Review: TMNT “Baxter’s Gambit”

Cockroach Terminator

I missed one! I done gone and missed an episode of TMNT! Bad! That’s a bad, Sam! No biscuits and no Doctor Who for at least a week…alright, you can watch Doctor Who whenever you want. I can never say no to you. Not with those puppy dog eyes and the quivering lip right before you’re about to cry. Okay, you can stop now. Stop it! Ugh, fine, you can have biscuits too!

Welcome to my mind, by the way. It is a silly place.

Anyway, here’s the very brief re-cap of “Cockroach Terminator”: Raph is afraid of bugs, he nearly kills a cockroach Donnie turned into a tiny spy against the Kraang complete with camera and electronics, the cockroach falls into a vat of ooze and turns into a giant cyborg roach bent on going after Raph, and then Raph has to learn to get over his fear so it doesn’t get him and his brothers killed. Done! It’s actually a fun episode if only for the amount of screaming Sean Astin does as a frightened Raph.

Now on to this week’s episode!

Baxter's GambitWhile trying to stop the Kraang from using the McGuffin particle disruptor, the turtles come across Dogpound, Fishface, and the Foot who’re also after the tech because Baxter Stockman wants it as well. The ensuing fight – which is awesome, by the way – results in the Kraang still getting away with the tech and everybody running away so they don’t get caught by the cops. And that’s just the teaser! The cold open, however, is not without purpose as it sets up Baxter’s continued frustration and anger towards Shredder’s minions and the rivalry between Fishface and Raph. In the aftermath of the failed fight, the turtles get a lesson in anticipating the move of your enemy when you can’t see them strike while Stockman cows before Shredder and asks for a means to make amends. Baxter has a plan, but he needs Dogpound and Fishface to lure the turtles into the trap, which Shredder grants because mutated minions are a dime a dozen these days.

The trap, however, isn’t just for the turtles. Stockman double crosses Dogpound and Fishface by putting them in the middle of his Maze of Doom! Sick of being pushed around, Baxter decides to just pit both groups of enemies against each other amidst the obstacles…OF DOOM!!!…laid out in the maze. The problem with that is the two groups usually decide that working together is in their best interest, so they do just that. Back at the lair, April finally gets to choose her weapon because, unless she suddenly becomes psychic, her most valuable weapon – her mind – isn’t gonna be all that useful in a fight.The Enemy of My Enemy

Even though there’s only a brief mixing of the storylines, it’s nice to see the various plot threads coming together however briefly. It shows that the first season has managed to do enough world building that our heroes and various villains can cross paths in a way that makes sense. A lot of that has to do with the connecting thread of all three groups: Baxter Stockman. Though he’s only really been seen as a bumbling, over-the-top geek in previous episodes, “Baxter’s Gambit” actually gives us reasons to consider Baxter as an actual threat. Granted, he is prone to bouts of supervillain grandiosity, but the fact that the guy managed to construct a death trap maze with some pretty sweet items of doom means he at least deserves some credit! Most of that credit I’m going to give to Phil LaMarr for making Baxter endearingly adorkable even when he’s trying to be all evil and stuff.

The lesson of anticipating your enemy, as carried through Raph’s grudge with Fishface, is cleverly handled throughout the episode. Even though a tentative truce is reached while trying to escape the maze…OF DOOM!!!…Raph’s distrust, then begrudging respect and understanding of Fishface after they save each other and the minion formerly known as Xever gives us his back story, still keep the audience on high alert as to when the double cross will occur. But you’ll have to watch the episode to find out when it happens.

Fancy That: Miwa, Splinter’s daughter, would’ve been about April’s age. Ya know, Karai is about April’s age too. Curiouser and curiouser.

Favorite Moments:

  • Donnie describing the sound of the particle disruptor and his brothers’ reactionsDonnie's Explanation
  • Fight-a-Palooza!
  • They still can’t remember Baxter’s name
  • “Mad? [Evil Laugh] I’m full-on, mega crazy!”
  • Baxter telling his life story
  • Raph and Fishface’s “only I may kill you” rivalry
  • I love that the flashbacks are always in comic book form
  • The “OF DOOM!!!” running gag. I love a good running gag!
  • April gets a weapon!
  • The guys are just too tired to keep fighting.

About the author

Samantha Cross

Sam is a self-described "sponge for information" soaking up little tidbits here and there that make her the perfect partner on pub trivia night! Hailing from the beautiful Pacific Northwest, she indulges her nerdy and geeky qualities by hanging out at the local comic book shop, reading anything she can find, and voicing her opinion whether you welcome it or not. An archivist and historian, she will research any and all things and will throw down if you want to quote Monty Python, Mel Brooks, or The Simpsons!

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