Anyone with siblings knows that there’s always a “healthy” amount of competition that occurs between brothers and sisters. In the case of the turtles, we have four teenage boys trained in the martial arts…so, yeah, competition was pretty much unavoidable. What I’ve really enjoyed about the newest incarnation of the turtles is the consistency with which the creators and writers emphasize that the turtles are brothers and teenagers – two aspects that immediately put them at odds with each other on a regular basis. And it’s not always Leo vs Raph like the episode would lead us to believe in the opener. Sometimes it’s any permutation of brother versus brother. In the case of “Mousers Attack”, it’s the A-Team of Leo and Raph against the B-Team of Donnie and Mikey. You probably wouldn’t find anyone who’d disagree with the designated teams, but the episode does a great job of showcasing the strengths and weaknesses of each team while the turtles, of course, learn a lesson.
While Leo and Raph enjoy their victory over Donnie and Mikey during practice, April shows up to inform the guys that she was mugged by The Purple Dragons who took her phone. The turtles, still oddly riding on this wave of overconfidence, decide to get her phone back despite Splinter’s warning that a fight, even over the smallest of things, can spiral out of control. Do the guys listen? I’m gonna give you two guesses, but you’ll only need one. No, no, take your time. I’ll wait…
Good, glad you figured it out! Yes, the boys go after The Purple Dragons and mistakenly tell them that the phone they pilfered belonged to a friend. Before they can take the phone, the building is attacked by…wait for it…mousers! A staple of TMNT canon since the Mirage comics, the mousers have shown up in every animated version of the turtles since the ’87 cartoon. Created by Baxter Stockman, the mousers were originally supposed to clean up New York City’s rat problem, but Stockman had alterior motives in mind and used them to burgle the city. The 2012 MOUSERS, or Mobile Offensive Underground Search Excavation and Retrieval Sentries, have no such back story except that Stockman built them to steal things – using Kraang technology, no doubt, since Stockman used to work for TCRI. Attacking at the most inopportune time, the turtles split up to take care of both problems. The A-Team stick with the robots and follow them back to their creator while the B-Team follows the Purple Dragon still in possession of April’s phone back to Dogpound. Like Master Splinter warned, things escalate from there with both teams getting in over their heads.
One of the benefits of world building established in previous episodes are the various ways storylines and characters dovetail to create more complicated situations for our heroes. Simple actions have greater consequences and the turtles learn that in spades as they inadvertently introduce one enemy to another. Stockman, after setting his MOUSERS on Leo and Raph, is taken captive by The Purple Dragons and brought to Dogpound since his meddling in Purple Dragon robberies affects Shredder’s cut. Professing his prowess in all things technological, Stockman is given the task of hacking April’s phone and by episode’s end he’s presented to The Shredder as a potentially useful minion. All of this, however, might have been prevented if the turtles hadn’t decided to go after April’s cell phone. It’s the snowball effect times a hundred. But that’s what makes the turtles great characters through the lens of this show. They’re young, impetuous, competitive…teenagers! They make mistakes and they learn from them, but their mistakes have a bad habit of coming back to bite them in the shells. How Stockman will be useful to Shredder is unknown for the time being, but at least the brothers know that it’s not about A and B teams anymore. It’s about being one team that’s stronger together than they are apart.
Has Anyone Noticed?: On a team of four you basically have two turtles who follow the rules of engagement and correct formation (Donnie and Leo) and two turtles who disregard those rules (Mikey and Raph). Just a thought.
- Thank goodness Space Heroes is around to provide us with an example of A and B teams in science fiction
- Dogpound taunting fish mutant Xever
- There’s something very endearing about Baxter wearing that pink sweater!
- Donnie’s variety of plans and Mikey’s plan-naming overload
- Even Leo thinks the acronym for MOUSERS seems kinda forced
- Nice to know that Leo and Raph are still plenty competitive with each other while fighting off an onslaught of MOUSERS
- TMNT manages to show how boring hacking really is