Mikey, Mikey, Mikey, you’re just too damn adorable for your own good! As I’ve talked about before, Michelangelo is the social butterfly of the turtles, which works to his advantage at times but can also be detrimental to the secrecy his family needs to maintain. We saw this very clearly in the episode “New Friend, Old Enemy” when Mikey “befriended” Chris Bradford who turned out to be one of Shredder’s disciples. However, Mikey’s need for social interaction also makes him the most trusting and compassionate of the turtles. Don’t get me wrong, Leo, Donnie and Raph are compassionate in their own ways, but if you want instant sympathy, then Mikey’s your go-to guy. As it turns out, Michelangelo’s compassion makes him the most effective member of the team when the turtles encounter Leatherhead, a mutant alligator recently escaped from the clutches of The Kraang.
When the news reports on the presence of mutants in the sewers based on video footage shot by a sewer worker, the turtles go to investigate the scene to stop the mutant from inadvertently bringing attention down on them. They don’t want any news cameras near the lair giving away the location of their home to the human world or, more importantly, The Shredder. Finding the right tunnel, they come across Leatherhead (who Mikey names later in the episode) fighting off several Kraang in such a way that makes even the turtles feel bad for the alien robots. Momentarily, at least. Mikey, seeing the fight turning in favor of The Kraang, decides to help his fellow mutant with his brothers following suit. Unfortunately, Leatherhead isn’t as thankful as Mikey would hope when they bring him back to their lair. Reacting like a wild animal, Leatherhead attacks the turtles, but Mikey maintains that if he was fighting against the Kraang, then they should treat him as an ally. Turns out, Leatherhead has something The Kraang want, a power cell that’s the key to opening a portal to the alien dimension. While Leo, Donnie, and Raph go after the power cell, Mikey stays with Leatherhead and finds a way to tame his madness through compassion and friendship…mostly.
As a part of the on going Kraang story arc, “It Came From the Depths” manages to add two very important pieces without feeling overcrowded. Firstly, you have the introduction of a new ally for the turtles in Leatherhead. Another character of turtle canon going back to the Mirage comics, Leatherhead has been both friend and foe to the brothers depending on the story and the medium. First introduced as a friend in the comics, later stories eventually had Leatherhead losing his mind or turning to rage and revenge against the turtles. The ’87 cartoon flat-out made him a villainous alligator who mutated in the swamps of Louisiana, giving him a sweet Cajun accent, but the 2003 cartoon returned him to a friendly mutant with an intelligence matching that of Donatello’s. The newest version, like the series as a whole, borrows from its predecessors, making Leatherhead an interesting blend of tragedy and terror. He’s intelligent, but prone to rage induced violence at even the mention of The Kraang who experimented on him, turning him into a monster. Such an ally means that the turtles will have to be constantly on their guard, but he’s an ally nonetheless.
Secondly, the turtles’ encounter with Leatherhead gives us some more information about The Kraang and their mutation experiments in the form of the power cell. Leatherhead says he escaped from The Kraang six months ago, roughly coinciding with the turtles’ first encounter with the aliens at the beginning of the series. So we can probably thank Leatherhead for the fact that there hasn’t been a full on invasion by The Kraang at this point. And since the power cell they acquire is The Kraang’s only means of powering and travelling between dimensions, that makes it very valuable to our heroes as a bargaining chip for, I don’t know, April’s father. Hell, we even get a glimpse at how powerful the cell is when Donnie connects it to an old subway car when the turtles come under attack by The Kraang. Also, we get a nice homage to the infamous boat scene from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! There’s a lot going on in this episode even if it doesn’t look like a lot happens on the surface.
Did You Notice:
- The abandoned subway that looks a lot like the turtles’ second lair
- That eye looks a lot like a certain Technodrome…just sayin’
- Space Heroes homage to Star Trek’s “The Trouble with Tribbles”
- The guys instantly think Raph is the mutant attacking people in the sewers
- Leatherhead’s take down of The Kraang is awesome!
- Splinter = badass
- “The enemy of my enemy is my bro.” “That is not exactly what I said.”
- Donnie can’t win at all – “He grabbed me by the FACE, Mikey!”
- Raph’s absolute joy at pushing Donnie and Leo into the water
- Mikey feeding Leatherhead and naming him
- The Kraang attack on the turtles in the subway car