“I Think His Name Is Baxter Stockman” left me conflicted regarding this show’s take on our favorite can’t-stay-human mad scientist. While amusing, there didn’t seem anything to make him viable as a long-term character. His skills did not indicate a way in which he might be a threat, his motives did not give him a reason to interact with the turtles in a way that felt natural, and I didn’t see what else could be done with the character aside from the clichéd “tries to get revenge on the turtles” plots, or any way that would go that would say anything new about the character. In short, unless something about him was retconned, he seemed like the sort of character destined to star in Batman Cold Opens–there to provide a familiar face to filler action scenes.
After watching “Mouser Attack”, it seems like retcon is it, as the Baxter shown here seems fundamentally different from the one seen in his debut, in a way that hearkens back to Batman: The Animated Series and its tendency to have its villains undergo motive decay, or, if you’re inclined to be less kind, to more mediocre fare like Ben 10. Unexplained throughout the episode is how the same Stockman who could barely make a semi-functional battle armor, whose motives were limited to harassing his former employer, and who had been taken away by the police after his rampage is now once again free, possesses the skills and the resources to build an army of robots far more advanced than anything he’d built before, and has progressed to semi-random theft–in fact, it’s not even a question any of the turtles ever thinks to ask, which suggests its a question the writers don’t care to have the audience thinking about either.
In any case, the only notable thing about Stockman here–aside from his unexplained changes–is that he is now in the Shredder’s inner circle, a historically familiar position for the character, and one that I fear might have been drained of all novelty value. He’ll almost certainly be responsible for giving the recently sushified Xever a measure of mobility, but after that, who knows?
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