Review: Nickelodeon TMNT "I, Monster

IMonster 2012 Nickelodeon gave us a great ride with their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series.  As we had 12 amazing episodes of action, comedy, heart, and pizza.  We watched as the Turtles ventured to the surface for the first time, had their first taste of pizza and first real fight.  We saw the Turtles learn to fight as a team, make new friends and see the danger of facing the Shredder.  We were on the edge of our seats as Dogpound and Fishface would work to destroy the Turtles, the Kraang kept making more mutants and Shredder beat the Turtles down.  Then we had a break, weeks with no new episodes of TMNT as everyone kept asking when are they returning.  Well their back, and not holding any punches as we start the second part of the season off with “I, Monster” where the Turtles have to face their challenges yet. Defeating their own Master in battle!  Here is my review of this epic episode.

This episode starts in a lab as we see Dr. Falco and a lot of lab rats.  These rats are locked up and Falco clearly does not like them at all.  He is angry about losing his funding and the Turtles defeating him in battle, as we get to hear his motive for being evil a little there with his anger.  Though things go wrong as a wire is chewed through by rats while Dr. Falco is working with ooze.  With an explosion going up into his face he is injured, the rats are escaping as their cages are set up starting to leave Dr. Falco in the fire.  He calls out for them not to leave him and with a mental wave that comes from him, the rats listen and come back to save his life.

This is not the first time we saw a history for the Rat King, in the 4Kids episode “I, Monster” we also watch the Rat King grow from a character we already saw on the show.  This is how ever the first time we’re getting a Rat King who is personally angry with the Turtles.  It was interesting seeing his anger over the defeat he faced, how he’s still working on his powers that he wanted, and just when the rats come to him as he calls out.  New changes for this character are already being seen.  The worse part here is we don’t know how much time has passed since his fight with the Turtles, and the rest of this episode.

The Turtles are planning in the training room. Their goal is to do that which they could never do, beat Splinter in sparring.  Leonardo comes up with the plan and the turtles move in.  A fight of beauty takes place as we see each move in slow motion. Splinter is able to evade most of their attacks, till Leo gets a hit into Splinter’s face.  Stunned by his moment of luck Leo is taken down by Splinter. The lesson is over for the day, though the Turtles see this move as proof that they are getting better.  Splinter leaves his boys, only to hear their talk of how one day they may not need Splinter to train them anymore.

This was a well done training lesson.  I enjoy seeing family time with the Turtles in this series from the training, relaxing, to their personal growths.  Michelangelo’s reaction when Splinter takes Leonardo down was so funny, I found a bit of a laugh come out of me. I also love his line to Leo about never washing his hand again.  This was a time to see the Turtles building up their confidence again.  Though their egos still seems to be something these Turtles are not realizing can be a bad thing.  It is interesting to see them grow and how each time they do start to get full of themselves they are going to be knocked down.

Top side we now see that Falco has learned to see through the eyes of the Rats. As he now sees the city through these new eyes, he calls the rats to join him in taking over and chasing the humans out.  Showing scenes of rat swarms through New York.  Including Murakami’s noodle restaurant.  With seeing other people in New York on the run, we now get to see how April learns of the new rat problems.  She is set on the run.

I do like this scene, it shows the trouble starting. From the way that Falco talks, I feel as if he’s had these powers for a little to start learning to see through these rats eyes.  For him to be so convinced on what he now believes.  Just would've been nice if he he had a small like like ‘for weeks now you have shown me’, just for us to know how long it was after the fire for him to look the way he does.  One of my favorite things here though is seeing Murakami, as he’s one of my favorite new characters and I was worried he was never going to be seen again.  Hopefully this is a sign that he’ll be in more episodes.

Falco is proud of his rats, though he wants to run the Turtles out of town as well.  His anger for them getting in his way that one time remains strong.  Now we learn that while scanning the city that he has found out about Splinter and he tries to take control.  Splinter fights it, as he screams going down to the floor. The turtles run to his side, as he tells them that he is ok.  Donatello’s T Phone goes off, it’s April and she’s calling for help.  The Turtles leave to help April.

The build up of this episode has been good.  Though I am surprised how fast the Turtles were able to just up and leave Splinter, true April called for help.  Though a team of two could of went for her while two remained with their father just in case for him. They seemed concerned, so it was shocking how fast they were all willing to just leave him in the lair alone.

As the Turtles race through the city to help April they realize just how many rats are there.  As Michelangelo shares a few rat jokes. They are surprised to find April up a telephone poll.  All four of the Turtles take this time to jump to the telephone poll, as the rats are chewing away at it.  April falls, Donatello saves her, and then the telephone poll starts to go down.  They’re able to get themselves to a rooftop before it crashes to the ground with the rats.  This is where they realize if all the rats are under someone’s control that Splinter could be in danger.

This scene was not really a favorite. It was not the interaction between the characters I did not like, because that was all written great.  It was the fact that they handled things the way they did.  There was no plan other than “Jump on the telephone poll and save April”, why did all of them go to do that?  Why did they all leave Splinter in the first place?  How did April get up there? It just felt like this was a written scene to get the Turtles away and see the Rat problem, but it did not feel all that thought out.  When we see in other episodes them trying to plan before jumping head on into a bad spot.  I just know from how this series has been going, that the writers could've handled this better.

Splinter lays alone at the lair fighting in his mind against Falco.  As Falco works to convince Splinter that he belongs with the rats.  Comparing their two minds, on how they lost everything and now see the world through the eyes of the rats.  The Turtles and April return to find Splinter out cold, deciding to try and poke him.  Splinter does not waken, as he is still fighting off Falco.  Once he awakes and finds himself being poked by Michelangelo, he throws Michelangelo across the living room and informs his sons of Falco’s evil plan and his new name, The Rat King.  Michelangelo is furious that a villain has named himself and is determined to bring him down.  Splinter agrees that he must go down, as the Rat King will not rest till he controls the city and his mind.

Everything between the Rat King and Splinter here I LOVE!  It is such a great scene.  Growth of the characters.  Showing how the Rat King is working to break Splinter.  Showing Splinter facing that his old life is gone. How much that still hits him to this day.  It was greatly put together, and Splinter’s worry when he wakes up is wonderfully displayed  But the Turtles... the fear of poking him was understandable. Though when Splinter did not wake up, why did the Turtles not respond more to that?  Why is Donatello seen standing on the other side of the room, instead of checking Splinter’s pulse, looking for a fever, or getting some kind of gadget to see what’s wrong with him?  It’s clear Splinter is not okay, so instead of sitting around letting Michelangelo keep poking him with a stick, the others should be doing something out of concern for Splinter.  I would of thought Leonardo would be sitting there taking Splinter’s hand out of concern, Raph would be pacing angry that things are in the dark to them.  There should've been more emotions here, not just defeat.

To save Splinter the Turtles travel to where he told them that the Rat King was hiding out. On their path there, Michelangelo is annoyed that the Rat King named himself. The four of them are discussing how they are not going to fail this mission when a swarm of rats come to the sewers, chasing the Turtles up onto the pipes above them.

Nice brother scene, I like the concern here between the four of them.  I like that Michelangelo still tries to joke around with his brothers.  Favorite line here is when Mikey is bite by a rat and says “Oh no, they got the taste for Turtle now!”

Rat King is still working at taking over Splinter, showing that even the Turtles are outgrowing him. That they will no longer need him. Splinter loses this time to the fight and April is the first to learn as she comes in only to see have Splinter attack her. Before Splinter could finish April off, he is called away by the Rat King.

This scene was well played out besides for one thing, where did the steam come from in the training room and why was it gone right away?  I know it was working to make it creepy, but it was uncalled for and out of place.  Other than that I do love Splinter’s breaking point and that April had to dodge just to keep herself alive.

Moving up there Michelangelo goes on listing other rat names that could of been given to the Rat King.  When they need to go only to find the wall is just as crowded with rats as everywhere else.  Leonardo uses some canisters down near the wall to blow a hole in the wall to make an entrance.

Michelangelo had some funny names, but he was trying to name the Rat King without even seeing him, only going off of the name he was given and his memory of Dr. Falco.  I was surprised at how many rats must of died by Leonardo’s attack.  At least they didn’t really show it.

Inside the Turtles find the Rat King and make a few Halloween jokes, till Donatello’s T Phone goes off and April warns the Turtles of Splinter leaving.  At that moment Splinter enters the room and the Turtles realize where their real battle is going to be.  They need to free Splinter from the Rat King’s mind control to win this fight.

Favorite line here is after Raphael and Michelangelo says “You mean like Mikey” and Mike points out “Dude you’re so predictable.”  I love the brief look on Raph’s face as Mikey did get him that time.  After that we have another great battle scene, but that is something I will leave for the viewers to enjoy without my spoilers.  It’s really well done.  Only complaint is, four Turtles, why didn’t one of them try to take out the Rat King, instead of all of them going after Splinter?  We know Splinter can defeat three, but three turtles is enough distraction for one Turtle to fight the Rat King.

Really loved this episode.  Not sure if I like this Rat King as much as the original series Rat King.  As one of the things I liked about the original series is that he was doing his own thing and only fought the Turtles when they got in his way, till he teamed up with LeatherHead.  He even helped the Turtles before.  He was just another storyline taking place in New York that would cross paths with the Turtles.  This new Rat King is targeting the Turtles, just like a ton of other villains out there.  So I will have to see how I like that.  I do like Falco as the Rat King more than the 4Kids version of the Rat King.

For those who do not know, the title “I, Monster” which was also used for the Rat King episode in the 4Kids series is taken straight from the Mirage Comics.  “I, Monster” is the title of the original Rat King story found in “Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” #4 that came out in January 1988, this is the 25th anniversary of the “I, Monster” issue.  Which is a cool way to celebrate it, having an episode dedicated to the loveable and hateable and now creepy character of the Rat King!

Did you watch this episode of Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?  What are your thoughts?  Favorite scenes?  Quotes?  Please share all reviews, comments and questions below!

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Comments

I loved this episode, it was one of my favorites next to "The Gauntlet" and "Rise Of The Turtles". These reviews are awesome Michelle!

I do like the conflict that Splinter has with the Rat King. I definitely agree with you on how that i have a problem with the Rat King's look, he looks too much like the Phantom of the Opera. i hope in later episode he will look more like his comic & older cartoon look.