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The WORST TMNT (2012) Episodes
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Published: January 3, 2018
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I'm back! Since the first list I did regarding the 2012 Ninja Turtles was a lot of fun, I've decided to also weigh in on what the worst episodes of the series were. Don't get me wrong, when this series got things right there was nothing quite like it out there! But when it was bad, oh man could you feel it! This time I'm only doing a top 5 because it's so easy to make a top 10 worst list as compared to a top 10 best so, there you go. I only wish I could have added a slime effect to most of the text, as well as the numbers here, but my program just wouldn't do it unfortunately. Anyhow, these are the most excruciating episodes that I would NEVER watch again, starting with the worst of the rest...

WOTR 5: "Heart of Evil", 'Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles'
I see this episode actually has quite a bit of love around the internet. I myself am at a loss! This is definitely one of the worst episodes of the entire series as far as I'm concerned, and it's not just because I wanted the Shredder (and admittedly to some extent Splinter) to stay dead. Aside from the fact that the main plot is generic revenge-in-an-action-cartoon fare that we've seen hundreds of times before (and most of the time better), there were a ton of other problems with most of them centering around the grudge between Donnie and Visiozo. First of all, Donnie's grudge against him has absolutely no credibility whatsoever! Sure, Visiozo put Donnie and Mondo Gecko (ha! Where was he during this episode?) in a tough spot in "Mutant Gangland", but Donnie--not to mention him and his family and even friends, have been in situations like this before and quite a few of them have been way worse! Where is his grudge against all of their other foes? And I don't care how in character it may be for Raph to revel in Donnie's newfound anger because it was his fault that Donnie and Mondo Gecko found themselves in the situation they were in during "Mutant Gangland", thus Raph is to quite an extend responsible for Don's attitude in this story. In this instance, for Raph to not feel at least a tinge of guilt for Donnie being the way he is makes Raph a very unappealing character. Second is Leonardo who functions better as this episodes critic more than Don's conscience. For one, Leo had no right to go off on Don the first time he did. Sure, Leo may have wanted a stealthier approach, but Don actually had the heart/plot device in his hands before a mix of Bebop and Rocksteady, bad luck, and a contrived and cheating script took it away. Then the script came back to bite Donnie again when Don, on his own stealth mission sure but still being very effective at it nonetheless, ends up sending the mission sideways when a screw comes loose from the neon sign he's hanging from! Then there's the fact that Leonardo keeps trying to sway Donnie out of revenge and focus on the mission when Leo himself had his own revenge three episodes ago in "Owari." Not that that's an entirely bad thing mind you! In fact, it adds a bit of psychological intrigue when you think about it: Don wants revenge, Leo had his own revenge a few episodes ago, Leo tries to deny Don his own so that they'll have a better chance that the being Leo got revenge on (Shredder) won't rise from the dead. It makes you wonder if Leo's concerns for his brothers psychological well being are actually genuine, or if his motivations are born out of something akin to self interest. How fun it would have been to see Leo try and answer Donnie's question of "How come you can have your revenge, but I can't have mine?" Even then, the grudge still has no credibility due to the character of Visiozo himself! The Don is a joke of a character who shouldn't be taken seriously, even when his flying chair turns into a missile launcher...see what I mean? In other hands, he'd come off as this series's version of Boss Biggis from "Batman: TAS"--one of BTAS's very few low points. Instead, he functions more as a knock on all those mafioso types in entertainment from Don Corleone to Marvel's Kingpin to DC's Blob. So to have Visiozo as the center of Donnie's grudge is a huge contrast and a big mistake! AND EVEN THEN, it's not Donnie's grudge that does them in at the end, but because the creators cheated! They cheated us into this non-sensical grudge in the first place, they cheated the protagonists out of getting the upper hand on Kavaxas and Tiger Claw (that hot potato scene, as I call it, also deserves a dishonorable mention b/c they saw and knew how TC used the amulet and for them to play hot potato with it instead felt like a contrived way for the story to reach the conclusion it wanted...bless Mikey's efforts though), they cheated us out of a potentially interesting conflict of ideals between Leo and Don, they cheated us out of a proper resolution, and they cheated their way into having the Shredder be brought back into the picture. I didn't like the Kavaxas arc overall, but this is one episode I can't stand!
WOTR 4: "The War for Dimension X", Season 4
Maybe it's just me but I don't think an story titled "The War for Dimension X" should be handled by your comedy writers. Sure it's nice to see the Utroms at long last (not counting Bishop) but there's too much focus on Raph and one-of-two-characters-who-very-likely-shouldn't-be-here and not enough on this "war" itself. The first of those two characters who shouldn't be here is Mona Lisa of course, and as much as I love Keith David his character shouldn't be here either. Their only use to the story was to regurgitate their plot from "The Moons of Thalos 3" only to point their biases at the Utrom instead of the protagonists this time around. Not only is that a waste of time but so are all the gooey interactions between Raph and Mona which takes away focus from the main story at hand. The "war" itself only comes down to the heroes saving the queen Utrom from Kraang Subsubprime and some of his recruits which really downplays the viewers' expectations. Can you imagine how much juicier this story would have been if they replaced Mona and Sal with the Triceratons? We'd have our main protagonists and the Utroms, the Kraang, and the Triceratons, all trying to determine the fate of that world and whether the heroes win or lose, there would still be drastic ramifications moving forward! Oh what could have been!
WOTR 3: "Attack of the Mega Shredder", Season 3
Let's be honest, Karai's arc was a waste in Season 3. The direction they went with her is understandable but they spent so long on an arc that was basically a three sentence story: Unable to control her mutation, Karai flees from both her family and enemies. The Foot Clan captures and brainwashes her into destroying her family. Splinter frees her. This whole thing started in S3E10 and didn't end until S3E23, think about that for a minute! This simple story does not need 14 episodes to tell so it kept getting both padded out and sidelined! Perhaps if they had just one episode showing Karai free and detailing the plans she has going forward, her arc (and maybe "City at War" too) might have been salvaged! The worst of these episodes--mind you they're all pretty bad from "The Deadly Venom" onwards; but the worst of them all, from the very first scene onwards to the happy ending that is totally nullified two episodes later, is "Attack of the Mega Shredder". Indeed, the opening scene alone deserves a spot on this list not only because of how it makes Shredder look (a sadist rather than a man fighting for love he can't have) to it turning out at the end of "The Fourfold Trap" that Karai never had more than one brain worm in her. It's nothing more than emotional manipulation on an abhorrently disgusting scale and, as stated, it's deserving to be here just because of that scene alone! Obviously it's this series' version of "Attack on Titan" but, really, who cares? All the villains have bad characterization from Shredder to Tiger Claw, Raph's injury plays no meaning except to pointlessly get the Turtle Mech to make another appearance, and Mikey making a meaningless tag along with Leonardo. Now a lot of people like Mikey and Leo together, them being little brother and big brother of course, but let's admit that the most interesting relationship Leonardo has is the complex one he shares with Karai, and this episode was supposed to give him that knight in shining armor moment that would help to solidify it. And since Karai technically does appear in this episode, Mikey comes off as no more than the proverbial third who makes a crowd.
WOTR 2: "A Foot Too Big", Season 3
Usually a comedy episode has to be really good or really bad to get a mention on a list concerning a dramatic series. Some of them are fillers, others you still can't take that seriously which usually puts them in the category of being made "not to fail." The room to fail with a more dramatic series is greater but so is the chance for success which is what the viewer wants. Thus the more dramatic, more serious episodes are usually made "to succeed." This entry makes it because not only does the comedy fall flat but so does the narrative. There were quite a few episodes in this series revolving around Donatello trying to win April's heart which ultimately ended up going nowhere--understandably, the idea of a mutant and human isn't very appealing so the reluctance is understandable but there's still no avoiding they did a lousy job. This is also not the kind of episode that's required after a season premiere such as "Within the Woods". And then there's the fact that these first seven episodes had no reason to exist other than to have Ciro Nieli and Brandon Auman indulge themselves with a bunch of sci-fi and horror references. There was toilet and juvenile humor, the expectation that Bigfoot (who had minimal development at best) is gay until it turns out that Bigfoot is actually a girl, and the subplot surrounding Donnie and April underwhelmed. There's a way to do comedy and this episode is an example on how not to do it.
WOTR 1: "Earth's Last Stand", Season 4
It's hard for me to accept this as a bad episode because this was the beloved Fugitoid's last hurrah and his initial sacrifice pulled at the heartstrings (indeed they shouldn't have revealed that he was alive b/c of the power of that scene, his past self living out his redemption, and the fact that we're never going to see him again). Still, this was a bad lead in to the New York side of Season 4! Everyone complains about Leo's attitude towards the Fugitoid and the fact that their past selves are alright with going into space with the Fugitoid forever (which is the aforementioned redemption for his past self), and while I'm understanding to a fair extend with the latter, I have bigger issues than these two things. There's the fact that the introduction of the Devastator really downplays if not outright nullifies the significance of the Black Hole Generator, the fact that it took forever to even get to that point, the unnecessary act of having (the present) Fugitoid be alive, but most of all I'm down on Tiger Claw! How Tiger Claw didn't notice Shredder going for Splinter when everyone else did is beyond me...by the way, where were the other henchmen?! It would have made for some good point counter-point going forward at the very least. For him not to think, to not assess the situation, to not be able to put 2 and 2 together, to not even have so much as a seed of doubt planted in his mind with regards to what truly transpired, makes him look like an absolute fool! And this is one of the more rational characters of the series we're talking about here! Ciro Nieli, in a spotlight video about the character that can still be found on Youtube, once mentioned that he thought about Tiger Claw finding a goal outside the Foot Clan and suggesting that Tiger Claw would leave the Foot Clan and find his own way. This is a great idea! Characters reforming or having a powerful character-driven plot is rare in an action cartoon and, let's be honest, this is a franchise that has a fairly dismal Rogues Gallery--whether it'd be comics, movies, or cartoons! This was the best time to make that happen and they blew it! In fact, from that point on, he became just another moronic henchman with the Kavaxas arc being the final nail in the coffin (he should've never been the Crimson Leader BTW) for his character down the road.

#5: "The Power Inside Her", Season 4
"Riddle of the Ancient Aeons" was a good episode! A really insightful episode of hero and villain motivations, good character interplay, and a good use of religious symbolism, it also unfortunately started an arc that was even worse than Karai's last season. At least her arc was understandable, April's in Season 4 wasn't even that! Sure it's reminiscent of the X-Men's Dark Phoenix saga but really, is that what we want? The fact that the only thing people remember about this episode is that April had her hair down shows just how overrated it is! Not only did April's "My crystal!" shtick get really old really fast, but it also makes the Aeons look bad because of how the crystal they gave her affected her, plus the fact that a, well, 'ancient' Aeon inside the crystal was responsible just makes it worse for them. After a final showdown at the end, April contrivedly is able to revive Donnie and, even though it's implied at the end that April has a better control of her powers, it's not really put on full display. At the end, this was an arc that meant nothing and symbolized nothing! What a waste of time!
#4: "The Tale of Tiger Claw"*, Season 4
Note the asterisk. When a viewer has to put an asterisk next to the title of an episode, you know it's bad! It's either bad in execution or there's an error in continuity. In this case, it's both! Way back in "The Manhattan Project", which was Tiger Claw's debut, he mentioned his rival stating that "he will pay the price" for slicing his tail. After waiting two seasons for this sure to be exciting showdown, it turns out that the rival in question is a FEMALE mutant named Alopex! Alopex is a famous figure from the IDW issues so the only reasons you can deduce for this egregious oversight of continuity is either incompetence, the desire to put Alopex in this series no matter hell or high water, or both. Still, that doesn't mean that a story involving this error can't be good. The key word is compensation! However many errors a story has or how bad the execution is in some areas, if there's enough good things in a story to compensate for its shortcomings, the overall project can still be enjoyable. That unfortunately is not the case here and it all starts with involving not only our protagonists but, most of all, Casey Jones. Casey Jones, who never had a standout episode for himself after "Casey Jones vs the Underworld", has no connection between the two main characters except for the manipulative angle brought about by the episodes plot device known as the Blades of Vengeance. What follows is a run-of-the-mill bad luck/curse story that gets our heroes involved to fix the curse making Casey, like Mikey in "Attack of the Mega Shredder", the aforementioned third who makes a crowd. This story ultimately proves to be a waste of time but perhaps the episodes most crowning moment in terms of both shock value and pointlessness is the severing of Tiger Claw's handpaw...ha! Honestly though, what was the point in doing that, let alone introducing Alopex, when we're never going to see her again due to the fact that TC himself is also going to be saying "Sayonara suckers!" just six episodes later?! If you know the answer please say so because I certainly don't!
#3: "Eyes of the Chimera", Season 3
Greg Weisman created one of my top 5 favorite animated shows of all time: Gargoyles. He also did a very surprising good job with "Young Justice" which I wish him all the best as it makes its return in the near future. Aside from that, his name sometimes comes up in a few animated shows obviously as a freelance writer. That was clearly the case with this episode. Unfortunately that doesn't prevent it from being a complete waste of time! You can definitely make the argument that they spent 2 or 3 episodes too long out in Northampton doing nothing and this is one of them. As good a time-waster as "Race with the Demon" was, it was still at that point that I began to question the plan for this series. All this episode was good for was to introduce us to an ugly creature and present us with an uninspired story of April and Leo overcoming their disabilities to rescue the others from a geyser that's about to go off while the story tries to decide what it's tone is going to be! Like I said, a waste of time!
#2: "The Croaking", Season 3
Honestly, how many times do I have to come back to Northampton? While some of us may have wanted to see an episode about how the three more serious brothers of the TMNT would deal without Mikey being around (for whatever the reason), they certainly could've come up with something better than this. Mikey's endured worse tantrums at the hands of his brothers for some of his actions, so him running away after making a mess at their cabin is not a good start for this story. He then comes across Napoleon Bonafrog voiced by the very overrated Jon Heder, especially now since his "Napoleon Dynamite" days are over. Jon just does his shtick here before introducing Mikey to a clan of mutated frogs. This group could have been a nice contrast to our protagonists, largely in terms of their views on other species'--in this case humanity. Unfortunately, both viewpoints are never explored and it devolves into a cliched us versus them story with the frogs' vendetta against both humankind and the protagonists resulting in them losing the one thing they cared about: their home. Ho-hum.
#1: "Plan 10", Season 2
Again, a comedy episode has to be really good or really bad to get a mention on a list concerning a dramatic series. For this to be tops is a disaster in of itself. The script doesn't take advantage of the Kraang inside Raph's body understanding how ostracized both it and Raph are from normal society (and vice versa) nor does it make Raph inside a Kraang's body very interesting to watch. All he does is flop around in that body for extended periods and that's it! There's another scene involving the body switcher but nothing interesting is done with it except to pointlessly (and I can't stress that enough) have Casey admire April's figure while inside of her! The best comedies always take whatever gags may be available in a stories plot and run with them. And while it's easy to just shrug and say that it may be too much to ask a twenty-minute action show to work out and exploit every available permutation, it's also just as easy to wonder how good it could have been if they could take a simple gag, work out every insane permutation on it, and; if not give us the best example of body swapping in entertainment out there, at least give us something not so boring and time wasting. 
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Comments (8)
ARandomGuy235's avatar
I love Tale of Tiger Claw, Earth Last Stand, Attack of the Mega Shredder, The War for Dimension X, Heart of Evil and When Worlds Collide I think Season 3-5 of TMNT 2012 are overhated and I prefer them over the first 2 Seasons myself.
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TheMassEffectFanatic's avatar

Tale of Tiger Claw deserves that asterisk. It aired too late and wasn't even about Tiger Claw and Alopex.

ELS was a bad send off for the Fugitoid, bad for Tiger Claw, and a bad resolution to the great "Annihilation: Earth!"

"Attack of the Mega Shredder" shouldn't have featured Mikey and was totally nullified by "The Fourfold Trap."

"The War for Dimension X" should've included the Triceratons and not Mona and Sal since all they do is repeat what they did in "Moons of Thalos 3". Believe me, it would've been so much better if this were the case.

You can't be a fan of "Owari" (I'm assuming you are) and "Heart of Evil", that's not fair! The latter completely undoes it!

And I liked WWC, just not Part 2.

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ARandomGuy235's avatar
Well I love Tale of Tiger Claw glad it finally showed who cut Tiger Claw tail off even if it was more about Casey Jones curse then Tiger Claw and Alopex.

Earth last Stand is one of my favorite episodes and it was a great send off to Fugitoid wish he returned though and Tiger Claw probably didn't see what Shredder tried to do since he didn't kill Splinter this time like he did in Annihilation Earth.

I loved Attack of The Mega Shredder I think it underrated compared to other episodes and Mikey was awesome in it don't see the problem with it and just cause of that beginning scene with Shredder and Karai doesn't mean this episode is bad dude.

Having the Triceratons in The War for Dimension X wouldn't have made any sense since the Kraang have been trying to hide from them for years and Mona and Sal were fine in the episode anyway.

Well I love both Owari and Heart of Evil idk what wrong with liking both of them it just my opinion dude and just cause Donnie was pissed off at Don Visiozo and wanted to kill him doesn't make the episode bad dude I mean Visiozo wanted to cut Donnie and Mondo Gecko open so I can't blame Donnie for getting mad.

Well I loved When Worlds Collide both parts especially part 2 since Lord Dregg my favorite villain returned.

I wasn't excepting a response actually from you but I think you are too harsh on Seasons 3-5 I prefer them over Seasons 1 and 2 myself honestly your taking this show way too seriously dude that you hate certain small scenes in it like that Tiger Claw scene in Earth's Last Stand which honestly wasn't much to rant about TMNT 2012 is suppose to be a fun action show not a show you need to take seriously dude.
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TheMassEffectFanatic's avatar

You're not fair if you're not hard on something (it also helps you determine what's truly great, what's just good, and what's actually not). It's something I've learned both as an entertainment nut and someone who knows this is all just entertainment. This show started out so promising yet a number of directions a number of characters went (Tiger Claw being perhaps the biggest), as well as the series suffering from what I refer to as the "Stranger Things Effect" (letting references dictate a show rather than quality) ended up being disappointing--which is why the 2012 series went from being a surefire #1 to second behind the 2003 series.

P.S. The reason I can't see anyone being a fan of both "Owari" and HoE is because after how "Owari" ended, it all becomes completely nullified just three episodes later in HoE (and b/c of one of the worst scripts the series produced).

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InvaderKatIZ's avatar
InvaderKatIZ|Hobbyist Digital Artist
#2 HEYYYY dont dis that episode......Napoleon Dynamite was in it.....and hes funny
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NTSEFAN's avatar
NTSEFAN|Hobbyist General Artist
Fun fact: The reason why the series started to suffer a decline in quality was because the writers from the first season were all replaced with brand new-writers unfamiliar with the show for season two. As a result, it took the new writers a good while to really find their groove, and the results are noticeable.
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TheMassEffectFanatic's avatar
I disagree. Season 2 was just as good if not better than Season 1. The problem, and this is just me, was that they lost focus and started putting references and including other TMNT characters such as Alopex at the expense of proper story progression and resolutions/conclusions.
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NTSEFAN's avatar
NTSEFAN|Hobbyist General Artist
That's why the series began to suffer. The old writers knew what they were doing, but the new ones did not.
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