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3 out of 5
Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has finally returned from it’s second extended break of the second season! In the first fourteen episodes of season two we have been introduced to a lot of new characters, seen the transformation of several new mutants and witnessed more plot twists than is typical in a kids show! Will this episode treat us the same way?
Mazes & Mutants is the fifteenth episode of season two and the forty-first episode of the series overall. This episode is based around the concept of the four turtles wanting to take a break after their last huge fight in the city (the fantastic “Manhattan Project” two parter from back in March) so they begin playing a board game that they found up on the surface called “Mazes & Monsters”. The following day; Leonardo, Donatello and Michelangelo all decide to give L.A.R.P.ing (Live Action Role Play) a try much to the dismay of Raphael who refuses to see the fun and benefit in using his imagination. They throw together costumes based off of their characters and head out into the sewer to play - but trouble lurks just around the corner - a new human/sparrow mutant: Sir Malachi!
Sir Malachi (voiced by Paul Reubens.. That’s right, Peewee Herman, himself!) brings the four brothers into a medieval maze and resurrects several mutants from their past as characters in his story. He tells them that they must figure out his tricks and traps to save the princess (played by April) who is trapped in a room with a dragon. Along the way they encounter evil monkeys which after a big battle with them, they realize that they all look like Dr. Tyler Rockwell (from the episode Monkey Brains) and the monkeys disappear. The brothers travel farther into the maze and avoid many traps until they uncover the treasure room where April is trapped. After attempting to save her they realize that they are in the room with the dragon who finally shows his face and they realize that the dragon is Leatherhead! After a fight with Leatherhead and Sir Malachi they realize that if they use their imagination they can overpower the world that Sir Malachi has built around them.
After breaking his concentration he explains to them that he was just a kid who loved playing Mazes & Mutants until the dreadful night that he was out on his patio feeding sparrows when a mutagen container fell from the sky (see “The Mutation Situation” from the beginning of season 2) and spilled on him which turned him into a mutant. The turtles, after realizing that Sir Malachi is not such a bad guy after all, let him go free. He walks off into the sewers and we see his imaginary army surround him as he walks away and thus concludes the episode.
My thoughts: I’m not a fan of RPGs or LARPing so this episode really wasn’t intended for me. It wasn’t bad by any means but it felt like a huge throw away pisode in my mind. Perhaps Sir Malachi will come back in a later episode and play a bigger part but as for right now - he seems like a semi-useless character to me. It was neat to see the return of Dr. Tyler Rockwell and more-so Leatherhead! I have been waiting for his return for quite some time.. I only wish that he would have been real and could stick around. I also really enjoyed the small cameo from Ice Cream Kitty - If only to confirm that she is still their pet. As this series goes; the episodes are either fantastic or really unimportant and this definitely falls in the latter category for me.