TURTLES IIIIIN SPAAAAACE!!: “Turtles in Space – Part One: The Fugitoid”
18 January 2013 3 Comments
” I can’t believe with all the Federation technology at our disposal, we can’t find ONE BLASTED FUGITOID!“— General Blanque
Written by: Mike Ryan
Original Air Date: November 8, 2003
Recap Narrator: Leonardo
Characters and Concepts Introduced: Professor Honeycutt, a.k.a. The Fugitoid;The Federation, General Blanque, Lonae, Triceratons, Captain Mozar; The Teleportal.
Gargoyles episode I could make a forced comparison to: N/A
- On a galaxy that is not the Milky Way, on a planet that is not Earth, a lone robot is being pursued by an army, and cornered on an alley. Things look hopeless for the robot until a beam of light appears in front of him, and from it, four teenage mutant ninja turtles materialize.
- Although disconcerted at the fact that they’re not where they were a second ago, the turtles, realizing that getting guns pointed at them isn’t a good thing anywhere in the universe, take on the robot’s would be captors, and buy the quintet enough time to escape.
- Safe for the moment inside the city’s sewer system, the Fugitoid explains where the turtles are, who he is, and how he came to be wanted by the Federation. Long story short, the Fugitoid is in reality Professor Honeycutt, a physicist under the payroll of planet D’hoonib’s Military-Industrial Complex and its leader, General Blanque. Honeycutt had been tasked with building a teleporting device, and while he had the schematics in his head, the scientist, in a fit of conscience, refused to build the device. The stalemate lasted until the day in which another of the professor’s inventions, a helmet granting its wearer the mental abilities of a Jean Grey, mixed with a lightning bolt to accidentally transport his mind into the body of his helper robot. Now no longer a person in the eyes of the law, General Blanque had no legal obstacles preventing him from taking Honeycutt and forcing him to build the Teleportal device–hence the running, which lasted until the beginning of the episode. The turtles, after hearing this story, realize that their new friend is their ticket back home.
- At Federation HQ, a Federat Officer called Lonae asks General Blanque what all of the hullabaloo over the Teleportal is about. Blanque explains that it’s main value lies in its ability to effortlessly transport ordnance into enemy territory, allowing them to destroy entire fleets, or even planets, with the touch of a button.
- The turtles, forced back to the surface eventually commandeer a Federation tank and use it to make their way to safety.
- In a seedy part of town, Lonae exchanges information about the Fugitoid and the Teleportal for some pleasure gems. Armed with this new information, a new faction enters the game: The Triceratons.
- This episode is based on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Vol. 1) #5 and Fugitoid. It continues directly from “The Search for Splinter” Part Two.
The original Turtles In Space story, like pretty much everything in those first two years of Mirage Studios’ existence, feels like it was written as a lark, and as such is very much a story that is focused more on concepts than on execution. There’s not much that is actually being said, beneath the flash.
The same is true, to an extent, here. There’s a better sense of purpose–the concepts introduced will all be reused later on in ways that spin directly from the events here–but the pieces together are, as in the original, organized in a way that doesn’t seem to indicate that much thought went into the world-building aside “it worked for Star Wars, right?”
The only real surprise is the way the Teleportal is treated, which is shockingly, improbably smart, in a way I’m surprised isn’t used more often. Like Lonae here, most writers treat teleportation as nothing beyond useful transportation, with the implications of being able to bypass all barriers (be them physical or logistical) left ignored–even the current TMNT IDW series has several factions teleporting their people around without ever stopping to consider that they have the resources to effortlessly drop a high-yield bomb in enemy territory, or that, at least, an explanation needs to be given why this isn’t actually an option.
It is details like this why I like the series over a lot of others. A plot device is introduced, and the consequences of that plot device are explored and integrated into the story. Simple in concept, not so much in execution. Generator Rex is my go-to example of stories that don’t think a concept through, but it is far from the only one.
Lots of characters and concepts are introduced in this episode, and while most aren’t outstanding, they’re far from intolerable. Professor Honeycutt, who gives the episode its name, is one of Peter Laird’s favorite characters, and while I don’t share his opinion, I can see why he’s liked: not only does he have a nice design and an excellently-cast voice actor, I like his particular brand of non-violent and self-sacrificing heroism, which makes for a great contrast with the turtles’ particular methods. I wish more had been done with him. But still, that’s a good ways off.
In any case, this is a decent, if not great, season opener. I don’t really have much to say about it.
- For some reason, the animation in this episode is…off, in a way that’s rather hard to describe. While every episode is animated by Dong Woo, some look better than others, and it’s a shame that the first episode of a new season doesn’t have them putting their best foot forward.
- It amuses me that Lonae’s bribe is something called “pleasure gems”, which I’m guessing were used because they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) make her a drug addict like her comic book incarnation.
- I’m also glad that she didn’t meet her original incarnation’s fate of being killed off screen by General Blanque. While her role isn’t too much larger here, her survival makes more sense.
- Also, I like that she uses a Dragonball Z scanner. Those things are never not awesome.
- One of the things the new setting allows the creators to do is to write in visual jokes with the aliens. Next episode will feature an extended nod to Star Wars‘ Mos Eisley cantina, and a reference that straddles the line between being far too on the nose and audience mind reading, while this one features a very cute example of what sort of creatures live on D’Hoonib sewers.