, but the scene as a whole comes across as an inferior version of the fight in “The Shredder Strikes Back” part 2. True closure won’t come until the next episode, which is easily among the top two in the season, and which I’ll have a lot to talk about.