Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Animated Series: Season 2 Review: Page 2 of 2

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A trio of beasts resembling the Xenomorphs in the Alien movies are hatched from Dimension X-grade eggs in "The Case Of the Killer Pizzas," causing grief for not only the Turtles, but for Shredder and Baxter as well.  These creatures were so popular with fans that they were featured in the 1991 Turtles In Time arcade game, chasing after the player's avatar in the beat-'em-up's sewer level with their razor-sharp claws and dripping fangs.  "Enter: The Fly" sees the transformation of Baxter Stockman into his more revered humanoid-fly form.  Krang blames the bumbling professor for getting between his and Shredder's plans to obliterate the Turtles, and the Dimension X ruler sentences him to death.  In a not-so-subtle nod to the 1958 sci-fi classic The Fly and its superior 1986 remake, a freak accident splices his DNA with that of a fly inside his extermination chamber.  The indignant insect goes on to make several appearances throughout the rest of the series, a thorn in the side of both Shredder and the Turtles.  Shredder tries his hand with genetic mutation again in "Invasion Of the Punk Frogs," using the radioactive ooze that gave life to the Turtles on a quartet of swamp frogs in hopes of creating his own team of adept amphibians -- Attila the Frog, armed with a spiked mace; Ghengis Frog, swinging his battle-axe; Napoleon Bonafrog, cracking his lightning-quick whip; and Rasputin the Mad Frog, his explosive arrows never missing their mark.

"Splinter No More" focuses on Master Splinter's longing to return to his former hominid visage, the weary rodent willing to trade a superhuman sense of smell for just one more stroll through a park, feeling the sunlight on his hairless skin.  His dream is realized when Donatello concocts a potion containing residue from the mutagen that evolved them, and in no time, Splinter is walking the streets of New York as Hamato Yoshi.  Meanwhile, Shredder locates an ancient cultist temple hidden somewhere in the city's labyrinth of a subway system where he plans to open his own portal to Dimension X with the help of a mystical spell.  As the Turtles consider the possibility that Yoshi might permanently join his above-ground brothers and sisters, their mentor discovers that the effects of Don's mutagen spray are only temporary, his features morphing back to their weasely precedent in broad daylight.  Splinter takes refuge in the subway, where Shredder draws closer to the temple's venue.  Our heroes cross paths with their sworn enemies and are momentarily overcome by Bebop and Rocksteady, laser-sniping from the wings of the archaic site.  Shredder mucks up the incantation when Splinter makes the save, having psychically tracked his sons through the underground, another advantage to having now reverted back to full rat form.  The episode ends on a high note as Splinter concedes that his destiny is to remain by the side of his four Turtles.

If Season 2 hits any speed bumps, it happens during the tail-end of the run by introducing some truly ridiculous characters and situations, even by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles standards.  "New York's Shiniest" stars a cybernetic police officer named Rex-1 whose very design practically screams "Make me into an action figure!"  The Neutrinos, those far-out 1950s greaser-inspired space-cruisin' teenagers from Dimension X, return to Earth after picking up a broadcast of Krang sending a "mento-neutralizer" to Shredder for converting the Turtles into mindless zombies.  The fun-loving interstellarites fall into the Foot Clan commander's crosshairs when he becomes privy to their Starmobile's portal-generating technologies.  Shredder is able to capture the Turtles but fumbles when he falls victim to the futuristic car's unique alarm system, freezing the bladed bossman in his tracks.  Tail planted firmly between legs, Shred-Head submits yet again to his shell-backed foes.  April takes center stage in "The Catwoman From Channel Six," her reporter instincts getting her into trouble once more when she unknowingly steps onto some sort of gene-scrambling contraption that mixes her chromosomes with that of a stray cat, transmogrifying her into, well, the Catwoman From Channel Six.  The Turtles team with April's co-worker Irma in order to break Shredder's control of the feline-lady and ultimately restore her back to her upbeat, enthusiastic human self.

The season finale is a doozy, as Krang decides to haul the Technodrome back to Earth in a full-blown invasion.  The timing couldn't be any worse for the Turtles, as Splinter has just left for his annual retreat to cleanse body and spirit with a three-day dose of fasting and meditation.  Krang utilizes the raw natural energy of Niagara Falls to commence a Technodrome-sized portal, a plot that proves too overwhelming for the Turtles without their instructor guiding them from the sidelines.  Shredder is granted a measureless amount of soldiers, his underlings taking the Falls hostage and blacking out New York City.  Darkness falling on the Big Apple awakens premonitions of doom inside Splinter's mind miles away, and he wastes no time hurrying back to the fight.  The Technodrome makes its last push through the portal, depleting its remaining energy, and completely surrounds the Turtles with Dimension X's finest.  Without power, Krang's death ray malfunctions, allowing the Turtles to reunite with Splinter for the big climax.  In an act of desperation, Krang activates the battle station's massive drilling mechanism to trigger an earthquake that wipes out Manhattan Island.  Instead, the stupid thing goes haywire, tunneling the Technodrome deep within the earth and plopping it straight into a river of subterranean magma.  The Turtles raise their fists to the sky, closing out Season 2 with their grandest victory yet.

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