Daily Cartoon: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles S03E15: “Take Me to Your Leader”

Here we go. Another day, another episode.

S03E15 (Ep. 33):  Take Me to Your Leader

Original Air Date: October 13, 1989

The Plot:

Shredder is getting his new plot ready: to steal all the cheese danishes from the surface since it’s so difficult to get good snacks underground, but the Turtles crash the party and temporarily hold him up. I say “temporarily” because they’re waiting for Leonardo to give them direction, but he’s got nothing. Turns out he’s having a dream and he wakes up shook that his judgment is failing and his instincts are shot. After a sparring session with Donatello where he gets his wig split, Leonardo decides he’s not qualified to be a part of this team right now and leaves the Turtles.

Shredder and Krang have a new plan today: to drain the sun’s energy and store all the power in what appears to be batteries and send the city into a new Ice Age. As the Turtles head to the surface to look for Leonardo they encounter this newly cold weather in what they say is July. Hey, I’m writing this in July! What a wild coincidence!

The Turtles decide to spin to see who becomes interim leader and Leonardo takes the mantle onto his green shoulders with hesitation. They go back to the surface only to find it covered in so much snow and ice that it looks more like the Arctic than New York. Luckily, Donatello has a new invention that can now track energy so he can triangulate what’s milking the sun. How convenient.

Over at Channel 6, Burne Thompson is throwing a fit that nobody’s covering the story even though the office is filled with frost and everyone is bundled up in every heavy clothing item they can find. Leonardo is simply walking around town, just a bit chilly, but thinking his brothers are probably doing swell without him holding them back even though there’s clearly and environmental meltdown going on that he seems to push to the side EVEN THOUGH IT’S FUCKING JULY AND WHEN HE LEFT THE SEWERS HE WAS WEARING A PARKA!

The Turtles finally find out where Shredder has the sun-sucking ray set up purely by mistake, Leonardo joins them because he was feeling selfish while on his own and they all barge in to put an end to this evil plot even though we get Krang wearing an adorable hat and scarf here. The Turtles drive out the bad guys with ease. Like way too quickly. Like not even a contest. Krang, Shredder, Bebop and Rocksteady jump out a window and parachute to the ground before drilling ANOTHER GODDAMN HOLE in the middle of the street by taking a Module back to the Technodrome where the Turtles lament that they’ve once again escaped capture.

Donatello toys around with the device and returns all the power to the sun which is very nice of him. He then destroys it so nobody can have this kind of power again. Leonardo realizes that he should never have doubted himself and Splinter gives everyone a pat on the shell for a job well done.

The Thoughts:

I felt like this had potential with Leonardo deciding to take some time and dig into his feelings to try to find his real purpose. It could have come across much like The Problem With Power from the original Masters of the Universe series in which He-Man is deceived into thinking he accidentally killed a civilian during a battle with Skeletor and decides he is unworthy of holding the Power Sword. It is probably the seminal singular episode of that run and Leonardo choosing to do the same could have made for something along those lines.

Unfortunately, that’s not at all what happened in the execution as, really, he just went for a walk until a bit of loneliness kicked in and he ran back to the squad. Which is fine, I’m not saying they had to keep him away from the team long term, but for the time he was away, they did nothing with him finding himself. It was just a device used to push the gag of the other three taking turns being the leader and finding ways in which to fail.

I know, I know: we dumb it down because this is for kids and kids won’t follow if it’s too smart. To an extent it’s right because we all loved the shit out of this as children, but I have a hard time believing we wouldn’t have also sunk our teeth into something with a little more depth than the kiddie pool at Munchkin Land too.

Main Man Standings:

I did get excited thinking we had some potential for something different today, but came away disappointed again. Another single and a half main man, 1 1/2 stars for another episode that could have been a lot better with the same exact plot.

Comments & Concerns:

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