TMNT (2012): “Baxter’s Gambit”

Random thoughts edition.  And yes, I am still working on my next Gargoyles piece.

  • While I’m not totally against the idea of the turtles teaming up with not!Bebop and Rocksteady, I think the episode could have dialed up the anviliciousness a notch or ten. As is, it makes Stockman—who is already comedically inclined–seem considerably less threatening than he could be: I mean, why make a deathtrap with that specific weakness? Sure, there’s pleasing irony to it, but still—success before catharsis, Baxter!
  • On that note, their cooperation seemed rather contrived—it felt a bit as if the characters had read the script beforehand and knew they had to cooperate to get out. Yes, I realize that the immediate deathtrap means they can’t afford to worry about the enemy mutants who also want them dead, but killing those enemy mutants solves that problem rather easily. I mean, the turtle and Hun’s temporary truce in “Hun on the Run” works because everyone knows the stakes—that Bishop can take them all on—but that same sense of recognition isn’t really here.
  • Speaking of Bradford and Xever, I found it a bit disappointing that the turtles seemed to have little problem holding their own against their combined might, given the trouble the two gave them individually. I thought we’d get at least one episode before villain decay set in.
  • I did like the short Xever flashback. It’s a bit standard, but it works.
  • You totally know that the aesthetic of Stockman’s trap came about cause the animators couldn’t be arsed to create anything with actual detail. Still, I have to admit, they sold it.
  • The April/Splinter interaction was, to me, the real meat of the episode, and I felt it really worked. I do find it interesting, that the Splinter who had April try all the weapons before choosing one was also the Hamato Yoshi who chose a weapon for his daughter before she was ever able to decide if she’d even care to become a martial artist. It speaks to growth in his part, or the sort I’d wish had been explored more. They really do need more scenes together.
  • That said, I’m ambivalent about the fact that Miwa’s weapon suited April; I would have preferred that it didn’t, preserving the solemnity of the moment while acknowledging that hey, they’re two different people. I’ll be especially disappointed if, when Miwa inevitably returns, she turns out to be just as proficient as April.

2 Responses to TMNT (2012): “Baxter’s Gambit”

  1. Pterobat says:

    The checkerboard backgrounds here were an interesting idea, and they were pulled off well…but brought down a tiny bit by how much they resembled the backgrounds in the Teen Titans episode “Mad Mod”. I guess Ciro Neli must have really liked that visual.

    (Altough Raphael and Fishface trapped in the black void made me think “House of Leaves”.)

    Everything about the A plot felt…bland and/or predictable, right up to the monster at the end of the maze being some reused robots, and the end result was a letdown.

    Of course, this is the third time we’ve seen a “Human Baxter turns against his comrades” plot in their respective TMNT cartoons, and this is the worst of the bunch. The strained relationship between Baxter and the two mutants was introduced just for the purposes of this episode, rather than being the endpoint of some ill treatment / egoism. And Nick Baxter is starting to get tiring,as his pratfalls and mistakes are more cringeworthy than funny.

    The B plot worked better. April struggling with the weapons was probably the funniest joke in the episode, but the quick acceptance of the war-fan was too predictable.

  2. Scott says:

    I just hope continuity with this episode is kept, and next time we see Baxter he isn’t working for the Foot/Shredder again as if nothing happened.

    They seem to have all these Kraang plots going on, (April’s father, the TCRI portal working, the drill into the earth, the mutagen not working the way it should, April being who the Kraang are after for some reason, and then stealing that beam gun in this episode), and it tends to be left aside after the episode ends and forgotten in the next.

    Also this makes me hope Dogpound/Fishface don’t become as one-dimensional as they seem after mutation. I’d like to see these two develop rather than just remaining Shredder’s henchmen forever like Bebop/Rocksteady, but the latter worked because of their comedic stupidity.

    Xever seems like he could be developed into an ally at some point, which would be interesting in the future.

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