TMNT (2012) “I, Monster” (Spoilers)

I’ll admit it: of all of the advance TMNT material to make the rounds before the series began, the stuff that made me most excited was the Rat King stuff.  So what if he doesn’t really look like his traditional design?  Just look at him! 


So how does the actual episode stack up to his awesome as balls design? In a word…


Of the original villains introduced so far, I thought Falco had by far the most potential.  He had a good voice, look, and hook, and in short was the only one that had the legs to become a viable recurring antagonist.  This was far from what I had in mind though, and in making him this verse’s version of The Rat King, the toon has siphoned away the potential from both concepts.

Now, The Rat King has been one of, if not the TMNT character most prone to variation–he’s the actual king of rats, he’s a man with a flute, he’s a ghost, he’s a clone.   However, I’ve always believed that in order for him to work, he has to have an aura of mystery, of the unknown.  And the design for this incarnation would seem to back that up.  Looking at the dude’s bandaged eyes, you just want to know what his deal is.

Unfortunately, “I, Monster” tells us exactly what his deal is, and in doing so, makes him a lot less interesting.  Another Mutagen Baby…yawn.  While there are parts of the episode in which his creepiness comes off effectively–mostly in his interaction with Splinter–his actions are too small and too familiar to be particularly intriguing.  The cool look is merely a facade, with little to back it up; frankly, it is wasted.

Random thoughts:

  • Hooray for extras!  Some of them are even women!   While the city still feels empty–surely the turtles are not the only people doing something against the rats–this is an optimistic sign.  Plus, more Carlos Chiang O’Brien Gambe, who continues to be the best thing about this show.
  • While Splinter’s fear that his children will outgrow him and not need him any more is natural enough and a good character beat, I didn’t really like the way it was expressed as a need to show that he was better than them.  The turtles already spend too much time on the wrong side of the likeability line, and Splinter doesn’t need to join them.
  • Speaking of…for the love of George Oscar Bluth can the turtles please take things with the appropriate level of seriousness for once?  The scene where they’re all afraid to check up on Splinter is particularly embarrassing.
  • The ooze is beginning to sort of turn into the series version of Smallville’s Kryptonite, with qualities that change depending on what the writers want for a particular episode.  Just how is it that Falcos powers wore off, and what does that mean for everyone else affected by the ooze?  Will his Rat King powers similarly fade away over time?

2 Responses to TMNT (2012) “I, Monster” (Spoilers)

  1. Pterobat says:

    Oy, what a dud.

    The Rat King’s design was legitimately disturbing, but the way that Falco randomly changed his motive and mind after the lab accident was so flat and unsatisfying, cartoon cliche or not. I agree: he coulda been a contender.

    Equally flat was Splinter’s mental conflict: the fear of being outgrown by his sons came from nowhere, and his inner fight just had no emotional weight to it. it sounds like the type of thing that would be gut-wrenching on paper, but I just wasn’t feeling it.

    Yeah, Mikey poking the comatose Splinter was very, very untoward, and so was Mikey being mad that he didn’t name the Rat King. Sheesh.

    One thing I’ll say is that Splinter’s possum-like design is growing on me more and more. I love the design of his facial markings.

  2. Ian says:

    Hey, Pterobat! I haven’t forgotten to respond to your last few TMNT essays, and I promise I’ll get to them when time allows. Cause I have thoughts! 🙂

    Splinter’s design is another one I really like. While I’m not enamored with the way they’ve made Michelangelo and Donatello (and to a lesser degree, Raphael) distinct, the series’ aesthetic is one of its consistent high points.

    What I’d really like to know is this: are the creators making the show they want, or are they making the show they think people will want? I mean, the distinction is sort of moot in the end, since from what I’ve seen the series has generally gotten a very warm reception, but I’d at least like to know if I can expect better, or if this is doomed to be Nick equivalent of Ben 10, if Ben 10 had characters I’m predisposed to like because of historical associations.

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