Baxter Stockman has got to be the latest Bad Luck Brian. Every person he worked with ended up mistreating him, and because of this, he can’t take it anymore and plans to take out both the Turtles and Shredder’s subordinates!
This episode is basically your typical ‘hero and villain trapped and forced to team up’ episode, kinda like the one in Ben 10 Alien Force. This episode is also the episode that neither of the Turtles are the main focus, well except Raphael but overall, this is the very first episode that focuses on the villains Baxter Stockman and Xever. I’ll go through Xever later, but Baxter here is basically him seeking revenge for being condemned so long.
So how does this happen? It all started with the usual Turtles thwarting out the Krang’s plan, but this time, the Foot Clan joins in as well due to Baxter wanting to get the Krang’s tech. When the three different forces confront each other, they end up fighting each other! One thing that interests me is that the Foot Clan didn’t forge a partnership with the Krangs yet, so at least that gives our heroes a break, since the villains will indirectly help them. As for the Krangs in this episode, they are basically minor.
Another thing that makes this episode is great is that they give us a subplot in the form of April’s training with Master Splinter. Splinter had taken April as his new protege for a while now, but we rarely seen them training, although April did display some stunts during her aiding to the Turtles. The subplot basically involves Splinter getting a suitable weapon for April and establish a pseudo father-daughter bonding between the two. But what’s disappointing is that we learned that the Krang targeted April for some reason, yet in this episode she doesn’t even talk or worry about it, making this episode as if it took place before TCRI.
After failing to thwart out the Krang’s plans, the Turtles got punished by Splinter, although the punishment is merely a lesson for the Turtles to improve their skills in battle. As for the bad guys, Shredder allows Baxter to take charge in his plans, and even letting Baxter leading DogPound and Fishface in his operations. Little did they know, Baxter’s plans is actually causing the downfall of the Foot Clan, or at least Shredder’s top two subordinates.
The Turtles chased after them again, with Leo sensing something wrong due to how easy their fight with DogPound and Fishface went, as well as they were willing to run away. Even when cornered, the duo surrendered themselves. This is obviously a trap, and they fell for it! But in a twist, DogPound and Fishface also fell into the pit, as Baxter reveals that he wanted to torture those two as well. After some argument, the Turtles agreed to team up with the two mutants.
If there’s one flaw about Baxter’s plan is that he is too confident about his maze. I mean he just trapped four Turtles who battled a crazy ninja and his group as well as aliens, and he also trapped two of his subordinates which are mutants, they will get out of the maze no matter what. Granted, he claims that even if they escaped they still need to face his Monster of Doom, but this not what I expected from an evil genius. Oh well, he’s gone mega crazy and this is a kids show anyway, they would rather stick out to the stereotypical villain.
As for the maze itself, it was amazingly bizarre. It’s not your typical maze, more like a subspace that’s endless and confusing, hence why they call it a maze. Because this is a maze…… of doom, the doom part consists of dangerous obstacles and deadly weapons, and I gotta admit one of the deadly weapons is a ball. Yes, a ball. A ball that emits laser saws. Now that’s deadly. The laser are strong enough to slice everything, evidenced by DogPound’s spike getting sliced. I really wonder how the hell did Baxter was able to create this subspace. Did he used the Krang tech?
Meanwhile, April begins her selection of weapons, only to end up failing. To be honest, out of all the failed weapons, I think the most fitting for her is the sickle, but maybe the sickle is too heavy for her. However, April accidentally stumbled upon Splinter’s family picture, and this is where we learn of what might be foreshadowing. We know that Splinter’s family are presumed dead, but the fact that he addressed his daughter would’ve been the same age as April triggers a possibility that Miwa might be still alive. In case you don’t know, there’s a rumor that this series’ Karai is actually Miwa, although that’s yet to be confirmed. Whatever it is, that thing just sparked an interest to me.
Back to the heroes and villains, Baxter decides to split them up by Leo/Don/Mikey/DogPound and Raph/Fishface. Realizing that they have been into circles, Donnie decides to use the T-Phone to trace the electromagnetic signal so that not only they wouldn’t get lost, but it will also lead them directly to Baxter. Another mistake about Baxter’s plan is that he trapped Donnie. I mean, Donnie’s level of genius is equal or superior than Baxter’s, so the latter did a stupid job to trap him.
But here’s another thing that makes this episode good: Backstories! Not just one, but two backstories! First off is Baxter’s Stockman’s boring backstory. It’s so boring that there’s no flashback sequence of it, mostly it consists of Baxter admiring himself. But what we do know is that he was a child prodigy, but sadly he was condemned since little, hence why he turned into a mad man. The rest is just filled with him admiring himself that no one cares, even though Mikey begged to hear his backstory to distract him while Donnie used the T-Phone.
The other one is Raph confronting Xever about his past. You know, DogPound is Shredder’s protege, but Xever is just a crook, why would he be working for a highly-trained psychopathic ninja? Well here’s the interesting explanation. When Xever was little, he learned to steal and he developed a skill that makes him the best thief ever. However, one day he got caught red-handed while stealing a briefcase. Ironically, the briefcase’s owner bribed him out and took him to work, thus Xever becomes Shredder’s dirty operator! I’m glad that they explained Xever’s backstory ever since Shredder mentions getting him back into prison in episode 4, as well as how he treated Xever.
After a while, they are reunited and managed to escape the maze, only for Baxter to keep his promise: Facing the monster……. of doom. It wasn’t really a monster, because it’s just a robot. And to top it off, it’s actually an enhanced StockmanPod from episode 5, upgraded to include missiles and M.O.U.S.E.R.S, which I’m glad that they didn’t forget. It’s actually a really cool move, as this really looks like their final battle with Baxter Stockman, because he throws everything that he did to them.
But thanks to the Turtles’ agreeing to teamup with Shredder’s subordinates, they managed to overcome the monster of doom. So much for the doom. But the best part during the teamup is that Donnie plans as usual, Leo leads DogPound and Mikey to distract the StockmanPod, while Raph and Fishface did the finisher of destroying Baxter’s hover controller. The teamwork is great because Fishface and Raph are rivals, yet they managed to work out well as a team.
Even Mikey points it out. Because of the show’s policy to let the enemy escape and not dying or anything, Baxter stereotypically claims that this won’t be the last of him. Well since he’s a recurring character in a franchise, it’s safe to say that Baxter’s threat is far from over, but it actually will be easier, due to the fact that Baxter is now wildcard villain again.
After the fight, the Turtles break their alliance with the villains. While they did make a pretty good team back there, they are naturally enemies, and they won’t stop at taking every opportunity to bring each other down, as Xever prepares to take out Leonardo. But thanks to Splinter’s advice earlier, Raph blocks it, but Fishface seems to aware that he will block the attack.
As for April, Splinter finally found a perfect weapon for her, a Japanese war fan. Fitting with the theme of femme fatale and kunoichi, April gladly accepts it, as Splinter originally wanted to give the weapon to his late daughter. This shows that Splinter considers April, as a surrogate daughter.