I know it’s been awhile since I’ve sat down and reviewed the Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. This has not been due to the lack of watching the show, but more the lack of time. I have kept up every week with Nickelodeon’s TMNT. One thing I want to do now, is take the time to catch up on the past episodes with some short reviews working my way up to the recent stuff. If you haven’t seen the season finale of Season 3, be ready for some epic fights, major emotional rides, some good laughs along with a new adventure. Though that’s for a future review. Right now I’m going to focus on “Mazes and Mutants” an episode from Season 2.
The Ninja Turtles find themselves interested in Role Play. Though when Michelangelo and Leonardo learn of LARP (Live Action Role Play) and get the others to play along, they find themselves in a real adventure with real problems. Forced to play by a bird who seems to have powers. From attack monkeys, lava pits, flaming boulders and a Turkey head. They learn they have to play along to win the game.
This episode mainly focused on the four Turtles dealing with magic. Leonardo and Donatello focusing on solving what’s going on. Raphael not wanting to believe in magic, and Michelangelo just accepting that it’s magic and they gotta be their characters to win. Michelangelo was really enjoying his character, an elf. There was some jokes towards Lord of the Ring, as Michelangelo had his ring of awesome that he was hooked too.
Interesting characters that were referred to in this episode is Rockwell, who wasn’t really a lead character at this time. He didn’t have his voice yet, and the Turtles only really knew him from his first episode. The other character used that stood out to me was Leatherhead. He played the dragon in this episode, and you see that this did get to Michelangelo. He did not want to fight Leatherhead, and even called out that he thought Leatherhead was gone. It was different to see Leatherhead breath fire, and should’ve been a give away that it was not Leatherhead.
April and Splinter had small roles in this episode. As Splinter was only at the beginning, not really approving of the Turtles role playing. And the April in the show was not even real, she was part of the game. She was caught and held in the same room that Leatherhead was in. Her personality was spot on, for not being the real April. Picking on Donatello for not being able to save her.
The character that made his first appearance in “Mazes and Mutants” is Martin Milton also known as Sir Malachi. Martin was a lonely boy who loved “Mazes and Mutants”, while playing the game on the roof one day an ooze canister hit him, turning him into a sparrow mutant. He remained a fan of Mazes and Mutants, and went into the sewer to do a solo LARP game, which is when he saw the Turtles. He just wanted someone to play his game with.
Malachi was voiced by Paul Reubens, who is best known for his work as Pee-wee Herman. The character itself had an interesting back story which lead him to why he would want to put the Turtles into his game. Though they leave out a very important plot point, which is how did he get the powers to make them believe they were in the game? Most mutants in this series gets powers that match up to what they turn into, but a sparrow having this ability does not seem like it would be the case. To make Malachi more of an interest character, I would love to see a follow up episode where has to explain how he learned of his gift and to control it. Other wise I really do like the character all the way from how he got mutated, why he wanted the Turtles to play his game and felt the voice matched him.
Over all this was a fun episode that took a step out of the serious story lines the Turtles were having to face. It shows the Turtles trying to just enjoy life without needing to go out on a mission. And has the Turtles doing one of the things that leads back to their very roots. While they did start in a Comic Book, it was a Role Play Game that got them introduced to Mark Freedman. Mark in turned got on the toy makers, the cartoon, movies and so much more. Which is one of the many reasons I enjoyed seeing the Turtles playing a Role Playing Game.
What did you think of “Mazes and Mutants”? Did you like seeing Paul Reubens join the cast of Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Did you watch Pee-wee Herman’s Playhouse as a kid? Please share reviews, comments and questions below! You can also join the "Mazes and Mutants" Topic on TMNT-L and share your thoughts there.