Family Home Entertainment has finally released the sixth volume of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon, which unfortunately, doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t contain as many classic and memorable episodes as their last offering. This volume features the fourth and final part of season 3, as well as the first episode of season 4. Season 3 was one of the TMNTÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s stronger seasons, and according to many fans, supposedly the last good season (though, the show did spike back upward in quality for seasons 7 through 10). While this set does not contain as many gems as Vol. 5, it does have a number of quality episodes, with the three-part season finale being the real highpoint.
The set starts out rather poorly with Ã¢â‚¬Å“the Turtle TerminatorÃ¢â‚¬Â, an episode spotlighting Irma, one of my least favorite supporting characters. Shredder builds a robot duplicate of her to destroy the Turtles. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s pretty awful. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Great BoldiniÃ¢â‚¬Â isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t a fantastic episode, but it *does* feature the Rat King, so it canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be all that bad. A magician, secretly working for the mob boss Don Turtelli, steals a massive emerald from a museum. Zach, Ã¢â‚¬Å“the 5th TurtleÃ¢â‚¬Â, and his not-girlfriend, Caitlin, accompany the Turtles to the museum and try to get the gem back. The Rat King shows up at complete random toward the end. The episode wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have been so bad if it hadnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t been for the Ã¢â‚¬Å“fearsomeÃ¢â‚¬Â mobster using tickling as his M.O. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Missing MapÃ¢â‚¬Â is yet another Zach-centric episode. This time around, he brings his brother Walt to visit the Turtles (and Walt steals a map that leads to the Shredder). I mean, seriously, how many people is this kid going to blow the location of the TurtlesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ lair to? This is why kid sidekicks are never a good idea.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The GangÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s All HereÃ¢â‚¬Â is one of the more interesting offerings, as Michelangelo eats an anti-mutagen cookie from Shredder which turns him into a teenage human. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s notable mostly for keeping continuity, and showing us more of the punk gang that Bebop and Rocksteady were shown associating with in the first season (before becoming minions of the Shredder). Ã¢â‚¬Å“The GrybyxÃ¢â‚¬Â brings back the Neutrinos, the hot-rodding teenagers from Dimension X. The plot of an escaped adorable pet that can turn into a giant monster is rather lame, mostly because itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a plot device done in numerous cartoons. Seeing the Neutrinos again is cool, so long as you like them.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ShreddervilleÃ¢â‚¬Â is another stale, repetitive cartoon clichÃƒÂ©, I have to admit. It has the Turtles suddenly appearing in a future ruled by Shredder. This plot is so old it must be using a wheelchair. Though, that didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t stop it from being recycled in the new TMNT series, in the episode Ã¢â‚¬Å“Same as it Never WasÃ¢â‚¬Â (admittedly, that episode wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t so bad). Not a big fan of this one, particularly the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Whew! It was only a dream!Ã¢â‚¬Â solution. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Bye Bye FlyÃ¢â‚¬Â always freaked me out when I was a kid, mostly due to the fate of Baxter Stockman at the episodeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s end. Of course, he survives to pester the TMNT in future seasons, but he seemed pretty dead in this story. Basically, Baxter finds a dimensional-hopping temple buried beneath New York and plans to use it as a staging ground to ambush the Shredder and the TMNT. One of my favorite Baxter episodes, even if the end is a little dark and unpleasant. I mean, cÃ¢â‚¬â„¢mon, did Baxter really deserve to have so many horrible things happen to him throughout the course of the series? ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s like he was David WiseÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s punching bag.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Big Rip-OffÃ¢â‚¬Â is the first part of the three-part season finale. If youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been paying attention during this season, one of the main themes is that the Technodrome is running out of power and Shredder is trying to replenish it. He actually succeeds this time around by using a plan that, wellÃ¢â‚¬Â¦isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t terrible. Go figure. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Big Break-InÃ¢â‚¬Â gets things going with the triumphant return of a fully functional Technodrome. Typically, the return of the Technodrome was always saved for the season finales, which felt like a great reward (the Technodrome was so badass). The Technodrome is heading across the countryside, using a device called the Ã¢â‚¬Å“minimizerÃ¢â‚¬Â to shrink military bases, weakening AmericaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s defenses against their attacks. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Big Blow OutÃ¢â‚¬Â is the best part of the finale, with the Technodrome doing some real damage. It lays siege to Manhattan, toppling buildings and even attacking the World Trade Center (oh those pre-9/11 days of innocence). Though the animation is as stiff as usual, it does feel more epic than most other episodes. You get your standard end-of-the-season Splinter/Shredder showdown, so thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s something to look forward to (however, it isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t one of their more exciting fights). I hear tell that this was actually intended to be the *series* finale, which might actually make sense, considering all the talk about Ã¢â‚¬Å“final showdownsÃ¢â‚¬Â and Ã¢â‚¬Å“last battlesÃ¢â‚¬Â going on in this story. It certainly appears that way, too, with Shredder and KrangÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s defeat being ratherÃ¢â‚¬Â¦final-looking.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Plan 6 from Outer SpaceÃ¢â‚¬Â is the first episode of season 4 and sets up the Ã¢â‚¬Å“European VacationÃ¢â‚¬Â story arc forÃ¢â‚¬Â¦season 7!? Yeah, something went wrong and the episodes got crammed into the beginning of the seventh season when they should have been the fourth. Pretty weird, too, since the season 7 episodes following the Euro arc are some of the better installments. Anyhow, the episode in question deals with the Shredder and Krang recovering from their spectacular defeat at the end of the last season. They return Bebop and Rocksteady to their human forms (through holographic illusion) and send them to steal the entire Channel 6 building. Instead, they get jobs there and unwittingly work their way up the corporate ladder. I really liked this one as it has lots of jokes at the expense of television production and features Bebop and Rocksteady in their human forms, which as a kid, I thought was somehow Ã¢â‚¬Å“specialÃ¢â‚¬Â (like whenever Shredder took off his mask IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d go Ã¢â‚¬Å“OMG!Ã¢â‚¬Â and freak out).
Though not as strong an offering as the previous set, Vol. 6 does have one of the best season finales in the entire series as well as a few other notable installments. Definitely worth getting to finish up season 3.