Case of the Killer Pizzas

Synopsis

To assist him in defeating the Turtles, Krang sends Shredder some Dimension X eggs via a portal. Shredder decides to use a Pizza Bake-off event as an opportunity to make the Turtles come to him. He steals some flyers and transports them to the Turtles by releasing water from a fire hydrant into the sewers.

In the lair, Michaelangelo is preparing to face off against Donatello's new invention, a fighting machine which gives him some trouble until Raphael cuts off the electricity supply. At this point, a giant wave floods the lair, bringing the flyers with it. Splinter deduces that the slashmarks on the flyers must have been made by Shredder, but the Turtles plan to attend the Bake-off nevertheless, planning to work up an appetite by defeating Shredder before they tuck into some pizza.

At the Pizza Bake-off, Irma and April are discussing men when Irma's last date shows up and she runs off to avoid him. April scares him off by introducing the Turtles to him as Irma's family. April enters the Turtle's names into the raffle for the prize pizzas. Meanwhile, Baxter Stockman is sneaking the eggs, which look like meatballs, onto the pizzas. However, two of the three pizzas are then taken to fill a delivery order and replaced with fresh ones.

When the Turtles learn that Baxter will be drawing the winners in the raffle, they suspect Shredder is nearby. He is seen heading into the Leaning Tower Pizzeria and followed by the Turtles. Battle ensues, but Shredder escapes. Baxter then reads out the winners of the raffle, but lies and names three of the Turtles as the winners. One of the pizzas is given to April in gratitude for helping them out.

At Irma's appartment, the pizza is warmed up in the microwave. As it heats up, the egg cracks and a small red monster emerges and eats the pizza. Upon seeing it, Irma faints and April contacts the Turtles, who rush over but fail to capture the creature. They realise that two others must also be lose, or soon will be, in the city.

The Turtles follow the delivery boy to the penthouse suite of two kids, who ignore their warnings and heat up the pizzas. The two creatures escape into the sewers and meet up with the other red monster from Irma's appartment. In the underground river, they are all transformed into large yellow monsters.

In their search for the monsters, the Turtles find Shredder and Baxter and are about to engage in battle when Baxter uses a remote control to summon the monsters. During the fight which follows, Donatello hits the remote into the river and Baxter loses control of the monsters. Whilst Michaelangelo attempts to retrieve it, the other Turtles fight alongside Shredder against the monsters. Meanwhile, Baxter reads Krang's instructions for the monsters and tells them that a larger burst of energy will revert them back into eggs.

Michaelangelo retrieves the remote, but it is waterlogged and only has a temporary effect. Leonardo uses his katana to cut a nearby electricity cable, causing the monsters to be zapped back into eggs. Unsurprisingly, Shredder and Baxter escape.

Themes

One very obvious flaw in Shredder's plan to get rid of the Turtles: the eggs don't hatch into monsters unless they're put into the microwave. How many times in other episodes have we seen anyone bothering to heat up their pizza purchases before they dig in? I'm guessing none. So it's a nice coincidence that the one time it makes a difference, Irma and the bratty kids with the other pizzas decide to do just that.

Speaking of the bratty kids...how come they're not at all disturbed by the sight of humanoid giant turtles in their kitchen, but terrified by pesky small red monsters?

There are 27 mentions of pizza this episode. It's actually quite annoying.

Characters

Shredder does some cool ninja stuff this episode. It shouldn't be a rare thing, but it is. When he startles the guy handing out fliers for the pizza bakeoff, he neatly manages to catch all of them using some super fast grabby motion that any action figure would be proud of. And when the Turtles hurl lumps of pizza dough at him, he neatly shreds it into a net he can attack them with. Cool, huh? So how come he never usually displays this level of martial arts expertise?

Besides, if Shredder realises (and he clearly does) the extent of the Turtles' pizza love (and he clearly does), then why not use it against them more often?

Splinter displays an amazing sense of deduction by guessing that Shredder sent the pizza fliers towards the Turtles. What gave it away? The slashmarks which could "only" have been made by Shredder's gauntlet. Amazing.

April may seem like a good friend to poor Irma, getting rid of her latest loser boyfriend Alfredo. But what kind of friend would leave a friend alone in the sewers after fainting at the sight of a monster? The kind who is more concerned with a news story, that's who.

Michaelangelo really takes his pizza obsession too far this episode, going on and on about the stuff. In fact, a third of the 27 pizza mentions come from him. Like I said, it's annoying.

Quintessential Raphael moment this episode where he's too busy being sarcastic to notice the huge yellow monsters creeping up behind him. There's a lesson in there somewhere.

But the most scandalous Turtle behaviour this episode comes from Leonardo. Firstly he makes up some bogus Splinter-style words of wisdom and claims his sensei came up with them. "Sometimes one must make a pact with evil in order to accomplish good." So the means justify the ends, then? When Raph mentions that he can't remember Splinter saying anything of the sort, he admits he invented this advice himself. Is this something Leo does often? It would explain to some extent why a lot of Splinter's advice seems so blatantly contradictory.

Leo also takes an almost suicidal risk in order to turn the monsters back into eggs. Baxter's instructions say that the monsters need to be zapped with a large burst of energy. So Leonardo cuts some nearby electric powerlines with his sword and lets the wet floor conduct the electricity and electrocute the monsters. There are only about a million ways that could have gone wrong. Aside from the fact that Leo could have electrocuted himself in the process, there's water everywhere and he could have ended up killing his brothers too. Very reckless strategy.

An exchange between Leonardo and Donatello illustrates some of the key differences between them. "At least we'll go down fighting with honour, like real turtles!" Leo shouts, staring death in the face. "Personally, I'd rather go on living, as a mock turtle," Don counters. The two of them may seem very simliar sometimes, but whilst Leo is an idealist, singing the praises of honour and reckless bravery, Don is ultimately a realist and a pragmatist. He's more concerned with the bottom line and the bottom line is he doesn't fancy dying much.

The lesson that Donatello draws from the whole pizza monster experience? "There's no such thing as a free lunch." That seems overly pessimistic, since the Turtles did get two whole monsterless free pizzas this episode. In fact, this attitude pre-empts the pro-capitalist leanings that Don develops in further episodes. The idea that you get nothing for nothing is an inherently capitalist one.

 

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