Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutagen Man Unleashed

It would seem that I can't get enough of the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon on Nickelodeon. Every time I turn around, they seem to hit a home run with a new episode. Just a few weeks back, the second season premiered and it turned out to be pretty damn awesome, setting up the season to be chock full of new mutant characters. The episode after that was an amazing homage to the classic sci fi movie Alien in which the turtles had to subdue a pair of mutant squirrels that gestated inside the abdomens of people. And turtles. All set to the backdrop of Michelangelo's narration of a comic book he once read. This past Saturday's episode marked a new benchmark, introducing a fan-favorite character into the new series.

Enter Casey Jones.

Or, at least, a smug, pre-hero version of Casey Jones
When I heard that Casey Jones was coming to the series, I got really excited. Ever since the original cartoon series, Casey has been a staple for the Ninja Turtles. It was pretty strange that it took almost a season and a half for him to come to the show. But whatever. I was happy to see he was finally going to be a part of this Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

With that said, I was a little disappointed with the episode. It didn't focus on Casey even though he did have a pretty big role in the story. Given the title of the episode, "Mutagen Man Unleashed", the antagonist was the true focus. Clearly the writers just wanted to keep the theme going by introducing a new mutant into the show, which I was cool with, but it wasn't the most interesting episode of the new season.

The story breaks down with Donatello being jealous after finding April and Casey in the park. He thinks their on a date but April is tutoring Casey in trigonometry. Donnie goes back to the lair and begins to pour his heart out to Pulverizer/Timothy, the floating mess of organs he has in a jar in his lab. Hearing Donnie's story, and seeing the mutagen that turned him into what he is, Pulverizer drinks the mutagen behind Donnie's back and his jar grows arms and legs. With his new mobility, he goes after April in an attempt to make friends, forcing the turtles to use their new techniques in stealth to take him down.

The reason I was so disappointed with this episode is because Casey Jones wasn't what I expected. I first heard about Casey through the TMNTMaster Tumblr site. They sent me an email showing the new Playmates action figure, where Casey looks like a total badass in his hoodie, pads, and hockey mask that looks like a skull. But that's not what the episode showed. Instead of the hardcore vigilante that Casey is presented in his other incarnations, we get a pompous high school jerk with two missing teeth who is totally in love with himself. I get that, instead of coming out of the gate and establishing Casey as a fighter allows them to write more development into the show, but that doesn't mean I wasn't disappointed by the presentation.

There were a lot of things that I liked about the episode, like the Voltron homage that bookended the true story. I am also excited to see Casey Jones in the series, so even though I didn't like his debut, he'll should be a great asset to future episodes. This slight disappointment isn't enough for me to turn my back on TMNT, either. it's still a remarkable show and I look forward to watching it each week.

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