Daily Cartoon: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles S03E09: “Enter The Rat King”

It’s been 3 1/2 years since I’ve touched this show.

Why? Because it was entirely frustrating and not very good. So why am I back writing more blogs about it? Well…I’ve had the itch to get back to writing cartoon recaps for a while now plus there have been some really cool Turtles-centric toy releases of late to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the original movie’s release that – even though I’m not a TMNT collector – have hit me right in the feels with nostalgia.

So here we are picking up where we left off in January of 2017 (all prior episode recaps can be found with a simple TMNT search on the homepage) and I’m sure I’ll quickly be wondering why I even bothered starting back up with this.

But we’re here and I genuinely want to make the best of it. So let’s go.

S03E09 (Ep. 27): Enter The Rat King

Original Air Date: October 5, 1989

The Plot:

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen this opening and it still slaps. How could you not get hyped for what was to come upon seeing this open?

Burne needs a good editorial for tonight’s news and, upon finding one in his car, settles on the city’s rat problem. He assigns it to April and she is less than enthused. She decides to pay a visit to her Turtle friends down in the sewer who are having their own problem with rats as they found one in their last remaining box of pizza dough mix.

This trip turns out to be an egregious error in judgment as April leaves herself literally no time to get back to the studio for that evening’s news. I understand the Turtles live in the sewer, but what did she really hope to learn from the Turtles that would be so groundbreaking that she’d look like a champ for including it in that night’s newscast?

April barely makes it back to the studio, but only after her Channel 6 news van has all four tires chewed through by rats and then a cabbie driving off on her and Irma because they were being chased…by rats, but finally, she is able to hope on the city bus and make it to the studio with seconds to spare to deliver her titillating editorial…about rats.

Of course, in the middle of her story, the lights go out and the Burne, Vernon and Irma all start chanting, “SA-BU! SA-BU! SA-BU!”

sabu

OK, that’s not at all what happens. April gets kidnapped and when the lights return, she’s gone to the horrific gasps heard all over NYC as the city has seen their beloved local reported disappear live on television before their very eyes.

The Turtles immediately hop into action and begin searching for their BFF. Master Splinter joins them and begins experiencing some odd feelings which he treats like dizzy spells before shaking it off and moving on. There does seem to be some higher power behind these spells, though.

April awakes from…well, she was obviously unconscious, but we don’t know what from. Using creative license, I’ll say that she was knocked out by a cloth doused in ether. Honestly, that’s not the best idea, though, because you’d think the other people in the studio would have been able to smell it when she was taken captive since Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler have always been able to smell a rag soaked in ether from their broadcast position some 15-20 feet away. Who the fuck cares? The shit was soaked in ether and now she’s awake and being introduced to her captor: the Rat King.

The Rat King is a muscled up white dude in bad brown and green tights who can’t even afford a real mask. He controls rats by playing the flute and kidnapped April that way she couldn’t spread her rat propaganda across the city. April gets all sassy and tells the Rat King that he’s going to be awfully sorry when her friends the Turtles save her and that they’re trained by Splinter: a ninja master…and a rat. Obviously, the Rat King loves this development and the possibility of being able to control a ninja master with his fucking flute.

Sure as shit, the Turtles and Splinter finally get in the vicinity of the Rat King’s lair where they’re greeted by his highness, his rat army and money’s goddamn fucking flute. Splinter immediately falls under the Rat King’s control and starts waxing the floor with the Turtles. Leonardo tries reasoning with Splinter, but the Rat King’s mind-control is too powerful. Splinter is about to split their wigs for good, but Leonardo lays down his weapons which…I don’t fucking know. I guess it makes Splinter not want to attack a defenseless Turtle so he karate chops a sewer pipe and causes a flood which I guess returns him to normal. The Turtles grab Splinter and head back to their lair with the Rat King left agog that he’s lost his ninja master.

During this time, April escapes and runs blindly through the sewers where she happens to encounter the Turtles because the sewer system in NYC isn’t really that expansive. Irma is also in the sewer now because she’s looking for April, but runs into the Rat King because – as stated – the sewer system is actually a small world after all. We get a big fight which is less fight and more “Rat King drops a smoke bomb and runs off to fight another day” scene. The Turtles return to their lair to enjoy pizza and April heads back above ground to rejoin the rat race. Har har.

Closing Thoughts:

This is pretty fucking bad. I remember why I stopped watching this. The Rat King isn’t even a thing, he’s just a dude with two pieces of fabric on his head that plays the flute. For all we know he could be a failed snake charmer and had to resort to a career of kinging rats because they’re the only ones who respond to his subpar flute playing. And, if we’re being truthful, he does seem to know only one tune which, to be fair, is kind of catchy, but could end up annoying AF upon repeated listenings. I wonder if he returns later in the series because he learned a new song and now he makes rats put on a goddamn circus or something.

Rating:

A really weak episode. You don’t realize how long this series actually lasted so I’m assuming the Rat King returns at some point, but they really didn’t do anything here to make you care whether he does or doesn’t.

On the Main Man standings: just one star. Single main man. Not so good, Al.

Comments & concerns?

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