“The good guys win and the bad guys lose.”
Every weekend I hear those words in the theme song and every weekend I think about how the Turtles are going to save the day. There are setbacks, but in the end, the Turtles always win. The entertainment comes from seeing the relationships between the characters (and Mikey saying dumb things). The main focus of “The Lonely Transformation of Baxter Stockman” is a contrast of good guys and bad guys using Donatello and Baxter Stockman.
The opening two scenes feature the two scientists in their respective labs interacting with their masters. Baxter toils in his lab, unable to achieve anything noteworthy. His master (who has enslaved him) is enraged at his failure to create more usable mutants; apparently Stockman’s plans for mutating a pig and rhino aren’t good enough. Shredder punishes Baxter by breaking his neck collar, releasing mutagen all over him and turning him into a fly.
Compare that to the next scene, where Donnie is happily hard at work in the lab. He’s invested in his experiments and has been working hard for the past half season on finding a retromutagen. He’s joyful when he succeeds and excitedly shares it with his master (who is his teacher). Splinter is proud of his son for working hard and finding success. When Donnie offers the antidote to Splinter, he refuses, telling him to save April’s father first. Helping others in need is more important; Splinter may not be human, but he has his humanity.
After turning into the Fly, Stockman decides to work on his own project; a way to make himself even stronger (at the expense of April). Stockman’s focus is on himself; he wants to mutate himself more to become stronger. He only decides to become human through stealing the retromutagen when the previous plan fails. Donnie however, spends the episode trying to use his formula to help Kirby O’Neil. While Stockman develops a way to become more powerful, Donnie develops a way to be more human.
Baxter Stockman fails at science because his experiments are selfish. He doesn’t create to help others; he creates only for himself (be it to make himself stronger or keep him safe around Shredder). Donnie succeeds because he uses science for the greater good.
After several endings with the Turtle family and the O’Neils celebrating, there’s a tag featuring Shredder and Baxter Stockman. Shredder tells Stockman that he’s not done with him yet; there’s one last mutant he wants Baxter to make. Although we don’t know who it is, we know that in the end, the Turtles will beat whoever that mutant is, because the good guys win and the bad guys lose.
– Although the Baxter/Donnie aspect was great, the science was frustrating. The retromutagen was created using April’s DNA and 10 canisters of mutagen. Donnie was only able to make two injections worth of the retromutagen because he had very little mutagen. That’s a good workaround for the writers to avoid it becoming a weekly solution. HOWEVER, Baxter Stockman’s got a MASSIVE pool worth of the goop. Suddenly 10 canisters don’t seem like such a big hurdle when there’s so much of it that they could try to take.
– To make it worse, that “injection” worth that was said to be needed was proven wrong; Wingnut was changed back in to Kirby O’Neil with one drop on his head. If all it takes is a drop to make the retromutagen, they could have used the canister to change back Wingnut AND Splinter AND Stockman AND Rahzar (AND that pig and rhino if they’re ever introduced).
– This is the second week in a row where April was suspended high up in the villain’s lair. Seeing her unaffected by the mutagen was interesting, but I’d rather see her in action. We’ve seen her fight Karai; even with the proportional strength of a fly she should be able to beat up that nerd on her own.I LOVE THE 80s (and 50s):
– I really wish they had found a way to get Jeff Goldblum in this episode; you know he probably would have been up for it.
– Mikey imagines what he would look like as a human, leading to a cute gag of him replacing his head with a photo of voice actor Greg Cipes wearing a bandana.
– The Green Turflytle Returns BUZZ BUZZ.
– Hoon Lee’s Splinter is amazing. If you get the chance, relisten to his lines about humanity. There’s a beautiful sorrow to his voice; he fully believes that Kirby should be saved first, but there’s a hidden current of sadness. He misses his human family, but knows that after a decade and a half living underground, he can never return.